The Passive Man

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile;
He bought a crooked cat which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house
.

–Mother Goose

There was a passive man, and he joined a passive church,

No one grew an inch, which left him in a lurch.

He blamed the Church for failing him, of keeping Christ from him

He never could accept the fact that it was he who was in sin.

–Michael Conrad

Passive Christianity may be the norm for most of us who casually call ourselves by the name of Christ. We are comfortable (or not so) with a minimalist view of our Faith, so that when we fall away from it because the Church is at fault, an easy scapegoat for those with a guilt conscious.

My brief practice of Cistercian spirituality, The Cistercian Way, at least as much of it as I know now, points out a much deeper and more challenging way to love others as Christ loves us. Christ shows us how to love, (Philippians 5-12) to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him each day, where I find myself. Some of us are passive, cultural or hereditary Catholics. You hear the title. cradle catholic, used by those who were Baptized but have never experienced the pull of temptations to give up the Faith because they experienced their first real challenge. Like M&M candies, they mealt in the hand of adversity at the first sign of stress. Yet, stress is what religion is all about. Christ tells us in Matthew 19:

Not Peace, but a Sword

34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

3For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36 and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.

37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

There is no Resurrection without the passion and death. There is no Ascension without our losing our life for Christ’s sake. You must love Christ more than your father or mother. All of this sound silly, except it is how Christ loves us. He came to show us that putting God first actually places everything else in its proper order. He told us the seeming paradox that thow who find their life will ose it and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. Notice the words “for my sake”. Cistercian spirituality is a way that I use to lose my life for Christ’s sake. It not easy, but neither is life’s challenges. We see the effects of our sin in Genesis 2-3 with the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve.

THERE IS NO PASSIVE CHRISTIAN

There is no Resurrection without the passion and death. There is no Ascension without our losing our life for Christ’s sake. You must love Christ more than your father or mother. All of this sound silly, except it is how Christ loves us. He came to show us that putting God first actually places everything else in its proper order. Cistercian spirituality is not easy, but neither is life’s challenges. We see the effects of our sin in Genesis 2-3 with the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve. Read what

Revelation 3 NRSVCE – The Message to Laodicea14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin[a] of God’s creation:15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

These two passages suggest that there are not fence sitters on loving others as Christ loves you. If you are lukewarm, like milk, God will spit you out of His mouth. As a Lay Cistercian, I must keep reminding myself that I can’t just sit there in a chair and believe. I must proactively “do” spirituality. The Church, properly understood, is the hothouse for “doing” what Christ told us to do so that we could love others. For me, it is Lay Cistercian practices and seeking to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippian 2:5). Christ bids his Church to be active, but not with action for the sake of action (St. Paul called that by the name The Law). Read Matthew 25:36 to find out what we must do to be active.

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