Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

2/1/2012 (4 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Given the current state of our National moral decline we need to view the entire American continent as missionary territory, ripe for this New Evangelization.

The heroic leadership of this Pope may well represent one more fulfillment of the prophetic vision of the Saint whose Feast we celebrate on this day.This vision could well describe what is occurring in our own day. We need to take our place on the Bark of Peter and follow the Pope as he follows the Lord. Pope Benedict XVI is steering the Ship through troubled waters, charting a path through those sure pillars of protection and heavenly aid. St. Don Bosco, pray for us.

One of many renderings of the vision of Don Bosco

One of many renderings of the vision of Don Bosco

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/1/2012 (4 years ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

Keywords: Don Bosco, John Bosco, Court of the Gentiles, New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI,


CHESAPEAKE,VA. (Catholic online) - On January 31 in the Roman Calendar we celebrate the Feast of St John Bosco (also called Don Bosco). He lived in the 19th century and poured out his life serving the Church of Italy. Don Bosco was the founder of the Salesian Society and walked in a wonderful and intimate communion with the Lord. He also lived during a difficult time for both the world and the Church. 

Among the many accounts of his extraordinary life, we read of a vision he shared on May 30, 1862. It comes to my mind frequently these days. The vision revealed the great threats facing the Churchas she continues the redemptive mission of her Lord. It also reveals the path which will lead her to victory over her enemies. The vision has been the source of much inspiration, insight, speculation and reflection.

Images of the vision have been painted by many of the faithful. The paintings themselves have a prophetic effect on the observer. The saint saw the Church as a great Ship of Peter surrounded by a flotilla of other vessels. They were engaged in intense warfare. At the helm of the Church was the Pope who at one point in a fierce battle fell mortally wounded. The enemies of the Church closed in sensing this was their moment.

In the vision two columns then emerged from the great ocean. On one was a golden Monstrance with the Holy Eucharist exposed within it. The column was inscribed with the words "Salvation of Believers". The other column held an Image of Mary, the Mother of God, inscribed with the words "The Help of Christians". Here are words which purportedly reflect those actually spoken by the Saint in describing this vision:

"The entire enemy fleet closes in to intercept and sink the flagship at all costs. They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons. The battle rages ever more furious. Beaked prows ram the flagship again and again, but to no avail, as, unscathed and undaunted, it keeps on its course. At times a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole into its hull, but, immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash.

"Meanwhile, enemy cannons blow up, firearms and beaks fall to pieces, ships crack up and sink to the bottom. In blind fury the enemy takes to hand-to-hand combat, cursing and blaspheming. Suddenly the Pope falls, seriously wounded. He is instantly helped up but, struck down a second time, dies. A shout of victory rises from the enemy and wild rejoicing sweeps their ships. But no sooner is the Pope dead than another takes his place. The captains of the auxiliary ships elected him so quickly that the news of the Pope's death coincides with that of his successor's election. The enemy's self-assurance wanes.

"Breaking through all resistance, the new Pope steers his ship safely between the two columns and moors it to the two columns; first to the one surmounted by the Host, and then to the other, topped by the statue of the Virgin. At this point something unexpected happens. The enemy ships panic and disperse, colliding with and scuttling each other. Some auxiliary ships which had gallantly fought alongside their flagship are the first to tie up at the two columns."

This vision could well describe what is occurring in our own day. We have been blessed with holy successors of Peter who are steering Christ's Church through those two columns in very troubled waters. One, Blessed John Paul II,  was even shot - but saved through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin on a Marian Feast day. Both engaged courageously in doing battle with those forces which oppose the Church. Both stood at the helm while steering her safely through the twin poles which certainly stand for orthodoxy (right teaching) and orthopraxy (right practice).

Blessed John Paul II is now in the communion of Saints in the Church triumphant, interceding for the whole Church. His friend and successor, Pope Benedict XVI has continued the mission of providing heroic leadership to the Church. I am convinced he is leading the Church through these turbulent waters into a new missionary age. Throughout the Pontificate of Blessed John Paul II he called for a "New Evangelization." His friend and successor, Pope Benedict XVI, has made this a central pillar of his pontificate.

In a Motu Propio directive (which means issued on his own authority) Pope Benedict established a new dicastery (Vatican Office). It underscored the seriousness with which he views this mission of the New Evangelization.  It is specifically tasked with evangelizing countries where the Gospel was announced centuries ago, but where its presence in peoples' daily life seems to be all but lost.

