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We're recording today's Vortex on Holy Thursday from our Church Militant Holy Week "Retreat on Land" in Frisco, Texas.
One of the themes we have covered is that the glory of Easter was set in motion by the betrayal of Judas. Briefly, on that score, no, God did not use Judas or make him do what he did to accomplish the Redemption. It's just that God, Who exists outside of time, knew from all eternity that Judas would choose — of his own accord and free will — to betray Him.
So God simply wove that freewill choice of Judas into the plan of salvation history, just as God weaves all evil into His plan to bring forth good from evil, since He is already aware of it in His omnipotence outside of time, even before it is actually committed in time.
So pondering that thought for a moment, we have a dual dynamic at work in the Church today — a natural and supernatural dynamic.
One is evil and the other is the incorporation of that evil into the divine plan. Like Judas, much of the hierarchy has betrayed Our Lord. Many of them have been able to remain hidden, even from other bishops, just as Judas was able to remain hidden in his evil from the other Apostles. And he must have been very good and clever at disguising his thoughts and evil because when Our Lord sent him on his way to carry out his betrayal quickly, the Apostles thought Our Lord had sent him out to buy something for the meal.
But he was not going out to buy but rather to sell. They had no idea they would meet him a couple of hours later with the band of soldiers and guards from the Temple in the garden. Judas' betrayal cost him his own glory of the Resurrection both in time and eternity. And that is the effect of betrayal of Our Lord. Easter glory is denied. The Real Presence is obscured. Hope is destroyed.
As it was for Judas and so many of the hierarchy today, all that matters is this world. This myopic vision of salvation history must be fought against diligently by those who consider themselves and desire to be friends of Christ. Too many Catholic clerics deny the Cross and, as a result, prevent Easter from springing forth in the hearts of the faithful.
There can be no Easter Sunday without first a Good Friday. There must be a death before there can be a resurrection, and we must die to our old selves before we can be raised anew. Yet there is an urging on the part of many successors of the Apostles to keep the sinner in his sin. Denying the consequences of sin, especially the spiritual consequences, prevents a soul from advancing along the spiritual path. If one does not proceed to Calvary and the tomb with Our Lord, he cannot emerge from it on Easter.
But amidst the dark days we are in right now as a Church — betrayed from within, assaulted from without in all this evil — Our Blessed Lord has promised us that if we persevere, we will win the crown. Evil must be fought against personally and publicly. That is what we are baptized for.
And yet, even in the midst of the fight, it seems the betrayals are too great to be overcome. It may very well be true that the Church is headed for another death. The great Catholic author G.K. Chesterton has said that, throughout history, the Church has actually undergone five different deaths and has resurrected each time. Perhaps we're in such an era right now, but perhaps not. We cannot be certain.
What we can be certain of is this: There is no evil that befalls us that Our Lord has not already calculated into His divine plan or that He has not already overcome. Our duty is to remain faithful and vigilant, even if it involves sitting by the silent tomb on Saturday, just as Our Blessed Mother did. She had no doubt. She knew Who her Divine Son was. She is the model of hope, of supernatural hope.
Her hope for the Resurrection was comingled with her great sorrow at the foot of the Cross, both coexisting. They are each a reality, one horrible, the other glorious, but the ultimate one is glory. So let there be no overemphasis on the sadness of ongoing modern-day betrayal and crucifixion of the Church from within. We must accept it while we also militate against it, in the firm hope that whether we see the glory on this side of death or the other, the glory of Easter prevails. Of that, we can be certain.
A holy, happy and blessed Easter to you and all your loved ones.