06 April 2008

The Church Militant

Friday morning Mass at our rural New Zealand parish usually sees a couple of classes from St Joseph's primary school attending. I am on leave this week and want to go to Mass, though the thought of a school Mass is a little off-putting. Today, Friday the 4th of April, is perhaps more depressing than usual. We have, of course, as always, the pretty little "Jesus loves me" music played on the cheap portable CD player, but this time something new: liturgical dance. Six children about seven or eight years old walk slowly up the centre aisle vaguely waving their arms in the air. I am embarrassed for them. They, however, show no sign of embarrassment, and when the bad music is played, the children, sixty or eighty of them, sing with obvious pleasure and enthusiasm. That little girl over there with the full mouth and the fetching hair - what will she be in fifteen years? Will she still go to church? Will she have had four or five lovers by then? Worldly-wise, she will no doubt have taken precautions to ensure that no child will be born from these encounters. The young boy in the pew in front of me who already has his hair artfully shaped - doubtless by his mother - in edgy fashion to show his independence of mere neatness - in fifteen years will he be striving for pre-eminence in the constant war to push more product on a world cloyed with novelty? These gloomy thoughts - gloomy and in some cases surely unreasonable - some of these children will - please God! - grow to love Him and His Church, to bring forth many of their own kind - perhaps priests to serve His Church - these gloomy thoughts remind me of Simpson and Henderson and their ANZAC donkeys (http://donkeyrehomecentre.orconhosting.net.nz/ANZAC.html). We are, most of us, like the fallen soldier in Moore-Jones's watercolour, in need of some Simpson or Henderson to pick us up, put us on his donkey, and carry us to a place of refreshment, from which, it may be, we may come back to the fray. I pray for all these young persons - and for me, and for you, for all of us. This is the Church Militant. These are the Christian soldiers. This is the band Christ will lead to victory. jj

1 comment:

Edgy said...


I dont know how you do this. You really are very eloquent here as in all your posts... right some memoirs or something!