Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Blessed are They who Mourn for the Church

Ezekiel, whose vision of abominations in the Temple is told in Ezekiel Chapter 8.

In the book of Exodus, the angel smites the firstborn of Egypt, but spares the Israelites whose lintels are marked with blood.

In the book of Revelation, the mark is not of blood, and it appears not on the tops of doors but on the human forehead.  At the End of Times, distinction is made between those whose foreheads carry the Mark of the Beast (Rev. 13:16) and those whose foreheads carry the seal of God ("Hurt not the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, until we shall have sealed the bondmen of our God upon their foreheads." - Rev. 7:3).

The Mark, or seal, then, is a Sign of one's ultimate identity.  It reveals, whether it be a mark of blood atop one's front door, or a supernatural sign atop one's very face, the underlying loyalty of him who displays it.  Those loyal to the Beast (the great Liar) display this loyalty as overtly as those who are loyal to God, who is Truth.

But between Exodus and Revelations, we see another use of the Marked Forehead.

And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.  And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity:  Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. (Ez. 9:4-6)

Here angels of destruction are told to destroy those who have spread abomination throughout Jerusalem, even to God's temple.  The saving Mark is similar to the blood on the lintels of the Jewish slaves in Egypt, except (as in the Apocalypse) it is placed on the foreheads of those to be spared.

But notice the detail - the identifying factor, the symptom, of loyalty to God, of the personal integrity that warrants the Mark, is sighing and crying, lamenting over the hideous abominations that the Prophet Ezekiel had been given a disturbing glimpse of moments prior.

Dear readers, we live in an age of abominations.  We are all sometimes like Ezekiel, caught up in the Spirit, brought to the Temple and told to peek in.  What we see in our sanctuaries turns our stomachs.  The liturgy is perverted, the doctrine is ridiculed, the beauty is desecrated, babies are killed, marriage is hated, the poor are despised, fellow humans are tortured, and many of our priests and bishops ignore all this and spend their time lusting after one another and sometimes innocent children.  We are told to look the other way.  "Nothing to see here, move along."  And when the rare one-in-a-hundred good bishop comes along to try to do the bare minimum to protect his flock, to safeguard the innocent and to assert the authority of our Church, he is trumped by Church politics and the Unreality of narcissists in high places.

In the meantime, destruction descends upon us all.  And if we do not wail and cry, if we do not lament to the heavens for the horrors we see about us, we will not receive the Blood of Salvation, which marks the foreheads of those who mourn.

1 comment:

boinky said...

Read David Warren's essay on when the hereitics take over the church.


I remember the story when StAthanasius hid in the well so he wouldn't be arrested. "and so there was one christian left in the world, and he was hiding in a well..." But the church resurrected, and will as long as one Catholic remains alive.

It is not Ezechial that needs to be remembered, but Elijah: Who when he told the Lord he was the only believer left, was told that there remained 7000 who had never bowed a knee to the idols.

Here in the Philippines, the elite Catholics in Manila love liberation theology and it's latest incarnation, the green movement. So the pious in the middle class are becoming protestant. Yet the poor here in the provinces cling to the church, and saying the family rosary is still popular, as is Eucharistic adoration. So the seeds remain.