. . . gaudete in Domino semper (Philippians 4:4) . . . be joyful and happy Catholics!
These words, from Fr. Jeffrey Steenson, the new Ordinary for the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (just in case anyone forgot the authority that has been granted to him by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI), are important for all of us. Whether you are an Anglican preparing to enter the Ordinariate or a non-Anglican Catholic who is just interested in the Ordinariate, the command to be joyful is not one that we are supposed to ignore. We are to be "joyful and happy" because we always are given far better things than we deserve, and we are supposed to trust Jesus to do what is best (even if we think we know a better way).
Yet, from what I have been reading here in the comments section of The Anglo-Catholic (and a few other websites as well) for the past few days, it appears that there are many who are much more interested in being "irritable and grouchy" Catholics. I do not need to expound on what it means to be joyful. We all know how to be joyful, and those who are not joyful know that they are not. Excuses are not a justification to ignore our responsibility of viewing others words and actions in the best possible light. Currently, however, it seems that the words and actions of those who have made decisions for the new Ordinariate are not being viewed in the best possible light. Conspiracy theories abound. Let each of us take a moment to consider the words of the Catechism:
To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor's thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way (2478).
Although some are doing this, I have seen more than enough examples of interpreting things in the worst possible way.
On January 1st we received a gift from God that was the answer to many years of prayers. I began to rejoice and give Him praise. Then, for the past few days, I have felt sadness. Sadness that there are voices that are not joyful, but rather miserable. I expect some of those speaking in this manner would complain that Jesus' birth in a stable would make it impossible for Him to influence the religious leaders, that Bethlehem was too far away from Jerusalem, and that the filthiness of the straw in the manger was not healthy for a newborn. God knows how to do things even when we do not understand what He is doing. That is what it means to trust. If everything made sense to us there would be no need for faith.
We are told to rejoice and give thanks in all things. Whether we like the circumstances of life or not, we are to find reasons to praise God and show that He is always wiser and more gracious than we can imagine. He always works things out for our good. We have so much to rejoice over at this time, and yet rather than rejoicing, we read much in the way of complaining, fretting, and criticizing. Think of the example that we are giving to the world and the rest of the Church. You each need to take a personal assessment and look at where your hearts are right now (and maybe some need to be going to confession soon). I have already encouraged people to behave in a manner that gives "joy and not . . . grief" to the Ordinary (cf. Heb 13:17), and I will do so again, for our Lord commands us to "rejoice always" and again I say "rejoice".