Posted by: Thomas Richard | October 20, 2021

Final Trial of the Church?

The universal Catechism of the Catholic Church has three brief but meaningful paragraphs very appropriate to our times. Our times? I never thought or imagined I’d see times like these – in the Church or in the world. Many, both in the secular world and in the Church, have radically turned away from traditional values and practices, from good reason, from the balance of charitable compromise seeking the common good. As if by an interior hidden shared spirit these many have taken a hard left together, at once, toward a “progressive” fictional utopia-on-earth. These many, in two ideology-driven movements, are hammering hard to forge 1) a global anti-religious secular centralized government, and 2) a “progressive” church professing universal superficial brotherhood and shallow, paper-thin oneness with all in a unified one-world religion. This nightmare of a dream is the dystopia of past generations of science fiction: centralized, impersonal tyranny squashing human rights and dignity – and Truth – like a bug on the floor.

A popular song of my younger days describes that interior, progressive spirit that is consuming minds and hearts in serious, threatening ways today. John Lennon crafted and presented it in song, sung very artfully:

Imagine
(from “Imagine: John Lennon” soundtrack)

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

It is seductive! “Progressivism” sounds good – almost. All well-crafted lies have sprinkles of truths in and on top of the poisons they seek to hide. In the leadership and direction of souls, seduction is to spiritual guidance as rape is to conjugal love. There are ravenous wolves among the secular politicians; there are Judases crept in among the faithful in the Church: the sweetness of tongue and sheep-skin tailored clothing of them all may mask their ravenous hearts, but their promises are like candy laced with deadly arsenic. They lie, they deceive, they poison, they kill.

Listen to this, from the Catechism, and see if it does not describe the news in politics and the news in the Church, especially for the last few years.

The Church’s ultimate trial

CCC 675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.<Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12> The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth<Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20> will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.<Cf. 2 Th 2:4-12; I Th 5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; I Jn 2:18, 22>

CCC 676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,<Cf. DS 3839> especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.<Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, condemning the “false mysticism” of this “counterfeit of the redemption of the lowly”; cf. GS 20-21>

CCC 677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.<Cf. Rev 19:1-9> The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.<Cf Rev 13:8; 20:7-10; 21:2-4> God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.<Cf. Rev 20:12 2 Pt 3:12-13>

Today, it is as though the evil one knows that his time is short, and the destruction of humanity that he seeks is so close, and yet is not accomplished. There remains resistance. Some people see their human rights and freedoms being stolen away under the claim of “covid emergency,” or “economic emergency,” or “constitutional flaws and outdated interpretations.” Some of the faithful see their spiritual needs being denied and truth being abandoned under claims of “you are clinging to rigid outdated traditions”, or “you need to ‘accompany,’ not ‘judge’ the confused and lost.” Or the conscience-twisting moral gymnastics that created “tradition to be authentic must be ever changing.”

Faithful, do not be afraid! Jesus warned us that such times would be hard – very hard. The evil one will be raging, because he knows his time is limited: “Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (Rev 12:12) The faithful can be confident: His mercy will not be extinguished! The trial will be hard, but the time of trial is limited: “And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” (Mt 24:22)

Truth will be challenged, threatened, yes – but Truth will not be lost, or defeated. Truth, holiness, righteousness – these are eternal realities long preceding these dark times – long preceding creation itself, and time itself. This trial is for a moment; security in the Truth, faithfulness in Christ, these are forever. Our Mother Mary is interceding; the saints in heaven are praying; they know the outcome; the faithful on earth know the last chapter. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, in Whom we set our faith, is holy and eternal Truth. This is very, very Good News.

 

Posted by: Thomas Richard | October 12, 2021

Consecration to Life in a Culture of Death

“In God we trust.”  Really?  In the beginning of this country, the foundations laid were firm;  the founding fathers presumed a world that was created, not accidental, created toward a specific end, not purposeless, not left to chance.  And they presumed a Creator having standards of justice, endowing us with rights that must be honored and protected, recognizing possibilities of goodness – even greatness – but also of wrongdoing, even to the depths of evil – among men.  In stark contrast to the changing winds of human thought and belief today that are so fashionable, unmoored and precarious, those founding fathers believed in a universe of solid realities not determined by their own subjective speculations, wishes or fantasies.  They were sober realists, contrasted to the egocentric ideologues of today who long ago swapped the gold of Truth for the cheap glass beads of “woke” political correctness. 

God has allowed us, the living of today, to see clearly – if we will open our eyes – a beautiful creation on the edge of suicide.  Western culture is mentally ill and blending into a world-wide stupor: an unreasoning numbness, an emotional coldness, a spiritual paper-thin shallowness, a heart incapable of embracing any other love than for the all-precious Self.  The impotence of our time cannot allow even the hope of happiness; happiness is aborted at conception, its birth is murdered by loathing cynicism at the start.  Our art is sterile, our music is noise, our dance is frantic madness, our love is lust, we have fallen into ugliness and no way out can be seen.

I am grateful. The deep corruption and death being revealed in politics and government, in courts of law, in institutional religion, in the educational system, in the field of medicine, in science, in every field and corner of humanity today, convinces me of one truth: we will not, we cannot fix this mess.  The mess – the swamp – is too big, too deep, too wide, too high, too pervasive to be corrected by any human project, plan or effort.  The mess has grown beyond the reach of men, just as it has grown by forces beyond the powers of men.  What we are seeing among us is the work of evil, it is straight out of hell, a swirling vortex sucking the works of man down and toward and into the black hole of hell.

