Every first Saturday of the month we have morning Mass followed by Holy Hour but today Father added five more hours of Adoration.
I’m sitting here in church during the last hour of Adoration. The church is perfectly still except for the soft sounds of someone occasionally entering or leaving as quietly as possible.
This morning after Mass, Father gave us the opportunity to make an Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There were booklets available for us to pray along. This “hour” lasted 1½ hours as Father thoughtfully led all the prayers and the responses for the Act of Reparation pausing after each, to give us a few moments for reflection. As we prayed from the booklet, the Holy Spirit opened our minds and helped our pitiful hearts admit our guilt before the King as we sorrowed over our faults and weaknesses. These beautiful old prayers, mostly written by saints, are filled with expressions of love for our Savior, love and thanksgiving to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
And this morning, among the many prayers in our little booklet, we prayed the Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Some of the words in this beautiful long prayer broke my heart.
Excerpts from the Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The more the imitation of Thy virtues is neglected and forgotten, the more we shall endeavor to practice them, O Heart, model of every virtue!
The more the devil labors to destroy souls, the more we shall be inflamed with desire to save them, O Heart of Jesus, zealous Lover of souls!
The more sin and impurity destroy the image of God in man, the more we shall try by purity of life to be a living temple of the Holy Spirit, O Heart of Jesus!
The more Thy Holy Church is despised, the more we shall endeavor to be her faithful children, O Sweet Heart of Jesus!
The more Thy Vicar on earth is persecuted, the more will we honor him as the infallible head of Thy Holy Church, show our fidelity and pray for him, O kingly Heart of Jesus!
These statements and more, one following the other brought to mind those who neglect and disregard the virtues of Christ, who give in to the temptations of the devil, who destroy the image of God in man by their sin of impurity, who despise the Church by staining it, who by their actions persecute the Vicar of Christ. These thoughts brought me to tears and then I was softly sobbing.
This last hour of Adoration, I gaze at Our Lord, displayed in the Monstrance, flanked by two large candles. I wonder, “why now?” Why is Father giving us this long Adoration along with the Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? Why at this time? I think I know why.
I am sick and troubled over the latest uncovering of sexual immorality of some priests and bishops and not just immorality, but sexual abuse and serious sex crimes perpetrated on innocent victims by men entrusted with the people of God. These fallen clergymen are causing a great disturbance in the world and they gravely dishonor the Church they vowed to love and protect. Exacerbated by the fact that much of this was kept secret or ignored by those who had the authority to unfrock the perpetrators. How many souls will be lost due to this outrage?
Every priest, no matter how pure of heart, now bears this scar on their hearts.
I’m certain Father is suffering greatly. Today during Adoration, I caught a glimpse of his suffering soul. Father told me a few days ago that lately he’s been having some of the same feelings he had in the seminary of abandoning his calling. Then he told me he realizes that would be silly. A shepherd doesn’t abandon his flock because other shepherds abuse their sheep. Yes, Father said that would be silly! But this comment made me realize how supportive we must be of these dedicated, good and holy priests, remembering that for every fallen priest there are thousands and thousands faithful, selfless, God-fearing priests who take seriously their tremendous responsibility knowing they must be accountable to God.
My heart is breaking for the victims of the sexual abuse. My heart is breaking for the fallen clergymen (God help them). My heart is breaking for Father. My heart is breaking for all religious who now bear this scar. My heart is breaking for Pope Francis.
My heart is not breaking for the Church. Holy Mother Church has always suffered due to the faithful and the unfaithful as we all fall short of the glory of God. The Church guided by the Holy Spirit will prevail.
Father plans to continue First Saturday Mass followed by 6 hours of Adoration. This is the best thing we can do, pray together as a people of God. To apologize to Jesus for the sins of our brethren. To confess and repent of our own sins. To thank Our Lord Jesus Christ for sending us the Holy Spirit and promising never to abandon us. I will never forget the promises of Christ!
THANK YOU, JESUS, FOR GIVING US THE CHURCH. OUR CHURCH IS HOLY BECAUSE YOU ARE HOLY, OH LORD!
Excerpts from homily of Father C. Ryan McCarthy, Dioceses of Indianapolis – August 18, 2018
A terrible week to be a Catholic! How could this happen!
Tears! Anger! Bitterness! A sense of Betrayal!
Think of those who came before. Their courage. Their faithfulness. Those who suffered persecution.
Priests preach to a church of damaged, suffering children. How do we fix this?
You are our hope. We will recover. With heavy hearts we take up our cross and rebuild as God told St. Francis to do. To rebuild the Church amid sin and sickness.
Out of nothing Jesus made everything. Let there be light! We need the light right now.