“Up to now, we have done nothing.”
- Are those the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, who was then crucified? Yes.
- Are those the words of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, who was then crucified? Yes.
- Are those the words of a young Colombian diocesan priest doing up some advanced studies in Rome, whose affirmation met agreement with the other Colombian priests sitting with us at lunch at our collegio, for they all personally knew fellow priests who had been taken out by drug cartels, Marxist guerrillas, military or paramilitary operators? Yes.
Is there a difference between a priest who receives the stigmata upon seraphic visitation (I love the irony of that, by the way) and a priest, for instance, who, on his way to providing the last rites to a dying parishioner, knowing the dangers, is instead ambushed by the very ones who, with deception, put in the call? No.
But those are all special circumstances provided by the angels according to the will of the Lord. “Special” means not for everyone. What is for everyone is holiness. And the ordinary means of holiness are keeping up with the Sacraments, prayer, and love of neighbor. But I’ll tell you this, if what you are up to in your life involves both love of God and love of neighbor, the angels will assist you in dying to yourself so as to live in God’s love. That’s true for Francis, Pio, the Colombian priests, all of us. This gives us hope. Hope is important.
Meanwhile, my internet stalker, who has not taken back his ultimatum of all priests in good standing having to resign in protest against Pope Francis (the stalker guy especially shoving this in my face in true stalker fashion) believes that the ordinary means of holiness are impossible for those priests who do not resign in protest against Pope Francis. And so we priests, especially me, are hopeless. There is nothing we priests can do, that I can do, no amount of prayer and piety and all good priestly things, that will appease the internet stalker guy short of resigning in protest against Pope Francis. In fact, all good things like prayer and fasting and almsgiving become, for the internet stalker guy, a kind of hypocritical blasphemy deserving punishment of hell.
This is usual modus operandi of stalkers of religious people. The only solution for them is to stop that which isn’t consonant with their now anti-religious worldview which they may or may not realize they have. Even those who do this kind of thing for a living. Ah well.
It is, instead, Jesus, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen. And blessed are those show mercy, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are those who provide hope, for they are given hope. Even internet stalkers, even those who do this for a living, can come to know that love who is truth, that truth who is love. Amen.
Some people say, “Don’t feed the trolls.” Well, yes. But this is no troll. Even he deserves mercy.