Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Remnant

We are privileged these days to witness a profound truth being played out before our very eyes. The glaring witness of two current events emphatically display Christ's warning, "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you." (John 15:18-19)

Over the last few weeks, we have watched the world's press dote over JPII's legacy. In the usual demonstration of hypocrisy, the media lauded the political achievements of the Pope while ignoring or excusing as old-fashioned those privimitve teachings about upholding the Sacrament of marriage or the sanctity of human life. The media outlets clung to false hope that the next pope would not be so hopelessly traditional, but would be awakened to truth as determined through the court of public opinion. They've neglected to understand that Truth does not change and the Church is not an institution of this world.

And so, with humor, faithful Catholics observe the hyperventilation of the mainstream media as Cardinal Ratzinger, undoubtedly the media's most feared candidate for the papacy, is announced as Benedict XVI, the successor to the throne of Peter. Again the world proves that to obey God is to be Catholic, as no other institution is more passionately hated, more virulently derided, or more deliberately ignored, as the Body of Christ, the Catholic Church.

Our Cardinals, for which the faithful have fervently prayed, were empowered by the Holy Spirit to avoid the temptation of popularity with the world in order to maintain truth. Political correctness may earn rewards of favor in this world, perhaps even temporal happiness and success, but spiritual correctness reaps eternal rewards in the next life and the favor of the Almighty.

An interesting contrast has played itself out in the lives of these bloggers over the same few weeks. We have seen how even those who claim to pursue Christ can be deluded by the voice of popularity. With some sadness, we have had to choose the path of the remnant, well trodden by the Saints who have walked it before us: Noah, Lot, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, the Apostles. Who, having said farewell to family and friends, chose to leave what they knew, despite derision and contempt, for the unknown that God had in store for them. We have walked this path ourselves before, having to leave family and friends and to face open ridicule and attack as we follow the pillar of truth to the Catholic Church. Because our earthly life is a pilgrimmage, we will be forced to walk this path many times over the course of our lives. St. Peter knew this path. He exhorted his flock:
Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, insincerity, envy, and all slander; like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation, for you have tasted that the Lord is good. Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it says in Scripture: "Behold, I am laying a stone in Zion, a cornerstone, chosen and precious and whoever believes in it shall not be put to shame." Therefore, its value is for you who have faith, but for those without faith: "The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone," and "A stone that will make people stumble, and a rock that will make them fall." They stumble by disobeying the word, as is their destiny. (1 Peter 2:1-8)

Like St. Peter, we encourage our fellow Catholics to follow Him, not counting the cost. We may never discover the pleasure of earthly popularity, but we will rest in the peace of a clear conscience. I pray, we will never lose our focus on our goal, and all our lives we will continue to strain for what lies ahead of us. That we will all gain what the Lord promised through the prophet Zephaniah,
But I will leave as a remnant in your midst, a people humble and lowly, Who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord: the remnant of Israel. They shall do no wrong and speak no lies; Nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue; They shall pasture and couch their flocks with none to disturb them. Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart O daughter Jerusalem! The Lord has removed the judgment against you, he has turned away your enemies; The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst, you have not further misfortune to fear. On that day, it shall be said to Jerusalem: Fear not, O Zion, be not discouraged! The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals. I will remove disaster from among you, so that none may recount your disgrace. Yes, at that time I will deal with all who oppress you: I will save the lame, and assemble the outcasts; I will give them praise and renown in all the earth, when I bring about their restoration. At that time I will bring you home, and at that time I will gather you; For I will give you renown and praise among all the peoples of the earth, When I bring about your restoration before your very eyes, says the Lord. (Zephaniah 3:12-20)


At 4:07 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

I have been feeling the same thing. So much spiritual warfare, this is not coincidental. We won a huge battle in the recent papal election. The adversary is seeking to regain lost ground. We must be vigilant. I so appreciate having this place to edify each other and build each other up, and also a place to share our struggles and fears in a healthy way.


Post a Comment

<< Home