Does Satan Really Exist?

It’s Time to Fight for Your Church and Your Country!

By Fr. Daniel E. Doctor:

Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lighting from the sky.”  Most modern progressive Catholic thinkers would say, that Jesus was using some very colorful language to make His point about evil and its existence but – He did not mean this literally.

So the question remains, does personal evil really exist?

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I mean the modern Catholic, who is uneducated in their faith, would say; that isn’t the devil just some story or tool invented by the Church to control people?  You know to make us afraid so we will follow blindly whatever the Church says – so the popes, bishops and priests could control us?

Can’t all those stories in the Bible about Jesus casting out demons be explained away by modern psychology and its understanding of psychological disorders – or religious fanatical behavior?  Aren’t Hell and the devil just childhood stories told around the campfire, to entertain us with a little bit of fear?  Or maybe just the reoccurring plot – of too many horror movies?

Didn’t the Second Vatican Council with its new modern liberal mindset bring us out of a backward medieval belief system to make us modern progressive thinkers capable of realizing that hell and Satan are just the products of ignorance, superstition, or an over active imagination?

Well, lets think about this for a moment.  Here is what Gaudium et Spes, one of the Second Vatican Council documents has said; “The whole of man’s history has been the story of our combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield, man has struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity” (Gaudium et Spes, 37).

Some Catholics maybe surprised in this day and age, that the existence of evil, the devil as well as hell, are all truths of our Catholic Faith. All one has to do is pick up a copy of the Catechism and look it up and you will find that the Church officially teaches – from paragraph #1033 through paragraph #1037 – that evil does exist, that there is a person, a fallen Angel to be exact, who wants nothing more than to destroy humanity and if that is not possible then at least to get as many people away from God, away from salvation to spend eternity in hell with him.

Pope Paul IV, taught that “evil is not merely a lack of something, but an effective agent, a living spiritual being, perverted and perverting.   A terrible reality – mysterious and frightening – who goes about acting in a way contrary to the teaching of the Bible and the Church.”

Of course there is the New Testament, which alone refers to the devil and his wickedness nearly 300 times as a warning to us of his presence and activity in our world.

This leads us to the Gospels, where Jesus talks more about the devil and evil then anything else except His divinity.  We also heard in today’s Gospel, that the disciples were overjoyed because – demons were subject to them through the Holy Name of Jesus.  This power of the name of Jesus was given not only to the disciples but to the whole Church to fight against and overcome any and every evil in this world.   This power is the authority of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, built on the authority of Jesus Christ Himself, which causes the gates of hell to tremble.

What we learn from the New Testament, is that the main purpose of Jesus’ ministry was to destroy the works of the devil and to bring about the Kingdom of God, which will destroy the Kingdom of Satan. Christ came to cast out, bind up and deliver humanity from its slavery to sin and death as well as from the chief works of the devil – called vices.  According to the Old Testament, the devil gets his foot hold in this world and in our lives through things like fortune-tellers, soothsayers, charms, diviners, and spells as well as when we consult with ghosts and spirits or seek oracles and revelations from the dead.  In our day and age, He still uses these things including horoscopes, the new age movement, Gnosticism, moral relativism, or even more explicitly through Satanism and the worship of the devil.

Everyday we see his evil played out right in front of our eyes and then we ignore what we see and the underlying cause.  We fail to recognize that there is a very real enemy, who likes to remain hidden, while he plots our destruction and doom.  This evil is increased with the destruction of Fatherhood, marriage and traditional family life. In the increase in war, murder, and suicide.  The devastation of our youth through drugs and sexual addiction.  The massive diffusion by the media of corrupting errors and sinful practices.  And most especially in our day, with the ruinations of our religious freedoms and those individuals who bravely speak up for them.

Satan’s progressive and the new modern family

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Nowadays, objective evil is displayed out in the open – all of which are meant to destroy us – caused by a malicious Angel who wants nothing more than to eradicate us from the face of the earth.   Satan has gone so far as to attack humanity at its source with the sin of abortion, birth control, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning – as well as using the cumulative forces of this world’s sinfulness to redefine life and marriage as we know it and calling it – progress and the new modern family.  Nothing can escape from the rebellious forces of hedonism and secularism in their violent march throughout the world trying to force us to believe that sinfulness and evil rebellion against our Creator and His definition of morality is normal and warranted.

We have come so far that not to follow this march of evil to our own destruction is to be portrayed as crazy, abnormal or ignorant. We have come so far that good is bad and evil is really good. Good people are boring and evil people are fun. We defend the criminal and imprison the lawful. Our daily poor example to our children teaches them that magic and fairy tales are real and that God, His angels and Saints, do not exist – but somehow all humans and dogs go to heaven. No wonder our world is so confused and ignorant of what God really says and teaches.

So it goes without saying, with all certainty, that those of us who want to be truly holy and virtuous, who want to wholeheartedly embrace the Catholic Church’s authentic teaching and mission to save souls, will live a very difficult life.  One full of challenges and at times real sorrows, but at the same time, a life of immense blessings and graces, which all those who follow Christ enjoy for all eternity.

If we really want to be God’s saints and His holy people, we need not fear what is coming or what is already here, we need not fear the other sheep or those wolves among us dressed up like them – for God will not be mocked or made a fool of – in the end all will be revealed and He does not deal lightly with the devil or his unrepentant companions,  be they angelic or human.  That is why He created hell, just for them.

We are in the midst of a war – a war between good and evil – and the worst thing you can do in any combat situation is to believe that you’re not in one and that this fight has nothing to do with us. This, sadly, has been the mindset of us humans, us Christians, and us Catholics, for far too long.

Pope Leo XIII stated it boldly, “Catholics are born for combat!”  So, we the people must become we the Saints. We must once again become the Church Militant – soldiers and warriors of Jesus Christ. The devil certainly knows that his time is short and that it would be even shorter should the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church ever take the call to spiritual warfare and authentic holiness seriously.

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The Liturgy of the Hours for the Martyrs states; “We are warriors now, fighting in the battlefield of faith, and God sees all we do; the Angles watch and so does Christ. What honor and glory and joy, to do battle in the presence of God, and have Christ approve our victory.”  Let us arm ourselves in full strength – with Rosary in hand; and prepare ourselves – through Eucharistic Adoration for the ultimate struggle with blameless hearts, true faith, and unyielding courage.

The venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen taught, “Christ demands fire – he demands zeal for His followers.”  In the scriptures, Christ commands us to go out and preach the gospel, to live virtuous holy lives, to convert the nations – and to cast out evil.  When we pray the “Our Father,” we ask God to deliver us from evil – this is the normal daily petition said in the Church’s greatest prayer.

