Yesterday was a tough day. I was reading and reflecting about some posts I would like to write. My mind just did not want to get wrapped around the enigmas and mysteries. Sometimes you can write about certain things, things that are really very evil — such as this post in the exorcism series on politicians on the sidebar of this blog (a favorite of readers, especially in Asia) — but at other times you are actually faced with a sense of what the wounds of our Crucified Lord manifest about the reality of evil… and also of His mercy, though that can seem distant when we are swamped by a bit more knowledge of how much we are trusting in ourselves instead of Him who is so good and kind. I didn’t finish writing those posts.
Instead, I prayed a bit, and drove down the mountain to see what the UPS Store had by way of packages and letters. Empty. So, I went to see the neighbors to catch up on any logistics of whatever. Asked how I was, I said that I felt like a spider that I had killed earlier in the day, a really big spider, juicy… POP! and splatter. Part of Spring cleaning. But it might remind one of Alderaan getting destroyed. So I added, that, obviously, “A disturbance in the Force there is” with appropriate voice. This set people into hysterical laughter. Anyway, that’s how I felt.
It seems to me that the entire world was smacked down, hard, when Pope Benedict abdicated. Well, that’s what it felt like, and to very many people. But “smacked down” is not the gist of it. I would rather describe it in this way:
When there is a very great need in the Church, the Lord looks to those who are His own in any way and has them share the burden. Saint Paul speaks of this aspect of the Body of Christ at length. We are to be available, in His grace, for being the living sacrifices of intercession He wants us to be. This can be occasioned by both internal and external circumstances. Our Lord knows how to work on us. Just leave it to Him. Just be faithful. Just be in humble thanksgiving, whatever is going on.
And there is that which lifts the spirit as well. There are chickens eating and a Laudie-dog who is ever so content under the wood stove after just having come in from a hard night of chasing monsters in the forest. What a good dog. Great smile. And cute too.
Of course, there is very much for which to be thankful, especially how our Lord takes care of our spiritual lives no matter what, if we are but willing to cooperate with His grace. I’m thinking about hard spiritual times as well, that many know right around this world, such as in China and Vietnam and North Korea and all Islamicist countries, because of oppression of religious freedom, and such as in Ireland and so many Western countries, because of a willing throwing away of the faith, giving that external oppression full reign. Those who are able to let the faith shine in their parishes really ought to do so, now, for times change very, very quickly.
We read various nefarious things about what some Cardinals have done or failed to do. Does this shake our faith? I should hope not. Is it a disappointment? I should hope so. There are many on the internet who are providing “What if?” scenarios. I have to wonder about that.
For instance, what if a Cardinal is elected to be the Bishop of Rome who is entirely, thoroughly inept theologically, who says all sorts of rubbish at Wednesday audiences and to this and that group, heretical things, just plain stupid things, and who is obviously just full of himself, the old “I’m Pope and you’re not! Neyah neyah neyah neyah neyah!” kind of thing? What would you do then? Throw yourself into free fall, or would you pray and intercede for the Church, even while being mocked by friends who let themselves go to hell, blaming the Pope for bad example, but being judged only on what they did by our Lord?
And, by the way, Popes can be heretical, privately, to groups of people, to countries, though NOT to the entire Church specifically as the Successor of Peter while speaking on faith and morals. And Popes can be real jerks. We’ve had a few. They’re human too. Will you pray for them? Or will you run away and say, “I told you so! I told you so! I’m still a sede-vacantist! Neyah neyah neyah neyah neyah!” Is that any better?
Can things be looking up even when things could be so very bad? Sure. But in that case, we have to look up to Him who is lifted up, up high on the Cross.
IF an excommunicate apostate heretic freakoid is elected to the See of Rome, do you know what happens? In Canon Law, all excommunications and penalties are lifted. He can start fresh. I love that.
Remember Saint Thomas Becket? The moment he was made bishop, he repented of all his knuckleheadedness and became a devout follower of Christ and defender of the Church, so much so that his one time friend, King Henry II, had him martyred.
Those who separate themselves from the Church, using individuals and their ineptitude as an excuse, have no understanding either of their own sins or the power of the grace of God. We all deserve to rot in hell for original sin and our own personal sins. But Jesus is good and kind. So good and so kind.
There is simply no excuse to fall apart, go into free fall, lose the faith. None. Jesus takes care of us even if all priests are taken from us. But we have to be faithful. Doctrine. Morals. All of it. If we do our own thing apart from Christ and His Church, we are lost.
I remember an incident while giving a retreat to priests and brothers of a religious congregation in Albania just a short time after the communist government fell in that poorest of all countries. It was a good hour before Mass on a Sunday, and loud singing was to be heard in the Church. I investigated and was amazed. The Church was packed with young and old. No hymn books. It was one, very long, 40 minute chant they all knew by heart, with nothing repeated. It was the catechism. This is how they kept the faith alive during decades of fiercely murderous religious oppression. There will be many great saints from such conditions.
But what about us? In the USA? Too comfortable? Too self-congratulatory? So many have for so long abandoned the faith that it wouldn’t make any difference to them if the Pope was a saint or was a minion of Satan. It would not matter to them because they do what they want to do anyway. Many of them are the power-brokers in parishes. They have their reward now. They will lead the oppression of religious freedom.
So, what to do? Be faithful, in good times and bad. And, in whatever occasion, let the faith shine for all to see. There is no greater love…