Let us hear, intensely, the words of this priest named Father Anthony Bus, author and pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Chicago.
Let us listen because his
story portrays the spiritual battle in the Church in a nutshell.
For five years Father Bus
-- this young man who once had a calling! -- did not attend Mass, and after high school, like so many from the Sixties, he
headed toward a spiritual abyss.
But during college he
reinvestigated Catholicism -- decided to take one more look at it -- and through the Eucharist, through the Mass readings, through the simple feeling of grace, Jesus drew him back.
The call of his
vocation was rekindled and he
was ordained in 1984.
Unlike so many others, Father Bus
made it to the sacristy.
But there was still a huge hurdle in the way of demonic attack and aridity.
For years, as a priest, Father Bus
prayed the Rosary only with difficulty.
"Just lifting the rosary into my hands was a burden," he
recalls, and this troubled him since he
had always been devoted to the Blessed Mother.
And that, in 1999, Father Bus
Deeply touched by the card, the priest took his
rosary from his
pocket and now found it was light as a feather.
"From that day the rosary became anew, the chain that bound me to God," he
writes -- in a splendid page-turner called A Mother's Plea.
"And I began praying the Mysteries daily."
Soon, the Chicago priest had done the total consecration of his life to Jesus through Mary according to the direction of St. Louis Marie de Montfort, and it was during the 33-day preparation for the consecration that interiorly he heard Our Lady, in a "distinct" voice, say, "Give me the parish.
Make me Mother and Queen of the parish."
Right there Father Bus
consecrated the parish to the Blessed Mother and three days later, this impoverished parish, in need of repair, including $400,000 for a roof, received an archdiocesan grant for $850,000.
Even before his
reawakening, Father Bus
had experienced demonic attack.
mind, Father Bus
"heard" Jesus tell him not to fear and felt a "shield" come over him as the evil presence moved in the room.
"The Lord showed me that no matter how violent the enemy's attacks may be, God's shield of protection would keep me out of harm's way," says Father Bus
"Even so, I would have to learn to wrestle with the demons without compromising the Will of God.
To encounter God is to awaken Satan.
We are living in his
Jesus calls him the prince of this world."
And the "prince" uses every available means, notes Father Bus
, to "discourage, distort, and destroy" a priestly mission.
That task is made all the easier by a lack of seminary instruction.
"The devil and his
adversaries, with the ensuing battle waged against God and His
disciples, were lightly treated in the formative years of my preparation for the priesthood," notes Father Bus
When we left off we were telling the story of Father Anthony Bus, a now-devout priest who nearly missed his vocation.
had been "called" to the priesthood back when he
was a boy of ten, but he'd lost that calling (temporarily, thanks to God) in the wake of Vatican II.
Returning to the Church, and becoming a priest, he was to find a spiritual component to Catholicism -- and a set of wonders -- that he had not heard about in the seminary.
As Father Bus
describes in an engaging book, he
encountered spiritual attack.
felt called to construct a multi-million-dollar Adoration chapel with the theme of Divine Mercy at the church he
now pastors, St. Stanislaus Kostka
Wonderment after wonderment has followed.
So have trials.
This is a priest's story, and it opens a window to problems in the Church, as well as solutions.
The key dilemma, it would seem, is that seminaries have cranked out intellectual products but in too many cases not spiritual ones.
"I believe that the only solution to the Church's infirmity is holiness in life," writes Father Bus
in A Mother's Plea.
"Many of her
members have so saturated themselves in the illusions of the world that the Church, too, has become afflicted with its very disease."
It gets back to the oldest of temptations.
Behind many of the Church disturbances, says Father Bus
, is pride.
There is "egocentricity" among the consecrated.
"Too often, hidden beneath the guise of sheep, are wolves that, perhaps unknown to themselves, devour the sheep," he
found freedom when he
allowed himself to be formed "in the spirituality of the Blessed Virgin Mary."
Remarking on the sex-abuse scandal, Father Bus
makes a surprising observation: those who tried to sugar-coat it by overly focusing on the good priests may have caused the good priests more harm than good.
"On the one hand, aside from the horrific wound inflicted on the victims, certain members of the presbyterate had grossly and sinfully violated the integrity of priestly celibacy and chastity and abused power," he
"On the other hand, through the campaign to assure the public that priests were good men in spite of the failings of some in the presbyterate, faithful priests of good character were being coddled and pampered as if their recourse to the Christ would not, or could not, give them the backbone to bear with the suffering and persecution they needed to endure."
has taken the route of holiness -- as have so many heroic priests -- and as a result of devotions, he
has seen many miracles.
This is the remedy!
needed $400,000 for a roof, a sudden grant for twice that came.
needed $50,000 for an architectural plan, he
prayed for it during a holy hour that started at 3 p.m. and at four came the call that a patron was donating $75,000 a year for the next three years.
"Satan may seduce us, friends may betray us, parents may abandon us, and priests may disappoint us," but Christ does not, writes Father Bus