19 December 2014

On Christmas, Sort of, and the Need to Celebrate It

Isaias 40: 1-10

[1] Be comforted, be comforted, my people, saith your God. [2] Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her: for her evil is come to an end, her iniquity is forgiven: she hath received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins. [3] The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God. [4] Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough ways plain. [5] And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken.

[6] The voice of one, saying: Cry. And I said: What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the glory thereof as the flower of the held. [7] The grass is withered, and the dower is fallen, because the spirit of the Lord hath blown upon it. Indeed the people is grass: [8] The grass is withered, and the flower is fallen: but the word of our Lord endureth for ever. [9] Get thee up upon a high mountain, thou that bringest good tidings to Sion: lift up thy voice with strength, thou that bringest good tidings to Jerusalem: lift it up, fear not. Say to the cities of Juda: Behold your God: [10] Behold the Lord God shall come with strength, and his arm shall rule: Behold his reward is with him and his work is before him.

All flesh is grass. The grass is withered.  The flower has fallen.

True words, and they resonate with me in this time of great tribulation for Catholics.  It seems that the time of Arius is combined with the time of Luther; all that remains is to mix in the time of Diocletian. 

So, falling prey to a slight spiritual malaise is pretty much a daily possibility-- and yet, I don't really feel down.  The situation in the hierarchy is sometimes so comically bad that it is impossible to do anything but laugh.  It is so bad that I realize that I cannot place my trust in frail and transitory flesh.

I ask you: do any of you have a relative or friend for whom you have been praying, or sacrificing, or just encouraging to embrace the Catholic faith?  Has the pope made that task easier or harder?

When the boss doesn't think we should advertise because he doesn't believe in the company's product line anymore, and tells potential customers to avoid the company's salesmen, discourages job applicants because the whole thing sounds too good to be true, and gives public support for his competitors, is it any wonder that sales plummet, employees quit and the organization is adrift?

Pardon the comparison of the Church, the Spotless Body of Christ, to a business concern.  But I also speak to Catholics who cling to the Republican party for some reason.  I kid because I love!

What is to be done, ask those who have not despaired of the product, the organization, and most importantly, its Founder?  

You make do.  Carry on. Ignore the inanity at the top.  Counteract the sabotage at all levels.  Form the best team you can to keep the company going.  Mind your own task-- man your trench, if you will-- and do that as well as you can.  Petition the Founder for help and be confident.

What ends up happening?  Maybe little.  But maybe you then identify just who really believes in the product, and who can be counted on when things are bleakest.  You form ties, little webs of organized beneficial activity.  You regroup, and ultimately are prepared to break through, take over, and renew the operation.

So, perhaps, the Franciscan "renewal" will bring about just that, though through the irony of unintended consequences. 

People, there is no glamour in being a practicing, faithful, morally sensitive Catholic.  Not one that stands for the moral law for which the hierarchy seems to have no use.  God's law embarrasses some.  You know who they are.  So what?  Stand up for it anyway.

There is no glamour in maintaining and standing for Tradition. Certainly no glamour in supporting the traditional Mass and the traditional formulations of the faith.  Some people call you "rigid", "judgemental", "spiritually dead", "neopelagian" (ha!).  PhariseesYou know who they are.  So what?  Stand up for it anyway.

Into this rambling post I wanted to mention two items I saw on the net this week that I wanted to second and amplify. They fit with this theme.  Tradition will survive-- it is attached to the Vine like nothing else in the Latin Church today. Read this piece by Michael Matt at The Remnant and this post be Hilary White with a nice perspective on it, and our times.  I love the analogy to Narnia she uses.

Christ is victorious.  He will vindicate.  He asks our faithfulness and love.  He is coming.

I love Christmas.  It's like saying I like chocolate ice cream, I know.  But I will celebrate Christmas this year like it could be the last.  Because it could be-- it always could be, you know.  Christ came in gentleness, love and peace, to save me from my wretchedness.  I want to love Him now, so I might not be the victim of just fear when He comes again in Justice and Glory.

I love His Church, and I pray for the grace to stand with and for her, despite anything and everything.


Long-Skirts said...


If I had a big house,
As a rule-of-thumb,
At Christmas I'd have loved-ones
And others, if they'd come.

If I had a big, house,
A cupboard, warm and round,
Would feed my Christmas guests
The staff of life, here, found.

If I had a big, house,
All men I would let in,
At Christmas shed their burdens,
Learn losses can be wins.

If I had a big, house,
All Christmas, linens, laced,
And men who came to visit
Would yield a certain grace.

But, I don't need a big house,
I'm in the biggest home,
Where hindered senses are enhanced
By way of Christmas-Rome.

For Christmas-Rome's eternal,
Shall not be bought or sold,
And yule-logs in perpetuum
Glow red fore Christmas-gold!!

Christoph said...

This papacy is now beyond parody.

Anonymous said...

This pope has made it easier; he is an inspiration.
We are reminded to love the person, and be merciful. We are encouraged to live exemplary lives rather than search for wrong doing. We must be accepting of others in their humanness.

Saint John XXIII reminds us "We are not on earth to guard a museum, but to cultivate a flourishing garden of life.

Anonymous said...

Pardon me for forgetting to sign my message

Mary Anne