Kingdom Revelator

At a recent trip to the hospital, I was inevitably detained in a waiting room. To pass the time, I had the options of an anodyne daytime TV drama or a selection of glossy magazines. I chose the magazines. Most were about decorating and furnishing large houses, mansions even. The people who can afford to occupy such dwellings doubtless pay stylists and interior designers to do the job, and wouldn’t bother to read these publications, but what the heck, aspirational folk can dream and get ideas. Another caught my eye. University Life with Jesus, was one of the subheadings on its cover. Kingdom Revelator, it was called, a Christian magazine for young people. Well I’m not young but I’m Christian enough, and this was surely more relevant than the sneak previews into the houses of the other half. Here are some of the tips it gave for improving one’s spiritual life, perhaps after one has flown the nest and gone off to college or university: 

Avoid occasions of sin

Keep a saintly crew on hand

I couldn’t argue with these two. The next ones, however, caused an ever-rising eyebrow: 

Frequent confession

Attend Mass on holy days

Have a prayer altar

And keep Mary close 

They gave the game away. It was evidently a Roman Catholic magazine. Just as one might read the Watchtower or Charisma and agree with certain points, the leaven elsewhere spoils the whole. The publication is available for free online which I salute, but it again shows the Roman church’s utter gospel confusion. Leaving home as a teenager is tough, but these latter portions of advice are not just unhelpful, there’re dangerous. I’ve never been close to Mary yet, and never shall be this side of death. Oh, I’ll see her in heaven one day- she’ll be on her knees gazing at the throne with the rest of us redeemed sinners. Constructing altars, no matter home domestic and personal, is not a Christian’s business. Telling all your dirty secrets to Jack Priest may gratify him, but will do nothing for you. 

I have a real love for Roman Catholics. I’m not thinking of the nominal ones here, they who record it on official forms but never darken a church door. All faiths have their nominal adherents. No, the dedicated Catholics who attend Mass, week in, week out. They pray their rosaries, attend confessions, adore various holy folk from the past. They stand up for righteous issues in the public square and have a real spirituality. This sadly, is not enough. Like Simon Magus offering a deal for the Holy Spirit in Acts 8, so there is nothing we can do to acquire God’s forgiveness, save believing the gospel. The work was all His, the benefit all ours. This must be a greater consolation to those leaving home than anything a prayer altar or priestly confession can offer. I pray the Kingdom is truly revealed to such pious folk. 

 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  Ephesians 2:8