Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

One Thing, the most important thing

|   Commentary by Joe Pisani
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Every day I get emails from my non-Catholic friends about the crisis of sex abuse and accountability in the Church. They want to know: What is the Church doing about this? What am I doing about this? And why am I still a Catholic?
One article they sent was written by a man who had an outburst at his pastor during Mass and angrily concluded the Church is “beyond redemption.” I don’t believe that although I believe, to quote Pope Paul VI,  “the smoke of Satan has entered the Church of God.”
These are dark times of sexual predation, cover-ups by bishops and sexually active priests. Over the years, I’ve met people who suspected abuse or suffered abuse and went to men in positions of authority, but were ostracized, ignored and discredited. Years later, they’re still bitter, angry and hurt. They suffer devastating long-term psychological and spiritual effects, and they’re unable to forgive such a hideous and diabolical betrayal of trust.
My friends ask me what I’m going to do. Join the Congregationalists or the Unitarians? Stop putting an envelope in the collection basket? Protest on the steps of my church?
When they ask why I’m still a Catholic, I think of the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, when disciples start abandoning Jesus because He said they must eat His Body and drink His Blood to have eternal life. He asks Peter, “Do you also want to leave?” And Peter responds, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Do you remember the movie “City Slickers” with Billy Crystal and Jack Palance, who won an Oscar for his role as Curly, the grizzled and crusty cowhand? Do you remember how Curly raised his index finger, smiled enigmatically and told Billy Crystal, “One thing…” He never explained what he meant, but whatever that one thing was, it was everything to him.
As Catholics, it should be clear to us what the One Thing is. That One Thing is something we can never walk away from, and it should be the focus of our lives—not our political causes, our professions, our social circles or our material successes. It is Christ in the Eucharist. Nothing more.
In 2007, Our Lord and Our Lady began to speak to the heart of an anonymous Benedictine monk in the silence of Eucharistic Adoration. He was told to make reparation in front of the Blessed Sacrament for priests wandering in darkness and succumbing to carnal sins.
The monk, who is believed to be from Connecticut and lives in a monastery in Ireland, published the messages in a book titled “In Sinu Jesu.” Buy it, read it, meditate on the words of Jesus and Mary, sit in front of the Eucharist, and make reparation for the sins of priests.
Even though we may not realize it, Jesus is in control. Without Him, the Church will never be purified. There are many secularists who think prayer, adoration and reparation are ineffective medieval responses. But Jesus told the monk that Eucharistic Adoration chapels are “the radiant, pulsating centers of an intense Divine activity that goes beyond the walls of the place where I am adored to penetrate homes, and schools, and hospitals; to reach even those dark and cold places wherein souls are enslaved to Satan; to penetrate hearts, heal the infirm, and call home those who have wandered far from Me.
Eucharistic Adoration is “supernaturally efficacious.” He said that failure is certain for those who put their faith «in human schemes, in plans devised by the worldly-wise, and in programs drawn up along short-sighted human principles. And so they go, and will continue to go, from failure to failure, and from disillusionment to disillusionment….Woe to those who trust in purely human solutions to the problems that beset My Church! They will be grievously disappointed, and many souls will fall away because they have neglected to take up the supernatural weapons I have prepared for them in this time of spiritual combat.”
Here is a prayer He told the priest to say for his fellow priests mired in sin:
“Lord Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim, Lamb without stain or blemish, I come before Thy Face, laden with the sins and betrayals of my brother priests and with the burden of my own sins and infidelities.
Allow me to represent those priests who are most in need of Thy mercy. For them, let me abide before Thy Eucharistic Face, close to Thy open Heart. Through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Thy Mother, Advocate and Mediatrix of all graces, pour forth upon all the priests of Thy Church that torrent of mercy that ever flows from Thy Heart, to purify and heal them, to sanctify and refresh them, and, at the hour of their death, to make them worthy of joining Thee before the Father in the heavenly Holy Place beyond the veil. Amen.”
One Thing.