No. 48 The Spring of Great Blessing
It’s Spring Again
It is springtime for the Church Catholic, both in Armidale and the world over, after a long cruel winter lasting for decades. During that period we witnessed the rapidly rising tide of unbelief, loose living and a Church shrinking in its membership and in Mass attendance. Even many of its pastors appear to have let down the One to whom they swore allegiance, either watering down Catholic teaching they were supposed to impart, or through personal deviance. Yet, even as all this went on, Christ was there, with His Church, loving His beleaguered ones, giving them a sense of direction, hope and fresh evangelical spirit through his vicars and his faithful followers. Strengthening them.
And so today, we see the signs of a glorious re-awakening, even though many dead leaves still cling to the trees, and have to be blown away by the wind of the Holy Spirit. But the Satanic bluff that the devilís is the victory, that the Church has been irretrievably crippled and that it is useless to try to make it recover from that predicament, is now being shown up in its emptiness and falsehood. For the blessing of renewal comes from Jesus our Master, Lord of heaven and earth, our Lord of love and mercy, in response to the heart-felt cries of His poor. His angels and messengers now trumpet this truth boldly and loudly. Rousing us from our slumber, from nightmares of anguish and defeat, and the stupor of despair. Strengthening us against the voices and offerings of those who have been taken in by the devil and his minions, and who by their words and their life preferences have compromised or abandoned their faith in God, in Christ Jesus and in the Church He has given us. Imagining that they could secure happiness, and even make the world a better place without recourse to God. The gentle Lord assures us that these also are our brothers and sisters, specially loved.
Where the Night is at its Darkest, the Stars are at their Brightest.
And now we have good reason for rejoicing.
* God is with us. Faithful forever. We are loved. For we are His children. And He is our refuge and strength.
* In Australia, our Bishops, inspired by the Holy Spirit, have carried us into a Year of Grace, so that we may take stock and begin afresh in Christ, and discover new and additional ways of spreading His Gospel. And no longer cringe with embarrassment at the prospect of standing up for Christ as our Lord and our God, and in gratefully acknowledging that ours is the Church He gave us and where His truth resides.
* We celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, so rich in its promise at that time, when it committed the Church to engage with the modern world. Engagement, however, where all too many gave man, not God, priority in the process, leading to error, division and moral confusion. Nonetheless, for those who took Christ as their light, processes of renewal have been and are being put in place to rectify such deficiencies. Much deadwood has been and is being cut away. And the challenge of aggressive secularism is being faced, in the knowledge that it can be overcome by God’s grace and our cooperation with that grace.
* We rejoice, because as part of the Universal Church we have been called into a Year of Faith by the Holy Father, when we are invited to pray and to seek a faith that is strong and built on Christ. Faith that is not sterile but lived. So that we may stand up for Christ as Lord, and for the things of God. And to know that the gates of hell will not prevail against the fresh undertaking of the Church to make the love, truth and mercy of God known to all the world.
* Here in Armidale we are at a time of celebration and thanksgiving and joy, on account of the 100th anniversary of our Cathedral, whose patrons are Our Lady and St Joseph. A time when we remember that Her Rosary offers us the means of ensuring that our springtime of the spirit blesses those around us, in our homes, in our town and in our world.
* And it is October, the month of the Holy Rosary.
* Indeed, spring is in the air. Leaves are fresh and green, and the plaintive call of the koel (the rainbird) echoes across the valleys. God is with us.
We give You thanks, O Lord, for Your love and your mercy. Help us to be worthy of your trust.