AS I arrive here in Europe, my heart is overflowing with many words and thoughts… I will try to write them here over the days ahead with God’s help.
There is a cup of suffering that is to be drunk from twice in the fullness of time. It has already been emptied by Our Lord Jesus Himself who, in the Garden of Gethsemane, placed it to His lips in His holy prayer of abandonment:
My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will. (Matt 26:39)
The cup is to be filled again so that His Body, who, in following its Head, will enter into its own Passion in her participation in the redemption of souls:
The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized… (Mark 10:39)
All that is said of Christ must be said of the Church, for the Body, which is the Church must follow the Head who is Christ. What I am speaking of here is not the personal trials and tribulations we must each endure in the course of our lifetime, as St. Paul says:
It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)
Rather, I am speaking of the:
…final Passover, when [the Church] will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, 677
THE CUP OF THE CHURCH
After God purified the earth by flood, Noah built an altar. Upon this altar, God placed an invisible chalice. It would eventually be filled with the sins of men, and handed to Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. When our Lord drank it to the last drop, the salvation of the world was achieved. It is finished, Our Lord said. But what was not complete was the application of Christ’s saving mercy through His Body, that is, the Church. Through signs and wonders and the proclamation of the Gospel, she would become a visible sacrament of salvation, the divine doorway through which the world would be invited to pass from wrath to righteousness. But ultimately, she is "to be a sign that will be contradicted… so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34-35). This too is part of her "sacramental" mission. In the fullness of her time, her own Passion and Resurrection will rend the hearts of nations, and all will see that Jesus is Lord, and that His Church is His beloved Bride.
But first, the cup of her own suffering must be filled. With what? With the sins of the world, and her own sins. There must come a time, says St. Paul, when the cup will overflow with rebellion. Just as Christ’s own rejected Him, so too will His Body be rejected:
…the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness [will be] revealed, the son of perdition. (2 Thess 2:3)
Who is this son of perdition or Antichrist? He is the instrument of purification. For the first time the cup was drunk, God poured into Christ the fullness of His just wrath through the betrayal of Judas, "the son of perdition" (Jn 17:12). The second time the cup will be emptied, the justice of God will be poured out, first upon the Church, and then the world through the betrayal of Antichrist who will give to the nations "the kiss of peace." In the end, it will be the kiss of many sorrows.
Take this cup of foaming wine from my hand, and have all the nations to whom I will send you drink it. They shall drink, and be convulsed, and go mad, because of the sword I will send among them. (Jeremiah 25:15-16)
Inextricably linked to the cup of the Church is creation, which also shares in the cup of suffering.
...for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.(Rom 8:19-21)
All that is created must be redeemed in the manner in which Christ has done it: "in the cup." Thus all creation is groaning (Rom 8:22)…
Hear the word of the LORD, O people of Israel, for the LORD has a grievance against the inhabitants of the land: There is no fidelity, no mercy, no knowledge of God in the land. False swearing, lying, murder, stealing and adultery! in their lawlessness, bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and everything that dwells in it languishes: The beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and even the fish of the sea perish. (Hos 4:1-3)
Dear brothers and sisters, this, cup, foaming over with the pride of men, is nearly full. How many more drops of abortion? How many more blasphemies? How many more wars? How many more innocent souls broken to pieces by the lust, greed, and selfishness of men? I hear the words in my heart over and over now:
The fullness of sin.. The cup is full.
Sin is reaching its fullness in our time. As Pope Pius XII said,
The sin of the century is the loss of the sense of sin. —1946 address to the United States Catechetical Congress
I hear in my heart the constant and loving warning that we must all prepare ourselves for this cup. We must remain in a state of grace. We must pray and intercede for souls with all our hearts. We must be ready to give our fiat to God. And we must remember that the future for the faithful is not one of disaster, but hope… though we must pass through winter before there will be a new springtime.
I want to shout: the days are imminent. God, help us… help us to hear the Voice of Mercy.
Yes, a cup is in the LORD’S hand, foaming wine, fully spiced. When God pours it out, they will drain it even to the dregs; all the wicked of the earth must drink. But I will rejoice forever; I will sing praise to the God of Jacob, who has said: "I will break off all the horns of the wicked, but the horns of the just shall be lifted up." (Psalm 75:9-11)