"Reflecting on the hidden life of Nazareth and on Mary’s spiritual progress in its silence, and reflecting by way of contrast on what the world terms progress, we are forced to conclude: men never talked more of progress than since they began to neglect its most important form, spiritual progress. And what has been the result? That the baser forms of progress, sought for their own sake, have brought pleasure, idleness and unemployment in their train, and prepared the way for a moral decline towards materialism, atheism—and even barbarism, as the recent world wars prove. In Mary, on the contrary, we find the ever more perfect realization of the gospel words: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.”' [Reverend Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P. (2013-03-22). The Mother of the Saviour: And Our Interior Life (Illustrated Classics) (pp. 106-107). Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.]
Father's book has an Imprimatur from 1941 and an original copyright from 1948, so it safely can be said to antedate present polemics. I thought of this quote as I read a post from the blog The Sensible Bond, which I was going to link, only to discover the author thought better (?), but at any rate, took it down. He discusses the notion of "mission" and whether it could be considered an adequate Church paradigm. So as to get no one in trouble, I'll appeal to Father Garrigou-Lagrange who is safely dead and gone to heaven at the moment. The hidden life of Nazareth, both for Jesus (until age 30) and for the Blessed Mother, loving God above all, the first commandment, challenges our anger and frustration, at any age, about not "accomplishing".
The nice thing about a Church paradigm is the facility with which we can apply it to the life of the Church as well as to the lives of individual Christians, always following Our Lord and Master, enlightened and accompanied by the example of Mary, His Mother and from the foot of the Cross our Mother as well. Society and politics get a bit more tricky, above all because "enlightened" secularists tell us we have no place on the public square. They, of course, are wrong. If Christ's reign is not acknowledged, we have nowhere else to turn.
That thought came home to me very poignantly this morning when one of the photos which confronted me this morning was that of some young men who had barricaded themselves inside the iron gates of St. Michael of the Golden Domes Monastery here in Kyiv, having fled the violence which drove them from their peaceful watch during the night at "Europe Square" down the hill. I refuse to believe that it was an accident that these men sought refuge in the citadel of prayer.
We need to think about what should animate human discourse, whether it be interpersonal, somehow social or political. If as at Nazareth the first commandment had its due in every aspect of our lives, the second would be less problematic.
I saw some video clips today of adults attempting to reason with the young militiamen charged with holding "Europe Square" today: something was missing from the equation and to make it seem like a futile exercise. For Greek Catholics and Orthodox here in Ukraine this Sunday is the first Sunday of the Christmas Fast. For us Latins, for the Roman Catholic Church throughout the world, it is the First Sunday of Advent.
I am praying that Jesus will come (sovereignly) into all our hearts and minds. May He take us by the hand and lead us to Nazareth, to love, to His citadel of prayer, which may give us all the right counsel for moving forward!
PROPERANTES ADVENTUM DIEI DEI