Are you falling away?

Discussion in 'The Signs of the Times' started by miker, Sep 3, 2021.

  1. miker

    miker Powers

    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.
  2. AED

    AED Powers

    Powerful miker. So true! So very very true. Ralph Martin has a podcast from a few days ago "will our lampstand be removed?"
    Chilling! Same basic message. This toxic culture is pulling people under left and right. Catholics especially it would seem.
  3. Mario

    Mario Powers

    I'm not Italian, but I'll give it a try! Ecellente! :D
  4. padraig

    padraig Powers

    I love gadgets that measure things. I have a weather station for example that tell me the temp inside and out, the humidity and I have a lovely old fashioned Barometer in the house.:)

    It might seem a pity that we have not such a gadget to check our Spiritual Condition and if we are growing or failing away. For many years after my conversion I used to love books on Ascetical/ mystical theology, most especially those that divided growth in prayer ( which is the same as Spiritual Growth) . I loved in particular St Teresa of Avila's . 'Interior Mansions (or Castles) which divides prayer into Seven Stages.

    After a long period of great interior darkness in my life (of I suppose of well over twenty years) I was in a place were my gadgets no longer worked and I had to grope about in the dark and hope against hope things were going well,

    Some of the signs in this that Fr Steven mentioned helped a lot. Am I still keeping the Ten Commandments? Am I still going to Mass or at least trying to go to Mass everyday?
    Do I read Scripture? m I forgiving people and getting along with them in a loving way?

    There tests can be like a cars headlights in the dark.

    One great thing about the darkness is that it teaches that love is not about emotions, but about giving. The tow are not the same.

    Also the Spiritual Life is about growth ,about change. In very many ways as I look back I seemed much much closer to God

    Mary's child and AED like this.
  5. thomas21

    thomas21 Archangels

    Stay Catholic. The evil ones know it is the true Church. They don’t have black Buddhist meetings or black Protestant meal services.

    And if Francis does what I suspect he might, remember that in the end times the deception of the Antichrist will shake the faith of many. Everyone outside the Church are already in his clutches. Don’t be scandalized.
    Mary's child likes this.
  6. AED

    AED Powers

    So true Padaig. I wonder if there is a kind of road map for the soul that follows a trajectory in spite of our very individual walks of faith. The early years are filled with wonder and hunger to know Him and grace upon grace one can actually feel. And then comes the darkness--as you say car headlights in the dark in our prayers and sacrifices. For me it was discovering love is an act of will not an emotion. To sit in front if the Blessed Sacrsment for assigned hours every week because a commitment was made not because of a sense of great graces. To get to daily Mass because its the right thing even though it can be dry. To trust my prayers are being heard even though I see no movement at all in the souls I pray for . ..To return patience for provocation. To act with love when I don't feel love. CS Lewis said that Christianity and falling in love with Christ is a bit like discovering the marvels of the Odyssey. The stories enchant us. And then we settle down to learn to read them by learning tje original Greek. Very hard.
  7. padraig

    padraig Powers

    Perhaps if we could measure it more closely we would be relying too much on our own efforts than the Mercy of God. The stray thought, like a rat might stray into our house, 'Aren't I doing well'. One one rat of pride gets into our home it would not be long breeding and we would be coming down with whole swarms of pride and our entire heart would be eaten away by them.

    On the other hand St Paul in Romans informs us that for those who love God all things unto the good. I would suggest that ALL things includes even our sins. For when we fall we learn the lesson of humility and so insulate our house a little more from the rats of pride.

    Perhaps this was why he was sent what he describes as a, 'Thorn in the Flesh, to keep his both feet firmly on the ground?

    Song of Solomon 2:1

    Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

    There used to be a very famous Convent of Jansenist Nuns in France at Port Royal led by Mother Marie Angelique Arnuald. They were hugely admired because they were so perfect and did everything perfectly. They were very like the ancient Pharisees in that everything was down to exterior rules and regulations. They replaced the Mercy and Grace of God..and the actions of the Holy Spirit in the soul with rules and regulations and earning your way to heaven.

    If you compare Mere Arnauld to St Margaret Mary Alocoque you see polar opposites. One form the highest rungs of society the other from the very poorest. One widely admired and emulated, the other totally despised. One who did not seem to need the help of God as she was doing perfectly well on her own, thank you very much. St Margaret Mary who was visited by the Sacred Heart who raised her up in her lowliness.

    It was once famously said of the nuns of Port Royale.

    'Pure as angels but proud as the devil'.élique_Arnauld

    I think you can even see this her face.


    The rats had gotten in and had eaten their poor hearts clean away.
    AED likes this.
  8. padraig

    padraig Powers

    The very worst thing about having had your heart eaten away by the rats of pride is that you would be the very last person in the world to know that this had happened...pride would blind you, for as well as eating your heart they will have eaten your eyes...
  9. Luan Ribeiro

    Luan Ribeiro Archangels

    I once read a homily by a Church father who said that God allowed Peter to deny Christ so that he would not judge others harshly
    Sam, Mary's child and AED like this.
  10. AED

    AED Powers

    The one good thing of repented sin is the searing knowledge that we have done grave wrong and wounded the Heart that loved us unto death. The humility of seeing how badly we have failed and how merciful Jesus is--is a great grace. O Felix culpa! The only thing we have accomplished on our own are our sins. Poor Jansenists. There but for the grace of God...
    Sam and padraig like this.
  11. padraig

    padraig Powers

    I read a message in the little Blue Book from Our Lady a few months back about, 'heroic failure'. I love this so much. All right I may fail over and over again, but I really, really love the idea that at least I tried. Even that it might indeed have been at times, 'Heroic'.:)
    AED likes this.
  12. padraig

    padraig Powers

    I love from the book of Sirach, 'The just man falls several times a day.'

    Sometimes it feels like several times a minute. Especially when I am gossiping.:D

    James 3:2

    Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

  13. garabandal

    garabandal Powers

    Wonderful. God really does love a trier.

    Never ever give up. Keep getting back up.
  14. padraig

    padraig Powers

    I went confession years ago to a young priest I knew and asked him about this, how do I know I am not going backwards instead of forwards in the Spiritual Life.

    His reply really threw me, it was so unexpected . He asked me how I stood with my love and hunger for the Word of God?.

    I had to really, really think about that one.:)
    HeavenlyHosts, miker and Mary's child like this.

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