...in the Cannonball house,...
You might hear readings such as this going on:
It was sometime near Christmas, and in the 'community'
They had butchered the Mass and its prayers with impunity.
No longer a 'parish,' for that term, you see,
Was deemed too old-fashioned-just like "Him" and "He"!
Since Vatican II and the diocesan studies,
They'd decided that devotions were for fuddy-duddies.
No more Adoration or traditional Stations,
Instead there were posted photos of war-torn, starving nations.
No Vespers, no Compline, no Lauds, Sext or None,
If you want those devotions you'll pray them alone!
The pastor had locked all the doors, and no lights
Were to be left burning to illumine the night.
Father strolled past the classrooms and through the church hall
And turned on his voice mail so that all the calls
Asking 'what are the Mass times?' and 'when is confession?'
(BMP rudely interrupts: by the way, what time is the 10:00 Mass? - Yeah, I worked for a church that seriously gotten that call before.)
Wouldn't disturb his pre-Christmas Zen Yoga session.
He opened the door to the rectory, sighing....
And slammed it, astonished - for out the door, flying
Came angels majestic, with glowering faces
And following closely behind, a few paces,
Was a tall, mitred figure in red robes trimmed in gold,
A most dignified shepherd from days ancient and old.
He sternly regarded the trembling priest
And thundered, 'How dare you! How could you! The least
Little child knows better than you:
We don't worship each other,we Honor the True!
You have mangled the Mass, you have diluted the Faith
And discouraged holiness - is nothing left safe?
You don't preach on doctrine or sins great and small,
Instead you host parties with wine and cheese balls!
You're really no better than a modernist Luther,
And Arius, Manicheus, - you're a "there-is-no-Truth"-er!
You really deserve a sound punch in the nose
Like I gave to old Arius so long, long ago.
Get into the church, and get down on your knees
And pray for forgiveness with sorrowful pleas!
'The priest stumbled backwards through the doors to the nave
And fell on his face, crying tears full of shame.
'Forgive me!' he cried, 'I have forgotten my call!
I have failed in my duty; I have caused souls to fall
Into indifference, modernism, error and sin!
Give me mercy, O God! I won't fail You again!'
Escorted by angels, the saintly Bishop drew near,
And softly he whispered into Father's listening ear:
'Our Lord in His mercy has heard you tonight.
You're forgiven, my son - see the angels' delight!'
And surrounding the altar in that dark, holy place
Were hosts of the seraphim with joy on each face.
His mission accomplished, the saint turned to go
With this final advice: 'you must preach the Truth, so
Your flock will be holy and reverent again.
Merry Christmas,' said Saint Nicholas. 'With your help, Truth will win.'