I have an app on my phone called Laudate. It is bursting with useful Catholic information: prayers, the Stations of the Cross, a virtual Rosary walk-through, daily readings, the Liturgy of Hours, a Confession guide, the Catechism...and it was free! Every Catholic with a smart phone should get it. I can easily access daily readings before work, read encyclicals when I have free time or double check which are the Luminous Mysteries (I always forget those!).
Today's Office provided just the encouragement that I need.
Too often, with news of persecution and impending war, with new of more fatal injuries, with news of more words twisted by the media of the Holy Father, I begin to feel desolate. "What can I do, Lord? How can I make Your peace and love a reality here on Earth?" The psalmist feels my weakness too: my flesh and heart are failing. However, it is God that I love! It is He who loves more than I ever could, who brings about great conversions, who will wipe away every tear.From the Psalms:My flesh and heart are failing,
but it is God that I love:
God is my portion for ever.
Then he said, 'Son of man, go to the House of Israel and tell them what I have said. You are not being sent to a nation that speaks a difficult foreign language; you are being sent to the House of Israel. Not to big nations that speak difficult foreign languages, and whose words you would not understand—if I sent you to them, they would listen to you; but the House of Israel will not listen to you because it will not listen to me. The whole House of Israel is stubborn and obstinate. But now, I will make you as defiant as they are, and as obstinate as they are; I am going to make your resolution as hard as a diamond and diamond is harder than flint. So do not be afraid of them, do not be overawed by them for they are a set of rebels.'This passage was so fitting, yet reminded me of the difficulty, to my preoccupations the last few days, weeks and months. (At least) Since announcing my conversion last June, I have struggled with how I can bring others to the Church of Christ. How can I show others what I see and know about the Church? How can I lead them to the beauty of her parishes and liturgy, to the aid of St. Michael and St. Therese, to the love of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to the unity of the universal Church?
Then he said, 'Son of man, remember everything I say to you, listen closely, and go to your exiled countrymen and talk to them. Tell them, "The Lord says this," whether they listen or not.'
Our own house may not listen to us, but we are not to be afraid. We are to be as resolute and firm in the faith as they are against it. We are to tell them the truth, whether they listen or not. Will it not be worth all the struggle and repeated trials in order to bring someone to the fountains of grace of Baptism, to the intoxicating flames of Confirmation, to heart-wrenching Good Friday and heart-swelling Easter, to the glorious and transcendent sacrifice of the Mass?
Pope Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian lived courageously, teaching and converting others and eventually becoming martyrs for the faith. "Thanks be to God!" Cyprian said to his death sentence. We must be as these men were in the faith: willing to fully live and fully die clinging to the truth. We must desire unity of the Church over division, and that means not being unaffected by the division among it. We should not celebrate the pop up of new sects as if they were open houses, but always call believers back to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.From the Closing Prayer:Lord God, you gave Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian to your Church as faithful pastors and steadfast martyrs. Strengthen our faith and our courage by their prayers, so that we may strive with all our power for the unity of the Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
I do not have a Ten Easy Steps to Conversion program (though I wish I did at times!), but these readings reminded me that living the faith daily and fully is the best way to show others what the Catholic Church is really about. Trust that God can work in wonderful ways and work passionately for the good of the Church.