As Jesus was laid in the tomb, the temptation to surrender to defeat was weighing heavy on the hearts and minds of the disciples. As the Psalmist writes: “My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?'” (Psalm 42:3) It was, in their minds, “A Day Without Jesus.”
Tonight, our darkness is turned to light, and the joy of salvation rings throughout every Catholic Church in the world! The mesaage? We must follow Jesus through the difficult and challenging cross to this resurrection.
When we look around at our world and see the growing unbelief (even within our Church) we may, like the disciples, be tempted to despair. “The secularization that so characterizes many western societies has also found its way into the Church,” Pope Benedict has warned. At a meeting March 8th with the Pontifical Council for Culture, the pope said that “the lofty values of existence” must be reintroduced to contemporary cultures. The media has spread a “hedonistic” and consumerist mentality that promotes the idea that “there is no longer any need for God, to think of Him or to return to Him.”
As Mary’s Anawim, we must stay alert. Meek in humility, we become strong in grace. Without God’s grace, we are like that weakened next victim of whom the predator is prowling to destroy. In this context we are referring to those whose beliefs and character are swayed by every media soundbite thrown at them. As Pope Benedict says, it is “the worrying phenomenon of secularization which weakens man and hinders his innate longing for the entire Truth.”
And our first pope writes: “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith, realizing that the brotherhood of believers is undergoing the same sufferings throughout the world. The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish those who have suffered a little while. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5b-11).
And so, let us be alert to the prowling forces influencing and devouring the faith of our loved ones today …
I’ll leave it to the sociologists and even the historians to work out “how” we got into the present state of affairs, but the reality is that we are here. Of what reality am I referring? It is the disturbing shift which has occurred in the past 40+ years from an advancing civilized culture to a 180 degree turn towards a deteriorating barbarism, which is accelerating a decline in values and standards, all in the name of “progress.”
There … I said it. Now all of the protectors of the status quo (Latin for, existing state of affairs) can begin formulating their eloquent rhetoric (oh, and it has been convincing over the past 40+ years) in defense of our current societal path.
No matter what the compelling arguments are for the defense of this path (civil rights accomplishments, etc.), there remains the reality that this secular (godless) path has left our freedom seeking (from God) Western societies wandering in the proverbial “Land of Nod” in a confused state of chaos and insecurity (and much depression), rather than embracing the Divine offer of a “Garden of Eden” state of freedom of purpose and security in His Presence.
It will, no doubt, be the historians who will later expose the hidden driving forces behind this misguided campaign to help us all “progress” into the future. Even now many of the funding multi-billionaires and other parties of influence (celebrities, tenured university professors, media elites, well-funded special interest groups, etc.) are being revealed through various articles and books springing up more and more.
However, you will be hard-pressed to see these hidden driving forces exposed through the mainstream media. That industry has long since betrayed the Truth for their 30 pieces of silver (the influence of the almighty dollar). In fact, as is seen, a type of “clan mentality” has developed in the mainstream media around the protection and advancement of this godless liberal (mistakenly referred to as, secular progressive) ideology. And, speaking of advancement, it is common knowledge that in order to advance one’s career within the media industry, one needs to be on board with and, in many cases, aggressively promote the godless liberal agenda — kudos, props and promotions for those who toe the company line.
While we spend today identifying with the temptation to despair of the disciples — “My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?'” (Psalm 42:10) — we look forward to the rest of the story, which comes in the psalmist’s next line, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11).
This Holy Saturday post looks forward to the Easter post … we look to where our help comes (Psalm 121).