On This Day 400 Years Ago: St. Rose of Lima Entered Heaven

 

by Fr. Arnaud Devillers, FSSP, pastor of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Quincy, IL:  

Our Saint loved Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, and Saint Catherine of Sienna and her guardian angel, with so fervent a love, that they, to reward her, often visited her, and conversed with her in a familiar manner. She had in this way learned that she should die on Saint Bartholomew’s day. Having attained her thirty-first year, she not only knew that her hour was come, but also that in her passage from life to death she must endure incredible torments.

On the first of August, she went to her room at night in perfect health; but at midnight she was heard crying and groaning piteously, and the wife of Don Gonzalez, to whose house she had removed before her illness, found her extended half dead on the floor, cold, without pulse, motionless, and scarcely breathing. The physicians came to visit her in that state, and with them her confessor, who, commanded her to describe to them her sufferings. “It seems,” said she, “as if a ball of fire were forced into my temples, that it descended to my feet, and passed across from my left side to my right with an insupportable heat – as if my heart were lacerated by a burning dagger; and the invisible hand which guides it pierces me sometimes from head to foot, and then crossing from side to side, engraves the figure of a cross on my body with this instrument, which burns me with all the violence of the hottest fire. I feel as if my bowels were being torn out with burning pincers, and my head burns as if heated coals, just taken from a flaming furnace, were placed upon it. In fact, I believe that when I die, my bones will be found reduced to ashes, and the marrow dried up, from the effects of the burning heat which I endure.”

Though she suffered so much, God preserved miraculously her mind sound and entire till her last breath. By a further favor He granted her the use of her tongue, to make known her thoughts till she died. She was often seen during this last illness, without any use of her outward senses, or in raptures in which her soul seemed to leave her body, to unite itself more closely with God.

During her final illness she usually confessed her sins every day; and to dispose herself better for death, she made a general confession of her whole life, with such marks of deep contrition, that her sighs and groans were heard in the room adjoining. On the third day she received the holy Viaticum and Extreme Unction. Almighty God had revealed to her that her soul, on leaving the body, would pass immediately to Heaven and would not have to suffer the pains of Purgatory. She said twice: “Jesus be with me, Jesus be with me.” and died. It was shortly after Midnight on August 24th, 1617, the feast of St. Bartholomew.

Why Can Demons Roam the Earth?

By Msgr. Charles Pope, Community in Mission:

One of the more puzzling aspects of demonology is the freedom that Satan and demons appear to have in roaming the earth, causing trouble. If the condemned are consigned to Hell for all eternity, why is Satan allowed to wander about outside of Hell? Isn’t he supposed to be suffering in Hell along with his minions and the other condemned? Further, it doesn’t seem that he is suffering one bit, but rather having a grand time wreaking havoc on the earth. How do we answer such questions?

Some texts in Scripture do speak of Satan and the fallen angels as being cast into Hell:

  • God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment (2 Peter 2:4).
  • And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day (Jude 1:6).
  • Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, [likely a reference to the age of the Church and the going forth of the Gospel to all the nations] and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. (Rev 20:1-3).

Yet other texts speak of the fallen angels (demons) as being cast down to the earth:

  • But the dragon was not strong enough, and no longer was any place found in heaven for him and his angels. And the great dragon was hurled down—the ancient serpent called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him (Rev 12:8-9).
  • The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it” (Job 1:7).

Thus, though consigned to Hell, it would seem that some or all of the demons have the ability to roam the earth as well. Demons, however, do not have bodies and thus do not “roam the earth” the way we do. Their “roaming” is more an indication of their capacity to influence than their ability to move from one place to another. Further, Satan and demons are described as being “chained,” “in prison,” or “in darkness.” This is likely a way of indicating that their power to influence or “roam” is limited in some way. This does not say that they do not wield considerable power, just that it is not unbounded. If you think it is bad now, just imagine what it will be like when their power is unchained!

Near the end of the world, Scripture says that Satan will be wholly loosed and will come forth to deceive the nations for a while; after this brief period, he and the other fallen angels will be definitively cast into the lake of fire and their influence forever ended.

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, … their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Rev 20:7-10).

So for now, demons do have influence, but it is limited. At the end, their full fury will be unleashed, but this is only to bring about their final, complete defeat, after which they will be forever sequestered in the lake of fire.

Why God permits some demons the freedom to wander about the earth is mysterious. We know that God permits evil as a “necessary” condition of freedom for the rational creatures He has created. Angels and humans have free, rational souls; if our freedom is to mean anything, God must allow that some abuse it, even becoming sources of evil and temptation to others.

