“…The beloved of the LORD, he abides in safety beside him; He shelters him all day long; the beloved abides at his breast.” Deuteronomy 33:12
Lately it seems that people within the Church have a lack a belief. I have sat through homilies in my life where a Priest has proclaimed there was no multiplication of loaves and fishes and there was no star of Bethlehem. I have read article after article recently where Bishops and Priests defy Church teaching and call upon those who agree with Church teaching to be fired from their jobs.
“Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.’ So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” Mark 6:4-6
I have stated before that a Priest's mission is to Guard the Divine. They are also called to protect the souls in their care, yet it seems some disregard this duty as well. They want to allow reception of communion for non-Catholic spouses. I wonder if they forget, there is already a process for discernment of receiving the Eucharist for non-Catholics, it is called RCIA. And it is the model for the whole Church, for it calls souls to conversion of heart and true unity. For Christ says;
“I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” John 10:14-16
This oneness does not come from a false unity that disregards the law. It comes from embracing the fullness of truth.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17
Bishops who do not try to convert souls, towards the fullness of the truth, are treading on dangerous ground with their own souls. If you train someone to receive Christ without true conversion of heart, which requires unity with the Church and her teachings, you are culpable for teaching falsehood. We are commanded to bring them to truth.
“My brothers, if anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.” James 5:19-20
I can only come to one conclusion when I read these stories. The Spirit of Arius is alive and well. In an effort to bring Christ’s humanity to us, they are forgetting His Divinity. We all know Jesus took on our humanity. He did so to bring us Divinity and save us from our sins, not accommodate them. The job of the Church and her leaders is to lift us toward the Divine, not let us wallow in sin or stay divided from unity with the truth.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.” John 14:15-17
I think we all have seen persecution comes from the secular world towards us in the Church. But what we didn’t expect was the persecution that would come from inside the Church herself, if you try to remain faithful to her teachings and live in love. But there are those who came before us who did know. Think Joan of Arc and Padre Pio. The Church is going through a Passion.
“Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh. – Catechism of the Catholic Church 675
So what do we do? Remain faithful and pray. Do not shoot poison arrows back when they get shot. Get on your knees and pray. It is precisely in these times we, the laity, must be fearless in speaking and living truth. This does not mean screaming at or attacking people with how “right” we are. It means remaining in love and peace as we live and speak.
The Church holds the truth and the gates of hell shall not prevail. I have had two things happen in my prayer over the past year. The first is that God has shown me living water flowing from the altar at the consecration. HE IS THERE, renewing us with the Eucharistic Sacrifice. I also keep having the song, “Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary” play over and over in my head. The second thing I get shown is a Map that has apparition sites like Fatima and Lourdes where Mary appeared. I could not for the longest time figure out why I was shown this map. But the other day God whispered to me, “The apparition sites, they are where people go and live the way we should be living. When you go, what you see is people praying, people going to Mass and people going to Confession.” They are living the Sacramental life.
Persecutors, whether inside the Church or outside, whether a communist government or an age old heresy, we must know they can try take the Sacraments from us, but they cannot take the Sacramental life in us. They cannot take the living water that flows forth into us from these places. We can make this living water flow to the world. We must never cease praying for our Priests, Bishops, and the Pope. And we must know, for sure, that anyone who takes on Christ and His Mother, will not prevail.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.