Facing Our Immortality Support Group Call
Monday 10/12/20 from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm MDT (8:30 pm to 10:00 pm EDT)
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Signs Of The Times
Cultural upheaval comes to every society as each generation strives to leave its mark, for better or worse. Pope St. John Paul II has called contemporary western culture a culture of death. What we may be watching with the current riots and civil unrest is something that can be likened to a kind of terminal restlessness. Anyone who has attended the dying knows what terminal restlessness is: It describes the end-of-life experience that manifests as pronounced agitation and restlessness. It can be caused by any number of things that are part of the dying process, from pain, to medication issues, to spiritual and emotional work going on inside the person.
Restlessness is already a general characteristic of our lives in time and it is present in the saved and the unsaved, the holy and the not so holy. It is present in the individual but also in communities and nations. St. Augustine, in what may be his most remembered quote, reminds us that our hearts are restless until they rest in God. In the saints, restlessness manifests as a peaceful excitement or anticipation of the life to come. In the sinner, it manifests in agitation and anxiety that something isn’t right, something important is missing.
The story of Nineveh from the old testament is a lesson for us. On the verge of being destroyed for their sinfulness, the Prophet Jonah preached so effectively that everyone from the King on down repented with sackcloth and ashes.
They were spared but their conversion didn’t last. They soon returned to their sinful ways and were visited once again by the prophet Nahum. This time they did not listen, and they were destroyed. An alliance of conquered peoples attacked and destroyed the city which had been one of the greatest intellectual and cultural centers of its time.
Which way our society goes, depends on one thing and one thing only: repentance. Repentance, repentance, repentance! Fr Michael Scanlan, Steubenville’s former president, and reformer, believed that the biggest need among Christians today is for repentance. For joy and liberation, for salvation and preservation, for true progress, repentance is the only answer to the discontent and destruction generated by a sin-saturated society.
Nicolás Gómez Dávila notes that “Modern history is the dialogue between two men: one who believes in God, another who believes he is a god.” The one who prevails in this now, very heated dialogue will determine whether we are witnessing the terminal restlessness of western civilization dying, or the labor pains of a new birth, a new springtime for the civilization of life and love.
- As a person who has battled a deadly disease in one form or another, what values do you bring to the dialogue mentioned above by Davila?
- Looking at the signs of the times, what do you think is the most effective way to influence the secular order with eternal truths?
- We can tend to think that repentance is all about a first conversion away from a sinful life. We forget that repentance is needed as long as we struggle with active sin in our lives and that it should mark the whole of our relationship with God. Have you experienced repenting and then returning later to the very thing you repented of? What did you learn from that?
- As Catholics we often go to Confession with the same things over and over again. Many times, instead of really repenting, we justify ourselves without sincerely resolving to avoid a particular sin. And so, we are back the next time with the same sin. Can you identify certain stubborn areas in your life where you need ongoing repentance?
- Repentance, when it is real, actually gives birth to joy. What is the reason for that?
- Why do you think God chose you to live in this time specifically (and not another time)?
- Who would you say are the prophets in this day and time?
Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life.
Peace and Blessings,
Sr Anne Marie Walsh and Denise Archuleta