The leaves may be falling off the trees but itís still springtime. Itís not the meteorological weather we need be concerned with.Itís springtime in the Church. It has all the bright promise and hopeful expectation that the end of a long winter can bring. We have gone through the dark nights of the soul that have tried our bodies and the Body of Christ. We have passed through the winter solstice of the emergence of the naysayers and politically correct modernists. We have passed through the times that have tried our souls. The sunshine Catholics have faded away.
Now the icy fingers of a long winter away from the sacramental life of the Church are beginning to melt. Now the seminaries are filling up with a new generation of future priests. These priests, the John Paul II generation, are loyal to the Church and its Sacraments. Now there is a wave of Protestant pastors like Scott Hahn and others who, through study of the Scripture, have come to know the true Church. Now is the time to express ourselves as fully and completely Catholic. Now is the time to reject the worldís influences to be ready for the spring that is just around the corner.
The Holy Father wrote in 1996 about the events that made "significant contribution to the preparation of that new springtime of Christian life which will be revealed by the Great Jubilee if Christians are docile to the action of the Holy Spirit."
In 1998, John Paul II relayed through Cardinal Ratzinger that he sees the new lay movements which have sprung up in recent years as "one of the most significant fruits of this springtime of the Church."
Now is the Jubilee Year. Now is that springtime. Now is the time of the faithful to regain our faith which the liars and charlatans who distorted the teachings of Vatican II tried to take from us.
Now is the time to celebrate openly our ancestral Faith handed down from our spiritual fathers. Here in St. Paul/Minneapolis this outward demonstration has already begun. For three years now the people of our Archdiocese have escorted the Blessed Sacrament through the streets to the Cathedral on Corpus Christi. The incense and bells long banished, and even hated in some parishes, are returning. These implements of worship and honor are being brought back by the good priests who have risked all to do so. Like members of some underground resistance movement they have worked quietly and humbly for this moment.
Now is the time of our deliverance. Now is the time for us to rise up to demonstrate our faith. But as always we must know what to demonstrate. To defend the Faith we must know the Faith. We must know the Faith inside and out so no door-to-door huckster or crackpot TV evangelist can lead us astray.
Now is the time for us, the laity, to do our part. We must assist and encourage the good priests to administer the sacraments faithfully. We must assist each other in one of the faithful lay movements that the Holy Father praised. We must assist those who have not yet come to know the truth by guiding them firmly, yet gently, into the Church. It will certainly involve some sacrifice. Nothing worthwhile is gained without sacrifice.
Remember this is a springtime of the Church. It has nothing to do with who sits in an elected office. When the Church is strong we will become the leaven of society. Christís Church will light and lead the secular society, not the other way around.
This new springtime is just beginning. The icy hand of winter which still holds us is letting go. How fast it takes the spring to turn into a fruitful harvest is up to us. If we do our part spring will soon turn in to summer. If we do nothing we may lapse back into winter.
Now is the time to join with the Holy Father and do our part to assist in this, the new springtime of the Church.
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Published by The Minnesota St. Thomas More Chapter of Catholics United for the Faith, October 2000.