Want to Help? Enroll!

By Chris Sparks

Everything I’m doing these days has a little undercurrent of adrenaline behind it. I’m a little antsy, a little too energetic. This is the sort of crisis that requires patience, though, and persistent trust: trust in God; trust in the scientifically recommended measures of social distancing; trust that, no matter what, the Divine Mercy will bring good out of the present troubled times.

And this is the sort of crisis that requires us to bring to bear all the natural and supernatural resources at our disposal.

First and foremost, our response needs to be characterized by virtue — by prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, faith, hope, and love. I’ve said more about that elsewhere.

Then we need to abide in those virtues. We need to settle in for the long haul as Catholic Christians facing hardship, just as so many of our brothers and sisters down through the centuries have faced hardship with courage and supernatural love.

But we also need to help our brethren as much as possible. And as Catholics, we have some extraordinary resources.

Anyone can share a bit of food, some rolls of toilet paper, or other material goods. But we have spiritual treasures, treasures that will not ever carry any pandemic disease with them, treasures that don’t require sanitizing, treasures that, unless we share them, our brothers and sisters on the front lines of this pandemic will not have. Our Lord told St. Faustina:

[W]rite this for the many souls who are often worried because they do not have the material means with which to carry out an act of mercy. Yet spiritual mercy, which requires neither permissions nor storehouses, is much more meritorious and is within the grasp of every soul. If a soul does not exercise mercy somehow or other, it will not obtain My mercy on the day of judgment. Oh, if only souls knew how to gather eternal treasure for themselves, they would not be judged, for they would forestall My judgment with their mercy (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 1317).

So how can we perform spiritual mercy? Any practice of prayer can become an act of spiritual mercy. Heaven has especially recommended the Rosary, the Divine Mercy devotions, and other acts of piety, especially acts of Marian devotion.

But let me share with you a little known spiritual treasure, one the Marian Fathers offer in abundance.

It’s called an enrollment in a spiritual benefit society through which people can share in the graces from prayers and good works. The Marian Fathers’ spiritual benefit society is called the Association of Marian Helpers.

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The benefits of enrollment include the following:

  • Daily Holy Mass celebrated for Marian Helpers
  • Holy Mass offered for members on the First Friday and First Saturday
  • Holy Mass offered for deceased members on All Souls' Day
  • A special Mass offered on each feast day of our Savior and his Blessed Mother
  • The continuous Novena to the Divine Mercy at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, Mass.
  • Daily prayers offered by workers at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy and the Marian Helpers Center

For a nominal donation, you can enroll yourself, your family, your friends, or anyone at all who’s in need of grace. If you’d like, you can arrange for an enrollment card to be sent to the person or to their loved ones. If it’s better to not send the enrollee a card (for instance, if the person you’ve enrolled has left the faith, is Protestant or otherwise non-Catholic, or if you don’t know their address), you can enroll them without a card.

Why do I raise this practice now? For two reasons:

Number 1: Our healthcare professionals are facing some of the hardest weeks or months of their professional lives. The same goes for any number of people working in crucial industries and fields that don’t stop during a pandemic, ranging across public services such as police, fire, and ambulance workers to electric, sewer, and other utilities. There are a lot of people who are in need of all the grace they can get. Further, families with sick loved ones, whether that sickness is COVID-19 or not, are facing some very trying times. Many, many people are in need of prayer. Well, this is the single most powerful way I know of to have those people be prayed for. “The Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life’” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324) because Jesus is really present in the Holy Eucharist. From Jesus come all graces. So the Masses that are said for us members of the Association pour out an infinite treasure into our lives.

Number 2: The Marian Fathers, just like so many other faith-based organizations, are going to face a difficult year because of this pandemic. The Congregation and the Association need your help to keep up our essential work of spreading devotion to the Divine Mercy, Mary Immaculate, and the Holy Souls in Purgatory. When you donate and enroll people, you help keep that mission going in these critical times. More than ever, the world needs what the Marian Fathers proclaim.

So help the fight against the pandemic. Help spread the word about Divine Mercy. Help lead people to Mary Immaculate, “our life, our sweetness, and our hope.” Help lead people to pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Enroll our leaders, our healthcare workers, our neighbors in essential industries, and everyone in need of grace in these hard times. Enroll everyone who’s afraid, everyone in need, everyone who has died.

Enroll your neighbors. You’ll be doing a great work of spiritual mercy.

Pray for me; I’ll pray for you.

Chris Sparks serves as senior book editor for the Marian Fathers. He is the author of the Marian Press book How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.

Photo by Alex Boyd on Unsplash.

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