The Bread of Travellers

Letter from the District Superior, Fr David Sherry, March 2024

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

The weary, demoralised traveller stumbled forward a few more steps. He was weary because he had walked a long way without anything to eat. He was demoralised because fighting alone a battle for the truth. He sat down, he wanted to die. ‘It is enough for me, Lord,’ he prayed, ‘take away my soul: for I am no better than my fathers.’

He fell asleep. After a long time, it seemed to him someone had touched him. He awoke and made out a shadowy figure offering him bread. It was an angel who said, ‘Get up and eat, you have a long way still to go.’ He ate and, at length, he roused himself and walked for many days — all the time in the strength of that bread. At last, he came to a cave and in the silence there, he understood that he was to stand out on the mountain to be ready for the manifestation of God.

There came then a wind so strong that it shook the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces. He thought, ‘This, then, is the coming of the Lord.’ But the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, there came an earthquake. ‘God is now showing His power,’ he thought. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, there came a fire. ‘This is it,’ he thought. But the Lord was not in the fire.

After the fire, he heard the whisper of a gentle breeze. And the Lord was in the gentle breeze. The Lord spoke: ‘Elias, what dost thou here?’

‘With zeal have I been zealous, for the Lord the God of hosts; see how the sons of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thy altars, and put Thy prophets to the sword! Of these, I only am left, and now my life, too, is forfeit.’

God said to him, ‘Retrace your steps. Do all that I will tell you. You are not alone. I have left myself seven thousand men out of all Israel; knees that have never bowed to Baal.’

Like Elias, we live also in a time of universal perfidy. Few among the powers of Church or State seek the true God. They turn away from truth and revel in lies. An inspired poet predicted our time to perfection.

Come to my rescue, Lord. Piety is dead. In a base world, true hearts have grown rare. None but exchanges empty forms of speech with his neighbour; everywhere false hearts and treacherous lips. Those treacherous lips, that tongue with high-sounding phrases; Lord, rid the earth of them! ‘With our tongues,’ they say, ‘we can do great things; our lips are good friends to us; we own no master.’
Ps 11:2–5

Like Elias, I too can be discouraged. I am tired, I am alone, and I am fighting a seemingly hopeless battle. I too could easily sit down in the shade of a juniper tree and say, ‘It is enough for me, Lord, take away my soul. I am no better than my fathers.’

But lo, an Angel appears. The ‘Angel of the Testament’ foretold by Malachi. He is Jesus Christ. He feeds me with the Bread of Travellers and, far from the noise of wind and earthquake, He speaks to me. ‘Retrace your steps! I have told you all this from the beginning.’

Beware of men. They will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues. You shall be hated by all men for my name's sake.
Mt 10:17–22

And you shall be betrayed by your parents and brethren, and kinsmen and friends; and some of you they will put to death. And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake.
Lk 21:16–17

In the world you shall have distress.
Jn 16:33

'But fear not!' says the Angel, 'I will not abandon you; I will be with you all days even to the consummation of the world.’

They will deliver you up. But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or what to speak: for it shall be given you in that hour what to speak. For it is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you.
Mt 10:19–20)

You shall be hated by men. But a hair of your head shall not perish. In your patience you shall possess your souls.
— Lk 21:17–18

These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world.
Jn 16:33

The truths of the Catholic Faith were revealed to us once and for all by Our Lord Jesus Christ. They cannot change. The Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ is at the centre of the world and of all history. It has not lost its efficacy. There are ‘seven thousand’ others who have never bowed the knee to Baal. God requires of me not victory, but zeal; not clamour, only faithfulness. He will, at His chosen moment, manifest Himself.

‘Now,’ says the Lord, ‘I will bestir myself, on behalf of the helpless who are so ill used, of the poor who cry out so bitterly; I will win them the redress they long for.’

The promises of the Lord are true metal, like silver that is tested in the crucible, the stains of earth gone, seven times refined. Yes, Lord, thou wilt watch over us, and keep us ever safe from these evil days.

Ps 11:6–8

May God bless you,

Fr David Sherry

District Superior

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