“Why have the Nations raged, and the people devised vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord and against his Christ.” (Psalm 2:1-2)
In recent months, it seems that every news story has brought us only bad news. First fear and now rage have laid us low. Yet the forces of evil have been arrayed against us since the days of Adam and Eve. For this reason, if no other, God commanded that we rest on the seventh day, and give it to Him, that He might refresh us with His Spirit. How small a part of our lives is this seventh! Yet we give it so grudgingly sometimes.
Throughout the Bible, we find the stories of how God dealt with His people when they abandoned him and ran after the ways of the heathens, busying themselves with pleasures instead of faithfulness. If they would not turn to Him, He would give them what they wanted: He would allow them to stray far from Him, and become easy prey for their enemies.
For over one hundred years, Our Lady has been warning us in no uncertain terms that the immense weight of our offenses against God continue to far outweigh our willingness to make reparation. Again and again she has begged us to listen, to repent, and to return faithfully to our merciful God. She herself has been holding back His wrath, but even the most long-suffering love must eventually give way to justice. We richly deserve punishment.
“The life of man upon earth is a warfare…” (Job 7:1)
As long as Christian culture prevailed and the proliferation of the Sacraments regularly called down the Heavenly Hosts to be our companions in this warfare, we could reasonably expect that we might prevail against the insatiable hatred of our enemy.
But as many have pointed out in recent years, we are truly a post-Christian culture. The “nones” massively outnumber the “nuns.” A mere third of Catholics believe in the True Presence. And now, to add insult to injury, the paltry remnant of the Sacramental Church has sidelined itself for the past several months for fear of a virus.
Can we wonder, then, that Satan has gleefully filled this void, and now runs rampant in our cities, bringing violence and anarchy to our very doorsteps? What have we as a Church done to stop him in these months—no, even in these many years—as he has blackened and hardened the hearts of those around us? The light of Christ is hidden under a bushel and darkness eagerly takes its place.
By ourselves, what power can we possibly wield against this satanic onslaught? How does one fight an invisible foe whose malice never sleeps? This is what the sacraments are for: not merely to feed us, but to arm us. And in the midst of this crucial battle our supply line has been cut off. Satan has not slept during these months of fear and frustration, and our storehouse of graces has been severely tested. We have been battered and bruised, and our defenses greatly weakened. We need not merely the single arms that come from single encounters with the sacraments. We need suits of armor woven of them. We need walls and ramparts built of them. We need not small doses of the sacraments, but mountains of them.
I call upon all of you that are finally able to attend Mass: despite the trouble you must take to attend, despite your frustrations with rules that in many cases deform the sacraments, they are still sacraments; please do not despise them right now. If you can get to Mass and Confession and Adoration, please, please, do, as frequently as you can; daily, if at all possible. With each reception of the Sacraments by the faithful, we are fighting to rebuild our defenses against the enemy. Yes, you can help to do this simply by attending Mass and offering it up for all those who are at greatest risk today.
Bishops and priests, I beg of you: to every extent that you are able, please offer as many Masses to as many of the faithful as you can right now, even if that means having Mass in the open air. If you possibly can do so safely, lead processions with the Blessed Sacrament in your parishes. Please recognize the danger through which your flock is currently passing and give them freely of the waters of salvation that you alone can provide them. These times are so, so crucial. We must make up for lost time and opportunity, and resupply the Church Militant here on earth, lest she fall in battle against the enemy.
“And that knowing the season; that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is passed, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.” (Romans 13:11-14)