January 24, 2017

Aligning Our Expectations With The Prophetic Consensus

darkcloudsSeven years ago, in the year 2010, Michael Brown posted a prophecy on his website, SpiritDaily. His first public announcement of this prophecy was actually just before that posting, during a conference he gave in Boston that I happened to be attending.

It is a brief and fascinating prophecy, well worth reading, but especially relevant is this part:

“…expect the error of premature expectation, but not error in the truth of the expectation itself.”

And who can fail to see that this premature expectation has been utterly rampant, fulfilling this “prophecy of failed prophecies” to the fullest extent, in these short seven years since its publication?

  • Shortly after the publication of this prophecy the infamous Harold Camping affair transpired — wherein a group insisted with enormous public exposure that the world would end in May of 2011. Although this was nothing but a joke to anyone actually serious about Catholic Prophecy, it is still worth noting here as it garnered unprecedented attention.
  • Then there was the December 2012 end of the world craze based off the Mayan Calendar and the popular Hollywood movie bringing it to light. This, too, was nothing but a joke for those serious about Catholic Prophecy. But still very relevant to the aforementioned consideration of “premature expectation.”

But then we started to get into the realm of prophecies/predictions that seemed perhaps worth taking seriously. In the Protestant Prophecy world, we saw the following prognostications which were followed by millions upon millions:

  • Four Blood Moons. In a seemingly impossible to deny sequence of celestial signs that insisted upon the most apocalyptic of events occurring in 2015… none did.
  • The Shemitah. In a seemingly impossible to deny sequence of Biblical Patterns applied to the context of the Modern World, utter catastrophic worldwide economic collapse was supposed to occur in 2015… nothing happened.

These were not mere run-of-the-mill fundamentalist protestant rapture proclaimers, of which we have seen a steady flow for a long time. They were main-stream mega Church pastors whose books on these topics were truly major best sellers and who regularly appeared on mainstream media. It is difficult to imagine dire prophecy getting more publicity than these did.

Still, nothing.

But then it became even more urgent, as in the world of Catholic Prophecy there were a few very loud voices:

  • “Maria Divine Mercy,” who was clearly a false prophet, nevertheless managed to attract thousands upon thousands of followers, insisting that the warning, collapse, and events in the Book of Revelation would begin in 2013 to be ended in 2016. Obviously none of that occurred.
  • Locutions to the World, a much more seemingly reasonable private revelation (but still with many red flags), insisted that the collapse would occur while Pope Francis was visiting the United States in 2015. No collapse.
  • Antonio Yague, who was sure he could interpret the Signs in the Stars by way of sacred astronomy to prove that the long-prophesied Illumination of Conscience had to be November 13th, 2016. Nothing.
  • Pope Francis himself seemed to indicate that things would heat up quickly, saying he would not resign but that he would only be Pope for 2 or 3 years (it has now been almost 4) and acting with an unprecedented sense of urgency, even saying that we are now in the midst of WWIII. 
  • And now, to top it off, there is the failure of Charlie Johnston’s Presidential Prophecy, wherein there was supposed to be a massive disruption before this past inauguration and no peaceful transfer of power from Obama to Trump. And of course, again, business as usual. (Please Note: Charlie is a good man and a solid Catholic. I’d trust him with my life. I am completely confident that he did not intentionally deceive anyone. I am very grateful to him for running a couple of my articles. That being said, I have never endorsed his alleged private revelations or promoted his site (even though on a couple of occasions I have defended him when he was unjustly attacked; for I will readily defend anyone who is attacked in such a manner, whether or not I condone his apostolate). Indeed, we see now that Charlie was simply wrong, for whatever reason. Let’s leave it at that, treat him charitably, and pray for him.)

And these are just some of the Prophetic failures. The list could indeed go on for a long time.

Meanwhile, so many signs of the times have swirled around us: upheaval, an unprecedented Papal Resignation, “Cardinal against Cardinal, Bishop against Bishop,” an unprecedented and seemingly impossible rise of a populist President, economic collapses and recoveries, unprecedented weather, enormous societal unrest and class warfare, geopolitical strife not seen since the Cold War…. and the list goes on, and on, and on…

And in the midst of all this, the Devil is having a field day with the Faithful. Having won over the vast majority of the world and its worldings to his ways, he is not content. He is not even content with destroying those “in” the Church, but really more of the world. For he is now even tearing to shreds the very true remnant Faithful itself; sowing discord, sin, apostasy, and schism within their ranks like never before and even managing to convince a large portion of them that their own theological opinions are above the Magisterial teachings of the Vicar of Christ, while convincing another large portion of them (perhaps larger) to believe heresy (and live heresy) due to certain errant interpretations of Pope Francis’ Magisterium; errant interpretations even offered by some Bishops.

All this expectation, and still……. nothing.

But here we are in the beginning of the Year of Promise; the Centenary of the Apparitions of Fatima. The supposed end of the 100 year Reign of Satan (foreseen by Pope Leo XII) that perhaps began with Red October in 1917. The year after the Year of Mercy (perhaps implying it will wind up being the Year of Justice?). The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Revolt. The approximate 400th anniversary of the beginning of Modernism (R. Descartes) and the “Enlightenment” (F. Bacon). The 300th anniversary of the founding of Freemasonry. The 200th anniversary of the founding of the New York Stock Exchange (the activity of which many prophecy watchers today correlate to the adultery of the harlot in the Book of Revelation). Above all, the 100th anniversary of Communism; the “errors of Russia” spoken of by Our Lady at Fatima.

Will our expectations actually come to pass in 2017? Has the full measure been filled of “premature expectation” in the prophecy this post started with, or will God seek to purify us even further by allowing 2017 to also pass without the long-awaited events?

I do not know. I could easily see this being the year in which they occur, or just another “ordinary” year for our purification along with several more to come leading us closer to the 2,000th anniversary of Redemption which makes the most sense for the Prophesied Third Renewal. Or perhaps there will first be some chastisements, with a “pause” therein after the imminent Illumination of Conscience, during which time Our Lady triumphs for the Remnant, and after this Triumph, the more major chastisements will occur which the true Era of Peace; the Reign of the Divine Will, shall follow. 

We of course do not know. But in response to either possibility, I continue to urge what I always have urged: diligently performing the duties of your state in life but using the clearly prophetically urgent nature of our times as an incentive to be particularly zealous for Proclaiming the Divine Mercy and Living in the Divine Will.

Beyond that — I have never even had so much as the faintest hint of prophetic locution or vision myself and I have no timeline of dates to offer you.

And while I cannot give you a timeline or any prophecies of my own, what I can give you is a sure way of avoiding pitfalls like the ones mentioned above and any similar ones that are doubtless to come:

Align your expectations with the prophetic consensus

Because sadly, what we are left with today is a batch of (certain) lay authors and career lay apologists scrambling to be recognized as the ultimate authority on eschatology; people who seem to think that unveiling what is coming is a massive jigsaw puzzle to be mastered by their own historical, geopolitical, Vaticanista, and Biblical cunning instead of a mystery to sit down and listen to as it is spoken about by heaven here and now. Instead of naming names of such authors and thereby encouraging factiousness, I would like to simply lay down clearly where I stand.  (And encourage you to read those who are trustworthy on this issue; including, for example, Fr. Iannuzzi and Mark Mallett.)

When someone comes along with messages of his own that seem to stand in contrast to what the majority of trustworthy private revelation is saying, do not put too much stock in these predictions. When someone comes along saying he has found a pattern in the Bible, or in the Skies, put even less stock in these predictions. When someone comes along with a specific date, put the least stock in this. When someone spills oceans of ink piling facts upon facts to try to prove to you that his eschatology is right, but whose writings are not founded in and inspired by the souls God is speaking to today, then run in the opposite direction. 

Instead, sit like a (wise and discerning!) child at the feet of those special souls whom God has chosen as His messengers for this day, and shut up and listen. Being like a wise and discerning child also means reading the Book of Revelation — although not literalistically — at least in an honest, plain, and clear fashion. 

In a post to soon come, I hope to put together more details on this prophetic consensus; from whom the consensus is formed, the actual prophecies themselves, etc.

So in addition to the above, I would just like to for now briefly lay down what I have taken from this approach in general terms. And in light of so much prophetic failure in recent times, I am hoping that some readers may take this as a time for prayerful reflection and purification, and consider what opinions and approaches they may have (even subconsciously) adopted from some failed prophecies that are now in need of reorientation:

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1) On the Era of Peace

Some have insisted that the Era of Peace, will be nothing more than “another chance given by God to get it right,” with no change at all except a “change of hearts.”

But this goes against so much prophecy that God has given to us about the Era of Peace. Now is our chance to get it right! Every new day we wake up still within the bounds of time, and before the Day of Justice arrives is that chance. The Era of Peace is more than just another chance. It’s a radical intervention of God and a reordering of creation.

As I said, I hope to soon publish a post where I compile some parts of this wealth of trustworthy private revelation insisting on such a glorious reign to come. In the meantime, you can see a small portion of that starting at about 10 minutes and 40 seconds into this talk.

Divergence with the prophetic consensus is a much more serious problem when it comes to the Era of Peace, because if we do not understand that it will be truly Glorious, then we will not sufficiently long for it. If we do not sufficiently long for it, then we will not earnestly and continuously pray for it. If we do not earnestly and continuously pray for it, then its coming will be long delayed. Jesus reveals this dynamic to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta almost verbatim.

Now,it is true that having a very downplayed vision of the Era of Peace will help you to not be condemned and harassed by the self-proclaimed Holy Inquisition of Eschatological Orthodoxy who insist that every opinion Ratzinger ever put forth, or every opinion that was popular in the middle ages, is somehow dogma. And those who are on this side of the debate are the most dangerous of all. They preach an Eschatology of Despair; wherein the world is merely condemned to get worse, and worse, and worse, and worse until the very end where, in the depths of its misery, Jesus comes at the end of time to destroy it and judge it. They scream “heresy of Millenarianism!” at any sort of actual belief in Our Lady’s promise at Fatima, where she said “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph … and an Era of Peace will be granted to the world,” for they insist that this Era of Peace has already occurred; whether after WWI, or after WWII. This is, of course, an utterly insane assertion, for no one in his right mind would call what the world has had in the past hundred years an Era of Peace. 

And indeed, it is not just Fatima, but a real consensus has formed that an Era of Peace is coming. And it is no mere subtle change. It is a radical intervention of God which will reorder the world like never before. 

Be well assured that the only things (in other words, the heresy of millenarianism)you cannot believe as a Catholic regarding the Era of Peace are what follows:

  • That Jesus will reign visibly or physically on Earth during it
  • That the “Age of the Church” shall pass and give way to the “Age of the Spirit,” or where we will no longer have the Catholic Church.
  • That the definitive destiny of the Church will be reached before her final passover (i.e. the End of Time).
    • Indeed, the destiny of the Church is the Heavenly Wedding; the Beatific Vision. The direct vision of God’s essence without medium. Even the most glorious Era of Peace, even if it were to be a veritable worldwide return to Eden, would be absolutely nothing in comparison to this. You see, Our Lady Lived in the Divine Will. There was neither sin, nor concupiscence, nor even illness in her. And yet her definitive destiny was still not obtained until the Assumption. Now, Our Lady is both Mother and Image of the Church, and indeed the Church will follow this course as well.

Steer clear of those heresies and you are perfectly safe anticipating a truly Glorious Era of Peace, in which “His Will Shall be Done on Earth as It is in Heaven.” Jesus prayed it, therefore it will happen. Period. But we must know that it is coming, yearn for it, and ardently pray for it, so that it may come soon.

2) On Ecumenism

While I heartily endorse true ecumenism, I find that the brand of it that some have promoted in the Prophecy World often allowed the line to be crossed, or at least blurred. 

We should indeed be supporters of (for example) praying with non-Catholic Christians, engaging in good ministries with them, regarding them as our brothers, and the like. 40 Days for Life is the quintessentially ideal example of Ecumenism. I feel that we can do all of these things gladly (I myself often have done so) without having to have classifications for each other and have figured out exactly what God’s plan is with it all. I will gladly work side-by-side with a Protestant without “trying to convert him.” But that does NOT mean that I, as a Catholic, can adopt a substantially identical attitude toward Protestantism (or Judaism) as I do towards Catholicism. It doesn’t mean I can go about encouraging him to remain Protestant. It doesn’t mean I can fail to hope and pray that he becomes Catholic. For such a failure would be an act of hatred. Why? Because to hate someone is to wish evil upon him. Evil is the absence of a due perfection. And the Eucharist, which only Catholic and Orthodox truly and validly have, is the greatest perfection. (as a side note: Eastern Orthodox Christianity is also not a valid alternative to Catholicism, as they are not in communion with the Successor of Peter, and God Wills that all men be in communion with the Successor of Peter. But it is at least a second best.)

A name for Protestants and Jews like “full and equal partners” in and of itself has nothing wrong with it. But the practical effect seems to sometimes be the blurring of the essential distinctions, and to forget that utterly essential, unchangeable truth: In the Catholic Church alone is the fullness of the Truth, and God calls all men to the fullness of the truth. Period. Non-magisterial opinions (even openly admitted as non-magisterial, mind you!) of a few clergymen working in the Vatican do not change this permanent truth one iota. It applies to all Protestants, all Anglicans, all Orthodox, all Jews, all Muslims, etc.

Dear Friend: if you are a Catholic, then you should be praying every single day for the conversion of all souls to Catholicism, and hoping against hope that this petition is answered soon!

This concerns me because, like many, I too believe a storm is coming (though unlike many I have no timeline). We must remember that in this storm, Catholics need to be more Catholic than ever. Some seem to be okay with Catholics becoming less Catholic during the storm; heading off to Protestant worship services if those are the most accessible ones, etc. But there have been plenty of persecutions before, and this never has been, nor is it ever going to be, how God Wills that Catholics respond to dark times. Just read up on the persecution of Catholics in England during the Reformation to see a great example of how we ought to behave during the coming persecution.

3)On Politics

There’s no need to go into a million details here; I’ve said enough (too much, perhaps!) on this site already about Politics. But since many in the Prophecy world combine their apostolates with running political commentary, this needs to be addressed. It is very difficult (and unfortunately rare) to find public voices who have really let the the teachings of the Church form their political stances from the ground up. So just please remember that the commentaries of the Signs of the Times watchers should not be the political writings one uses as a definitive guide to modern politics. Don’t get me wrong; there is certainly much wisdom in them, but much is, in fact, contrary to the Social Teachings of the Church (e.g. those in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Caritas in Veritate, Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si — all of which should be every Catholic’s guide to modern politics), that what was good does not sufficiently drown out what was not. I need not repeat what I said in a previous post on the erroneous nature of dispensing oneself from adhering to the Social Magisterium of the Church on the grounds of “Oh, the Church can’t speak infallibly on politics,” or “Oh, the Church doesn’t offer specific policies” — so if you would like to see such responses addressed, please just see the relevant portion of the linked post.

But perhaps most dangerously in my opinion, some in the Prophecy world have preached something to the effect of “traditional politics is dead.” The implication that people take from this is that we should abandon political efforts aimed at justice, peace, and truth, because the “whole system is nothing but a house of cards/smoke and mirrors anyway.”  But Church teaching is very clear that Catholics living in a Democracy have a grave duty to vote and to be an active part of the political community. And personally, as one who has put a great amount of time, effort, and sacrifice into this very end, I cannot help but take offense at such an attitude.

Fight we must. And the teachings of the Church must, as always, be our guide in this noble battle.

4) On Hope

Some fear and even insist “we will all lose hope during the storm.” But this is dangerous defeatism. The loss of hope is a sin; and whether or not any of us will sin again, and if so in what way, we do not know. But we need to trust that God’s grace will always be sufficient so that we do not have to sin. Sin is never necessary. It is never a determined consequence of free will. With the help of grace, avoiding it is never impossible (which was doctrinally defined at the Council of Trent). It is never a guaranteed fact merely due to certain external circumstances. If we refuse to acknowledge that, we are essentially blaspheming against God’s omnipotence, goodness, and mercy.

You need to trust God enough to believe that it really is possible that, from this day forward, you will never sin again — that you will never choose to distrust God again. That you will never choose to doubt God again. That you will never choose to act uncharitably again.

Whether or not that is what in fact actually happens, it nevertheless really is possible. Don’t ever, ever say that it isn’t.

 

5) On the Mission Itself and the Nature of Devotions

A simplistic motto is a good thing to fall back on in times of confusion and trial. I suggest this one: “Jesus, I Trust in You. Thy Will be Done. But I think we need to be careful to understand those as starting points and safety nets; not as ends sufficient unto themselves. Especially when we are instructing Catholics — to whom our Lady has issued so many very specific pleas and devotions (e.g. Rosary, Eucharist, Confession, Fasting, Scripture, Divine Mercy Chaplet). 

I understand as well as anyone that it is easy to be overloaded with devotions, being that God has blessed us with so many. It is certainly important to not allow yourself to scrupulously feel like you must do each and every thing that each and every alleged private revelation invites you to! I do appreciate that some have cautioned against this. Rather, you must follow your heart, follow your discernment, and take on whatever devotions you feel you can without burning yourself out and without neglecting the duties of your state in life.

But some, it seems, go further than this basic advice, and instead almost are satisfied with their followers taking a “whatever floats your boat” mentality regarding devotions and private revelations; a mentality that is common and explicitly taught today among certain popular career lay apologists; a mentality I zealously argued against in my book pages 60-61. 

But this specific issue of private revelation brings us to the more general issue of the temporal vs the spiritual.

6) On the Temporal and the Spiritual

I have been openly criticized for neglecting the temporal for the sake of the spiritual, so this seeming conflict I would like to address. Now, I would be the first to admit and indeed insist that we must be zealous for both temporal and spiritual matters, and that the fulfillment of the duties of one’s State in Life absolutely precedes in importance the performance of pious practices above those of obligation (e.g. Sunday Mass, avoiding mortal sin). But in general, the spiritual must have priority. Always. Everywhere. I think we fail to give it that priority it needs when we see the Divine Invitations in the most important private revelations of the day as merely nice options for those who feel inclined to them, and nothing more.

This criticism made of me arose in the midst of two conversations:

One, wherein I encouraged conduct that can actually succeed in evangelizing Muslims as more important than bashing Islam at every chance one gets. And this remains encouragement that I firmly stand by. It is clearly encouragement that the Catholic Blogosophere in general, which seems to be locked in endless competition to see who can more vociferously condemn Islam, needs to hear. We must indeed be frank, open, and honest about the errors in Islam. And yet I unabashedly stand by the spiritual assertion that such frankness will not save us from the present distress over and above the temporal assertion that it will. When I look at what God is asking of us today — through the Magisterium, the Popes, and trustworthy private revelation — I do not see Him saying “oppose other religions more harshly and you will conquer them” Rather, I see Him saying “pray, perform works of mercy, evangelize, and be uncompromising and unflinching in your Faith and Morals and Principles, but do not pretend that simply being more vociferous and combative in promoting them against those of other religions will achieve anything.”

