Sunday, January 19, 2014

Our Struggle Against Principalities and Powers!

"HOPELESSNESS DESTABILIZES the constancy of apostolic leadership. Esau lost his birthright for a plate of lentil stew (Gen 25: 29-34; 26: 34-35; Heb 12: 15-18). Desire for immediate pleasure renders us incapable of sacrifice. We are careless about the things of God because we grow listless. I think that sometimes in our clerical world the lentil stew is any adulation that is offered us. It’s very hard for us not to have the last word, not to utter the always definitive prophecy. We do not like being fools. We have a hard time saying “I don’t know” without feeling disturbed or showing indifference. Leading God’s faithful people sometimes requires us to forgo the urgency of answers and to remember that silence is often the best response of the wise." [Pope Francis; Jorge M Bergoglio (2013-11-18). Open Mind, Faithful Heart (pp. 84-85). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.] 

Somebody, let me blame Fr. Z, called my attention to this book as a free offer (Why not?). It gave me a little insight or rather served as an additional confirmation of a suspicion. 

Not long ago I finished an Italian best seller on the Holy Father (which I cannot recommend). What troubled me about that book is that for all its pages it simply held the Pope "hostage". The author of that book is a contemporary of mine, who obviously bought all the same tired books which for laziness or wariness I had refused to read as a 20 year old. He trots out a Pope after his own image and likeness. We've seen this again and again since the Holy Father's election. Not only terrorists are big on hostage-taking; it seems to be a favorite pastime with journalists and popular writers as well.

The book "Open Mind, Faithful Heart" is topical Francis and not somebody else's apology for himself laced with Francis "proof texts". What does that change? Well, basically nothing... For me, it points out something which I hadn't really thought enough about, and namely how hard the struggle is for the successor of Peter, how hard it is for him to fulfill the ministry he inherits from the prince of the Apostles, as entrusted to him by Christ Himself, and namely, to confirm the brethren.

St. Paul learned through personal experience that the battle could not be won through enlightened discourse out there with the movers and shakers on the Areopagus. Pope Francis gets my prayers today in a very special way. My specific intention would be that the faithful be enabled to see that the "seas" are no less stormy for him than they were for any of his predecessors since Pius XII. The Pope's "honeymoon" with the liberal press is indeed a strangle hold; it needs to end.

Psalm 10
Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

1 Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? 2 In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor— let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.

3 For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart, those greedy for gain curse and renounce the LORD. 4 In the pride of their countenance the wicked say, “God will not seek it out”; all their thoughts are, “There is no God.” 5 Their ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of their sight; as for their foes, they scoff at them. 6 They think in their heart , “We shall not be moved; throughout all generations we shall not meet adversity.” 7 Their mouths are filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under their tongues are mischief and iniquity. 8 They sit in ambush in the villages; in hiding places they murder the innocent. Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless; 9 they lurk in secret like a lion in its covert; they lurk that they may seize the poor; they seize the poor and drag them off in their net. 10 They stoop, they crouch, and the helpless fall by their might. 11 They think in their heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12 Rise up, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; do not forget the oppressed. 13 Why do the wicked renounce God, and say in their hearts , “You will not call us to account”? 14 But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief, that you may take it into your hands; the helpless commit themselves to you; you have been the helper of the orphan. 15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoers; seek out their wickedness until you find none. 16 The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations shall perish from his land. 17 O LORD, you will hear the desire of the meek; you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear 18 to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed, so that those from earth may strike terror no more. [Harper Bibles (2011-11-15). NRSV Catholic Edition Bible (pp. 495-496). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.]

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