Posted by: Thomas Richard | November 14, 2022

The Call to Holiness has Escalated

“The Vision of St. Paul,” – carried into Holiness – Nicolas Poussin, 1649-50

To us in the Catholic Church, in this tumultuous and troubling and dangerous time, a crucially important moment has come.  Our ancient call, our vocation and purpose, has risen to a significance that could terrify us, if we stood alone to hear and respond to it.  Yet it is also a whisper and not a trumpet blast.  It is to be heard in the depths of our hearts, not proclaimed from the mountain tops.  The call is to be responded to as His mother-to-be responded, with her unspoken “yes” and in her entire being, a bow of obedience to His word.  The call to the Faithful Church today, to make present His divine Presence in human flesh and blood, really and actually, demands our “yes” in complete sincerity and truth.  A new incarnation is yet to come, but it will.

The call to holiness, to the perfection of charity, was issued by Jesus in His first and comprehensive sermon recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, chapters 5 – 7, “the Sermon on the Mount.”  In the context of love, of how we are to love and whom we are to love, He called us to love as He loves, as God loves, with the purity and depth of love the Church calls holy charity. He said:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Mt 5:43-48)

The Church, in the most recent Ecumenical Council, Vatican II, echoed this call later rewritten in our Catechism:

All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity.” All are called to holiness: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (CCC 2013)

I put this call before myself, and before you who would read this, fully realizing the weight – the difficulty – the costs – of this Truth of God.  This Truth, Jesus lived.  He came among us with the Cross awaiting Him, and He let us know, if we have been listening, that the Cross is inseparable from the Gospel of the Kingdom – the Gospel of salvation – the Gospel of Eternal Life that He proclaimed and lived in His brief time here on earth.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mt 16:24)
And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mk 8:34)
And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? (Lk 9:23-25)

This cross, each cross bearing our personal individual names, the names of those members of His Body, is for us what His Cross was for Him: the total Gift of Self for the true good of God’s creation.  The world today, teetering on the edge of the chasm of destruction by the leadings of the evil one, is in desperate need of God’s holy and saving grace.  God’s Church, sent to be light for this dark and darkening world, has been infiltrated, infected, corrupted by the spirit of that evil one.  She, His Bride-to-be, has to large part been weakened into worldliness, into tepidity, into compromise with the spirit of this world.

Satan gathering his fallen angels – “They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprung” 1866, by Gustav Doré for John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” (Public Domain)

The idolatry of Self and the love of this world have been dressed up and made presentable within many parishes and dioceses of the Church even to the Vatican, even to the chair of Peter.  The Church – the mother-in-law of the Peter of today – has been found in her sick bed; the Lord has come to raise her up:

And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever; he touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and served him. (Mt 8:14-15)

What are we to do? What is this “call”, this response that God awaits from us?  I am hearing this: He is calling for our total self-gift of Truth, in holy Love, our cross in participation with His.  Holy Mother the Church awaits a lifting up, to serve Him again in the fullness of her heart.  Her healing is needed, because her fever is grave at this time.  Holy Mother Mary, hidden in some ways for her safety in these evil times, awaits the work of her children, the works of holiness and the perfection of charity.  Her prayers will guard and protect us.

What is the work to which God is calling you?  What is your vocation in Christ?  Seek it, brothers and sisters, and resolve to live it relying on His light and grace to empower you.  Seek it in prayer, seek it in His word Holy Scripture, seek it in the whispers and signs He will place for you.  Seek it in loving mercy, praying for those who persecute, abuse and lie to you, even those who have brought sickness and corruption into His Holy Church.  The mother-in-law is not the true Mother, but she nevertheless is to be offered the healing hand of Christ in His Body, that she too might stand up and serve Him.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | July 15, 2022

The Book of Revelation Was Written For Times Like These!

