“How Shall This Be?”

A Call to Humility for a New Pentecost

Consider, O Brethren, this great marvel.
God is on high: reach up to Him, and He flees from you;
Lower yourself before Him, and He comes down to you. — St. Augustine

There has been an almost-constant stream of news concerning sexual abuse among the Catholic clergy for the past fifteen years. The McCarrick affair has swelled that stream into a torrent because this time the offender was one of the Church’s princes. The public now perceives the problem that needs to change is not simply abusive Catholic clergy and the attendant scandal, but perpetrators and a culture of enablers within the Church’s hierarchy. As a result, the Church — clergy, religious, and laity — has doubled her efforts in an attempt to respond to this problem.

The clergy sexual-abuse scandal, including the McCarrick affair, contains a lesson for all who are zealous to promote the New Evangelization. If the Holy Spirit is the principal agent of the New Evangelization (which He is), and if the New Evangelization is the fruit of a New Pentecost in the Church (which it is, according to John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI), then it will be necessary to enter into the humility of Mary at the Annunciation and of the apostles prior to the descent of the Holy Spirit if we are to cooperate with that Pentecostal grace and to engage in a New Evangelization.

The gravity of McCarrick’s crime and his need for redemption, however, can draw so much attention to itself that our own need for humility and redemption is covered in shadow. Therefore, it would be wise to confront in ourselves whatever might impede our response to the call to follow Jesus into His passion and death, and to rediscover our total dependence on God’s grace, lest that grace be lost either because the speck in our neighbor’s eye distracts us from the plank in our own, or because His grace has been taken for granted. We can do that — not with new review boards and instruments of accountability, necessary as they may be — but by following the examples of Mary and the apostles.

Humility, the Essential Disposition for Prayer for the Holy Spirit

Prior to the apostles’ reception of Holy Spirit, St. Luke describes them and the Virgin Mary praying in the upper room (Acts 1:12–14). Scholars inform us that they were praying for the Holy Spirit to come.1 There is good reason for this. For Jesus instructed the apostles to remain in Jerusalem until He sends the Holy Spirit, “the promise of His Father,” that is, “until you are clothed with power from on high” (Lk 24:49). The apostles took these words as an invitation to bring Jesus’s words before the Father in prayer.

In addition to the question about the content of their prayer, a further question is just as important: what was the disposition of the apostles and Mary as they prayed for the gift of the Holy Spirit? This question leads us to reflect on the fact that all of the apostles, except John, abandoned Jesus at the precise moment when His hour had come. Personified in Peter, who thought that his love for Jesus was so strong that he would be faithful to Jesus even to death (Jn 13:37; see Mt 26:35; Mk 14:31; Lk 22:33), they followed Him at a distance after His arrest (Mt 16:59; Mk 14:54; Lk 22:54), and denied Him.

Though unable to follow Him into His passion and death, Jesus foresees that they — again, personified in Peter — will follow Him later (Jn 13:36). Indeed, tradition holds that the apostles were all martyred, except for John. St. Thomas comments, “you cannot follow me, because you are not perfect enough in charity to want to die for me,”2 and he links this perfect charity with the gift of the Holy Spirit.3 In God’s wisdom, the apostles’ humility over confronting their inability to follow Jesus without the Holy Spirit is the ultimate disposition for receiving the Holy Spirit.

The Humble Virgin Mary Accompanies the Apostles in Prayer for the Holy Spirit

The presence of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the apostles in the upper room clarifies that, while humility is prerequisite to receiving the Holy Spirit, it need not be a humility occasioned by sin. Mary precedes the apostles in experiencing a humility of helplessness in the face of a mission entrusted to her by God. In this, she is in the line of the prophets, like Moses, who protests to the Lord with excuses why the mission is beyond him. Similarly, Amos recoils when called, arguing that he is not a professional prophet but only a lowly shepherd and dresser of sycamores. Again, upon learning of his call, Jeremiah’s first thought is that he is too young. But Isaiah makes the most compelling case: how can a sinner, a man of impure lips, possibly speak worthily of God?

