Gueranger: Early Christians Overcame Enormous Obstacles in Spreading the Faith May 18, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Liturgical Year, reading, Society, Spiritual Warfare, The End, Tradition, Virtue.
That may not seem a particularly insightful thing to say, but thinking a little harder on it, you have likely read, as I have, many people claim that Christ came at a uniquely fortuitous time, and that much of the success of the Christian religion was due to external factors. And while there were factors working in favor of early Christianity – a fairly stable and uniform culture through which to spread, a certain readiness for the Christian message through the spread of reasoned discourse, among others – Gueranger shows that, overall, the environment into which Christianity was born was overtly hostile.
Thus, it is all the more miraculous that this new religion demanding such great personal sacrifice would not only survive, but thrive (from pp. 337-8 of The Liturgical Year Vol. 9):
[Describing the world at the time of the birth of Christ, which will also be the state of the world at His return……]During these sad long ages, another master has presented Himself to the nations, and they have enthusiastically hailed him as their king. It is satan. So firmly, indeed, has he established his rule, that our Lord calls him the prince of this world. He must be cast out; that is, he must be driven from the temples men have built to him, from society, from the soul, from literature, from art, from political life, all of which are under his sway. [Pretty frightening to see how much our own time corresponds, eh?] There will be resistance from the world he has corrupted; nay, he himself the strong armed one will resist, and so powerfully that on mere created power shall ever make him yield.
So, then, everything is against the Kingdom of Christ, and nothing is favorable. And yet, if we are to believe certain modern writers, the world was in a fit state for a total and complete reformation! Impious and absurd assertion! Are we to deny the evidence of facts?! Or must we admit that error and vice are the best preparation for truth and virtue? Man may know that he is in a state of wretchedness, and yet not know that his wretchedness comes from sin, still less be resolved to become, at cone, and at every sacrifice, a hero in virtue.
No: in order that Jesus might reign over a world such as ours was [and is] , there was need of a miracle; nay, of a miracle, as Bossuet observes, comparable to that of creation, whereby God draws being out of nothingness. Now, it was the Holy Ghost who worked this miracle. He willed that we, who have never seen the Lord Jesus, should be as certain of His being our Messias and God, as though we had witnessed his wonderful works, and heard His divine teachings. For this end, He achieved the master-miracle of the conversion of the world, that He might confound the strong; and the things that are not, that He might bring to nought the things that are. By this stupendous fact, which was evident to men as the noon day sun, the Holy Ghost made His presence known and felt by the world.
Certainly an appropriate topic for this Octave of Pentecost.
And so here we are, 2000 years after Christ walked this earth and this new religion was born under inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and the whole thing seems to be slipping away. We seem to be descending back into that darkness that covered the earth before God, through His mystifying, infinite love for us, became Incarnate. More and more, I think this period of darkness part of God’s positive will, that we are nearing the Second Coming. But I remain convinced that I shall die before that occurs.
If it seems that things are spiraling out of control, that the Church is gravely wounded and appears beyond human repair, keep in mind, it could all be part of a plan revealed a very long time ago. That’s one reason, perhaps, why I am able to find good in the Church today, I don’t despair that things have somehow gone totally off-kilter and that God is no longer in charge.
Just a thought. Hope you enjoyed the post.