Help Save the Church

By Fr. Joseph, MIC

“Help save the Church.” That’s the invitation I hear while reading the new Marian Press book by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC, titled 33 Days to Greater Glory: A Total Consecration to the Father through Jesus, Based on the Gospel of John.

But wait. Isn’t the Church already saved? Isn’t the Church what saves us? To answer these questions, let’s look at one of the most important events in all of Church history.

‘Rebuild My House’

It was the spring of 1206. A young man had recently left a life of revelry and dissipation to serve the poor and those rejected by society.

One day, while praying in an old abandoned chapel, he heard the Lord say to him from the Cross, “Go rebuild My House, which is falling into ruin.”

The future St. Francis of Assisi proceeded to repair the crumbling chapel, but he later went on to bring renewal to the entire Catholic Church, whose leaders at the time had largely become corrupted by power and wealth and, in turn, led many of their flock into spiritual ruin.

This gets to what it means to help save the Church.

It’s not that the Church as the immaculate source of grace needs any saving. Rather, as St. Bonaventure put it, commenting on the Lord’s words to St. Francis, it has to do with “that which Christ purchased with His own blood.” In other words, the call of Christ today, “Rebuild My Church,” is meant to help save the Church as the Body of Christ — namely, the fallen, human members of that Body, the baptized, who are again falling into spiritual ruin.

Not What We Think

Just as St. Francis mistook the Lord’s words, we often mistake the call to renewal in our time. For instance, if we listen to too much Catholic gossip, we may think that the problems in the Church really have to do with this or that bishop or with this or that group — those other people.

Well, when we fill ourselves with more gossip than prayer, when we define ourselves by our shared grievances and hatreds rather than our shared purposes and affections, when we become “tribal” rather than “communal,” we, indeed, may fall prey to false prophets — those who appeal to hardened hearts by means of overly simplistic solutions and over-the-top outrage. We may become convinced of the lie that the Church’s problems come down to only “those other people.”

But let’s not kid ourselves. The main problem in the Church is not just this or that bishop or this or that group. A major problem is also us. Do we love? Do we love as the Father loves?

This is where we need to start: with ourselves. And more specifically, we need to start with the firm commitment to strive to become saints.

Why? Because that’s what the Church needs. It needs people who are committed to love. It needs people who put love first. It needs people who choose love. The Church needs true and authentic Christians who witness to the truth that God is Love, who accept the Father’s mercy, and who humbly feel obliged to extend that mercy to everyone, even when it’s most difficult.

So let me put it this way: Just as God used St. Francis to rebuild the Church in the 13th century through authentic Christian witness, I believe He also wants to use us Marian Helpers to rebuild the Church in the 21st century — which gives me an idea.

You ‘Helped Save the World’

Exactly four years ago, on the cover of our spring issue of Marian Helper magazine, I made a dramatic appeal to you: “Help Save
the World.” Specifically, in that Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, 2016, I invited you to join me in making a consecration to Divine Mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday using Fr. Michael’s book 33 Days to Merciful Love, which we gave away for any donation.

I’ll never forget two things from that appeal.

First, your response. In its many decades of operation, the Marian Helpers Center has never seen anything like it. Our phone lines melted down — twice. So many of you called, asking for the book, that we ran out of them, had to reprint them, and had more than 60,000 of you join us for the consecration live on the air during our EWTN Divine Mercy Sunday broadcast around the world.

The second thing I’ll never forget is what happened during that broadcast. If you watched it, you’ll surely remember it, too. The day saw terrible weather: snow, sleet, bitterly cold wind. Then, literally as we were reciting the consecration prayer, the sun came out. Seeing this, many of you wrote to us, commenting on it. I certainly noticed it, and I took that dramatic change of weather as a sign that God had accepted our consecration to Divine Mercy that day and poured out an abundance of grace on the Church and the whole world.

So this brings me to my idea.

My brother Marian priest, Fr. Michael, has just finished another consecration book that he says is, by far, his favorite. It’s my favorite, too. So here’s what I decided to do: I’m going to make the same offer we made four years ago, but this time with his new book, 33 Days to Greater Glory.

Let me tell you why I want to do this.

