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Fortifying the Faith in a Time of Crisis

At this moment of crisis, Catholics need to draw closer to Christ, not farther away.

As the new year proceeds apace, an unprecedented crisis continues to roil the Church, stoking anger, cynicism and dread among the faithful and demoralizing their pastors.

Yet even as the scandals tempt some to register their disgust by leaving the Church, many active Catholics see this moment as a time of much-needed “purification” and are looking for a path that will keep Christ at the center of a world turned upside down.

“We are going through a terrible purification of the Church, and we need to encourage members whose faith is weakening,” Mary Ellen Bork, a Virginia-based writer and lecturer on issues affecting Catholic life and culture, told the Register.

“The answer is not to walk out,” she said, “but to go deeper.”

For Bork, going “deeper” means devoting substantial time to contemplative prayer and approaching Scripture and the lives of the saints as a pathway to the Lord.

“We need to let God speak to us and shape us,” said Bork. “But he can only do that if we open ourselves to him. Then he will guide us, be our light, and give us everything we need to get through this crisis.”’

Bishops and missionaries, spiritual directors and lay Catholic writers echo this guidance, as they offer an array of established practices that help the faithful reach the finish line.

Bishop Michael Barber of Oakland, California, told the Register that, in tough times, “I find myself going to St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother more and more with my problems and difficulties.

“When in trouble, use the Novena to St. Joseph or say the Memorare to Our Lady three times a day for nine days.”

Bishop Barber also recommended the “practice of making a spiritual pilgrimage to a religious site or sanctuary within your means.”

“The spiritual fruit and lifetime devotional impact usually justify the sacrificial cost,” he said.

In the United States, he recommends Chimayó in New Mexico; and in Mexico, he directs the faithful to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Pilgrimages “to Rome and Jerusalem make a lifetime impression, and have for centuries,” he said. “You come home changed.”

Read more at National Catholic Register