History really does repeat itself, over and over again. This is true for the secular world and it is true for the supernatural Church here on Earth as well. Just as worldly leaders and influencers fail to see these signs and the re-emergence of sinful and destruction patterns, those in the Church miss them also.
We as a Church are in perilous times right now, but I think many are missing it. I think many of us are buying into the same false inclinations and narratives that have plagued our world and our Church from the very beginning and origin of time. I think many of us would be surprised at where the true destructive nature of these actions are coming from. I myself, have come to a startling revelation over the past couple of months that has been quite surprising for me. Many of us believe Pope Francis to be the root and central figure in so many of the issues today in our Church, and I thought the same for many years. I have read all the books, watched all the YouTube Channels and personalities. Many of these channels and personalities I disregarded straight away, they were just a little too radical for my taste, but many others I viewed quite habitually, and it drove me to a place of despair and hopelessness regarding our Church Leaders and our Church and the direction she was headed.
I am not sure what happened, but the scales have seemed to be lifted from my eyes somewhat, of late. I have stumbled upon some different media outlets that seem to be a bit more reliable and have been very convincing of dispelling many false narratives, I had been sucked into for many years. I am also seeing some of these Media Giants fall from Grace in some very prominent ways, and others are being exposed as liars and even cheaters. The false narrative is being called out, and backed up. That has been very enlightening for me.
Here is a thoughts on the current state of things:
* We seem to be experiencing a unique time of Mercy in our Church right now. Saint Faustina prepared us for this period with her private revelations and Our Lord gave us the Divine Mercy Devotion through these revelations and apparitions. They have been approved by the Church, and are very hopeful for us. The main theme of this devotion is: "Jesus, I Trust in You". I find it interesting that in a time when Mercy is being so abundantly and generously showered down upon us, so many are rejecting it. It is interesting though, the way this mercy is being rejected. Pope Saint John Paul 2 spent a great deal of his pontificate promoting this message, and he also emphasized "Do Not be Afraid". You see, love breeds courage and there is no fear where there is love and trust. Pope Francis initiated and established a Year of Mercy in 2015, reiterating the need to trust and extend Christ's love and hope to the world. In the years since that Year of Mercy, it seems many in the Church have done the opposite, and things seem to be spiraling even more to that effect on a global and international level.
* I've been pondering a particular parable of Jesus lately. It is probably his most popular. I am finding certain aspects of this tale especially interesting. They are:
- The Prodigal Son - most of us focus on the main character of this story - the prodigal son, who turns his back on his father, lives a life of debauchery, and then once he hits rock bottom, decides to return home. I've heard the story many times, but in light of recent events in the Church, especially with the release of Fiducia Supplicans, this story has really come to my mind. You see, the prodigal son decides to head home to his father after he hit rock bottom. He is hungry and cold, and his life is miserable. He finally realizes, what his father offers is pretty good, and he decides to repent, and ask for forgiveness. Now, we don't really know if this is a genuine need for forgiveness or one born of desperation, do we? We do know he wants to live a better life, and he knows his father can provide that to him. So, he returns home. His father is on the lookout for his son though, and runs to him, and greets him first. The father is overjoyed to see his son returning to him. A grand celebration is initiated, and everyone rejoices and praises the son's return. Well, not everyone. The older son iss quite upset over all this fuss and revelry. Perhaps he is also a bit envious of the attention and adoration his brother is receiving? He is quite alarmed and scandalized by such an act of celebration for someone who had led such a life of debauchery, and he lets his Father know it. He is not happy about the return of his brother, and he is quite scandalized by the mercy shown by his Father.
I just can't help to compare the reaction of so many in the Church to this new document that shows mercy to sinners, and tries to impart to them mercy and hope, to the reaction of the older son in this story. The father is blessing his son in this story, because he has returned home and is seeking to do better. He doesn't really know his son's true motivations, or intentions. He doesn't put his son through an inquisition to determine if he is truly sorry, and repentant. He just welcomes him and shows him he is loved and valued. The Father doesn't know that his son might not fall again, he just knows he seems to be trying. Isn't that what we are all doing, when we approach the altar and try to seek refuge in Holy Mother Church? Should not the Church be creating an environment where people feel safe and loved enough to be vulnerable, and ask for help? I'm sure all of us would affirm this, when put this way. It seems to me, that is exactly what this document does. To claim the Pope has approved the blessing of sin is slanderous and gravely dangerous. He has done no such thing, This is clearly stated in the document. It is beyond my comprehension how so many don't understand this, it is laid out repeatedly in very simple terminology. This is a Magisterial Document, and it carries teaching authority. To publicly condemn this document, the Magisterium and the Pope automatically locates us outside the confines of the Church and Her Authority. Undermining Church authority does nothing to build up the Body of Christ. Jesus himself told us, the Gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church. Do we believe this promise? Because if we do, then we should know there is no error in this document. To say there is, and to misrepresent the Church and her Authority in this way, questions the trust we have in Our Lord Jesus Christ. We either believe him or not. Let's go back and look at that Divine Mercy message - "Jesus, I trust in you." Do we?
Pride and arrogance are terrible vices, and they blind us. They also cause us to rebel against the mercy shown to those we believe are not worthy of it or who might not be sincere. We fear those who only seek to scandalize the faithful. I would assert those aren't our battles to fight, especially as laity. So many of us get this wrong. Divine justice is not our job, it is God's job. To show mercy is our job, and those who are not sincere and are out to scandalize the faithful, God will take care of. It is the same way with evangelizing. Our pride dictates that we must convince others about the Truth and the Gospel, but this is not what Christ commanded. Christ commanded us to preach the Gospel. The convincing is not up to us. That is left to the Holy Spirit and individual human free will. To delay the delivery of the Gospel because WE don't think someone is ready for it, is not that much different than delaying mercy, because we don't think someone is ready for it. That is not our call. Again, do we trust Jesus, or not? Another thing to ponder, didn't Jesus scandalize many with his offer of mercy to sinners? Who were the ones scandalized most often in these scenarios? Wasn't it the religious authorities? Didn't Jesus even warn us of these religious authorities? Was not the religious authorities so scandalized by the mercy shown by Jesus to sinners, that they eventually crucified him and accused him of blasphemy? Does any of this sound familiar?
At the end of the story of the Prodigal Son, the older son is left outside, outside the celebration. He excludes himself from the banquet. The father pleads with him to come in to the feast. We are left wondering what happened. I think this is the story of many of us today. We are putting ourselves on the outside. We are sitting on the stoop, pouting and upset by the mercy of the Father toward sinners. Are we going to get up and go in? Are we going to rejoice over that lost sheep returning to the fold, or are we going to stay on the outside and worry they are not sincere, and they are going to scandalize others? We are the ones missing out in the end.
We either embrace Jesus and trust in him or we don't. If we don't, then it is at a great cost, to not only ourselves, but to Christ and His Church.