Wednesday 28th September 2022

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A Leaven In The World… Persevere To The End

September 15, 2022 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


“But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved” (Matt. 24:13).
Together with my little parish, years ago, I took the freedom offered the Church by Pope Benedict XVI to re-embrace our entire tradition, to include the most important part of it, the Traditional Latin Mass.
Wide attention has been drawn to our small community by an EWTN segment of “News in Depth” that was first aired on Friday, September 2. YouTube views of the show at now total 83,068. The comments have been disabled after climbing to over a thousand. I would guess they weren’t entirely complimentary to those responsible for the oppression.
Today, as I write, on September 8, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the neighboring Diocese of Arlington “celebrates” by canceling the Latin Mass, which was once offered in over 20 parishes, in all but a handful of locations.
Over a twelve-year period we built up a beautiful parish life, complete with Rogation Day processions and Ember Days. Our church was restored from the plaster walls and ceilings inward to the hand-painted apse mural, chandeliers, lamps, pine floor, and more. Parishioners did all the work, exclusive of the plaster restoration and painting and the repositioning of the altar rail to incorporate restored gates, both projects requiring professionals.
The side altars were built by a Mennonite cabinet-maker. They were marbleized by a parishioner together with our main altar gradine, constructed and installed by parishioners.
The tradition truly took on a new life in our small, southern Maryland riverfront town. Large families flocked together upon discovering this refuge. But such flourishing must be not be allowed in the Church of our present leadership. We are praying incorrectly, they say, and must therefore be punished by being banned from our own church. The message is that we are obviously meant to take away from this is we can stay if we pray according to the postconciliar regulations.
In just two weeks we will be required, if we wish to remain in the good graces of our ecclesiastical superiors, to drive ten minutes away for the Sunday Traditional Mass to a small mission chapel that does not serve our needs, and to leave our own church entirely empty. This is the new symbol of the success of the “pastoral” Church.
Our own church, restored and refurbished by our parishioners with generous assistance from benefactors all over the country, is denied us by men who have never visited us or met our families, by distant bureaucrats who issue cruel and senseless edicts that are more ideological than pastoral.
In their resentment, in order to get our attention, they will make us suffer inconvenience if we continue to make the “wrong” choice of living our integral tradition. Their cruelty only makes the point all the more that what we truly need at this point is the Traditional Mass to heal the Church and make her truly Catholic again.
We need now to look at Catholic thinkers with the vision of the Church to point the way ahead if we are to persevere as our Lord commands. In comments after the recent “useless” consistory of cardinals in Rome, at which they were denied a plenary session to share their thoughts, Cardinal Brandmueller and others revealed their observations.
Brandmueller says that the crisis precipitated by the present papacy is “worse than the Arian crisis” but that “we have no Athanasius.” Are the cardinals keeping their counsel with the fear of losing “papabile” status? If this moment in the Church, when the faith itself, the faith without we cannot be saved is very obviously under attack, is not a “hill to die on” then what is? Why are they complaining but not acting? At this point only the cardinals have any means of calling the Pope to account.
Martin Mosebach is such a sage who can assist us in navigating our way through this new Dark Age in the life of the Church. In his “The Heresy of Formlessness,” he asserts the proper understanding of the liturgy, more experiential than didactic:
“The liturgy of the Mass is more than the proclamation of the teaching Christ. It is a great ‘Ecce homo’: It exhibits and points to the silent Christ. It is infinitely more than the prayer of the faithful. It gives us a glimpse of something absolutely unthinkable: God at prayer.”
Art and life come together in the Eucharist at the core of the Holy Mass, Christ Himself praying, offering and giving Himself:
“When he utters the words ‘This is my body,’ should he not take a piece of the Paschal Lamb from the table (considering his impending sacrificial death as the Lamb of God), rather than a piece of bread? No, because the bread that has become the Body of Christ fits in perfectly with what Jesus says, by way of preparation for Holy Thursday, about the grain of wheat; it also recalls the prayer in the Our Father concerning our daily bread and the warning that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God. Here, then, we have the bread that, at the same time, ‘was the Word of God’. . . . Is there not, however something of the Greek artists’ ability to transform and elevate nature in the way Jesus chooses to elevate a piece of bread to the level of the real sacrificial flesh of the God-man? At the same time, of course, there is a crucial difference between Him and the Greek artist: the artist created his work ‘after nature,’ through contemplation and study, whereas Christ created the unbloody Sacrifice of the Mass in anticipation of his very real execution, with all its attendant horrors.
“We could say that with His intuition and foreknowledge — for the meal of Holy Thursday is permeated with premonitions — He was painting a picture of His death, giving an artistic form to the pains of His execution, a form that perfectly and unmistakably manifested its profoundest core, that is, the love sacrifice that nourishes and redeems” (Mosebach, Heresy of Formlessness, p. 71).
The way ahead will be lit by Christ Himself whom we must obey no matter however many of whatever rank or station disobey. He is our Savior, the “author and perfecter of our Faith.” But we must know Him. The liturgy is not a conversation between the priest and the people. No, it is a conversation, a prayer, between the Son and the Father in which we are embraced, included by the outpouring and embrace of the Holy Spirit.
In this we can persevere. We must. Christ is the founder of the Church and Her sole Savior. When men betray Him and this truth, we choose Christ “that all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

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