The other day on Twitter I posted a picture from St Peter’s in Rome and someone commented that he had visited his local Catholic church only to find a bare brick auditorium badly in need of repair and poorly decorated. I get it.
The fullness of the Catholic faith in our atheistic age is a buried treasure. It is buried within the brutal modernist architecture, the banal “praise and worship” music, dumb politically correct preaching, puppy dogs and kittens catechesis and the plump sentimentality of Father Fabulous and Sister Sandals. It is buried in the crimson robes of gay cardinals, fat German prelates and money grubbing bureaucrats in birettas.
Who would want to join a church like ours? Someone who is searching for hidden treasure. To find the fullness of the Catholic faith today requires a quest. “Seek and you will find” is part of the gospel is it not?
You may find this treasure in a traditional Latin Mass community, but you may not. Instead you may discover that the treasure is obscured there by other things–an obsession with appearances, formalities and legalism–a prissy piety that repulses rather than attracts and a clericalism that dominates rather than liberates.
You may find this treasure in a subset of the Catholic Church–a new ecclesial community, a fellowship group, a tertiary group of a religious order, a special devotion or a channel of spirituality, but you may not. Instead you may discover that the treasure is obscured by infighting, an egotistical leader, sectarian behaviors, abuse and obsessive behaviors.
You will find this authentic Catholicism in the lives of the saints–both those recognized by canonization and the multitude that no man can number of ordinary good Catholics who love the Lord and his Blessed Mother, who live the faith humbly and joyfully serving God and their neighbor.
This is the hidden treasure, the lost coin, the pearl of great price, To find it, like the pearl diver, you may have to strip naked, hold your breath and dive deep into the darkest, coldest depths, and once you have wrenched open the shell and found the pearl…hold it tightly in your fist and rise to the surface into the warmth and the light.