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
"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
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
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"
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
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
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
"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