BY JAMES BLANKENSHIP
Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” – John 6:67-68
The spiritual battle is raging, and evil seems to have free reign over all the institutions of the world, even the Church. All one has to do is read the news, and to be utterly shocked, dismayed, and disheartened by the unfolding sexual abuse crisis.
The Church has certainly struggled before. Yet it is so much harder to be living it rather than reading it on the pages of a history book. I am reminded of the story in Scripture where Christ is asleep on the boat, while it is getting thrashed around (Mark 4:37-38). Perhaps I have very little faith, but I can’t help crying out with the apostles, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
What are we to do?
How are we to stand firm in the faith (1Corinthians16:13) while the Barque of Peter gets thrashed about?
Here are five suggestions to help us gain our sea legs and weather the storm that currently engulfs our Church.
Prayer is our connection to the Lord wherein he gives us the strength to remain firm in our Faith. One prayer, most particular, has been given great power from heaven — the Rosary.
Sister Lucia, one of the seers at Fatima, said “The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families … that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.”
Offer prayers for those victimized and all in need of healing in this crisis.
When Our Lady appeared to the three children she asked them (and us) to make sacrifices for sinners:
Make sacrifices for sinners, and say often, especially while making a sacrifice: O Jesus, this is for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The bishops and priests who have perpetrated these horrendous crimes face the potential of hell if they do not repent. We must offer up every little sacrifice for them and their eternal salvation. You might have others in mind, as well, who can benefit from the sacrifices you make.
First Saturday Devotions
At Fatima, Our Lady also asked us to make reparations for sins committed against her Immaculate Heart by doing certain devotions on the First Saturday of five consecutive months. What did Our Lady ask us to do:
- Pray the Rosary
- Receive Communion
- Go to Confession
- Keep Our Lady company by meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary for fifteen minutes. This is in addition to saying the Rosary.
Why five Saturday’s? Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, gives a great explanation of this devotion and the significance of five Saturday’s.
Study the Catholic Faith
We can only weather this storm against our faith if we first know what our faith teaches us. I recommend sitting down with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and studying the doctrines of our Faith. The Catechism is also replete with Scripture so you will be studying the Faith and reading the Scriptures at the same time!
Stay Close to the Sacraments
Stay close to the Sacraments, especially Confession. Lest we fall into the trap of judging others, we must constantly judge ourselves and see how we measure up to the Divine Perfection that we are called to. Confession not only keeps us free of sin and helps us to avoid sin, but it also keeps us humble. By confessing our sins regularly, we see how much we need the Lord’s help. So when we read the news and are tempted to be harsh with our bishops and priests we can remember, there but for the grace of God go I!
At the end of the dramatic scene in Scripture mentioned at the beginning of this article, we are told that the Lord “woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Quiet! Be still!’” The wind ceased and there was great calm (Mark 4:39). Christ will do the same today, and we will all have a stronger faith when this crisis subsides and calm is restored in our Church.
JAMES BLANKENSHIP is the director of religious education at St. Francis de Sales Church in Purcellville, Virginia. He is the founder of the St. Isidore Project, dedicated to the poor by growing food and offering education and community.
READ MORE: Coping with Church Sex Abuse Scandals: Resources for Catechists
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