Thursday, 16 September 2010

As dying and yet we live

I have just participated in the Holy Father's Mass in Bellahouston Park (via television in my case) and find myself deeply moved. I remember the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1982 and the celebrations then, and I was struck with how very much I preferred this occasion. This time there was none of that rather hysterical atmosphere that prevailed on the former visit, but now there was a great air of recollection and prayer, something that I would have thought nigh impossible among a crowd of some seventy five thousand people.
Yes, it seems that perhaps we have learnt some lessons from the last forty years, and there really is a new spirit abroad.
Perhaps this is partly because in the wake of all the recent opposition to our faith we have a greater sense of who we are and what is important to us. How forcibly those words of St Paul struck me today:
As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; 7by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8through honour and dishonour, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed;10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything. (2Cor 6)
The Holy Father's homily, too, was both moving and inspiring, and will irritate many a secularist, no doubt.
The evangelization of culture is all the more important in our times, when a “dictatorship of relativism” threatens to obscure the unchanging truth about man’s nature, his destiny and his ultimate good. There are some who now seek to exclude religious belief from public discourse, to privatize it or even to paint it as a threat to equality and liberty. Yet religion is in fact a guarantee of authentic liberty and respect, leading us to look upon every person as a brother or sister.

Let nobody now doubt that the Catholic Church on this island is still alive and can be given a very much better prognosis than I might have given it a few years ago.

And now, I must offer heartfelt congratulations to Cardinal O'Brien and the Scottish hierarchy for an impeccably organized day. I can only pray that the English and Welsh hierarchy will prove to have done as well.

And, incidentally, does His Eminence have shares in a certain tartan weaving firm, by any chance?

5 comments:

Animadversor said...

And now, I must offer heartfelt congratulations to Cardinal O'Brien and the Scottish hierarchy for an impeccably organized day. I can only pray that the English and Welsh hierarchy will prove to have done as well.

Oh my, I did not think the Holy Father could be so rude, but I am rather glad of it!

Pastor in Valle said...

Let us, perhaps, say 'direct'!

Fr William said...

Huh? I'm confused. Surely those are the comments of our esteemed host, not a quote from the HF?

Patricius said...

The Scots have done wonderfully well in turning out for the holy Father. I just hope that we south of the border can match them.

Animadversor said...

Ah, Father William, it is poor, sleepy Animadversor who is—or was—confused, not you. Had I paused to think a moment, I should have realized that the Holy Father would never say quite that, however much I might like to believe that that is what he was thinking. And my apologies to the Pastor for obtruding error into this blog.