Where is your Treasure? |
Do not forget those who labor for souls!
"There was a time when, encased in the warm fuzzy cocoon of "modern Catholicism," I didn't realize that one day I'd have to give up my comfortable pew and forge through a veritable jungle in order to get to the truth. For me, and for many others, a huge debt of gratitude is owed to those blessed souls who have tirelessly worked to bring us the Sacraments, or to make available books, websites and other avenues through which the truth is being funneled to those seeking it. It is a great sorrow that so much information seems to be purposely kept far from the book racks of most Novus Ordo parish churches, and totally devoid in mainstream Catholic publications and diocesan newspapers today."
I have often wondered how these Traditional ministries, apostolates, publications, and especially the priests continue as they do because it is a fact that most Traditional Catholic enterprises operate on a shoestring budget. You might say this column today is a call to all Traditional Catholics to examine their consciences and ask: Am I doing enough to help?
I must share with you my great joy in having been blessed to experience the most meaningful and spiritually penetrating Holy Triduum in my life thus far. It was a profound blessing to be able to partake in the sacred liturgy of the Traditional Roman Rite with all the richness, symbolism and depth in which it has been passed down through the centuries. One can only imagine the painstaking care with which generations of saints have tended to the organic development of the rituals and liturgy surrounding Holy Week, with the intention of glorifying God and giving to His people a concrete reflection of that holy union to which we are called; a taste of Heaven while yet bound to earth.
How do we thank those who brave the storms of the Church in our day to bring us the truth handed down through the Sacred Deposit of Faith without the compromises imposed on the Novus Ordo? How can we show our appreciation for the tireless commitment of the holy priests who sacrifice so much to bring the traditional Mass and sacraments to the scattered remnant? In what way might we give in order to help make sure that what we are given will also be available to other searching souls?
In his book, "The Precious Blood: The Price of Our Salvation," written in 1860, Fr. Frederick Faber foresaw the temptations which were to assail the Church in the upcoming century. His prophetic words are chillingly accurate and get to the heart of what has happened to the Church in our day, and why. (Boldfaced type: my emphasis)
Would that men would study more the science of the Sacraments! Devotion would be greatly increased thereby. The peculiar hatred, with which the author of heresy pursues what may be called the sacramental principle in our holy faith, is a token to us of the stress which we ourselves ought to lay upon it.
ůMoreover, a devotion to the Sacraments is very needful for the times in which we live. The spirit of the age must necessarily affect both our theology and our asceticism. Under its depressing constraints we shall be tempted to sacrifice the supernatural to the natural, the passive to the active, and the infused to the acquired. Theology will be allured to merge into metaphysics. Devotion will be considered a vocation, priests a caste, and theology a private professional training. The substance of the old Condemned Propositions about spiritual direction will be adroitly renewed. Men will sneer at perfection in the world. Education will be bidden to throw off what it will be taught to consider the last relics of its monastic trammels. Men will chafe at the condemnation of books, and indeed at all acts of intellectual authority on the part of the Church. The study of dogmatics will be discouraged. The whole theory of Condemned Propositions will be disliked. A discontent with the existing Church, or at least a want of cordial forward sympathy with it, will grow up, while the wickedness of "the respectful silence" of Jansenism will be renewed. The sovereignty of the Church, the pope's temporal power, and the hallowed truths enshrined in canon law, will provoke impatience as obstinate things which will not die although their hour of death has come. The mystical side of the Gospel will become more distasteful while it grows less intelligible. Heroism will have to rank lower than the ordinary attainments of conscientious piety. The privileges of the Church will be less esteemed, and heresy less hated. The Sacraments will count almost for nothing in a man's system. The influence of the Incarnation will be far less recognized and acknowledged in the world; and a modern mixture of Judaism and Pelagianism will take possession of many minds, to the grievous disadvantage of Christian perfection. Such is the spirit which will try to waylay souls on their road to Calvary or to Thabor. Such was not the temper or genius of the saints. Such, by the blessing of God, will not be ours, if we foster in ourselves a deep, a tender, and an intelligent devotion to the Sacraments. I repeat, as I said before, that in an ascetical point of view, I hardly know any thing upon which I should lay greater stress in these days, than a fervent devotion to the Sacraments. (The Precious Blood, Fr. Faber, TAN Books and Publishers Inc., p. 120-122).
I have witnessed and/or experienced many absurd and "unholy" ceremonies in the Novus Ordo, which have been happily passed off as "Catholic." But, the real sadness surrounding the entire Novus Ordo system is this very destruction of the sacramental principle. As Father Faber continues to explain, the Sacraments are simply the "machinery" of the Precious Blood, the conduits used by God to infuse the merits of the Precious Blood into souls. The Sacraments are the "circulatory system" through which the Precious Blood flows, giving life to the Church by carrying the Incarnate Word into the lives of the people. Therefore, what could be more effective in cutting off that "Lifeblood" than to destroy the Sacraments? Did not the architects of Vatican II, while clamoring for reform and modernization, basically destroy the Sacraments while keeping some shadow of their form so as to appear Catholic?
