The Mirror of Darkness

In one sense, as Ecclesiastes says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” History provides us with ample evidence of what humanity is. The picture is both appalling and sublime: by divine inspiration, we are capable of acts of love and charity; by our own depravity and satanic inducement, we can commit the very worst acts of atrocity.

Scripture acts as a mirror: if we let God speak to us, rather than hide in the shadows, we see ourselves as we really are. In that moment of truth, if we do not rebel, we will confess our sins and ask God to forgive and transform us. The Christian and the Christian Church are on a journey of transformation, of being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. This means having His mind and behaviour, and, in the end, being given a heavenly body like His.

The end times also act as a mirror. They show us what fallen humanity, without the grace of God, is like. In a sense, the end times are like Hell on earth (although the true Hell is infinitely worse: a place of hopelessness, despair, and torment). Showing us the mirror is part of Paul’s purpose in 2 Thessalonians 2, alongside showing Christians how to know when the Day of the LORD and the rapture are near:

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Various end times passages talk about measures coming to the full as a prerequisite for the end. The full number of Gentiles must enter the Church, and then Israel will be saved (ring composition: Abraham to Christ to Gentiles to Israel). Mystery Babylon is destroyed when her wickedness has come to the full. The Antichrist is destroyed by Christ after the Great Tribulation, which Christ and the Old Testament describe as the worst time in (Israel’s) history.

This is one of the purposes for knowing about the end times, to appreciate our need for Christ and to encourage us to live godly lives. Christ is the hope of creation: things must come to their worst before we receive our deliverance, the resurrection and rapture (the “gathering” in the passage above).

The Novus Ordo Church has been Sacrificed on the Altar of Ecumenism

 

I do not say this lightly; it is no longer the Catholic Church of our ancestors and saints. 

The Lamb of God brought a Real Peace between God and man; restoring our relationship of God, broken by sin and atoned for by the death of the God-man, Jesus Christ the Son of the Everliving God. To benefit from this sacrifice of our Savior one only need to believe in Him, acknowledge our failures in following His Commandments, true contrition for our sins and a firm purpose of amendment for our failures. He paid the price and we only need cooperate with God via free will to find reconciliation with our God. It is an unspeakable act of Divine Love and Mercy.

Now almost 2000  years later, men have attempted to take the Church and sacrifice Her on the altar of ecumenism as though this was the action of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church to repair our relationship with those who were and remain separated from the Church. Thereby they negotiated away not only our Catholic Culture but our Liturgical and other Sacramental Rites; our Mariology, our Rites of Exorcism, our Blessings and our developed Devotions especially to the angels, saints and above all Mary (they now have lost their savor as they are relegated to the periphery of our beliefs. 

Ecumenism seems to underly all of the changes of the simplified Novus Ordo church in an effort to make of us more acceptable to Christians who fell from their belief in the Catholic Church. This new Church is now both denuded of its true character, its unique culture and its moral authority. All of our post Vatican II changes seem to be fashioned in a way that will try to narrow the differences between those who abandoned the Church and the existing Church. It is a false irenicism and the new relaxed Church is now simply viewed as 1 more of many thousands of Protestant Christian denominations. This seems the point of Vatican II and its ultimate driving force. 

The fruit is a loss in our belief in defined dogmas and our support for previously condemned practices in the moral and theologically dogmatic sphere of things. It has propelled the laity to the false belief that all religions are the same, and syncretism is being taught with abandon. Our loss of understanding of our faith is also widespread, neither taught in catechism classes nor from the pulpit during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Where are we now? And more to the point who are we now since we have jettisoned our Catholic identity? Let us look at just the recent happenings in the Church.

  1. Non Catholics given Communion by our Pope
  2. The True Church of China is now forced to submit to the National Chinese Communist Church
  3. Political, economic, ecological and social issues dominate our interest; personal salvation, no longer a priority etc.

Such lists could take up 100’s of pages to show where we were and where we are at present.

And again, one need only look at the evidence that presents itself to us on an almost daily basis.

