Dear Holy Clerics,
Events in the Church in America today bring many of us lay people to our knees. Speaking with an American deacon this morning, I realized that I had to respond to the pain felt in the more traditional community of the Church.
I write to you, Dear Priests, with great sorrow. I write because the laity need you to embrace the Cross, accept a new level of suffering, and become saints.
If you have been ordained, you have a huge and historical task to perform in these turbulent times.
You already have been made into an alter Christus, another Christ, in the place of Christ in the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of lay people.
If you are still in the seminary, you are contemplating becoming Christ in the world, offering up the great Sacrifice, that of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Today, sadly accepting the fate of Bishop Finn, I thought of writing to you, Holy Priests and Seminarians, with a plea from an ordinary lay woman in the pew, who is grateful to God for being in a lowly position in life.
You, as priests, will never be in a lowly position. Your lives will be scrutinized by all, and you will and do now, have high standards to meet before God and the civil laws of the lands. The just laws cannot be ignored. God's laws must be followed to the last dot and tittle. Christ tells us this Himself:
Matthew 5:18-- For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
This means several things for you, Holy Men of God. The first is that you must no longer pursue the middle course of comfort, but embrace the hard road to perfection. Only saints will be able to lead us lay people into the times to come. Only those who are trying to be perfect will be able to withstand all the powers of the world, the flesh, and the devil. No stain of even venial sin, much less mortal sin, can be tolerated in the new necessity for holiness among priests.
The second is that you cannot be unaware, which may mean that you must surround yourselves with saints to support you in holiness in your ministries.
In days past, one could get by being a clergyman living in a lifestyle which resembled that of most of us, not pursuing mortification or perfection. You, Dear Brothers in God, have much more responsibility now, than ever, to become heroic saints. Then, you will be able to lead us in becoming saints.
Today, I thought of how to respond to the sad news of Bishop Finn's necessary resignation. He made a mistake, he broke a law, he overlooked something, which should not have been overlooked.
In order to be a saint, one must be vigilant and think of all the ramifications of each action, each day. One must rely totally on Christ, and His Mother Mary, to bring to mind all the important details of life, to reflect, to act in prudence and justice.
If you, Dear Priests, are asked to become a bishop, and your life has not been perfect, refuse. If you, Dear Seminarians, have not yet decided to become saints, do it now, today, realizing that the Church does not need merely good men, but excellent men.
We, the laity, promise to pray for you daily to become saints. We shall aid you in doing so by prayer and by our own feeble efforts to become holy ourselves.
The Church will be undermined by the less than perfect.
This is the Age of Saints and Martyrs.
Be one and you may become the other.
Let me join my prayers with yours for Bishop Finn. May he find forgiveness and peace in a lowly place, the place we are all eventually saved, that of complete humility and abjection.
Please, please, Dear Priests and Seminarians, be not just good, but perfect.
May Our Lady Queen of Apostles guide you daily to her Son.
Supertradmum, mother of a seminarian, sister in Christ.