Guild of St. Peter ad Vincula

The Guild of St. Peter ad Vincula

This week we turn our attention to the third cause of temptation, the world and its spirit.  Let’s face it, most of the men and women of this world are guided in their conduct, not by the will and law of God, but by the dictates of human passion.  Worldly-minded people are those who leave God out of their lives, ignoring his unchanging standards of right and wrong, and setting up for themselves other standards more agreeable and easy for their sin-loving and pleasure-craving human nature.  In short, there is a deadly enmity between the spirit of the world and the spirit of God; for that which the world loves, recommends and pursues, God condemns as sin.

Any number of examples of worldliness come to mind, but what the world most strongly encourages is anything that leads to sins against the Sixth Commandment.  The very ideas of purity, chastity, modesty and innocence are mocked as being old-fashioned, belonging to a former, less enlightened, puritanical mindset that has long-since been replaced by the illuminated minds of those who believe in that wonderful ideal known as “freedom.”  Today, even young children are encouraged to explore their sexuality, often in ways that are perverse and against nature.  They are groomed to accept that “anything goes”, that’s there’s “nothing to be ashamed of”, that theirs can be a life of unbounded pleasure to which they should yield at every inclination.  There is no such thing as temptation, no such thing as “offending God,” indeed, no such thing as “God.”  If God exists at all, it is as a cruel tyrant who won’t let us do what we want.

Even Catholics fall into this trap, to one extent or another.  Take the young person who wants to start dating.  He or she may have no idea of the purpose of dating (which is to seek out a life-partner for marriage).  They just leap into the dating process, blithely ignoring the unsuitability of their boyfriend or girlfriend, and motivated only by the most superficial of emotions that crave romance, a close companion, and ultimately sensual pleasure.  With this approach, how do they expect to remain free from sin?  And yet, the world pushes them along in this almost unstoppable movement towards destruction.  How many of our youths fall victim to their own ignorance and false sentiments, choosing a boyfriend or girlfriend over their Creator and Redeemer?  One of the saddest things a priest sees, and he sees it over and over again, is the gradual fall of a young person, from innocence into casual dating and then to an unbreakable attachment to the object of their fantasy.  Eventually, they stop coming to Mass, as they are repulsed by their own hypocrisy as they try to reconcile the laws of God with their own lifestyle.  And then we don’t see them any more.

The person who makes a friend of the world and this kind of thinking, becomes the enemy of God.  No man can serve two masters, and the world is striving today more than ever to become just that—your master!  Don’t let yourself be led into temptation.