Thursday, February 19, 2009

Standing on a Whale, Fishing for Minnows

All the salvos from the sewer that Pope Benedict has been drawing lately, particularly in the wake of the totally contrived "controversy" over his decision to lift the excommunication of the SSPX bishops, got me to thinking about a small incident that took place shortly after his ascent to the Throne of Peter. I think of it as a sort of private revelation concerning the Holy Father: I feel sure I was not the source of it, and its edifying and consoling character makes me believe it did not come from the world, the flesh or the devil. I would not call it a vision; it was more along the lines of a waking dream that came out of nowhere, as though a gentle hand had taken hold of my imagination and guided it along a brief course.

It was during choir rehearsal at St. John's Cathedral. It was late, and the cathedral was dark, except for the lights over the loft. I looked out into the darkness; and suddenly, it became the darkness that covers the earth. The Mystery of Iniquity, the power of Evil in its full terror: an imposing, formidable, oppressive blackness, against which the world and everything on it seemed tiny and pathetic. There I was in the midst of it, keenly conscious of my own helplessness and and the helplessness of everyone around me.

And as I looked around, I saw the new Pope, Benedict XVI. He was also tiny in the face of this darkness, an insignificant speck of dust like the rest of us. And yet it was not so. He had been sent to be with us. The darkness did not give way before him; but still, he was a sign that we were not abandoned. He was a sign that, for all the terror of the darkness, it was doomed. Of himself, he was nothing, like the rest of us; but because he had been chosen and sent, and because of Who had chosen and sent him, he was not really helpless. And so neither were the rest of us.

Of course, present-day events prove that not only does the darkness not give way before Pope Benedict; it rises up against him in furious assault. But he, and the One Whose Vicar he is, are going to triumph in the end.

So everybody who abandons the true successor of Peter, and runs after the Edward Schillebeeckxes, and the Hans Küngs, and the Matthew Foxes, and the Edwina Gateleys, and all the other false prophets, are really on the losing side.


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