Overcoming Evil, the Marian Way

By Chris Sparks

And why not say — as we are accused and as some claim we say — that we should do evil that good may come of it? (Rom 3:8).

One of the great errors of Russia warned about by Our Lady at Fatima was a ruthless willingness to do anything in the name of a particular good cause, including evil things.

In the name of the Tsar, for instance, lies were propagated throughout the world in the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion, accusing the Jewish people, God’s own blood relatives as well as His chosen people, of the worst of crimes. Russian imperial policy also led to the persecution of the Polish nation, leading to the near extinction of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception.

In the name of the Communist utopia, millions were starved, persecuted, or outright murdered under Lenin, Stalin, and their successors, including five Marian Fathers being proposed by the Congregation for canonization.

In the name of the Russkiy mir, the “Russian world” ideology of the present Russian regime, Ukraine has been invaded, her civilian population shelled, tortured, or made to disappear, and Putin has given speeches saying that Russia has no borders. The Marian Fathers and Marian Helpers in Ukraine have suffered from the invasion — buildings bombed; people in need of humanitarian and medical assistance on a massive scale; the elderly and handicapped trapped in cities under threat.

Donations are still desperately needed. Please be generous at Marian.org/Ukraine. One-hundred percent of donations received are sent to the Marian Fathers in Ukraine and Poland for relief efforts.

Overcome evil with good
Great evil has been done by Russia in the last hundred years in the name of the head of their country, or in the name of defeating oppression, or in the name of their nation, and the Marian Fathers have suffered a great deal of it.

How did the Congregation respond? By acting in accordance with the slogan of Marian Renovator Bl. George Matulaitis-Matulwicz: “Overcome evil with good.”

The Marian Fathers have been faithfully and fruitfully ministering across the world ever since their renovation, their restoration by Bl. George and his collaborators. The Congregation has, for example, helped rebuild the Catholic Church in Eastern Europe since the fall of the Soviet Union, promoted the Divine Mercy message and devotion across the world, and led many Catholics to pray the Rosary, especially for peace in the world.

It’s a different path than the erroneous Russian ruthlessness. It’s the path of the Immaculate Heart, of Our Lady of Sorrows, who didn’t try to physically fight the men torturing her Son. Our Lady didn’t respond to evil, even to the ultimate evil of deicide, with evil. She responded with perfect innocence, perfect goodness. Our Lady is the Mother of Mercy, not a mother of ruthlessness; the Queen of Martyrs, not the queen who does “whatever it takes,” including evil, in the name of obtaining some lesser good.

“Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good” (Rom 12:21).

Regarding Pelosi
That brings me to the attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, on Friday. The name Pelosi is a lightning rod, and with good reason. But our bishops have shown us how to respond.

“I join with Archbishop Cordileone in offering my prayers for the full recovery of Paul Pelosi and comfort for his family following the terrible attack,” said Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to CatholicCulture.org. “I am deeply grieved over this violence, which should have no place in our communities, our political process, or our great nation.”

“Please join me in praying for the swift recovery of Paul Pelosi and comfort for his wife and family too,” Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said. CatholicCulture.org reminds us that, last May, Archbishop Cordileone made a public declaration that Nancy Pelosi “is not to be admitted to Holy Communion unless and until she publicly repudiate her support for abortion ‘rights’ and confess and receive absolution for her cooperation in this evil in the sacrament of Penance.”

Now, in no way should the Archbishop's prior excommunication of Nancy Pelosi be construed as a factor in provoking such violence. It was an act of love by her chief shepherd in the Church of her home diocese, designed to recall her to a truer way, not a call to reject her or demean her as a person, much less to physically harm her and her family.

In the face of a rising tide of dehumanizing rhetoric, of attacks from the left and the right on their political opponents in the most degrading of terms, Catholics have an ever-greater obligation to bear prophetic witness to the inalienable dignity of every human person, born and unborn. We worship the truth. We have an obligation to insist on the love owed to our neighbors, even if they support grave evils.

C.S. Lewis had great wisdom in this regard, in his classic work Mere Christianity:

Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.

Refuse the knee-jerk
In this age of fake news, of misinformation and disinformation, of lies, mistakes, and false (but sincerely held) beliefs, we have an ever-greater responsibility to the truth. We need to refuse the knee jerk, all too satisfying habit of instantly believing the worst of our adversaries. We need to refuse the easy, seductive lure of conspiracy theories that make us the good guys and all the people we already don’t like the bad guys. We need to remember that even the worst of sinners is still a child of God, that we are commanded by God to love our enemies as well as our friends, and recall that the prayers of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, imitating the prayers of the Mass, has us praying for everyone on earth, the good and the bad, the righteous and the unrighteous.

The important thing is that we love God, then all evil will turn to good. It is true that we do not always know what form it will take. But it will come just the same. We can be certain of that — Marian Renovator Blessed George Matulaitis, MIC

Is there someone whom you fear, and perhaps even hate, because you believe or know them to be guilty of grave evil? Don’t smash them with a hammer. Pray the Chaplet in reparation for their sins. Do penance on their behalf in order to expiate the punishment deserved by the great evil they have done. The worse you believe they are, the more urgent your prayer for them should be.

Our prayer must be “Jesus, I trust in You,” not “Brute force, I trust in you,” “Money, I trust in you,” “Worldly power, I trust in you.” We are forbidden from idolatry, summoned to fear God, to love God and neighbor, and overcome evil with good.

Don’t invade the home of the Speaker of the House and attack her elderly husband. Don’t do evil in the name of good. If someone has committed a crime, call the police. If you want to fight evil in our society yourself, join law enforcement, or the military, or run for elected office. Persist in the practice of our Catholic faith, in right worship and right reason, in learning the truth and in telling the truth, in the way of the Immaculate Heart rather than in the way of doing evil that good may come.

Pray for me that I may practice what I preach. I’ll pray for you.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash


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