Posted by: Thomas Richard | January 13, 2021

Is the Vaccine Moral?

The following interview on Lifesight News sheds light on the question that I doubt has been considered in the Church, thus far.  I doubt that the Church, in her present moral discernment on this question, was given the science and the facts involved. The interview is hard to listen to – in places technical beyond the scope of most – but the moral question, I think we can all respond to.

I think we all need to hear this, and seriously consider it.  May the Lord give us light, and the courage to remain in the light!

Link, to the 1 hour Interview:

https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/the-unborn-babies-used-for-vaccine-development-were-alive-at-tissue-extraction

The Catholic biologist and vaccine researcher’s book is available at the Kolbe Center (link in the title:)

 Vaccination: A Catholic Perspective, Biologist Pamela Acker.

The unspeakable, inhuman horror of abortion has deeply penetrated the fabric of modern American culture.  God sees it all.  We the Church will have to answer for this, first.  The author’s summary, at the end of the interview, included simply don’t take it!  It is not good for your soul, and it is not good for your body.

The USCCB has two papers on the issue, that ought to be heard as well:

MORAL CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING THE NEW COVID-19 VACCINES

and:

Answers to Key Ethical Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines

We really need to pray about the decisions we come to.  At this point, personally, I am back in the “undecided” camp.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | January 7, 2021

A Parable for Dark Times: the Ten Maidens with Lamps of Oil

In the parable of the wise and the foolish virgins, Jesus teaches something very important for these times – for our times, difficult as they are – and for the times to come, soon.

To summarize the teaching (Mt 25:1-13), Jesus spoke of five wise and five foolish virgins who went to meet the Bridegroom in the night, in the procession to take His Bride to their new home.  This is one among many parables of Jesus having relevance for all times, but especially as the end times come closer and closer.  In the darkness of those times coming, light – spiritual light – is crucially and urgently needed.

Mt 25:1  “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
Mt 25:2  Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
Mt 25:3  For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them;
Mt 25:4  but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
Mt 25:5  As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
Mt 25:6  But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
Mt 25:7  Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps.
Mt 25:8  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
Mt 25:9  But the wise replied, ‘Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’
Mt 25:10  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut.
Mt 25:11  Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’
Mt 25:12  But he replied, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Mt 25:13  Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

Obviously in the parable, we are to conclude that the oil is the point: we need to have sufficient oil – we cannot overlook the oil; it is absolutely necessary.  To run out of this oil, in the darkness and trial of the end times, will mean that the door to the holy wedding feast of heaven will be closed in our faces!  To have no oil, when we stand before Christ on Judgment Day, will move Him to say to us, “Amen I say to you, I do not know you.”

What therefore is this oil, and where do we get it?  Where do we get as much of it as we will need?  How do we guard it, and protect it, lest we lose it on the way?

Among other uses, such as for ointment, for skin beauty, for incense and other uses, oil is for anointing and for light in lamps.  Because of its importance in the anointing of priests, of kings and prophets, and because of its use in lamps for light, the symbol of both Christ Himself and the Holy Spirit come forth for us in this parable.  That is to say, when we stand before Christ the Judge on Judgment Day, He will look into our souls to see what?  He will look to see Himself as light in our souls – He will look to see the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit upon us and within us.  He will look to see His Life in us!  Thus He will “know us” if we are His own, of His own very Life – or He will not “know us,” if we are empty of His Life, if there is in truth, no Life in us.

The Interior Life.

The crucially important Life spoken of here is given to us by God Himself sacramentally in Baptism, in the infusing of all the holy gifts of Baptism: sanctifying grace, the supernatural virtues of faith, and hope, and holy charity, the supernatural moral virtues, the seven-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit, and all the virtues and gifts that flow from these, comprising the truly faithful Christian life.  This life is also called the Interior Life, and the Life of Prayer, understanding that prayer is in truth, holy communion with God.  St. John Vianney wrote, “Prayer is nothing other than union with God.”  The Interior Life is, in essence the life of divine love within us, moving us and vivifying us to live His Life here and now in this world, as we walk ever closer to our final embrace of union with Him and with all who are in Him, in eternity.

So the question of the oil – what it is, and how do we keep it safe as we walk toward that Day – is the question of the Interior Life, the life of grace, the life of prayer, the life of Christ in us.  And this oil is not a dead or static “thing”, it is a spiritual living reality that must be lived in our human living – it must be a Life that gives life to all that we are and do.  The spiritual, interior life is not something that can be locked up to be kept safe – it must be lived out and growing, ever growing and maturing – ever giving forth His Light! – or it will stagnate and wither and die within us.  It is given to us like a baby – beautiful and lovable – but like a baby it cannot remain a baby: it is given, it is destined, to grow, to mature, to become “the measure of the stature of Christ” within us.

