Saturday, May 14, 2011

Let us Boast

"Just Remember:  The Holy Spirit is Still in Control?"

Let me be honest and say what I'm sure some are thinking:  I hate when people say that!  It ranks right up there with "At least you still have your health!"  When I say I hate it, I do not deny the statement is true.  I hate it because the person saying it is saying something utterly meaningless.

When I look at a liturgy full of abuses, I do not see the Holy Spirit at work and in control.  When I see a men in respected Catholic circles treating the liturgy is one gigantic rock concert, I am not confident of the Holy Spirit's control.  If this devastated vineyard is the best the Holy Spirit can do, why are we Catholic again?

Then I remember my sense of the Scriptures and Church History.  I remember why the Holy Spirit is in control of the Church.  Most importantly, I remember that still voice "Kevin, in order to be happy you must boast..... in the Lord."

Somehow we took the statement "let he who boasts, boast in the Lord" as "we should never boast period."  When St. Paul used to write to various churches, he would boast of the fidelity he has encountered amongst other Christians, as a way of trying to make his audience even more faithful.  The Psalmist states that his soul will boast to the LORD, and the humble will hear and be glad.

When we boast in the Lord, we boast that He is not a "god that sleepeth", as Elijah said in mocking the priests of Baal.  Our God is an active one, who will not only defend Himself, but defend those who place their trust in Him.

So with this in mind, allow me to recount a story.  I know a rather liberal parish near me.  So liberal are they, it becomes a shock when they actually follow the rubrics.  One time I assisted at Mass there, and we came to the final procession.  The priest and two servers looked towards the tabernacle, and nodded their heads .0000000005% of a degree.  That was their reverencing Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  No genuflection, not even a deep bow.  Heck, not even a slight bow!  When one sees things like this, it can be tough to remember that "The Holy Spirit is in control."

Then I saw another server, a young boy, probably only eight years old, or even younger.  He lowered his head, and then dropped to one knee and stayed there, then slowly pulled himself back up.  People were confused.  Yet he did what he was supposed to do.  Other times I see young altar servers going to say a prayer before the Blessed Sacrament after Mass before leaving.  I realize these are our future priests.  I hear the voice of God saying "remember those 7,000 who wouldn't bow the knee to the Baals in the form of a banal man centered religion?  You are lookin' at em."  At that point do I realize the Holy Spirit is in control.

When I see seminaries doing everything they can to make sure their future priests know nothing of the Extraordinary Form (directly contrary to the Pope's wishes), I find it tough to remember the Holy Spirit is in control.  Then I notice seminarians are learning the Extraordinary Form anyway through a variety of sources.  This immeasurable treasure of the Church will not be destroyed by man's ineptitude.  At that point do I realize the Holy Spirit is in control.

When I see the churches closing around me, I find it tough to remember the Holy Spirit is in control.  Then I realize those churches that are flourishing are those which emphasize Catholic identity, and they are full of young people.  These young people are in the process of having quite large families.  If even one-third of them persist in the faith and pass it down to their children and grandchildren, the liberals are screwed.  I remember that in times of total apostasy, Israel was pulled back from the brink by one man named Elijah.  He restored the Church of his day by himself against several thousand priests.  At that point do I realize the Holy Spirit is in control.

Even when I see Benedict XVI, a pope whom I love, my first thought is not "the Holy Spirit is in control."  Benedict is but one man, whom soon in the span of history (though not too soon!) will return to the Earth.  What one man does, another can easily undo.  Yet I look at the man he has made Cardinals like Cardinal Ranjith.  I look at men like Cardinal Llovera, who runs the Congregation for Divine Worship.  These men are "young" (in Church-speak) Cardinals whose influence on the future Church will last decades.  When I see the long term layout like that, at that point do I realize the Holy Spirit is in control.

Any deity can make a perfect world through sheer force of will.  Only God can tell those unleashing havoc that their time is numbered, for soon they will be replaced.  Why?

Because the Holy Spirit truly is in control.

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