A Commentary on the Crises?


A Commentary on the Crises?

In the wandering labyrinth of my reading, I happened upon this comment:

Doesn't this contrast between the traitor and the apostle present to us a clear and mirror image. . .a sad and terrible view of what has happened through the ages from those times even to our own? Why don't bishops contemplate in this scene their own somnolence? Since they have succeeded in the place of the apostles, would that they would reproduce their virtues as eagerly as they embrace their authority and as faithfully as they display their sloth and sleepiness! For very many are sleepy and apathetic in sowing virtues among the people and maintaining the truth, while the enemies of Christ, in order to sow vices and uproot the faith..., are wide awake....(p. 46)

So, you've already figured out it isn't contemporary (although it certainly could be), but do you have any idea how old it is? It is a quote from St. Thomas More's last work, written in the tower as he was awaiting execution--The Sadness of Christ.

There was as well another quote that addresses an issue of "Low Mass" and "Low Prayer" as discussed elsewhere in blogdom.

For if we do this carefully [contemplate Christ prostrate in prayer] a ray of light which enlightens every man whom comes into the world will illuminate our minds so that we will see, recognize, deplore, and will at long last correct, I will not say the negligence, sloth, or apathy, but rather the feeblemindedness, the insanity, the downright blockheaded stupidity with which most of us approach the all-powerful God, and instead of praying reverently, address Him in a lazy and sleepy sort of way; and by the same token I am very much afraid that instead of placating Him and gaining His favor we exasperate Him and sharply provoke His wrath.(p. 18-19)

I might subtitle that little ditty: "To those who can't seem to pray the Mass as it is written." From "Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier," to the sharp little embolisms thrown into the Eucharistic prayer, there seems to be no end of the ways in which many choose not to do the mass as it has been approved.

And how many of us in the congregation are nearly half-wits in our preparation and participation? I'm not talking about those who have the additional burden (as do I) of trying to corral and quiet a rambunctious (but well-meaning) four-year old. I'm talking about men in cut-off shorts, women in halter tops, children who should know better playing gameboys, cell-phones and beepers that have not been turned off--any number of ways we show a lack of courtesy not only to God (offensive enough) but to His other beloved children (compounding the offense by distracting those who would be faithful).

I can't recommend this little book highly enough. St. Thomas More is one of my very favorite Saints, a tremendous example as lawyer, statesman, father, husband, and man. This is a modernized and updated version (not usually something of which I approve, but I haven't got several hundred dollars for the Yale volumes) which makes it very accessible to those with no toleration for reading sixteenth century English. If you don't know about St. Thomas More, or need a refresher, watch the remarkable Man for All Seasons to learn about "The King's good servant but God's first."

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 17, 2002 8:18 AM.

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