The past 24 hours have been an education in God’s marvelous ways. Though He never fails to show them to us, we weak humans always manage to forget. And in our days, we have so many distractions and worries and influences that cause us to focus inward, on ourselves and our little problems, so that we begin to think that God doesn’t concern Himself with our little problems…that the forces arrayed against the inexorable power of worldliness and its prince are not enough to counter the coming darkness.
Being here, involved at the very epicenter of the maelstrom that is the Pan-Amazon Synod, has been a powerful reminder that God is everything, and we are nothing. No matter how powerful the influence of the devil may seem, no matter how invincible the power that is holding our beloved Mother Church captive, they are as dust in the wind before God. He is enough. But He allows these tribulations, and we cannot understand why, because it is so painful to see our Lord being crucified once more in His Mystical Body. One day, when His Victory is complete, we will see that His plans were glorious beyond our ability to conceive.
And so, ironically, the joy that we are feeling right now is an immediate consequence of having found ourselves yesterday afternoon in a situation that brought us to the brink of despair. With just 20 hours to make arrangements (many of which were supposed to be spent sleeping by ordinary humans), we had to find a place and a means to move 150 heavy boxes of books. We had to humble ourselves to ask huge favors of everyone we knew…even the sort of people that you would never dream of pestering with such a ridiculous problem. For someone as shy as me, this was one of the most difficult things I have done, almost more difficult than the monumental task we had just finished in St. Peter’s Square.
But in hindsight, it seems clear to me that all of this happened not simply to hinder us, but rather to show us that His ways are always better than our ways. God wanted an opportunity to show us that we are not trusting Him nearly enough.
(A surprising idea, considering that our team has already made huge sacrifices to take on a project of enormous size that is as crazy as it is unlikely, relying almost entirely on providence…one might easily think this was in fact a presumptuous overabundance of trust, but apparently God didn’t think so.)
We set aside our frantic search for answers last night to attend a Mass being celebrated by Bishop Athanasius Schneider. It was a great island of solace and refreshment after the cares and toil of the day. We even had the opportunity after Mass to speak with him briefly and present him with copies of our three books along with a description of our project. He was incredibly friendly and gracious.
We returned after Mass to find that we had some true friends in high places who had taken the time to respond to our pleas for help and had found us the answers we needed. We slept peacefully in the knowledge that our situation was no longer bleak.
We attended a Latin Mass at the Vatican this morning at one of the side altars dedicated to St. Michael, along with just a handful of other attendees. The remaining arrangements for transferring ourselves as well as our books were made afterward with surprisingly little effort on our part (thanks to the goodness of those who so graciously assisted us). The solution was so well-orchestrated that we managed to move all the books and leave the apartment in great shape, overstaying our checkout time by a mere 30 minutes.
Both the Owner and the manager of our new apartment came early to let us in and show us around, and then we had just enough time to make our daily Holy Hour before heading to a reception in honor of Bishop Schneider’s new book, Christus Vincit. Our dear Cardinal Burke was the keynote speaker. It was truly an inspiration to see these faithful shepherds of our Church speaking the Truth with charity and without fear or discouragement. As might be expected, those in attendance were a “who’s who” of the Traditional Catholic world, running the full gamut from several Cardinals to ordinary laity like us. And as the day ended, we again reflected on the great privileges we have been afforded in these past three days.
We are hoping that things will start to settle in to a predictable rhythm now that the biggest days are behind us. We will continue to update you as we can.
God bless you!