We must make the choice to persevere!

I share hereunder a note I received from one of you readers after my own post-synodal exhortation not to give up any ground in the Synod’s wake. We must persevere! In the face of what seem like decreasingly favorable odds, we must persevere.

From the reader (with permission):

Dr. Fr. Z., Yes, persevere! Do not give up in preaching the truth!
Souls are being saved by faithful priests. I know. My dear husband
left The Church 7 years into our marriage. Protestant co-workers
“enlightened” his mind and he discovered the “truth” in the protestant
church. He did his best to preach to me, ridicule me and the Catholic
Church, and recruit me and our young children to follow his path. I
refused. My own faith was ignited. I persevered in prayer and daily
Mass and rosary. I did not waver. Fought depression and panic attacks.
But stayed the course, clutching my rosary every step of the way. 25
YEARS WENT BY like this! Then, in Advent 2012, my husband went to Mass
and heard a powerful homily on the 4 Last Things. He went to
confession the next morning and received Jesus at Mass the following
day, for the first time in 25 years! Oh, how good God is! Yes, I
wanted to leave him during those difficult years. Our marriage was
terribly lonely and empty. He did not live up to his vows. He
endangered my faith and the faith of our children. But.. I stuck with
it and persevered by God’s grace and ONLY by God’s grace. My husband
is back and we celebrated 34 years of marriage this past August. And
so, Fr. Z, preach the truth! It matters! Don’t waver! Don’t give up!
People are listening! Souls are being saved! God bless you and all the
other faithful priests who are not afraid to do the right thing. As I
finish this email, I begin a rosary for you…for wisdom and courage
and perseverance to firmly adhere to what is true and good and
beautiful!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in HONORED GUESTS, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to We must make the choice to persevere!

  1. Akita says:

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Every day we must put on our spiritual armour for the salvation of souls in our sphere of influence. That’s all God asks.

  2. HighMass says:

    What a Great witness to GOD and Our Faith, I too can relate to this article, our situation involves grown Children we raised Catholic…..

    “Protestant co-workers “enlightened” his mind and he discovered the “truth” in the protestant church” oh how familiar this all sounds………..

    Bottom Line here Father Z. as the article ” preach the truth! It matters! Don’t waver! Don’t give up!

    People are listening! Souls are being saved! God bless you and all the
    other faithful priests who are not afraid to do the right thing. ” Catholics are Hungry for the TRUTH! ”

    GOD BLESS YOU FATHER AND ALL PRIESTS!

  3. Adaquano says:

    What a great letter Father! Today being the feast of Sts. Simon and Jude should be a great reminder of the perseverance of the apostles and the early followers of Christ. Secondly I would suggest all do a novena to St. Charles Borromeo whose feast we are celebrating next week. Through his perseverance the Council of Trent concluded and the heresy of Lutheranism condemned and clarified Church doctrine. It was his perseverance with St. Pius V that the Church continued to trumpet the Truth of Christ while Protestantism spread. His perseverance founded seminaries so that young men could be properly trained to be priests. His example should be a beacon and intercession sought for those that look to properly catechize their children in this modernist world. Through all of this St. Charles was persecuted himself for never wavering from the Gospel.

    Sts. Simon and Jude pray for us
    St. Charles Borromeo pray for us

  4. SanSan says:

    Amen. I can concur, that by God’s Grace and perserverence, we will be celebrating 48 years with peace, joy and thankfulness.

  5. jfk03 says:

    One word sums up my thoughts on reading this letter: Alleluia!

  6. CradleRevert says:

    So much for these kinds of stories not being “realistic”. These people are the true heroes. This woman sounds like a saint.

  7. What a beautiful testimony!

  8. mysticalrose says:

    What a wonderful testimony. Deo gratias! I really needed to here this today.

  9. mburduck says:

    I sit in my university office in tears. How beautiful!

    Thanks, Father.

  10. Wryman says:

    I’ve HAD IT with (my own) despair over the church and over this synod. The devil CANNOT win. I am confident once more. You be confident too, each and every one of you. Our side has already won, from the beginning of time. I’m not just talking about a synod.

  11. BigRed says:

    An awesome and wonderful testimony. The moment of grace came to her husband upon hearing a stirring homily on the Four Last Things. Spine-stiffening homilies on this theme are very important to hear (Thank you, Father Z). Would that we would hear this from pulpits more often but I have not heard this in my parish for years.

