Posted by: Thomas Richard | May 23, 2022

An Open Letter to Part-Time Catholics

Do you know the Presence of the Holy?  If you do, you have received a gift given by God and only by God, for only He (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) can give this gift.  No human person can take, or make, or fabricate or assimilate or simulate or duplicate this gift because the gift is Himself, His own Self-gift within the blessed human soul.  When the chosen human person then enters the Presence of the Holy, there is aroused in him the due response of holy reverence.   This reverence is God within acknowledging, affirming, recognizing to the blessed human soul the divine Presence of the Holy then and there.

This reverence, springing up by no human effort or reasoning, is entirely the work of God – yet a divine work received within the human soul without any obstruction or interference by man.  It is in a sense undeniable because of the sublime delight it brings to the soul – how can it be resisted?  How can it be refused?  How can it be set aside for lesser occupations?  It is too beautiful to draw forth any response but love.

This reverence is itself prayer, prayer in its highest expression, prayer that is truly a dialogue of self-gift and divine gift.  St. John Vianney said it beautifully, “Prayer is nothing other than union with God.”  Prayer may begin seeming to be much different – a monologue – a soliloquy of man speaking to himself, really, in hopes that God is listening and hearing his heart-longings and felt needs.  But prayer is a living relationship that is to grow and mature to such a quiet resting in holy reverence with the Holy One – a blessed prayer of contemplation in the Presence of the Holy.

I entered the sacred space of the sanctuary, my local church, last Holy Day for the celebration of the Mass.  Immediately there, raised in a golden Tabernacle near the Altar, is resting the Holy Eucharist: the Resurrected, Glorified Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The entire sanctuary is illuminated by the glory streaming forth from His Presence there before us, and for us.  There must be myriads of angels filling that sacred space praising His Presence in song, invisible and inaudible to us, rising like incense in silent testimony to His glory, bowing before Him in perfect angelic reverence, bathed in the flood of His invisible light.  All the angelic choir is gathered into the holy communion of love and fidelity to Him, Lord of heaven and earth.  Into this prayer we, who enter the sanctuary, are called!  Into this reverence we, who enter His sanctuary, are called! Dare we enter and not tremble ?  Dare we enter with no thought of who we are – and who He IS – and where and what we have in fact entered?

People of God – Brothers and Sisters – do you know where you are, this moment, in His loving Hands?  Do you know where He is, every moment of your life?  How close He is?  How near?  How gently He touches your soul moment by moment, to awaken you… How He longs to gather you in His arms in deep and profound embrace!  Will you awaken?  Are you awakened yet, do you hear Him yet, in your busyness about so many other things…..  How He wept gazing at Holy Jerusalem, where even then men were gathered in agreement to kill Him that He might be forever excluded and rejected from their precious superior lives.  How He longed to gather them into His arms, and they would not.

These are dark times, Brothers and Sisters, and they threaten to grow darker still.  Will you yet return to Him?  Will you awaken, and remember – and in repentance in the heart – return to your first love, in Him?

Posted by: Thomas Richard | March 6, 2022

It Has Been Coming to This, From the Start

Augustine (354-430 A.D.), Saint and Doctor of the Church, bishop and teacher of great wisdom, had it precisely right a long time ago.  Today we are seeing much of the world falling into two radically different groups – no surprise at all to Augustine.  He saw it and described it well in his time; we – at least some of us – are seeing the separation accelerate, to our dismay, here and now.  Augustine saw this bifurcation – this separation into the two –  in the light of what is most important in our nature as human beings, namely God Who is, for us, life and being itself.  Division among human persons into two groups, accelerating globally, is not mere politics, not mere personal or national economics, not mere subjective preference: it is religious; it is spiritual.  Augustine saw two cities being built, in a continuing process, from the beginning of human society, within the first human family, between the first brothers Cain and Abel, and destined to continue until the end of time.  Augustine phrased it well, here:

Rome, Italy – December 15, 2017: church of Immaculate Conception, this painting represents the Archangel Michael killing the devil. Painted by Guido Reni in 1636.

Two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self.  The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord.  For the one seeks glory from men; but the greatest glory of the other is God.
(The City of God , St. Augustine. Book XIV, Chapter 28 – Of the Nature of the Two Cities, the Earthly and the Heavenly.)

