From a reader…
Why should I remain Catholic and believe the Catholic Church’s, when the Church HERSELF doesn’t even seem to believe In her own message?
I attend Mass with my family weekly, mostly to maintain spiritual harmony in our home. However, I sit in the pew of the modern parish, stoic and silent. I am essentially non-practicing. I have to say that the ecumenical lovefest in Lund was the final nail in my Catholic coffin
I am getting emails like this with greater frequency.
With the recent comments of the Holy Father about young persons and the Latin Mass…as a young person it hurt me immensely and at times has made me feel as if I have no place in the Church and limited to doubts. Pray for me. Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. All I want to do is be faithful to the Catholic Church, that is all I want, but things seem so dark lately. I am doing my best, I go to Mass and Confession every week. … Pray for a strengthening in my faith, I don’t want to doubt, and I don’t want to fear about the Pope. This is all foolishness on my part, but I ask for prayers on my behalf. That I can be faithful to the Church ALWAYS. I understand a response might not be possible, I know you are busy, but prayers are all I ask for.
How to respond?
First things first:
Brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power. Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God). By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints: And for me, that speech may be given me, that I may open my mouth with confidence, to make known the mystery of the gospel. For which I am an ambassador in a chain, so that therein I may be bold to speak according as I ought.
These words from Ephesians speak to me today in a special ringing way. I’ve determined that I need to make a few changes to my own prayer life in order to deal with this onslaught, which weighs heavily on my mind and heart.
Now, let me speak as I ought.
We are living in very strange times, in which many things seem upside down. The Enemy can take advantage of our disorientation to urge us in directions which, in more stable days, we would never consider.
Does anyone here really think that the Devil is not roaming the earth like a roaring lion seeking whom he might devour? I firmly believe that. It is the sole goal of the Enemy to steal souls from heaven so that God will have just that much less glory, that there will be just that much less joy. Therefore, the Enemy will target the Church that Christ founded, through whose mediation every soul is saved.
Never underestimate the savagely cruel, relentlessly clever work of the Enemy of our souls. When I signed up, when I became a Catholic, I committed to what I was in for… though you never really know what you are in for, until you are actually in it.
“But things are going so wrong now!”, some say.
In the satirical writings, dialogues, of the 14th c. Italian author Boccaccio there is story about a Jew who has to go to Rome for something. The local Bishop has been trying to get the Jew to convert the Christianity. Knowing the Jew was about to see the Church at its worst in Rome, the corruption and moral turpitude of many of the clerics and religious, even Popes like the Borgias, the Bishop despaired that the Jew would ever covert on his return. However, once returned from his trip, the Jew went to the Bishop and said, “I’m ready to convert now!” The Bishop, flabbergasted, replied, “You went to Rome and you saw how horrid things were there… and you still want to join this Church?” “Yes”, said the Jew. “I figure that with so many wicked and corrupt people hard at work trying to destroy the Church, it shouldn’t have lasted 14 years, much less 14 centuries. It has to be of divine origin!”
The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ. That fact alone should be compelling enough for us even in our darkest moments of doubts. If Christ founded it, why would we ever want to be anywhere else?
He founded the Church and gave His own authority to her to teach, to govern and to sanctify. He gave her the ordinary means of our salvation in the Sacraments He instituted. When we pray in our sacred liturgical worship, Christ Himself is praying with our voices, gesturing with our hands in intimate unity with us through our baptismal character.
If we see someone wounded, we run fast to help. We open our veins to give blood in times of emergency.
If we see people who are on fire or being attacked, we run towards the gunfire, towards the blaze.
Let’s now gird ourselves for battle.
Some of you will be in the front lines where the clash is. Some will be in the supporting ranks, where the binding of wounds takes place. Some will be on supply lines. Some will provide QRF. Some will be on oversight. Some will provide command and control. We all have to step up and own who we are as Catholics and own our vocations. We must own our missions and our roles. If we focus on our individual pain we won’t serve our cause well.
Let us be warriors together, not worriers separated.