Catholic Candle note: In the human element of the Catholic Church, there is now a great crisis in the Faith. The formerly traditional groups (e.g., the SSPX and the Williamson group) have compromised. One consequence is that the Mass is usually not available to most faithful and informed Catholics because they refuse to go to a Mass offered by a priest in a compromise group.
Many Catholics at various times in Church history have had to sanctify Sundays without the Mass, e.g.,
Japanese Catholics, for 300 years. We recommend this article to help you do that: ../faith/sanctifying-sunday-no-mass.html
However, the article below shows us that we should not be anxious or think that God has abandoned us when we do not have the Mass and sacraments because we reject compromise. Rather, this is a glorious time to be a faithful Catholic and this crisis in the Faith is a blessing to strengthen our Faith!
As shown in the article below, we should be perfectly content
that God placed us in the present time where the uncompromising Mass is rare.
is our goal. All other things—even very good things—are important only as means to attain and increase Divine friendship, which is the theological virtue of charity.
Charity is inherently Friendship with God. Here is how St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Church, explains this truth:
It is written (John 15:15): “I will not now call you servants . . . but My friends.” Now this was said to them by reason of nothing else than charity. Therefore, charity is friendship. ...
According to the Philosopher (Ethic. viii, 2,3) not every love has the character of friendship, but that love which is together with benevolence, when, to wit, we love someone so as to wish good to him. If, however, we do not wish good to what we love, but wish its good for ourselves, (thus we are said to love wine, or a horse, or the like), it is love not of friendship, but of a kind of concupiscence. For it would be absurd to speak of having friendship for wine or for a horse.
Yet neither does well-wishing suffice for friendship, for a certain mutual love is requisite, since friendship is between friend and friend: and this well-wishing is founded on some kind of communication.
Accordingly, since there is a communication between man and God, inasmuch as He communicates His happiness to us, some kind of friendship must needs be based on this same communication, of which it is written (1 Corinthians 1:9): “God is faithful: by Whom you are called unto the fellowship of His Son." The love which is based on this communication, is charity: wherefore it is evident that charity is the friendship of man for God.
Summa, IIa IIae, Q.23, a.1, sed contra and respondeo.
The Mass and sacraments are usual (and wonderful) means through which God befriends a soul, infusing charity into the soul. However, God sometimes chooses to use other means instead, as he has with many Catholics over the last 2000 years.
For example, God used means other than the Mass and confession for 300 years with the Catholics in Japan, as well as in many other places, e.g.,
in France during the 1789 Masonic Revolution, and in Ecuador. Read about these periods in which God sanctified souls without the Mass and confession here: ../faith/sanctifying-sunday-no-mass.html
We must make ourselves indifferent to any particular means (even very good means) for arriving at our goal (viz., a continually deeper friendship with God). We must only seek any particular means—including the Mass and sacraments—to the extent God wills us to have them. No means are helpful to attain friendship with God unless God wants us to use those means in our circumstances. We should not want any means—even very good means like the Mass—which God does not want us to use in our circumstances.
Here is how St. Ignatius of Loyola explains this truth in the Spiritual Exercises that he received from Our Lady, in the cave of Manresa, Spain, in 1522:
Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created.
From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it. For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things
in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created.
Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, beginning of the First Week, Principle and Foundation (emphasis added).
But we often fool ourselves that we are doing God’s will, when we are really seeking to do our own will. For example, we justify attending Mass with a compromise group because “I need my sacraments to grow closer to God”. We are discontent without the Mass because being without the Mass is not the means we choose for sanctifying our souls.
St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Doctor of the Church, calls a “childish” to worry about God-given circumstances that keep us from attending Mass or receiving the sacraments. Here are St. Alphonsus’ words:
How childish the pretense of those who protest they wish for health not to escape suffering, but to serve our Lord better by being able to observe their Rule, to serve the community, go to church, receive Communion, do penance, study, work for souls in the confessional and pulpit! Devout soul, tell me, why do you desire to do these things? To please God?
Let us no longer be childish or discontent that we do not have the Mass and sacraments available to us! We should be perfectly content without them as long as God chooses that we have nowhere to attend Mass without compromise. In the circumstances in which God has lovingly placed us, it pleases Him that we do not have the Mass and sacraments!
As St. Alphonsus explains, it would displease God for us to attend Mass or receive the sacraments when God places us in the circumstances He has. Here are St. Alphonsus’ words in the context of being unable to receive the sacraments because of sickness:
Why then search any further to please God when you are sure God does not wish these prayers, Communions, penances or studies, but he does wish that you suffer patiently this sickness he sends you? Unite then your sufferings to those of our Lord.
When a priest or group compromises, God does not Will the compromises as such, because they are sins. However, God does Will the effect on us, viz., that we cannot attend Mass because of those compromises. Here is the way St. Alphonsus explains this truth:
It is true, when one offends us unjustly, God does not will his sin, nor does he concur in the sinner’s bad will; but God does, in a general way, concur in the material action by which such a one strikes us, robs us or does us an injury, so that God certainly wills the offense we suffer and it comes to us from His hands. Thus, the Lord told David He would be the author of those things he would suffer at the hands of Absalom: “I will raise up evils against thee out of thy own house, and I will take thy wives before thy face and give them to thy neighbor.” Hence too, God told the Jews that in punishment for their sins, He would send the Assyrians to plunder them and spread destruction among them: “The Assyrian is the rod and staff of my anger . . . I will send him to take away the spoils.” “Assyrian wickedness served as God’s scourge for the Hebrews”, is St. Augustine’s comment on this text. And our Lord Himself told St. Peter that His sacred passion came not so much from man as from His Father: “The chalice which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?”
It is easy to be glad to be healthy so that we can serve God better. However, we should be equally glad to be sick, if God sends us sickness. Thus, e.g., if our doctor tells us we should get a cancer screening test, we should be completely at peace while waiting for the test result. If the test shows we have cancer, this is merely God showing us the next way He wills us to serve Him (i.e., with cancer). Why would we want health if God shows us that He does not want it for us now?
Likewise, it is easy to rejoice to serve God through the Mass and sacraments. However, we should be equally happy and completely content without them if God chooses this for us. Why would we want the Mass and sacraments when God shows us that He does not want them for us now?
This is a glorious time to be Catholic! Let us be grateful to God and perfectly content with the circumstances into which He has placed us, including being without the Mass!
Priests, as well as laymen, should have this perfect contentment
Priests also, are susceptible to fear and discontent if they feel alone because of the compromises of other priests. Like laymen, they often rationalize that they must associate with compromise priests or bishops because they “need” a confessor, or they “need” holy oils and the sacrament of confirmation for their flock.
This is the same childish pretense that St. Alphonsus condemns in the context of going to church and receiving Communion. Instead, priests should give an example of a fearless and unshakeable Faith and perfect contentment without the sacraments when it is God’s Will. That is the lesson they need to teach their flock.