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The Catholic Defender: Risk Factors

For just about anything we do there are constant risk factors.

Whether we are talking business, safety, or health issues. They can certainly be job related.

Risk factors are a part of life to some degree or another.

In the case of a business, risk factors can be those issues that might cause a windfall on profits. Can cause you to lose money.

People take risks hoping that something will sell, or an idea will take off that will make their business prosper.

Health has many risk factors.

The Medical Dictionary states, a Risk Factor is "a characteristic statistically associated with, although not necessarily causally related to, an increased risk of morbidity or mortality, e.g., smoking as a risk factor for heart disease".

There are many health risks that have risk factors: Premarital sex can increase the risk of a Sexually Transmitted Disease. Abstinence is the only true protection against STD's.

Diet can impact health as well. Some things that might reduce risk factors in the area of health is to stay physically fit. To have a good work out program. Eat a well balanced diet, never smoke or quit if you do smoke. In the Army, there are always risk factors that concerns safety that affects any Command when performing any mission. We always had to put together a "Risk Assessment" so that the risk could be reduced when conducting a mission. Marching Soldiers could have high risk factors such as marching across a road with on coming traffic. You reduce the risk by using "Road Guards" that takes a potentially high risk into a low risk classification. By conducting and putting in place certain precautions, we can have a positive outcome in the management of health and safety in our lives.

In the area of business, our business management tools can help us become more successful in a very competing world.

With this in mind, I was thinking about identifying risk factors that affect our faith. Today, many people's faith are affected by many risk factors. Hosea warns us that many are destroyed due to the lack of knowledge. So the lack of knowledge is a high risk factor. How can this be reduced? By taking the initiative to know your faith. Studying the Catechism, the bible, reading about the lives of the Saints, reading spiritual books and other publications that increase our understanding. To become better informed in our faith greatly reduces the problem with knowledge. Catholic Answers, Defenders of the Catholic Faith (DCF) and deepertruth are just three examples of keeping oneself informed on the many topics of our faith. Jesus warns that a person who is "lukewarm" will not make the grade either.

Apathy, laziness, indifference, compromise with the world, these things attack the very core of faith. To counter these risk factors, you need to discipline yourself, to commit yourself to follow God's will. Sin has many risk factors that leads people astray. St. Paul warns on many occasions that those who live in Mortal sin will not inherit the Kingdom God. Mortal sin leads people away from the Catholic Faith. Leads them away from God. To reduce these risks factors we would need to avoid the near occasion of sin, to frequent the Sacraments such as Confession often. To be aware of the dangers of sin, and avoid sin. To follow the teachings of the Catholic Faith is the only true way of surrendering to God's will.

We respect others who may disagree with the Church, but we must be mindful of Christ and His Church.

There are many risk factors that we can identify that lead people astray.

As a CCD teacher for several years, I can tell you that it is noticeable to see children who are simply dropped off for CCD.

Yet at home very little leadership is done to lead these children to a closer understanding of their faith. Many of them abandon the faith later on and will demonstrate hatred towards it. I see this very often.

Many times I come in contact with them and by this time they are already entrenched in heresy.

If Mom and Dad are not being faithful to their marriage vows, it is very difficult on the children.

What is the solution?

How do we rectify this as a Church, a people, a nation?

Is their a risk assessment that can be applied to help in this area?

I cringe when people tell me that they don't go to Mass because they were "forced" to go growing up. Or that the Mass is boring, that is problematic especially because many people have to be fed energy. They have very little patience with contemplation.

The risk assessment here would be to teach children from an early age the importance of meditation and prayer, especially the Mass.

When children see Mom and Dad living their faith at home in a real way, that helps reduce some of the risk factors giving children a firm foundation.

It is important to note that sometimes, people will turn away from the faith regardless of Mom or Dad.

Peer pressure can be a huge risk factor, so can culture when it is pushing sin. It is important to develop some good "Risk Assessments" to counter this threat.

What might work for one family might not be what is needed for another family. It is important to know the threats and to rely on faith and prayer. Remember St. Monica, she used patience and commitment along with trust in the Lord. Doctrinally, morally, spiritually, some will fall away. Can we diagnose and detect early warning signs that might help prevent a prodigal journey? Can truth be hidden from view when it is right in front of you? What prevents you from seeing? These are questions that need answers, the risk assessments need to be applied to reduce the risk factors. Remember one important proverb: "The family that prays together, stays together"!


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