Don’t we think that maybe it is time for us to make this petition part of our daily actions and not just part of our prayers?

Praying for the deliverance from evil, working for its destruction, is at the very center of our Catholic faith because when we act this way we recognize that only God can truly save us from the power of the devil, who enslaves us with sin and evil. So be at peace, be unafraid, as St. Paul tells us, “we bear the marks of Christ on our bodies” through baptism and the Holy Eucharist, as we are being“sent out into the world as lambs among wolves” where “the harvest is rich and the laborers are few”  where “the world is crucified to me and I to the world.”  So rejoice because “your names are written in Heaven” and “as a mother comforts her child – so God will comfort you.”

It is time, my brothers and sisters, to get up and fight for your Church and your country before both are gone!!

Not in Stores! Original Design.

Shocking! 84% of Catholics Reject that Satan is a Person and Hell Exists

The Church is Ready to Capsize!

By Fr. Daniel Doctor,

The Roman Catholic Church, that is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is the Bride of Jesus Christ.  This Church was established by Christ Himself to be the sole means of salvation for
all of humanity. As Catholics, we know of no other way to salvation except through the sacramental system established by Christ and given to His Apostles.

Why is the Catholic Church in Near Chaos and Confusion?

Careful analysis of recent studies and polls taken among Catholics reveals that an overwhelming majority of U.S. Catholics simply do not believe in the Devil, or sin, or it’s logical consequences – eternal damnation in hell.  As we can see, with any kind of an reasonable observation of that the outcome, is that the Church is in a state of near chaos and confusion over what She teaches and what She does not teach.  The overriding reason for this is because bishops, the clergy, teachers and parents, have completely failed in their duties to transmit the Faith to each of the successive past four generations.  And there are huge consequences for this failure.

Pray for Our Church

A lack of a belief in the Devil, sin, or hell makes it very awkward for all of us during the Easter Liturgy, when it comes to the renewing of baptismal promises.  When the priest asks the people, “Do you reject Satan?” . . .  “Who Father? We don’t believe in him anymore.  Silly priest, asking us such stupid questions . . . believing in such archaic things . . . .”

What most of us were not taught – is that the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith is an integrated belief system, where one teaching is dependent on every other teaching, creating a whole and concise theology.  Rejection of the Devil as a personal evil, or sin, or even hell, does incredible theological damage to the whole of the Catholic Faith. In fact, like any teaching we like to change, reinterpret, or ignore, the entire faith is undermined and in some cases can even be destroyed.

Consider for a moment, if there is no personal evil like the Devil, Satan, or Lucifer, then much of Catholicism simply disintegrates. Who was it exactly that St. Michael the Archangel fought against?  Or is St. Michael merely symbolic as well? And if he’s symbolic, then are all angels also just symbols? If the Devil is not real, then who tempted our first parents in the garden, which caused the Fall? Who tempted Christ in the desert? Whose head will Mary, our Mother crush? Who did the Saints warns us against? And if all these things didn’t really happen, or will not happen,  then why would we need a Savior?

St. Teresa of Avila, the great Doctor of the Church said, “we need to focus on the things that Jesus saved us from.”  But if sin and hell are not real, and devil and His fallen Angels are just symbols, then why do we need a Savior?  A Savior, who saves us from what?  Therefore, we rob the cross of Jesus Christ of all its meaning.  And Jesus was simply a fool, a poor misguided individual who died on a cross for no good reason.

Jesus Christ told us plainly in scriptures that Hell was created “for the devil and his angels.”  But if these persons are symbolic, does that mean Hell is too? And if Hell is symbolic, why wouldn’t Heaven also be symbolic? The two are intimately related to each other, as we come to understand when we study “The Four Last Things.”

The other consequence if there is no Hell, then there is no justice, and if there is no justice there is no God.  This would also mean that if there is no justice, then humanity does not possess free will.  For justice is the natural end of free will, that individuals at the end of their life are given what they deserve, their due.

I Am Completely Dumbfounded

I am, like many young priests today are, completely dumbfounded that it is possible that 4 out of every 5 Catholics in America, over 84%, reject the Church’s Dogmatic teaching that Satan is a personal evil being and that hell and sin exist.  In fact, Catholics reject the belief in the Devil more than any other religious group in the country!  In fact, belief in the Devil was almost as rare
among Catholics as it was among those who had no religious affiliation or belief.

For years now, I have been saying, and a lot of other priests too, that the number of authentic Catholics, real Catholics, who actually embrace all the Church’s teachings, is somewhere less than 10%
of the roughly 70 million baptized U.S. Catholics.  But the sad fact is, it is closer to 5%.  Polls and surveys continue to reveal and confirm this fact more and more.  When it comes down to it, there is an overwhelming number of Catholics in the U.S., including most of the bishops and priests, that are simply not Catholic anymore or at least not Catholic in any meaningful way.

We are now in the fourth generation, going on the fifth, that has grow up in an environment within the Church of deconstruction or flat out denial of the authentic faith. The average Catholic, does
not understand the integrity of the Church’s teachings, or even that Her teachings are interdependent on each other.  And sadly, not too many Catholics are really saying a word about this terrible situation.  Nor are many Catholics even declaring that these Dogmatic teachings are Divinely revealed Truths, not made up by men, but revealed by Jesus Christ Himself, while He was on earth.

Nearly everyone has compromised with this evil, most certainly those who are bishops and priests.  But the great Saints of our Catholic Faith forcefully taught us that we never compromise with
evil or heresy.  Most of the ordained simply will not state the Truths of the Catholic Church anymore because they know if they do, a large portion of the few remaining Catholics who are still coming to church will get up and leave, or stop donating.

The vast majority of Catholics simply do not accept, believe, or practice the Faith anymore.  The results of this can be clearly measured in the lack of priestly ordinations, the increasing number of
priests leaving active ministry, the number of priests who have been exiled, punished, and persecuted for speaking the Truths of the Catholic Faith, the closing of parishes, schools, hospitals, and other Catholic institutions, forced collaboratives, the clustering of parishes, and the constant moving of priests.  This is also seen in the burnout among the clergy because of the increased workload and the lack of any true support system from their Bishops or the people of God.  But all of this that is occurring in the church today, is giving to those of us who pay attention a much more truthful picture of reality of the Catholic Church in America.

I feel so sorry for the number of Catholic families that this present situation has caused.  It means that all of us, most especially parents and priests, must become more pro-active, more aggressive in learning the true Catholic Faith and holding firm to it.  And then teaching this authentic faith to the next generation as well as to the current generation that has lost their faith.

I am here to tell you, and you can believe me or not, but there is a real active evil person, working every day to destroy us and our children. The same is true for so many young adults who are unprepared to counter or even believe in the diabolical, the true evil of this world, which has intensified greatly over these past few years.  This evil has gone unchecked by Faithful Catholics as well as the Church’s hierarchy.