For us, this life amounts to a kind of test: God permits some degree of evil to flourish yet at the same time offers us the grace to overcome it. Further, there is the tradition implied in Scripture that for every angel that fell there were two who did not (Rev 12:4). Thus, we live not merely under the influence of demons, but also under the influence and care of angels.

On account of temptations and trials, our “yes” to God has greater dignity and merit than it would if we lived in a sin-free paradise.

As to Satan having “a good time” wreaking havoc, it would be too strong say that demons and Satan do not suffer at all. Demons, like human beings, suffer both victories and defeats; there are outcomes that delight them and those that disappoint and anger them.

Anyone who has ever attended an exorcism can attest that demons do suffer great deal, especially when the faithful pray and make pious use of sacraments and sacramentals (e.g., holy water, relics, blessed medals, rosaries). Faith and love are deeply disturbing to demons.

We all do well in the current dispensation to remember St. John Vianney’s teaching that Satan is like a chained dog: He may bark loudly and froth menacingly, but he can only bite us if we get too close. Keep your distance!

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Guardian Angel

The New Theological Movement, by Father Ryan Erlenbush:

I am sure that most of us have many questions about our angel and how he works in the world – but where shall we ever find answers? At this point in our journey, rather than becoming discouraged or running off to many other sources, it would be best to place ourselves at the feet of the Angelic Doctor and hear what he has to tell us. The following question and answer study of the guardian angels is based on the Summa Theologica I, qq.50-64 (angels in themselves) and qq. 106-114 (angels in relation to creatures). ST I, q.113, is particularly enlightening, since it is a question devoted wholly to the guardianship of angels over human beings.

Guardian AngelDo I have a guardian angel? Yes, every human being has a guardian angel.

When did I receive my angel guardian? At the moment of conception. Your angel was given to you even before the graces of baptism! This is because angels are given to human beings on account of our reason, not on account of baptismal grace.

Was my angel someone else’s guardian before mine? Probably not. Every human being receives one angel. It is, however, theoretically possible (though not at all likely) that an angel could be re-assigned if their first human was condemned to hell.

Will my angel guardian be with me in the next life? If you go to heaven, your angel will be with you in glory as an eternal companion and friend. If you go to hell, your angel will leave you and you will receive instead a demon who will torment you forever.

Did my guardian angel know me before I was born? Yes. Not only by a natural angelic knowledge, but also by a special knowledge given by God – your angel has known you from the moment of his entrance into heaven after his creation.

Is my guardian angel an archangel? Almost certainly not. It seems that guardian angels are all chosen from the lowest choir of angels, which is called “Angels”. The Archangels are above this choir and seem not to be employed as angel guardians. It is possible that a guardian angel would receive help and guidance from archangels, or even seraphim.

Is my guardian with me always? Yes, your angel always watches over you because God always guides you with his providence. An angel is locally present when he acts as a complete and immediate cause on a body; thus, at times your angel might even be locally present to you. In any case, your angel is always spiritually present to your soul; unless you are condemned to hell after death.

Do my sins make my angel sad? Not really. Your angel enjoys the perfect vision of God and so cannot be sad; for all who see God are perfectly happy.  Just as God wills to permit you to sin, so too your angel permits your fall – this does not make him sad, for takes joy in God’s plan. Still, it is likely that your angel experiences a general displeasure at your sins.

Does my guardian angel fight with demons in my behalf? Of course! Consider the book of Tobit; Raphael saved Tobias from the demons tormenting Sarah.

Can my guardian angel work with other guardian angels to accomplish something great? Yes, indeed. Padre Pio regularly sent his guardian angel to work with other’s angels. The angels rejoice to work together for our greater good.

Does my guardian angel contend with other guardian angels? Yes, in a certain sense. The various guardian angels work on the most immediate level of guiding the human race. Thus, though all the angel guardians are wholly devoted to God’s plan; it is possible that there would be temporary or partial contrary movements in the way this plan is actually carried out. St. Thomas offers this as an interpretation of the division between Gabriel and the angel of Persia in the book of Daniel. As the Angelic Doctor says, “Angels are said to resist one another; not that their wills are in opposition, since they are all of one mind as to the fulfillment of the Divine decree; but that the things about which they seek knowledge are in opposition.” (ST I, q.113, a.8)

Can my angel guardian affect the physical world around me? Yes. St. Gemma Galgani would regularly ask her guardian angel to mail letters for her – many letters were sent back and forth to her spiritual director while he was in Rome.

