What is the difference between a lukewarm Catholic Christian and the average pagan? The lukewarm Catholic, sadly, is hardly distinguishable from the average pagan – on the street, in the voting booth, in court, behind closed bedroom doors, or in the workplace. There is a difference: the lukewarm Catholic Christian – whether culpably or innocently – was entrusted with holy and divine grace that he squandered and wasted and perhaps even lost, as soon as it was given him.
We hardly know what we have! Such radiant treasures have been placed in our care – seven sacraments like seven facets of a perfect diamond, flashing brilliantly in the full sun; we cannot look directly into it, into Him! Seven sources of holy grace, each offering us communion with Him, each an intimate embrace, each touching Him, each the loving touch of God in return.
We do not know what we have. We are like so many of the crowds, pressing upon Jesus, yet never touching Him:
Lk 8:42 … As he went, the crowds almost crushed him. 43 And a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years, who (had spent her whole livelihood on doctors and) was unable to be cured by anyone, 44 came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. Immediately her bleeding stopped. 45 Jesus then asked, “Who touched me?” While all were denying it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds are pushing and pressing in upon you.” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone has touched me; for I know that power has gone out from me.”
We need true catechists, passing on the living and dynamic Faith of the Church – making, as Jesus commanded, disciples. A true catechist is responding to a holy vocation. Do we pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life? Yes, we do and rightly so. But are we praying for catechists? And are we praying for true responders to the sacred vocation of marriage: husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, catechists who are making disciples in the Domestic Church of the Catholic home? From the General Catechetical Directory #80:
“The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ”. (CT 5) All evangelizing activity is understood as promoting communion with Jesus Christ.
All the “problems” of the Church today have one solution, ultimately. The simplest of solutions: Jesus. We need to meet Him, to hear Him, to touch and be touched by Jesus Christ. We don’t need to “study” the Bible – we need to hear His Word. We don’t need to “get” the sacraments – we need to receive deep in the deepest places of our souls, His holy grace given us in the sacraments. We don’t need to learn more prayers, we need to pray and to meet Him in holy prayer-communion; we need to live a life of prayer. We don’t have attendance or budget problems – our crisis is the wrong kind of poverty of spirit.
He is so close to every one of us! But He was close to the crowds too, as they pressed upon Him. One touched Him. One touched Him. One touched Him.