The young adult Tess Mullins wrote a guest column in the July 25, 2011 issue of The
Remnant entitled "And Lead us Out of Facebook." Her article was
a plea for leadership from the older generation of traditional Catholics to correct
what she sees as a spiritual disconnect between that generation and her own.
She wrote: "We need practical advice that will help prepare us for the real life
issues we will have to face as traditional Catholics. The novus ordo way of dumbing
things down or trying to be 'hip' is futile. In fact, anything that causes a loss of
respect for the older generation among youth is counter-effective. One of the best
ways to support us, especially in these times, is to give us information applicable to our
lives and the decisions we have to make on a daily basis."
The following reply was printed in the "The Remnant Speaks" section of The
Remnant (July 31/Aug. 15, 2011 issue):
Thank you so much for your
inspirational article and passionate plea for guidance and leadership from the older
generation towards today's young people. (The Remnant, July 25.) I
don't believe that conferences, articles, tapes, Catholic TV shows, World Youth Days, and
so on, are going to be the answer to forming a new generation of strong
Catholics. They may be necessary, but they are not sufficient.
What is needed is true
spiritual formation and spiritual direction in order to build the interior life of
"Christ in you," so that you will grow in "the mind of Christ." Unless
you possess inner spiritual strength, knowledge, and the life of grace, all else
will be in vain, and you will fall prey to secularism.
As Padre Pio often
emphasized, spiritual reading is essential to spiritual growth. Sharing from my own
experience, I can point to three seminal books that gave me a deeper spiritual
formation than any others, and were in fact milestones for me. These books are
presented in the order in which I read them over the years.
The first is Humility
of Heart, by Fr. Cajetan Mary da Bergamo (TAN Books). Formation in this virtue
is critical, and there is no saint in Heaven who was not humble on earth. To quote
from p. 78, "As paradise is for the humble, therefore in paradise everyone will have
more or less glory according to his degree of humility." By humbling yourself
you will escape many snares in this life.
Second is a gem called The
Heliotropium, by Fr. Jeremias Drexelius (TAN Books). The heliotropium is the
sunflower, always turned towards the sun, just as the soul must always look at the sun of
the Will of God, and in fact the book is subtitled: "Conformity of the Human
Will to the Divine." Here is the very first line in the book: "Of all the
doctrine which Christ delivered in so many and such divine discourses this was the sum, -
that man should absolutely and entirely conform himself to the Divine Will, in particulars
as well as in generals." Here you will learn the difference between the
ordaining and permissive Will of God, and why you should desire and accept everything that
happens, since God either ordains or permits it for our good.
The third book, I believe,
is the opus of spiritual direction: The Imitation of the Sacred Heart
of Jesus, by Rev. Peter J. Arnoudt (TAN Books and also Angelus Press). In this
work, the "voice of Jesus" is answered by the "voice of
the disciple." The first line in the book: "The voice of
Jesus: 'Learn of Me because I am meek and humble of Heart; and ye shall find
rest for your souls." The entire book systematically instructs the soul in
imitating the gentle and humble Heart of Christ, leading it ever higher. When the
Irish priest who was my spiritual director left for another city, he told me that this
book will take his place - and it has.
Tess, I hope these brief words
will be of help in delivering you and your generation from Facebook!
Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum,