The Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Church (Part II)

Is the Passion of our Church Actually Beginning?

On September 13, 2018, Cardinal DiNardo shared these words after meeting with Pope Francis: “We shared with Pope Francis our situation in the United States – how the Body of Christ is lacerated by the evil of sexual abuse”. Lacerated is an interesting choice of words. It certainly cannot help but bring to mind the Passion.

I keep praying “Jesus, I surrender myself to You, take care of everything.” Again and again, fervent prayer after fervent prayer. “Jesus, I trust in You.” Rosary upon rosary, chaplet upon chaplet. Shutting off the media. Silence and prayer as I surrender myself to God. Then, after seemingly endless days, I again “hear” God’s voice, softly calling to me:

“Come, join my Mother at the foot of the cross.”

Where else can we go but to the arms of our loving, Immaculate Sorrowful Mother? We must join Our Lady at the foot of the cross when we feel sorrowful, overwhelmed with feelings of grief and anger and loss, and confused. And what did Our Lady do? Did she scream out against Jesus’ sentence? No. Was She in a rage at the apostles, those so beloved by Her Son, who have fled from this climactic moment? No. Was she in a heap of self-pity and desolation at the loss of Her Son? No. She was silent and in prayer.

Mary Teaches Us a Different Kind of Action

Many today are saying yes to silence and prayer, but then rant, argue, write petitions, fight, organize, etc. Our Lady must have surely possessed a human desire to do these things as she pondered the Passion of Her Son but She didn’t.  She followed silence and prayer with action but not the world’s concept of action. Our Lady’s action was to trust in humility, docility, and meekness. Let me be perfectly clear here, Our Lady’s silence and prayer was absolutely not an act of passivity or weakness. but led to an action that was likely not perceptible to those with eyes of the world. Mary, through the salvific work of Her Son, was crushing the head of Satan. As She stood at the foot of the cross, suffering with Her Son and offering Her agony, united with His, up to Her Heavenly Father, this was truly a position of immense power in Her humility. It was a position of strength and abandonment to God’s perfect Will, which She did not understand fully, but in which She had perfect trust.

In 33 Days to Morning Glory, Father Gaitley makes this point:

Why through Mary? Because God has put enmity between her and Satan, and Satan can’t stand her. In fact, according to St. Louis (de Montfort), Satan fears her not only more than the angels and saints but, in a sense, even more than God Himself! Why? Because, as he puts it, ‘Satan, being proud, suffers infinitely more from being beaten and punished by a little and humble handmaid of God, and her humility humbles him more than the divine power.’

At the foot of the cross, Mary is crying externally, of course, but her most intense crying is within as she cries out to God. Her eyes are always focused on her Son, Jesus, on His eyes, heart, and final words. I am imagining that most of the time, Her eyes were focused on His eyes and His head  Our Head, our Church. The Head of the Church is now Pope Francis, the person whom we should be focused on.

Pope Francis

I do not want to look at the Head of our Church when I read current events, listen to the roar of the media, focus on the swirl and the storm around me.  It is an act of my will to turn to my eyes to Pope Francis and read his actual words. I have not completed even one of his encyclicals or papal writings or read the full text of his translated homilies for myself. However, I have read many media accounts with selected quotations from him and opinions about what the author thinks he is saying. Shame on me! It is possible that a schism could be forming and could occur in our Church. If a schism does happen, where do I go? Where would the authority of God be? Well, all of God’s authority and grace would remain with the Pope, the Chair of Peter, until the end of time. We have been promised this. God is faithful.  Who is this person today? It is Pope Francis. My allegiance will always lie with the pope and the bishops who are united with him.

Who Else is At The  Foot of the Cross?

“Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala” (John 19:25). The women are there, close to Our Lady, seemingly mentioned in passing. What is the call to women, in particular, choosing to remain at the foot of the cross with Our Lady? These women are not running away in fear, disgust, and hopelessness or fighting among themselves or screaming out in rebellion. They are not running to Herod or Pilate or petitioning for a reversal of Jesus’ sentence. They are silent witnesses with Jesus and Our Lady joined in prayer, sorrow, and compassion. By their very presence, they are supporting Our Lady and Jesus and each other, not by doing but just by their very being. In times of immense suffering, women are powerful just by “suffering with” the other. This is a key element of what Pope John Paul II called “the Feminine Genius”.

“The Feminine Genius”

For men, a small of the complimentary“Masculine Genius” is “transcendence”. It is more task and problem-oriented. Men are wired for problem > solution > action. Women, however, possess the complimentary gift of “immanence”. We are physically designed to “make room for the other”. This can be, in a physical sense, when we carry human life within our womb. In a spiritual sense, it can be the ability to make room for God or other people when women welcome and encounter others. The final person mentioned at the foot of the cross is John. He is symbolic of the youth and in particular, of the young, vibrant new Church that we have been promised.