We must, like the Saints, who have gone before us, learn the Catholic faith that we so casually say we believe in.  We must stand up for the Doctrine She has wonderfully taught for over 2,000 years and practice it wholeheartedly.  When we take the time to study and learn the true Faith, this is meant to energize our prayer life.  Do we as Catholics even have a prayer life anymore?  Are we developing a prayer Life?  The relationship with God, that the Church asks us?  This education in the Faith is meant to help us fall in love with the Catholic Church, Her teachings, and give us the strength and courage to oppose the Devil.  I can assure you, as a Roman Catholic Priest, the Devil is absolutely real.

For as St. Peter, our first Pope, taught us in his letters, “Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith.”

If you feel, like I and a whole bunch of other people do, that things are spinning out of control in our world, and most especially in the Church today,  you’re right.  The underlying reason is because the Church is in a state of near chaos and confusion.  As Pope Benedict stated recently, “ready to capsize” this is all brought about by the Church’s chief enemy the Devil, and he is real.  Be assured, we have not arrived at this place in history by accident.  There is an intelligent evil being behind all of this work, bent on our destruction and the destruction of our Lord’s Catholic Church.

We must rededicate ourselves, as good Catholics, to knowing and studying the Faith.  This way, we can resist and fight with all our might against the evil that has plagued us for far too long.  Part of the answer to this problem involves setting aside time to study the Faith, to be enraptured by its glories and mysteries, its blinding truth.  This cannot happen if we don’t make the effort to learn our wonderful Faith, and then follow through with our good intentions.

There is no way to fight against the Devil other than to love God more. And we cannot love what we do not know. Knowledge of the Faith is absolutely crucial for any spiritual growth, and we need to get back on our knees and beg God to deliver us from the sinful evil of this current generation, and the filth, greed, lust, and heresy that has entered our church.

We are not alone in this fight.  We have never been alone. God, His Holy Mother, the Angels, and all His Saints, the whole of Heaven, watches and encourages us to get involved in this fight for the
salvation of souls, as well as for the liberty and exultation of Holy Mother the Church, our only known source of salvation.  For as St. Thomas Becket, a martyr for the Faith so wisely taught us, as well as the testimony of so many Saints, without real effort no one ever wins the crown of everlasting life.

To Save Souls You Must be Holy

By Fr. Daniel E. Doctor,

If the Prophet Isaiah were alive today,  I don’t think God’s message through him would be much different in our times.  First, we are instructed to “observe what is right.”  This means we take notice of the things around us, we see and perceive not just the surface, but what are the motives of our actions.  We discern and judge the moral weight of the situation we find ourselves in.  Then we seek what is proper and moral, ethical and honorable, we honestly seek what is right, good and true.  So that by our actions we execute, accomplish, and achieve the goal of our human existence namely, salvation in Christ Jesus, Our Lord.  To be just like God means we are virtuous, impartial, loving all equally, so that before men we are fair-minded in our attitudes, disciplined in our behavior, and give to others what they are due – namely dignity and respect . . . and to love as Christ loves.

And why do we do these things?

“Because our salvation is about to come . . .” Our means of deliverance from sins, is based solely on our willingness to forgive others, our means of escaping hell is based on our ability to love and show mercy.  If we ever hope to receive love and mercy from God, St. Teresa of Avila, the great Doctor of the Church on the spiritual life, firmly taught her sisters, that it would be most beneficial to your souls to learn and understand what Christ saved you from . . . namely eternal damnation in hell.

The Prophet warns us, “God’s justice is about to be revealed . . .” which means God is coming to give each person what they are due for a good or bad life.  What we think or what the world thinks no longer matters (if it ever did). Now what God thinks is our due is about to be revealed.  And we already know the standard of judgement that will be used against us.  Did we treat others the way Christ would have treated them?  Have we given to others as if they were Christ Himself?  Have we loved like God with the limited time we have been given?  This is the standard.  Did we live our lives like Jesus’ lived his, as a complete gift of self in service for others?

And so, we come to the conclusion that we need prayer.  God leads us there by saying to the Prophet, “For my house shall be called “a House of Prayer” for all people . . .”

When we come before this great and almighty Lord, who is our God, present here in the Tabernacle, is there a certain way we should conduct ourselves?

Yes!  Yes, there is! The Prophet Habakkuk taught, “The Lord is in His Holy Temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.”  The prophet Zephaniah taught, “Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign Lord, for the awesome day of the Lord’s judgment is near. The Lord has prepared His people for a great slaughter and has chosen their executioners.”  Even the book of Psalms makes reference to this, “Be silent in the Lord’s presence and wait patiently for Him.”  If the Old Testament was not enough guidance to tell us how we should act in the presence of God, we even receive similar advice from the Saints.  St. Faustina wrote in her diary, “A soul that has never tasted the sweetness of inner silence is a restless spirit which disturbs the silence of others.”  Or St. Mother Teresa who taught her sisters, “God speaks in the silence of the heart.”  Or even the great Father, St. Ambrose, who taught, “What ought we to learn before everything else, but to be silent; so that then we might be able to speak.”

The correct posture before Our Lord is one of silence, because God does not raise His voice to be heard.  He only speaks in whispers.  Therefore, we must be patiently silent and carefully wait for Him to speak.  In the mean time, we observe and seek after the good, the true, and the beautiful.  These things make life on earth much more fulfilling, far happier, and rewarding.  Try and remember the famous, but forgotten, words of Robert Frost, “I took the road less traveled and it made all the difference.”

St. Paul gives us a great insight into the mind of God, “For God delivered all to disobedience, that He might have mercy upon all.”  As St. Paul also taught, in the Letter to the Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  So, all humanity is in need of His mercy.  We all need His love.  He is ever ready to give to us His forgiveness, but the process (at times) may not be so easy.  Look at the Gospel of St. Matthew (15:21-28).  A woman, a Gentile woman, comes begging for our Lord’s help to cure her daughter.  She does not ask for anything for herself, but her love for her daughter gives her the courage and the hope to approach Our Lord and get a favorable response.  What happens next?  “Jesus didn’t say a word in answer to her.” She is completely ignored by Jesus.  Ouch!  That should hurt us a little,  to hear our Lord treat her this way.  But, that does not stop her.  She persists in her calling out to Our Lord for assistance.

