Third Sunday after Easter
Today’s liturgy begins to direct our thoughts toward the coming Ascension of Jesus: A little while, and now you shall not see Me… because I go to the Father… The Holy Gospel (Jn. 16.16-22) which relates this passage is taken from the discourse that Our Lord made to the Apostles at the Last Supper. His purpose was to prepare them for His departure, before He went to His Passion and Death; but the Church presents to us Our Lord’s farewell today, before His Ascension.
Having accomplished His mission, Jesus must return to the Father Who sent Him and Whom Our Lord bid farewell. And see how His farewell to His Father meant the deepest sorrow and the greatest pain – the cost of what it takes to love God and us for God’s sake. Now, the Beloved warns us so that we shall not be scandalized when He would leave us for a little while: You shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice.
A little while …, that is, our short lifetime. We only have a short lifetime but “this life is as precious as it is short,” says St. Aphonsus Liguori, for, in every moment, if we spend it well in a greater and therefore a more perfect “communion of life” (cf., “The God of Intimacy“) with Him through prayer (nourished by orthodox spiritual reading and moments of recollection), penance and mortification, worthy reception of the Sacraments – most especially Holy Communion, and a life of virtue – governed by the truths of our Faith and crowned with charity – then we will have proved to Our Beloved how dear He truly is in our hearts. That all these efforts were but our dear tokens of restlessness until that day, in the evening of our lives, when He comes, to examine us in love, that we shall see Him “face to face” for the reward.
You shall lament and weep, for to enter more and more into a perfect “communion of life” with Our Beloved Crucified it must be by God’s ways, not our ways. In God’s short sensible ‘absence’, He has determined how are we to “walk securely [as we] journey through this dark night” (St. John of the Cross, “Ascent of Mt. Carmel,” II, 6). Accordingly, we are “not [to be] united with God in this life through understanding, or through enjoyment, or through imagination, [or through feeling], or through any other sense,” says our holy father John of the Cross, “but only faith, hope, and charity…” (ibid.).
God shall deprive us then of all our too familiar human ways of seeing ourselves, others, and the world around us. God shall ‘blind’ us, so to speak, and blind us completely for “those who are not yet entirely blind will not allow a good guide to lead them,” explains St. John of the Cross (II, 4). “Still able to perceive a little,” continues the same Doctor of Teresian Carmel, “they think that the road they see is the best, for they are unable to see other and better ones” (ibid.). The light of the Faith must, according to our holy father John of the Cross, “[nullify] the light of the intellect… [which] knows only in the natural way, that is, by [the very limited] means of the senses ” (II, 3).
God shall “draw [us] away from [all the imaginary] props and boundaries” (III, 16) by which we “evoke and fashion” (ibid.) a ‘form’ of the incomprehensible God. God must shatter that form which is not of Him, which the modern world delusively hoped for – if, after all, it can never escape the fact of God’s existence – so that it may be able to live the way it pleases without anybody ‘moralizing’ over it, and which the Vatican of New ‘Catholic’ Orientation uses in presenting a ‘relevant’ Catholicism for its ecumenical overtures (cf., our post “The Ultimate Delusion of Vatican II ‘Catholicism’“). And how truly they, who would rather be so deluded, shall lament and weep on the appointed day while calling to the mountains, fall upon us, and to the hills: cover us (Lk. 23.30) when the true God shall come upon them as the terrible God of wrath!
And God shall annihilate all the affections even to the deepest recessions of the heart that are not of Him. And the chief of these affections are those ephemeral ‘joys’ based as they are on insecure foundations (as the passing goods that the world can offer and the pleasures of the flesh). God must so scrape off all these hardened dross that our hearts may beat only the beatings of His Heart (in Scholastic theological parlance, our “human and lowly will… changed into the divine will, made identical with the will of God” – St. John of the Cross, III, 16). What a Cross shall this entail, the Crucified shows us (cf., “Christian Love: Love of the Cross“).
But the world shall rejoice. The world (cf., our post “Catholic Unity…“) rejoices and wants to rejoice at any cost, because it is immersed in the pleasures of this life, with no thought of what awaits it beyond – who even tries to repudiate this beyond. If it cannot escape the inevitable sufferings of life, it tries to stifle its sorrow in pleasure, by contriving to extract from every fleeting moment all the enjoyment possible. And since there is at the moment a seeming absence of God, a seeming internally-induced destruction of that Order constituted under the dominion of Christ the King – as the continual sacrifice (Dan. 12.11), upon which this divine Order rests, has been taken away (ibid.) and replaced by the abomination of desolation (Mt. 24.15) to be the “norm” in the holy place (Mt. 24.15: 1 Machabees; cf., also “The Catholic Sanctuary Prefigured in OT, II” ) – this world is boasting: “We have at last broken the bonds of the traditional Catholic Order asunder: and we have cast away its yoke from us” (cf., Ps. 2.3). Why doth the way of the wicked prosper: why is it well with all them that transgress, and do wickedly? Thou hast planted them, and they have taken root… (Jer. 12.1,2).
Then, as Our Lord said: So also you now indeed have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shall take from you.