God’s penchant for commissioning those humbled by their sins reaches its apogee in Paul, persecutor of Christ and His Church, and Peter, who denied Jesus. Their love for God is proportionate to their sorrow over having rejected His love. It is no accident that Peter’s commission parallels his professions of love for the Lord.4 Christ commissioned him in humility.5 Ardent charity rooted in profound humility is the essential disposition for holding ecclesiastical office, and the only effective safeguard against abuse of office.

In contrast to Isaiah and Peter, Mary’s consciousness of powerlessness to complete her mission has nothing to do with sin. She is simply aware that she needs God’s grace. The new light of Gabriel’s revelation illumines her lowliness in comparison to the grandeur of her mission. She can only say, “How shall this be?” God is clearly pleased with this humble response, which in reality is a petition for the Power of the Most High. She desires precisely what God intends to bring about: she will be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit.

The teaching of St. John of the Cross sheds light on Mary’s humility. Among the signs of the dark night, he includes an “affliction at not serving God.”6 “There grows within souls that experience this arid night concern for God and yearnings to serve Him.”7 For a moment, at the Annunciation, Mary experiences this affliction, which, due to the perfection of her faith, is only momentary. It is a luminous penetration into the mystery of grace that entails a simultaneous insight into the infinite sublimity of grace and into the finitude of nature. Mary knows what she would be without God’s grace; she knows what she is without the grace of divine maternity.

On one level, Mary must have thought that her mission to be a virgin mother was impossible, for that is the word that Gabriel uses (Lk 1:37). To her question, “How shall this be?”, Gabriel responds, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Lk 1:35). The overshadowing by the Holy Spirit is the divine mercy that alleviates the anguish in the question, “How shall this be?” This mercy is the only possible logic that can overcome the illogic of a God Who would require the impossible.8 This is why Mary’s place among the apostles on Pentecost is most fitting.

Between Jesus’s Ascension and Pentecost the apostles undergo a purification of faith and hope in the same order as Mary’s dark night at the Annunciation. They pray with Mary for the Holy Spirit out of a humble realization of their powerlessness. They were praying, then, for an increase in charity, and their prayer is answered on Pentecost. For, without the Holy Spirit they cannot fulfill the call to follow Jesus and take His Gospel to all the nations (Lk 24:45, Mt 28:19–20). The wisdom of the divine pedagogy requires that Mary and the apostles pray for the Holy Spirit.

Unfortunate Lesson, Fortunate Opportunity

In order to cooperate with the Holy Spirit, Who is the principal agent of the New Evangelization, it is necessary to enter into the apostles’ humility. It is necessary to confront the impossibility of following Jesus into His Passion and death, and to rediscover our total dependence on God’s grace, lest that grace be lost for having been taken for granted. It is necessary to make our own Mary’s question, “How shall this be?” It is necessary to enter into the dark night of faith in order to receive the grace of a charity that is sufficiently ardent to take up the risk of losing all things in order to be of service to Christ. As Vatican II teaches, while not all are called to be martyrs, all are called to the perfection of charity that is the soul of martyrdom.9 This is the charity that is the soul of the apostolate.10

With the light of faith, the McCarrick affair can be seen as a providential wake-up call for the entire Church. Looking back, we might judge the exuberant initiatives for renewal following Vatican II as being done in the spirit of Peter’s confident protestation that he is ready to die for Jesus. The sense of being up to the challenge, of possessing the theological insights and pastoral wisdom to renew the Church produced an unjustified confidence in our ability to build up Christ’s Church. But was there a sufficient humility, a confession of being inadequate to the task? And how could a Gospel-based humility, rooted in an awareness of sin, as with Peter and the apostles, possibly be the foundation of this renewal when the very notion of sin was re-interpreted and given a new theological and pastoral wardrobe that so thoroughly disguised its true identity that the sense of sin was widely eradicated.11 It is not that the Lord, in His mercy, did not continue to send His prophets to the Church.12 But just as Peter rejected out of hand Jesus’s prediction that he would deny Him, there were too few ears disposed to hear the truth about sin.

