Bulletin – June 2017

June 2017
“So the faith was planted: so must it be restored”
Eight Pond Place – Oyster Bay, NY 11771

A Mighty Wind
Taken from a sermon by The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly
Copyright © 2000 The Most Rev. Clarence Kelly

……About a hundred and seventy years ago, an orange colored boat left the shores of Italy. Aboard the boat was the future Cardinal John Henry Newman. [1801-1890] Newman was returning home to England after a visit to Rome. He was not a Catholic at the time. However, he was very interested in the Church. He  was  an  Anglican,  but  was  not  quite  satisfied with the inconsistencies and contradictions of Protestantism. His extensive reading and deep study were pointing him to the Catholic Church. His interest in the Church was, in fact, the reason for his visit to Rome, but he was yet in an uncertain state of mind.

……After the ship left the port and was out to sea, the wind died. A great calm came as the ship fell still in the waters. However, it was not a good calm. It was rather the type of calm that was the dread of sailors in the days when ships were run by sail. On that day and at that time “not a breath [of wind] was stirring. The sea was as smooth as glass. They were unable to move. There they drifted for over a week, marooned in the midst of the sea.” (Arthur Tonne, With Parables, p. 65.)

……It was on that occasion that the future Cardinal of the Catholic Church wrote his immortal poem, “Lead Kindly Light.”

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home.
Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene – one step enough for me.

……The physical condition of being adrift at sea was a reflection of how he felt in the depths of his own soul. It was a living parable for him, and it was in that context that he wrote the poem.

……Then one day in the midst of that terrible calm, Newman was alone in his cabin when he noticed a slight movement in the curtains on the window. “The curtains on his cabin window [began] billowing with a bit of breeze. [Filled with hopeful expectation,] he rushed to the deck and shouted: ‘Wake up, wake up, the calm is over.’ . . . Beside themselves with joy, the sailors shouted: ‘Wind at last.’ In no time the sails were hoisted and the ship pulled out of the calm.” (Ibid.)

……On the first Pentecost Sunday the Holy Ghost, as it were, rushed onto the deck of the Bark of Peter and shouted: “Wake up, wake up, the calm is over.” The disciples and Apostles responded, as it were: “Wind at last. Wind at last.” On Pentecost Sunday the Holy Ghost thus descended from Heaven. He came down upon the Apostles like the blowing of a mighty wind on a still sea. St. Luke tells us of this in the Second Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles: “And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:1-2) As Newman and the sailors prayed for the wind to deliver them from the dangerous calm of the sea which made them helpless, and as the Blessed Mother of God, the Apostles, and the disciples prayed for the coming of the Holy Ghost, so we pray for the Bark of Peter today, for today the Church seems stranded on a windless sea – helpless before her enemies. Indeed, it would almost seem that the Holy Ghost has been taken from us, for both the fire of love and the light of faith seem almost gone from the earth. We find ourselves adrift in the midst of the sea, stranded in a dreaded calm, helpless and alone. So great is this deadly calm and so long have we endured it that we – if we did not have the Faith – would be tempted to think that the wind will blow no more and that we will die at sea. As Newman said: “The night is dark, and I am far from home.”

……But we do have the Faith, weak as it may be, and thus, we know the Holy Ghost is not gone though He may be at a distance for a time. We know as the “bright, bounding breeze” finally came for Newman and the crew, it will come for us if we only persevere one step at a time. It will come as “the bright, bounding breeze of the Holy” Ghost also “came to his heart and he became a Catholic.” It will come as “the bright, bounding breeze of the Holy” Ghost “came to the Infant Church,” and the world was converted. (Ibid.) It will come as it came “suddenly” as “a sound from Heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:2) It came on Pentecost Sunday in the year 33 as the Holy Ghost descended from Heaven.

……That breeze will come again to deliver us from the deadly, dreadful calm that has engulfed the Bark of Peter in our time. The modernist enemies who have seized control of the external institutions of the Church will be turned out. There is no doubt about that! The devil has his hour – but God will have His day. The devil’s hour is now! “The forces of good seem helpless, [and] unable to move in a sea of indifference.” (Ibid., p. 66.) Yes! “The night is dark,” as  Newman  said,  and  we are “far  from  home.” But God’s day is coming. His enemies shall be routed and defeated. His Church shall be triumphant. Justice shall reign in the universe itself, and everything will be restored. We know this because we know that God is infinitely powerful and infinitely good, and He is true to His word.

……So we say today in the midst of the greatest crisis in the two thousand year history of the Catholic Church:

Lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene – one step enough for me.

……My dear people, it is true. A new Pentecost is coming. We do not know the day or the hour, but we know it is coming. The words of Sacred Scripture indicate it. The teaching of the saints proclaims it. The time is coming when saints will walk the earth again, the wicked in high places shall be effectively opposed, and the truth will be proclaimed. The time will come when “the breath of God like a mighty wind” will “blow away the clouds of doubt [and confusion that hang over so many] to fill the sails of our souls with the” mighty wind of the Holy Ghost. (Ibid.) Soon we will hear the refrain: “Wake up! Wake up! The calm is over!” And we shall respond: “Wind at last! Wind at last!”

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