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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

Thanksgiving for the New Work of God in our Midst

This is a note of gratitude to God for the many signs of hope that He showers upon us during these times. On the surface, evil would seem to have the upper hand and, indeed, many are discouraged by the many painful setbacks in religious freedom and in the mission of the Church that we have witnessed in recent months and weeks. Yet, this kind of darkness does not reveal the deepest truth of the times in which we live. In days such as these, God is at work in powerful ways and He is accomplishing something truly amazing in the Church today.

One of the many profound and exquisite works that He is bringing to completion is a whole new generation of men and women to worship and adore Him. My heart goes to the many martyrs of our time - our brothers and sisters of every ecclesial communion across the world who have suffered the loss of all things for the sake of Christ. Their blood is the very seed of the Church and it is no small wonder that wherever they are most persecuted, these disciples of the Risen Lord win the most converts. In addition to those who witness with their blood, there are also those believers whose whole life has become an eloquent testimony to the glory of the Father. The Passion of the Christ has so pierced the hearts of many Christians that, though they do not have their own traditions of contemplative prayer, they are moved to keep vigil with the Lord through the night praising the Lord and interceding for their communities with profound confidence in the inexhaustible mercy of God. Our Orthodox brothers and sisters also are experiencing a renewal of calls to the monastic life and a rediscovery of the ascetical disciplines of the early days of our faith. Among the Byzantine and Maronite communities, a renewed call for mental prayer and fasting is being undertaken by young people -- and rich spiritual treasures, so tender and beautiful, once neglected, are now rediscovered with intense vitality. What is more, because Our Lady is also at work in these days, thousands of believers gather in places of pilgrimage such as Lourdes, Mexico City and Fatima - all seeking a deeper conversion of life and ready to embrace personal penance because of this new work of God in our times. Thousands of pilgrims are drawn to Eucharistic Adoration and feel compelled to keep vigil in small chapels across the world. They form overflowing crowds are offering up in a powerful solidarity a new wave of reparation and love to God such as the world has never seen before. Out of this, the heart of the Church is being rediscovered and the dynamism of this love is drawing everyone into a more intimate and meaningful love of God. Yes, Jesus loves but He is not loved -- and so His disciples are pierced to the heart and know that something needs to change. Some may not known they are drawn. Others may resist. Yet Christ is drawing all of us to Him. To resist this call is perilous, but to surrender to it is to discover a pathway of life not only for oneself, but for everyone we love. The Real Presence of the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is a special means of this love in our times. Books such as In Sinu Jesu point us back to this mystery in which the glory of the priesthood of Christ and the ministerial priesthood in the Church is revealed. Others, such as the Power of Silence beckon us to humble our hearts before the Lord. If we were too occupied with power and politics in the Mystical Body, the Holy Spirit is showing us the love that pulses through and brings new life to each member in this mystery. Here, in parishes and cathedrals, the Lord has again raised up adorers in spirit and truth, and no one should underestimate what God will accomplish through their contemplation of Him. Entering into the deep silence of the Eucharist, the Word of the Father imparts graces that overflow the whole People of God and spill into the world.

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