A fragment… ne pereat

I am struggling to get an article written for the paper this week, the column which gave this blog its name.

This week I had both a hard time getting going, and then a hard time stopping once I did.  Grrr.

I think I might have to cut this part, for length… but,… ne pereat:

You, I am sure, as I am, are faced often with very dark moments.

We live in a scary era. 

My heart quails sometimes. 

The Rosary, with its glorious mysteries, can be of help.

In reading the great liturgist Romano Guardini in The Rosary of Our Lady, actually on the third glorious mystery, I found this… just as an illustration of how we are not in fact trapped within the prison of the world:

The Holy Ghost is also sent to us.  Through his coming we are no longer orphans.  He is with us, if only we ourselves will stay with him.  He leads our lives through all that is concealed, but we must leave our hand in his.  If we beseech him and open ourselves up to him with heart and soul, he shows us how to know Christ, and in Christ ourselves.  But where darkness prevails – because our earthly life is hardened – he gives us a divine “nevertheless,” as Paul says, “testimony to our spirit that we are sons of God,” and the certainty that “for those who love God all things work together unto good” (Rom 8:16, 28)”.

Do you hear a foreshadowing of GS 22?


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Joan Ellen says:

    “You, I am sure, as I am, are faced often with very dark moments.

    We live in a scary era.

    My heart quails sometimes.

    The Rosary, with its glorious mysteries, can be of help.”

    Father, thank you for the above words.
    Won’t more and more of us have these dark moments in the future as reality starts to hit home.

    Just last week I had two days of dark, only I called them bleak. Sometimes I can tell my self “I’m not going there” and get out of it. The first time last week I ate a healthy food and got out of it instantly. The next time last week I got on my knees to ask Our Blessed Mother for help, and told her “If I have nothing else, I have the Rosary.” The bleakness left instantly.

    Thank you again Father.

  2. John Enright says:

    Father, I mean this with complete reverence and respect for you; I’ve never seen you at a loss for words! I’m quite confident that you will be inspired by the Holy Spirit to complete your article. God bless!

  3. Lukas says:

    Dear Fr. Z, I will bring you with me to Mass today and will pray for you.
    I am very thankfull that I discovered your blog and podcasts and I can learn as a new convert so much, even though I wish to gain more wisdom and understanding to really grasp what you are saying but I guess not everyone is gifted with such an intellect. I am dreaming of not just hearing Benedikt XI. (a fellow countrymen ;)) words one day but also understand them. So I will keep reading and studying and beg the Holy Spirit to enlighten me.

    God bless you and your important work

  4. Dave N says:

    I needed this post this morning. Especially the last paragraph.

  5. shadrach says:

    Benedict Groeschel’s books are great underscorers of the divine nevertheless. Stumbling blocks or stepping stones and arise from darkness are masterpieces.

  6. michigancatholic says:

    For reference–the whole thing is too long to post but here’s about the last 3rd of Gaudium Spes 22:

    ….”If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the death dwells in you, then he who raised Jesus Christ from the dead will also bring to life your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom. 8:11).(29) Pressing upon the Christian to be sure, are the need and the duty to battle against evil through manifold tribulations and even to suffer death. But, linked with the paschal mystery and patterned on the dying Christ, he will hasten forward to resurrection in the strength which comes from hope.(30)

    All this holds true not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way.(31) For, since Christ died for all men,(32) and since the ultimate vocation of man is in fact one, and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery.

    Such is the mystery of man, and it is a great one, as seen by believers in the light of Christian revelation. Through Christ and in Christ, the riddles of sorrow and death grow meaningful. Apart from His Gospel, they overwhelm us. Christ has risen, destroying death by His death; He has lavished life upon us(33) so that, as sons in the Son, we can cry out in the Spirit; Abba, Father(34)

    Fr. Z, thank you for everything you do for us. You are a God-sent help to us and I mean that in a literal way. You’re in my prayers today.

  7. michigancatholic says:

    PS, the whole thing can be found on the Vatican website. The references in ( ) are mostly scriptural, found at the end of the document.

  8. TNCath says:

    I know what you mean. I think last week took its toll on a lot of us. The only consolation we have it that God is in His Heaven and all will, in time, be well.

  9. Ruben says:

    Thank you for mentioning the Holy Spirit. He was very much on my mind this morning.

    There are two things Fulton Sheen said about the Holy Spirit that I think of often:

    “The Holy Spirit reveals the Son as the Son reveals the Father.” and
    “The Spirit reveals Jesus most perfectly when we obey God’s laws.”

    Simple enough, but I always feel assured when I think of this.

