We have great reason to rejoice and give thanks to God today for the last-minute change of plans that happened at Harvard University last night with that student group: although it seems, from some news reports, that they may still have attempted to hold a “black mass” someplace off-campus, at the very least they were dissuaded from holding it on campus. And some 2,000 people turned out for a Eucharistic procession and Holy Hour, which even Dr. Drew Faust, the President of Harvard (and not a Catholic), attended.
Her statement about the planned “black mass” appealed to a certain unrestricted type of free speech without any reference at all to a limiting common good. While it sounded nice and was, in fact, well-written, it had a sort of facile logic to it, at the heart of which was a relativistic approach to reality: there is no truth that binds us all, so we really have nothing in common to protect; what is good for me may not be good for you, thus there can be no good that is truly common to all and therefore is to be protected and defended.
Let us hope and pray that the vibrant Catholic response that Dr. Faust witnessed in these past days, the moment of prayer that she experienced last night at the local Catholic church, and the dialogue that will no doubt continue, will all work together to open her heart to a fuller understanding of her’s and the University’s role in fostering an environment in which students are not only protected from very grave evils, but also encouraged to do what is right and good.
One final thought about this whole affair. God has wondrously answered our petitions and shown us the fruit that prayer can bring forth. We need to keep it up. As I said before, satanists are active everywhere, and this sort of thing is happening more than we realize. It is vile. It is grievously offensive to God. It is inviting the deepest powers of darkness into the immortal souls of our fellow human beings – and threatening us also. It is destroying people, our communities, and our culture. And it cries out for justice. This is something that we need to be praying “against” on a regular basis – not just when some group makes a splash in the news and so gets our attention.
May the great consolation that the Lord has given us, then, give us the encouragement we need to pray for these things even when we do not know when and where they are happening, or how our prayers are being answered. This event has been a good reminder for us all. It has been a good wake up call.
And it has also served to remind us: we are not alone; there are many Catholics and other people of good will who want to resist evil and who want to stand up for what is right! Thanks be to God!