Wednesday, February 29, 2012


This image of the first station of the Cross is from Dalgan House, Co. Meath, headquarters of the Columban Fathers. I watched a film with a friend on Friday as I usually do. It was "Never Let Me Go", a film based on Kazuo Ishiguro's book of the same name. The story is set in alternative reality where genetic engineering(?) and organ transplants have allowed the end of illness and physical suffering but at a price; countless children are reared to be donors, to live a short life and 'complete' (die) via a series of organ donations in early adulthood. The three central characters, two girls and a boy, all future donors, form a love triangle within this horrific world. What shocked me was their complacency and compliance as if they had been bred for placidity. I wanted them to fight back, to resist and rage against the system. At one point, and this is a spoiler, their former headmistress tells them "We did not have the gallery so we could see into your souls. We had the gallery to see if you had souls at all." The frightening thing is that the story is not that far from reality. Forced organ transplants are happening regularly in China Transmission 6-10. Once one denies there is a God and that there is an immortal soul then all one has left is a gene-transmission vehicle, or a sack of meat. Human nature becomes an illusion or rather a delusion and morality is a mere social convention. What has this got to do with our Saviour before Pilate? I used to think that He was placid, compliant and perhaps helpless, the victim of c conspiracy and trapped by His Father's desperate plan for the salvation of the human race. Is He placid though? Is He compliant? His mission is not merely to save us. It is to bring us into communion with His Father. To do this He does what He does or rather Who He Is; as Son He reveals the Father through His Sonship and His passion and death are the revelation by the Son of His very Being. Through this revelation He reveals the Father and how utterly beautiful, good, and worthy of love and obedience He is. The Son explores the depths of the human condition and lifts it up, transforming it, transubstantiating it so as to make Himself the Way to the Father. Therefore, before Pilate, He is not placid. Pilate is the bureaucrat, the politician, whose concern is only for power and expediency. What Pilate does not realise is that he does not have any real power. Christ has the true power because He does the will of the Father; He is the will of the Father. Pilate can choose to spare Christ but at this point his previous choices have locked him into a pattern of self-preservation that mitigates against any impulse towards justice. Sin has consequences and not just in the short term. Jesus is not placid; He is calm. He has endured so much already and has much more to endure but His love for the Father will not let Him falter. He must give us a chance to see. He must show us on the Cross the indescribable depths of the Father's love. He chooses, He acts by accepting His fate.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I have noticed that once again some Irish issues are attracting comment on the web especially relations between the Vatican and the Irish Government. I support Shane's suggestion that this is a golden opportunity for the Irish Church to lessen the influence of the Irish Government, and that of the 'liberal' forces behind it, over the Irish Church. Lessening that influence must be part of turning the tide for the Church in Ireland. A problem for the Irish Church, as for the worldwide Church as well, is that too often the debate is viewed as between 'liberal' and 'conservative'. These are social categories imported into the Church. They represent attitudes to change, to the use of power, to wealth etc., that are too easily confused with those of other 'liberals' and 'conservatives'. It's not enough to be conservative. To be conservative for conservatism's sake is an abomination. the same might be said of 'traditionalism'. The real issue is orthodoxy: faithfulness to the Scriptures, to Tradition, and to the Magisterium and to all of it in all it's splendid depth and glory. Orthodoxy is what the saints were careful to preserve in the face of persecution from 'liberals' and 'conservatives' alike. The search to be truly orthodox is part and parcel of the search for holiness: to be in full communion with the Father's will made manifest in the Son made flesh. If we seek that orthodoxy it will not only bring us to heaven, it will bring others and perhaps even hasten the day when the Church, East and West, is one again.


Fr. Ryan Erlenbush over at the New Theological Movement has an interesting and worthwhile suggestion for Lent: use it to consecrate oneself to Jesus through Mary. Journeying through Lent with the Mother of God sounds to me the best of all ways. Spread the word and hopefully many will take up his suggestion. I have been quite lazy in my blogging among other things. It hasn't helped that I've been sick the last few weeks and I'm still not recovered. That's my excuse literally. I need to restart but with little 'doable' steps. So I'm going to follow Fr. Erlenbush's suggestion and make this Lent a time of consecration. Join us if you can.


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