Lately, my friend Fre3d Capra has been spending a lot of time in our barn with my dead horse Petition. Despite the snows of the Blizzard of 2016, he has come daily to visit his dear smelly friend. (Fortunately, with the cold of winter, the stench has somewhat abated.) It seems that Fre3d has been beset by a “crisis of faith.”
I first learned of Fre3d’s terrible new torment when I overheard him saying to Petition: “I’m afraid something I always thought was true really isn’t true. I had always thought that God is ‘almighty’. But today I read a comment in the Sheep of Kephas blog about our Pastor that suggests he no longer says that God is ‘almighty’. The comment reminded me: ‘Don’t forget….’Almighty’ used to be in the final blessing too…’
Fre3d went on to tell Petition that, without a missalette for reference, he had never noticed that our Pastor was omitting the word “Almighty” in the final blessing. Now that this omission had been called to his attention, Fre3d could only conclude that perhaps the Bishop or, perhaps, even the Vatican had called our Pastor and told him that the Magisterium he reevaluated the Church teaching and had determined that God was no longer “almighty”.
Then Fre3d said, “Petition, what happens if God is not ‘almighty’? Does that mean that there may be another god even mightier than our God? Or could it mean that our God no longer merits a capital ‘G’?”
At this display of a person’s faith being challenged and catapulted into absolute crisis, Petition could only respond with his usual sullen silence. “Huh?”
And so it went on for several days. Fre3d had reached a point of great disillusionment. There appeared to be no bottom to the depths of his distress. He was confronted with the prospect of worshiping a God or god that might not be ‘almighty’. Considering how hard it is for a dead horse to sink to a lower spiritual or emotional level, Petition also took on the cloud of gloom that engulfed our barn.
Fre3d and Petition had both fallen prey to the erosive effects of ‘minimalism’. On July 25, 2014, I used that word while speaking with our Pastor. He did not deny that characterization I made of his approach to liturgy, especially in saying the Mass. In his ‘minimalism’ words in the Roman Missal simply disappear – for example the word ‘graciously’ no longer exists. And, as Fre3d found out, without missalettes, no one will be the wiser when a word is jettisoned from the Mass. Now the missing word is ‘almighty’.
Is this how my story ends? Do I intend to leave you with two forlorn creatures, lost and despondent, in my barn. Will Fre3d’s crisis of faith not only drag him down to the depths, but will it also take my poor dead horse with him?
No, I cannot do that to you. Today, I forced Fre3d to go to Mass with me at St. Peter’s, kicking and screaming, “No, I can’t go. There is no ‘almighty’ God there.” And when we arrived, Fre3d and I witnessed a minor miracle. In God’s great and wonderful grace, Fre3d was to attend a Mass said by Fr. Pilon rather than our Pastor.
We both prayed with Father through the Mass and Fre3d saw that every word printed in my Daily Roman Missal came to Fr. Pilon’s lips and, when we came to the final blessing, Fre3d heard the authority of the Holy Catholic Church being proclaimed when Fr. Pilon said: “May almighty God bless you: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
And the clouds of gloom were opened and the radiance of Truth shined through! Fre3d was struck with the awe of the Almighty One – the Almighty God.
As soon as we arrived home, Fre3d leaped from my car and ran through the snow to the barn to share his joyous and miraculous experience. “Petition, Petition! God is indeed “ALMIGHTY”!!
My dearly beloved dead horse was heard to say as he often has before, “Say the black, do the red!”
If you have not already done so, I recommend you acquire a Daily Roman Missal or some suitable missalette. Even if our Pastor casts away or minimizes the words that the Church has given him to say, you will have the words before you. Those words belong to the Church – those words belong to God – they were given to us so that we can praise Him Who is Almighty!