Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Trinity

O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal; grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

From the Office of Shadows

The Supreme Court cases dealing with same-sex marriage have inspired a wave of slacktivism such as I have rarely seen, on both sides. Facebook is becoming a field of red and pink mines, and of remarkable self-righteousness and snideness -- on the part of both sides of the debate. Apparently God is very fervently in favor of, and also passionately opposed to, gay marriage; the legalization of gay marriage at a federal level will (I am given to understand) definitely strengthen our society, and also tear its very fabric; while reaffirming DOMA will be a moral disaster and also a salvific victory. But then, when one becomes a Catholic, one must accept a certain degree of paradox.

I have already made the only contributions I intend to make to the discussion, as far as this blog is concerned. Sheer ennui, quite apart from my own moral and political views, has shrouded me completely on the subject. I am utterly bored with it, and will welcome the time when, irrespective of the judicial decision, people are ready to stop talking about it.

Yet the tone is of some concern to me -- especially between Christians of differing perspectives, but in general. I attended a Tenebrae service at my parish last night, at which the Office of Readings was sung, and the patristic passage (drawn in this instance from St. Augustine) caught my attention. I feel strongly that we all, on both sides of the gay marriage debate and of every debate, would do well to listen.

+     +     +

From St. Augustine's Treatise on the Psalms

Hear my prayer, O God, and hide not thyself from my petition: take heed unto me, and hear me: how I mourn in my trial, and am vexed; because of the crying of the enemy, and of the tribulation which cometh from the ungodly. These are the words of one who is disquieted, beset by trouble and anxiety. He prayeth as one under much suffering, desiring deliverance from evil. Let us see from what evil he doth suffer: and as we hear what that evil is, let us recognize that we also suffer from the same thing; so that as we share in his tribulation, we may also join in his prayer.

I mourn in my trial (saith he) and am vexed. When doth he mourn? When is he vexed? In my trial, saith he. He hath in mind the ungodly that cause him tribulation, which same he calleth his trial. Therefore, think not that the wicked can serve no good purpose in this world, and that God is unable to accomplish good by means of them. Every wicked person is permitted to live in order that he may be made righteous, or else that the righteous may be tried by him.

Would that they who now try us were converted and tried with us: yet, though they continue to try us, let us not hate them: for we know not whether any of them will continue to the end in his evil ways. And mostly, when thou thinkest thyself to be hating thine enemy, thou hatest thy brother, and knowest it not.

The devil and his angels are shown to us in Scripture as doomed to eternal fire. Their amendment alone is hopeless, against whom we wage a secret strife: for which strife the Apostle arms us, saying: We wrestle not against flesh and blood: that is, not against men, whom we see, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world. Lest that by saying, the world, ye should think perhaps he says: Of the darkness of this world. He says, of the world, that is, the lovers of the world: Of the world, that is, the impious and wicked: Of the world, that is, of which the Gospel saith, And the world knew him not.

For I have spied unrighteousness and strife in the city. See the glory of the Cross itself. Now on the brow of kings is placed that Cross, which enemies did deride. Effect hath proved strength: he hath subdued the world, not with steel but with wood. The wood of the Cross seemed a worthy object of scorn to his enemies; and standing before that wood they wagged their heads, saying: If thou be the Son of God, come down from the Cross.

He stretched forth his hands to an unbelieving and gainsaying people. If he who is just lives by faith: he is unrighteous who has not faith. Therefore when he saith unrighteousness, understand that it is unbelief. The Lord then saw unrighteousness and strife in the city, and stretches out his hand to an unbelieving and gainsaying people: and yet, waiting for them, he saith: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

No comments:

Post a Comment