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Friday, 18 July 2014

Salvation Within A Context

When my son was a child, one of his favorite stories was Rip Van Winkle. Rip falls asleep after drinking magic ale with the "ghosts" of the crew of Henry Hudson's ship, the Half-Moon. When he wakes up twenty years later, he is in a very different world.  He slept through the American Revolution and the election of General Washington as the first president.

Almost daily, I meet Catholics and other Americans, who like Rip, are sleeping. They fell asleep 20 years ago, in 1994, and have not awakened yet to the era of persecution of Catholics, the seemingly triumph of evil in our country, the loss of international prestige for America, the apostasy of bishops and cardinals, the loss of religious liberties, the continued slaughter of unborn children, the financial distress of many middle-class families, and the warring countries of the world which seem to proliferate daily.

I know people who have buried themselves in the 1990s. They do not want to face reality. But, God demands that we face reality. We are saved within a context.

From all eternity, God planned, in His Divine Providence, that we shall live in a particular time, and in a particular place. Salvation is worked out daily in our families, or at work. And, most importantly, we are all given particular graces to live in our time and place.

One of my favorite quotations from literature is from Tolkien:

“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” 
 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Gandalf is a realist. He is a warrior sent for the times and places in the story. We are warriors, the members of the Church Militant, sent by God, created by Him, for a certain time and place.

Accept this, work for these times and places, ask for more grace. God is there, as He always has been, thinking of you from and for all eternity.