How Can You Still Be Catholic?


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Our Shared Calling

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By Fr. Dan Cambra, MIC

In this time of the "new normal," with so many aspects of our lives recalibrated by the coronavirus, let's make a pact, you and I.

Three things, beginning with a simple housekeeping matter:

1. Let's agree to wear masks when in public. As a friend of mine says, "Mask it or casket." Yes, it could save your life and the lives of others. (At the very, very least, wear a mask as a sign of charity to others — showing them that you care about them. OK? OK. ... Let's move on to the spiritual stuff. ...)

2. Let's agree in this time of so much uncertainty to put our efforts toward being co-redeemers with Christ.

3. And let's agree that we cannot be co-redeemers with Christ if we are going to be worry warts. In other words, let's be co-redeemers, and let's be coolheaded. We're Catholic, after all! We've survived all that history has thrown at us. Unlike the talking heads of the 24-hour news channels, we mustn't turn each and every daily scandal — real and imagined — into the Great Tribulation. Yes, let's be cool. Worrying is really not an option for us as believers. We are to constantly be thinking and praying "Jesus, I trust in You" and seeking to do the will of God.

OK, so what do we know about the will of God? Let's start with a Thomas Merton quote from his book Thoughts in Solitude that has helped me a great deal throughout my adult life:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

That's a good one. It underscores the point that we constantly need to ask God for the grace to trust in Him, that while we don't always understand what's happening, what we do know is that every obstacle should be treated as an opportunity for our growth in holiness. God's permissive will allows for evil to happen so that we might rise to the occasion to become the saints we were intended to be when we were conceived in our mother's womb.

By rising to the occasion, I mean that we are to respond to God as Mary did at the Annunciation when she said, "May it be done to me according to your word" (Lk 1:38). He had work for Mary to do in this world. He has work for us, as well.

And what is that work? We who have a special devotion to St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy revelations know that Christ calls upon us to pray for the souls in Purgatory (see Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 1226-1227 and 1738). And He calls upon us to pray for our own conversion and the conversion of others, as well.

Saint Faustina records in her Diary our Lord's instructions:

Call upon My mercy on behalf of sinners; I desire their salvation. When you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith on behalf of some sinner, I will give him the grace of conversion. This is the prayer:

"O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You." (186-187)

Indeed, we are called to be co-redeemers knowing full well the good that can come of it. Remember St. Augustine — once lost in a life of lust — whose conversion came about through the prayers and sacrifices of his mother, St. Monica.

We are called to be co-redeemers in the style of St. Paul, too — he who said, "For we are God's co-workers" (1 Cor 3:9). Saint Paul shared what such a life might look like when he said, "yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me" (Gal 2:20).

We receive this calling, too, from Our Lady of Fatima when she told the shepherd child: "Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them."

Instead of worrying, let us pray for the conversion of family members, friends, enemies, political leaders, television personalities, writers, artists, musicians — you choose.

Persevere in this.

Pray for the conversion of their hearts, that they learn how to love and how to be loved. Pray for conversion of their minds, that they may seek the Gospel truth and nothing but the truth. Pray for conversion of their souls, that they may seek holiness in humility.

And pray that they, like you, wear the mask.

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- Sep 17, 2020

Beginning today I commit to being a co-redeemed with Our Lord and to pray for the salvation of souls, to stop useless worry and take action by praying to the Divine Mercy whenever I feel worried and offer it to Him. To practice redemptive suffering. Amen