On Saturday, August 11, 2018, on the feast of my namesakes, Saint Susanna and Saint Claire, I went to Mass. I had been saddened by the news of a Cardinal of the Church who was involved in the abuse of children, and who had not lived out his Priestly celibacy.
As Mass began, they turned on the lights in the church. I noticed immediately a light flickering on and off. It sat over top of the Second Station of the Cross. As I looked at the flickering light over the Second Station, God whispered to me, “The Church’s Passion. This is where you are.” Just then I noticed another light flickering in the back. I looked back, and there it was flickering over the Statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe. And God whispered, “She will guide the way, follow her example.” I pondered what God told me, and I noticed that the lights stopped flickering at the consecration.
The Pennsylvania Grand Jury
By the Feast of the Assumption, the news of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report had come out. I felt sick. I wept when Facebook exploded with people asking why, and how anyone could possibly stay in this church. We are crucifying Jesus again, just as the leaders did back then. It is a different sin, but sin none the less. By the time I got to Mass that evening, my sadness had given way to anger. I was so enraged I thought perhaps I shouldn’t receive communion. I felt betrayed. And then the cantor sang Gentle Woman. Instantly my rage disappeared because Mary is the example who will guide the way on this Passion of the Church.
But the next day I was angry again because this situation with the Church and her shepherds, this seemed different. Bigger. Something I could not fathom, even though I feel like I saw it coming ages ago. I just didn’t want it to be true. So, spewed all my anger at God, about the pedophiles/ephebophiles too and lamented their victims. How do we stop this Lord?
I sensed God telling me what I consider to be blessings and curses are not always what He considers blessings and curses because His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.
God will never take free will away because He wants true love to be chosen. He looks at each soul. He knows exactly where they are and what they are culpable for. He always gives them a chance, right up until the end. He shows them their own soul at the judgment. Then He presents Himself to each soul with His arms outstretched and it is up to them. They choose to reject or accept His love.
Christ’s forgiveness is not easy. For each sin, there is a consequence, both temporal and corporal. We cannot allow people to harm children. They must be stopped. Prison is a consequence. It is reparation for the crimes. God will deal with the souls.
We have two choices. We can choose to be perfected here or we can choose to wait until the afterlife where we know God always extends mercy. On this earth, suffering is painful, but not as painful as purgatory after death. For the pain of being perfected there is awful, though it is our greatest mercy. Purgatory is mercy. That is why they are the Church Suffering, and we are the Church Militant. We must fight the demons here and ask God to walk us to union with Him. The great Saints knew this. This is also why we must pray for those in purgatory daily.
I say to the shepherds who have been involved with unchaste behavior, breaking your vow of celibacy (or any of your vows for that matter), and also to those with abusive behavior, or with covering up abuse. repent now. The suffering you will endure in reparation on earth will be nothing compared to being shown the state of your soul before God, and even if you choose to accept His mercy, the pain of perfection in the afterlife is harder than here.
If you do not repent, you are walking the whole church on her Passion. The Catechism tells us the church will undergo a Passion, and the Passion looks scandalous. You are inviting the world to persecute us. And it is a consequence that would be deserved. If you think you are in control and can cover things up, God will soon show you who is in charge.
Walking the Passion
For the rest of us on this walk of Passion in the Church, welcome the transparency shedding light on the darkness. A friend of mine used to say, “these things must come.” They surely must if we want Resurrection.
“For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” Luke 8:17-18
Remember, don’t leave Jesus because of Judas. You can walk the Passion like Mary and John. You may even hide a little bit like Peter and the rest of the Apostles, as I imagine this was a time of healing for them. But never stop praying. Pray for the good shepherds who will be persecuted, and for those who need to repent. Never leave the Eucharistic Lord. God can heal these wounds and bring us to Resurrection. Mary didn’t stand at the foot of the Cross with a baseball bat swinging at people. She stood trusting the Lord and forgiving those who hid. She, in her perfection, even forgave the leaders who crucified Him, because that’s what her Son did on the cross.
When Christ comes again, it will be when we all have had triumph over the devil, and the earth will be under Christ’s feet because it will be under all of ours. This will create a new heaven and a new earth, the old passing away, and the restoration of how things were supposed to be in the beginning. All things moving to restoration and union with God’s will. This crisis is God purifying all of us.
Lord have mercy on us and on the whole world.