  10. Liz F. says:

    One night I was restless and worrying about our country, shortly after the election. I picked up a book next to my bed. In it was a drawing of Our Lady and the caption said something to the effect that she would someday save the world with a scapular and a rosary. It was very comforting. (It was comforting except I have some family members who won’t wear a scapular. My daughter carries hers in her purse. I tease her about her purse going to heaven, but to no avail.) I guess in all of these things we just pray a little more and do a little more penance. That’s not to say that some days I don’t worry, but I keep coming back to the comfort of our Faith. Aren’t we blessed to have it? Also I’m extra grateful for the contemplative orders. Can you imagine where we’d be without them?

  11. Wayward Sailor says:

    Along the same lines as Fr. Guardini’s illustration of the Third Glorious Mystery is this beautiful meditation by St. Francis de Sales. It has sustained me (and continues to sustain me)through difficult times, dispelling pessimism and giving me renewed hope:

    Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear; rather look to them with full hope that, as they arise,God will deliver you out of them. He has kept you hitherto – do you but hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand, He will bear you in His arms. Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then, and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

  12. michigancatholic says:

    That’s because the rosary is exactly a recitation of the Gospel–and one of the most elegant and useful methods of teaching/meditation/evangelization ever used by the church, and the scapular depends on your faith because it’s not a talisman.

  13. Ricky Vines says:

    How about taking it one step at a time as John Henry Newman prayed, “Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom, lead thou me on!… Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene; one step enough for me.”

  14. michigancatholic says:

    Carl, they can be signs of a lot of things, including passages in the spiritual life. And if recent events in the Church don’t give us some urgency for introspection of our own, I’d be worried about us. So don’t be so hasty.

  15. Ricky Vines says:

    Maybe it’s coincidence but my post last night was “Beat the Blues – What works for me”

    What killed me was when the entire ND student body chanted Obama’s mantra. If even made
    me doubt myself, if I am being an extremist. But when I started readying the posts and
    comments on the America magazine blog site, I got convinced that I am on the right side,
    the side of Mother Church.

  16. notyou says:

    Dear Fr.,

    I though you might find this worth commenting on:

  17. Stephen says:

    When in the desert, it is helpful to stop at this oasis:

    The LORD himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still. (Ex 14:14)

  18. michigancatholic says:


    Stand in the midst of the all the people that have ever lived, those in heaven, in purgatory and on earth. (As Catholics, we believe that people never just “pop out of existence,” right?) Look around. There you are. The number of people sporting cell phones is infinitessimally small, isn’t it? ;) There are not even very many democrats in that assemblage. How many Catholics are there?
    See? You’re not an extremist. Not at all.

    [If you want me to tell you that every second person on the street thinks exactly as you and I do, I can’t tell you that, however. This country is wacko, Europe is even wackier, and it’s getting worse by the minute. I don’t know where all this craziness will end up but it isn’t going to be pretty.

    On the other hand: Put yourself in Israel along about 30AD, living under Roman Rule. Things have sucked before (sorry Fr Z but it is the right word), but that didn’t make those 12 men following Christ, surely in the minority, wrong.]

  19. Gloria says:

    If yours is clinical depression, [Nooo… for heaven’s sake! It is called having some tough days, as everyone does, coupled by an acute case of writer’s block and being up against a publishing deadline! Try writing as much as I do in a day and… well… it happens.] Father, then there are untold numbers of us with the same condition. These days are becoming darker. The worst is yet to come; and this comment is from one who is the eternal optimist. Any problems you have with getting all your thoughts down on paper, sorting out whatever you need and MUST share, will be solved by the Holy Spirit and Our Lady’s promptings. As I glory in the Ascension this evening during High Mass at St. Stephen’s in Sacramento, I will keep you in my prayers. It is the day of promise that the Paraclete will come. In “Divine Intimacy,” the meditation for today quotes the Epislte from Acts: “You shall receive the power of the Holy Ghots coming upon you and you shall be witnesses unto Me…even to the uttermost part of the earth.” It goes on to say, “…they were there, around the Master, weak, timid, frightened, like little children watching their mother leave for a distand unknown land.” We feel the same, particularly in these days; while at the same time we are saved in hope. You are a fine witness and have many hearers. God blesses your efforts and so do we.

  20. Kate says:

    I have a little gift for you, Fr. Z. I find small gifts often untie knots. It is a thank you for all that you are doing, and it is related to this post. Here it is (and I hope you haven’t gotten it already!):


  21. Gloria says:

    No! No! Father. I wasn’t saying you had clinical depression. I was referencing another comment (didn’t go back to look for it) that suggested it. That’s why I said, if you did, then there are a whole bunch of us in the same boat! Grrr! Frustrated sometimes, yes. Wary, yes. Praying for guidance and heavenly help, yes. Uh, words fail me.

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