While being short on time and long on writer’s block lately, I’ve been praying God would just go ahead and give me a neon sign or something clarifying what in the world I was supposed to be blogging about.
I found something the Holy Father wrote the other day about Jesus on Holy Thursday, going from His Last Supper to His Agony in the Garden. I copied the page and I’ve been carrying it around for a days now, knowing I wanted to use it in the next blog somehow.
And then, last week was been one of “those” weeks.
For example: in just one day, it took two hours to get to work due to a fatal accident on the freeway I usually take. Then, the third ambulance in four months showed up at the new Planned Parenthood to take somebody to the hospital, (proving yet again that Planned Parenthood is NOT about women’s health, just about money). Something else very disturbing and apparently completely inexplicable occurred, just before we were sent an e-mail informing us of videos posted on YouTube which documented people mocking and desecrating the Eucharist. Finally, a woman called our office seeking information about an abortion for her 18-year-old daughter who already had another child and “just couldn’t take care of another one”.
It occurred to me at some point that afternoon that this was it. God was making it really obvious. What, in the midst of all this, was the thing to remember. And it tied perfectly to that copied page of Pope Benedict XVI.
The emphasis is mine, but this is what Papa Benedict wrote:
“He went out…He went out into the night. He did not fear the chaos, did not hide from it, but plunged into its deepest point, into the jaws of death: as we pray, He ‘descended into hell’…Faith always means going out together with Jesus, not being afraid of the chaos, because He is the stronger one.”
A seminarian we know recently came back from a trip to the Holy Land, and we were able to hear a little about his trip. One of the things he told us that stood out in my mind was the church that stands in Gethsemane now: the Church of All Nations. All Nations, because Our Lord sweat His Precious Blood in agony over all of us, prayed for all of us. The seminarian told us the church is built and kept so that it always looks like night there, to bring us closer to Christ’s Agony. To bring us face to Face with Him in that moment when he plunged without hesitation into the chaos, striving mightily for our souls.
And He beckons us after Him, stretching a scarred Hand towards us and calling “Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!”
You know, really, at the end of the day, I’d rather be in this job encountering these things than anywhere else doing anything else that seemed less…chaotic. Because these things, these terrible things, they do happen. They happen every day, and for some reason, I get a shot at helping do something about them. In reality though, there’s something everybody can do about them. But where are these people? Somebody showed up at Planned Parenthood today expecting a big crowd of people outside praying and said “Where are the others?”
This is something I and my coworkers often really struggle with: where are the others? We’re the Church Militant! Are we praying? Fasting? Serving in one capacity or another? Where is the active response to the God-Man who reaches out to us with a hunger and thirst for our salvation?
One reason, I think, is fear. For a lot of people, in a lot of different ways. Fear of going out alone, fear of what we might find if we do go out, fear of what will be there in the unknown place to which we are headed. We let fear, in big ways and small ways, stop or diminish the person we know we ought to be becoming.
But we must not let fear stop us.
The Holy Father continues: “This setting out on the path of the Passion, when Jesus steps outside the protective walls of the city, is a gesture of victory. The mystery of Gethsemane already holds within it the mystery of Easter joy. Jesus is the ‘stronger Man’. There is no power that can withstand Him now; no place where He is not to be found. He summons us to dare to accompany Him on His path; for where faith and love are, He is there, and the power of peace is there which overcomes nothingness and death.”
So, “Arise, beloved!” Fix your eyes upon the Light of the world, enthrone the Prince of Peace in your heart, bind your hand to the Blessed Mother’s with your rosary, and, with the saints and angels at your side, set out into the darkness, plunge into the chaos and despair at their deepest point.
“Be not afraid!”