I find myself thinking a lot about how dire is the state of the world and the state of our church, and the state of our country these days.
Looking out from my library window over the vast panorama of my domain I find myself surprised at agreeing with David Warren, not at the agreement, but rather at what we are agreeing about.
We are agreeing about one of the few bright lights in the darkness of the Dead Marshes of our 21st century Canadian wasteland looking eastward towards the pass of Cirith Ungol and 24 Sussex Drive, the lair of Prime Minister Shelob.
As David recently wrote: “A sign of the times, as it were. At any given moment, approximately half of the (American) population is baiting the other half, or vice versa. There are (legions of) Internet sites devoted to supplying verbose ammunition to the respective sides …
In Canada of course, it is different. This is because our Thanksgiving falls earlier in the autumn.
Another (big) difference is that one side seems to have succeeded in cutting off the other’s ammunition supply, so that if you are a “conservative” — and nearly half the population is, up here, too — you tend to be very peaceful.
(Israelis know better) … “The Israelis are also, about half-and-half, “liberals” and “conservatives,” but behave differently from us, because both sides know that if Israel loses just one major skirmish, they must all either escape, or be annihilated.
Moreover, it wouldn’t be the first time in history this had happened to them.” … “An old Jew once told me, that when he was young, he would see graffitoes declaring, “Jews to Palestine!” Now he was old, the signs read, “Jews out of Palestine!” …
(and) What has Trump to do with this, you ask? Apart from the fact that there are a surprising number of Jews in his family, and his entourage? (This is the surprising agreement) … Well, I feel affection for him, and anxiety. The hatred directed at him, and all he stands for, constantly from the Left, has taken on the murderous, bigoted quality.
(Like the Israelis) If he loses one election, or one significant legal decision, his whole Party is finished; the jackals will be all over the Republicans. That’s how he has come to command the loyalty, even of people like me, who disagree with many things he says, and regret some of his policies.
For Merican Thanksgiving this year, after considering the matter from numerous angles, I would like to thank God, for Trump. In a time of real darkness, and civilizational despair, he has become, paradoxically, a point of light. I think that’s why the devils hate him so.
He is among those who still understand that Norman Rockwell poster, as it was before the caption was added. Which was sentimental, corny, and good. For as I would paraphrase:
“Stand beside him, and guide him, through the night with a light from above.”
Yesterday’s 2nd reading was from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, and we find:
“11And this, knowing the season, that already it is time for you to awake out of sleep: for now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed. 12The night is far spent, and the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
13Let us walk becomingly, as in the day; not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. 14But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof . (Romans 13.11-14)
Truly, truly we live in times of almost universal revelling and drunkenness, debauchery and licentiousness, quarrelling and jealousy. Don’t believe me? Just look about you at our movies, our news, our politics, our social lives, our families. Sad, sad, so sad.
And Popes have been making mistakes and errors more or less serious since the very first Pope, St. Peter.
From another perceptive blogger who I follow regularly … Fr. Hunwicke writes: Here is an extract from a very fine Advent homily given by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008:
“The cry of hope of Advent expresses all the gravity of our condition, our extreme need for salvation. Which is to say that we await the Lord not as some beautiful decoration to a world already saved, but as the only way of liberation from mortal danger.”
What was so noteworthy about this is that it represented a turning away from the semi-Pelagianism which characterised the post-Conciliar selection of Advent Sunday collects; Benedict instead turned back to the authentic tones of the Sunday collects which they replaced.
Three of these … did a moderately unusual thing in the Roman Corpus of collects: they began with an imperative verb for their first word. This, in turn, was taken from psalm 79/80: ‘Excita potentiam tuam et veni ut salvos facias nos‘ … a cry from Israel to her God to come and save His vineyard; a psalm full of a sense of dereliction and of pressing supplication. …
Here is the translation which the good old English Missal gives for the collect of Advent I: Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy power and come: that by thy protection we may be found worthy to be set free from the dangers of our sins which beset us; and to be saved by thy deliverance.
Compare this with (my translation) the OF collect: Grant, we beseech thee, almighty God, this will unto thy faithful people, that, running with good works to meet thy Christ as he comes, they may be set at his right hand and be worthy to hold fast the kingdom of heaven. …
Lorenzo Bianchi says this about the newer selection of Sunday Collects in the post-Conciliar Missal: ‘A Pelagian turn of thought becomes apparent: which does not show itself in a failure to speak about grace, but in the way it is separated from a realistic consideration of the human condition; and the manner in which the grace of Jesus Christ is made into an optional extra: just an unnecessary ornament … [in the Advent Sundays and Christmas collects of] the new Missal … sin does not appear, or even expressions explicitly linked with this concept … [instead] we find phrases which, making no mention of the fragility of the human condition, tend to bring to the fore the aspect of man’s commitment’.
We, in our inordinate self love have forgotten sin, explicitly forgotten our own sins … and brushed aside our desperate need for Christ’s grace as unneeded ornamentation.
This vanity lies at the root of the evil settling over our land and our church like a noxious vapour from the bowels of Mount Doom.
Gone are the days of sin … we are no longer sinners … and perhaps our church is no longer Catholic … In this time of judgement by subjective conscience, and the Sincretism of all religions are equal, and the pagan rituals involving the idol “Pachamama”.
BUT! No matter the evil, no matter what may come to pass, whatever lies before me going to keep on singing and never give up.
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will
Sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore