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Hope Ever Ancient, Ever New: Weekly Message for 11-7-17
Dear Friends in Christ,
A reader recently wrote to Ask a Priest, expressing her fear that a certain political leader might be the Antichrist.
Five years ago another person shared a similar concern — only back then the purported Antichrist was a political leader of a very different bent. Still other people wrote in during the summer, asking whether the world would end on September 23.
These cases point to a deep anxiety afoot. Add in the recent news of floods, hurricanes, wildfires, mass shootings and political deadlock, and it’s easy to see why people need a reason to hope. They can find one reason, oddly enough, in the liturgical calendar of the next few days.
On November 9 is the feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. November 10 is the memorial of Saint Leo the Great.
So why the hope?
The Lateran, the oldest of the four patriarchal basilicas in Rome, was built on a site that was once home to prominent figures of the Roman empire. Pope Leo (died 461) guided the Church at a time when the Western Roman Empire was collapsing, and heresies such as Pelagianism and Manichaeism held sway.
What do these liturgical feasts reveal? They remind us that the Church outlasted one of the world’s greatest empires. They remind us that her teachings helped put insidious heresies in their place.
We today can draw deeply from the waters of this same Church, from the treasures of its doctrine, its sacraments and its rich array of spiritualities. We still have access to what our Lord Jesus wanted to give us to sustain on our journey through life.
For a taste of those treasures, why not sample one of our Retreat Guides? It could be a small step that helps keep hope on your radar screen.
Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Ask a Priest contributor