Posted by Tantumblogo July 22, 2015
Dom Prosper Gueranger spends a number of pages of his meditations on the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost in The Liturgical Year recounting the final chastisement and destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Old Covenant. Just as Jesus Christ our Lord had prophesied, Jerusalem was completely, utterly destroyed by Roman legions under Titus Flavius Vespasianus. This was after several previous chastisements, most notably the first destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian exile.
Why was Israel, God’s original chosen people, so chastised? The Bible – and Gueranger – tells us, it was due to constant sin and rejection of the True Faith God had given Israel. Eventually Israel’s crimes became so great that God completely terminated His covenant with them and instituted the New Covenant in Himself, the Second Person of the Trinity.
But as Gueranger warns us, the same fate can befall us, and even almost the entire human element of the Church, if we are similarly unfaithful. Entire nations have been condemned by God to destruction for rejecting His Law and the practice of perversion. A grim reminder for we of the Church – and her leaders – in this time:
…[N]ever forget that the same causes which brought about the destruction of the Jews would also lead you to ruin. They fell, because of their unbelief; you, who once had no faith and yet God showed mercy to you, are now what you are by faith. Be not, therefore, high-minded with self-complacency; but remember how God, who broke off the natural branches from the glorious tree, will not spare you, if you cease to be faithful; and whilst you do well to admire His mercy, you do not wisely if you forget His inexorable justice………..
……..But the assurance of salvation, granted to the bride of the Son of God, does not extend to her children, taken either individually or collectively – that is, men or nations. On each one of us it is incumbent that we meditate on the sad fate which befell Jerusalem; as also on what happened ages before, to the ancestors of the Jewish people, viz., that scarce one of those who were living when Moses led them out of Egypt lived to enter into the promised land.
Indeed, of 600,000 adult Jewish men who left Egypt in the Exodus, preciselyTWO survived to enter the promised land. Now the Exodus from Egypt and journey to the promised land of Israel is a highly significant type of our earthly journey through the dangers and temptations of the world and our hoped for entry into Heaven. While Christ’s crucifixion, death, and Resurrection has greatly changed the calculus in our favor, it hasn’t entirely altered the validity of this type. Something to be kept in mind.
As is the testimony of so very many Saints and holy people, who attest from visions or even personal experience that even the vast majority of baptized Catholics go to hell. Completely contradicting Fr. Barron and other modernist “hopes,” the constant testimony of the Saints has been that many more are lost than are saved.
The unprecedented and terrifying situation faithful souls face today, of course, is that so much of the Church herself seems to be in the very predicament Dom Prosper warns about. Unprecedented in modern times, and having only a few possible similar instances throughout its 2000 year history, this crisis leaves many souls lost and confused over where to turn, what to believe. Fortunately we do have Tradition, the Magisterium of the past, to turn to. The Church can never become something she is not, she can never validly counter her own established Sacred Doctrine, so as long as we cling to that, we can be assured of remaining faithful – in spite of what men today may say. It should be remembered that when the Jews faltered, there were faithful remnants then, too, and they were likewise chastised as not being with the times, as being unreasonably obstinate, and refusing to go along with what the great mass of people wanted. A good number of prophets were put to death for their defense of the Faith as it was.
Men cannot change what God has revealed. Men cannot pretend to take flatly contradictory “pastoral approaches” to matters in ways that obliterate settled Dogma and remain faithful. No we cannot, and do not want to, become protestant and pick and choose for ourselves what to believe and what to reject. But that is not the point. The point is to cling to that which has been clearly revealed and defined in the long course of centuries.
And that’s the very difficult part in a hierarchical Church. In those rare and terrible times when the hierarchy itself seems to be turning on the Church, it is exceedingly difficult to remain a faithful Catholic. I pray for the strength to remain so.