Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Cavalier or Puritan or Catholic?

Do you think like a Catholic? There seem to be two extremes to avoid in thinking which have been demonstrated by some Catholics of late. Let me call these two extremes of thinking the "Cavalier" thinker and the "Puritan" thinker.

The Puritan thinker may be a person who is more Rome than Rome, sees himself as more moral than the rules of the Church, or even the Teaching Magisterium. The neo-Puritan feels holier than the pope and sees himself as needing to criticize all positions for the sake of being critical, not merely because of a certain issue, but as one who has adopted a hyper-critical attitude towards the hierarchy.

The mark of the neo-Puritan is self-righteousness and a lack of humility.

The neo-Puritan forgets that when he complains against the Church or the pope that he is complaining against God. I am not referring to being critical of heresies within Catholic circles, or with needed complaints regarding scandal, but those complaints which are simply not in the control of the laity. The laity need to deal with their own lack of holiness before attacking that of the hierarchy.

The neo-Puritans need to be reminded that although men voted in the pope, and not the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit guides and protects the Church from error until the Second Coming of Christ. This is our faith and not a fairy tale. God allows the free will of all peoples, including the College of Cardinals.

Exodus 16:8

And Moses said: In the evening the Lord will give you flesh to eat, and in the morning bread to the full: for he hath heard your murmurings, with which you have murmured against him, for what are we? your murmuring is not against us, but against the Lord.
What the Puritans wrecked in Great Britain must not be forgotten, as that same "spirit of dissent", a dissent which thinks it is holier than Rome, exists today.
The Cavalier thinker finds herself on the other extreme, that of the person who merely wants to have a career in the Church, be an emerging layperson without the proper purification from God, without purity of heart, mind, soul and senses. Too many Catholics think they are God's gift to the Church and work in the Church for the satisfaction of their own egos.
Egotism is a barrier not only to holiness, but to the Truth. Without an intense life of prayer and sacrifice, works are barren and not of God. One reason why the Church in England and Wales is so weak is that too many Catholics without a depth of spirituality, without having gone through the Dark Night, run about working out of egotism.

Cavaliers want to be noticed, to be "great", to receive accolades. They want all the good things out of life, without sacrifice, pain, suffering. They want attention.
Pope Francis speaks of priests who are careerists. Let us acknowledge that there are too many lay people who are careerists in the Chruch.
Here is St. Bernard on the true disciple's relationship with God. From Sermon 74 on the Song of Songs:

II. 5. Now bear with my foolishness a little. I want to tell you of my own experience, as I promised. Not that it is of any importance .... I admit that the Word has also come to me-I speak as a fool-and has come many times—But although he has come to me, I have never been conscious of the moment of his coming. I perceived his presence, I remembered afterwards that he had been with me; some times I had a presentiment that he would come, but I was never conscious of his coming or his going. And where he comes from when he visits my soul, and where he goes, and by what means he enters and goes out, I admit that I do not know even now; as John says: 'You do not know where he comes from or where he goes.' There is nothing strange in this, for of him was it said, 'Your foot steps will not be known.' The coming of the Word was not perceptible to my eyes, for he has not color; nor to the ears, for there was no sound; nor yet to my nostrils, for he mingles with the mind, not the air; he has not acted upon the air, but created it. His coming was not tasted by the mouth, for there was not eating or drinking, nor could he be known by the sense of touch, for he is not tangible. How then did he enter? Perhaps he did not enter because he does not come from outside? He is not one of the things which exist outside us. Yet he does not come from within me, for he is good, and I know there is no good in me. I have ascended to the highest in me, and look! the word is towering above that. In my curiosity I have descended to explore my lowest depths, yet I found him even deeper. If I look outside myself, I saw him stretching beyond the furthest I could see; and if I looked within, he was yet further within. Then I knew the truth of what I had read, 'In him we live and move and have our being'. And blessed is the man in whom he has his being, who lives for him and is moved by him.
6. You ask then how I knew he was present, when his ways can in no way be traced? He is life and power, and as soon as he enters in, he awakens my slumbering soul; he stirs and soothes and pierces my heart, for before it was hard as stone, and diseased. So he has begun to pluck out and destroy, to build up and to plant, to water dry places and illuminate dark ones; to open what was closed and to warm what was cold; to make the crooked straight and the rough places smooth, so that my soul may bless the Lord, and all that is within me may praise his holy name. So when the Bridegroom/ the Word, came to me, he never made known his coming any signs, not by sight, not by sound, not by touch. It was not by any movement of his that I recognized his coming; it was not by any of MY senses that I perceived he had penetrated to the depth of my being. Only by the movement of my heart, as I have told did I perceive his presence; and I knew the power of his might cause my faults were put to flight and my human yearnings brought into subjection. I have marvelled at the depth of his wisdom when my secret faults have been revealed and made visible the very slightest amendment of my way of life I have experience his goodness and mercy; in the renewal and remaking of the spirit of my mind, that is of my inmost being, I have perceived the excellence of his glorious beauty, and when I contemplate all these things I am filled with awe and wonder at his manifold greatness.
The Church needs saints, Catholics who have "put on the mind of Christ", and not Cavaliers or Puritans.
If one finds one's self not in deep peace, not pursuing humility and meekness, one may be falling into false thinking. Let our prayer be that of St. John the Baptist:

John 3:22-34

22 After these things Jesus and his disciples came into the land of Judea: and there he abode with them, and baptized.
23 And John also was baptizing in Ennon near Salim; because there was much water there; and they came and were baptized.
24 For John was not yet cast into prison.
25 And there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews concerning purification:
26 And they came to John, and said to him: Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to whom thou gavest testimony, behold he baptizeth, and all men come to him.
27 John answered, and said: A man cannot receive any thing, unless it be given him from heaven.
28 You yourselves do bear me witness, that I said, I am not Christ, but that I am sent before him.
29 He that hath the bride, is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth with joy because of the bridegroom's voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled.
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
31 He that cometh from above, is above all. He that is of the earth, of the earth he is, and of the earth he speaketh. He that cometh from heaven, is above all.
32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth: and no man receiveth his testimony.
33 He that hath received his testimony, hath set to his seal that God is true.
34 For he whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God: for God doth not give the Spirit by measure.

1 comment:

  1. This is very interesting, but quite what a Catholic should do if a Pope taught error or led souls into confusion, or, for example, declared something against the teaching of the Church to be licit is left unanswered. In that situation, would it not be every Catholic's duty to defend the Bride of Christ, if men in authority, including the Pope, attempted to rape her.

    It is not impossible that such a terrible event could happen. Our Lady of La Salette prophecised, "Rome will lose the Faith and become the Seat of Antichrist."

    What is a Catholic to do if, in future, Rome lost the faith and became the seat of Antichrist? Wait for the Pope to give permission to speak out?


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