Over the June 5-6 weekend, Mr. Byron Whitcraft of the American TFP traveled to Kansas where he delivered a presentation titled “Walking in the Footsteps of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco.” He spoke to groups of friends and supporters in both Wichita and Topeka.
When the meeting began, the audience might have wondered if perhaps they were at the wrong meeting since the speaker began speaking about Pickett’s Charge during the Battle of Gettysburg. The meeting was supposed to be about Blessed Jacinta and Francisco and not a history lesson about the Civil War!
However, it soon became apparent that his reference was fitting for our times. General Pickett’s men advanced among a hail of bullets and canon fire. As each man advanced, he noticed brothers-in-arms falling all around him. If he succeeded in reaching the union lines, he faced the even graver danger of hand-to-hand combat with greatly diminished forces. If a soldier ultimately survived, as General Pickett did, he sat in amazement at his survival, when so many others were lost.
Mr. Whitcraft pointed out that the twentieth century was very similar to Pickett’s Charge. Due to the tremendous moral and spiritual crises of the twentieth century, there have been many casualties. As we marched forward, we saw others fall around us as victims of so many enemies: divorce, abortion, contraception, secularism, socialism, liberation theology, and communism to name just a few. Few survived the twentieth century with their faith intact. Even those of us who survived were not without wounds. Now we have reached the twenty-first century where yet graver hand-to-hand combat awaits us.
One solution lies in following in the footsteps of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco who become heroic souls in face of grave dangers. They grew up as ordinary children, concerned about playing and little concerned about the world outside of their own. After Our Lady appeared to them, their lives were transformed to the point that they only thought about giving themselves totally to Our Lady. They focused on the immense evil that had infected society at that time and caused the loss of so many souls on the battlefield of life. In fact the sanctity of their lives grew so immensely that it was said that they advanced in one week as much as many saints advanced in a year. Their primary concern for the rest of their short lives was that God not be offended and that He be glorified.
Their lives after Our Lady’s apparitions focused on four points: 1) A belief in their mission; 2) Approaching this mission with great seriousness and logic, 3) A spirit of sacrifice taken to heroic levels; and 4) Continuous prayer.
Mr. Whitcraft then spoke about how we can follow in their footsteps. We can by: 1) Developing a firm belief in the Catholic Cause; 2) Taking this cause very seriously; 3) Not making concessions with those opposed to, or not part of our cause; and finally 4) having a spirit of sacrifice added to continuous prayer.
If we follow in the footsteps of Blessed Jacinta and Francisco we then can not only survive the twenty-first century, but obtain what General Pickett was unable to obtain: total victory!