Saturday, December 17, 2011

An Advent Reflection: There is still no room at the inn...

There was no room in the inn

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered...All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilea to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of david. he went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child...And she gave birth to her forst-born son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)

Archbishop Fulton John Sheen writes, "Mary is now with child, awaiting birth, and Joseph is full of expectancy as he enters the city of his own family. He searched for a place for the birth of Him to Whom heaven and earth belonged. Could it be that the Creator would not find room in His own creation?

Certainly, thought Joseph, there would be room in the village inn. There was room for the rich; there was room for those who were clothed in soft garments...But when finally the scrolls of history are completed down to the last word of time, the saddest lines of all will be: "There was no room in the inn". No room in the inn, but there was room in the stable. The inn was the gathering place of public opinion, the focal point of the world's moods, the rendezvous of the worldy, the rallying place of the popular and the successful. But there's no room for outcasts, the ignored, and the forgotten. The world might have expected the Son of God to be born in an inn; a stable would certainly be the last place in the world where one would look for Him. The lesson is: divinity is always where you least expect to find it. So the Son of God-Made-Man is invited to enter into His own world through a back door." (Bishop Sheen Catechism)

There was no room for the Incarnate Word - no room for Him Who is Truth.  In many parishes today, there is no room for truth.  And this shouldn't surprise us.  Our Lord assured us that, "They will harry you as they harried me.  They will respect your words as much as they respected mine.  All this they will do to you because of my name, for they know nothing of him who sent me." (John 15: 20-21).

Again, it was Archbishop Fulton John Sheen who once said, "The acceptance of the fullness of Truth will have the unfortunate quality of making you hated by the world. Forget for a moment the history of Christianity, and the fact that Christ existed. Suppose there appeared in this world today a man who claimed to be Divine Truth; and who did not say, 'I will teach you Truth,' but 'I am the Truth.' Suppose he gave evidence by his works of the truth of his statement. Knowing ourselves as we do, with our tendency to relativism, to indifference, and to the fusing of right and wrong, how do you suppose we would react to that Divine Truth? With hatred, with obloquy, with defiance; with charges of intolerance, narrow-mindedness, bigotry, and crucifixion. That is what happened to Christ. That is what our Lord said would happen to those who accept His Truth."

Have you ever noticed how worldly people achieve great fame and success and are entirely welcomed by others but that those who give themselves entirely to God meet with only resistance and persecution? St. Alphonsus de Liguori said that, "As soon as souls give themselves completely to God, God Himself causes or permits others to despise and persecute them." And Archbishop Oscar Romero, the martyred Archbishop of San Salvador, reminded us that: "A preaching that does not point out sin is not the preaching of the gospel. A preaching that makes sinners feel good so that they become entrenched in their sinful state, betrays the gospel's call. A preaching that does not discomfit sinners but lulls them in their sin leaves Zebulun and Naphtali in the shadow of death. A preaching that awakens, a preaching that enlightens -- as when a light turned on awakens and of course annoys a sleeper -- that is the preaching of Christ, calling, "wake up! Be converted!" this is the church's authentic preaching. Naturally, such preaching must meet conflict, must spoil what is miscalled prestige, must disturb, must be persecuted. It cannot get along with the powers of darkness and sin."

As Catholics faithful to the Lord Jesus, Who teaches us through the Magisterium of His Church, we can expect to be shunned, harried, slandered and persecuted in so many different ways by those who remain in the Church but only in a bodily manner - because they have abandoned charity:

"They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion. He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a "bodily" manner and not "in his heart." (Lumen Gentium, No. 14).

And it is impossible for a person to claim that they are persevering in charity when they refuse to remain fully incorporated in the society of the Church by remaining obedient to her hierarchical structure.  Our Lord Jesus told His Apostles, "He who hears you hears Me."  And obviously, those who refuse to hear the Church are refusing to hear the Lord Jesus.  Such people must constantly strain to convince themselves that they are in communion with the Church.  But they remain within the Church only in a bodily manner. 

The smoke of Satan has entered into Christ's Church.  Some priests and deacons are serving not the Lord Jesus but the Father of Lies.  Such have given themselves up to various lusts.  Including the lust for power - especially for power over others. Our Lady has warned of this already.  The Immaculate One told Father Gobbi: "I also foretold to you the great crisis which would take place in the Church, because of the great apostasy which has entered into her, caused by an ever wider diffusion of errors, by her interior division, by opposition to the Pope and by the rejection of his Magisterium.  This most beloved Daughter of mine must live the hours of her agony and of her sorrowful passion.  She will be abandoned by many of her children.  The impetuous wind of persecution will blow against her, and much blood will be shed, even by my beloved sons." (October 13, 1994, Anniversary of the Last Apparition at Fatima).

Our troubled world, blinded and wounded by sin, still cannot find room for Truth.  Which is why those who follow the Lord Jesus (in more than a bodily manner but with true obedience), can expect to be persecuted.  All the more so as the Man of Sin makes his approach.


Wendy said...

The world is becoming very dark, immersed in sin. Many parishes today are no longer Catholic. Sound doctrine has been replaced by a lust for novelty. Itching ears are clamoring for new doctrines.

Derek said...

Things are only getting worse. Catholics who won't go along with the new gay gospel or the syncretism which is mushrooming everywhere will be increasingly persecuted. The world is opting for sin.

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