  1. Loss of the fast from midnight to reception
  2. Loss of meatless Fridays
  3. Loss of processions
  4. Abysmal catechisis
  5. Empty pews
  6. Empty seminaries and religious orders
  7. Empty confessionals
  8. Everyone receives whether in a state of grace or not
  9. The sanctuary is not the sanctuary, overuse of extraordinary ministers, girl altar boys, redundant blessings within Mass (its all about being ‘welcoming . . . and they are leaving in droves)
  10. Holy water that is merely blessed by a priest; no blessed salt and is of no apparent use in the protection against satan etc. especially in exorcisms

It is a schism that has taken place though not made official. We are divided by political lines which have eclipsed the theological truths the Church codified over its 2000 year history. We have been plunged into the crisis that St. Athanasius witnessed against which and for which he was excommunicated. I guess we should take solace in the words he addressed to his flock:

“May God console you! … What saddens you … is the fact that others have occupied the churches by violence, while during this time you are on the outside. It is a fact that they have the premises – but you have the Apostolic Faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true Faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the Faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the Faith? The true Faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in the struggle – the one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the Faith? True, the premises are good when the Apostolic Faith is preached there; they are holy if everything takes place there in a holy way … “You are the ones who are happy; you who remain within the Church by your Faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the Faith which has come down to you from Apostolic Tradition. And if an execrable jealousy has tried to shake it on a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones who have broken away from it in the present crisis. No one, ever, will prevail against your Faith, beloved Brothers. And we believe that God will give us our churches back some day. “Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church; but in reality, they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray. Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.”

(Letter of St. Athanasius to his Flock)

As a side note, it seems that Christ’s Sacrifice was a demarcation between the world and His Kingdom represented by His Church whilst ecumenism seems to be a reunification with the ways of this world. And with the upcoming Amazonian Synod it appears we have gone full circle with our ecumenism: to the Orthodox and the Protestants, to the atheistic Communists and Marxists to only return to man’s earliest animistic and pantheistic past. Perhaps ecumenism is only the acting out of the ‘spiritual evolutionary’ ideas of Teilhard de Chardin. We are gathering all religions and even atheists together in order to allow this evolution of our spiritual conscience, progress toward the ‘inevitable’ omega point; the noosphere. If so we have embarked on a new age journey that will lead to a loss of faith and most probably a lot of souls descending to hell.

 So for the sake of a false peace; they have abused the faith and the people of the Catholic faith. May God have mercy on their souls and may we all pray for our deliverance from this present captivity. St. Athanasius pray for us.

Apostle to the Apostles

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This happened to catch my eye over at Father Z’s. While in my tradition we don’t do Saints like the Catholics do, we do respect the stalwart in faith who have gone before us. Amongst them is Mary Magdalene, the first witness of the Risen Christ, and her Feast day was yesterday. That is why she is sometimes called the Apostle to the Apostles, Christ himself charged her with going and telling the apostles that He was risen.

Well, I gather some think that the Church has rather shortchanged her and that her reputation has been sullied. Maybe so, not my department, but I keep in mind what Jessica wrote long ago about her on NEO, my blog. It was this:

Under Jewish Law the testimony of a woman was no testimony at all. The first witness to the Risen Lord was a woman – Mary Magdalen. She was tearful. There she was, come to the tomb to anoint Him, and there was the stone moved. Her mind went where most of our minds would have gone – someone had taken Him away. That great stone had not moved itself, and dead bodies don’t walk out of tombs. The grave-clothes were bundled up and there was no trace of Jesus. Hard to imagine her feelings at the point. Only two days earlier her world had fallen apart. The man whose feet she had anointed and whom she had followed so loyally had been taken, tortured and then crucified. She knew that; she’d been there (which was more than could be said for most of those Apostles). It was over. All that remained was for her to do a final duty to the corpse. But even that was to be denied her. They had taken her Lord away.

She ran back to where the disciples were and told Peter the horrible news. Typically Peter, he ran to the tomb, and equally typically was outpaced by the younger John. But John stood at the entrance, and when Peter arrived he it was who, impulsive and brave as ever, went inside to see that the tomb was, indeed, as empty as Mary had said. The men went back home, no doubt to tell the others; Mary, as is the way of women, wanted to stay there a moment longer, perhaps to gather her thoughts, perhaps to mourn a moment alone.

