Month: <span>November 2021</span>

“Jesus is making you, like all those who love him with sincere and pure hearts, increasingly hear his very loving threefold invitation: ‘Come to me . . . Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.’ May this very sweet invitation from the Master comfort you in this new trial – or to be more precise, this increase in divine favor. I can truly say that your new state is a very special favor from the Lord, a favor he accords only to those valiant souls that his mercy makes more precious to him. -St. Pio

Be patient yet a little longer in bearing your spiritual desolation. Be patient in enduring the loving trials that Jesus, who wants to make you like him, is making you undergo in his wonderful providence. You will see the Lord one day completely answer your prayers, which are also mine. Do not be dismayed if the night within you becomes deeper and gloomier. Do not be afraid if your physical eyes do not see the calm heaven that envelops your soul, but look up. Lift your eyes up above yourself, and you will see a shining light that participates in the light of the eternal sun.
Lively faith, confident belief, and complete adherence to the authority God has placed over you – this constitutes the light that illuminated the path for the people of God in the desert. It is the light that always shines in the deepest recesses of every spirit accepted by the Father. It is the light that led the magi to the adoration of the newly born Messiah, the star prophesied by Balaam, the torchlight that directs the steps of souls in desolation. This light, this star, and this torch are what illuminate your soul and direct your steps so that you do not falter . . . Be assured and believe that this sun shines in your soul, and it is the very sun that the prophet of God sang about: ‘In your light do we see light.'” St. Pio

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with rich apparel.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments; and the angel of the Lord was standing by. – Zechariah, 3

Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?

In many ways I have, all of my life has felt like Jeremiah. Or St. Peter, when amidst the first Holy Mass, said to his friend, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”

All my life I have felt like I have a target on my back. I think every priest feel feels that way in some way, but for me it seemed particularly intense. From being bullied, to feeling alone, to like so many young people, being exposed to pornography. Then there were the targets on my back in the priesthood. These include gossip, the plague of priests, detraction, which has as its source the insidious sin of pride and seeking position or power. These are evil, and the devil knew that was the target.

But here is the good news, Jesus loves his priests with all his priestly heart, and will pluck us from the fire of hell. His Holy Mother, will keep the devil if, IF, we desire to be Holy with the fiery heart of a true priest on fire with love for God, and souls.

If you have been following my story, that gift came to me while on pilgrimage to Fatima. I asked Our Lady of Fatima, to make me a saint no matter what it takes. She answered that prayer plucking me fire of hell like Jeremiah. She stopped me from being sifted by satan.

But with grace comes with the Cross, and my cross is one that is one that is one chosen for me, particularly. In that its mysterious way, it addresses, over time, all my sins, thus preparing me to be united to Christ the High Priest in heaven.

So, the latest development in my journey to purification. As many parts of this journey begin, it begins with a coughing fit, that we couldn’t get under control. These fits are extremely scary for me and my family. So it was off to the ER. They wanted to send me off to Sioux Falls, but, alas, they had no beds. So, off to home to wait for a bed. In the morning, had one, but of course, we had to go back to hospital For a few more tests.

We expected to have a simple procedure, but what soon became apparent that as we talked to doctors and specialty doctors, that we were headed for a tracheostomy.

Now, having ALS, I Know that one day be a reality. But not yet. The tears flowed copiously, as friends came to visit and the bishop himself called to offer prayers and support. I was genuinely afraid, complicated by the fact that I couldn’t talk. There was so much I would like to say and I could say nothing. It’s a terrible feeling to want to speak, and not be able to. It is the makings of nightmares. And, oh, my nightmare, I had. But not alone. I had loving family, by my side to provide that monastic virtue of stability. Many times, during this time a number of priests visited. Some of which brought an end to long held resentments. Nothing was said, we just held hands, wept, and prayed the Rosary and The Divine Office. It was a blessed moment.

The bishop himself, called and prayed with me. Proof positive that he loves his priests, a rarity these days. This moved me to tears.

Earlier I told the beautiful Orthodox nurse. So, I won’t repeat it now. You can read it HERE.

Another way that the Lord showed his presence to me is the surgeon himself. Usually it is just the luck of the draw in a hospital setting. But a reader of this blog, a traditional Catholic, happened to see my name on the list of upcoming surgeries, and although on vacation, surrendered his time to do it. Another act of love from the people of God, for me, and for the Holy Priesthood. Again, Dr Kolb reminded who I am in all this. A warrior priest.

As I drifted off into the world of anesthetics, I distinctively remember two images. I am by no means a mystic. I am not given to visions, but I remember two images. The first was Our Lady of Fatima. A sure sign that she who had begun this work of making me a saint, would give me the grace to fulfill it.

The second was me riding upon a lion, in a fashion, where I held a Cross from which a banner which read “Angus Dei” Much as you would see St. John the Baptist, signifying to me that even voiceless, I have my mission, to preach like St. John the Baptist, with ferocity of a lion, and as the “Agnus Dei” the Lamb of God. Again, I am not given to visions, but they seem to confirm for me my priestly ministry , in this time.

Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?

In many ways I have, all of my life has felt like Jeremiah. Or St. Peter, when amidst the first Holy Mass, said to his friend, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”

This is Part One of a Two Part Series.

Patience is a virtue.