THE BANNERS OF THE KING
BENEDICT XVI ADJUSTS THE SAILS ON PETER’S BARQUE AND SEEKS TO STRENGTHEN THE OFFICERS
The course set remains the same – toward the Master in Heaven by the most direct route. But it is obvious that the Holy Father is far from being satisfied with the way the sacred barque has been proceeding.
In the Year of St. Paul which closed on 29th June, 2009 he had us all consider the total dedication, boundless energy and zeal of St. Paul – burning with love for Christ whilst using all of his mental agility and deep learning for the spiritual good of his children in Christ. So the cry is to set more sail, and take advantage of the force of the true “Divine Wind”- the Holy Spirit of God, even as Paul did.
Just as the good mariner knows that his crew have to be trained very well if the ship is to be driven hard without coming to grief, Pope Benedict has taken the measure of his “officers” the ordained clergy. His paternal affection for them is patent. Yet he knows what they have experienced in the years since the Council - the years of the false “spirit of the Council”. He sees the signs of the problems widely in evidence – he sees where the sails are slack, the rigging not tended, the crew looking for faithful leaders or sometimes disaffected, some officers giving scandal to the crew and comfort to the Enemy.
By inaugurating the Year of the Priest (from the Feast of the Sacred Heart 19th June, 2009 to the same Feast 11th June, 2010) he calls the “officers “back to basics and urges them to immerse themselves in Christ – to daily offer their lives in sacrifice and to draw deeply from the Sacred Scriptures in forming themselves. And he sets before them the very model of the good priest – the sainted Jean Marie Vianney the Cure of Ars.
At the same time, Pope Benedict XVI has been constantly working to restore the sense of Catholic identity throughout the Church in many ways. After all, this is Christ’s Church. He founded it and no other. No other body of people claiming to follow Him was intended and founded by Him no other is His Mystical Body. Pope Benedict sees the need for us to act and comport ourselves accordingly. No sailor in any earthly vessel would allow his ship to be abused by enemies or regarded as an equal by alien vessels however harmless. The more respect they have for their ship and for their membership of her crew, the more professional they are and the more effective she is in her mission. Just so with the sacred barque of Peter. Pope Benedict knows that if we are to be effective as members of the Mystical Body of Christ we must know who we are, act accordingly believe what Christ’s Church teaches, do what she does and love her and her traditions and history with full, loyal and devoted hearts and every ounce of our energy. There is nothing like the Catholic Church – founded by God for His purpose – the salvation of mankind. Every Catholic needs to realize with humility the unique privilege we share, and never compromise it.
It is tempting to say “how lucky we are to have such a truly holy, wise and learned Pope”. But´ luck” has nothing to do with it. The Holy Spirit has brought us this blessing and is guiding Benedict XVI at the helm of the Sacred Barque. Even though the seas are adverse, she is being urged forward as hard as can be. History has shown that in these conditions she comes through with flying colours, and her colours are the”vexilla Regis”- the banners of the King.
THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED IN FOUNDATION JUNE 2009