Dear sisters in Christ,
We must never be discouraged or give way to anxiety. . . but ever have recourse to the adorable Heart of Jesus. — St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
These are bold words. Never be discouraged. Never be anxious. Instead, go to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Aren’t many souls today steeped in discouragement and anxiety?
We can argue that today since there is so much confusion and chaos, maintaining constancy and peace are next to impossible. I’ve seen many people throw in the towel on this one; so, I think it’s crucial to note, relinquishing these dark voices is no easy task.
Yet, holiness is impossible to achieve without suffering. So, I think we have reason to hope. Christ exposes His most adorable Heart to us on the cross, and we too, when undergoing times of trial, are given the opportunity to expose our hearts as well.
Yes, it is easy to be discouraged. It is easy to be worried about the state of the world, and the state of the Holy Mother Church. But those thoughts of doubt and anxiety lead us to defensiveness, helplessness, and bitterness. Those are the voices of despair and contempt.
And we are not called to be people of anxiety, but instead, people of hope, steadfastness, and light.
All our earthly accomplishments and pursuits culminate in dust, but the things of God are eternal. It is not about the horizontal— the confusion, the frustration, our own likes and dislikes, it’s about God. It is always about the vertical. And no matter what happens, we can always come back to that Truth.
“To glorify God is the primary purpose of the Holy Mass.”— Dietrich von Hildebrand
A lot of people have been arguing over the mass lately. And many of those arguments consist of “I prefer” and “these people are…”.
There are broken people in all communities. There are people who reject Church doctrine, people who pick and choose what they think works best for them, and people whose hearts have been devoured by zeal. There are those who live their Faith according to particular influencers and reject all other teachers due to personal preference. But all of this is a lack of discernment, a lack of faith, a lack of formation, and an inordinate focus on the horizontal as opposed to the vertical: God.
When we lose sight of God, despair and uneasiness take root in our hearts. God is bigger than all our problems combined.
And our job is to simply give Him glory.
“The more a person loves God, the more reason he has to hope in Him. This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God, and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone.”
–Saint Alphonsus Liguori
This is a time of hope and steadfast trust. This is the time saints are made.
How can we respond to a Church in Crisis?
Go to Our Lady
Remember Mary at the foot of the cross. She knelt and prayed through Our Lord’s— her Son’s— passion. She watched in prayer, love, and submission to God. She was steadfast; she encountered the horror before her, but did not lose hope.
She simply loved and prayed.
She did not get up on the Cross. She stayed at the foot of the cross.
Christ is King. She never forgot this. She was not afraid to suffer. She remained focused on Christ.
No matter what happens, or how hard things get, we must be like Our Lady. We must kneel and pray in unwavering, endless love.
We were made for so much more: we were made for Heaven. So, there is no need to be discouraged.
While we are here on earth, through every calamity, we can give every pain to Christ to console His most Sacred Heart. We can stay at the foot of the cross and pray.
Pray the Rosary Every Day
Our Lady asks that we pray the rosary EVERY day.
St. Louis de Montfort gives us so many reasons why praying the rosary is incredibly efficacious and necessary:
1. Put you on the armor of God. So arm yourselves with the arms of God—with the Holy Rosary—and you will crush the devil’s head and you will stand firm in the face of all his temptations.
2. To say the Holy Rosary to advantage one must be in a state of grace or at the very least be fully determined to give up mortal sin.
3. Never will anyone who says his Rosary every day be led astray. This is a statement that I would gladly sign with my blood.
4. Jesus Christ has come to the world by means of the Blessed Virgin Mary and through Her, He also ought to reign in the world.
In short, the blessings of the holy rosary are powerful:
- It gradually gives us a perfect knowledge of Jesus Christ
- It purifies our souls, washing away sin
- It gives us victory over all our enemies
- It makes it easy for us to practice virtue
- It sets us on fire with love of Our Blessed Lord
- It enriches us with graces and merits
- It supplies us with what is needed to pay all our debts to God and to our fellow men, and finally, it obtains all kinds of graces for us from Almighty God
Sacrifices, Sacraments, and Staying in a State of Grace
Stay in the state of grace and frequent the sacraments.
When we are in love with someone we wish to spend as much time as possible with our loved one.
I adore the analogy St. Francis de Sales’ uses in Introduction to the Devout Life, stating that a wife who loves her husband abandons all her tasks when she hears him returning home. She rushes with joy to greet him, putting away all other chores.
Is this the love we have for Christ, our Beloved? Do we leap with joy for Him? Or do we go to Mass and then go out into the world and worry — getting overly consumed by the things of the world.
If possible, go to adoration, go to mass more, and go to confession on a weekly basis. Maybe this means getting up earlier, but that is beautiful! Make that a sacrifice and give glory to God.
Side note: It is important to address that many people talk about what they do or do not get out of going to Mass or practicing the Faith, but as Fulton Sheen asks, what do you bring to it?
Relationships are not a one way street. Frequent the sacraments, endure little sacrifices, and be ready to give your heart to Christ.
Know Your History
A wise man once said that if you do not know where you came from, if you do not know your history, you are aimless. You are like Jason Bourne wandering around with no idea who he is or what his purpose is.
Learn the history of the Church. Study our Church Fathers. Study doctrine. Read the Holy Bible. Get to know the saints. Learn about God, the One you love above all else, and you’ll find yourself falling more in love.
The Catholic Church has deep, beautiful roots. Don’t be ignorant of them. Nourish the love you have.
Cultivate & Spread Joy
Whatever happens, don’t let hate creep into your heart. Our exterior disposition often betrays our interior life. Turning to profanity, rash judgement, and untamed anger will not fix anything. In fact, these things will only cause more disquietude in your soul. Instead, lead with love and become more and more vigilant in charity.
“Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
-St. Francis de Sales
Remember that God is always present. He loves you into existence, and instead of falling into worry, turn to Him. Sunbathe in His perfect love. He is greater than ALL of this.
If you are worried about being hated or persecuted, Christ is with you. He reminds you, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” John 15:18
So, you’re in good company. ?
Earth is not your home. Turn your eyes towards Heaven, and carry on in joy.
God bless you and stay strong,