I am grateful that I see this now, because now I can know, with certainty, that there is one and only one solution: God.  Only God can fix this mess; only He can overcome this kind of evil.

In a recent approved apparition of the Blessed Mother Mary, a message of warning and exhortation was delivered to a faithful family in Civitavecchia, Italy.  A portion of a recent Lifesite News interview (1) with Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò included this Question and Answer below, which is very relevant to our rightful response to these times.

LifeSite: Civitavecchia also contains the message that there will be a great apostasy in the Catholic Church. Many believe that there are bishops and cardinals within the Church who are either Freemasons or collaborate with them. Do you yourself have any knowledge of this, especially in light of your own work in the diplomatic corps?

Archbp Viganò – That the Masonic octopus clutches the Catholic Church in its tentacles is neither a rumor nor a secret. Right in the Vatican, the very stronghold of the Catholic Church, Masonry has armed itself with diabolical patience and waited until it reached the levers of power and command. The heart of Catholicity, which by divine mandate must be a beacon, has long been home to a pomp and pretension that decays it.

In Civitavecchia, during an apparition in the garden of the house, on August 27, 1995, the Blessed Virgin transmitted an alarming message, referring to what was already revealed at Fatima: “My children, the darkness of Satan is now obscuring the whole world and it is also obscuring the Church of God. Prepare to live what I had revealed to my little daughters of Fatima… After the painful years of Satan’s darkness, the years of the triumph of my Immaculate Heart are now imminent.” All the evidence shows that we have entered this time of trial, a decisive test. “The sufferings of the Church,” said Benedict XVI on the same journey to Fatima that we have mentioned, “come from within, from the sin that exists in the Church. This has always been known, but today we see it in a truly terrifying way.”

“This is the moment when the judgment has begun, beginning from the House of God!” (1 Pt 4: 17). Christ’s disciples are confronted with radical choices of consistency and fidelity, of total dedication to him, in the firm confession of the true faith: this could also cost the gift of one’s life in the supreme witness of martyrdom. With prayer and sacrifice we can mitigate this tribulation that has fallen upon the Church as a terrible punishment, but it is no longer possible to reverse it: it belongs to a providential plan of God. Through this radical trial, as through an Easter Triduum of suffering, death and descent into hell, the length of which we do not know, the Church will effectively be purified from the evils that are devastating her. This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls in numbers 675-677, citing the condemnation of the antichristic imposture. The Church will know the triumph of the Kingdom of Mary, which will open the doors to the Kingdom of Christ.

If the triumph of the Immaculate Heart is not far away, now is the time of battle, and She who is our Leader and Co-redemptrix wants to see us fight, suffer and implore her Victory which is now at the gates. “Through you I can spread the light of faith in these days of great apostasy. You are the light of the Lord, because you are children totally consecrated to Me. Let yourselves be guided by Me… If you listen to Me with true love, and fulfill my requests by walking the path that I point out to you in your mind and heart, through you I can realize the great divine Design of the great triumph of my Immaculate Heart” (September 8, 1995).

The strong message of Fatima was repeated and conveyed anew at Civitavecchia.  It is a call to prayer and sacrifices, repentance and reparation, a life of consecration and obedience to God.  The faithful Church must be light in this dangerous and growing darkness.  Sr. Lucia wrote in her book on the Fatima messages (2):

Renouncing anything which might cause us to sin is the way to salvation. It is for this reason that the Lord warns us that whoever would save his life, will lose it: in other words, anyone who wishes to satisfy their disordered appetites, live a sinful life, tread the broad path of sin, without repenting or making amends, will lose eternal life. How can we not ask ourselves with Jesus “What does it profit us if we gain the whole world, and lose or forfeit ourselves?” 

In the same way, Jesus warns us: “He who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” (Mt 10, 38) Yes! How can anyone be a friend of God and worthy of eternal life if they do not deny themselves whatever is necessary in order to walk in the way of his commandments, renouncing illicit pleasures, the whims of pride, vanity, covetousness, avarice, excessive self indulgence, failure to practice charity and justice towards others, shrugging off the yoke of the daily cross or carrying it reluctantly without bringing it into line and uniting it with the Cross of Christ? 

At times it will be the cross of our daily work: ‘You will eat your bread by the sweat of your brow” was the burden God imposed on Adam as a penance for his sin. At other times, it will be the difficulties of life which occur at every step we take, and which we must accept with serenity, patience and resignation. At yet other times, it will be the humiliations which happen all of a sudden and which we must accept, acknowledging whatever is imperfect within us and resolving to amend ourselves with confidence in God, who always helps souls who mean to raise themselves up to a better and more perfect life: ‘Make of everything you can a sacrifice’ – the Message tells us – ‘and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and in supplication for the conversion of sinners.’ 

We must take very seriously, the gift of our call into Jesus Christ!  “To whom much is given, much will be required.”  We must not be like the lovers of this world, idolaters of Self, drunk with what is not and empty of what is.  We must be alert and sober, knowing the shortness of our days, the glory of His promise, the splendor of His eternal Being, and the precious value of each soul we encounter.  Let us live prayerfully confident in Him who is our life.  Let us seek in all ways to be consecrated persons, giving Life in this culture of death.

