As the New Year gets underway it is clear to all the faithful that the battle is in full tilt.
The federal and state governments are investigating the Church for crimes of sexual abuse and corruption; some Church officials are either mute or offering words of nonsense, and many Catholics are simply walking away out of indifference to it all. The faithful remnant when talking amongst one another know of few avenues to tread during this battle for Christ and for His Church. One question commonly heard among the faithful during these early days of the war is: "What should I be doing?" Another is: "What should we be doing?"
I see the faithful posing these pertinent questions, one to another, as great progress in this spiritual war in which we have find ourselves. If you recall just a few months ago, far too many were still oblivious to the battle. Now many of the faithful remnant are all too aware of the battle, and are assembling and pledging themselves to the fight, for the duration and for the conquest! Many of the faithful now, just like the first Christians, know that this spiritual battle is a battle to the death. They know that this spiritual war cannot be lost, but they also know that it will be won only through the selfless gift of themselves.
I hope you have also caught that sentiment, and that you are willing to pledge your very life for the fight, because this spiritual battle will not be won by lukewarm disciples. Rather, it will only be won by disciples willing to give their lives for the Faith, following Jesus' example. The Church in its first years was built on the Blood of the Lamb, but also on the blood of countless martyrs who pledged their lives for Christ and for his newly formed Church.
In this spiritual battle for the Church's restoration, what will ensure victory will be the faithful rediscovering this early fervor and enthusiasm, the certain and true conviction that what is most important to the disciple is that one is redeemed in Jesus, and that after this, after all else is said and done, nothing else matters, nothing else!
The world is going to end. Jesus told us that this is so — whether its demise comes about through plastic straws in the world's oceans or through an asteroid — the world's end is a given; it's just a matter of time. The disciple knows this, and the disciple is ready, ready for the end, but also ready for the New Creation.
But the disciple does not fear any of this! For the disciple clings to Jesus' promises, and the hope of eternal life in the New Creation to be ushered in after the Last Judgment. The tumult of these days are of no bother to him, and he maintains the right practice of the Faith, despite all of it, despite the death throes of a fallen world, devolving to its end.
So what does the faithful disciple do during these days of pitched battle? For one, he prays. And he prays fervently, morning, noon and night. He prays for his own redemption, for the redemption of his family and friends and for the conversion of all sinners. And when he prays, he mostly prays the Rosary, saying his prayers with the Blessed Mother and reminding himself repeatedly of the central mysteries of his redemption.
Secondly, the disciple makes daily sacrifices during these fierce days of warfare — of fasting, almsgiving, and of self- deprecation. Of these spiritual warfare tools, the self-deprecation is the most important, because it is in striving for humility that a man attains it! And of all the necessary bulwarks needed for the fight, humility is the most important. The devil can do little against the man who knows himself before God for who he is, a creature made in God's image and likeness, but still simply a creature.
Hear St. Paul:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. (Roman 12:1–2)
The year 2019 is the year of the Great Battle for the soul of the Church. Let's win this! And it will be won by all of us, through prayer, fasting, personal sacrifices and almsgiving. It's not much of a game plan, nothing much at all when you think about it — but then again, Moses had no game plan when he led Israel out of Egypt on the fly, yet he parted the Red Sea with only a staff in hand and the iron determination to lead his people to freedom.