The Church 'must' do this. The Church 'must' do that. The Pope 'must' look at this. The Pope 'must' look into that. Someone pass me the sick bag! Who does this guy think he is?!
As Catholics we understand that in every age the Church is 'black, but beautiful'. Saints arise that point the way to Christ in a sinful world and arise like a beacon of light in a Church of sinners.
St Francis of Assisi, St Anthony of Padua, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, St Philip Neri, St Maximillian "Hey, Nazis, why not kill me and spare the married guy with the kids?" Kolbe, the whole litany of Saints down the ages point to a mystery deeper than even the mystery of marriage that St Paul talked about.
I'm preparing for marriage this year. I believe that Our Lord wishes me to love and cherish one person for the rest of my life in holy matrimony and to accept and cherish new life if He blesses us with new life. I'm a homosexual man preparing for marriage with a heterosexual woman. Odd? Yes. Do I give a stuff what you think about that? No. It's between us and God as every marriage is. We've been friends for years and we'll be friends until the Lord separates us by Death. I confidently predict we'll outlast the vast majority of all 'straight' marriages and the vast majority of all 'gay marriages' because of a thing called love.
Of course, for the clergy and Bishops the grass is always greener on the other side, but I would argue that if you didn't want to marry Jesus and you didn't want to embrace His Cross in a unique and more than averagely painful way, then you shouldn't have married Jesus in the first place.
As Catholics, we should admit that if we wanted luxury, roses and comfort, we shouldn't have professed our love for the Child born in a stable in a manger who was born and died in poverty and died nailed to Wood, a total outcast. A Church that has rejected the Cross of Christ is one that will be unable to proclaim His Resurrection since without the first, there is no second.
Making things easier does not make things holier. Along the Via Dolorosa, Our Lord had His Blessed Mother come to Him to share His sufferings in a way which we will never fathom. St Veronica came to perform a work of mercy upon the Lord Himself and was rewarded with His Holy Visage being imprinted upon the cloth. St Simon Cyrene came and was honoured enough to share the weight of the Cross. In times when there is now only one Priest in so many parishes the Cross of loneliness is heavy upon a Priest's shoulder. Maybe your pastor needs your prayer and your active support, your encouragement and even your companionship at times, but if we give the impression that what every second Priest needs is a wife and kids then we really are saying that we live in an age in which the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ - as well as the idea that the Priest is 'alter Christus' - that these belong to an age in which people wanted to be Saints - an age now gone.
I have met Priests who, though it is obvious there is an element of pain and suffering involved in their ministry - physical and mental - it is also obvious that their lives speak of the love of Jesus Christ and that to love Jesus - even to suffer with Him - and to be in an 'exclusive relationship' with Jesus is the most mysterious and incredible thing imaginable on Earth - better than sex and far more satisfying. The future of the Church in terms of 'fecundity' surely is relying on these heroic Priests to come forward to proclaim Jesus to be the only hope for all men and all women - no matter what state or vocation to which they are called.
These men are called to a profound and exclusive love affair with God that calls upon them to renounce all others, instead to love all others for the sake of the God with whom they are in love. None of them can do it on their own. They need our prayers and encouragement. They don't need journalists or even Cardinals telling the Pope what the next Pope 'must' do in order to remove the Cross from their shoulders. Despite what some people are saying about Pope Benedict XVI, neither His Holiness nor his Blessed predecessor shied away from the Cross of Christ.
Both have honoured marriage as the great mystery it is and venerated the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, holding it aloft to humanity as the relationship by which God unites man and woman for their good and the good of mankind. Both Popes honoured the Priesthood as a great mystery and venerated Holy Orders, holding the Sacrament aloft to humanity as the vocation by which God unites Himself to His people for their salvation and the salvation of others. The steadfast work of heroic Popes, confessors, martyrs, saints, venerables and others devoted solely to loving Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother is not going to be undone by a Telegraph journalist and a few English Bishops, The Tablet and even a vast army of people saying, "This is too hard." Be of good cheer. God, at such time, always raises up Saints who show us the way and it is rarely the way we expect.
Pray for holy priests, holier Bishops, holy lay persons, holy religious and a holy Pope.
Sunday, 24 February 2013
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