Eph 4:11  And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,
Eph 4:12  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
Eph 4:13  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…

Go Rather to the Dealers and Buy for Yourselves. (Mt 25:9)

Thus the wise virgins said to those too foolish to see that each person needed to gather this spiritual life into themselves – that they too needed to have “oil” to give light in their own lives, that they could not simply borrow spiritual life from another.  No, each person must gather this oil for themselves, in their own due diligence, in their own prudent use of time in their own lives: to grow in Christ.  Each person must stand before Him and give account for themselves: how did we, each of us, use the time given us, to live the essential purpose for our lives:  “Why did God make you?”  “God made me to know, to love, and to serve Him in this life, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.”

Growing in the Interior Life

How do we actually grow in the life of Christ?  The four pillars of the Catholic Faith give the answer.  We need to know, and to grow in, the Truth of the Faith – her doctrines, her teachings, the holy truths given us by God through His Church.  We need to live the Truth of the Faith: we need to live righteous, moral, holy lives faithful to our Lord.  We need to grow in grace, through the sacraments received with right disposition, and lived faithfully.  And we need to grow in prayer-communion with God.  Many Catholic adults have grown many years in the ways of the world, but precious little in the ways of God – and yet the ways of God are the ways that will endure for eternity!

The Catholic Church has been entrusted with precious, costly, priceless gifts of spiritual truth.  Many go forward to receive communion; few are present before God at home with their well-worn Bibles, holding tightly to His every word, His every truth, His every whisper of the ways to Him that please Him.  Many receive Him for a moment in Eucharist, but have no time to seek Him in timeless intimacy of silence and solitude, in hunger and emptiness, in cries to heaven in the darkness of prayer.  Many even of many years, remain far from “mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”

  • Let us all look hard and straight at the signs of the times! (~Mt 16:3) 
  • The day is far spent, the night draws near.  (~Lk 24:29)
  • Let us in urgency make the most of the time, for the days are evil. (~Eph 5:16) 
  • Let us work the works of the one who sent us.  Night comes, when no man can work. (~Jn 9:4)
Posted by: Thomas Richard | December 2, 2020

The Two Churches – Thyatira, U.S.A.

Rev 2:18  “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
Rev 2:19  “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.
Rev 2:20  But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
Rev 2:21  I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality.
Rev 2:22  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 2:23  and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.
Rev 2:24  But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay upon you any other burden;
Rev 2:25  only hold fast what you have, until I come.
Rev 2:26  He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over the nations,
Rev 2:27  and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received power from my Father;
Rev 2:28  and I will give him the morning star.
Rev 2:29  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Verses 19-20.  There are two “Catholic” Churches in the West; in the USA; in the [fill in your local area], perhaps in your very parish: two.  There is one, beloved of the Lord and true to her roots: “”‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.”  And there is the other, still here from antiquity, still clinging to the fiction of loyalty to two masters, God and Mammon: “You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.”  

In this “church of the other”, the fiction endures that “Yes, of course we can serve both God and Mammon!  No we must not “love the one and hate the other”!  That is not reasonable or practical at all!  God is reasonable – God is practical!  God and Mammon can walk together, and work together!  We will accompany the world, and the world will embrace us!”

Verses 21-23.  God has been very patient with us, but the sin has only deepened its roots, and widened its branches, and multiplied its wayward children, and pierced the hearts of the faithful of the Lord.  The immorality only multiplies, the lusts of the flesh and of the world and the boastful arrogance of the heart only grows bolder; their abominations cloaked in purple, crowned as princes they strut in cathedrals with heads held high, mocking the God whose Cross they trample upon with laughter.  They are the princes of Jezebel, adorned and preening, invaders of the Temple of the Lord.  They rape the innocent, they rob the trusting, they sabotage the promises of Christ and the hopes of His children for their own lustful ambitions and cold, sterile hearts.  

The time is approaching, it is certain, it draws nearer and nearer.  Their dark master knows this; his hatred now enflamed, only rages more; his victim-slaves ever blind, only advance faster to their death.

Verses 24-28. The promises of God are eternal because He is, because His Truth is, because He IS, and in the end, evil is not.  The glory of God He holds as a secret only whispered now, but it is a Hallelujah! that shouted will fill the Creation – and every faithful soul – on that Day. 

Verse 29.  It is a gift, to have ears to hear.  The Word He speaks, is a Gift for the hearing of those He calls.  The Word He gives, finding place in a human heart, is a treasure more precious than an infinity of universes each more full with worldly riches than the other.  These days look dark, brothers and sisters, but the light that is eternal is just beyond the horizon.  One day – surprise!  It will come.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | November 6, 2020

Final Update: Gregory the Pilgrim

On the road, 2015, in ministry of reparation, in prayer for us all.

I first met Gregory in 2015; I wrote a blog entry on him and his beautiful, heroic vocation of personal reparation for the sins of the world. The blog entry is Reparation: Freely Suffering for the Good of Another.

I heard from Gregory again in 2018, and wrote a second blog entry to “update” my readers on his pilgrimage of prayer, on foot and in poverty, across this country, to religious sites honoring especially our Blessed Mother Mary. Her intercession, for the good of others, was the burden he carried in his heart. This blog entry is Update on Gregory the Pilgrim.