Every day, it seems, the news has the same sad story of our beloved Church: once more, the Pope is praising and elevating those he should be correcting, while denouncing, insulting and restricting those he should be praising and thanking.  It is astounding.  It is deeply, deeply troubling.  Those who reverently embrace the Sacred Tradition of the Church, which has preserved and clarified Holy Truth through centuries of salvation history – these he dismisses as reactionary and rigid. 

Those who seek to make the Church more like the world, to modernize it in the worst possible sense of the word, these he makes bishops, archbishops and cardinals.  And they are the cardinals, of course, who will eventually vote into office the next pope – and these are of the same mind and purpose as himself.  The Church has been captured by modernists from within.

                  Be it ever so humble and small, Truth IS.

The parallel to the secular political situation in America is striking.  Biden seeks to overturn everything Trump did; Francis seeks to overturn everything St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI did. Biden and the progressives want to pack the Supreme Court to make it a rubber stamp for the progressive ideologues; Francis and the increasingly progressive curia in the Vatican want to pack the college of cardinals and thus the next consistory to insure progressive “catholic” popes well into the future.  Progressive politicians want to erase history, and the constitution, to redefine what America stands for; progressive “catholics” want to erase everything other than the unwritten  “spirit” of Vatican II, so they can redefine the Catholic Church and who we are, in Christ.  Progressives in and outside of the Church want a Great Global Reset bending the world toward their leftist ideology.  They want the world.  

Brothers and sisters, it is satanic.  Progressives inside the Church and progressives outside the Church are in lock-step with one another, because they are of one heart and mind, and their unity with one another comes not because they conspire together – they don’t have to even speak to one another, they are of one heart and one mind already with one another.  Thanks be to God we are not alone in the struggle that has come upon us!  The Lord – our Lord, Jesus Christ – promised He would be with His faithful ones, until the close of the age.  And that may well be very near indeed.  

Our challenge is to remain faithful, and grow ever closer to Him, and to one another in Him, in the Truth that is timeless.  St. Paul wrote:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace;
besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,…(Eph 6:10-18)

And I would add, pray as well for those faithful Catholic leaders – deacons, priests and bishops – who are remaining faithful to the Faith of the Church, clearly, bravely, beautifully, many at significant personal cost.

There is something we all must do – we can, and we must seek to grow in faithfulness and holiness and in divine charity in our Lord.  We must pray, and repent of any crippling love for this passing world, for He is coming.  Following in the footsteps of our Lord, we are called to offer our prayers, works, joys and sufferings in humble reparation for sinners, in union with Him and His Cross, that we might remain in mind and heart with Him.  Again, St. Paul wrote:

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,
of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,
the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints.
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ.
For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me. (Col 1:24-29)

Let us keep our eyes and ears open, listening always for His holy will, that we might always say “Yes!” As did our mother in Christ, our Blessed Mother Mary.  Her Immaculate Heart will triumph over the hatred and deceits of the evil one; her heart, in His, seeks to keep us gathered into Him, into eternal Truth, no matter the darkness that must yet come upon this fallen creation. 

The evil one hates Mary, and all who honor her; he hates Truth, and all who will to live by it even in the rising tides of his lies.  The evil one hates life!  And seeks only to kill and lie and destroy.   We see his ugly lusts all around us: abortion, contraception, adultery, fornication, counterfeits of love, denial of human sexuality, power for power’s sake, ruling for ruling’s sake, hurting and killing in blood lust blind to the sufferings of others.  This creation is drunk with blasphemy, cruelty, murders and lies; its days are numbered.  Look up!  He is very near.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | June 30, 2022

Calls to Repentance

Creation of a Holy Church, yet Corruption Within

The Father sent the Son, in His divinity, to take upon Himself a human nature, and enter the fallen human race on earth as Redeemer and Savior through a human mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary.  After His years on earth culminating in His sacrificial human death on a Cross, His Resurrection from the dead and His ascension back into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to be with and in His faithful followers on earth, creating the Church, initiating the Church Age in human history.