She looked into the tomb again, only to be met by the most amazing sight – two angels asking her why she wept. The answer she gave echoes down the ages:  “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” As she turned away she saw a stranger, whom she took to be the gardener and asked where Jesus was. Then the man spoke – just one word, one word which shattered the world as she had known it and which echoes down the ages, even to the end of all things. ‘Mary’ was that word, the first from the lips of the Resurrected Lord. However much her tears had blinded her, that voice was clearly unmistakable: “Rabboni!” She said. Teacher, teacher, that was what she called Him. She went to cling to Him and He said: ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’  He bade her to go and tell the others what she had seen.

The testimony of a woman was no testimony in Jewish Law, and yet it was to a woman that the Risen Lord first came. He had broken the bonds of death, He had conquered the power of death and of Satan, the hold of sin on mankind was broken; and these things He entrusted to the power of one who in Jewish Law could offer no testimony at all.

She was the first. Let us love and honour her for that this Easter morning: ‘He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!’

And there, on Easter morning itself, our Lord made his statement on the equality of women. We would do well to note that he made no case for their superiority, as so many these days seem to think, he made the case that women are valuable, and trustworthy, in their own right, which role is not the same as men but is complementary and equal to men.

In the Tridentine Missal, the Epistle is this (from the Song of Songs)

I will rise, and will go about the city: in the streets and the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, and I found him not. (quaesivi illum et non inveni.) The watchmen who keep the city, found me: Have you seen him, whom my soul loveth? When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him: and I will not let him go …

Would that we all (or any of us) were that faithful to the Lord.

De sacerdotum vestimentis Ecclesiae Romanae

Two articles I stumbled across today that our high-church readers may enjoy:

http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2006/07/on-origins-and-development-of.html#.XTWU0HtrzIU

http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2006/07/on-origin-and-development-of-vestments.html#.XTWURntrzIU

My personal view is that I prefer medieval vestments from an aesthetic viewpoint; I leave theological judgments on the matter to those who are more learned than I.

The New Adam and the New Eve: Christ and His Church

Thanks to Ann Barnhardt for her recent post and sharing of this most illustrative painting and explanation. You can find her instructive post here: https://www.barnhardt.biz/2019/07/20/found-it-image-of-the-birth-of-ecclesia/

The Bride of Christ: derided, blasphemed, spat upon, buffeted, as the Mystical Body of Christ, still present in the world and a woman of sorrow just as Christ was a man of sorrow: uncomely, disfigured and unrecognizable. Her sufferings are relived in Her Body, the Church: the Spotless Bride of Christ.

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Top Image: God the Father removes Eve from the Side of Adam – shown with hands in supplication to God the Father
Bottom Image: God the Father removes the Bride of Christ (the Church) from the Wounded Side of the Crucified Christ – shown with a Chalice indicating the offering of Christs Blood to the Father for the Salvation of Souls

Flesh of My Flesh: Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for the body, which is the Church. __ Colossians 1:24

The Bridegroom and Bride Shall be Two in One Flesh: Christ and the Church are One: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope_explores_st._pauls_teaching_on_the_church_as_bride_of_christ

Genesis 2:24

Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.

Mark 10:8

And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh.

Ephesians 5:31

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh.

Isaiah 62:5

For the young man shall dwell with the virgin, and thy children shall dwell in thee. And the bridegroom shall rejoice over the bride, and thy God shall rejoice over thee.

John 3:29

He that hath the bride, is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth with joy because of the bridegroom’s voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled.

Ephesians 5:29

For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church:

CCC 796

This is the whole Christ, head and body, one formed from many . . . whether the head or members speak, it is Christ who speaks. He speaks in his role as the head (ex persona capitis) and in his role as body (ex persona corporis). What does this mean? “The two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church.”240 And the Lord himself says in the Gospel: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”241 They are, in fact, two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union, . . . as head, he calls himself the bridegroom, as body, he calls himself “bride.”242

Christ Was Buffeted and Spit Upon: Will the Bride not Suffer What the Bridegroom Suffered?

Job 30:10

They abhor me, and flee far from me, and are not afraid to spit in my face.

Isaiah 50:6

I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me.

Matthew 26:67

Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him: and others struck his face with the palms of their hands,

Isaiah 53:2

And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him

1 Peter 2:24

Who his own self bore our sins in his body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed.

Seven Last Words of Christ from the Holy Cross: Will the Church Not Imitate Her Bridegroom and suffer with Him? http://www.catholictradition.org/Passion/passion27a.htm

1st

Luke 23:34

And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

2nd

Luke 23:43

And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.

