Over the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to wander about the states of Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio; meeting, along the way, Roman Catholic lay persons, and priests.
It was lovely.
Yes, the Church is currently suffering. I am not equipped to say what precisely is happening during this current time of crisis, but I can say this: leaves are breaking out, and there are living flames; there are people living the Faith with determination and grace (reference, Dame Edith Sitwell). There are fighters among us, and they are determined to stay the course, even when others drop back, and desert, becoming, as it were, traitors.
No, the sorts I met are not deserting the Church, they are not deserting Christ. They continue, without fanfare, to meet the duties of their own particular states in life, at every given moment. I am thinking, here, of the parish priest of a rural Virginia parish: he shows up, he is working, he is with his flock. And, there’s the other: a priest of a busy northern-ish Virginia parish: working, showing up, faithful.
Two rocks in a world of tumbling sand.
So, even if bad news reaches us, let us remember the words of the Catholic writer, J.R.R. Tolkien:
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
Let us carry on, keeping our eyes fixed ahead as members of the Church Militant are wont to do, and remain, in the process, friends of the Cross; remembering always that, in the end, the crownless again shall be king!
Image (above): September 2018 picture, snapped by JDF II wherein we all agreed that parts of Virginia resemble Tolkien’s Shire