NOVEMBER: THE MONTH OF THE DEAD
By Fr. Wilson (articles ) | Nov 10, 2003
Yes, Diogenes, I love November too. Such a suspenseful month, isn't it? Shall we have to control our rising curiousity until the end of the week, or will they tell us what they think about salmon fishing in the Columbia River right away?
About sixteen months ago, I wrote this in the Wanderer. It seems appropriate this week.
"Catholicism is far more than what those outside of the Church perceive. It is not a list of rules and commandments, of things we must do and things we mustn't. It is far, far more than a mere institution governed by a body of, ahem, rather obtuse potentates. Catholicism is the loving self-revelation of God to us; it is His gracious pouring out of His very life to us in the sacraments. It is a deep, and wide, and fruitful way of looking at all reality, and seeing all things in light of the Mystery of the God Who became Man, and shared our life, and died for us, and Who rose, and lives. Once one has understood that, everything is changed, everything is transformed, everything is seen in its light, and it is this which is the source of our joy. It is this upon which we need to focus, this to which we need to witness.
Now, this is not going to make the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops go away, more's the pity. Each year, November will still come, and nature will start to die; the days will grow cold, and short, and dark, leaves will fall off trees, bushes will shrivel, the ground grow hard, birds will fly to more hospitable climes, the winds blow cold and sharp, and we will know that the bishops are gathering for their annual November meeting. This is the way it is, my friends -- the cross is the gift God gives to His friends, as the Cure of Ars once said. If you prefer W.C. Fields, I believe it was he who said, "That's the way the cookie crumbles." Let them meet, let them deliberate, let them publish position papers on whatever they care to, enlighten the western world on the economy, and peace, and racism, and add another twelve volumes to the Lectionary, and eliminate more holy days, and solemnly authorize us to high-five each other at the sign of peace. Whatever they choose to do is so utterly beside the point that our best refuge from the anger they might provoke within us is hilarity at such idiocy. I did not decree their irrelevance; they did. It was not our decision that they would do absolutely nothing, over two generations, to address the problems afflicting our beloved Church. Let them do whatever they choose to do; it won't matter in the least. But while they are gathered in solemn session, deliberating on whether to permit priests to wear blue vestments for advent, or merely to authorize us to wear the "bluer hues of purple" for advent while saving the "violet-er hues of purple" for Lent, let's you and I get on with it -- the wonderful privilege of living our Catholic Faith.
We mustn't lose heart. The raging fever is the sign that the body is fighting the infection. This is a moment of grace, a moment of hope; it is only when we are brought low, made mindful of our need for God, that authentic renewal can come about. He has told us these things so that in Him we may have peace. In this world we will have tribulation, but we must be of good cheer; He has overcome the world. Our good Lord Jesus has overcome the world, and He, our risen Lord, will surely, as He always does, send the saints through whom He will effect the true Renewal.
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Posted by: -
Nov. 11, 2003 11:55 AM ET USA
Isn't great that we know who really is in charge!
Posted by: -
Nov. 11, 2003 9:18 AM ET USA
You know, Father, at morning Mass there were 30 extra people who attended because their friend, mother, wife, and sister, is in the Hospital having surgery for a brain tumor. I understand what you are saying. The whole thing is ridiculous. I just hope the US Bishops will excommunicate those bastards Kennedy and Kerry. They are thorn in my side. I can't ever preach on Abortion and Birth Control without the Kennedy and Kerry speach. The Bishops need to take charge.
Posted by: Elan -
Nov. 10, 2003 11:59 PM ET USA
Well said Fr. Wilson. Let us begin by letting go of our resentment, cynicisn, and faithlessness. If God truely responds to troubling times by sending the church great saints, then let us each follow the example of the "handmaid of the Lord" and pray humbly with her "fiat."
Posted by: Sterling -
Nov. 10, 2003 11:04 PM ET USA
Wonderfully put! I remember Emily Dickinson's poem, wherein she talks about climbing a mountain but never gains the view because "the brambles were always catching the hem of my gown." How horrible to spend our lives focusing too much on the brambles! Let's not let anyone within or without our Church do that to us - we're given only one life here to spend for Christ!
Posted by: -
Nov. 10, 2003 9:56 PM ET USA
Well said, Fr. Wilson. One of the reasons I like CWN is it gives me a chance to laugh at what would otherwise make me angry--and know that others are laughing also. You're right, lets laugh at the idiocy and then go about the business of being Catholic. Let's laugh at our inane church establishment--a confederacy of dunces that doesn't even know it is not taken seriously.
Posted by: -
Nov. 10, 2003 9:13 PM ET USA
Thus spaketh Father Wilson: "Whatever they choose to do is so utterly beside the point that our best refuge from the anger they might provoke within us is hilarity at such idiocy." True enough. And hey, let's be thankful we're not in Washington. I kinda prefer W.C. Fields, too...as in, frankly, I'd rather be in Philadelphia. God love the bishops. He must love them. I mean, He invented the Sense o' Humor, didn't he?
Posted by: -
Nov. 10, 2003 7:54 PM ET USA
Over the last few years I have become increasing depressed over the state of the Church and really am grateful for Fr. Wilson's boost. It adds to my reading of the lives of the saints and realizing that we are in another one of those Church crises that seem to regularly haunt us. At least the Pope doesn't live at Avignon and Diocletian is still mold and soil. Wise Jesus prepared us for these times and the probable upcoming persecution. God bless you, Fr. W.
Posted by: John J Plick -
Nov. 10, 2003 6:35 PM ET USA
You know Diogenes, occasionally Catholicism is easy. And sometimes, even writing into CWN is easy. This is one of those times. "Listen to the Priest!" JP