"In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for a guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her, you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows favor to you, you shall reach your goal."
St. Bernard (from Saint of the Day)
Bernard lived in very tough times and not only made the best of it, he excelled. He did whatever the Lord asked of him and lead by example. He's still leading by example over 800 years after his death. I have to ask the question: Where are the Holy Men now?
I'll tell you where they are; You can find them in a parish, leading a flock that is quite possibly more diverse and scattered than at any time in church history. It is a sad but true fact that some priests have drifted far from tradition but yet, most catholics today don't even know the difference. We who have either re-discovered or never left the traditional ways can only look on in sadness. Holy Men can be found in the monasteries, some cloistered, praying alone and together, helping to hold the world from flying apart. These are the men we in the secular world hardly ever see; men, living together, living a life with God that hasn't changed much in hundreds and hundreds of years. Holy men all.
And then their are the semi-celebrity Holy Men on the airwaves. We know who they are and on a whole they are the closest thing we have today to Holy Men who are known around the country, and some, around the world. Our Pope is a very Holy Man, but in a different category than the rest; he's the Pope. And then there is the laity, who balance the world of men with the world of heaven, a balancing act made more difficult in these stressful times. It is not easy to remain focused totally on Our Lord and God when worldly matters infringe. The trying-to-be-Holy Man makes a remarkable attempt to give everything to God, his every thought and action, his complete love and all his doubts, but the world (satan?) screams at him, and temptations surround him, both inside and out.
We are all called to be Holy Men, and Holy Women. When the sun shines you-know-who seems far away, although he is just deceiving us. We are filled with the love of God, and are ready to love every neighbor we see. When the darkness comes, and the darkness takes so many different guises, I'll try to not fall too far, to remember our Blessed Virgin Mother, cry to Her for help, beg to bring to me the Holy Spirit, to help me to not become like I was before, just a man who gives into every trial as if I had no strength, as if giving into the path of darkness was easier and better than reaching for the light. I don't want to fall any more, and if I do I wish to rise again quickly, knowing that my Master has given me His Hand, the Hand that holds out to me His strength and His love.
Oh, Blessed Virgin Mother, I cry to you
I ask you to call upon your Son,
to help hold me before my fall
for He knows well my weakness
and my lowly nature.