Pray, fast, sign
Guys, what a couple weeks. I’m reeling. Everyone I know who takes their faith seriously is reeling. I have prayed more in the last month than in perhaps the last 6 months combined (which does not paint me in a good light, I can assure you).
First and foremost, I encourage everyone reading this to make time for an hour a week for Adoration. Get to confession as frequently as you can. I try to go once a month because our parish has incredible access to this sacrament, but I need to go once a week. The more I go, the more I find to confess. If your parish doesn’t have regular hours for confession, call up the parish office and make an appointment with your pastor. It is one of his most important and privileged duties as a priest, and the more they are asked for it, the more the good ones will make it available.
If your parish doesn’t have Adoration, visit the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.
If your parish is locked during the day, park your car in the lot closest to the back wall of the sanctuary (or wherever Jesus is reposed) and pray there. I’m not kidding. My mom made many a holy hour in her parked minivan this way when we were growing up in a small town with a single, mediocre parish that had never heard of a monstrance.
Make time for a daily rosary. We have tried (and failed) to pray it as a family, but we’re at least getting one decade done most days. I pray the other four in sections throughout the day, and if it’s not the best effort I can put forth, it is 1,000 times better than the rosary I don’t pray at all. Divine Mercy chaplets are great – and fast – too. We do a decade of Divine Mercy as soon as the kids get in the car after school, even if they scream about it.
Make time everyday to read Scripture. If I had spent half the time in the Word today that I spent on Twitter, I would wager my blood pressure would be in a better place right now.
While you’re making time to read Scripture, why not commit 5 or 10 minutes a day to reading some papal encyclicals? If you’re confused about which ones to start with, how about those penned by previous Holy Fathers who have been beatified or canonized by the Church: Humanae Vitae, Evangelium Vitae, and Mulieris Dignitatem would all be great places to start.
And what else?
Sign this letter, presently going viral online.
Comment on this post and I’ll add your name to the list of signatures on the letter I wrote last week. Write your own letter to the nuncio, to Cardinal DiNardo, to your local bishop, or to Pope Francis himself. Feel free to adapt mine to your own use.
Make a specific sacrifice tied to the crises in the Church right now. I’m fasting from social media on Fridays and Sundays, and it is hard and also very, very refreshing. We’re also trying to be better about the thing we’re all supposed to be doing (in lieu of an alternate intention that we actually carry out – we never seem to) and abstaining from meat on Fridays.
I’ve heard people complain that prayer doesn’t change anything, that prayer is useless in the face of such evil. I get it. I also wonder, since what prayer changes is actually, well, us, whether a deeper and more sincere prayer life in the lives of some of our priests could have spared us a universe of heartache.
Finally, do not let the chaos of this time of uncertainty (looks meaningfully into mirror) rob you of the joy of ordinary time. We are still mothers, fathers, roommates, friends, and sons. We still have jobs to attend to and dishes to wash and trains to catch. I tried to spend a few moments this morning paying special attention to my baby’s fluffy head, the lovely flower my destructive toddler liberated from the garden, the soft warm late summer air in our backyard. It feels like the sky is falling, but in reality, all is still as it was before.
The difference is, now we know about it.
I don’t mean this to minimize the scandal or the evil in any way, but to remind myself, foremost, that life as we know it has not ended. We are still called to become saints, to give our lives to our vocations, and to pay the bills and keep the lights on.
Great article, Jenny. Please feel free to add my name to your letter. I am signing every petition that I come across!
Anne Marie Mahoney
Add my name please!
Once I recommitted myself to a daily rosary, I’ve been surprised to see how many little pockets of time present themselves throughout the day to pray! Also, I’ve been playing a rosary recording off YouTube through our living room Bluetooth speakers & it’s so helpful to stay on track with all little kids. I find it necessary for someone else to lead when I’m with the all under 2 crowd 😉
Thank you Jenny. Very true. Good points. I love reading this. Makes me wish even more for a family! Thank you for what you write.
I’m trying to do all these things but sadly inconsistent, but I keep trying.
This morning I made time to read the Bible instead of the random tasks I usually do before work and opened to Ben Sira or Sirach? “When you come to serve the Lord prepare yourself for trials. Be sincere and steadfast and do not be impetuous in times of adversity, cling to him, do not leave him that you may prosper in your last days” – Wow, just the thing I needed to hear!
And thank you for writing – I appreciate and get great encouragement from you –
Thanks for this post! Such a great reminder that in the midst of this crisis we should not lose hope, Christ has the victory!
Thank you for your beautifully written letter, please add my name.
Karen L Hostoffer
Thank you for the beautiful gift of your writing. It is hard to imagine going through this time in history without the support that you and the other writers at Blessed Is She have given. Your encouraging words and honesty (because in our humanity we all fail) I feel truly a part of this online community of faith. May God continue to grace your writing with an openness to the Holy Spirit and the Joy of the Gospel.
