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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 identity.

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 Brown’s 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 Magdalene—not Peter—was 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 115)

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 life–to 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." †

Deacon 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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