What prevents us from living in the truth? What are the obstacles that slow us down or lure us down the wrong path? One of the major culprits in today’s world is lukewarmness. Fr. Landry identified three causes of lukewarmness, and he stressed the importance of understanding these causes because the remedy will vary depending on the cause.Share
Not being exposed to people on fire for their faith. Many Catholics just go through the motions because they haven’t been exposed to Catholics who are giving their all. The cure for this kind of lukewarmness is falling in love with Jesus—and often that can happen by close association with someone already very much in love.
Satisfying the hunger for God with other things. Many of us diffuse our passions for the things of this world. We become fanatic for sports team, artists’ music or Hollywood gossip, high-tech video games, particular political candidates, work and career, cars, clothing, and jewelry, our golf handicap, or other worldly pursuits. These more immediate passions can make us apathetic to the things that matter most. It’s a type of spiritual worldliness that can’t help but leave us lukewarm, if not ice-cold, about the things of God. Jesus said, after all, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be as well,” and in the Book of Revelation, materialism was named as the cause of the Laodiceans’ tepidity.
For this type of lukewarmness, what often works the most effectively is something that shatters a person’s vanity of vanities. It can be the diagnosis of an illness in them or in a loved one. It can be a sudden death. It can be the loss of a job or the breakup of a relationship. Any one of these things can help someone to see that what he or she formerly sought was insufficient and there’s a need for something more.
Allowing sin to reign. If someone is caught up in a dissipated lifestyle—dishonesty, drug use, impurity, and so on—he or she is never going to be fervent. The only path forward for this person is to be set free from the entanglements that prevent spiritual growth. For most people, that’s going to require more than just self-restraining will-power. It’s going to require the grace of the sacrament of penance. (Read more.)