Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Hope of the Remnant

"And there will be the remnant of Jacob before God the Mighty.  And even if the people of Israel became like the sand of the sea, the remnant of them will be saved."--Is 10:21-22

The man of faith will not be afraid of the remnant, for he trusts in the Lord, God the Mighty, Who can bring forth fountains from waterless land.  The remnant is a sign of hope from the Lord, for He could have destroyed all of mankind in the Flood, but He chose to save the righteous Noah and his family.  He could have let all of Israel be destroyed by the hands of mighty strangers, but He kept two tribes alive in exile.  With the power of the Lord, the remnant is a sign of hope, not of sorrow.

From a single small seed sprouts the mustard tree,  and so from a handful of men can God reclaim the world for the Truth.  God does not leave us orphans, alone; He keeps a family of those who love Truth alive, and He guides them as their Father.  When Elijah lamented that he alone of Israel kept the Faith, God told him of the remnant, of the seven thousand who still loved Him.  The remnant shows that God does not let His faithful perish from the earth entirely, but He always guards the righteous, and the Truth always remains on earth, no matter how few hold to it.

He guards his remnants in all places, as we can see even down to our own times.  Think the remnant of Christians in India planted by St. Thomas, who were found by the missionaries in the 1500s.  Think of the Christians who survived centuries in the underground of China and Japan, keeping the Faith of our God.  Think of the Slavic Christians who survived atheistic regimes to reemerge with the glories of the Church.  God will guard His remnant, even in the worst of times.

Pope Benedict XVI, when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, famously predicted a purification of the Church in our times, in which she would become smaller yet more perfectly united to Christ.  Some, "the prophets of gloom," as John XXIII might say, lament this prediction as the downfall of the Church, but we can see that it is truly a sign of hope, for it predicts the remnant whom God will always protect.  No matter the circumstances of the world, no matter how much it hates the Faith, the Lord by His grace and by the working of His Spirit will always guard a remnant of the faithful.  No matter how small the remnant, they can again be as yeast to leaven the whole earth.  Even the Gospel emerged from a small remnant: Christ taught His apostles and close disciples, and these shared the Gospel with others, and so from one came life for all, the life of the Gospel, and from one small remnant, a handful of seeds, the Lord's vine spread to cover the earth.

So we too should always have the hope of the remnant, that no matter the darkness the light will shine, for the darkness cannot overcome it.  If we ever feel we are the only faithful left in the world, let us recall the words the Lord spoke to Elijah: "And remaining in Israel are seven thousand men, all knees, which have not bent the knee to Baal, and every mouth, which has not reverenced him."  As the Lord protected His remnant in the time of Elijah, so will He keep it even now: such is the hope of the remnant.

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