The Unfathomable Worth of Your Knowledge

Dear Friends,

An experience this morning as I was praying outside a local Planned Parenthood struck me, and reminded me of something.

A man pulled over in his car with a chip on his shoulder. He wanted to tell us why we shouldn’t be there, why what we were doing was wrong, etc. By God’s grace I was able to mortify the temptation to wallop him in a debate on abortion (which is not a hard thing for any pro-lifer who knows a few facts to do). I strove to see the hurt inside him and addressed what I discerned to be the sickness in his heart instead of the error of the argument on his lips. After managing to give him a Rosary and a “how to pray the Rosary” card, Our Lady took his hand and did all the work. Soon after he was changed entirely; opening his heart up to me and telling me things about his past that he had never told anyone before. I spoke with him for a time, left him with some advice, assured him of my prayers, and he drove away; never to be the same again, I pray. I assure you it was not my eloquence or my own skill that did this, in any way (I did and said nothing special at all): it was merely my willingness to be an instrument, and the fact that I had just received the Eucharist, and handed it all over to Our Lady.

If you one day found yourself with a million dollars (good Catholics don’t play the lottery… so let’s say you just found gold in your backyard), would this not place upon your conscience a sense of duty to help others with it?

Most people who read this blog are good, faithful, orthodox Catholics. Catholics who understand Mary’s pivotal role, especially today. Catholics who reject none of the Church’s teachings. Catholics who understand the sin and error under which modern men labor. Catholics who know about Theology of the Body, the Gospel of Life, the apparitions of Mary, the wonders of the Rosary, the power of the Eucharist & Confession, etc. Catholics who are truly striving to become saints.

You are more rare than a millionaire.

And not only that, but the gifts you have make you far more powerful than a rich man of any net worth to bring even temporal good to souls. Let Bill Gates pour countless millions into his aid programs. By spreading your knowledge, you do far more than he in bringing even temporal good to the world. Consider that you will be aiding in the salvation of souls, and his work compared to yours is not even noticeable.

Some activists rightly protest pharmaceutical companies refusing to mass-distribute their vaccines in Africa even though they could easily afford to do so and thereby avert massive human suffering. But how much more lamentable is it for such a Catholic to keep dormant in his own mind this salvation causing knowledge? It is far more precious than gold, far more precious than any vaccine. And there are far fewer excuses for it to remain unused.

Be convinced, brethren, for it is absolutely true, that you have the remedy to the ills of those around you. Having this remedy leaves one and only one option: finding and pursuing chances to use it, no matter the cost to yourself.

You may say: But what can I do?  I want so badly to evangelize, to spread God’s truth, to fight for the salvation of souls… but I don’t know what to do.

Well, here are a few ideas:

  • Pray outside your local abortion mill (bring a friend with you). Especially if this is in a high-pedestrian traffic area, conversation will be sparked. Designate one person in your group to talk to people who want to talk, and have the rest continue praying as this occurs.
  • Always wear an external sign of the Faith. A clearly visible crucifix, a lapel pin of Jesus and Mary, etc. People will ask you about it, and about the faith that is behind it.
  • Be prepared. I proudly carry my “man purse” with me almost all the time, with a zipper pocket in it devoted to evangelization. I am never without rosary beads, how to say the rosary cards, divine mercy cards, Our Lady of Guadalupe cards, brown scapulars, and miraculous medals. These channels of grace will supplement the truth you bestow by your words.
  • Make your strong views in some way public so that anyone who knows your name can find them. Might this lose you friends, make prospective employers cautious, worry your family, etc.? Yes, it might. And it will not go unrewarded. A public Facebook, a blog, an email signature quote, etc. It is time to love Jesus and Mary more than worldly comfort, my friends.
  • Whenever possible, at social gatherings, spend your time with the lowly, the unattractive, the “weird,” the unpopular, etc. These are the people who need the company and who are generally far more open to receiving the truth.
  • Visit the lonely and forgotten elderly in nursing homes. They are in dire need of your company, and a startling number are in dire need of conversion of heart in their last few hours on Earth. Minister to the poor and the needy in any way you can; for these souls are always more open to the truth.

Remember that this isn’t about a debate or an argument or a fight. Go at it with that attitude, and your voice will tremble, your hands will shake, your adrenaline will pump, your thinking will blur, and you will achieve less than nothing. This is a chance to peer into the eyes of a child of God and see, behind the facade of anger or sarcasm or whatever other demeanor, a soul that direly yearns for its Creator. You have the knowledge and grace to effect the re-establishment of that bond.  Go as a mother goes to pick up her child who has fallen; not as a cage fighter to exalt his domination.

One final note. No doubt you’d (rightly) put food on your own table with that aforementioned million dollars before using it for charity. It is the same here. Before you go out evangelizing, first make sure you are in a state of grace, the Eucharist is the center of your life, you frequent the sacrament of confession, and your devotion to Mary is true and all-consuming.

