SERVING WITH THE ANGELS - REFLECTIONS ON THE EDITOR'S TASK
Each month Acolyte is confronted with the spectacle of the large table at which the Editor labours to produce Foundation. It is not always an edifying spectacle for those who value order. But it enables me to see the wide variety of materials considered and then selected or rejected, whether for lack of space or perhaps lack of relationship to a theme either naturally evolving or being developed in a particular issue.
I watch him striving to avoid Foundation becoming yet another vitriolic chronicle of errors such as some other newsletters have become, as well as some Internet websites. It can’t be easy, because he is so much concerned to see right done. But he says that he tries to accentuate the positive as often as possible, for the edification of his readers – to build up rather than just tear down.
During the American Civil War the renowned Confederate General Robert E. Lee said that victories as such were not important unless they denied the Union some freedom to act. He realised that the Union’s greater preponderance of forces meant that enough victories (engagements in which Confederate casualties were less than Union casualties) that left the Union forces still in place would ultimately consume the whole Confederate Army and leave a very substantial Union Army to force a Confederate surrender.
There is a loose analogy here in considering that minor percentage of Catholics strongly and actively committed to the fullness of orthodoxy in the practise of their Faith. If they become bitter and twisted ( contrary to their professed “orthodoxy”: “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another”.)(Jn.13:35) even their practical effectiveness is diminished – alienating those they might have convinced. And then the field would ultimately be won by error which the vast preponderance of the faithful, uninstructed in most parishes and schools these last 40 years, will not be able to recognise. This would allow much of the Church to drift off to “South Brisbane”.
So I watch the Editor’s efforts to make an effective contribution, not merely to “score points” but in a small way to contribute to the health of the Church, to arm others to join in the effort by trying to carefully choose what to challenge & what to promote.
Robert E Lee has other lessons for us. Before the great Battle of Gettysburg, which he lost, he said on several occasions “It is all in God’s hands.” But after the defeat he rode out to meet his retreating defeated army repeatedly exclaiming “It is all my fault.” Both assertions are true and they are neatly paired in the saying that “we should act as if everything depends on us, whilst recognising that everything depends on God”. Ultimately everything depends on God, but we are the agents through whom He daily works in the ordinary course of events. So, in a very real sense “it is all (our) fault”. We must do our part diligently and constantly act to build up His Kingdom.
Pray for the Editor that his efforts will always be in accord with God’s will.