Can I name my guardian angel? Perhaps, but we must keep in mind that it belongs to a superior to name an inferior. Thus, it seems unfitting that a human being should name an angel.

Does my angel have a name? Most certainly, God has named all his angels – or perhaps the higher angels have named the lower ones.

How do I find out my guardian angel’s name? You could try asking. But it is also possible that it will not be revealed to you immediately. I should think that in heaven, we would all know guardian angels’ names.

Is it possible to get too devoted to your angel? So long as you keep in mind that your angel is an expression of God’s love and providence (and not a being to be considered in isolation), there is no danger in having a very strong devotion to your guardian angel.

Did Christ have a guardian angel? Yes, like every other human, Christ had a guardian angel. It is likely that his angel guardian was the highest of all the angels in the lowest choir of angels.

Will the anti-Christ have an angel guardian? If he is a human being, he will have an angel guardian. Even though he will be a great enemy of God, the Lord will still love him – the expression of this love is the gift of a guardian angel.

How many angels are there who could be potential guardians? There are incomparably more angels than human beings. Thus, even though angel guardians are only chosen from the lowest choir of angles, it is likely that that choir has far more angels in it than the number of humans who have been, are, or will be. The only limit to the number of angel guardians is the number of humans, not the number of angels.

Do have a question about your guardian angel that isn’t listed? Ask it in a comment!

All you holy angel guardians, pray for us!

October 2nd, The Feast of the Guardian Angels

Slight editing.

The Power of the Green Scapular!

GREEN SCAPULAR STORY

By Fr. Richard Heilman, Roman Catholic Man:

I knew someone who was dating a girl he really loved. But, she was not at all interested in his faith. She thought religion was a sham. He didn’t know what to do, especially if he decided to marry her. He very much wanted a devout Catholic family. And, there seemed to be nothing he could say to open her heart to God.

I went over to a very special case I have and opened it up. Part of the case’s contents was a few Green Scapulars I had touched to over 160 first class relics of saints. I gave him one and explained he should hide it in a place she spends a lot of time in … chair, bed, car, etc.

He decided to tape it under her car.

It was almost immediately that he noticed a change in her. She became more inquisitive about his faith and more open to the possibility of this faith for her.

Then, one day, she found the scapular taped under her car. She figured it was him and, when she asked, he admitted placing it there, and explained it’s significance.

Instead of getting mad at him, she saw it as a thoughtful gesture.

She started carrying the scapular in her pocket at all times. And, most important, she started going to church with him.

Green Scapular Power … Just sayin’

Read about the Green Scapular HERE.

The Dangers of Attacking the Validity of the Novus Ordo

Courageous Priest Note.  Fr. Charles Nwora Okeke is a “say the black and do the red” kind of priest.  This article is not about which form of the rite is better.  The abuses occurring during  Novus Ordo Masses are well-documented.  What Father makes clear is that the abuses are the fault of the priest.  They do not affect the validity of the Novus Ordo Mass.  The two issues must be separated.  Abuses do not change the validity of the Mass.  It perfectly acceptable to hate the abuses occurring.  It is even fine to have a strong distaste for the Novus Ordo.   Let’s remember, Rome has spoken.  Let us consider someone who attacks the Novus Ordo Mass so successfully that someone decides not to attend Mass.  Who’s culpable?  In all things charity.  Personally, I love the Extraordinary Form and drive many miles to attend a faithful one.  I detest the abuses and irreverence which can (and do) occur in the Novus Ordo, but that does not change whether the Mass is valid or not.  Charitable discussion is encouraged.

By Fr. Charles Nwora Okeke:

Unwarranted criticism of the ‘Novus Ordo’: “Instead of incurring sin to ourselves through such unwarranted and ignorant criticism of a valid liturgical Rite, we can quietly begin to attend the Mass in any of the other Rites that are in communion with Rome…” unless, of course, we think that the other Rites too are defective. Let us focus on living our faith.

Someone recently posted: “The Novus Ordo is feminized. It represents divergent spiritual expression and theology; it avoids homilies on hard teaching, and teaches the primacy of conscience over a well defined set of rules for our conduct. The Novus Ordo represents the subjective and shifting sand”. It is wrong to define a liturgical Rite on the basis of defects encountered among individual priests and members of a congregation. A Rite represents a church tradition about how the sacraments are to be celebrated. There are about 20 liturgical Rites present in the Church today. Of these, the ordinary form of the Latin Rite, despicably referred to as the Novus Ordo by some people, has been the target of unremitting negative attacks. The way the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered in the ‘Novus Ordo” is stipulated in the Roman Missal. What is to be said by the priest is printed in black and what he is to do is printed in red. If the rubric were followed, as stipulated, the ‘Novus Ordo’ mass would be reverential as it is meant to be.