An Urgent and Dire Plea to Pastors of Souls

Why is this plea urgent?

Because we are on the precipice of events that will demand heroic virtue from faithful Catholics; and the grace to undertake heroic virtue comes primarily, for most Catholics, from their parish Church.

Why is this plea dire?

Because whether or not it is heeded will determine whether souls created by God and destined to spend eternity with Him will reach this end or will instead endure never ending fire.

This is not a compilation of advice on how to be the ideal, saintly, and extremely successful Pastor.  I am not qualified to give that advice.

This is a delineation of what I deem to be simple necessities, for pastors must not block, (and they must strive to prevent from being blocked under their roof), the channels of grace through which sanctification flows. By depriving their flocks of these channels, Pastors deprive them of the grace they will need merely to stand in the days soon to come, thereby becoming the very cause of their downfall in the same degree that a doctor who neglects to vaccinate his patients is the cause of their illness. And so, dear Pastors, strive not to neglect these Twelve Necessities.

  1. Do not permit your Church to be dominated by chatter before or after  (or, obviously, during) Mass.  These are times for silence. The Eucharist is the “source and summit” of a Catholic’s life; and the prayerful preparation for it as well as the intimate 15 minutes in prayer of thanksgiving spent with His substantial presence is the means by which the graces from it are appropriated.
  2. Your doors must be open for people to come in and pray.  It may be excusable to lock them at night (but please consider always leaving them open. God will reward you.), but not during the daylight hours.  It is of no consequence how unsafe the neighborhood is; if you must strip your Church of anything that can be stolen, then so be it.  You cannot deprive your flock of the opportunity to be with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
  3. Provide a daily Mass that is open to working parishioners (preferably and usually meaning one each day either no later than 7:10 am or no earlier than 5:30pm) if there are not others nearby.  Whether or not you think they will come does not matter; they need the opportunity.
  4. You need not constantly moralize, but each and every one of your parishioners must at least know what is required of him to be in a state of grace.  This can in part be done by putting large stacks of a good Examination of Conscience at the doors and taking note of them in a homily or announcement.
  5. Announce the norms for the reception of Holy Communion at least at Christmas, Easter, Weddings, and Funerals. To fail to do so is to encourage acts of sacrilege.
  6. Do not permit your music director to choose songs that are so silly as to barely be acceptable for a kindergarten class.  Favor traditional hymns, and carefully permit new ones that are appropriate: sufficiently solemn, serious, and orthodox.
  7. Liturgical silliness, effeminacy, or childishness of any sort are essentially acts of hatred against the grown men of your congregation; with them you drive away from the sacraments all but the most perseverant devout men. Permit none of it. For example, never tell your congregation as Mass begins that they must greet those next to them, or raise their hands in prayer. No foolish tunes for the sung prayers of Mass (i.e. the Lord’s Prayer). No displaying the Parish 1st grade class’ artwork in the sanctuary.  No Blues Clues homilies. No joke readings during the final announcements (if you must have final announcements at all). No liturgical dancing. (Just to name a few violations of this necessity.)
  8. In some way; either by announcement, or sign on the door, or some other strategy, remind people to turn off their cell phones.
  9. Going to Mass must not be an occasion of sin for the male members of your flock.  You cannot permit immodest dress in Church. A gentle reminder in the bulletin or near the door of the need to be modest in Church would be a good idea.
  10. Provide significant and regular confession times, and always without fail be in the confessional during those advertised hours, whether or not you think anybody will show up.
  11. Say the black, do the red (whether at the Altar or in the Confessional).  Anything more (or less) is from the evil one. Pray for the seventh Gift of the Holy Spirit, and the reverence with which you celebrate Mass will be evident.

It would be good to do much more; host perpetual adoration, organize prayer vigils outside the local abortion mill, feed the hungry, have Legion of Mary groups, host Bible studies, encourage community, ensure your Liturgies are permeated with a sense of the sacred in every respect, have daily benedictions and novenas, etc!  But I will grant that you may not necessarily be condemned for neglecting some of these pursuits.   But I cannot so comfortably grant that with the aforementioned twelve.

Let your own personal Eucharistic devotion be the center of your life.  Consecrate yourself to the Blessed Virgin Mary and enshrine her as the Queen and Mother of your parish and of yourself.  Then know that you have absolutely nothing to fear.

A final note to those reading this who are not priests: I have written this in blunt and strong terms because this is indeed a dire and an urgent issue; not because I desire to judge, criticize, or imply there is culpability on any priest in particular.  They were called by Christ and have given up their lives to bring you the sacraments.  They are attacked by demons more viciously than you could imagine. With a word from their lips, almighty God is made physically present on the altar and the most heinous sins are forever annihilated from your soul. Pray for them, fast for them, and dare not judge or criticize or gossip about them.