The Catholic Defender: Justification Through Rationalization, A Wrong Path
Right after my retirement from the Army, I was continuing my in-processing at Texas A&M for the upcoming Summer semester when I struck up a conversation with one of the security guards. He looked familiar to me and I realized he was one of our ushers at the 10:15 Mass. I had not seen him for a while and I learned that he was no longer a practicing Catholic but was going to a nearby Protestant Non-denomination church. I wanted to inquire why he was not going to Mass, but he was very elusive. He could not respond to my questions. The only response he was able to give is that people are different and the only thing important is Jesus. This is the mindset of someone who justifies their exodus because of their own rational thinking. This is spiritually very dangerous. Missing Mass is a sin before a person rebels and it is still a sin after a person rebels. Confession is not really an option, we are not given the 10 Commandments simply as the 10 suggestions. How easy it is for people to rationalize their sin as to justify their sin. The bible does not teach that we can believe as we want to in following the Lord. We have to do His will! I was very surprised of his disregard for the truth. It mattered not to him the importance of following Jesus in His Church versus following someone's interpretation of Jesus. The disregard of the 2,000 year history of the Saints means nothing to the one making their justification through rationalization. Consider what Jesus warns: "On another occasion he began to teach by the sea. A very large crowd gathered around him so that he got into a boat on the sea and sat down. And the whole crowd was beside the sea on land. And he taught them at length in parables, and in the course of his instruction he said to them, Hear this! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some fell on a path, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep. And when the sun rose, it was scorched and it withered for lack of roots. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it and it produced no grain." See the warning on the wall? Jesus warns, "Whoever has ears ought to hear". There is no room for the children of God to follow after other rabbit trails. To justify yourself for leaving the Church using your own rational is spiritual suicide. This is classic "moral relativism" when we follow the least line of resistance. St. Paul writes to St. Timothy saying (2 Timothy 4:1-3), "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching" What St. Paul is saying is very clear! There is no space or place for "moral relativism", for the "justification through rationalization". St. Paul continues, "For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but follow their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be delivered to myths". Let me clarify and break this down further. The Security Guard in question is proclaiming, justifying himself on the foundation that all people are different and the only thing important is Jesus. Do we see this in St. Paul's writings? Do we see this coming from Jesus? No, not at all, but just the opposite. The Catholic Faith was founded by Jesus Christ personally, it is from Jesus that the Catholic Church has any authority. To deny this is to deny Jesus Himself. Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18-19), that He would remain with His Church until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). Jesus secures this promise with the evidence and power of the Holy Spirit (John 14:25, Acts 2:1-13) Luke 10:16 is very clear, "Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." By rejecting the Catholic Faith, the Security Guard is ultimately rejecting Christ. Can we see this in scripture as well? Consider St. Paul writing to the Galatians (Gal 1:6-9), "I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by the grace of Christ for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even is we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed". St. John writes, "Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the anti-christ was coming, so now many anti-christs have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. There desertion shows that none of them was of our number" (1 John 2:18-20). This agrees totally with St. Paul writing to Timothy, "Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will turn away from the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demonic instructions through the hypocrisy of liars with branded consciences" (1 Timothy 4:1-2). This is very clear, if anyone comes to you proclaiming to know Christ but is preaching a different gospel, we are to stand firm in our faith. St. Peter writes (1 Peter 3:15-16), "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame". Anyone who has dealt with anti-Catholics can certainly understand what it is to be attacked with false and maligned intentions. Do you see anywhere in the scriptures any hint to justify yourself through your rational? St. Jude writes, "But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit". I encourage you to read the whole text of St. Jude, consider this, "Beloved, although I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel a need to write to encourage you to contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones. For there have been intruders, who long ago were designated for this condemnation, godless persons, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ". To the Security Guard and all those who have fallen from the Catholic Faith to follow doctrines of men, if your not following what I'm sharing here, let me make this clear: Jesus Said (John 6:53) "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you". If you choose to deny the Eucharist and the Catholic Teaching then you have no life in you. Your like the crowd who walked away. Jesus said (John 20:23) "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained". If you choose to deny the Ministry of Reconciliation and refuse to go to Confession then your sin remains. It is a mortal sin to miss Mass through your own fault. This is true before you fell into apostasy, and it is still true afterwards. Jesus said (John 21:17) "He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love me? Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, Do you love me? Jesus said Feed my sheep". If you choose to seek another flock, another shepherd, if you reject the Catholic Faith, you place yourself in great spiritual danger. St. Paul writes, "But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth" (1 Timothy 3:15). If you choose to abandon the Church of the living God, your not standing on truth or the pillar and foundation of God's truth. St. James writes, "My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20). If you choose to seek truth outside the Catholic Faith, you have abandoned Christ for the doctrine of demons. From anything in scripture can we justify ourselves through our own rationalization. That is "moral relativism" to the max. Jesus said (John 18:37), "For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice". If you choose to challenge the Truth of Christ, you become like Pontius Pilate asking, "What is truth"? There are many voices who will give you their interpretations and foundations. These are rabbit trails. Catholics, we are "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone" (Ephesians 2:20). If you choose to follow any other foundation, you are placing yourself in deep spiritual danger. Let us not be caught "lukewarm" about our holy Faith or you just might find yourself justifying why you are not practicing your Catholic Faith.