When a priest offers the Mass in a distracted manner, then that is his personal fault that has nothing to do with the Rite. If a priest were to add words and make gestures that are not in accord with the laid-down rubrics, then that is his fault. If a priest were to preach uninspiring homilies at Mass, then that is a personal problem that has nothing to do with the Rite. If the congregation were irreverent at Mass, then that is their fault for there is no place where the Church officially stipulates that the Mass be participated in irreverently. If anyone thinks otherwise let him or her present the document.

It is about time we stopped conflating individual defects with a perfect liturgical Rite into a liturgical entity despicably referred to as Novus Ordo. Instead of incurring sin to ourselves through such unwarranted and ignorant criticism of a valid liturgical Rite, we can quietly begin to attend the Mass in any of the other Rites that are in communion with Rome…unless, of course, we think that the other Rites too are defective. Let us focus on living our faith.

Fr. Charles Nwora Okeke

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.

The Enemy is Satan

5 Easy Ways to Overcome Satan?

Fr. James Farfaglia, Fr. James Homilies:

Chapter Thirteen of Saint Mathew’s Gospel is comprised of seven different parables.  Jesus taught the seven parables on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, sometimes called Lake Gennesaret or Lake Tiberius.

“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off.  When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well” (Matthew 13: 24 – 25).

The enemy that Jesus is talking about is Satan.

The Bible tells us who he is.  In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says: “I watched Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10: 18).  In the Gospel of John, Jesus calls Satan the father of lies (John 8: 44).

Saint Peter exhorts: “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” (1 Peter 5: 8 – 9).

Turning to the Catechism of the Catholic Church we find these words: “The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite.  He is only a creature.  He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign.  Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries – of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature – to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history.  It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but we know that in everything God works for Good with those who love him” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 395).

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Pope Paul VI (1963 – 1978), who was widely ridiculed when he warned that the smoke of Satan had entered through the cracks of the Church, said at a 1972 Wednesday General Audience: “So we know that this dark disturbing being exists and that he is still at work with his treacherous cunning; he is the hidden enemy who sows errors and misfortunes in human history. It is worth recalling the revealing Gospel parable of the good seed and the cockle, for it synthesizes and explains the lack of logic that seems to preside over our contradictory experiences:   ‘An enemy has done this.’ He is ‘a murderer from the beginning, and the father of lies,’ as Christ defines him.

He undermines man’s moral equilibrium with his sophistry. He is the malign, clever seducer who knows how to make his way into us through the senses, the imagination and the libido, through utopian logic, or through disordered social contacts in the give and take of our activities. He can bring about in us deviations that are all the more harmful because they seem to conform to our physical or mental makeup, or to our profound, instinctive aspirations.”

Satan has convinced the world that he does not exist.  He has lied to the world that there is no sin.  He continues to dupe everyone into believing that everyone is going to Heaven.  Satan is not only the father of lies, he is a lie.  When dealing with Satan, we deal with chaos and pure evil.

Satan has destroyed the modern world through sexual sin.

The murder of an unborn child is reproductive health.

Fornication is cohabitation.

Sodomy is gay.

We are engaged in a gigantic battle against evil.

What are the 5 weapons that we must use?

First of all, we must be completely convinced of the ultimate victory of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13: 43).   

We must persevere. Do not allow discouragement to overcome you.

Secondly, we must stay connected with Jesus.  Left to our own resources, our fallen human nature cannot resist evil.  Daily, structured and organized moments of prayer are essential if we are to survive.

As our physical immune system needs to be well nourished in order to resist disease, so too does our spiritual immune system need daily sustenance“The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings” (Romans 8:26).   

Daily Mass, daily meditation on the Scriptures, daily recitation of the Rosary, frequent Confession and the solitude of Eucharistic adoration are the preferred moments that provide health and strength to anyone who desires to continue the good fight.

Thirdly, your family life needs to be strong.  Get back to basics: order, discipline, have dinner together, limit all the crazy activities, build up a healthy emotional life by building up a healthy social life.  If there is peace and happiness in your family life, it will be very difficult for Satan to attack your home.

Fourthly, be very, very careful about the use of the TV and the Internet.  Pornography is a very serious and common addiction.

