Why should we remain Catholic in the midst of scandals, particularly scandals that involve our leaders? Has the Holy Spirit abandoned the Church because of our sins? This is what the world would have us believe, but the truth is that Christ Jesus will always be the Head of His Body, the Church. No amount of sin on our part can separate us from Christ, and He has given us the Holy Spirit to be our Paraclete for all time. He is with us; He will remain with us always, and we need to remain with Him. [cf. Romans 8:38-39]
Our Lord promised that He would remain with us always, and He promised St. Peter that “Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” [Matthew 16:18] What is the power of hell if not sin itself? Jesus has promised us that He will be with us, even in the midst of our sins and the fallout of those sins. God will not abandon us, nor leave us to
In the midst of sin and discouragement we must turn to Him. We turn to the same weapons of spiritual warfare that the Church has trusted for millennia: the Sacraments (especially the Eucharist), the Communion of Saints (especially our Blessed Mother, Mary, our Patroness and our model of courage), and our spiritual artillery (prayer, fasting, and almsgiving). We are in a battle against sin, and corruption within the Church is still the sins of individuals. We can and must pray and offer sacrifices for the victims of such sins, for the repentance of the sinners themselves, and for the Church as a whole to overcome these difficulties, purge the disease of sin from the Body, and grow healthy again.
The descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Church at Pentecost is the guarantee of Christ’s promise to be with us always. He is the Paraclete (the comforter, the advocate, the intercessor for peace, repentance, and healing) for the Church as a whole and each of us as individuals. He is the presence of God that gives power to the Sacraments. The Holy Spirit washes us clean in Baptism, forgives our sins in Reconciliation, heals us in the Anointing of the Sick, makes present the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, strengthens us for mission in Confirmation, binds us together in the covenant of Holy Matrimony, and consecrates us for service in Holy Orders. The Sacraments are essential to God’s plan for the sanctification of the world; the Holy Spirit ensures that the font of these heavenly gifts will never run dry.
Without the Spirit, we can do worse than nothing; without the Spirit, we can do great harm, and we have. The history of the Church is filled with stories of sin and corruption that serve us as warnings and lessons. Yet each of these dark days have been met with powerful Saints, led by the light of the Holy Spirit. God always provides the grace we need in order to counter the darkness of sin.
So let us invoke the power of the Holy Spirit upon our homes, our parishes, and our Diocese for healing, comfort, and strength that we might face dark days with confidence and joy, and that God will raise up in our midst the holy men and women who will draw us back to Christ and rekindle the faith of us who have been so shaken. In particular, let us pray for our clergy, that we who are to live in a manner more closely conformed to Christ the Priest may be true images of Him in all that we say and do.
O Holy Spirit, heal your Church! Cleanse us, who are your ministers in Holy Orders. Free us from the darkness of sin, and make your love burn in our hearts again! O most blessed Light divine, shine within these hearts of yours, and our inmost being fill!