ABOUT THAT ORGANIZED RELIGION

For decades now, discussions about religion have gone back and forth on whether an organized or institutionalized religion is needed if one believes in God. That what it is really about is conscience, and not what a priest, bishop, or pastor says, but that what matters is a personal belief in God. On the other side of the coin were those that believe that what really matters is the sanction of a priest, bishop, or religious organization and that matters of conscience are irrelevant.

Today the day of reckoning has arrived. A window of escape from a potentially poisonous vaccine and developed largely from aborted human tissue, is the religious exemption. The request is perfectly a matter of conscience and its backing is from solidified and institutionally documented teachings in the Catholic Church with perhaps some Orthodox and protestant churches qualifying. This while potentially a majority of priests, pastors, and bishops increasingly cling to perverse teachings in their sanctioned government playground. True religion is defined. A God of all matters: secret, private, public, and institutional.

How helpful it would be for the faithful to receive backing from faithful priests or bishops in these times. But while a faithful priest or bishop is golden, rest assured that a faithful soul will receive a cross decorated by the Virgin Mother herself.

Byzantine Cross Artwork
Byzantine Cross Artwork

Understanding the Heart of the Virgin Mother

From the Ikos on the Holy and Great Friday in the Byzantine Rite we read

THE VIRGIN MOTHER, seeing Her own Lamb led to the slaughter, followed Him with the other women and cried: where are You going, O my Child? Why do You travel along so fast? Is there another wedding in Cana, and are You speeding in order to turn for them the water into wine? Can I accompany You or rather wait for You? Give me a word. O You who are the Word. Pass me not by in silence, O You who did keep me holy, for You are my son and my God.

Imagine for a moment if you will, that your whole life was dependent on what would happen near the end of your life. That some event in your future would define your life from its beginning and in fact define your very existence. Jesus’s mother needed the Crucifixion of the Redeemer, as does all of mankind. But how much more this creature, the mother of Christ, needed the event of cross, not only for her and our salvation, but also for guiding her life on earth to that end. Without the cross there is no redemption, and without the redeemed life of Mary, there is no cross.

Imagine now the anguish of the love of a mother whose very life depends on giving up her beloved. The very love she would need to carry her life to its intended purpose would depend on giving up her beloved near her end. A sort of retroactive grace from an event in her future. If she would not need the redemption of the cross for her own salvation, how much greater the sacrifice she made still would be for mankind? How could she have withstood the prospect of such a destiny if not God had her from the very beginning? Her anxious plea in the Ikos reminds one of her question at the Annunciation: “How shall this be done…?” The answer then would be the same on Holy Friday: “The Holy Spirit will come on you…”

Maybe this is too much for us mortals here on earth to fathom. But how can we avoid trying? Can there be a grace unavailable for us from her? Even graces not available from the God-Son of Man Himself, except with and through her? Such as the motherhood for our redemption. the grace of perseverance, preservation, and an assurance of Christian destiny to our end? A living definition of our final home, available now. Can we love God any more and any more faithfully and endlessly than with her heart?

“In Mary, the fullness of all grace is poured out as it is in Christ, only in a different manner.”

St. Jerome, Sermo de Assumptions

Our Lady of Damascus, Malta, pray for us.