And so, too, much of the Conciliar renewal was built on the all-too-flimsy foundation of heady and self-confident initiatives. The infections of sin were always there, but so much energy was directed to self-renewal that they went unnoticed. The post-Conciliar period of enthusiasm for rethinking and refashioning doctrine, worship, and Christian life might be compared to the active night of purification of St. John of the Cross. At some point, a new supernatural light shines in the soul, and its first effect is to shine on the deeper sins that had always been there but were too deep to be noticed. As occasioning the disclosure of a long-standing corruption, the McCarrick affair can be seen as a divine mercy and as a call for a response of humility in the awareness that the renewal of Vatican II requires a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a New Pentecost, and that this requires the kind of deep humility that prepared the apostles to receive the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.

From Incapacity to Capacity: Grace upon Grace

As St. Thomas’s comments on Peter’s conversion indicate, the fulfillment of his twofold call to follow Jesus and to execute the mission entrusted to him required a more perfect, a more ardent charity. As people can learn by reading the important texts on mission, dialogue, and witness, the essence of the New Evangelization, and thus the renewal of Vatican II, is the proclamation of the mystery of Christ through word and deed. Witness is, essentially, Christian life on display, and the characteristic of this life to which Jesus draws our attention is love: love of God to the point of martyrdom; love of the brethren (Jn 13:35); love for the poor (Mt 25:31–46). This is the perfection of charity to which Vatican II calls all of the faithful.13

We know that charity cannot be perfect, it cannot reach that level of ardor required to follow Jesus into His paschal mystery and to bring His message of mercy to a world marked by sin, unless it is accompanied by the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In the early Church, those who were not privileged to be martyrs strove to acquire a martyr’s perfect charity by living the evangelical counsels. This is the white martyrdom to which all are called. Living the evangelical counsels, as befits one’s vocation, is the best means to cooperate with God in becoming disposed to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit; for counsels demand a threefold death that we cannot bring about on our own. The commitment to live them produces the humility that opens us to the logic of God’s mercy in the gift of the Holy Spirit, Whose power alone answers the question, “How shall it be that I arrive at the perfection of charity?” The counsels sever every thread of attachment (John of the Cross) and thereby liberate us to love God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. The fruit of the counsels is a martyr’s charity, which is the definitive witness to the mystery of Christ. The world will know we are Christ’s disciples by our love, that is, by our poverty, chastity, and obedience, and the integrity of our friendship with God and with one another that is their fruit. We are in desperate need of rediscovering that charity on display, charity perfected by the evangelical counsels, is the witness to Christ that constitutes the very essence of the New Evangelization and the fruit of a New Pentecost.

It cannot be an accident that the traditional understanding and practice of the counsels has come under attack in the post-Conciliar era. They became symbols of a Church accused of despising the world, unable to affirm the goodness of creation and the enjoyment of the delights that the world has to offer. But, of course, rightly understood and lived the counsels are at the service of a deeper engagement with the world because they are at the service of perfectly ordered love. The whole meaning of the counsels is that they enable us to live in the priority of relationships, with God and with one another, because the principal threats to these relationships are inordinate attachments to possessions, bodily pleasures, and willfulness. Poverty, chastity, and obedience are counterweights to the glorification of wealth, licentiousness, and individualism, and to the violence that these inevitably produce. The attack on the counsels should not be surprising, given the aforementioned loss of the sense of sin. If the Church is to enter into the modern world in order to evangelize it, the first thing she must do is to affirm the goodness of the world. While this certainly can be understood in a correct way — precisely in the way that Vatican II understands it — it becomes a dangerous rallying call when it is detached from the doctrines of sin, redemption in Christ, the perfection of charity, and the counsels.

Properly assessed, the McCarrick affair is a call to profound humility and conversion into a renewed embrace of the evangelical counsels for the whole Church.

The Liberality of God’s Mercy

One of the more remarkable features of the transformation of the apostles, personified by Peter, is that as a result of their humility and the reception of God’s mercy in the gift of the Holy Spirit they were closer to the Lord after their sin and conversion than prior to it. In God’s plan, the Holy Spirit comes to the apostles not only as forgiveness and reconciliation in their relationship with Jesus but also as empowerment to fulfill the mission He entrusted to them. As St. Thomas teaches, God’s mercy does not simply repair a broken relationship so that it is restored to what it was before the offense. For those who are disposed through humility, God’s mercy draws them into a deeper communion with Him than they had before sinning.

