Zeal for One's faith
ZEAL FOR CATHOLICISM AS AN ACT OF LOVE
“Zeal not according to knowledge”, St Paul Rom 10.2
The highest good for humanity, the goal to which each person must direct all the powers of his spirit and body, is salvation. From this, it follows that the highest act of love for one's neighbors is to aid their salvation. In the Catholic Apostolic Church - Christ's Kingdom, the kingdom of love on earth, every member must be concerned first of all about his own salvation, and then about the salvation of all others.
Attaining to salvation is the true reason for existence for all of humanity. To this end, Christ our God has established and ordained His Church upon the earth and made Her the custodian of salvation, the guide and maintainer of the truth, which leads to salvation. Love for one's neighbor must consist first of all in striving for one's own salvation, for in doing this, one is able to reflect the truth and prepare oneself to witness it to others. Moreover, it is a direct deceit of Satan, that is pride, which leads many who are not struggling for their own salvation to begin trying to save others. The Catholic must hear the words of Cyprian of Carthage, who asked, “Can he absolve sins whose sins are not absolved?” asking in turn of himself, “Can anyone save who is not truly saved?” The Catholic who is not in a state of grace will be guided by his own imperfect logic and will be unable to witness the perfection of God to those outside the Church. The Holy Scriptures make these words true, when upon the waters of Lake Gennesaret Simon, James and John fished all night catching nothing, later joined to Christ they caught more than their boat could hold. Witnessing of Christ and His Holy Church is not after all, an aggressive act, but is primarily an act of example, of striving with one's whole soul to fulfill the commands of the Apostolic Catholic Church which are precisely the commands of the Holy Scripture - to save one's own soul. Fr John Hardon SJ, in his Catechism written at the Pope’s request states quite bluntly, “Once we are baptized and confirmed we are obligated to evangelize” or as the prayer for vocations in this diocese says, “By baptism and confirmation you have summoned us to build up Your Holy Church”.
Catholics truly know when they are in a state of sanctifying grace and when confirmed, we have the gifts of the Holy Spirit infused in us. One of the virtues we acquire is Zeal, which St Thomas Aquinas taught, “as the vehement movement of one who loves, to secure the object of his love” (Our neighbor’s salvation). This virtue is proportional to that of the love felt. Zeal is the very opposite of sloth and is often reined in by the terrible ‘maybe’ of tepidity for which God threatens to vomit us out of His mouth. This love, this zeal is named by the Church as amor amicitiae or the love for friends. We must know and attribute our actions as an effort to do as Christ commanded for us to love others as I have loved you. This is the old Catholic adage we used to use called “zeal for souls”.
Zeal, being as we can deduct from the preceding, is love in action, which is "truthful evangelization." It is without doubt the actions we do as far as it is possible to remove all that would injure or harm the soul to which we have projected our love. We must further deduce that zeal will be intolerant towards sin as was the Epitome of all virtues, Jesus Christ. Who else could really mean or could intend and enforce these paraphrased words as John reported Christ as saying, ‘My way or the highway”? Did not God say in Rv: 3:19: “Such as I love, I rebuke and chastise. Be zealous therefore and do penance”. (DRV). How can we therefore accuse Jesus Christ in any way as lacking in zeal or in being inactive in penitence? If we examine the Saul who became Paul we see that before Paul, Saul’s zeal was missing the mark Gal: 1:14: “And I made progress in the Hebrew religion above many of my equals in my own nation, being more abundantly zealous for the traditions of my fathers”. (DRV). Paul yet felled, slain in his spirit, a false spirit as we can see, and taken, by Christ, as he noted for the rest of his life, his zeal was true and Paul was consistent in his recommendation to his converts. Gal: 4:18: “But be zealous for that which is good in a good thing always: and not only when I am present with you”. (DRV)
Yet zeal will also love, as Paul often describes, those who we see as innocent of crime and worthy of love. This statement will also show that an exercise of judgment must take place, a judging of the spiritual state of the object of our proselytizing, our neighbor. It is zeal that Paul asks, bids us, to have in First Corinthians as a charismatic gift given to build up the Church. There cannot be one vocation in the Church whether it is priestly, religiously or in the Laity that cannot be motivated by zeal, if it is truly given to us by Christ, through the Holy Spirit. Zeal to Paul was as it should be for us, a higher gift and much to be desired.
Zealously maintaining that truth which is vital to man's salvation; the truth of the great act of love for our neighbor, then proclaiming that truth is an act of great love for one's fellow humans. This too is primarily an act of striving to live that truth so that it will be manifested in oneself. Yet, we must realize that Satan is most anxious to pervert and destroy that truth so that no one will be saved. This is why the preservation of Catholicism is such a vital act of love - probably the most vital act of love which one can perform. It is love first of all for God; a love demonstrated by humble mindedness and given in holy obedience to His first great commandment, and love for one's neighbor. I mean a love demonstrated by witnessing to the truth that is necessary for the salvation of your neighbor’s soul.
To undermine Catholicism, to denigrate it, to name it as "just one amongst the Christian denominations," a form of pseudo-christianity, to try to justify in other’s claimed Christianity their manqué dogmas as acceptable to the Church, in the name of an imaginary united struggle against atheism, This justification is disdain and hatred, lacking not only the zeal to change them but I would suspect fortitude. It is disdain for God demonstrated in self willed disobedience and dislike, perhaps hatred, of one's neighbor, demonstrated by seeking to deprive him of the truth which leads to salvation.
Let us, the Catholic Laity, love God according to the way He has given us and love our neighbors with a Godly love, according to the Scripture, disdaining the idle inventions of man's pride about a philosophical and worldly form of love, which, being of this world, can only destroy men's souls. Never let it be said about us as is written in Isaiah 63:15, Where are your zeal and your might, the yearning of your heart and your compassion, they are withheld from me. Then remember and understand 1 Macc 2:58; that Elijah, because of great zeal for the law, was taken up into heaven.
Labels: Zeal Evangelise Proselytise Holy Spirit