Saints thru Suffering: Bishop Slattery's homily at the TLM in DC
#1
http://wdtprs.com/blog/2010/04/bp-slatte...ington-dc/

[Image: 10_04_04_Shrine_Mass01.jpg]

We have much to discuss – you and I …

… much to speak of on this glorious occasion when we gather together in the glare of the world’s scrutiny to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the ascension of Joseph Ratzinger to the throne of Peter.

We must come to understand how it is that suffering can reveal the mercy of God and make manifest among us the consoling presence of Jesus Christ, crucified and now risen from the dead.

We must speak of this mystery today, first of all because it is one of the great mysteries of revelation, spoken of in the New Testament and attested to by every saint in the Church’s long history, by the martyrs with their blood, by the confessors with their constancy, by the virgins with their purity and by the lay faithful of Christ’s body by their resolute courage under fire.

But we must also speak clearly of this mystery because of the enormous suffering which is all around us and which does so much to determine the culture of our modern age.

From the enormous suffering of His Holiness these past months to the suffering of the Church’s most recent martyrs in India and Africa, welling up from the suffering of the poor and the dispossessed and the undocumented, and gathering tears from the victims of abuse and neglect, from women who have been deceived into believing that abortion was a simple medical procedure and thus have lost part of their soul to the greed of the abortionist, and now flowing with the heartache of those who suffer from cancer, diabetes, AIDS, or the emotional diseases of our age, it is the sufferings of our people that defines the culture of our modern secular age.

This enormous suffering which can take on so many varied physical, mental, and emotional forms will reduce us to fear and trembling – if we do not remember that Christ – our Pasch – has been raised from the dead. Our pain and anguish could dehumanize us, for it has the power to close us in upon ourselves such that we would live always in chaos and confusion – if we do not remember that Christ – our hope – has been raised for our sakes. Jesus is our Pasch, our hope and our light.

He makes himself most present in the suffering of his people and this is the mystery of which we must speak today, for when we speak of His saving presence and proclaim His infinite love in the midst of our suffering, when we seek His light and refuse to surrender to the darkness, we receive that light which is the life of men; that light which, as Saint John reminds us in the prologue to his Gospel, can never be overcome by the darkness, no matter how thick, no matter how choking.

Our suffering is thus transformed by His presence. It no longer has the power to alienate or isolate us. Neither can it dehumanize us nor destroy us. Suffering, however long and terrible it may be, has only the power to reveal Christ among us, and He is the mercy and the forgiveness of God.

The mystery then, of which we speak, is the light that shines in the darkness, Christ Our Lord, Who reveals Himself most wondrously to those who suffer so that suffering and death can do nothing more than bring us to the mercy of the Father.

But the point which we must clarify is that Christ reveals Himself to those who suffer in Christ, to those who humbly accept their pain as a personal sharing in His Passion and who are thus obedient to Christ’s command that we take up our cross and follow Him. Suffering by itself is simply the promise that death will claim these mortal bodies of ours, but suffering in Christ is the promise that we will be raised with Christ, when our mortality will be remade in his immortality and all that in our lives which is broken because it is perishable and finite will be made imperishable and incorrupt.

This is the meaning of Peter’s claim that he is a witness to the sufferings of Christ and thus one who has a share in the glory yet to be revealed. Once Peter grasped the overwhelming truth of this mystery, his life was changed. The world held nothing for Peter. For him, there was only Christ.

This is, as you know, quite a dramatic shift for the man who three times denied Our Lord, the man to whom Jesus said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Christ’s declaration to Peter that he would be the rock, the impregnable foundation, the mountain of Zion upon which the new Jerusalem would be constructed, follows in Matthew’s Gospel Saint Peter’s dramatic profession of faith, when the Lord asks the Twelve, “Who do people say that I am?” and Peter, impulsive as always, responds “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

Only later – much later – would Peter come to understand the full implication of this first Profession of Faith. Peter would still have to learn that to follow Christ, to truly be His disciple, one must let go of everything which the world considers valuable and necessary, and become powerless. This is the mystery which confounds independent Peter. It is the mystery which still confounds us: to follow Christ, one must surrender everything and become obedient with the obedience of Christ, for no one gains access to the Kingdom of the Father, unless he enter through the humility and the obedience of Jesus.

Peter had no idea that eventually he would find himself fully accepting this obedience, joyfully accepting his share in the Passion and Death of Christ. But Peter loved Our Lord and love was the way by which Peter learned how to obey. “Lord, you know that I love thee,” Peter affirms three times with tears; and three times Christ commands him to tend to the flock that gathers at the foot of Calvary – and that is where we are now. 

Peter knew that Jesus was the true Shepherd, the one Master and the only teacher; the rest of us are learners and the lesson we must learn is obedience, obedience unto death. Nothing less than this, for only when we are willing to be obedient with the very obedience of Christ will we come to recognize Christ’s presence among us.