If the predestined fall, they are always better after they are corrected.14

There is nothing to prevent human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, ‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’; and the Exsultet sings, ‘O happy fault, . . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!’”15

St. Thomas follows this logic even to including mortal sin.

It should be noted that very often a wise physician procures and permits a lesser disease to come over a person in order to cure or avoid a greater one. Thus, to cure a spasm he procures a fever. This the Apostle shows was done to him by the physician of souls, our Lord Jesus Christ. For Christ, the supreme physician of souls, in order to cure greater sins, permits them to fall into lesser, and even mortal sins. . . . Therefore . . . God sometimes permits his elect to be prevented by something on their part, e.g. infirmity or some other defect, and sometimes even mortal sin, from obtaining such a good, in order that they be so humbled on this account that they will not take pride in it, and that being thus humiliated, they may recognize that they cannot stand by their own powers. Hence it says in Rom (8:28): “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him,” not by reason of their sin, but by God’s providence.16

It is precisely this insight into the mystery of God’s mercy that led St. Paul to proclaim, “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20), only to feel the need to warn against erroneously concluding that this makes sin something good: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” (Rom 6:1). The humility we have considered prohibits such a way of thinking, for it presupposes a desire to follow Christ and to be of service to Him such that just the thought of falling short produces that affliction over being powerless to execute the mission He entrusts to us. And, as we have seen, this gives rise to the humble petition for the Power of the Most High.

It is precisely this kind of love-induced affliction that Paul VI identified as the essential impetus for the renewal of Vatican II. When the Church compares her actual state to her vocation to be the spotless Bride of Christ, “there arises the unselfish and almost impatient need for renewal, for correction of the defects which this conscience denounces and rejects.”17 The Church stands before her vocation and mission as the prophets, and Peter, and Mary: in the profound humility that expresses itself with the question-petition, “How shall this be?” In this humility the Church is disposed to receive and to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the renewal of the inner man.18

If there is to be a New Pentecost for a New Evangelization, the whole Church needs to be humbled before the task and to pray for the Holy Spirit with Mary and the apostles in the upper room, imitating them in poverty, chastity, and obedience for the perfection of charity.

Thanksgiving: The Shield against Taking God’s Gifts for Granted

The humility required for a New Pentecost is not only necessary to receive God’s grace; it is also necessary to remain in His grace. The secret to the fidelity of the saints is the perpetual vigil of their memory. Saints never forget the transformation that God works in them by His mercy. They live by the admonitions of Moses to Israel: “Remember that you were once a slave in Egypt” (Dt 16:12; 26:6–10); “Take heed, lest you forget the Lord your God” (Dt 8:11; see Dt 4:9, 23; 6:12). They live in perpetual thanksgiving, for to remember the Lord is to bless Him and to thank Him: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Ps 103:2); “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever” (Ps 118:1, 19, 29).

Disobedience is the inescapable consequence of forgetting the Lord’s love and mighty works. It follows ineluctably whenever one neglects to attend to the link between God’s commandments and His prior gift of life and freedom. This is that willed ignorance that St. Thomas teaches is at the origin of every sin.19 Disobeying God’s commandment is like a heart-transplant recipient neglecting to take anti-rejection drugs, to keep to his diet, and to exercise according to the surgeon’s directives. It is only a question of time before the gift of a new life is lost.

Similarly, once one loses sight of the relation of doctrine to the definitive revelation of God’s love in the paschal mystery, doctrine becomes nothing more than a collection of propositions, an object no different than any other object that man can seize hold of and mold to his liking — like Playdough that a child shapes according to his fancy — thereby effectively voiding doctrine of its saving power. Here, again, St. Thomas is insightful. Faith assents to what God has revealed as this assent is commanded by the will. This command is based on a perception that what God has revealed is good for me, that my life will be enriched by believing. What God reveals is saving truth for me, and to assent to it is to define my identity and my happiness based on this revelation. To tinker with it is to tinker with my happiness; it is to eat forbidden fruit.

The McCarrick affair is the occasion to question ourselves about the quality of our own perception of the “for me” experience of God’s love and the related memory and thanksgiving, reverence and submission, assent and obedience of faith. A Church whose members do not live in thanksgiving is a Church in crisis, losing its grip on faith itself. This is the crisis of faith of which St. John Paul II, Cardinal Ratzinger, and Benedict XVI so often spoke.

