October 29, 2009

Rant Follow Up

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?


Cole Matson said...

For what it's worth, to me the Catholic Church appears more vital and steady than the Protestant denomination in which I was raised. I'm still looking in from outside (until Pentecost, when I will be received, Deo gratias), but I'm noticing a lot of fellow converts, both online and in person. (There are several of us at my university who have either converted in the past, are currently doing so, or are thinking about it - we all seem to have been drawn together as if by a magnet.) We're coming in with a passion for the Church, as people who often had to sacrifice to cross the Tiber. Once we've gotten our Holy See legs (sorry, terrible pun, even for me), we're happy to help you and St Francis.

Btw, I seem to be commented on your blog a lot recently. I always find your posts valuable; I guess recently they've just hit home in more obvious ways.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I just love those few times when I find myself alone with God in the church. Things start to make sense again, emotions cool down, and taskings come.

Thanks for sharing your beautiful life with us.

Warren said...

I feel the same way. The catholic faith is being rocked, not by scandal as the media might suggest, but by slow dissolution of the capacity to truly hold the Catholic faith, to understand it, believe it and live it.

The most key doctrines of the faith are the ones we are seeing come under attack. As catholics, our faith in the real presence, our ability to believe in and share with others, about the sanctity of life, the root of its dignity (created by God), and the necessity of conversion, the sacraments, the apostolic faith, and humble obedience to every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, in short our ability to believe and follow the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, is at issue.

The rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, that I professed, is to live the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Similarly, all Christians, ought to live the Holy Gospel.

It seems the whole history of the church, things are being rebuilt, or are falling into ruin. So we can never stop.