In the Church Age, the saving Presence of God among men has continued what Jesus began, in a “millennium” lasting over two thousand years of faithful evangelization, witness, preaching and baptizing souls into His Life, His Truth, His Love.

Not all of the work of evangelization by the Church, however, has been faithful.  In this present era of sowing seeds of Gospel Truth and growing holiness among men on earth, God has held back the power of evil: satan and his band of demons have been limited – restricted.  They could still throw stumbling blocks in the paths of the faithful – they could still wreak havoc, confuse and tempt souls away from God and into a life of spiritual contradictions, self-indulgence, sin and even spiritual death.  But their evil was limited.  And God continued to be present among us in the world, offering holy grace to resist the empty promises and lies of the evil one, and helping the faithful to remain true to the path of growing life in Christ.

Not all, however, did remain faithful; and not all repented and returned when they did fall away.  Some members of the Holy Church did not resist temptations.  Some churches did not begin or remain pure beacons of divine light and holy truth.  Some did not fully embrace the enduring and eternal love of God, nor did they fully reject the carnal love of this world and the things of this world.  Some churches, and members, instead sought to have both God and the world.  They sought the approval and eternal promises of God, while continuing in the carnal pleasures and material ambitions of this passing world.  They sought the impossible: to serve both God and Mammon when the Lord says it cannot be done:

No one 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. (Mt 6:24)

Thus some members, and some parishes, became confused and confusing, misled and misleading in their witness to others of Christ.  Some unknowingly, and some knowingly, became false – teachers of error.  The churches were all commanded “Go and make disciples,” but compromised carnal witnesses and false teachers make misled disciples – whether innocently or intentionally.   The name and the title “Christian” thus became counterfeited, and its very meaning confused in the world, with some holding the title “Christian” authentically, heroically, beautifully, fruitfully – while others holding it falsely, superficially, lukewarm, careless and barren of the fruit God sent us to yield.

Many have been confused if not led astray by false teachers of a counterfeit Christianity! Woe to the false teachers who have done this!  The very name of “Christian” has been dishonored in the world by those taking His name in vain!  Those who entered the sheepfold not through the Gate of Christ Jesus, but by sneaking over the wall in the night, cloaking himself falsely in the sheepskin cloak of a believer, learning the language and vocabulary of a Christian, and passing himself off as one of us, all the while being not one of us but a wolf seeking his own advantage and pleasures – these of the enemy have infiltrated the churches of God with corruption, lies and deceit!  Though they be laymen or clergy, even deacons, priests, bishops, or popes, they are of the enemy of souls who are called to repent and be saved!

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea. (Mar 9:42)

Light in God’s Word

Knowing such corruption would happen, God gave to the Apostle John holy divine revelations, showing to him things that were and things that were to come upon the earth, because of the contradictions and mixtures to come among us, through the sinfulness in us.  God would continue to work for true holiness in the Church even through her contradictions, falls and recoveries, and even in the presence of Judases of faithlessness. Concerning churches that were or that would be lacking in fidelity, or would fall from obedience to the true Gospel, Jesus says in the book of Revelation to the churches:

  • Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Rev 2:5)
  •  Repent then. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. (Rev 2:16)
  •  I gave [the Jezebel among you] time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality.  Behold, I will throw her on a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her doings….(Rev 2:21-22)
  • Remember then what you received and heard; keep that, and repent. If you will not awake, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you. (Rev 3:3)
  • Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. (Rev 3:19)

As the era of the Church would draw near to its close, God’s restrictions and limitations on evil would be loosened.  Satan would soon be released, permitting a time of final and great tribulation for the Church.  Then would be released upon the world great trials, sufferings, hardships, pandemics and plagues, so that men (in or outside of the Church) might be awakened to the contempt being shown to God in their disbelief – whether disbelief of the truth of the Gospel as they had heard it, or rejection of the natural revealed truths of God manifest in the creation, given for all to see.  And being awakened to their dishonoring of God, whether intentional or unintentional, culpable or not, they might repent and seek Him earnestly, in sincerity and wholeness of heart, and finding Him, come into saving faith and holy life.

