In Great Humility, Let’s Join Forces to Restore Our Church

In Great Humility, Let’s Join Forces to Restore Our Church

As I write this article, I am predicting that I will need to delete it, at some point. Why? Because this is a topic that riles the worst of demons, and they become “over-the-top” vicious, if anyone dares to go here.

I am referring to the demon of pride. The Biggy. The Original Sin/Demon.


Iron Sharpens Iron

I want to frame my thoughts by pointing to an amazing event that occurred this past Friday night. This was an evening of prayer, inspiration and fraternity that attracted over 300 men to meet with our Bishop Donald Hying, and to seek to become “better men” (see photo for this article). Every man I’ve talked to, since Friday, said they were blown away. I can hardly think about Friday without becoming emotional, myself.

I’ve thought and prayed about it, and I think, at its essence, this was a gathering of truly humble and heroic men. I can say, with great confidence, that these 300 men (and Bishop) did not possess an ounce of pride in their bones. I liken this to when world wars have broken out, and seeing hordes of heroic men standing in line at military recruitment centers. None of them felt they were too important to leave their “comfort zones” and become grunt Privates in such a noble and necessary cause.

And, in all humility, these men inspired each other. Admitting they were weak, made them strong. This “shared strength” is when, what we read in Proverbs 27:17, “Iron Sharpens Iron.” Or, one man’s strength inspires the strength of another man.

Now, keep that image of these humble and heroic 300 men in your mind, as we explore just how demons try to destroy movements of the Holy Spirit in our Church.


For When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong!

At Mass this morning, in referring to St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, I spoke about how St. Paul was being gaslighted and ridiculed by the powers that be in Corinth. His letter was a response to that. Did he flash his credentials, as a way to prove himself? No, instead he pointed to his weaknesses and his only desire that he, and everyone else, move, not in their own power, but in the power of God. Even admitting to such a power requires great humility, and the risk of being ridiculed.

I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of Spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God (1 Cor. 2:3-5)


Discovering the Power of God

It was here that I related, in my homily today, how I came to truly believe in such a “power of God.” It was in the 1990s, when I discovered the Charismatic Renewal. It was amazing! These people firmly believed in the miracle power of God, and we witnessed MANY miracles! Even to this day, exorcists will ask Charismatics to help them in their deliverance ministry, because of their strong belief in God’s miracle power. I’ve come to understand that the Church went through a very terribly grim period when prelates seemed to actually be embarrassed by the idea of miracles. And so, I believe the Holy Spirit inspired this Charismatic Movement to bring us back to “belief.”

BUT, it has been years since I have been involved with the Charismatic Movement. Why? Because the demon Pride got into the Charismatic Renewal, and it turned me off to the movement. Not many – in fact, very few – began to dictate to others what they heard the Holy Spirit was telling them. And, if people did not believe what they were dictating, then that must mean they are possessed by the devil. Many in the Charismatic Movement know exactly what I am talking about. It was an ugly PRIDE.

As I looked back, I should not have allowed those “very few” weak, prideful souls sour my feelings about the entire Charismatic Movement. I believe the devil won, by using these weak, prideful souls to turn many people off, like me, to this movement that went such a long way to restore belief in miracles, and the power of God, in our Church (that had almost completely abandoned such a belief). In fact, I am thinking about engaging the Charismatic Movement, once again.


The Traditional Movement

There is another most necessary movement occurring in our Church today. I call it a movement of “recovery of our Catholic identity.” It is mostly known as a “traditional movement.” This movement, too, goes to “belief.” Again, we had gone through a very terribly grim period when prelates seemed to actually be embarrassed by such things as Adoration, Confession, Rosary, etc. And so, I believe the Holy Spirit inspired this Traditional Movement to bring us back to “belief.”

I believe this movement erupted that day Mother Angelica gave her amazing rant, spurred – a “last straw” – by events at the 1993 World Youth Day (see Mother’s powerful rant HERE). Sure, Pope John Paul II had been calling for this “recovery of our Catholic identity” in his first 15 years of his pontificate (1978-1993), but it seemed no army was following him, until Mother Angelica utilized the new, very influential medium of EWTN as JPII’s powerful allied force.

What JPII had been teaching, now backed by the powerful medium of EWTN, resonated with a multitude around the world, and the “traditional movement” (recovery of our Catholic identity) was unleashed. This was the period of time when the “John Paul II Priests” emerged. And, such essential parts of our Catholic identity as Eucharistic Adoration, frequent Confession, Devotion to the Blessed Mother, reverent Masses and, eventually, the growing number of TLMs, all began to erupt throughout the Catholic world.


Fighting the Demon, “Pride”

BUT, just as was seen in the Charismatic Renewal, many are seeing this “traditional movement” as repugnant. Why? Once again, the demon, PRIDE.

And, again, it is very few, but they seem to be the loudest and most aggressive. And, quite frankly, the nastiest. It is the same elitism most of us experienced on the playground, growing up. You know … the “cool kids” who closed ranks and counted themselves as among the “most popular.” We used to call them “cliques.” And, yes, it was repugnant. What would the “cool kids” do? They would mock others. They would look down their noses, as though they had something that others did not. Others were not allowed in their cliques. They were superior.

In the traditional movement, it is this same repugnant smell of elitism. We whiffed something like this when Hillary Clinton called half of America a group of “Deplorables.” So, we hear, ad nauseam, about Bugnini, Novus Ordites, junk food Masses, lesser graces and on and on and on. It’s no wonder many want to stay clear of such elitism. And, here’s the kicker … whenever anyone expresses concern for this, with a call to humble cooperation, they receive the full force of such Saul Alinsky tactics as:

“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”
“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

And, here is the justification: “You don’t understand! We have been persecuted for many years!” Okay, so you are saying that persecution justifies being vicious, mocking and elitist?


Again, For When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong!

I dearly love the traditional movement, and I want to see it flourish. But, I do not see that happening with such unnecessary division.  We need to work together or, as someone said, “UNITE THE CLANS.”

Getting back to the 300 humble and heroic men. I know people – a very small number – who avoided that gathering on Friday evening because they were, in their minds, deplorable Novus Ordo men, for the most part. Is that the new strategy? Stand at a distance and shame those, who don’t comply, as being deplorable? I’m sure the Bishops will get right on board with that (sarcasm).

At heart, I am a strategist. Again, I want to see the traditional movement flourish, but as long as it is seen as this repugnant elitism, it will remain on the margins. Again, I know it is a very small number. But, as I said, they tend to be the loudest, and most aggressive and most nasty. It must stop! It is poisoning this beautiful and necessary traditional movement.

In all humility, let’s accept the call to be “Grunt Privates” and, “together,” do the heavy lifting of – brick by brick – recovering the amazing treasure chest of our beautiful Catholic identity. Charity and humility will set the traditional movement flourishing, once again!