A Living Sacrifice Posts

Judas Maccabeus replied to them, “It is not on the size of the army that victory in battle depends, but strength comes from Heaven. They come against us in great pride and lawlessness to destroy us and our wives and our children, and to despoil us; but we fight for our lives and our laws. He himself will crush them before us; as for you, do not be afraid of them.” – 1 Maccabees 3:19-22

My dear sons in Christ Jesus, how it brings me joy to hear that you are joined together in retreat at a place so dear to me. A place where my priestly vocation was nourished by many who lie buried at the bottom of the hill. It will be forever to me Holy Ground where I met God in prayer.

The scripture quoted above is part of a speech that Judas Maccabeus gave to his small army of faithful Israelites as their vast and mighty enemies approached to impose on them things contrary to the Law of God. These enemies sought to disrupt and defile their worship, their temple, and their morals. Judas would have none of that nonsense, so he formed a small army to resist. This resistance was the way that they fulfilled their duty as men and fathers. In the same way you, as men and fathers, must resist the spirit of wickedness that has invaded our nation and our church.

We see quite clearly how our nation has devolved if we have eyes to see. Abortion threatens to take the lives of our children, and our “Catholic” leaders seem to be just fine with that. Religious freedom is threatened by the government constantly trying to tell us if we can have Holy Mass, how far we must sit from each other, and how many can attend. Even nuns are told by our government that they must violate the teaching of the Church on contraception or face steep fines. And the drumbeat of war keeps getting louder and louder, while our own Capitol is occupied by armed soldiers.

The Church too has seen the infiltration by leaders set on the destruction of authentic Catholic worship. In its place they seek to make what should be an act of transcendence, reverence, and sacrificial into a banal, effeminate celebration, that requires nothing of those in attendance. It has also seen a significant infiltration of homosexual clergy, bishops and priests alike. We have all seen the destruction these men have done to the Church through homosexual predation and subsequent cover ups that have gone as far up as the Papal Palace. We also are witnessing the fallout of fifty years of poor catechesis, lax teaching, and a general lack of belief on the part of our leaders. That fallout takes the form of the vast majority of Catholics no longer coming to Holy Mass, confession, or flat out not believing that Jesus is truly present in Holy Communion. Truly it is a sad and distressing affair that puts millions at risk of losing their souls. It is a dire situation that requires action, and this is where all of you come in.

Just as Judas Maccabeus put together a rag tag army, so God is raising you up to fight for your wives and children against the enemies who seek to destroy our Worship, our morality, and our very faith. So, small though you may be, God will win the victory through you. Our strength is not in numbers but in the strength that comes from heaven. Now is a time for warriors! So, as the hymn says, rise up, oh men of God!

Rise up and take up the weapon of the Holy Rosary! Pray it every single day without fail. Our Lady of Fatima commanded us to take up this weapon daily, not occasionally. As a friend often says, “if you’re not praying the Rosary every day, you’re not on the team.”

Arm yourselves with frequent confession and Holy Communion. Defend our Worship against those who would strip it of its dignity, reverence, and awe-inspiring majesty. Beg your priests to defend tradition and true Catholic identity. The way to draw people back to Holy Mass is through tradition, not by the effeminate liturgy we so often see. Our young people want substance, not a dumbed down, “relevant” Mass! So, fight for this in your parishes.

Take up, dear brothers your God given call to be leaders. First in your family by leading them in daily prayer and transmitting the pure, unadulterated faith of our ancestors to them. Lead too in your parishes, your community, and even our nation. If we as faithful Catholics are afraid to lead, someone else will, and if history is any indication, those leaders will be corrupt, immoral, and downright wicked, so rise up, oh men of God!

Also, we as men need to stop being afraid of what others think. As Judas Maccabeus said, have no fear! Will people think we are off our rocker when we defend the rights of the unborn, if we speak out against the scourge of pornography, if we pray our Rosary and go to confession regularly? Will they think us crazy if we demand of our priests and bishops solid teaching and traditional liturgy? Yes. They will. But who cares? Heaven is worth having people think we’re nuts.

Take as your model in this battle for souls St. Joseph, Terror of Demons. His very name strikes fear into the powers of hell. He protected his wife, the Virgin Mary, and his son, Jesus the Savior of mankind in the face of the enemy. He was devoted to Jesus. He was devoted to our Lady. He was fearless when things got rough for the Holy Family and they had to flee to Egypt. He was faithful to the traditions of his ancestors. He worshipped and prayed with reverence and devotion. And he slays Demons. Be like St. Joseph! Live a life that will cause the very Demons to tremble!