Now, today in 2020, I received a blog Comment about him, that he was taken from this earth following complications of Covid-19. The final message we have from him is a text message he wrote to his friend Tinsley – posted on the Facebook page “Gregory the Pilgrim” dedicated to him and his pilgrimage. Tinsley wrote:

got this text from Gregory last night he has Covid and pneumonia he has been in the hospital for the past two weeks please pray for him!!

Ave Maria ! ! !
Hi Tinsley.

I woke up 2 am not breathing.
So they told me the I need to be put on a ventilator with an induced coma.
I said no.
So they put me on a high pressure oxygen mask.
And now there going to move me to ICU.
My spiritual director told me to trust in the lord and go on the ventilator.
So I think this could be it with the ventilator.
So Tinsley please pray for me and if I pass on to the lord, that Christ will give me a Catholic burial somewhere.
Thanks for being such a good Sister and friend to me.
God Bless you Tinsley !

I post this brief note pondering deeply our need today for Gregory’s calling: persons willing to offer their own hardships and sufferings for the good of others. I am reminded of the prayer of Jesus (Luke 23:34) in the horrific sufferings of His Cross:

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Every one of His followers has a cross to carry. May we each carry our cross in His Holy Charity, remembering and receiving the burdens of those who “know not what they do” in their offenses against Him and His Blessed Mother – today and every day.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | November 1, 2020

Deep State, Deep Church

When my daughter was a little girl, we would sometimes play “Let’s have tea” together, with her little tea-set, with some dolls set at her “table”, with herself and me sitting cross-legged on the floor. It was all pretend – no liquids involved, nothing actually swallowed, but both of us would act out the fantasy and have a conversation consistent with the “make-believe” of the game. It was appropriate to her growing into her future life as a woman and mother, as were my own make-believe games when I was a boy, with my toy guns and wars with imagined enemies (war was actually the reality for many, many of the men and fathers of those days). Something very different is going on now. 

Today, many manifestations of childhood continue into the teen years and beyond, into young adulthood and further – a “Peter Pan” culture of many biologically grown men and women, clinging to childhood in many diverse ways. “Virtual reality” seems to many to be more real, and better, than the dysfunctional pretenses (to them) that others call “reality.” So they redefine reality. Pretend becomes real; real becomes pretend.

Thus today human nature itself is up for correction.  Persons born male can cancel nature and assert “I am woman!”  Persons born female can cancel nature and assert “I am man!”  Persons born male or female can cancel nature and declare their feelings for persons of the same sex are such that they want to be sexually intimate, or even “get married.”  Thus God Himself is up for correction.  God, the Creator and Designer of human nature, and of the human family of husband, wife and children, can be cancelled and replaced.  Man/Woman is in charge of their own persons and relations: God’s way is mere “suggestion”, open to “improvement.”

This would be called mental illness, if it were not insisted on by so many people – it has been made “politically correct” – and therefore very gravely concerning – troubling – for the life of the society and culture. The Church must live, and preach, and model reality. What God has made, is good. In His Goodness and Truth, is our happiness.

This mental illness has become, as intended by the spirit of its ultimate source, a world-wide pandemic, of which Covid-19 is a prophetic example.  Two important forces are at work in the spread of the illness.  The secular “Deep State” is working toward globalism: one united government, one world currency, a world subjugated to a ruling elite who, in Augustine’s classic “The City of God”, are those leaders opposing God in their earthly City of Man: they “rule for the love of ruling.” These include the professional politicians of either party, but mostly Progressive Democrats.  They rule because they are the elite – they know better than we, how to control our lives.  And there is a religious “Deep Church”, including those professional church leaders – of religions world-wide – who also “rule for the love of ruling,” who plan and execute their ascent to positions of influence and control in the “hierarchy,” to advance themselves and not for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.  Both of these branches of the controlling elites are rooted deep in this world and the loves and lusts for the things of this world.

The true and holy Church of our Lord Jesus Christ must – must – remain in the eternal and supernatural Truth of our Lord.  We are told this very seldom, but we must hear it loudly and clearly, as the works of evil erupt more and more, in the corruption of its lies, its contradictions, its shallow religiosity and compromised morality.  We must know this: He alone is True, is Truth, is Life itself.  We must commit to be faithful to live and careful to grow in – and not retreat from – His Life.  The holy virtues given us in Baptism are meant to guide us and mature us in His supernatural Life.  The lukewarm, the tepid, the compromised, the two-souled, those who want to strike a deal with the devil and take pleasure in the lusts of this world while not getting God too angry – those embrace a fantasy.  Weakened by the ways of this world, they stumble and fall in failure to carry the Cross that Jesus has laid upon all His own.

Is this come upon us? –

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)

Brothers and sisters, arise.  His grace is sufficient.  His call is empowering.  His will will win.  Listen to Him, and embrace His call with the fervor that is due.  Act in the light of the supernatural gifts He has given: Faith in the Triune God in heaven; Hope in the glory of His Life eternal; Charity in union with His Own in His Trinitarian Mystery and among His own holy people gathered into His Son.  The glory of such Light will overcome the deepest darkness of a lost world shackled to futility and death.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | September 15, 2020

Reflections on a Lost Treasure

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,
1:25 of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God,
1:26 the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones,
1:27 to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory.
1:28 It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.