Sadly, even then, as Revelation reveals, even after the chastisements of these trials, tribulations and plagues rightfully due to men living in contempt of God – whether in or outside of the Church – even then they would not repent:

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot either see or hear or walk; nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their immorality or their thefts. (Rev. 9:20-21)

Thus instead of humbling these lovers of self and of the things of this world, whether inside the walls of the church or outside, His chastisements were rejected and their hearts only hardened further against Him. Rather than awakening them to true justice and rightful consequences of their acts, the people only grew in bitterness and obsession with their own pleasures, preferences and desire.  

Yet once more God again would reach out to them.  His will and His ways remain true and firm: His ways are life, apart from Him is only death.  He is the way, and the truth, and the life.  He would once more send chastisements – but more intense – into this rebellious world, that all who stumble in darkness of soul might repent, and awaken to seek light and truth, justice and righteousness in Him.  He sends punishments to them, that all who are apart from Him might see their own emptiness and futile pride, in contrast to His eternal power and glory. Oh that all might repent of their sins, as Jesus cried out to them in His first coming; and in the truth of humility, they might return in wholeness of heart to Him.

The result, in Revelation, of this third movement of grace from God?  Still they would not bend, they would not bow, they would not repent, they would not return, but even worse:

… they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues, and they did not repent and give him glory. … men gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores, and did not repent of their deeds. (Rev 16:9 – 11)

What Will We Do, People of America

Much of America – much of the world – is in open, arrogant, militant, violent rejection of God, His eternal moral Law, His faithful people, His Truth.  To replace God in their darkened hearts, they have only the poverty of their own opinions, wishes, conjectures and biased conclusions.  Instead of His wisdom and Truth, they have their desires: for power, for pleasure, for the interior exultation and social exaltation of Self.  The horrible consequence of their rejection of Truth, is their interior embrace of the Lie – and any lie, eventually, that promotes the ultimate Lie that there is no God.  They come to believe the Lie!

The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thes 2:9-12)

And so now, we have embedded among us, a culture “of death” as St. John Paul II called it – a pervasive subculture that is an anti-culture because it is hate-filled and violent to the point of murder, indeed, it is suicidal.  It is an anti-church within the Church; it is an anti-culture within the culture; it is an anti-humanity within humanity.  It is a parasite, a cancer; there is not life, nor light, nor love in it.  It has no viability, because it is of hell, and is self-driven to hell and destruction.  It hates God and all that is of God, because it is of satan.  When released for his last explosive run against God’s creation, there will be great destruction.  Those days will be numbered, but intense, and many will suffer greatly.  But the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the Immaculate Heart of His Mother Mary, will conquer.

In such a dark trial, the People of God are called to follow their Master, Jesus, even to His Cross.  That is, we are to be obedient heroically, not counting the cost, looking only to the promise of God’s holy rewards for those faithful to Him.

We, People of God, must be True to the Truth.  And we must repent of any half-heartedness, any lukewarmness, any mediocrity, any minimalism within us, in the matters pertaining to life in Jesus Christ.  This our repentance.  We must find what defines us in Holy Scripture – read and heard and lived as God’s Word to us personally.  Seek the reality of His Life, His Presence in the sacraments of His Church.  Seek Him in prayer!  Seek Him not merely in favors and mercies that we beg of Him, but seek Him – Him! – in the communion of prayer where He awaits us, within, in silence and peace.

Pray, bear witness, seek holiness, and call for repentance!  Call for an end to the insanity that seeks to dominate the world in the Great Lie.  Seeing God’s love, and His desire that none should perish, we must sound His call to a lost culture of death to turn back – turn away from death and to life.  Not to mere consumer-fed existence but to Life – His eternal and divine Life – that is the promise to His children created in His image and likeness, for fellowship with Him and with one another, eternally.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | June 24, 2022

How Do We Get Home, From Here?

