In observation of the Thanksgiving Holiday the Parish Office will be closed 11/26 & 11/27.
Read more

Possible with God’s grace


I was shivering a wee bit at Mass in the coliseum at the North American Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, New York. It was the final public Mass of the season, celebrating the feast day (though moved to the day before, to be a Sunday Mass, with the bishop of Albany). My teeth were chattering at times.

And all I could think about is how comfortable we are, even now. There has been a lot of suffering this year. But at the height of quarantine, I ordered groceries. I got my medicines. Going stir crazy is a challenge, but it’s not having your hands mutilated. When I read the testimonies of the North American martyrs and what they endured for the love of God and men and women and children living in a barbaric culture, it puts things in perspective.

In our day, I think of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. We have our little tastes here — government infringing on conscience rights and our freedom to safely assemble to pray. That’s an ecumenical problem here in New York, with Catholics and Jews taking the governor to court.

But I have in mind the likes of Father Douglas Bazi, an Iraqi-born Chaldean priest, who, when you plead with him, will describe the terrible tortures he’s endured at the hands of Islamic militants. When I asked him how great his faith must have been to be able to endure it, he promised me it was all God’s grace — and God would give me the same grace if the time were to come. By faith, I trust that is true, though looking at my life, it would take a miracle.

The Amy Coney Barrett hearings were instructive. Some of us were heartened and even inspired. So many young women, especially young mothers, tell me the latter. Others seem to look at her as a sister, a colleague, a friend, a person of faith and excellence.

And yet, the reactions of others were quite different, needless to say. I read that there was something sinister about her overly friendly community, People of Praise. There was something unacceptable about her pro-life views. How can a woman actually believe what the Catholic Church teaches? And yet, there are many of us, aren’t there? They couldn’t possibly have adopted out of the kindness of their hearts. There had to be some kind of white-privilege factor.

And then there was the issue that maybe gave Senate Democrats more pause than even abortion: She said she didn’t have an opinion on climate change. That was unbelievable to Sen. Dick Durbin, among others. I get paid to have opinions, and, truth be told, I don’t have one on climate change, either. I know we need to be good stewards and aren’t, and my analysis stops there.

Everyone cannot have an opinion on everything. And isn’t it a good thing that she would look at an environmental case before the court with fresh eyes? Right now, Amy Barrett and her family are making tremendous sacrifices, and I think they know how important that is — I hope they do.

What people are seeing is what real religion looks like at a time — during a crazy election season — when religion is used and abused for a win. Religion is so much more than Catholics for Biden or Catholics for Trump and all the rest.

Religion is about challenging us to be who God created us to be — something that is only possible with God’s grace. The North American Martyrs show us this. Amy Barrett and her family show us this in their way, too. Every one of us who tries to truly live faithfully in the love of Christ demonstrates that it is possible and desirable.

Life without meaning isn’t worth living. But life is worth living because it has meaning in the heart of Christ and the love of the life of the Trinity. What a blessed thing the Christian life is! If only more of us would live it fearlessly as the Jesuit martyrs did! Pray that leaders today truly do — including you and me and all we love and encounter!

This article comes to you from OSV Newsweekly (Our Sunday Visitor) courtesy of your parish or diocese.


Catholic News & Perspective

Provides information on the Church, the nation and the world from OSV, America's most popular and trusted national Catholic news source


Mary shows how to turn fear into invitation to hear God’s call, pope says

Wednesday, November 25, 2020
By: Carol Glatz There is no better way to pray than like Mary, who opened her heart to God with humility and trust, Pope Francis said. “It... Read More

I met a new friend at adoration: St. Thérèse

Monday, November 23, 2020
By: Scott Warden During a fundraiser that seems like it took place 18 years ago instead of 18 months — when it was safe to congregate by the... Read More

Opening the Word: The poor kingship of Jesus

Friday, November 20, 2020
By: Timothy P. O'Malley The aftershocks of election 2020 reverberate throughout the United States. Whatever presidential candidate will be... Read More

Navy dad, back home after 15 months away, surprises daughter at Catholic school

Wednesday, November 18, 2020
By: Michelle Martin The father-daughter reunion at a Catholic school in suburban Chicago was weeks in the making. U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class... Read More

We all need to pray, ‘Lord, I need you’

Monday, November 16, 2020
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion A priest tells this story. He was assigned as a pastor. His predecessor had left the job in disgrace. The parish was not... Read More

Opening the Word: An economy of gift

Friday, November 13, 2020
By: Timothy P. O'Malley We have grown so accustomed to moralistic accounts of prominent parables proclaimed in pulpits that we are likely to tune... Read More

Supreme Court hears arguments in foster care case with major religious freedom implications

Wednesday, November 11, 2020
By: Russell Shaw Some time in the early months of 2021, the Supreme Court will announce its decision in a closely watched case involving a critical... Read More

Without prayer, life can seem troublesome, tedious, pope says at audience

Monday, November 9, 2020
By: Carol Glatz VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Prayer has the power to take all those things in life that seem like a condemnation and turn them into... Read More

Opening the Word: The oil of desire

Friday, November 6, 2020
By: Timothy P. O'Malley Desire is vital to Catholicism. The human person is made to desire God, to long for union with our beloved... Read More

With beatification, Knights extend invitation to become ‘part of the vision and mission of Father McGivney’

Wednesday, November 4, 2020
By: Brian Fraga Preparing for the beatification Mass of Father Michael J. McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus, has been a... Read More