More and more we are hearing the rumblings of conservative Catholics who are at least beginning to really question the legitimacy of certain actions and theological positions being pawned off on the faithful by even the pope himself. As the "Lifeblood" is being drained out of the Church as we knew it, something astonishing is happening. Holy priests are rising up to turn against the tide of modernism and secularism that are eating away at the flesh of the Novus Ordo. Dedicated lay people are withdrawing their families and their support from the New Order parishes in order to seek out authentic Catholic theology, the true Sacraments and the Traditional Roman Rite of the Mass. They are heeding Fr. Faber's instruction that there is hardly anything upon which we should "lay greater stress in these days, than a fervent devotion to the Sacraments."
In light of this, we are faced with the responsibility to give something in return for the generosity of holy priests who bring us the Sacraments. The times we live in are reminiscent of the days when the Church was young, established dioceses and parishes were few, and money in the church coffers was low. The people provided for the needs of the priests in many ways other than by writing a check. We must be creative in considering how to provide for the needs of our traditional priests who give their all to save souls whether they be in an order or independent. I do not deny that there are some good and holy priests yet within the Novus Ordo who are doing their best with what they've been given, but never in the New Order have I seen anything that compares with the huge sacrifices made by traditional priests to bring the true Mass to the faithful, along with the incomparable tenacity of providing the opportunity for regular confession.
Likewise, those seminaries where priests are trained to carry forth the light of Christ according to the authentic doctrines and practices of Catholicism are worthy of our regular support. In what manner we are able to offer support is something we must pray about.
"The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest" (Matthew 9: 37).
"In these days" Catholics must have access to what the true Faith teaches, including what past pontiffs have said regarding so much of what we face today, and what past councils have decreed. Breaking through the fog of Vatican II and seeing the entire treasury of the Faith is imperative for laity and priests alike. A great emphasis must be put upon the need for traditional Catholics to support those avenues through which the truth is being presented like a beacon to weary travelers on a stormy sea.
There was a time when, encased in the warm fuzzy cocoon of "modern Catholicism," I didn't realize that one day I'd have to give up my comfortable pew and forge through a veritable jungle in order to get to the truth. For me, and for many others, a huge debt of gratitude is owed to those blessed souls who have tirelessly worked to bring us the Sacraments, or to make available books, websites and other avenues through which the truth is being funneled to those seeking it. It is a great sorrow that so much information seems to be purposely kept far from the book racks of most Novus Ordo parish churches, and totally devoid in mainstream Catholic publications and diocesan newspapers today.
Here at The Daily Catholic, souls find safe haven where they can read, study and ponder the truths of Holy Mother the Church, while prayerfully seeking solace away from the Novus Ordo storm. At The Daily Catholic, prayer for John Paul II is encouraged, while the facts speak for themselves without standing down to celebrity or emotional attachment. It's a really tough time and there is a lot of confusion that runs deep. With great charity and concern for souls The Daily Catholic continues to wage the battle and offer help to those who have been moved to seek the truth. A few easy clicks of the mouse provide access to an astounding compendium of Catholic doctrine under the heading of Credo and Culture, without any telltale signs of the multitude of hours, research, and formatting that went into providing such information!
In fact, the entire website is a work of love, a devoted effort aimed at the salvation of souls and the glory of the Holy Trinity. By God's grace, such an effort has the potential to open up for many the avenues which will lead them to those sanctuaries where the "sacramental principle" of the Faith is alive and well, where they will find the living waters of the Precious Blood of Christ. But they too need your help both in prayers and donations.
Why do so many access and utilize these excellent Traditional resources including The Daily Catholic and take for granted that whoever is putting out all this information has an unending money supply and does not need your help to continue? Could it also be that many times they are so busy trying to provide for your souls that they forget their own needs and don't want to ask for money because they are not in the business of 'selling' religion, but of generously 'sharing' the True Faith with all in response to Our Lord's call in Mark 16: 15-16 and Matthew 28: 19-20, Mark 16: 15-16, and John 21: 15-19?
I know for a fact that Michael and Cyndi Cain live on a shoestring and spend their time dedicated to spreading the word as Christ asks. They have asked for so little and yet only a few, I understand, have responded. Where are the rest? Are there only a few Good Samaritans out there? Do the rest pass on by, taking it all for granted and more concerned with their own comforts? I have offered my help in establishing a PayPal system for The Daily Catholic so that others can more readily donate because only a few are dedicated enough to take the time and energy to sit down and write a check and send it by snail-mail. As I said earlier, they are so wrapped up in providing for souls, that often they neglect their own needs.
