“May the rulers of the world publicly honour and extol Thee; May teachers and judges reverence Thee;
May the laws express Thine order and the arts reflect Thy beauty.” (Vespers Hymn of Christ the King)
At this moment in time, we seem further than ever before in history from the most desirable reign of Our Lord so beautifully expressed in the Church’s liturgy. It might seem that the time has come to devote ourselves only to penance and prayer and leave the world to go to perdition if such be its wish.
Is this what our King would have us do?
A beautiful example of the paradox to be found in the Reign of Christ was offered this week in the Dail. A self-confessed non-churchgoer who inclines to indifferentism defended with passion and zeal the right of a priest to say the Mass publicly and remain immune from penalty. Those precious words “priest” and “Mass” resounded through the Dail and found an echo of shame on the few faces present. The paradox derives from the fact that, in the titanic struggle between Good and Evil which is ever a feature of Christ’s reign until Judgement Day, the defence of God’s rights often comes from unexpected quarters.
We will always be surprised by the flashes of truth and beauty which blossom in the desert of our times. We must always be prepared and ready to nurture and nourish those tender shoots when they do appear.
Many of our elected representatives currently in the Dail find themselves in a complex and confusing situation not of their making or choosing. Many of them have received the grace of Baptism, but that seed hasn’t been nourished as it ought to have been. We have the duty to help them to work for the good of the nation and to cooperate with the graces which are certainly being given them.
It is the Mass that matters! Let us echo this conviction by email, by letter, by word into the ears of our deputies. Let us persuade them with words of fire softened with the oil of the charity of Christ that we cannot live without the Mass. Let them be convinced by us that the good of our country, the good of our communities, the generosity of voluntary helpers, the civic peace and cooperation depend on the access of the people to the treasures of the church. Let us remind them of the centuries of proud Irish history and mission, of the wonderful works of the Irish clergy and Sisters at home and abroad, which made the word “Irish” a household term for hospitality and Christian service. If food for the body is so necessary that grocery stores are allowed to open, why is food for the soul, for the heart, for the mind not placed at least on an equal footing?
And if we fail, and they laugh at us, or we experience the desolation of being ignored? The effort will bear fruit, perhaps hidden, in the conversion of souls. At any rate, the loving Irish soul cannot bear to keep silent when the Church is deprived of her liberty. If we achieve nothing else- and the reaction of our deputies has shown there is, in fact, much we can achieve!- we will be worthy descendants of that poor, nameless woman of famine times, who, starved and almost perished, crawled on all fours to Sunday Mass to cry glory to Jesus, Son of the Virgin, before collapsing in death.
All of us have been led by a luminous path, short or long, winding or straight, smooth or rough, to the haven of Tradition. Providence has cared, and is caring, most lovingly for each of us.
Let us be God’s Providence to others.
If you'd like to contact your local TD to request the ban on public worship be lifted, please see the list here.