by Fr Richard Heilman | September 8, 2019 4:36 PM
In today’s Gospel, Jesus “gets our attention” by proclaiming: “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” In another part of the Gospel, Jesus said, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.” And in John’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Unless you eat my body and drink my blood, there is no life in you.” John’s Gospel goes on to say, “After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him.” That “walked no more with him” line comes at John 6:66 … 666 … interesting.
The point is that Jesus cannot be accused of watering down the message, of “casting a wide net” of “softened language” for fear of “triggering” anybody that might leave. No, it is clear Jesus is recruiting only “cross carrying,” strong and courageous souls to join ranks with Him.
The miscalculation of so many is that a mushy, weak religion will be more accessible to more souls but, in reality, the opposite is true. Souls are looking for strength … a real supernatural power that is capable of freeing them from depression and addiction, and any other power that has consumed them, up until now.
Jesus modeled speaking with strength, so I will try to follow that model here, as I do my best, as a Shepherd, to warn of the present dangers, and map out the way to verdant pastures.
“Of the twenty-two civilizations that have appeared in history, nineteen of them collapsed when they reached the moral state the United States is in now.” -Arnold Joseph Toynbee
Before time runs out, we simply must recognize what is happening to our beloved America, and call upon God to heal our nation.
We know that Sacred Scripture teaches that whole nations can be overrun by a demonic spirit (Rev. 16:13-15; Acts 13:6-9). This can come through any or all of the ruling class, whether that is the ruling political powers that be or through any number of sources of power and influence. For the past 50 years, in America, every major institution has been captured by the radical secular left. The media, Hollywood, TV, universities, public schools, theater, the arts, literature — they relentlessly promote the false gods of sexual hedonism and radical individualism.
As quickly as things seem to be deteriorating, many believe the “weakening of the West” has been 700 years in the making.
Shortly after WWII, Richard Weaver published the book, “Ideas Have Consequences.” Weaver’s book traces the deterioration of the West back to the 14th century when, as he says, Western man made an “evil decision.” Influenced by William of Occam’s philosophy of nominalism, the West began it’s spiral downward, having abandoned its belief in transcendent universals:
“The denial of universals carries with it the denial of everything transcending experience. The denial of everything transcending experience means inevitably…the denial of truth. With the denial of objective truth there is no escape from the relativism of ‘man is the measure of all things” (Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences).
No longer “tethered to the transcendent,” we are left to our own ideas of truth. In fact, we end up in the company of such great cynics as Pontius Pilate who retorted, “What is truth?”
By 1951, this “man worshipping” modernism had already contaminated America’s Supreme Court. In “Dennis et al. vs. U.S.” Chief Justice Fred A. Vinson observed:
“Nothing is more certain in modern society than the principle that there are no absolutes ….all concepts are relative.”
Around the same time, Anthony Harrigan pointed to the fierce and subtle movement of the ruling class:
“Modernists are determined to force the acceptance of pornography as medical science, filth as artistic realism, and abnormality as a mere difference of opinion…Though the life of the country is basically decent, Americans are in the hands of a cultural ruling class which…is conducting us to ruin. The amoral ruling class seeks to raise up a ‘liberal-bred barbarian’ motivated by a destructive impulse and unchecked by ‘traditional values and restraints,’ in order to destroy America from within, noted Harrigan” (George H. Nash, The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America)
Dennis Prager points to the Music industry in its mission to produce “liberal-bred barbarians:”
“The music industry, from producers to artists, is largely populated by people who regard social and cultural norms as stifling. Their professional lives are dedicated to lowering that which is elevated, destroying that which uplifts, and to profaning that which is held sacred.”
The liberal-bred barbarianism, described by Prager, is not limited to the music industry … it is replete throughout the “ruling class.”
Some refer to us as the “Country Class.” We are the ones who, by and large, have kept America’s founding Judao-Christian philosophical worldview. We still hold that men are created in the spiritual likeness of God the Father and that all men are therefore subject to His laws. But, that is deteriorating at an alarming rate.
There are two movements spreading like wildfire throughout the Western world. Robert Enright warns:
“There are two over-simplified and very dangerous ideas emerging:
1) There is no personal responsibility because of brain activity which determines how we behave, rendering free will impossible;
2) Social forces of poverty and oppression determine how we behave, rendering free will impossible.
Beware of these over-simplifications of humanity.
Do you see the implication….no really….do you see it? If there is no personal responsibility, then there are no moral offenses…..rendering forgiveness impossible. Why? How can you forgive those who just couldn’t help it?” –Robert Enright
This “relieving anyone of moral responsibility” is the coup de grâce – the “kill punch” – of the ruling class’ modernist movement. Once we accept that we were not created by God in his image – and cease to spend our lives striving to be as perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect – we are left to stand as a soulless human ape who is subject to or “a victim of” his circumstances. Weaver dubbed this way of thinking the “spoiled-child psychology” of modern man, who had “not been made to see the relationship between reward and effort.”
I called this the coup de grâce, because “now” we are in the very place the “ruling class” wants us to be … completely dependent upon them. If we are “just” soulless barbarians, we “can’t help ourselves” … we have “no power” to chase perfection and catch excellence. The ruling class then claims all of the power to “control” us based on our willingness to heed their dictates.
Have we completely lost our drive to strive to the heights of our humanity as children of God? Where is “Honor” any longer?
Elijah vs. Baal – The Battle Rages on Today
It is uncanny how much this moment in history resembles the conflict between Elijah and Jezebel; between the power of God and the satanic lie of Baal. Are we under the demonic influence of Jezebel?
