Today marks the 494th Anniversary of the nailing of the "95 Theses" to the door of Wittenburg Cathedral by one Martin Luther. Now, Luther didn't really nail his theses to the door, that's a lot of paper to nail to a door, but it does make a damn good story. This anniversary is celebrated in some Protestant churches, and in Slovenia. Don't ask me why they celebrate it in Slovenia even though they're mostly Catholic, I don't know. Anyways. Moving on.
I don't want to discount the atrocities that have occurred on both sides of the reformation. To be sure, countless souls have perished over the centuries and neither Catholics nor Protestants are free of blame in this. But that is not my purpose in writing today. I think we need to celebrate today.
You see, the Reformation instituted the Counter-Reformation. And from this Counter-Reformation the Church has drawn immeasurable profit. Let us take a quick look at the fruits of the Counter-Reformation. The Council of Trent was a direct response to the problem of the Reformation. From this Council came the official Roman Canon And the commissioning of the first Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Numerous big-name saints made their marks in this era, including St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Phillip Neri. Also a product of the Counter-Reformation are the Jesuit, Capuchin, and Ursuline Orders as well as the reform of the Carmelite Order.
It's hard for me to imagine what the Church would look like today without the Counter-Reformation. So I say we celebrate. Not the atrocities, the wars, the bitterness, and the wounds inflicted on His Sacred Heart. No, I say we celebrate the way that our Lord can take such brokenness and raise it up and sanctify it and use it to His greater Glory. I say we celebrate the fact that our God does not work only through perfect vessels but with ordinary, sinful men and women. For if He could bring such good out of such a division, then surely he can do something beautiful with our broken, sinful lives.
Happy Reformation Day.