“Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione, et obsecratione, cum gratiarum actione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Et pax Dei, quæ exuperat omnem sensum, custodiat corda vestra, et intelligentias vestras in Christo Jesu.”
As a priest, it’s disheartening at times to come across articles such as this one. It’s well written and timely. It needs to be said. Steve is doing great work and giving a voice to the voiceless, the frustrated, giving a garment of praise to those with a spirit of grief.
My family has had its inevitable brushes with the Culture of McCarrick. They emerge unexpectedly in our day-to-day activities and unfold fully on Sundays at church. One began at a country club swimming pool two summers ago. Shortly after our boys, then nine and six, began splashing around, a group of teen girls entered.
How often should we talk about morality, more than we do already? It’s a valid question because at some point we’re preaching to the choir.
Many in the pews are in need of spiritual milk; many are ready and wanting for much more. One can’t be making everyone happy – that’s hardly the point of Christian living. But, in coming under the discipline of Jesus Christ – who is a demanding Lord – our lives change and it’s true that in a proper spiritual formation the hard truths of the Faith will be taught and proclaimed in accord with Scriptures and Tradition.
Dei Verbum, which appears in many cases to have been abandoned or neglected, expressly says that our sacred Tradition, from Jesus Christ, to the early fathers of the Church, down through time, through the holy women – is always handed on in full. And it doesn’t change to suit our needs or desires.
Jesus Christ knew human nature all too well. “But Jesus did not trust himself unto them, for that he knew all men, And because he needed not that any should give testimony of man: for he knew what was in man.” (Jn 2:24-25) And he knows our weaknesses all too well.
So living in a world of constant change, a constant bombardment of information, surrounded by evil in all of its various forms, it can be difficult to see the goodness of things. The works and wonders of God’s creation, the simple moments of the human spirit – in charity, in forgiveness, in the longings of our hearts – all attest to a goodness which the Lord wants for us and has for us.
To translate the verse from Philippians up there, because yes I’m learning Latin as best I can, here it is from the Vulgate. This is how to pray.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
In the same letter he also warns of bad priests, wicked men of the cloth.
“Beware of these prowling dogs, beware of their evil practices, of their disfigurement. All of us who are fully grounded must be of this mind, and God will make it known to you, if you are of a different mind at present. Meanwhile, let us all be of the same mind, all follow the same rule, according to the progress we have made. I have told you often, and now tell you again with tears, that there are many whose lives make them the enemies of Christ’s cross. Perdition is the end that awaits them, their own hungry bellies are the god they worship, their own shameful doings are their pride; their minds are set on the things of earth; whereas we find our true home in heaven.” Phil 3:2, 18-20.
So when you see things like this:
— Bob Shine (@bobshine89) October 4, 2018
Or things like Bono dedicating a song to the disgraced Cardinal McCarrick, mentor to one of my former Pastors:
Bono dedicates a song to Cardinal McCarrick pic.twitter.com/GOSN4nTiGr
— 1Timothy3:15 (@DouayRheims) September 20, 2018
Or even things like this:
It is astonishing the extent to which supporters of Pope Francis maintain the fiction that he is working hard to cleanse the church of clerical sex abuse. At the Synod going on now in Rome, some bishops offered strong words on the topic: Bishop Frank Caggiano of Bridgeport did not mince words, confronting the issue of sexual abuse in his opening salvo at his first Synod.
Which of course led to this:
Do not be afraid. (All excellent btw.)
Take these words of St. Paul as your own, write them down and put them on the wall and look at them, read them aloud every day.
“Give proof to all of your courtesy. The Lord is near. Nothing must make you anxious; in every need make your requests known to God, praying and beseeching him, and giving him thanks as well. So may the peace of God, which surpasses all our thinking, watch over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. And now, brethren, all that rings true, all that commands reverence, and all that makes for right; all that is pure, all that is lovely, all that is gracious in the telling; virtue and merit, wherever virtue and merit are found—let this be the argument of your thoughts.” Phil 3:2, 18-20, Knox.
If you’re not hearing sound doctrine at your church, you know where to find it. Look to the person of Jesus Christ, and make it a point to spend time with Him. Focus on the Eucharist at Mass if you must, putting aside any distractions, and allowing the Lord to speak to you through the distractions, to purify your heart.
St. Bruno wrote to his fellow Carthusians (which he of course founded), “let us rejoice that since you are unacquainted with the knowledge of letters, almighty God will inscribe in your hearts with his finger not only his love but also the knowledge of his holy law.” He’s speaking here to men who have given their lives over to contemplation, and instructing them in how to come to knowledge of the Lord’s great Truths.
Through the life given to them IN His Holy Church.
Not everyone has the luxury of a contemplative life these days. But we have to make time, we have to read, we have to allow ourselves the luxury of being on the path of salvation knowing that the Lord afflicts his beloved with many trials.
Give thanks that the Church exists and that the rot is coming to the light, no matter the confusion from the news. Give thanks that the coming of the Lord is still nigh and that the Lord has chosen us to be in this time, in this place, for a reason. And that reason is to search the depths of our being and come to knowledge of Him and His ways.
Pray for your Priests, please. And 15 minutes of meditation on Sacred Scripture is better than none. It certainly beats supporting Netflix.
St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, pray for us.