December 2, 2015 – “Dear children, I am always with you because my Son entrusted you to me. And you, my children, you need me, you are seeking me, you are coming to me and you are bringing joy to my motherly heart. I have, and always will have, love for you; for you who suffer and who offer your pains and sufferings to my Son and to me. My love seeks the love of all of my children, and my children seek my love. Through love, Jesus seeks unity between Heaven and earth; between the Heavenly Father and you, my children – His Church. Therefore, it is necessary to pray much, to pray and love the Church to which you belong. Now, the Church is suffering and needs apostles who by loving unity, by witnessing and giving, show the ways of God. The Church needs apostles who by living the Eucharist with the heart do great works; it needs you, my apostles of love. My children, from the very beginning the Church was persecuted and betrayed, but day by day it grew. It is indestructible because my Son gave it a heart – the Eucharist, and the light of His resurrection shone and will continue to shine upon it. Therefore, do not be afraid. Pray for your shepherds that they may have the strength and the love to be bridges of salvation. Thank you.”
There’s a lot of confusion, and ugliness out there in the world. We see so much of it that sometimes we tend to wonder what the future holds, especially in the Church. It’s hard not to think about it, and I’m sure most of us have at one point or another.
Persecution, secularism, modernism, terrorism, heresy. So much seems to be swallowing up the Church, attacking Her from all sides. And it’s never easy to watch. Most of us tend to feel helpless, or discouraged by all of this, more so when watching others leave the Church. Faith just simply appears to be diminishing right before our very eyes.
Where are we going? What will become of Mother Church?
I often ponder over Our Lady’s messages concerning the Church, and think about what Jesus told the Apostles before His Passion. They both have promised us that no matter what evil will not conquer the Church. No matter how ugly, bloody, or hopeless the situation the gates of Hell will not prevail. Fear is futile.
“It is indestructible because my Son gave it a heart – the Eucharist…”
“So now I say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my community. And the gates of the underworld can never overpower it.” [Matthew 16:18]
The Lord always has a plan even if we can’t see or understand it. Our job, in the meantime, is to walk with faith. Believe that the victory has already been won, and do our part to obey His will, and to keep praying. Especially we pray for priests, religious life, for non-believers and believers. Most importantly, we’re reminded to live the Eucharist, which should always be at the center of our lives.
I recently picked up one of Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s books called Communism and the Conscience of the West. I’m one of those people who takes forever to finish a book, but seriously, this one is so full of wisdom I’m happy to be taking my sweet time with it. You could just feel the Holy Spirit in every word, it’s so enlightening. I highly recommend!
Anyway, I came upon a section in the book where Sheen discusses the Church, and how it manages to rise above the darkness of persecution and modernism in great detail. It’s a little lengthy, but I promise it’s worth it. His words bring great encouragement and insight!
Here’s what Sheen said:
To those who are momentarily disheartened by the persecution of the Church, it must be remembered that the Church is less a continuing thing than a life that dies and arises again. The Risen Lord said to the Magdalen: “Do not touch Me.” (John 20:17) “Do not detain Me within the tomb, or think that I must always be as I was before my Resurrection.” The Magdalen had forgotten that He was now in the garden and not in the grave, a living Source of Life, and not a dead body to be covered with spices. We too are apt to think that the Church is supposed to be the same in every age, forgetful that its God is One Who knew His way out of the grave.
A charge that has often been alleged against the Church is that it does not suit the modern world. This is absolutely true. The Church has never suited the times in which it lived, for if it suited the times it would perish with them, and not survive them.
There is something always the same about the Church, and yet something very different. What is the same is that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” What is different is the fact that the Church is always converting every new age, not as an old religion, but as a new religion. The trees that are now budding in this springtime season are the same trees that were so firmly rooted in the ground last year, and there is something new about them, for if they did not die they would not be living again.
The Church is not a survival. It has returned again and again in the Western world of rapid changes in order to reconvert the world. Time and time again, the old stone has been rejected by the builders, but within a century it was brought back from the rubbish heap and became the head of the corner of the temple of peace.
Here is the great difference between the Church and the secular civilizations: the Church has the power of self-renewal, civilizations have not. They become exhausted and perish but they never renew themselves. When a civilization such as Babylon, Sparta and Athens fulfills its appointed vocation and exhausts itself, it passes away from the face of the earth forever. There is not a single record of a civilization that ever perished which rose again. But with the Church it is different; it has the power of coming out of the grave, of apparently being defeated by an age, and then becoming suddenly victorious, “for the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”
The Church has often been “killed,” once with the Arian heresy, then with the Albigensian heresy, then with Voltaire, Darwin, and now with the three forms of totalitarianism, red, brown, black, but somehow or other, as each succeeding age tolled the bell for its execution, it was the Church that finally buried the age. At this particular moment, there are those who feel because we live in days of persecution, and because the Church has gone down into the catacombs once again in Europe, they must shed pious and reverential tears over its sepulcher, never realizing that if they would look through their tears as the Magdalen did, they would see the Son of God walking once more victorious upon the hills of the morning.
One would think that the world after 1900 years of experience would give up bringing the spices for its interment. It was supposed to have been killed during the first ten persecutions; it was supposed to have withered under the light of the age of reason; it was supposed to have been swallowed up by the earth in the age of revolution; it was supposed to have been antiquated by the advance of science and evolution; and it is now supposed to be buried in the days of our contemporary anti-religious revolutions. But the fact is that it is just being sepulchered in the bowels of the earth where it is digging catacombs and whence one day it will emerge to reconquer the earth.
If at this moment we are going into the catacombs, it is only as Christ went into the grave. The world might just as well expect to see Him there permanently interred, as they might look for the freezing star, for “heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Word shall not pass away.”