 


End notes:

(1)  Lifesite News Sept. 3, 2021, “FLASHBACK: Archbishop Viganò: Our Lady warned of ‘great apostasy’ in Church,” Maike Hickson

(2) “CALLS” The Message of Fatima by Sister Lucia, Pt. 9, The Call to Sacrifice 

Posted by: Thomas Richard | October 6, 2021

Abortion, CV-19 Vaccines, and the Church

This post is mostly a reference to the powerful article in LifeSiteNews, which deserves to be read in its entirety, entitled (linked):

‘I will never comply with evil’:
Pro-lifer Abby Johnson on abortion-tainted vaccines

Tue Oct 5, 2021 – 10:43 am EDT
PITTSBURGH (LifeSiteNews) — One of the world’s most powerful pro-life voices on Saturday decried vaccines tied to abortion, now culminating in the Catholic clergy’s encouraging what Abby Johnson characterized as cooperation with evil.

At the Catholic Identity Conference in Pittsburgh, former Planned Parenthood facility director turned pro-life warrior Abby Johnson explained that it’s not only the abortion industry that has sunk to new lows in its callous disregard for the lives of mothers: The Catholic hierarchy has promoted evil by encouraging the use of vaccines developed with cell lines of aborted children, even becoming complicit in forced abortion-tainted vaccination.

 


 

Here is another important source to see: a list of U.S. Bishops, with indications for their current diocesan policy on allowing or disallowing priests to endorse, for the laity, affirmations of conscientious objection to abortion-tainted vaccines.

Does Your Bishop Support Religious Exemptions For COVID Inoculations?

These are difficult times for the faithful – times that call us deeply, urgently, to our Catholic Christian vocation to holiness.  We must pray – pray – pray to remain firm in Christ our Lord who remained faithful no matter the cost.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | June 27, 2021

A Prayer of Morning Offering, and Brief Commentary

Many Catholics begin every day with a Prayer of Morning Offering – a way to offer the Lord our day as a sacrifice, an offering to him in worship, our life one day at a time.  This is only one example; a search on the internet will disclose many variations.  The practice is a beautiful one, helping us to remain righteous the whole day through, so that our day may be an offering worthy of Him, our humble gift to the divine Giver of all that we have and are.

If you – the reader – don’t presently begin your day with an intentional self-offering to Him, I strongly recommend the practice!  In these times – these strange, dangerous, confused and dark times – let us anchor our days, one at a time, in Him – the one firm foundation of life!

We begin and end with the Sign of the Cross:
(Tracing the Cross on our body, we say, “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.”

The prayer:

Oh my Jesus,
Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary
I offer you all my prayers, my works, my joys and my sufferings of this day,
In union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world,
In reparation for my sins and the sins of the whole world,
And for the intentions of your Sacred Heart.
Amen.

A Commentary on the Morning Offering:

First, The Sign of the Cross.
Commentary:

We seek to offer (begin and end) our prayer “in His Name” – in the One Name of the One God, who is a Trinity of Three Divine Persons. We seek to pray in His eternal Truth and Love, in the mystery of Trinity:
“The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them.” (Catechism #234)

Oh my Jesus,
Commentary:

Jesus is “my Jesus” not that I possess Him – He possesses me, He is my Lord, my Redeemer, my Savior.

Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
Commentary:

The Immaculate Heart is the holy, sinless and spotless center of God’s perfect example of a human person. By this she is the perfect human Model for us all. By God’s intention she was formed immaculate to be the perfect and worthy human Mother of His Divine Son. By the Word of Christ from the Cross, she is our Mother. In her motherly love she does nurture and pray for us her children today, and all days.

I offer you all my prayers, my works, my joys and my sufferings of this day,
Commentary:

This is our priesthood in Christ: to make acceptable offerings of our lives in real human actions to God – worship in spirit and in truth. We offer them through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, knowing that only what is pure can pass through her hands to our Lord. Hence what He receives from us through Mary, is good, is righteous, is holy and is thus worthy to offer Him.

In union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world,
Commentary:

In the Sacrifice of the Mass (our most perfect act of worship), Catholic priests throughout the world “exercise in a supreme degree their sacred office; there, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming his mystery, they unite the votive offerings of the faithful to the sacrifice of Christ their head, and in the sacrifice of the Mass they make present again and apply, until the coming of the Lord, the unique sacrifice of the New Testament, that namely of Christ offering himself once for all a spotless victim to the Father.” [CCC 1566, LG 28; cf. 1 Cor. 11:26, Heb. 9:11-28.]

In reparation for my sins and the sins of the whole world,
Commentary:

Sin damages the sinner and others. The damage and wounds inflicted call in justice for atonement, for restoration and repair of the damage caused by the sin. This is called reparation due for sins that have been repented and forgiven. Sometimes we can directly do good for the innocent hurt by our sins, in reparation for the harm we have caused them, sometimes that is not prudent or even possible.
We thus offer to God righteous works in our daily lives, in reparation for our sins, whether of commission or omission, whether remembered or forgotten, whether consciously or unconsciously wounding a neighbor. In this way we follow Paul the Apostle: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church.” (Col 1:24)

And for the intentions of your Sacred Heart.
Commentary:

Above all, we offer prayer in union with all who pray the Prayer given us by Jesus to the Father, the “Our Father”. We pray for His intentions, His will: “Thy Kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Amen.
(and repeat the Sign of the Cross).

Posted by: Thomas Richard | June 15, 2021

A Dystopia of Insanity

This passage in St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians is, I believe, very important to understanding our times.  These times are difficult!  In the West we are seeing a very troubling cultural wave of surprising speed and ferocity, deforming in the name of “reforming” religion, secular power/government, even the military, even our school systems, everything, everywhere.  It is a force attacking human foundations – of faith in God, of human nature, of marriage, of the natural moral law as God has placed it in human conscience, indeed a force seeking to redefine humanity, God, government, right and wrong, truth and lie, life itself.  I would say it is a force attacking reason and upending it, to leave in the wake and “normalize” insanity.  It is the force, I would say, of satan unleashed.  It is death, seeking to trample into the dirt all that is good, noble, and true.