Suffering is a universal condition, among the rich and the poor, spanning cultures and nations, languages and ethnic groups, men and women young and old: suffering can everywhere be found and nowhere can be buried or denied, drugged or drunk away, pandered or appeased or bribed away.  Its remedy is one and singular: its icon is the Cross.  It is the message of the Cross that explains suffering, and all who learn to hear and receive its message, and understand and follow it, find as Paul did, “the riches of the glory of this mystery.”  It is a lost treasure; but it is meant to be found.

It is also a treasure avoided!  Suffering is a treasure many, many people seek to avoid at any cost of “time and talent and money.”  I intentionally avoid alliteration and the word commonly placed next, “treasure.” Money, the currency of this world, is hardly the treasure that lasts, and that we ought to be seeking.  There is a treasure fit in the new life in Christ, and in the new creation to come, as Paul wrote, “the riches of the glory of this mystery.”  We must see, each one of us, the abject poverty of the so-called riches worshipped in this world!  We must see the hollow, barren death of so-called vitality and supposed strength sought in this world, so that we can set our faces toward Truth, and walk in wisdom the days we have remaining here.

Paul was given a ministry, and stewardship of wisdom eternal in God, and kept in mystery – in darkness – for the people of this world.  We stumble in darkness, so wounded by sin in the very core of our hearts, of my heart, of your heart, until we begin to see by the light that only God can bring into a soul.  But in that divine light, when it comes, we can see that which holds together all creation – all the universe – all of you and me and every person.  It is the divine Love, holding all in being, all in relationship, all in purpose, all in destiny.  The answer to suffering is spoken by the Cross, and in one word, Love.  He emptied Himself, yet never was He empty; He out-poured Himself, yet never was He depleted.  Like the Burning Bush shown to Moses, He is ignited ablaze burning, yet never consumed.  The Holy Trinity revealed, Love revealed, the essence of eternal God revealed: our vocation, our invitation, the mystery of suffering and death answered – by resurrection, ascension, and Eternal Spirit given.

What can be “lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, the Church”?  The answer: our afflictions, offered on behalf of His Body the Church!  Paul was given a heart-mission: not merely to “make disciples” to begin in Christ, but to make disciples into the full intention of the Father, persons “perfect in Christ,” Christians pouring out their lives in love as did their Lord, whatever the cost.  

How to begin such lives of zeal?  We hear from the wisdom of the Church, “Don’t waste suffering!”  “Offer it all up, for the intentions of the Lord!”  When we ever entrust ourselves completely into His care, with one concern, to do His will in all things, then will our light shine before the nations!  Then will be the beginning of the end achieved; then will suffering recede into the past, and true sacrifice be offered to the Lord, “worshippers who worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.”

Brothers and sisters, we need prayerful souls making reparation, today, for the many many hardened hearts and cold souls who walk about as if there is no God, as if life is merely “eat, drink and be merry,” as if “tomorrow we die anyway” so nothing matters.  Many believe that they do not matter!  But they do!  Every soul that is or ever will be, is because God cared – God loved him into being – God made him and died for him, that he might have life.  Time is marching on toward that last day, and many opportunities are being wasted, when we might be “adding to the solution” and not “adding to the problem” of precious but wasted time, and sufferings that could be transformed into prayer and worship in spirit and in truth.  

1 Thessalonians 5:5  For you are all sons of light and sons of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.
1Th 5:6  So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.
1Th 5:7  For those who sleep sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.
1Th 5:8  But, since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
1Th 5:9  For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Th 5:10  who died for us so that whether we wake or sleep we might live with him.
1Th 5:11  Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | July 29, 2020

Less than 100 days… a life or death scenario?

If seawater is gushing into the boat and there is no land in sight, what would your first priority be?  Well, prayer to God would be gushing out of my heart as I run to the broken hole in the boat, to do whatever I could do to stop this catastrophe mortally threatening all in the boat.  Such a life or death scenario is coming upon us in America soon, now – less than 100 days away – an election unlike any we have faced in this brief experiment of the Republic, the United States of America. 

The 2016 election was a miracle, I am sure.  God gave us – the Church – a second chance.  God “guided the bullet,” to adapt the phrase St. John Paul II used to describe his miraculous survival of the 1981 assassination attempt on his life.  “One hand pulled the trigger, another guided the bullet,” and it was Our Lady herself who saved him, he was sure.  The bullet was fired on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13.  

There is a different gun aimed at the heart of America, this coming national election, and the enemy not one lone assassin with a gun – the enemy is more and much worse than any of flesh and blood.  The enemy is moving in many ways to destroy the Christian Faith, Christian morality, marriage and the family, the human person, human rights and freedoms – indeed, history has exposed this enemy many times in the cruel culture of death in his wake, and the horrific brutal dictatorships he espouses and uses.  

