Missiles, the Unsinkable Titanic and the Liturgy of Emmaus

President Trump has launched a retaliatory missile attack on Syria, in response to Bashar al Assad supposedly ‘gassing’ his own people, in his own attempt to crush the ‘rebel’ forces, connected inextricably with radical elements of Islam, dragging out a war that is, or should be, already over, and that no one really wants. Even the terms one must use in describing this are loaded. Was there a chemical attack? If so, was it really Assad who launched it? Or was it the rebels themselves, seeking sympathy and indirect help from the Americans, and sympathy for their cause?

We will never know, I suppose. The news is untrustworthy, as is the response. Trump just a week ago was all for taking troops out of Syria; now he’s digging in, hitting military targets in a very limited way. Let us pray there are no human casualties.

There is something decidedly bizarre in all of this, a proxy war of the ‘great’ powers, in a country none of them really care much for.

Yet God has His ways in all of this, even if indirect from our point of view.

April 15th, marks the 106th anniversary of the sinking of the unsinkable Titanic, torn apart by an iceberg in 1912, resulting in the death of over 1500 people in the frigid waters off Newfoundland in the North Atlantic. Requiescant in pace. Too big to sink, or to fail, has its limits, as we ourselves may discover. Again, God has His ways, which are not ours, and the hubris of Man is often confounded by them. We know neither the day nor the hour, and it is a good and proper thing to keep that in mind. Memento mori; and I would modify the ancient Roman salutation, manducemus et bibamus, cras enim moriemur, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die, to oremus et faciemus bonum, let us pray and do what good we may, for…Well, you get the rest.

I am more and more convinced that it is Liturgy, and especially the revitalization of the Holy Mass, along with contemplation and prayer, that will revitalize and evangelize the world. Without that foundation, we are lost in a fog of secularism and activism. I have had the honour of teaching a number of young people who have given ‘all’ to God in consecrated religious life, or in the holy priesthood, and I stand in awe, a homo peccator with Saint Peter. Cardinal Sarah has it right, it really is God or Nothing, and silence, holy, golden silence, especially amidst all the noise of this world, even the ‘noise’ that creeps so insidiously into the Liturgy, that really is the way to hear His voice, and read, as Christ warns us, the signs of the times. Ponder the brief parable of Father Callam. Doing what we think is good, is not necessarily doing the will of God, especially if we neglect what is our duty. We must be obedient to His voice, far greater than any sacrifice.

On this Third Sunday of Easter, we read the tail end of the tale of the two disciples who meet Christ in hidden form on the road to Emmaus, and only recognize Him in the ‘breaking of the bread’, a mysterious reading, whose depths we may never fully discover. One commentator suggested that the two were Cleophas and his wife, which would help explain the insistence on hospitality, and which makes a touching domestic picture. What matters more is that Christ is present not so much in the great and powerful events of this world (an earthly and secular understanding of His mission, for which he upbraided the two disciples), but rather recognized and even ‘touched’ in the Holy Mass, the Eucharistic sacrifice, which we neglect to our peril, and immerse ourselves in to our great, eternal advantage.

On that note, a very blessed and joyous Sunday of Easter to one and all our readers.