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Friday 1 May 2015

How to prepare for being a martyr--Part Two

Part One was on the blog yesterday.

Nothing comes easily in the spiritual life. Those who think that the saints, because of an excess of grace experienced little suffering need only read the great autobiographies of the holiest who have gone before us.

For the past week, I have shared a few of Father Alphonsus Rodriguez thoughts and counsels on the virtue of humility. My decision for highlighting this virtue must be seen in the context of four things: one's salvation; perfection; the times in which we live; and the coming synod.

Not only must we acquire, through practice and diligence the virtue of humility through prayer and practice for the sake of becoming perfect, on order to be with God after death, but to actually acquire the merits needed for salvation. The acceptance of humiliating situations involves not only the purification of the senses and the spirit, but the very call to salvation. To become meek and humble forms the basis of the Christian life, but these virtues remain misunderstood.

Meekness may mean speaking the truth to family members about sin. Humility may mean removing one's self from family gatherings which cause sins, such as gluttony or drunkenness, or gossip. But, humility may also mean standing up firmly for the beliefs of the Catholic Church, which are the truths taught in the Catholic Church.

Yesterday, a protestantized Catholic gave me an almost hateful tirade about the wealth of the Church in Europe. I tried to steer the conversation to the fact that great cathedrals and basilicas did not necessary mean worldly wealth, but the person could not understand latria, worship including beauty, which is due to God. The person could not understand why the Vatican did not support seminarians in America and why Americans had to pay for the training of their own priests. I tried to explain that this had always been done on the local level, and that vocations come out of parishes and dioceses which support vocations.

His problem was a lack of humility regarding the Church. Why? If one is humble enough to admit that the duty of supporting vocations is local, and that if it is not happening there are sins at the local level which stop vocations from flourishing, one is not looking at personal sin or the sins of the community.

To think, first of all, that the Church is rich, reveals a rebellious protestant iconoclasm. The European Catholic Church, except in Germany, where there exists the church tax, is extremely poor.

But, pride always points to the sins of others instead of to one's own sins. I could not convince this man that the lack of vocations was due to bad parenting, contraception, and, yes, miserliness towards the Church, not the lack of financial support from Rome. His pride blocked his ability to think clearly. I could not impress upon him the need for looking at local problems in the Church.

Humility gives one self-knowledge. People are beginning to panic about the lack of vocations, and things will get worse when priests are fined and jailed for not performing so called gay marriages, but until the laity take responsibility for the crisis of vocations, nothing will change.

I use this example for two reasons-one to show the falseness of the American and liberal Catholic mindset that is one throws money at a problem, that problem will disappear; again, exterior change is not interior conversion. And, two, to indicate that too many Catholics see the crises in the Church as someone else problem, not theirs. These attitudes reflect a serious lack of humility and meekness, which would cause a person to first look at their own sins, and completely disregard the sins of others.

This is the problem I have with some commentators on line. To keep looking at the evils of such and such a cardinal or priest will not change the crises in the Church. This brings me to the third point of the times in which we live. Unless we practice humility to the point of being joyful under duress and painful circumstances, the Church in certain areas will disappear.

For years, I have predicted swaths of land in the US without dioceses, bishops, priests, Masses. Once priests are fined and dioceses will have to sell schools, churches, land, and as soon as some bishops and priests are placed in jail, there will be no sacraments.

How does one remain in sanctifying grace without the sacraments?


Imagine not being able to get to confession but once a year. Imagine having Mass only three or four times a year. Imagine not being able to get married as there are no priests. Imagine not being able to have public rosaries, Adoration, processions, even Catholic art in your community. Imagine the stress of having to avoid mortal sin and working on venial sin without holy books or holy priests, or confessors.

Imagine not having the Last Rites, or Masses said for your soul in purgatory.

This is coming.

The only virtue which will help us all get through these times until God calls us home is humility.

To pray daily, to avoid temptation, to work on venial sins, to allow God to perfect one must happen NOW.

Do not pass up any opportunities to go to daily Mass.

I have lived for almost four months without daily Mass. In this time, it is the merits of the four months before of going to daily Mass which has sustained me. Imagine not having the Mass for six or eight months.

This has all happened before in Mexico, in England, in Spain, in the Middle East, in Africa.

It will happen here.

At this time in history, God needs the Church Militant to be full of saints committed to humility.

Moving on to the last point, on the Synod, all the problems we see there relate to a lack of humiity, not only among the clerics who push to change the Church's long teaching, which comes from Christ, on marriage, but from those proud laity who do not want to admit they are living in sin.

Self-knowledge brings the humility to say, “I cannot receive Christ because I am in sin. I need to change.”