A Church in Need

I never thought I’d see the day when the Catholic Church would become as compromised, as mixed and confused, as it is today.  Today, from the Vatican, through diocesan bureaucracies and bishop’s chairs, down to parish staff and pastor’s desk, and maybe most importantly to our Liturgy, and specifically, the Holy Mass.  The Holy Mass is our corporate and personal encounter with God in Christ, in His Self-Outpouring Gift to the Church.  That encounter with Christ, in the celebration of the Mass, is being specifically weakened today, and I wonder if we as Church realize it even as it is happening around us and to us and in us.

More and more, the world is working its way into the institutional church.  And by world I don’t mean flowers and butterflies, I mean what John the Apostle saw in the world: “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” (1 Jn 2:16).  Many Catholics reveal that the ways of the world are very much with us even as we enter the Holy Place, even as we assemble for the Mass.  Many typically enter and depart the Sanctuary chatting and laughing together – not in the joy of the Holy Spirit and in the praise of God, but in the way of the world that knows no God, that lives as if God did not exist.  The chatting and the laughing together are about anything but the ways and the truth and the life of God; they are as if God does not exist, as if the Mass were long and far away, as if nothing has changed because of His Cross and Resurrection.  

And so the Holy Mass, for clergy and laity, is too often performed but not offered, read and recited but not prayed, attended at and present at but not participating in Him!

There are souls – few and far between – who do not approach God and His Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in this way, but enter with faces of holy and beautiful fear, in silence, in reverence, falling to their knees in prayer immediately, happy to be with Him. There are souls who do not leap back into the world as quickly as possible as do many others, but rather remain in silence on their knees, heads down and eyes closed in private prayer with Him, in secret communion, in hope and in love.  These few are prophets, though they may never realize it until they hear it from Him on that Day.  They are proclaiming God – they are living their priesthood, whether as the ordained or in the common priesthood of the laity.  

And there are others, crying in silence, in union with the Lord,

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! (Mt 23:37)

And there are those, seeing the signs of these times, who hear the Lord Present in these ancient words:

And when he drew near and saw the city he wept over it, saying, “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.
For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side,
and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold,
saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a den of robbers.” (Luke 19:41-46)

This, it seems, is the Truth in these dangerous days.  Many, clergy and laity, are like Martha who was too busy about many things, preoccupied with the outward “doing,” which is necessary, but unaware of what is within, the “being” so sought by God, which is essential.  And there are always the few, thanks be to God, who like Mary know Christ on their knees, ever listening, learning, obeying.  They know His Cross.  They know His Resurrection.  They know His Presence, and He knows theirs.

The Four Pillars of the Faith

How has that encounter with Christ been weakened?  By our distance, by our distraction, by our preoccupation with the world in the very moments He is so close to us.  He is near, in all of the traditional four pillars of our Faith.