Let’s listen to this brief but penetrating passage in 2nd Thessalonians:

2 Thess 2:1 We ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him,
2 not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a “spirit,” or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.
3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one doomed to perdition,
4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is a god—
5 do you not recall that while I was still with you I told you these things?
6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. But the one who restrains is to do so only for the present, until he is removed from the scene.
8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord [Jesus] will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming,
9 the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie,
10 and in every wicked deceit for those who are perishing because they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved.
11 Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie,
12 that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned.
13 But we ought to give thanks to God for you always, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in truth.
14 To this end he has [also] called you through our gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught….

The “New World Order” that progressives of today want to establish is a dystopia of insanity.  I’m not trying to insult anyone; I’m merely stating the fact.  They are literally insane, because they blindly reject truth and instead embrace, hunger for, and believe in what is false.  This is the current culture war that we wake up every morning now to see and hear and have to wonder “how did it get this bad so quickly?  St. Paul saw it coming to this in the beginning, 2000 years ago.  

  1. The time would come when many would reject – to the point of loathing – the Truth of God.  Thus, verses (10-12) explain why these times require, in justice, God’s respond to these persons: “they have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved. Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie, that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned.”
  2. Thus, the horrible insanity of these dark days!  The minds of men and women in willful flight from holy Truth generate, in their minds and hearts, the antitheses of things good, noble and true.  They become persons lusting for more, for all things evil, inhuman, and false.  They become children of the father of lies, the slaves of satan, the servants of death.
  3. The ever-darker path of the progression away from God and His will, has a finality that God will show us in His time.  He will not allow the evil one to continue past a point of finality that will occur after – only after – “the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one doomed to perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God, claiming that he is a god” (verses 3-4).
  4. So we see that God has restrained the works and powers of satan: “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (verse 7) even as Paul was writing this letter!  The Last Days began before the Cross, before the first days of the Church, when Judas left the Assembly to betray his Lord Jesus.  The destructive work of satan was allowed to proceed, but he was restrained in God’s mercy, until the final Days could come.  And then, only then, “the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord [Jesus] will kill with the breath of His mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of His coming” (verse 8).

What are we to do? The mortal danger is made clear in this passage.  There are those perishing and there are those to be saved, to be gathered into His peace, His love, His Truth, eternally.  The mortal danger is to be among those who “have not accepted the love of truth so that they may be saved” (verse 10).  The dying world is rejecting Truth, and is seeking fantasy!  

Gender dysphoria is perhaps the most blatant and clear example of the bold-faced denial of undeniable reality, in these days.  A man is simply not a woman, and cannot ever be.  No matter the outward dress, the lipstick, the chemicals, the surgeries, the wishes or demands or laws or pretenses, a man will never become a mother, he will never conceive new life within himself and bear a child.  God and God alone creates a child, a new and unique human person, through the generative powers He placed in a man of His creation and a woman of His creation, by His intention and design.   

Gender dysphoria is a very clear example of the rejection of God’s design and will – in whose will our vocation to holiness and happiness is to be found and fulfilled.  But in our times we see so many ways and examples of modern man’s rejection of God, and supplanted by his own self-obsessed will, and wishes, and concerns, and ideas.  Not seeking the saving Truth of God, but seeking instead the Self according to one’s own imagined “self”, modern mankind has continued step after step to further and further distance himself from God, His will and ways.  Thus same-sex unions and even “marriages”, even “adoptions” of children, thus contraception and abortion, thus crimes against humanity of every sort: murders, rapes, enslavement, stealing, lying, hating, … , man against man, man against God, man against himself.  The road away from God is the road to death.

What are we to do?  Seek Truth in the love of Truth; embrace Truth in the communion of divine holiness, our vocation, our destiny.  Rest in Him in the works of every day.  He is coming, and soon.  Remain faithful, in Him, until the end:

2 Thess 2:13 But we ought to give thanks to God for you always, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in truth.
14 To this end he has [also] called you through our gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught….

This morning as I prayed the last day of the Novena to Divine Mercy, it seemed to me that the Blog article Thomas posted on April 7 was being re-enfoced by Jesus’ words to St. Faustina :

“Today bring to Me the Souls who have become Lukewarm, and immerse them in the abyss of My mercy. These souls wound My Heart most painfully. My soul suffered the most dreadful loathing in the Garden of Olives because of lukewarm souls. They were the reason I cried out: ‘Father, take this cup away from Me, if it be Your will.’ For them, the last hope of salvation is to run to My mercy.”

Most compassionate Jesus, You are Compassion Itself. I bring lukewarm souls into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart. In this fire of Your pure love, let these tepid souls who, like corpses, filled You with such deep loathing, be once again set aflame. O Most Compassionate Jesus, exercise the omnipotence of Your mercy and draw them into the very ardor of Your love, and bestow upon them the gift of holy love, for nothing is beyond Your power.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon lukewarm souls who are nonetheless enfolded in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Father of Mercy, I beg You by the bitter Passion of Your Son and by His three-hour agony on the Cross: Let them, too, glorify the abyss of Your mercy. Amen. “

Listening to Jesus’ words to all God’s children on this Saturday morning, I could not help but think of Mary, since every Saturday for centuries has been remembered as “Mary’s Day” because of her great Faith — especially as she waited believing Jesus would rise as He had promised.   Mary’s joy remained deep within her heart even while she endured with her Son all His Sufferings and experienced the piercing of her heart spiritually as His was pierced physically, on Calvary.

