Have old means ceased to work, or do they call
For new force being put behind them all?
Not a few e-mails that cross my electronic desk are worth sharing with readers of these “Comments.” Let me quote here from two (abbreviated and adapted as usual). The first is by a young layman, a former seminarian from Winona and now the father of a large family. He is one Catholic that could never be accused of underestimating the power of today’s universal apostasy, although he is resolute that something still can, and therefore must, be done. He writes:—
“Today’s institutionalized liberalism and the modern crowd’s deafening call for Barabbas may very well result in a crop of martyrs. I can appreciate where you are coming from when you wonder whether God still wants today a traditional institution like a seminary, and so on. In the 19th century Don Bosco had to invent a new kind of lay ‘co-operator’ for his work with boys, neither a Confraternity nor a Third Order, because he said that the devil had changed his tactics, so he had had to do so as well. Good Catholics were taken by surprise, but his new adaptation of old means proved successful.
“I mention this because to keep the Faith today is like walking against the wildest rapids. Keeping all my family and myself on track for Heaven takes all that I am and all that I have. To adapt words of St Paul (II Cor. 11, 28–29), “Which of them is weak, and I am not weak?” I remember your telling us seminarians years ago that wherever we found ourselves later, we would have to bring order into flying chaos. That chaos is more intense now than it was 25 years ago, because daily life has greatly changed over the last 15, 30, 45 years. The world is now eating souls for lunch in a sophisticated and relentless way. Parents must adapt tried and true principles to meet the Devil’s new tactics, because what worked before won’t necessarily work today. It is these ‘slings and arrows’ of parenting today that make me wonder whether the need for different means to achieve the same ends might not apply to seminaries and vocations also.”
The second email comes from a “Resistance” priest who says that the old means are still good, but they do need to be faithfully applied. He writes:—
“It is incredible how many of our people are not doing the basic things of Catholic life. They want to be pleasing to God. Now special Catholic initiatives and undertakings are not bad in themselves, but they are far less important, difficult and meritorious than the daily grind. Our people want to avoid mortal sin, and that’s about it. How many times do I hear they “forgot” to say their morning/evening prayers, or those before/after meals. And the reading of the Bible, lives of the saints, catechism! This is why I work, in season and out of season, to try to convince my people to have a steady and regular Catholic life, to convince them that this is what is truly pleasing t o God.
“The same applies to the ‘Resistance.’ I have told my people that the real test will be that of keeping going, of perseverance. It was relatively easy, two to three years ago, when we were in a pitched battle, hacking to left and to right, but now it is more like trench warfare. And we will hold our ground as a movement if every priest and Catholic layman holds his ground in his daily life.”
God created no soul for Hell (I Tim. II, 4). It follows that every soul can find the means to get to Heaven, if it wants. These means may be difficult, but they will not be complicated, otherwise they would be inaccessible to many. The old-fashioned means, especially the daily Rosary, are not complicated, but they do need to be applied.