I’ve noted with interest a number of reviews of the past year regarding the Church. Not a few saw the last year as a “year from hell” or an “annus horribilis”.
Sure. That’s not unfair. It was a very difficult year, filled with many shocks and disappointments for those of us who love the Church.
However, I offer hereunder a couple other points to consider, especially because it has been rough year.
First, when someone in a high place has said or done some crazy or confusing thing, people have had recourse to their good resources to look up the Church’s true teaching. It could be that many of these people haven’t cracked the covers of a catechism for decades. Suddenly, people are reviewing even the basics of the Faith, which have been challenged through ambiguity or downright contradiction. As a result, people have had the opportunity to deep the Faith in which they believe (fides quae creditur) as well the Faith by which they believe (fides quae creditur). The crisis has prompted lots of people to drill in and learn and live better.
Next, when you go into churches, especially in Rome, you will see inscriptions that, invariably, have dates. Quite often before the year you will see “A.D… anno Domini… in the year of our Lord”. In Roman churches you might see “A.S… anno salutis… in the year of our salvation”. At the beginning of a new “year of the Lord” or “year of salvation” we are reminded that Christ is the Lord of our time here, and His Lordship is directed to our salvation. There is nothing easy about that. And why should it be easy? Winning our salvation wasn’t easy for Christ. Christ’s manner of being Lord informs our time here.
Of all the universes God might have created, He created this one, into which He called us into existence not at any old random time, but at a precise time known to Him from before the creation of the cosmos. He knew us all before the universe was created and had something in mind for us. That’s why He called us out of nothingness into personhood as His images here and now. This is the time God wanted us to live. Therefore, this is the best time for us to be here. The circumstances of our world are not irrelevant. This is the where and the when of our working out the salvation He has offered.
Looking at the state of the Church, we must remember that Jesus is the Lord of our time here. The Church is His. We all have a part to play in the Church and in the world.
As a point of reflection for this new year of salvation, I propose that you must not look at what is going on around you as if you are passive spectators.
You must not be down hearted. If this is a hard time, then, as a member of this Church Militant, like the soldier pilgrim you are, remember that, when you live your vocation you, like a soldier in the midst of battle, are in the safest and best place you can be. When you are fulfilling your vocation and God’s will for you with true devotion, then God will give you every actual grace that you need in abundance, because you are fulfilling the role He knew for you in His great plan, the economy of salvation, from before the formation of the cosmos.
You have vocations to fulfill as a member of the Church, Christ’s mystical Person, both ad intra (within herself) and ad extra (to the world around us).
And… GO TO CONFESSION!