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Status Quo


January 24, 2015

The dictionary define status quo as the way things are now. In other words, the phrase is a way to tell us this is how things are now or to describe the current state of affairs

This phrase is often used to describe the state of affairs in government or politics. This will not be the purpose of this article. The intention of this article will be to examine to state of one’s soul and necessity of avoiding tepidity.

One of the more important duties of a good, practicing Catholic is to examine their conscience at least once each day. This practice brings to the forefront of one’s mind those faults which may be a constant deterrent to the soul. If the reminders are noted and taken seriously, it should help the individual elevate the soul beyond what is quite often status quo.

Far too many Catholics become creatures of bad habits. The two main reasons (this statement is not meant to be all-encompassing) would seem to be a denial of the state of one’s soul or laziness.

It is commonly known among spiritual directors that people think better of themselves than the reality. This is why they should not attempt to judge the state of their own soul. The person, with few exceptions, will elevate themselves to a greater holiness than is rightly due.

Have you ever met a person who thought they had no need to go to Confession? This is tepidity on a dangerous level. Perhaps, sadly, it is being too satisfied with status quo. It is no wonder that so few Catholics reach only the lowest levels of sanctity!

One remembers years ago, the late Bp. Louis speaking about the “pre-Vatican II mediocrity.” This may be strange to some simply because there seems to be an erroneous idea that all was just fine prior to Vatican II. Apparently, that was not the situation otherwise Catholics would have recognized the treachery and objected to their faith being undermined.

Satisfaction with spiritual status quo is more dangerous than one might realize. It puts the soul to sleep in such a way that the person rarely understands the subtle poison which exists in the soul. This slumber may be of such a nature that the soul has no real desire to wake up.

Thankfully, Holy Mother Church provides a number of ways in which to either prevent status quo or catapult the soul out of it. Holy Mass, the Sacraments and one’s prayer life are the core of the means to prevent tepidity. It is up to the Catholic as to how they will make use of these spiritual tools.

It is amazing how different siblings become over time although they have been raised by the same parents in a similar manner. The answer to such a question lies in their use of grace and desire not to be satisfied with status quo.

The Church has for many years borne the suffering of religious indifference among the masses, and now, among its own. Individual indifference has been with us since the Fall of Man. It all comes back to whether or not the individual soul is willing to elevate itself beyond the average state of spirituality.

The saints are the best example of those who refused to be satisfied with status quo. Their love of God would not allow a stagnant spiritual state of soul. The difference between the saint and the sinner is quite often a refusal to accept mediocrity. In contrast, it is this mediocrity which condemns far too many souls.

If the Catholic says the simplest prayers on a daily basis with the greatest devotion and humility, it is quite unlikely that status quo will infect the soul. Short, fervent prayers, in contrast to long, distracted prayers said more out of routine rather than true zeal are of greater value to the soul.
This lack of devotion at prayer is commonly known as lip service. The serious Catholic ought to strive to avoid such a habitual routine. It does require a greater attention and effort, but the spiritual fruit which results from it is beneficial to the soul.

St. Francis of Assisi would spend entire nights saying the simple prayer “My Lord and My God.” It was filled with the greatest fervor and brought many blessings to the Poverello and his Order.

Catholics have different names for this issue (status quo, tepidity, mediocrity, luke-warmness, etc.), but in the end it comes down to supernatural fervor and zeal to overcome these faults. By making use of the grace which is available to you, one is able to form a foundation which will greatly assist the serious soul.

Fr. Joseph Noonan, OFM