The other conversation in which that criticism arose was one in which I myself criticized the notion that it is okay for one to be a “prepper” for the sake of having an adult “teddy bear.” Now we must give most in the Prophetic realm credit here: they usually do caution against major preparedness. But some have said something to the effect of “Just as I would not take a teddy bear away from a child if it gives him comfort, so too I would not begrudge survivalism of one who finds comfort in it as a way of easing his fears. I do not think this is a good mindset. What is good for a child is not necessarily good for adult, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” and as St. Francis de Sales says “Children chase butterflies and that is fine, because they are children. But is it not lamentable to see a man doing such a thing?” 

Willfully chosen fear of anything external is never God’s will. Fear as a mere passion — a mere emotion that is passively felt — is morally indifferent, and whether we feel it (and, if so, to what degree) is largely not our choice. But having a “don’t take the teddy bear away” notion is to serve as an accessory to the sin of willed fear. And willed fear is the absolute opposite of the very most essential thing in these dark days: Trust in God. Jesus, I Trust in You. Thy Will be Done.

When reading the Bible, the revelations to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, the revelations to St. Faustina, and so many other similar works, one theme seems to jump out even more clearly and constantly than all the others: Jesus absolutely begging us, admonishing us, insisting that we banish every fear. There is no need for it!!!

A storm is coming indeed, but we must, must, must continually remind ourselves of the admonishment of Our Lord to be not afraid!

Although I have been criticized when I’ve pointed this out, alas, if only this input was taken more seriously, there would be fewer people today angry than there in fact are, as they took all sorts of preparedness measures thinking that society would have to collapse by now and they wanted their teddy bear! Let us learn our lessons, move on, and leave the past in the past. Just as importantly, let us not over-react to our mistakes, but instead learn from them. I am concerned that many who are now so fed up with the over-preparedness they engaged in will now reject even basic preparedness and basic keeping an eye on the signs of times.

Now, I have long encouraged a relatively small degree of “Sober Minded Preparedness,” not as a “teddy bear,” but as a simple act of prudence. One may be inclined to say that I am splitting hairs; but that is a radical misunderstanding of Christianity itself. Christianity is all about intention. That is primarily what God looks at when we undertake an action and it is primarily what we are judged on. Preparedness is a duty if — when you undertake it — you are merely following prudential judgment and conscience. It is a sin if you are doing it so as to have a teddy bear to cling to in an act of deliberately willed fear.

The importance of this admonishment to never fear cannot be overstated. This is the point I ended on in the talk I gave in Tampa. It was not my intent, but Providence, that ended my talk on that point. If you would like to see that, just listen to the last several minutes of this same talk linked above.

7) On the Antichrist

Some in the Catholic prophecy world today insist strongly that the Antichrist is not coming any time soon, but can only possibly come at the very end of the world. But this is quite the opposite of what the prophetic consensus seems to be indicating. Mark Mallett has written powerfully on this here and in other places.

The notion of the Antichrist coming at the very end of the world is also inconsistent not only with the clear sense of the Book of Revelation (which makes it clear that the Antichrist comes before the Era of Peace), but is inconsistent with the true nature of the Era of Peace. As you will see if you read the many trustworthy private revelations that speak of it, it is completely incomprehensible that the Antichrist could manage to arise during it and sway the masses to join him in his evil and apostasy. That, friends, describes our current day. It does not describe a plausible scenario during a time in which His Will is Done on Earth as It is Done in Heaven

Gog and Magog will indeed be the final unleashing of evil to usher in the definitive end of time, the true physical Final coming of Our Lord, and the General Judgement. But the swift death that this final unleashing of evil will give to the world is more akin to the chop of an axe laid to the neck of a saint who sings his way joyfully to his martyrdom. The persecution of the Antichrist, which is likely imminent, is more akin to the final and tragic drug overdose of an addict who has slowly but surely been destroying his own life with his sins and then willfully takes that last step. The Antichrist is the natural and inevitable consequence of the Great Apostasy that we are already in the midst of. It would be entirely unfitting for him to arise in the midst of  (or at the end of) the Era of Peace.

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If you’re looking for trustworthy voices online in the wake of so much confusion, allow me to suggest:

 

Mark Mallett

Fr. Robert Young

Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi

Anthony Mullen

Peter Bannister

(at the moment Peter, a theologian, does not have a site dedicated to his theology work, but if that changes I will certainly link to him. He has –understandably and probably correctly — stopped posting on the “motheofgod” forum since many on it, including the site’s owner/operator, have adopted a largely anti-Pope Francis tone)

Dan Lynch

Janet Klasson

November 11, 2016

The Last Hail Mary

queen-of-heavenFar too often I begin to realize, towards the end of praying the Rosary, that I have done anything but meditate on the mysteries of it or even focus on the words I was saying; but rather, that I have allowed my mind to wander from one distraction to the next almost without intermission throughout the duration of this most sublime devotion.

When this happens, I do not become disheartened or discouraged. Rather, I ask God’s forgiveness, resolve to try harder next time, and I then strive to at least pray the very last Hail Mary with the greatest attention and great devotion — truly from the heart.

I believe this is a powerful practice.

As 50 Hail Mary’s adorn the Holy Rosary, so too 50 weeks comprise this Holy Year of Mercy. And we now are on the cusp of entering the last.

If, like me, you did not come close to living this Year of Mercy as you had hoped you would, then do not despair. Rather, join me in striving to make fruitful and faithful this last week (which begins Sunday, November 13th and ends Sunday, November 20th with the closing of the Holy Door of Mercy), like the Last Hail Mary of an otherwise distracted Rosary.

I abhor using myself as an example, for I know full well that I am anything but worth imitating. However, in order to be as practical, concrete, and genuine as possible with the encouragements that follow, I will simply share what I plan to do this upcoming week. Prayerfully consider what you yourself can do next week as well.

  • I will continue to fulfill the duties of my state in life as usual. For indeed, honorably fulfilling these duties is more important than any pious practices above and beyond those of obligation. However, I will strive to better compartmentalize my work instead of allowing it to overflow into hours of the day and week that it need not. I will strive to cease pretending that I need to be thinking about my various worries and plans and strategies while not actively engaged in working on them.  I will strive to cease imposing frantic rushes on myself regarding jobs and projects and ToDos that I feel urgently need to get done when, in fact, they could easily wait.
  • I will begin the week; in its vigil on Saturday afternoon, with a heartfelt confession so that I may be as pure as possible for the task ahead, satisfy Our Lady’s request at Fatima for the First Five Saturdays Devotion (as tomorrow is still within 8 days of the First Saturday; and I highly recommend that anyone serious about hastening the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart as she promised at Fatima do a perpetual First Saturday Devotion instead of only five), and be ready to receive a Plenary Indulgence each day of the week ahead.
  • I will try to be more devoted to the Divine Will Missionary of Mercy regimen.
  • I will take care to, before I go out in the world either for work, errands, recreation, or anything of the sort, make sure I have Divine Mercy Evangelization Cards in my breast pocket and keep on the lookout for opportunities to hand them out or place them in good spots as the Holy Spirit directs.  If you would like some of these (or a replenishment), you can still request them here. I still have a few more boxes full of them and will happily send then out for free as long as I can afford to do so! I will also try to more often wear a Divine Mercy Pin as I go out.
  • I will try to do a better job with Wednesday and Friday fasting. Let us not mistakenly call ourselves prayer warriors if we do not in some way fast — those who do not fast are, at best, sunshine patriots and fair weather friends! Your own manner of fasting is a question I leave to you to discern for yourself, but I will share a fasting regimen I have found fruitful: Wednesdays and Fridays, “bread and water,” loosely speaking. I still have dinner as usual with my family, but before dinner I stick to plain white bread with some peanut butter on it and black coffee. If I do a more severe fast; such as only plain bread and not even black coffee — midnight to midnight — then I find I am more distracted by the fast than I am empowered by it (although there are certainly times where this or a more strict fast are called for). If I do a less severe fast; I find the sacrifice is too minimal to notice and therefore be powerful.
  • At least once I will visit a cemetery to walk through it and pray for the repose of the souls of those buried there — as well as the repose of all of the Holyfinish-the-race Souls — while reciting a Rosary and/or Divine Mercy Chaplet.
  • I will strive to receive a Plenary Indulgence each and every day, also offered for the repose of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Though the most neglected Work of Mercy, this is indeed among the most powerful and important.
  • I will spend more time with the Blessed Sacrament, either by way of going out of my way to do Holy Hours or Holy Half Hours with Our Lord, or at least by arriving at daily Mass early and only leaving after I have spent plenty of silent time following Mass giving thanks to our Eucharistic Lord who remains inside us in His Real Presence for at least 15 minutes after we receive Him. (And yes, as I have yet to find a Church with a daily Mass that is not dominated by chatter both before and after, I will be sure to bring an mp3 player and earbud headphones so I can drown out the chatter with Gregorian Chant or other Holy Hymns).
  • At least once I will pray and sidewalk counsel outside of a Planned Parenthood.
  • At least once I will visit a nursing home and pray with the residents there.
  • Above all, I will strive to do all of this — and, indeed, spend every waking moment — Living in and Acting in the Divine Will, so that all of my finite acts may be elevated into the eternal realm, and thereby gain an infinite value before God. Therefore I will strive to do a better job of being faithful and attentive to the means Jesus gave us through Luisa to these ends; especially the daily meditation on the Hours of the Passion and allowing Our Lady to lead me to the Divine Will of her Son through her own words.

Therefore, join me, brethren, in whatever of these endeavors or similar ones you feel called to. Let us not allow this “Last Hail Mary” to pass us by distracted! We do not know how many, if any, more chances we will have. Do not forget how truly Extraordinary this Holy Year that is now passing both is and was.And let us be attentive to those most important Words — those spoken to us at Mass — as this Year comes to a close:

  • In today’s Gospel reading, Our Lord instructs us that the “day” of His Coming — which we are on the verge of, for while we are not on the verge of the actual end of time and Final Judgement, we are indeed on the verge of a series of events which, together, comprise His Second Coming — will be like the day of the Flood or the day of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In speaking last year with a very special priest well known around the world for his orthodoxy and holiness (whose name I withhold because I do not know if he wants this observation of his to be publicly known at this point), shortly after the passage of same-sex “marriage” in this country by Judicial Fiat of the “Supreme” Court, he told me that the days immediately preceding the flood consisted in (and we know this from ancient Jewish texts) the society of that day doing just what we now have done: blessing same-sex unions. It was then that God said “enough” and told Noah to get in the Ark.
  • In tomorrow’s Gospel, we read Jesus pondering aloud to us “When the Son of Man comes, will He find Faith on earth?” One can be a blind optimist and look at the fact that most people still believe in God today and thus think that this does not refer to our times, or one can be realistic and realize that true supernatural Catholic Faith is almost completely dead today and thus realize that we are precisely in the days to which Our Lord refers.
  • Finally, in the Gospel of the day after tomorrow– the Sunday ushering in this “Last Hail Mary” week– Our Lord gives us a description of what will immediately precede, and what will go along with, this “day” of His Coming.

Whoever cannot see that this all refers to our times is either incredibly ignorant or willfully blind. Therefore, we must be on vigil right now as never before. As Mark Mallett profoundly observed in a post yesterday, many are saying “peace and security” now that Donald Trump has been elected. For years I have wondered how 1 Thessalonians 5:3 would be fulfilled. Now we know.

When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

I, too, rejoice in the defeat of Hillary Clinton; my wife and I prayed a novena precisely for that end. But this election’s outcome will not give us peace. The election of a lesser of two evils will barely alter the course of events that must come; although we might have a brief reprieve, thanks be to God. Or, perhaps not. Perhaps somehow this will even hasten the events to come. God knows; we do not. What we do know is our battle orders. Let us therefore be more vigilant, more zealous, and more attentive to them than ever before. Keep oil in your lamps, friends.

Be Converted

Trust in the Divine Mercy

Remain in a State of Grace

Live in the Divine Will

Proclaim the Divine Mercy

LineAs those of you know who attended the Divine Will conference in Tampa in September, I could not finish my talk in the time available and therefore promised to publish the transcript of it in its entirety. I finally have that ready. Here it is: Sure Ways of Living in the Divine Will.

I had the honor of speaking on the Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy at a conference in Denver last month. Here is the audio of that

September 14, 2016

Tampa Conference Audio and DWMoM Notes

Dear Friends,

A Blessed Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross to you all! On this solemn day let us remember that His Cross shall triumph; it is only a question of time. Let us pray that the day may be hastened! Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done, On Earth as It Is in Heaven. 

First of all, the Tampa Divine Will Conference was a true blessing and it was an honor to speak there. At the end of this post, I will include a recording of the speech I gave. Videos of the entire conference can be purchased from comingofthekingdom.org.

Unfortunately the curve balls that life has thrown have prevented me from doing my ordinary daily DWMoM regimen for the past few months, but I look forward to getting back into it now. If you are like me, you feel like this Year of Mercy is slipping away! But alas, remember: even those late to the vineyard receive the same payment. Let us ensure that, in these remaining two months of the Jubilee Year, we strive to proclaim the Divine Mercy in whatever way we can.

A small note: as some are uncomfortable with the notion of the “transubstantiation of one’s very self,” (and I will not begrudge that discomfort), I have changed that word, which I had had in the DWMoM prayer,to instead be the “transconsecration” of one’s very self, as St. Faustina herself spoke of in the fully approved Divine Mercy Diary (paragraph 137). (Incidentally, this “transconsecration” of St. Faustina is clearly a reference to Living in the Divine Will; for it occurred immediately after St. Faustina fully consented to the total sacrifice of her will to the Divine Will, and after she became “fused” with God. After it occurred she said that “God was now living in [my soul] with the totality of His delight.” I encourage you to read the context for yourself in paragraphs 135-138 to see that there is no doubt that St. Faustina is here speaking of the same Gift that was Luisa’s mission to reveal to the world in its fullness)

I have added information on the Patrons of of the Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy (Our Lady of the Visitation and St. Anthony Mary Claret) to the website. I encourage you to take a look if you haven’t yet seen it!

Now for the talk! Please note that this talk is not intended to introduce people to the Divine Will Revelations of Luisa. It is, rather, intended to inspire those who already know of it and believe in it. In this talk, I say (and quote) some bold words that should be given qualification and explanation if said to those who have not yet been taught the proper understanding of Luisa’s writings. So do use discernment in whom to send this talk. Anyone new to the Divine Will who listens to it would do well to also see my free ebook, the Crown and Completion of All Sanctity, for the proper context and orthodox understanding of anything that he might at first be uncomfortable with. I will again remind everyone interested in Luisa’s writings that, if you are ever confused as to how a teaching in Luisa’s writings fits with Church Teaching, you must always favor Church Teaching, and seek out further clarification on how to understand Luisa’s writings. Finally, there is at least one specific thing I said in this talk that I want to clarify now: at one point I referred to the Gift as the “same exact life as the blessed in Heaven have,” but what I meant to say is “the same exact life as the blessed in Heaven have in terms of holiness” (for of course, receiving the Gift on Earth does not bestow the Beatific Vision — the essence of Heaven — upon its recipient, therefore the actual differences are many. The point is that the degree of holiness is the same)

 

(Click here to download an mp3 of the talk)

August 24, 2016

Divine Will Conference, Tampa. September 8-11 2016

Dear Friends,

I would like to invite anyone interested to attend an upcoming Divine Will Conference being held in Tampa, FL on September 8th through September 11th! I am above all very excited to be attending this conference in order to learn from the wisdom of the other speakers there; but as God would have it, I will be a speaker as well. It is being run by Thomas Fahy (a veritable expert on the Divine Will) and the John Paul II Institute of Christian Spirituality. 

You may register for the conference with this form. The conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Tampa WestshoreDetailed information on reserving a room a this hotel can be found in this document.  (Update: that hotel is now full. You can instead reserve a room at the Marriott Tampa Westshore just across the street; their number is 813-287-2555. Just mention the John Paul II Institute Conference when reserving. Thanks!)

 

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P.S. In case anyone is wondering whether I am taking back my assertion (made under the “About the Author” section of The Crown and Completion of All Sanctity) that I would not be speaking on the Divine Will at conferences due to a restriction being in effect against this: the short answer is yes! Sadly, in writing that brief note last year, I had fallen prey to a common misconception; for indeed, there is no such restriction. Suffice it to say I have validated this with confidence through much research (and I have pinpointed the source of the confusion), but in an effort to take my own advice from my last post and avoid needless discord, I will avoid going down that rabbit hole and instead simply leave it at this. If you need more information on this before feeling comfortable attending such a conference, you can feel free to contact me.  From now on, I will indeed be available to speak on the Divine Will in the writings of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.

June 21, 2016

The Mission

In light of the unprecedented factiousness, discord, and needless heated debates that have come knocking at my door and the doors of so many (almost everyone, it seems, is embroiled in something) during the past couple months, I would like to do now what I have not done in my seven years of running this blog, namely: merely re-post something I have previously written. Considering all that has transpired in both the Church and the World during the past five months since I wrote it, I don’t suppose many will begrudge its repetition. These past five months have been nothing but a preview of what is to come, so focusing on the mission will only become more important.

What follows is excerpted from the bottom of my post written January of this year (only html/formatting altered):

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The Mission

Live in the Divine Will

 *

Proclaim the Divine Mercy

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Eucharist, Rosary, Chaplet, Scripture, Fasting, Confession, Works of Mercy

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Pray, pray, pray

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love

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May

Jesus, I Trust in You.

Thy Will Be Done.

Be ever on your mind, heart, and lips.

May 30, 2016

Conquer the World for Christ the King: Lessons Learned from My 2016 Run for U.S. Congress

Published May 30th, 2016

Dear Brethren in Christ,

When I last wrote to you, it was precisely the half-way point of Lent. Today, we are exactly half way through the Holy Year of Mercy, which will end on this year’s Feast of Christ the King. As you no doubt have come to expect, I have some words of exhortation again, but this time of a slightly different nature.

In my last post I also alluded to the fact that I may then have well been on the cusp of one of the most exhausting, demanding, difficult endeavors of my life, if it were to turn out that God called me to it.

And indeed He did.campaign

For much of the months of March and April I was relentlessly pounding the streets, going door-to-door, sometimes all day, in the poorest areas of my home city of Albany, NY (so as to ensure that each day I was engaging in a true Divine Will Missionary of Mercy walk by way of this endeavor — yes, I even wore a Divine Mercy pin), gathering signatures in an attempt to force a primary election against my U.S. Congressional District’s deeply entrenched, machine supported, pro-abortion, pro-gay “marriage” Representative (a career politician “Catholic,” no less). I dare say there is scarcely an inch of the poorest streets of this city — including each floor of all of the largest and most dissolute public housing project high rise apartments — that my own two feet did not tread in those weeks. In the course of this mission I knocked on thousands of doors.

