So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Have faith. The Church is in God's hands.

At the risk of sounding a tad triumphalistic, perhaps God is using the Synod on the Family to demonstrate His promise to the Church He founded on the Apostle Peter.

God's promise, you will recall, is to protect His Church and, specifically, the Office of Peter from teaching error regarding faith and morals. The constant witness of Christians in communion with the Bishop of Rome, which is to say the Catholic Church, has been the preservation of that truth received from the Apostles.

Houston, we have a problem.

The Church, especially since the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, has slid into a quagmire of theological confusion, liturgical discontinuity and pastoral ambiguity.

The fool asks 'What problem?', and plunges his head in the sand of denial. Burdened by fatigue and doubt, the jaded man asks 'What's the point of trying (to change things)?' A disciple of the Lord asks 'What can I do to help renew the Church?'

The answer to the last question is:
take up your cross and follow Jesus. Live the Faith by fasting and praying and serving Christ in all people. Know the content of the Faith and defend it by all just and charitable means.
The disciple offers up his sufferings to Jesus Who unites them to Jesus' sacrifice. During the Mass, we have the perfect opportunity to offer our worries, joys and gratitude to Jesus. The Universal Prayer, sometimes called the Prayer of the Faithful, is an occasion to offer up our joys and sorrows, our needs and hopes.

In the silence of our hearts, we can say to Jesus when He becomes present on the altar during the Consecration—Lord, you know my heart. You know my needs. Take now all that I possess, all that I am. I believe; help my unbelief.

Having received Holy Communion, one might pray in addition to the prayer of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (the Anima Christi) words such as:
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of the Body and Blood of Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Look now upon Your humble servant and see only Jesus dwelling here under this roof. Grant me the grace to enter more deeply into His Passion and death so that, at the end of my days, I may enter into the glory of His resurrection. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
Is God using the Synod to expose the quirky and evil machinations of men who think they are in control in order to move them aside to make room for necessary reforms?

We would be foolish not to trust in God to rescue His Church from the machinations of badly behaved bishops. God gives grace to His Church to elevate people to become spiritual warriors and, if necessary, martyrs who suffer for the Faith by standing firm on the Truth of the Holy Gospel.

Might we view the current trials as a test? That is, a test of faith in God's providential (and purifying) care of His Church?

The many downs (descents into decadence or chaos—e.g., the Great Western Schism) of the Catholic Church would have swallowed lesser communities. In our day, many communities who stubborning cling to the name 'christian' have slid or are rapidly sliding into irrelevance and oblivion despite their attempts to make themselves pleasing to potential customers who, perhaps sensing a fraudulent product in these sects, are turning to the Catholic Faith. If the Catholic Church were merely a manmade institution, it would have been crushed centuries ago under the weight of the evil actions of men.

Perhaps, seeing the durability or perseverance of the Church manifest once again, a demonstration of God's faithfulness will inspire many more non-Catholics to return to the fold.

Let us recall that before things started to improve during the Counter Reformation, the tragedy of the Protestant Reformation occurred. Many were sorely tested by the decadence they witnessed among clergy and people. The reform began as most reforms have, i.e., with an honest intent to embrace truth and holiness. Soon, however, man's pride asserted itself and led well intentioned reformers into heresy and schism.

Can we say in our own day that the forces of decadence and obstinate pride are any less present in the Church, ripping at her flesh and distracting her from her God-given mission to save souls?

While Rome fiddles, the Americas burn. Rather, the Faith wanes among a people swayed by the truncated gospel promoted by sectarians and cultists. The void left by a so-called "liberation theology", better known as communist ideology dressed up in a chasuble, is being filled by an alien gospel.

Europe, too, burns. The firestorm burning there is one sweeping out of the desert, a fire than consumes limp societies that have abandoned the Church for inhuman ideologies which substitute man for God, relativism for reason, folly for faith. Europe's pleasant fiction has become its narcotic. Many bishops are compromised by the same drug, as we are seeing at Rome these days. To those addicted to the sweet smell of their own narcissistic inclinations, all is well.

Half the battle, so it is said, is recognizing that there is a problem: many limbs of the Church are diseased. Surgery is required with an intense follow-up of antibiotics.

God, the divine surgeon, will cut out the dead tissue. He gives grace to heal wounds. We are the patients (penitents). Will we submit to God our diseased body and trust in His saving message, or will we persist in buying the snake oil of new age religion and the false promise of peace through capitulation with an unredeemed world?

If we trust in God, there is hope.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.