I shall probably regret this…

… one should never blog when in desolation (in the Igantian sense of the word).

And my mood is not chipper. Next week we have a big 24 hours as we come to the climax of our 400th celebrations. It has been a busy time for me, producing service books for printers, preparing liturgies and the sacristy for the several liturgies we will celebrate (with cardinals present), ordering crates of hooch for the festal drinkies and luncheon, as well as the other duties that fall to monks. So this morning I was off-colour and discovered later that one small job of mine had not been covered, and anyone could have covered it. This is religious life, and all our lives of course, from time to time. The sting is sharper in religious life because more is expected. Of course, perhaps that is why human imperfection, indifference, contempt and what have you should be expected in the cloister: with such high ideals the Devil is sure to be tempted to spike the monastic punch.

Moreover, it is hard to be chipper anyway when the news from Rome is so uniformly depressing. Reform has been the watchword, yet the upper echelons of ecclesial governance are more corrupt than ever. Has there been a more secular papacy in the last few centuries than this one? When so much effort is expended courting liberal secular opinion yet in the same moment also in villfying the committed faithful, we are left with the reality that few people think of the clichéd quip “Is the Pope Catholic?” as a joke any more.

So, to make things gloomier and me even more prone to whining, there is the Paris atrocity, the latest two-fingers to God in their service of Satan from Daesh (the name we should be using for IS – they hate it). This is where we come to the part I might regret (though the above may be regreattable too).

At present, when I can find some clear time (not often), I am trying to write a thesis that attempts to show how the Catholic Church can recognize immediately as martyrs the Copts massacred by Daesh in Libya earlier this year. Their dying act was to call on the Holy Name of Jesus. This is where their hearts lay. They were heaven-centred.

Last night eight young men died with a hateful creed, anti-Christ in fact, in their lips, murdering at least 140 (the latest tally) innocent people. This is where their hearts lay. They were hell-centred.

This is the shocking reality Christians need to acknowledge: barring an extremely improbable last millisecond conversion, we behold eight men who chose hell last night, and are there now. How many people will say this out loud: they died in hatred of God and man, and so they are in hell, as surely as the Coptic martyrs are in heaven.

This will offend some, with a very modern and secular sensibility, who think that the mere mention of hell as a possibility is to perpetuate a medieval cruelty. It is really self-interest in disguise: to allow that some people might, yea must, go to hell means that it is a possibility also for us. Better, then, to hold that no one goes there.

We have been hearing the word mercy a lot, and a Year of Mercy will soon be upon us. Too much of the time it is not mercy as Christ meant it that is being professed. It is licence and indulgence and a refusal to take seriously human freedom. Mercy is not a general amnesty from punishment for sinnners, great or small, whether they are contrite or not. Mercy is the name we give to the marvellous two-layered gift of God by which we are always and at any time able to repent; and having repented, to receive without delay or hesitation the forgiveness of God. Mercy cannot exist without repentance, for repentance is a free act, and forgiveness is a free gift tied inevitably, and necessarily, to repentance, and so can never be forced on us.

So as we remember next year the mercy of God, let us also acknowledge that eight young men last night rejected that mercy, committed a heinous mortal sin, and are now eternally lodged with Satan in eternal torment. This is not to gloat, but to remind us that the Gospel is a two-edged sword, and it may yet strike us unless our lives evidence a striving, to some decent degree at least, for the keeping of Christ’s commandments.

There are still priests around. There are many confessionals. There is offered, by sacrament, the absolute assurance of Christ’s forgiveness to those who repent. Let us keep ourselves on the right side of the Gospel sword.

Now, to let slumber deliver me into a better, less self-focused, mood!

Peace, out.

4 thoughts on “I shall probably regret this…

  1. Oh Father—may the Lord sustain you in this time of physical, mental and emotional anguish and toil there in your monastic life, your Catholic life and your life as our brother in Christ.
    Firstly–I too remember that joke as a kid growing up…”are they Christian? No, no, they’re Catholic…”
    And the question does beg is this latest Pope, the papacy itself, anything we recognize as Catholic? As the lines blur between it and secular liberalism—
    Fear not Father, you are not alone in your lamentations as our lamenting carries over to the leaders of our own Government—with the cry being where is Obama—will he truly stand by President Holland and France in this initial response of swift action against Daesh, as you so aptly put it—
    what will it take for our western nations to pull their heads up and out of the trite self-centeredness that we all seem to love to bask in??
    The time draws near Father for the goats to be separated from the sheep—and nobody gets it—that’s what so frustrating—we fumble around in our obsession with our consumer materialistic world— all the while as our enemy labors and toils, inching ever closer…
    If you get in trouble for expressing honesty and truth—well then Father, we’ve all got trouble…
    A big hug to you and much much love–thank you Father for your honesty and commitment to the Gospel of Christ and for sharing that commitment to those of us fortunate enough to read your words–
    love to you Father–may God bless you—Julie


  2. Father,
    You voice the choler thas has set into of many of us, I myself don’t think it is an unhealty place to be provided we keep foucssed on Christ and can see Our Lady’s smile. It is that smile that helps remind me that my mood is actually extremely childish…
    “God rules in the midst of his enemies” – I’m clinging to that line from the psalms!

    And when things are really bad, I’m just digging ditches with Elisha, and I have abolsutely no idea how they will ever be filled, and the temptation is just to lie down in them exhuasted and tell God that I’ve had enough.
    And yet Our Lady smiles, and we plod on….


  3. When Saddam Hussein was captured (and executed), as well as when Osama Bin Laden was killed, I remember thinking “why are we celebrating a soul entering eternal punishment? Justice is something that all who fear God should rejoice in, but our rejoicing in justice ought never to cause our hearts and minds to forget the justice of the cross. Christ bore the punishment of sin that people might turn to God. He rose from the grave that people would not have to live in the deaths of sin.

    This post reminded me of just how much our hearts need to break for the brokenness and sinfulness of this world- and of those who commit acts of blasphemous terror against the name of our perfect, loving, holy, and merciful God.


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