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.

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5 comments to To Save Souls You Must be Holy

  • Ramanie

    Thank you Fr. Daniel Doctor for this wonderful post. So inspiring. May God bless you always.

  • Christine

    This is a wonderful writing Fr. Daniel! Thank you+ I am always concerned that some may think service is more important than obeying the Holy 10 Commandments. If we are not obeying the 10 Holy Commandments then are deeds are alone not going to save us. I try to be devout and keep Holy the Commandments, and receiving the Holy Sacraments often. I am weak and so imperfect and I know it, so I do go to Confession. I know by reading your article you mean keep the Holy Commandments, but why do we not hear these exacts words at the pulpit much or very long stretches not at all. We need to use God’s words often and yes, we can speak about mercy at the same time. If the Holy Commandments are not preached some can take it that modern times makes it more forgiving, NO – HIS commands never change. Hearing HIS commandments, keep us in check, and yes, it may be a smaller Church, but it will be one of #TRUTH and not one that leads to the road to perdition. BTW: Wonderful words Mariann-AMEN. Peace and all Good. Christina ofs

  • All you state on silence before God is absolute truth.
    For me it is disconcerting when faced with the current state of conduct within our churches but silence before God and obedience to Rome cannot be taken as separate parts of the one matter.
    I speak of course of Vatican 2 which has brought the Church to a terrible place.
    I was drawn to the reverence present at my local SSPX church but Our Blessed Lady took me from there and sent me back to a nearby redemptorist church where reverence is minimal, to say the least, but She left me in no doubt whatsoever of Her intentions; it was a tactile experience.
    I respect your stance as I witness it, but I will not go against Our Blessed Lady’s direct instruction to attend only at the Vatican 2 Church.
    I am telling you the absolute truth. You are acting in defiance of God’s wishes by separating both yourselves and you followers from the pope in Rome. It’s easy to judge based on what once was but I can only now go to where Our Blessed Lady Herself has instructed.
    To show me that She was with me She gave me the Image my camera captured at Knock on August 15th 2016.
    I will forward a copy to you if you would like to see it, not sure if I have done so already!

  • Mariann

    Outstanding! Thank you Fr. Daniel Doctor! In the liturgy, the two moments where silence has been stolen to snatch the sacred moment or preparation for the sacred moment are: 1) Midway through the Canon, just following the consecration, in the Novus Ordo, the Priest states, “The Mystery of Faith,” (or something like that, it appears to keep being slightly altered) and some totally unnecessary thing is said or sung by the faithful. 2) The inclusion of the faithful in the “sign of Peace”. This is such a disruption even when handled well. The flow for preparation to receiving our Lord is at its best when our thoughts and prayers are focused on: Our Father, Lamb of God, our lack of worthiness, reception of Christ’s Body and Blood, silence. These moments are profoundly intimate moments and opportunities for silence. Thankfully, they continue in the TLM. God bless you Fr. Daniel Doctor!

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