  12. downyduck says:

    I wonder what Cardinal “Herosim is not for the Average Christian” Kasper would think of this dear lady’s story. Praise be to God for her love and perseverance, she is a shining example for all of us.

  13. downyduck says:

    And God bless the holy priest who preached on the Last Things… I think I would keel over if my pastor of 15 years mentioned death, judgement, or Hell in a homily.

  14. paladin says:

    Beautiful post; thank you!

    It’s a good reminder: the Church survived scoundrel popes (like Pope Alexander VI), and the Church survived well-meaning popes who were hell-bent on promoting errors in doctrine (like Pope Sixtus V). She’ll survive this papacy (and the crop of unfaithful bishops who’re growing alongside the “wheat” of the faithful bishops), as well.

  15. SpanishCatholic says:

    What a Beautiful and Powerful Testimony to the Grace of God & to the Family!!! Practically moved to tears reading this story. Thank God for people like this woman and for faithful priests! Never lose Hope, never give in to despair as Pope St. John Paul II said “I plead with you–never, ever give up on hope, never doubt, never tire, and never become discouraged. Be not afraid.”

  16. pmullane says:

    Downyduck:

    “And God bless the holy priest who preached on the Last Things”

    A study in contrasts with Fr Martin, SJ, who apparently wants to use ‘mercy’ as a weapon to attack those he designates as ‘haters’.

    The point is that, if you are a Catholic, that is you believe what the Church believes and what Jesus said about going to heaven or hell when you die based on the life that you live here on earth, if you are a Catholic that priest showed the ultimate kind of mercy. He took a man who was endangering his soul and through his words changed him to a man who (please God) is on the path again of heaven. The only action of the Church that matters, in the end, is the action that gets people to heaven. The point of the sacraments is to get people to heaven. The point of the incarnation is to get people into heaven, heck, the point of creation was to get people into heaven.

    So what came from the Synod, from all the nuance and hallmark card flippity floppity language, that will actually get people into heaven? Cause anything else was just a waste of time.

  17. Priam1184 says:

    “My husband went to Mass and heard a powerful homily on the 4 Last Things. He went to
    confession the next morning and received Jesus at Mass the following day, for the first time in 25 years!”

    That, my friends, is Divine Mercy.

  18. DonL says:

    Okay, I admit, some tears…of joy, of course.

  19. Imrahil says:

    Dear downyduck,

    let’s not get carried away into wrong arguments. He would say that she is above average; and in so far he would even be right. (Also, “heroism is not for the average Christian” has been stated in the tone of a self-evident principle by then-Cdl Ratzinger himself once, as I remember. No, former Popes needn’t always be right; I just want to point out that if we like to assume this is a catch-phrase of a “liberal camp” to which among others Pope Benedict did not belong to, we over-simplify.)

    In fact, “sancti sunt admirandi, non (semper) imitandi” is a good traditional Catholic saying. It is not impossible – as a matter of fact, it is a frequent occurrence – that a Catholic can choose between a good, legitimate path and a better, more meritful path.

  20. TomG says:

    Wonderful comment, Imrahil; thanks.

  21. Paulo says:

    Amen, Amen!

    I must say that thanks to Father Z and a number of other faithful priests, among them Msgr. Charles Pope, who take the time to not only continuously expound the faith and exhort the faithful to living authentic Catholic lives, I not only have grown in my own faith, but have also been able to help strengthen the faith of my family. My wife and I recently got involved with catechesis in our NO parish (who invented the term “religious prep”?), and I am determined to promote a “quiet revolution”. We have reintroduced the concept of virtues (which we seldom heard the other teachers use), and have been careful in not using the term “values”, inclusive in meetings; we emphasize the 7 virtues opposed to the seven capital sins; and discuss Saints from the point of view of “heroic virtue”. As father would say, brick-by-brick. We are now preparing a section on the liturgy, which will include the EF (pray for us…). Yes, we must persevere.

  22. Semper Gumby says:

    Amen, amen, a thousand amens for a great testimony.

    Several of my relatives wandered into fundamentalist or new age groups, and now they are often unpleasant or use foul language at times when discussing Final Things, or a good article from First Things.

    Anyway, perseverance and fortitude indeed. At times with an added measure of charity and patience.

