ELEISON COMMENTS DCCLXIX (April 9, 2022) : GETHSEMANE QUOTES
Many Catholics draw a comparison between the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, leading up to His crucifixion and death, and today’s pre-apocalyptic distress of His Mystical Body, the Church, leading towards the eventual Apocalypse and end of the world. Now certainly the proverb is true which says that “The wheels of God grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small”, meaning that God’s justice is slow (but most precise) in its application, so that the end of the world is not for tomorrow nor even the day after. The world still has several tens of years to run. Nevertheless, today’s threats, for instance, of world famine and world war, cast already an urgent light upon the Gospel narrative of the sufferings of Our Lord, which Passiontide must be the best time of year to consider. Here are quotes from St Mark, XIV, 26-38 –
26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to his Apostles, “You will all fall away, for it is written (Zech. XIII, 7) : ‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.’ ” Could any quotation throw more light on the present condition of the Catholic Church ? Could the world be in such chaos as it is, if Catholics had not lost their heads ? Could Catholics so have lost their heads if their shepherd and Pope had not been struck with his Pachamama and incomprehension, not to say hatred, of Catholic Tradition ? Jesus can allow His Popes, as He allowed Himself, to be struck.
29 Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.” Peter is a good man, utterly devoted to Our Lord, as brave as they come, with full confidence in – himself, and there is his problem. How many Catholics since Vatican II have had full confidence in their own fidelity to Our Lord – and yet have lost their Catholic mind, as the Church crisis has gone on and on ? The very successors of Archbishop Lefebvre at the head of the SSPX are confident that they have not lost their way – and yet ? Nor has the “Resistance”, so-called, any guarantee that it cannot fail, only Our Lord’s own Church has that promise. Colleagues, let us have a bit of humility.
35 And going a little further, Jesus fell to the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible to you, remove this chalice from me, yet not what I will, but what you will. Many Catholics in today’s world are already under such pressure that they are holding on to their faith only by their finger-tips, and as the pressure comes on heavier and heavier, so their number looks like only growing. Let them take consolation from the example of the Divine Master. They are fully entitled to ask Almighty God to relieve the pressure, as of course He can always do, but only on condition that they accept His divine will for them. For instance, God may have made the faith and perseverance of a number of other souls depend on their own example of perseverance under pressure. He leaves me the free-will to give up following Him, if I find that the chaos in the world, today or tomorrow, is just too much for me, but where would you and I be if Jesus had declined the tremendous pressure in His Passion ? With no possibility of entering Heaven. Only His sacrificial death unbarred the gates of Heaven, barred by original sin. I need to carry whatever Cross God sends me.
37 And Jesus came and he found Peter, James and John sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep ? Could you not watch one hour ? Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation, the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” As some commentator wisely pointed out, Our Lord said neither just “Pray”, nor even “Pray and watch”, but “Watch and pray”. But how can watching come even before praying ? Because if I do not watch, in other words stay awake, I will fall asleep and pray no more, just as did the three Apostles. How many souls today, “comfortably numb”, are fast asleep ! We must stay awake and watch world events, through which God speaks, because they are all under His control. And many more events He will soon design to wake up the largest possible number of souls…
“The just man lives by faith.” By faith he sees
That God does all for men’s eternal ease.