  • The first pillar: the Creed – the doctrinal “content” of our beliefs.  This is the Truth – the truths revealed to us by God and kept in Sacred Tradition, which we have not protected, not guarded, not treasured.  Instead, holy Truth has become cheapened in our hearts, as we have to our shame preferred the changing ideas and ideals of the world to the ways of the eternal God.  We don’t care to know the doctrines of the Church with careful precision: we have preferred the uncertain fellowship of the many in darkness, to the enduring love of God and a chosen few.
  • The second pillar: the Sacraments – the means of holy grace by which we receive a share in His holy life.  Holy grace has become unintelligible to us, unknown and unappreciated, disvalued and thus lost like sand through the fingers.  How did this happen?   Like an old friend of the past, taken for granted and ignored in preference for new and advantageous acquaintances, players in the fast and seductive world before us, we set Him aside.  We “lost touch”.  We stopped knowing Him, and thus holy grace – a share in His holy life – became as something unvalued, unimportant, irrelevant to the seductions of the life of this world.
  • The third pillar: the moral life – living the life of God in Christ.  When Truth of the Faith falls into the shadows, and grace becomes disvalued and unintelligible, moral life itself becomes loosened from its rightful anchor in God.  Our life becomes like a twig fallen into the stream, twisting and turning it flows away, downstream.  The twig follows a path away and downward by an unseen force (gravity).  The moral life of such a distracted and uncertain Catholic Christian also flows downward – the path of the world, not the one of God, not of our calling in Christ; not upward to Him in Truth.  
  • The fourth pillar: the interior life, the life of prayer.  “Prayer is nothing other than union with God,” taught St. John Vianney.  Here also, it becomes clear, that the Catholic weakened in his knowledge and understanding of God, weakened in the grace God wants to give him, weakened in the life of his calling in Christ, is consequently weakened in the communion of prayer that is his relationship with God in Christ.  How can his friendship with Christ – his prayer life – be other, when his knowledge of Christ’s Truth is undeveloped, his share in Christ’s grace through the sacraments – especially the Holy Mass – is lacking in power and unction, his moral following of Christ’s life – of self-gift, even unto the Cross – is without understanding and obedience?  How can his prayer life with God the Holy Trinity be fitting, when the other components of this essential relationship are lacking, or weakened?

Indeed, participation in the Holy Mass is an act of faith, it is an act of grace, it is an act of obedience, it is an act of prayer: it is an act of Catholic life.  But when our very life as a Catholic Christian is weakened, when we are lacking in appetite for the meat of the Gospel, and careless of the healthy foods that God has provided, when instead we decide to prefer the fast food and the junk food of this passing world, our spiritual health only declines and continues to decline, until we no longer realize what we have done.  We are starving ourselves; we are on the path, and we are very close, to death.  We, like Martha, have become so accustomed to the world, so familiar with its lifeless busyness, that we hardly know how to turn to life – life in the Presence of Jesus – as Mary did.


So what are we to do?  How do we return?  How do we get to home, from here? Well, the Church (capital “C”) can lead us home!  The Church (capital “C”) is our home on this earth, as we journey toward our permanent home in the New Jerusalem, in the New Heavens and the New Earth, in the eternal dwelling in God the Holy Trinity.  

I’m sad to say that some local churches (lower case “c”) may or may not be of much help, depending.   The institutional Church includes many local churches, and they can be very different realities for the lay members depending to a large extent on leadership, primarily the pastor, and also other local clergy, and the bishop and archbishop and of course the pope.  Some among both laity and clergy are very worldly, which they ought not to be; and some are sincerely striving toward holiness, as they ought to be.  Worldliness is the problem that is within the institutional Catholic Church.  Faithfulness – Holiness – Christ – His One Holy Church – is the answer.

We need to find the full reality of His One Holy Church.  We need to see that true Light – clear and unambiguous, pure, neither mixed nor confused with the very confused world all around us.

We need to repent; we need to pray.

Faithful Catholics – we need to pray.  Those who not know how to pray and to grow in prayer, need to learn.  The life of prayer is well-known in the Church!  His Church is rich with the supernatural treasures of Truth and Grace.  No Catholic ought to be left wanting, left hungry, in the midst of such supernatural plenitude.  We can all learn to grow in prayer, to grow toward Him more and more.  All who seek will find, as Jesus promised.

We need to find a home – a place of remaining – in Holy Scripture.  In the words of God we can hear, we can find, the Word of God our Savior.  We can read, listen to, study Holy Scripture, and the comprehensive Catechism of the Catholic Church.  We can seek out gifted laity, for fellowship and sharing, that we might feed one another from the abundance of the Spirit, that the Body of Christ might grow, and mature.  We can pray together for holy bishops, and holy priests, and holy deacons, and holy laity.  We can pray for the growth and maturation of the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit, in all the members of His Body.  We can pray on behalf of the Church for right discernment of the ways of this world and the ways of Christ – they are different! – that we all might turn from the one to the other, for the sake of holiness, for the sake of life!

