May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.
Death Valley is one of the hottest, driest places on earth. No one expects to find life there and yet something unusual happened during the winter of 2004: it rained a lot. Several inches of rain fell during a short period of time. The spring season of 2005 came and the parched floor of the Death Valley surprised everyone with flowers and grass growing suddenly everywhere. There was life latent under the surface, life patiently waiting for that rain that comes only once in many generations. Death Valley had a hidden Life Valley ready to bloom as soon as there was enough water.
I am sure you guessed my simple analogy. Those who know the history of the Church know that once the Catholic Church bloomed and produced the lush landscape of Western Civilization. The great achievements of yesterday seem almost impossible today in this Church when many temples are empty or closed, when sterile theologies bark from so many pulpits their empty message, and mediocre pastors seek to revive the flock with the bitter waters of paganism.
When the Second Vatican Council came in the 1960’s, Modernism had already dried up many areas of the Church’s life. Back then many were convinced that the Church had to keep up with the times. A number of measures were taken to make the Church more attractive, more Protestant-like, more attuned with the post-war world of optimism and prosperity. That spirit of renewal was not the Spirit. No matter how many doves were painted on the walls of the old edifice, the idea did not do us any good to this day. Liberation Theology, New Age Theosophy, pastoral engagement, the option for the poor, the synodal way, and the walking together, and all those shiny slogans of the “church of nice” did nothing but deepen the crisis. The Church grew in those far away places where brave missionaries lived the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all their hearts, far away from the stifling bureaucracies of Rome and the venomous fumes of the Theology of Liberation. The center of the Church could only come up with mere marketing ideas: the youth encounters, pop music at Mass, and other simplistic proposals that had no depth, only faintly connected to the rich sap of Christ’s words of life, sad copies of Madison Avenue style commercials.
But now we know that the once seemingly unstoppable impulse of Modernism turned out to be all roar and no substance. The pathetic spectacle of the successors of the Apostles of Christ sheepishly participating in a fake pagan ceremony with half naked natives from the Amazon must have filled the devil’s heart with gladness. The proliferation of gigantic concrete shoe-box cathedrals and churches, where cheap music and dubious “dances” try to inject life into a vacuous liturgy, are a witness to the apparent victory of the forces of darkness over the once luminous Catholic Church. The whole thing is a crying shame.
From the pulpits of Christendom, the words of Christ once inspired millions of souls to seek salvation by transforming the world. We are not building anymore. Today, Rome is telling us to obey the United Nations and make sure to sort our garbage to help the global civilization of usury, sodomy and waste last a little longer. Is it any surprise that some are reporting that Rome does not believe in the Divinity of Christ any longer? Is anyone shocked to see Peter denying the Lord anew with words and actions?
This has happened before. The awful night before Calvary, Peter denied the Lord three times and then –as predicted by Jesus– the cock crowed announcing the dawn of a new day. The faithful Church, Mary of Nazareth and John the Divine climbed to Calvary with their Master while the princes of the Church scurried away abandoning Him to the Cross.
For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry? (Luke 23:31 NRSVCE)
That was His Passion. This is ours. We are entering the passion of the Church. The parched spiritual landscape, the result of centuries of human effort to expel Christ and his message from the Catholic Church cannot produce anything but death now. The hired pastors have fled, abandoning the flock to its fate. But there is life under the surface. A few will climb with us to Calvary. A few will cry with us as we again seed the world with our blood. The rest will join the abomination and even rejoice in the mere possession of their thirty silver coins of usury and sodomy. But you, think of the words of St. John Climacus: “If you wish to be saved with the few, live like the few.” Take the straight and narrow road that leads to the gate of life. Wait for the rain for this parched land shall blossom under God’s blessing once again, not for a moment but forever.
Be like Mary and John and stick to Him until the bitter end. After the cowards are done denying the Lord thrice, the cock will crow announcing the dawn of a new world.
Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in its Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with victory.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their couches.
Let the high praises of God be in their throats
and two-edged swords in their hands,
to execute vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
to bind their kings with fetters
and their nobles with chains of iron,
to execute on them the judgment decreed.
This is glory for all his faithful ones.
Praise the Lord!
On the feast of St Luke the Evangelist.