“I tell you that you have less to suffer in following the cross than in serving the world and its pleasures.” St. Jean Vianney
Recently, I attended the New York Encounter. It is a cultural event sponsored by Communion and Liberation. The pandemic prevented me from attending the last two years but I was determined to go this time around and I brought family members with me. It was important that I go. What I saw, after two years of pandemic isolation, was Catholic culture alive. Interestingly, I saw so many young priests and nuns. I saw people and families devoted to their faith. The simplicity of it all made me envious. I have seen so many people leave the Church than I care to count. However, the Church is guided by Christ. It cannot fail despite our humanity.
“Since our souls are eternal, we ought not to procure a fortune which soon ends, but one that will be everlasting.” St. Alphonsus Liguouri
Building a Catholic culture again will not be easy. From my perspective, we have reached a point where we need to work much harder. I was flying back home after the experience in New York and I found chatty people on the flight. I thought how sad this was since silence is not part of our world now. Yet, silence and prayer are what we need more than anything right now. It leaves me with food for thought. I saw an exhibit about the geological history of the earth while at the encounter in New York. My one question for the presenter was how to reconcile this with the Infinite. The response was even more beautiful. We can only stand in awe of the Infinite in our lives. He has the final word on everything.
“We must make our way towards eternity, never regarding what men think of us or our actions, studying only to please God.” St. Francis Borgia
I have read about St. Conrad of Piacenza. He was married to Euphrosyne, who was from nobility. Once they realized the hand of God in their lives, they separated; she lived in a convent and he was a hermit. Anyone in today’s society would scoff at them. Of course it is counter-cultural, but that is what Catholicism is. We swim upstream. Recently was the feast day of the Servites. Again, another group that went contrary to society’s expectations. They received a vision of Our Lady and they followed her requests. They left a legacy of Catholic culture. And, one more than struck me was the simplicity of Blessed Edvige Carboni. She spent much of her time in prayer. In her time during the war years of the 20th century, she remained steadfast in her love for Our Lord. Despite receiving the stigmata, she kept it hidden as much as possible. Yet she stayed silent and prayerful. It is these types of saints that we need again today to rebuild a Catholic culture.
“It is best to learn to silence the faculties and to cause them to be still so that God may speak.” St. John of the Cross
I have not been able to visit my Carmelite friends for a while. Once I did, I was quickly reminded by their beautiful life what silence really means. I work with international students and I do not try to have an agenda in what I do.. However, I try to stay in front of my woek with what I have met in Christ without preaching. Hopefully, someone might take notice. Yes, it is a complicated world when we came out of the pandemic. The trip I took to New York was my first in quite some time. But, I did not want a trip of noise and activity. I want to live in silence despite my activities of the day.
“When we retreat from the noise of the world in silence, we gain a new perspective of the world.” Cardinal Sarah