It’s been quite a while since I’ve enjoyed a book so well written about a man who so needs to be known by us all. I’m reading The Soul of a Lion, Dietrich Von Hildebrand by his wife Alice Von Hildebrand, herself an amazing soul. I picked up the book after being completely captivated by her in an interview someone sent me not too long ago. There were two Lions of faith who stood up while most everyone else sat in place during the rise and reign of Adolf Hitler; Dietrich Von Hildebrand whose fierce strength of conviction and faith made him a #1 target of the Reich, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer whose unflinching courage and loyalty to God cost him his own life.
This past week there was a story out of Houston that brought Von Hildebrand front and center to my mind. The City of Houston actually subpoenaed six local pastors demanding they turn over their sermons for inspection! It matters not that following public outcry the subpoenas were rescinded. The fact is that this shocking incident is by no means an isolated event. Rather, it is the latest chapter in the book of Good and Evil right here in America where more and more people of faith are finding themselves targets in the ever growing shadow of abusive government…in the very same year the Governor of New York told us we were not welcome in his state! Good Sunday Morning Dear Friend!
The Soul of a Lion
I was gently called to task yesterday by a very sweet person who chided me for inviting her to start her day with the “inflammatory” headline America’s Most Deadly Virus ~ Affirmative Action! “That’s not to say that those relentlessly unfair, insane, dispiriting things don’t exist, but to instead choose to spread the radiance of consciously loving, peace filled, forgiveness based thoughts rather than spread the ripple effect of darkness. Just like the messages of JC and so many other “masters”.” is part of what she offered.
Interestingly, her words came across as more spirit of the lamb as if love is somehow confined to the soft and kind radiance of peace filled bubbles…you know, like the sweet mommie bear when her cubs are threatened. I can so feel the smile on the faces of my reader-friends in the Liberty Movement. We’ve been encouraged to sit down so many times by so many friends, we count chairs instead of sheep to fall asleep at night! Would that we could…standing gets very tiring…especially so, when doing it alone.
In the very same week with all eyes on Ebola, there was fascinating news out of Rome! Very similar to the back-tracking in Houston, there was some serious back-tracking in the Synod of Bishops! After telegraphing a seismic shift in Church posture regarding homosexuality and a relaxing of the requirements for receiving Holy Communion, the forces of “hostile rigidity” and “destructive goody-goodness” managed to carry the day!
“Francis’ gesture, and his words inside the synod hall chastising bishops who were overly wed to doctrine and were guided by “hostile rigidity,” as well as those bishops who showed a “destructive goody-goodiness,” indicated that he was well aware of the divisions the debate had sparked. His speech received a four-minute standing ovation, participants said.”
You see that’s the problem with us inflammatory trouble-makers! Whether it’s the Constitution or the Bible…we’re just too damn “overly wed to doctrine” for our own good! If only we’d just sit down like everybody else and be nice, everything would be so much…nicer. But it’s the lion in us that is called to protect the lambs among us!
The fact is that in the middle of the greatest storm of our lives, nice people drown. They drown because they stay below deck where they think they will be safe. They fail to recognize the Grace of God calling them above deck because they lived their lives trading courage for conformity and salvation for submission without asking “Is it right or is it wrong? Is it true or is it false? Is it pleasing to God?” ~ The Von Hildebrand norm.
“Aye, it was a salty, savage, scurvy sea that nearly got the better of me…” I leave you with another nautical interpretation a la Barnhardt:
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that the ship was filled. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, sleeping upon a pillow; and they awake Him, and say to him: Master, doth it not concern thee that we perish? And rising up, He rebuked the wind, and said to the sea: Peace, be still. And the wind ceased: and there was made a great calm. And He said to them: Why are you fearful? have you not faith yet? And they feared exceedingly: and they said one to another: Who is this (thinkest thou) that both wind and sea obey Him? Mark 4: 37-40
A friend sent me an email the other day with the following line, elegantly articulating the current Synod disaster: “The apostles are, as usual, showing off as the waves smash around; we pray for them and they remain despite their sometimes startlingly sub-average intelligence – the thread that binds us to the Master sleeping under the poop…. To Him be all glory.” The Poop is the raised deck or cabin in the stern (the hinder part) of a boat or ship. That is where Our Lord was having His little snooze. This is, it is ever-more difficult to deny, the worst tempest to ever toss the Barque of Peter. The past heresies, especially those in the first thousand years of the Church, including Arianism, Donatism, Manichaeism, etc., were all – I can’t believe I’m typing this – SUBTLE compared to what is going on now. What is going on now is new territory – the denial of the NATURAL LAW, which by definition human beings can easily know and understand even OUTSIDE THE CHURCH. All human cultures know and understand marriage. All human cultures know that sodomy is wrong. All human beings, including those who NEVER knew or know the Church will be judged on the Natural Law. The pre-Columbian Amazon Basin dweller was/will be judged on the sin of Sodomy, because sodomy is known to every human being as grave sin through the Natural Law. But, we must trust Our Lord, even though it seems that He is having a nap while this all goes on. How can we be surprised by this? How can our faith be shaken when there have been countless prophecies and apparitions of Our Lady warning of exactly these events, as it is now crystal clear? Cardinal against Cardinal and bishop against bishop, mass apostasy, confusion about who actually is the pope, a “destroyer pope”, and on and on. La Salette, Akita, Fatima, St. Francis…. And, as I and many others have said over and over again, how could we POSSIBLY expect God to continue to bless a culture that is the largest cult of child sacrifice, sodomy and theft ever seen in human history? How could we expect God to turn a blind eye to the sacrilege and heresy that is endemic to almost every Novus Ordo Mass offered on the planet for the last 46 years – while the entire Church sat in the silence of complicity, more concerned with worldly approval than the Sacred, Wounded Heart of Our Blessed Lord, and His Mother? So, yes, He is sleeping under the poop as the storm rages, as my friend put it, but we must remember His admonition: Why are you fearful? have you not faith yet? He will rise up, and He will say, “Peace, be still.” And the Barque of Peter will be saved from these devils, and it will lower its nets and bring in a great harvest of souls. We know this. We CANNOT doubt this. So, while I, in my weakness, like everyone else, keep thinking, “Please wake up, please wake up, we’re dying, we’re dying”, I am just going to go back to the poop deck and kneel down next to Him, stare at His Holy Face and watch Him sleep until He sees fit to wake up. And if I do that, I know that I will be totally and completely safe. See you on the poop deck!