I don’t think I’ve ever heard this, have you? Here’s what I mean …
I was reading scripture today and I came across a certain passage in the Gospel of John which describes many of Jesus’ disciples response to his challenging Bread of Life Discourse (John 6:26-71). Here is the response: “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” Did you know the chapter and verse for that line? It is John 6:66. Ouch!
Why do I even mention this? Well, recently we have been faced with some challenging teachings. Namely, what some are referring to as our Holy Father’s one, two punch: 1) On June 29, the Vatican released a document entitled, “Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church,” and 2) the Holy Father’s July 7 Motu Proprio letter, “Summorum Pontificum.”
These are the days in which our faith is challenged and our choices are clear, and so is Christ’s exhortation: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it” (Matt 7:13).
We know the wide gate the secular news media has been trying to coax us through for years now. As the faithful remnant — the anawim — we must resist the temptation of following the crowd who, in this instance, with the barest cursory reading of these documents, if they read them at all, will formulate their discernment based on dribs and drabs coming from the AP wire or Reuters.
Many of us have been reflecting upon Pope John Paul the Great’s encouragement to Cast Out to the Deep (Duc in Altum). We’ve come to understand that wide is the gate and broad is the road for so many of us who get caught up in our busy lives, give a glance at a news report and draw all of our conclusions from such a suface level, superficial study. These are the times we are asked to dig a little deeper and learn what is beneath the predictable hostility of the secular news media.
It’s understood that the few who remained with Jesus after his challenging discourse (referenced above) did not completely understand. But that “faithful remnant,” knowing they did not have all the answers, stood by our Lord and patiently awaited the unfolding of this amazing truth. Here, again, is evidence of the precious humility of the anawim.
I encourage you to, please, do your own study on these important documents, beginning with reading them. Beyond this, I would like to recommend a couple of excellent teachings rolling around the blogosphere that are helping many come to a deeper understanding.
The first, entitled, “No, I’m not offended,” actually comes from an Evangelical Pastor in response to the above mentioned, June 29 document. The second comes from one of the great minds in our Church today, Richard John Neuhaus, and his take on the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio letter, Summorum Pontificum, entitled, “The Pope’s Liturgical Liberalism.”
Remember, precious anawim: “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” –George Orwell