We live in a chaotic world of strife plagued with war, poverty, elitism, and power struggles. Closer to home in the United States, our citizens are divided over matters of abortion, sexual identity, what marriage is or should be, religious liberty and even our democracy. Society is breaking down. Our Church is riddled with leaders who fall short of their calling to defend their priests and seminarians who speak truth. We are witnessing a rash of priests censored or outright cancelled for speaking out on plain and simple truth. Seminarians are kicked out of seminaries who hold traditional values. And just recently, our pope dissolved the leadership of the Knights of Malta and issued a new provisional government. This decisive authoritarian move comes with many questions after the pope has emphasized so strongly a synodal process of listening and engagement.
Now synod reports are being published around the country that point to a desire to be more accepting of homosexuality and women priests. One thing is clear. The flock are in desperate need of clarity on the Church’s doctrine, and they are not receiving this direction consistently across the U.S.
Societal breakdown, the sex abuse scandal within the Church stemming from rampant homosexual scourge, along with cancelling priests for truth telling may lead us all to believe that this is hopeless, but it is not!
It is achievable to save the Church and by this I mean the Body of Christ (and insodoing save the culture). It is achievable if we do three things consistently:
- Rise up as laity and educate others with the Truth;
- Honor and seek the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and
- Go to Jesus in the Eucharist and seek His Divine Mercy
RECOGNIZING THERE IS A PROBLEM
Before we jump to solutions, we first must ask our fellow Catholics and friends – “do they believe there is a problem (in the Church or in Society)?”.
There are many sitting in the pews and across the nation that do not recognize the moral decay nor do they acknowledge the crisis with their lack of being aligned with God’s Divine Will. Zig Zeigler would say “The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist.” This is why CUP exists. Our mission is to educate Catholics to be equipped to defend and promote the Truth.
The Laity Rises Up
Knowing there is a problem and understanding what to do are two separate things. To recognize there is a problem, the Church must again become the moral authority it once was. However, for the Church to once again become the moral authority, it is up to us, the laity to help, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen shared:
So as laity, we must rise and require our priests to draw a line in the sand on great moral issues, especially on non-negotiables of the sanctity of life, marriage, religious liberty and protecting democratic principles.
In my role as founder and chair of CUP, I have had people approach me saying “I choose to remain silent but I do pray for my leaders and others.” I suspect these people believe they must be quiet (as a form of meekness). This is not true. To be meek does not mean we sit idly by or be a bystander while a priest for instance is getting trampled on by others for speaking the truth or defending tradition or when we witness someone else committing evil. Meekness does not mean shy or weak in any way; it’s a calm, quiet, humbleness.
We the laity are called to defend the faith and thereby, truth. It’s painfully obvious that the truth has taken a beating in our society by allowing gender-switching procedures on children, embracing abortion as a life-saving procedure for women, and buying into the mantra that “love is love” when it comes to same sex unions. I believe the reason for this breakdown of truth, is the inability for each Christian to maintain a well-formed conscience. The only way to return to a well-formed conscience is through education, prayer, and a sincere desire to be open to the truth. It is through education grounded in tradition, the magisterium and Sacred Scripture that we return to God’s divine will. This is why CUP so fervently believes that education ignites critical thinking and prayer helps us unlock the divine will of God. We need both to fulfill our obligations as Catholics.
SOLVING THE PROBLEM
So from the point of recognition of the problem, we move to solving it. If we are honest, we should acknowledge that all we can do is plant the seeds of Truth. Then it is up to God, with the aid of Our Lady to change the hearts of those who stubbornly persist in defending sin.
Let us focus on the solution:
OUR LADY SAVES THE WORLD
The Most Holy Rosary and First Five Saturday Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary will help us to obtain anything that we ask of her. Saint Dominic said “One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.” We could be the worst of sinners as we stumble through praying the Rosary but if we pray the Rosary faithfully unto death, we will receive a crown of glory as St. Louis de Montfort said.
Souls will be saved through the recitation and fervent prayer of the Rosary, especially the 54-Day Rosary Novena. I prayed the 54-Day Rosary Novena last year with a very specific request for a person steeped in sin and a huge lasting miracle occurred on the last day of the Rosary, The Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Miracles do happen.
Likewise Catholics can participate in the Five First Saturdays Devotion to make reparations to Mary for the abominations that continue to occur.
In one of the appearances to Lucia (child of Fatima) on July 13, 1917, Our Lady appeared with the Child Jesus who said to her
“Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns which ungrateful men place therein at every moment, while there is no one who does an act of reparation to withdraw them for her.”
Our Lady then addressed Lucia as follows:
“Behold, my daughter, my Heart encircled with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Give me consolation, you, at least; and make known on my behalf that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all who on the First Saturday of five consecutive months confess their sins, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary, with the purpose of making reparation to my Immaculate Heart.”
We can invite our fellow friends to do the First Five Saturdays with us and offer these for the salvation for the world.
I also believe that consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is critical. A beautiful consecration through St. Louis de Montfort or Fr. Gaitley’s 33 Days of Morning Glory is highly recommended.
SEEK THE DIVINE MERCY OF OUR LORD
Jesus came to a humble nun, St. Faustina, so his message could be shared with millions. He desired sinners to seek His mercy so that through the rays of water and blood that flow forth from his Sacred Heart we may be shown His mercy. Forgiveness is needed today, by those that have the most hardened of hearts. In St. Faustina’s Diary she states:
“The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy. My mercy is confirmed in every work of My hands. He who trusts in My mercy will not perish, for all his affairs are Mine, and his enemies will be shattered at the base of My footstool.” —Diary 723
Jesus promises to destroy the enemy – and we know who the enemy really is. He is the unseen enemy. We put a face on our enemies because rightly so people are pawns and do his bidding, but the real enemy can only be fought through the Mystical power of the Triune God, with the help of our Blessed Mother, with the assistance of the Choir of Angels. But we are called to cooperate. How do we do that?
We must recognize that we are sinners, first. We fall short of God’s plan for us when we go against His will daily. Yet we know that through the Sacrament of Penance and the font of Jesus’ Divine Mercy the greatest of sinners that are even on their death beds may receive Jesus’ mercy.
Practically, this requires we pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, hopefully daily at the Hour of Mercy as Jesus calls for in the Diary. We are called to promote his Divine Mercy and image with others and place the Divine Mercy image prominently in our homes so that those who enter will receive the rays of Mercy.
REGAINING BELIEF IN THE EUCHARIST
I read a column by Joe Pisani that described an amazing story of France 150 years ago that seemed much like our world today. Catholics and their beliefs were under attack and atheism was rising. A Catholic woman from Tours (Marie Tamisier) campaigned for a decade for a Eucharistic Congress. During those ten years of waiting, she took faithful to sites where Eucharistic miracles had taken place – and this was all inspired by her friendship of St. Peter Julian Eymard. She promoted Eucharistic adoration as a response to the militant atheism of the era. She finally got the Eucharistic Congress she had campaigned for in 1881 called “The Eucharist Saves the World” It was Pope Leo XIII who proclaimed:
“Our belief is that the renovation of the world will be brought about only by the Holy Eucharist.”
The Bishops of the United States launched a three-year revival of devotion and belief in the Real Presence. It will lead up to the first National Eucharistic Congress in the United States in fifty years, which is expected to bring 100,000 Catholics to Indianapolis, my hometown with Archbishop Thompson as one of the key leaders.
Now is the time with urgency to spend time praying the Rosary, seeking Jesus’ Divine Mercy and going to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament so that He can, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother, save the Church and the world. It is up to us to spread the Truth and the rest is up to God.