Mary is interceding with us today for those souls who have such need of God’s Mercy and of her Motherly love for them.  Mary is Mother of Mercy and Mother of the Church given to us by Jesus from His Cross.  Mary’s Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit — like the Peace only Jesus can give and not as the world gives.  The Holy Spirit enables us to bring forth the fruits of Love, joy, peace, and more, when we cooperate with the gifts given to us in Baptism.  When we are obedient as Mary was and is,  always to the Will of the Father as Jesus was.

Remembering Thomas’ blog, which I read only 3 days ago, I thought to myself – “God does all things well” — I believe  He put it into the heart of Thomas to write that blog because so many in these critical times, these confusing times and for many very sorrowful times, all of us need to examine our interior lives with deep contrition and fervent prayer for Mercy from the Heart of Jesus poured out in love for us, and seek the holiness St. Peter preached in his first Letter:

“Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as He who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, “Be holy because I am holy.” (1 Pet 13-16)

Souls in the Church and the world need Mary’s loving example.  We all need to hear deep in our hearts Jesus’ words to John and to all of God’s children from His Cross: 

“Behold your Mother” (Jn 19:27)

John listened and was was obedient.  He took Mary into not only his home but into his life and learned to see in Mary what Jesus intended all of us to see by the Gifts of our Baptism.   Either we will behold her Who is the Mother of Mercy and Model for the Church or we will fall into that retardation and lukewarmness that so wounds the Heart of Jesus and can lead to death.  We cannot serve 2 Masters, but rather we can  “Behold our Mother”, and see what wonders God do in  us,  By His Grace let us share the joy Mary kept in her heart even in her suffering:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” (Lk 1: 46-47)

Come, Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful, as you filled Mary, that we may remain in Jesus,  growing in holiness, giving witness, and praying for His Grace not to become lukewarm but praying  with Jesus through Mary, for all  lukewarm souls to earnestly seek His Mercy! Merciful Heart of Jesus, we trust in You!  Mary, Mother of Mercy, and Mother of the Church, pray for us, and for lukewarm souls especially.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | April 7, 2021

The Way of the Cross – Easier Than the Impossible Alternative

“If a man is not a socialist at age 20, he has no heart; if he is not a conservative by age 40, he has no head.”  This interesting generalization has been attributed as a paraphrase of Winston Churchill.  Scholars reject this, finding older sayings having the same general idea, phrased one way or another to fit the language of their time and culture.  But there is a basic truth, I believe, in the notion at the heart of this:  unworkable ideologies ought to give way, in the human heart, to realistic wisdom – in time, and in maturity.

I heard another quotable common proverb once, relevant to this topic, that goes like this: “Some people never outgrow stupid.”  That’s pretty harsh – even flippant – but it does fit an observation of some very wise spiritual authorities in the Church, concerning the tragic abandonment of our intended vocation in Christ, by many.  He calls us to seek and to find even to the fulfillment of truth, wisdom, and most crucially of holy love (divine Charity).  Yes, sadly – tragically –  many men and women fail to seek, and to persevere earnestly in seeking that life in Christ that He came and gave His all, to give to us.  St. Paul found it, and pointed us to what should be the conscious goal of us all: maturity in Christ.  Seeking with prudence, we are called to persevere: 

… until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ… (Eph 4:13 )

Yes this is our vocation!  Maturity in Christ!  It may not be commonly attained, in this life, but it is our vocation – and His grace is sufficient, if we will but remain, and grow, in Him.

The Way of the Retarded Soul

This falling by the wayside, on the path to spiritual fulfillment, has been called the fall of a “retarded soul.”  The Lord intends, with His grace, that we grow in the life of Christ!  But many give up the ascent into Him, rather than progressing in the spiritual life from a beginning in spiritual childhood, into (with God’s grace) a spiritual adolescence, and continuing (with God’s grace) into a spiritual maturity.  Many others do occasionally “fall back,” then repent, stand up, recover, and begin again, earnestly striving to keep faith and grow!  This would be noble, and meritorious.  This, we remember, St Peter himself did several times in Scripture. Jesus foretold him of this, as the Cross and Peter’s great personal trial drew near: 

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.” And he said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”  He said, “I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow this day, until you three times deny that you know me.” (Lk 22:31-34)

But a definitive and grave “falling by the wayside” is something else.  It may begin as an impossible compromise that the Christian makes, a compromise of the call of Christ and the call of this godless world.  This Christian does not want to abandon God or the world!  He wants them both.  He wants to keep on good terms with both, rejecting neither, offending neither, rocking no boats nor burning any bridges nor turning his back on either God or mammon.  But such two loves cannot co-exist.  With these there is and can be no compromise.  There is no “half-way” between hell and heaven, nor between righteousness and evil.  There can be, and is, on the journey in this world to and into Christ, a journey of increasing purity of love, and firm rejection – purgation – of what is unclean, impure, unholy, evil.  Both may exist in the soul, in this journey – temporarily! – but there can be no enduring compromise, no toleration, only patient and resolute struggle in what is a war between good and evil, as God gives us the light to see and judge the darkness and overcome it in His grace.

No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16:13)

The truth of the above passage can be more like a brick wall blocking the road, than a mild “Warning”, or a stronger “Stop!” sign.  Contradictions cannot coexist!  Sadly, hypocrisy can “coexist”, at least for a while, and for the lovers of this world, hypocrisy does seem to solve the “religion problem.”  Religious hypocrisy – as if God cannot spot a liar a mile away! – is a preferred “solution” to the crisis brought by the actual teachings of Christ: “You cannot serve God and mammon.”