Fr. Frank Pavone, a strong and faithful pro-life priest, has come out on this issue – on the crucial importance of this election – recently, with a force and a commitment that is music to my ears.  How I have longed to hear such conviction from priests and bishops throughout the country!  America needs to wake up!  America does not, yet, see the danger at our door – the enemy at the gate.  Our Church needs to wake up!  Fr. Pavone is preaching what the Church needs desperately to hear, and to understand the truth of it, and the growing urgency of it!  

The following is from Fr. Pavone, from a LifeSite article of a few days ago:

With 100 days left until Election Day, November 3, 2020, I call upon all of my fellow patriots who embrace pro-life and conservative principles to put aside, as much as possible, all other activities and to make it their first priority, as it will be mine, to re-elect President Trump, to give him a Republican House and Senate, and to elect Republicans on the state and local level as well.

Along with all my brothers and sisters in Christ, I affirm that my platform is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I also affirm that the Democrat Party, in the principles and policies it embraces, has radically abandoned that Gospel, as well as the principles on which America was founded and Western Civilization rests.

It is no exaggeration to say that everything we’ve worked for, as a Church, a nation, and a pro-life, pro-family movement, is on the line in these next 100 days. This is a spiritual battle and no less than a civil war. We have to be all in, publicly, unapologetically, and with crystal clarity.

[A Democrat victory would] bring the holocaust of abortion, paid for by taxpayers, to unprecedented levels, taking away every restriction, even on infanticide; it would destroy our nation, bringing us socialism and open borders; it would replace law and order with mob rule and depleted law enforcement; it would deprive the Church of the freedom to conduct her mission and instead subject ministries to oppressive mandates, as Biden has already promised; it would destroy the family and any public protection for it; it would ruin our economy, ensnare us in destructive international agreements, and allow China to pursue its destructive agenda; it would fill the courts with judges who tear up the Constitution rather than apply it; it would roll back the protections President Trump has put in place for the consciences of healthcare workers, students on campus, and children who want to pray in school.

…..

We have to be able to read the signs of the times, and understand the stark differences between the Democrat and Republican parties. These are not merely difference of policy, but of principle. These are not two parties choosing different means to get to the same goal. They have radically different and irreconcilable goals. Only by choosing the Republican candidates can we preserve the values we hold as Americans and believers. That is not the canonization of a party; it is simply the recognition of who our friends and enemies in the political realm are at this point in time.

Our President and the Republican candidates are standing for America as an exceptional nation, for our Constitution and the rule of law, for the protection of the unborn, for pro-life judges, for parental rights and school choice, for a strong military, strong but welcoming borders, and a strong economy, for fair trade deals, for the rights of pastors to preach the Word of God freely and of all believers – domestically and around the world — to conduct their affairs without discrimination against their faith; for strong and ethical healthcare, and for many more policies that protect rather than abandon our principles.

Along with countless others, I am ashamed and disgusted at the silence and lack of leadership by so many of the Churches. They have made themselves irrelevant, failing to preach on the issues of the day and using the lame excuse of political neutrality, and a desire to promote “unity,” to hide in the sanctuary instead of engage the public square while the Democrats destroy the unity on which this nation and the Church are founded. Moreover, many Church leaders try to intimidate and silence those of us who are not afraid to pass moral judgment in matters of politics, and to name the enemy. It is a disgrace, and it is time for believers to take matters into their own hands, link arms and hearts with fellow believers, and engage in new and creative ways to proclaim and apply the Gospel teachings to this moment in history.

LifeSite article link.

Yes, the above is a strong proclamation!  It needs to be shouted: the situation in America has become dire, and the professed ambitions of the Democrats (especially many of the “Catholic” ones!) are truly frightening.  Their professed policies and plans oppose the faithful Church and the American Constitution, and even common sense.  Every bishop and priest in the country ought to see clearly the existential danger that the Democrats in our time pose to the Faith.  I pray that Fr. Pavone’s words will help them all toward the courage their positions demand, that they will guide, with zeal, the faithful to Truth.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | June 1, 2020

Organized Rioting Across America: A Call to Repentance!

I ended my last Blog post, in response to Covid-19 sweeping the world, with this warning that I believe we were – and I hope still are – hearing from God:

Can we learn from this world-wide chastisement that God is ignored, marginalized, neglected, disobeyed at our peril!  Will we believe the Message of Fatima, and in earnest, repent?  Or will He have to repeat Himself more loudly.

Covid-19 is still a threat.  Yet even as we have already begun to put the pandemic in the past, as we have already begun to think in terms of reopening, moving forward, getting “normal” again, a spark got lit in the tinderbox of secular American culture.  I tremble to think, and to say, we have not heard anything – not for decades of this crisis building, have we heard or seen the eruption coming.  The first plague: a fiercely contagious and deadly virus sweeping across the world into a pandemic.  The second plague: a wildfire across the nation of riotous destruction that was not wild at all, but was anticipated and awaited by poor lost souls led by the enemy of mankind, indeed of all creation, indeed the enemy of God from the beginning. There is  “the lawless one,” who has been restrained by the merciful God, until the last days when the actual last day is very near.  The lawless one seeks only to destroy, to confuse, to overturn, to rebel.

