Sunday, November 9, 2014

Finding Safety in the Midst of the Storm


I have been seeing the word "schism" used on Catholic websites and blogs many times in the last couple of weeks since the Synod, and even on secular sources.  Many conservative and traditional Catholics feel that the traditions of the Church are under attack by "liberal" priests and bishops, including His Holiness, Pope Francis.  An "us versus them" mentality has truly taken hold among many who call themselves Catholic, and the tragic part is that it is Catholic against Catholic.

Last spring, Bishop Athanasius Schneider gave an interview [HERE] in which he said, "we are in the fourth great crisis [of the Church], in a tremendous confusion over doctrine and liturgy. We have already been in this for 50 years."  His Excellency said in the interview that if God is merciful to us, this crisis will only last another 20 to 30 years.

According to the linked article, Bishop Schneider "can foresee a split coming, leading to an eventual renewal of the Church on traditional lines. But, he believes, this will not be before the crisis has plunged the Church further into disarray."

It surely does seem that many conservative and traditional Catholics are itching to go up against the hierarchy of the Church.  Many on the Internet have no hesitation in calling the Magesterium of the Church "evil".  They attack the Holy Father almost with glee.

Instead of seeing the Internet fueling the growing schism, Bishop Schneider is very grateful for cyberspace.  "Thanks be to God, the internet exists."  His Excellency seems to believe that much of the salvation of the Church lies in Joe Catholic in the pew standing up for "what is right."  The problem is, everyone is convinced of his or her own rightness and the wrongness of anyone who disagrees. The Internet seems to embody the words of Judges 21:25 - "all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes."

So what is a faithful Catholic to do when bishops seem to be aligning against other bishops, and "conservatives" against "liberals"?  How do we maintain our equilibrium and not lose our faith?  Let me ask this.  When you see a storm approaching, do you run out into the storm and try to fight it?  Or do you find the safest place you can go and stay put until the storm passes?

As storms swirl around the Church, is our spiritual safety to be found in our own righteousness?  Are we competent to pass judgments on others, especially the hierarchy, and accuse them of trying to destroy the Church?  Are we able to understand the ways of God and know exactly how He is working through the Church in bringing the saving message of the Gospel to the world?  Just who can we trust?

Credit;  www.godfrey.info
The Church herself has given us many safe places in which to hide. First and foremost, we have Our Lord who is present in all of the tabernacles of the Catholic Church everywhere in the world. Archbishop Fulton Sheen never a let day go by without an hour in front of the tabernacle. In fact, he died while kneeling in front of the tabernacle. Bishop Sheen saw many controversies in his years as priest and bishop, and was the recipient of attacks from other prelates. But nothing ever disturbed him. He was never shaken in his faith. What grounded him?

Here are a few quotes about the benefits of adoration from Bishop Sheen:

"The holy hour becomes like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the foul and fetid atmosphere of the world."

"Neither theological action nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are proceeded by a personal encounter with Him in Adoration."

"During out Holy Hour we grow more and more into His likeness."

"A Holy Hour of Adoration in our modern rat race is necessary for authentic prayer."

"A Holy Hour becomes a magister and teacher.  Theological insights are gained not only from the covers of a treatise, but on two knees before the Blessed Sacrament."

Bishop Sheen was not the only one who saw the vital importance of time before the Blessed Sacrament:

St. John Paul II:  "The spiritual lives of our families are strengthened through our Holy Hour."

"The future belongs to those who worship God in silence."

St. Alphonsus Ligouri - "Our Lord hears our prayers anywhere, but He has revealed to His servants that those who visit Him in the Eucharist will obtain a more abundant measure of grace."

"Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament consoles a soul far beyond what the world can offer."

"A Holy Hour will give you more strength during life and more consolation at the hour of your death and eternity."

Father John Hardon:  "It is impossible in human terms to exaggerate the importance of being in adoration before the Eucharist as often and for as long as our duties and state of life allow."

"During our Holy Hour our souls are fed in two faculties of the spirit - the Mind and the Will.  In the Mind, we need light; in the Will we need strength."

