This has been a hard week for our nation. Followers of Christ may be tempted to lose hope, despair even, as the death knell of Western civilization tolls loudly throughout the land. What are we to do, living in a time when Truth is turned on its head, when men call good evil, and evil good? We know that God is unchanging, His Truth is unchanging, but we live in a culture that believes truth is about as stable as shifting sand, that’s more like quicksand under our feet. Our task is to keep our feet planted firmly on the Rock, Who is Christ, and remain faithful in all things, especially remaining faithful to the teaching of the Church, and faithful to His Vicar, the Pope, and the Bishops in union with him.
The Gospel today (Mk. 5:21-24, 35-43) reminds us why we are able to remain hopeful: Jesus wants to raise us from the dead, as He raised the daughter of Jairus, so that we can have life in Him Who is the source of all life. He wants to raise our cities, our states, our entire nation, and our world from the death and bondage of sin to the life and freedom found only in Him. We don’t know how that will play out, or even how successful it will be, because the choice lies with each one of us. Do we choose to surrender our hearts and wills to God, so that He can work through us, love through us, pray through us and build the Kingdom of God through us? Or do we choose the easy way, the path of least resistance, and just drift along with the current of sin, lies, and half-truths? No one can make that choice for you or for me, it’s a choice we make in our innermost soul, and, unfortunately, it’s not a one-time deal. Choosing to live in God’s Will, to let His Truth be the model of our lives and all we do, is a choice we to which we must re-commit every day. The enemy of our soul is always looking for an opportunity, even the smallest opening, to lure is into believing a half-truth, to trick us into confusing fantasy for reality, lies for truth. We must be attentive.
Hearing today’s Gospel reading we can’t help but think of Forty Weeks, the Ignatian “retreat” we have undertaken as a community. Fr. Watson’s book is geared toward uncovering the sins, vices and addictions in our lives that prevent us from following Jesus closely. And it’s done in the gentlest way, keeping focused on the deep love Jesus has for us, and how His Sacred Heart burns with the desire to transform our wounded, broken hearts, if only we will surrender them to His Healing Hands. St. Ignatius called on everyone to “wake up” from the slumber of complacency and fantasy, just as Jesus commanded the daughter of Jairus, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” God’s power is great enough to draw us out of the slumber of death. And when we live fully awake to God’s presence in our lives He imbues us with the grace to transform the lives of all whom we meet. This is the New Evangelization, and it begins in our own hearts.
So do not despair, do not lose hope. Discouragement is a snare of the enemy. These times call for heroic virtue, for great holiness. It’s not a job for someone else, but for you, for us. Our bishops are speaking out in defense of the sanctity of marriage and the family, and we need to support them in that effort. Our own Archbishop Gustavo released a statement on Friday reiterating the sacredness of the bond between man and woman which occurs in marriage, and which reflects the union of Christ and the Church.
With love and respect to every human person, the Church will continue to invite men and women, regardless of their sexual orientation, to walk their journey of faith with us, discovering God’s plan for them and for all society. However, it is not within our power to recognize this redefinition of marriage nor participate in this misrepresentation of what we believe to be a sacred union created and reserved to one man and one woman.
-from Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller’s statement on the legalization of same-sex marriage
Pray for our bishops and clergy, that they may be filled with courage and wisdom to faithfully lead God’s flock in these difficult times. Pray for the laity, that they witness with charity and courage to the beauty of God’s Truth. Pray for our civil leaders, that they, too may have light, courage and grace to seek God’s Will above all else. And pray, too, for the grace to be faithful to Jesus in every area of your own life, in every corner of your heart, so that we can bear witness to Him without counting the cost, even if it be at the cost of our very lives.
Prayer for Courage
Dear God, give me courage,
for perhaps I lack it more than anything else.
I need courage before men against their threats
and against their seductions.
I need courage to bear unkindness,
I need courage to fight against the devil,
against terrors and troubles, temptations,
attractions, darkness and false lights,
against tears, depression, and above all fear.
I need Your help, dear God.
Strengthen me with Your love and Your grace.
Console me with Your blessed Presence
and grant me the courage to persevere
until I am with You forever in heaven.