Sunday, March 25, 2012

Called to walk the silent and cold wastelands . . . to pierce the darkness and reach out to those who don’t ‘need’ God . . . Sister Ann Shields

One of the websites I watch is RENEWAL MINISTRIES, featuring - among others - Dr Ralph Martin and Sister Ann Fields OSB, who have been leaders of Charismatic Renewal and the New Evangelisation in the Roman Catholic Church for forty years. There are quite a few devotional articles in the archive of their Newsletters suitable for sharing far and wide. Other resources are available, too, including books, CDs and DVDs.

Here is part of Sister Ann's article in this month's Newsletter: 

This Lent, I believe the Lord is inviting us to prepare ourselves by His grace, to fight the battle and bring souls back to Him. It has always been our call but the steep decline in faith requires that we, who have been given so much in faith, hope and love must, by all the means the Spirit inspires, bring the Gospel anew to a world that is quite literally dying. We need to gird our loins by prayer and fasting to prepare us for the battle ahead. Many have been lost! The tide must be stemmed, the breaches repaired, the thorns and thickets removed from the path, to make a straight way for the Lord.

God has taught us much about evangelising and we have done much, but this is a new time. Many who formerly followed the Lord, or are members of faith-filled families of generations past, have now drifted away or turned their backs on Him. 

Only a very humble submission on our part will make it possible. We need new power, wisdom, and courage for this battle. We have brought the Gospel to many mission lands and seen the joy and new life, but now we are called to walk in the silent and cold wastelands of North America and Western Europe where people have grown fat and complacent on the world’s goods and power. We are now called to pierce the darkness and reach out to those who don’t “need” God anymore. 

In Iowa before Christmas, an accident took place one morning. A father with his three children in the car lost control on an icy curve. The car slammed into the guard rails and flipped over into the river. Within a few minutes, ten men stopped their cars, jumped into the icy water, and together turned the car over. The father and two children were unconscious. A retired police officer ran for his gun in the car and shot out the window. Another man reached in and pulled out a child. Another knew CPR and went to work right away. The man who took out the first child was badly cut on both arms by the broken glass. The father and children were taken by ambulance to the hospital and treated for hypothermia and released a few days later. 

When I read about the accident, I thought of the strength, generosity, and selflessness that inspired those men. Because of their heroism, a whole family was saved. It is a good analogy for what we are being called to do. Many of those to whom the Lord calls us carry the wounds of arrogance and hardness of heart. Many, because of the lack of good catechesis, are simply “clueless” and don’t want to be “bothered” by Christians. Some are close to spiritual death. It is to all of these people that the Lord calls us and if we don’t respond, a Christian civilization could die—to say nothing of each immortal soul. We are called to help rescue them from darkness that they may know the God who truly loves them—the God they seek without knowing. May they find Him through you and may this Lent be a time of spiritual training for the battle for lost souls.


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