I am in Italy at the moment and share in the great sorrow of the tragedies of today. Such moments show us how small we are and how limited are our strengths. I slept through the little shakes that reached where I was staying. But the other men at my retreat were shaken in their beds and were woken up in confusion as the animals in the valley cried out in unison.
There is one thing of consideration I wish to bring forward. This is the necessity of praying for souls! That our zeal may increase for souls and that souls, especially those struggling the most with the confusion that comes with some sorrows, may return to God in recognition of our smallness.
Today in None which is part of the prayers of the Church, the Divine Office, we came across Psalm 59. I was praying this Psalm and couldn’t help but think of the state of the Church and the world. It seems everything is turned away from God. It seems the earth is crying out. We can only go so far in denying God the rightful worship due to Him, the honor that we should give to His Majesty, the love we are to show in every aspect of our life. The disobedience, the blasphemies, the unspeakable immodesties against nature of contraception, immoral relations both natural and unnatural (from which even the demons flee once the temptation has taken root!!!). When will we stop and cry out to our Merciful God?
The first few verses of the Psalm in Latin:
And in English:
Throughout the day, I was reminded of a recent incident where pornographic images were on display in the name of “art,” in a church which had been deconsecrated in or near Cascia (a city near Norcia, where the earthquake was). I saw the same thing when I visited Norcia for my birthday a few months back. It was the truffle festival in Norcia and this “art” exhibit was in a deconsecrated church. My friend and I approached the man running the exhibit. The young man in charge said (with a smirk), “è arte.” My friend, however, responded ‘con forza.’ Rightfully, she was fighting the immodest and blasphemy of placing pornography next to images of the Madonna and the Bambino Gesú!!!
Our Lord has and I believe continues to relieve the world which lies in a certain tension due to our sin. For remember, sin is not a private thing! In fact, it is communal. My sin affects the whole world. Sin does not just affect other men, but affects all of nature. God, in his Mercy, prevents sin at times. In a case like this, we suffer losses and sorrows, but in Divine Providence there is a reason for the sorrows of today. One cannot say definitively how all these points are interrelated. But we can know for certain that Our Lord wills the salvation of all men! And in this sense, we know today is a call for men, for Italians, to return to Our Lord. To return to the Church which once was so glorious in their lands, the land of the Saints and the martyrs whose blood colored the ground.
For this we can pray. And we can stress the work of God. The Psalmist says it all, for we have truly drunk the wine of sorrows, but we know the Lord delivers and saves His Beloved, the meek and the humble who have truly cried out to Him with a profound love!