At last, Holy Week is upon us. It is a time of sincere reflection, penance, and prayer as we prepare for Easter—the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, King of heaven and earth.
For the millions battling against the culture of death, this is a time to move away from the day-to-day conflict and to ponder the sacrifice Jesus made for all of us. Father John Hardon, S.J., understood our need to use these days for contemplation, teaching, “The resurrection of Christ is the great vindication of divine justice, which elevates those who humble themselves. In the words of St. Thomas, ‘Since Christ humiliated Himself even to the death on the cross out of love and obedience to God, He was therefore exalted by God even to His resurrection from the dead.’ It is this glorification of His risen humanity to which Christ refers in St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises when He says, ‘My will is to conquer the whole world and all my enemies, and thus to enter into the glory of my Father.’”
Those enemies of Christ are the very same enemies we encounter every day.
They are the abortionists like Eduardo Aquino who aborts babies in Corpus Christi, Texas, because he has hospital privileges at a Catholic hospital!
They are the caregivers of the elderly and infirm who abuse the trust of those in their care with insensitive attitudes and deadly practices.
They are the organizations like Planned Parenthood that spend millions of our tax dollars to rob our children of their innocence and threaten their very souls.
It seems at times that there is no earthly way to stop such evils, and yet the truth is that our efforts in the service of God and His laws require a complete understanding that this is His struggle. Our work is dedicated to teaching the truth with love and mercy—reaching out to the ignorant and helping these poor souls, one by one, to understand truth.
Yes, it is a challenge, but the rewards for such efforts are eternal if our intentions are right. This requires that we examine all that we do with a clear understanding of what it means to exercise rectitude of intention instead of pursuing our efforts with the false desire to be politically correct, to garner public attention, or to win favor with the powerful of this world.
Of course this is not easy to do, but this week provides a great time to start the spiritual exercise of straightening our personal crooked road.
Catholic apologist Barbara Kralis defines this activity in terms of rectitude of intention:
Our fallen human nature and our lack of virtue, all due to sin, tempt us many times to do things for our own power and glory. This is especially found in excessive activism. When this happens, our works remain empty because we lack Rectitude of Intention.
We cannot think of Rectitude of Intention without thinking of John the Baptist. The Baptist preached truth to a wicked generation and he cared neither for his safety nor for political correctness. In fact, John lost his head because he did not conform to popular cultural consensus.
And so we come to this Holy Week with a desire to honestly assess what we do and how we do it. We pray for the wisdom to move forward with a renewed sense of purpose and principle. We think about our personal love for Christ and our desire to always act in a way that reflects Christ’s love to a spiritually starved society.
St. Josemaria Escriva put this in perspective when he wrote, “Go about your professional duties for love’s sake. Do everything for the sake of love and (precisely because you are in love, even though you may taste the bitterness of misunderstanding, of injustice, of ingratitude and even of failure in men’s eyes) you will see the result in the wonders that your work produces—rich, abundant fruit, the promise of eternity!”
May your Holy Week be truly blessed.