By A Catholic Dad
Christe qui lux est et dies, noctis tenebras detegis, lucisque lumen crederis, lumen beatum predicans.
I used to be obsessed with reading Church news. Every time I would get on my computer, I would open my email, Facebook, sometimes Twitter, and a selection Catholic news sites, all traditional, all decrying the evil in the Church. At first, I can honestly say it did me a lot of good. At the beginning of 2017 I would have hardly dreamed that by the end of that year I would be advocating the Traditional Latin Mass to anyone who could bear to listen to me talk about it. In time my family and I made the transition to attending the Latin Mass exclusively. We had found the treasure buried in a field, the pearl of great price, and it was largely thanks to such sites as this one.
Precamur Sancte Domine, defende nos in hac nocte, sit nobis in Te requies, quietam noctem tribue.
The overall unpleasantness of 2020 has become somewhat of a truism. This is certainly been true for my family. Aside from all of the national crises that have emerged this year, we have had several family crises, each of which on its own would have left a shadow on the year in which it occurred. And so coupled with the lockdowns, the mask laws, the travel limitations, the loss and then the severe restriction of Mass when it was given back to us, the year feels utterly overwhelming.
Ne gravi somnus irruat, nec hostis no surripiat, nec caro illi consentiens, nos Tibi reos statuat.
Then there is the civil unrest. The riots. The looting. The vague but ever larger looming threat of the loss of freedom, of socialism, of persecution. There are no shortage of those who, seeing the state of the Church and the world, insist that we must be in the end times. Francis cannot possibly be the true pope. The prince of this world already rules the world from the shadows, but soon and very soon he will proclaim himself openly through the Antichrist. Suddenly every conspiracy theory becomes more feverish, more persistent, more outlandish, and more credible, even as things dismissed as ridiculous a few short years ago are now day to day realities. In a world gone mad, the line between truth and madness becomes blurred, and suddenly one aspect of the enemy’s strategy at least comes into sharp relief: if they were to openly persecute us, drag us into the Colisseum, and throw us to the lions, at least we would know we were on the right side. The exact canonical status of the SSPX seems like it would be a bit less of a heated debate if the very act of going to Mass was a capital offence. But instead we fight a phantom enemy, one that has cast sand into our eyes and turned us on each other. Fear, confusion, and strife are potent weapons in his arsenal, and he has used them to terrible effect.
Oculi somnum capiant, cor ad te semper vigilet, dextera Tua protegat, famulos qui te diligunt.
So I’ll still read Catholic news sometimes, but far less than I used to, mainly because I don’t have the heart to hear more bad news, and because the temptation to despair is all too real. But in the middle of the night, when the baby is crying and it’s my turn to rock him and my phone is the only thing that will keep me awake, I’ll read until I can’t stand it anymore, and then remind myself that God is in control and His plan is far better for me than anything I could come up with. Even so, fear and doubt seem to swirl about me like a cold fog in the night. God forgive me, but I’m not holy enough to have perfect trust.
Defensor noster aspice, insidantes reprime, guberna tuos famulos, quos sanguine mercatus es.
I want to escape. I want to move to a state with a less capricious governor, to a diocese with a less capricious bishop. I want to work at a job that I actually like for less than 60 hours a week. I want to find a good Catholic community that isn’t spread out over a fifty plus mile radius. And I want to do it all before the thread suspending the sword of Damocles that my subconscious screams is hanging over our heads snaps. And perhaps some of these things are in God’s plan for us. But perhaps some aren’t.
Memento nostri Domine, in gravi isto corpore, qui es defensor anime, adesto nobis Domine.
At the end of the day, none of us really know what the next few months and beyond will look like. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away. But of that day or hour no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father” (St. Mark, 13:31-32). How can we foolish sinners claim to have knowledge which the very Word made Flesh does not claim as His own? And we certainly should not lose hope or trust in Him over our fear of what the future may or may not hold. We are called to suffer. To suffer for Him is an honor. And the only thing that we really need to worry about his how to serve and suffer for Him well, and this is as true in New York as it is in Nebraska, in 2020 as it was in 1220.
We have to take up our crosses and follow Him. The rest is so much straw.
Deo Patri sit Gloria, eiusque soli Filio, cum Spiritu Paraclito, et nunc et in perpetuum. Amen.
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