Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Passion Week of Christ and the Passion Week for His Church

When my husband and I entered the Catholic Church, and our children followed, we entered amidst a flurry of controversy. 

First there was the priest abuse sex scandal. That was a difficult one to get past. We studied the problem, read the John Jay report, prayed about it and realized that the Body of Christ, the Church, was composed of the wheat and tares. [And I shall not even write what I believe should happen to those satanic tares when it comes to the abuse of innocent young men.]


Jesus chose Judas. As horrifying as it is, we should prepare ourselves to have a few demons among the Apostles' successors--for the darkness is real, it is not fantasy. There really is a Devil who wants to destroy the church from without and within, and he patiently waits at the gates to get in.

Like the Apostles, one out of twelve traitors to the faith should not be surprising. That would make it
possible that the Catholic Church houses about 19 wolves for Cardinals, about 425 bishops that will sell out Christ, and more than 34,300 priests who will give their Master the kiss of betrayal. 

The reality is not near that bleak. The Catholic Church has very, very few demons in it. And they have finally awakened to the scandal and worked very hard to stop the crimes.

Our family was not expecting the church Christ began to be perfect. In fact, if we found a church with no tares, then it wouldn't fit Jesus' description of His kingdom. Since we entered though, there have been a barrage of new crisis and internal controversies. And usually it is between liberal and conservative Catholics. 

To kneel or not to kneel? 
To contracept or not to contracept? 
To veil or not to veil? 
Was Vatican II the fissure that let the smoke of Satan into the Temple of God or was that the Holy Spirit that came in? 
Novus Ordo or the Tridentine mass?
Should unfaithful Catholic politicians receive Holy Communion?
Should the remarried Catholics receive Holy Communion?

The media reports with excitement that the Church is about to embrace abortion, contraception, homosexuality, adultery! With the jovial Cardinal Dolan always tantalizing the media with expectation. Then Pope Francis adds his two-cents to the confusion. And then the upcoming Council on the Family that has the passengers on the Catholic Ark wondering if there is a captain at the helm of this rocking ship!

As frustrating as the lack of leadership has been, one thing has given me great peace. I once read that the Catholic Church, as the Body of Christ, will have a parallel experience as Christ did while on earth. Satan will put her through the wilderness and tempt her and she will go through her own Gethsemane sweating blood,  experiencing
betrayal of her closest friends. The Church will be scourged, stripped and crucified, but what did we expect when Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow Him? And finally we may feel the same abandonment that Christ felt and the Church may cry out, "why have you abandon us?" to our Father. And perhaps, many may be called to die for our faith. 

As we walk with Christ through the Passion Week, take a look at the long history of the church that God so loved. 

All Christ needed was twelve faithful bishops--and though they scattered, they returned and were martyred for Our Lord. God can use even one faithful bishop to turn the entire church around as He did with Athanasius during the Arian heresy. We know we got that covered: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. And of course there are many, many more!

Yet, even if all the shepherds scatter, we will be prepared. For this is what they did to our Lord. Be not afraid.

We have two thousand years of His past faithfulness to His Beloved that we each can draw comfort from. And gaze into the eternity to come. 
As we contemplate the Good Friday and Holy Saturday, remember that each moment is redemptive suffering that every soul, each and every soul that can possibly be saved, will be found in heaven. 

Let us also feel the closeness of Easter Sunday. And let us never grow weary of praying that our beloved bishops have the courage to rise above even the Apostles themselves and walk with Christ's bride as she faces a hostile world. 

God bless you all. 

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