"I strongly recommend that each of us make a resolution, no matter how much the decision may cost us, to make a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament. . .once a week."

St. John Bosco:  "Do you want the Lord to give you many graces?  Visit Him often.  Do you want Him to give you few graces?  Visit Him rarely.  Do you want the devil to attack you?  Visit Jesus rarely in the Blessed Sacrament.  Do you want him to flee from you?  Visit Jesus often!"

St. Padre Pio:  "A Holy Hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament is worth more than a thousand years of human glory."

St. John XXIII:  "There is no doubt that a flood of graces will descend upon your family and the world if more souls would become docile pupils of adoration."

St. Bernadette Soubirous:  "The Eucharist bathes the tormented soul in light and love.  Then the soul appreciates these word, 'Come all you who are sick.  I will restore your health."

Blessed Mother Teresa:  "In order to convert America and save the World what we need is for every parish to come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Hours of prayer."

These are just a few quotes from saints and other holy people who so obviously benefited from following their own words.  I would offer that regular visits to the Blessed Sacrament are actually vital to our personal spiritual health and the health of the Church.  There is no safer place from spiritual storms than in the presence of Jesus Christ, which is available wherever there is a Catholic Church.


The Rosary is also another great haven in a storm.  Following are just a few quotes about the efficacy and power of the Rosary:
“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world.”
Pope Blessed Pius IX

“The greatest method of praying is to pray the Rosary.”
Saint Francis de Sales

“When the Holy Rosary is said well, it gives Jesus and Mary more glory and is more meritorious than any other prayer.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.”
Saint Dominic

“If you say the Rosary faithfully unto death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins, ‘you will receive a never-fading crown of glory’ (1 St. Peter 5:4).”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“The Rosary is THE weapon.”
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)

“You must know that when you ‘hail’ Mary, she immediately greets you! Don’t think that she is one of those rude women of whom there are so many—on the contrary, she is utterly courteous and pleasant. If you greet her, she will answer you right away and converse with you!”
Saint Bernardine of Siena

“Recite your Rosary with faith, with humility, with confidence, and with perseverance.”
Saint Louis de Montfort
“The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God…and if you wish peace to reign in your homes, recite the family Rosary.”
Pope Saint Pius X

“Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day become a formal heretic or be led astray by the devil.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practice black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if—and mark well what I say—if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.”
Saint Louis de Montfort

“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.”
Sister Lucia dos Santos, Fatima seer
There are many other ways to stay sane in the midst of madness: go to Mass every day or as often as you possibly can. Receive the graces from the Sacrament of penance by going a couple times a month. Read the saints. Read the "Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis. This was a favorite book of St. Therese of Lisieux and many other saints. Read the Bible, the written Word of God. Ground yourself in the words of God rather than a lot of blowhards (including yours truly) on the Internet. Read the Bible.  If you can, pray the Divine Liturgy, which can be found HERE.  

In other words, bury yourself in Jesus Christ.  He is the haven in the storm.  He will keep you safe and warm, and nothing will be able to touch you.

Psalm 121:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

2 comments:

  1. ahhh....
    You are my voice of clarity once again!
    Thank You for this article!
    Excellent advice!
    I am off to heed it...right after I bookmark this page!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, A very good article, as usual.
    There is a serious risk of schism over the recent Synod. We can see that risk in what came from the Traditional Mass.
    A handful of Bishops and Priest chose to be more faithful to the Latin Mass than to the Catholic Church. This could happen again.
    People are defending their attack on the Synod citing it is confusing to the Catholic Faithful.
    I believe the point they are missing is that the truly Catholic Faithful are not confused. The truly Catholic Faithful have faith in the Majesterium.
    There is a lot of Church teaching I do not understand. There is even a little I do not agree with. I do not have to understand and agree to be Catholic, but I do have to obey in order to be Catholic.
    To be in Communion with the Church, I must submit religious obedience to her Teaching. In that obedience I have no need to be disturbed or afraid. All I have to do is remember my Psalm 23 to know that His rod and staff comfort me.

    ReplyDelete

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