by David M. Carollo –
As 2022 began, I was hit with many difficulties, both personally and business related. “Could 2022 be a year more difficult than 2020 or 2021,” I thought?
Oh, poor me. Stress and pressure are part of life and I typically manage this well but this time I felt a bit overwhelmed. Why are so many things hitting at once? What are we doing to deserve these difficulties? Suddenly, I came to the reality that this is life and things don’t always go the way we want. I have always known this, but I fell into a self-pity thing, I guess, and lost perspective. “Snap out of it,” I said to myself!
Most every day I attend Mass, and after Holy Communion, I ask our Lord to make me a better person. “Perfect me,” I say. Be careful what you ask for! God answers all prayers and sometimes we fail to realize this. I was taught that when we receive Communion in the proper disposition, we become more like the One we receive. Considering that, do we understand that He is leading us down the road to perfection? The road to heaven is not a paved boulevard with bright lights and wide lanes. It is a rocky road with many obstacles, and properly navigating it, we find our way to the greatness that we were meant for. Holiness is attained through endurance and acceptance of the trials that befall us. St. Francisco and St. Jacinta attained the crown by enduring difficulties with submission to, and acceptance of, the trials of their short lives. Sister Lucia showed us how many years of submission and acceptance brings one to perfection. The greatness that awaits us is beyond our understanding. Original sin and actual sin have blinded us to the reality that we are obliged to clean the path ahead of us. Either here on earth or in purgatory the dust of our imperfections must be cleaned from our garments. It is much easier to clean the slate here than after death.
Throughout history those who were destined to greatness had their faith tested. How they navigated these obstacles showed their worthiness of the task ahead. Abraham, after waiting many years for his son Isaac, was asked to offer him to God in a test of his loyalty. St. Paul was blinded for days as the true mission of his life was revealed. All the saints had hurdles to overcome on the road to greatness. St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “Surrender to God’s will is to accept whatever happens to you.” They were all being directed by the Divine hand as a preparation for the mission which they were destined for. We prepare for the good by enduring the bad.
God is leading us on a journey to glory. Part of our daily duty is to follow His direction and offer up all difficulties for our perfection and the conversion of sinners. United with the poor souls in purgatory, let us accept our difficulties for the cause and look to the day when we can join in the glory forever.
I had to remind myself, quit whining and accept this gift from God for my sanctification and the good of the cause that I am committed to at this time. We best follow Him when we focus on the commitment of our work and accept the obstacles which are put in front of us in this imperfect venue. His permissive will allows bad things to happen. These hardships and obstacles are to prepare us for what’s ahead – it is part of our road to perfection. Complaining about the injustices that befall us is counter-productive and reduces the merit that we gain when we keep focus and recommit to our mission. The work of our apostolate requires endurance and perseverance. There are no quitters in this army. We are committed to the fight because this is for all the marbles.
The Fatima message calls us to repent, pray for others to convert and be an example to everyone that we are not of this world. We live for a better time and the difficulties of this world are nothing compared to the prize that awaits us. Our Lady has shown us the way to sanctification by her life and obedience to God.
The founders of this apostolate navigated difficulty to establish an organization dedicated to the salvation of souls. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Blue Army this year, let us be filled with the zeal necessary to continue the mission and bring more to understand and embrace the message of hope that was given to us in 1917. This message is more relevant today than it was then, as the errors that she warned us of have come to fruition. The world today is in the grasp of evil like never before, but we must always understand that where evil abounds grace abounds even more. The roadblocks which are put in front of us are there to stop our progress. For this reason, we must put aside our discouragement and be focused on the prize.
God bless you and Mary keep you in her Immaculate Heart.
David Carollo is the Executive Director of the World Apostolate of Fatima USA/National Blue Army Shrine. He wrote this for his Voice of Fatima column.