Venerable Fulton J. Sheen once stated that the Church goes through a crisis about every 500 years. Presently the Church is traversing an exceedingly painful period. Scandals seem to be rocking the Church to its very foundation. Indeed, many, especially the vulnerable, are exiting the Church in considerable numbers. Nobody can deny the fact that Holy Mother Church suffers deep, gaping wounds that will not be healed overnight.
The challenge is before us. We can jump ship or we can strive to mend the holes in the ship. We can throw in the towel and call it quits or we can fight the good fight until the end. Each and every one of us must make the choice.
I hope and pray that our choice will be the choice of Joshua and his entire family with these decisive words: “As for me and my family: we will follow the Lord!” (Josh 24: 15) May it be your choice in words and actions: “As for me and my family, we will stay in the Church and strive with every fiber of our being to transform the Church! And this transformation will commence with my own personal spiritual and moral life!”
In imitation of Joshua and his family and all the courageous saints of the past, we would like to offer ten short, clear, and practical helps to regroup, rebuild, restore, and start anew with this thought: “The worst of times can indeed be the best of times.” And may each of us decide this will start with me and my own personal life and commitment! Let us dig deep within our own hearts and strive for a radical conversion of life through the infinite love of the Merciful Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
- Fervent Prayer to Mary and the Holy Spirit
The nascent Church underwent a radical transformation and conversion due to the presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the infusion of the Holy Spirit. Read the account of Pentecost (Acts 2). At the prospect of Jesus’ Passion, suffering, and death on the cross, all of the Apostles, with the exception of Saint John, fled, paralyzed with fear. The little group of followers that Jesus chose basically jumped ship and abandoned the pursuit Jesus had instilled in them.
However, a powerful nine day Retreat (Novena) concluded with the sound of a rushing wind and fire as the Holy Spirit descended on Mary and the Apostles. Fears, doubts, confusion, insecurities—all disappeared through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the presence, prayer, penance, and perseverance of Mary, the Mother of God.
Mary gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem; Mary would be present at the birth of the Mystical Body of Christ on Pentecost. If indeed the Church is to undergo a deep reform and a deep healing it must come about by fervent, prolonged, sacrificial prayer, and the presence of Mary.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Doctor of the Church and author of the Glories of Mary, asserted: “When a person declines and descends into lukewarmness, it is because he is lacking the presence of Mary. Mary attains fire, fervor, and deep prayer!”
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