How to Respond to Scandals

Headlines come and go. There is the Cardinal McCarrick scandal, the PA Grand Jury report, Archbishop Vigano’s letter, more scandals in what seems to be every country and diocese, cardinals and bishops resign, and investigations open. Rumors swirl about Pope Francis. What did he know? When did he know it? What did he do? There is curiosity, suspicion, innuendo, hearsay. Day after day, story after story, events seem to be speeding up.

We can only go to the foot of the cross. Repeating the Catechism quote from Part I:

The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.”  (CCC 677)

It is the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Church.

Formerly, I served for almost twenty years as a pediatrician. I have also given birth to three daughters. Nothing in my entire life can remotely compare to the excitement of being in the delivery room at the impending birth of a new baby. Yet, doesn’t the delivery room often somewhat resemble where I am now called to be, at the foot of the cross? What is coming with all of this agony and suffering of the Church? It is the birth of a new Church “without wrinkle or blemish”.

Again and again, I enter into that scene with Mary, the women, and John, looking up at Christ and now looking up at my beloved Catholic Church, moaning in agony, ugliness, and tears. It seems everyone begins to run, refusing to look at the head of the Church. stating that they do not have to listen to Pope Francis unless it is related to faith and morals. Everyone seems to be listening to newscasters, bloggers, and reporters but people do not seem to be trusting in or listening to what Pope Francis has to say.

The Church is Experiencing Birth

However, we are preparing for a Birth and we are experiencing labor pains. The Body of Christ is lacerated with blood and water pouring forth because new life is coming. There is also a gush of blood and water when a baby is about to be born. The Church is in agony now with overwhelming labor pains and intense contractions but our God is good, faithful and loves us infinitely. He did not leave us orphans. He will not ever abandon us. He left us Peter and He promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against him.

Here I am at the foot of the cross. Here I will stay with Our Lady of Sorrows, the women, and Saint John, focused on the Head of Christ, and our Holy Father, Pope Francis. It is the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Our Church. This is where I am and my roots are planted deeply into the Rock that is Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Read Part I


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11 thoughts on “The Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Church (Part II)”

  1. I’m so very thankful to have stumbled across this beautifully written and inspired piece. Today more than ever we are becoming a very critical culture about EVERYTHING others do or say. We may want to begin by taking the log out of our own eye first. I love your advice to another comment about going to the Vatican website to read his words, our media and others are very good at spinning everything they hear to suit their purposes. I too have been feeling a stronger call to prayer and silence and I know others have also felt this. We should remember that their is nothing more powerful than prayer and trust in God.

  2. My dear sister, it seems that you over rate the ‘virtue’ of humility. Allow me to venture an observation regarding The Immaculately Conceived: The Immaculately Conceived held an office and part and parcel to that office was the position of being the Mother of a King. I would further venture to state that the behaviour The Immaculately Conceived was attributable to and in the service of that Office.

    I wonder what office the above article proceeds from. Is it the office of doctor? or perhaps mother? What exactly does the the humility you espouse serve. Just because you do not see the forest through the trees does not give you the duty to guide us toward humility, a non-office.

    As your brother, I would guide toward the concept that deception is the devil’s best method of alluring its prey.

  3. Karol, I’m about a year late reading this but this is so beautiful I had to say so! God bless you! Thank you for having such a courageous heart, speaking the Truth, and true love for Our Lord, His Vicar and the Church! Amen, Amen!

  4. I have read the teaching Amoris Laetitia. Boy was that tough! It was way too long, way too much throwing in this quote and that quote. It was obvious what was being done. Use lots quotes from JPII and other solid Catholic Teachings to cover what your really doing. Sort of slight of a hand. I have noticed a technique that he uses. He goes back and forth in what says. He sounds very solid at times, but then follows it up with teachings or statements that are way out there. It’s back and forth, to keep you off balance, so your always not sure. The late Cardinal Chiapi, a theological advisor to 5 popes, said that Our Lady of Fatima said that apostasy would start at the top of the church. He said this a long time ago. Our Lady told Lucia that the dogma of the Faith would be preserved in Portugal if they did not approve abortion. So if the doctrine of Faith would be preserved in place that means elsewhere it would be lost! This biblical. There are predictions in the New Testament that Rome will lose the Faith, that an Abomination of Desolation would be placed upon the Altar of the daily distribution. A clear reference to the Mass. This is talking about large falling away of Faith. The Church will survive, but that does not mean for a time, Peter loses his Faith, just as once did. The world is headed for a complete Communist take over. The US is on the verge of new government being installed by the radical leftists. Other countries are heading that way to. And Francis is helping them. Our Lady of Fatima Pray for us!

    1. Peter of Rome is sustained by Christ Himself and there is no power on earth to de stabilize him to err or to make him lose faith as you say. The chair of Peter is the making of God and certainly not the ability or human endeavors of the person who is selected to the chair by Holy Spirit. Peter is the head of the church , not like an elected head or like any great leader on earth , it is entirely the making of God and nobody could undo the favor, God is showing to him by mud slinging on him.
      As a parent , a father is a father , even if he fails to the obligated duties of a father to his children, God never tolerate children abuses their parent for right reasons, for not looking after the children , or for ruining the future of the children by their lifestyle etc. A father or mother should be honored at any cost irrespective of the character, merits or de merits of them towards their children. However, when the natural order of the family is like this, how came God would allow His Peter , appointed and sustained by God, till the end of the world to be sullied by all and sundry for whatsoever reasons, It is a great and imminent danger to the salvation of anybody who openly accuses Pope or revolt against him, it is like rejecting Christ Himself when one revolt against the Peter. May good sense prevails at this end times , so that people may not lose their soul by joining with the anti papal crowd. As for Mother Mary prediction at Fatima, She never mentioned about Pope would lose faith and people should revolt against him, if anybody construe the meanings of Mother Mary’s message as they want to interpret to cause a stir against holy father , apart from the interpretation of the Magisterium of the church , it will be detrimental to their salvation. At the foot of the cross the crowd was, a few persons, know from this that those who truly follow Christ will be opposed by many and supported only by very few, it is your free will either to join with the larger crowd or with a few persons at the foot of the cross,
      God bless you,

  5. Dear Karol
    I do not doubt your sincerity and I agree that we should all pray and pray hard. But I do not agree that we should be silent. I have very grave concerns about Pope Francis and there is a veritable mountain of evidence to back them up. I understand the anger and frustration of devout Catholics seeing their cherished beliefs about marriage trashed by the “merciful” advocacy of reception of the Eucharist by adulterers, the destruction of the John Paul 11 Institute etc etc etc.
    Silence can denote consent. I pray that a great saint will speak out on behalf of faithful Catholics, gather them all together and repair the divisions in the Church I love.

  6. This essay appears to be written from a place of genuine humility, and I am humbled by it, but I keep thinking of the very real problem of scandal, and the prospect of praying over it, of course, yet otherwise standing by in silence, watching it play out, its toxic effects poisoning many, both the faithful and the uncatechized. Was Archbishop Vigano wrong in what he did? I think not.

    Probably faithful, prayerful silence is the correct course for some, but not all.

    1. Dear Frank –

      Thank you for your comment. I guess it depends upon whether or not what Archbishop Vigano spoke was true or not. I have absolutely no idea. For some reason, the minute this story broke, everyone in the media seemed to be elevating Archbishop Vigano up on a pedestal where he was absolutely solidly credible and could or would not EVER speak with error or untruth. We know from Vatican II however that individual bishops are NOT granted the perogative of infallibility. Have you ever wondered why there seems to be less suspicion of Archbishop Vigano than there is of Pope Francis?

      Sadly, what seemed to happen after Vigano’s letter is that every Catholic with a blog/microphone/camera started speaking out on what they thought and this has led to greater and greater chaos, confusion and division. I feel it is above my pay-grade to figure out who is truthful or not in this whole mess, when it comes to the hierarchy. With that said, there are some things I know for certain (1) I believe wholeheartedly that Pope Francis was validly elected (2) We have been promised that the keys of the Kingdom have been given to our Holy Father (3) There is only a limited amount of time that I, in my life, have to devote to learning about these issues. (4) Every media source, regardless of who they are, has some sort of “spin” to the manner in which they report the “facts”.

      So here is what I concluded since I wrote that article last year and continued praying about this. I decided to first and foremost, instead of taking in my “favorite” Catholic news sources, focus on going to the Vatican website here…..

      ….and focus on reading the actual words that Pope Francis says and writes in his homilies, Angelus addresses and writings. Boy – that has made me really come to love and appreciate this pope in a way I had not been doing!!! Are his words challenging? Yes they are. Are they allowing me to grow closer to Jesus and Mary and to grow in virtue? Yes they are. Once I shut out the din of that media, things became much clearer and I was able to hear the voice of God and the Holy Spirit in his words. And I also kept growing in peace in my soul. We have no idea what will happen tomorrow or where the world is headed, however, we do know that God has promised us that the gates of hell will not prevail. I am confident in God’s promises. He is faithful. And yes, I am a third order Carmelite so my calling may be different from yours. But, I would argue, likely more people are called to silence and prayer than are actually doing that.

      God bless and keep you!

  7. “Who is going to save our Church? Not our Bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops like bishops and your religious act like religious” – Saint (in my opinion) Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

    St. Athanasius who was excommunicated by Pope Liberius became the 1st Doctor of the Catholic Church and who was known as the Father of Orthodoxy stated “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of Bishops.”

    This Pope has never answered the dubia, has appeared to make statements that conflict with Scripture, e.g. death penalty, appearing to embrace homosexuality, advocating communion for people living in adultery, etc. It appears all sorts of confusion follow this Pope. Why has he not answered the dubia, why has he not answered Archbishop Vigano’s accusations, why is he silent? The Pope seems to imply that he is being silent before his accusers like Jesus but Jesus answered Pilot when questioned. It is a principle in law that silence is acquiescence. Again, Jesus was not silent before Pilot.

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