Throughout Bible history there was always a remnant preserved to continue when the world abandoned God. Consider Noah, a man laughed and ridiculed, yet it was he and his family that rebuilt the nation of the chosen people. With the famine in Egypt, it was Joseph’s remnant that saved the nation. From the earliest times in Bible history we see a pattern of sin or as Jeff Cavins calls it, the “Cycle of Sin”. It starts with a period of “silence” wherein things were going well but Israelites failed to teach their young the basic tenants of the faith. Slowly they began to integrate the worship of Baal into their worship and God left them to their false gods. This led to them being conquered by their enemies and “Servitude” . Realizing their failure, the remnant left would cry out to God and this was a time of “Supplication”. God, never abandoning His people, heard their cry and saved them, “Salvation”, only to have the cycle begin again. It seems that the basic problem was what the Israelites were told time and time again to “teach your children” as it says in Deuteronomy 4:9 “However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”
Father Joseph Ratzinger
In a 1969 German radio broadcast, Father Joseph Ratzinger thoughtfully answered the question, “What will become of the Church in the future?” Here are some excerpts from his conclusions. ( https://matiane.wordpress.com/2015/08/29/joseph-ratzinger-what-will-the-church-look-like-in-2000/)
- “From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge—a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so will she lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, she will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, she will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members.”
- The Church will be a more spiritual Church, not presuming upon a political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. It will be hard going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek. The process will be all the more arduous, for sectarian narrow-mindedness as well as pompous self-will will have to be shed. One may predict that all of this will take time.
- But when the trial this of sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.
As before it will be faith, faith in God and His promises. Faith in the promise of Jesus the Christ that it is the Holy Spirit that guides the Church and not man.
Now more than ever the Church needs our support:
- First by our prayer and fasting.
- We must defend and encourage our priests and deacons
- She needs volunteers for her various ministries.
- We have to develop the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit” given us through Baptism and Confirmation. We must seek “knowledge” and the “understanding” of that knowledge and the “wisdom” of how to use it and finally “council” of the Holy Spirit in giving us the “courage” to use what has been given to us.
- Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once said “There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church”. It becomes our duty to counter these misconceptions with the truth.
- We, as parents, are the first teachers of our children. So as it says in the Book of Deuteronomy “teach them [our faith] to your children and to your children’s children”.
Simple Actions Lasting Effects
Simple actions on our part can have lasting effects. As a member of the remnant it becomes our responsibility to show, by our actions, the hope that is the Church and invite others to join.
A young college student, who had been a member of a Confirmation class I taught, told me of an incident where she was with a group of other students at lunch in the cafeteria. The discussion got around to religion and knowing that she was a Catholic they began to tell her what Catholics believed. She said that she listened and then I stood up and said ‘let me tell you what we believe!’’. She told me how she addressed all of their misconceptions and then left for her next class. She said “I was walking on air, I shocked myself. I could not believe how I was able to answer all those questions. It truly was not me”. Every challenge is an opportunity for conversion. Always remember that you have the truth.
I used to be very self-conscious about saying prayers before meal, in a restaurant. One day my family and I were traveling to Pittsburgh and stopped at the McDonalds at the Grove city exit for lunch.. As we sat down to enjoy our lunch I notice a Muslim family spreading out a rug on the lawn and proceeding to pray. I was embarrassed and ashamed that I, a Christian, was embarrassed to offer a simple prayer before we ate our lunch. From that day forward whenever I eat, I say “Grace before Meals” with the “Sign of the Cross”. That Muslim family taught me what it means to truly be a Christian. Their simple act spoke volumes to me.
Today, more than ever, we need to stand up for our faith. We must grow the remnant by our actions. We must stand for what we believe and not hide behind the fear of offending the “politically correct”. Grey is not a shade of white but a shade of black.