You were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness
My brother-in-law is dying. He has leukemia. His name is Ben Bennett; Benedict Bennett but known as Ben. Mum and Dad were faithful Catholics, and he is the eldest of 5, all boys. The youngest is my husband, he was meant to be a girl called Mary, I’m glad he wasn’t.
I love Ben, and I’ll miss him. I’ll miss his kindness, gentleness, fun and irreverence. I’ll miss his ability to laugh when it’s hard to find anything to laugh about. In 2016 his daughter took her own life; she was just 19. I think there is a part of him that accepts his death as a way of being reunited with her, but who knows? the shutters are up. He turned his back on Catholicism at a time when he felt Catholicism turned its back on him. It’s hard to argue. He was let down by those who should have loved him. How can he be blamed?
There are many people like this; Broken, hurt, damaged, their relationship with God ruined by the very people charged with safeguarding it. What should our response be; the response of those still clinging to the ark? We could get off, swim away, join those out in the depths. The thing is that they will drown, and we will drown with them. Hard as it may seem, we need to call them back, throw out a life jacket and keep them safe; reassure them that the ark is the only place to be, bring them in deep, past the drunken sailors on the outside, past those who have fallen asleep, and deep in to know the love that awaits them.
How do we do this?
This is something Michael Voris expresses beautifully in his book ‘Militant: resurrecting authentic Catholicism’ and something that is so misunderstood by those looking in from the outside.
We never speak from a sense of superiority; we speak always from our own vulnerability and recognition of our dependence on God. This is the reason we cling to the ark and why others must too, not because we are holier than thou, but because we understand our own frailty. We tell the truth. The truth that there is nothing but death outside. True love, agape, will alert;
‘Be on your guard and stay awake. Your enemy, the devil, is like a roaring lion, sneaking around to find someone to attack’ 1 Peter 5:8
False love, false compassion, will appease, will leave you where you are and let you drown. One is a comfortable lie; easy to say, easy to hear and easy to accept. The other is a challenging truth; Difficult to say, difficult to hear and difficult to accept…but…the end of one is death, the end of the other is life. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI
‘The world offers you comfort, but you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness’
We must pray, as Cardinal Ratzinger prayed:
"Lord, your Church often seems like a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. In your field we see more weeds than wheat. The soiled garments and face of your Church throw us into confusion. Yet it is we ourselves who have soiled them! It is we who betray you time and time again, after all our lofty words and grand gestures. Have mercy on your Church; within her too, Adam continues to fall. When we fall, we drag you down to earth, and Satan laughs, for he hopes that you will not be able to rise from that fall; he hopes that being dragged down in the fall of your Church, you will remain prostrate and overpowered. But you will rise again. You stood up, you arose and you can also raise us up. Save and sanctify your Church. Save and sanctify us all."