The great temptation for a Catholic, whether layman or churchman, is to allow himself to be attracted by the world and wish to become part of it, being accepted and admired.
We are not talking about the physical world created by God, which, like everything else He created, is "very good."1 The world here is a moral entity opposed to God: "For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world."2
Thus, to give in to the temptation of the world is to cave in to the triple concupiscence, to adopt "worldly" wisdom and flee from the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which the world sees as "foolishness."3
The Impossible Quest of Catholic Liberals
Our Lord does not pray for this world,4 for it refused His light.5 Hence "the whole world is under the power of the evil one,"6 under Satan, "the prince of this world."7
Now then, "what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath the faithful with the unbeliever,"8 the one who "loved darkness rather than the light"?9
Therefore, it is impossible, as liberal Catholics claim, to remain Catholic while being admired by the world; and to have the consolation of the Faith along with the pomp and honors of the world.
"If the World Hates You"
Our Lord himself explained the reason for this impossibility as He warned the apostles:
"If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember the word I spoke to you, ‘The servant is not greater than his master.’"10
Thus, to wish to be part of the world is to stray from the right path and drive away from the truth; for only Jesus is "the way, and the truth, and the life."11 It is to fall under the domination of the one who "is a liar and the father of lies."12
The Christian is called "into the world, to testify to the truth" not only through a flawless life but by fighting error and evil.
It is to lose the peace of Christ: "my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you."13
Confront the World and Combat its Malice
That does not mean that a Catholic must only flee from the world without fighting its malice: "I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world."14
Instead, like his Savior, the Christian is called "into the world, to testify to the truth."15
This testimony must be given not only through a flawless life but by fighting error and evil.
That is why the Savior said: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword."16
That is the two-edged sword of the word of God, "penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart."17
The Voice of the World and the Voice of Christ
"There is no truth" in the prince of this world. "When he tells a lie, he speaks in character, because he is a liar and the father of lies."18
He not only employs direct lie, as when he seduced Eve,19 but also ambiguity and deceitful words: "But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil."20
The world accepts lies and ambiguity because "the whole world is under the power of the evil one."21
But those who belong to Christ do not allow themselves to be deceived: "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me."22 Since He is the Incarnate Truth, his words are clear, tender toward the good and the repentant sinners,23 severe and even terrible to those hardened in evil: "You belong to your father the devil and you willingly carry out your father’s desires."24
The World in its Present Form Is Passing Away
Let us therefore not allow ourselves to be carried away by this world’s deceitful appearance. Its joy is false; it is "sorrow [that] produces death."25 "For the world in its present form is passing away."26 Eternity is the only thing that really counts, as "our citizenship is in heaven."27
Let us raise our eyes to Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and Earth, and to her Divine Son. "I have conquered the world" He said, and He will give us the necessary strength to resist the snares and attractions of the world.
The world enslaves and takes away "the liberty of the glory of the children of God."28 Only the truth liberates,29 whereas lie and sin enslave.
In this tragic situation we are going through, in which vice is glorified and virtue oppressed, lie and ambiguity have free rein while truth and the evangelical language of "yea, yea: no, no" are despised, let us ask the One Who said "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world,"30 that He give us the necessary strength to resist the snares and attractions of the world.
Let us not be as the liberal Catholics that want to serve God and the prince of this world: because "’No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
1. Genesis 1:31 2. 1 John 2:16 3. Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:16-31 4. John 17:9 5. Id. 3:19 6. 1 John 5:19 7. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11 8. 2 Corinthians 6:15 9. John 3:19 10. Id. 15:18-20 11. Id., 14:6 12. John 8:44 13. Id. 14:27 14. Id. 17:15-16 15. Id. 18:37 16. Matthew 10:34 17. Hebrews 4:12 18. John 8:44 19. Cf. Genesis 3:1-13 20. Matthew 5:37 21. 1 John 5:19 22. John 10:27 23. Id. 8:1-11 24. Id. 8:44 25. 2 Corinthians 7:10 26. 1 Corinthians 7:31 27. Philippians 3:20 28. Romans 8:21 29. John 8:32 30. Id. 16:33