Holy Week is upon us.
This is both good news and bad news for the practicing Catholic.
Good news? We are about to celebrate the holiest time of the year. Our 'reason to be' is coming to light. We will be celebrating the fact that our God is alive and well and loves us beyond measure. For many it will be a time of coming into full communion with Truth and embracing the total Christian experience - they will become Catholic, and their life long journey will no longer be a lonely one. They will have a family and that family will love them, no matter what foolish stuff they do.
Bad news? It's Holy Week. Satan will be taking every chance he has to attack and undermine us, as individuals and as a Church. He will use others. He will use our own fears and desires. He will trick us into believing lies and that sin is something God wants for us (my favorite phrase I have heard so far around this? 'God is coloring outside the lines for me.' ) and he will take use the modern world to do his handiwork.
This is, traditionally, the time of year you see the news reports about bad Catholics, horrors of the Middle Ages and corruption in the Church. You will see specials about 'the historical' Jesus and experts will come forward yapping about how The Church doesn't really know what She is doing, the rifts and the fights and the need to let divorced Catholics married outside the Church to receive Our Lord in Communion or for women to be 'ordained' as priests.
The pedophile scandal will be revisited and the name of every high profile priest who ever committed a crime will be paraded before us by the media.
It can be tough to take.
I believe the reason we are attacked as both individuals and as a Church is because we are who we are - we are the last bastion of Truth. We stand as one, we walk together (not always in step, though, because we are a bunch of goofy people after all) and we believe to our core that Jesus' Church is where we are supposed to be worshiping God. We may not always agree politically and sometimes we don't like each other, but essentially we are a family.
And Satan hates the family.
Recently I have been witness to a very loving but scared woman throw her Catholic faith out the window in order to be able to have a boyfriend. She is convinced it is God's Will for her despite it being completely illogical that God's Will for her would keep her from Him in the Eucharist. I understand her fear. I understand her loneliness and her demand for love. I have been there and I have been that foolish in the past.
She is not the first person in the Catholic Church to put her eternal soul in peril so she can have a date to a rock concert.
It does not surprise me that it has happened during this, the holiest time of the Christian calendar. If she is going to fall, it would be now.
The good news? God is scanning the horizon for her, just as the father scanned the horizon for his prodigal son. She may be straying from Truth but she is not out of His sight yet. As long as she is on this side of the dirt (as my ol Daddy used to say) she has a chance to make it right.
What scares me about the situation comes from my own personal experience. I said good bye and I love you to my husband at 4:15 pm on August 7, 1987 and by 5:30, when I got home, he was dead.
Please keep all those who are struggling with the lies of Satan in prayer. Please keep me in prayer. Life is not easy for me - but it is a life that is second to none.
And for that I am eternally grateful.