Saints in the Time of Mercy

I said before that the problem in the Church is a lack of saints. And how do we become saints? Well, if you’re anything like me, the idea of becoming a saint can seem pretty intimidating. But one of the great truths about our faith is that each one of us truly can become a saint. Father Gaitley gives us hope by pointing out the powerful graces God is giving us in the “time of mercy,” as St. John Paul II called it, which we’re experiencing now as a Church because we need it so much (see Rom 5:20).

Now, one of the graces that helps us become saints in this time of mercy is Marian consecration, which St. Louis de Montfort calls the “quickest and easiest way to become a saint.” That’s a devotion that many of you have already taken up using Fr. Gaitley’s book 33 Days to Morning Glory.

Another great grace that can help us to become saints is the modern message of Divine Mercy, which comes to us most powerfully through Sts. Faustina Kowalska and Thérèse of Lisieux, which is what 33 Days to Merciful Love was all about. But there’s another great grace that we have as Catholics — the greatest grace, really. That grace is the focus of 33 Days to Greater Glory.           

Greater Mercy Through Greater Glory

Of course, that great grace is the Mass. Now, as you know, there are two main parts of the Mass: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Father Gaitley’s new book focuses on both.

Let’s start with the Liturgy of the Word.

To become saints in our modern world, we need to take time to put aside the word of men — so much noise, information, and distraction — and immerse ourselves in the Word of God. Of course, that’s not an easy task, but 33 Days to Greater Glory has actually made it easy.

Essentially, the book is a commentary on what many saints call the greatest book in the entire Bible, namely, the Gospel of John. Over the course of 33 days, it takes you step-by-step through that marvelous Gospel that, admittedly, is not always easy to understand. But believe it or not, Fr. Gaitley actually has made it much easier to grasp. And not only that: He’s also included a free way that we can listen to the whole Gospel, so we’ll be immersed in the Word of God as we go through the retreat.

The second main part of the Mass is the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Treating this topic in the context of the Gospel of John, 33 Days to Greater Glory really soars. It reveals that, through the Mass, especially at the moment of the Concluding Doxology, we have the opportunity to renew our most fundamental consecration: namely, our consecration to God the Father.

A consecration to God the Father? You may have never heard of that. But in his book, Fr. Gaitley states that all other such consecrations originate from — and lead back to — that specific consecration. He says it’s the most important consecration, the consecration that begins with our Baptism and that we can confirm, renew, and deepen at every Mass.

The book 33 Days to Greater Glory helps us to do this.

All right, so let me tell you how to proceed.

My Invitation to You

Starting on March 17, the memorial of St. Patrick of Ireland, please join me in making a 33-day preparation to consecrate yourself to our Merciful Father on Divine Mercy Sunday.

Ultimately, we’ll make the consecration itself at the Mass on that great day, but we’re also going to make a special prayer together during the EWTN broadcast preceding the Mass. By renewing our consecration to God our Father, I believe that our Father in Heaven, through the suffering, death, and Resurrection of His dearly beloved Son, truly will have mercy on us, on the whole world, and also on the Church, which needs it so much right now.

And what, specifically, is that great mercy? It’s that the members of the Church would be filled with greater love for others — a love that begins with us.

If you’d like to join Fr. Gaitley and me in making that consecration on Divine Mercy Sunday, I’m renewing the same offer I made back in 2016.

Specifically, for any donation plus shipping, up until March 17, 2020, we will give you a free copy of 33 Days to Greater Glory: A Total Consecration to the Father through Jesus, Based on the Gospel of John. I hope you’ll join me and make this event even bigger than three years ago, and that your enthusiasm will make us have to “rebuild our phone lines,” which I’m sure your phone calls will be “bringing down to ruin.”

Here’s What to Do

Please join me in making the consecration to God the Father on Divine Mercy Sunday this year.

Get the consecration book 33 Days to Greater Glory: A Total Consecration to the Father through Jesus, Based on the Gospel of John. Price: Your donation, plus $5.25 shipping. Offered until March 17. Visit marian.org/GreaterGlory or call 1-800-462-7426 and please use product code B45F-33DGG. (One per household. Continental U.S. only.)

Begin the consecration on March 17 so that you can complete the consecration on April 19 — Divine Mercy Sunday!

 

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