Saturday, December 24, 2016

This is my prayer now too ...

Christmas is the feast of God’s loving humility. - Pope Francis 

“If for us the experience of (your) infancy is so difficult, it is not so for you, O Son of God. 
If we stumble along the way that leads to communion with you because of your smallness, you are capable of removing all the obstacles that prevent us from doing this. 
We know that you will not be at peace until you find us in your likeness and with this (same) smallness. Allow us today, O Son of God, to draw near to your heart. 
Grant that we may not consider ourselves great in our experiences. Grant us instead to become small like you, so that we can draw near to you and receive from you abundant humility and meekness. 
Do not deprive us of your revelation, the epiphany of your infancy in our hearts, so that with it we can heal all our pride and all our arrogance. We greatly need… for you to reveal in us your simplicity, by drawing us, and indeed the Church and the whole world, to yourself. 
Our world is weary and exhausted, because everyone is vying to see who is the greatest. There is a ruthless competition between governments, churches, peoples, within families, from one parish to another: Who of us is the greatest? The world is festering with painful wounds because of this great illness: Who is the greatest? But today we have found in you, O Son of God, our one medicine. We, and the whole world, will not find salvation or peace unless we go back to encounter you anew in the manger of Bethlehem. Amen." - Fr. Matta el Meskin, a monk of our time.

Who is the greatest?  Who has the most friends and followers? Hits? Tweets? Cards? Presents? Donations?

I came across some comments on a couple blogs by those who are scandalized by the Holy Father and ordinary bishops, priests, and laity, dismissing them as sycophants, and Novus Ordo neo-cons, and other things.  If priests especially feel insulted by the Holy Father, they should read what traditionalist laity say about those who are considered to be 'conservative, orthodox, John Paul II style' priests and bishops.  To be faithful is evidently no longer 'good enough' for them - except of course when they need to go to confession anonymously.  Among this elite circle, there is very definitely a 'who is the greatest' mentality.

A dramatic conversion, a few years study, a bit of experience at the parish or diocesan level, many of these people become experts after devoting themselves to Tradition and the extraordinary form of things.  To the point of warning people not to trust their bishops, stay away from the local ordinary, even seek refuge is the SSPX.

As I read some of this stuff, more and more I understand Pope Francis warning about rigidity.

I can assure you people, you make a huge mistake when you assume you know what motivates a bishop as he governs his diocese - especially in our times.  You have no idea the extent of his concern and what goes on behind the scenes to avoid scandalizing the faithful when rather painful decisions need to be made.  I was just looking through a book on the history of our Archdiocese and marveled at all the changes and growth we experienced here.  From a log cabin chapel to a great Cathedral.

I noted all the bishops and priests of the Archdiocese, so many long gone, a few pictured in the book, still around.  Some tainted by scandal, but the majority not.  Faithful men and consecrated women.  It must have affected me deeply because I had a dream of one priest, I fell at his feet, weeping for anything bad I ever said about him.  It almost seemed more than a dream.  Our words not only wound, but they kill as well.

If I could undo all the criticism and complaints and gossip I have made about bishops, priests, monks and nuns, and faithful laity too, I would do so.  O my God, I pray He alone will make all things well.  Laity and clergy alike do not always understand the workings of the hierarchy, pastors, or religious superiors.  We do not understand what Divine Providence is doing to make all things well.  When we snap judge, cat-call our objections, we harm ourselves and others - we scandalize others.  So very often there is a hidden pride, and self-interested desire for self-exultation, lying beneath our best intentions, a smug self-righteousness often motivating us.

Who is the greatest?

Just one, the least in the Kingdom of God.

As Charles de Foucauld liked to point out, "No one can take the last place from Jesus."

You want to save the world and the Church?  Remember when Little Brother Charles was murdered?  The small monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament - Jesus - was thrown in the sand.

"No one can take the last place from Jesus."

Christmas is the feast of God’s loving humilityPope Francis 

Shepherds! You that go ...
tell him I sicken,
suffer and die.
Pray for me
that I may be
holy like you.


  1. A Very Merry Christmas to you Terry and to all your faithful readers. I think of Charles Dickens beautiful description of Scrooge's conversion. "He learned to keep Christmas in his heart all year long." May we all be so blest.

    1. Thanks wh - Merry Christmas to you too.

  2. Just carried an image of the Baby Jesus from the 9:30 'Midnight Mass' in the cathedral hall to the candle-lit cathedral across the street. Kissed His fat little extended foot. Aren't we blessed, Terry, to have such a tender God...and tender ways to connect with Him?

    1. Yes! I agree. I went to 9:30 Midnight Mass too. Very few people there - I think most go to the 4:30 Children's Mass. It was sweet. Merry Christmas Fr.!

    2. What is this "Children's Mass" of which you speak? I can't find it in the Roman Missal. Isn't there just one Mass for all ages?

    3. It's the exact same Vigil Mass I attended, but it is early for families and their kids who are in the Children's Choir. I think some parishes do other things, like a children's procession to the crib after Mass, sometimes before Mass there can be a shortened living Nativity - but the Mass is celebrated according to the rubrics. It's really lovely because the Church is packed with families with children. At the Mass I attended last night there were little kids there as well, one dragged a teddy bear with him to the creche. I love to see kids at Mass.

    4. Ha. Don't bother looking AB. Themed masses puts pressure on people to get creative. We had a Children's Mass which wasn't good. Being 35 degrees didn't help. When a dog walked onto the sanctuary during the consecration and everyone started laughing I almost flipped.

  3. Terry, quite often your commentary just simply...well...ROCKS! Merry blessed Christmas!!!

    1. Merry Christmas Deacon! I haven't sent your package yet - will do so this week.


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