Now, even the Apostles are tired of her and say to Our Lord, “Get rid of her.”  No compassion or intercession even from Our Lord’s followers.  Finally, Jesus somewhat acknowledges her by
speaking about her to the Apostles, a clear indication that Jesus still does not want to speak to her directly, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel . . .”  Feeling somewhat acknowledged by our Lord, even though indirectly, she cries out, “Lord help me!” And instead of helping her, He appears to insult her, refers to her as a dog.  Is this a misprint?  Our Lord refers to someone as a DOG, no human dignity or respect in those words.  Oh, but this woman is not done.  Her love for her daughter moves her to even take Jesus’ insults and name calling.  The woman must have thought to herself, “Insult me, I don’t care, just as long as you help me.” And so she suffers it, to which our Lord responds, “. . . your great faith, . . . let it be done as YOU wish. . .”

Here we see again the great kindness and mercy of our Lord to help even when He clearly does not want to.  But, He does the will of the other, for the sake of the other.  Every week we come here
and hear of such great faith from those who were around Jesus when He lived on earth.  These events in the life of Jesus are meant to inspire us to great faith, to perform great acts of love in our lives.  The late Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman, shortly before becoming a Catholic said, “I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ, but where is the mark of holiness? where are the Saints?” Fantastic question!  Where are they?  Those who know me well, have heard me say many times, “I entered the seminary for fives years and when I came out, I could no longer find the Catholic Church.”  Where is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church? Where are Her saints? Why and where are they hiding?

To be able to persevere in right judgement, just thinking, to be silent and have a reverential fear before God. . .  To be humble and contrite, this is the path of holiness, the way of the Saints. Because God will have mercy on our human weakness, as long as we are faithful and persevere.  We do this because this is what will win us salvation.  It may not be the popular or the most rewarding or even the easiest way.  But, out of love for our God, we persevere in His ways if they are easy or not; if they cause us difficulty or not.  We don’t hide as Catholics.  We don’t run in fear. But, we fight for a better world for those we love.  We can no longer sit on our hands when faced with such evils that are in this world today.

Therefore, what do Catholics do?  We fight, as Pope Leo XIII, reminds us, “Catholics are made for combat.”  We were confirmed by the Holy Spirit to be soldiers.  Our best weapons are our Rosary and Eucharistic Adoration.  But, these are not, and should not be, the only weapons at our disposal.  We need to learn our faith so we can defend it.

In 1972, Bishop Fulton Sheen asked a very important question, that as Catholics we better wake up and listen to.  “Who is going to save our Church?” he asked.  His answer, “not our bishops, not our priests, and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church.  Your mission,” he continued, “is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like a bishops, and your religious act like religious.”

Well, all anyone has to do is take a good hard look at this diocese and see how this has not been the case for far too long.  This is why Bishop Sheen said, “to save souls we must be holy, for God does not use dirty tools.”  It would do us good to wake up quickly to God’s call to holiness, before the Church is completely gone from our society.

Therefore, listen carefully to the words Our Lord gives to us, words of great wisdom, power, and love.  Let us aspire to the greatness that is ours as Catholics and with great joy open our hearts to God’s call to authentic holiness, not only in our words and in our prayers, but most especially in our actions.

The Cure for Spiritual Cancer

By Fr. Daniel Doctor:

As a priest, one of my roles is to be a spiritual physician.  So, when those sick from sin and evil and its effects can come to the sacrament of confession, they can be relieved of them. The priest plays a vital role in our spiritual lives because he can diagnose the root cause of these spiritual illnesses that a soul can suffer from and can offer relief. As a priest in many different parishes throughout our diocese, but also looking at the America Catholic Church at large, my diagnosis as a spiritual physician is that our world, our culture, and in some cases even our Church, is suffering from a form of spiritual cancer.  This form of spiritual cancer is unlike anything we physicians have seen before.  This form of spiritual cancer metastasizes at a very fast rate and affects everything that it comes in contact with.  It even seems, at times, that no solution or remedy… that no matter the spiritual practice, penance, or acquired virtues we develop, seem to be able to weaken its hold on us or even slow its rate of growth once it takes hold.

When we look back over the great Traditions of our Catholic Church, the great craft Our Lord has given to us priests to wield brings about our own personal holiness and our neighbor’s as well.  This craft, this art, these skills which have been passed down to us by all those great saints, great spiritual physicians of old, we come to an understanding that our spiritual lives are not based on our feelings or ruled by our emotions.  As a physician, I can’t offer cures that don’t work, or just based on how I feel today. My priestly action to help Our Lord cure or relieve the sufferings of others or the effects caused by sin is based on a rational science taught for over 2000 years.  It is called the Science of the Saints and this Science offers a cure for the evils and sinfulness we see in the world and in our own lives.

According to these great Saints, the only known cure for this kind of spiritual cancer that is affecting our lives and our world is Eucharistic Adoration.  When you come before our Lord in
Adoration, Our Lord’s mercy and love radiate the spiritual cancer within us (that is, the sin and evil and its harmful effects.)  And if we spend enough time in His presence, it radiates to the cellular level. As St. Paul taught “the wages of sin is death” and death is at work within those who live in sin. Our Lord, on the other hand, replaces the damage done by sin and evil at the deepest level within us, with His very presence transforming death into life.

We priests offer no other cure than the Divine Physician Himself! Who wants to penetrate our very selves at the deepest level with His most gracious and incredible Love, at the very level of
our cells if you will.

Therefore, God begins to do His work in us:  healing us, transforming us, helping us to be Holy, to be like Him.  And as the cure works its course throughout us, we begin to be created anew, transformed into His very self.  The cure for all the spiritual cancers and evils in our world is Jesus Christ and His wonderful presence in the Blessed Sacrament.  Remember the words of our Lord, “Go and learn these words; I desire mercy not sacrifice,” and that Our Lord came to “call sinners not the righteous.” So, have we gone and learned the meaning of these words? Do we put them into practice? We all need Eucharistic Adoration in our lives if we ever hope to make it safely into the harbor of Heaven.

If we admit, and rightfully so, that we have sinned and are now infected or affected by those sins, we need the cure that radiates from the Heart of our Savior in the Holy Eucharist. To
overcome being sick from the effects of our former way of life, we need a nurse to bring us all the way back to health. This nurse, God also provides in the healing and loving help we receive from the Mother of God, most especially from her Rosary.

You see, my brothers and sisters, the Rosary has two very important effects in those who pray it.  First, it is a formidable weapon (!!) against any further infection from sin.  It is a defense weapon against evil and its effects. Secondly, it teaches us the moral virtues, by reflecting on the mysteries.  It is an offense weapon, offering to us a sure way of attacking the sins we need to learn to overcome, so that we live in a way that we no longer commit them.

The Blessed Virgin, being both a good Mother and life-giving Nurse, not only wants us to heal and get well.  She does not wish any further or future damage to come to us. The greatest
way to avoid future evil is by developing the virtues, which Mary’s Rosary gives to those who pray it.  These the spiritual strengths and grace given to us by Our Lady help or fortify us against any future evil or its effects.

