Our thanks to all of you, once again, for your continuing support and generosity for the work we do here each and every day, as we turn the page on 2022 and look ahead to 2023. If you'd like to contribute to our end-of-2022 fundraiser, please just click on the provided link below — and thank you in advance.
We are very aware of the sacrifice many of you make on our behalf, especially in this current economy, which, by all predictions, isn't going to get any easier in the coming year. And speaking of 2023, in the next few weeks, we will be making some visible changes to our content presentation.
Every now and then in the media world, it's necessary to change things up a bit and produce things in a new and improved fashion — and you can look forward to this coming soon. In preparation, in the last few weeks, we've shortened the time of our Evening News program so we can direct more resources to new programming.
It takes a lot of people here working, not just on camera but especially behind the scenes, to crank out the volume of news, information and commentary Church Militant produces each day — and, unfortunately, we don't have unlimited resources. So we are redistributing the workload to bring you even more analysis and commentary, not just in the area of straight-up theology and faith life, but, just as importantly, in the application — the relevance of the Faith in everyday life.
Unless you're a hermit who has taken certain vows to live apart from the world as much as humanly possible in isolation from day-to-day life, then walking through the world and understanding daily the relevance of our faith is critical. Our Lord sent His followers into the world to baptize it and make disciples of all nations.
But given the complexities of today's world, the never-ending news cycle and what often appears as one debilitating effect after another (especially in the Church), the Great Commission, as it is called, can sometimes seem next to impossible. Even faithful Catholics can seem buffeted and tossed about by modern life with its constant barrage of sadness, confusion and distraction.
So we are shifting the direction of some of our content, beginning early this new year to focus on just this: the application and relevance of our Catholic faith in today's crazy world. More than just covering contemporary events (which we will continue to do because we all live in this world and need to be aware), we will also be examining events from the perspective of their relevance to our faith life.
We have, of course, been doing this for many years (blazing the trail in doing so among all Catholic media), but what you will see is a greater emphasis on this, to provide an even greater spiritual aid as we walk through this increasingly maddening world.
So as we move through day-to-day life, how should we look at — and even more importantly, think about — these events in terms of our faith and, of course, most importantly, our salvation? Our Lord established the Church to be the sole means of not just combating evil but defeating it.
Evil — the power of Hell — is much stronger than our frail, fallen ability to withstand it. We cannot save ourselves. Left to our own devices, evil will always crush us underfoot. It's for this reason that the Eternal Logos was incarnated and then established a Church to last throughout time, and if we enter into it and remain faithful (even when we fall), that victory could be achieved.
That is the good news. The fight now has meaning. The victory can be won. Heaven has provided an opportunity, a tiny crack through which we can escape the pains of this world and the everlasting flames and torments of the next. For 2,000 years, this has been the view and understanding of the Church (the saints, the Fathers, the Doctors, the martyrs).
Each successive generation has had to plow through the world on the way to meriting salvation, made possible only because of the love and mercy of God. But those two parts there — the world and salvation — bring about a dynamic tension in our lives. Our faith lives must win out, but that cannot happen in isolation from the world.
In fact, Abp. Sheen used to refer to the world as the "theater of redemption." Correct! Our Lord has redeemed us — something we could never have done on our own. It's why His chief way of being understood is as savior, not teacher (although He obviously taught) or miracle worker (although He obviously performed miracles) but as savior, the bringer of salvation.
All we need to do is participate in that salvation, as St. Paul stresses to us, to work it out in fear and trembling. Well, that working out happens in the world, in our lives; so each generation and age of the Church has to do that "working out" in the context of the times in which it finds itself.
However poorly — and it is pretty poorly — the way the last four generations of Church leaders have executed the call to holiness brought forward at Vatican II, what remains the individual mission of each Catholic's life is personal sanctity.
But without a doubt, some ages are tougher than others, and they present challenges and obstacles that appear to make the call to holiness seem next to impossible. As we look around and see many of those dear to us leave the Faith and cave to the world, it can sometimes appear hopeless.
But followers of Our Lord can never be without hope. In fact, hope is one of the three theological virtues, along with faith and charity. Therefore, hope is critical to the life of holiness, since all three of those virtues have God Himself as their final end. So the tension, the grinding of our faith and the world that occurs in each of our lives as those two rub up against each other, has to be seen and thought about from the perspective of faith and the world.
Understanding the forces at play and thinking about how to combat all of this means thinking with a Catholic mind and acting with a Catholic sense. All this will be a much greater point of emphasis for us here at Church Militant, for your (as well as our) benefit — the relevance of the Faith and its application in our world.
That's what 2023 holds in store for us: a greater linking up of all of us, better application of what we do every day and being a help to you in the struggle we each face every day. We think it will be of great service to you, temporally as well as spiritually. We are, after all, a composite of body and soul, and each needs to be tended to.
Near the end of the Creed each Sunday, do we not say, I look forward to the resurrection of the dead? Our bodies are saved as well, the same bodies whose eyes look out on the world. We who speak with and to those around us, trying to help them with our hands and intellects also try to achieve salvation and participate each day in the opportunity provided by the Savior.
The Faith must be understood, not only in relation to itself but also in terms of the world, where it eventually must be applied and made relevant. This is what you will see and hear even more of this coming year (and moving forward) here at Church Militant.
Think of it (perhaps) as Church Militant 2.0. You'll see some cosmetic changes to the website to make it more user-friendly, and you'll see some new programs. But what you won't see is any retreat from the mission. It will, in fact, be quite the opposite: a greater commitment to that same mission, with ways of helping you think and act to fulfill Our Lord's Great Commission to go into the world and help save it.
That's what 2023 holds in store for us, even as we rocket into uncertain times, keenly aware that evil is on a rampage. The baptized have been given power to overcome evil if only they remain faithful and committed to employing this power, no matter how much of a struggle it is.
Heaven costs. It's so expensive, in fact, that it costs your life. And no one, absolutely no one, achieves it without paying the ultimate price: death to self. The Cross is fearsome. It's terrifying. It is suffering and pain, even agony at times. But for those who persevere, it is, ultimately, victory. It is conquest over the world. So let's get to it and renew the commitment to sharpen our bayonets and fix them in place.