Although it was quite successful (I got almost 700 signatures), I did fall short of the 1,250 needed in order to get on the ballot against my opponent. But I do not regret for a moment my attempt, and in what follows I will explain why.

Before I write any further, though, I know that the first question of many of those who read this site will be more fundamental: “Why? Why would someone like you — a devout Catholic, learned in private revelation and theology, who sees the Signs of the Times — put hopes in, and waste time in, politics?

Bear with me while I give the long answer to that question. Since this answer is just about me, however, and I am nothing, I will enclose it in horizontal bars so you can skip it if you like and move on to the purpose of this post: the Lessons Learned from the run.

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Why Politics?

When, in 2013, my wife and I were building our lives together, we faced that choice that all young couples face: where to settle down and begin our family?

My human-will, that is, the self-will, had a very clear and immediate answer to that question: get away from the world as much as possible. You see, I do not think there is anyone who hates, to the extent that I do, the unholy music, impure images, ugliness, disorder, constant noise, sinful conversations, and the like, that inevitably inundate any densely-populated area these days. Humanly speaking, there is nothing I want more than to be completely removed from all of this garbage — and while there is nothing wrong with such a desire in and of itself (quite the contrary, it is an objectively good desire and I still look forward to the day when God calls me and my family into a more rural setting), even the holiest desires are worthless if they are not the Divine Will.

Now, by making it clear to me that the corporate engineering world (which I had briefly entered back into after marriage) was not my calling, God had already eliminated the “best of both worlds” option — a $400k house in a pristine, quiet, gated-community suburb close to a nice upscale parish — since that would cost far more than we could afford with my lowly salary as a (non-public school) teacher.

So instead of doing what I wanted to do: hop on to a real estate website and find some very quiet acreage in some beautiful, relatively remote rural spot — which would have inevitably deprived me of the ability to reasonably undertake my greatest joy: daily Mass, but which would have nevertheless indeed been an option since I was only then teaching online and therefore without geographic constraints — we did a Novena to St. Joseph asking him what house to buy. With great clarity, he sent us to the home we now own and are raising our children in.

This is a home that does not allow me to comfortably ignore the plight of the poor. We live less than stone’s throw from two half-way houses (one of which is basically across the street and commendably tries to help young mothers who are in need to stay with their children), and just over a stone’s throw from some particularly dilapidated city blocks in extreme poverty, in addition to a large industrial port which daily spews petroleum fumes — uninhibited by laws that should be in place protecting the nearby residents from them.

Don’t get me wrong, our particular block is actually fairly nice, but nevertheless it does not allow me to turn a blind eye to reality and pretend, like so many do (much to the chagrin of our Holy Father), that the poor and the environment need not be given much weight in the political concerns of a modern Catholic. It does not allow me sit on my quiet porch in a beautifully manicured suburb far from any landfill, city, or industrial establishment and say, “how dare Pope Francis write an encyclical addressing environmental degradation, poverty, and exploitation, when there are so many more pressing issues!

(Lest my tone here wrongly indicates otherwise, please know that I have nothing against living in a pristine suburban or rural area — better and holier Catholics than myself do just that. I’m simply relaying what I’ve learned from that arrangement not being what God has called me to at the moment.)

Quite the contrary, this, combined with my daily Divine Will Missionary of Mercy walks through the poorest streets of this city, has taught me that the entire Social Magisterium is the answer. I do not mean the “social justice” pseudo-causes that are pushed in left-wing Catholic circles all over the country. I mean the actual Magisterial Documents: above all, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Caritas in Veritate, and Laudato Si.

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So for years (over four, in fact, for I have been working hard on this since my time as a theology student) I have been studying these documents, building an American political platform off of them, and preparing to run for office on this platform myself. Why? Not because I am worthy of this task, but because no one else has done it, and yet I know that it must be done.

Common Good Platform

The platform I have been working on (the Common Good Platform) as well as my particular Campaign mission statement, still need some more work before they are ready to be published (even though in the midst of my campaign I did have them public). I do, however, hope to have them done before the 2016 Presidential General Election really goes into high gear, and I will be sure to post them here. (I will make a new post when I do that, so if you’d like to be notified, just subscribe to this blog using your email address in the upper right hand corner of the page.)

Why the Social Doctrine?

In order that you are prepared to see it once I do release it, I must say a few words about the Church’s Social Magisterium (if you already find yourself submissive, open, and obedient to the Church’s Social Magisterium, feel free to skip to the next horizontal bar). And let me first just make one thing clear. The Creator and Ruler of the universe entered into it 2,000 years ago. He founded a Church with the authority to teach all the nations; and that very Church which He founded persists to this day under the vicarious headship of Pope Francis. Like it or not, this Church really does have a whole treasury of Magisterial teachings on politics. Is every word of it strictly infallible? Of course not. But there is simply no possible way to be a loyal child of Holy Mother Church (which a Catholic must be in order to be a loyal child of God the Father) while simply dismissing an entire category of Church Teaching. Do not confuse this fact with the “seamless garment” nonsense: clearly black and white issues like abortion and gay “marriage” are even more important than her other political teachings. But what a fatal fallacy it would be to conclude, from this fact, that one can licitly choose to ignore these other political teachings!

St Stephen of Hungary

King St. Stephen of Hungary

And so, adhere to them, promote them, and, based on them, vote and even run for office we must. In order to do so, however, we must not fall into any of the other fatal fallacies regarding the Social Teachings; fallacies that have become so dominant as to practically render ineffectual, to this very day, the Social Magisterium of God’s Church:

  1. Complain of their length and refuse to even give the Social Doctrine a chance. Give some Catholics a document of true Social Magisterium (for example, The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate or Francis’ Laudato Si), and, instead of being thankful for how thorough and practical these documents are, they will instead rant about how lengthy they are, only to turn around and readily lend their ears (and therefore, by inevitable consequence, the formation of their minds) to worldly political pundit talking heads for more cumulative time over the course of a mere week than would have been needed to actually read these documents. And if the Vicar of the Second Person of the Eternal Trinity dare, even in his official Magisterium, contradict the opinions of the likes of Rush Limbaugh, et al., then it is the latter who is defended by these Catholics. Letting the world form us on something as important as fundamental political issues is a sin. It’s something that needs to be repented of, not something that should be defended. If, in an honest analysis of our lives, we realize that this is precisely what we have done, then we really must repent — and make amends. Amends can be made by reading, and choosing to submit to, the Church’s Social Magisterium, and deciding beforehand that this Magisterium matters more than our own opinions. Make no mistake about it, this will entail a painful death to self.  But such is Christianity — the Way of the Cross. One who has lent the task of his political formation to the world should not expect that he can merely dive into the Social Magisterium and find it perfectly in accord with his own fancies.  It is one’s own fancies that must change, not the Magisterium.
    1. If you are wondering why I am focusing for now on those three Documents, it is simply because, for the sake of manageability, I am trusting that the 2005 Compendium of the Social Doctrine did well what it proposed to do: adequately summarize the Social Magisterium all the way back to Leo XII’s 1891 Rerum Novarum. It is especially groundless to complain about the length of the Compendium, since its entire purpose is to present a summary (which is itself Magisterial) of well over a hundred years of Catholic Social Teaching. It successfully did so in as brief a manner as possible.
  2. Pick and choose what, in the Social Magisterium, you will submit to. I have already touched on this in the preceding paragraph, but it needs to be addressed independently as well. But how sad it is that this even needs to be said. Too often, the very same Catholics who will (rightly, might I add) lambaste, with all of their vigor, other Catholics who prefer the Cafeteria approach by saying “I’m against abortion but I can’t advocate imposing that view on others through law” will nevertheless turn around and themselves say that they refuse to submit to abundantly clear teachings in a Papal Encyclical. How are you any different from a Pagan if you read the Social Magisterium with the mindset of merely allowing it to educate you and give you food for thought, instead of handing yourself over to it in order to be formed by it? Anybody can read the Social Magisterium if they do so in the comfort of the self-will armchair, knowing they need not worry about having to abandon their own opinions for the sake of a greater truth. As a Catholic your calling is much higher than this comfort-zone at all costs ideology. But if that does not convince you, at least know this: even theologians have a difficult time discerning what is and is not truly authoritative and binding on conscience for Catholics, within certain Church Documents. Do you think you are up to such a task? You aren’t. The path to hell is no doubt paved with those who, instead of submitting like a child to Holy Mother Church, took it upon themselves to try to subtly craft a way they could technically obey Church teaching while at the same time ensuring that they really are just holding onto their own wills, their own preferences, and their own inclinations. Have nothing to do with that way of life. “…the Church’s social doctrine has the same dignity and authority as her moral teaching. It is authentic Magisterium, which obligates the faithful to adhere to it.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, paragraph 80)
    1. I know the first question that will come to the mind of many will be “So, does that mean you have to believe in Global Warming?” Even asking this question gives away the position of the one who asks. For Pope Francis does not attempt to teach, in Laudato Si, that man-made “global warming” definitely is happening, nor does he even talk much about it, despite mainstream media conveniently labeling Laudato Si, according to their own narrative, to be “the global warming encyclical.” He merely points out that there is a consensus among scientists that it is happening; but everybody already knew that. Scientific consensuses are often wrong. As for me: I do not know, nor do I particularly care, if there is man-made global warming. Because whether or not there is, what me must actually do does not change: we urgently must reduce our incredibly wasteful, consumerist lifestyles for a whole plethora of reasons.
  3. Utterly emasculate the Social Doctrine by insisting upon its irrelevance to or lack of authority in any actual concrete situation. Now as with most lies, this one is based upon a truth: for indeed, the job of the Church is not to form specific policies, start political parties, or anything of the sort. But it is to be taken absolutely seriously in what it does say. People who fall into this trap set by the CSDCdevil completely miss the point that it is not their job to decide what the Social Doctrine does and does not have the authority to rule on. We are not told that the Social Doctrine does not form specific policies so that we can nit pick through it and decide what, contained within it, we think is inapplicable and worth ignoring because in our opinion it actually is a specific policy! We are, on the contrary, told that so that we understand, going into reading it, that everything that follows is in fact not actual specific policy, but is, rather, a guideline that must be taken completely at its word in forming specific policies. Allow me to illustrate with just one example of thousands: the Church makes it abundantly clear that a just wage is a right that governments have a duty to legally enshrine. She also makes it clear that the mere fact that an unjust wage was freely and legally agreed upon contractually by both parties involved does not justify it, and that for a wage to be just, it must be above the level of subsistence (for example, in the Compendium, paragraph 302). She does not, however, say exactly what a just wage is, nor does she say exactly how to enforce it. Good Catholics can debate over precisely what the number should be, how to apply it, and what factors modify it. They cannot debate over whether it is something the government has a duty to generally require. Sadly, this does not stop these emasculators of the Social Doctrine from insisting that “No, the Church does not insist upon specific policies. I believe in a just wage but I don’t believe it is something that the law has any role in ensuring. The free market alone has the right to do that, and if people don’t like the wage offered by a given company, they can go elsewhere. Besides, low-skilled jobs shouldn’t be paid well, lest people not be encouraged to receive higher education.” As you can see, the distinction is not difficult to grasp if one actually uses an ounce of thought. The person who says this has clearly contradicted the Magisterium.  Now, is holding such a view a mortal sin, like condoning gay “marriage” or legal abortion is? Probably not (I really don’t know). But it is certainly at least a venial sin. And what a pathetic way to be a Catholic! Caring not about Our Lord’s mandate to strive for perfection, and instead only caring to avoid obvious mortal sin. Aiming for purgatory is not a good idea.
    1. Incidentally, do not think I am standing here advocating for a $15 nationwide minimum wage. The Church teaches that whether a wage is just depends upon the individual laborer’s family circumstance; hence, one way to refer to Church teaching on the matter is that she insists upon a “family wage.” I see nothing wrong with a childless High School student living with his parents earning the current minimum wage. But to pay a man who must support a wife and children the current minimum wage is indeed a grave injustice. It is one of the four sins that cry out to God for vengeance (one of which is “defrauding the laborer his wages”).
  4. Buy into secular narratives that Pope Francis is a socialist. This is a cunning ploy by the mainstream media to get those on the left wing of America’s political spectrum to become even more radical, and to get those on the right wing of the same to abandon and oppose Pope Francis (for the media has of course lauded Pope Francis, and they cannot stand the thought of conservatives appreciating someone they have lauded). But nothing could be further from the truth. When it comes to politics, Pope Francis has been repeatedly clear in directing us to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. This Compendium (and indeed, Catholic Social Teaching in general), categorically condemns socialism (see paragraph 89), while only condemning capitalism conditionally (i.e. CSDC paragraph 335: “If by ‘capitalism’ is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property … then the answer is certainly in the affirmative… But if by ‘capitalism’ is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality, and which sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative”). Pope Francis, and indeed Catholic Social Teaching in general, does not insist upon (in fact, it openly opposes) the welfare state, the public education monopoly, in any way seeking to limit human population, common or state ownership, etc. (this list could go on for quite some time).
  5. See a contradiction where none exists between political concerns and Heavenly and Prophetic concerns. In this case, I need Leo XIIIonly defer to that great Pope who, no doubt, comes to mind first (or close to it) when one thinks of the great Popes who were most aware of Satan’s ravaging of the Earth in these end times and the truly pivotal, prophetic nature of the days in which we live: Pope Leo XII. The Pope who had the vision of the 100 year Reign of Satan. The Pope who instituted the St. Michael the Archangel prayer for the Universal Church. The Pope who wrote eleven Encyclicals on the Rosary. The Pope who, in an unprecedented act at the time, consecrated the entire world to the Sacred Heart after being urged to do so by private revelation. And indeed, the Pope who really was the Father of the Social Doctrine by insisting upon the absolute importance of Catholic action for justice in politics, in his encyclical Rerum Novarum. Pope Francis, too — the same Pope who has lived his pontificate in such an urgent, prophetically oriented manner, even proclaiming an unprecedented extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy — has said “Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity…. I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society…” (E.G. paragraph 205). Some people seem to have given up on politics due to its depraved current standing and the particularly dire circumstances of our times that clearly necessitate Divine intervention. On such observations, I agree wholeheartedly. But in terms of how to react to them, this mentality of “give up and wait for God to fix it” is not a legitimate Catholic approach. In fact, this mentality is similar to the heresy of Quietism and it involves the sins of sloth and lukewarmness. The Church makes it clear that, at the very minimum, citizens of a Democracy have a grave duty to vote. If we have a grave duty to vote, then we also have a duty to remain open to God calling us to do more in this regard. Up until the very day the Lord comes in Glory, we have to continue working our hardest to make Earth more like Heaven, bit by bit, day by day. Politics is one of the most powerful ways of doing that. We have absolutely no right, as Catholics, to simply exclude ourselves from this because our own pet theories or pet “prophets” dictate otherwise. What may be soon coming upon the world does not change, one iota, our requirement to do whatever we can to help, through our own effort, to bring this world more and more into conformity with the Divine Will. You are all no doubt aware of what St. Francis famously responded to one of his brother friars when asked “Francis, what would you do if you knew the world were to end today?” Francis responded, “finish hoeing this garden.” If the garden that God has called you to is politics, then keep working that garden as long as there is breath in your lungs.
    1. Followers of this blog know that my greatest passion is the revelations on the Divine Will to Luisa Piccarreta. Well,  significant portions of Luisa’s writings involve the drama of a sole Catholic politician fighting against the introduction of a law permitting divorce. Luisa offered herself as a victim for the sake of this politician and for his noble fight against this legal introduction of evil into society, which he was getting very discouraged in the midst of, due to the opposition he was facing and the fact that he was facing it alone. Jesus insisted time and time again of the importance of this, and Luisa suffered tremendously in order to fight this law; and indeed, they were victorious. (So much for the false notion that the dedication of oneself to the concerns of Heaven and to the concerns of politics are mutually exclusive.)

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Enough of that. Now on to…

Lessons Learned:

Defeatists

The Devil is the ultimate defeatist, and he counts as his own countless souls on Earth who, whether they know it or not, serve as his instruments by doing everything theyJudgment Day can to shoot down each and every bold endeavor for Christ that crosses their path.

I was told by so many people that it was impossible. That I couldn’t ever, as an un-endorsed newcomer, knock on doors and get anywhere near enough signatures to run for Congress. That I’d be so opposed that it would not even begin to work. That I had to do it the “right” way by first cozying up to the establishment, then running for school board, then city council, then county legislator, then state senate, then (and only then) Congress. Well, I got more signatures than they ever thought possible. I received more support than they ever thought I would. I stumbled upon people on the streets who decided in a mere few moments that they would be my allies. As I will discuss in a following paragraph, the opposition from the establishment was weak to nonexistent.

And next time, God willing, I’ll get the required amount (not on my own, mind you. Even this time around I had help; particularly from one very dedicated person who got over a hundred signatures for me).

But at the end of the day, who cares if you are successful by worldly standards? The best a defeatist can possibly do is argue that, looking at the evidence, it seems you won’t succeed. Again, even if he winds up being right, so what? Our Lord assures us that it is our faithfulness, and our willingness to suffer for His sake, that matters. It is that standard alone on which He rewards us — not for the success. And if we conduct ourselves in such a way that we are definitely building up treasures in Heaven — not merely by the hypothetical future achievement of our stated objective, but by what we are actually saying and doing each and every day — then we’ve already proven the defeatists wrong. In the paragraphs that follow you will see that God, through my efforts even on day one, achieved this.

Now besides the fact that defeatism should be condemned by its very nature, there is another truth concerning the political landscape itself that this defeatism is completely ignorant to: There is a sleeping giant waiting to be awakened; one which I experienced firsthand day after day on the streets. It is the political power of urban poor, often minority, registered Democrats who are pro-Faith, pro-Family, and pro-Life. I had so many wonderful conversations with, and received so much ardent support from, these people who were 100% behind my mission. Currently there is at least one politician who has realized this, and he is the single most pro-Life, pro-Faith, pro-Family politician in the entire country: The New York Democrat Ruben Diaz Sr  (unfortunately his son, the politician Ruben Diaz Jr., is a typical Culture of Death Democrat, so be sure not to confuse the two). I challenge you to find one Republican politician in this country bold enough to actually boast of his campaigning against gay “marriage” with none other than the TFP (which is so traditional that most Catholics fear it), facetiously thank NARAL for pointing out how anti-abortion he is, and post a video of himself deriding liberal notions of separation of Church and State, and do all of this on his official political campaign site. It is high time we start taking this sleeping giant seriously instead of buying into the current Catholic defeatist narrative that insists there is only one way to possibly fight the culture of death in politics: grudgingly accept every lame, lukewarmly “pro life” Republican that the establishment presents and ignore every other tenet of Catholic Social Doctrine.