The Church has endured through many lean years, of persecution, of moral confusion, of spiritual impoverishment, of carnal worldliness and even depravity.  Much suffering, rooted in worldliness, is our reality today.  These days may be very close to those when Jesus came the first time, proclaiming the message of His forerunner John the Baptist: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!” (Mt 3:2, 4:17)

Yes, then and now the Good News begins with the hard judgment, Repent!  No one can enter God’s Kingdom with the baggage of this fallen world! All of that must be left behind, rejected, cast away forever.  Only holiness is worthy in the Presence of the Holy One.  No one lacking the Wedding Garment of righteousness can remain in the eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb with His Bride. (See Mt 22:1-14). Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!


Yes, consider the above spoken strongly and loudly.  I hope that some of the many who were taught otherwise, will hear me, read this, and rethink it.  Many were and are still being taught, by educated teachers, lay and clergy, that “the Church teaches that all the Baptized are given at least one charism.”  This is wrong.  I hope in this essay to demonstrate that the Catholic Church teaches that God – the Holy Spirit –  gives some of the baptized special graces called graces gratis datae, or graces freely given, or charisms.  Some – not all.

As one example of the contrary, this is a Question/Answer on the website of a widely received ministry promoting charisms among clergy and laity:

Question: Are all Baptized Christians given charisms?

Answer: Yes. According to Catholic teaching, it is the faith of the Church that you possess one or more of the charisms (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 951).

1) The Catechism.

Note Catechism 951 does not exactly say that, but rather: 

Catechism 951 – Communion of charisms. Within the communion of the Church, the Holy Spirit “distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank” for the building up of the Church.<LG 12 # 2> Now, “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”<1 Cor 12:7>

That is, the Holy Spirit distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank for the building up of the Church, in such a way that to everyone the Spirit is manifested for the common good.  Charisms are distributed “among the faithful of every rank” is not the same as, “Charisms are given to all of the faithful of every rank.”  Nor does St. Paul in 1 Corinthians say “to each is given a charism of the Spirit…” but rather he says “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit…”. 

Consider for example, when someone – who has been given a charism of healing – is led by God to exercise that grace and one or more people are healed. The result is that to all of those involved, the healer and the healed, the Holy Spirit has been manifested.  This is the way that every charism is intended to bless and to build up the whole church, for the common good.  To some are given the special supernatural graces of charisms, to bless and help build up in different ways some or many others, so that to each and all the love of God in the Holy Spirit is being manifested.

2) Catholic Teaching.

Recently our current Pope Francis said this (emphasis added by me):

The charisms are special graces, given to some for the good of many others. .… In particular, these spiritual gifts further the sanctity of the Church and her mission. (1)

“Given to some” is certainly not the same as “given to all” – “given to all” is an error still being spread. 

A Pope of several centuries ago, Pope Benedict XIV (1675-1758) in a study of charisms among those canonized by the Church (2), saw that some of the canonized servants of God did – and some did not – show any record of supernatural charisms in their lives on earth, but all were found holy and were canonized. Note this study gathers understandings on this issue from several theologians and saints:

[Francisco] Suarez [S,J.,1548–1617] adds, that graces gratis datae [charisms] are bestowed on the just, though not upon all, because it is not necessary for the general good of the Church that all the just should minister to others, or that they should be raised up by a special grace to work for the good of others, as may be seen in the place referred to, where he alleges the illustrious authority of St. Augustine (3) who says, “These are not given to all the saints, lest the weak should be deceived in a most fatal error, thinking that greater blessings consist in them [in the charisms] than in works of justice, by which eternal life is obtained.” 

