I had a note the other day. It included a frustrated phrase and list:
Steamroller. That’s the right image. Exaltation and exaggeration of Amoris, feckless bishops, seminarian repressions renewed, undermining Summorum, synod idolization, devolution danger, homosexuals, deaconesses, intercomnunion hucksters, admiration of Luther, global warming zombies, just war deniers, immigration fanatics, capitalism haters, cassock attackers, and now Canadian bishops nod to euthanasia.
How about …?
Yep. I admit it. This is how I have often felt these days. I have. And it is really grinding me down. I also have in my mail box notes from people who are truly shaken and anxious. Not a few notes. Hence, I know that I am not alone, which is both consoling and alarming at the same time.
We have to lift our chins and stand firm and be Christians who really believe.
May I recommend that you all memorize and recite often the Acts of Faith, Hope and Charity? Especially, for now at least, when you are down, the Acts of Faith and Hope?
There are many versions, but here are the ones I know:
ACT OF FAITH
O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in Three Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived.
ACT OF HOPE
O my God, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I
hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and Life Everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.
ACT OF CHARITY
O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured.
In my experience, and I think priests will back me up, people tend to die as they have lived. We develop life habits and they carry through to death. Rare are the instances when the patterns people bake in over the years suddenly change on the verge of death. Musicians practice endlessly so that their technique becomes virtually automatic. In sports, athletes develop muscle memory and skills from repetitions. Soldiers drill and drill and drill so that when the terrifying part starts, they act rightly, when things go sideways, they can react.
This is how we have to live our lives. We have to train for heaven, practice, drill, repeat and repeat again. Parents, give your children a great gift: inculcate into them the building blocks of memorized prayers and tenets of the Faith. Once they have them, they can pop out at the needed moment. And don’t forget the Sacrament of Confirmation.
These prayers, these various Acts (along with the Act of Contrition), these devotions of ours, and sudden short prayers when fleeing from temptation, must go into our marrow so that they are so “ours” that they can’t not be ours when the Big Moment comes.
When you in your faith are under attack… ATTACK RIGHT BACK! Who the Hell do you think is trying to break you?
When you are feeling hopeless or despondent… HOPE IT UP! Who the Hell do you think wants you to despair?
I don’t think so.
Memorize the prayers. Once they are memorized, they are part of you. Then get them into your marrow by reciting them frequently and over a long period of time… like until you DIE, which is going to happen pretty soon, as it turns out.
In WWII there was colonel of the 1st Rangers named William Darby who said:
“Onward we stagger. And if the tanks come, may God help the tanks!”