Shifting the Atmosphere
by Marco Casanova
“Each generation is converted by the saint who contradicts it most.” GK Chesterton
Shifting the atmosphere involves each of us. Jesus is rousing the sleepy Bride through prayerful sinners.
Praying for priests and pastors during Lent has shifted something in me. It’s given me healthier vision for spiritual leaders, no matter how divided they are. The Litany of Humility prays it best: ‘That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should.’ I should boldly pray for the brilliant holiness of pastors. Their health enlivens me and myriad others.
Pastors’ wholeness impacts me. These shepherds who break open the Word and who re-present the Word sacrificed for me shift the atmosphere. How much more dazzling is their offering when priestly hearts and hands are pure, trembling in awe of the Holy One?
I was mentored by two priests. Their luminous humanity provoked something in me. Their pursuit of Jesus attracted me. I saw their flaws and moral aspirations. I wanted to be like them because their holiness was attainable. It was rooted in mercy and action toward which I too could reach.
These men helped change the face of my seminary. They insisted that Jesus wanted the whole of me—He wanted to reform my humanity so that its weakness invited transparency and inspired strength, freeing me to grow beyond immaturity into manhood.
I had wrong ideas that perpetuated my sin. For example, I justified pornography and masturbation addiction as my ‘cross.’ One of my mentor priests challenged that lie—a deception that frees us to accommodate sin on the grounds that it keeps us humble, near Jesus. Bottom line: don’t accommodate sin. If you do, you lose a sense of reality. And you never grow truly strong, the strength that only comes when you stop conceding to sin and start exercising Spirited authority. Roused like a warrior, we do battle for our own integrity. That gives us humble authority to pray for our leaders who may well need our advocacy in their weary ‘yes’ to chastity.
Generations shift when members are willing to change. I desired heroic holiness. I still do! Yet I know the battle only too well. And I can turn my battle for integrity into a prayerful fight for the whole Bride. I intercede especially for her pastors, that they might lead us with shining transparency onto wholeness.
God calls each of us to shift the Church’s atmosphere. Think of Augustine, Ignatius of Loyola, Catherine of Siena and others whose wholeness is still shifting something today. No stranger to lustful temptation, Catherine said something I shall never forget: ‘If you give the enemy your sword, he will murder you with it.’ True that. We can’t underestimate the impact of our inspired authority upon the whole Church. The Redeemer is returning for a whole Bride, and each of us has a part to play in ensuring her chastity.
‘I will renew the holiness of the priesthood in My Church. I will pour out the Holy Spirit upon all priests in the form of a purifying fire. Those who welcome that fire will emerge from it like gold from the furnace, shining with holiness and with a wonderful purity for all to see. Those who refuse My fire will be consumed by it.’ In Sinu Jesu
Please take time to watch our video and become ‘Chaste Together.’