Though man is at bottom a religious being, always looking for a deity to worship and to run to, that natural religiosity can also be stifled for a number of reasons. On a number of occasions, Christ himself lamented over this sad tendency of ours.
One time he said, “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’” (Mt 11,16-17)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists down some of the reasons that can stifle our natural religiosity, like “revolt against evil in the world, religious ignorance or indifference, the cares and riches of this world, the scandal of bad example on the part of believers, currents of thought hostile to religion, that attitude of sinful man which makes him hide from God out of fear and flee his call.” (CCC 29)
We cannot deny that there’s vast religious indifference and even hostility against religion today. That may be intriguing to say, since on the other hand, thanks be to God, we can also notice a surge of religious fervor in some sectors.
This contrast actually has been around since time immemorial, an indication that human history is always an interplay between good and evil, between God’s providence and man’s freedom. But what is interesting to note is the degree of seriousness into which both indifference and fervor have developed.
A complex structure of rationalizations now supports religious indifference and hostility to religion. It seems that the threads of naturalism, skepticism, agnosticism, atheism, relativism, etc., have become more sophisticated, snuffing whatever religious ember that may still remain in a person or in society.
Some intellectuals and occasional theologians join free thinkers in lending their dissenting voices and expertise to this trend, adding to the string of scandals the Church has been suffering these past few years.
Try to look at some of our so-called leading Catholic universities, and you will likely find nests of dissenters who invoke an unhinged type of academic freedom (aka, academic license) to retail their heresies and questionable if not patently erroneous ideas. They are quite well-funded and supported by powerful international ideological groups.
Even centers of religious formation and seminaries are infected with this kind of virus. Imagine seminarians and priests now taught about the beauty and practicality of contraception, etc. It’s really about time that a thorough clean-up be made in these places, but, of course, with due process.
Let’s take advantage of this season of Advent to develop a burning desire to be with Christ. Actually, more than just being with Christ, we are supposed to be like Christ, to be “another Christ” himself. That’s what God wants us to be. That’s how we become God’s image and likeness, children of his.
We have to develop an abiding and burning desire to fulfill the real purpose of our life which is precisely for us to be “another Christ.” We should be clear about this ultimate purpose of ours so we can have the proper sense of direction and focus in our life, and the corresponding urge to fulfill it. We have to follow the example of Christ. In fact, we have to assume the same mind and mission of Christ.*