Two amazing (to me) events occurred in the past two months. My sister Marguerite and my son Ish both returned to the practice of the Faith. Not only does it make me happy to witness firsthand the remarkable clarity of mind that this homecoming brings to two people I love so well, but it makes me feel less alone in my own journey to understand and live the gospel in an authentic, non-sentimental way.
So tired of taking
meals without my kin.
So pleased to see
you sit again at table.
Kiss me in peace,
my sister and my son.
Tell me your tales
as soon as you are able.
I am one who believes that Pope Leo XIII's vision in 1884 was authentic. While the Church teaches that belief in private revelation is never required, it also recognizes that 1) private revelation does exist and b) nothing in Leo's vision is contrary to what we know and believe. His vision goes like this:
'On October 13, 1884 Leo XIII had just completed a celebration of Mass in one of the Vatican's private chapels. Standing at the foot of the altar, he suddenly turned ashen and collapsed to the floor, apparently the victim of a stroke or heart attack. However, neither malady was the cause of his collapse. For he had just been given a vision of the future of the Church he loved so much. After a few minutes spent in what seemed like a coma, he revived and remarked to those around him, "Oh, what a horrible picture I was permitted to see!"
During Pope Leo's ecstasy he heard two voices, one deep and coarse which he understood to be Satan challenging the other voice, Jesus. Paraphrasing:
Satan: "Given enough time and enough power I can defeat your church."
Jesus: "How much time and how much power?"
Satan: "100 years and the power over those who would serve me."
Jesus: "You will have the power and the time."
What Leo XIII apparently saw, as described later by those who talked to him at the time of his vision, was a period of about one hundred years when the power of Satan would reach its zenith. That period was to be the twentieth century.'
- Modern Papal Visions, http://www.pdtsigns.com/popeleo.html
Reflecting back on my life, it does seem to me that the idea of truth fell into intellectual disrepute during the 20th century, and that later historians will look upon our culture as one which abandoned reason in favor of will in all areas of human endeavor but technology.
And faith divorced from reason may be worse than no faith at all.
I want to cry sometimes when I recall the loneliness of the bitter wind that blew during the times I discounted the existence and work of the Blessed Trinity. I want to cry for the lies I accepted as truth -- that organized religion was a snakepit of hypocrisy and conventionality; that I was equipped with superior intelligence that would allow me to free myself from the shackles of organized religion; that the Church was an instrument of oppression and repression alone, with no roots in the absent Trinity's creative, redemptive and sanctifying activities.
This is a new century, and I think I am witnessing a sea change in the attitudes and understanding of good-minded people towards western religion. The self-hatred and suspicion seems to be abating.
Last night on Veronica Mars, our college-age girl sleuth was asked to solve the Mystery of the Morning After Pill. One of Veronica's classmates had become pregnant accidentally. Initially she wanted to get an abortion, but then after talking to her boyfriend and her parents she changed her mind.
So someone slipped the pregnant student RU-486 and caused a miscarriage. (Statistically, they would have had to have slipped her a round of prostaglandin 48 hours later or she would have had only a 60% chance of complete abortion, but for plot purposes the basic facts were right).
Veronica investigates and discovers that the girl's father is an evangelical Christian preacher who has a television ministry. We are lead to believe that the dad will turn out to be the bad guy, a hypocrite who preaches "love the sinner, hate the sin" but who cannot afford to have his daughter turn up pregnant, and so he quietly gets rid of the problem.
But bingo -- the plot twists differently. The preacher dad was warm and supportive of his daughter when he learned of her pregnancy, and was also grieving the subsequent death of his grandchild.
The RU-486 was slipped the girl by her college roommate and friend since childhood, who did not want to see her scuttle her career plans by being burdened with a baby at that time in her life.
Now, if you think it is absurd to imagine that there is a reality behind Pope Leo XIII's vision, and that there exists actual war made on God by his fallen angels, consider this.
Is there any way that plot line could have appeared on a teenage-skewing popular television show in the twentieth century?