I wanted to share This thought provoking piece written by our friend, Fr Steve. I am also sharing with my family - in particular grown children. Despite our efforts and prayers, they are “eating”:the sawdust. But, I have hope still and trust that the Lord will help. In the meantime, I pray for them, try and be as best a model for them, and send them things like this which may result in eye rolling and hitting the delete button. But, it may also get them to consider where they are. Anyhow, maybe some of you are in a similar situation and this will help…. Are You Falling Away? By Fr. Steve Ryan, SDB I have heard reports that some long-time friends, some family members, long-time Catholic acquaintances, etc. are falling away from Sunday worship, falling away from frequenting the sacraments, falling away from any involvement in their parish, falling away from any family prayer (that still remained) and are becoming lackluster in their support of the Catholic Church. This is hurtful for me to hear. It’s hurtful to me to see that our Lord is being pushed aside and what is good, true and beautiful is being disregarded. Hurtful to me, yes, but it is most hurtful to them, to those who have fallen for the deceit of the evil one. The devil is rejoicing in this diabolical culture we now live in. Does it upset me? Yes, greatly. Does it surprise me? Not really. In today’s world there is just so much falsehood and garbage being breathed in, day in and day out, that good people (who are not wise enough, firm enough or vigilant enough) do, in fact, become infected. Faith is needed! Prayer is vital. Vigilance toward holiness is essential. I’m not going to sugarcoat it – this world is in a mess because we’ve rejected Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Period. Check out this parable: A foolish old farmer, so the story goes, concluded one day that the oats he had fed his mule for years were simply costing him too much. So he hatched a plan: he mixed a little sawdust in with the feed, and then a little more the next week, and even more the next month, continually reducing the amount of oats in the mix. At first the mule didn’t seem to notice the gradual change, so the farmer thought things were fine. However, as weeks passed into months the mule became increasingly agitated, stubborn, uncooperative, lethargic and unproductive. On its final day the farmer fed the poor beast nothing but sawdust. The mule finished the meal… and fell over dead. For me, this parable is about the Catholic Christian who consumes the lies of secularism, relativism, materialism, hedonism, individualism and slips farther and farther away from God. What was once known to be sin is now accepted as normal. Unrepented sin causes a gradual sickness. People may not start out with the conviction that a soul can survive on spiritual sawdust, but if they keep at it long enough they may convince themselves that the garbage they are eating really won’t hurt them too much. The absence of real spiritual food in the form of prayer, sacraments and devotions won’t be missed they think. Then over time, the sawdust gradually multiplies while the oats gradually disappear. There is a loss of appetite for what is real food – food for the soul – and there is more agitation, disunity, indifference and decline. Once the change is complete, being completely starved of spiritual nourishment, the spiritual life collapses. Apathy toward God is a terrible thing. Garbage actually tastes normal to a person. The taste for sin is not so bad when grace is cut off. But remember – the wages of sin is death. Let’s open our eyes and see what’s going on and not fall for this demonic plot. Pray. Go to Jesus. He will shed His Light on you. I’ll end with Scripture. St. Paul says it best to the community in Ephesus in Ephesians 5:8-20: For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth. Learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible – and everything that is illuminated becomes light. This is why it is said: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” Be very careful, then, how you live – not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery; instead be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.