The Last Word
Sacred Scripture tells us that when Our Blessed Lord announced, “One of you will betray me,” John rolled over from his reclining seat right onto the Sacred Heart to console Him of this betrayal. Then to John, “leaning on Jesus’ bosom” and to him alone, not even to Peter, did Our Lord discreetly identify the traitor.
The world is full of scandals, indeed, and woe to it because of them. But what have we done and what do we do at the news of these shocking acts? Are we too going to throw the first stone, we who may think that we are “holier than thou?”
The contrite Augustine knew too well, and with good reason, the meaning of his words when he said: “There is not a sin that a man cannot commit, that another man has committed, without the help of He who made man.” Or, in the Pauline expression: “Wherefore he that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed—caveat!—lest he fall.”
My last word on this issue of scandals is a triple agere contra: they should be for us a lesson in humility, in satisfaction, in missionary charity.
In humility: whatever sad story we hear of someone’s sins, let us remember that we could fall into the exact same sin, and even into worst ones, without the grace of God. “It is by the grace of God that I am what I am.” We all remember the firm declaration “I will die for You!” uttered by a Peter too confident in his own strength. We know what happened after.
A lesson in satisfaction: like John, we too must console the Sacred Heart, “I have sought for a consoler and have found none…” Someone must make penance for these sins. Many religious congregations, such as the Capuchins, have that goal. At Fatima, Our Blessed Lady called on little ones to join in this necessary satisfaction for the sins of poor sinners who might go to hell without our penances.
A lesson in missionary charity: “Pray for the conversion of sinners!” Who would have ever thought a Magdalene, a Saul, an Augustine, an Ignatius, a Ratisbonne would have converted and become such saviors of souls, some of them founders of religious orders, in the hands of God? “For nothing is impossible with God!” Someone prayed for them. And their prayers were answered.
Let us pray without ceasing in reparation and for the conversion of poor sinners.