Has God abandoned us? Considering the crisis the world is facing, as it teeters on the brink of all-out war, and the ever-deepening apostasy in the Church, do we have to cry out like the Psalmist: "How long, O Lord? Will You utterly forget me?" (Psalm12: 2). Is it possible that God could abandon His Church? The answer is a definite 'No!' because God has made a Covenant with His people through Jesus Christ His Son. Jesus is the Mediator of the New Covenant, which He obtained at the price of His life's Blood. And the Church is the community of those who are made members of the Covenant through the holy rite of Baptism. This means that the baptized have a special relationship with God, that of adopted sonship, which is enjoyed by no other people. They alone are fed by Bread from Heaven, the sacred Body and Blood of Christ, which is the pledge of eternal life.
Because we are members of this holy Covenant through Baptism, it is to us that God has made a solemn promise that He will be our God and we shall be His people. "There is neither Jew nor Greek," says St. Paul, "there is neither slave nor freeman; there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are the offspring of Abraham, heirs according to promise" (Galatians 3:28,29).
Although the existence of God can be known by the exercise of human reason alone, the God of the Covenant can be known only by those who believe in the One Whom He has sent, Jesus Christ. Although Christ was born to be King, the world refuses to recognize His authority. Those who hate Him have staged a massive campaign to destroy Him. His Divinity is denied; He is not acknowledged as the true Messiah; His Resurrection and His other miracles are explained away; His holy Name is blasphemed; He is portrayed as a fool, or a weak and sinful human being. And God's Covenant, sealed in the Blood of Christ, is despised.
The reaction of many against the idea of removing the name of God from the Pledge of Allegiance is a sign of hope for America, but the God of the Covenant is not some neutral 'Deity' who will allow us to do exactly as we please. Those who have rejected the Covenant, or who remain indifferent to it, are still obliged to keep the Commandments. But for them there is a serious problem: without grace it is impossible to keep the Commandments. The Law itself does not confer grace. "For the Law was given through Moses;" says St. John, "grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17). This is why the people God chose at Sinai proved to be so disobedient, except for the few who had faith in God's promise to send a Redeemer (Genesis. 3:15). And this is why God is disobeyed and His Commandments almost universally scorned today. Because Jesus Christ is denied there is no grace, and without grace, human nature cannot overcome the effects of the Fall.
The terrible consequences of breaking the Covenant are spelled out in the Book of Leviticus, where seven Covenant woes or curses are pronounced against the unfaithful, which would become seven times more intense each time the Covenant was broken again. (cf. Leviticus 26:14-39). "But if you do not heed Me and do not keep all these commandments," God says, "if you reject my precepts and spurn my decrees…I…will punish you with terrible woes…" (Leviticus 26:4-6). Jesus would invoke these seven woes against the Pharisees. In the Book of the Apocalypse we can read about the unfolding of these woes, as seven seals are broken, seven bowls of wrath poured out, and seven trumpets sounded, with consequent disaster and destruction.
A world without grace is a world out of control, with leaders who plan death and destruction, corrupt business practices that ruin the economy, media phonies who specialize in managed news and mind control, and even Church leaders who are wolves in sheep's clothing. Without Christ we should expect nothing more. Those who are faithful to the Covenant and believe in the One Whom God has sent need not fear God's judgment or punishment, but for the rest the trumpet has sounded, and the judgment of God hangs over the world like a sword about to strike.
Is there nothing we can do? Indeed, there is! While the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is still offered, unchanged from its traditional form, God receives acceptable worship, and the cleansing Blood of the true Lamb of God is poured out in atonement for the sins of the world. This is a weapon far more powerful than any earthly weapons. We have the power to bring Christ back into the world, and we do it every day as we offer the holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But we must be ready to live up to our high calling and our heavy burden of responsibility. We must strive to live sinless and holy lives. Our behavior must be faultless, our attire decent and modest, especially at Holy Mass. We must defend Jesus Christ when we hear His Name or His Person being abused. Remember the Holy Name Society, which used to be a powerful organization in every Catholic parish. Why not wear some outward sign, such as a medal or badge, which will remind people of Christ? We are in fact called to be witnesses for Christ. And remember that the word 'witness' means 'martyr'. If the Lord should ask it of us, so be it!
Recently we celebrated the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. In the Epistle we read that Peter was thrown into prison by Herod, who intended to have him brought before the people to be judged. The Church was in its infancy at that time, but its prayers were powerful. It says in Acts, "But prayer was being made to God for him by the Church without ceasing" (Acts 12:5). God heard the prayers of the Church and sent an angel, who led Peter from the prison out into the street. Peter thought he was having a dream, but coming to his senses he said "Now I know in very deed that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me out of the hand of Herod…" (Acts 12:11). We may be a remnant Church, thinly scattered over the face of the earth, but God will hear our prayers, as He heard those of the Church in Peter's time, and He will send His angels to deliver us.
May the Name of Jesus Christ be praised, adored and honored throughout the world once again, that where sin abounds, grace may once more abound! And may Mary, the Mother of Divine Grace, pray for us! †