This submission to the Holy Spirit is the secret of sanctity.
Dear parishioners, I have been contemplating what exactly to write about, with but four Sundays of my term as pastor remaining. There are so many issues of faith and morals that are swirling around in our society and our Church today that have bred, not only confusion, but division as well. We are celebrating this weekend, the great feast of Pentecost. The efficacious presence of the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, whom our Savior promised he would provide for us in our times of need.
You’ve heard me often both speak and write about the need for, and the wisdom of, beginning each day with a petition to the Holy Spirit to intervene on our behalf for the wisdom to address our spiritual and temporal challenges. Most all of us who grew up Catholic are familiar with the age-old prayer to the Holy Spirit… “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful…”. With the onset of my wife’s illness and the resulting increase in the embrace of my Catholic faith, I revitalized my intention to appeal to the Holy Spirit at the start of each day. I soon came across a wonderful prayer composed by Cardinal François Joseph Mercier, a Belgian Cardinal and a noted scholar (1851-1896). The prayer struck me as it, in its concise wording, addressed the spectrum of my needs. Shortly after my arrival I introduced this prayer, along with the Saint Michael prayer, to be prayed after every Mass was ended, with the secondary intention that all parishioners would memorize and add it to their daily prayer arsenal. I sincerely hope that you have committed it to memory and pray it daily.
I quote here the introduction by Cardinal Mercier, that I encountered back in 1985:
” I am going to reveal to you the secret of sanctity and happiness. Every day for five minutes control your imagination and close your eyes to all the noises of the world in order to enter into yourself. Then, in the sanctuary of your baptized soul (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit) speak to that Divine Spirit, saying to Him: O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only know Your Will.
If you do this, your life will flow along happily, serenely, and full of consolation, even in the midst of trials. Grace will be proportioned to the trial, giving you the strength to carry it and you will arrive at the Gate of Paradise, laden with merit. This submission to the Holy Spirit is the secret of sanctity.”
Another reflection that crosses my mind as I prepare to depart is that all parishioners continue striving to be more active in their church and in their faith. Whether we like it or not, there is a tremendous amount of confusion, and resulting division, within our holy Catholic Church. And also, like it or not, we all (laity and clergy) have the responsibility to discern the truth that lies at the center of these divisions…and be active and vocal in defending those truths. And let us all be wary, that the well-defined and constant tactic of Satan is to deceive us by construing long-standing, time-tested, meritorious, good and faithful precepts of our Catholic faith as being in error. He portrays good as evil and evil as good. Another tactic of the evil one is to perpetuate uncertainty and confusion that results from claims, counterclaims, and an absence of clarifying responses from those who have the knowledge to do so. We all need to appeal to Our Advocate, the Holy Spirit, for the courage and the wisdom to seek out and discover the truth and then share it and then be adamant in insisting on a defense of the Church’s long-held teachings on matters of faith and morals.
On another note, regarding moral issues that continue to linger, it has now been one year since former Cardinal McCarrick’s fall from grace. While McCarrick has ultimately been laicized, continuing investigations into how on earth his widely-known predatory behavior went unreported for all these years are still ongoing. We must all stay apprised of these serious Church matters. It is your Church. And when we discern inappropriate matters of faith and morals transpiring in the Catholic Church, we all need to responsibly react. During these last few years, with the resurgence of the immoral subculture that has infiltrated the Catholic Church, if we want to be part of the solution and the quest for transparency, we need to be knowledgeable. The secular press has not, and will not, cover anything that puts the LGBQT alliance and their activities in a negative light. So please arrange to have daily/regular news coverage come your way from the reliable Catholic websites that have been identified and have been provided for all parishioners. Copies of that list of some 15 websites are always available from the parish office, or from me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I recommend that you have two or three that you subscribe to (subscriptions are free of charge). One that should be familiar to most of us is “The National Catholic Register” website that is owned by EWTN. I have found that “The Catholic Thing” and “Life Site News” are also quite comprehensive and fair in giving credit for the positives that take place in the Church and our country, as well as appropriate scrutiny to the apparent problems and concerns that arise. For those who are unable to connect with these recommended websites, I highly recommend the Catholic Network… EWTN’s weekly show entitled “The World Over Live” with host Raymond Arroyo. It airs for an hour, at 8:00 PM, every Thursday evening. Please bear in mind there are several so-called Catholic websites that are not on our recommended list as they are not consistent in presenting the truly Catholic position on matters of faith and morals.
Let us all try hard to bring our Faith and our Holy Church more into the center of our daily lives and give it a consistent embrace. A weekly Holy Hour will certainly be a huge step forward in that regard. Centering on our Savior and turning to the Advocate, as He taught us, will indeed bring all of us more peace and more happiness.
May your Pentecost Day be transformative as we, in one accord pray…“Come Holy Spirit!”