I Have Seen the Future, and It’s the Same as the Past

Time Catholic Church Hope

I’m not a prognosticator. I don’t read tea leaves or horoscopes. So when I say I have seen the future…well, it’s a bit more than mere metaphor, but much less than consulting oracles or taking a ride in the Tardis.

Here’s what I mean – the times we are living in, and hurtling towards, represent nothing new. Shifts in demographics; advances in technology; discoveries and revelations; new alliances and renewed antagonisms; politics and rhetoric; decline in morals and practices; dissent and heresy – such terms serve to characterize the specific era in which they occur. They contribute to the identification of a small slice of history. The Space Age. The British Invasion. The Cold War. The Great Depression. The Reformation. The Little Ice Age. And on and on.

And while our current time, the World’s Wild Web Age, has compressed history so that yesterday’s Tweet is ‘the distant past’; and last month’s post is a remnant of a foregone Blogozoic Era; and last year’s events are bygone rites of an ancient civilization unearthed by a Facebook algorithm – one thing remains constant.

Nothing has changed. Not since a couple thousand years ago, when that event the Catholic Church calls the Incarnation occurred in the womb of a young Jewish girl in the backwater town of Nazareth.

Name one event before or since leaving as momentous an impact upon the world such as that singular moment, when God, in His infinite mercy and boundless love for us ungrateful creatures, humbled Himself to become one of us. You can’t. That’s the Event Of All Events. It’s the nexus of existence, the crux of creation, when all time received its meaning, and when humanity received its purpose, to be redeemed upon a craggy hill outside the walls of Jerusalem some thirty-three years later.

And yet – Christ’s entry into our midst didn’t so much change the world as much as it changed people – first Mary, then the apostles, and through them, countless individuals throughout every age, down to you and me. And through those people, whose very lives were changed, the Way Things Used To Be changed as well. And through you and me, the Way Things Are must be changed, too. The mission hasn’t been modified just because the calendar and the customs have changed.

It’s easy to fret and worry about the state of things in the world. We live under that ancient Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” More importantly, though, we live under that wondrous Christian promise: “He who believes in me shall never die.” We are leaven and salt and light. We’ve been given a spirit of power, not one of fear. And as long as we keep the perspective that Christ came into the world to redeem it and not condemn it, to show us the way to our true home…

No matter where you live right now as you read this, the perspective is the same. We’re trapped behind enemy lines, and our mission is not to find our way to our own front, unscathed and intact. Our mission is to convince others to defect to our side. We go into battle on a solo mission, and we’re to emerge amongst a ragtag Band of Brethren, supporting one another, our eyes fixed on the goal. Christ sends us out as sheep among wolves – not to avoid them, but to tame them.

These are heady times for us because, well, these are the times in which we live. We’re living the history of our great-grandchildren, and the sense that it’s crumbling beneath our feet is very real. I don’t need to give a litany of the myriad of problems and challenges before us – as individuals, as communities, as a nation, as a world. It seems that the entire Earth is on fire, and the hydrants are gushing gasoline. Our job, though, as followers of Christ is not so much to put out the flames, as it is to rescue the trapped and console the victims.

The onslaught of information and deluge of data never relents – a constant Urgency Of Now. Events seem to be occurring faster than the speed of crap in a fertilizer factory during a Cat 5 Tornado. “The truth is out there” was the tagline for the show The X-Files – and yeah, it is out there. As Catholics, we know exactly where it is – or rather, WHO it is – and it’s in the Catholic Church where Truth can be found in fullness.

It’s easy to despair and feel all is lost. If I had a dime for every time I’ve read the comment “We’re going to hell in a hand basket”…folks, in some respects, this IS hell. Satan is the original Community Agitator. He doesn’t want anyone to have peace – especially the peace that only Christ offers. When Satan tempted our Lord, showing Him all the kingdoms of the world, saying “Worship me, and these can be yours”, Jesus didn’t argue with him. He didn’t say “Don’t get ahead of yourself, ol’ Scratch.” Satan possesses kingdoms, then and now. Christ had His plan, and in the fullness of time, He executed that plan and in the midst of it all, He established His kingdom.

The Church.

Yeah, the Church has Her struggles because of the nagging technicality that Her living members are all sinners. Kinda goes with being human and still breathing. But despite that, She remains the Bride of Christ, and She holds forth the hope and promise that, regardless of what happens in our day and age, She is a refuge and safe harbor. It’s been that way for two millennia, and we have Christ’s guarantee it will stay that way until His return. The past reminds us He’s held His promise. He never guaranteed we wouldn’t have strife or struggle – He just exhorts us to “not let our hearts be troubled.”

