Nothing’s ever different. Nothing’s really new.
I feel that these words are so important they should be buried deep in your psyche so that you can return to them whenever you are confronted with some dazzling new idea, thought process or ideology.
You need to become what is called “street smart” so that you can see through what someone might call a brand new idea, modern way of thinking or a recent discovery, such as, ancient secrets found buried deep in the jungles of the Amazon, hieroglyphics uncovered in the pyramids of Egypt or inter terrestrial communications. You need to be able to peel away the layers of glitter and mystery it’s cloaked in, analyze the new language being used – always remembering “words have meaning-words have consequences” – dig down to the basic facts and you will find it is something that has been known since the days of Adam and Eve. It may reveal itself to be good, a more interesting, understandable way of presenting a truth; perhaps you will find it contains only some amount of truth but then again, it may be revealed to be deceptive and totally evil. So you need always to be cautious and wary.
The concept of ‘basic facts never changing’, of which I have been speaking, applies to the knowledge of God and where He has prerogative of territory. God in whom all truth resides. God who is essential to the core of your being. It doesn’t especially relate to new technologies or breakthroughs in science, but even in these areas there is often infringement on God’s law, but regardless, His hand is always involved, for it is He who gifted the scientists and inventors with their ability to achieve.
It took me many years of living and numerous life encounters to develop the mind set I have today and the one I have been promoting in the preceding paragraphs. The first time I ever needed to know anything like this was Vatican II. Up until then my belief system was very stable. I knew what my religion taught. I had memorized the Baltimore Catechism and could go back in my mind and know if a sin was mortal or venial, the conditions that made a confession valid and anything else spiritual that might come up in my life.
Vatican II started for me when I woke up one morning and the headlines of the L. A. Times proclaimed the Catholic Church was eliminating saints. They were discarding a goodly number of saints including St. Christopher, who they said never existed. This was major culture shock. As your average little Catholic woman, I had invested a good deal of credence in the saints, praying to them for their intercession and venerating them as role models who had tread the same life paths I had and had earned the great reward – heaven. In my memory from this day forward, it seems like on a weekly basis, new proclamations were emitted from the great halls of the Vatican completely changing my belief system. I felt like a piece on a chest board being moved from one square to another. The end result was I was moved from everything was a sin to nothing was a sin. It was very tumultuous hearing one religion was as good as another, which caused me to wonder about the times I embarrassed my protestant hostess refusing to eat her meat on a Friday, and when I heard whispering behind my back that I was Catholic and that was why I was so stupid and ignorant to be pregnant again. I knew there were people who hated me just because of my religion and I also knew I would go to my death rather than deny I was a Catholic. And now the L.A. Times was telling me I didn’t have any better chance of getting to heaven than if I had shopped around and found a protestant church that made a comfortable lifestyle for me without any sacrifices.
But therein lies the problem, I was getting this information from the L.A. Times. And this source was shortly replaced by Catholics, consecrated and lay, who told me what Vatican II not only taught but demanded. And because I was coming from doing whatever the Church told me to, I saw no option but to obey. Eventually the actual documents of Vatican II seeped down to me and I read them. I discovered nothing in the basic Catholic beliefs had really changed, they were just revealed in a different manner. Also, though most people claiming authority from Vatican II were well intentioned, there were some who deliberately deceived and distorted the facts for the purpose of their own agenda. But on the whole Vatican II was good for me. It made me think for myself and seek out and read books, newspapers and magazines about the Church. It taught me that in almost all instances nothing is really different, nothing is really new. And best of all, today by the grace of God, I am a stronger, more ardent believer in Jesus Christ and His Church than ever I was.
This is the history of my experience on the necessity of investigating and analyzing when radical changes are proposed to your belief system. Today Vatican II has come full circle, the saints are back and so are rosaries and novenas, which at the time were declared obsolete. Changes are still ongoing to the Liturgy, some that cause me concern, but hopefully those will eventually be resolved. If one thing is asked of Catholics it’s patience (defined in the dictionary as long suffering), and I plan to remain Catholic to the end.
Young adult Catholics will probably find all the spiritual upheaval I speak of outside the area of their experience and yet they are besieged and potentially seduced today by really deadly, dangerous philosophies. Cults have a rampant outreach on college campuses and a lot of new age thinking is definitely suspect. So it’s more important than ever to refer to “nothing’s ever different-nothing’s really new”, then investigate and analyze.
I’ve written as much as I should for one Commentary but I feel there’s so much more on the subject, I will call this Part I and soon delve into cults and today’s problems which will be Part II of “nothing’s ever different – nothing’s really new”. So log on again soon and get the whole story.