From Isaac of Stella

"So, brother, make for yourself a hidden place within yourself, in which you can flee away from yourself and pray in secret to the Father." Isaac of Stella

Passing From Self to God: A Cistercian Retreat, Robert Thomas, OCSO Cistercian Press, 2006, p. 4

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Smell of Smoke

It is a little unsettling observing what a radicalizing effect the Fr. Corapi episode is having on me.  I already have been disappointed in the attitude of the Catholic Bishops towards the loss of the faith and liturgical and aesthetic wasteland that is Catholic worship and life over the last 50 years.  I never would have thought I would have sympathy for the SSPX, but I am beginning to understand their appeal.

I am not a fan of Fr. Corapi.  I have listened to a few of his short messages and didn't find them something I wanted to pursue.  The aspect of the current scandal that bothers me is that I share his impression that he has no real chance for justice under his bishop, or really any bishop.  He is being asked to just take one for the team, to suffer for Jesus.  This is a pernicious manipulation tool used by the unscrupulous to blackmail the righteous into not defending themselves.  Suffering for Jesus is something you choose for yourself, not something you callously demand someone else do.  Fr. Corapi has the right to defend himself from spurious accusations just as Paul had the right to appeal to Caesar.  To me this is just another of a long list of demands by those in leadership in the church to declare that "black is white and white is black".  No.  No more.

The leaders do not lead.  "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."  The leadership in Rome writes documents they do not enforce.  The local leadership does not obey and argues that if they were supposed to obey, there would be consequences for not obeying.  As there are none, no obligation for obedience exist.  Liturgies are banal self worship sessions, the gospel is mistaken for the destruction of families and individuals by servitude under the nanny state.  Everywhere are victims and slaves.  Where is the heroism of the saints?

I am tempted to adopt a similar posture towards those in leadership over me in the church.  You want me to obey some questionable decree?  Put it in writing and with my name on it and I will obey.  Anything less will get the oblivion of apathy from me that your leadership deserves.  Act with heroism and I will respect you.  Live the Spiritual Acts of Mercy, and don't think you are obeying the Corporal Acts by voting to increase the welfare rolls.  How is it merciful to make men dependents of Leviathan?

Darkness and darkness.  Who is that knocking at my door?  Will I open of my free will and let Him in, or will I wait the demanding summons of the King at the end, when it is time to sift the wheat and the tares and it is far too late.  Schopenhauer knew that men were born to suffer, and must die to self in order to be free, and that the road to freedom/holiness was suffering and art.

Help me, Oh Lord, to be free of the darkness, that no man or bishop or heretic may trouble me even as they ask me to light the fires of my own pyre, as they asked of Fr. Corapi with his.  Those who live by the anger, die in their anger, and that worm will never rest once ensconced in the heart and the fires will burn without light within one for ever.  Let it not be so with me.

Help me, Oh Lord, to pray for those I see as enemies, to love them and show them the true fruits of love.  Let me show them the mercy they would deny to others.  For it is in giving that I will receive, in forgiving that I will be pardoned, and in dying to self that I will find everlasting life.

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