Saturday, April 23, 2005

The Vineyard of God

In the wake of the nonsense that has occurred in the last week, check that, the last month of my life, I reflect on many things with the installation of our new Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. It is with great joy & many hopes that I, along with many others, believe that we have a true warrior for God now firmly ensconced in the Seat of Peter.

For the first time in my life, I have witnessed the transfer of the keys of Peter from Pope John Paul II to Pope Benedict XVI. It is a truly awe-inspiring, nerve-wracking process that overwhelmed my soul from the moment I heard of John Paul's death. I reflect upon the importance of my life as God's servant and whether or not I am truly open to fulfilling that calling, as we are all called to some vocation. I reflect deeply upon the Conclave and what it must have been like to be one of the 117 voting Cardinals entering the Sistine Chapel knowing that one of you is not coming back out a Cardinal. Then I put myself in Cardinal Ratzinger's shoes, sitting there and having all the fingers pointing at me saying: "you're the guy." I believe I got a dim intimation as to how the "Room of Tears" got it's name. How terrifying that must have been, no matter how well Cardinal Ratzinger may have prepared himself for the possibility of being called to the Papacy; there is just no way one could aptly prepare themselves for such a task. I look to that in my life and ask myself, what is God calling me to do and what am I going to say to God? But I suppose the broad question would be: "What is God calling us to do," and what are we going to say to God? I thought Pope Benedict's first words to the faithful were very, very apropos: "The Cardinals have chosen me, a simple servant in the vineyard of God, to be the next Pope." We should all strive to be 'simple servants' of God. We all walk in the vineyard of God; what exactly are we doing there?

Another reflection that the new Pope has had on me is rejuvenating that feeling of hope. Hope in many things, but most of all, hope for Christ's Church. I need not go into a long dissertation of the concerns that many of the orthodox faithful have had and do have for the Church. Having become a student of the Second Vatican Council, I pray incessantly for the necessary corrections since 1965. 2005 marks the 40th anniversary of Vatican II and it is with great hope and prayer that I trust Pope Benedict will begin to finally correct the errors of the Council and begin to finally reign in the abuses in the New Mass. I, personally also have huge hopes that we will finally see the liberation of the Tridentine Mass and the reconciliation with the groups who hold dear to it. I believe it's finally time, as Cardinal Ratzinger says to "return the Mass back to Heaven." In my private thoughts and prayers, I can only hope for what exactly that means.

My most emotionally rooted reflection came not from Pope John Paul's death, but that his death marks the closing of a chapter in my life and the opening of a new one. Change is not always a comfortable thing and is rarely wanted, but I am growing more aware as the days go by that each day brings with it change.

It is clear to me that the mass media absolutely hates Pope Benedict and their true colors of anti-Christian agenda are shining through. With the passing of Pope John Paul II, the media reluctantly held back the hounds against attacking the Pope, but a few of them got their jabs in. I find it amusing how the media just does not get it with regards to the Church. It seemed like we were inundated, ad nauseum with some "Vatican expert" in the days following Pope John Paul's death talking about how the Church is going to have to re-think it's stance on this or on that. What the American media so obviously fails to realize is that the Catholic Church is not a democracy and the Vatican certainly does not take popularity polls to determine it's course of Administrative actions. I found it very apropos and fitting that after days on end of being told by both lay and clergy what the Church must do, God sends us Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. There is no doubt that the media went into convulsions over this.

With the election of Pope Benedict, we heard the media saying things like:

1. Pope Benedict will set the progress of the modern Church back 50 years! To which I say- Let us all hope so! I say let's go back to 1962 and start fresh!

2. Pope Benedict will not listen to the modern voices that have been successfully governing the Church under Pope John Paul II! To which I say, let us hope not! Modernism and modern thought is what got us in the colossal mess that the Church is in. Unforunately for us, the dire warnings of several popes have sadly failed to take root in the Church. Need I remind us of the warning of the "Burning Passion," Pope St. Pius X gave about modernism? "Modernism," Pope Pius said, "is the synthesis of all heresies!" Yes, I say it's very much time that we stop drinking from the wellspring of modern thought. Let us examine the fruits of modern thought: vocations have fallen through the floor, Mass attendance has dropped by 78% since 1969 (USA Today, 1992), more and more priests are having doubts about the Real Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. What that statement should really read above is that 'Pope Benedict will not tolerate heretics-be them lay faithful, priests, bishops or cardinals.' Especially in the West, America has for too many years thumbed it's nose at the Magisterial teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and paid lip service to it's Supreme Pontiff. Those days, I pray are over. With Pope Benedict at the helm, we are very likely to see excommunications come down, for many people. If they do come down, the excommunicated should thank Pope Benedict, not decry him. The good shepard's first move when he caught up with a sheep that ran astray was to break it's legs and then nurture it back by carrying it around his neck. In the end, the sheep would never think of running astray. The Pope must be the good shepard at times and I think everyone, no matter what side they may be on regarding Pope Benedict, knows that he is special shepherd, something much different.

As Pope John Paul II said on many occasions: "we live in a culture of death." Never is that more apparent than right now, and right now, God has sent us a warrior. A seasoned Holy General in the battle for souls. A true warrior in this Immortal Combat.*


*Taken from Father John Corapi's series on "Immortal Combat"


At 4:11 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

I just read the "Journal of a Roman Deacon" entry for the election day, and I found myself with tears rolling down my face again, as I read those words as Pope Benedict XVI was presented to us. What a victory! Viva il Papa.

At 4:39 PM, Blogger BekahS. said...

That's what Steve said when he sent me the files. How cool! That was such an amazing day.


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