The Lawless One

2 Thessalonians 2:1  Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren,
2  not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
3  Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition,
4  who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
5  Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this?
6  And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.
7  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.
8  And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming.
9  The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders,
10  and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
11  Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false,
12  so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The Lord warned us, 2000 years ago!  In the last days, men will “refuse to love the truth”!  And in this rejection of truth, they will open their souls to deception, to delusion, to falsity, to the lie. They sought and found “pleasure in unrighteousness.”   Rejecting truth, they reject God; loving unrighteousness, they reject the good and the holy, and instead seek and love sin.  This is the path of death, this is the way of darkness, of condemnation, of hell – the destined eternal abode of satan.  This is the possible fate of many, dear brothers and sisters, in this nation that declared at one time, “In God We Trust.”

Yes this nation once was thought of as “a Christian nation,” so many in it professing faith in Jesus Christ.  This was once a culture of popular decency, treasuring honesty, fairness, justice and truth.  Yes there have always been crooks and liars, adulterers and thieves – but even they knew they were in the wrong!  Even the criminals knew they were committing crimes, that they were in fact guilty and did deserve punishment, in justice.

But that was then, when men and women by the millions lined up to sign up and serve in the Great War to defend this nation, and the way of life we had formed in America.  That was “the greatest generation” – and it was not so many years ago.  But how America has changed. Now, by the millions, innocent unborn babies are intentionally killed, with the sanction of our judicial system.  Now, marriages are broken and dissolved in serial divorces, children are abandoned and deeply wounded, left to raise themselves with every employable adult remaining  in the household out working, to bring in more money so that everyone can have all that they want, that is, all that is for sale.  That which can only be given and received in love – that which is really needed – that is much harder to find for both the children and the adults involved.

And now lie after lie is presented and believed; that which is good, natural and true is rejected, and the evil, the abnormal, the false is celebrated and praised.  Pornography is main-stream, homosexuality is the new normal, “gender” is not God-given, no, it is optional and the choice of the almighty “me”.  Our pleasure is unrighteousness, God is unwelcome, His very Being is denied and worthy only of jokes and ridicule.

Friends, can we learn from this second piercing chastisement that God is ignored, marginalized, neglected, disobeyed at our peril!  Can we listen to the Call of Fatima, and in earnest, repent?  Or will He have to strike again, harder.  God is calling us!  God is calling to His People, His Church, be holy!  Be light in this ugly darkness!  Offer to the Lord loving acts of reparation for the sins of His people, and for the whole world.  Show the world lives of righteousness, of prayerful faith, of sober judgment concerning the things of God, of joyful living – simply and truly – in the holy will of His Word.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | May 14, 2020

Covid-19: Call to Repentance!

Is anyone listening, yet?

Covid-19 has dominated the news for weeks now, and has held the concern of almost every – if not every – identifiable group in America and in the world.  The vast majority everywhere, I would guess, is wishing, hoping and/or praying that soon it will be over.  Soon, the promises of those in charge assure us, soon we will defeat this enemy and our return to normal will be fast.  All will be well.  “Back to usual” sounds wonderful to all – businessmen, college professors, school children, teachers, parents, politicians – everyone.  Almost.

I know I’m not alone in my concerns; I hear a few online share this with me.  I want to say it, I need to say it, and I am convinced that many need to hear it: only God knows when this plague ought to be over. I strongly suspect that the time is not now – not yet is the time.  I strongly believe that “Back to the usual” would not be a good thing for the country nor for the world, not now, not yet.  It is still too soon for us to go “Back to normal” – not because we are not yet in control of the virus, but we are not yet in control of ourselves – we are not yet in control of what is normal for us. Western culture has fallen so deeply and widely into the abnormal, the immoral, the amoral, the godless perverse self-granted license to do and believe anything we choose, that what is truly “normal” for human beings has drifted beyond our reach.  A return to sanity will not be easy, nor quick, nor even possible without God.

We in the West – and the U.S. in particular – are not 100% sold on modern culture’s normalization of the abnormal.  Many – not an overwhelming majority, but many – still believe that marriage is one man and one woman, until death do they part.  Many – not a majority anymore, but many – believe that same-sex attraction is abnormal, is not healthy for adults, is not a sound basis for a marriage or for adopted children. Many quietly believe, still, that it is inappropriate to try to normalize homosexuality in popular entertainment or educational curricula or in any way.  Many still believe it is profoundly wrong to kill unborn babies, and that it is insane to call such barbaric double-speak “health care.”  Many still are stunned as story after story is published about some adult, teen or child “deciding that he/she actually is herself/himself, trapped in a body of the wrong ‘gender’.”  And the solution these trapped souls see is the surgical mutilation of their bodies!  All these examples, and the many other unstated ones, ought to make us wonder if this horrible plague that has “gone viral” around the world, is a horror that could be much worse – and might still become much worse – if we do not address the moral insanity that has become our shameful “normal,” and, to use an apt but now ancient term, REPENT.  We need a culture-wide repentance, interior change in individual souls, a transforming renewal into lives worthy of human persons made in the image and likeness of God.

