Here's the Plan
The following is the cover story for our Fall issue of Marian Helper magazine, which came out this week. For a free copy of the issue or to read the digital edition, please visit marian.org/marianhelper.
By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Sept. 3, 2015)
I'm deeply concerned. I'm troubled about what's going on in our country and in the world. I'm saddened by the daily reports of Christians being terrorized by ISIS in the Middle East, the growing persecution of Christians here at home, the unprecedented attacks on marriage and the family, and the dramatic increase in pornography addicts.
I'm disturbed by the rise of racism, the political pitting of rich against the poor, our exploding national debt, and degradation of the environment. I'm frustrated that there are fewer and fewer Christians in America, that the culture war is all but lost, and that the culture of death seems here to stay.
Considering all this and more, things seem to be going from bad to worse to horrendous. So, yes, I'm concerned, really concerned. And I've been hearing from you, our Marian Helpers, that you're concerned, too.
Well, you should be.
Be Concerned, But ...
Yes, be concerned, but also be not afraid. After all, there's hope, real hope. God has not abandoned us. In fact, I believe that the Lord has given us a secret weapon, a weapon that will make us into an army that is sure to win.
But we still need to build that army. We need strong, dedicated, faith-filled recruits. We need people like you who are willing to take up the secret weapon and fight. So, let me put it this way: I want YOU to fight in this army! Will you help me?
All right, but before you answer, before I tell you about the secret weapon and our strategy, let me first explain why I'm so hopeful.
Now is the Time of Mercy
Actually, Pope Francis lays out the key to our hope better than I can. Read what he said to the priests of the diocese of Rome last year:
[H]ear the voice of the Spirit speaking to the whole Church of our time, which is the time of mercy. I am sure of this. ... In the Church, everything is the time of mercy.
So it's mercy. Mercy is the key to our hope. And the good news is that now is the time of mercy! Pope Francis is certain of it. But what does it mean?
As one of the priests in my community is always putting it, the key to understanding this time of mercy is Romans 5:20: "Where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more." In other words, in a time of great evil, God gives even greater grace. Therefore, because things are so bad right now, God is offering even greater mercy. He's giving us amazing grace.
And you know what? This grace and mercy will soon be even more amazing. I say that because we're not only living in "the time of mercy" right now, but soon (Dec. 8) we'll be entering the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. So we'll be getting a double portion
of amazing mercy! But we need to prepare for it. We need to enter into that year of mercy properly. We need to get ready. But how?
Our Mother of Mercy
According to Pope Francis, it's Mary who will prepare us for the Year of Mercy. For instance, in the document that establishes this extraordinary time of grace for the Church, he asked that "the sweetness of [Mary's] countenance" might "watch over us in this Holy Year, so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God's tenderness."
Also, it's interesting that Pope Francis decided that the Jubilee Year of Mercy should begin on Dec. 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This is the day when we remember and celebrate Mary's greatest experience of God's mercy: her being preserved, from the first moment of her conception, from all stain of original sin. This was an act of mercy she did nothing to deserve. Rather, it came as a totally free gift at the very moment when she came to be.
Because Mary knows the free gift of God's mercy more than any other creature, she wants us to know it, too. And she does that best by the secret weapon I'm about to share.
The Secret Weapon
Mary can best bring us into God's mercy when we consecrate ourselves totally to Jesus through her. That's the secret weapon that will help us tap into the great graces of the upcoming year of mercy.
Why? Well, according to Pope John Paul II, the whole purpose of consecrating or entrusting ourselves to Mary is so that she can bring us to the pierced side of Jesus, which is the Fountain of Mercy. In other words, Mary's whole role is to help us experience the mercy of God. And she does it best when we consecrate ourselves to her. This is why St. Louis de Montfort said that a total consecration to Jesus through Mary is the "quickest, easiest, surest, and most perfect" path to becoming a saint.
Begin on Nov. 5
Now, maybe you've already consecrated yourself to Mary. Well, now is the perfect time to renew it, and I recommend that you use the most popular consecration book available today: 33 Days to Morning Glory (Marian Press) by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC. And don't just renew it yourself; invite others to join you. (Learn more at AllHeartsAfire.org.)
And for those of you who have never made the consecration, now is the best time ever! This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make the consecration in preparation for the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. (By the way, this is only the fourth "extraordinary Jubilee" in the whole history of the Church!)
So, we're inviting all of our Marian Helpers to consecrate themselves on Dec. 8. To do that, we'll begin our 33 days of preparation on Nov. 5. Please join us! Join Mary's army.
Imagine if all of our Marian Helpers joined us Marians in consecrating ourselves to Jesus through Mary on the great feast of the Immaculate Conception to begin the Year of Mercy! I know she will then use us as a powerful army for her Son to bless the whole world in this great time of mercy. God knows the world needs it, and I know that by consecrating ourselves to Mary, we can and will change the world. We will be victorious, and we will begin our march on Nov. 5, and I want you to join us.
Here's What to Do
• For evangelization purposes, we're offering a special on the consecration book 33 Days to Morning Glory. (Price: Your donation, plus $5.25 shipping. Offered until Nov. 5. Visit ShopMercy.org/33 or call 800-462-7426. One per household. U.S. only.)
• Do the consecration alone or as a group. (Visit AllHeartsAfire.org for more info).
• Begin the consecration on Nov. 5 so that you can complete the consecration 33 days later, on Dec. 8 — the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the start of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy!
"Father Joseph, MIC," is the title given to the director of the Association of Marian Helpers. The current Fr. Joseph is Fr. Chris Alar, MIC.
For a free copy of the Fall issue of Marian Helper magazine or to read the digital edition, please visit marian.org/marianhelper.