In The Second Greatest Story Ever Told bestselling author Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, reveals St. John Paul II's witness for our time. Building on the prophetic voices of Margaret Ma... Read more
Photo: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), New Line Cinema
Light in the Darkness
I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth — Acts 13:47.
Man, it's dark out there these days.
Whether the shadows come from the persecution afflicting so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ these days, or increasingly public acts of Satanism, or the culture of death claiming ever new victims, sometimes it seems like "the shadow of one dark wing is over all" the earth, to paraphrase C. S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength.
But the night is always darkest before the dawn. And we are not helpless or hopeless in the face of the onrushing night.
We Catholics and Divine Mercy devotees are the rich man in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man (see Lk 16:19-31). We are the wealthy ones, we Catholics, for we have the fullness of the truth, Jesus Christ himself in the Eucharist, and every grace imaginable, if only we open our hearts and lives to the full power and action of God. We have the Sacraments and the saints, Scripture and Tradition, the magisterium and the Mystical Body of Christ, fasting and prayer, the devotions and the messages, everything needed to win the triumph of the Immaculate Heart in our age.
We are the spiritually wealthy, and a world wracked by apostasy, sin, and confusion lies at our door. We have been given the riches of the kingdom of heaven, the heritage of the adopted children of God, and our brothers and sisters in Adam await evangelization in order to become brothers and sisters in Christ.
We Catholics, we have the answer to the darkness: personal sanctity through living devotion to Jesus, the Divine Mercy Incarnate, and Mary Immaculate, pursued by performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, especially by making the Divine Mercy and Fatima devotions, praying for the Holy Souls in Purgatory and inviting their intercession for us, and pouring ourselves out in service to the Church where the need is greatest.
Now is the acceptable time for the children of God to act, because the times seem darker than ever, because there are signs of hope on the horizon, and because we have been given everything we need, and everything the world needs. Now, we must use it. We must share it with others, with those around us, those whom we love and those whom we struggle to love. We must fight the darkness, even as the night grows deeper, even as comfort grows colder, even as it seems more and more as though we've lost the culture and the country with it.
We must stand, for all seems darkest before the dawn.
We must stand, for Christ has won, and everything else is a clean-up battle.
We must stand, for the world, the flesh, and the devil press us close.
We must stand, for our God is greater than all that opposes the Bride of Christ.
The Church has been through death before, and risen from the grave, for, as Chesterton said, she follows a Lord who knows the way back out of death. Let us rise now, with glad hearts and the joy of the Gospel, to proclaim anew our Risen Savior, our brother, our liberator, our friend, who can lead us back from the brink, back out of any grave.
Let us say — and mean — "Jesus, I trust in you!"
Have you fallen into sin? Go to Confession and be raised from spiritual death.
Have you fallen into sloth? Pick up your cross, and follow Jesus!
Have you despaired in the face of the culture, of the news, of the endless propaganda of this present darkness? Set aside the sources of your despair. Pick up the Bible; read the Catechism; study the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska; seek out the Holy Father's homilies, encyclicals, and other writings. Be of good cheer! For every darkness in this world, there will be a dawn till the end of all, and the dawn of all.
Have you lost all hope of reaching your family and friends who've left the faith? Send their names to us for prayer, and commit to remembering them in all a daily Rosary or Divine Mercy Chaplet, trusting that God will work in his own mysterious ways, in his own time.
Have you need of anything? Go to Jesus and his Church; go to Mary and those consecrated to her; go to all those in the Mystical Body of Christ who stand ready to assist you in every need, at every moment. And then turn, and help your neighbor for love of the Lord and your brother.
Now is the time of mercy, proclaims Pope Francis, listening to the teaching of St. John Paul II and St. Faustina.
Now is the time of mercy, for the extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy approaches and Peter comes to the United States for the World Meeting of Families, mere months after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage and Planned Parenthood was exposed for the profiteering racket it is.
Now is the time of mercy, for the servants of the enemy are making a great noise, for the devil knows his time is short.
Now is the time of mercy, for a great harvest is being made of the Church and many martyrs are entering into the hallways of heaven, to turn again to us all still here and remain with us forever in prayer.
Now is the time of mercy, to be followed by a time of justice in God's own time, on the schedule of the Father who is in heaven.
Now is the time of mercy — go! What are you waiting for? Go, and announce the Gospel of the Lord!