A Catholic Call to Confront Modern Culture
BOOK PICK: ‘You Shall Stand Firm’
YOU SHALL STAND FIRM
PRESERVING THE FAITH IN AN AGE OF APOSTSACY
Father William Casey, CPM
EWTN Publishing, 2022
262 pages, $18.95
To order: EWTN Religious Catalogue or (800-854-6316)
The cultural landscape is troubling, aptly observes Father of Mercy William Casey in You Shall Stand Firm: Preserving the Faith in an Age of Apostacy. As Father Casey, a well-known speaker and frequent EWTN guest, writes: “Most of us have the good sense to realize we are now living in a dangerous time of spiritual and moral decay.”
“I say ‘dangerous,’ not just because of the dangers it presents to the salvation of souls and eternity,” he continues, “but if history is a sure guide, these are very dangerous times for the very life and future of the United States. Even a recent nationwide survey showed that 80 percent of Americans believe their country is in a moral decline.”
Power of the Rosary
Father Casey fleshes out some of the history of atheistic communism and its crushing of people’s spirits and rabidly attacking religion as a harbinger of our own culture’s antagonism towards Christianity. Throughout, You Shall Stand Firm presents readers with truth. As a traveling priest for the last 30 years, he has worked tirelessly to unleash the truth of the teachings of Jesus Christ in parishes across the country — all the while witnessing the transformative power of a devotion to the Blessed Mother.
“Based upon my own observations during my three decades of itinerant preaching, it has always been clearly evident to me that in parishes where there has been a true love of the Blessed Mother, and fervent love for her Immaculate Heart, you will find a deeper love for Jesus Christ, His Church, and His gospel,” he writes. “You will often see miracles of grace, repentance, and conversion — bad habits broken, people set free from the bondage of sin, and many special intentions granted. You will see zeal for the Faith and Faith in action.”
A chapter on the Blessed Mother quotes Scripture as revealing her power against the devil. He explains the warnings through Our Lady’s message at Fatima, Portugal, and her plea to turn from corruption to the Rosary. Father Casey also details the power of praying the Rosary by telling of one of Christendom’s most historic victories on Oct. 7, 1517. The Battle of Lepanto was won through around-the-clock recitation of the Rosary in homes and churches. Against all odds, a coalition of Catholic countries in Europe, organized by Pope St. Pius V, defeated the invading fleet of the Ottoman Empire in the Gulf of Patras; it was the largest battle ever fought in the Western Hemisphere, involving more than 400 warships.
Father Casey notes that the power of praying the Rosary is strongly linked to humility. “My brothers and sisters, do you truly understand that at every moment, we have access to one of the most powerful weapons on earth — an invincible weapon and an unbreakable chain, prayed by an army of humble souls.” He calls it “one of God’s most efficacious instruments of God’s mercy” to fight back against evil.
Looking to the Little Way
Amid examples of saints and the power of prayer throughout the book, Father Casey highlights St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the “Little Flower” and 33rd doctor of the Church, who lived a hidden life but was called the greatest saint of modern times by Pope St. Pius X.
“The practice of her ‘little way’ centered upon fidelity to daily duty and doing simple ordinary things with great love,” Father Casey explains. “It means saying every little prayer, offering up every cross, the big ones and the small ones alike, faithfully fulfilling every responsibility, and carrying out every assigned task in a spirit of perfect love, humility, obedience and simplicity.” In this manner, even the most ordinary, everyday works are sanctified, precisely because they are performed for the love of God and neighbor.”
It is this example that he implores Catholics to follow when dealing with loved ones who have left the faith and in the wake of Catholic practice in decline. He reminds readers, however, of Gideon’s army in the Bible: His small army of 300 defeated a much larger army through the power of God.
“God is always working through a minority,” the priest writes. “He is thinning the ranks out even now, and when we go to war, we are marching into battle behind Mary and the Ark of the New Covenant.”
In the end, readers will come away from the book with the conviction that, despite the turmoil around them, they can stand firm and cling tenaciously to hope. Quotes from Scripture and many saints who did just that speak through time and space, as Father Casey implores the faithful to have confidence in God’s reassurances to hope.
“Hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor to our soul, sure and firm” (Hebrews 6:17-18).