Friday, November 11, 2016

Fr. Perrone on what we prayed to be spared

With each passing year, as our society continues to evolve, I grow ever fonder of our parish, which in so many ways is unlike nearly any other I've experienced. By the same token, I suspect, in the eyes of the surrounding society (even Catholic society), our parish must seem proportionally out-of-step and weirdly antiquated. What makes it so? Simply that it has resisted evolving along with society. There's nothing really extraordinary about our parish at all in the great historical scheme of things. The fact is, it is simply Catholic; and Catholic precisely in the sense that any of our Catholic great-grandparents would have immediately recognized. They would have found it entirely ordinary; which is what makes it so extraordinary today. This is one reason I like to include those parts of these weekly reflections by our pastor that open a window onto our parish life -- like the concluding two paragraphs of his column below, which was published the Sunday preceding the presidential election. Enjoy.

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (assumption Grotto News, November 6, 2016):
I recently came across this and thought you'd enjoy reading it these days just before the election.

*****

A Fable

Once upon a time in a not too distant land there was a people who had just elected a New Leader (NL) who promised, if elected, to enforce contraception funding, support unlimited abortion rights and fetal experiments, and uphold gay marriages, and who was known to have done criminal deeds but people didn't much care about that because their own sins blinded them to see them. One of NL's goals that had not been kept too much of a secret was to penalize any religious body that opposed sweeping social changes for a brave new society. While some people protested these, only one religious group proved big and powerful enough to stand in the way of NL's new ways. So an order came down on them. "Either change your ways and your beliefs to fit with the new program or else heavy taxes will be levied on all your properties, and you'll be shut down in no time!" This threat terrorized the hierarchy and made the hearts of believers tremble. But to keep peace some of the hierarchy said, "Let's give in to this new program so we can keep our properties, stay in control, and keep some semblance of our religion." Others, clergy and laity alike, were adamant and refused to change. These had their parishes shut down for lack of money to pay the taxes and their clergy went into hiding -- some of whom were imprisoned. And so there was a huge split in this church. While the side of those who went along with the new policies resented the oppressive controls they weren't really all that sad. "NL means well," they said. "Besides, most of us -- unlike those rigid forlks who were shut down and forced undegroudn -- secretly agreed with a lot of what NL wanted done anyhow." And so these got on rather well, though theyfelt deeply guilty for their conformity. The diehards meanwhile, those who refused to change their ways, kept the old religion alive, conducting their religious services clandestinely and teaching their children the old religion of their fathers. So there was now an officially recognized church under NL's control and the opporessed reactionaries who kept to their traditional ways in secret.

Meanwhile the whole land was now beginning to feel other pressures as NL pushed on to greater and greater control of people's lives. Taxes were increased to unbearable limits to create the new society that promised freedom, equality, and happiness for everybody -- everybody except those who opposed the new program. Conformists with the reforms were rewarded with jobs and privileges while the general population suffered emotionally and economically, even unto wretchedness. But whenever somebody began to object or criticize NL or the new reforms they were forcibly silenced and punished severely. In this way NL exercised total control over everything in this land and many pretended they liked things this way -- though they really resented them -- because they were afraid.

Life went on a long time in this land and the people were miserable. All the while, however, the underground believers and other dissidents kept going quietly under oppression, living by their old beliefs and ways as best they could, keeping alive in their hearts the hope that someday NL would be gone, the former order reinstated, and liberty restored.

But in the meantime, the people lived most unhappily and were very sorry that they had ever brought this sufering upon themselves.

*****

Recall that there will be an overnight prayer vigil in our church this Monday night after the 7:00 p.m. Mass through Tuesday morning just before the 7:30 a.m. Mass. We will be prostrate before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, precisely as we sing the Benediction hymn, veneremur cernui, that is, falling down before God. This is expressed well also in (Vulgate) Psalm 94 that is prayed in the Divine Office every morning: "Come, let us adore, and bow down before God, let us weep before the Lord." We have great reason to pray so very humbly for a good outcome to this election.

The Forty Hours Devotion opens this Friday at the 7:30 a.m. Mass with its procession following, closing just before the 7:00 p.m. Mass. It will reopen Saturday morning at 6:30 (with Mass at the usual 7:30 time), closing 8:00 p.m. On Sunday morning adoration begins at 6:00 a.m. and continues through the solemn closing Mass at noon (procession with the Blessed Sacrament is at the end of the Mass). Note that during the Sunday Masses, the Eucharist is not exposed, except during the noon Mass due to a special privilege for the closing Mass of Forty Hours.

Fr. Perrone

Pancake Sunday today.


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