3rd

John 19:26

When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son.

John 19:27

After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

4th

Matthew 27:46

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Mark 15:34

And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying: Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabacthani? Which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Psalm 21:2

O God my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me?

5th

John 19:28

Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst.

6th

John 19:30

Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost.

7th

Luke 23:46

And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost.

 

And people ask why I don’t leave the Bride of Christ in Her hour of most need. I would prefer to remain with The Mother of God at the foot of the Cross than to be hiding in the upper room fearing for my life. This is why. __ Scoop

Man’s Loss of His Sense of Wonder, Awe and Mystery

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Ultra pragmatism and scientism has left man with the illusion of an anthropocentric universe which no longer has need or use of a Creator God. But for all the science that builds one atop another, from the smallest sub-atomic universe to the galaxies of immense proportions throughout the vast universe, we no longer see the pervasive mysteries that are cooked into our natural observations and our mathematical and scientific theories – no matter how perfectly they can predict or read the history of being itself. For every finding that is discovered and proved, the age old question of the child is still there: “why?”. For there are things that mathematics and science and logic will never unravel and the “why, how, for what purpose and to what end” questions are only covered over by a thin veil of evermore complicated explanations. It seems we keep peeling back layers of an onion only to find that we still don’t know why there is an onion.

The scientists and the pragmatics amongst us still cannot explain the mystery of a universe (who) creates intelligence which in turn tries to explain itself; which leads us to accept some kind of mechanism at work; an introspective conglomeration of vibrating subatomic and atomic particles with self-consciousness. We take for granted that this (living) universe can be comprehended by a naturally formed bit of the universe – ourselves. The universe somehow has a desire to know itself and it is us (small little sub atomic beings of the cosmos), who are both alive and conscious of this universe that has been bequeathed this task. How utterly wonderful, awe inspiring and mysterious and we are urged to think of it with no more interest than we might have in what we should eat for dinner.

Imagine first why there is anything at all. If I were to be able to hypothetically ask a dead man, according to the beliefs of atheists, if there is anything at all to existence he would have to say from his perspective that it is only an illusion: for he sees, feels, senses or remembers nothing. So to the dead, we are in error and there is no being. And to the living, the dead would be in error as we merely need rely upon our existing living senses.

Secondly, we can imagine then that every bit of energy in the universe has some primal or latent life residing within itself (mysteriously) such that it has its own primal desire for knowing and acknowledging itself. For how do these atoms arrange themselves in man to allow logic or a sense of being? And if that is our belief then we have become committed pantheists. How too, is it that this logical existence (man) has come into being only to grow, then whither and die? What happened to the stability of the atoms from which this life force is created, ebbs then wanes, and then returns to the state of simple atoms once again? What is the purpose then for man to come into being, thinking of itself as alive and logically examining such questions, only to die; like little unexplainable conscious beings of life bubbling to the surface to only burst. So life is mysterious as well. It is a wonder that there are collections of cells, atoms and sub atomic particles that come and go, without any purpose or meaning: no rhyme or reason, and yet we wish to admonish wonder, awe and mystery that permeate creation but is the substance of our faith in God.

Thirdly, why is it that we have a sense of “I-ness” or “ego” and a sense of “thou-ness” or other; the seer and and the seen. Where is the entire cosmological intelligence that is always aware of itself even if we are simply like dying cells being replaced by newer ones? For there is no reason that an atom should become unstable within our bodies in our short, normal lifetimes. Those same atoms existed before I was born and exist after death and yet in this intermediate step between non-existent man and decomposed man there is life and a social, moral and ethical order and construct that binds us together just as sure as the cells of a body bind themselves one to another in order to create a single living human being.

Isn’t it harder to imagine such a universe than to un-imagine it? And that, I think, is what is ultimately the end result when we place all our belief in science; nihilism or nothingness. “Life could be a dream” seems to fit the narrative. For it is meaningless, has no beginning and no end and only exists in those who accept their own consciousness as being real . . . though they will return to whence they came which is non-consciousness or non-being; utter emptiness and nothingness.

So is life better lived with our instinct to have faith in our perceived dignity and worth? To embrace hope for the future of ourselves and all of mankind? And to find the dignity, both morally and ethically to embrace true charity (self-giving love or sacrificial love)? For to give ones life for another in the world of “you only live once” crowd, such sacrifices seem totally out of place. 

