Action Now - Focus on Prayer

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Prayer: Always the most important step

The soul of any worthy activity, especially on behalf of the Church, is prayer. As St. Paul writes, "For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). A spiritual battle requires spiritual weapons. Should we hope for success against such forces, we must first have recourse to prayer.

Our Lord Jesus Christ reveals the most fundamental requirement of spiritual battle when He tells us "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (John 5:15).

In order to combat evil or laxity within the structures of the Church, we must first of all battle evil and laxity within ourselves. The first step in changing our families, communities, parishes, indeed the whole world, is by changing ourselves. We need to first strive for personal sanctity by "abiding in" Christ should we wish to "bear fruit" in evangelization or any other spiritual endeavor within the Church.

As a foundation, therefore, we need to have frequent recourse to the sacraments, especially to the sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist. It is through these divinely instituted means that we become grafted to Christ like branches to the vine and receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These gifts must be cultivated with personal prayer as well, especially when discerning the proper prudential means to address individual situations and goals. It is through opening our hearts in personal prayer that the Holy Spirit can help properly form our perceptions and prompt us to act with His wisdom, prudence, zeal and love.

The most fundamental test of discerning whether or not particular inspirations come from the Holy Spirit, is to look for the presence of true holy charity towards all in the Body of Christ. For the Church is the Temple of the Holy Spirit; and this same Spirit "works in many ways to build up the whole Body in charity" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 798). Our motivations for building up the Church, will then be properly inspired by love for all, including our pastors, brothers and sisters in Christ, and particularly in our case, the vulnerable preborn and their mothers and fathers.

When working to help motivate the clergy, our actions must be especially characterized by profound respect and charity for these men as persons, their sacramental office, and particularly their role as our spiritual fathers. The Church is a family. And it is possible that in a family, another member may have the duty to approach the father in a spirit of correction. But there is only one proper way to speak to your father: with respect, gratitude, humility and charity.

This does not, of course, mean that priests (or fathers) are always right, or that further, more aggressive steps may not be necessary to protect others from their errors and/or omissions. What it does mean is that all discourse, correspondence, and even public demonstrations, must be animated by a spirit of respect and charity towards these men and especially the office that they hold. For the priesthood is the means by which God comes to us in the sacraments and bestows immeasurable gifts of grace, even unto salvation, upon His people. The priesthood of Jesus Christ, is about the greatest gift given by God to his people. This must be remembered at all times when acting to uphold truth within Our Lord's Holy Catholic Church.

On a more communal level, we encourage Catholics to adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and pray the Holy Rosary every single day for the Church, our priests, our friends and our enemies. Pray that all of our efforts be inspired out of love for the Holy Trinity and the eternal salvation of all, and that God may grant success to our efforts in building a culture of authentic love and life.