This morning I received the following message from a friend here in County Louth, Ireland:
We have a spiritual disaster in our parish of Ardee and Collon. The Church of Saint Catherine in Ballapousta was broken into last night. The Blessed Sacrament and all the Sacred Vessels are stolen. There has been no sign of the Sacred Species yet.
The Lamb of God, the Divine Victim, truly present in the Sacrament of His Love remains silent and motionless in the Sacred Species. He does nothing to avenge the terrible affronts to His Divine Majesty, hidden in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. He, the Lord God of Sabaoth, does not respond to violence with violence.
All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:6-7)
Then Jesus saith to him: Put up again thy sword into its place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot ask my Father, and he will give me presently more than twelve legions of angels? How then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done? (Matthew 26:52-54)
How are we to respond to crimes of this sort against the adorable Body of Christ? First, we must pray for the perpetrators of the sacrilege.
Father, forgive them,
for they know not what they do.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
turn their hearts to Thee in sorrow and in love.
Holy Ghost, Living Flame of Love,
pierce their hearts with true repentance.
Then we must pray in reparation:
Beloved Lord Jesus Christ,
hidden in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar;
silent, humble, defenseless,
and motionless in the Sacred Species;
handled by the faithless
and, alas, even by those
who having received the faith,
have fallen into darkness and spiritual perversion;
we offer ourselves to Thee in adoration,
to make reparation
for every sin of irreverence, sacrilege,
blasphemy, and hatred of Thy Divine Person
in the Sacrament of Thy Love.
We further offer ourselves to Thee in adoration,
believing for those who do not believe in Thee,
hoping for those who have lost hope in Thee,
loving for those who do not love Thee.
Avenge this act of sacrilege, we pray Thee,
by a triumph of Thy merciful love
in the hearts of those who have so offended Thee,
and, by sending forth Thy Holy Angels,
restore the Sacred and Adorable Species
into the hands of Thy priests,
and into guardianship of Thy grieving Church.
Public Acts of Reparation
Finally, it is fitting that there should be public acts of reparation: penitential processions, adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, and a public act of honourable amendment engaging all the clergy, religious, and lay faithful of the parish. The honourable amendment consists in an act of reparation recited by all, holding lighted candles in their hands and, if deemed suitable, with a length of rope about the neck as a sign of solidarity with sinners, even as one kneels in contrition and reparation before the Most Blessed Sacrament.