Speaking to a traditional priest friend lately, I asked him about his methodology. I noticed that this very effective cleric spent little or no time complaining about the state of affairs in the Church. In reply, he assured me that he sees the same besetting problems we all see, but that he prefers to expend his energies on things he can actually do something about, rather than on matters beyond his control. Therefore, he spends his time laboring in a fruitful apostolate, not in blustering about the latest scandal. As I know and respect this cleric for his piety, gravity, and proven commitment to tradition, I could not help but take his statement very seriously.
Your Obligations. In positive terms, his counsel can be reduced to the following: Be an oasis of faith and devotion. Focus on what you can do that is good — not on what other people do that is bad. As for the rest, pray, hope, and be patient. Besides sparing the would-be apostle much useless anxiety about what goes on in the Church and the world, this approach has the advantage of emphasizing our serious personal obligations to do something for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Just what that “something” is will vary according to our different states in life, aptitudes, opportunities, and circumstances. But there are certain stock items we can all do.
Your To-Do List. One thing you can do is cultivate a serious spiritual life by consecrating yourself to Our Lady, going to Mass frequently (daily, if possible), and practicing daily mental prayer. Wholesome spiritual reading (for instance, The Liturgical Year) will keep your interior life grounded in doctrine and the liturgical life of the Church. Another thing — or series of things — you can do is to labor as an apostle for the conversion of your neighbor, following the “little way of an apostle” that we outlined on this site. Yet another, is to educate yourself in the Faith, both to inform your interior life, and to make you a better apostle. The Saint Augustine Institute of Catholic Studies offers a program of study to facilitate this.
Catholic America Tour. I will present only one more item for your apostolic to-do list: Become a part of the Catholic America Tour. The CAT is beginning to take on a life of its own, and is fast becoming an important and productive outreach. In this tour, I have been presenting my talk, “Toward a Catholic America: History, Goals, and Methods,” to diverse audiences across the country. The purpose is to educate, equip, and motivate earnest members of the Church Militant in an effort to convert our Republic to the one true Faith.
What It’s About. The talk gives a compact overview of the historical efforts to make America Catholic, and highlights some of the heroic champions of the Faith who labored for the conversion this land. Each presentation is different, as the particular apostles who labored to spread the Faith in that locale will get special mention. Listeners leave these talks with a zeal to follow in the footsteps of these heroes of the Church Militant in the New World. They also leave with the tools and working methods that will assist them in doing so.
Methods Promoted. In order to attract people to the Faith or reanimate fallen away Catholics, the apostle must cultivate both his intellect and his will, informing a life of solid devotion with wholesome Catholic knowledge. As Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our religious and third order members make the Total Consecration to Mary, according to the method of Saint Louis de Montfort. They also follow Brother Francis’ program of studies — the Saint Augustine Institute (sai.catholicism.org) — which has a sixty-year history of proven effectiveness. The presentation and literature acquaint listeners with both of these tools. A lay apostle affiliated with Saint Benedict Center would be presumptuous to “leave home without them.”
People Like the Talks. Feedback from the CAT talks has been encouraging. A participant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana calls the presentation, “A wonderful and inspiring combination of American Catholic history and an enthusiastic call to evangelize our beloved country. It lights a fire in listeners to ‘get out there and make America Catholic!’ …and gives the tools to do it.” A gentleman present at the CAT in De Pere, Wisconsin, calls the talk an “Excellent, balanced and thoroughly Catholic story of the Catholic Faith in our country. … It’s so refreshing to learn that our struggle to protect and defend the Faith in America is part of a grand tradition of militant Catholics in this country.” Others have reported to us that the subject of the talk became dinner-table conversation for the family and made them want to learn more. A common remark was, “I’ve never heard this before!” It seems that people have gotten the message, for the first time in their lives, that the mission to make America Catholic is a divine project that was frustrated long ago by the devil and his dupes, but which it is the duty of the Church — clergy, religious, and lay faithful — to recommence in earnest.
Next Trip: Wisconsin and Illinois. We are now actively seeking sponsors for the next upcoming CAT in July. (Please click here if you would like to help us with this particular trip.)
And After That? You Tell Us! We need your feedback. Please tell us if you would like a presentation in your area. As a sponsor, you will host a CAT presentation in your home, or arrange for it to be held in a hall, church, or community center. We will step you through the event’s planning, and help publicize it. Our office will produce flyers to promote the event, and send those flyers to people on our list who live in that area. We will also publicize the talk on our website.
Do Something! You are invited to help us to continue the good work. “If you build it, we will come.” Will you be one of those zealous souls to sponsor a CAT presentation? Would you like to know more? Please contact Russell LaPlume at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (603) 239-6485. You can also visit the CAT website at cat.catholicism.org.
One Last Thing. If you cannot host a CAT presentation, but would like to support the upcoming tour to the Midwest, we do very much need donors to help cover the traveling costs for the air fare, rental car, and gas. Please use our secure online donation page to help, or contact Russell directly to make other arrangements. May God reward you!