When we studied Church History as seminarians, our professor told us that when you look at the history of the Church, twenty-one centuries of it, you will realize that it is a very human organization. It is composed of 99 percent lay people and less than one percent ordained ministers. It has hurt and scandalized people, it has had its skeletons in the closet, and it has had its dark times.
But our professor added, but it, too, is a divine institution. How can the Church which started with 12 apostles be what it is today if it were not from God? Indeed, how true is what Christ said in the Gospel, “Not even the gates of the netherworld will prevail against it.”
While the gates of the netherworld will never prevail against it, we have to do our part. Three things we can do:
- Pray. Pope Leo the XII had a vision and it was about Satan asking the Lord for 100 more years to persecute the Church. Indeed, just look at the past century, so many things happened. In the apparitions of Mama Mary, her messages are consistent: pray, renewal, and sacrifice.
- Pray for Laborers. How many Churches in Europe have been converted to museums or event spaces due to the lack of priests? In Manila, the numbers are not too promising. Family is still the seedbed of vocation.
- Faithfulness to the will of the Lord. One body, different parts. If we are faithful to our vocation, we help build the Church.
Thank God for the Roman Catholic Church. Her story is your story and my story – up, down, joy, pain, victory, defeat, glory, and scandal. The story of the Roman Catholic Church reminds us of God’s faithfulness – “Not even the gates of the netherworld will prevail over it.”