God brought from heaven to earth the strategy of how to best handle the crosses that nail themselves to us as we pass through the valley of tears. We want God to eliminate our crosses. God, however, does not want to eliminate them. God wants us to pick them up and carry them (Matthew 16:24). There is a difference in opinions. God's prevails. The strategy that God brought is the good news of great joy with regard to adversity, the good news of great joy with regard to prosperity and the good news of great joy with regard to death. The Church's mission is to convey the strategy to the children of Adam and Eve. 

God put the Church in charge of logistics - getting us from here to there - from goodlessness to paradise. To succeed in its mission, the Church needs to get the children of Adam and Eve into the new exodus, onto the escape route and engaged in the escape. The Church fails when it excludes the children of Adam and Eve from the escape route - when it blocks their access to it - when it puts obstacles in their way - when it charges a price for admission .

Being a Christian is more practical than theoretical. It is not reading, studying and thinking about going on safari. It is going on safari. Love maintained despite mortal sacrifice is the badge of a Christian. Clinging to love, holding tight and not letting go even though you are being tortured and killed is the credentials of a Christian. Christianity is not about indoctrination. Christianity is about exploration. We explore the mystery, majesty and magnificence of God at the holy places that define the escape route of the new exodus through the hostile desert of godlessness from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh to freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land The Church is the tour guide. Thus, we do not become Christians head first. We become Christians feet first. The head follows the feet

Who has the map and knows the way?

Who is the Star of the Show?

The Church is the usher who shows us to our seats so that God can put on the show. God, not the Church, is the star of the show. The train of salvation goes off the tracks when the ushers think they are the stars of the show.

The Church has all of the Answers but None of the Questions

The Church has all of the answers but none of the questions. The answers belong to the Church but the questions belong to the multitude. What good is a Church with all of the answers and a multitude without any questions? A business with a warehouse full of great merchandise but without any customers is a failure. So, too, a Church. The Church has not paid the proper attention to the delicate balance between question and answer. Too much emphasis has been given to the answers and too little emphasis has been given to the questions. As a result, the beautiful, symbiotic dance between question and answer is dead. The multitude no longer ask life's most important questions. In its misguided effort to raise a docile multitude (See Paragraph 8 of VEHEMENTER NOS), the Church has raised a multitude who pass through the valley of tears question-less. Why are we here? Where did we come from? Where are we going? How do we get from here to there - from godlessness to paradise? Who knows the way? Not asked. This is the problem. How do we fix it? How do we inspire curiosity in the multitude about life's most important questions? The first step in the process of conversion is to stimulate the multitude to ask the right questions. Until then, the answers are irrelevant - the magisterium unable to bear any fruit. Now is the time to resuscitate the beautiful, symbiotic dance between question and answer. Now is the time.

God had a problem. The problem was a problem of propagation. The love note was delivered at Bethlehem. The love note was published at Calvary. But, how would the love note get from then and there in the past to us here and now in the present?

God concluded that, to propagate the good news of great joy, some sort of a perpetual memorial commemorating the Love Note was urgently needed (and a Church to tend it).

God did not want to establish an ordinary, conventional, run-of-the-mill memorial. God did not want a firefly; God wanted a fire - a blazing, raging, engaging bonfire to match the bonfire of love that burns for us in God's most sacred heart. God wanted to establish a memorial as real, as extraordinary, and as abundantly alive as divinity itself. Any inferior memorial of the Love Note just would not do.

The most Holy Trinity reviewed the candidates for a memorial - words, a reenactment, a work of art, and other types of representations. It would be too cruel to ask the Son of God to let us impale Him on the Cross - to repeat His sacrifice at Calvary anew - for each successive generation and, within a generation, from place to place. One Calvary - one guarantee of His love for us - was enough. Duplicate guarantees would be superfluous . From the review of the candidates for a memorial, God realized that the any representations made by human hands of the Love Note would be inferior to the Love Note itself. Therefore, God decided that the memorial had to be nothing less than the Love Note himself.

So God did the impossible - God created a time machine. God uprooted the Love Note from its foundation in time and space, made it portable and created a vehicle to carry it to us in the present. The vehicle that carries the Love Note to us is the Mass. At Mass, the physics of time and space are suspended to publish and make the Love Note known to us here and now in the present.

Excerpt from 1906 encyclical of Pope Pius X titled “Vehementer Nos“

“The Scripture teaches us, and the tradition of the Fathers confirms the teaching, that the Church is the mystical body of Christ, ruled by the Pastors and Doctors — a society of men containing within its own fold chiefs who have full and perfect powers for ruling, teaching and judging. It follows that the Church is essentially an unequal society, that is, a society comprising two categories of persons, the Pastors and the flock, those who occupy a rank in the different degrees of the hierarchy and the multitude of the faithful. So distinct are these categories that with the pastoral body only rests the necessary right and authority for promoting the end of the society and directing all its members towards that end; the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors.

Post Script: This is arrogant bullshit. It reflects a medieval not a modern mindset. It epitomizes the zeitgeist of the Church in a different age. It assumes that the laity have nothing of worth to contribute. It is an anachronism appropriate to a time when the multitude could not read, write or think for themselves. Its arrogance ought to embarass modern day clerics.

