(Originally penned and posted in June, ARSH 2019.)
Several months ago, during my post-Mass prayer litany, I realized that I was incorrect in one of my daily petitions. See if you can tell how my prayer was wrong:
“May the Church Militant remain visible, and may I always be within easy walking distance of daily Mass in the Tridentine Rite.”
So there I am, having said this prayer daily over a thousand times, and I had a total record-scratch moment.
May the Church Militant REMAIN VISIBLE? Visibility is an intrinsic constitutive quality of the Church. The Church’s visibility is guaranteed in much the same way that water is wet and time is linear. The Church will always be visible – period. That is 100% guaranteed by God Himself. The issue is, can I, can we SEE IT.
Even if one uses the imagery of “eclipse” to describe current events, remember that eclipses are, by definition, highly visible events – awesome and fearful even.
So, my petition was so very wrong in that it falsely assumed that the Church could ever be “invisible”.
Now, my corrected petition is, “May I always be able to clearly see the Church…”
We know that the Antichurch will be built as an ape of the True Church, and that many, if not most people, including many of the Elect will happily traipse into the Antichurch and be lost. It will be so bad that Our Lord said, “But yet the Son of man, when He cometh, shall He find, think you, faith on earth?”
The problem will not be any failure of the Church to remain visible. The failure will not be God’s, the Church’s, nor even will the failure be a failure of the Papacy in se. The failure will be OURS. The Church will always be lit up like the Las Vegas Strip. But if Ray Charles is standing there, blind as a bat and can’t see what is right in front of him, does that mean the Vegas Strip is invisible? Of course not. All it means is that Ray is blind.
Every one of us can look back at our lives and cite numerous examples of our own blindness that caused us to go astray, which in retrospect were glaringly obvious at the time. Common examples:
“I was so in love….”
“I really wanted to keep that job/income…”
“I loved hanging out with those people…”
“I knew I couldn’t afford it, but I bought it anyway…”
“It felt right at the time…”
“I didn’t want to admit I was wrong…”
“I told myself that the person/situation would change/improve…”
“People warned me, but I didn’t listen…”
“I believed what the people on tee vee and on the internet were saying…”
Folks, the Truth is objective, external to us, and knowable. Reality is real, and visible. The Church is real, and it is guaranteed to always be visible, including AT ITS EARTHLY HEAD.
Start from the true base premise that the Church is visible, and the identity of the Pope is clear and visible, and then work from that. What is the objective reality? What is the objective dataset? What is clearly visible? What errors or prejudices or vices might cloud my vision and make me blind? Are my FEELINGS overriding logic? Is my approach rooted in sentiment and not in rationality?
I hope this helps.