What Can I Do?
I haven’t read all of the articles, I haven’t listened to the press conferences. I haven’t talked it out with my faithful friends. I’m shamefully holding onto my sanguine tendency to focus on the fun, trivial matters of life. But, we are one body in Christ, and I can’t ignore the bleeding wounds of my brothers & sisters & our beloved Church. I can’t ignore my Facebook feed, my main source of news. I won’t believe the lie that this doesn’t effect me, and the lie that there is nothing I can do…
I rarely follow mainstream news. I’m a sensitive, half glass full girl who tends to avoid handling tragedy. “But Christ has risen!” “Suffering is the way to the cross!” Are the responses I want to reassure. I want to effortlessly turn to joy, to truth, to goodness. They still exist right? The light has already triumphed over this darkness in our fallen world? Or is my habit of cringing away actually a tactic of the evil one? “Be in the world but not of the world,” Saint Paul instructed…
Last night, as my husband & I reclined to our couch we could not avoid the topic. Within the first minute of him enlightening my ignorance, I pulled my hands over my ears, and squeezed my eyes shut. I can’t face this truth, I can’t bring myself to hear the horror. The thought of something like that happening to children my own kids ages? The real wounds of these victims? The real evils present in the Magisterium? I can’t handle it. Or I don’t want to. Or more truthfully is the despairing plea, but what can I do?
I promise this is not a fully informed, educational or authoritative post. It’s just a personal response from a mother’s heart. A way to share what I am processing as a faithful Catholic, a frequent daily communicate, and a lover of Jesus Christ. I want to help. I want to bring healing. I want to see justice…but what can I do?
My current read, the inspiring, well written memoir, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Life Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp, (which deserves a blog post of its own!) is a journey for her to make meaning of the evil and suffering in her life. Read her book for the elaborate answer, but the cliff note understanding becomes a life lived in Eucharisteo, or thanksgiving. It is in the thanksgiving that we find the ability to live a full Christian life. The root word of eucharisteo is chairs meaning “grace.” which holds the Greek derivative word chara meaning joy, she explains.
“Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy.”
A life in thanksgiving is a life of grace is a life of joy. How can I choose joy, choose gratitude in the midst of a scandal? Satan is ultimately an ingrate, she writes, with his main tactic in tempting us to ingratitude….so all of life must be Eucharisto. Where is the Eucharisteo in this? Can I say I’m thankful the abuse was finally discovered and not covered up for a few more decades? Can I say I'm thankful this will lead to a much needed purification? I don't know...that sounds like a pitiful attempt, and I don’t dare make any bold claims. I haven’t found my answer of eucharisteo to this situation…But I can be grateful for what I know is true, what I know is faithful, and what I know has overcome this battle… “The never ending, never ceasing, reckless love of God.” Don’t despair, “take heart,” our true shepherd tells us, “I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
So, what can I do? I can cling hard to the true words of God. I can command Satan’s lies to leave me. I can hold tight onto my rosary and offer decades for the victims, for the priests, for our Church. I can offer Holy hours. I can fight my own battle of sin, consecrate my own children and guard our little domestic church at home from evil. I can thank Jesus for loving us, and for not abandoning us. I can pray the prayers of vocations, and beg God to purify us with good, holy priests. I can do my best to apologize for the messed up authorities in our Church, and to discern my role in our community healing. I can defend our one, holy, Catholic, apostolic church in truthful kindness as best I know how. I can run to the sacraments, and believe in the true presence of the Eucharist. I can refuse to give into despair and to believe the lies. I can seek to learn the proper, rightful and just responses to follow lead in this mess. I can reject Satan and all his evil promises.
We are hurting, Jesus. We are failing you. But we won’t lose hope, and we will pray for the saints who will rise to the occasion and lead us through this tragedy. We will not stop believing that Your true love has already won. We will do what we can, and leave You to the rest.
In the words of Saint John Paul II,
“There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already born for us, and does not now bear with us.”