Posted by: L. E. Barnes | February 6, 2010

Words of Encouragement

I came across a beautiful blog post by Fr. Dwight Longenecker that I just have to pass along. Entitled “Among the Billion,” its words of encouragement touched me deeply. I definitely needed to hear it, and I pray it blesses you as well. Here it is:

Some days you simply see the reality and it is stunning. I was celebrating Mass with just a few people in our beautiful little daily Mass chapel when I held aloft the host and knew, just knew that the whole thing was true, not just true but deeply written in the deep genetic code of creation true.

Do I have my doubts? Not really, but sometimes the mind is distracted. Sometimes the concerns of the world, the everyday stuff turns your mind away and you don’t think of the miracle. You forget the wonder. You neglect and overlook what is real and what is really happening.

And what did the trick for me this time was the action of blessing throats for St Blaise Day. We were a day late because I was out of town, but still the faithful wanted throats blessed, and so there I was with the crossed candles and the legends of a saint no one is quite sure about and a custom that to my old former Protestant mind seems at least quaint if not superstitious, but I do my job and I ask God’s blessing and I conform my mind to the mind of the Church and at that moment the window opens and the light streams in and I’m getting misty because I see a child, a teenager, a middle aged teacher, a parent, a man with a PhD, a Vietnamese person, all come together for this simple act.

There, suddenly I see that I’m part of the billion. A billion Catholics that is, and growing for yes, the church is young and growing across the world. And suddenly the cynics and the intellectuals and the journalists and the angry atheists and the flippant worldly fools who think the church is dead and religion is for superstitious peasants and believe that the days of the religious people are over–all of that is not only shallow and flippant and empty, but it is not even the majority. It is the squeak of a mouse unaware that he is the room of an elephant. Many many more believe than disbelieve. Many many more believe in the fullness of the faith than anyone has stopped to count. Each week they are there quietly getting up and going to Mass because they believe, and they far, far outnumber the noisy doubters who shake their fist at God.

Call me triumphalist if you like, but I saw that the future is not dark and grim. The future is the Church. The future is all those thousands marching in Washington. The future is seminaries overflowing in Africa and Asia. The future is new religious orders, new vocations and a new Springtime in the Church.

I do not fear the future for I am one among the billion.

Thank you so much, Fr. Longenecker. You and I do not walk alone, and God’s kingdom will triumph. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

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