Today begins the Nineveh 90 challenge.
Do you remember the story?
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened (Jonah 3:3-10)
We live in chaotic and dangerous times. (If you doubt this, simply watch the news on any given day.)
The spiritual battle is powerful, but make no mistake. The One who trains us for war is infinitely more powerful. Remember that we were not born into this age by accident. Indeed, God did not create us to be simple spectators, but to fight valiantly alongside Him to see the fulfillment of what we ask in the Lord’s prayer – Thy kingdom come! If we truly long for that day, then we must train and we must fight!
Even while chaotic, our modern age is also an age of plenty. It is all too easy to grow content and turn a blind eye to the battle raging around us. Too often, we have a tendency to find our “security” in things of this world and we forget…
…the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever. (1 John 2:17)
So in the days, weeks and months ahead, we will pray. We will fast. We will clothe ourselves in “sackcloth” (as we don the Brown Scapular). We will work hard to take on new and healthy habits that can sustain the Body of Christ in difficult times, both physically and spiritually.
This is the 100th Anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, Portugal. We remember her words, “Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.”
We must answer Our Lady’s call.
It is not too late for us – for our country and for the world – to turn away from evil and back to God. It is not too late… for God to see what we do and how we turn from our evil ways. As at Nineveh, we pray that God will relent and not bring upon us the destruction he has threatened.
Praised be Jesus Christ!!