SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING column for November 21, 2000
SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING
Rather than complaining, let us give thanks
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Since I last wrote to you, I am wondering if you are still plastered in front of the TV set, watching and wringing your hands over the outcome of our presidential election? If you are, may I humbly suggest that you remove yourself from this debacle, and, instead, return your attention to God, Who has all things in His Hands? We have done our job by voting, now we must return to our full time job of praying.
As this election plays itself out, while human history is being made, there is a point that the Holy Spirit wishes me to make. It is this. Have you noticed that as society breaks down, (and do we not see that breakdown within the election process itself?) that the same breakdown occurs daily, and throughout the world in the Mystical Body of Christ?
How, you may ask, are the two related? It is simple. All things are fulfilled in Christ, Our Lord, God and Savior. His Body, the Mystical Body, is comprised of members who, though filled with fault and, too often, sin, must nevertheless strive after perfection. The more who strive for perfection, the more we see that unity which only the Holy Spirit can bring, and the fuller the perfection of its members on earth in the Mystical Body, the more we uphold and keep sacred the Sanctity of Life from conception to natural death.
While the media pundits, and Al Gore himself, keep assuring the nation that the "democratic" process will unfold as it should, that our constitution will be upheld, that we will, eventually, have a president, I am prone to ask: "Why do they keep telling us this?" If everything is okay, then why have a press conference to tell us that? Or, are we being lied to yet again, while the vote is counted, recounted, recounted again, and who knows where it will go from here? Is it that, in the long run, the democrats will whine so long and loud, that the residents of Palm Beach will cry loud enough, so that Al Gore will be the next president? Only God knows…but somehow in my heart I feel very sad, and very uneasy about this "democracy", that has been bought at such a high price since the Revolutionary War.
I am uneasy because I have seen this nation slip down the drain to hell in the last eight years. I have also watched Holy Mother Church in America (and I'm sure other nations), become filled with dissension from within and without. I have realized, especially since the pilgrimage to Lourdes in May, that the fullness of the Mystical Body of Christ is mystical marriage with Him, that the fullness of the Mystical Body of Christ is, for us in our earthly sojourn, truly Heaven on earth.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is so vital that we all come to understand that when we go against God, when we debate with the Holy Father, with the teachings of Holy Mother Church, we sin, and that sin ripples outward and touches every single member of the Mystical Body of Christ on earth. We tear apart this most precious Body by our selfishness, pride, disobedience, and by our sins of omission.
I wonder just how many Christians, and Catholics in particular, voted contrary to the moral law? I wonder how many cast their vote for the culture of death because they like the low road to hell better than the narrow road to Heaven? I wonder how many voted to crush the Sanctity of Life because they liked the odds that their pocketbooks and checking and savings accounts would flourish, thus insuring them ease in this life, while not even considering their treasure in Heaven?
Half of the nation did just that, my dear brothers and sisters, and because of that the Mystical Body of Christ on earth has been torn and tattered. In short, we have splattered blood all over Our Divine Savior because of what? Pride!!!
Isn't that what Adam and Eve had when they ate of the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil? Pride got in, and with pride walked disobedience. For that one act of disobedience, they were cast out of Paradise, the Garden of Eden, and their sin taints all of us at birth, but we are cleansed of the sin at Baptism, but not of its burdens. Yet we continue to complain and fail to realize the treasures God has given us. We have become ungrateful children totally out of touch with reality - the reality of God's Will in our lives.
Think then how much harm we do to Christ's Mystical Body when we err. We can rationalize and justify just about everything under the sun, and we have seen the current administration do that very thing, and to do it so cleverly and slickly, that the nation really doesn't have a moral fiber anymore. No, moral fiber must be part of the individual, and slowly, one generation at a time, we will put God back into our lives and into our nation.
We must seek to be pure; we must desire to be holy and pleasing to God. This is a matter of the will, and then the will cooperates with the graces given by God to attain that degree of holiness to which God has ordained each one of us. We must seek this with our entire heart, and when we strive for holiness, then we repair, so to speak, the Mystical Body of Christ. Holiness is not only possible; it is what we were made for. Anything else, anything less, and we tear down the Mystical Body of Christ, just as the country is divided now into two camps in what could be called a civil war over the presidential candidates.
On this special feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where Our Lady, as a young virgin, was presented in the temple in all her purity by her mother St. Anne and her father Joachim, I am moved by several passages from the Gospel. The first is Luke 2: 35, "And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." How many look at the Blessed Mother as a martyr? But in truth she was; the martyrdom of the soul. In that same chapter consider and His mother kept all these things carefully in her heart" (Luke 2: 51). Yes, Mary, suffered in a mystical manner the same Passion and Death of her Divine Son.
She knew inherently what Jesus meant when he said in Matthew 10: 39, "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it."
She understood exactly His meaning earlier in the same chapter, 15-22, "Amen I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that town. Behold, I am sending you forth like sheep in the midst of wolves. Be therefore wise as serpents, and guileless as doves. But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be brought before goernors and kings for My sake, for a witness to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious how or what you are to speak; for what you are to speak will be given you in that hour. For it is not you who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father Who speaks through you. And brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and put them to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake; but he who has persevered to the end will be saved."
Is it not the Blessed Mother who has been reinforcing throughout the centuries as Mother of the Church Our dear Lord's words recorded in Matthew 7: 7,11? "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you...Therefore, if you, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"
If we truly believe in Christ, if we trust His words and seek to honor His Most Holy Mother, if we are seeking to build up the Mystical Body of Christ, then why are we worried? Our Lord knows how we voted. Our Lord knows how much we care, or not, about the Sanctity of Life. The outcome of the election will come to pass…but let's not wait until that happens before we start rebuilding our country one life, one heart at a time. This, my dear brothers and sisters, is the secret. One life, one heart at a time must seek holiness and love holiness, and do holy works, before any segment of our society will return to its proper role, that of honoring God at all times and in all ways.
This is what the Holy Eucharist truly means for "eucharis" comes from the Greek word for "thanksgiving." Therefore, as we celebrate the first Thanksgiving of the new millennium, as our thoughts wander back to the time of our founding fathers, let us give thanks to them for their wisdom and foresight, for accepting and carrying out the blessings God had bestowed on them, and let us turn all our attention to sincere gratitude to Him Who made Heaven and earth; Who loved us so much that He gave His only-begotten Son to be born of a virgin, suffer and die by the ignominy of the cross that we would not be forgotten in the eternal banquet He has prepared for us and which is renewed daily in perpetuating through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. "do this in memory of Me" (Luke 22: 19).
Through the strength of grace, gained from worthy attendance at Mass and reception of Our Lord at Holy Communion, we will be renewed to continue the mission He has commissioned us to do and to love one another as He has loved us. Regardless of the outcome of this long-suffering election, we must persevere. That can only be done through prayer and recommitment to God's Holy Will. What a beautiful way to prepare for Advent in this Jubilee Year, to prepare for the 2001st anniversary of His birth in Bethlehem just over a month away. I know I have much work to do in this area of preparation for this season, and I will hold all of you in my poor prayers, and I humbly ask for your prayers.
Your very little sister in Christ,
November 14, 2000
volume 11, no. 231
SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING
Return to front page of current issue