“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners: and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:8
As has been pointed out in previous posts, we know that all good comes from God. Anything that does not come from God is not good, because mankind has the free will to accept the good things from God or not. This includes so-called Christian religions not revealed to us by Christ, private interpretations of Scripture, religous movements, addictions, distractions, things that are man-made that are not a testament to God’s goodness and glory. A lot of these things may appear good, or may have the appearance of being Christian, but once again being Christian means accepting everything Christ has taught us through His Church (the Catholic Church). These things are in fact used by the Devil to pull people away from the one true Faith, under the false notion of being good, by the millions.
Noe’s Ark not only existed and is recorded in the Old Testament, but remains of the Ark have been found. This story is also represented in the New Testament with the establishment of Christ’s Church as the Ark, and the ratio of those who will make it to everlasting life and those who perish. There are an abundant amount of relations between the Old Testament and the New, that when not taken out of context apply to the Catholic Church. The “Catholo” (Greek for everywhere the same, universal), is the religion revealed by God. We are called to give testimony to that religion and that one alone, because God gave it to us at the last supper (the first mass). If you look at Jewish tradition before Christ, the Mass is in direct correlation with the old practices of the Pascal meal, as well the sacrifices that use to be made (more on this and what has happened to the Catholic Church to come).
The point is that if we really truly believe what has been mentioned above then one must live his life in accordance with it; in hopes that our example can be one for others to follow to God. Man was created for a supernatural end, not just a natural one of dying. We were called to a supernatural end of seeing Our Creator (the Beatific Vision), face to face for eternity. This may not sound like much, but seeing God will fulfill every possible want and need we could ever have, forever. We can only obtain this by using a supernatural means, His Church. Using anything else will only obtain us a natural end which is death, forever.
His Church, when we let go of our wills, teaches us how to be holy, how to be truly happy, and how to be Christian. It has to, for if it did not it would not be a means. Let us look at some evidence:
The true Church of Christ ought to always practice the perfection of Christian life:
Looking at the New Testament, it is filled with teachings from Jesus on how to live the perfect Christian life. There are many examples of recommended virtues direct from Scripture. In addition to these virtues, Jesus was entirely poor and lived on alms as an example to us, and taught His Apostles to carry nothing when they went to preach. He also taught us to be humble, meek and obedient even to those of which we have no obligation. He left us examples of poverty, chastity, and self-denial. Of what purpose were all these examples if they were not to be put into practice?
Considering the examples Jesus has set for us, consider the lives of the Saints who have imitated these virtues throughout their entire lives and were able to perform miracles as Our Lord did. Moreover, the Catholic Church as a whole has always put into practice these virtues in every season for the love of God.
Consider the glory of so many Saints and other devout religious who gave up all and risked their lives to travel to foreign countries and spread the faith, without other expectation than of labors, miseries, and martyrdom, and without any other aim than the honor of God and the salvation of souls.
Many of these Saints have died for Christ as did St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Polycarp, St. Agnes and St. Cecilia.
They have won whole nations to Christ like St. Patrick, St. Boniface, St. Ansgar, St. Methodius, and St. Francis Xavier.
They have founded religious orders of men and women that won countless souls to the perfect following of heroic virtues such as St. Benedict, St. Bernard, St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Madeline Barat.
They have given up all in life to care for the sick, the poor and the imprisoned such as St. Camillus, St. Vincent de Paul, and St. John of Matha.
They have defended the faith in every part of the world as did St. Athanasius, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Canisius.
These are just a few examples. Now compare these to the lives of the Protestant reformers and their subsequent churches who condemned the monastic discipline and gave it up altogether. And rather than imitate the virtue of poverty, many aim to make the temporal goods of their church theirs.
The virtue of chastity was condemned and has been scarcely practiced since. In addition, without a Pope to be obedient to and no need to consult others on interpretation of Scripture, the virtue of obedience was blurred. And with no need to confess sins, the borders of morality have been blurred as well. Martyrdom is also scarcely heard of in Protestant churches since the Reformation. Many ministers marry when they did not in the early Church. (“He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God.” 1 Cor 7:32).
Why did the Protestant reformers oppose and stop practicing these virtues in direct opposition to the examples of Our Lord and early Church?
In summary, the Protestant reformers and most Protestant churches that came afterward have abandoned these virtues of the perfect Christian life at the word of the reformers; ordinary men. Yes, all of these virtues are not mandatory, but we can see they are highly recommended in Scripture. Christ gave us these repeated examples for a reason, and the Catholic Church and Her Saints and those in monasteries have continually practiced these virtues to the fullest. If we are to achieve Heaven we need to as well, the greater we practice these virtues of Faith so as to lead others, the greater reward we merit from God for eternity.
God Bless BJS!!