Yes, it’s Bad, but Stop Belly Aching and Start Acting like a Soldier of Christ
It was a changing point in my life: “Lord, I feel really bad for you because I can leave this place, but You can’t!”
I’ve never really looked at things the same ever since then. I had walked into a new parish to me in Michigan, one that was close to where I lived, and was aghast. It was an A-frame structure, and at the front of the church, the center of attention, where one would expect to see God, was instead the pipes of the pipe organ. All I could think to myself was of the Planet of the Apes sequel, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, where the surviving humans underground had taken to worshiping a nuclear warhead. They placed it in an old church in the sanctuary, and looked to it as their salvation. I scanned, and my eyes scanned, and I could not see the tabernacle or sanctuary lamp. It inspired me a little bit of that feeling that Mary Magdalene must of had when she found the empty tomb — they have taken our Lord and I don’t know to where.
My heart sank as pessimistic dystopian views of the future of the Church in America crowded into my mind’s eye — a place where our Lord isn’t even there. As I looked, and looked, I finally spotted a red light. Way off in the distance in the far corner of the church, through glass, and through apparently more glass, I could spy the sanctuary lamp. I turned my body in that direction, it was really far away, genuflected to Our Lord, and that’s when it finally hit me: poor Jesus has to sit in a cry room behind the cry room. They put Our Lord in a “time out” corner far removed from the Church. Is this not His house? Is this not the place where we come to be with Him?
Like St. Peter, I got angry. It’s justified — after all, who do these people think they are to treat Our Savior so poorly, as if He was a vestigial remnant of erstwhile times? Don’t they realize this is the same behavior that brought chastisement after chastisement? All valid thoughts and emotions.
It was then I looked around the church, realized that it wasn’t a very nice building and tried to console Our Lord by telling him maybe it was better back there, because if He was out here in this dank space, He might think they see Him as a metal pipe. It certainly wasn’t better in the church itself. Throughout the Mass, nobody should be surprised with the ensuing craziness I saw. There were at least 30 choir people that marched out into the back of the church around the time of the readings and then proceeded to go up to the sanctuary behind the priest at the altar… as if this was some sort of worship of man.
I mean, for Heaven’s sake, at least the people in Planet of the Apes were ad orientum! These jokers can’t even get thet right!
The whole experience made me realize that the people in the Planet of the Apes sequel might’ve had a better glimpse of Catholic liturgy than what I was then witnessing. After that spectacle of a Mass, I walked up to the far distant corner and went through the chapel genuflecting to Our Lord and that’s when it hit me, I could leave but He could not.
That has to be the same pain Our Lord felt on the crucifix, where love for his hard-nosed and stupid children put Him there, stuck to the cross. So it is with our Church, because wherever valid Mass is held our Lord is there too, certainly in the Blessed Sacrament.
What are we to Do?
He is stuck with us, even the worst of us. Through good times and through the bad. Sure, God could forsake all of creation, but He does not, because He loves us. He stays there, stuck on the cross.
St. Peter got mad and angry, and sliced the guard’s ear off. I want to do that a lot, too. Don’t we all? Our Lord never got mad at St. Peter for that anger… Rather, He did get mad at Him and correct him for taking a swipe with his sword. Why? Because He is in charge, He’s our God. Jesus doesn’t need us to avenge Him… He’s got armies on armies of angels for that. Did you not pay attention to the secret of Fatima, Lepanto, and all the other twists of history? Those angels are real.
What does He need? He needs us to stay with Him. Just as He told his apostles to do. Stay with Him. This is the very tough thing to do with so many maddening things afoot today. It truly is. When some swishy effete wears a felt banner chasuble and tells you to turn to your neighbor and welcome them to “our celebration”, there is nothing wrong with wanting to hoist the black flag, take some heads, and make the rest walk the plank. There isn’t. We just can’t do it, though. Worse, the ongoing madness is tiring. Very tiring.
What do you do, for instance, when a house of God such as Our Saviour in New York City is being gutted by the “man of God” entrusted to care for God’s house? Get mad? Yes. After all, the priest is our mediator with God. Like Moses on Mt. Tabor, he is our go between. He is supposed to bring God to us, and us to God. And how much worse is it when, in my opinion, the lamest excuse is given by him for destroying the adornments of God’s house? He issued this post on Facebook, with an image of a watercolor rendering, saying he wanted to restore the “original vision” of the church. Sorry, but that watercolor picture was never real, but instead, the real vision of the Church was lived in and had icons added to the sanctuary and sanctuary lamps. Over the years of living in Our Lord’s house, adornments had been added to make it a lived in home. In my opinion, his “vision” was as faint and dreamy fantasyland as the watercolor. Lame. Deformed. Sorry excuse. Pray for that priest and for the bishops that supported what looked like a charade to me.
Instead of talking about God as if He was a third person, we need to refocus that God is there. That’s what changed for me that day. In Our Saviour parish, Jesus had to sit there and watch the adornments His children made for His house ripped off the walls. I’m sorry, Lord. These things injure people’s faith in you and in Your priests, our go between with You and drive a wedge of emotion into people.
But to what end are we being driven? Out. Or, as I will show below, into a useless state of human emotion. Over the decades of my life, I have watched it year in and year out. People going through the out door. Some of them are very learned in the faith and loyal to traditions. In my opinion, despite all the best intentions and righteous anger, leaving and going somewhere else is no better than Peter’s denials at the fire. The anger should not drive one out — after all, Our Lord is really present, and He can defend Himself. Be one of his apostles still at his side when He comes to harvest (and it’s obvious He’s going to do that – He will not be mocked for long).