We are to believe that life with meaning is simply ignorance and so we strip away all the wonder, awe and mystery of life which a loving Creator God provides. A God Who desires man to live well so that we might live together with Him in happiness eternally or to live in an existential world that is ultimately valueless is one’s primary choice in life. And remember that the same process that developed science, logic and all other pragmatic studies were intuited by mankind in the very same way that the other subjects developed. They are naturally occurring in our species. So, is religion any more part of our internal makeup than this new “religion” which denies even itself?

Newman and a White Rose

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Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie, with their friend Christoph Probst, in 1943

Many of us see our countries as possibly headed into dark times, and sometimes we despair, and it is hard to remember that while we are in this world, we are not of this world. But we do have our duties and responsibilities in this world as well. Perhaps a reminder wouldn’t hurt. Particularly one which reminds us that what we say and write and do today may well echo down the corridors of time. This is an article I first published here on 19 February 2018. I ran across it yesterday, and think it worth a rereading. Neo.

Here most of us admire the Blessed John Henry Newman quite a lot, as we should. After all, most of us who write here are orthodox Christians of one flavor or another. Nor are we alone.

A couple of weeks ago, I was involved in a discussion of The White Rose, one of the main resistance groups in Nazi Germany, and how it was almost completely driven by Christian ideals, although its leadership was a combination of Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox.

But how did that come to be, can we see the roots of this? Why yes, yes, we can.

An article in Catholic Herald last week by Paul Shrimpton tells how a goodly share of what Hans and Sophie Scholl believed and would lead them to the guillotine, seventy-five years ago yesterday, came from Newman.

From their letters and diaries we know that they were strongly influenced by St Augustine’s Confessions, Pascal’s Pensées and George Bernanos’s Diary of a Country Priest. Now it has become clear that their lives were also shaped by the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman.

The man who brought Newman’s writings to the attention of the Munich students was the philosopher and cultural historian Theodor Haecker. Haecker had become a Catholic after translating Newman’s Grammar of Assent in 1921, and for the rest of his life Newman was his guiding star. He translated seven of Newman’s works, and on several occasions read excerpts from them at the illegal secret meetings Hans Scholl convened for his friends. Strange though it may seem, the insights of the Oxford academic were ideally suited to help these students make sense of the catastrophe they were living through.

Haecker’s influence is evident already in the first three White Rose leaflets, but his becomes the dominant voice in the fourth: this leaflet, written the day after Haecker had read the students some powerful Newman sermons, finishes with the words: “We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace! Please read and distribute!”

When Sophie’s boyfriend, a Luftwaffe officer called Fritz Hartnagel, was deployed to the Eastern Front in May 1942, Sophie’s parting gift was two volumes of Newman’s sermons. After witnessing the carnage in Russia, Fritz wrote to Sophie to say that reading Newman’s words in such an awful place was like tasting “drops of precious wine”.

In another letter, Fritz wrote: “We know by whom we were created, and that we stand in a relationship of moral obligation to our creator. Conscience gives us the capacity to distinguish between good and evil.” These words were taken almost verbatim from a famous sermon of Newman’s called “The Testimony of Conscience”.

The White Rose, which Hans and Sophie led, has become the most famous anti-Hitler resistance in Germany today, saving only the Zwanzigsten Juli conspiracy itself, in which the Rev Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was implicated. This founder (amongst others) of the Confessing Church would surely have also agreed with much of what Hans and Sophie learned from Newman’s writing.

In fact, I’m quite sure he was familiar with it, if in no other way, because of his friendship with Bishop George Bell of Chichester, now subject to a witch hunt led by his own church, to whom Bonhoeffer’s last message from Flossenbürg was addressed. Of course, Bonhoeffer was hanged a few weeks before the camp at Flossenbürg was liberated.

When Fritz visited Sophie’s parents, he gave them a collection of Newman sermons translated by Theodor Haecker. Haecker himself also visited the Scholls, and signed the visitor’s book with Newman’s own motto, Cor ad cor loquitur (“Heart speaks to heart”).

So does it still.

God’s humour in mechanic’s miracle and at atheist’s expense!

An interesting collection of events from Richard’s Watch.