The Church has tried to jam doctrine down our throats without our consent by dint of authority. It claims its doctrine is God's doctrine, and, thus, its doctrine carries the official seal of God's approval. Before we learned to read, write and think for ourselves, we docilely swallowed whatever the Church jammed down our throats. Times have changed. In modernity, we have become suspicious and skeptical. Having learned to read, write and think for ourselves, the Church's tactic triggers our gag reflex. We regurgitate any attempt to jam doctrine down our throats without our consent. The command - obedience paradigm no longer works. A new approach, therefore, is needed. The appeal must be to our rationality. We must be persuaded. This dismays the medievalists. It discombobulates them. It makes them apoplectic. The modernists, however, are up for the challenge. In fact, they think an appeal to our rationality is the best way to go.

The Role that God Assigned the Church to Play in the Execution of his Plan to Rescue Us from our Dire Predicament in the Valley of Tears

It is important for the sake of the children of Adam and Eve for the Church to understand the role that God assigned it to play in the execution of his plan to rescue us from our dire predicament in the valley of tears. The Church is not a Papal led army sent by God to subjugate us into slavish submission to doctrine against our wills and without our consent [ cf. "Roma locuta; causa finita est," or "...the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors.]. Ideological rape is not the business of the Church. The business of the Church is to win our consent in advance of the insemination of doctrine . Winning our consent is the challenge for the Church. It has always been and will always be the challenge for the Church. God could have dragged us back to paradise himself by dint of his power while we kicked and screamed like recalcitrant children if God deemed doing so was the best solution to end our dire predicament in the valley of tears. But, salvation is about persuasion not power. The appeal is to our rationality not to our docility. God respects our sovereignty and will not trespass against it. Our God desires to free us from slavery under the yoke of Pharoah. He does not want to substitute one type of slavery for another. A cage is still a cage no matter how gilded. God invites us to a life of freedom with God and his holy family in the promised land . The Church plays a unique role in God's solution to end our dire predicament in the valley of tears. Its role does not mimic the role played by any other human institution. The Church is not a government or an NGO. The serpent distorted our perception of reality. The bitter, he made sweet and the sweet, bitter . He conjured up an illusion that sugarcoated the sourness of the valley of tears. The serpent testified that we would become gods without God in the valley of tears . His testimony was the sugarcoating that embellished the valley of tears. Moreover, as our proximity to Eden receded in both time and space, a secondary illusion arose that hid the sweetness of paradise from us. We forgot. The sweetness of paradise faded from our minds. Therefore, salvation from our dire predicament in the valley of tears requires that the illusions be shattered. The Church is the shatterer of illusions. The Church takes up the sledgehammer of truth and shatters the illusions as the blow of a hammer shatters glass. When fueled by the truth, our rationality steers us in the right direction. When the fuel of truth is fouled by illusions, our rationality leads us astray. When the illusions are shattered, our rationality kicks in. We seek the sweetness of paradise and flee the sourness of godlessness. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. We pick up the roots that we planted in the toxic soil of the valley of tears and become pilgrims passing through it instead of settlers roosting in it. The catalyst of the new exodus is the truth. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"   .

Experiential Christianity versus Rules and Regulations Christianity

How do we get the children of Adam and Eve to behave in accordance with a standard of behavior? Is the process of converting a sinner into a saint achieved simply by getting them to change their status from non-compliance to compliance? Is it enough to accomplish the conversion to claim that the standard of behavior is their God's standard of behavior? Do we huff and puff and blow sin away with strident and incessant admonitions against non-compliance? Do we threaten them into compliance? Our approach depends on our view of Christianity as experiential or as based on a set of rules and regulations. Experiential Christianity is intangible. Rules and regulations based Christianity is tangible. We can sink our teeth into rules and regulation based Christianity. We need faith for experiential Christianity. Our approach to the conversion of sinners into saints depends on whether we are experiential Christians or rules and regulations based Christian. Sinners do not convert themselves. We do not convert sinners into saints. The Church does not. Only God does. God and God alone converts sinners into saints. God does the work of conversion at the holy places that define the escape route of the new exodus that is making its escape from slavery under the yoke of Pharaoh, through the valley of tears, to freedom with God and his Holy Family in the promised land. Therefore, to accomplish the goal of converting sinners into saints, get them to the holy places where they can experience close encounters with the living God. Saints are made via close encounters with the living God. During a close encounter with the living God, a connection is made between earth and heaven. Through the connection, God enters the world and the light of paradise illuminates the darkness of godlessness. No one walks away from a close encounter with the living God unchanged. No one walks away from a close encounter with the living God empty handed. The problem is a lack of faith in experiential Christianity. Many self-styled Christians do not believe in experiential Christianity. They explicitly or implicitly reject the notion that intangible close encounters with the living God take place at the holy places in favor of tangible rules and regulations. In doing so, they transform Christianity into something that it is not. They reduce Christianity from the sublime to the ordinary. They elbow God out of the way. They interfere with his work here on earth. They put obstacles in the way of the new exodus. They frustrate, filter and foul up the escape from our dire predicament in the valley of tears.

What is the top priority of religion?

Excerpt from The Rosary: an Effective Means of Evangelization by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan from Catholic New York 9/28/2017 (Website)

"Where we begin in the whole sacred process of evangelization is very important!

Pope Francis has radiantly reminded us of this, hasn’t he? It’s not helpful to start with what the Church is against; it’s not productive to begin with what’s right or wrong. We’ll get to that eventually. No, we start with the Person, the invitation, the message of Jesus! Then, everything else flows from this saving proclamation!

My friend, Father Bob Barron, one of the nation’s premier evangelists today, puts it like this: if a foreign visitor asks you to explain the complicated game of baseball, you would hardly start with the “infield-fly rule”! No! You would first introduce him to the beauty, rhythm, and flow of the game! Father Barron suggests he would take him instead to Wrigley Field, gradually introduce him to the majesty of our national pastime, and then patiently explain the details of the game".