Grace taken for granted is grace on the brink of being lost. The call to holiness, which St. Paul VI and St. John Paul II took as the essential message of Vatican II, can only be lived by those who, like Mary and the apostles, rely on God’s grace as the only answer to the question, “How shall this be?” For how many is this question at the center of their Christian identity? How many — spouses, clergy, consecrated, religious — finish their days without thanking God for His grace, as if fidelity — marital, ministerial, evangelical — were a default setting of humanity, as if they could have done so without God having become a man and having died on the Cross?

The fervent thanksgiving of a Church humbled by the self-knowledge of what she is apart from God’s grace — like a healed leper who could never fail to be aware of the Lord’s mercy — is the only effective guard against taking grace for granted and losing it. It is the requisite disposition for receiving the graces of the Holy Spirit and perpetuating the missionary thrust of Pentecost. Saints who live the “How shall this be?” spirituality that expresses itself in ardent and incessant thanksgiving are the answer to the current crisis because only the Holy Spirit can bring about the conversion that is the sole way out of the crisis. This is what St. John Paul II had in mind when he wrote that “saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church’s history.”20 And as if commenting on this, Cardinal Ratzinger:

We must always bear in mind that the Church is not ours but His. Hence the “reform,” the “renewals,” necessary as they may be, cannot exhaust themselves in a zealous activity on our part to erect new, sophisticated structures. The most that can come from a work of this kind is a Church that is “ours,” to our measure, which might indeed be interesting but which, by itself, is nevertheless not the true Church, that which sustains us with the faith and gives us life with the sacrament. I mean to say that what we can do is infinitely inferior to Him Who does. Hence, true “reform” does not mean to take great pains to erect new facades. . . . Real “reform” is to strive to let what is ours disappear as much as possible so what belongs to Christ may become more visible. It is a truth well known to the saints. Saints, in fact, reformed the Church in depth, not by working up plans for new structures, but by reforming themselves. What the Church needs in order to respond to the needs of man in every age is holiness, not management.21

A crisis created by an over-reliance on human initiatives can only be undone by a renewed humility that relies on the Power of the Most High (Lk 1:35; 24:49; Acts 1:8).

In the Eucharist, which is the definitive act of thanksgiving, priests exercise the power to call down the Power of the Most High to overshadow the gifts of bread and wine. This is the apex of the ministerial priesthood, the essential meaning of which is “that it is the efficacious sign, willed by Christ, that the priestly people is not constituted by giving to itself the word that summons and sanctifies but receives it from God as a grace.”22 The ministerial priesthood and the Eucharist perpetuate God’s definitive answer to the question of the poor and humble, “How shall this be?” This is why “the Christian community exists and becomes aware of itself only by its encounter with the priestly ministry, through which is manifested the gracious divine initiative that brings it into being.”23

The baptismal priesthood is also understood in light of Mary’s “How shall this be?” By imitating her virtues of humility and faith, and by thanking God with her, the faithful make a spiritual sacrifice of their lives, a sacrifice that is ordered to and perfected by participating in the Eucharist. In its own way, the baptismal priesthood perpetuates the prayer of Mary and the apostles for the gift of the Holy Spirit. For, as John Paul II teaches:

in a certain sense, one can say that the Church has never left [the Upper Room]. Spiritually the event of Pentecost does not belong only to the past: the Church is always in the Upper Room that she bears in her heart. The Church perseveres in prayer, like the Apostles together with Mary, the Mother of Christ, and with those who in Jerusalem were the first seed of the Christian community and who awaited in prayer the coming of the Holy Spirit.24

To pray for a New Pentecost is to live in the humility of believing that only by the gift of the Holy Spirit can we play our role in the fulfillment of God’s promises. It is to keep Mary’s question, “How shall this be?” alive in hope, and to imitate her in her prayer of thanksgiving and praise to God, Who looks with favor on the humble (Prov 3:4; Lk 1:48) and does great things for them, as He did for Mary (Lk 1:49).