The greatest evil in the world at this time is the tolerance of great sins-adultery, sodomy and greed. Until the laity in all humility beg God for His forgiveness in the toleration of these evils, in ourselves, in our families, in others, the tribulation will become worse for the members of the remnant who have humble themselves before God, and live in fear and trembling for their particular judgment.

The pride of prelates who see the Church as a numbers game, to gain money in certain countries, also reveals a lack of humility. The desire for money, and the comforts which money brings, kills humility.

People ask me, as a pre-Vatican II person who remembers well the daily Tridentine life and the Catholic ethnic cultures which supported the Church what the biggest difference was in those days to now.

The answer is simple. People were more humble, because they were poorer. People relied on God, and lived lives of simple contentment with much, much less material goods than now.

Consumerism killed the soul of America, leading to the abortion law, and now the enshrining of unnatural sex and lust into law.

Only a humble Church, which cries out to God for mercy and forgiveness for the sins of the nation will survive the coming persecution.

Christ promised that His Church will last until He comes again, but maybe, not in Springfield, not in Illinois, not in the Midwest, not east of the Mississippi, not in America.

The great Jesuit saints traveled to lands where they were seen an enemies of the state, such as China, Japan, or even the native America nations. They were hated, but what kept them true to their call and the Gospel was humility.

We need, in this time, a renewal of the Jesuit Order. We need the type of men who came to the north woods of New York, to Paraguay, to Japan, to England, knowing they would be martyred after much torture.

We need to adopt this attitude of facing the worst pain with equanimity in order to spread the Gospel of Christ.

I think people have two choices at this time-to join a monastic community and adopt Benedictine spirituality as I noted in a post several weeks ago, or to become Jesuit in spirituality, daily working on perfection and learning to live in courage with humility.

These two rules of life were created for times of persecution. One rule demands perfection among communities separate from the world, communities praying for the world. The other demands perfection in the world, in the midst of the worst anti-Catholicism possible.

Pray for a Jesuit heart. Some are called to be in the world and fight the good fight by converting others despite great persecution. I challenge parents to raise children according to the Jesuit method of education, noted on this blog, and in the daily Examen.

Raise saints, Parents.

Become saints, Single People

But all to all of us, I say that the only way forward is through the living out of the virtue of humility.

Starting Sunday, a new theme.

One small point worth repeating from Rodriguez

Father Rodriguez reminds us that St. John the Baptist never sinned, but he took on great penances and mortifications.

Why? Why would one so innocent, without Original Sin or the results of Original Sin fast, pray, do physical mortification to his body?

All the prophets did penance for the Chosen People, so that God would turn away His wrath towards their sins. All the prophets did mortification in order to hear clearly the Word of God, and not merely hear themselves.

One must be purified to hear the Voice of God.

But, St. John the Baptist was pure, and He recognized Jesus as the Christ, pointing Him out to his own disciples, such as John.

But, St. John took on himself some of the suffering of Christ. He lived out the Cross before Christ's salvific action on Calvary.  He willingly suffered, offering up his interecessions for the Jews through suffering, showing those who would see and hear that this is what they had to do to meet the Messiah.

Too many Jews at the time of Christ turned away from the Lord, went on their merry way, doing what they had always done, not changing, not repenting, not being open to God in their midst.

St. John suffered for his people and for us, to show us the way. Mortification is NOT OPTIONAL.

Lately, as I have met more and more weak men and peter pans, I realize what satan was doing all these past years in undermining the spiritual strength of men who did not resist him.

I make this point--men could have resisted the feminization of the Church and could have resisted being raised peter pans, but many did not. That is their fault. That is their sin.

St, John the Baptist shows us a real man, the opposite of a weak one, a peter pan.

I repeat here Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman's essay on the perfect gentleman. This essay describes what it will take to fight the evils coming upon men soon. A real man, like St. John the Baptist, takes on suffering gladly for others.

It is almost a definition of a gentleman to say he is one who never inflicts pain. This description is both refined and, as far as it goes, accurate. He is mainly occupied in merely removing the obstacles which hinder the free and unembarrassed action of those about him; and he concurs with their movements rather than takes the initiative himself. His benefits may be considered as parallel to what are called comforts or conveniences in arrangements of a personal nature: like an easy chair or a good fire, which do their part in dispelling cold and fatigue, though nature provides both means of rest and animal heat without them. The true gentleman in like manner carefully avoids whatever may cause a jar or a jolt in the minds of those with whom he is cast; — all clashing of opinion, or collision of feeling, all restraint, or suspicion, or gloom, or resentment; his great concern being to make every one at their ease and at home. He has his eyes on all his company; he is tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd; he can recollect to whom he is speaking; he guards against unseasonable allusions, or topics which may irritate; he is seldom prominent in conversation, and never wearisome. He makes light of favours while he does them, and seems to be receiving when he is conferring. He never speaks of himself except when compelled, never defends himself by a mere retort, he has no ears for slander or gossip, is scrupulous in imputing motives to those who interfere with him, and interprets every thing for the best. He is never mean or little in his disputes, never takes unfair advantage, never mistakes personalities or sharp sayings for arguments, or insinuates evil which he dare not say out. From a long-sighted prudence, he observes the maxim of the ancient sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves towards our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend. He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults, he is too well employed to remember injuries, and too indolent to bear malice. He is patient, forbearing, and resigned, on philosophical principles; he submits to pain, because it is inevitable, to bereavement, because it is irreparable, and to death, because it is his destiny. If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blunder. [From The Idea of a University, 1852]

