Mary and Gregory helping us in the dark

Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of the Blessed Mother and the following Saturday we honor her under her title of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Blessed Mother is with Our Lord in Heaven, so she is experiencing happiness beyond our imagining. Nonetheless, she continues to suffer with her children here on earth, as a loving mother who is not indifferent to our sorrows.

Firstly, she suffers with the innocents. When Christ was on the cross, all the evil in the world attacked Him. As He said in Matthew’s Gospel (chapter 25), when we are helping someone, we are helping Him, but when we are harming someone, we are also harming Him. Mary mourns the incredible evil visited upon her children by members of the clergy, who should have been leading them to Her Son, but were instead gravely wounding their souls.

As you can read on pages five and eight of this edition of The Anchor, we have an opportunity to recall the message of Our Lady of Fatima during this terrible time. As parishioner Edwin Aldarondo said, “The biggest mistake for us in general is to see the Fatima event as something in the past with no ramifications in today’s world. We must all do our part to adhere to Our Lady’s message.” We are in the crisis we are in because abusive clergy and enabling higher-ups did not adhere to her message, but it is not too late for us to do so.

Mary, as Mother of the Church, is concerned for all of her children: clergy, laity and religious. She is the model for all of us as to how we are to be faithful. She is a laywoman and she shows the power of what someone ignored by the powerful can do. 

Father Tim Goldrick writes on page 11, “Much to my surprise, I found reason for hope. I found reason for hope in the People of God themselves. In the history of the Church, we have weathered catastrophic storms. It was the faith of the People of God that has stayed the ship in the past. The faith of the People of God will come through again. I know this because I’ve seen it already happening.” Since we clerics (even the innocent ones) have lost credibility, the lay faithful’s fidelity to Christ is what remains to call the world to Christ. 

This is not to say that the clergy are to sit around and do nothing. The hierarchy of the Church brought us to where we are and it must respond to God’s demands for justice and mercy. We do not presume to know here at The Anchor what exactly that might be, other than that it cannot be “business as usual.” The Church is the Bride of Christ, not a business, and yet she has so often in her 2,000 year history been treated as the latter (and not the most reputable of ones). All of us have that nuptial dignity, and yet it so often is ignored. We all need to pray about this and see how as individuals and as a community we are to respond to this call (St. Paul discussed this in Ephesians 5 a few Sundays ago, when most of us heard the “short form” of the second reading, so as to not have to discuss the obedience of wives to their husbands; the Apostle’s main point was that we are called to be obedient to Christ, Who died so as to wash us clean with His Blood.).

St. Gregory the Great, whom we celebrated on Labor Day, wrote, “We make use of temporal things, but our hearts are set on what is eternal.” When we run the Church as if it were just an organization, we forget about that. St. Gregory added, “Temporal goods help us on our way, but our desire must be for those eternal realities which are our goal — for our whole attention must be fixed on those realities which constitute our goal.”

He then calls for purification. “Whatever is vicious must be utterly eradicated, wrenched away not merely from being put into act but even from being so much as thought of. No carnal pleasure, no worldly curiosity, no surge of ambition must keep us from the Lord’s Supper.” It seems as if St. Gregory were writing for our times — but he knew human nature, and it hasn’t changed much since the beginning of time. May we ask the Blessed Mother to pray for us (she already is, but she loves her children to ask her for favors) so that we might follow this great saint’s advice, so as to redirect our hearts towards Heavenly realities, instead of towards committing earthly sins.

© 2019 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing    †    Fall River, Massachusetts