Machine

I live in Albany, NY –major political machine territory. In fact, my practical namesake was a machine boss of enormous proportions until just a few decades ago. Nothing is supposed to happen here without the go-ahead of the Democratic Party Establishment. My opponent, Paul Tonko, is about as entrenched, established, and endorsed by this machine as one can possibly get, as he has been a career politician for 40 years. I suppose the mere contemplation of this reality is supposed to make would-be new political challengers shake in their boots and run in the opposite direction with their tails between their legs.Devil is Conquered

You will understand, then, how amusing it was to me that, despite often spending entire days pounding the streets, knocking on door after door in “Tonko territory,” I barely came across anyone who actually admired and supported him and consequently refused to sign my petition (maybe one a day, on average, if even that). In fact, practically everybody I talked to who actually could give a valid signature – because errors on the voter list often made this not possible – did indeed sign my petition! And these were only registered Democrats in the City of Albany: people who were supposed to be strong Tonko supporters. What I came across far more often were people sick and tired of establishment politicians completely ignoring the actual concrete needs of the poor, for the sake of flashy photo ops that they go running for whenever a big local business makes a press release about an event.

Ha! The bark of the machine sure is louder than its bite. If only we stopped thinking the world was so powerful, we’d have conquered it by now for Christ. Catholics far too often, instead of boldly diving headfirst into the midst of the battle, choose rather to mire themselves in conspiracy theories that convince them that all effort is for naught, make their circles of influence more and more enclosed and guarded, limit their “input” on matters to pointless ranting and comfortable armchair criticism, and dedicate their time to reading and promulgating endless diagnoses of the modern world’s problems while ignoring their calling to actually do something concrete, difficult, and self-sacrificial to resolve them. This is an utter tragedy. If you think you may have fallen victim to it, even if to a small degree, I can only beg you to read Evangelii Gaudium and allow yourself to be formed by this particular Magisterial Document.

And the Devil is the exact same way. When it comes to serious, convicted, devout Catholics, he operates primarily through fear, discouragement, and anxiety: because he is actually the one utterly terrified of us. That’s right. He knows that God, through us, can utterly demolish his plans if we only discard our fear of him and go on the offensive against him. I was told I would be spiritually attacked if I engaged in this; and indeed I was. But I do not fear spiritual attacks; all they do is make me turn more to God — the One Who is the sole purpose of my life anyway. So what do I have to lose? The worst the devil could do is kill me, if God allowed it. And so what? “Life to me means Christ, and death is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) The devil is powerless over us. Do not fear him – this only gives him power that he does not naturally have. Instead, laugh at him, scoff at him, consider him to be the insect that he is, stay close to Mary, and proceed with courage in the Will of God no matter what tantrums this causes the devil to throw (in fact, rejoice when he throws tantrums, because this only evidences the powerful workings of grace).

Mercy

Almost every day I went out, I wore a very clearly visible Divine Mercy pin (this one, to be precise). To almost every person I spoke, I ended our conversation with something to the effect of (in fact, usually verbatim:) “God bless you. Please pray for me. I will pray for you.”

Jesus and Mary“A daring and perhaps imprudent thing to mix with politics, Daniel!” you may be thinking. Well, guess how many people this was a problem for in my entire time of knocking on thousands of doors…..

Two.

Yes, a sum total of two people had a problem with my pin and my explicit Faith. And I was only seeking out registered Democrats in the least Bible-minded city in the entire country. It “should” have been practically all of them. And yet, almost without fail, the reaction was extremely positive. People were so thankful that I said “God bless you,” that I asked for their prayers, and that I assured them of mine. People loved the Divine Mercy pin — in fact, many said they were signing my petition because of that pin. There were people who saw my little brush up with their lives as signs from God. There were people who opened up to me about their problems, and by the end of me offering a mere few simple words of encouragement to trust in the Divine Mercy, were shedding tears of grace. There were people who were greatly encouraged and inspired to hope by someone actually trying to bring God into politics. I could go on for some time. So much for the lukewarm (and no doubt demonically inspired) notion that Faith should not be mixed with politics.

God’s grace is more powerful than anything. It’s more powerful than the devil. It’s more powerful than apathy. It’s more powerful than atheism. It’s more powerful than anti-Catholicism. The problem is not that God’s grace is lacking; rather, the problem is that there are so few really willing to try to put it to use to Conquer the World for Christ. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (Luke 10:2) This is not to say that everyone will be open to God’s grace. Quite the contrary, many will reject it and persecute the messenger (no servant is greater than his master; they persecuted Christ and they will persecute us). But there will always be enough of those who don’t reject grace that bringing it to the masses is worth the effort a thousand times over.

Think about how much of a “risk” I am taking just by writing this post. Those who were alerted to my campaign are perhaps keeping an eye on what I write publicly. They may have even saved this post to their hard drives so they can bring it up and try to use it against me when I try running again (because I am not giving up). And guess what? I don’t care. I am not afraid of the whole world knowing that my motivation here with politics is to Conquer the World for Christ and proclaim the Divine Mercy. This motive arises simply out of love of God and love of Neighbor. I am not going to frantically cling to every little strategy I can think of in order to increase my statistical odds of election at the expense of the Eternal Mission. I am not going to continually kick the can down the road my whole life (which is always what the Devil tries to convince us to do) and say to myself “Well… I’ll use only worldly methods for now, and once I’m in office and have more influence, then I’ll really start doing what I can for the Sake of the Kingdom.” If that is the way you think now, then it is the way you will think all the way to the grave. I shudder to think of what incredible graces would have been lost if I had refused to proclaim the Divine Mercy in the midst of gathering signatures under the pretense of delaying doing so until I was in office and therefore more influential. So many souls were touched by God’s Grace simply because I insisted on maintaining each day pounding the streets as a DWMoM Walk. If I instead neglected that and did it the “ordinary, ‘right’ way,” then I’d still be where I am now (not on the ballot), but without having brought the Divine Mercy to hundreds if not thousands of souls over that short time. 

As Pope Francis repeatedly insists, “time is greater than space.” (E.G. paragraph 222-225) Though at first this might seem vague, what he is trying to teach is very powerful: it is better to initiate a process – better to “go for the gold” even if it means someone else will reap the harvest down the line – than to merely limit ourselves to doing whatever is most likely to ensure that we ourselves will specifically benefit from our efforts, possess the power, and receive the thanks from them in the here and now.

I am definitely not encouraging proselytizing, being overbearing, or forcing yourself to say or do things that feel awkward for you. I am not saying that all of your endeavors should look like thinly-veiled sermons (on the contrary, we must do what we do because we believe in it, not because we simply want to sneak in some preaching). The best proclamation of the Divine Mercy — the best Evangelization — is always graceful, natural, and inviting (not imposing). A Divine Mercy pin is a great start; it allows people to ask you about it, if they so please. Responding to questions that others ask on their own initiative is among the best ways to Evangelize. Saying “God Bless you” and/or asking for someone’s prayers and assuring them of yours is always a great way to Evangelize. These small acts and others like them (I only present here a couple of my own ideas), done with love, can truly be the channels through which God works wonders in a person’s soul; especially if you do these things in the Divine Will.

Advice

The crisis of effeminacy in the Church is longstanding. And although limp wrists, lisps, and liturgical dancing are a part of it, they are nothing but a shadow of the real problem, which is a lack of willingness to undertake suffering, sacrifice, exertion, difficulty, and danger for the sake of the good.

Whenever someone reveals a desire to do something great for God — something that will inevitably require perseverance through great difficulty — a whole host of people tend to crop up insisting that there is a “better” way. This often kills supernatural vocations, but on a smaller scale, it also constantly kills individual missions to which God calls people.

Some of these promoters of easy advice do so innocently, and therefore bear no guilt, even though they still do great damage to God’s plan. They simply do not want to see people they love suffer unnecessarily and they have fallen into an over-inflated and disordered sense of prudence at the expense of other virtues. Some of them even do so by pointing to St. Therese of Lisieux, as if her beautiful “little way” somehow negates and renders sinful that great virtue of magnanimity. But the little way of the Little Flower has nothing to do with shunning great endeavors categorically! It merely has to do with the recognition that externally great things are not necessary in order to be a great saint, but rather, little things done with great love are necessary for this end. The little way cannot tell us whether great endeavors that we find on our hearts should be followed through with! How sad a world we would live in today if all of the great endeavors of the great saints were passed up simply because they were great!St John Capistrano

If you think you are called to do something great for Christ, you may well be. Dare not write off this inspiration on your heart because you are unworthy, or because people will laugh, or because “that’s not the way it’s usually done.” History would be a very boring thing if God’s Will was merely that everything always be done the same way. Life is very short. And it’s the only chance we get to earn merit for Heaven. Imprudent action for God is a real possibility; paralysis from fear is a far more common one.

Regarding my situation: I prayed much for God’s guidance (even asking St. Therese for a sign through a novena with my wife, and she gave me one) and felt that He was calling me to it. I discussed it with my wife and had her encouragement. I discussed it with my Spiritual Director and had his encouragement as well. Although an extraordinary mission, it was not entirely unreasonable either. I had a Providentially-placed long break from work right when I’d have to be pounding the streets. What further steps would have been needed before proceeding? None.

If I had refused to follow through with it because the political “experts” insisted I do it in another way (and indeed they did – without an ounce of meekness), or because I feared the judgment and criticism of those who cannot stand those close to them “rocking the boat,” or because I dreaded the sacrifice entailed, then all I would be left with now is the pangs of remorse.

I would have been spared much suffering, indeed. For “easy” is one thing this mission was not. Spending all day outside in New York in March and April means you will be exposed to great heat, great cold, rain, snow, wind, and the like, all in the span of a week. Going through all of the poorest streets of a city is not exactly the safest thing you can do, either. You will pass by all manner of dissolution and decay, and will have to interact with these situations to varying degrees — all without any hesitation or revulsion. Walking each floor of the project high rises means being exposed to a plethora of sights, sounds, and smells that you’d rather not know existed. Knocking on someone’s door to ask for a signature because you’re running for office is especially taxing, as you are putting yourself at the mercy of people you have never met and know nothing about, door after door, all day long, day after day. It is physically and spiritually exhausting and demanding. And this is all not to mention that, once you actually get the requisite number of signatures, you are then attacked viciously by those whose established realms of power, through which they exercise the dominion of the Culture of Death, you dare to challenge.

So, yes, the sacrifice is real, and it is significant. Those who are always there to give the “easy advice” themselves have a very straightforward job when it comes to finding reasons to discourage the great missions that God calls souls to; in this case, politics. But they miss the point entirely. The degree of suffering involved in a task says nothing about whether it is God’s will for us. That is determined by the call He has placed on the hearts of those who receive them. You and God alone know this, and no one else can tell you what it is. 

But now, instead of pangs of remorse, I have the joy and peace of knowing I tried my best, and built up many treasures in Heaven in the midst of it. 

Easy advice feels great to get; it’s almost like a lullaby. But you can detect its presence by the fact that, instead of your heart filling with charity, joy, and peace when you receive it, it is instead filled with love of pleasure, fear of suffering, and a subtle melancholy. And remember well that it is not how we feel before an endeavor, or even in the midst of it, that judges its character and its accordance with the Will of God: rather, it is how we feel after it. “Virtue is the roughest way, but proves at night a bed of down.” So I will leave you with a couple quotes. One from a president whose example I would not overall recommend imitating, but who nevertheless gave this solid advice that should resound in the hearts of all.

“It is not for the success of a work, but for the suffering that I give reward.” – Jesus to St. Faustina

“You were born to be a leader! There is no room among us for the lukewarm. Humble yourself and Christ will set you aflame again with the fire of Love…. Don’t let your life be sterile. Be useful. Blaze a trail. Shine forth with the light of your faith and of your love. With your apostolic life wipe out the slimy and filthy mark left by the impure sowers of hatred. And light up all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you carry in your heart….Esto vir!–Be a man!” St. Josemaria Escriva

“Dear friends, may no adversity paralyze you. Be afraid neither of the world, nor of the future, nor of your weakness. The Lord has allowed you to live in this moment of history so that, by your faith, his name will continue to resound throughout the world.” – Pope Benedict XVI

“Strength and daring. The socio-cultural context in which you live is at times weighed down by mediocrity and boredom. We must not resign ourselves to the monotony of daily life; rather we must cultivate projects of a wider breadth and go beyond the ordinary…” – Pope Francis

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Teddy Roosevelt.

Update: Now, dear friends, know that most of us are not called to do so-called “great” things like run for Federal Office. Please do not let restlessness or anxiety enter your heart upon reading this section simply because God has only called you to the small things! St. Therese is so right that the truly important thing is to do the small things with great love — in the Divine Will — as a constant prayer. Neither the apparent “greatness” of an act, nor the quantitative degree of pain involved in it, determines its worth in the eyes of Our Lord and therefore its eternal value. I write this section not because I think all Catholics need to get out there right now and do “great” things. I don’t even think most of them should! (I write this section merely because I think more Catholics than currently are trying to do so are, in fact, called to do the “great” things. I think that confusing the deadly vice of pride with the great virtue of magnanimity is a common error in many Catholic circles today. St. Alphonsus Liguori called out this error strongly.)
 But really, at the end of the day, the important thing is to remember this: do little things with great love. This is why the Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy apostolate was the backdrop even for my run for Congress; the DWMoM approach is all about little things with great love — simply praying for the Eucharist to be preserved within you, asking for the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, and going out after Mass to say “God Bless you” to people, pray for them, and let them see the Divine Mercy image. Tiny, tiny things — yet infinitely powerful when done in the Divine Will.

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In Conclusion

Now, dear friends, I do not mean to overly insist upon politics. I am certainly not pretending that our own political effort is somehow going to usher in, on its own, the Era of Peace. Far from it! Politics is just one method (albeit, a particularly powerful and noble one) to do our small part in Conquering the World for Christ. I have shared this rather long post with you simply because it is one method that God has recently called me to use. I have not suddenly completely changed my focus; don’t worry, the same things I have been promoting for my seven years writing this blog still remain my primary areas of concern – above all the Divine Mercy and the Divine Will.

My point is simply that we all must do everything we can. We must not be lazy. The times are too urgent. What will be lost if we neglect our duty is too horrible to imagine, and what will be gained if we are faithful is too glorious to comprehend.

So let us return to where we started: half of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is now gone. We’ll never get it back. Will the end of this Year of Mercy usher in the actual end of the Time of Mercy? As I have stated repeatedly, I do not know. But let us determine the degree of our zeal for Proclaiming the Divine Mercy as if it just might. For although I do not know if the Time of Mercy will end (or begin to end) 174 days from now, I do know that a Holy Year the likes of which the world has never seen will end on that day. I do know that the Doors of Mercy throughout all the nations will close on that day, the Feast of Christ the King of 2016. And I know that I do not want to spend eternity wondering what would have happened if I had used the time before that day in a better way.

Now even after saying all of this, many will choose to remain convinced that I am crazy; that I am a delusional Don Quixote who is in reality just another imprudent loose cannon who will be laughed at, fail, and then be forgotten.

So be it. I am willing to be thought of as insane, and I haven’t the slightest desire for worldly recognition, worldly success, or anything of the sort.

But I am not willing, come the Great Judgment of the Last Day, to be found to have been lukewarm. And above all, oh Prince of this World, know this: “there is nothing so fearsome as an enemy who, though beaten, bruised, and bloodied, will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up.” So this I solemnly vow: to never give up until the Kingdom of God has come fully upon Earth, and to exhaust every weapon I can get my hands on — private revelation, theology, politics, fighting abortion, culture, media, holy images, apologetics, academics, witness, admonishment, inspiration, technology… everything (all with the primary themes of proclaiming the Divine Mercy and Living in the Divine Will) — to Conquer the World for Christ and do my small part in laying the foundations for and calling down the Reign of the Divine Will; counting my own life as nothing in this pursuit.

Not all are called to politics. Yet all the baptized are indeed called to do all that they can to contribute to this Divine Conquest.

Therefore, join me, brethren in Christ, in this vow.

Christ the King

 

I have changed “vow to never rest” to “vow to never give up,” because I fear I gave the wrong impression. I simply said that in the spirit of Isaiah 62:1 and Psalm 132:5.:
For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep still, Until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her salvation like a burning torch
I will give my eyes no sleep, my eyelids no rest, Till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.
 I of course do not literally mean that we should never sleep, enjoy ourselves, or go on vacation! I merely mean that I (and I invite everyone to similarly commit) absolutely will not give up the fight; I will not ever simply re-align my life to center it on comfort/pleasure/safety/job security/health&fitness/convenience/money/career paths/networking/prestige instead of ensuring that the primary focus of my life is doing, until my last breath, my best to work for the Coming of the Kingdom.
February 29, 2016

An Extraordinary Opportunity for Grace

We are on the cusp of the half-way point of Lent, and also today we have arrived at the vigil of the first day of a truly astonishing opportunity for grace.Floodgates of Divine Grace

March 1st marks the first day of the 33 day Marian Consecration that will consummate on this year’s Liturgical celebration of the Feast of the Annunciation (which must be moved from its ordinary March 25th date this year -due to Good Friday- all the way to the day after Divine Mercy Sunday). For the past several weeks, Fr. Gaitley has been travelling all over my diocese giving talks on what an awesome opportunity this is – and my Bishop, Edward Scharfenberger, is asking the entire Diocese to do this Consecration. 

Now there is so much grace to be received in these 33 days, I cannot even begin to fathom it. This set of 33 days encompasses much of Lent, the Holy Triduum, the entire Octave of Easter, the Divine Mercy Novena (the most important and powerful Novena in existence) and above all, Divine Mercy Sunday:

  • The day about which Our Lord said: “I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy.” (Faustina’s Diary, paragraph 956)
  • The day about which Our Lord said: “On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces… On that day all the divine floodgates through which graces flow are opened.” (Ibid., 699)
  • The day on which each and every Catholic may easily receive a true second Baptism (remission of all sin and punishment) merely by being in a state of grace -implying having done one’s duty to go to Confession – and receiving Communion. (Ibid., 300, 699, 1109)

It also encompasses the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, and the heavenly birthday of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. It encompasses both fasting and feasting. And let us not forget that this is taking place during the extraordinary and unprecedented Jubilee Year of Mercy in the midst of ever hastening and intensifying Signs of the Times.

Many are even speculating that The Warning could very well be on this Good Friday or Divine Mercy Sunday. As for me, I do not know nor do I even have an opinion on this timing; but how can we go wrong by spiritually preparing sufficiently so that we are ready if indeed it is?

The graces are there – objectively and with certainty: in incomprehensible superabundance. But what we ourselves appropriate from these graces is dependent upon our subjective disposition.

