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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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