Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Why we hope and do not despair...

While it is important to be able to read the signs of the times and to avoid a pollyanna view of reality, still we must not allow ourselves to succumb to despair. Yes, the Church must (like her Master) journey through Gethsemane (read Nos. 675-677 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church). This is not "doom and gloom." For what we await is the return of the Lord Jesus in glory. For which reason we proclaim "Maranatha!" - Come Lord Jesus!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which may not be described as "doom and gloom," teaches quite clearly that, "The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world." (No. 677).

This is not a message of "doom and gloom." This is a message, ultimately, of hope. Unless you're on the wrong side and have rebelled against the Lord Jesus. Yes, the Man of Sin will reign for a time. Yes, he will persecute the Church in a violent fashion. But he will ultimately fail. This is his lot. His fate. His destiny. It is the destiny of all tyrants. Even the Mahatma recognized this:

"When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it, always."

"What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: "For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8: 35-39).

The Science of the cross

On this day, the death of Jesus invites us all, especially Christians and Jews, into a knowledge of our communion with one another and, a recognition of the terrible brokenness of the world. Nothing and no one can ever wrench us away any longer from that communion. Nothing can remove our sense of belonging to, participating in, and being the beneficiaries of God's saving encounter with Israel and with the broken world, which occurred in the crucifixion of Jesus, who we Christians believe to be son of Israel and Son of God.

On Good Friday, let us remember a Jewish woman, Edith Stein, who loved the cross and embraced its contradiction and mystery throughout her own life. There is a marvelous, life-size, bronze sculpture Edith Stein in the center of the German city of Cologne, close to the archdiocesan seminary. The sculpture depicts three Edith Steins at the three critical moments of her life.

The first moment presents Edith as the young, Jewish philosopher and professor, a student of Edmund Husserl. Edith is presented deep in meditation and a Star of David leans against her knee.

The second depiction of the young woman shows Edith split in two. The artist shows her face and head almost divided. She moved from Judaism to agnosticism and even atheism. Hers was a painful search for the truth.

The third representation is Edith as Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, and she holds in her arms the crucified Christ: "Teresa blessed by the Cross" as her name indicates. She moved from Judaism, through atheism, to Christianity. In her biography, we find a poignant moment from the critical period in her life, in Breslau, when she was moving beyond Judaism. Before her official entrance into the Carmel of Cologne, she had to face her Jewish mother. Her mother said to her daughter: "Edith, You can be religious also in the Jewish faith, don't you think?" Edith responded: "Sure, when you have never known anything else." Then her mother desperately replied: "And you, why did you know him? I don't want to say anything against him; certainly he was a very good man; but why did he become God?" The last weeks at home and the moment of separation were very painful. It was impossible to make her mother understand even a little. Edith wrote: "And yet I crossed the threshold of the Lord's house in profound peace."

Like Edith Stein, we encounter Jesus and his cross, and we have known something else. We have met Someone else: the Man of the cross. We have no alternative but to go to him. After Edith had entered the Cologne Carmel, she continued to write her great work on the cross: "Kreuzwissenschaft" -- the science of the cross. From Cologne she and her sister Rosa were deported to Echt in Holland and then rounded up with other Jews only to be sent to Auschwitz where she and sister were burned to death by the evil Nazi regime on Aug. 9, 1942. (Zenit: For full text click on title of this post).


PMG said...

Well said...

John Ansley said...

"Totus tuus ego sum
et omnia mea tua sunt.
Accipio te in mea omnia!"

"I am entirely yours,
and all that I have is yours.
Be my guide in all things!"

-Pope John Paul II

"Open your heart to Jesus Christ and you will know the courage that never fails, however great the obstacles: you will know a love stronger than death!"

-Pope John Paul II

Ashley Pelletier said...

St. Gregory the Great prophesied that, "After the birth of Antichrist most of mankind will be such as corrupt the word: and the sheep shall be changed into godless or fallen into heresy. Churches will be empty and dilapidated, priests will have little zeal for souls and pious people will be few. Most people will be given up to all imaginable vices."

Isn't this a pretty good description of our own time? I see empty and dilapidated churches, priests with little zeal for souls and people "given up to all imaginable vices."

An accurate description of our present apostasy.

Anonymous said...

A serendipitous article on SpiritDaily yesterday:


Paul Anthony Melanson said...

An excellent article. Here we have been referring to the End Times, not the end of the world. Intelligent Catholics are able to read the signs of the times.

Michael Brown has also published numerous articles pertaining to the apostasy and the emerging Antichrist.

His articles are balanced and thoughtful.

Anonymous said...

Another Michael Brown article describing book loved by Saint Therese and dealing with the end times.


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