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This time of year we hear much about worldliness. It's what Christ came to defeat. The devil, He said, is the "prince of this world." Be cautious not to be "lukewarm": insistent that you can keep one foot in worldliness and another on a spiritual walk (you will only split apart). Worldliness brings spiritual blindness (no matter the IQ).

What's "worldliness"?

It is a focus on the physical. It is a dismissal of the supernatural. As such, it can be a negation of the spiritual. It's an immersion in finances, entertainment, sports, politics, legalism, gossip, and material or carnal competition. Passing things. Fleeting physicality. It's looking through the wrong end of a telescope. It's viewing life through the narrow portals of academia, finances, and media (the "news"). Look at how unworldly Jesus was (starting with that manger).

Now consider a few things, when contemplating just how worldly the world has become.

Lady Gaga is more newsworthy than Our Lady; another singer, "Madonna," receives more notice than major apparitions of the actual Madonna. Meanwhile, this singer's daughter -- mysteriously named Lourdes -- makes more news than the apparition site in France. When a rock singer named Rick James died, he was widely and publicly mourned; that same day, not a single major media outlet noted the death of mystic Maria Esperanza. The Pope recently reflected that in today's world, the Annunciation (and one can add, the Nativity) would not have made headlines.

One can only wonder at all this as one considers how many "important" modern concerns (elections, fiscal "cliffs," billionaires) so quickly evaporate.

Worldliness is as illogical as it is (spiritually) treacherous.

There are millionaires who to cling to their obsession with money even onto their deathbeds -- no doubt regretting it soon after.

One can work all one's life without in actuality gaining a thing, if that work was oriented toward the physical.

"When the Lord finally decides to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of its wickedness, we see that Lot finally had to run away from Sodom in order to save his life, leaving behind all his material wealth and everything that he had worked for," points out Catholic evangelist Maria Vadia. "His life was saved, period. All his wealth lost, in the twinkling of an eye! [Meanwhile, his wife] walked by sight and not be faith, just the opposite of how we are supposed to walk on this planet. Like her husband Lot, she was really in love with the things of the world. Her spiritual life had never taken off. She had no spiritual vision. When they had to finally leave Sodom behind because the Lord was getting ready to destroy it, the angels gave them specific instructions: 'Flee for your life; do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley, flee to the hills, lest you be consumed' (Genesis 19:17). What did Lot's wife do? 'But Lot's wife behind him looked back, and she became a pillar of salt."'

"My question to you is this," writes Vadia (Victory in the Eye Gate): "How are you spending your free time? Are you sinking your roots deeper and deeper into God's Word, or are you spending your time reading worldly, secular material that will not transform your mind nor help you to walk by faith? How are you keeping your mind renewed, day by day? Is your past holding you in bondage, or are you living in the freedom of a child of God?"

[resources: Victory in the Eye Gate and Michael Brown pilgrimage, Medjugorje]

[see also: Are you lukewarm?]

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