The message that our Blessed Mother Mary sent to the Church, to the world, to us all 100 years ago was, repent.  Penance!  Penance! Penance!  Say many Rosaries for the conversion of sinners, that they turn to live lives worthy of God’s creation!  Offer sacrifices to God in reparation for the insults borne to Him, to Jesus the Son, to Mary our Mother, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that burns with such holy, Self-sacrificial love for us – and to her pierced Immaculate Heart, in such union of love with the Heart of her Son, in love for us!  

Yet how basely in fact have we treated them.  How crudely we have desecrated the human body given to us for the intention of lives of holiness and self-giving love.  How we have stained and soiled the sacrament entrusted to us, the sacrament of His Church, the Church He empowered and sent to save the lost sinners of this world.  We have carried the dirt of this world into His Holy Place, His House of Prayer, and we have made it a place of compromise.  We have brought together the clean and the unclean, the holy and the unholy, God and Mammon, the Gospel of eternal life and the ways and means of this passing, dying world.  We have mixed together the natural and the supernatural, we have crafted a religion of compromise, that God might not be too displeased with us and we might not be too inconvenienced for Him.  It is a poor and senseless gamble we have entered, playing against truth.  In Fatima we were warned, but our hearts to this day have not yet been broken under the weight of our “normal” sins, not yet broken unto a cleansing repentance and renewal in Christ.

What is needed?

The Church needs to come alive – to awaken – to take seriously, as if it were a matter of life or death – which it is – our call to holiness and to the perfection of charity.  Mediocre, tepid, minimalistic, lukewarm, half-hearted, bored, preoccupied – such descriptors ought to bring shame, tears and remorse when they fit so well.  They ought never fit, in the Household of God!  He has entrusted His Church with so much!  Yet so many of us don’t want the rich treasures of the Kingdom within that He has placed in our hands. We concern ourselves more quickly with the externals of religion.  We want our liturgies well-performed, but the graces they were created to convey to us within, to transform our hearts, we hardly are able to recognize.  Holy graces run over us like water off a duck’s back, and they are lost: they slip away dripping from our ever-too-busy fingers.  We need to be prepared to receive His graces, to hold on to them, to guard them and live in them.  We need to be dry and ready, prepared to be set aflame with the fire of the Spirit and Truth!  

But instead of awareness and regard for the things within, we tend to the outsides of things, and neglect the things less obvious. Appearance is everything we think, while within, our souls are impoverished, barren, malnourished, disfigured.  In the midst of the precisely timed ceremonies, the prominent golden vessels, the ornate vestments that rule our worship, we sit waiting as outcast beggars, hoping that God can break through all this, and come to us.  Yet for our part, we are almost paralyzed: we are too busy to be catechized, too comfortable with what we know to venture into the deeper waters of Truth and of holy prayer.  A clergy hardened in clericalism, a laity hardened in paralysis of soul: a petrification has set in, in His Church – a becoming “rock” in exactly the wrong way.

The new wine is as new as it was two millennia ago; the old wineskins are as brittle and hardened as they ever were, as well. We need the softness and flexibility of fresh wineskins, able to hold together life!  We need Life, to become witnesses of Life, so that a world racing toward death might stop and see such a beautiful thing on the side of the wide road: stop and see in amazement, to realize an anomaly so glorious, it cannot be passed by.

The Holy Catholic Church is a sacrament of life-communicating grace sent to a lost and failing world – we are sent to save, with the living food and living water of eternal life.  Do we need a miracle?  His Life IS a miracle!  It is a great blessing to be an outcast from a madhouse.  Regaining one’s sanity, and discovering the wealth of peace in truth, one can turn and return as a healer.   And this world needs righteous healers.  Parishes of them, churches full of them.  Can we learn from this world-wide chastisement that God is ignored, marginalized, neglected, disobeyed at our peril!  Will we believe the Message of Fatima, and in earnest, repent?  Or will He have to repeat Himself more loudly.

Posted by: Thomas Richard | April 28, 2020

Three Essentials in the One Thing Necessary

In my last blog article, I listed three crucial deficiencies that I see in the Church today.  The Church is weakened in these very needful times, when we are called upon to be present to this falling world.   It is a time of growing need; the world may not realize it, but it is starving.  The world continues to deny and refuses to acknowledge the Truth about God and human nature, and our God-intended purpose for living, for our being human.  The world needs the authentic witness of God!  God IS!  God made us all, and for a purpose!  And the world, His creation, is chasing its own lifeless fantasies and doing so as if there were no accountability, and as if God were not even aware of our abandonment of faith, of hope, of holy love, of moral constraint, of moral responsibility, of moral virtue.  Much of the world today has severed ties indeed of morality itself, of rationality and reason itself, in these dark and ever-darkening days.

The world is in every way but literally, burning, and the Church is, in almost every way but literally, playing the fiddle to the tune of “status quo.”  But friends, this is no time for “business as usual”; this is the time to hear God’s call to us.  This is the time for His Church to awaken.

