Back in November of 2013, Pope Francis wrote an apostolic exhortation titled “Evangelii Gaudium” which I believe means the “Joy of the Gospel.” In it the Pope exhorts Catholics to spread the Gospel to all. This is part of what has been called “The New Evangelization.”
One of the problems I encounter when I read any of these papal documents or the writings of the Church Fathers, is there is so much to think about, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to spend on them. I could spend the rest of my life reading these and writing reflections on just one paragraph at a time. Hmm, a new career maybe? If only I were qualified as an expert. Which actually brings up another thought, does one need to be an expert to interpret these writings? I’ll have to make a note of that and maybe write a post on it. But now, back to Evangelii Gaudium.

The second paragraph fits in so well with the way I feel about our world today that, well, I just have to comment on it.

2. The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ.

Doesn’t this describe many, if not most of us? Be honest now. Aren’t we all caught up in the “Gotta have it” mentality of today? Don’t we all believe we need more and more stuff to be happy? I was like this, my ex-wife was certainly like this, and I honestly believe this was one of the things that led to our divorce after 23 years or marriage. Whatever we had was never enough, it was never as good as what someone else had.

Because we were both always worried about getting more, we never took time for each other. When the kids were grown, and we had the time for each other, we had grown apart, our lives had diverged in different directions, leading to sins for both of us. Pope Francis describes me perfectly, “resentful, angry and listless.”And since I strayed from my religious roots, I didn’t have God to fall back on.

We don’t care about each other, certainly not like we should. Many of us only care about someone else when it will benefit us. “What can they do for me?” “How can I use them for my personal gain?” Even when we perform acts of charity, we feel the need to let everyone know about it.  “See how good I am,” we say, “see what I did?”

“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 6:1

The voice of God is no longer heard. We have shut Him out of our lives and replaced Him with things. We have replaced our desire to do good with the desire to get more and more. Is it too late for us? That is the question, one for which I don’t have an answer.

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