That’s why I love Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.  He personifies the very core of what the Science of the Saints teaches us.  At a very early age, he began sneaking out of his house very early in the morning to attend Mass. At the age of 7, he started Eucharistic Adoration giving an hour everyday and no one in his family knew.

His friends remarked of him, “you never saw him anywhere without his rosary in hand.” What an awesome thing to say of any Catholic! At the age of 14, he make his first Holy Communion and continued to received Our Lord every day until his death at the age of 24.  He once said he was so blessed that Christ came to him in Holy Communion everyday that he had to return that love in acts of charity.  When asked by his friends why he was always so happy, he responded, “How can I not be? I have Christ within me.”  When a friend retorted, “How can you be so sure?” He responded, “I receive Him everyday and he has never refused me His presence.”

As Giorgio grew older and had more control over his schedule, while he was at college studying mining engineering, he would love to spend all night in Adoration.  When asked what do you pray for he said, “I pray for all the youth of the world who are sinning” and for their conversion. At a very profound level Giorgio understood something we do not and it came to him in all those hours of Adoration, in all those countless rosaries, and bouquets of flowers he would bring to our Lady.  It was a love story and the love story was about how God came down to a soul, the soul of a little boy, and transformed him into a Saint.

Giorgio was an athlete, a world class skier and mountain climber, a social leader and a political activist of his time even getting arrested for his religious beliefs.  More than once he got into a fist fights to defend it.  He was a college student working on his advanced degrees in Engineering.  At his funeral Mass, over a thousand people from his hometown of Turin, Italy showed up.  Why?  Because of all those hours of love that he received from Our Lord and our Lady.  He could not contain it, he had to spread it around.   And so between all his social, political, and religious activities, as well as all his studies and family responsibilities, he still fed and took care of the health and physical needs of thousands of people. He would go into the poorest areas of Turin to care for their needs. Giorgio was one of the wealthiest Bachelors in all of Italy.  Yet no one knew, not his friends, not his family, all the secret works of charity and acts of devotion to Our Lord and His Mother that he performed.  But, even in all that he gave to poor, it is believed that he caught polio meningitis from them. Giorgio gave every ounce of himself to love others, even though in the end that is what killed him.

And now I think my spiritual best friend Giorgio looks at us with some pity, but with great encouragement.  As Pope Benedict said of him, “Giorgio shows us that holiness is possible for all of
us.”  Why? Because what he did to become holy and a saint is something all of us can do, all of us should do:  Eucharistic Adoration most especially at night and over night and praying the Rosary. That’s it, nothing less, nothing more.  Just those two simple things, done with great love and persevering devotion directed his life and can make us saints, too.  It did it to Giorgio and it can for you, too.  Because these two devotions, more than any others, can make us holy.

Blessed Pier Giorgio was “no pie in the sky” Saint.  He was quite practical and he had a vision of how we can and must help each other.  As he said, the great gift that we Christians have is the gift
of persuasion but we seldom use it. We don’t persuade others to be holy.  We rarely persuade others to Eucharistic Adoration or to pray the Rosary.  We have all these wonderful opportunities to help others become holy, if we would just persuaded them to do it.  When you take the time to read over the letters that Giorgio sent to his friends and that his friends sent to him, you can see the great influence he had on their holiness and their belief that they could become holy.  Because they could see it in him and he always encouraged and persuaded them to keep going to the top, to
keep climbing in their search to find and reach for God.

One of his closest friends once remarked, “He could convert you by making the sign of the cross.” Wow!! Simply making the sign of the cross could convert somebody!! How often we make it so
sloppily and without much thought, like we are swatting flies, and all the while we could be converting somebody by our actions, by our devotions done reverently. This is what I think, and what most people, especially the youth, find so attractive about Blessed Giorgio.  He is just like us, trying to make friends, trying to get though life, trying to get though college, and all the complexities of family and friends that go with it, and reaching – trying to get to heaven. But by some great miracle, that we all seem to miss, it was simply right in front of our face… all time.

As your priest and a spiritual physician, I hope I have persuaded you to take care of your spiritual health and to visit your spiritual physician often.  Also, I hope I have given you a guide to
better-improve your spiritual health. This is the power that the Communion of Saints have.  They teach us, reveal to us how to be holy, how to be friends of Christ, how to save our souls.  It is beyond words to express how important it is to read the lives of the Saints and realize what we can learn from them, beyond words to even describe the wonderful grace-filled effects that come to us from Eucharistic Adoration or praying the Rosary.  So fill your lives with them.

What the Church Really Needs

The Passion of Christ

By Fr. Daniel E. Doctor – The reading of the Passion reminds us, calls us, to remember that the death of our Savior is one of the saddest stories of all time. It is a terrible example of our sinful human nature and what we are capable of doing to each other. As Thomas Hobbes, the great English Philosopher, once observed, “life in this world is cruel, brutish, and short.”

This too, we see in the history of Christ, a tragic story about the death of a 33-year-old carpenter. It is depressing and a horrible thing to witness such injustice against the innocent, a fake trial, unreliable witnesses, false testimony, cruel treatment for committing no real crime. This, the killing of a blameless man, an execution of the Truth, a silencing of Goodness and Beauty.

There was in Him no stately bearing to make us look at Him, nor appearance that would attract us to Him. A man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned and we held him in no esteem. Yet, it was our infirmities that He bore, our suffering that He endured, as one smitten by God and afflicted.

In the words of the Prophet speaking for Christ, “I have not rebelled, have not turned back…I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard, my face I did not shield for the buffets and spitting.”

A horrible thing to witness, a human person, a man…tortured, mocked, rejected, bloody and bruised, ultimately alone with no one to speak for him, no one to protected him, to stand up for him, scourged, beat up, abused and discarded as worthless.

God our Savior wants all men to be saved and come to know the Truth. And the truth is this...that this man Jesus Christ was sent by His Almighty Father. The Divine Son of God in the flesh, to give, to sacrifice, to offer Himself, His body, His soul as a ransom for many.

So, Christ was pierced for our offenses, crushed by our sins, upon Him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by His stripes we were healed. We have all gone astray, each following His own way. But the Lord laid upon Him the guilt of us all. Though He was harshly treated, He submitted and opened not His mouth.

But Jesus, the afflicted one, He knew what the Psalms said of Him in prophecy, for “the Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. And so He was silent and opened not His mouth.”

This is what sin has done to our Lord, your sin and mine, ultimately beating a man to His death. And if that wasn’t enough, after His death we run Him through with a spear and walk away. A job well done. . . God is dead. . . !!

