Stay close to the Lord in these challenging times, evangelist urges

By Catherine Sheehan

President of Renewal Ministries, Dr Ralph Martin, recently spoke in Hobart on the topic of ‘Living as Catholics in Challenging Times,’ at the invitation of the Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies.

Catholics needed to urgently rediscover their confidence in Sacred Scripture as the source of divine revelation, he said, and to unite themselves daily with God through prayer, in order to keep their faith and evangelise an anti-Christian secular culture.

“The first thing we need to do as individuals is recover our confidence in the inspired, inerrant word of God in Sacred Scripture,” Dr Martin told his audience at the Hope and Anchor Tavern in Hobart on 12 September.

Referencing the Vatican II document Dei Verbum, Dr Martin said the primary author of Sacred Scripture was God, who worked through human authors.

“We don’t have to guess any longer what the meaning of life is, this has been revealed to us… What a blessing that God has inspired the sacred writers to pass on faithfully what they’ve been shown, what they’ve seen, what they touched with their own hands, and what the Holy Spirit has illumined to them about the meaning of what Jesus has said and done.”

“I think what this means concretely is every single day, prayerfully reflecting on Sacred Scripture.”

Through Renewal Ministries, Dr Martin produces the TV and radio program, ‘The Choices We Face’, which is viewed in countries around the world. He is also the Director of Graduate Theology Programs in Evangelization and a professor of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

He told his Hobart audience that the culture today was hostile to Christ and the Church.

“It’s pretty amazing the way in which the secular culture is not respecting religious freedom and is really trying to choke the ability of the Catholic Church to preach the Gospel. If we dare say some of the things that Jesus said or some of the things the Apostles said, they say, ‘Well, that’s hate speech’.”

The culture had detached itself “from reality, from science, from facts, in the interest of ideology”, he added.

“One of the most profound signs of this of course is how the whole trans movement has now become the cutting edge and that people are saying, this is a great new civil rights issue of our time.

“It’s denying the most fundamental thing about us, that God created us male and female, that the purpose of human sexuality is to bring together a man and a woman in holy marriage, open to new life.”

Dr Martin recommended that Catholics not only read the Scriptures daily, but also spend time with God in prayer each day.

“You’ve got to pray,” he said. “The best thing you can do for yourself, for your family, for your parish, is to be more and more one with God… More and more able to be directed by his Holy Spirit.”

Dr Martin said his own life and been transformed by surrendering unconditionally to Jesus Christ, who was “the way, the truth, and the life”.

“I think with what’s going on in our culture right now, and the confusion and division in our Church, we’ve got to stay really close to the Lord. We’ve got to be fed by his word. We’ve got to really pay attention to him so that we can pass the test and so that we can be a light for others.

“The bottom line is, the mission of the Catholic Church isn’t primarily to save the Amazon, it’s to save souls. It’s to help people end up in heaven rather than hell. And you and I can help people end up in heaven rather than hell through our prayer, through our suffering, through our witness.”

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