    We have, the Church has: St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI; a community of believers, saints, and many faithful clergy; the Liturgy and the Sacraments; the Deposit of Faith and Tradition; the Church Fathers and the Church Doctors, priests like Fr. Z and laity like this faithful woman; Cardinal Sarah and Scott Hahn; Truth and Beauty; and the complete Bible and God’s promise.

    They have: “theologians” and priests such as Fr. Martin who would greatly profit from spending evenings attending a traditional RCIA;
    “leaders” and “counselors” who have difficulty expressing themselves without veering into incoherence, animosity, or just plain shouting; and followers who seem determined to join these leaders on the road to Leninism mixed with paganism and zealotry.

    This is where a quiet Rosary can be handy.

    Or a re-reading of Wisdom ch. 2:

    “For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves: Short and sorrowful is our life…Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist…as in youth…Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions…He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; the very sight of him is a burden to us…”

  23. downyduck says:

    Imrahil,
    I do not presume to have a fraction of the knowledge of the commenters on this blog, but how is my argument wrong? Is not every single person on this earth called to sainthood? Or just above-averagehood? Are we called to stew in lukewarm comfort while here or suffer to follow Christ’s hard teachings? It seems to me this woman followed the example of St. Rita when the world- even the Catholic world- could justify her leaving. I’m not canonizing her, but obviously her story stands out or Fr. Z would not have posted it. And I’m glad he did because it gives encouragement to those of us who are struggling in marriage- that everyday Catholics DO possess the grace and gifts of the Spirit to persevere through the darkness and ultimately realize God’s will.
    Thank you for your comment and God bless,
    Downyduck

  24. downyduck says:

    pmullane,

    Yes! You describe true mercy… when did mercy become synonymous with license?

    Downyduck

  25. Imrahil says:

    Dear downyduck,

    Is not every single person on this earth called to sainthood?

    As the lawyers say, “that depends”. In this case, it depends on what you mean by “sainthood”. (1) It also depends, a bit, on what you mean by “called to”. (2)

    1. Everyone is called to remove all obstacles for grace, keep free from sin and grow perfect in doing so*, and ultimately adore the One who is Holy in heaven. So, yes, all are called to sainthood.

    As some say that if this state (to which we are called) is already heroic (cf. eg. the chapter of the Catholic Encyclopedia on heroic virtue), we are even called to heroic virtue.

    However, this sainthood, even if few reach it, is in principle a call to be good, and not to be better. Hence the saying, do not let the better be the enemy of the good. (For which reason I think it is ultimately problematic if you imply, as if it were a matter of course, that sainthood is at least as much and more then above-averagehood… I’m a theoretizer, of course…)

    However, there are something people commonly associate with sainthood to which not all are called to in the sense of an obligation, such as
    1. always, or very often, choose the harder thing over the legitimate pleasure (a frequent alternative), such as the Saints often did,
    2. have so much virtue that we are publicly known for it, as the saints were, or would be but for the hiddenness of our virtue,
    3. choose the state of perfection (i. e. monastic life), or lead a devout life in the world in as intense a way as monks and nuns (as the Opus Dei strives to),
    4. generally the formula: doing extraordinary things or doing ordinary things in an extraordinary fine manner.

    (What we need to do is doing the ordinary things, and the extraordinary ones for that matter, in an unreproachable manner.)

    All of which describes, in a sense, a reality that does exist and may well be called “sainthood” – and while it is a good thing to strive for and achieve, it is not something Catholics are obliged to in morality.

    [* St. Thomas insists that perfection consists, I might add “primarily and in so far as the commandment of perfection is concerned”, in keeping the commandments, i. e. in doing what everyone has to do anyway – not something special. Sth. II/II 184 III]

    In particular, it is a misconception if Christ’s teachings are in matter-of-course style referred to as “Christ’s hard teachings” as if He had never given but hard commandments and as if He had never spoken about the rest He has in store for such as come under His sweet yoke to bear His light burden.

    What is it that we are on Earth for? To do God’s will and get to Heaven. That’s what the old Catechisms say. They did not say that we should say no to comfortable pleasures for the meantime; nothing [i. e. nothing sinful] is bad if enjoyed with thanks (1 Tim 4:4). (Though we can offer our abstinence to God as a sweet offering.)

    The martyrology is misunderstood if we read it as a list, long but oh so short in comparison, of the very few Christians who actually achieved the goal.

