But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.
When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.
Someone once asked me: “From a scale of zero to a hundred, with zero being the Devil and a hundred being God, how Catholic are you?”
At that point in time I was somewhat flummoxed by the question. (The desired percentage was apparently 60%; to aim as close as possible to 100% was deemed fanatical.)
This evening at Mass in my home parish, the priest preached on the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist.
“The problem was Herod’s ambiguity. He kept John the Baptist like a court jester, for entertainment because he liked to listen to him. He refused to listen when John chastised him for taking his brother’s wife Herodias.
“Who is Jesus to you? Did He just produce a philosophy for how to live as good men? If so, then what’s the point of being Catholic?”
Christ is Truth, and Christ is a Person. Christianity is not merely a set of rules or guidelines for an earthly life of virtue; it is not a list of propositions for us to grasp. Rather, it is we who must allow ourselves to be grasped by Truth, the Person of Christ.
God is a community of Persons with whom we must cultivate a relationship. Can relationships be quantified in percentages? If you love someone, don’t you naturally want to love them with your whole heart, and soul, and mind, and strength? And wouldn’t you want the same in return?
The priest continued, “Don’t you feel pained when someone you love is ambiguous? Better for them to be outright angry, than nice one day and horrid the next!”
We are all meant to undergo theosis, to be divinized in growing into our true identities as children of God. He loves us wholeheartedly; He suffered and died for us. Let us not mock His complete gift of self by being half-hearted in response – our lives must be fully given over to Him, in a glorious song of love.
There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature.
—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey
My God, I choose all. I do not want to be a saint by halves. I am not afraid to suffer for You. I fear only one thing — that I should keep my own will. So take it, for I choose all that You will.
—St. Thérèse of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul
No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it.
—St. Maximilian Kolbe
Christ is not valued at all, unless He is valued above all.
fanatic (noun): Latin fanaticus “mad, enthusiastic, inspired by a god.”
enthusiastic (adj.): Greek enthousiastikos, “inspired,” from enthousiazein “be possessed or inspired by a god”, from en+Theos, “in God.”
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