And they are not alone. Consider the other excellent sites and resources out there. For instance, how many traditional chapels are provided with The Remnant and Catholic Family News? These are two excellent publications that are must reading for true Catholics. You could help in increasing subscriptions so more of your Novus Ordo friends are exposed to the charade that is going on in their parishes. Only by exposing the lie can one more clearly see the Truth. What wonderful birthday, anniversary and Christmas presents these make. Both of these publications also offer excellent books. And speaking of books, you won't find a better explanation of what happened at Vatican II than purchasing the excellent books written by Atila Guimaraes and available at Tradition In Action who also operate on a shoestring. I would also recommend the uplifting books on Our Lady of Good Success which Dr. Marian Horvat has written on the apparitions hundreds of years ago that foretold of these very times. Yes there is hope, but it does no good if it is not shared.
Another dedicated soul who lives from day to day is Dr. Thomas A. Droleskey, a very learned man with a Ph.D. who has taught in several universities as well as run for public office, but has always refused to compromise his Catholic principles. For this he has been subsequently not rehired. Now he traverses the country in his modest motor home giving talks to raise funds for his family who accompany him. Few have attended more Traditional Latin Masses around this country than Tom and his wife and young daughter. Now he has undertaken a daunting, but necessary task: establishing a Traditional Catholic University - Christ the King College. That can't be done with a few five dollar bills here and there! Why is it even Traditional Catholics still contribute to their alma maters which are no longer Catholic, but ignore something that will uphold and perpetuate the very beliefs they have sought out? It puzzles me.
What also puzzles me is that Traditional Catholics hunger so for the Sacraments and yet, on Sunday when the collection plate is passed, people may put in only a dollar bill, or a five dollar bill or a ten, some twenties, and several put in checks. I understand a widow's mite and bless them for they are most of the time the most generous. But consider that most likely your priest has willingly given up the comforts of diocesan support, forsaken an insurance and medical program and retirement stipend, to go it alone in bringing the Sacraments - the True Sacraments - to the faithful. Isn't it worth it to increase your donations each Sunday? We all consider the Traditional Latin Mass such a treasure, yet how do we return our measure? Remember we just went through Lent where we sacrificed. That doesn't mean we should now forsake those penitential habits we acquired. Rather we should work to continue those virtuous works and sacrifice every day. Instead of buying this or that, ask yourself if you really need it. If you don't, then don't buy it! Then also ask yourself if you need the Sacraments. That is a no-brainer, of course you do! Therefore, why not save your money and contribute it to where it will do the most good and help foster what Fr. Faber encouraged?
It is time to muster the forces of right and goodness, to speak up for the rights that have been wronged. To many this may seem an impossible dream, but consider Our Lord's affirming words "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19: 26). Let us follow the wisdom of Saint Augustine, "Pray as if everything depends on God, and work as if everything depends on us." The time has come to right the wrongs. The time has come for a holy crusade to recapture the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ and built on the Rock of the Petrine Primacy.
(above paragraph from the Mission Statement of The Daily Catholic)
Truly the time has come to rally more priests to the Truths of Tradition and to have the courage of men like Fr. Lawrence Smith and Father Stephen Zigrang, of the unheralded priests who traverse this land, driving hundreds of miles to bring the Sacraments to those who truly appreciate and realize the veracity of Fr. Faber's words that we must, no matter the cost, foster, preserve and pass on to others an intelligent devotion to the Sacraments. It is the life-blood of the Church, without it, we cannot say "Alleluia." Without a fervent devotion to the Sacraments, the Immemorial Mass, and Doctrines of Truth and Tradition held so faithfully by Holy Mother Church for two millennia we will be petrified on the Via Dolorosa; neither able to go back down the hill in retreat as most of His Apostles and disciples did, nor will we be able to move forward to the summit, where only through our total fiat in being nailed to Jesus on the Cross can we say from the bottom of our hearts and mean it what Thomas the Apostle, the doubting apostle finally discovered when confirming his belief in the Resurrection "My Lord and my God" (John 20: 28).
It is those who cling to the Traditional Latin Rite, those who support these dedicated priests and ministries committed to upholding all that was passed down through the constituted Evangelic Traditions and who foster a deep and tender devotion to the Sacraments who Christ speaks of in the Gospel for Low Sunday, "Because thou hast seen Me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed" (John 20: 29). Are we truly believers who will commit to helping support, spread and preserve the True Faith, or are we merely lurkers who take, but give nothing back in return? That is the measure of how much we treasure the True Treasure of the Sacraments and our Faith.
For past columns by Catharine, see 2004lam.htm Archives