Thursday, January 26, 2017

My God, my God why have you forsaken me.

My God, my God why have you forsaken me.
Image result for "wood of the cross" popeI  have known few people who have suffered torture. I knew Dom Peter de Curzon, a monk of Quarr by the time I became a friend he had separated himself from the community in many ways, he said the Old Mass day after day early in the morning at an altar in the crypt, without a server, "there is me and the whole court of Heaven, no-one else". It had been his practice to eat alone too, a superior had tried to make him join the community an issued an order that no-one should take meals outside of the ordinary times. Fr Peter obeyed and went on hunger strike, saying, "I did not give in when the Nazis tortured me why should I give in now?"

As a young French aristocrat and member of the Resistance he had indeed been tortured, I never asked him what the did but it was pretty obvious that he learnt the connection between stubbornness and fidelity. He would speak of fidelity when all the consolations of faith had vanished or be taken away. It had always struck me that stubbornness, what might be called fortitude, and martyrdom are intimately unconnected.

This perhaps is what real faith is, a relationship with God where all consolation is gone. Jesus' words from the Cross are I suspect about this, all human consolation had indeed gone, that he had 'become a worm and on man'. We know he never lost the Beatific Vision but Cross is the great sign of oblivion and desolation. Being fully human Jesus' knowledge of his Father, is like ours, one of faith. Faith is normally buoyed up memory and experience, in Jesus' case miracles and visions, and inner consolations. The torture of the Passion removed these, agony takes away memory and feeling and places one in the void of the present moment where pain, physical, psychological, spiritual, consumes everything.

The experience of many Catholics in this Age of the New Martyrs is one of absolute desolation, there is little consolation coming either from without or within, many feel they have lost faith or faith has become fragile and tenuous, consolation has gone, prayer becomes like wormwood, the Mass a tedious obligation, all we are offered is the Cross: hold fast, what you are living by is real faith, a faith without consolation or warmth just the rough cold unwelcoming wood of the Cross.

22 comments:

Woody said...

Thank you Father for this very timely and edifying reflection, which is very, very helpful to me, personally, at this time. Oremus pro invicem.

Ben of the Bayou said...

My dear Father Blake,

Thank you for your beautiful reflection, an accurate read (I would say) of the times.

I would like to ask you what your authority is for saying that Our Lord, "like ours," had a "human knowledge of the Father by faith. This theological virtue is seemingly excluded from the very fact, as you rightly stated earlier, that He enjoyed (and enjoys) the BV. Indeed, I doubt very much it can be found that the Catholic Church teaches that OLJC had the theological virtue of Faith. Nay, rather, I think she teaches the contrary. Nevertheless, I would be very much interested to know whether you had an authority upon which you based your assertion.

Respectfully,
Ben

Stan Metheny said...

A valuable post, Father, especially today. Thank you.

Peter Palladian said...

I have fond memories of Dom Peter de Curzon from my time at Quarr [1982-4]. Rarely seen about the place of course and we novices were gently advised to leave him be, but whenever met - he was often in the Porter's Lodge at the weekend - he was kindness and courtesy itself. Was it Abbot CJ with whom he had such a falling out? I fear it wouldn't surprise me.

Fr Ray Blake said...

PP
Of the dead nothing but good

Archimandrite Simon said...

Ben of the Bayou

Chalcedon asserts that our Lord was like us in everything but sin. Is having faith sin? Surely it was his perfect faith and sinlessness that permitted him to have the beatific vision which was eternally intended for all humanity?

Woody said...

Thank you, Father. A very good reflection. Brought to my mind Our Lord's words: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Also, I hope you are dong well. God Bless you.

MarieR said...

Ben of the Bayou,

I may be wrong, but how I took it is that in Christ's humanity, He was like us in everything but sin, so He experienced faith just as we do. His divine nature, of course, held the Beatific Vision.

Fr. Blake, thank you for a wonderful reflection. I'd like to print this out to re-read over and over again. God bless you, Father.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Ben.
I didn't read the last part of your comment.
I am not sure the Church teaches much about 'faith', nor should we restrict its meaning to 'a theological virtue', which has a certain scholastic meaning, which is not necessarily there in scripture, the early Fathers, and certainly not the later Easter Fathers.
For the Fathers 'faith' is a human given, it is about trust and an epistemological comprehension, the basis of relationships

Pelerin said...

Thank you Father - especially for your last paragraph on faith without consolation.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Is not faith a form of knowing?

"I am the good shepherd; my sheep are known to me and know me; just as I am known to my Father, and know him."

This is an incredibly difficult time for the faithful. I am buoyed up by Cardinal Sarah's 'La Force du Silence' which is coming out in English in April.

Sixupman said...

God Bless you Father! As I read this I am listening to Gerontius and greatly moved.

Ben of the Bayou said...

Father,

Thank you for your response.

It seems to me that to argue that because "theological virtue" is "Scholastic" that it therefore does not qualify our understanding of the nature of Our Lord is contrary to the practice and context of the centuries-long Magisterium of the Church.

Elisabeth F. said...

Thank you, Father Blake

JARay said...

It is so good to see that you are posting again. I am sure that I am but one of many who have/are praying for you and have missed your postings. I discern something of a "crie de coeur" this time. This does not surprise me.

Peter said...

Thank you Father. There is little that is reassuring these days.

Palincor IG said...

I always find that reading - not just dipping into - the Gospels does a lot to strengthen faith, there is a certain compellingness there.

It seems to fortify in the same way as prayer does.

Maria Anna said...

Happy New Year Fr Blake!
About Ben's question I recently realized also that to have any doubt that any human sufferance would be unknown to Him is lack of Faith.
Because of their unwavering Faith maybe or not their fault but mine, lately I do feel I am closer to the monphyisite faitb of the Copts... The Church says monophyisitism or myaphyisitism are heresies. So are the Copts martyrs? They are redeemed however I know they are and whether they will be in our calendar or not is ..our details. I have no doubt they are in Heaven, and I still have to work out on stop seeing Christ as only God and realize He is human in every way.. when we suffer unfairly so or not, according to the Happiness given by Him.
Nothing is beyond Him. Also...Heaven is not a place on Earth. Not really.

Palincor IG said...

Some may feel they are 'faithful remnant catholics' who's faith appears to cling on by nought seemingly but will power, but I don't think this should be on account of Amoris Laetitia and it's position on access to communion for some, it is a pastoral recommendation that is in no way magisterial.

Of course the real problem for many traditionalists is they feel the the differences between pre and post Vatican II magisterial teachings are irreconcilable causing a near insoluble psychological conflict.

I thin Father Ray's counsel to "hold on" is right, it is not however blind faith, but that last comment is another discussion.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Indeed Palincor merely a pastoral recommendation "Carry on sinning".

I suppose the ten commandments are merely pastoral recommendations. Candidates for heaven should not attempt more than five.

Sixupman said...

N.B.: Ten Commandments like BREXIT Referendum - advisory only?

Nicolas Bellord said...

"Candidates for heaven should not attempt more than five."

I meant that as a joke but Pope Francis is reported as having taken up the idea saying that those who follow all the commandments are closed in!