Calling Us
Off the Wall, January 1,

Recently while watching the hidden video program on television, a youth was shown Christmas opening gifts. He eyed this one box with a bow tied around it and proceeded to rip it open, as many young children habitually do. After he got all the wrappings clear, he looked down through the cellophane and rolled up his lip and screamed, “I didn’t want this thing!”

How many adults got presents this Christmas that they didn’t want, either. As is the custom, so often the giver offers the receipt, as well, so the recipient can return or exchange the item.

Looking back at December 25 and the preparation time before that points to one thing. We have gotten away from the true meaning of the birth of Christ. Many eyes have turned to materialist gain, in my opinion.

Need I remind one of all the black Friday ads that were viewed on the TV or bannered in stores, malls or on billboards? This could have applied to electronics as well as vehicles. Were people thinking of pleasing Jesus, the Messiah, or getting goods “at a steal?” I don’t think it takes much imagination to arrive at a conclusion to that statement.

We who live in the world, but not are of the world, hopefully have our vision directed to what is right and what is wrong when it comes this wonderful season. When we see the big nativity signs displayed in yards throughout the greater Latrobe area, made by the dedicated men of the Holy Name Society from Latrobe’s Holy Family Church, with the words, “Keep Christ in Christmas,” it reflects a certain attitude that all dedicated Christians must uphold.

Looking back to when children lined up to sit on Santa’s lap, all who gathered were youngsters. That’s always been the tradition, to ask this jolly North Pole character to find out what each child wants in order to satisfy his or her desires.

But we as adults should look beyond materialism and seek something much better, more satisfying to soul and that which would benefit our future satisfaction and pacification. We are no long youngsters who look to Santa to give items upon asking, but persons who have matured mentally who now can grasp the reality of a fuller realization that there are greater gifts than those Santa can provide. For those who call themselves Christians, it’s strengthening one’s faith with the Trinity amidst the decay of society’s values.

As Ralph Martin recently revealed in his book, The Urgency of the New Evangelization: Answering the Call, he quoted Pope Benedict XVI as stating, “As almost 1,700 years of Christendom collapses and a new international pagan culture gains the ascendency, even rising to the ‘dictatorship of relativism,’ the Church in the West is encountering circumstances that are more like those encountered by the early Church than anything we’ve known in our lifetimes.”

Martin states, “The recent popes’ consistent calls for a new Pentecost as being perhaps the deepest need of the Church today, surely can only be advanced by a deeper theological understanding of what many millions have experienced as baptism in the Holy Spirit.”

In this new year of 2015, then, we should be striving more toward leaning on our Christian faith, promoting its values, and adhering to the Word as told in the Holy Bible whether one is Roman Catholic or Protestant.

We, who have been baptized and raised according to one’s persuasion, know that with the Holy Spirit there are gifts. The Catholic Church has seven, the Protestant Church, nine. The Catholic gifts (Isaiah 11: 1-2) include: “wisdom, understanding, council, knowledge, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord (wonder and awe).” Those that the Catholic Church consider the manifestations of the Spirit; the Protestant Church derives its nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. Taken from 1 Corinthians 12, 8-11, they are: “the word of knowledge, wisdom, prophecy, faith, healings, the working of miracles, the discerning of spirits, varieties of tongues, and the interpretation of tongues.”

Martin said, “We must seek a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit. Ask Him for a greater zeal so we can become a greater witness for Him, living a life of prayer, love and service. We need Him more than ever to pour out His Spirit on the whole Church.”

Materialism brings satisfaction to the flesh. Spirituality satisfies the soul. Christ’s calling us to go into the world, spreading the Gospel. Tomorrow’s too late. Now is the time to act, a prioritized resolution.

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.