God is not going to magically zap us with grace– that is not the point of this Time of Testing; we must rather do our part. Should we not, therefore, ensure that we are truly in spiritual “high gear,” in the most powerful way possible?

I don’t suppose I need to instruct anybody here on how Our Lady is the quickest, easiest, and surest way to Our Lord; and how 33 Day Consecration is perhaps the most powerful means of devotion to Our Lady. What is more, the Annunciation is the best day to consecrate yourself to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Why? Not only is it the greatest event in the history of creation, but St. Louis de Montfort, the Father of 33 Day Consecration, also insists that this is the best day for such a Consecration because it is also the day that God Himself, as it were, consecrated Himself to the Blessed Virgin Mary. That is to say, it is the day on which He entered her womb and subjected Himself entirely to her. Therefore it is most fitting that we do the same on this day.

Now this 33 day consecration is an awesome opportunity in and of itself, but I wish to present to you two additional practices to exponentially increase the spiritual fruit borne to the point that, I haven’t the slightest doubt, you will be Living in the Divine Will – that is, infinitely exceeding in Sanctity even Spiritual Marriage – if only you do them and do not actively and intentionally oppose grace:

Combine this aforementioned Marian Consecration with a daily reading from the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will, and a daily reading from the Hours of the Passion (up to the Triduum).

This is not just some spiritual regimen I dreamed up. Providence has arranged this:

First of all, it is no mere coincidence that, of Luisa’s many thousands of pages of revelations, these two works are the ones that have already had the Moratorium lifted on their promulgation. It is Providential because, while all of Luisa’s writings are incredibly powerful, these two works stand out for their unparalleled ability to very quickly and easily allow readers of them to build up enormous treasures in Heaven, receive the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, grow in the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, and prepare the ground for the Universal Reign of the Divine Will. Indeed in general, it is beyond question that the two greatest devotions are devotion to Mary and devotion to the Lord’s Passion. So too, when it comes to the Gift of Living in the Divine Will, the greatest way to receive it is through these two paths.Jesus and Mary

But the Providential nature of what is now upon us does not end there:

In the revelations of Jesus to Luisa, the Hours of the Passion, there are 24 Hours of the Passion; hence, 24 separate readings. These begin with the 5pm Hour on Holy Thursday with Our Lord departing from His Blessed Mother, and end with Our Lord’s burial at the 4pm Hour on Good Friday. If, along with beginning our Marian Consecration on March 1st, and in the spirit of Lent, we read one “hour” each day (the readings correspond to one hour of Our Lord’s Passion, but do not actually take a full hour to complete: they are only several pages each on average), then we will finish the Hours of the Passion precisely as the Holy Triduum begins; for there are exactly 24 days from the start of this consecration (March 1st) to Holy Thursday (the first event depicted in Luisa’s 24 hours of the Passion). This allows for Good Friday itself to be set aside for a re-do (even if it must be significantly abridged) of the entire work. Recall as well that Our Lord promised that He will grant the salvation of a soul for every word of these Hours we prayerfully read

And in the revelations of Our Lady to Luisa, the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will, there are 31 days; hence, 31 separate readings. This was designed for the month of May, but can be used any time, and it will correspond perfectly with the month of March (for it too has 31 days). March, though not a month traditionally attributed explicitly to the Holy Virgin, nevertheless really is her month just as much as or more than any other; for it is the Month of the Annunciation, which as I have already said is by far – with no close second – the greatest event in the history of creation. It is the month during which she acquired her greatest title -the greatest title possible for a creature- a title which, for all eternity, shall remain singularly hers: Mother of God.

Now this leaves us with four more days until the Consecration Day itself: the perfect amount of time for an abridged Consecration to the Divine Mercy, as explained by Fr. Gaitley (in his book that was just released, 33 Days to Merciful Love). He teaches four primary steps: 1) Trust, 2) The Little Way, 3) The Offering to Merciful Love, and 4) Darkness. With this configuration, step 3, perfectly Providentially (for it is the step in which we fully give ourselves to the Divine Mercy), falls on Divine Mercy Sunday itself. While I do not in the least wish to dissuade anyone from reading Fr Gaitley’s wonderful book, I will nevertheless be presenting my own abridged version of these four steps, so that they can fit into our regimen on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of April, respectively, and so that anyone who cannot get their hands on a copy of this book does not miss out on these graces, which might just never come again. I will be summarizing Fr. Gaitley’s four steps as 1) Trust, 2) Love, 3) Mercy, and 4) Veil.

Although I do not yet have these four steps summarized, I will be sure to have them available before they become necessary (April 1st, that is); so just check back here (DSDOConnor.com) at that point to download/print them. Alternatively, you can simply replace your readings of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will (which will end March 31st) with an equally sized reading from St. Faustina’s Diary. Feel free to just say a prayer and open the Diary up randomly, trusting the Holy Spirit to direct you to the passages He desires you to see.

How beautiful it is that everything is fitting together like a perfectly designed jigsaw puzzle! I wanted to make this as easy and accessible as possible for everyone (not to mention completely free and online). So I’ve gone ahead and made a PDF file specifically for each day. Here they are! You can simply come back here each day and click on the appropriate PDF, or if you’d prefer to download and/or print the whole thing at once, here is the entirety in one PDF. (Please don’t be scared by the number of pages: the page count is quite deceptive due to page sizing which was out of my control. In ordinary book print this would probably amount to less than half of the page count of this PDF file – so, if you print it, you might even want to set it to print “two per page”).

These prayers apply to each of the following days for the Marian Consecration from St. Louis de Montfort and therefore are not included in each one (to save your printer some ink):

Finally, if you are stumbling upon this in the middle of March: don’t worry. Just start late! Those late to the vineyard receive the same payment.

  1. March 1st – March 24th. These days contain: I)St. Louis de Montfort Consecration prayers II)BVM in Kingdom Reading, and III)Hours of the Passion Reading
    1. March 1st
    2. March 2nd
    3. March 3rd
    4. March 4th
    5. March 5th
    6. March 6th
    7. March 7th
    8. March 8th
    9. March 9th
    10. March 10th
    11. March 11th
    12. March 12th
    13. March 13th
    14. March 14th
    15. March 15th
    16. March 16th
    17. March 17th
    18. March 18th
    19. March 19th
    20. March 20th
    21. March 21st
    22. March 22nd
    23. March 23rd
    24. March 24th
  2. March 25th – March 31st. These days contain: I) St. Louis de Montfort Consecration prayers  II) BVM in Kingdom Reading, and III) Divine Mercy Novena prayers
    1. March 25th
    2. March 26th
    3. March 27th
    4. March 28th
    5. March 29th
    6. March 30th
    7. March 31st
  3. April 1st – April 2nd. I) St. Louis de Montfort Consecration prayers , II) Divine Mercy Novena prayers , and III) Divine Mercy Consecration meditations
    1. April 1st  (+at this time, check DSDOConnor.com for the Divine Mercy Consecration part of this PDF or simply read from Divine Mercy Diary)
    2. April 2nd (+at this time, check DSDOConnor.com for the Divine Mercy Consecration part of this PDF or simply read from Divine Mercy Diary)
  4. The Consecration Days.
    1. April 3rd – (Divine Mercy Sunday): Divine Mercy Consecration (Check DSDOConnor.com for this PDF or simply read from Divine Mercy Diary)
    2. April 4th – Consecration to Jesus through Mary

I wish to vigorously encourage at least trying this. I need not repeat how utterly unprecedented and urgent these times are. Serious regimens like these are how we respond! Special Forces do not pick away at the enemy here and there when it pleases them — they attack with ferocity and with strategy, discipline and perseverance. We, as the true special forces of the Church Militant, must do likewise.

I will share that I am committing myself to this regimen, even though it completely overlaps with an undertaking that I may very well be engaged in, which, if God does indeed wind up calling me to it, will likely wind up being the most difficult and exhausting thing I have ever done, not to mention extraordinarily time consuming (I ask you for your prayers). I hope you, too, will consider this Consecration regimen, even if doing to it will be difficult and constitute a true sacrifice. Some tips:

  • Do the readings/meditations whenever you prefer, but if you do it early in the morning it will seem more like a joy and less like a burden.
  • If you need to reward yourself a bit to help make this happen, that’s fine. You can do these readings (meditatively and prayerfully) on your favorite chair, with your favorite beverage, in your favorite room, or overlooking your favorite view. It’s not exactly objectively as good as kneeling in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, but that’s okay! It’s better than not doing them.
  • If you need to do your daily Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet while driving or walking in order to make time, that’s okay too.

It is customary to, at the end of the 33 days, and along with the Consecration to Mary, put on a chain (that, if you please, you may wear for the rest of your life around your ankle/wrist/waist) to symbolize that you are a willing and loving slave of Mary and, in this case, a slave of the Divine Will. I have inconspicuously worn my chain for 5 years, and I know it has been a great channel of grace in my life.

Now I will close my plea to you all to follow this most noble, powerful, and holy path by quoting the man himself, St. Louis de Montfort, in his great Treatise, True Devotion to Mary:

“…the greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them. I said that this will happen especially towards the end of the world, and indeed soon, because Almighty God and his holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs. ...These great souls filled with grace and zeal will be chosen to oppose the enemies of God who are raging on all sides. They will be exceptionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Illumined by her light, strengthened by her food, guided by her spirit, supported by her arm, sheltered under her protection, they will fight with one hand and build with the other. With one hand they will give battle, overthrowing and crushing heretics and their heresies, schismatics and their schisms, idolaters and their idolatries, sinners and their wickedness. With the other hand they will build the temple of the true Solomon and the mystical city of God, namely, the Blessed Virgin, who is called by the Fathers of the Church the Temple of Solomon  and the City of God . By word and example they will draw all men to a true devotion to her and though this will make many enemies, it will also bring about many victories and much glory to God alone.

Bourguereau-madonnalilies

P.S. To those who joined us online in prayer yesterday, my apologies for the session crash. My internet is extremely reliable and almost never crashes; the fact that it did just that in the middle of our Divine Mercy/Divine Will prayer meeting is a testimony to how much the devil does not want us praying in the Divine Will. Let us not permit him to prevent us.

 

January 31, 2016

Inspiration

Forenote:

I am working on making my Divine Will page, www.DSDOConnor.com/DivineWill into a compilation of resources and comprehensive introduction to Luisa’s revelations. If directing someone you’d like to introduce to the Divine Will to a 90 page PDF (my Ebook) might be a bit much, feel free to direct him there instead. From that page, one can choose either brief overviews or more in-depth explorations of Luisa’s writings.

 

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Dear Friends,

How much admonishing I do on this blog!

And yet, admonishment without inspiration is nothing but Jansenism. Therefore I would like to bring you several brief video clips that I have often used to bolster my own courage and inspiration from time to time.

God knows we are all weak creatures, ever so inclined toward slothfulness; so He gives us many ways to pluck up courage and respond to our callings with zeal. Jesus said to Luisa Piccarreta “My daughter, don’t you know that discouragement kills souls more than all other vices?  Therefore, courage, courage, because just as discouragement kills, courage revives, and is the most praiseworthy act that the soul can do, because while feeling discouraged, from that very discouragement she plucks up courage...” Jesus also told St. Faustina that discouragement is the greatest obstacle to holiness.

Therefore, be zealous. Especially during this Holy Year. And let these clips help you. When you feel discouragement creeping in; or perhaps even starting to utterly overwhelm you, then say a prayer and perhaps give one (or more) of these a watch. So long as the virtue of moderation is observed, do not hesitate to watch them whenever you feel the need. Just be sure that every ounce of the inspiration you receive from them is not permitted to be channeled into some vain or proud motive, but is instead held captive for Christ.

Finally, please be advised that, while I would never post a clip that violates my beliefs in what should and should not be portrayed in film, nevertheless much of what follows is not for children and not for the faint-hearted. Also, there are spoilers; if you have not seen (but do plan to see) a movie that a clip is from, then don’t watch it.

————————
This clip from the 1998 Les Miserables reminds me of the power of Mercy, and how I must be merciful, even when — and especially when — mercy is costly and difficult rather than cheap and easy. This clip is a bit longer than the others, but well worth it. It also comprises the first minutes of the movie, so no spoilers here.

I cannot say exactly how or why or for what, but I find this trailer for Restless Heart: the Confessions of St Augustine very inspirational

 

The next scenes are from The Giver. They might not make sense if you don’t know the gist of the plot

This scene from the Giver reminds me to heed the calls of God on the heart (which I consider as this scene’s “emotion” reference) instead of succumbing to the temptations of the flesh to fleeting pleasures (which I consider as this scene’s “feelings” reference)

This scene from the Giver reminds me that ultimately it is to some degree my fault if women in my town have abortions, because I could be praying and sidewalk counseling outside where they have them, for I am among the relatively few (as, no doubt, are readers of this blog) who understand the horror of abortion and the power of even one soul praying outside a Planned Parenthood.

And this final part of the Giver I find to be a very inspiring analogy for the coming Warning — the Illumination of Conscience; though it certainly did not intend to be that.

A brief bit of background: The scene begins with the main character escaping with a baby that they were going to kill (see the previous clip). His goal is to pass through the “barrier of memory” (a stupid and impossible concept, but oh well), which will cause all of the memories to return to the people of this dystopian society that blocks all emotion from its members. I find this “return of memories” to be similar to what we expect from The Warning.

This final scene from the Lord of the Rings — the Return of the King, so reminds me of what we now await — the Glorious Reign of Peace, and it inspires me to even now prepare the ground for that Glorious Reign by proclaiming the Divine Mercy and living in the Divine Will.

 

Above all, the Passion of the Christ. No other movie comes close. Buy it

This compilation of a few different scenes from Beyond the Gates reminds me not to avoid sufferings, but to expose myself to them for the sake of the Glory of God and the Salvation of Souls, for in them is found the only thing humans can do that the angels envy: suffering for Christ. (By the way, I highly recommend watching this entire movie – don’t rent it, buy it, and lend it to others. If you are going to do that, then skip this clip!) It reminds me that God is truly found in the midst of the most terrible situations. The final scene from Beyond the Gates reminds me how fortunate I am to have time to work for the Coming of God’s Kingdom, and the freedom to do so — and how I therefore have a grave duty to use it well.

This scene from the Butterfly Circus reminds me to bear all wrongs patiently, and never lose my peace even in the face of revolting things done to me or said about/to me. It especially reminds me not to expect that everything will be sunshine and roses even if I am doing God’s Will and engaging in works of mercy.

 

This scene from the Rite reminds me of the power of simple Faith over the most terrifying demons, and that if I have Faith, I need fear nothing, but proceed with boldness to overcome any obstacle. The main character has been a seminarian for four years but, until this scene, truly had no faith and was nothing but a skeptic/agnostic.

 

This one is a bit of a stretch, but it works for me so I’ll post it in case it works for you also. This clip, though of course having a very fictional setting (which might not make sense if you haven’t seen/read Lord of the Rings), nevertheless helps remind me of the fleeting nature of this earthly life, and how I must ensure that I never, not for one day, live it in such a way that is directed at Earth instead of Heaven.

 

 

Is there anyone who has not drawn great inspiration from Sam’s Speech to Frodo?

 

This scene from the movie, The Kingdom of Heaven (a movie I would not overall recommend), is a great reminder of Judgment Day and our duties before it. I actually put this on my YouTube channel quite some time ago and it has since garnered many views:

This scene from Hotel Rwanda shows the turning point of the main character, where he fundamentally transitions from selfishness and fear to selflessness and courage. After the U.N. abandoned — after, of course, evacuating all the non-Rwandans– the Tutsis even as all the children in an orphanage arrive hoping to escape, he forgets about his vain worldly immediate goals of preserving his hotel and instead sacrifices himself for the human beings in front of him. I watch this to be inspired to make the same choice in my own life:

From For Greater Glory, the martyrdom of Blessed José Sánchez del Río. Sad yet beautiful beyond words. To add to the importance of this, it was just announced that he will be canonized. I don’t suppose I need say what this reminds me of. 

 

This final scene from I Am Legend, where the main character reveals, moments before his self-sacrificial heroic act, that he has converted from being a skeptic who disbelieves in Providence and God (shown in the first half of this video) to the very opposite, inspires me to give up hope on no one (for God’s grace can easily – in a moment – turn His most vociferous opponent into His most ardent soldier – Acts 9:4) and to remember that sacrifice is the measure of love

Platitudinous, yes… but somehow “Your heart is free. Have the courage to follow it” so very much sticks with me and inspires me from this scene from the beginning of Braveheart. How often we neglect our callings because of petty concerns, anxieties, fears, and worries. It should never be so! Jesus constantly tells us to not be afraid. There is no reason for fear, or the hesitation and shirking of duties that comes from it, in following the callings He has placed on our hearts; let us take His word for it.

This scene from Gladiator, particularly the line “Brothers, what we do in life echoes in eternity.” How true!!! We should approach each and every day with the vigor that the soldiers would have received from that speech and charged into battle with. One of the questions the Church asks when pondering whether to canonize a saint is “Did he rejoice at the near approach of death?” We should all rejoice at this!

If you, too, happen to find any of these clips particularly inspirational, then I recommend downloading them onto your hard drive. You never know when YouTube will decide to remove a video. This program enables you to do so: http://www.ytddownloader.com/ Just be very careful as you install it — they will try to trick you into installing a bunch of other garbage (yahoo toolbars, etc.) that you have to very carefully “decline” each step of the way.

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ADDENDUM

I would like to make one final note:

Some of you perhaps feel discouraged because you think that Pope Francis has condemned condemnation of sin, that he has undermined the necessity of your apostolates, that he is insisting upon an entirely different form of the Mission of the Gospel than you have dedicated yourself to and sacrificed so much for, or something of the sort.

He has not.

Here is what he formally prepared, wrote, and released through the Vatican (meaning it is much more authoritative than off-the-cuff remarks [perhaps even only allegedly said] in interviews, etc.) just last week:

We can and we must judge situations of sin …It is our task to admonish those who err and to denounce the evil and injustice of certain ways of acting, for the sake of setting victims free and raising up those who have fallen.

… Our primary task is to uphold the truth with love (cf. Eph 4:15). Only words spoken with love and accompanied by meekness and mercy can touch our sinful hearts. Harsh and moralistic words and actions risk further alienating those whom we wish to lead to conversion and freedom, reinforcing their sense of rejection and defensiveness.”

https://w2.vatican.va...

This Pontificate is not actually confusing. There is nothing confusing about a Pope opening up footwashing to women, updating annulment law, or tweaking the Canonical details of the reception of Communion; the Vicar of Christ is well within his rights to do these things, and the opinion of individual lay people like me on such actions is not particularly important. Nor does God need to consult me before He steers the Church through His Vicar; His words to people who think that He does need to consult them is the same as they were to Saul on the day of his conversion “…it hurts you to kick against the goads.” (Acts 26:14)

“Love the sinner, hate the sin” always has been and always will be the mission of the Church. Pope Francis focuses especially on the former, but the mission itself has not changed one iota.