Obedience is thus the heart of the life of the disciple and the key to suffering in Christ and with Christ. This obedience, is must be said, is quite different from obedience the way it is spoken of and dismissed in the world.

For those in the world, obedience is a burden and an imposition. It is the way by which the powerful force the powerless to do obeisance. Simply juridical and always external, obedience is the bending that breaks, but a breaking which is still less painful than the punishment meted out for disobedience. Thus for those in the world obedience is a punishment which must be avoided; but for Christians, obedience is always personal, because it is centered on Christ. It is a surrender to Jesus Whom we love.

For those whose lives are centered in Christ, obedience is that movement which the heart makes when it leaps in joy having once discovered the truth.

Let us consider, then, that Christ has given us both the image of his obedience and the action by which we are made obedient.

The image of Christ’s obedience is His Sacred Heart. That Heart, exposed and wounded must give us pause, for man’s heart it generally hidden and secret. In the silence of his own heart, each of us discovers the truth of who we are, the truth of why we are silent when we should speak, or bothersome and quarrelsome when we should be silent. In our hidden recesses of the heart, we come to know the impulses behind our deeds and the reasons why we act so often as cowards and fools.

But while man’s heart is generally silent and secret, the Heart of the God-Man is fully visible and accessible. It too reveals the motives behind our Lord’s self-surrender. It was obedience to the Father’s will that mankind be reconciled and our many sins forgiven us. “Son though he was,” the Apostle reminds us, “Jesus learned obedience through what He sufferered.” Obedient unto death, death on a cross, Jesus asks his Father to forgive us that God might reveal the full depth of his mercy and love. “Father, forgive them,” he prayed, “for they know not what they do.”

Christ’s Sacred Heart is the image of the obedience which Christ showed by his sacrificial love on Calvary. The Sacrifice of Calvary is also for us the means by which we are made obedient and this is a point which you must never forget: at Mass, we offer ourselves to the Father in union with Christ, who offers Himself in perfect obedience to the Father. We make this offering in obedience to Christ who commanded us to “Do this in memory of me” and our obediential offering is perfected in the love with which the Father receives the gift of His Son.

Do not be surprised then that here at Mass, our bloodless offering of the bloody sacrifice of Calvary is a triple act of obedience. First, Christ is obedient to the Father, and offers Himself as a sacrifice of reconciliation. Secondly, we are obedient to Christ and offer ourselves to the Father with Jesus the Son; and thirdly, in sharing Christ’s obedience to the Father, we are made obedient to a new order of reality, in which love is supreme and life reigns eternal, in which suffering and death have been defeated by becoming for us the means by which Christ’s final victory, his future coming, is made manifest and real today.

Suffering then, yours, mine, the Pontiffs, is at the heart of personal holiness, because it is our sharing in the obedience of Jesus which reveals his glory. It is the means by which we are made witnesses of his suffering and sharers in the glory to come.

Do not be dismayed that there many in the Church have not yet grasped this point, and fewer still in the world will even consider it. You know this to be true and ten men who whisper the truth speak louder than a hundred million who lie.

If then someone asks of what we spoke today, tell them we spoke of the truth. If someone asks why it is you came to this Mass, say that it was so that you could be obedient with Christ. If someone asks about the homily, tell them it was about a mystery and if someone asks what I said of the present situation, tell them only that we must – all of us – become saints through what we suffer.

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#2
Very nice!  I will be sure to read this several times today so it sinks in.
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#3
It was a great homily and the Mass drew positive attention to the TLM.  It was nice to have some good news.
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#4
Amen!

I've been so busy the last six weeks that I forgot to mark that on my calendar and could have made the trip.... :mad:

Quote:In the silence of his own heart, each of us discovers the truth of who we are, the truth of why we are silent when we should speak, or bothersome and quarrelsome when we should be silent. In our hidden recesses of the heart, we come to know the impulses behind our deeds and the reasons why we act so often as cowards and fools.
 

That part really grabbed me.  With all the busyness(sic) lately, it's been hard to find that kind of peace.  I really need to schedule a retreat.
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#5
"...the easy speeches that comfort cruel men" ~ G. K. Chesterton

“Suffering then, yours, mine, the Pontiffs, is at the heart of personal holiness, because it is our sharing in the obedience of Jesus which reveals his glory”  Bishop Slattery

Those abused and those affected by the abuse are  "suffering" much more than His Holiness .  Their body, mind and spirit have been torn and violated.  Their suffering is felt anew every time the child  molestations are candy-coated in these terms

"What do they want?" I hear the cry.  All “they” want is a recognition, clear and without legalize, that the abuse happened, that the Church officials deliberately covered them up, that the Church recognized that it placed the welfare of the Church over the well-being of children.

Does no one recall the saying of Christ:
Matthew 18:6
"But whosoever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."

