I was asked a couple of nights ago about how this year has been and I think I answered it has been bad, in part out of exhaustion. It is the busy time of the year around here. Although the season is Advent, and one is supposed to be contemplating the incarnation, around casa Pukeko it is the annual party followed rapidly by getting the house ready for the summer holidays. Which it is not. The back garden will be left as a wild meadow, and my son reminded me that we have too much stuff.
But at this time we need to remember that all of the Church is Christ’s and he will bring us back to himself. We need to have faith in this. My favourite traditional Papist is quite worried (and with good reason) about the current leadership of his church, but he writes wisely here. If we err, there will be consequences.
Don’t be, therefore, too afraid. The amount of humiliation and disfiguration the Church will have to endure has been decreed already, and its end too. Our role is to participate in this plan so that, with God’s Grace, we may merit salvation by being among those who have furthered His cause. Our role is, also, to endure whatever punishment God will send on us Christians and Catholics with Christian resignation, without rebelling and thinking that we know better, or this mess is too much for us, or the gates of hell must have prevailed.
Francis may think that he can reshape the Church; or he may, more modestly, think that he can give a lesson to the Bishops and assorted “Neo-Pelagians”. But always remember this: God can strike him down instantly, anytime. He could be dead as I write this, or as you read it. One little touch, and he’s gone. Terrible times might well be in store for us. Still, we won’t be punished one bit harsher than we have deserved.
For we live in our society, which has embraced the sin of Lucifer. We all want to be Gods: we worship our pride and call it our spirituality and our self esteem. We are not prepared to discuss, shame, guilt, sorrow: forgetting that these are necessary for repentance and redemption. And we forge what God is, and that none of us can withstand him.
For God is light, truth and holiness, and we are dark, we lie to ourselves, and we struggle with simple obedience.
For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
(Hebrews 12:18-29 ESV)
It is a terrible thing to be naked in front of the righteous, for our shame is exposed. And that will be our fate, unless Christ clothes us. As the Priests could not enter the temple without clothing held for that purpose (and that purpose alone) we need to be covered by Christ. He needs to claim us and stand with us. Or we will fall to the accuser and enemy, in this life and in the next.
But this society denies that; saying with are Gods, and there is no need for another. As if. I still think the mortality rate for humanity is 100%. We are limited: the most knowledgeable among us know how many gaps there are (which is why we continually say this needs more research ) and we are not righteous and holy and with the power to make or unmake. Any authority that the Church has is delegated from Christ.
And we need to recall that he is the incarnate God, and this season is not merely about sales on Boxing Day after a feast on Christmas.