Twelfth Sunday, Open Churches and the Return of the King

‘Fear no one….Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven’ (Mt. 10: 26, 32). ⧾

At long last we have returned to the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass, the source and summit of our Catholic life, the mystery upon which authentic Christian life is patterned; and we make our own the words of St. Peter on Mount Tabor: ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here’ (Mt. 17:4). As we return to our churches, even with restrictions we are consoled by the words that Our Lord addresses to us through our gospel reading today: ‘Fear no one…Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven’ (Mt. 10: 26, 32). As we endeavour to return to some form of normalcy, perhaps our greatest challenge is fear; not only of disease but also of the social unrest and insecurity that now accompany this unprecedented lockdown. It is providential that we should hear these words of encouragement from Our Lord Himself on our first Sunday back. Whatever our thoughts on the origins of this pandemic, our government’s response to it and even the Church’s response may be, what never changes is the mandate that is ours as disciples of Christ to proclaim the truth of the Gospel by word and by the witness of our lives. The work of the Church is an essential service. This is not an overstatement. We should never have locked our churches. Never. I know that you have suffered because you were deprived of the grace of the Sacraments; and tis deprivation has had a terrible impact on the spiritual life of many. Moreover, the events that continue to unfold are evidence enough of what a world without God is capable of bringing about.

In both the Sacred Scriptures and in Sacred Tradition Our Lord has left us all that is needed for our own salvation and for the evangelization of the nations. Like Our Lord, Whom we come to know and love especially through love, imitation and grace, we endeavour to speak the whole truth about God and man. We live in a world of competing anthropologies, a world that is becoming increasingly violent; a world where people are led and misled by half-truths and slogans. So we must all the more resolve to remain steadfast in the truth of Christ. In an open letter to the President of the United States the courageous Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, formerly papal ambassador to that country, has spoken out on the nature of the battle or struggle enveloping our part of the world: It will not be surprising if, in a few months, we learn once again that hidden behind these acts of vandalism and violence are those who hope to profit from the dissolution of the social order so as to build a world without freedoms: Solve et coagula, as the Masonic adage teaches [that is, ‘dissolve and coagulate’ – destroy and build up again]  The Archbishop further explains that a similar struggle is found in religious circles. There are faithful shepherds who care for the flock of Christ, but there are also mercenary infidels who seek to scatter the flock and hand the sheep over to be devoured by ravenous wolves…just as there is a deep state, there is a deep church that betrays its duties and forswears its proper commitments before God. Thus the invisible Enemy, whom good rulers fight against in public affairs, is also fought against by good shepherds in the ecclesiastical sphere. It is a spiritual battle.

This is the reality that we inhabit. It is the assessment of man of God who has seen and understands what is taking place in the so called corridors of power. We do well to pay attention. Let’s not be dismissive. Did you think at the beginning of this year that churches practically everywhere in the world would be closed for a time? I certainly did not. At the very heart of all this confusion and violence is the spirit of rebellion against God and in our time, even against the natural order. The protests, the riots, the looting, the wanton destruction of property, the gratuitous violence, all these are expressions and consequences of a rejection of God. These however, are the times allotted to us and Our Lord expects us here and now to acknowledge His truth in charity. And so what are we to do? Above all, we must have a reverential fear of God for then we can indeed fear no one. St. Ephraim the Syrian (306-373), says of this reverential fear: Whoever fears God stands above all manner of fear. He has become a stranger to all the fear of this world and placed it far from himself, and no manner of trembling comes near him. These words are especially important in view of the pandemic of fear that has so much of our society in its grips. God deliver us from the ‘new normal’. Our response to this madness is only one: to live with greater determination and fervour a profoundly Catholic life, a life of devout humility centred on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; for here we are immersed in the truth about God and man. The best school of faith is the Mass itself. Pray the Mass, love the Mass.

On Friday we celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the summary of our whole faith. The Sacred Heart of Our Lord expresses not only the truth about God but also what we as His disciples are called to be – men and women whose own sacrificial love becomes a source of healing and salvation for the whole world. At a very specific time in our history, Our Lord chose to reveal His Sacred Heart to the world; and during the French Revolution when it can be said that our society’s current problems had their origin, devotion to the Sacred Heart sustained and strengthened the resolve of Catholics suffering violent persecution and who remained faithful to the truths of the Gospel and God’s Holy Church. Yesterday, we celebrated the Feast of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. In more recent times, Our Lady revealed the devotion to her Immaculate Heart as the devotion for our times. She promised: My Immaculate Heart is your sure refuge and the way that will lead you to God. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. We need this refuge and we need this victory.

Do not allow yourselves to be deceived by the lies of the world. Be humble of heart and recognise that the solid foundation for our lives is only found in sacred Tradition. In the midst all this madness and uncertainty, especially as governments seek to impose restrictions and limits on our God-given rights, and rebels seek to destroy and criminalize our history, we must endeavour to establish communities inspired by the truth of God and the charity of Christ Our Lord. This work begins here in our common home and in turn, in your own homes. Catholics evidently have done this before us in the challenges of their times; and with the help of God’s grace we can and must do it in our day so that we might radiate the truth and the love of God; and those confused and tired and victimized by the lies of the world will find here a haven of sanity, of order, of true charity, and of peace.  

May God Our Father hasten the triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart which is the restoration of the Christian order in society. The Mass and the Rosary are the spiritual arms we need to take up at this time with greater fervour and devotion. Pray your Rosary every day and if possible, attend Mass more than just on Sundays. Pray for the restoration of the Traditional form of the Mass and the restoration of the Church will follow. We fear no one. For if God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31)

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, we place all of our trust in Thee. ⧾

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'Pater Ignotus' is the pseudonym of a priest who prefers for various reasons to remain anonymous, or, in this case, ignotus, unknown. He is a faithful worker in the vineyard of the Lord.