October Thirty-First

Around the world today, people are celebrating the thirty-first of October in various ways. Most of the Western World celebrates Halloween on this date. But for those, especially Christians, who do not agree with this practice, many choose another thing to emphasize: Reformation Day.

I have issue with both of these observances, but I would be saying nothing new by saying what I think of Halloween. However, I am going to talk about the latter of the observances.

Many people think that since I'm Catholic, I have issues with the celebration of Reformation Day because it is the start of the Protestant movement. While I think everyone knows my opinion on that matter, that is not the real reason I have issue with the celebration - and emphasis of - Reformation Day.

My issue with it is that it propagates dis-unity.

Luther needed to pin the 95 thesis on the door. Those were, for the most part, valid concerns. The clergy at the time was abusing its right. Luther did the right thing by bringing them to their attention. Luther did inspire a reform, a looking back at the original purpose of those things which were being abused, and his thesis did have the desired effect: The Church reformed. The abuse of Indulgences was stopped, the promiscuity (overall) decreased, and there was a marked return to holiness and the scriptures.

However, while Luther saw this as a reform, his followers saw it as something worth splitting over, as ultimately happened. Now, whether you agree that Calvin, Knox, and Luther were in the right or not is not the issue right now. What matters is following the wishes of those who we all profess to be our Lord and God.

"The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me." (John 17:22-23, emphasis added). Jesus is talking to his Father, asking Him to give us the grace to be unified. I believe he foresaw the issues we, as humans attempting to strive for holiness, would face, so he prayed for our unity. He did not ask for us to be unified just for our sake, but also for the sake of the world who would be looking at us.

By emphasizing this day, we only breed dis-harmony, dis-unity, and further drive the wedge into the schism that already exists between all denominations. This goes directly against what Christ prays for us. So, today, instead of celebrating Reformation Day with thanking Luther for breaking away from the Church and forming new churches, let's instead meditate on the meaning of "Reformation."

"Reformation" means to reform. We are called to reform our lives in Christ. Have we done that? Luther wanted to bring the Church back to scripture, to Christ. Well, do we live according to the scriptures and Christ? Do we gladly bind ourselves to God as Slaves or do we have a second master - a mistress per se - in the world?

Do we intentionally reform our lives to the call of God - Holiness? Holiness is being set apart, separate, consecrated to God. We are called to be a unified whole, set apart for Christ. We are not to be breeding dissent, flirting and dallying with the world. We are to be willing, joyful slaves to Christ.

This is an article I ran across recently, and I think it well expresses my thoughts: http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2010/reformation-day-and-schism.html#.TqlSdjcNN5c.facebook


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