Finally, get back to the regular use of the Sacrament of Confession.  This is your greatest weapon against Satan.  Don’t play with mortal sin.  Many people walk around with caked on mortal sin.  They never go to confession and they continue to receive Holy Communion every Sunday.  We must always remember Saint Paul’s words to the Corinthians: “In fact that is why many of you are weak and ill, and some of you have died” (1 Corinthians 11: 30).

When our Blessed Mother appeared to the three children of Fatima in 1917, they were allowed to see a vision of Hell.  Thousands of poor souls were falling into Hell, and our Blessed Mother told the children that more souls were being lost because of sexual sin than any other sin.

“An enemy has done this.”

Use these proven methods against the attack of Satan in order to gain the eternal salvation of your soul.  “Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

Slight editing.

Bishop Paprocki Responds to Fr. Martin (with Video)

“Father Martin gets a lot Wrong in Those Tweets”

By Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, Catholic Times:

There has been quite a bit of consternation since I sent an internal communication to my clergy and staff last month that was unfortunately leaked to the public concerning my “Decree Regarding Same-sex ‘Marriage’ and Related Pastoral Issues.” While the underlying doctrinal issues are not new, these norms were necessary to address situations in the pastoral context arising from the new reality in the law and in our culture, given that same-sex marriage is now recognized by legislative action and judicial decision as legal throughout the United States. This decree prohibits same-sex weddings to be performed by our diocesan personnel or to take place in Catholic facilities, restricts persons in such unions from receiving the sacraments or serving in a public liturgical role unless they have repented, and says that deceased persons who had lived openly in a same-sex marriage giving public scandal to the faithful are to be deprived of ecclesiastical funeral rites unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death.

There has been quite a bit of consternation since I sent an internal communication to my clergy and staff last month that was unfortunately leaked to the public concerning my “Decree Regarding Same-sex ‘Marriage’ and Related Pastoral Issues.” While the underlying doctrinal issues are not new, these norms were necessary to address situations in the pastoral context arising from the new reality in the law and in our culture, given that same-sex marriage is now recognized by legislative action and judicial decision as legal throughout the United States. This decree prohibits same-sex weddings to be performed by our diocesan personnel or to take place in Catholic facilities, restricts persons in such unions from receiving the sacraments or serving in a public liturgical role unless they have repented, and says that deceased persons who had lived openly in a same-sex marriage giving public scandal to the faithful are to be deprived of ecclesiastical funeral rites unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death.

At the same time, the decree says that a child with a Catholic parent or parents living in a same-sex marriage may be baptized if there is a well-founded hope that he or she will be brought up in the Catholic faith and that such a child who is otherwise qualified and properly disposed may receive first Eucharist and the sacrament of confirmation. Moreover, the decree states that children living with persons in a same-sex marriage are not to be denied admission to Catholic schools and catechetical and formational programs on those grounds alone. However, parents and those who legally take the place of parents are to be advised that their children will be instructed according to the church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality in their fullness and they must agree to abide by the Family School Agreement.

In the decree I also remind all who exercise a ministry within the church that, while being clear and direct about what the church teaches, our pastoral ministry must always be respectful, compassionate and sensitive to all our brothers and sisters in faith, as was the ministry of Christ Jesus, the Good Shepherd and our everlasting model for ministry. People with same-sex attraction are welcome in our parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois as we repent our sins and pray for God to keep us in his grace.

All of this is totally consistent with Catholic teaching about the sacraments and the understanding of marriage as between one man and one woman that has prevailed for millennia in all of society, not just in the church. The fact that there would be such an outcry against this decree is quite astounding and shows how strong the LGBT lobby is both in the secular world as well as within the church. People have been quick to quote the famous in-flight statement of Pope Francis in 2013 when he said, “If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?” But the pope quickly added, “The problem is not having this [homosexual] tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and there is this one and there is that one. The problem is in making a lobby of this tendency: a lobby of misers, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of masons, so many lobbies. For me, this is the greater problem.” So while we certainly leave the eternal judgment of one’s soul to God, we still must deal with objective realities here on earth and even Pope Francis recognized that the gay lobby is a great problem.

