A couple of weeks ago, a huge fall thunderstorm erupted in the middle of the otherwise quiet night. It startled me from a dead sleep. I tried my absolute best to disregard the racket and the flashing light in order to remain blissfully slumbering.
I was in that foggy quasi-sleep state in the midst of trying to self-soothe back to a deep unconsciousness, when one of my sons snuck into our room and boldly announced, “What is going on out there?!” If you’ve ever had a kiddo swoop in while you’re trying to rest, you’ll understand when I say my hair was now standing on end. Children are like nighttime ninja. You never hear their stealthy approach but are made frighteningly aware when they are hovering mere inches from your face. It’s straight out of a horror film.
He had my attention. In fact, my heart was racing. “It’s just a thunderstorm! You’re fine. Try to get back to sleep.” That was enough to calm his frayed nerves as he padded back to his room. Mine, however, were now almost electric with alertness. I lay perfectly still in bed, fully awake, listening to the wind howling and the deluge of hail and rain that pelted the windows. Even when my eyes remained closed, I could see nature’s dramatic fireworks through the veil of my eyelids as my room illuminated and went dark. There were loud cracks of thunder that jarringly urged me to remain awake, as if the storm were saying, “There’s no sleeping through this. You’re about to get swept away. Wake up!” With my husband still peacefully snoozing, I must admit, it was a little frightening listening to the battle that seemed to be encroaching on our little ranch home and I wondered if it would ever stop.
Eventually, the winds did die down and I relaxed enough to fall back asleep. But when I woke in the morning, my first thought was of that crazy storm. A quick glance outside revealed there was no major destruction. Our patio chairs and their covers had indeed taken a beating. All significant structures were intact, although my flower bed looked like it had been doused and put through the ringer. Even my hearty petunias looked a bit war weary.
In a brief jolt of understanding, I saw the night’s storm as an allegory for what we’ve been experiencing in the Church. It’s been awful and downright scary. People are getting tossed about. Many of us would prefer to sleep through it. We’d like to cover our ears and shut our eyes tightly and pray for dreamy sleep to soothe us back to oblivion. But even our kids are waking from the storm. They are seeking reassurance from us. I want so badly for it to just go away! But it must run its course. God clearly is demanding our keen attention.
Gratefully, in the early morning light, our grassy yard and stalwart brick home remain. And dare I say, they appear somehow refreshed, clean and new. Unfortunately, I don’t think the storm has passed for our Church. The thunder will most likely continue to startle and violently redirect our notice. We are being pelted by an unbelievable torrent of reckoning. And we must all stay alert.
I am more than hopeful that our church will weather this storm.
“And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” —Matthew 16: 18
There will eventually be a time for rest, but at the moment we must continue in vigilance. We must proceed to talk about the topic that is roaring against all of our doors and windows. It is literally on the doorstep of every single domestic church. We cannot ignore it! We must encourage each other to speak up, even in seemingly small matters—to take a stand. We need to remind our friends, relatives, kids, and clergy that priests, deacons, bishops, and popes are mere humans, just like the rest of us. We all must walk in humility with Jesus as sinners who constantly fall short of His glory. Realize that priests, who are mostly so good and holy have satan nipping at their heels. Pride is such a powerful sin that corrupts and distorts. We can never idolize humans. Only Christ will never let us down.
I’m reminded of what was revealed to St. Faustina by our Blessed Mother. Mary mentions three virtues that she says are dearest to her. She says,
“The first is humility, humility and once again humility; the second virtue is purity; the third virtue, love of God.”
It is NO mistake she mentions humility three times! That’s because each and every one of us is gravely susceptible to the sin of pride. And our clergy often more so. They provide us the essential nourishment, the Eucharist. Many can bring the scriptures spectacularly alive for us. And while offering forgiveness of our sins in persona Christi, they mirror His merciful Sacred Heart. Most of them are wonderful men. Praise God! But they are human.
We too must follow the Queen of Peace’s wise counsel. We must practice humility, humility, humility, purity, and love of God. It is through the practice of these virtues, we will wake up to a Church refreshed and renewed.
I was interviewed on Relevant Radio about my essay on how my husband and I are talking to our kids. We want desperately for our own kids to remain faithful and love our Lord with all their hearts, despite all this filth. We pray that all the faithful will weather this storm in Christ’s Church. To those of you who are moms and dads, our kids are waking from the storm. God asks us to wake up too, to reassure them and do whatever needs to be done to point them in the direction of our Redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ.