The Pope said this week:
The Holy Father drew his homily from today’s Gospel where Jesus compares the generation to unhappy children who always refuse the invitation of others to sing or dance.
“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners,’” the Gospel says.
These people, the Pope explained are “not open to the Word of God” and use the excuse that it is not the message but the messenger that is the problem.
“And they, the people of that time, preferred to find refuge in a more elaborate religion: in moral precepts, like that group of Pharisees; in political compromise, like the Sadducees; in social revolution, like the zealots; in gnostic spirituality like the Essenes. They were with their well cleaned system, well-done. But the preacher, no!” he said.
“Even Jesus reminds them: ‘Your fathers did the same to the prophets’. The people of God have a certain allergy to preachers of the Word: the prophets, they persecuted them, killed them.”
Comparing to today’s world, the Holy Father said that there are Christians who are like the ones spoken of by Jesus and are “afraid of the freedom of the Holy Spirit that comes through preaching.” The scandal of preaching, he continued, “that ends in the scandal of the Cross.”
“It is scandalizing that God speaks through men with limitations, sinful men: it scandalizes! And even more scandalizing that God speaks to us and saves us through a man that says that He is the Son of God but ends up like a criminal. That scandalizes,” the Pope said.
Preaching comes to warn you, to teach and even to correct you, he went on to say, and that is precisely the freedom that comes from it. Sad Christians who dismiss preaching, are in fact afraid of opening the door to the Holy Spirit.
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis prayed for them as well as for all so “that we may not become sad Christians.
When we were in Jerusalem in 2002-3 doing Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration a high church official (with clandestine orders from a Vatican cardinal) closed us down using the same kind of language. He told us, while his butler served us tea, that it wasn't the flower or plant they didn't like but the Gardeners. Many bishops today are using the same language as well in regard to new communities and movements that are open to the new moves of the Holy Spirit so that they can close them down or restrict their freedoms so that it destroys and quenches these new movements of the Spirit. They use canon law as a destructive weapon when it suits them and ignore canon law when it gives rights to the groups involved. They intimidate by bureaucratic and administrative means wherever possible.
Bishop Felix Zafra
Those of us who have worked for many years to promote Perpetual Adoration have had to suffer great attacks and slander from Cardinals, Bishops, priests often using this very language about the message and the messenger. Praise God for Pope Francis who is revealing the tactics of those wolves who pretend to be lambs among the flock. Reflecting on the work and lives of two holy and very humble bishops Bishop Felix Zafra and Bishop Manat Chuabsamai, who supported and promoted Perpetual Adoration at great personal cost, we see how they were slandered and undermined by dark forces at work in the Church.
Pope John Paul II told one priest who complained to him that every time he opened a chapel of Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration that these clergy -wolves would close them down. The Pope responded by saying to him: "For every chapel they close down open ten more". Today the movement for Adoration is so strong that they have to pretend they are for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration while they do nothing to establish it and they attack the people involved in the Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration apostolate in many subtle and legalistic ways.
A good sign of whether a Bishop or priest is genuinely a good shepherd is to observe if he does any Adoration and whether he does everything in his power to support and encourage those involved in establishing Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration on a consistent basis. Many of them mouth orthodox platitudes while their actions show something else. These "pretend orthodox", "politically orthodox" and the "rigidly orthodox" are much more deadly serpents than the liberal or modernist clergy. However to be fair some Bishops are just weak and it is their powerful wolves-like council of Priests that are the real opposition to God's work.
Bishop Manat Chuabsamai
We also see those who proclaim a gnostic spirituality about Adoration and place heavy burdens on the little ones. They arrogantly condemn the little ones who pray rosaries or chaplets silently in their holy hours and tell them they must just sit there and empty their minds and focus on 'clouds'. If it was good enough for Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and her sisters to teach that praying the Rosary in Eucharistic Adoration is loving Jesus with the heart of Mary, then it is good enough for most of the rest of us. This elitist and gnostic manner of meditation leads to pride and illuminism (a false spiritual light). A rosary that is prayed slowly and lovingly in Eucharistic Adoration is a powerful weapon against illuminism and the forces of darkness within ourselves and outside ourselves.
Of course there is nothing wrong with someone who can and chooses to sit in stillness of mind enjoying the rest and peace in the Lord. However one who does this with an open and loving heart, will have no time or inclination to lay down heavy and harsh uniform rules and regulations for others, but will encourage all to pray in that freedom of the Holy Spirit that Pope Francis is emphasising. We are in need of Bishops and priests who are "spiritually orthodox" like Pope Francis himself. Let's pray for them and for a total conversion of heart for ourselves and our clergy. Let us be encouragers of the new works of the Holy Spirit and not quenchers. Let's listen to these prophets of our time.