It seems, then, to be a good conclusion to draw from this, that silence is not to be imposed on the cause of a servant of God, in which graces gratis datae are not proved, provided there be proof of virtues in the heroic degree. Therefore, St. John Chrysostom, after saying that it was necessary to bestow them when the preaching of the gospel commenced, thus continues: ” Let us fear, then, beloved brethren, and bestow great pains on the ordering of our life; and let us not think that we have less, because now we do no miracles. We shall receive no more on account of miracles, as we shall not receive less because we perform none, if we apply ourselves to all virtues. We are not debtors to miracles, but for a good life and good works we have God for our debtor.” 

And this so much the more, for in no Bull of canonization, or Report of the Auditors of the Rota, is omitted the mention of virtues and miracles after death; some speak of graces gratis datae, but in others there is profound silence on the subject; from this it may be argued that some canonizations have been decreed, although the servants of God and the blessed, during their lifetime, received no graces gratis datae [charisms] from God. 

3) Conclusion

If “the servants of God and the blessed, during their lifetime, received no graces gratis datae [charisms] from God” (following the writing of Pope Benedict XIV) along with the support of Theologian Francisco Suarez, S.J., and along with the Saints and Doctors of the Church Thomas Aquinas, Augustine and Chrysostom, and we have heard our own Pope Francis tell us the same thing – if all these say that charisms are given to some and not all, I think we can say, charisms are given to some but not all.  

Furthermore, I hope we can all see God’s wisdom in ordering matters of grace this way.  It seems to be God’s way, to choose and bless the few, and then send them to bless the many.  In this way God chooses to provide for and to serve us all, especially those poor, whom He loves, to gather them/us into His own.

To clarify further, there are addressed here two kinds of grace: first, sanctifying grace given at Baptism for our justification, sanctification and salvation.  Sanctifying grace makes us a member of His Body, a participant in His Life.  Then, second, there can be the grace of a charism, given (if given) in God’s time, for God’s purpose, when and if He chooses to give it, and until when or if He chooses to remove it.  A grace of charism is given to a recipient for a need in the Church – a need in another to help him in his path to Christ.  A charism cannot give salvation to another, but it can point him to the One who can give Him salvation: Jesus Christ. 

Of these two kinds of grace, the first – in possession and in importance – is sanctifying grace, and this must be and remain our first in attention, our priority.  Sanctifying grace begins the life of Christ in a human person, and is ordered to growth in Christ, to maturity in Christ, to fruitfulness in Christ!  To neglect our own life in Christ to be preoccupied with the needs of others, is to be like busy Martha and not like her wise, prudent and prayerful sister Mary:

Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

If a Christian becomes overly concerned with what he can do for Christ, and becomes unconcerned with who he is in Christ and what he lacks of Christ, then he, like Martha, remains anxious and troubled – and remains too much in himself.  As John the Baptist learned, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (Jn 3:30). This dying to self and living to Christ is possible only in the essential activity of sanctifying grace, and the virtues of supernatural faith, hope and holy charity, and the seven supernatural infused and abiding gifts of the Holy Spirit given “in seed form” at Baptism: 

Catechism 1831 – The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David.<Cf. Isa 11:1-2> They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. 

These gifts of the Spirit will bring forth fruit for all the faithful and diligent, in due season, fruit that will remain, to the merit of these who live them in obedience to our Lord.


(1) Pope Francis, General Audience Address November 6, 2013

(2) This study is recorded in “Heroic Virtue: A Portion Of The Treatise Of Benedict XIV On The Beatification And Canonization Of The Servants Of God, Volume 3.”  This includes discussion on the place of charisms, or graces gratis datae (graces freely given) in the examinations of the virtues of the servants of God.

(3) The quote from Augustine, in his commentary on Mt. 24:24, cited above by Pope Benedict XIV, is expanded and found in the Catena Aurea of St. Thomas Aquinas.

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.


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:

(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.


Older Posts »