Cultures formerly infused with a Christian culture are now regularly called post-Christian - and understandably so. There is little doubt that Europe, the United States, Canada and Latin America are all "post Christian."  Yes, there are many good and genuine Christians living within these Nations. However, the scourge of legal abortion, the attacks on true marriage and the family and society founded upon it, and the intolerance against people of faith, speaks clearly of the decline of Christian influence in these Nations. I prefer to refer to them as "Pre-Christian."

They are now our mission field. When Blessed John Paul visited the Americas he wrote a letter "To the Church in America"  in which we find these words:

"The new Evangelization calls for a clearly conceived, serious, and well organized effort to evangelize culture. The Son of God, by taking upon Himself our human nature, became incarnate within a particular people, even though His redemptive death brought redemption to all people, of every culture, race and condition. The gift of His Spirit and His love are meant for each and every people and culture, in order to bring them all into unity after the perfect unity existing in the Triune God." (# 70)

The New Evangelization requires an authentic renewal of the Church so that she can undertake such a new missionary outreach to the world. These two aspects of the one call are intricately connected. Only a Church fully alive in the Lord and filled with His Spirit can carry out such an evangelical mission. The Church is Christ's plan for the entire world. The early Fathers called her the "world reconciled." There is no "plan B" through which He will save this world. She is a universal sign, sacrament and seed of the kingdom of God. The early Christians would have never understood the notion in some contemporary Christian circles that anyone could follow Jesus and not "need" the Church.

These wonderful words from Par # 845 of the Catholic Catechism, citing words from the early fathers of the Church,should anchor us in hope, "To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood."

Contemporary Western culture has lost its way, throwing off almost every remnant of Christian influence. It has embraced a new paganism. What Pope Benedict calls the "Dictatorship of Relativism" is the bad fruit of a rejection of a belief in the very existence of truth. In effect, the West has embraced a practical atheism. It is Eden's error written large in an age which has rejected God and His plan.

Given the current state of our National moral decline we need to view the entire American continent as missionary territory, ripe for this New Evangelization. We also need to view the once Christian Nations of the European continent as mission territory.  Most importantly, we need to view ourselves as missionaries in a new missionary age.

Pope Benedict XVI turned 84 years old on April 16, 2011. Some early observers indicated his age would make him some sort of caretaker Pope. His pace has demonstrated the observers were wrong. He has proven to be an indefatigable and tireless missionary of a Pope.

He has continued the pastoral visits of his predecessor with amazingly fruitful travels around the world. The youth of the world still flock to World Youth days and his genuine love for them - and they for him - is evident. He has pastorally and decisively dealt with serious matters concerning the need for a purification of the Church. 

He is exactly what he told us when he began his service, a "simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord" Notice how little fanfare accompanied his birthday as well as this six year anniversary of his election. Clearly, to this successor of Peter, it is not about him, but about the Lord whom he serves. His diminutive size and humble manner reveal the holy heart of this man totally given over to the Lord.

He has written three encyclicals, three apostolic exhortations and two books about Jesus of Nazareth. He is a scholar of the highest order, yet able to communicate with simplicity and beauty because he is a man of deep prayer. He has given continual teaching to the faithful - including some of the finest hagiography in centuries - during his Wednesday Catechesis.

He made Church history, when Motu Propio, he released of the Apostolic Constitution on Groups of Anglicans which has begun the healing of the divided Western Church. Two Ordinariates have already been formed and more will follow. The fruits of these Ordinariates will be recounted by future historians as among the most important events in the Third Millennium of the Church.

He has earned the great respect of Patriarchs and leaders of the Orthodox Church and is making progress toward some form of communion between Eastern and Western Christianity which could make the Third Millennium a millennium of communion.

He has championed the re-christianizing of Europe and passionately promoted the New Evangelization of the Church - even establishing a new Pontifical Council on the New Evangelization. He has been a champion of the New Ecclesial movements and helped to ensure that they are rooted in the heart of the Church and received as gift for the missionary work of the Church in this hour.

He has doggedly defended the Christian roots of the West and defended religious freedom as a fundamental human right. He has engaged the Islamic world with great charity and courage on the ground of dialogue in truth. He began the "Courts of the Gentiles" outreach engaging atheists and agnostics. Clearly, this is a missionary Pope.

And, it looks like he is just getting warmed up.  We have had six years of Pope Benedict XVI and it appears to this Deacon that he is leading the Catholic Church into a New Missionary Age. The Church is truly blessed to have him at the helm of the Barque of Peter as she sails into the Third Christian Millennium.

