The Collect

KEEP we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all thing profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In the Collect appointed for this morning, we beseeched…we begged God to Keep…to Guard…to Preserve his Church through his perpetual mercy. We are frail men who are summoned to great things. There is a spirit of great evil, manipulation and deceit in the world. It influences everything. It has quietly, slowly, and methodically inserted itself in our midst. It comes to us through what we hear on the radio, see on the television and contemplate on the internet. It comes to us through advertisements posted ever before our eyes in stores, in checkout lines, and on billboards. It lulls us to sleep. But it is there. Ask yourself when you watch or listen… “What message is being sent?” “What is this teaching me to believe?”… and you will see it.

O Lord, keep thy Church with thy perpetual mercy! Keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful!

This spirit of evil, manipulation and deceit teaches us to accept and tolerate things that are wicked. It teaches us to accept some things as inevitable…and once we accept those…it teaches us to accept more things as inevitable…then soon enough…we accept all things as inevitable.

I am blessed to remember a time when the Church was a visible force in society. I was in 4th  grade. 10 years old. Men were dressed in coats and ties. Families sat together. Hymns were heartily sung by all. Preachers preached like they were dying men preaching to dying men. Every Sunday the Church was full. It was impressive to this little 10 year old boy. At the end of one of the services some men came and made an appeal to the congregation to vote for candidates that were opposed to Roe v. Wade. I did not know what that was…so when I got home, I asked my parents and they told me. I lost some of my childhood innocence that day. How does a 10 year old boy process that? But the days of the Church being a visible force in society are gone.

Nevertheless, it was true and still is. The slaughter of innocent children still presses on in this nation…Protected by law. Conservative numbers are 50 million since 1973. (9 holocausts in America alone). Young men and young women manipulated by a hyper-sexualized culture and taught to do thing that ought not to be done…in the name of love. Taught to view the gift of life…children…as an unwanted consequence…as a reminder of past “mistake”…as a disease that must be “cured”. And so, they are manipulated further and told by grown-ups, the government, and public school teachers that it is ok to just come in and have a procedure done and it will all go away. (I sat through these classes in grade school)…50 million children torn from their mother’s womb…Through lying, manipulation, and deceit. Where was the Church? Where is the Church? That tolerates this…that never mentions it…because its too political? It’s not political. It’s a moral outrage…Legalized Abortion is a scourge on our people and nation…and it is one of the many, many things that must be opposed at every level as we gaze upon the crucified Christ…Because he alone, is the one who can cover and heal the souls of mothers and fathers who have the blood of children on their hands. He alone, in his mercy can teach us to oppose evil with all our might and yet be compassionate and call them to light and life. He alone, is the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world…ALL of them. The words of the processional hymn are still true for us today:

Rise up, O men of God! Have done with lesser things,

 Give heart, and soul, and mind, and strength to serve the King of kings.

Rise up, O men of God! The Church for you doth wait:

Her strength unequal to her task; Rise up, and make her great!

… “make her great”, not in the eyes of the world…but in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. In the eyes of the angels and our faithful forefathers…to one another as brothers and sisters…to our children and our children’s children…to those that are in the world and long to see another one.

How are we to do this? What is our responsibility? First, we must let these facts bother us. We must see the evil for what it is. We must know that there are 50 million souls of holy, martyred, innocent children under the Altar of God in heaven…and that they cry out to God for justice saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Rev. 6:9). It must be like a stone in our shoe. Always there. Always hurting us at every step. Until, we are taught what we should do about it. As a first small step, along with our other foreign brothers and sisters who are being persecuted and martyred as we speak…we must never forget them. As another very small first step, it should at least inform the way we vote. But most of all it should shape the way we live. As another starting point, let me humbly yet boldly tell you, my conclusion after 32 years of thinking and praying about this issue. This is the truth and I will take this conviction to my grave: It is NEVER permissible, under any circumstances, at any stage of his or her development, whatsoever, to murder a child inside or outside of the mother’s womb. This is the teaching of Scripture, The Church, Tradition and Right Reason. If we compromise on this…all is lost. Evil is sinister and will prey upon our emotions. We will begin to question, in the name of compassion… “in this case shouldn’t abortion be permissible” No. “to save the life of the mother?” No. Because a Natural Evil is not made right through a Moral Evil. “We’ll this woman was raped. Shouldn’t we end the life of this unwanted, undesired child…it will just be a reminder of that horrible crime…” No. Because crime is not made right through another crime. And sin is not remedied by sin. Love alone can conquer this. This is the truth.  This is why we must all turn and constantly gaze upon and contemplate the crucified Christ. We must pray and speak to him. Ask him. What ought I to do? What should be our response? Let him teach us.

            I was going to go on to the Epistle and Gospel for today…but I think I have said enough already. Dear Lord! We need one another so, so much now…more than ever…to walk through this Wasteland as T.S. Eliot put it… to walk together through this land that is committing cultural and spiritual suicide…banded together as Christ’s “little flock”. I will leave you with the powerful words of the recessional hymn today, and commend you all to God, as we seek to carry out his will in this short span of time that we call “life together”.  

“Before thy throne, O God, we kneel; Give us a conscience quick to feel,

A ready mind to understand the meaning of thy chast’ning hand;

Whate’re the pain and shame may be, Bring us O Father, nearer to thee.”

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.+

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