Richard's Watch

The Sunday evening before last we heard how God miraculously provided about 1,300 large bread cakes from only 200 that pastor Christopher Bird had taken to a Ugandan orphanage, but to which 500 children had walked for hours for food to feed them over the week!  Next he took the left-overs to other places and watched everyone getting fed from what he’d originally brought. Only 7 loaves were left, which were for the 7 servers.

ELECTRO-MECHANICAL MIRACLE

Next, a group told him on a Sunday morning they’d take him Monday to a neighbouring nation – but he needed to apply for an entry visa. So he had to get two visa-size photos on a Sunday afternoon in Kampala – but there was a city-wide power blackout!

He saw a 50-years old photo-booth on a pavement and spoke to its attendant who said it was unplugged because of the outage. Chris…

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It comes at a cost

In the film, Luther, starring Joseph Fiennes, Martin Luther discusses the incipient Reformation with his Father Confessor, Johann von Staupitz, as they prepare for the Diet of Worms. Von Staupitz laments the chaos that seems to have been unleashed. He expresses the fear that Luther is destroying the Church, rather than reforming her. Luther responds to this that reform comes at a cost.

This scene has always made an impact on me. Although this particular film has a number of historical inaccuracies, I find parts of it edifying in the lessons they teach. The cost of reform is one of them.

This is a period in time that is crying out for reform, reform of the Church and reform of the states. Heresy and deceit abound. Rebellion against ancient custom, which once could safeguard a nation without the support of law, has made it dangerous to speak one’s thoughts aloud. History, the wellspring of conservatism, has been forgotten and – worse still – rewritten. Death stalks the lands, and the powers of darkness tighten their grip on the nations.

God knows these things. They are not too great for Him to overcome. His grace and power are breaking through and the Devil suspects that his time is short. The return of Christ approaches, and when He comes, He will pour out the wrath of God on the unrepentant.

In the meantime, reform is necessary. The Church must be prepared for the “final push”, the completion of her great commission. This reform is costly. It will mean repentance, humility, and a careful use of Scripture, in order to avoid falling for deception.

As the Church is reformed, though the world continues in a dark direction, the light of the Church will grow brighter and the Gospel will go out in power. May the Lord’s will be accomplished.

A loss of reverence?

In-Persona-Christi

In this short post the only point I wish to make has to do with proper reverence and esteem that should be given to certain personages. This is something that seems to be lost on our new, more relaxed, and egalitarian construct of society. For my examples I would like to address three which I think might bring my point home. 

For my construct let us take on the birth name of a fictional character known as Robert Miller.

If Robert Miller becomes a doctor of medicine and we have the proper reverence for his unselfish service to provide us with healthcare and life saving practices one would be rather bold to address the man as Dr. Bob. He deserves more respect, more esteem and a sense of reverence for his sacrifices and his service to the community. The proper way to address him is Dr. Miller.

And if Robert Miller becomes a Lieutenant in the Marines and is risking his life to procure and safeguard the country and my own freedoms, likewise one would never refer to him as Lt. Bob but as Lieutenant Miller.

Most of us understand this protocol at some level or at least we did in our recent past. I was raised to do this; just as I was raised to say Mr. or Mrs. when addressing an older married man or woman. 

I find it incredible that today in the Catholic Church that we feign such familiarity with our priests. For if Robert Miller is ordained a Catholic Priest today he is most likely to be addressed as Fr. Bob. Now here is a man that is our spiritual father and is serving God and his flock. This seems to be the result of the breakdown of all civility and norms that occurred during the mid-60’s in our country. that prevails today.

We previously were not to look at him as just a pal and another man or friend. He was more than that. The common thread to the respect that civil people employed in the past was simply the fact that a Doctor served the community and the health of each of us while the Military man served his country and protected our lives, liberty and freedom. But higher than this, the Priest who serves God and his flock in an effort to bring us safely to heaven and to avoid hell should obviously deserve more reverence and respect: as the aim of his ministry has eternal consequences to our souls. It is not, as in the other two instances a temporal end that is being sought for our well-being. 

Please God that we once again respect the high-calling of the priest and see in him as our alter Christus acting in persona Christi during the sacraments of Confession and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Maybe then, we will quit treating him as just another member of the congregation that dresses funny (hopefully in his clericals and cassock).