Christ suffered for us and left us an example, to have us follow in His footsteps. He did no wrong, no deceit was found in His mouth. When He was insulted, He returned no insult. When He was made to suffer, He did not counter with threats. Instead, He delivered Himself up to the One who judges justly. In His Own Body He brought your sins to the Cross, that all of us, dead to sin, could live in accord with God’s will.

This passion, this Passover of our Christ is a horribly sad story about a Father who so loved the world, who gave us His only begotten Son and we murdered Him. Strong and sober words, but the Truth nonetheless. No one can pride themselves into thinking that they are innocent of this crime done against the Only Son of God. The level of our own ingratitude alone to our Lord who gave us life and freedom, then we use these gifts to kill His Son. And yet even in the midst of all of this, He still continually calls us to repentance and forgiveness because “by His wounds you were healed.”

But our time here on earth is not eternal and it runs out for all of us. Wouldn’t it be wise and prudent of us to be grateful now and turn our lives over to Him, instead of waiting? As St. Augustine said, “long have I waited to love you.” But why have we waited? What benefit can there be in waiting to love God? Waiting to turn our lives completely over to Him. . .?

Scripture warns us, “No one makes a fool of God. A man will only reap what He sows. If he sows in the field of the flesh, he will reap a harvest of corruption; but if his seed ground is the Spirit; he will reap everlasting life.”

The message of the Cross is complete absurdity to those who are headed for ruin, but to us who are experiencing salvation it is the power of God. Scripture says, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and thwart the cleverness of the clever. God’s folly is wiser than men and His weakness more powerful than men. God chose those who the world considers absurd to shame the wise.”

The Great Grace of Charity

This is a great grace that the virtue of charity can bring to us, if we live it. This virtue of charity gives us clarity in knowing and serving God; that makes the wise and the powerful ashamed; and exposes the thoughts of this world as absurd, imprudent, and foolish.

Remember, Charity means that we must aid, help, and assist our neighbor. Think of the story of the “Good Samaritan.” Charity means to go out of our way to show our neighbor kindness, to be tolerant and compassionate, “to suffer with,” as Saint Pope John Paul II reminded us, to be “generous, sympathetic, and understanding.”

True Christian Charity is the willingness to judge others in a tolerant and favorable way, to give to others the benefit of the doubt, to show affection for, even friendship towards, to actively love.

Christ taught that as we grow in charity, as we pray and become more mature in our practice of the virtues, then we naturally grow in a deeper love of Him and our neighbor. Simply put, we are to pray, do good, and love. We do these three things, out of love for Jesus Christ, with the firm hope that our faith will bring us to unending love with God the Father. We also know that while we are in this life – we need to receive the sacraments frequently, with Confession and Holy Communion once a year as the minimum requirement, so that we continue to grow into what God created us to be. That is what real mature love is, and the only way our Lord ever uses the word, as a sacrifice for the sake of the other for the good of the other.

What the Church Needs

What the Church really needs today is what the saints knew it needed during their lives, and they lived it. It is what the Popes and Bishops of the past, knew it needed, who fought the evils of their day and protected their sheep with the same determination that a Father protects his family. This reminds me of Pope Francis, and his scandalous behavior when he publicly failed to truly shepherd the Church when he said “who am I to judge” when he should have said, “go and sin no more. . . .”

We all, deep down within us, truly know that what is good, true, and beautiful must be defended, protected, and cherished by someone who is willing to get into the fight for what is right. To put on the armor of faith and stand with Christ, His Angels, and Saints in defense of His Bride the Church.

What the Church needs is strong men, masculine men, who are willing to walk more closely the path of Christ by serving the Church as her spiritual fathers, as Her Captains in the great battle for souls, so that the next generation of Catholics will not be fatherless.

What the Church needs is strong men and women, who are consecrated in the Truth, willing to seek out and do the good: prepared by the Sacraments, educated in the “Science of the Saints,” invincible in their prayer life, willing to defend at every turn no matter the personal cost, and even die if need be in defense of Holy Mother Church. And with Christ, as our great crucified champion, our dying to our life of sin ultimately leads to everlasting life. . . where we are seen as the great heroes, saints, and martyrs of our time, following the Bridegroom of the Church, that Divine Lamb, wherever He goes. . . .

Thank God for the Gift of the Priesthood

By Fr. Daniel E. Doctor:

Thank a Priest

Thank a Priest

Today let us recognize the greatness of God’s generous gift to His people when He instituted this Sacrament of Holy Orders.

So when you see a priest, even if you don’t like him, thank him for his service to the priesthood of Jesus Christ,which saves your soul.  St. John Vianney, the great Cure of Ars, the Patron Saint of Priests, wrote some things about the priesthood which is very timely and appropriate for us to hear. He wrote:

“What is the priest? A priest is a man who holds the place of God, a man clothed with all the powers of God. Go, Our Lord said to the priest, as my Father has sent me, so I also send you.

At the consecration the priest does not say, This is the Body of our Lord. He says, This is my body.

At the sight of the spire (or the steeple) you may say, What is there? The body of our Lord – Why is it there? Because a priest has been there and has said Holy Mass. The priest is everything, after God!”

Did you hear what this great Patron Saint of priests said?  The priest is everything, after God!!

But St. John continues with a even more keen insight especially relating to our day and time in history. He said:

“When men want to destroy religion they begin by attacking the priest, because where the priest is no more, there is no more sacrifice of the Mass, and where there is no sacrifice, there is no more religion. The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see the priest think of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

So after hearing these words on how without the priesthood there is no Catholic Faith, and that only a person who is incredibly evil would ever gossip about, conspire against, or even think (let alone) carry out an attack on a priest’s good name or reputation, or even think, as a lay person, that they would have a right to tell their priest anything about their vocation or how it should be lived.  And then when we look at this diocese and see an ever increasing lack of priests.  I don’t think those of you who are unhappy with the priests you have fully understand that those of you who wish to practice the faith in the next few years may not be able to find a priest for miles, because you’re sure not going to find one here because there won’t be any

And with that in mind, let us wholeheartedly pray.

“O Lord, may your people come to understand the gift they have in the priests that You, Yourself have sent them and may they come to show them the respect they deserve for being and acting in person of your Son by always treating your priests with the same love and care in which we would hope they would treat your Son.” Amen.

Most of Our World is Neo-Pagan

Have we had Enough?

By Fr. Daniel E. Doctor:

Speaking out of turn.  We all do it.  Remember when the Spirit of God came down on certain individual Israelites that were chosen to help Moses lead the people. One of Moses’ aids, Joshua is amazed by all of this and speaks out of turn saying that it was an insult to Moses that others now have the Spirit of God like he does – But Moses responds; “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the people of the Lord were prophets! Would that the Lord might bestow His Spirit on them all!”

