By: Unknown Centurion
The modern Church has abandoned its missionary mission. It ignores or almost completely disobeys Christ’s final command and commission to go into all the world and make disciples (Matthew 28:19,20). The Church was to be and has long been an incredible and effective vehicle put in place by Jesus to renew the face of the earth which needed renewal since the Fall. Before the Fall, when God created Adam and Eve, He similarly commanded and instructed our first parents to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). In our fallen condition, when man began to cover the earth, we remained under the rulership of the prince of the world. Jesus died for the Church (Ephesians 5:25), so that His Kingdom conceived on Calvary might overcome the kingdom of the world and its Prince. To do this, his followers had to accept their commission to go out to make disciples, baptize, teach and convert the world to Christ, restoring right order to creation and fellowship with our Creator. Yet rather than fight the fight to the gates of hell, today’s Church has retreated to the specious safety of its gated community, an increasingly insignificant island in the ocean in constant expansion of secularism.
The Hebrew faith from which our faith derives did not have such a great mission. In fact, certain safeguards were put in place, including circumcision and the prohibition of mixed marriages, to protect him from paganism, which made it difficult for Gentiles to convert. God’s plan was to bring salvation to the world through a descendant of Abraham, the Messiah, through whom the whole world would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). And that is exactly how it happened, although it took a double divine revelation to the first pope and a Roman centurion (see Acts 10) to ensure the expansionist spirit of this new faith, rather than remaining an isolated and insular Judaism 2.0. And this divine-human institution has done exactly what it was charged to do, to bring the gospel to the ends of the earth, making mistakes as an organization run by and filled with sinners inevitably does.
In modern and post-modern times, it has grown rich, comfortable, and puffed up with pride, at the same time it has hemorrhaged millions of souls, essentially abandoned its primary mission, and all but lost its moral authority. She drastically diminished as the powers of darkness grew exponentially, partly due to hundreds of self-inflicted wounds, she opened the windows to the world in a time when the evil spirit of the time, an anti-Christian spirit of chaos, immorality and revolution were spreading in the western world, being chief among them. Add to that the fact that the ark of salvation is no longer run by a majority of male, militant missionaries, but by mostly mediocre, milquetoast, pusillanimous, pampered princes, hidden hypocrites, homosexuals, and downright wicked middle managers who are enemies of God. Without Jesus’ promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against her, would the Church that oversees them cease to exist?
Gated communities aren’t bad; they just chose to erect a clear wall of separation between those inside and those outside its gates. Whatever the intention, closed communities greatly limit the number, frequency, and depth of encounters with those in the unclosed world. We see such a mindset in some bishops and priests who maintain a clear and impenetrable distinction, an unbridgeable chasm if you will, between the elite clerical class within and the unwashed great without. Perhaps nothing was more emblematic of this gated community mindset than the decision to lock down our churches in response to a virus, without being creative and without questioning the unconstitutional decrees that allowed casinos, stores liquor stores, drug dispensaries and abortion clinics to remain open. Compare this safety-first approach to the nearly two millennia-old missionary church that continued to celebrate masses and serve the poor and sick during far deadlier pestilences and pandemics, led by priests and nuns. courageous and selfless like St. Roch, St. Charles Borromeo, Saint Damien of Molokai and Saint Marianne Cope. In recent years, when the Church should have been a fully functioning advanced field hospital, it chose to act as an exclusive nursing home, where no one could enter, and maintains a hospice mentality without hope, that the once young and resplendent Church will ever recover. Some of the same shepherds who barred the gates of the fold seem too content to let the 80 out of a hundred who are lost and injured stay outside its gates, quite contrary to the Good Shepherd’s command to come out of the gates. to pick up even that one.
Remember, Jesus’ promise in Matthew 16 seemed to project an outward-facing Church thronging to the gates of hell, not the navel-gazing NGO it has become, where the gates of hell are advancing. endlessly, and in the process reclaiming huge tracts of land and souls for Satan. How far would the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church have spread with the current loose and closed approach of today’s community – a Church whose primary goal is no longer to convert or to repurpose the world, but simply to perpetuate its existence and preserve its wealth, its property and its declining market share? A mundane, intransparent bureaucracy too bloated to go on a mission and too complacent to do what needs to be done is neither a threat nor a match for its many enemies. A Church in withdrawal, which refuses to oppose evil, but willingly tolerates it or timidly flees it, its shepherds hiding timidly behind its protective gates, has gone astray. An institution that has become a self-imposed prison of incompetence, helplessness and worthlessness attracts almost no one. Unless and until the Church recovers its apostolic position and reclaims its indomitable expansionist spirit, with the courage, zeal, perseverance and selfless and sacrificial arrogance of the early Church, we can expect a smaller, more divided and inconsequential institution, surrounded on all sides by the spirit of the world, its Prince, its visible and invisible allies and countless ignorant and apathetic spectators.
But regardless of what we might expect, or project based on current conditions on the ground, God is in charge of His Church. He can, and seems to, awaken and uplift many men and women who did not bend the knee to the Baals of the day. The more the Enemy overplays his hand, and pushes culture in a decidedly evil direction, the more people will eventually rise up and say to Satan, repeating his words, “Non Serviam.” The first step in preventing the fall of a civilization is for just enough men to stand firm and refuse to step over the cliff with all the lemmings indoctrinated with all the madness, immorality and irrational innovations of the age. Yes, we can try to save them, but we have to hold the line and not go overboard with them. But for things to get this bad, it wasn’t just Church leaders who abdicated their primary directive, we did too. The Great Commission was both a collective command for the Church to be carried out by its leaders, and an individual call for each of us to accept or reject. For God to come to our aid, as he seems to want to, enough of us have to stand up and refuse to just sit down and accept him and pray for his help.
In a society of omnipresent sin, we can expect God’s omnipresent grace to abound and triumph (Romans 5:20). While things are definitely bleak, the Holy Spirit seems to be ushering in an organic new dawn for the Church, not the contrived, stillborn “springtime” snuffed out by the spirit of the times a few generations ago. This is beginning to seem like a time of saints, prophets, martyrs and mystics – holy, joyful, zealous, religious and lay men and women of faith and courage who conform to Christ by virtue of their worthy hospitality and of their time spent with our Eucharistic Lord. Jesus is there every day, at Mass and in every tabernacle, waiting for those who come to him so that over time he may fill them with immeasurable graces and incomprehensible power, so that through them he may renew again the land that so badly needs renewal.
Those who accept his invitation and invite him to take control of their lives will be the great saints the times demand, making up for what is lacking in the higher levels of a Church that has essentially lost its will to move forward and to fight. The more reverently men and women worship it and worthily receive it, for themselves and in the name and reparation of others, the greater will be the efficacy, exponential effect and supernatural ramifications of which we shall only know. to individual judgment. This church at the crossroads will likely be a tale of two churches – an unfaithful, insular, immobile institution, content to dwell loosely in the self-perceived security of its gated community (whose doors are actually the doors of the hell surrounding it), and a faithful, vibrant church on mission led by bishops, priests, religious and laity who are fully aware of the times in which we live, approaching them with a sense of urgency, while recognizing both our personal helplessness and the need for divine assistance and employing all the supernatural weapons of the Church to prevail.