I wrote briefly in my previous blog article, of three qualities of devotion that must be within faithful souls, in a dynamic church or parish.  And these three are sadly missing among many – many – in our churches and parishes today.  In this article, I hope to gather these three spiritual qualities into the one spiritual life that, I insist, is lacking in our time.  The three that I wrote of are these:

  • Authentic, sincere, heart-felt devotion to our Blessed Mother Mary.
  • Humble reverence for, knowledge of, and devotion to the Word of God, Holy Scripture.
  • The embraced Personal Presence of the Holy Spirit in prayer, in works, in faith, in life.

The one necessary reality that includes these three necessary qualities is the interior life of grace.  We need a vibrant interior functioning spiritual life within us – and this is more than just a heart and soul hungering for something not to be found in this world, it is more than merely a spiritual inclination within that seeks to avoid displeasing God in any significant way.  We need the spiritual center in us to be alive with the life and the love of God Himself.  We need the Holy Spirit moving in us – and only that Spirit in us, moving us in the will and desires of God.  This is no time for mediocrity.  This is no time for tepid souls and lukewarm hearts: we are called to holiness, and the perfection of holy charity.

I strongly recommend Card. Robert Sarah’s book The Day Is Now Far Spent, as a well-articulated clarion call to action for us all, laity and clergy: Catholics, awaken!  The good Cardinal sees very clearly the great danger in the world today, and the need for the Church to arise – to be Church.  He writes, in this book,

Without union with God, every attempt to strengthen the Church and the faith will be in vain. Without prayer, we will be clanging cymbals. We will … make a lot of noise and produce nothing but wind. Prayer must become our innermost respiration. It brings us face to face with God. Do we have some other purpose? Do we Christians, priests, bishops have some reason for existing other than to stand before God and to lead others to him?

It is time to teach this! It is time to put it into practice! The one who prays is saved, the one who does not pray is damned, Saint Alphonsus said. I want to insist on this point, because a church that does not have prayer as its most precious treasure is headed for ruin. … Priests in particular absolutely must have a soul of prayer. Without it, the most effective of social actions would become useless and even harmful. It would give us the illusion of serving God while we were only doing the work of the Evil One. This is not a matter of multiplying our devotions. It is a matter of being silent and adoring. It is a matter of getting on our knees. It is a matter of entering into the liturgy with fear and respect. It is God’s work. It is not a theater.

Yes, we need the interior life of grace – and its first and essential act within is prayer.  Prayer-communion with God is the first fruit of grace, and this fruit of true, living prayer-communion with God spiritually nurtures the soul within and brings forth the active devotions that manifest His life: authentic loving devotion to Mary our mother, the habit of resting – abiding – in His words of Holy Scripture, and an on-going, ever-growing bond of union with God in the Holy Spirit.  He is become, as promised, our Counselor and Advocate, our Teacher and Friend who stands alongside and establishes us in an infinite Mystery: God the Holy Trinity, in the Fellowship of Christ, in the communion of saints.  The interior life of grace – the life of prayer – is eternal life unfolding like a flower fragrant in the warm sun of divine Truth.

The Church deserves this life I point to, and even more, God deserves it to be in us. Christ died to pour it out to us, for us, from His Cross.  Yet so many – so many laity, so many clergy, have stopped too soon and settled for much less!  Martha (Lk 10:38-42) was boldly impatient with her prayerful sister Mary, who was happy to sit at His feet and drink the living water of His holy words of truth.  The Lord advised her, no, dear Martha, busyness has clouded your sight – your sister here, listening, absorbing, embracing – she has chosen the better portion!  We need prayer.  We need to protect, and to grow, the precious life of grace given to us in Baptism.

This grace – a true participation in the divine life! – must be guarded, nurtured, nourished, cherished, tended as if it were the invaluable gift which it is.  It is a priceless treasure, indeed a supernatural endowment entrusted to us, for us, from the Cross.  Christ gave over everything for it, for us! Do we, like lazy and spoiled children unwilling to lift a finger if it is inconvenient, continue to take our rest while Jesus continues to call to us, “Awaken!”  The new Day is near; see – it approaches – the first glow of sunrise can be seen on the horizon.

Three qualities of the interior life of grace – let these be measuring rods for us.

  • Loving devotion to our mother Mary,
  • Attentive humble devotion to Truth of the Word: Holy Scripture,
  • Unshakable embrace of the promised Gift, the Holy Spirit.

The Lord has given us a Garden within – are we tending it?  Are we careful stewards of the true treasures, or intemperate children of the over-privileged, ever seeking more of the worthless, squandering time as the day draws near?  Let us pray for the Church: Awake!  The time for the sleepy and the unconcerned is over, the enemy is at the gates, he has already infiltrated the city, the faithful have long forgotten the danger he brings.

OK.  My talking is over (for now) – can we all hear from you?  On this subject of growing in the life of grace – the interior life – will you share with other readers, and with me, your thoughts and beliefs on this matter?  How are you growing, in the spiritual life, these days?  In particular, in your relationship with mother Mary, with Holy Scripture, with the life and gifts of the Holy Spirit – or with other important matters of life in Christ – how are you doing these days?  Are you striving for our common call to holiness?  And how is that going?

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