These prophetic words of Moses have come true in our day and time for God has bestowed His Spirit on us by the power of the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. We, the baptized and confirmed, are now God’s prophets in this world and in this age.  All of us are prophets of the Good News of salvation.  Now, all of us, are

Father Daniel E. Doctor

Fr. Daniel E. Doctor

bestowed with His Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life.

So, what is a prophet?

“A prophet is a person who is regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of God’s will;” So that means we need to get to work learning our faith so we can teach it and praying daily so we live it. A prophet is one who:

  • “advocates or speaks for God”
  • “has the ability to see the course of human behavior and how it is pleasing or displeasing to God”
  • “calls back those who have become lost in sin and selfishness.”

This is the work of all the baptized  not only those who are priests and religious.

A prophet is also a witness that is a person who displays their own discomfort or distress in the way things are going in the culture and in the world. A prophetic witness is one who suffers for righteousness, for things to be better  and gives voice to their discontentment, their restlessness with the way things currently are.

It is important for the prophet to remember when things get rough that suffering and even martyrdom is the prophet’s lot in life.  Speaking the word of God has good and bad consequences. The good consequence is conversion from sin and a greater holiness among the people of God. The bad consequence is from those who revolt against God and His prophets by lies, detraction, gossip, backbiting, slander, calumny and even murder.

Now as Christians, as prophetic witnesses of God to a world and culture  whose behaviors have become increasingly anti-God, Pope Francis in his new encyclical, is asking us to take a firm stance against this culture of atheism and individualism that has permeated every aspect of our lives – as well as the widespread mentality of our “throw away culture.”

When we violate human dignity, treat others without respect, as well as violate their God-given rights – and treat them for our own immoral means we do evil. When we protect human dignity and serve the rights of all we do good.

And therein lies one of today’s many American ironies. We now live in a society that speaks about protecting the environment, Global warming, and rescuing species on the brink of extinction – all good things.  But then we tolerate the mass killing of the over 53 million unborn children and contemplate the killing of the sick and elderly in the name of their own “dignity.  We continue to disregard our young people and their future, leaving them a legacy of broken homes, destroyed relationships, poverty, addiction, unemployment, suicide and shattered dreams for their future.

“Neo-pagans”

This culture of indifference is born from the fact that most in our world are neo-pagans.  Why would I say that? Because most of us know more about the world and the culture than we do the teachings of the Church or the Bible.

This new kind of paganism rejects the use scripture, the Catechism, or even God’s inspiration to make choices in our lives.  Instead we use the media, Hollywood, dumb luck, or “our own evil passions” as St. James put it, as the sources to legitimize our actions.

And so  as Pope Francis explained, “we lose hope, choosing to live self-absorbed, self-centered lives.  To live by one’s own passions and throwing aside those who we think have no value to us….we destroy hope.”

“We have had enough.”

We need to state definitively, that as Catholics, we will not allow or be partakers of these evils.   Or, as Pope Francis has boldly stated it in his encyclical; “We have had enough.”

We are not just going to stand by and watch our love ones become victims of someone’s political agenda (OR) stand by and watch the beloved teachings, that good and courageous Catholics sacrificed their lives for, become watered-down, lifeless, irrelevant . . . a thing of the past. (OR) throw away our children, our youth, our elderly as worthless disposable problems.

Cardinal Robert Sarah, the new Perfect on Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments, put it this way during his keynote address to the World gathering of Families in Philadelphia, “Even members of the Church can be tempted to soften Christ’s teaching on marriage and the family, to varying degrees, the idea would consist in placing the Magisterium in a pretty box and separating it from pastoral practice.”

We, as Christ’s prophetic witnesses, need to know the Truth if we ever hope to live it. “The world today needs saints with heroic witness to defend and nurture the family,” stated Cardinal Sarah, “by opening ourselves to God’s grace and His Holy Spirit living in us, our homes and families.”

As Pope Francis reminded the Bishops of the United States, just a few days ago, “This kind of witness is a beacon whose light can reassure men and women sailing through the dark clouds of life that a sure haven awaits them, that they will not crash on the reefs or be overwhelmed by the waves.”

Therefore, we need to be that strong “light to the world” because as Pope Francis warned us, “the light of Christ is flickering.”

So, we need to get serious about our spiritual life – like the prophets and saints of old.  How?

  • Family Prayer,
  • reception of Holy Communion more that once a week,
  • frequent confessions,
  • Eucharistic Adoration, (most especially at night),
  • daily rosary in hands

PLEASE REWORD These are our Catholic weapons!  That’s right, weapons!  They are the means to destroy this world of evil, this culture of death and indifference.  They are the means to make Saints of all of us.  They are the means to strengthen and protect us in this mortal combat, that we find ourselves in, for our souls.

We are called to be Prophetic Christian Soldiers. . .

We are called to “see and hear” so let us wake up to the truth of the matter that we are called to be prophetic Christian Soldiers.  Let us take our rightful place on the battlefield of life, next to Christ our Lord…our King…and His Bride, Our Mother the Church. We need to become again the ever-victorious Church Militant!

We need to get fired up about our Catholic Faith to be joyful because we are greatly loved.  And, as Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati said, “I have nothing to fear, I have Jesus with me.”

These fearless words of a Saint in the midst of the battles and struggles of life give us courage to follow this loving God with our whole hearts, minds, and souls these words should give us Life…and invincible hope in His promises.

Therefore, one of those ways we prove our metal as Christians is how we live.  So live like a heroic Catholic!  Let us put an end to the evil we encounter by living the Christian virtue of charity…by truly loving your neighbor.  Be a courageous prophetic witness who fearlessly turns your life over to this everlasting Father of incredible love and radical mercy, who wants nothing more than to fill us, His children with His very Spirit of Life, because His Son gave His life for you.

Are You Following the Wrong Shepherd ?

The Danger of  “Using Secular and Cultural Forms of Knowledge to
Guide our Lives Instead of the Bible or the Teachings of the Church”

By Father Daniel E. Doctor:

Jesus was moved with pity when He saw the large crowd because “they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Most of us are not shepherds, or have not been around sheep.  So, we have no way of knowing what sheep are like when there is no shepherd.  First off, they are easily confused if they can’t find the shepherd.  They scatter, they do not form one group, they are frightened, unsure. Sheep will eat all most anything and they get into everything. They follow anything that makes noise or any shiny thing that attracts them. They are easy prey for any predator because they like to
follow whatever leads them.  They are one of the dumbest farm animals, which gets them into all kinds of trouble and danger. They have such a bond with their shepherd, that if He is gone for long the sheep can become sick and even die.

Are You Following the Good Shepherd?

Jesus sees us behaving the same way. We are confused and are scared easily.  We don’t form a single group.  We are easily distracted,  behave foolishly, and can easily fall prey to sinful behaviors and evil influences.