Almost four years ago, when I was making www.PrepareToSeeHim.org — during the Pontificate of Benedict XVI and in preparation for the Year of Faith — I was striving to put together a website that was both overflowing with mercy in its approach, and also utterly unafraid of calling out those evils that so inundate the world today; so praised and promoted by mainstream Godless ideology; so destructive to souls. I hope I at least somewhat succeeded, as there are now at least one hundred thousand Evangelization Cards that announce this URL circulating around the country and hundreds, if not thousands, more mailed out each week. Every day my wife and I pray that each and every one of those cards will bear abundant fruit.

As I was writing that site, I had the teachings of Pope Benedict on my mind inspiring me. I now have the teachings of Pope Francis on my mind inspiring me. So much drama has transpired during those years. So many debates. So much dissension over relatively minor questions. So much factiousness. And yet…

My mission has not changed. The mission has not changed.

Do not be distracted. Do not be discouraged. Eyes on the prize.

As the events that must come continue to transpire, commentary & debate will seem ever more vital, and the temptation to absorb ourselves in it will ever increase. We must recognize that as a temptation, fight it, and refuse to succumb to it.

In reality, it is the mission that is becoming ever more vital, and we must urgently absorb ourselves in that:

 

Live in the Divine Will

Proclaim the Divine Mercy

Eucharist, Rosary, Chaplet, Scripture, Fasting, Confession, Works of Mercy

Pray, pray, pray

And let love – utterly pure, disinterested, complete, self-sacrificial love – be the absolutely unquestionable form of each and every one of your decisions, thoughts, words, and deeds.

May

Jesus, I Trust in You.

Thy Will Be Done.

Be ever on your mind, heart, and lips.

 

December 19, 2015

Our Lady’s Apparitions and the Season of Advent

 

I gave a talk locally this past week entitled “Our Lady’s Apparitions and the Season of Advent.” It wound up being recorded (audio only), so I decided to post it here for anyone interested. (You can simply download the mp3 directly with this link).  There’s nothing new here for anyone already acquainted with Our Lady’s apparitions, but it might be worth sharing with those who have not really been exposed to this aspect of our Faith:

December 8, 2015

And So It Begins

Indeed, it begins. Today marks the first day in the Holy Year of Mercy.

Permit me to remind you that this extraordinary Jubilee (Holy) Year is truly unprecedented — although the Church has been proclaiming Holy Years every few decades for over 700 years, during which a Holy Door is opened in Rome, in this particular Holy Year, a Holy Door will be opened in every single diocese in the entire world. These Holy Doors, proclaimed by the authority of the Vicar of Christ, will all become “Doors of Mercy” (I quote verbatim from the Bull of Indiction) on this upcoming Sunday (December 13th).

And so, starting this Sunday, every person throughout the entire world will have the opportunity to literally, physically “pass through the door of mercy.”

“Before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice…” – Jesus to St. Faustina

The Door of Mercy Has Been Opened

Pope Francis Opening the Holy Door of Mercy. December 8th, 2015

A mere coincidence? Doubtful. Pope Francis explicitly acknowledged St. Faustina in this very same Bull of Indiction. Make no mistake about it: the Holy Father knows what he is doing. And I dare say he knows what is coming upon this world, though he is being very careful not to be too explicit with this knowledge so as to not cause the wrong type of a response. Consider as well that he has consecrated his Papacy to Our Lady of Fatima (the prophecies of which have not yet been completely fulfilled). He has urged us to read Lord of the World (an apocalyptic novel written by a priest about the rise of the Antichrist). His every decision smacks of unrivaled urgency — even (and especially) those things he does that might not be the most prudent. He does them, despite the risk of their potentially scandalous nature, because he is the primary laborer of the Final Harvest and he knows that time is incredibly short to open up hearts so they may receive the Divine Mercy when the long-prophesied events come. The mere existence of this Papacy (and the conditions that brought it about) is another unprecedented Sign of the Times: Pope Benedict knew it as well. That is why he earlier called for the Year of Faith (though it was not an Extraordinary Jubilee) — during which we would focus on the Catechism — because he knew that never before seen diabolical confusion (see 2 Thessalonians) was inundating the Church, and was about to inundate the Church even more explosively. (Hold fast to every single solitary word of the Catechism, my friends.) And perhaps I need to remind you that Pope St. John Paul II knew full well. He said: “We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the Antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously.Lord_of_the_World_book_cover_1907

Back to Holy Years. These Jubilee Years happen every 25 years, and have been happening every 25 years (unless prevented by political discord) since the 1400s, although they started the preceding century. Such Holy Years are called “ordinary” Jubilees. It would therefore be foolish to read a prophetic meaning to something that is a mere mathematical certainty. But Extraordinary Universal Jubilees (like this Holy Year of Mercy) are quite different: by their nature they are of extreme importance considering the time at hand [with one odd exception whereby Pius XI called one to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination]. Unfortunately it is difficult to find records of the Extraordinary Jubilees before the 1900s, but we do know that Pius IV called one in the 1500s to beg God’s grace upon the Council of Trent in response to the splintering of Christianity from the Protestant Reformation. Pope Leo XIII proclaimed two in the 1880s as the Church in Rome was in the midst of so many trials (so great was the distress for the Church in Rome that three of that century’s four the Ordinary Jubilees — which had been happening for 400 years at that point — could not even be held). The last two Extraordinary Jubilee Years were proclaimed (in 1933 and 1983) in order to mark the 1,900th and the 1,950th anniversaries of Redemption. Paul VI called a partial year Jubilee to celebrate the Second Vatican Council upon its closure. St. Pius X called one for a few months to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

So why am I bringing that all up?

Because this particular Extraordinary Universal Jubilee Year is utterly unique not only in the way I have already pointed out (regarding Holy Doors being opened everywhere in the world), but in that no one knows what exactly it is a response to. The only clear reason given in the Bull of Indiction was that this is a time in which “we are called to gaze even more attentively on mercy so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s action in our lives.” (paragraph 3)

Now if you are an enemy of the Pope inside the Church, then you have a very simple answer: “The Pope is inflamed with pride and just wants more attention.” Or “The Pope is calling our attention to ‘Mercy’ as a demonic ploy to change Church teaching on sacrilegious Communion.

But if you are a good Catholic who has not utterly lost his mind and set himself up against the Vicar of Christ, then you really, it seems, can only come to one conclusion:

This Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy is a direct response to Pope Francis’ God-given insight that the Time of Mercy is on the brink of ending, and we must now hold nothing back in proclaiming the Divine Mercy.

 

Image 1611 Dec. 08 19.12I’m sorry, but just thinking that Mercy is a good thing and that now would be a nice time to be a little more enthusiastic in proclaiming it would never be sufficient to motivate the Holy Father to proclaim a Universal Extraordinary Jubilee Year.

Consider as well the beginning and ending days of this Holy Year: today, the great Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and next year, the Solemnity of Christ the King, respectively. Both of these great Feasts bear the aura of the Triumph of God — the Reign of the Divine Will; the former in its true initiation, the latter in its true fulfillment.

So can we therefore be certain that this Holy Year will be the world’s last chance at the Divine Mercy before the Divine Justice — the Great Chastisements prophesied by countless saints and above all by the Book of Revelation — will fall upon the earth immediately after it, or at least gradually after it leading up to the great 2,000th Jubilee of Redemption? Of course not.

But every sign seems to be indicating that this is a very realistic possibility.

So this is what I exhort, plea, urge, and beg each of you: prayerfully consider making use of this Holy Year for the Coming of the Kingdom like you have never made use of any year before.

I am not advising imprudence. Do not do anything you will regret if the world somehow manages to limp on in its current state for a couple more decades. So continue to honorably fulfill the duties of your state in life. Continue to pay your bills (including debts you owe on loans). Continue to do your job diligently. If you are a student, continue to work diligently and strive for good grades. Above all, be a good spouse and parent, if that is what you are: this is your vocation, and therefore your path to holiness.

But I am exhorting you to consider this: giving the Coming of the Kingdom the benefit of the doubt — at least for this year. Let it be the sole objective of your life. Some concrete ways of doing so could include:

  • Is there some daily or weekly undertaking that you could give up and replace with more prayer or works of mercy? Perhaps a television show, a movie-watching routine, a text-conversation habit, a high-maintenance friendship that is not edifying for either party involved, a sports team overzealously followed, an unnecessary news-checking habit… *Or maybe all of the above.* (Don’t be easy on yourself with this. Examine your daily routine and cut out the fat. We are soldiers, and we must act like it.)
  • If so, consider giving it up, or at least decreasing its frequency, and replacing it with a daily or weekly:
    • Holy hour — or two, or three (preferably in front of the Blessed Sacrament)
    • DWMoM outing
    • Striving to be a DWMoM in Spirit
    • Prayer and sidewalk counseling outside Planned Parenthood
    • Visits to the local nursing home, hospital, hospice, or prison.
    • Some other Corporal or Spiritual Work of Mercy
  • Always have Divine Mercy Evangelization cards on you, ready to hand out to people or simply place in various locations. We have more on hand and will be happy to send them out as long as we can! Just request them here if you think you might use them.
  • I would like to extend an invitation to anyone interested: Feel free join me at the Albany DWMoM (Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy) group’s weekly meetings. Every Sunday — starting the first Sunday of the Year of Mercy (that is, December 13th) — at 3:00pm (Eastern Time) (edit: This Sunday we’ll be starting at 4:00pm to allow local people to first go to the Albany Cathedral’s Holy Door opening Mass). These meetings will be at my home, but we’re planning to host them online as well so that anyone who wishes to join us in prayer can do so remotely. This will be both a Divine Will/Divine Mercy prayer group and a group dedicated to discussing the Proclamation of the Divine Mercy and Living in the Divine Will. The link to join these meetings will be available at the www.DWMoM.org website, which you can simply click on Sundays at 3pm.
  • Have you been feeling called out of a stressful job situation because it demands too much of your time? Perhaps now is the time to work a more reasonable, even if lower-paying, job.
  • Perhaps you could put off plans of worldly ambition, at least for this year: seeking career promotions, bigger houses, lucrative investments, additional (unneeded) educational degrees, etc.
  • Perhaps you have a large amount of free time due to the status of your state in life; retired, in-between jobs yet financially stable, able to pay the bills without many hours of work a week, or whatever else. Consider dedicating yourself in an extraordinary way, this year, to the Proclamation of the Divine Mercy.
  • Discerning your vocation, and very unsure as to what your calling is? Perhaps you could put off zealously trying to figure it out this year, and instead simply “go with the flow” that God gives to your life, while dedicating yourself to Living in the Divine Will and Proclaiming the Divine Mercy.

Aim for daily, where possible. What is most important in life should be a daily occurrence. And — as if this weren’t already true! — the Holy Year puts plainly before our eyes the simple fact that Evangelization, taking its most important form of Proclaiming the Divine Mercy, is of the utmost importance.monstrance_divine_mercy_rays

But remember that prayer is indeed the greatest Work of Mercy. Do not be anxious if some given day, or week, or perhaps even month, you simply cannot go out and do works of mercy. Intercessory prayer every day is more than sufficient in such scenarios. What we really need is Mary’s more so than Martha’s. Beg God’s mercy on this world so in need of it. Offer up all of your sufferings for that intention. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Rosary unceasingly. Do all that you do in the Divine Will. Offer yourself to God as a victim soul. Pray the Hours of the Passion as much as possible and be instructed by Our Lady on how to live continuously in the Will of her Son. Read the Divine Mercy Diary and let it guide your entire life.

The bottom line is this: God is going to win. His Mercy will triumph. He will do this directly to whatever extent He has to, but He prefers to delegate. Though omnipotent, He is so humble that He wishes His mere creatures to be the channels of His triumph. Therefore I am utterly convinced that our efforts this Holy Year, even the very most minimal by human standards, will reap a superabundant harvest. Just give God an excuse to act. Let Him out, and He will astonish — even if we have to wait until Judgment Day to visibly see what astonishing things He did. Let Him out through your acts done In His Will.

Call me crazy, but I really believe that just walking through the streets in prayer can now achieve what once took a Eucharistic Procession to achieve. I really believe that, if you live in the Divine Will and desire to proclaim the Divine Mercy, saying “God Bless you” to someone can achieve what once took a long sermon to accomplish. I really believe that handing someone a simple Divine Mercy card (or even just placing it somewhere) can do in a soul what once required convincing her to read a long book. I really believe that, even if to us our attempts seem so inadequate, miserable, and meager, that nevertheless through our prayer in the Divine Will, we can be the greatest intercessors and missionaries in history. Should we therefore stop at the minimum? Of course not. But let us trust that even these tiny acts on our part can indeed be and will be multiplied a thousand fold, and let that trust determine the degree of our inspiration to be faithful and attentive to so great an invitation.

It’s very easy for us to say “Fiat.” Let us say it this year.

***

Endnote 1:

Let us say, for the sake of argument, that this Holy Year will come and go like all the other ones have. By and large, ordinary life continues, and the prophecies do not yet come to pass.Still no warning, miracle, obvious Great Chastisements, or Era of Peace. That is quite possible; only God knows the future with certainty. Even in that case, please answer me this: Do you really think you will regret, on Judgment Day, having favored (for a year) the Proclamation of the Divine Mercy over and above worldly ambitions, comforts, and pleasures?

To simply have the courage to ask that question is to immediately know its answer.

Endnote 2:

I would like to leave you with this video I made on Faith. A year or so ago I realized that a certain inspiration has been fundamental in my life and in guiding my apostolates. Ever since then I have been trying to put in words just what this inspiration is. I decided to make a video instead of an essay. Here is my meager attempt! Please forgive the novice nature of this video; all I have is a webcam and a $1 microphone at my disposal. (The first part of the video is addressed to those who doubt. The part of the video addressed to the Faithful starts at about 17:36 in).

(The audio issues are fixed — watch with comfort!)

November 6, 2015

A Walk Among the Tombstones

Dear Friends,

Although I haven’t posted in several months, I’ve been busy at work. First of all, I have published two new articles: a page of advice on discernment, courtship, engagement, marriage, and parenting, and an article on the glory of Manual Labor. I’ve also made important updates to the Preparedness Post (you might want to read through this again if you’ve already done so).

I’d next like to encourage you all to join me in one of my favorite hobbies: prayer walks in cemeteries. This weekend is our last chance of the year to gain a Plenary Indulgence for doing just that. (Now, ideally Plenary Indulgences are gained each and every day, but when special ones such as these are offered, we should take advantage of them for the graces contained therein.) Cemeteries first and foremost are perfect places to pray for that most often neglected intention — the repose of the holy souls in Purgatory.

Secondly, cemeteries serve as a powerful reminder of our own end. I wish I could convey how much peace and joy I find in strolling through the large, beautiful, old Albany Rural Cemetery near my home. One day I looked up the number of people buried there, and to my surprise it far exceeded the population of the city of Albany. In few other places can I find such consolation in the midst of trials as I can there, where the simple fact is before my eyes that this life is a very short and passing thing which is already in the distant past for the vast majority of the Church (which of course includes the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering), and it is not our home, and we should not ever let the difficulties of it disturb our peace any more than we would let the imperfections of a hotel room we would spend one night in disturb our peace. In the twinkling of an eye it is over, and walking in prayer amidst the tombstones of more people than live in the adjacent city truly immerses me in the splendor of that truth. I pray it does likewise for you all!

Thirdly, cemeteries provide an oasis of peace and beauty in stark contrast to the ugliness and noise that seem to dominate society almost everywhere today. In few other places can you get away from the loud engines, terrible blaring music, obnoxious billboards, concrete & sheet metal monstrosities, boisterous unholy conversations, and the like (I could go on with that list for many pages!). Remember that beauty is a transcendent need of the human heart. If you find yourself drained, depressed, anxious, or melancholy, perhaps you should ask yourself if you’ve had sufficient beauty in your life recently. You need not spend thousands of dollars on a vacation to some idyllic location to find this utterly necessary beauty — you can simply take a stroll in the nearest cemetery! (Try and find one either sufficiently large to remove you from the noise of and exposure to nearby streets, or sufficiently secluded to do the same. I also recommend finding a hilly cemetery with plenty of trees.). Though risking a bit of gloating here (I will do so because I pray this counts as “Boasting in the Lord”!), I must say that I know I find more joy from a stroll through through Albany Rural Cemetery (and the adjacent Catholic St. Agnes Cemetery) with my wife and son, with both prayer and edifying conversation (which occurs naturally when our ultimate end is so starkly presented in front of our eyes), than worldly families do from these same vacations that cost them untold thousands, hobbies that require enormous dedication, and countless possessions that really only possess them. If only you insist on forming your interests and desires in order to be satisfied with the simple blessings that God gives, you will always be joyful and the chains of former worldliness falling off your shoulders will make you feel lighter than air.

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I would also like to share a radio interview I did last month about the Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy (below). I speak more about the Holy Year of Mercy during this 37 minute interview as well, so I’d recommend listening to it if you have the time. I have been updating the site, www.DWMoM.org, as well. I am striving to put more emphasis in being a DWMoM in spirit (since I know that most will not be able to be DWMoM city street walkers as I am), which something all of us can and should do. It is on my heart like fire, and I hope it is on yours as well, to not let this upcoming Holy Year of Mercy go to waste. It starts in a mere month! Let us not allow ourselves to eternally regret failing to do all we can to proclaim the Divine Mercy while there is still time left. God expects of us, as he told St. Faustina, “a great number of souls who will glorify His mercy for all eternity.” He said that the time of mercy will soon be over. Dear friends, if this Holy Year of Mercy (at the end of which the Door of Mercy will, literally, close) is not a sign that time is running out, then what is?

(Here is an mp3 file of the same interview)

Finally, I have great news: the rumor I mentioned I heard last post turned out to be true. Two of Luisa’s works: the Hours of the Passion and the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will, have indeed had the Moratorium on the publication of their English versions lifted (No doubt this is a sign of things to come with all of Luisa’s works!). Dear friends, do not underestimate the incredible importance of this. Jesus tells Luisa that these writings on the Divine Will are the very thing that will cause the Triumph of the Church. He says that a single morsel of knowledge pertaining to truths on the Divine Will that you learn on Earth is another Kingdom you inherit in Heaven. He even promises that for every word you prayerfully read of the Hours of the Passion, a soul will be saved. Please, please, read them! Here are some places you can receive them:

July 1, 2015

Remnant Faithful: We Need the Chastisements Also

(In another note — to willingly risk sounding like a broken record — please remember that our calling in these days is to live in the Divine Will and proclaim the Divine Mercy. We can still do so much good. I will say that DWMoM is going great. But in particular, this simple little pin makes amazing things happen if I choose to be so bold as to actually wear it when I am out and about after Mass; at the store, out to eat, or wherever. I bid you consider doing likewise, and living the spirit of a DWMoM even if you do not feel called to be an actual missionary)

How easy it is to say, regarding what is coming upon the world, “Good. It is needed. I do not want anyone to suffer, but I know that the vast majority of the world has become so sinful that the Chastisements will really be a blessing in disguise for them.”

