This tree did not abandon it’s roots. This tree did not grow apart from the ground by intent or neglect – the ground was washed away under it. The result, however, is the same: death. The tree must remain rooted in the ground to live! The tree must be anchored in the source of its life, or it will surely die.
Human persons can do the insane: we can abandon our roots; we can grow apart from the ground of our very being by neglect or even by intent. The result is the same, however. If we do not remain rooted and anchored in the Source of our Life, we will surely die. ”No,” every prudent man or woman would say, “may such insanity never be!” But when any sober man or woman looks about in these days, they will see what shocks to the core: foolishness is deemed wise; immorality is declared normal and morality is deemed hateful, intolerant and prejudiced to the point of being illegal. Our culture – our nation – is profoundly, fundamentally confused. Many have become blind to the light; many have declared light to be our own darkness. And when men begin to love lies and to hate the truth that judges them, then the wolves are very close, and have come to devour them.
Surely, you would say, there are sober people around! Surely some see the wolves circling around us and they will sound the alarm! Surely in the churches is safety! Surely in church the truth will be proclaimed, the lies exposed, errors condemned and the way to life illuminated for all to see. Surely in the churches of the West, where men are free, the truth of God will be guarded, and kept safe. Surely in the Church the truth will be heard.
But something sad has come upon many of the churches of the West – a sleepiness, an apathy, a contentedness with an imagined safe status-quo. We are not safe! The danger is near!
In the beginning the Church was given a mission. The Church was made, in the beginning, missionary in her essence. She is the continuance of the One who gave Himself that all men might have new life and life in abundance. She has grown sleepy, however, and her concern has become maintenance and not mission. She has turned within to guard her own concerns and comforts. The calls to a New Evangelization, heard from the Vatican, disturb her peace. She has been called to a new Year of Faith, called to be a light of living faith in the growing darkness of militant atheism from some, and a passive practical atheism among many. The Church has been warned of a dangerous reign of man at the very gates – but such calls to awaken to battle only trouble her schedules, and threaten her budgets. The warnings remain faint, and from a Vatican very far away.
Jesus left us with a troubling question (one among many!) to ponder as the last days approach us: “When the Son of Man appears, will He find faith upon the earth?” Will traditional faith in the traditional God, come to us in Jesus Christ, remain in the members of the churches of the last days? Will His witness persevere on the earth as the arrogant reign of man becomes stronger and decreasingly tolerant of what we now call “traditional values”? Or – will all ground be washed away from under the tree? Will her roots be left hanging into nothingness, into where God is not welcomed, into where man is his own god, into where he makes up his own right and wrong, his own sin and salvation, his own beloved lies and fictions?
Another troubling truth from Jesus, recorded in the Gospel of John, while Jesus ministered among us, challenges the heart of men who claim to be religious but who in truth are lovers of the approval of men: “Nevertheless many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (Jn 12:42-43) Can men today do as they did then? Can religious men today love the approval of other men more than the approval of almighty God? Can religious men today play to the crowd, become “yes” men to their superiors, value titles and assignments and career advancement more than the quiet assurance of a right conscience seeking Truth and Goodness, in obedience to God?
Let us take a risk, readers. Let us believe God above the approval or disapproval, the praise or the condemnation, of men. Let us trust God and His enduring Truth above the very changeable, perishable and faulty opinions of men. There is good ground near, for us all. The holy truth of God is near, available, accessible. Jesus said, “Remain in me!” In Him we must remain: He is the good ground, no matter the rising tide of godlessness. It shall not wash away His truth; it shall not leave hanging into nothingness our roots, if we say to them all “No!” If we remain in Him, He will remain is us, until the very end – and beyond, into eternity. Praise be to the Lord, forever, brothers and sisters in Christ.