    Quoth the pre-conciliar marital blessing: “the God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob be with ye: and He pour out His blessing over ye: that ye may see the sons of your sons onto the third and fourth generation: and afterwards have eternal life without end, with the help of our Lord Jesus”, etc. It’s not all about suffering.

  26. Imrahil says:

    Forget about the no. 1 in the beginning and the (1) and (2) above. Sorry.

  27. downyduck says:

    Whew! Thanks for the lesson, Imrahil. I’m kind of glad I have a gaggle of kids to keep me occupied in this season of my life so I can’t dwell on how much I DON’T know! Being a simple, Baltimore Catechism kind of girl, I teach said kiddos that our purpose here (and thus our path to Heaven) is to know God through prayer and the sacraments, to love Him by following His commands, and to serve Him by serving others. Basic, but not so easy- could even be heroic in certain circumstances!

    Downyduck

  28. Imrahil says:

    As someone said once, I had no time so I couldn’t cut it short.

    That said, you’re welcome (if there was a bit of non-irony in there).

    Anyway, if something is a bit less basic to be a bit easier to bear, I’ll openly admit that I gladly take it. As they say, life’s (and faith is) hard enough without adding surplus complication.

    Plus, I’ve always found that one is best in fulfilling obligations when one knows they are obligations; and best in doing more than required (with a glad heart, 2 Cor 9:7) when knowing that it really is more than required.

    (A necessary condition is of course correctness; but not “basicness”.)

    That said, I have a strong feeling (which others had too) that abstract theory, apart from that I like it, always matters more in practice than we usually think (than even I think^^)… and for the time being I’ll just say so much:

    the idea that Catholic faith is an endless suffering, “of course Faith is not a consolation but the cross”, as someone once (more or less) literally put it in this combox here, apart from being in this form wrong[*], has shown some devastating antinomian reactions which we can perceive to this day.

    We can struggle through our difficulties by the conviction that we have to be Catholic; but for a stabile state (and certainly for missionary purposes) we must also wish to be Catholic. As a matter of fact, this state generally has been reached by the mass of practicing Catholics of old times (emphatically not only the Saints, in the usual colloquial sense).

    Though gav’st, o Lord, me being, living
    and of Thy doctrine heavenly light!
    What can for this I dust be giving?
    No, nothing, Lord, just thank I might!
    No, nothing, Lord, but thank I might.

    (Neumann/Schubert)

    (and not “Oh couldstn’t thou have made it eas’yer / As I must an’way, ‘ts take the plight / As I must an’way, ‘ts take the plight.”)

    [Faith is occasionally a cross, but that is neither the point of it nor the general state.]

  29. downyduck says:

    No irony, I appreciate it!

  30. Imrahil says:

    thanks :-)

  31. Yes persevere. Pray for it.
    The most valuable prayer we can pray is for final perseverance. If we don’t persevere to our death bed, what good is anything we have done. Add it to your daily prayers – this is always included in the intentions for my Rosary.

  32. bookworm says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this story Father… it gives me a much needed boost. I have been married 21 years and my husband stopped attending Mass regularly about 15 years ago. My daughter and I have gone to Sunday Mass by ourselves since she was a small child. I frequently agonize about what I did wrong or failed to do that caused him to fall away. Praying for his conversion sometimes feels like beating my head against a brick wall but if this woman could do it, I guess I can too.

  33. This note needs to be given to every member of that cynical Synod which seemed to eager to throw in the towel and jump into the abyss with the rest of the secular world

  34. The Masked Chicken says:

    I think I was having a moment of dyslexia, because, when I first read the title of the post, I thought it was about the Synod, because I read the title as: We must make a choice to be perverse. :(

    The Chicken

  35. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Heroism is not for the average Christian.”

    Apparently, not for some cardinals and bishops, either.

    I am not trying to be flippant. The word, hero, is of ancient origin – before its original Greek usage – and while it has become associated with bravery in the face of danger overcoming all odds, as in a warrior, nevertheless, the term, in its earlier roots refers to a” protector or defender.” Now, as cardinals and bishops are supposed to be defenders of the Faith, they are to be, in the proper sense of the word, heroes of the Faith. Indeed, as members of the Church Militant (one could, also, properly, call it the Church Heroic, because a hero is a defender and a warrior) we, the living Catholics in this world of time and space, are, likewise, called to be warriors (but without the red hat) and heroes in defending the Faith by our lives of living witness to its Truth.

