Victimae paschali laudes immolent Christiani.So do we cry out in the ancient Paschal Hymn glorifying and giving thanks for the Risen Lord Jesus.
Even in the full fire and light of His Holy Resurrection we refer to Him as ‘victim’, for He is indeed the victim-oblation to the Father for us.
We also each Easter renew our Baptismal Promises, the active remembering of our having been plunged through the holy waters into the depths of the mystery of His oblation-death and brought forth in the fire-light of His Holy Resurrection.
The extending months into years at times between writing on the mystery of not merely by virtue of ordination in persona Christi, but actively heart to heart seeking union with Christ as victim-soul, as oblation with Him, is because I am in all this a mere beginner.
Hence the whole mysterious process and struggle to hand myself fully over to Him is part of the reason for the gaps in writing – for I will often flee this union more than surrender to and cooperate with it.
This because when all is said and done this is all more about Jesus the Beloved than about any one of us and kenosis, real death to self, is never easy!
The older I get the more profoundly aware I am in my personal life that time is short.
However given the persistent thickening of the darkness of the culture of death, the seeming constant increase of civil wars and revolutions, of extreme weather, hunger, the intense pressure to de-Christianize the whole world, through assault on Holy Marriage, the constant murderous evil of abortion, I sense historically, salvation history-wise, time is short, very short indeed.
None of the baptized, most especially and urgently we priests, can afford any longer to be neo-Ladoceans and wallow in lukewarmness. [cf. Rev. 3:14-22]
How urgently we must beg the grace to, and cooperate with the grace to, rediscover our first love.
Along with the above pain in the world of nations, the human family, the lives of real persons, there is also these days immense suffering within the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, of which we are members and as the Apostle reminds us when one member suffers, the whole body suffers. [cf. 1 Cor. 12:26]
From the so-called Vati-leaks wherein the Holy Father himself has been betrayed, to the immense suffering caused by clerical sin against the innocents, compounded by the defensive stance of the Church resulting in thousands of priests denied due process, many being falsely accused yet tossed under the bus, the persistent tragedy of priests committing suicide, the impact of all this on the faith and sense of place in the Church of many of the laity: we enter the Year of Faith called for by the Holy Father as a Church battered, bruised, sinful, of dwindling adherents, desperately in need collectively and individually of profound metanoia and kenosis.
Like Rachel weeping for her children the Church is – or should be and so should all priests be – weeping for Her children.
Christ too weeps, in the Garden and on the Cross and He asks anew in the Garden if anyone will keep vigil with Him.
I speak now of every priest – yes all of us: guilty priests in prison, falsely accused priests suspended, active priests, priests struggling, elderly, infirm, isolated, hidden, hermit priests, monastic priests, yes all of us, need truly to become victim-oblations, victim-souls, in union with Christ Victim for the Church, for the Priesthood, for the entire human family.