The heroic leadership of this Pope may well represent one more fulfillment of the prophetic vision of the Saint whose Feast we celebrate on this day. We need to pray for him, take our place on the Bark of Peter and follow Him as he follows the Lord. He is steering the Ship through troubled waters, charting a path through those sure pillars of protection and heavenly aid. St. Don Bosco, pray for us.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



Comments


More Christian Saints & Heroes

Quotes of the Saints - Five saints have a message for you on this Thanksgiving holiday Watch

Image of Let us remember to give thanks for this day the Lord has made.

By Marshall Connolly, (California Network)

If you are an American, today is Thanksgiving. Hopefully today you have made a point to attend Mass and to give thanks to God for all His blessings. If you are not American, today's holiday is a reminder that God deserves thanks from all His creation. We pray you will ... continue reading


St. Ignatius of Antioch: Model of Bravery, Man for our Times Watch

Image of One of many icons of St. Ignatius of Antioch

By Billy Atwell

In the face of the current "witch-hunts" endured by some of our Bishops, let us remember a hero on October 17, the feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch.  St. Ignatius of Antioch is a bishop and martyr of the Church who died in the ... continue reading


St Francis Through the Eyes of His Friend St Bonaventure Watch

Image of Francis of Assisi in prayer

By Deacon Keith Fournier

There is so much to write about in this marvelous account of the life of one of my own personal heroes, the saint whose witness led me back to the Church, Francis of Assisi. However, I will focus on one aspect of Bonaventure's tribute to Francis. He was his ... continue reading


A Promise to God: St. Michael the Archangel, Defend Us in Battle Watch

Image of Michael is also represented in icons as standing on a horizontal body and with his left arm held high, holding a small image of a

By Youngsun Jun

Though I am not strong enough to hold the suffering souls in my arms and carry them home, I can do one thing: I can pray for the deliverance of the souls who are in the darkness. I can request help from the angels for them. I can make a 911 call for them. So again, I ... continue reading


The Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael: Archangels and Powerful Spiritual Allies Sent by Love and for Love Watch

Image of

By Deacon F. K. Bartels

The Catechism of the Catholic Church informs us - The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls 'angels' is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition (328). Charged by God to ... continue reading


My Memoir of St. Padre Pio: Price of Suffering and Beatification by the Brush of Grace

Image of Padre Pio in death.

By Matt Hicks

Miraculous testimony of an elite level gymnast touched by Padre Pio: 'Pio, like all the saints, is like the window-washer that scales tall buildings to clear away the muck and allow us to see His luminous rays aflame. God sends them, as He pushes us forward, ... continue reading


Which is it? Saint Teresa of Calcutta or Mother Teresa of Kolkata Watch

Image of The icon of Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

There is confusion over the proper title of Mother Teresa. Her name is appearing in the media as both "Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta" and "Mother Teresa of Kolkata," sometimes written with the word "Mother" and sometimes without. Which is correct? LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


The saints are real and active in our lives! Saint Padre Pio intercedes on behalf of baby with critical heart condition Watch

Image of Saint Padre Pio has been credited with intercession that saved the life of baby Caitlin Dooley.

By Marshall Connolly (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The saints are real and active in our lives. This is more obvious than ever following the miraculous recovery of a baby in an Irish intensive care unit. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A relic of Saint Padre Pio has been credited with a dramatic improvement in ... continue reading


Clare of Assisi as Model: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Calls for Women of Courage to Renew the Church Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In her convent of San Damiano, Clare heroically practiced the virtues that should characterize all Christians: humility, a spirit of piety and penance, and charity.  Her fame of sanctity and the prodigies that came about thanks to her intervention led Pope ... continue reading


Fr. Paul Schenck on Edith Stein: Daughter of Israel, Daughter of the Church Watch

Image of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz: Throughout her life, Edith never renounced or denounced her Jewish identity. Rather, as demonstrated in her memoir, her participation in Jewish customs at home, her letter to the Pope and in her correspondences, she spoke of her Jewish roots as intrinsic to her self-identification, to her views and even to aspects of her vocation

By Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck

August 9 is the Memorial of St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, Edith Stein, Catholic feminist, philosopher and martyr of Auschwitz. In this sketch, Fr. Paul Chaim Benedicta Schenck, Jewish born priest and Chair of the National Pro-Life Center (Washington, DC), examines the ... continue reading


All Christian Saints & Heroes News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 35:1-10
1 Let the desert and the dry lands be glad, let the wasteland rejoice and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
9 His saving help is near for those who fear him, his glory will dwell in ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 5:17-26
17 Now it happened that he was teaching one day, and Pharisees and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 5th, 2016 Image

St. Sabas
December 5: Sabas was born at Mutalaska, Cappadocia, near ... Read More