Answer To Persecution Is Action Coupled With Prayers Of Devotion And Adoration
If there are problems in society -- if there is oppression, if there is a lack of respect for Christmas, which we have just seen undermined in a whole new fashion -- it is due in part to problems in the Church, chief among them indifference:
Catholics are not standing up for themselves and are not following the path to an anointing, which can readily turn back the enemy.
We have a chance at new communication with the Lord and a new start as Christ Himself is now new as the Infant.
How do we handle holy days?
All of us should enjoy the warm glow of making loved ones happy on December 25; it should be a day, today, of satisfaction. We should be happy. Christ came to bring peace and joy. Let us feel peace and joy. We should realize this week as one in which the "veil" is thin, when special graces are available, when we can pray for those in the hereafter.
After encountering the Lord -- and seeing a vision of Him at the right hand of the Father -- St. Stephen moved forward with the Holy Spirit as we too are called to take the anointing of Christmas through the year with us. It is time to adore. It is time to feel new and potent grace!
It is also a time in which we can resolve to end indifference. Let's take stock of what just occurred and pray about what will happen next Christmas.
"I have been thinking about the whole issue of Christians demanding stores to say Merry Christmas," notes viewer Pam Arend. "Do you think it is hypocritical of us to ask that when we embrace the materialistic side of the holiday just as much as everyone else? What if Christians were to stop shopping and stay home and just prepare our hearts for celebrating Our Lord's birthday?"
"After reading news stories about shoppers camping out overnight in parking lots, being robbed, beaten, stabbed and shot, just for a toy, the Sony Play Station 3, I wondered how many Americans would take the same risks in order to attend church?" says reader Joel McClain. "In some countries, of course, the faithful are routinely facing this, and worse, just to attend Mass. That may be the case here too, someday, if we are not good watchmen."
Again, we look at the example of Stephen (whose feast day it is).
What transpired this Christmas was a huge warning, the strongest move yet to make Christmas not only unfashionable (replacing it with a "winter" holiday) but politically incorrect.
That is very dangerous and the answer is in prayer from the heart and proper regard for the Eucharist. It is also in consecration. Our nation, our world, is in need of re-consecration. Recently, the United States was re-consecrated, at least in a fashion. That was a step in the right direction. Meanwhile, a statue of Our Lady of America reportedly was set in the recent meeting place of the bishops.
At this point, however, such happenings are not only infrequent but relatively small events.
We are too worldly. We approach religion in a way that is not spiritual enough. This week we can change that in our own lives. We can take advantage of the special time between now and the new year to connect with God more powerfully.
He sends this as a time of unusual communication.
Take advantage of that. Pray. Use quiet time for reflection. Reflect. If you have free time, take a moment to write politicians or bishops. They need to know where we see lacking.
"I attended the re-consecration at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception," wrote Mitch Johnson of Waldorf, Maryland. "It was a beautiful and moving liturgy. Still, I couldn't help but be a little saddened by the fact that there were only two bishops in attendance, and one was the Papal Nuncio. Further, there were only about 15 priests con-celebrating and the church was a little over half full. Signing a written consecration is not nearly as powerful as being there in person."
Let us strive in the new year for consecration -- for personal consecration, and consecration of our communities -- while we work at spreading Adoration.
The Pope's Christmas message was just this: worship God, not technology.
"I read your article on the measures being taken to make Eucharistic Adoration almost impossible," writes a concerned congregant. "Here in Canada, our efforts at getting all night vigils of Eucharist Adoration have not been well received by most of the parishes we have approached these past few years. 'Insurance costs' were cited as the primary reason our requests could not be accommodated."
In many dioceses, the reason for not allowing Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is that two people are needed in the chapel at all times and that this is almost impossible to find.
Writes a priest: "Several years ago a church in Las Vegas asked their bishop permission for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. He refused because the church was in a high crime area. The parish appealed to Rome. The bishop was told he had no authority to deny the parish Perpetual Adoration, as very parish has a right to it. The pastor designed a special tabernacle with a opening for the host to be viewed and to make it impossible that the host could ever be taken. I believe that since Perpetual Adoration began there has been no crime within one block of the church. He is at St. Bridget Church.
"While giving missions in various parishes across the country, I came across several creative ways to insure safely while only having one adorer present. Whoever advised the bishops that two people need to be present did not work very hard to find out if it were indeed the case. There simply is no need to have two people always present.
"Years ago the Pope asked for Perpetual Adoration in every parish and oratory in the world. What would the world be like today if he had been listened to? You are so right, we need Adoration!"
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