DAILY CATHOLIC     MONDAY     September 27, 1999     vol. 10, no. 183


To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
          Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

        Today Pat emphasizes the hidden warriors, those souls who fight the battle on their knees before the Most Blessed Sacrament in calling down Divine Mercy on the world. How much has been mitigated through the selfless, loving efforts of these souls who endeavor to spend a few minutes, maybe an hour a week before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament? Pat equates it to a small spark of love that can trigger a Torrent of Love from Above. He shows how this has been accomplished throughout history and that today, when so many advocate relaxing God's laws to conform to society so things go easier, he reinforces that revolutionary idea of bowing before the Almighty in humility and love. That is the gist of Pat's column today, The Answer to the Crisis!.

        If you want to send him ideas or feedback, you can reach him at KnightsCross@aol.com

For past columns by Pat Ludwa, click on VIEW FROM THE PEW Archives

The Answer to the Crisis!

        Church's are emptying, Catholic schools are closing, there's dissent, revolt, can anything be done to save the Church? The answer may be right under our noses.

        We've heard all the theories. "If we allow women and married priests, vocations will come flooding back." (Though there's nothing to show that would occur. In fact, there's evidence that the opposite would occur. For example, for many women who refuse to follow the Church now, why do we think they'd follow if they were ordained?)

        If churches are having a hard time making ends meet now, what makes anyone think that priests having families to feed will make it better? "Remove the notion that illicit sexual contact (homosexual, pre and extra marital sex) is a sin, and allow abortions and artificial contraception and the pews would fill in a second." (Forgoing truth in favor of desire) "Allow any and all notions to be accepted as valid expressions of the faith (Universal as meaning everything is acceptable)."

        But this is the 'curse' of Protestantism, encouraging separation instead of unity. "Allow people to form their own 'spirituality' regardless how 'unchristian' they may be. One can worship Odin, Shiva, Isis, whoever, as long as it's the 'Creator' who is worshiped."

        But this attitude actually encourages empty pews, lower vocations, etc. But there is an answer.

        In the 13th century, the town of Assisi was under siege by an army intent on conquering Italy and forcing the Pope to submit to their will. St. Clare of Assisi, hearing the approaching battle, rushed to the Sacristy, and taking the Blessed Sacrament in the Monstrance, went to the cities walls. There, she held the Blessed Sacrament on high. The armies, without reason, began to panic and retreat. The crisis was over.

        St. John Bosco had a vision of the Church as a great ship of State. In turbulent seas, she was attacked by a flotilla of smaller boats, bombarding the great ship with pamphlets, books, etc. The captain of the ship, the Pope, was mortally wounded, but another immediately took his place, and steered the great ship to safety, anchored between twin pillars of the Blessed Sacrament and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Whereupon, the attacking flotilla panicked and sank in defeat.

        I forget who had this vision, but it was of a woman. She was being attacked by demons and thugs. Surrounded by the ruins, of the Church and the world. Fleeing from her attackers, she came before the one remaining structure, the Tabernacle. As she came before the Lord in the Tabernacle, she bowed low in homage and praise. The demons and thugs fled from her and were defeated.

        Yes, the answer may be right under our noses. What will save the Church? The Blessed Sacrament.

        Not everyone is called to apologetics (the active defense of the faith), nor to teach, or to be an activist in one sort or another to defend the faith. For most, we are called to help in other ways. "Then the LORD said, 'Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.' So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the LORD. Then Abraham drew near, and said, 'Wilt Thou indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; wilt Thou then destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from Thee to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from Thee! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?' And the LORD said, 'If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.' Abraham answered, 'Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Wilt Thou destroy the whole city for lack of five?' And He said, 'I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.' Again he spoke to Him, and said, 'Suppose forty are found there.' He answered, 'For the sake of forty I will not do it.' Then he said, 'Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.' He answered, 'I will not do it, if I find thirty there.' He said, 'Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.' He answered, 'For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.' Then he said, 'Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.' He answered, 'For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.' And the LORD went His way, when He had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place" (Genesis 18:24-33).

        All over the world, there are a handful of men and women who spend their lives primarily remaining before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration for the sake of the world. Who knows what disasters these 'few' have saved the world from?

        We cannot love someone we do not know. And if we don't love someone, why would we be expected to do what pleases them? Even if we wanted to do what pleased them, how could we know what would if we do not know them?

        At his ordination, Fulton J. Sheen made two resolutions. One was to "spend a continuous Holy Hour every day in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament." (Treasure in Clay; Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen) He noted that the Holy Hour was to encourage a deep personal encounter with Christ. To converse with Him, tell Him our hopes and concerns. To refresh our souls.

        He went on to say: "Neither theological knowledge nor social action alone is enough to keep us in love with Christ unless both are preceded by a personal encounter with Him. When Moses saw the burning bush in the desert, it did not feed on any fuel. The flame, unfed by anything visible, continued to exist without destroying the wood. So personal dedication to Christ does not deform any of our natural gifts, disposition or character; it just renews without killing. As the wood becomes fire and the fire endures, so we become Christ and Christ endures." (Ibid)

        Eucharistic Adoration is not just for the Church, but also for each of us individually. The Hebrews of Christ's time expected the Messiah to overturn the world, to drive out and defeat the Roman Empire and establish a Heavenly kingdom on earth. But Christ didn't do that. Rather, He overturned the Empire by first overturning a person's heart. The Roman Empire grew by preying on the hearts of men. What they couldn't entice, they threatened or destroyed.

        "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander" (Matthew 15:19).

        Yet God's ways are not our ways. Christ changes things from within. The more we come to know Him, the more we love Him. The more we love Him, the more we are able to withstand the disappointments and crisis's in our life. The more we love Him, the more we become like Him It begins with one, just as Christ's mission began simply by declaring the coming of the Kingdom in His local synagogue. Slowly then, through God's grace, we find ourselves longing to be with Him. Not just at Eucharistic Adoration, but in the Mass as well. First one, then another. When we receive Christ worthily in Eucharist, we become one with Him. And when others do this also, He becomes one with them, and so we are then one with them, through Christ: The real community of Christ.

        So churches begin to fill again and vocations rise. We begin to find ourselves saying "Thy will be done" instead of "My will be done." Fear of the Lord (that is we fear hurting Him through sin) increases, and true love (agape) begins to replace selfish love (eros). Like a single match placed in a stack of dry straw, so too Eucharistic Adoration can't help but ignite the world with a true fire of love.

        Just one hour, just one hour of sacrifice can lead to wonderful returns. One hour with the Lord can change our lives.

    Pax Christi, Pat

September 27, 1999       volume 10, no. 183


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