A Fighting Faith: Bishop Jenky Calls Us to Turn to the Mother of God
Once again, Bishop Jenky is reminding the flock that the struggle in which we are engaged is, at root, a spiritual battle - and requires spiritual weapons
"It has never been easy to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, our Savior warns that the world will hate us if we love Him. The attacks of this world, the flesh and devil seem particularly ferocious in this current moment. Several months ago, I asked that we not lose sight of the spiritual nature of this battle when I directed that the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel should be invoked at every Sunday Mass for the protection of the Catholic Church in America. I now ask us to re-double our spiritual efforts through devotion to the Blessed Virgin." (Bishop Jenky)
A vision of Don Bosco wherein he saw the Pope steering the ship of the Church through troubled waters, guided by the power of the Holy Eucharist and the prayers of the Blessed Virgin.
PEORIA, IL (Catholic Online) - On January 19, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Bishops of Region IV in the United States gathered for their ad limina visit. He warned them of a "radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres".
He told them that the "seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion."
This admonition came the day before Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, issued a mandate requiring all employers, including Catholic and other religious employers, to cover sterilization, abortion inducing drugs, and contraception in their health care plans.
We need to be honest about what is happening in this hour of history. The failure to defend the fundamental human right to life, the effort to undermine marriage and the family and society founded upon it - and the erosion of the fundamental Right to the Free Exercise of religion - all point to a moral malady rotting the foundations of freedom upon which Western civilization rests.
They also reveal the reality of evil at work. As the Apostle Paul reminded the early Christians in Ephesus, "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." The struggle has not changed.
One of the silver linings in the ominous cloud we face in an increasingly hostile culture is the way that it has elicited such courageous leadership from so many of our Catholic Bishops. Among them, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois. He gave a homily on April 14, 2012, at a Mass at St. Mary's Cathedral during the annual "Call to Catholic Men of Faith" event which showed heroism.
Over 500 men gathered on a rainy day and marched through downtown Peoria bearing witness to the ancient but ever new Catholic faith. In his homily the Bishop reflected on the readings of the day for the Liturgy. The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 4: 13-21), recounted the hostility faced by Peter, the first Pope, and the beloved disciple, John, as they exercised their apostolic ministry in another culture which had grown hostile to the Church and her message of genuine liberation.
Peter and John left an example which has been followed for over two millennia whenever the Church faces open hostility from the State. It is in this account that we find these often quoted words: "So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, "Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard."
The Gospel of the day was a post resurrection account from St Mark's gospel (Mk 16: 9-15). Jesus tells the believers to "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature." The Apostles did just what the Lord said and they turned the world of their age upside down (Acts 17:6). So too have their successors, like Bishop Jenky of Peoria. He told those men - and reminded all Catholics "We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction."
The homily was quoted in piecemeal fashion and became fodder for those who do not want Catholic Bishops to exhibit a backbone. Threats were made against the very non-profit status the Diocese because the bishop spoke the truth. We offered the entire homily in an article entitled "The Courage of Bishop Daniel Jenky: Catholics by Conviction!" The homily is still well worth reading in its entirety!
The Bishop reminded the men " it has never been easy to be a Christian and it's not supposed to be easy! The world, the flesh, and the devil will always love their own, and will always hate us. As Jesus once predicted, they hated me, they will certainly hate you."
"But our Faith, when it is fully lived, is a fighting faith and a fearless faith. Grounded in the power of the resurrection, there is nothing in this world, and nothing in hell, that can ultimately defeat God's one, true, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church."
Once again, Bishop Jenky is reminding the flock that our struggle is, at root, a spiritual battle - and requires spiritual weapons. He recently wrote a letter to all of the faithful concerning "the attacks of the world, the flesh, and the devil (which) seem particularly ferocious in this current moment"
The letter was sent to every ...
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