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"See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name saying, 'I
am he,' and 'The time has come.' Do not follow them!"
These words of Jesus in the Gospel are just as powerful and meaningful
today as they were two thousand years ago. We live in a culture that finds
it easier to believe a lie than to live the Truth; that embraces the thirty-second
sound-bite as if it were divine revelation and rarely accepts the obligations
and responsibilities of faith, lived in the light of truth, goodness and
beauty, with all that Jesus demands and expects of us.
We turn to "pop" psychology and New Age spirituality, which lead us away
from a faith rooted in Christ and centered in the Eucharist, and toward
beliefs based on little more than sophisticated nonsense. There are those,
for example, who try various kinds of "spiritual healing" and say we don't
need Jesus at all: we just have to get in touch with our inner healing
power. Moreover, existentialist philosophy and psychology actually play
a role in the American Church, as evidenced by the use of the Enneagram
along with its cousins the labyrinth, astrology, and even witchcraft.
Many New Age ideas posit that human beings, as well as animals, plants,
and indeed all created reality, have the same divine nature as God. New
Agers believe that, for humans, this divine nature is covered over with
an ego at four or five years old, and that the purpose of our spiritual
journey through life is to learn how to undo the ego and become God.
The two Chilean men who invented the Enneagram, which they claim was at
the instruction of Metatron, the chief of the archangels, combined psychological
personality types, Freud's theory of defense mechanisms and the idea of
sin, and blended them into a belief system. Not only does the Enneagram
have no basis in science, there is a tendency in this system to deny:
(1) the role of salvation, (2) the purpose and mission of Jesus Christ,
and (3) the forgiveness of sins. According to the Enneagram, your salvation
depends on how well you overcome your personality type.
Even faithful Catholics, who at times struggle with certain aspects of
their faith, look for "new" ways to bring themselves closer
to the Lord. Occasionally, they come in contact with certain methods and
ideologies that have nothing to do with Catholic teaching, and adds to
the confusion which helps fuel further misconceptions about the Faith,
and ultimately undermines and destroys the very fabric of our Catholic
The best selling novel, The Da Vinci Code illustrates this point.
Many people say, "What's the big deal? It's only a novel." The big deal
is that this novel features an opening page titled "FACT," which states:
"All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals
in this novel are accurate." Readers who have enthusiastically embraced
the book point to historical, artistic, religious, and theological details
within it as central reasons for their fascination with the book.
The fact is that Dan Browns thriller is less than thrilling when
it comes to providing an accurate and fair portrayal of the Catholic Church,
Christian theology, and Church history. The Da Vinci Code is overtly
sacrilegious, claiming that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had
children. That Mary Magdalenenot Peterwas the head apostle,
that the Catholic Church has kept these "facts" hidden through force and
terror, and that Jesus was not truly divine, but merely a good man that
was turned into God by the Emperor Constantine. In addition, the novel
is obsessed with radical feminist notions of the "sacred feminine", which
encourages the recovery and revitalization of goddess worship.
Yet, the truth and beauty of Sacred Scripture cries out to us loud and
clear that our God, the One True God--the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--is
in the heavens . . . while the idols of men (the New Age and The Da
Vinci Code ) are merely silver and gold, the work of human hands.
The psalmist tells us that "they have mouths but they cannot speak; they
have eyes but they cannot see; they have ears but they cannot hear; they
have nostrils but they cannot smell; with their hands they cannot feel;
with their feet they cannot walk. No sound comes from their throats. Their
makers will come to be like them and so will all who trust in them." (Psalm
My brothers and sisters in Christ, let us not settle for spirituality-lite,
where we seek "feel good" spirituality that kills God's life within us,
and denies the vocation and responsibility of faith that Christ insists
on through our baptismal call to holiness. When this happens, we will
use the labyrinth instead of the Stations of the Cross; crystals instead
of the Rosary; and goddess worship instead of Eucharistic Adoration. It
is the blood of the Lamb that redeems us! The truth that Jesus has revealed
remains throughout eternity, taught and defended by the Church, who has
been appointed Mother and Teacher of truth.
Christ asks us to pick up our Cross and follow him to eternal lifeto
turn away from the world's ways and keep our eyes fixed on Him. This means
sacrifice. It means that people will hate us because we are not afraid
to defend the sanctity of life and marriage, for Jesus tells us, "You
will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will
be destroyed. By your perseverance, you will secure your lives."
Harold Burke-Sivers, MTS, is a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese
of Portland, Oregon and is the Director of Public Safety for the University
of Portland. He is the founder of Aurem
Cordis, a Christian evangelization and apologetics organization dedicated
to disseminating and promoting Catholic values, principles, and teaching
in complete faithfulness and total submission to Holy Scripture, Sacred
Tradition, and the Magisterium. He has been
a guest on "EWTN Live" and "Catholic Answers Live"
and hosts a weekly radio program on KBVM,
the Catholic radio station in Portland. Deacon Harold is currently writing
a book on Catholic spirituality for men. He, his wife Colleen, and their
four children reside in Portland.
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