A Response to Disaster: Weekly Message for 09-11-2018

Dear Digital Pilgrims, pax Christi:

Today is September 11th.  Every year when this day rolls around again, I simply can’t help remembering the horrible images from the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.  So much suffering and destruction.  This year I also can’t help thinking about the very different type of suffering revealed by recent reports from various parts of the world of clerical sexual abuse and its accompanying episcopal failures.  Various Catholic commentators have even labeled the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report as kind of a 9/11 for the Catholic Church in the United States. That shows the intensity of pain and outrage this news has sparked.

Knowing personally some survivors of this kind of abuse, my sadness is heavy indeed, though not nearly so heavy as their own.  Since the latest news broke in August, I have been following the Holy Father’s invitation to appeal to God in a special way by extra prayer and penance.  As one of my religious confreres put it in our own community discussion: “The way I find hope in this darkness is through hearing in my heart a renewed call to holiness from the Lord.”

Humbly renewing our commitment to holiness is something every one of us can do in the face of any disaster, whether wrought by terrorists or by our own brothers.  Going back to Christ. Going back to the Gospels. Going back to the Eucharist. Listening for God’s voice in our heart, and deciding once again to heed that voice, wherever it summons us… This must be at the heart of all we do, in good times as well as bad, but especially in the bad.

All the materials and services we produce here at RCSpirituality are designed to help you do that.  If you are still feeling the pain and sadness of recent events, I highly recommend that you make use of our Retreat Guide on Our Lady of Sorrows, A Mother’s Tears, as you prepare to celebrate that feast day later this week, on September 15th.  Mary stood courageously at the foot of the Cross during the Crucifixion, and she can surely help us take our stands on whatever Calvary Jesus leads us to.

Many thanks once again to those of you who continue to support us with your generous prayers and donations, which allow us to continue serving thousands of people who seek to go deeper in their relationship with God.  You are truly making an eternal investment, and as Our Lord promised, you will not lose your reward (cf. Matthew 10:42).


Yours in Him, Fr John Bartunek, LC, SThD

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