Catholic commentary on spirituality too frequently vacillates between impervious toughness and bubble-gum sentimentality. The pat solutions and rote narratives are a total waste when there are either no chinks in the armor or there are only chinks and no armor.
Either way, there’s no need for salvation for the already saved and the already damned.
When I compare my experience to what these spiritualities have to offer it’s clear they have little to offer me or those whom I love.
Like the vast majority of humanity, I am dramatically perched somewhere between salvation and damnation. Even if I frequently feel closer to the latter . . . well, who gives a damn about my emotions? The drama is that my emotions aren’t very good guides along the way.
But the drama is even wider than that. Human existence itself is a drama of salvation or perdition. I think Fr. Jozef Tischner, philosopher and chaplain of Solidarity, said it best:
Man participates in the drama of life in a different manner than things . . . Man is a dramatic being in a different sense than he or she is a woman or a man, young or old. By participating in some drama man knows, more or less clearly . . . that his salvation or ruin is in his hands . . . Man can be unaware upon what his salvation depends, despite this he can be conscious that life is about something like this.
Or again, Hans Urs von Balthasar, an inspiration to Tischner late in life, in his Theodrama:
It is true that, right at the center of our existence in the world, there is the ugly, the grotesque, the demonic, the immoral and ultimately the sinful –all that makes it hard and often impossible for humanity to believe that the world has a total meaning . . . In pre-Christian times, the boundaries between the shekinah, the hidden, consuming glory of the Absolute . . . and the personified face of what is ultimately meaningless can be very close, as we can see from the grotesque, imposing grimaces on the faces of Chinese or Aztec gods and demons, which suggest that the meaning at the heart of the world is a mysterium horrendum and adorandum. But after the event of Christ’s Cross, humanity is presented with a choice: hearing the cry of dereliction, we must “discern” either hidden love (shown in the Father’s surrender of the Son) or the meaningless void.
This is the picture of man that emerges from the latest Michael Voris video where he admits to his past promiscuity with both men and women. This is a dramatic moment in his life. Whether he chooses the vortex of the abyss or the glorious shekinah will determine how, or even whether, his apostolate continues.Voris looks haggard in the video. The head of the Church Militant website doesn’t look certain and cocky as he usually does. He looks like he’s in need of assurance rather than ready to issue anathemas. He looks like one of the shattered-hearts Pope Francis speaks about in his book. He is aware that he is a man in need of salvation. In other words, he looks like a Christian.
He will probably get savaged for this, as I have gotten savaged for confessing different weaknesses. The one thing necessary is abandonment to Divine Providence rather than ressentiment. I say this as if it’s easy. It’s not. It’s a battle.
This is a very brave confession. I commend it wholeheartedly. I admire it greatly. It reveals a great drama. It reveals the mystery of the good I wrote about in my meditation on Rabelaisian Catholicism.
UPDATE: Things get more dramatic. The Archdiocese of New York says allegations made in the video below that it was seeking to smear Mr. Voris are “absolutely, 100 per cent untrue.”
I don’t know what’s going to follow for Voris. All I know is that whether there will be further revelations, or future relapses, this is a man who needs your prayers and mercy. He also deserves your admiration (imitation too) for the profound weakness he displays in this video below.
For more on a related topic see: Even Demons Believe: Converting the World Will NOT Make Everyone Holy
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