    How ironic of Cardinal Kaspar to choose exactly the word that describes what he isn’t doing.

    As for the statement, in general, there are different aspects of the word hero as it applies to saints, as Imrahil points out – and why not? We know that there are different degrees of merit and, therefore, different degrees of closeness to God, in Heaven, so, this, necessarily, implies that some people will come closer to their perfection in Christ than others during the time they have on this earth. The essential distinction between Christian perfection, to which we are all called (“Hear, Oh Israel, You shall love the Lord thy God with they whole heart, thy whole soul, thy whole mind, and thy whole strength.”) and heroism, is that perfection is something we all must strive to by Divine directive, but heroism is a term which must be applied to us by another person. Far be it for us to call ourselves heroes! Now, the only person who can know that we are authentically heroes in our moral life is God. The Church, when it canonizes someone for heroic virtue, is merely passing on God’s judgment of the individual. A canonized saint, however he may be a hero, is also, a model to be emulated. Every saint is heroic because with love for God (i.e., avoiding sin and doing the good) they have defended the Faith, but not every saint is worthy of being emulated. Thus, tomorrow, we will celebrate the lives of all of the saint – and everyone of them is a hero – including those whose live were ordinary and unnoticed.

    The thing is, it is a small step from hero to heretic, so, for the vast majority of people, it is far better to be the unnoticed ordinary hero than it is to be the one who is bold, because while almost all canonized saints are bold, so are most heretics.

    There is no such thing as the, “average catholic,” and shame on Cardinal Kaspar for saying this. That would be like saying that one’s love for God should be, “average.” Loving God with ones whole heart does not mean the average between nothing and all – it means all. Any person who gets to Heaven will, even if after Purgatory, love God with their whole heart. There are no average Christians in Heaven! What a cruel thing to imply.

    So, as I have demolished this saying, let me just wonder how such nonsense is allowed to pass for wisdom? We have Cardinals asking for Communion for the divorced and remarried (without annulment) precisely because they are not heroes, and while I can’t read their hearts, some of them may just be average Christians, as well.

    Heroism is not for average Christians, indeed!

    The Chicken

  36. Imrahil says:

    Dear Chicken,

    thanks for your kind words.

    I disagree about whether the term “average” can be applied to Christians in a meaningful sense. I think it can, to Christians who never were put by the outside world into a situation where the choice is between heroism and sin; who, as faithful believers, have resolved to choose heroism in such a case but haven’t been put to the test (and as humble believers, may even fear the test).

    Otherwise, I think you hear “lukewarm” for “average”; there will not, of course, be lukewarm Christians in Heaven, they will love God with all their heart; but there may well be in Heaven Christians of average merit and such Christians who would have been called, by their contemporaries and themselves, average people. And I don’t see why we shouldn’t call them “average” (other than in the modern post-aristocratic abuse-of-language that considers “average” a reproach).

  37. The Masked Chicken says:

    “I think it can, to Christians who never were put by the outside world into a situation where the choice is between heroism and sin…”

    I think the problem comes with how one defines the word, “average.” In mathematics, it represents the sum of measurements divided by the number of measurements, but this assumes a metric. In Heaven everyone will have their fullness of bliss, but some will have more bliss than others (or merit, or grace, if you like), which suggests a qualitative rather than quantitative metric. In other words, in science, there are two types of measurements – intensive and extensive. Extensive properties add together. If two identical people stand on a scale, the mass doubles. Variables such as mass, volume, and the like are extensive variables. On the other hand, color, temperature, and density are intensive variables, in that they do not add, so adding more red to red doesn’t make the color redder; adding two containers of water both at 50 oF does not make the water 100 oF. Lukewarmness is a synonym for average with respect not to water temperature, but to human skin response, which is an extensive variable.

    Clearly, merits do not add in precisely the same way as mass, otherwise, on the average, by the Central Limit Theorem of Statistics, the amount of merit in the Deposit of Merit should reach an average, little fluctuating value over time. Clearly, it can change depending upon the wickedness or virtue of society in a manner dependent on Free Will. In other words, if Christians really regressed to the mean to become Average Christians, then the corollary would be that there is no Free Will and no real freedom, but merely a herd mentality. The notion of the Average Christian is contaminated with evolutionary dogma which recognizes no conscious development, but a mere response to whatever environment is at hand and whatever mutations in theology determine the, “Good,” for this moment in history.