Jesus understood that good and caring shepherds have been gone from Israel for too long. The sheep, His people Israel, are sick in their sin; unhealthy spiritually because of their immorality so much so some have become so sick in their evil behavior they are in danger of a spiritual death and are incapable of a good moral act.  Christ, is the Chief Shepherd, and all who follow Him have life. When Christ, the Good Shepherd, is near, the sheep grow in holiness and develop in the virtues. They become healthy and holy. They bear much fruit. They love in word and deed. They worship in Spirit and in Truth.

Pope Francis, has a wonderful observation about our culture, in his new encyclical, Laudato Si, (“C”) “Nature is filled with words of love,” he said, “but how can we listen to them amid constant noise, interminable and nerve-wracking distractions, or the cult of appearance? Many people today sense a profound imbalance which drives them to frenetic activity and makes them feel busy, in a constant hurry which in turn leads them to ride rough-shod over everything around them”(p164/#224) be it morality or ethics, the environment, or other people.  All who are members of Christ’s flock are to be like minded so we, like Christ, do not offer false philosophies (like relativism, individualism and materialism) as means to solve our world’s problems; or offer
different lifestyle (like living together outside of marriage, or same sex unions) to indulge our depraved human passions.

 

His Church is not a Democracy

We offer nothing that is contrary to our Lord or His teachings because we realize that Christ’s flock, His Church is not a democracy. The Good Shepherd is our monarch, our King, our Lord only His opinions, His behaviors, His teachings, His virtues matter to us. Therefore, Pope Francis, as a Good Shepherd too, directs us to “continue to wonder about the purpose and meaning of everything” (p85/#113). Christ’s Church, passed down to us from the Apostles, followed the Divine Shepherd where He leads which is away from things that can harm us. “We, [the church],” says Pope Francis, “were not faithful to the treasures of wisdom which we have been called to protect and preserve”(p147/#200). We are so busy that we sometimes don’t fully think or understand – what we are doing is harmful, or immoral, or wrong. We just do, because we want to, without ever thinking of the consequences to ourselves or others, or the world around us.

This is how and why we are like sheep because we have rejected Christ and His ways of doing things. We use secular and cultural forms of knowledge to guide our lives instead of the bible –
or the teachings of the Church found in the Catechism.  And in that, we prove to be much more “neo-pagans” than Roman Catholic.  This “neo-pagan” cultural belief system no matter how conscious or unconscious  leads us down the road to reject any and all objective truths about God, ourselves, our world, and our place in it.

 

The Church Needs to Get With the Times?

Pope Francis continued to explain this in his encyclical, “when we excluded God from our lives or replace Him with our own ego, [we then] think that our subjective feeling can define what is right or what is wrong.” Truly, the problem in our thinking arises when we think the Church, with all its moral laws is too controlling, backwards, or old fashion, and the Church does not relate to me and my everyday situation or my particular circumstances. The Church needs to get with the times, and adapt to the new ways of thinking.

G.K. Chesterton observed the truth of the matter when he wrote, “the Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting, (but that the Christian ideal) has been found difficult; and left untried.”
The really sad thing is, we Catholics go through life wondering what it would be like to be a Saint. We question, is it truly possible to become God’s holy sons and daughters in a way that is defined by His closest friends? This kind of a “grace filled life” is open to us but we have to choose it.

 

A Decision Must be Made

We have to make a definitive decision. We have to follow the Good Shepherd and His Vicar on earth, and admit to ourselves that we don’t know the way, and we have lied to ourselves for so long, we have become blind to the truth and its consequences. We have to admit that mortal and deadly sins exist and we are capable of committing them because of our inability to control ourselves. We have to admit that following after our own emotions and appetites has in the end made us more tired, and more hungry, and less joyful.
“These feelings of instability and uncertainty” said Pope Francis, while quoting St. Pope John Paul II, become, “a seed for collective selfishness.” Pope Francis explained, “when people become self-centered and self-enclosed, their greed increases. The emptier a person’s heart is, the more he or she needs things to buy, own and consume.”  This unchecked greed becomes an “addiction” or as Pope Francis observes, an obsession.  “Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction,” because we have forgotten the simple truth that only God can fill the empty void and restlessness that is within us. Material objects, “things”, cannot replace or fulfill our relationship with God or the
others around us (p150/#204).

Haven’t we grown tired of living in a way that does not fulfill us, or bring us lasting happiness, or make us better people? Aren’t we tired of the guilt and the shame, being confused and afraid of what’s next? Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, prophetically stated in the 1920’s, “modern society is sinking into the sufferings caused by human passions and is moving away from every ideal of love and peace. As Catholics, we must bring that breath of goodness which can only come from faith in Christ.”

This means we have to choose Christ, because He is our Shepherd . . . we have to choose to have faith in Him, to trust Him and His ways, to love Him more than we fear of the world, follow Him more than the shiny material objects that capture and bind us in our hearts and souls. Pope Francis offers us some guidance, “we must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we
have a shared responsibility for others and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it.” Therefore, He forcefully warns the world, “We have had enough of immorality and the mockery of ethics, goodness, faith and honesty” (p151/#205).

Christ Jesus, Our Lord, knows what is best for us.  He created us and has given us good shepherds to help us on our way to finding His truth and His life. For in God alone, do our human desire and needs find completion. For we must imitate our shepherd Jesus Christ in all things until He is fully and perfectly formed in us. This is why, Pope Francis in his latest encyclical, has the courage to say, “Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start, despite their mental and social conditioning. We are able to take an honest look at ourselves, to acknowledge our deep dissatisfaction, and to embark on a new path to authentic freedom. No system can completely suppress our openness to what is good, true, and beautiful, or our God-given ability to respond to His grace at work deep in our hearts” (ibid).

This is why I have always advocated for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration and even the construction of an Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at my previous parish . . . dedicated to Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.  Because after 51 years of being a Catholic, 11 years of Catholic higher education and 9 years of priesthood, I have come to know, like Giorgio, and Pope Francis, as well as a whole host of other Saints, that the only thing that can truly help us (as individuals; as a parish; as well as citizens in this country) to truly grow deeper in our faith, the moral virtues, and Christian holiness (is and has always been) the daily reception of His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in Holy Communion and Adoration of His Lasting presence, with us in this, the Sacrament of His Love.

As Pope Francis explained, “The Eucharist is the overflowing core of love and of inexhaustible life, an act of cosmic love” (p171/#236). Something we are called to be a part of…for Christ, our Good Shepherd, is present is this wonderful Sacrament, calling to us, searching for us, longing for us to accompany Him.  For only God suffices.  Only God loves us right through . . . and therefore, He is the only way, the only truth, that leads us, His sheep, to everlasting life.