Apr 15, 2021 filed under Courage, Faith, Hope.

hopeful woman smiling

As the news shows scenes of disrespect for law, private property, and due process, reason itself seems to be going up in flames. Which is why St. John Paul II wrote his prophetic encyclical Faith and Reason—he saw the divorce from reason coming in the Western world. G.K. Chesterton saw it coming more than a century ago.

But even in their time, it was nothing new. In the garden of Eden, Eve decided she’d rather follow a lie than the truth. And at the other end of the Bible, in Revelation 3:2, Our Lord warns the loose-living church at Sardis to “be watchful and strengthen what is left.”

That’s still some good advice. Because reasonable people are still reasonable, and there are a lot of them. Generous and godly people are still generous, and there are a lot of them. They’re the drivers who motion us to go first at a 4-way stop. They’re the full-cart shoppers who tell us to go ahead because we have only two items to check out. They’re the friends who encourage and support us in our sometimes-wavy path to union with God.

This is what is left: we are still accompanied by people who live the virtues of respect, generosity, selflessness—in a word, love. This is “what is left,” and this is what Our Lord is asking the church at Sardis, and us, to strengthen.

But how?

Here are three ideas. (Hint: it starts with ourselves.)

“We must go into the society — darkened, corrupted, and depraved — as children of light. We must be witnesses to this beautiful light of Jesus, this light of truth, justice, and purity. First, we must begin in our own hearts.” — Ven. Al Schwartz

1
Pray. It’s the only way to be sure we remain part of “what is left” and avoid being among those who are driven by anger. It’s the only way to keep our focus on God instead of on those who hate what God loves. And that includes praying for the conversion of God’s enemies, and of our poor hearts.

“Troubles melt sway before a fervent prayer like snow before the sun.” — St John Vianney

2
Confess. When we see what we love being attacked, we’re tempted to sinful anger, which cannot end well. In fact, it makes us part of the problem. The solution is to cultivate purity of heart, which we can obtain only by the grace of the Sacraments.

“Confession is an act of honesty and courage – an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God.” — St. John Paul II

3
Stay encouraged. St. Paul writes, “every day…keep encouraging one another” (Heb 3:13). In this time of isolation and turmoil, we need to follow Paul’s advice by keeping up our contact with those who encourage us in the faith. Not only online videos and conferences, which are great, but person-to-person contact with faithful Catholics who help us grow in our love of God. If you don’t have that already in your life, you may benefit by what I’m offering right now: click here to learn more.

Finally, when we’re running short on hope, we can drink in these words of St. Josemaria Escriva:

“Remember this and never forget it: even if it should seem at times that everything is collapsing, nothing is collapsing at all, because God doesn’t lose battles.”

And isn’t that what we’re celebrating in this Easter season?

Love always,
Rose

21 Responses to “How to “Strengthen What Remains””

  1. Sabine Paul

    Thanks for the reminder that all is not lost and that “strengthening what remains” begins with us.

    Reply
  2. Rose Folsom

    ARRIVED BY EMAIL:
    Dear Rose,
    Bless your holy work. I print them out and keep them in a special 3 ring binder for rereading and study.
    In gratitude,
    Nancy
    +++
    Luv your email. Thanks for the Hope inspired by it.
    A

    Reply
  3. Sharon O'Brien

    Rose,
    Thanks for these thoughts! My schedule has been off for a couple of months and I’ve missed starting my week reading your words of wisdom.

    Blessings,
    Sharon

    Reply
  4. Susan

    I love the power of your words and that love, trust and hope remain no matter what falls away. Thank you, Rose.

    Reply
  5. Kathy

    Thank you Rose for your inspiring messages. It’s hard not to get angry. If we change our reaction from anger to prayer, just maybe we can make a difference.

    Reply
  6. Liz Tomaszeski

    I appreciate your seeking truth and virtue in daily living. For the past year, many of us have been in a bubble. It is time to set aside self and go forward unafraid in Christ’s love and mercy.

    Reply
  7. Margaret

    Dear Rose,

    That was truly helpful, life-lifting and refreshing.

    Thank you so much.

    Reply
  8. Tom Roberts

    3. Stay encouraged -I like to cruise the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Wisdom per square foot of text is really high.

    I’d wallow in despair as if it was the natural outcome of misfortune. “Why me?” was my ticket into the tunnel. Then I saw in the CCC index that despair was one of the individual grave sins, a sin against hope: CCC 2091. I wasn’t having despair, I was doing despair. That offered the possibility of NOT doing despair. It takes some prayer and meditation to decide that despair isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Among other things it doesn’t sell very well. Maybe it’s a “guy” thing but I see prayer and meditation as a job with a paycheck. It’s important to show up for work on a daily basis: no work, no paycheck.

    Reply
  9. Sue Stimak

    Excellent reminders to stick with the basics; prayer, confession and person-to-person socially distanced contact. Thanks Rose. I love the photo, too!

    Reply
  10. Suzanne Landis

    Rose,
    I love the way you intersperse the wisdom of the saints into your own wise insights. “God doesn’t lose battles” is most encouraging.
    Suzanne

    Reply
  11. Sr Patrick Joseph, Noga, , SND

    Rose,
    Thank you for your insights ! I stay connected with God through prayer and my music. Your thoughts most encouraging!
    😇🙏🏻❤️ Sr. P.J.SND

    Reply
  12. Diane Upham

    Beautiful message, one of my favorite, Miss Rose! I look forward to reading it over and over!!
    You are truly gifted in sharing God’s Love and Understanding. I feel a weight lifted!!
    Much love, Diane

    Reply

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