    Should John the Bald (a fictitious Medieval fellow) be recognized as less Catholic or dare I say it, less than an average Catholic, because he isn’t up on the current trends in theology?

    Love is a matter of the will and the heart and God has been known to expand both as a person grows in love, so that makes the notion of an average a truly moving target, at best, and vague and undefinable, at worst. Beyond that, one must add the influence of habits and conscience formation so much so that the notion of an Average catholic becomes so blurred as to be undefinable, except on some arbitrary measuring scale cooked up by the media. Indeed, one is never standing still in terms of love. One either progresses or recedes – there is no standing still at an average.

    There are prudential issues in the moral life, sure, but these do not affect directly the love of God, since it presupposes that all prudential options are morally licit, so they do not touch on heroism. On more black-and-white moral issues, the little kid who resists stealing candy – has he really been less heroic than the CEO who refuses to embezzle a million dollars? Yes, in term of distributive justice Ed Peters had a column on that a few weeks ago – the CEO has committed the greater crime), but no, in terms of the love each brings to the issue. Unless one concedes that little kids beyond the age of reason love less than adults, the notion of averages, again, make little sense. If one wants to say that the, “Average,” Christian doesn’t love all that much, well, that is their loss, but since the extent to which they could love is undefinable, there can be no clear notion of an average. In other words, should the end of the world be forecast with certainty to occur in ten days, what would happen to the notion of the, “Average,”Catholic, then? Wouldn’t everyone run to confession and practice whatever good they could?

    There is no such thing as an, “Average,” Catholic, but there is something that might be akin to it – the all-pervasive effects of Original Sin, which starts pretty much everyone other than Christ and Mary at the same place, but Baptism destroys the stain of Original Sin, if not its effects and opens a wide vista for grace and merit. The only reason Catholics do not chose to avail themselves of them is because they don’t know what they are missing. That may be due to a failure of, “Average,” catechetics, which has failed to reach the people, but there is never a valid reason why people must stay, “Average,” If everyone scores 100% on the exam, the average is 100%, not 50%. There never needs to be a regression to a Bell Curve in Catholicism – that would imply that Catholicism is merely natural as opposed to supernatural.

    Cardinal Kaspar is still wrong, in my opinion.

    The Chicken

  38. Imrahil says:

    if Christians really regressed to the mean to become Average Christians, then the corollary would be that there is no Free Will and no real freedom, but merely a herd mentality.

    Note that I was not talking about positively regressing to become Average Christians, nor really about “the Average Christian” as a specific person, but, well, about an average, where the usual habits of language are then will make us describe as “an average person”, or in this case Christian, someone who is reasonably near to that.

    It is not possible to deduce, from the mere possibility of such an average, that the Free Will is in danger.

    1. Average refers to relative frequence, not (inherent) probability.

    2. Even if the Central Limit Theorem would be applicable, isn’t it sort of its point that it does not put the independence of the n-th random variable into jeopardy?

    3. It never was problematic for Free-Will to assume that most people do follow their natural inclinations, which is why St. Thomas (assuming astrology to be proven in experiment) would write: “That astrologers not unfrequently forecast the truth by observing the stars may be explained in two ways. First, because a great number of men follow their bodily passions”, etc.

    the little kid who resists stealing candy – has he really been less heroic than the CEO

    maybe not. But the beggar who is just slightly away from starving and who is offered five dollars by a mocker on condition that he blaspheme our Lord, and refuses – he has been more heroic.

    In other words, should the end of the world be forecast with certainty to occur in ten days, what would happen to the notion of the, “Average,”Catholic, then? Wouldn’t everyone run to confession and practice whatever good they could?

    It is rather certainly a part of the average Christian’s make up that, while he maybe does not fail to serve God in the much-spoken-of Everyday, he does rather more so on special occasions. The Second Coming certainly is such a special occasion.

    Also, while the effects of sin are of course one factor, there are also the factors of character-traits, of human nature per se, and so on. There is a long way from doing “penance like a Christian has to” to “doing penance as St. Peter of Alcantara did”, but the first cannot be described as sinful and is not, hence, the result of inclination to sin.

    that would imply that Catholicism is merely natural as opposed to supernatural.

    well, in the average case^^, gratia supponit…