Sunday, April 18, 2010

Prescient Psalm

Do not forget the clamor of your foes,
the daily increasing uproar of your foes.
(Psalm 74)

I don’t know about this Psalmist fellow, but he seems to very near me for the last few years, or at least weeks. Maybe he just read the Washington Post, or watched some 24-hour news station. But the din grows louder hereabouts, and it’s not just the sirens.

What is sin and what is spite, what is past and what is present, what is intrinsic to human nature and what is intrinsic to the nature of the Body of Christ, the Church -- these are all distinctions that need to be made over and over. Unfortunately, these are distinctions that we have to make for ourselves and our neighbors over and over, because ideology and irresponsibility seem to prevent too many of the people and organizations who clamor to tell us what we are supposed to think.

The daily increasing uproar is easy enough to identify, but what is the response to be made? I am reminded of the ancient, brief, particularly Russian devotion of the Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. It is to be repeated, over and over, until woven into every breath. It can also be abbreviated (when you are in a hurry, or maybe just breathing more quickly) to just Lord Jesus Christ - the name of the one and only true answer to every human question.

There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved. (Acts 4:12)

This simple truth, the very essence of our faith, is what guarantees that there will always be foes of our loving God’s work for the salvation of the world. The only response to that hostility that will have any effect is not the assertion or achievement of our own perfection, but the perfection of Him who suffered hostility for our sakes.

Measured not in decibels, but clarity, we need constantly to monitor whether we articulate Him with our words, and with our lives. Whenever we grow frustrated by our own lack of progress, we need to double-check to be sure that He is what – and Whom – we are proposing.

You know I love to talk, but you also know I hate to argue. If you would like to have me engage in some forum the particulars of the current clamor of the foes of our Lord and God – and I do not mean simply the obvious ones – I will try to do so. But in the meantime, the best response to hostility is to live Christ, in His Church. God bless you and His Holy Mother watch over you.

Monsignor Smith

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