Such a person can fall, then, away from the way of the Cross – and Life – and in fact choose the self-gratifying love of the things of this world even to the actual rejection and contempt of God.  He may keep up appearances in Church and with his church friends.  He may not admit this interior choice even to himself.  But cloaked in religious hypocrisy and pretense, he has chosen to abandon the path of struggle and ascent, instead to float downstream in self-satisfactions and temporal delights.  This is the way of the retarded soul.

Having rejected God in his heart, he has opened himself to all the lies, the duplicity, the absurdities and insanities of satan.  He has no problem redefining marriage to whatever today’s culture declares to be good. He has no problem redefining “gender” to be whatever the person decides in his inner sense.  “Who am I to judge another?”  Any absolute imposition by an irrelevant “god” (or biology!) is of no significance – we can remake and redefine ourselves, our “partners,” our personal “truth”.  Since there is no “god” there are no absolutes or imperatives, except what the awakened and modern community decides.  Hence, they proclaim, we are free.  This is the way of modern, godless man free of foundation or anchor, free of root, transforming light or living water; his way is death.  This is the way of the retarded soul: seeking himself, he has found slavery, seeking himself, he is an easy victim of the liar and the father of lies.

When such a person takes leadership in government, he works toward only more government: more control and power over others, and more comfort and prestige for himself.  In his mind it is just and reasonable that he lead and control and rule over others!  Any who believe that they don’t need his rule only prove his point: they are incompetent and unintelligent (“the deplorables”); he was born to lead; they, to serve.  This is the professional politician: he rules for the love of ruling.  

When such a person is religious, his ambitions and goals are directed into the world of religion.  If and when he gains for himself a leadership position – and thus power – in a church, he works and plans for more power, comfort for himself and control over others.  He also “rules for the love of ruling.”  This of course merits the just judgments of Christ upon the “scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites” of His day.  This is the “clericalist,” the “professional religionist,” of our day.

Mt 23:4  They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.
Mt 23:5  They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,
Mt 23:6  and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues.
Mt 23:13  But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.
Mt 23:15  Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

To Conclude: Seek Righteousness While it is Day…

I say all this as a warning, because many false teachers have gone out among us.  Do not follow those who know not where they are, or where they are going.  “Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Mt 15:14)  Do not be led by those who are not themselves being led by the Lord, the Teacher of Truth, the Holy Spirit.  I conclude with words of St. John, which must be heard prayerfully, carefully, deeply:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.
Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them.
We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 Jn 4:1-6)

Posted by: Thomas Richard | March 9, 2021

A Debt of Honor Is Owed to Mary our Mother

Is this true, or false: “One is not obliged as a Catholic to honor Mary”?  I heard this the first time a few years ago, to my horror.  I had hoped that such a teaching would fade away quickly; it has not.  Hence, in deeper distress I want to try to say again, no!  This teaching profoundly misrepresents the Catholic Faith, which is permeated and infused with true Marian devotion by God’s intention and design.  We are very poorly presented by those groups in the Church, who profess and proclaim this teaching.

Honor is due – is owed – is deserved to men and women in God’s creation, as God has placed them in His plan and design.  To those to whom honor is due, and to the extent that is owed, justice and charity oblige the faithful to give appropriate and deserved honor.  Justice is simple in the secular and the religious world – return what is due: Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. (Rom 13:7)

True Marian devotion is in decline.  That is my own conclusion, fallible though it is, as I see the Church and the world today: Mary is increasingly marginalized and minimized among Catholics.  God created the church with at least two “dimensions” – a Marian dimension, the righteous feminine side, and a Petrine dimension, the righteous masculine side.  Together they form a Holy Family, the Holy Church.  If one or the other side is suppressed or rejected or minimized, the church suffers a distortion; the mission is wounded perhaps to failure for a time.  

In our time we have lost the righteous balance and unity in Christ; this is a time of distortion in the Church, the evidence: clericalism with all the abuses (sexual abuses and other abuses of power) and spiritual afflictions in which we continue to suffer.  I want to say, we need Mary.

Mary is Mother of the Church:

Catechism 963 – Since the Virgin Mary’s role in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit has been treated, it is fitting now to consider her place in the mystery of the Church. “The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and of the redeemer…. She is ‘clearly the mother of the members of Christ’ … since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth of believers in the Church, who are members of its head.”<LG 53; cf. St. Augustine, De virg. 6: PL 40,399> “Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church.”<Paul VI, Discourse, November 21,1964>

— If Mary is “clearly the mother of the members of Christ” is she not owed honor from the members?  Is “Honor your father and your mother” God’s will, or not?

Catechism 971 — “All generations will call me blessed”: “The Church’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship.”<Lk 1:48; Paul VI, MC 56> The Church rightly honors “the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of ‘Mother of God,’ to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs…. This very special devotion … differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.”<LG 66> The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an “epitome of the whole Gospel,” express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.<Cf. Paul VI, MC 42; SC 103>

If Catholic devotion to the Blessed Virgin is “intrinsic” to our faithful worship, is our honor of her merely optional?  If our honor is not due, what is due?  Our dishonor?  Our indifference?  A smile and a wave to her from a detached distance?  Catholics, is Mary your Blessed Virgin Mother, or not?  If you are in Christ, she is your mother.  Ask your brother John the Beloved Disciple, who was first to hear and receive this Good News from the Cross, from the dying Jesus Himself, saying to him, “Behold your mother.” (Jn 19:27).  And John “took her into his own.”