Since Christ’s Ascension, wherever cultures and societies have collapsed, it’s the Church that’s been Last Man Standing, preserving that which is true, beautiful and good for those left in the wake of mankind’s inhumanity against mankind. She will continue to do so. To the detriment of many, and to the ultimate misfortune of all, Western civilization has rejected Christ and His Church. The impending result is frightening – no doubt about it. We already see evidence of it. The future seems hopeless – and it would be entirely hopeless had a poor virgin in Nazareth, two thousand years ago, withheld her fiat.

Regardless of what happens here in America or elsewhere in the world – and I’m not advocating sticking our heads in the sand – we, as disciples, have a clear mission. We are workers in the vineyard, and like it or not, we don’t get to choose the vineyard. Perhaps I’m saying this more for myself than for anybody else, I don’t know. If I permit myself, I can easily get angry, upset, scared, and downright panicky over what’s going on. But by His grace – and only by His grace…It’s easy, isn’t it, to have our faith shaken? No one wants to suffer; none of us seek persecution. But if it means salvation – for ourselves and for others…

I still have hope. I have not lost faith. I have seen the future – it looks exactly like the past. Christ the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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All I Really Need To Know About Blogging I Learned In Kindergarten

  • Blog fair.
  • Don’t blog with scissors.
  • Don’t hit people with your blog.
  • Clean up your own messy blog.
  • Don’t blog about things that aren’t yours.
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody with your blog.
  • Wash your hands before you blog. And wash out your mouth after you blog, if need be.
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you after blogging.
  • Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work and blog every day some.
  • Take a nap before blogging – and after, if necessary.
  • When you blog out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder – and blog about that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice – they all die. So will our blogs.
  • And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – LOOK. Look before you blog.

Blog unto others as you would have them blog unto you.

Lessons I’m still learning. Originally published Sept 2011.

(adapted from Robert Fulghum)

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Pope Francis, Vatican Launch ‘Be Pope For A Day’ Program

[ACMPress] – VATICAN CITY – Vatican officials announced this morning a new program for tourists visiting the Eternal City: “Be Pope For A Day”.

Slated to begin after Pentecost, the program is designed to bolster tourism to Vatican City while increasing awareness of papal responsibilities. Every Wednesday, one lucky tourist will be randomly selected to be the Holy Father for the day, granting total access to behind-the-scenes duties, Vatican state affairs, and religious matters.

“Pope Francis is very excited with this new endeavor,” one official told ACMPress. “It’s in line with his desire to further de-emphasize the papacy and promote a greater decentralization of the Church. Plus he’s working so hard. He tires easily. This will give him a much needed mid-week break.

“The Holy Father figured with so many Catholics acting as their own Pope, why not give them a chance to see what it’s like? And who knows? Maybe we’ll see some exciting new development of doctrine, or perhaps a call for a synod, or declare some new saint or other. We have no idea what will happen. Which is business as usual around here.”

The Holy Father will draw the winning name at the conclusion of each scheduled Wednesday general audience, and for the rest of the day, that person will assume papal duties until 5:00 PM. The only restricted activities are presiding over sacraments. Vatican employees and their relatives are prohibited from entering the drawing, as are German bishops, members of Roman Catholic Women Priests, or bloggers who have Latin blog titles.

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Posted in All The News That's Misfit To Print, Humor, News That Could Be True, Parody, Pope Francis, Satire | 1 Comment

Raccoon Slips Into Sanctuary During Mass…

…and immediately complains about the bad hymns and bland homily.

Seriously though – a raccoon really did sneak into a San Diego church, providing entertainment during the Mass.

No, not that one. Just your regular, run-o-the-mill, natural raccoon.

ChurchPop has the story:

Last week at the Catholic University of San Diego, a raccoon snuck into Mass and started climbing around the sanctuary. The animal was quiet and still enough at first that not many people noticed it perched at the front of the church, until the homily when it started moving and climbing down to ground level. One news report says it caused quite the commotion and laughter from the students at the Mass.

A student named Julie recorded the masked Mass-goer and posted it on her Twitter account.

Hey, if the church has trouble getting rid of the raccoon, the Bishop oughta give him the Sacrament of Confirmation. That’ll guarantee it never comes back.

What?

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