Saturday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
I remember visiting my mother’s family in the Soviet Union in 1984 (!). It was her first time back, since she (narrowly) escaped after the War, and she was understandably nervous. But weeks of kindly hospitality among her people in their villages had greatly healed those memories. Until we had to go into the city, and found ourselves in the basement of a police station, and were taken for what the experienced Polish call “confession without absolution.” My pious mother emerged from her “interview” with the memorable words: “let’s get the h…. out of here.” And as we boarded the train for Poland, she started loudly singing: “God bless America!” Kate Smith would have been proud.
Our war of independence was – it can be argued – a war for really a more traditional Christian society than that which an increasingly despotic England would allow. It most certainly was not a version of the French Revolution, which set the tone for the Russian and Chinese Revolutions, and which has set the tone for ongoing social revolutions around the world. Some would say that that social revolution is what has been changing American society for many years now. We certainly see it in its unmistakably anti-Catholic spirit.
Let us celebrate our independence – both from the tyranny of a once aggressive monarchy – but also from the much worse tyranny of that other revolution, started in France, and continuing today in its relentless and fierce hatred of our Faith. The “rights of Englishmen” for which our Anglo-American founders fought have been a model for the world. And it was in the American Republic that the Church finally found a haven from the interference of kings and governments, not least those called “Catholic.” May she continue to be a haven from social revolutionaries, whose “trail of tears” has flooded the world. May we be faithful to the only true revolution the world will ever know: the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God bless America!
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.