“It feels like the sky is falling, but in reality, all is still as it was before.
The difference is, now we know about it.
I don’t mean this to minimize the scandal or the evil in any way, but to remind myself, foremost, that life as we know it has not ended.”
I think differently. I think life as we know it has ended and we need to create a new way of living. Because if your life is fully focused on being a disciple of Jesus Christ, and you look to your parish priest, local bishop, pope, and the Magisterial teachings of the Church as your guide to that end, then life as you know it has ended because the trust you have placed in these guides has been called into question. To a huge degree. There are the priests we know about, but there are the ones we don’t know about and never will. And their lives are flawed. Seriously flawed. And they are in positions not just of leadership, but of DOCTRINAL and MORAL AUTHORITY. Laugh at that. Then cry. Because how do you know that all the teachings coming forth are really not tainted with their own moral disorder. I think I am right about that. Because frankly, scandal aside, please tell me if you have never been to a parish where the words coming out of some priest’s mouth did not make your blood boil. Because you knew he was not speaking the truth. Now multiply that a bit. Tell me that you have never been to a liturgy that has seemed quite out of line. Now multiply that a bit. Or how about the parish that you dread being a member at and find yourself going elsewhere to avoid the blatant problems you see at your own? Multiply that a bit. These are telling signs of underlying problems directly related to these scandals caused by flawed leadership.
If anything, life is not the same. Because we know less about what is going on after having heard more of what is going on.
I don’t have time to develop this further. It’s late. But truly, life is not the same. Jesus, however, is the same, Yesterday, Today, and Forever. And the Church is the Rock, even when the leadership is quicksand.
There was already a lingering feeling of distrust going on long before the surfacing of these current scandals. And now we know why we were having that uneasy feeling about various things. How many snakes are there mixing in with the holy ones? How many have been pushed this way and that way by their brother priests (or fellow seminarians) to conform to nonsense? How many divert attention away from one area of life in the Church by drawing attention to other things? How many are worldly rather than spiritual? How many good and holy priests have to hide in some dark corner for trying to do the right thing for their little parish while the snakes parade around arrogantly smashing those in their parish who question their actions?
As for the scandal itself: It is appalling to get a sense that there is all of this sexual activity going on as “consensual” and that it is not “against any laws” for that reason! It most certainly is: it is against God’s law and it goes completely against the virtue of chastity. I’ve read people’s comments about celibacy and they confuse that with chastity. Celibacy means a priest may not marry, and in some twisted way, they thus conclude that they can engage in sexual relations with other “consenting” adults? Could that explain why their moral teachings are so vacant? What they really mean is that they will turn their face the other way and ignore what clearly is wrong. It sounds like the normative state of things perhaps, so it is in the shadows of life. But really, is that whom we wish to listen to tell us how to live a holy life? Is that whom we wish to go to confession and receive spiritual counsel?
One thing that should be clear to people is that if the sins of one man can be so obviously destructive to so many people, how much more should we realize the impact of our own sinfulness in life. So, as many good and holy priests are pointing the way towards spiritual responses to this scandal, listen well to them to the degree that they point to holiness. And if they aren’t talking about holiness, don’t listen to them. In fact, go have a talk with them. Ask them how they plan to lead your parish to holiness, and if they don’t know how, perhaps they should ask their bishop to remove them from the parish, because their job is first and foremost to lead by example of a holy life. See if they cringe. This is a time for DISCERNMENT OF SPIRITS. You can most effectively affect the world to the degree that you pursue holiness. Because holiness has every bit as much of an impact as does sinfulness. Carefully living out your vocation to marriage and motherhood with joy and virtue will lead to that holiness. In the humility of living out our vocation, holiness shines forth and leads others to follow Jesus Christ.
God bless you always in that pursuit.
Maria Grace Perez, JMJ
PLEASE HOLD ON TO THE POPE! NEVER LOSE YOUR FAITH! PRAY THE HOLY ROSARY! PRAISE ALWAYS: “HAIL MARY MOST PURE CONCEIVED WITHOUT SIN”; “HAIL MARY FULL OF GRACE”! No matter what they say to our Pope/s; to our Bishops, Priests even Nuns; Please Rest ASSURED that no power of hell can destroy the Catholic Faith and the Roman Catholic Church! New Title: “Queen and Mother of the End Times” Imprimatur by Most Rev Abelardomata 03 Aug 2018. Meaning: the Lady is Ready; She will Crash the Head of the Serpent! Gen 3:15. Revelation Mary [Authentic it is the Lord and the Lady’s Messages.] Also, see Our End Time prophesied by Daniel 8:24-25; explanations at time4grace.com. Daniel 12:1 [we will have St Michael and the Angels rescuing the elect]. Love all and do not hate. Thanks and God Bless you all! Do NOT be afraid. Call the Lady and Lord Jesus!