All Too Human Saints and Prophets

A blessed Sunday to all our readers, on which we always commemorate Christ’s resurrection and triumph over decay and destruction, trampling death for all eternity. The readings speak of the cleansing of the lepers, Naaman, by the prophet Elisha, and the ten, by Christ Himself. All for doing something simple – like asking – and all they must do in return, is to give thanks and praise to God.

Fitting, then, that we celebrate and offer our own gratitude for the canonization of John Henry Cardinal Newman this morning in Rome, man who who carried his own burdens, a melancholic disposition, at times a great distaste for his own work and station, disappointment with his dreams and aspirations – one wonders what he suffered in Ireland – and even perhaps, a dissatisfaction with his own chosen vocation.

On that note, as we peruse accolades and encomia on Newman on this day, all quite dulce et decorum, we might also read over what Father Jonathan Robinson, the founder and head of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in Toronto, had to say on Newman, who was also an Oratorian, years ago.

It seems we can all become saints, warts, wobbles and all.

A final thought: Last night, President Trump’s speech was on the background on the telly. Yes, he has his own ‘warts and wobbles’, but I was amazed at his forthrightness on the defense of life, of religious rights and freedom, of the limits of governmental power, of the need for a nation to defend its borders and maintain its identity, its culture, its whole raison d’etre. And, what is more, he was – on national television – ‘prayed over’ by pastor Andrew Brunson, whom the President had helped to free from incarceration in Turkey.

Almost none of this has this writer heard from our own professed conservative, Andrew Scheer, a lifelong politician whose primary aim seems, from the surface, just to be Prime Minister, for whom many of good conscience feel they must vote, simply since he’s not Trudeau, or even Singh or May. Perhaps that is enough for this beleaguered nation. Desperate times and all that. But would that Mr. Scheer, who himself seems to live a Catholic life, sounded even one note of a trumpet as certain as Trump’s, more would be willing to follow his lead. As it is, his little muted dimpled piccolo leads few, and inspires even fewer.

Is this what we have come to in poor milquetoast Canada, once a great and proud and courageous nation, carved out of rock, wilderness and scrub? Ah, well…Then again, perhaps we like Esau have sold our birthright for a bowl of pottage, and, who knows, our only recourse will be to join the fifty States, once our economy, finally kissing the brick wall of our ungovernable debt – which at least Scheer is willing to raise – crashes and burns. In the interim, we lumber around with our own rather advanced spiritual leprosy, rotting our very core.

This is also the 102nd anniversary of the final vision at Fatima, with the incredible dancing, kaleidoscopic Sun, whirling in the heavens, before tens of thousands of onlookers. What this ultimately portends, well, we will find out, perhaps sooner than we think.

So maintain your hope and joy, dear readers, in the midst of the apparent darkness and chaos. As the readings today proclaim quite clearly, God, who holds all the firmament and the cosmos in a span, can do much with but a word, especially when things seem most desperate and impossible.