In the Earthly City, the City of Man, the rulers seek to rule for the sake of ruling itself: they love to rule. In the City of God, both the leaders and the other citizens seek to serve one another in love.  In this city the subjects follow godly leaders in peace with confidence, while the leaders are truly “public servants” seeking the true good of all.  The City of Man exults in its own strength, each seeks his own good, each is concerned primarily for himself.  The City of God rests upon the strength and goodness of God, Creator and Sustainer of all.  In Him is the cause and final purpose of all.  Augustine continues,

And therefore the wise men of the one city [the City of Man], living according to man, have sought for profit to their own bodies or souls, or both, and [even] those who have known God “glorified Him not as God neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened; professing themselves to be wise,”–that is, glorying in their own wisdom, and being possessed by pride,–“they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts,and creeping things.” [Rom 1:21-22]

For they [in the City of Man] were either leaders or followers of the people in adoring images, “and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.” [Rom. 1: 21-25] But in the other city [the City of God] there is no human wisdom, but only godliness, which offers due worship to the true God, and looks for its reward in the society of the saints, of holy angels as well as holy men, “that God may be all in all.”
[1 Cor. 15:28]

Reflection will show that a union of these two cities, or a happy compromise between the two, is not possible.  The separation between good and evil, between life and death, are absolute.  Righteous Abel may have been hoping for the good of his brother, but Cain plotted Abel’s death.  Jesus wept over the sins and the sinners of Jerusalem, while the leaders of Jerusalem plotted His death.

In our time, “progressives” are in the ascendency, it seems globally.  Seeing themselves as inherently superior, more intelligent and often more educated in a secular sense, they feel justified and deserving of leadership.  They deserve to be seen as they see themselves, the adults in the room. These – the elite –  ought to have societal and governmental positions of leadership, control, and supervision over the less endowed ones around them, who clearly lack the competence to make important decisions about their own lives.  The lower classes, “clinging fearfully to their guns and Bibles” are like children needing a parent.  Paternalism and ascendency to power is simply good – proper and necessary – for the elite.

This global movement, from liberalism to progressivism to socialism to communism to absolute dictatorship can be seen now clearly, for those who are paying attention.  Progressives in the developed West have found nests for themselves in all the centers of the culture, at all levels – in education, in politics – Democrat, Republican, Independent – in government, entertainment, sports; even in religion.  Yes even in the Catholic Church progressives have infiltrated at all levels in the Church from parish to diocese to the Vatican.

There is resistance to this shifting of power and operating philosophy, from traditional Judeo-Christian standards to the practical Godlessness of man-centered, self-centered humanistic ideals.  There is still a remnant if not a base of citizens of the City of God here and around the world.  But meanwhile the City of Man is growing in numbers, in power and in determined resolve to win this ancient battle.  The City of God is not yet fully awake to the dangers in this moment in history.  Many if not most of her members continue to pretend that pre-pandemic “normalcy” is near and soon we’ll be back to the all-is-wellness of yesteryear.  Perhaps, but I don’t think so.  I think that things have come too far; the earthly city that Augustine saw so clearly, has gotten too close to its dream.  It will do, or it will die, and it will not go quietly or peacefully.  Church, you had better wake up, get serious, find your knees and fall to them. The enemy is dead-serious and committed to destroy us all who are not on-board with their vision, their dream – the dream of satan and his demons which is a nightmare for humanity.

Yes, we need to pray.  This crisis is a spiritual war; it is beyond the powers and capabilities of man; man alone cannot defeat the forces of evil.  We need God; we need to pray in our poverty for His grace, for His intervention, for the legions of angels that we need at our side in the great and final battle that may be very near.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | November 10, 2021

An Absolute Must-Read on the CV-19 Shot

Yes, absolutely read this article in LifeSite News, especially if you have resisted “vaccination” so far.  Read it, and spread the word.  I’ll not say more – the author of the crucially important information – Dr. Peter McCullough – is the one that this country, and most of the world, needs to listen to ASAP.

Dr. Peter McCullough: The COVID shot is a form of ‘bioterrorism,’ its spike protein is ‘pathogenic’

 

postscript – There is much more that ought to be said in the light of theology – in the light of God’s will and truth – in the matter of this illness and the rush for a medical defense against it.  The abortion connection is crucially important – and yet it is largely forgotten today, in favor of “the science”  We begin to see now that “the science” in fact has been and is as hidden under the table, as is the theology today.  Today, the all-important “science” is reduced to one absolute national commandment for universal “vaccination” for all people of all ages and conditions and preconditions. It is an obsession – a madness that cannot be quenched by anything other than universal compliance.

Stand back for a moment and look at what is happening, fellow Americans.  The spirit gathering so many into an irrational and blind clamor for obedience, no exceptions, is beyond mere human nature.  We had better wake up, and sober up soon.  The intoxications of godless materialism, credit-card consumerism, and back-slapping political correctness are all paper-thin and superficial.  There will be an Accounting, and it cannot be far away.

