Sometimes it can become easier to throw in the towel and just give up. The gains that ‘we’ the more Traditional minded acquired over the last two Pontificates, (Opus Dei prelature, Motu Propio Ecclesia Dei and Motu Propio Summorum Pontificum) it would seem are now in danger especially according to some current trends of thought(paranoia) freely whirling about in different Sacristies throughout the world. Gentle Pope Francis is gonna undo everything, turn back the clock to 1975 and resurrect the clown ‘Mass.’ To be fair, I sincerely believe that not to be the case, still I sincerely believe that this is an excellent opportunity to undergo Sanctification. What can we do to further the Universal Call to Holiness (Vatican II)?
Well for one, we can stop acting like the most arrogant and hardened ‘I know better than the Pope crowd’ that sometimes we can all fall into. We can pray for our Holy Father, obey and use that to unite our sufferings to the Cross of Christ. We can, as the Holy Father requested, ‘Go out and make a mess!’ So here is a battle plan! When news (usually a slanted editorial) disturbs you, take it to prayer! The enemy uses occasions like this to make us fall into sin. For some it can be booze, women, drugs, etc… Gentlemen, you know what I’m talking about, high level stress = Pornography/masturbation. Then when it’s over (the act), we are angrier than ever at the latest Liturgical abuse, seek to blast the hierarchy and claim that we, and others who think like us know better. We fall into depression and despair, and forget that the Holy Spirit is still in charge, and Pope Michael, Pope Gregory the 17th, the brothers Dimond, Pope Pius 13th, the sedevacante, the sedeimpede, the SSPX, even the Stay Puffed Marshmellow Man, all look like like a salvific end for our own sanity. The end result? We are deep in mortal sin and cut off… The cure? The Sacrament of Reconciliation and a great Spiritual Director. To use a personal anecdote, I too questioned an awful lot of stuff, (especially recently) and without hesitation my Spiritual Director asked when my prayer life was cut off.
The oxygen of the soul! No doubt about it. A prayer life is constantly bookending your day (as St Paul says, To pray constantly…) with Laudes and Vespers. Daily Mass if you can, Adoration (even prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament) and of course the Rosary! A trick that I use, is to meditate before the Blessed Sacrament upon the Gospel of the day. My day is then given its orientation in God and thus when a ‘down’or a disturbance in my soul interferes, I can tell the thought is not from God. (Think of St John of the Cross, and discern.) In prayer is where we praise and thank God for our very being, and whereby we can ask for the Grace to understand. I am reminded of the prayer attached to Our Lady of Perpetual Help,..’If it be your Will that we should suffer longer,..’
In my case, academics and Pastoral works. Sometimes listening to a person tell us their problems can shed a light on our inadequacies. People are hurting, and an absence of Faith sees the confessional empty, but long line ups at the made for profit ‘self help psychological guru of the day.’ What’s most perplexing is that even practicing Catholics who claim a relationship with Jesus, will justify seeing a ‘shrink’ but not confession, even though they will still spill their souls to these people. The sad part is that the guru can’t offer Absolution. Back to the work dynamic, sometimes keeping busy, can be therapeutic, yet again, we can’t go too far. If the devil can’t tempt you, he’ll keep you busy. (and thus, too busy for prayer.)
I truly believe that the Pope when critiquing pelagianism, did so after critiquing the other extreme, about making the Church an NGO. He went after extremes, a point that Benedict also went after! A great strategy for the more Traditional minded, (myself included) is to show the Holy Father that despite our love of Liturgy, that we do have a heart for social issues. If we love through the eyes of Jesus, then we need to show it! Sure, we are mobilized on Life and Family issues, but what can we do to show the ‘social justice’ crowd, that we too care for the poor? We pray Rosaries, but can we not set up a soup kitchen? Give a little or our time? The question is not ‘Either ‘or’ but rather a ‘Both’ /And!’…
Well, in my opinion, this is crucial! In a day and age when we take better care of our cars than we do our bodies. Training is good for you, it makes you stronger and can train the Will as well. How many times are you tired and your psychology takes over, you gotta get it in! That is training! Resistance, weights, heavy bag, kettle bells, battle ropes, sled dragging, bench pressing and squatting! If you can take care of your body, your discipline will grow along with your will power! Those days when you live a down, are frustrated? Take it out in the gym! Leave it all there, hit the irons and hit them hard!
A few years back, I lambasted an arch liberal who disrespectfully used to refer to Pope Benedict XVI as ‘Papa Ratzinger’ or ‘Pope Ratzinger.’ It was one of the most disgusting and harsh treatments of an office, (a Divinely instituted one at that! St Matt 16:18) that I had ever heard. Now ‘we’ the most Liturgically minded find within our ranks people criticizing Pope Francis, even calling him ‘Papa’ Bergoglio? C’mon! The Holy Spirit chose him and regardless of what happens, we can offer it all to God in reparation for our own sinfulness! The battle plan of prayer, penance, and exercise is a no brainer and has been offered to us down through the ages.
To borrow a line from ‘Big’ John McCarthy; ‘LET’s GET it ONNN!!!
Sacred Heart of Jesus,……………………….Have Mercy on us!