They were sent by the elders, the scribes and the Pharisees, in order to know what John the Baptist said of himself. Question after question issued from their mouths not to discover the spirit of repentance but to know how to handle this messenger. In their arrogance they could not comprehend an attitude of humility which was the basis for each of the Baptist’s responses. The Jew lacked “dissidence” and were rather filled with their own self importance.
In the Catholic mind the attitude of dissidence is the primary pre-requisite for the understanding of God’s activity. “Are you the Christ?”, they asked. His demeanor seemed to suggest that here was someone sent by God with a special role. “Are you Elias?” If he was not the Christ was he the forerunner of the Christ? “Are you Jeremiah or one of the Prophets?” To all these questions John humbly responded “I am not.” Dissidence evaluates oneself as nothing special than the dirt from which one comes. This humility is the mark of the true Catholic spirit and must be present if one is to make any progress in the eternal life. The Jew fails to understand that while we are in this world we are meant to discover that God is everything and we are nothing without Him. This attitude begets our confidence in God.
John preached a baptism of repentance because he was preparing the way for One Who is present to all of us. We repent of our pride, our avarice, our lusts, our sloth, our anger, our tendencies to sin in order to prepare our hearts for the Holy Trinity. We work out our salvation through “fear and trembling.” Yet we are confident that God loves us and desires to bring us home. As the psalmist remarks “we trust in the Lord always.” There is no doubt in the Catholic mind that God is preparing us through tribulation and penance for the wonders of His Kingdom. This is the point of contradiction: the Jew seeks power and pleasure in this world while the Catholic heart seeks a kingdom beyond death.
Now we come to the meaning of our confidence. As the saying goes: “Without faith nothing is possible but with faith nothing is impossible.” Our confidence leads us to “resist” temptation. Our resistance causes several effects. First, resistance merits graces which heightens our likeness to Jesus. Second, resistance increases the capacity of the soul to take on greater spiritual challenges. Third, resistance presents others with the example needed to conquer the world around them. Fourth, resistance begets compassion for the weaknesses that we see in others.
Today we find ourselves totally diffident because we have no support for the truth among our hierarchical leaders. Even bishops or priests that speak up miss the essential truth that Vatican II must be burned totally. The Second Vatican Council is riddled with errors through and through (a false ecumenism, a democratic church structure, a new notion of God, a change in the purpose of marriage, the removal of the soul of society etc.) A truly humble Pope would erase all the modernism written in recent Vatican letters and return to the absolute truth presented by our Lord. We must resist these errors and pray for the nature of the Church as a Mystical Body to return. We should turn to the rosary and our Mother to crush the serpent’s head as it seeks to use the modern church for his satisfaction for he seeks only equal worship to the one true God. Let us accept the fact that we are useless servants and without Christ we can do nothing but with Him in our hearts we can give our Mother the prayers needed to crush Satan.
All is not lost, my friends, all is beginning to initiate the victory of Mary. It is coming soon for the humiliation of the Incarnation leads to the humiliation of the Crucifixion and finally the humiliation of becoming our eternal life in and through the Holy Eucharist. Be of good cheer and embrace the littleness of God in the appearance of a simple child. Lift up your hearts and rejoice for the Lord is near.
Prepare well now for Christ’s birth among us.
In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Fr. Richard Voigt