There is no doubt we are witnessing an unprecedented moment in the history of our Church. With each news story that breaks it seems the filth, depravity, and lies of some of the successors to the apostles only grows.
There have been numerous opinions, and prescriptions for how we should navigate this time of hurt, confusion, and anger.
The time given to us
Perhaps we find ourselves echoing a familiar passage from The Lord of the Rings:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Today, it is undeniable that we have been given a particular calling and charge. But just who has given us this task? Where should we look to for guidance?
God Himself has given us this task, and it is to Pope Saint John Paul II to whom we should look for guidance.
A pope to prepare us
Pope Saint John Paul II who has prepared us for such a time as this. We have responsibility as laity. We’re called to set an example for the generations to come. We will alone answer for our response. So let us pray for each other, since this is our time.
It was this Pope, with his determined, charismatic, and hope filled messages who taught us about God’s love and the true beauty of our faith. He challenged us. John Paul II knew who we were created to be.
He knew that God made us for this time in history and he knew that the Church, the world, would need us.
At a time when the rest of society seemed to want to write off young people, he raised the bar and gave us our mission.
“At this stage of history, the liberating message of the Gospel of Life has been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the ends of the earth is now passing to your generation,” he told the crowds at World Youth Day in Denver, Colorado.
“Now more than ever, in a world that is often without light and without the courage of noble ideals, people need the fresh, vital spirituality of the Gospel.Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns, and villages.”
The current crisis
Now the Church finds herself in a crisis. She has weathered her share of storms. She has survived 2000 years of heresies, schisms, scandals, and sin. The Church survived the Apostles and their abandonment of Christ, when all but John left Him on Calvary. She will survive this latest crisis too.
But it is up to us to navigate her through it. The Barque of Peter will not sink, but she is rapidly taking on water, and she needs her faithful to start baling it out!
“As the third millennium of the redemption draws near, God is preparing a great springtime for Christianity, and we can already see its first signs,” John Paul II wrote in Redemptoris Missio.
A new season of faith
We are the first-fruits of that New Springtime. Even in the turmoil and the hurt of this present crisis, we recognize that we are responding to that call. This is the beginning of that Springtime.
Spring never comes without mud and mess. Early spring isn’t pretty. It’s messy, ugly, and necessary. This is the moment in which we find ourselves.
This present crisis, the truth that is being revealed. We’re in the mud, muck, and nastiness of early spring. But truth must prevail and the seeds of it are sprouting. If this is the New Springtime, than we are the gardeners and this garden needs tending.
Responding to bishops and priests
Some Bishops and priests who have failed us do not understand. They operated largely, on an unprecedented scale, when we were still young. They had a network, protection, plans, and lots and lots of secrets.
At a time when John Paul II was telling us that we were the future of the Church, and bolstering our courage as we came of age, these prelates and priests were busy preying on some of our generation and the generation before us.
This will not stand. We will not let it.
The truth has been, and is being revealed. We’re the lawyers, theologians, priests, sisters, lay consecrated, psychologists, investigators, and parents. We know our canonical rights and our responsibilities.
We love our faith and love the Mass – in both its pre and post 1962 form. And we will not sit by and let evil and sin destroy our Church, or Her New Springtime.
To the victims, we say, we love you, please let us help you find healing.
It was John Paul II who told us, “In his infinite love, God is always close to those who are suffering. …Christ listens to the cry of those whose boat is rocked by the storm. He is present beside them to help them in the crossing and guide them to the harbor of rediscovered peace.”
A new season of saints
This is our time. A time to be saints.
“Young people of every continent, do not be afraid to be the saints of the new millennium! Be contemplative, love prayer; be coherent with your faith and generous in the service of your brothers and sisters, be active members of the Church and builders of peace,” John Paul II told us.
He knew we have it in us to be the saints that the Church needs now, in this time.
John Paul II prepared us, and believed in us. Now, he prays for us.
Let us not let him down.
Together we can heed the words of John Paul II: Do not be afraid. We were made for a time such as this.