#Sackclothandashes: Making Acts of Reparation in the Face of Scandal

Our suffering is not meaningless, and Christ will use it as a means of sanctification for His Church.

Gebhard Fugel (1863-1939), “By the Waters of Babylon”
Gebhard Fugel (1863-1939), “By the Waters of Babylon” (photo: Public Domain)

Sorrow, outrage, shock are just a few of the emotions I have seen expressed across my social media pages these last few weeks. I have seen calls to the hierarchy to do something, to fix the problems that seem to deep to be rooted out. Men who were supposed to be our spiritual leaders have failed us. They made promises of celibacy, and we looked to them to lead us to holiness. And some of them have not kept their promises, and the People of God are hurting. We are hurting and wondering how many other atrocities remain hidden. We are hurting and wondering who among our priests and bishops are faithful to their vows. We are hurting, but we are not alone.

We are not alone because we still have Christ suffers with us. We are His body, suffering still in this vale of tears. We can unite our sufferings to Christ and join Him in making reparation for the sins of those in our Church.

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains it this way:

“By voluntary submission to His Passion and Death on the Cross, Jesus Christ atoned for our disobedience and sin. He thus made reparation to the offended majesty of God for the outrages which the Creator so constantly suffers at the hands of His creatures. We are restored to grace through the merits of Christ's Death, and that grace enables us to add our prayers, labours, and trials to those of Our Lord "and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ" (Colossians 1:24). We can thus make some sort of reparation to the justice of God for our own offences against Him, and by virtue of the Communion of the Saints, the oneness and solidarity of the mystical Body of Christ, we can also make satisfaction and reparation for the sins of others.”

This week, a group of lay Catholics have started a call to fast and pray for 40 days starting on Aug. 22, the Queenship of our Lady through the month of September. The campaign is called #sackclothandashes. It is providential that this same week Pope Francis has invited “the entire holy faithful People of God to a penitential exercise of prayer and fasting” in a letter to the faithful.

If you are hurting, upset, and not sure how to respond to our current crisis in the Church, please consider joining us in this time of prayer and fasting. Join us according to your ability. Try fasting with two small meals and one main meal on Wednesdays and Fridays. Give up dessert or alcohol. Abstain from social media. Intentionally offer up your daily sufferings. Pray prayers of reparation.

Our Lady of Fatima gave Sts. Jacinta and Francisco Marto and Sister Lucia dos Santos some beautiful prayers to use with acts of reparation:

  • “My God, I believe, I adore, I trust and I love Thee! I beg pardon for all those that do not believe, do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee.”
  • “O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He is offended. By the infinite merits of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary I beg the conversion of poor sinners.”
  • “O Jesus, it is for the love of Thee, in reparation for the offences committed against the   Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the conversion of poor sinners.”

The prayers can also be used in a Chaplet of Reparation.

We are not alone in our suffering. We are united together, and we are praying for the sanctification of the Church. Pray with us. Our suffering is not meaningless, and Christ will use it as a means of sanctification for His Church.