In Hard Times, Come to Jesus (and His Family)
By Chris Sparks
“Jesus, I trust in You.”
Honestly, there are days where that’s the last thing I want to do.
I want to be frightened. I want to be worked up over the news, over the latest outrage, over the impossible contradictions of the world, over the suffering I experience, over the burdens I bear, over the hardships confronting the Church, the country, my family, the world.
Pandemic; civil unrest; endless political division; the culture of death; the mass slaughter of the unborn; seemingly endless sufferings; sexual and financial scandals; endless trials and tribulations, and all too few triumphs …
Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid.
— St. John Paul II, Oct. 22, 1978
But isn’t it right to be stressed and anxious? Isn’t a soul at peace one that’s not responding to the responsibilities we bear being Catholic, being citizens, being members of families and local communities?
Be not afraid — isn’t that impossible?
Listen, put it into your heart, my youngest son, that what frightened you, what afflicted you, is nothing; do not let it disturb your face, your heart; do not fear this sickness nor any other sickness, nor any sharp and hurtful thing. Am I not here, I who have the honor to be your Mother? Are you not in my shadow and under my protection? Am I not the source of your joy? Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Do you need something more?
— Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego, Dec. 12, 1531
Do I need something more than Jesus and His Mystical Body? Do I need more than the Holy Family, the Household of God, the Communion of Saints, the Church? Do I need something more than the love of God, the love of the Holy Family? Do I need more than the One who gives us everything that we have and are, without whom we’d not even exist?
No. With God’s love, all things are possible. Without God’s love, nothing exists.
But I don’t want to be at peace in my soul. After all, how can anyone gaze out at all of this and be at peace? Why aren’t we worked up, mad as anything, ready to throw punches, ready to fight?
For, although we are in the flesh, we do not battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses.
— 2 Corinthians 10:3-4
So we can be at peace in our hearts, even in the midst of the present challenges facing us all and our world as a whole because our weapons are not of this world. We are most effective when we turn to prayer, most powerful when we surrender worldly means in favor of believing that vengeance is the Lord's (see Rom 12:19). We can be at peace because Heaven is mighty to save, and the Communion of Saints always with us. We can be at peace in the face of evil, sin, and suffering, because Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are here with us, now and always.
We can find Jesus anywhere at any time by dipping into Scripture, by turning to Him in our hearts with prayer, by carrying the Divine Mercy Image with us, and by seeing Him looking at us out of the eyes of our neighbor.
[B]ehold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.
— Matthew 28:20)
We can find the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Immaculate Conception, at any time by turning to her in prayer, by keeping an image of her nearby, and by loving her as our own mother.
In times of darkness, holding the Rosary is like holding your Blessed Mother’s hand. Pray the Rosary every day. Abandon yourself in the hands of Mary. She will take care of you.
— St. Padre Pio
We can find St. Joseph, our Spiritual Father and Terror of Demons, at any time by turning to him in prayer, by keeping an image of him nearby, and by loving him as our own father.
What did he [St. Joseph] actually do? He loved. This is all he did, and it was sufficient for his glory. He loved God without limit and without lessening. This was his significance; this was his life here below. For this, he has been loved immeasurably. Behold his glory for eternity! Go to him without hesitation. He is all-powerful in heaven. As for his goodness, you cannot doubt it when you think that he spent his life in the intimacy of the hearts of Jesus and Mary — the most loving and most kindly hearts there ever were.
— Blessed Jean Joseph Lataste
But the times we’re living through are so hard, I think we need to go as far as we possibly can in placing everything in the hands of God the Father through the hands of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
Through consecration to Mary (33 Days to Morning Glory), Jesus (33 Days to Merciful Love), and Joseph (Consecration to St. Joseph), we can place ourselves, our tumultuous times, our loved ones, and everything in our lives into the best of hands, ensuring we will be brought to the Father, Rich in Mercy (33 Days to Greater Glory).
So let’s choose this year to make or renew our consecrations. Let’s bring out the most powerful means we have, welcome God into our lives and hearts with full freedom to act, and entrust ourselves to Him and His best-beloved family members so that they will look after us and our own loved ones.
Pray for me, that I may practice what I preach. I’ll pray for you.
Chris Sparks serves as senior book editor for the Marian Fathers. He is the author of the Marian Press book How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.