Critics have been urging me to rescind my “Decree Regarding Same-sex ‘Marriage’ and Related Pastoral Issues.” However, this decree is a rather straightforward application of existing Catholic doctrine and canon law to the new situation of legal marital status being granted in civil law to same-sex couples, which is contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church. All clergy before they are ordained take an Oath of Fidelity which includes the statement, “In fulfilling the charge entrusted to me in the name of the Church, I shall hold fast to the deposit of faith in its entirety; I shall faithfully hand it on and explain it, and I shall avoid any teachings contrary to it. I shall follow and foster the common discipline of the entire Church and I shall maintain the observance of all ecclesiastical laws, especially those contained in the Code of Canon Law.” Pastors and bishops repeat this oath upon assuming their office to be exercised in the name of the church. Thus, deacons, priests and bishops cannot contradict church teachings or refuse to observe ecclesiastical laws without violating their oath, which is a promise made to God.

My Response to Fr. James Martin

Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest who lives in New York, posted my decree on Twitter and said in a series of tweets, “If bishops ban members of same-sex couples from funeral rites, they must also ban divorced and remarried Catholics without annulments … women who have children out of wedlock, members of straight couples living together before marriage, anyone using birth control … To focus only on LGBT people, even those in same-sex marriages, without a similar focus on the sexual or moral behavior of straight people is in the words of the Catechism a ‘sign of unjust discrimination.’” Father Martin gets a lot wrong in those tweets, since canon law prohibits ecclesiastical funeral rites only in cases of “manifest sinners” which gives “public scandal,” and something such as using birth control is a private matter that is usually not manifest or made

public. Moreover, my decree does not focus on “LGBT people,” but on so-called same-sex marriage, which is a public legal status. No one is ever denied the sacraments or Christian burial for simply having a homosexual orientation. Even someone who had entered into a same-sex “marriage” can receive the sacraments and be given ecclesiastical funeral rites if they repent and renounce their “marriage.”

Father Martin also misses the key phrase in the decree that ecclesiastical funeral rites are to be denied to persons in same-sex marriages “unless they have given some signs of repentance before their death.” This is a direct quote from canon 1184 of the Code of Canon Law, which is intended as a call to repentance. Jesus began his public ministry proclaiming the Gospel of God with these words: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). In other words, those living openly in same-sex marriage, like other manifest sinners who give public scandal, can receive ecclesiastical funeral rites if they gave some sign of repentance. This does not mean that unrepentant manifest sinners will simply be refused or turned away. Even in those cases where a public Mass of Christian Burial in church cannot be celebrated because the deceased person was unrepentant and there would be public scandal, the priest or deacon may conduct a private funeral service, for example, at the funeral home.

Father Martin’s tweets do raise an important point with regard to other situations of grave sin and the reception of Holy Communion. He is right that the Church’s teaching does not apply only to people in same-sex marriages. According to canon 916, all those who are “conscious of grave sin” are not to receive Holy Communion without previous sacramental confession. This is normally not a question of denying Holy Communion, but of people themselves refraining from Holy Communion if they are “conscious of grave sin.” While no one can know one’s subjective sinfulness before God, the Church can and must teach about the objective realities of grave sin. Speaking objectively, then, one can say the following:

Those who have sexual relations outside of a valid marriage, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives. This includes the divorced and remarried without an annulment. An exception would be where the couple agrees to live as brother and sister, as long as there is no public scandal. Similarly, if there is no public scandal, two men who live chastely with each other as friends or as brother and brother, or two women who live chastely with each other as friends or as sister and sister, may receive Holy Communion if there is no public scandal.

Those who have had an abortion or have assisted in performing or procuring an abortion should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives.

Those politicians and judges who helped to make same-sex marriage legal and who aid and abet abortion, for example, by voting for taxpayer funding for abortion, should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives.

Those who use artificial contraception should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives.

Those who miss Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, unless it would be impossible due to a grave cause such as serious illness, should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives.

These are just a few examples, but in fact all those who are conscious of any grave sin should not receive Holy Communion unless they repent, go to confession and amend their lives. Those who do receive Holy Communion while conscious of grave sin compound the moral offense by committing the sin of sacrilege.

My recent decree did not address all these various other situations because they have long been part of Church teaching. The decree was needed to add the novel concept of same-sex “marriage” to those instances considered to be objectively grave sins.

The truths of the faith revealed by our Lord in Scripture and Tradition are not always easy to accept, especially in a world that seeks to make all truth subjective. The fact is that some truths are objective and unalterable. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). There is no greater happiness than to see God. Saint Paul reminds us that we are all in need of daily conversion in that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” Let us pray for each other, that each of us may come to an ever deeper understanding of God’s call to discipleship in our lives, the same God who “wills everyone to be saved and come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2: 4).

May God give us this grace. Amen.