I’ve had a tough few days. How ’bout you?
Conversations with friends and priests suggest that the Devil is working really hard right now to demoralize the Team.
And there is Amoris laetitia with its Infamous Footnote 351 (et al.) and the fallout which is on going. So many people are frustrated, confused, beaten down.
This morning for Mass I read again the prayer for the 2nd Sunday after Easter in the traditional Roman Rite, a very ancient prayer:
Deus, qui Filii tui humilitate iacentem mundum erexisti: fidelibus tuis sanctam concede laetitiam; ut, quos perpetuae mortis eripuisti casibus, gaudiis facias perfrui sempiternis.
O God, who raised up a fallen world by the abasement of Your Son, grant holy joy to Your faithful; so that You may cause those whom You snatched from the misfortunes of perpetual death, to enjoy delights unending.
The great L&S indicates that erigo, giving us erexisti, means “to raise up, set up, erect” and, analogously, “to arouse, excite” and “cheer up, encourage.” The verb iaceo (in the L&S find this under jaceo) has many meanings, such as “to lie” as in “lie sick or dead, fallen” and also “to be cast down, fixed on the ground” and “to be overcome, despised, idle, neglected, unemployed.” Humilitas is “lowness”. In Blaise/Dumas, humilitas has a more theological meaning in the “abasement” of the God Incarnate who took the form of a “slave” (cf. Philippians 2:7). Blaise/Dumas cites this Collect in the entry for humilitas.
Our Collect views us, views material creation, as an enervated body, wounded, weakened by sin, lying near death in the dust whence it came.
Beaten down. Demoralized. Confused. Frustrated.
Because of the Fall, the whole cosmos was put under the bondage of the Enemy, the “prince of this world” (cf. John 10:31 and 14:30). This is why when we bless certain things, and baptize people, there was an exorcism first, to rip the object or person from the grip of the world’s “prince” and give it to the King. God is liberator. He rouses us up from being prone upon the ground. He grasps us, pulling us upward out of sin and death. He directs us again toward the joys possible in this world, first, and then definitively in the next.
We must get back to our feet: rise again.
Our Savior rose for this reason.
In many of our ancient Roman prayers we find a pattern of descent and ascent, of exit and return, exitus and reditus, proodos and epistrophe.
Before the Resurrection there is the Passion.
Before exaltation there is humiliation.
The descent, exit, Passion and humiliation bring an even more exalted joy which will embrace the entirety of man in both soul and body, the interior and the outward human person.
Are you frustrated and anxious? Let us now get up off the ground.
Consider the beauty of a soul in the state of grace.
The baptized Christian is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, resplendent with Gifts and Fruits. When deepened in the Sacrament of Confirmation we are made strong to stand up, first on our knees and then on our feet, though the world, the flesh and the Devil beat us down. Nourished with the Eucharist and polished with the performance of works of mercy, we are soldiers arrayed in the armor of God’s light. We can ask the Father many things in the Lord’s name and we can ask them with confidence.
Let not your heart be troubled. … Amen, amen, I say to you, he that believeth in me, the works that I do, he also shall do: and greater than these shall he do. Because I go to the Father: and whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, that will I do: that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you shall ask me any thing in my name, that I will do. … Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled: nor let it be afraid.