Thursday, 14 August 2008

Jerusalem our destiny

This is where a photo should go, but I don't have a photo to share. Sorry, Andrew.

I have many favorite hymns, one for every mood, I think. Here is one of my favorites at the moment, as I was listening to the St. Paul Cathedral Choir sing it during my walk this evening:

There's a wideness in God's mercy
like the wideness of the sea;
a kindness in his justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is welcome
for the sinner,
and more graces for the good;
there is mercy with the
there is healing in his blood.

There is no place where
earth's sorrows
are more felt than in heaven;
there is no place where
earth's failings
have such kind judgment given.
There is plentiful
in the blood that has been shed;
there is joy for all the
in the sorrows of the Head.

For the love of God is broader
than the measure of man's mind;
and the heart of the Eternal
is most
wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we should take him
at his word;
and our life would be thanksgiving
for the goodness of the
While appreciating this wonderful choir and hymn and all sorts of wonderful things, in spite of the insane day I had at work, I also gave a little thought to tomorrow's Feast of Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Most should know his story, and if you don't, I recommend you give him a read, because you should. But I was thinking specifically about the Liturgy of the Hours tomorrow, and how I don't have anything Proper for him because he's been canonized since the last LOTH was issued. Also, the poor man will have no Vespers said in his honor, nor shall he ever, I shouldn't think, because his feast is the day before the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, and the Vespers that otherwise would be his are trumped by First Vespers for the Assumption. I know this happens other times in the year, but it is also very noticeable to me that the Protomartyr, Saint Stephen, never has Vespers either because his feast falls during the Christmas Octave. No matter, I've reassured myself many times that neither saint minds too much.

Things are not always how they should be, or how we think they should be, in the Church or in life in general. Many stories and anecdotes could be told and given where this is true, but since I'm writing, I'll talk about me for a minute. I know, and have known for some time, really, my true call, my vocation, my place in the Church Militant. I embrace it, even, but oddly, it will probably never see full fruition. Why? Not because God isn't sure, or I've decided to ignore it, but because the Church is composed, largely, anyway, of people. And people make decisions, and hold positions, and do not always follow the leading of the Spirit, so sometimes God is ignored. So no matter God's call to me, other men have said, "No," so God has been ignored.

This is nothing new. It has always happened in the Church, and it shouldn't offend us too deeply. I'm sure that God is very aware of the faults of people, but since God trusted us with this Treasure, anyway, things will go on and God will not forsake us. I'm sure that we can all name some time when we felt as if God were being ignored, and I know that many of us feel it especially keenly now, or have at some point in the past, or will soon in the future. I suppose that's why God sent the Spirit to the Church, because heaven only knows the mess we'd make of things without that!

Does this mean that the Church has lost its vision? That our Christ is out of the picture, and we cease to be the universal Catholic Household of God, the Church? I hope not, because that would make Joseph Smith right over and over again, and I have no desire to wander around the country (in a suit!) invading people's homes and giving away copies of a book copied from memory copied from gold tablets given by Moroni whose name gives me fits of giggles occasionally.

No, our vision is still with us, Christ is still before us, and God's kingdom still awaits us, even if we cannot see it at times. In spite of our faults, our sins committed and omitted, we are the People of God, and God's Catholic Church.

I didn't go into specific details about my situation, mostly because I'm a private kinda guy, and also you wouldn't be interested, or you might think less of me. That last part doesn't matter so much, but I'm not going to address it anyway. But the idea, I think, to an extent, at least, applies to the problems currently faced by our Anglo Catholic family. Please know that I'm gingerly stepping into this fully realizing my own peril, but trusting that you might understand my good intentions.

Just because the Church of God is full of humans who make ridiculously stupid and uncaring decisions does not mean that we all are not headed in the same direction, and, at least in theory, doing our part to lay the stones for the kingdom of God as Jesus admonished us. Silly things have been done, and will continue to be done, no doubt, but as I stated earlier, it has always been this way in the Church Catholic. Lucky for us, God's well aware of this, and He loves and trusts us anyway, because He knows that WE know that the Spirit is still with us, even when people do stupid things. Especially when people do stupid things, or completely ignore the Spirit and the Spirit's leading.

I've learned, painfully, that we cannot give up hope, or the fight for what we know is our personal inheritance in the kingdom. Saturday morning in a simple service I will become a Novice in the Third Order of Saint Francis, my Postulancy finally at an end, and I will receive the habit of said Order. It's an exciting day for me, and I can't believe it's finally here. It changes nothing, mind you, but it re-affirms my commitment to following Jesus, and it's one way I can attempt to live my vocation, even when some guys in the CHURCH say "No, thanks, we've got it covered."

This is what we must do all of the time, especially when things are far from ideal- snubbed Anglo Catholics, and simple librarians and scapegoats with a call to the Holy Priesthood. We must never forget the bigger picture, the kingdom of God, which we have strict orders from our Model to construct and polish in some sort of timely manner. Even when things are tough, or beyond tough. After all, we were never promised an easy task.

I come back to Saint Maximilian Kolbe, whose Feast day just began (for me here in the US, anyway, you guys are nearly waking up!), and our Protomartyr, Stephen, who I believe defer in perfect humility to a Story that is larger than they are. No, we'll never sing candle-lit Vespers in their honor, but their eyes are so firmly fixed on their Father and their Mother, that they'll never notice.

Maximilan Kolbe, a Polish Franciscan Friar who gave up his life for the life of one man, knows perfectly well what it is to forget self for one redemptive moment and become, at once, one with God.

May we, too, be willing to forget ourselves, in spite of our pain, and fix our eyes, too, on the One in whom we live, and move, and have our being.

Pax et bonum.