The reading from Maccabees.
My thoughts this morning anticipated the first reading for Mass. I have been thinking of a priest who intends to retire to a hermitage to devote the rest of his life to prayer - I forgot exactly how he said it, but he explained that he was moved to do this in response to 'the apostasy' in our times. Not too many weeks ago, Cardinal Robert Sarah warned of a "creeping apostasy" in progress - "even among the baptized and the disciples of Christ."
The reading from Maccabees poses many similarities to the conditions of our times. Rather than share my personal meditation, I'll share what the Holy Father had to say on the subject.
Lord, the Pope prayed, give me the discernment to recognize the subtle conspiracies of worldliness that lead us to negotiate our values and our faith.
During his homily, Pope Francis warned the faithful against what he described as a “globalized uniformity” which is the result of secular worldliness.
Often he said, the people of God prefer to distance themselves from the Lord in favour of worldly proposals. He said worldliness is the root of evil and it can lead us to abandon our traditions and negotiate our loyalty to God who is always faithful. This – the Pope admonished – is called apostasy, which he said is a form of “adultery” which takes place when we negotiate the essence of our being: loyalty to the Lord.
And he spoke of the contradiction that is inherent in the fact that we are not ready to negotiate values, but we negotiate loyalty. This attitude – he said – “is a fruit of the devil who makes his way forward with the spirit of secular worldliness”.
And referring again to the passage in the Book of Maccabees, in which all nations conformed to the king’s decree and adopted customs foreign to their culture, the Pope pointed out that this “is not the beautiful globalization, unity of all nations, each with their own customs but united, but the uniformity of hegemonic globalization, it is – he said - the single thought: the result of secular worldliness”
"With a reference to the 20th century novel “Lord of the World” that focuses on the spirit of worldliness that leads to apostasy, Pope Francis warned against the desire to “be like everyone else” and what he called an “adolescent progressivism”. “What do you think?” – he said bitterly – “that today human sacrifices are not made? Many, many people make human sacrifices and there are laws that protect them”. - Source
Conduct of the soul in the dark night of the apostasy.
Acts of the apostasy can be recognized by the degree of opposition to Catholic teaching proposed, which can lead us to "to abandon our traditions" - especially as regards faith and morals. The most obvious in our culture is the acceptance of homosexual behavior, same sex marriage, abortion, arguments against natural law, and so on. Same sex marriage is an act of apostasy. Legalized abortion is an act of apostasy. We should know that however. What we don't know is how do we conduct ourselves in this 'night'?
First, I want to reinterpret something from Elizabeth Lesuer.
Banish everything that is not love...Not to accept everything,but try to understand everything;not to approve of everything,but try to forgive everything;not to adopt everything,but try to search for the grain of truth that is contained in everything.Reject every temptation to accept, approve, or to adopt what is contrary to Catholic teaching and from "the spirit of secular worldliness”.
To love others as Jesus Christ loved them, including persecution, suffering and death.
Nothing to be afraid of.
Now I would like to share a few considerations "On the Conduct of the Soul" in the dark night. Perhaps it will make sense.
To reveal God as Love to souls is the central and essential point of the mission of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. This message has as its foundation the most important and deep grace of her life, namely, a very profound experimental knowledge of God inasmuch as He is Love.I may be wrong of course. So pay no attention to this if what is said here doesn't work for you.
Divine Love does not want to limit His action to a few privileged souls, He longs to give Himself everywhere - to conquer the entire world.
Confidence is theological hope wholly impregnated with love; abandonment is confidence which no longer expresses itself solely through distinct acts but has created an attitude of soul: 'We can never have too much confidence in the Good God, He is so mighty, so merciful. As we hope in Him so shall we receive.'
One must (accept to) be poor, miserable, and must lay open one's poverty (littleness, helplessness) to the enlarging power of Divine Love, in order to attract and satisfy Him. Such is his Law.
The secret of St. Therese is no different from that of St. John of the Cross. The Theresian love of littleness and of poverty united to blind trust in divine mercy, is that not the same as the Joannine hope that is detached from everything and that God immediately fills?
For St. Therese, trust and poverty are not simply virtues, like so many others, that one must practice at certain times; they are basic virtues, deep-seated dispositions, governing all the movements and attitudes of the soul. They of themselves create and become a complete spirituality; they constitute, as the Saint proclaims, a way to go to the good God.
Because the way of spiritual childhood offers us a felicitous example, in concrete and living form, for the practice of the virtue of hope, its teaching is particularly precious for the period that we are now studying." - P. Marie-Eugene, O.C.D. - I Am A Daughter of the Church, Chapter IV The Conduct of the Soul
"I want to see" as the blind man in today's gospel told Christ. But remember, a blind man cannot lead a blind man because both will fall into a pit. So it is better if you do not place much stock in what I post.
The Pope concluded his homily:
What consoles us – he concluded – is that the Lord never denies himself to the faithful. “He waits for us, He loves us, He forgives us. Let us pray that His faithfulness may save us from the worldly spirit that negotiates all. Let us pray that he may protect us and allow us to go forward, leading us by the hand, just like a father with his child. Holding the Lord’s hand we will be safe”.