Sad and why did this happen? Think!

A Note to Americans, the English and the Irish on The Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

Dear Friends in Christ,

Judging by the fact that some of you are not interested in preparing for the tribulation, I am addressing an important point.

Politics do not save us or our nations. Holiness does.

Until Catholics stop working as hard for the City of God as they do the City of Man, nothing will change.

I am sorry, but morality in politics will not change until the hearts, minds, souls of the people change.

The vast majority of politics no longer think in terms of either natural law or revealed law.

Therefore, using most of your energies to work at the political level will change nothing.

Read the Fall of the Roman Empire-we are in these times, as I have said on this blog for years.

In one year. Masses will disappear from most areas. Those who speak, preach, write against ssm will be fined or jailed. I have said this for a very long time.

Why do you think pagans will change their minds now? Grace is available but who is preaching and evangelizing. Some people do not even evangelize those around them.

Wake up to the new reality. Now is the time for evangelization, as those days are numbered as well.

St. Joseph lived under a tyranny. You are living under tyrannies. Yes, one should work for change, but real change is in the interior life, not the exterior. The exterior life follows the interior.  St. Joseph never signed a petition, or marched, or voted. He is our example now. How to be humble and holy in the midst of chaos.

What did he do? He kept in his community and built up that community. He lived the life of a holy husband and foster-father.

He knew Who his Foster-Son was. He knew who Mary was.

He died before the preaching of the Kingdom of God openly, but daily he lived in that Kingdom.

Fathers, husbands, brothers, create that Kingdom in your homes, in your work places, with your wives, children, grandchildren. Open your houses to singles, who are most vulnerable at this time, and will be even more so in the future.

Wives, stop pretending that life will go on just as it has. Teach your children to be saints.

Singles, join a religious community or support other singles in your area to become holy. There is no time to waste now.

God will judge us on the time we wasted on trivial things.

Pray, fast, create community.

Do not pretend.

Peace in Christ,


A Few Important Points from Rodriguez

How do we know we have the virtue of humility or any virtues?

In a superb chapter in Vol. II of Rodriguez, on pp. 184-186, the good priest shares several good points on signs as to whether we have acquired the virtue of humility. I sincerely hope that people can make the connections between these points and the looming time of tribulation.

First of all, is the virtue comes easily, it is truly a habit. If one must strive to be humble, and work on the thoughts which precede a humble action, one has not yet made this virtue a habit.

Perfection of humility just happens after the time of purgation. When one is purified, God gives grace for the virtues to be released and one can work on these, in order to form a habit.

Second, Rodriguez states that even when one is asleep, and has troubling temptations, thoughts, or images which are sinful or could lead to sin, in the dream itself, one reacts in fighting these and feels the discomfort of impending sign. That one can get upset in a nasty dream is a clear sign that one has made humility habitual. Again, if one is dreaming and in a situation of persecution and one is reacting with peace, calm, reticence in speech and such, one is making humility habitual.

Third, in acts of virtue, even in the actions of the virtue of humility, one feels a pleasure, a delight in these being performed. For example,  if one is treated with contempt, one feels a soft, quiet joy in this happening. If this reaction happens consistently, one is mastering the virtue of humility.

Rodriguez quotes St. Dorotheus, "The ancient fathers held for a constant maxim, that what the mind does not joyfully embrace cannot be of any continuance."

How true. One can have moments of breakthrough with regard to the virtue of humility, such as a moment of joy when one is accused of something one did not do, but it is only in the day-by-day living of this habit which shows that one has come into a deep state of humility.

As to prayer, contemplation, (not meditation, which is different, and see past blogs on this), becomes natural to the soul which is humble. When contemplation, as Rodriguez notes, "comes from the bottom of one's heart" and not from effort, one has been humbled.

Fourth, if one takes delight in obeying the laws of God, both natural and revealed, one is walking in humility.

Rodriguez quotes Psalm 1: 2-3. And, prosperity does not mean that one will have a materially comfortable life on earth, but will see the fruit of a life of virtue in heaven.

Psalm 1:2-3New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
    planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
    and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.