The Enemy’s Plan is to Drive You into Emotional Obsolescence
Do you see how these preposterous activities are an attack on the faith, though? It is real. The things I wrote about in What really killed the Church in America are still active today. What should be apparent to everyone is that this enemy has been within the Church since Pascendi. Bishop Graber, Bishop of Regensberg, wrote a small title in 1971, Athanasius and the Church of Our Time, in which he brings a number of these issues to light. Most importantly, he cites the very enemy within, the “Judases in the Church” (as Fr. Hardon called them). With their own words cited below, you will see that they set out this very type of attack from within.
Citing an article by George Fresher von Hertling in Hochland, Graber illustrates what our enemy within planned to do: “Carping criticism, the shaking of confidence in the good intentions of leading figures, passing disparaging judgement on exiting institutions, an over-zealous exposure of real or supposed defects…” Sounds familiar. Recall that, as Marxists and Socialists demonstrate over and over again, they will manufacture the circumstances demanding criticism. Wreckovations, for instance. It has all the emotional trauma of ISIS, and worse, the perceived ennui of the hierarchy draws the blade deeper. What is the end, though?
This enemy has us targeted. That’s not mere rhetoric or hyperbole. They admit it directly decades ago. Graber continues his quotation of von Hertling:
“Admittedly, not for anyone with insight. Those who possess insight know how to distinguish between the ideal and the real, between how things ought by rights to be and what human frailty continually makes of them.”
Those of us who get angry are the target. Why? Because only someone who can distinguish between what ought to be and what is happening realizes why these acts are so wrong! Now, it gets worse. This quotation gets into how the enemy is playing your emotions:
“They do not despair of the truth of the Christian doctrine of salvation because they cannot help seeing that it is sometimes distorted by superstitious practices, dishonored by unworthy priests, or abused in shameless profit-making.”
Sounds like an inventory of the criticisms I hear lodged today. In fact, it seems like von Hertling was delivering a plan rather than merely explaining. So, they know that our faith is not shaken by Judases. After all, we all know that Our Lord is something far greater than crooks, cheats, and fools. This is further divided in how the apostasy will happen:
“They know how strong the bonds are binding us to what has been handed down to us by our forefathers, how difficult it is to do away with what has grown up in the course of history once tradition and custom seem to have endowed it with a right to existence … But not everyone possesses this insight. Wide circles lack it completely.”
How true! Many of those wide circles are today neopagans, protestant, or gone along with the tide of AmChurch, and greeting their neighbor “for celebration” in a local worship space near you. So we see that this is part of the AmChurch meat grinder — to grind the wide circles out. If that wasn’t bad enough, they target many with heinous activity:
“To make matters worse, life in the modern world in many respects follows courses which are alien, if not directly hostile, to the supernatural Christian Faith. Hence the halfhearted, the wavering, and those of little faith will usually surrender without any recourse to a sharp accusation against figures in the Church or a thoughtless criticism within the Church of institutions which exist and are tolerated here and there. The last loose spiritual tie still binding them to the Church is broken. They feel obliged to condemn every aspect of Catholic devoutness …”
You just can’t make this up. Is this not what you’ve seen across the last thirty years or more? Notice also the military language! “surrender”?! This is our enemy! This is the battle plan of the foreign army within. The fifth column, the army of hell. But what about us? What about us who still hold to orthodox tradition and belief in what our forefathers passed on — in Jesus living in our tabernacles? What do they think will happen to us?
“…I wish to express the idea that the no one should appear before the public as a critic or reformer of his Church who does not have the desire and the power really to improve what he sees to be in need of improvement or at least to get his criticism and suggestions heard in competent quarters. If this is not the case, he will, even in the best intentions, merely vex the weak and delight the Church’s enemies.”
(Graber, Athanasius…, pp 42-3).
That’s the pivot for us. We could take to the human path, like Peter did. But even our enemy knows that human power is not enough. Notice the line in that last quote: “desire and the power to really improve what he sees” We have that power. It’s the supernatural assistance given to those in a state of grace. Earlier, the enemy identifies the power when speaking of modern life aligning against the supernatural faith. We have it. We have Our Lady and her rosary! We have the sacraments! That’s where we need to focus! Coincidentally, that’s what Our Lady asked us to do at Fatima! Pray and fast. Over and over again — why? Because that’s the power and the armory that our enemy cannot withstand. Notice how the entire passage above speaks of things on human terms. And notice how the enemy’s plan reduces the battle to human outcomes, even admitting that our anger is justified, it is a trap because the anger only fuels the situation by “vex[ing] the weak and delight[ing] the Church’s enemies.” Our battle includes the supernatural and that power is something our enemy cannot even speak of, much less withstand.
So where are you? Are you falling into the trap of fake news about the pope and considering Pope Francis is the “anti-pope”? Are you wavering because you see archbishops fighting over fundamental aspects of the faith? Are you righteously angry because some Judas or tool of Judas is wreckovating a church with a smile?
Are you all of that? It’s OK. Talk to Our Lord: Lord, I feel bad for you because the enemy mocks you right in your home, but I will not leave, help me understand this enemy so I can be a good soldier. Lord, Francis is Your Vicar, did he really say what the news said he said? Mary, I will pray a rosary today because we need some armory of supernatural grace to blow these fools up. Lord, I am so upset that they did this to Your house that I’m going to skip dessert and offer it to You as consolation.
By the way, Lord, is it time we bid fire come down from Heaven and consume them? (Luke ix 54)
If you believe your old Baltimore Catechism: that this is the Church militant, and, by virtue of your confirmation, that you are a soldier of Christ, then start to act like it! Fall in line, say your prayers, and get your ammo in order for the fight.
This article, Yes, it’s Bad, but Stop Belly Aching and Start Acting like a Soldier of Christ is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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