Bad news travels faster. At least it seems that way, at times, on the Internet. When Catholic bloggers broke the story that a Harvard University student club had scheduled a public black mass "re-enacted" by members of the Satanic Temple at a pub on campus, the word spread like wildfire. I found out about it because Nadja, our just-finished-law-school, blog-loving daughter posted it on Facebook. She tagged her parents because we are both alumni and because she knew without a doubt that we would want to do something to stop it. She was right.
But Nadja also posted the information on the Archdiocese of Boston's Facebook wall. Shortly afterward, she was told that someone would be looking into the matter to be sure that it wasn't some kind of hoax. It was not a hoax. Satanic ritual, passed off as some kind of educational and cultural experience, was on the calendar of events to be held in a space large enough for 450 people. To make it even worse, there was talk that the event would include the desecration of a consecrated Eucharistic Host--the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. It didn't take long for a great number of us to contact church leaders, Harvard administrators, and just about everyone we knew.
There are a few things we, as the Church of Boston, can learn from these recent events.
-- If you call us, we will come. Over 2,000 people showed up in Cambridge to pray, process, and be present in a public way. Catholic parishes, convents, monasteries, schools all over the archdiocese and the country joined in holy hours, Masses, and other forms of prayer. People from every faith tradition and none publicly stood with us. Petitions were signed by over 90,000. Emails, phone calls, social media, every resource was used to reach out.
-- Live the faith openly and in the streets. Our Holy Father Francis has strongly encouraged us to let Jesus out of our churches and into the world. That doesn't mean forcing Christ on anyone. But it does mean having a conversation that involves more than just the person in the next pew. That looks like the Eucharistic Procession that began at MIT's chapel last Monday night. Along the road, there were people who stopped to ask questions. Others expressed support. Some voiced opposition. But be careful not to go battling the devil in the streets only to leave him accommodations in our own hearts. Diming out the devil also means uprooting evil and sin from our daily lives.
-- Call evil what it is. Satan is real; the evil that exists in the world is not limited to what can be contained in human hearts. Identifying the strongholds of evil is necessary, even if talking about these things makes us sound primitive, unsophisticated, superstitious, or archaic. There is nothing educational or cultural about encountering the father of lies. Some of the finest minds in history have belonged to saints.
-- Humility is better than triumphalism. Penance, prayer, reparation, and the deep awareness of our own sinfulness and need for God, our own reliance on grace and mercy put us in the right place to give compelling witness. Let us maintain the humble spirit that suits us best: the spirit of service and peace best taught by the Blessed Virgin Mary. We are at our best when we are penitent and merciful. We stand tallest when we are on our knees. We are who we should be when we glorify God and do not claim His victories as if we had accomplished them on our own.
It has been said that the "next revolution will be tweeted." Perhaps. But I think that the real revolution will be one that involves the use of forward thinking technology to turn people's hearts back to the timeless and lasting truths many have forgotten and some have chosen to mock openly. The next "revolution" will be revival.
Now that the Faithful of Boston have mobilized, let us grow deeper in answering our call to live Jesus in the world. Let all who were in Cambridge last Monday night --either physically or in spiritual solidarity--witness to the power of Jesus Christ, and invite a friend or acquaintance to come back to Him or to meet Him for the first time. So, who will help me plan the next Eucharistic Procession in the streets? Who will help figure out a way to offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation openly in the city?
Jaymie Stuart Wolfe is a wife and mother of eight children, and a disciple of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales. She is an inspirational author, speaker, musician and serves as an Associate Children's Editor at Pauline Books and Media.