A Fighting Faith: Bishop Jenky Calls Us to Turn to the Mother of GodAugust 22, 2012 No Comments
August 22, 2012 / MariaNews.com
A Fighting Faith: Bishop Jenky Calls Us to Turn to the Mother of God
By Catholic Online
Catholic Online (http://www.catholic.org)
“It has never been easy to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, our Savior warns that the world will hate us if we love Him. The attacks of this world, the flesh and devil seem particularly ferocious in this current moment. Several months ago, I asked that we not lose sight of the spiritual nature of this battle when I directed that the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel should be invoked at every Sunday Mass for the protection of the Catholic Church in America. I now ask us to re-double our spiritual efforts through devotion to the Blessed Virgin.” ~ Bishop Jenky
PEORIA, IL (Catholic Online) – On January 19, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Bishops of Region IV in the United States gathered for their ad limina visit. He warned them of a “radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres”.
He told them that the “seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life. Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.”
This admonition came the day before Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, issued a mandate requiring all employers, including Catholic and other religious employers, to cover sterilization, abortion inducing drugs, and contraception in their health care plans.
We need to be honest about what is happening in this hour of history. The failure to defend the fundamental human right to life, the effort to undermine marriage and the family and society founded upon it – and the erosion of the fundamental Right to the Free Exercise of religion – all point to a moral malady rotting the foundations of freedom upon which Western civilization rests.
They also reveal the reality of evil at work. As the Apostle Paul reminded the early Christians in Ephesus, “we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The struggle has not changed.
One of the silver linings in the ominous cloud we face in an increasingly hostile culture is the way that it has elicited such courageous leadership from so many of our Catholic Bishops. Among them, Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois. He gave a homily on April 14, 2012, at a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral during the annual “Call to Catholic Men of Faith” event which showed heroism.
Over 500 men gathered on a rainy day and marched through downtown Peoria bearing witness to the ancient but ever new Catholic faith. In his homily the Bishop reflected on the readings of the day for the Liturgy. The first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 4: 13-21), recounted the hostility faced by Peter, the first Pope, and the beloved disciple, John, as they exercised their apostolic ministry in another culture which had grown hostile to the Church and her message of genuine liberation.
Peter and John left an example which has been followed for over two millennia whenever the Church faces open hostility from the State. It is in this account that we find these often quoted words: “So they called them back and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John, however, said to them in reply, “Whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges. It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard.”
The Gospel of the day was a post resurrection account from St Mark’s gospel (Mk 16: 9-15). Jesus tells the believers to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” The Apostles did just what the Lord said and they turned the world of their age upside down (Acts 17:6). So too have their successors, like Bishop Jenky of Peoria. He told those men – and reminded all Catholics “We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction.”
The homily was quoted in piecemeal fashion and became fodder for those who do not want Catholic Bishops to exhibit a backbone. Threats were made against the very non-profit status the Diocese because the bishop spoke the truth. We offered the entire homily in an article entitled “The Courage of Bishop Daniel Jenky: Catholics by Conviction!“ The homily is still well worth reading in its entirety!
The Bishop reminded the men ” it has never been easy to be a Christian and it’s not supposed to be easy! The world, the flesh, and the devil will always love their own, and will always hate us. As Jesus once predicted, they hated me, they will certainly hate you.”
“But our Faith, when it is fully lived, is a fighting faith and a fearless faith. Grounded in the power of the resurrection, there is nothing in this world, and nothing in hell, that can ultimately defeat God’s one, true, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”
Once again, Bishop Jenky is reminding the flock that our struggle is, at root, a spiritual battle – and requires spiritual weapons. He recently wrote a letter to all of the faithful concerning “the attacks of the world, the flesh, and the devil (which) seem particularly ferocious in this current moment”
The letter was sent to every Catholic in the Diocese of Peoria, urging them to consecrate themselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to seek her intercession. In so doing, he joined a long train of saints and Church leaders who have done the same in other trying times in our history.
This past week we celebrated the Feast of St. Bernard of Clairvux to whom the ancient prayer called the “Memorare” is often attributed. “Remember O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.”
Whether Bernard wrote the prayer or not, it displays the same kind of confidence in the power of her maternal prayers which the Bishop of Peoria demonstrates when he writes, “We turn to her to protect our country, to guide our leaders, and to turn our hearts to her Son.”
This confidence is a hallmark of the ancient faith and was woven throughout the writings of the early Fathers of the Church. Prayers seeking the intercession of Our Lady are present in our ancient liturgies and inform our Tradition. She is a powerful intercessor whose prayers have been credited with turning back the enemies of the faith for two millenia.
Bishop Jenky asked all parishes, schools, and Catholic families in his Diocese to read Father Michael Gaitly’s book on Marian consecration entitled “33 Days to Morning Glory“ He even made it available free of charge!
I once again offer a letter from this good Bishop for my readers. I do so because I think his spiritual direction should be taken to heart by everyone.
To the Priests, Deacons, Religious Educators, Pastoral Leaders and Faithful of the Diocese of Peoria:
My Dear Brothers and Sisters:
I hope that over my 10 years as your bishop, my love for Our Lady, as has yours, has been abundantly clear: I have convoked a number of Rosary Congresses, declared a Year of the Rosary, dedicated a Festival Letter to our Lady as well as countless homilies and talks, I asked that her image as our Mother of Perpetual Help be enshrined in our parishes and schools, even as I re-consecrated our entire diocese to her patronage when I solemnly enthroned her icon in our Cathedral.
I again turn to her and I ask you to do the same.
It has never been easy to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. In fact, our Savior warns that the world will hate us if we love Him. The attacks of this world, the flesh and devil seem particularly ferocious in this current moment.
Several months ago, I asked that we not lose sight of the spiritual nature of this battle when I directed that the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel should be invoked at every Sunday Mass for the protection of the Catholic Church in America. I now ask us to re-double our spiritual efforts through devotion to the Blessed Virgin.
The Immaculate Mother of God is the Patroness of the United States and our own Local Church. The Pope has personally consecrated the world to her protection, and that invocation has been renewed by the bishops of our country, as I have done as well for our diocese following the example of Archbishop Schlarman.
I encourage each of our parishes, schools, and families to consider a similar devotion to Our Lady. We turn to her to protect our country, to guide our leaders, and to turn our hearts to her Son.
There are many ways to grow in devotion to our Lady. The scriptural meditation of the Rosary is perhaps the finest. Likewise, there are many methods of Marian Consecration. Through a generous donor, I am happy to make available copies of “33 Days to Morning Glory” by Father Michael Gaitly, MIC, to our parishes, schools, CCD and adult education programs.
These books are free but supplies are limited and are available “first come.” I have asked the sisters in the diocesan museum and the Sheen Foundation to coordinate distribution. You may pick up the books anytime during office hours after Aug. 16.
The traditional 30-day consecration could very appropriately begin in our schools and families in early September in order to culminate on the Feast of the Holy Rosary on Oct. 5.
But no matter what book or formula may be used, I feel it very important that we turn to our Lady to help us and our country during these coming months. We can take comfort that her Immaculate Heart will triumph!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, CSC
Bishop of Peoria
Subscribe to MariaNews.com
Tags: Bishop Jenky, catholic news, Catholics by Conviction, Devil, Diocese of Peoria, End times, Freedom of Religion, Health Care Law, HHS Mandate, Jesus Christ, Kathleen Sebelius, MariaNews.com, Mother of God, Obama Care, Poltiical, st michael the archangel, St. Bernard of Clairvux, Virgin Mary, War on ReligionCatholic Resources, Featured Article, Letters to the Editor, News, Truth