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Oh Happy Fault!

A Meditation on the Resurrection

of the Church Based on the Easter Vigil

Brian McCall POSTED: 4/25/11

( Throughout the history of the Church, numerous theologians have compared the life of the Church to the earthly life of her Founder, Jesus Christ.  As the Church is the Bride of Christ, it is fitting that she share everything with her Bridegroom.  Like Christ, the Church was born in lowliness and poverty, spent her early years hiding from persecution and finally emerged into a public life attracting many converts.

Several articles in The Remnant over the years have drawn the parallel between the current state of the Church and the end of Christ’s life on earth.  His Mystical Body is now suffering the Passion.  Just as Christ’s divinity was hidden beneath the torn and beaten flesh of His humanity, so too the divine nature of the Church (her holiness, her indefectibility, her infallibility, her authority) are hidden under the betrayals, scandals, and corruptions that are the Crisis in the Church.  At what point in this Passion of the Church are we now?  Only Providence knows.  Whether she is still being scoured, on the road to crucifixion or nailed to the cross is not clear.  Only time will show the depth of the pains she must yet endure.

Yet, meditating too much on this current passion poses a danger, especially as we brace for yet new humiliations of the Bride of Christ.  Her ministers prepare to mock the very idea of heroic sanctity by the beatification of John Paul II.  And yet another Assisi is in the works.  Yet, recognizing the ongoing Passion of the Church should be a source of hope as witnessing the Passion of Christ should have been a source of hope to the Apostles. 

Throughout His public life and with an ever increasing urgency towards the end, Our Lord told the Apostles he must suffer this humiliation of His human nature.  Yet, he consoled them with the promise that he would rise again.  For those who had eyes to see, the Passion, although bringing pangs of sorrow, should have brought expectant joy.  As day follows night, His promised Resurrection must follow His Passion.  The Apostles had God’s word to prove it.  Yet, they apparently lost hope and hid themselves away. 

We too have Our Lord’s word that the Passion of the Church will end with her resurrection.  “The gates of hell shall not prevail.”  The dogma of the indefectibility of the Church reassures us that no matter how much she is scourged, mocked, denied, and burdened with crosses, she will live a glorified life again.  Contrary to the moribund despair of the sedevacantists, the Papacy still lives under the humiliations the holders of that office have heaped upon it for the past fifty years.  Yet, this hope should not become presumption.  We should not join with the crowd crying out for the crucifixion of the Church.  We should not stand silently by as they scream for her blood.  We must resist the auto-demolition of the Church with all our might.  Yet, we must have a certain hope of the outcome.

How and when will the resurrection of the Church occur?  Again only God knows the day and the hour.  The Exsultet signs forth at the Easter Vigil: “O truly blessed night, which alone deserves to know the time and hour when Christ rose again from hell.”  Only the night of the resurrection itself knows the precise moment of resurrection.  Yet, the liturgy of the Easter Vigil contains signs which may point to the circumstances of the resurrection.

The Vigil begins with the entire Church shrouded in complete and utter darkness.  The Church also stands empty.  The priest, ministers and faithful gather outside the Church in the cold, dark night.  The sanctuary stands bear.  The tabernacle is empty; the statues and images are shrouded in purple.  Yet, under the covers, the altar stands ready to receive the Sacrifice of the Altar once more.  Such signs could be seen to parallel the state of the Church in our times.  The glory and radiance of the Faith seems obscured in the darkness and error of ignorance.  Her altars have been stripped; her true saints covered and ignored.  People are leaving her churches at an unprecedented rate. Yet, small groups of the faithful gather outside the buildings – outside the cathedrals, offices of the Curia and chancery, often outside their old parish churches – rejected for keeping the flame of the Faith alive.  Yet those altars wait in expectation.  In many of our churches behind “Cranmer tables” hastily thrown up on the ecumenical fervor of Vatican II stand the old altars, unused but ready to return to service once again.

Next, the new flame struck from flint, the Lumen Christi (light of Christ) is carried back once again into the church by His priest.  In the midst of the darkness of the Church, the faint shades of this single flame begin to dispel the darkness.  It is still only a small light within the church but even at this small light darkness begins its retreat.  The faithful fall to their knees, acknowledging it is the Lumen Christi that is working to bring this building back to life.  Those accompanying the flame merely carry or follow Christ.  They do not restore the Church to life; they merely fulfill the role God has given them, to guard and carry that flame. 

Slowly the church is repopulated and the light flowing out from Christ is spread among the ministers and faithful who once again take their place inside the Church.  The light is carried to every corner of the Church again.  After meditating on the road of history that has led to this threshold of resurrection (in the Lessons), the Church cries out in joy: “This is the night which now delivers all over the world those that believe in Christ from the vices of the world and darkness of sin, restores them to grace, and clothes them with sanctity.” 

The song of the Gloria bursts forth and the images of the saints are uncovered and shine forth in the new light once again.  Following the making of the Easter baptismal water, the Church offers once again the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which has ceased since Good Friday.

Thus, the resurrection of our Mother, the Church, will only come at the darkest hour, in the midst of darkness.  Only when all hope seems lost, when the Church seems empty and lost in the darkness of ignorance.  Yet, the flame of the Faith will survive.  It will return to its rightful place, the sanctuary, the holy of holies of the Church.  The long forgotten truly heroic virtue of the saints will be unveiled.  They shall return to their place of honor yet again and the fabricated purported heroic sanctity of the demagogues will vanish with the darkness.  Once more the Church will sing for the Gloria in praise of “God in the highest” and not in praise of the Cult of Man embraced by Vatican II.  And after restoring the font of the sacraments, she will once again from every altar offer the Eternal Sacrifice of All Ages.   

This night will come as certainly as the night of Our Lord’s resurrection did come.  We must take hope from this certainty.  We must persevere in the darkness and ignorance and obscurity.  We must be as busy as bees preparing diligently the pillar on which Christ’s flame will enter in triumph.  What is this work?  Its nature depends upon our place in the hive, our station in life -preserving the Faith, teaching true doctrine to our children, supporting the formation of new priests, defending the Faith to our last breath, preserving wherever we can the Mass of All Ages, decorating the wax pillar with acts of sacrifice and charity.  By these acts, we can prepare to sing with the Church at her resurrection in the words of the Exsultet:  “Therefore on this sacred night, receive, O holy Father, the evening sacrifice of this sacrifice, which thy holy Church by the hands of her ministers presents to thee in the solemn offering of this wax candle made out of the labor of bees.”

In the great Providence of God, He has willed His Bride to suffer the ever deepening Passion so often reported and commented on in these pages of The Remnant.  While it is important not to live in a false denial of these sad events, we must not allow this necessary knowledge to depress us.  If the suffering of the Church descends ever deeper in May and October of this year, let us remember that God has willed this “happy fault” (again in the words of the Exsultet) to end with a glorious restoration of all things in Christ.   The light of Christ will shine forth from the Church once again.  The altars will rejoice with the offering of the Eternal Sacrifice.  Then we will be able to say of the Church as of her Founder, Ea resurrexit sicut Dominus dixit. Alleluia!

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