There is certainly truth in that, but it also misses something enormous:

We, the “remnant faithful,” the devout Catholics, followers of Our Lady’s messages, daily Mass-goers and daily reciters of the Rosary, etc. etc. etc….

We need the chastisements for our own good also.

And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12)

There are clearly two distinct references being made here, and while I would wager the first is a reference to the rampant grave sin and error in this age of the Great Apostasy, I am afraid that the second part of Our Lord’s prophecy there can — at least in part — be taken to refer to us.Image 1175 Jul. 01 15.29

I wrote much of this post a year ago (so forgive me if it’s a bit of a patchwork) after attending a certain Marian conference (described below). I decided against posting it then because I was afraid it might have been too harsh. But two recent considerations have made me decide to post it now: 1) The likelihood that the Chastisements are right around the corner, and 2) The behavior of some in the Divine Will movement. Suffice it to say that, in response to my writing the book (even distributing it for free), certain “veteran” individuals and groups promoting Luisa’s revelations treat me like trash– like some kind of imposter, apparently thinking that they and they alone should have control of what is said, and to whom, regarding Luisa’s writings. (This all despite the fact that they have not been able to point out one single error in the book.) I will not be giving any names, but I do just want to say that I am not referring to Fr. Iannuzzi with this; my admiration for him remains strong.

I do not mean to complain: I am, in fact, very glad that I am finding this journey of promoting Divine Will spirituality to not be mere sunshine and roses. If it were, I would know I was not walking in Christ’s footsteps; for His path is the Way of the Cross, and it is narrow and fraught with difficulties. So please trust me that I do not write this post to complain or to rant; rather, I write it to encourage my dear friends of the remnant faithful to react as they ought to the time when the Chastisements hit them as well, when (cf Matthew 5:45) the rain falls on them just like on the unjust: with gratitude.

I will get to that, but let me now present what I wrote last summer:

I recently attended a Marian Conference, and I came back greatly disheartened by what I saw. This was supposed to be the cream of the crop; part of that exceedingly small group of people left on this planet who are devoutly Catholic, who listen to the apparitions of Our Lady, who keep all of the Commandments, who, like righteous Lot, are vexed day in and day out by what they see happening. Instead, the behavior I witnessed at this Conference was no better than the world at large. Giddiness was the mood that dominated; even the concelebrants of the Mass – and certainly the congregation – were devoid of reverence and were instead ready at a whim to chuckle or comment on this or that… during Mass. After coming back to my seat after Communion and giving a brief thanksgiving after Mass I looked up for a moment and realized that all those in attendance — hundreds — were already gone. All had rushed out the moment Mass ended to try and get in line early for the food. The talk given before Mass amounted to 30 minutes of screaming ranting about how evil the world has become, how anti-religious our government has become, and how bad Obama is, and how we are not “standing up” enough against this all – the assertion being that what is really needed to resolve the present distress is more noisy rants. I left this event early… I doubt anyone noticed my coming or my going, because I was alone, and everyone was far too busy gabbing away with their comfortable cliques to bother reaching out to anyone who wasn’t in their group.

I came out of this event with one unavoidable conclusion in my mind and in my heart… we need the purification of the coming distress as well, not just the world and worldlings.

Now, that was only one event of so many experiences that Providence has given me, and I am sure has given you all, which teach the same lesson. Some of the most selfish, dictatorial, harsh bosses I’ve had have been Catholic ones in Catholic apostolates. Some of the most immoral people I’ve known have been moral theologians. (No obvious public mortal sins, of course… just a demeanor of utter disdain toward other people than is far worse than, say, contraception). Some of the rudest and least charitable people I’ve ever brushed up against have been priests. I take 5 minutes to click through the Catholic blogosphere and I find it permeated by snark, sarcasm, and venom (now, even directed — God help them — toward the Vicar of Christ). I have found Catholic circles to often be about as cliquey, closed-off, and judgmental as they come. Catholics are just as, if not more, divided than everyone else. I could go on, as I’m sure anyone reading this could as well.

If ”By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) is how the Catholic Church is supposed to grow, then it is no wonder that evangelization is such an utter failure today.

Pope Francis is trying to change that. He becomes very easy to understand as soon as you recognize one thing: dear fellow conservative, orthodox Catholics: the universe does not revolve around us. There are billions of souls — masterpieces of God’s creation for whom He shed His Blood and whom He loves more than you could possibly imagine — languishing for lack of knowledge, for lack of love, for lack of mercy. When was the last time we looked into their eyes and felt their pain? If we had done so, and if we had one small flicker of the love of God in our hearts, we would spend less time wringing our hands over Pope Francis’ every comment, and more time pouring ourselves out for their salvation; for mercy to be poured out upon their lives even now, and especially at the hour of their death.

That is what Francis is trying to do; please let him. What is coming soon upon this world will suffice to reveal to souls the hideousness of their sins, but the world is finally taking the Vicar of Christ seriously. Do not squander that. They need it. Do not believe their masquerading confidence, their venom and the torrent of errors coming from their lips. They are our patients, not our enemies. Fallen angels are our enemies. I do not argue with my five month old son. I care for him and I give him what he needs no matter how much he opposes my efforts, no matter how much he squirms, even if his flailing fist strikes me on the nose. We must do likewise with those in the world; they do not simply need more people condemning their sins with more vigor. They are already suffering beyond description. They need their wounds bound and the balm of the Divine Mercy applied.

It is not easy at first glance for the remnant to understand how Pope Francis’ pontificate fits into things. They ask, “Why, in this age of unprecedented evil in the world, do we need a Pope who is a friend of the world?” But when you realize that we ourselves are in great need of pruning, and you realize that what looms on the horizon will bring the whole world to its knees, it makes perfect sense. Jesus tells Luisa of a time when people will turn to the Pope for safe harbor after Chastisements. It seems clear to me that we are approaching such times — and for such a scenario to occur, people will need to like the Pope.

There is no greater hater of heresy than I; anyone who reads this blog knows that. I will remain staunchly such until death, even if it requires the shedding of my blood. But the magnificence of our orthodoxy is not what Judgment Day will focus upon; that is far too easy. On that day, what we will be judged by is our love.

But is our love where it must be?

We ourselves, dear friends in Christ: are we worthy of the Era of Peace as we are now? I know that I am not. The degree of my response to Our Lady’s call in her many apparitions is pathetic. Far too often, if not usually, my prayer is weak and merely external. Despite condemning worldliness, I know I succumb to it constantly. I am inundated by sloth and my failures are more frequent than my victories. I constantly fail to treat my neighbor with even reasonable charity, much less to love him as I do myself, as Our Lord commands. It is ridiculous how many times — over, and over, and over again — I have to confess the exact same thing. Though at this point I should be confronting temptation like a seasoned warrior, I rather confront it like a weakling novice. The list could go on for pages… volumes. (Please pray for me!) Perhaps some of you can relate.

But I think I can at least grant myself one thing: I recognize the fact that if I am brought to my knees in suffering, I will receive the grace to shed those vices like dirt is removed from the body under a waterfall. Therefore I do not lament the looming Chastisements; neither their coming upon the world, nor their coming upon myself. I bless God in anticipation of the graces I know He will give me through them, for what is worth desiring other than holiness?

I recognize I need them because my love is not a roaring fire like it should be; rather, it has grown cold, and I suppose it is that way for many other Catholics today. Who among us would fail to admit that, looking back at our lives, it is when we have suffered that we have grown closer to God?

…every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2.

You hear much of “pruning,” but usually that word is directed at “them”– the heretics and those living in sin within the Church. What we forget is how much pruning we need.

So you will be very disappointed, very quickly, if you look toward what comes with a false, self-invented confidence that, because you are a good orthodox, devout, Catholic, you will be spared any trials. But if instead you look to what comes with the trust that comes from knowing that, despite your own misery, nothing but perfect love comes from His hands, and if He permits you to suffer, it is because that suffering is the greatest blessing He can imagine for you at that moment — then you will never be disappointed. You are invincible. You can say, with David, “[I] have no fear of evil news” (Psalm 112). To arrive at that point does not require a long and arduous ascent of the mountain of moral virtue. It just requires that, even in this very moment, you say with all of your heart “Jesus, I Trust in You.Image 1173 Jul. 01 15.25

  • So when your loved ones die, trust that God knew it was the perfect time for them to go home to Him, and that you will see them soon enough, when your own time comes; and give thanks to God that He has given you an opportunity to be detached from creatures so as to become more attached to your Creator, in Whom you will find more joy and peace than in a perfect relationship with a million friends and family members combined.
  • When you lose your home and all of your possessions, give thanks to God that He has deemed you worthy of living that most blessed life of St. Francis’ — perfect reliance upon Providence with each moment — and that He has also given you the grace to live what He asked the wealthy young man to live without, a young man who nevertheless was not given the grace to follow through, for he “went away sad,” (Matthew 19:22)
  • When you are thrown into a jail cell for a crime you did not commit, or for a good deed you did indeed do, which is falsely considered, in this twisted world, to be a crime — give thanks to God that He has given you the life of a monastic — the highest vocation–, and that you can dedicate yourself entirely to prayer.
  • When you are beaten or tortured, whether literally by a malicious person or simply by circumstances that are extremely painful (whether hunger, exposure, fatigue, illness, or what have you), give thanks to God that He is permitting you to suffer for Him, in Him. Such occasions, when there is no means to avoid them without sinning, amount to God Himself serving as your spiritual director, deciding that you need mortifications. And the mortifications that Providence chooses are always better than our own, and they always yield great joy and build up enormous treasures both on Earth and in Heaven.
  • When persecution in any form touches you, rejoice with unutterable joy because you have been deemed worthy — among the billions of Catholics who have not been– to be so dealt with. ”Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” — Acts 5:41. For the only Beatitude that Our Lord deemed so great that He needed to dwell upon it and reiterate it was the last, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus told Luisa Piccarreta that it is quite easy to distinguish the reprobate from the elect: just as, on the last day, the Sign of the Son of Man (the cross) in the sky will cause terror in the former and ecstasy in the latter, so too now, the reaction to one’s crosses in life reveal one’s eternal destiny.

In all things say, with Job, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”

The good thief and the bad thief found themselves in an identical situation. One praised God in the midst of it, and one cursed Him. Which will you be?

Endnotes:

  1. I’m not saying, dear friends, that we are primarily to blame for what is coming, or anything of the sort. Please do not let this admonition I here present be a cause for you to fret and worry and be anxious. It is primarily the four sins that cry out to God for vengeance that are causing just that — God’s justice — to be about to fall upon the earth (especially the murder of billions of unborn children over the past 100 years). All I am saying is that we are very imperfect, and God’s plan is perfect — so it entails the perfection of each of us. If we are to suffer (and we are), then there is a reason for that. Let us acknowledge that reason and use it for His glory and our salvation and sanctification.
  2. Whether or not my own personal speculations regarding what is going to transpire in this world actually come to pass, this advice holds true. We will all face huge trials either way.
May 30, 2015

The Deceiver

After Mass this past Thursday, instead of my usual DWMoM walk , I embarked to pray and sidewalk counsel outside a nearby city’s Planned Parenthood. I was simply pacing, praying the Rosary, and very gently and non-confrontationally greeting women who would go in to see if they would be willing to talk. To a few I gave evangelization cards.The Devil being Crushed

After praying about 5 decades, Planned Parenthood called the police on me for “kneeling and blocking the doorway.” I know that is what they said because that is what the officer told me they said when he pulled up. Now I am not exactly new to having the police called on me while outside Planned Parenthood, so I was able to calmly explain to him that I was doing nothing of the sort, and he willingly accepted my testimony and drove off without a problem.

But I was amazed at the bald-faced lie Planned Parenthood told the authorities. There was apparently not the slightest hesitation in their hearts to assert something — at the expense of another human’s well being — that had absolutely not the slightest basis in reality. They had no problem accusing me of an actual crime that could have put me behind bars, despite the fact that I wasn’t breaking even one jot or tittle of the law.

Driving home afterward, I turned on the radio to EWTN. The moment I took my hand off the dial, I heard Mother Angelica’s voice saying “…It is from Satan. He is the deceiver. Everything he says is a lie…” She then went on to describe all sorts of lies that you hear coming from those who listen to him. It was an amazingly insightful talk.

This served as a reminder for me of the times in which we are living. Dear Friends, we are now in the midst of (and are about to enter into a massive intensification of) the greatest age of deceit the world has ever seen. The Arian crisis pales in comparison to it for many reasons, not least of which being the fact that the Arian heresy was solely contrary to Divine Law, whereas the current apostasy is directed against both Divine and natural law, and contravening the latter does not bear with it the realistic possibility of a mitigation of culpability from invincible ignorance.  The devil, the Father of Lies, knowing his time is short, is in the process of unleashing his lies upon the world in full force. His two favorite things are to lie and to murder (cf. Our Lord Jesus Christ, John 8:44), and he has satiated himself in the latter through abortion and other genocides for these last almost 100 years, but it is not enough. He now wants to destroy more souls than ever before with his other great passion.

Sodom and GomorrahAs you all know, Ireland just passed gay “marriage” as law by referendum. Not only was it the first ever country to do so by referendum, but it is now the only country that enshrines gay “marriage” explicitly as a right in its very constitution. Now this constitution is dedicated from the onset to the Most Holy Trinity. The preamble begins “In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity, from Whom is all authority and to Whom, as our final end, all actions both of men and States must be referred…” And I write this on the vigil of Holy Trinity Sunday.

The U.S. might very well follow suit next month judicially. Perhaps this will even occur on the feast of St. Thomas More (June 22nd), or St. John the Baptist (June 24th), both of whom were martyrs for the sanctity of marriage.

The Devil’s ultimate plan with gay “marriage” is not to spread unnatural lust and prevision. Homosexual acts are simply too contrary to our nature for them to ever garner a large percentage of the population as partakers of them. Those caught up in homosexuality are usually wounded and confused people who do not know where else to turn. (This is why approving homosexuality is the greatest act of hatred possible toward those with same-sex attraction: it is like handing a loaded gun to someone with suicidal thoughts.) No-fault divorce has wreaked and continues to wreak far more havoc than gay “marriage” ever directly will.

I am convinced, rather, that the devil’s plan with gay “marriage” is to spread deceit. It is to entice us to “exchange the truth of God for a lie” (Romans 1:25). The problem with gay “marriage” is that merely acknowledging it; merely believing and proclaiming that two men, or two women, can marry, is itself an intrinsic grave evil. The devil doesn’t need to convince the world to become homosexuals. He only needs to convince the world to accept homosexuality as an intrinsically good thing and to give homosexual relationships equal standing as true marriage, thereby rejecting the very first truth God revealed about human persons: that they are created male and female and that their union is holy and unique.

Likewise his plan with gender theory is not to convince the people of the world to attempt to change their sexes; very, very few (as a relative percentage) will ever go that route. His plan is to entice the world to accept gender theory as valid. His plan is to entice the world to refer to people by their “new” sex, after they have an operation, or take a hormone pill, or dress differently. Again, merely the acknowledgement of this as valid is a grave evil.

Similarly, the devil’s plan with the current discord in the Church is not to somehow manage to change Church Teaching; he knows he is about as capable of that as a single ant is of demolishing the solid stone foundation of a castle. The very assertion that the indissolubility of marriage, the immorality of adultery, and the disordered nature of homosexuality and immorality of homosexual acts are tenets of the Church’s moral teaching (and indeed they all are) bears with it the recognition that they are fundamentally incapable of changing. Rather, his plan is to infect enough individual priests, Bishops, and Cardinals with his lies about false and cheap mercy that the souls under their care readily listen to them even when they contradict Church teaching.

The kingdom of the Prince of this World is thriving with enormous and shocking vigor scarcely beneath the surface of the construct that is the modern secular world, and this kingdom is ready to burst forth at a moment’s notice. I can only liken it to a rotting corpse which, though apparently moving, eventually reveals it is merely writhing with hordes of maggots. Sadly most will deny this until the full-grown flies erupt in swarms. At that point it will be too late, but that point is coming soon.

Rosary WalkBut enough of that. I began this post by describing the morning’s activities this past Thursday. Let me end it by describing the evening’s activities of that same day. My wife, son, and I were blessed to participate in a pro-life Rosary walk lead by our Bishop, Edward Scharfenberger. I would guess there were at least one thousand of us praying the Rosary as we were lead by our shepherd and as we carried a large statue of Our Lady around the New York State Capitol building in Albany. As I looked before me and behind me and saw the breathtaking line of souls like an army marching down the sidewalk in prayer and song, I was reminded of this one simple fact: God Wins.

 You do not have to fret about the torrent of lies now spewing forth from the Devil’s mouth, a torrent that will only grow exponentially in the coming time. You are invincible against it if you merely remain in a state of grace and cling to:

 

 

You don’t have to be a great saint, and you certainly don’t have to be a theologian, to cling to those. You just need trust.

And remember the call of our Holy Father: days as dark as our own are not days of retreat, nor of cowering in a corner; they are days in which the remnant of the Christ’s Faithful must shine ever more brightly, for indeed superabundant grace is available today, and we can become saints more easily now than ever before. We must above all use this grace to spread the Divine Mercy and live in the Divine Will, and pour ourselves out as libations for these ends.

April 11, 2015

The Great Sign of the Holy Year of Mercy

Dear Friends,

God is truly at work today in an amazing way.

First of all, I write this to you on the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, which I am sure you all know well about: an unprecedented day on which all Catholics who receive Communion and go to Confession (within 8 days before or after it) (Edit: it appears I have been mistaken in this regard; Confession actually does not have to be within so strict a time period. Just be a regulary confessing Catholic — i.e., in a state of grace. God is really trying to make it easy for us to become saints today!!) are essentially given the grace of a true second Baptism. I hope you all take full advantage of this promise given to St. Faustina!

But I also write to you having just finished reading the Papal Bull pronouncing the upcoming Extraordinary Holy Year of Mercy.