How important is the completeness and fullness, the whole-heartedness, the maturity of our worship of Holy God?  Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, (Jn 4:22-24):

You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.
God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The Father seeks those who worship Him not as they “choose” or “prefer” or minimize to what “fits” with what we know now or with all we care to know now.  He is calling us to more!  Indeed, He is calling us to the fullness that has been entrusted to this Holy Catholic Church!  How can Catholic teachers seek to dilute the Faith to “fit” better the non-Catholic world, the very world we are sent into as witnesses of all that He has revealed?  The Church was sent (Mt 28:19-20) to teach all that He commanded – Personally by His words and example, and through His Holy Spirit to the Church as well – the whole Truth:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

We owe Him that!  All disciples whom we hope to prepare for Him, deserve to hear and to learn all that He has entrusted to His Church.

Vatican II echoed Marian devotion and honor passed on to us, from ancient times to today in the Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium #52,53):

Joined to Christ the Head and in the unity of fellowship with all His saints, the faithful must in the first place reverence the memory “of the glorious ever Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ”.

The Virgin Mary, who at the message of the angel received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world, is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God and Mother of the Redeemer….. She is “the mother of the members of Christ . . . having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head.” Wherefore she is hailed as a pre-eminent and singular member of the Church, and as its type and excellent exemplar in faith and charity. The Catholic Church, taught by the Holy Spirit, honors her with filial affection and piety as a most beloved mother.

We “must in the first place reverence” her memory but honor is optional? Mary “is hailed as a pre-eminent and singular member of the Church, and as its type and excellent exemplar in faith and charity” – but honoring her is not owed her?  She is not deserving of the honor due to her because of the place given her by God in His Church?  Is she not worthy of honor as our Mother in Christ, she who is “the mother of the members of Christ . . . having cooperated by charity that faithful might be born in the Church, who are members of that Head”?

Friends, the fullness of divine revelation given to the Catholic Church is immense!  We cannot teach or share everything in the Faith all at once – the Body of Teachings is too big, too rich, too full.  But we can and we ought not ever dilute to the point of misrepresenting the fullness of the Truth, presenting partial truths in ways that mislead, whether intentionally or unintentionally.  Many today are presenting Mary and her place in the Gospel in ways that seem to me to be intended to ease the acceptance of the Catholic Faith by today’s protestantized, secularized modernists who have become “consumers” in this “discretionary market of weekend religion providers.”  And many “salesmen” are “competing for a decreasing available market share.”  

Yes, I know how cynical that sounds.  But these times demand facing hard realities.  The Catholic Faith is not an optional dessert for people who are already overweight from foods they did not need.  The food the Church is entrusted with is essential, necessary for Life and urgently needed as the night approaches.  A Church seeking to grow, revealing only parts of the Truth to a lost people weak and dazed in the spiritual famine of the modern West, is making poor use of the time – and there is or may be precious little of it left.  We need, today, in this cold and hard world, our Mother Mary!  The modern hard and sterile clerical church (not the Church intended by Christ!) needs her maternal, feminine, motherly and faith-filled gifts today, as perhaps never so urgently before.  The bureaucratic institutional and impersonal church needs a mother – the very mother intended for her from the beginning!  Our Mother Mary deserves the honor, the love, the devotion, the place among us that God intends.  We had better begin to listen to Him, and the sooner the better; the clock is ticking.

Friends, ask your pastors to provide the needed catechesis and spiritual formation that we need in these dark times.  We need to learn to pray, and to read and listen to and hear Holy Scripture.  We need food for the interior life.  We need to become better formed, in other words, into the image and likeness of God our Creator and Redeemer.  

And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;
so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love. (Eph 4:11-16)

See also:

The Church Needs Mary

Foundations of Marian Devotion in the Early Church

Posted by: Thomas Richard | March 1, 2021

A New Day is Dawning

In an essay published on this website on June 15, 2019, I wrote in Will God Give Us a Third Chance? my great concern for the Church, still at that time asleep in a comfortable status quo, still taking her ease.  A hungry pack of thieves and robbers – growing and expanding their power in America, in the world, and in the Church! – had continued their subterfuge with growing success.  I saw at that time – with dismay – the unconcern spread wide, far and high in the institutional Church.  And now, today, March 1, 2021, with many in the Church and the world still preoccupied with only what is within arm’s reach, and blind to what is climbing over the broken and weakened walls, invading and in-filling both Church and State – today I was on the verge of despair.

BUT!  This morning I see a sign of great hope.  A strong and faithful bishop, Bp. Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas is cooperating with a small group of committed laity to build with his permission in his diocese a multifaceted Catholic Center  – an intentional faithful Catholic community, “Now in the planning stages, Veritatis Splendor will be a spiritual home where Christians can develop, nurture and preserve all of the chief truths and teachings of Christendom.”

I invite my readers to read the wonderful news in the National Catholic Register, HERE.

The website of the planned Center, named Veritas Splendor (named after the papal encyclical of Pope St. John Paul II, The Splendor of Truth) is a must-see as well. You may well want to write for more information.

I also include below the three main points of my 2019 essay published on this website:

Point 1 from 2019, “Will God Give Us a Third Chance?” – the danger is dark and deadly:

The transformation of America that Obama worked toward, has become only more frightening and possible now, than it was then. The “advance”, from liberal to progressive to socialist to the end of our democratic republic, is today more clearly and obviously the Democrat Party trajectory, than it was before. The quest of man – a godless City of Man – was made visible in the ancient Tower of Babel (Gen 11), and has been sought ever since. Man lusts for the freedom from God that gives him full reign to do whatever he pleases. The danger to all of our authentic and God-given freedoms as Americans, from the freedom of religion on down, is more threatened now than ever before in our history. As St. Mother Teresa observed, where a child in the womb is not safe, having no intrinsic right to life, no human person is safe; no human right is safe.