  1. See, for example, William Kurz, Acts of the Apostles. Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), 37, 39.
  2. Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, Ch. 13, lect. 7 (Marietti, 1834).
  3. See Commentary on John, Ch. 13, lect. 7 (Marietti, 1834).
  4. See Commentary on John, Ch. 21, lect. 3 (Marietti, 2618). See also ST II-II, Q. 185, a. 3, ad 1: “Our Lord knew that, by His own bestowal, Peter was in other respects fitted to govern the Church: wherefore He questioned him about his greater love, to show that when we find a man otherwise fitted for the government of the Church, we must look chiefly to his pre-eminence in the love of God.” Clearly, St. Thomas thinks it is possible to make a discernment about someone’s love.
  5. Commentary on John, Ch. 21, lect. 3 (Marietti, 2627).
  6. John of the Cross, Dark Night, Bk. I, Ch. 12, 2 (Peers translation).
  7. Dark Night, Bk. I, Ch. 13, 13.
  8. In this Mary is likened to the test of the faith of Moses and Abraham.
  9. See Vatican II, Lumen gentium (LG), 42.
  10. See LG 33 and Vatican II, Apostolicam actuositatem, 3.
  11. The attenuation or outright elimination of sin and hell from some catechetical texts after the Council should come as no surprise. Already in 1946, Pius XII declared: “Perhaps the greatest sin in the world today is that men have begun to lose the sense of sin” (radio message, October 24, 1946).
  12. On John Paul II’s prophetic warning, Reconciliatio et paenitentia, 18, and Dominum et Vivificantem (DeV), Part II.
  13. See LG 42. John Paul virtually identifies the renewal of Vatican II with the universal call to holiness. See especially Christifideles laici (CL), 16, and Novo millennio ineunte, 8 and 30–31.
  14. Aquinas, Commentary on John, Ch. 21, lect. 3 (Marietti, 2621).
  15. Aquinas, ST III, Q. 1, a. 3, ad 3; quoted in CCC 412.
  16. Aquinas, Commentary on Second Corinthians, Ch. 12, lect. 3 (Marietti, 472).
  17. Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam, 10–11.
  18. See DeV 58–60.
  19. See Aquinas, ST I-II, Q. 6, a. 8; Q. 76, aa. 1-4; Q. 77, a. 2; Q. 88, a. 6 ad 2.
  20. CL 16.
  21. Joseph Ratzinger and Vittorio Messori, The Ratzinger Report (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1985), 53.
  22. International Theological Commission, The Priestly Ministry, October 10, 1970.
  23. Priestly Ministry, 54.
  24. DeV 66.
Douglas G. Bushman, STL About Douglas G. Bushman, STL

Douglas Bushman is the St. John Paul II Professor of Theology for the New Evangelization at the Augustine Institute. Prof. Bushman’s theological service has been shaped by the Church Fathers’ spiritual reading of Scripture, the methodology of St. Thomas Aquinas, and the pastoral orientation of the Second Vatican Council, as interpreted by the post-Conciliar popes. He has taught theology at virtually every level of the Church’s life: parish, diocese (including programs of formation and courses for adults, catechists, permanent deacons, Catholic educators, and seminarians), Catholic schools, and undergraduate and graduate degree programs. He has served as Director of Education for the Diocese of Duluth, MN, and is past Director of the Institute for Religious and Pastoral Studies (University of Dallas), and of the Institute for Pastoral Theology (Ave Maria University). Currently Prof. Bushman’s research focuses on the pastoral theology of the Second Vatican Council and the New Evangelization.

Comments

  1. Thank you for this analysis of our present situation. It reminded me of the situation of Cana. The old wine had run out,which of course directs our thoughts to the role of Mary in the Church when it cannot solve its problems which by now seem chronic. At Fatima she said a number of things, but often neglected is the fact that God wanted to ” establish” devotion to her Immaculate Heart. Various aspects of the Fatima message have been stressed, but since then do we really find that we have achieved this goal? Only God’s way will get us out of our present mess, and the way to begin is by really doing what we were told at Fatima. Note also that although the Church has a tendency to forget and ignore Fatima, God finds ways of putting it once more in focus. We should not be so stiff necked.

  2. The humility that brings us grace is simple and well-described in 1Peter 5:5-7 which says: “Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

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