I am sure that the placement of this Holy Year rightly strikes many of you immediately for what it is:a prophetic Sign of the Times. But allow me to go into more detail:Image 964 Apr. 11 13.40

  • It is obvious that this Holy Year is all about not just the notion of mercy in general, but precisely St. Faustina’s revelations. Pope Francis could have announced this Holy Year whenever he wanted to, but he specifically chose the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, which arises entirely from St. Faustina’s revelations. Furthermore he specifically says, in the Papal Bull, “I am especially thinking of the great apostle of mercy, Saint Faustina Kowalska. May she, who was called to enter the depths of divine mercy, intercede for us and obtain for us the grace of living and walking always according to the mercy of God and with an unwavering trust in his love..” (Paragraph 24)
  • This Holy Year is all about the “Door of Mercy.” What is meant by this is absolutely unambiguous to anyone familiar with St. Faustina’s writings; for in them, Jesus says “…before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice...” (paragraph 1146)
    • Similarly, Jesus said to Faustina “Before I come as the just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the heavens … This will take place shortly before the last day.” (paragraph 83)
  • It is indeed true that the “Holy Door” is always associated with any Holy Year. But it is so especially this Jubilee year in an extraordinary way. Pope Francis is instituting a literal  “Door of Mercy” to be opened at every single Cathedral in the world, using precisely those words used in the prophecy given to St. Faustina. So please keep in mind what Jesus said about the “door of My mercy” to St. Faustina (and what comes next), when you see the following quotes from today’s Papal Bull:
    • I will have the joy of opening the Holy Door on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. On that day, the Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope.” (paragraph 3)
    • I will announce that in every local Church, at the cathedral … a Door of Mercy will be opened for the duration of the Holy Year. At the discretion of the local ordinary, a similar door may be opened at any Shrine frequented by large groups of pilgrims, since visits to these holy sites are so often grace-filled moments, as people discover a path to conversion. Every Particular Church, therefore, will be directly involved in living out this Holy Year as an extraordinary moment of grace and spiritual renewal.”(paragraph 3)
  • That this Holy Year will begin on the Immaculate Conception of 2015 and end on Christ the King of 2016 makes it all the more a Sign. We know that it is by Mary’s Immaculate Heart that the Triumph will be won; and yet this victory is really a victory for Christ the King, who will at long last have dominion over this Earth by way of the Reign of the Divine Will of His Father.
    • The Jubilee year will close with the liturgical Solemnity of Christ the King on 20 November 2016. On that day, as we seal the Holy Door, we shall be filled, above all, with a sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity for having granted us an extraordinary time of grace. We will entrust the life of the Church, all humanity, and the entire cosmos to the Lordship of Christ, asking him to pour out his mercy upon us like the morning dew” (Paragraph 5)
  • Some cynics will say “Really this Holy Year is all just a ploy to encourage sacrilegious Communions through the Synod of the Family.” But those who would classify this Holy Year of Mercy as nothing but a piece in the puzzle of the Synod have the funnel pointed in the wrong direction, and they do not understand our Holy Father. First of all, Jubilee years only happen every few decades; Synods happen every few years. Jubilees are far more important. But more importantly still, our Holy Father has an extremely prophetic view of his mission. Consider that he consecrated his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima, and consecrated the world to her Immaculate Heart. Please don’t fall into ecclesiastical worldliness by looking at everything through the lens of whatever Church discord is getting the most headlines any particular month.


Also in his Papal Bull, Pope Francis speaks of his plan and his desire to send out “Missionaries of Mercy.” It appears that he is yet to reveal exactly the entirety of what he means by that. In paragraph 18, he writes “During Lent of this Holy Year, I intend to send out Missionaries of Mercy. They will be a sign of the Church’s maternal solicitude for the People of God, enabling them to enter the profound richness of this mystery so fundamental to the faith. There will be priests to whom I will grant the authority to pardon even those sins reserved to the Holy See, so that the breadth of their mandate as confessors will be even clearer.” (emphasis added).

So these Missionaries of Mercy will indeed include priests with special powers of absolution granted, but the wording does not seem to indicate that those priests are the only “Missionaries of Mercy” he is referring to. Regardless of what he does or does not mean, this is precisely what I have been trying to do with the Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy for over a year now in my home city of Albany, NY. Again I invite anyone interested in responding to and anticipating our Holy Father’s call to consider participating in this apostolate; you can read more about it at its own website, www.DWMoM.org.

Also with the theme of mercy, and especially as it pertains to the DWMoM group, I have just received another shipment of 10,000 Mercy Evangelization cards. I’ll gladly mail them out to whomever would use them in batches of about 100. If you’d like a batch, just fill out the forms on this page: http://dwmom.org/request-evangelization-cards-2/

I will close here by presenting the final paragraph of the Papal Bull (with emphasis added): “I present, therefore, this Extraordinary Jubilee Year dedicated to living out in our daily lives the mercy which the Father constantly extends to all of us. In this Jubilee Year, let us allow God to surprise us. He never tires of throwing open the doors of his heart and repeats that he loves us and wants to share his love with us. The Church feels the urgent need to proclaim God’s mercy. Her life is authentic and credible only when she becomes a convincing herald of mercy. She knows that her primary task, especially at a moment full of great hopes and signs of contradiction, is to introduce everyone to the great mystery of God’s mercy by contemplating the face of Christ. The Church is called above all to be a credible witness to mercy, professing it and living it as the core of the revelation of Jesus Christ. From the heart of the Trinity, from the depths of the mystery of God, the great river of mercy wells up and overflows unceasingly. It is a spring that will never run dry, no matter how many people approach it. Every time someone is in need, he or she can approach it, because the mercy of God never ends. The profundity of the mystery surrounding it is as inexhaustible as the richness which springs up from it.

So this, dear friends, is how we must respond to the unprecedented graces about to flow out upon the Church and the world: using them to Live in the Divine Will and spread the Divine Mercy. Not to worry about prognostications, timetables, or physical preparations. Not to get caught up in discord within the Church or the World. And most definitely not to become lukewarm or self-centered. This is the time to focus like never before on building up treasures in Heaven; for the time for doing so is about to draw to a close, never to return for all eternity. This is truly the Time of Mercy. But it is becoming abundantly clear that there are only a few grains of sand left in the hourglass for this Time.

More on the Divine Mercy:

More on the Divine Will:

Living in the Divine Will

Update 7/5/2015: Mark Mallet beautifully drew this same parallel in a post a month before this one here: http://www.markmallett.com/blog/opening-wide-the-doors-of-mercy/ 

March 4, 2015

The Crown and Completion of All Sanctity

Please note:  This post pertains to my publication of The Crown and Completion of All Sanctity, described below. However, since this post, I have published The Crown of Sanctity, which is a much more complete treatment of the same matter. I highly recommend reading The Crown of Sanctity instead  — it is linked on the right hand sidebar of this website, and can also be obtained from http://www.CrownOfSanctity.com

 

 

On this day sixty eight years ago, a soul entered into her eternal reward — a soul the likes of which the world has not seen since the Assumption the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Her name is the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, and I am finally ready to speak to you of her unrivaled revelations from God.

Often I have spoken of the Divine Mercy devotion of St. Faustina: how it is truly God’s final effort of salvation in the world, and an undeniable herald of the imminent initiation of the great prophecies given throughout the millennia regarding the end of the age, which is now upon us. But there is another half of God’s Final Effort in the world: that of sanctification. For this end, I believe God has chosen Luisa Piccarreta to reveal the Gift of Living in the Divine Will to the world.

For over four years on this blog I have only briefly hinted here and there about this Gift, but I have finally sufficiently researched, studied, prayed, and received spiritual direction regarding it that I am ready to explain it myself.

You may simply download the fruit of this effort as a PDF Directly here. 

Book Cover

 

***

Also, now that I have said what I want to say about Living in the Divine Will, I am ready to unveil an apostolate that I have felt called to start, and have myself been engaging in for over a year now: The Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy.

My hesitation in sharing this was great as well; first and foremost due to my own weakness in following the very precepts I desired to set down as a baseline for the apostolate: Lent of 2014 I was good about sticking to the regimen, but I often fell out of the habit during Ordinary Time. Thankfully God has given me the grace to be stronger in it since last Advent. That, combined with the encouragement of my Spiritual Director, means I am ready to share this apostolate with whoever else might feel called to take part.

To see what this apostolate is about, please take a look at the website: www.DWMoM.org

Image 735 Mar. 04 15.54

February 17, 2015

A Few Quick Notes

On March 4th, God willing, I will publish the most important post I have ever written. Please stay tuned. Until then:

First of all, please pray for my mother, Eileen. She was just diagnosed with malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Few survive with this form of cancer more than a couple years, and those that do are young and otherwise healthy, neither of which apply to my mother, who has already had radiation and a double mastectomy for her breast cancer. So it is unlikely that she has even one year left.  So I am asking you to pray for a miraculous healing, certainly; for that is realistically the only type of healing that could occur. We would all be overjoyed at this and we are all praying for it. But above all I am asking you to pray that she may be completely filled with grace, peace, and trust, until the moment she sees the Lord face to face, that any suffering she must undergo will be lessened and borne with ease and joy, and that she may truly have the happiest possible death; that whatever comes her way, she may say, with all of her heart “Jesus, I trust in You. Thy Will be Done.” My mother is a woman of great faith and devotion, and I know that she is ready to go home. But please pray that both she and her family members – especially my father – may be totally ready in every way.

Secondly: Lent is upon us! Many Catholic sites will be encouraging all sorts of ways you can make this your holiest Lent ever. Please take their advice! For my part, I’d just like to leave you with a few thoughts I had on “helps” for holiness — things that I have found have made the pursuit of holiness easier and smoother. If you choose to read this, be sure to carefully read and remember the first paragraph.

Thirdly, I realized recently I have written far too many posts in movies on this blog! In order to not bother you all with an email every time I cannot help but give my 2 cents on a certain movie, I’ve published a page dedicated to my movie recommendations, which I will add to as time goes on.

 

January 11, 2015

When the Devil Goes into Damage Control Mode

Now I can’t say I have the devil figured out, but here’s one insight I am convinced is true: When the devil realizes he probably isn’t going to succeed in winning you over into a life of blatant grave sin and error, he changes his strategy (while of course never losing the desire to pull you into that, and never entirely foregoing his attempts at it). He goes into damage control mode — he tries to distract you. He is utterly terrified of what you can do if you simply order your days, your goals, your priorities, and your endeavors in such a way as to truly optimize their eternal value. He is more afraid of a soul in a state of grace than a deer is of a hunter. Knowing your immense power over him and his minions and his plan (only through God’s grace, of course), he strives to divert you to things so far below your calling; so that even if he cannot make you his own, you at least will not so greatly damage his plan in the world. How does he distract? In so many ways:

  • Above all, he distracts you from your prayers. He makes you feel busy, and he makes you believe the lie that you don’t have time for an intense and lengthy daily prayer routine. (And yes, that is always a lie. Those with the greatest excuse for being busy in the world – the Roman Pontiffs – have been men of massive prayer. Pope Francis prays for hours each morning before Mass. JPII did likewise.)
  • He fires up your passion for worldly debates. I know many good Catholics whose potency as soldiers in the Church Militant is so greatly reduced (if not almost entirely mitigated) because they are far more zealous for the promotion of organic food (or opposing organic food), opposing vaccinations (or supporting vaccinations), being a crunchy mom, or what have you, than they are for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Now there is nothing wrong with having opinions on these things! But these are the topics on the tips of their tongues. These are the emails they forward. These dominate their conversations. It is their stance on these matters they really want to convert other people to. No serious Catholics would flat out say that these issues mean more to them than the Faith, but when your words and deeds demonstrate that they have your focus instead of the Kingdom and His righteousness (or when your thoughts default to such matters), then the devil has succeeded perfectly. He has neutered you.
    • I could have listed a million other worldly issues that do the same thing to Catholics (sports, finances, pets, novels, movies, television shows, stocks, internet research, politician bashing, Facebook, etc.) — but the needs of the body seem to me to often serve as the greatest distraction for good Catholics — hence Our Lord’s insistence: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? … Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.
  • He entangles you in factiousness within the Church on issues that, even if important to be dealt with, are no where near as effective in the glorification of God and the salvation of souls as are evangelization, prayer, works of mercy, and the like. Factiousness, such as:
    • Debating Pope Francis’ most recent statement (or those of the often-quoted Bishops and Cardinals)
    • Arguing for this or that form of the Mass
    • Criticizing clergy for their poor decisions and statements
    • Endless reiteration of how abysmal a state the Church is in
    • Dedicating the majority of your effort to simply opposing one or two particular sins, heresies, or liturgical violations
    • Dedicating the majority of your effort simply to defending (or opposing) one particular apparition.
    • (Notice I have not said advocating for women’s ordination, contraception, divorce, gay marriage, etc., since those are blatant heresies and not the point of this article. If the devil has drawn you into any of that, he has done far more than distract you.)
  • He makes you think your primary vocation (e.g. your duties as a provider) supersedes your universal vocation (your call to holiness). Hence, to give just one example: a father (or a young man hoping to become one) who succumbs to this only cares about (above the bare essentials of the Faith — Mass on Sundays and avoiding mortal sin) doing everything he can to secure the best possible living for his family. He dedicates himself to career advancement and will not consider anything for the glory of God that might interfere with that. He’ll go to any length to ensure that (for the sake of not harming potential future jobs) googling his name does not associate him with any Catholic apostolate. He’ll never ask his boss if he can modify his schedule slightly to allow for daily Mass. He won’t consider living anywhere but the most safe and pristine possible neighborhoods, even if home prices there force him to stay with a career that ruins his spiritual life. The list goes on.
  • He tries to distract you from his own hideousness by compelling you to focus primarily upon the hideousness of those people who follow some of his ways. Is Obama-bashing what you are known for? Do you believe that we’d return to the Garden of Eden if only we could get rid of Planned Parenthood? Do you prefer ripping apart Islam to actually behaving in such a way that you might win Muslim converts? Do you readily rattle off a conspiracy theory for every ill that faces this world? If so, then you have fallen into this distraction and likewise become neutered. Remember that we fight not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities. Imagine how useless a U.S. Marine would be who, upon being sent into a foreign country to take out a terrorist cell, focused only upon eliminating the cockroach infestations there. Do not be like such a Marine, for you are in a far more elite, far more essential army: the Church Militant.
    • My inspiration for this point is Peter Kreeft’s excellent talk — the Culture War
  • He gives you a great love of excessive “hanging out,” or eases you away from those who embolden you, and towards those who placate you. This is the greatest danger with families, but it also happens with Catholic groups. They often start out as great salvation-causing apostolates, but before long they are just cliques. The time spent actually saying the prayers and doing the works of mercy they were founded upon becomes perhaps one hastily prayed Rosary, if even that — then hours are spent having coffee afterwards engaging in mundane worldly conversation. Family gatherings become grace prayed before the meal, and then one worldly thing after another until an entire day is gone.
  • He inspires in you a Lowest-Common-Denominator Bible/saint/pope quote attitude. Many, it seems, can at the drop of a hat whip out a plethora of quotes from Scripture, saints, popes, or other Catholic authorities to dispense themselves from any sort of zeal in their spiritual life; the only thing they have been zealous about is the collection of such quotes! Can you imagine what havoc this approach would wreak upon your life if you took it to your health– if, upon googling, “health benefits of _____,” you would go ahead and partake in _____, so long as you could find someone with an “MD” or “PhD” after his name endorsing it? You would be dead within the month. Obviously quoting Scripture, a saint, or a pope is a fundamentally different thing, but we still must bear in mind that if we are reading these works primarily for any reason other than self-admonishment and personal growth (i.e. for rationalization or argumentation), then we will not grow one iota in holiness. (Mind you, when such quotes prevent advancement in the spiritual life, it is usually because they are taken out of context or otherwise improperly applied) Have you ever met an immoral moral theologian? I rest my case. (Hint: if you’ve met a moral theologian, you probably have). Examples:
    • “Preach the Gospel always, when necessary, use words” to dispense yourself from your duty to evangelize
    • “You will always have the poor with you” to dispense yourself from works of mercy
    • Using the Little Way of St. Therese to dispense yourself from the virtue of magnanimity. Be well assured that St. Therese had nothing against great things; she rather insists (rightly) that the most important thing is to first ensure that we do the small things with great love.
    • Using the many great words of St. Josemaria Escriva on the sanctification of work to think that this is some sort of a default, automatic thing – and that you need not strive to make your work into prayer, or to have a serious life of prayer and works of mercy apart from your work and family life.
    • Using the many great words of St. Francis de Sales on prayer according to one’s State of Life to think that if you are a spouse and a parent, you need not bother with anything but Sunday Mass. Here’s another quote of his to counter that mindset!: “Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.
  • He reminds you of someone you respect who does a certain thing as soon as your conscience begins to tell you that you might be better off without it. Has your heart felt that prick recently; that initial indication that some endeavor you are currently engaged in, even if not blatantly gravely sinful, still might not be really in line with your calling? Or maybe you have started to realize you simply don’t like the thought of your spouse, child, fiance, or significant other doing something that you are doing, which then leads you to wonder why you yourself are doing it? Perhaps it’s a TV show you are watching, a book you are reading, a form of dancing you regularly participate in, a song you listen to (e.g. “it’s just to get me pumped at the gym”), a type of clothing you wear, a type of medication you take or give your kids, an activity you engage in with your spouse, a costly indulgence you feel you deserve, an occasion of sin you have up to now justified, a type of conversation that you have always strained to argue doesn’t really count as gossip, or any number of other things. You cannot outsource your discernment to others; just because people you greatly respect (and perhaps are far holier than you yourself, maybe even having “Fr., Sr., Br. or Bp.” before their names) engage in something does not mean it’s automatically okay for you to do so. God speaks to your heart; trust that. If you will not trust that, why are you a Christian? You must follow that voice.  When you follow that voice, you become so formidable to the devil that he spares no expense to prevent you from attaining such clarity of conscience. His first line of defense in this regard is to say to you “Your pious friend _____ does it, so it must be okay.
  • He compels you to react with perceived helplessness instead of intercession when you observe or hear of evil. What is your reaction when this happens? To respond “Oh, what a shame”? Why is it not to say “Lord have Mercy” and then pray with fervency, or to physically do something if you can? What is your reaction when asked for money by a clear drug addict on the street? To lie and say you have none, then leave, embarking upon a long mental lamentation of all the societal ills that lead to this… or is it to ask him his name, shake his hand, and say you cannot give him money, but would love to say a prayer with him, take him out to McDonalds, etc.? What is your reaction to those instances when you are confronted with the hideous reality of the abortion genocide? To rant against priests who in their cowardice never oppose it from the pulpit, the politicians who endorse it, etc.? Or is it to commit to pray more against it and get outside abortion clinics more regularly to pray and sidewalk counsel?
  • While distracting you with everything under the sun, he will convince you that the urgency and calls to conversion of private revelation (which is the one thing that will really awaken some people) are themselves distractions, and are best avoided.

Has the devil gone into damage control mode in your life? I was only able to write this post because I’ve recognized that he largely has in my own. But don’t let him succeed in that. In all four Gospels, Christ said that He came “to destroy the works of the devil.” Being a member of the Church Militant is not primarily about being on the defensive — it is first and foremost about being on the offensive. That fact is perhaps what we forget most when we discuss spiritual warfare. Rest when you die, not now. “And Jesus said to him: Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou, and preach the kingdom of God.”