In doing all this you will bring your families closer to Our Lord as well as many others. This is ultimately the task of evangelization. To save our souls, the souls of our family, and the souls of countless others by entering into combat is our call. We must do what Judas Maccabeus and his men did. It is what discipleship and evangelization requires in our day and age. So, without fear, head into battle! The souls of many are at stake!

St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, pray for us!

St. Benedict, pray for us!

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes. Her apparitions there, and the miraculous spring that appeared during one of the apparitions when Our Lady instructed St. Bernadette to dig in the ground, are known as a source of countless physical healings. The sick go to Lourdes by the thousands each year to pray in the grotto where Our Lady appeared, to drink from the spring, and bathe in its healing waters.

In one of the apparitions, Our Lady said to St. Bernadette: “I do not promise you happiness in this world, but in the next.”  This is important for those who are sick to understand. The goal of our life is not happiness in this world, but rather in heaven. Surely there are happy moments in life and even when we are sick, but heaven will be far and away better!

St. Bernadette would later in life, amidst her own great suffering, say “Anyone who is not prepared to suffer all for the Beloved and to do his will in all things is not worthy of the sweet name of Friend, for here below, Love without suffering does not exist.” Truer words have not been uttered. We cannot call ourselves the friend of the Beloved unless we are willing to suffer for him. In this life love requires suffering. After all, do we really love if we are not willing to give our very lives for the sake of the ones we love? All we must do to see an example of this kind of love is to look at a crucifix. There we see a love that was lived by suffering. We too, if we want to truly love, must do the same.

As we are on the verge of Lent, we should resolve to make this Lent to be imbued with sacrificial love. I hope, for your own good, that this Lent you will suffer for the Beloved of your soul.

“Then Jacob rent his garments, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.” – Genesis 37:34

In one week’s time, we will begin the Holy season of Lent. We will all come forward, and in a gesture that is both solemn and biblical, we will have ashes sprinkled on our heads. The words spoken to us as the ashes are sprinkled are sobering: “Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.” “Remember, man, that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.”

As we prepare for this moment we would do well to pray and meditate on a few things. First, that we are going to die. Some of us, sooner than later. All of us, the powerful and the lowly will all face that moment when our heart will stop beating, our breath cease, and our body fail to function. At that moment we will stand before the Just Judge. There will no longer be any excuses, no hiding, no evasion, for the Just Judge knows everything. He knows our inmost thoughts, our secret sins, he knows us through and through. In that moment we will stand, completely naked, before He who is the truth.

Our state in that moment will decide our eternal fate. It will be either heaven or hell. In that moment our fate is sealed forever. There is no going back. No repentance, only the stark reality of truth.

And then our bodies return to dust. The bodies we once pampered and treated kindly will decay, and turn to dust.

This reality should make us think.

Which leads to the second thing we should pray and meditate on. Given the reality that we must all die, and given that we do not know when, we ought to always be in readiness for that moment. Lent is the perfect time to prepare. We should ask ourselves what we would do if we were, like Jesus, to die on Good Friday. The answer to that question is what we should do for lent. Our Lenten program should be a forty-day preparation for death.

This should include, at the very least, the following ten things:

  1. A good, brutally honest confession. Remember, there is no hiding, excuses, or evasion at our judgment.
  2. Make reparation for our sins. This can take the form of prayer, fasting, or almsgiving.
  3. Get to know our Lord more deeply. If we only talk to Jesus occasionally, we run the risk of him saying to us, “I never knew you.” The best way to do this is daily prayer and reading of the gospels. For prayer, it would be ideal to spend at least a half hour a day, preferably in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. For scripture reading, ten minutes a day reading one of the gospels would be ideal.
  4. Forgive those who have offended us, and ask pardon from those we have offended.
  5. Say the things that we need to say before we die.
  6. Pray the Rosary every single day. After all, if you aren’t praying the Rosary every day, you’re not on our Lady’s team. We want to be on her team.
  7. Wear the Brown Scapular constantly.
  8. Pray daily to the patrons of a happy death, St. Joseph and St. Benedict.
  9. Meditate frequently on the passion and death of the Lord.
  10. Receive Holy Communion as frequently as possible.

Certainly, you may have more things to add to your Lenten program. In fact, you should. Things particular to you and what you need to do to prepare for death.

Since I have a terminal disease for which there is no cure, this is all very real to me. But, the reality, dear reader, is that you might die before me, so, memento mori, remember your death. Then prepare.