Do you feel exhausted? Frazzled by the holiday rush to buy presents, put up Christmas decorations, prepare for Christmas parties and Christmas dinner? Do you feel pressure to read “The Dictator Pope”, a tell-all concerning the shenanigans of the current occupier of the throne of St. Peter?
I don’t, because I have a lot to do already! I pray the Rosary every day, read the daily Gospel readings, meditate, pray the Compline, do an examination of conscience at night, say a prayer of penance, and read at least one book that deepens my faith (right now, it’s St. Francis de Sales’s “Introduction to the Devout Life”).
Reading about a dictator pope is pure distraction. I doesn’t add anything to my spiritual life.
It isn’t because I don’t care about what goes on in the Vatican. I have to care, especially when a number of official pronouncements emanating from the seat of the Catholic Church have confused and angered Catholics who treasure the traditional teachings of the Church. These teachings have not changed since Our Lord walked on this earth and dined with the Apostles. Yet many of our clergy want to bring these teachings “up to date”, to “modernise” them for us, because they think we’re dummies. They think we can’t read or appreciate Latin. They don’t understand why we’re so moved by the solemn beauty of the Roman Rite (which they call the Old Rite, as in old furniture and old cars), which has been handed down to us through hundreds of years. Cardinals and popes have come and gone, but the traditional liturgy and the words of Our Lord have always found a home in the hearts of Catholics and continue to lead souls to heaven.
If you’re worried about Vatican pronouncements that seem to depart from traditional Catholic teachings, calm down. Everything you need to keep on the narrow road to heaven is available for download or in paper format:
- the Catechism of Pope Pius X;
- the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII;
- the Catechism of the Council of Trent;
- the works of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine;
- St. Louis de Montfort’s books about the Rosary and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary;
- St. Francis de Sales’s “Introduction to the Devout Life”;
- the works of St. Teresa of Avila.
That’s enough to occupy you for an entire year.
But right now, ask yourself: what do you need to do?
The enemy is distraction from the burning task at hand: prayer, meditation, fasting, abstinence, penance, almsgiving, going to Mass, reading books such as the ones I’ve listed above.
Since we don’t know the hour of our death – it could be tomorrow – spend your limited time on matters that purify your soul and lead you to God.