In his masterpiece The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis describes the land Narnia under the rule of the White Witch as a place in which it is always winter—but never Christmas.
As Catholics who desire the restoration of all things under Christ, who long for renewal and a return of reverence and integrity in our Church and right order in our culture, it might sometimes seem that we are similarly suspended in an eternal ecclesial winter.
This long hard winter often looks to be without the celebratory signs of Christ’s coming. We are aware of parishes closing, of priest shortages, of scandals and sickness within our most sacred institutions. We see brazen attacks on God, marriage, and life itself coming at us with unprecedented fury.
And the enemy would like us to keep our gaze there—right there, where things are at their worst—because he knows his time and power are limited, and the more he can make us focus on what is wrong, the closer he draws us to the brink of hopelessness.
So the years drag on and we wonder about promised springtimes and periods of peace.
But this is also true: the landscape of our Church is dotted with patches of green and signs of a thaw. It all depends on where you look.
From my vantage point, I see this winter as the deep work of Divine purification. And yet even in the midst of it, I also see daily miracles of Jesus Christ’s continuous coming.
I see hundreds of men growing in faith and virtue through our High Calling program, desirous of the strength and courage to say ‘yes’ should God be calling them to the priesthood. I regularly encounter their honesty, bravery, and willingness to learn and embrace their heroic place in the Church.
I see record numbers of students filling our spiritual theology classes, their hunger for deep theological truth and mysterious beauty finally satisfied.
I see more and more souls discovering and committing themselves to daily mental prayer and to a spiritual life firmly centered on a deep, personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the source of all true renewal.
Which is in itself a sure sign of hope. Why?
Because all seasons of renewal in the Church have been preceded by a return to authentic Christian prayer.
It is for that reason that everything we do at the Avila Foundation is firmly oriented toward helping the faithful discover or rediscover the beauty of a spiritual life centered on Jesus Christ and steeped in the kind of prayer that facilitates an ever-deepening relationship with Him.
These are efforts that are rewarding but often hidden. That’s why I wanted to point out to you the signs of hope and life rising even now.
And I want you to be a part of this new movement of spiritual renewal—deep, powerful work pushing out of the long-dormant soil.
As we near the end of the calendar year, we invite you to cooperate with this grace of renewal and restoration.
Would you help us with a gift today to help us continue to provide the resources—many of them free of cost—to a Church aching to know the liberating power of prayer? We are especially looking for your help in growing our High Calling Program as we reach, encourage, and assist discerning men in orienting their entire lives toward the One who calls them to Himself.
Who wouldn’t want that for our future priests – for the healing of the Church?
We have a goal to reach, and we need your help. With just under a month left in 2022, our goal is to raise $300,000 to ensure that this all-important work of spiritual renewal continues into next year and beyond. It’s a bold goal, but I trust that God, who started this work, will bring it to completion. And that he’ll do it through you.
Please, if you can, help us today by donating here: https://secure.spiritualdirection.com/cye2022
I cannot tell you how much it would mean to have you join us, here where we are already sensing an approaching spring.
“Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” – Hosea 6:3