“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
Thomas Paine wrote these words at the time of the American Revolution, but I think they can equally be applied to the current upheaval being experienced in the Church. In many ways, this is a season of revelation within the Church. The faith of many is being tested. The faith in the belief that the Catholic Church contains within her the authentic deposit of faith, handed down faithfully since the time of the Apostles, and that this Catholic Church will endure for all times.
The faith that it is the Catholic Church who faithfully represents Christ on earth has been shaken because in her members, some of whom who are at the highest levels, she has lost sight of her mission. Or, to be precise, those members who have fallen into chaos and confusion have forgotten her mission. As the scripture says, I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will stray.
Daily the faithful suffer under a tyranny of ambiguity. The sheep are not taught right from wrong, virtue from sin, truth from falsehood… but rather are fed a steady diet of empty platitudes and faith based self help. They are taught to love themselves and self care rather than renunciation and sacrifice for the sake of salvation. The poison of the world is dressed up with saint’s quotes taken out of context and stripped of the call to conversion.
What is needed now is what is needed in every time and every place. Conversion to Christ. Renunciation of sin and radical commitment to the life of the sacraments and piety and devotion. This is the core of the gospel, salvation through Jesus Christ.