I find that the Church Militant is weaker in Europe than in the States and I am wondering why. Part of the history of Europe, that is wars and internecine hatreds, make people nervous about standing up for Truth. The Pope's latest statement on the necessity for civilization to maintain family values, such as marriage as being a sacrament between a man and a woman, was practically ignored except for the Vatican news agencies. There are several popular Catholic newspapers and periodicals, the best being the Catholic Herald. But, what amazes me is the silence from the pulpit. Also, the laity do not organize themselves as we do in the States, as used to we are to grass-roots politics. It just does not happen here. The petition against civil marriages was found in the back of some churches, but not all, and the success was owing to the laity passing the word around.
I am saddened that there is a lack of courage. I had a person say to me a few days, asking me, where are the courageous people in Ireland and England? This woman was on retreat where I was and she was shocked at the lack of support for the pro-life movement here. The same thing happened in Eire, when, at the pro-life rally, over 10,000 people did not have a petition to sign. Why not? Why was not the political will organized to follow up on the energy of the people? Why are people hesistant about taking control of local groups and getting organized? There are no boycotts against companies that support civil marriage or abortion.
I wish that Europeans would explain why there is a lack of courage and a lack of zeal for what our Pope and some of our bishops are so openly strong at defending-marriage, life, natural law.
Sunday, 23 December 2012
As the year comes to an end soon, and the Feast of St. John is upon us after Christmas, I want to revisit a strange saying of St. Bernard of Clairvaux
He has a fascinating sermon on two aspects of love regarding St. John and St. Peter.
St. Bernard, in St. Peter and St. John, XLI, In Joannic Evang; Tract CXXIV. Bernard says the Peter loved Christ more than John, but that Christ loved John more than He did Peter. This is a great mystery, but Bernard breaks down the problem by stating that Peter represents the Church Militant, the Church on earth and John represents the Church Triumphant in heaven.
What does Bernard mean? He explains that the two types reveal how we Catholics are both the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant.
What does the great saint mean? By entering into a love relationship with Christ now, here on earth and by practising meditation and contemplation, we enter into the mystery of being, as I have noted before, both Mary and Martha.
Let us go back to Peter and John. The Church Militant on earth striving to become holy and maintaining faithfulness in the throes of chaos and persecution, and, in addition, if needed, taking the offensive, is busy, active, demanding.
Peter had to rule the Church by his example as well as his decisions. He had to repent, but then take the lead and help all the rest of his brothers and sisters. What a good example he must have been, as he had experienced failure, but came back to be the leader God had called him to be.
The contemplative life is one of receiving.
The post-modern mind-set cannot bear contemplation. Reflection has been replaced by all the possible ways of communicating with friends and acquaintances One can hardly get away from the mobile phone.
The post-modern generations live in noise and distraction. Unless they find the quiet and reflection they need to discover their own souls, they will spiritually die. The Church Militant can starve Herself to death without contemplation. We need both now more than ever.
- O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
- the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
- Come and save us, O Lord our God.