Well, it has been quite a year for me, filled with unexpected things, both disasters and blessings, yet the providential hand of God has a way of turning even apparent disasters into unlooked-for blessings. I even survived another of the long series of prophesied ends of the world!
Last year at this time I was preparing to give a retreat in Denver, blissfully unaware that the rug of my 30-year vocation was about to be pulled out from under me. The first couple months of 2012 were quite calamitous, but God is not ruffled by the urgencies and emergencies of chicken-little lives, and so He serenely surveyed the horizon of my immediate future and saw that it was good. Taking the hand of my heavenly Mother, I walked into the unknown, which she had already prepared for me at the Lord’s behest, and I entered the house of St Joseph, the patron of my monastic life.
It took me a while to get used to city living, the sirens and the exhaust fumes, and to enormous loud vehicles hurtling through the sky, and even louder ones on the ground, emitting horrible rap-crap, convulsing the cars to the point that I thought the windows would shatter or the license plates fall off from the vibrations of the hellish thumping “music”.
I also got used to concelebrating the Roman-rite Mass at parishes and retreat venues, and in general, learning the Latin tradition (including beginning to study the Latin language and some Gregorian chant, which is probably the most beautiful sacred music this side of Heaven). I still celebrate the Byzantine Liturgy, here at COSJ and occasionally at a little Russian Catholic parish in San Francisco.
On the whole, I would have to say that I consider 2012 to have been a year of blessings, some of which, however, I’d prefer not to experience again for a very long time, thank you very much! But I believe my new home is the place of a new phase of my life, new ministries, new experiences, and also a new depth of relationship with God and the Blessed Mother. So, I’m grateful.
I trust God with the new year and whatever it will bring. There are certain things that still have to be officially established for my new situation, but the wheels of ecclesiastical bureaucracy turn quite slowly. A major part of the delay was due to the installment of a new archbishop for San Francisco, for there was an interim period of several months when we had only an apostolic administrator, and so everything was on hold till the new boss arrived. And, of course, when that eventually happens, he is overwhelmed with all the problems and issues of his new job, and getting used to the new people and the new tasks. My guess that my petitions would not be flagged as the most urgent priorities for the new shepherd proved to be accurate.
On a somewhat broader topic, there’s something that may be a harbinger of either blessings or disasters to come, for the whole of our country. You can read about it in a book called The Harbinger, by Jonathan Cahn. Maybe you’re already heard of it; it is a best-seller. The author has done a lot of research both into biblical history and American history, and he finds some startling parallels between the situation of ancient Israel and of modern America. Both were chosen by God for special blessings, both rebelled against Him and disobeyed his commandments. We can read the Bible about the severe judgment that fell upon the chosen people for their infidelity, and it looks like perhaps judgment on America has already begun, but it is only the first stages. The author sees the 9-11 disaster as a key moment in our history, when God seems to have removed his extraordinary protection of our land, leaving us to the consequences of our own rejection of Him, while at the same time calling us to return to Him.
A certain prophecy of Isaiah opens up this mystery in several striking ways, and the author goes into great detail (it is all well-documented) about how America is fulfilling this prophecy point by point. It’s uncanny, to say the least, and it may very well be something we all need to see and understand if we want to live in this land under God’s blessing and not under his judgment. Anyway, it is a very interesting read, and it brings the awareness that God is indeed very concerned about our lives and the events of our times, and that He is directing things according to his providence, his justice, and his mercy.
But we can make things very bad for our nation, if we continue the present trajectory. The November elections were mostly disastrous, almost a sign that God has already handed us over to judgment, and we can expect nothing but rotten fruit from many of the policies and agendas being imposed by our government. The Harbinger is a word to the wise (which means it will mostly fall upon deaf ears), and we need to pray for a moral and spiritual awakening, so that we don’t one day discover that we live in a land that is no longer free, no longer prosperous, no longer under the blessing of God, but rather under the tyranny of the devil’s lackeys, who blindly follow their master while deluding themselves that they are masters of their own destinies, and ours.
So, goodbye 2012, and a wary welcome to 2013. Let us make sure we do not put our trust in anything but the Lord our God. He alone can make all things new, bring good out of evil, turn ill-fortune to blessing, while leading us carefully along the demanding but invigorating path to the Kingdom of Heaven.