(Let Us Stop and Think)

Almost two thousand years age, the greatest betrayal of a man took place. A man betrayed his brother, a sinner his Redeemer, a disciple his teacher, a creature his Creator. The very manner of be­trayal, the kiss of Judas, has left us a deep, symbolic meaning for all time. By kissing, one expresses one's love, attachment, gratitude and friendship, one's dedication and joy. The kiss of Judas did not express a single one of these emotions. It was the traitorous kiss of hypocrisy, pride, vanity and envy; and of fallen mankind. It was a repetition of the sin of Adam, when man's pride, fired by envy, could not stand the primacy and greatness of God.

Brothers and sisters in the faith, at a time of penance and recol­lection, let us look inward, reflecting on our relations with Christ, with our brothers in faith and calling with our nation and our Church. Let us throw open the doors and windows of our soul, and see whether the spirit of Judas does not lurk hidden in the corners of our soul, awaiting the opportunity to overcome and enslave us completely. To Satan, the earthly merits and titles of a person are not important: he is interested in the human soul. His plan is have mankind fall down and worship him, fear him and serve only him. To attain this goal, allmeans are acceptable to Satan.

He comes to us as a friend and companion, protecting us from various mishaps, as the most sincere advisor and helper. He comes as wealth, as high position, and hierarchical advancement. He comes as cold, practical thinking, as so-called wisdom, as fear of losing one's freedom and temporal well-being. Finally, he comes "as a contradic-

Throngs of people attended the closing ceremonies of the 500th anniversary since the death of St. Casimir, Lithuania's patron saint at SS Peter and Paul's Church on August 26, 1984. Soviet authorities attempted to interrupt a St. Casimir observance earlier that year at which church loudspeakers for thousands of Catholics unable to fit inside the church were turned off on official order.

tion to perceived Truth , as servile submission to evil and complete blindness to goodness and beauty.

Satan so confuses and obfuscates the mind that a person begins to consider love of Truth and Justice and resistance to evil as a crime, because all this displeases Satan. How accurately the playwright Kazys

Saja portrayed this in his Devynpėdžiai (Nine-Foot),in which people have stopped laughing and singing because this is what their idol, a calf, wanted.

Even our service of God and the Church of Christ must be in keeping with the will of the Evil One. It seems to us, blinded by the snares of the devil that even submission to satan must promote the honor of God and the welfare of the Church and the faithful. Judas did not directly wish the death of Christ, and only later saw the terrible results of his wicked betrayal.

Do we not in similar fashion lightly enter into slavishly submissive pacts with the Prince of Darkness, hoping to outsmart him? But in return for our deceit, he wreaks vengeance, and then it becomes difficult for us to talk about health when there is an evil growth in our soul.

Have we not in such a weak and servile way submitted to the requirement that undesirable outside influences order the internal affairs of our Church?

Is it not our fault that the seminary, the catechization of children, the publication of religious literature, the limitation of priests' pastoral activities, the choice of candidates for the ecclesiastical hierarchy and many other serious tasks have fallen under the control of the secular government?

Do we not sometimes refuse to accompany the faithful with a cross to the Holy Hill (This is possibly a reference to the Hill of Crosses—Trans. Note) or advise them, if it is heavy, to drop the cross?

Is it not we who are afraid to utter aloud the names of our brothers, the prisoners of conscience, the honorable Fathers Alfonsas, Sigitas and Jonas Kastytis? We are afraid to urge one another to pray for them, because this is displeasing to the Prince of Darkness.

Is it not we who, for various — to our way of thinking—diplomatic-excuses, carry on unequal dialogues with persons of questionable conscience, and later complain that they deceived us?

Is it not we who purposely mislead the Holy See regarding the current plight of the faithful of Lithuania, or at least obfuscate the truth?

Is it not we who purposely mislead the Holy See regarding the current plight of the faithful of Lithuania; or at least obfuscate the truth?

Is it not we who urge people not to speak about the present, not to see the wounds and sorows of our Church?

Is it not we who give our brothers and sisters erroneous advice, sowing panic, and serving the interests of the Church's enemies?

Is it not we. . . ? Yes, Lord, it is we! Your redeemed children, your brothers and sisters, your disciples. We who walk along side you, but do not recognize you. We who have wanted to shake off the sin of Adam and the spirit of Judas by just our own efforts, forgetting your words "Without Me, you can do nothing."

We, Lord, have allowed the merchants and hypocrites to establish themselves in your house. We are the ones who flee your cross, even though we promise to carry it with you.

If they persecute and calumniate us, you, Lord, have promised us an ample reward in heaven; but while I was putting off trusting in your promises, others become concerned about me. In the words of one contemporary poet, they suggested to me:

"Position, money, recognition. . . and great honor —

All will he offered to you this night

At a comparatively infinitesimal price —

At the price of the Faith by which you have been living,

At the price of the faith which has givven you nothing,

Without wounds, without worry and pain. . .


And I agreed, since they reminded me:

"You know what awaits you tonight,

If you calmly renounce it all. . ."

Of course, his warning unsettled me somewhat:

". . .But do you know what awaits you,

If you take all this?. . .

On your redemptive journey, You, Lord, did not make use of any diplomatic maneuvers, you did not submit to the blandishments of the evil spirit, you did not fall down and worship your tempter, even though he promised you all the riches, joys and pleasures of this earth. We, however, forgetting the spirit of the first Christians, and their dedication to you, often easily agree to offer incense to the strange idol.

Following the road of Christ's suffering, believing in the action of the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of our sins in the hope of eternal life, let us not be blind and deaf to the redemptive invitation: "Come to me, all of you." We often pray that our nation's son, Archbishop Jurgis Matulevičius, would soon be proclaimed a saint, but we do not wish to understand his words, "How blessed to be a common rag, cleaning even a small corner of the Church ..." Like Saint Francis at one time, we still do not understand the call, "Rebuild my collapsing Church!"

And yet, there are many wonderfully beautiful examples of those who having fallen, are able to get up again; having strayed from the way of righteousness with tearful eye, a deep sigh for foolish straying, find it once again.

Lord, we want to be with You! Come help us! With the ray of your divine light, disperse the shadows of Judas' spirit. Having washed away the dust of the by-ways, and having cleaned out the corners of our sold, we wish once again to be at your table and to hear your voice, "I am the Living Bread! I am the Way, the Truth and the Life! Follow Me!"