“The law of sin is the violence of habit by which even the unwilling mind is dragged down and held, as it deserves to be, since by its own choice it slipped into the habit.”  -St. Augustine, “Confessions”
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#6
(05-01-2010, 10:48 AM)ME_G Wrote: "...the easy speeches that comfort cruel men" ~ G. K. Chesterton

“Suffering then, yours, mine, the Pontiffs, is at the heart of personal holiness, because it is our sharing in the obedience of Jesus which reveals his glory”  Bishop Slattery

Those abused and those affected by the abuse are  "suffering" much more than His Holiness .  Their body, mind and spirit have been torn and violated.  Their suffering is felt anew every time the child  molestations are candy-coated in these terms

We can't know that. It is not possible to know the suffering of another and it is pretty meaningless to try to compare sufferings.
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#7
(05-01-2010, 10:48 AM)ME_G Wrote: "What do they want?" I hear the cry.  All “they” want is a recognition, clear and without legalize, that the abuse happened, that the Church officials deliberately covered them up, that the Church recognized that it placed the welfare of the Church over the well-being of children.

Yeah, this is the argument that always sits ill with me.  It contains several errors.  First of all that those who make it don't recognize that people in religious authority always rape the young, not just Catholic clerics - that child molestation is not a sin of lust, peculiar to the Catholic Church, but one of pride, an abuse of power and trust. Second that people outside the Church or even ill-catechized inside it imagine that the Church can be equated to its bureaucracy, and that the hierarchy of the church makes that mistake.  Third, that when going over the events people say, "Ah, well, it is the act of a person who is in authority in the Church," a Church incorrectly defined, and so it is the action of the whole Church to protect its own "welfare."

No, no, it's way worse than that. Each bishop who concealed pedophilia chose what he thought was a small scandal as opposed to a larger one.  Often they believed the lie that what these men were doing was not evil in itself but the manifestation of a disease - or that their sin was inherently sexual, which it was not. They often tried to "cure" these men with disastrous results. The problem was not some sort of psychological disease, but an awful, sinful pride that when indulged by bishops did as much damage to the rape victims as did the pedophiles themselves, because they enabled and concealed what the pedophiles did.

And it's all no different from any other religion, and we could say "You do it too:" except that the world rightly holds our Church to higher standards than any false religious sect. We need penance, tough penance, to tear this out root and branch. Every bishop who took part in it should be scourged by one of the victims. See, the human element of the Church gets it right, but gets it wrong. Yes, God is also injured, the sinners are also injured. But there is temporal punishment that must be meted out as restoration to the victim. The right response to this is not some confessional-culture "acknowledgment" of "responsibility" or any other PR pop-psych horseshit.  The balm to make this right already lies in the trove of the faith: a public declaration of repentance, sorrow and conversion of heart, and tough penance. If as many of our bishops who were involved did this - repentance, conversion and penance - the whole world would be changed.  It would shame all other religious sects into doing the right thing and shame the media into silence.

I pray for it daily.
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#8
If you ask me, the victims are quasi-martyrs, and their suffering will be used by God to a greater good - the purging of the Church of all kinds of filth.

If you think about it, that's the last "scandal" that could really affect the Church.  There is very little left in this world that is immoral and people blink an eye at.  The Pres of the US gets oral sex in the White House and remains in office - if a Pope were to do the same, probably the same type of response.  Priests have live-in gay lovers, no outcries really.  Heresy is preached from the pulpit, Masses are disgusting, the Blessed Sacrament is tossed around like a necco wafer and unborn children are killed by the millions and we have nuns defending healthcare that might fund it.

What outrage is left except crimes against children?  And that's tentative at best...

The devil's hoofprint is all over these abuses, but it was all over the crucifixion as well.  And God had something good come out of that.  It seems pretty clear to me that these abuses are another attempt of the devil to destroy the Church, and it will severely damage it, but in the end, it won't work.

So, in a sense, the whole Church suffers along with the victims, albeit in a completely different way.  And no matter what spin the hierarchy might like to put on it, people of good hearts know the truth: there is filth in the Church that does this, that facilitates it, and that covers it up.   And as Catholics, we should show compassion and support for those hurt at the hands of foul clerics and help them to have faith in spite of what the machinations of men might do to destroy it.

I believe in the suffering of the victims, and I stand by them.  That said, I believe that B16 does as well (I can't say the same for JP2 who helped a lot of coverups and did little to address the problem).  I think B16 suffers because he sees the entire Church falling down around him, and the abuses are one more - yet one very large - ax swing at the timbers of the barque.  I think he - and I - appreciate the suffering as much as we can outside of having lived it ourselves.

Here is how I see it:  This is the same filth that destroyed the Mass, preaches heresy, and wears clown makeup to Mass.  It is of the same demonic selfish mindset.  So when the abusive filth gets purged, a lot of the other problems will start disappearing, at least in my opinion.  And as the liturgy, etc., improve, God will send more graces to destroy the abusers, expose them, and keep them out of the Church.

I know it is small consolation, but those who were abused will by their suffering help the Church in the long run, and I believe God will reward them for this suffering.  But, that's just my $0.02
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