When nothing makes sense, when one is certain that “things can no longer go on like this,” one immediately is brought face to face with the most thwarted and disappointed man in the Gospel: John the Baptist…. His mission did not end as he thought it should. Like the earth shaking under his feet, there vomited up that awful sense of meaninglessness which seizes any man of God when he is seemingly not supported by God….
To whom shall we go in such black moments as we face the ugly mask of meaninglessness? John the Baptist went to Christ. Even though he did not understand the Master’s ways, he would bring his despair to Jesus. As Christ on the Cross would go to the Heavenly Father in the darkness of the Fourth Word, so the Baptist would go to Christ in the bleakness of his cell. In stark abandonment no theological discussion, no dialogue with a colleague will solace the heart, but only the experience of having an encounter with Christ. He could have said, “Oh! What’s the use? The hell with it. I’ll give up the priesthood. I made a mistake. This life demands more moral courage than I can summon. This is the end.”
On the contrary, John took all his doubts and despair to the Lamb…. But there are times when the strongest are weak; if he is pure, he feels weak when temptation attacks him; if he is hungering for righteousness, he feels weak in face of the apathy of his colleagues. When the remediless weaknesses of our humanity are upon us, then the strong search for the strongest. And this is what John did….
Somehow or other, Christ does not answer OK when we say, “Help me.” Priests may pledge their lives to Him at ordination, but there will be moments when they will think that He is not equal to their “unbearable situation”…. But in such moments, like John, they must bring their seeming defeat to the Lord, and never brood over it and assume that they know better than the Lord. Blessed is he who in spite of inner questionings and frustrations, still sees no hope for the future except in getting closer to Christ.
Once we begin to separate in Christ His Priesthood and His Victimhood, the priestly life is full of wreckage. His Priesthood can account for our success; His Victimhood alone can explain our defects. When really are we more His? When we are offering, or when we are being offered? The Lord left His own cousin in jail when He could have smitten the bars like Samson. But the Lord Himself would spend Holy Thursday night in jail. Christ the High Priest was inseparably victim; hence He beats down no storms that rise against Him. He rides upon them. The aspiring boy, Joseph, is thrown into a well. Moses is left along the Nile. And John is beheaded….
Though the Lord does not rescue us from the unbearable, His Heart is so grateful for our acceptance of His Will…. The moment we condemn the Lord for forgetting us, is the time when the Lord most highly praises us. We have no idea how much we are loved in that hour when it seems we are most unloved. John thought himself as a broken and forgotten reed, but the Lord saw him as unshakeable as a rock…. In the Divine Order, the imprisoned souls fly. No priestly heart has freedom; it is mastered and victimized: it must be captured before it can fly. The hour of frustration is the day of emancipation. The apparent forgetfulness of Christ as we toil in oblivion is the time when we are most remembered, for it is possible to be “greater than John the Baptist”: and that is by being the “least.” The ark that the Spirit of Christ builds can float in all flood waters. We are winged by our wants. The hope of the future mansion is the house unfinished here. The priesthood learns victimhood in the unsatisfied soul.
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About this blog…
“This blog is like a fusion of the Baroque ‘salon’ with its well-tuned harpsichord around which polite society gathered for entertainment and edification and, on the other hand, a Wild West “saloon” with its out-of-tune piano and swinging doors, where everyone has a gun and something to say. Nevertheless, we try to point our discussions back to what it is to be Catholic in this increasingly difficult age, to love God, and how to get to heaven.” – Fr. Z
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Wonderful about St. Joseph! “Terror of Demons”
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- The most evident mark of God’s anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clerics who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds.
St. John Eudes
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“He [Satan] will set up a counter-Church which will be the ape of the Church because, he the devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the anti-Christ that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ. In desperate need for God, whom he nevertheless refuses to adore, modern man in his loneliness and frustration will hunger more and more for membership in a community that will give him enlargement of purpose, but at the cost of losing himself in some vague collectivity.”
“Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, and the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops.”
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- “The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility; rather it proves the offender's inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for every one else the proper pleasure of ritual.”
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As for Latin…
"But if, in any layman who is indeed imbued with literature, ignorance of the Latin language, which we can truly call the 'catholic' language, indicates a certain sluggishness in his love toward the Church, how much more fitting it is that each and every cleric should be adequately practiced and skilled in that language!" - Pius XI
"Let us realize that this remark of Cicero (Brutus 37, 140) can be in a certain way referred to [young lay people]: 'It is not so much a matter of distinction to know Latin as it is disgraceful not to know it.'" - St. John Paul II
- Daily Rome Shot 529, etc.
- “The sky is crying…” – The Vigil and Tears of St. Lawrence
- Daily Rome Shot 528, etc.
- Wherein Fr. Z rants and recommends a must read entry at NLM
- Meanwhile, the Novus Ordo is the only expression of the Roman Rite… not.
- ASK FATHER: The faithful put blood, sweat, and tears into the building, revival of churches, parishes. Given how bishops them them, is there recourse in Canon Law?
- Your Sunday Sermon Notes: 9th Sunday after Pentecost (N.O. 19th Sunday)
- Daily Rome Shot 527, etc.
- If a law isn’t accepted, it is essentially no law at all. Traditionis? Time will tell. Novus Ordo? Time has told.
- ASK FATHER: Considering the chaos surrounding ‘Traditionis custodes” could we say that, in effect, it is no law at all?
- Daily Rome Shot 526, etc.
- FATHERS! LAITY! Are you ready?
- Daily Rome Shot 525, etc.
- ASK FATHER: I failed to do my confession penance. Now what?
- Daily Rome Shot 524, etc.
- Daily Rome Shot 523, etc.
- Hilarious statement from the Archdiocese of Chicago about the suppression of the Institute of Christ the King
- ASK FATHER: Should displaced Catholics attend the Novus Ordo? Wherein Fr. Z rants.
- Just Too Cool: Mars rover Curiosity is 10 years old
- VIDEO – A message from Card. Burke to the readership of Fr. Z’s Blog
- Daily Rome Shot 522, etc.
- “Si vis pacem para bellum!” Traditional Catholic Activism? Possible? Necessary? Unavoidable? A mind exercise.
- Daily Rome Shot 521, etc. and…
- Daily Rome Shot 520, etc.
- 3.5% of a group can bring the group down, turn it around, or take it over.
- “Beautiful? The FAITHFUL paid for that. Because they WANTED it. And they trusted. They trusted.”
- Invoking “Grandmother of the West”….? What is THAT all about?
- Daily Rome Shot 519, etc.
- D. Arlington: more accompaniment for the faithful who desire the Vetus Ordo
- Francis: Grandmother of the West, invoked, to open the great circle and then blasts at “traditionalists”.
Let us pray…
Grant unto thy Church, we beseech Thee, O merciful God, that She, being gathered together by the Holy Ghost, may be in no wise troubled by attack from her foes. O God, who by sin art offended and by penance pacified, mercifully regard the prayers of Thy people making supplication unto Thee,and turn away the scourges of Thine anger which we deserve for our sins. Almighty and Everlasting God, in whose Hand are the power and the government of every realm: look down upon and help the Christian people that the heathen nations who trust in the fierceness of their own might may be crushed by the power of thine Arm. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
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