Jezebel first appears in 1 Kings 16, when she marries Ahab, king of Israel. Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, the king and high priest of the Baal worshipping Sidonians. Baal worship was closely associated with obsessive sensuality and often involved sex acts. Jezebel, as a daughter of this perverse kingdom, was raised in an atmosphere where sex was a path to power and influence (sounding familiar yet?).
Ahab, King of Israel, was completely subdued and dominated by Jezebel (a type of modern man?). Jezebel then introduced the worship of Ashtoroth to Israel. This god/goddess was a power-hungry goddess of sensuality. Priestess-prostitutes filled her shrines and serviced her worshippers. The lure of these legal, readily available erotic encounters was more than the men of Israel would resist. By Jezebel’s influence, most Israelites, the northern kingdom, left the worship of God for Baal and Ashtoroth. The prophet Elijah laments that only 7000 men in the entire nation were not swayed by her control …
… How many men have left God, in our times – exchanged the power of supernatural grace for sensual pleasure – by simply clicking on to easy access porn sites? How many men have either abandoned their family or refuse to get married at all?
The Jezebel spirit is born of rebellion (1960s? Now?). The Spirit of Jezebel is basically a controlling spirit working through the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (The counter forces to these are poverty, chastity and obedience).
Other ways a Jezebel spirit can gain power of a nation …
Is any of this sounding familiar? It should. This almost perfectly describes the Motus Operandi of most of the liberal secular ruling class in power today.
What are our altars to Baal? When we work, not to live, but live to work so that we can buy more material things, we are building an altar to a false god. When we desire popularity or notoriety and pledge to do anything to get that attention, we are building that altar. When we allow drugs, alcohol, pornography or any other addiction to rule our lives, we are putting another brick in the altar that resides within our hearts. When we put others on a pedestal, such as famous athletes, movies stars, etc., we are building an altar to worship someone other than God. When we are constantly worried about how we look, how we are perceived, or how much others like us, we build an altar to ourselves; we become Baal.
Have our sacred cows become our golden calves?
Among prophets of ancient Israel, Elijah stands out, impelled by God to bring the people to conversion. His name means “The Lord is my God”, and his life develops in accordance with this name, entirely dedicated to kindling in the people gratitude to the Lord as the one God.
Now, when most of Israel was captivated by the seduction of idolatry, and deluding themselves into believing they can serve two masters, Elijah proposes a challenge to Jezebel and her Baal worshippers to “put up or shut up.”
On Mt. Carmel, both he and the prophets of Baal were to prepare a sacrifice and pray and the true God would reveal himself, responding with fire that would burn the offering. After all kinds of antics by the prophets of Baal, including cutting themselves, no fire came from heaven to burn their sacrifice.
Elijah then prepares his sacrifice on the altar and cries out to God, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” And this is what happened: “then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord he is God; the Lord, he is God.’”
The Verdant Pastures of Sublime Blessedness
On Mt. Carmel, Elijah calls upon and trusts in the supernatural power of God, and the people “Repented” of the error of their ways and turned back to God. This is the Gift of the Holy Spirit usually called the Gift of Awe and Wonder. We simply must believe in, call upon and lead people to the supernatural power of God if we ever hope for the salvation for our nation!
In a recent article I wrote, I went as far as to say that my primary mission is to do everything I can to bring people to the point in which they cry out, “My Lord and my God!” … much like the name of Elijah, “The Lord is my God.” And what the Israelites proclaimed: “The Lord he is God.” This place of “True Belief” is the “ultimate” or “pinnacle” for every soul. This is the place that brings “the peace of God that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). This is the place that calms the restless soul, bringing them to nestle in the “verdant pastures” which is the loving arms of God. This is the place of “Sublime Blessedness.”
Know this … as this more secular version of Christianity in Western culture has experienced dramatic losses, Christianity in Africa is experiencing a boom. In 1900, there were about 9 million Christians in all of Africa, but today there are upwards of 500 million, accounting for roughly 45% of the total population of the continent. Why? Bishop Robert Barron points specifically to the fact that this is “because the version of Christianity on offer there is robustly supernatural … African Christianity puts a powerful stress on the miraculous, on eternal life, on the active providence of God, on healing grace, and on the divinity of Jesus.”
In America, we are seeing the same kind of increases in sacramental participation and vocations to the priesthood in those dioceses and parishes where they are bucking the trend of a profane and worldly modernism and embracing a traditionalism that fosters a sense of the supernatural; that sees all of the elements of the rich heritage of our Catholic faith as precious jewels to be cherished, rather than old shoes to be discarded.
In Conclusion – The Elijah Movement
At the conclusion of my homily this weekend, I called upon the men to join me this coming Friday night for a pow-wow. Doug Barry will be in town, and I asked him if he would spend the evening with us men. This is a fraternal social on my lawn, but I have decided we need to do some serious talk about “where we go from here.” St. Mary of Pine Bluff is well-positioned to be a launching point for an “Elijah Movement,” where we lead a multitude of men, as St. Joseph leaders in their families, to cry out, “My Lord and My God!”
I told the men at Mass, this morning, that if they are worried it is “Friday the 13th,” they should take another look at their superstitions. Besides, I did some checking, and the only “Friday the 13th” among Our Lady of Fatima’s “13th of each month” apparitions, “happened” to be September 13, 1917. This is when she told the children: “In October I will perform a miracle so that all may believe.” You see? Like Africa, we must, once again, put a powerful stress on the miraculous SO THAT ALL MAY BELIEVE!!
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
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