Thomas

Posted by: Thomas Richard | November 1, 2021

Perfect Hatred and Perfect Love Due, in God

 Luke 10:25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?”
27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
28 And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”

I have heard the second part of this proper profession of the commandment to love, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself,” interpreted in ways not fitting to the fulness of truth.  Some have understood it to mean that we should love our neighbor since we love ourself – that is, a love for neighbor ought to be in us, since obviously we have love for ourself.  Others have explained it as, we ought to love our neighbor in the same measure that we love ourself.  Some, in the same way, or in the same ways or examples, that we love ourself.  So some have concluded that we ought to give (for example) the same gifts that we would like to receive, regardless of the differences in likes or values among neighbors compared with ourself. Or if I value quiet and solitude, I ought to keep silently away from the neighbor!  Or if I have little self-esteem, I owe little to no love for my neighbor.  

All of those distortions flow from an overly self-referenced perspective of both God and neighbor.  God, not I, sets the standard and measure and definition of love.  What I ought to do, is consider the second part of the commandment only in the light of the first.  Then, in and only in that complete love relationship with God, in the fullness of my heart, soul, strength and mind, can I properly love both myself and my neighbor, and all human persons.  That is, I must love myself only in God, as God loves me, and my neighbor only in God, as God loves him.   I must seek good, to receive or to give, only as God sees good.

In this fallen world, we must, if we are to be and to remain in God, love as He loves and all that He loves – and also! – we must hate as He hates, and what He hates. 

In the Book of Revelation, God gives us a teaching on this very subject, of God’s love and His hate, and from this, His will for us, in our loving in Him and our hating in Him.  We are to remain In Him, rightly loving as we ought, and rightly hating as we ought.

Rev 2:1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus, write this: “‘The one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks in the midst of the seven gold lampstands says this:
2 “I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate the wicked; you have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and discovered that they are impostors.
3 Moreover, you have endurance and have suffered for my name, and you have not grown weary.
4 Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first.
5 Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
6 But you have this in your favor: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victor I will give the right to eat from the tree of life that is in the garden of God.”’

The Lord is saying to the angel – to God’s messenger to this church – and to all the messengers in all the churches, and indeed to all who read and who listen to this Book of Revelation, that His own ought to hate as He hates, what He hates (vs 2 and 6), and love as He loves.  “You cannot tolerate the wicked; they are imposters,” and “you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”  We see that God’s perfect hatred is toward the works, not the men as men.  God hates the wickedness of wicked men, He hates the lying of liars, He hates the works of the sect of Nicolaitans (which are later clarified in Rev 2:15).  

St. Augustine helped to make this point in his book, City of God:

Wherefore the man who lives according to God, and not according to man, ought to be a lover of good, and therefore a hater of evil.  And since no one is evil by nature, but whoever is evil is evil by vice, he who lives according to God ought to cherish towards evil men a perfect hatred, so that he shall neither hate the man because of his vice, nor love the vice because of the man, but hate the vice and love the man.  For the vice being cursed, all that ought to be loved, and nothing that ought to be hated, will remain. (1)

Augustine clarifies the chasm separating good from evil.  All that God created is good!  The nature of man is good.  The freedom to choose is good, even though it allows the choice of evil.  In our journey through this fallen world, we can choose good as well as evil, and through His mercy, and His hand of forgiveness, we can grow in sanctification to choose well: to hate evil and sin as He hates, and to love in the fullness of our human nature, as He loves in the fullness of His divine nature.  

A cautionary note is added in Augustine’s teaching here: a man after God’s heart ought to “cherish towards evil men a perfect hatred, so that he shall neither hate the man because of his vice, nor love the vice because of the man, but hate the vice and love the man.”  It is wrong to hate the man because of his vice.  It is wrong to love the vice because of the man.  It is right and we ought to love the man, and hate the vice – hate the sin – hate the lie.

To love the neighbor as oneself, in God, is also to hate the evil against God whether held in the neighbor or in the self.  Once the evil being hated with perfect hatred is rejected completely, then all that ought to be loved and nothing that ought to be hated, will remain – in the neighbor, and in the inner chambers of oneself, where God the Holy Trinity dwells, awaiting our Holy Communion of love.

Footnote (1): Augustine, City of God, Book XIV, Chapter 6–Of the Character of the Human Will Which Makes the Affections of the Soul Right or Wrong.

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.

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