After writing yesterday's rant I went to offer Mass for some of our high school freshmen on their day of retreat. Returning to the parish office, I took care of a couple of random things before the late afternoon quiet set in. I had a wedding rehearsal to do at five o'clock--the visiting priest who was supposed do it having sketched out--and went into the church early to do a couple of things before the happy couple and their wedding party started to show up. I had plenty of time to do what I needed to do: pray None, empty the candle and poor boxes, switch out the holy water in the stoups, and finally pray Vespers, as the wedding rehearsal would take me away from Evening Prayer in common.
When I had finished all of that, I still had about fifteen minutes before the rehearsal was supposed to show up. The church was wonderfully dark because of the rainy day outside. I knelt down in the front pew of the church before the Lord's sanctuary--the same spot where I sat as a newly professed friar and where my parents stood as I was ordained priest on the sanctuary steps. As I looked up at the tabernacle, the crucifix, the great Cor Iesu Sacratissimum Miserere Nobis and Amoris Victima that speak insistently from the sanctuary, the message of the crucifix of San Damiano to St. Francis came to me:
"Francis, go and repair my house, which you see is being totally destroyed."
As the gift of my quiet time and prayer in church it came upon me insistently. If I discern and become aware that the Catholic faith is falling apart, its most basic teachings and tradition evaporating from the hearts of the baptized--well, here is my chance to become a son of St. Francis, to be the friar I have desired to be since I first met Francis in History 232 all the way back in college.
So, ranting has its place, so long as it helps to shock the ranter and audience into a discernment of what can be done. My prayer forces the question upon me: what am I doing, in my example, my stewardship of the sacred mysteries, and my preaching to rebuild the Church in the neighborhood that the Holy Spirit has put into my vicarious care?