21 March 2008

'The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified'

Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon, concludes his weekly column in the Catholic Sentinel dated 21 March in with these words:

There are some who are very reluctant to equate the teaching of the Church with the “will of God.” Yet, for myself, I find it very difficult to assert that God’s will for me in a particular matter, and perhaps even in a very small matter, is directly opposed to the manifestation of “His will” through the Church. Even when, or perhaps especially when the “will of God” as expressed by the Magisterial Church seems to run contrary to what I personally feel or desire I must strive to submit my own will and desire to that manifest will of God. When the teachings of the Church bump up against my own will and my own desires then what am I to say: ‘Father, save me from this hour’ or ‘Father, this teaching is unacceptable’ or ‘Father, you are simply wrong’?

As a part of our Easter celebration we focus on the Creed in a slightly different form. We take up that creedal dialogue connected with Baptism and answer a personal, ‘I do’, to each tenet of our Creed. To the question: “Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the Resurrection of the body and life everlasting?” we answer, “I do.”

Included in that answer, included in our weekly Profession of Faith is a commitment to accept the teachings of the Church as a part of the manifest will of God for us.

More and more I'm convinced of the truth of what Bishop Vasa says. We can never go wrong by accepting the official teaching of the Church. Bishop Vasa's words on God's will remind me of the that great spiritual classic, Abandonment to Divine Providence by Fr Jean-Pierre de Caussade SJ.

You can find the book online here. John Beevers's more recent translation is available in a number of editions. Kitty Muggeridge, wife of Malcolm, published a translation under the title The Sacrament of the Present Moment, a term associated very much with De Caussade. Blessed Charles de Foucauld said of it, ‘It’s one of the books that most influences my life’.

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