Imagine you live in a thriving Medieval town. It has everything—blacksmiths, artisans, masons, doctors, cheese makers, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, and a pristine well in the town square with crystal-clear, E. coli-free water. Most neighbors help one another. Most try to live by a common moral code. Life is pretty good, in spite of the lack of indoor plumbing.
The neighboring towns despise and envy you due to your success. They possess a few amenities, but nothing like those of your town. Even though they are free to relocate to your corner of Paradise, they would rather destroy it. Numerous military campaigns have failed over the centuries, so they have changed tactics and decided to dump cartloads of manure right beside the well in your town square. Your enemies figure they can make life so miserable that it will force residents to leave, and once the town is empty, they can easily move in to destroy it or claim it for themselves to remake it in their own image.
The first time a cartload is brought in and deposited, the residents are outraged. They complain. They blame. Some leave. And they wait for the hierarchy to clean it up. Otherwise, very little happens. It is to be expected, after all, given that the successful town is so maligned. A few citizens bring shovels and move some of the manure out, but the pile remains.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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More cartloads are brought in and their contents left in the town square, infrequently at first, then almost on a daily basis. The townsmen begin to gather in the square at regular intervals for the purpose of discussing the pile, examining it in minute detail, grumbling about it, and warning others to avoid it. The local woodworker invents clothespins, which are not only great for laundry but also good for placing on one’s nose. It seems an appropriate solution for those who do not wish to live with the smell. In fact, with clothespins on, one could almost believe the manure is not there.
Again, a few remove shovelfuls but little changes—except the pile. It continues to grow larger.
The pile becomes something of a local sensation due to its impressive size and putrid smell. It is practically a tourist attraction, drawing people from other towns who wish to take delight in the mounting sufferings of your community. Articles are written. Books are published. Fingers are pointed. Some in the hierarchy are accused of quietly bringing in wheelbarrows full of manure and adding to the pile in the middle of the night, or, worse—helping the enemy dump the cartloads. People begin to whisper that the well is contaminated, and the residents start to leave in ever-increasing numbers.
The situation has now grown critical. Shovels are insufficient, even if everyone pitched in and worked until the end of his earthly life. The pile is too big and has been there too long. It requires heavy machinery, like bulldozers and excavators. But, of course, those do not even exist, yet.
People are accusing one another. The pile grows, along with fear. The hierarchy seems paralyzed. The sky is falling! The sky is falling! What can we do?!
Hopefully, one can see where this is going. The town is the Church and, in some ways, also the world. Sins and scandals are piling up. Everything seems to be falling apart. Where is our hope? And how do we fix this?
Currently, we have numerous warnings that the end is nigh. We definitely need them, for we have been lulled to sleep by the immense comforts of a North American lifestyle and the convenience of instant information available at our fingertips. We need the books and articles and videos to alert us that the Church and the world are in grave danger. A recent sample of headlines from my inbox certainly indicates the sky is truly falling:
“If Pastor Artur loses his trial, we can say goodbye to free speech in Canada.”
“An Urgent Warning to Everyone.”
“Chinese Spy Balloon Carried Technology to Monitor Communication Signals.”
“Pfizer-Injured Woman Details Terrifying Tremors Post-Covid Vax.”
“Canadian Health Expert Issues Warning About Euthanasia.”
We are well-warned by many, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Now, though, it is time for something more than warnings. We need a solution. And we need hope. For the answer, we slide from our Medieval town analogy into a famous children’s fairly tale: Chicken Little.
What did Chicken Little and his comrades do when they thought the world was ending? They went and told the King. This is exactly what we need to be doing.
Of course, Jesus Christ, the Lord of All History, knows exactly what is going on. He foresaw this mess, this pile of dung. He knew there would be scandals. He knew some of His popes would betray Him, starting with the very first pope, our beloved St. Peter. He knew globalism and totalitarianism would threaten the world in the early 21st century. He certainly does not require us to update Him on the situation.
What He does require is that we go to Him, daily, pleading with Him to save us. He asks that we throw all our cares upon Him. “Come to me as little children,” or, if you will, as Chicken Littles—frightened, seeking His aid, and trusting in Him. We must cry out from our hearts with David, “You have rocked the country, O Lord, and split it open. Repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering. That they may flee out of bowshot; that Your loved ones may escape” (Psalm 59). “Turn, O Lord, how long? Have compassion on your servants!” (Psalm 90). We must make reparation for the many horrible, horrible sins of our culture. He tells us that this type of demon can only be cast out by prayer and fasting.
It is time to turn our hearts and minds to the One who is all-powerful and who loves us so tenderly.
Yes, we must do our part to help wake people up. We may even need to make prudent preparations for what may be a difficult decade, or five. I believe, though, we are well beyond the ability to clean up this disaster on our own. No politician can fix this. No bishop or priest. No organization or uprising.
Only God can get us out of this, and He will. One day, He will. It may not be in our lifetime, but the King will return and make all things new. He will right the wrongs. He will bring true justice to the persecuted. He will send the wicked to the Hell they have freely chosen. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. This is truth.
All the promises are right there in Scripture. Do we know them? Are those promises of God living in our hearts, ready to lift us up when we despair? All the hope we need can be found in the Holy Word of God. We will not find this on Twitter or Instagram or the mainstream media; but many of us tend to spend more time there than with Jesus in the Gospels.
Jesus is hope, our only real hope. If we call ourselves Christian, we will avail ourselves of the Sacraments frequently and develop a deep prayer life. This helps us focus less on this life and look forward to the next life—“real life”—where the poor, the meek, the peacemakers, the mourners, the seekers of justice, the merciful, the clean of heart, the reviled, and the persecuted will reign with Christ.
Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation! Let us turn to Christ with sincere fervor and dedicate ourselves to daily devotions:
1) Prayer—even just ten minutes, if that is all we can spare.
2) Scripture reading. An easy way to delve into Scripture is to subscribe to the daily Mass missal.
3) Sacrifice. Offer something up to Him in reparation for our sins and those of the whole world. It can be as simple as foregoing extra salt at dinner, or as difficult as an all-day fast. Anything we can offer to Him with a spirit of love is sufficient.
Perhaps, in the coming years, He will answer our prayers and send His bulldozers to clean up the current mess. Perhaps it will not be for another century, or more. But He will answer. Our role is to lean on Him, deepen our faith, and let all else fall away.