Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Encouraging news from a priest friend.
He was speaking to his bishop about Amoris Laetitia and discussing whether the Bishops Conference will make a statement on the lines of two bishops who make up the Maltese Episcopal Conference. "No", said the Bishop, "not only would there be division, even war amongst the bishops, at least a strong division between the bishops but in his own diocese he knew that several of the younger clergy would resign from their parishes, and be welcomed by other sympathetic bishops. The problem he said would be with the "brightest and the best, the most hard working especially amongst the younger of the diocesan clergy".
It is unfortunate that the Church has been pushed in such a direction but this is where the Church is today, in a fragile vulnerable situation.
Thursday, January 26, 2017
My God, my God why have you forsaken me.I have known few people who have suffered torture. I knew Dom Peter de Curzon, a monk of Quarr by the time I became a friend he had separated himself from the community in many ways, he said the Old Mass day after day early in the morning at an altar in the crypt, without a server, "there is me and the whole court of Heaven, no-one else". It had been his practice to eat alone too, a superior had tried to make him join the community an issued an order that no-one should take meals outside of the ordinary times. Fr Peter obeyed and went on hunger strike, saying, "I did not give in when the Nazis tortured me why should I give in now?"
As a young French aristocrat and member of the Resistance he had indeed been tortured, I never asked him what the did but it was pretty obvious that he learnt the connection between stubbornness and fidelity. He would speak of fidelity when all the consolations of faith had vanished or be taken away. It had always struck me that stubbornness, what might be called fortitude, and martyrdom are intimately unconnected.
This perhaps is what real faith is, a relationship with God where all consolation is gone. Jesus' words from the Cross are I suspect about this, all human consolation had indeed gone, that he had 'become a worm and on man'. We know he never lost the Beatific Vision but Cross is the great sign of oblivion and desolation. Being fully human Jesus' knowledge of his Father, is like ours, one of faith. Faith is normally buoyed up memory and experience, in Jesus' case miracles and visions, and inner consolations. The torture of the Passion removed these, agony takes away memory and feeling and places one in the void of the present moment where pain, physical, psychological, spiritual, consumes everything.
The experience of many Catholics in this Age of the New Martyrs is one of absolute desolation, there is little consolation coming either from without or within, many feel they have lost faith or faith has become fragile and tenuous, consolation has gone, prayer becomes like wormwood, the Mass a tedious obligation, all we are offered is the Cross: hold fast, what you are living by is real faith, a faith without consolation or warmth just the rough cold unwelcoming wood of the Cross.