The culture has been dumbed down sufficiently, the churches have been secularized sufficiently, that both democracy and living faith are no longer safe. Both could virtually be lost at the same time in one election cycle. Man’s lust for “freedom from religion,” growing today, could be satisfied under force of law, in one election cycle. Socialism is no longer a bad word; God is optional, indeed, irrelevant; right and wrong are mere passing opinions, and besides, see how our economy is booming! We were close to the tipping point in 2016, indeed a majority of voters were fine with the “new morality” of godless “political correctness” and we are even more perilously close now, 2019. Some say the progressives lost only by the out-dated system of the Electoral College: they “actually” won by the popular vote. I say no; you lost because God had mercy on America and on the world – perhaps just this one more time.

Point 2 from 2019, “Will God Give Us a Third Chance?” – God sent an unexpected reprieve:

When in 2016 [Hillary] Clinton was defeated and Trump won, as most of America I was stunned. But I was also trembling inside, knowing that God had just given America, and the rest of the endangered world, one undeserved and perhaps last chance. The Church – the Church He sent – He gave one undeserved and perhaps last chance! His Church was sent to be light in this dark and darkening world! His Church was sent to bring Truth to lost human persons! That creation sent to be His Church, I weep and groan within to say, has become so compromised, so institutionalized, so impoverished within and so monetized and commercialized outwardly, that she is hardly distinguishable from the culture she was sent to save. This Church has learned nothing these past three years! She continues on her own way as before; she continues her outward adornments, she chases the latest fashions, she echoes the latest fads; she ignores the disease in her soul.

Point 3 from 2019, “Will God Give Us a Third Chance?” – The Church continues in wide-spread famine:

The Church needs divine supernatural grace – His holy Life! The Church needs our Mother Mary! The Church needs His Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth! In His grace, if we will entrust ourselves to Him, with His sacraments, in the Catholic moral life, growing in prayer with and through our Mother Mary, we can again find Him, we can again receive and believe Him, we can again live our human lives in holiness, in Him. This is His will: our holiness – which will be light in this darkening godless world. Light meant for the many, is entrusted first to the few, that they might carry it to the others, those meant to be our brothers and sisters.

We the Church need to repent and return. The world needs the Church, though they know it not, and the Church needs to repent and return, though many seem to know it not – even now, we are preoccupied with trivia and neglectful of the essentials, “while men were sleeping.”

I don’t know what it will take, for our pastors to reject the ever-incoming waves of “the latest” parish renewal programs and turn to the saints, the fathers and doctors of the Church for the time-tested and proven sources of faith formation. We have an excellent Catechism – why aren’t we using it? We have teachers of prayer who have “been there” on the mountain top, and have left us a heritage of spiritual wisdom – why won’t we listen to them?

BUT no, here in 2021 we are not deserted or abandoned: God has heard the cries of His poor.  The Splendor of Truth continues to radiate.  The most Holy Spirit is moving still, and awakening His people – even if only a few at a time. He can work grand transformations in a glance, in a blink, in a moment, and mountains can move and deserts can erupt in fruitfulness, all in His perfect time.

To quote from the Sunday morning Liturgy of the Hours, in this time of Lent, now March 2021:

Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not lament, do not weep; for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength! (Nehemiah 8:9,10b)

Posted by: Thomas Richard | February 7, 2021

Open Letter to Preachers

My ideas about Jesus will not give me peace.
A preacher’s or pastor’s opinions about Jesus will not give me peace.
My theological or doctrinal conclusions about Jesus will not give me peace.
Nor will yours, give me – or you – peace.

My talking to Jesus will not give me peace.
Your talking about Jesus will not give me peace.
Sitting and talking and listening in a group (with workbooks!) about Jesus will not give me peace.
My reading the Bible, seeking to find my understandings, my opinions, my thoughts – myself – in the Bible about myself or about Jesus, will not give me peace.

My prayers to Jesus – if only monolog about me, my thoughts, my hopes, my fears, my wishes, my opinions – will not give me peace.
Neither will my silent daydreaming, even before the Blessed Sacrament, even though giving me a reprieve from the external noises of the world, give me peace.
“Helping” Jesus know ME is useless: He knows me, better than I do myself.
What do I need?  I NEED TO KNOW JESUS.  And I need to come to know myself as He knows me.

I need to seek Him where He reveals Himself – where He reveals Holy Truth – where He uncovers what is hidden by the noise and business of the world, by the clutter and deceptions and hiding places of my own heart.  I need to seek Him where He has been waiting for 2000 years now: In Divine Revelation, in the Holy Scripture, in the parables and testimonies and mysteries of His sacred acts and His precious words in Holy Scripture.

I NEED TO LISTEN TO JESUS – I NEED TO HEAR HIM!
 –
Lectio divina, rightly understood and practiced with right disposition can enable a hungry soul to encounter Jesus in Holy Scripture.  Nothing more fancy, no “Complete Program for Today’s Busy Adults!” on today’s Christian or Catholic market can replace the work of the Holy Spirit in a hungry seeker of Truth, who listens to His Word, and trembles in reverence before the Holy.

Isa 66:1-2  Thus says the LORD:
“Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house which you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?

All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things are mine, says the LORD.
But this is the man to whom I will look,
he that is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word.

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