In reading the comments the last few days, I was moved to think back to the first post I read here when I followed a comment by Jessica on another blog that moved me. It was the day after the Obamacare decision in the Supreme Court, and it moved me then, as it does now. Rather than link it, I shall merely reprint it since it is short.
A prayerful thought for American Catholics
A word of sympathy and a prayer for all my American Catholic friends. This too shall pass.
As St. Peter reminds us:
1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
How like Jessica it was to prove, with her care for all Christians, yet because the Catholic Church has the clearest defined views on abortion, she addressed it to them, knowing full well, that many of us Protestants agree with them on most issues.
That was always Jess, as it was the site she founded, ecumenical without being syncretic. It was always a place where we could gather to discuss, forcefully, yet without heat, the things we agree on and perhaps, more importantly, the things we don’t.
That very day, almost 5 and a half years ago, I was made welcome in her camp on Mt. Nebo, as Jessica, herself soon became the dearest friend I ever had, or will have.
But over the years we have seen with some regularity sectarian Catholics who can’t seem to admit that anybody but them could possibly Christians. Personally, I have come to believe they are not actually Christians, because they believe in Rome instead of Jesus. Maybe that is wrong, but it is how they present to me, who agrees with more than 90% of what they say.
Fifteen hundred years ago the intransigence of Rome split Christianity in two. A thousand years ago the intransigence of Rome split western Christianity again. And five hundred years ago this weekend the intransigence of Rome split Christendom still again. It is obvious to all fair observers that it is happening still again in front of our eyes. Rome is becoming a remnant church, not because of its beliefs, which are in the main correct, but because of repeated and continuing attacks of hubris. Nothing more an nothing less.
When I look at our sidebar, I realize that of the 15 of us listed there, only Phillip and I are still contributing here, and when I do, I’m not pleased with the tone of the comments.
And so I am reminded of another of Jess’ posts, one she wrote the night of her return from her pilgrimage to Walsingham, which is here. In it, she explained why she would no longer comment on the Telegraph blogs, and I find that I have come to the same conclusion now in regard to All Along the Watchtower.
It came to me, very strongly whilst I was in the Holy House at Walsingham that, as Sirach 13:1 says, ‘He that toucheth pitch, shall be defiled with it’, and with that the thought that the Thompson blog on the Telegraph has become as pitch. Yes, I have shown that I will not be bullied and that I can give as good as I get – and usually better – but it does not contribute a cubit to spiritual growth; indeed, quite the opposite.
The mere thought of discussing today in that baleful place brought Matthew 7:6to mind:
Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
I have made my point there, and it is enough; honour is served; to do more would be to serve pride. As Proverbs 26:4, where my Bible opened in the Holy House, reminded me:
4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him
And so like her journey from Walsingham, where we became dearest friends, my journey along the Watchtower, which is one of the causes of me losing her friendship, now ends.
And so I close with great sadness of spirit, a tab which has been open in my browser since 28 June 2012. But I must if I am to keep my faith. Hier ich stehe, ich kann nicht anders.
God bless you all.