by Fr Richard Heilman | September 6, 2018 3:14 PM
You and I are traversing through historic times. Fr. Robert Altier was correct in saying …
St. Louis de Montfort told us that in these times, the latter times, he said that God is going to raise up the greatest Saints that we have ever seen. Even to the point, he said, that those Saints will tower over the Saints of the past the way that a cedar of Lebanon towers over a shrub. Think about some of the great Saints we have, and they are going to look like shrubs compared to what’s coming. And you can be one of those Saints. There is no reason why you can’t.
As we watch so much evil revealed all around us, even in our Church, people are asking,
“WHAT DO WE DO NOW?!”
There is no question that this is a VERY strong demonic force we are facing today … one that has managed to invade the highest ranks of the Catholic hierarchy. When the Apostles asked the Savior why they had been unable to drive the evil spirit from a demoniac, Our Lord answered: “This kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21). So, too, the evil which today torments our Church today, can be conquered only by a world-wide crusade of prayer *and* penance.
This is particularly challenging for most people in our modern times, which is all the more reason why it is so necessary. Most of us living in America have been swimming in an a veritable ocean of comforts and forms of pleasure. While many forms of pleasure are not sinful, in and of themselves, some are, or can be. Some forms of pleasure are objectively evil … e.g., viewing pornography. An over-indulgence of something can be sinful … e.g., excessive alcohol consumption. The things that give them pleasure, which leads to over-consumption or even addiction, can control many. In other words, they find themselves in a place where they are not happy unless they continue their pursuit of the “things” that make them happy.
Just as the sexual revolution, and this age of excessive indulgence, was exploding in the 1960s, a new way of looking at our relationship with God was being ushered in by weak, world-comprosing bishops. Instead of calling us (as centuries of bishops had before) to strive for heroic virtue, we were being told that we were “victims” of our circumstances, and we simply cannot help but indulge our wants and desires. And, in fact, many in the hierarchy have been attempting to say some sins are no longer sins … because avoiding them is beyond our capability.
And, precisely during the time this NuChurch was being ushered in, a real demonic force entered the world. On “witches night,” April 30, 1966, exactly 50 years from the Angel’s appearance to the children in Fatima in 1916, Anton LaVey founded the “First Satanic Church” in San Francisco, CA. Required reading for members was “The Satanic Bible.” The central theme of the Satanic Bible is, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”
The famous Nike slogan – JUST DO IT! – was, essentially, a call to physical fitness. Yet, it became the motto of our modern culture. Basically, it seemed to morph into, “If it feels good, do it” … don’t deny yourself any comfort or form of pleasure, even if it rises to the level of sin” … “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”
It was Mary, at the Wedding of Cana, who beckoned her Son to expose Himself as our Savior. This first visible public action of turning bland water into delicious wine (representing the joy of the Holy Spirit) would come through the words in direct opposition to Satan: “Do whatever He tells you.”
Penance, strictly speaking, is a choice for some superior good at the expense of denying oneself an inferior good. So, in essence, we are saying, “Just Stop It!” Just stop serving our carnal passions and free ourselves to serve the “higher goals” God wants us to focus upon in our lives. This is our way of strengthening our “spiritual muscle,” making us more inclined to, “Do whatever He tells you.”
And this is the “key.” God wants to, as Fr. Altier stated, “raise up the greatest Saints that we have ever seen.” God wants to “choose us,” but are we “ready” to be chosen? Are we controlled by our “wants” or are we controlled by God? Are we loyal … ready to jump with every command of His? Are we “strong” enough to “stay the course” in the missions He gives us?
Yes! We should pray very hard against demonic powers, but we also need to be “strong in His mighty power” (Eph. 6:10). Adding penance to our prayers makes Special Forces Prayer Warriors more powerful!
When we think of penance, some think of those contemplatives who may choose to whip themselves or sleep on concrete as a form of penance, and some may be called to that. But, the best kind of penance is what I call “Positive Penance.” So, we do something difficult that “challenges us to become stronger.”
One great penance, for example, is to finally challenge yourself to say no to junk food and idle time and strive to become physically fit. The picture here is a friend who has several children and many other duties, but when it came to mowing the lawn (typically the man’s job), she asked her husband if she could do it, because it is good exercise. In his defense, he is an extremely hard worker who also works on his physical fitness. 😉 She is an inspiration for me to work harder at my physical fitness, which I plan to pour myself into tomorrow.
What about you? As evil is ramping up on all sides, and we are asking ourselves, “What can we do now?!” … why not make this a time to heed the call to begin to do some penance … to crucify the flesh … a time to say to ourselves, “Just Stop It!” …
JUST STOP … making excuses for challenging ourselves to respect our bodies and become physically fit
JUST STOP … eating junk food and being too idle
JUST STOP … making excuses for a poor prayer life
JUST STOP … making excuses for learning more about our faith and reading the bible
JUST STOP … denying Divine Revelation and compromising Truth with the world
JUST STOP … making excuses for not going to Mass beyond days of obligation
JUST STOP … making excuses for going to Confession *at least* once a month
JUST STOP … making excuses for not giving more at our parish – time and treasure
JUST STOP … finding reasons to miss our daily rosary
JUST STOP … clicking on porn sites or watching inappropriate TV, movies, etc.
JUST STOP … dressing immodestly or seductively
JUST STOP … using vulgar and inappropriate language
JUST STOP … looking for others to brighten your day, instead of brightening theirs
Fr. Robert Altier is right, “God is going to raise up the greatest Saints that we have ever seen.” Develop your spiritual muscle, “Do whatever He tells you,” and say to yourself, each time you are tempted to put your worldly wants ahead of God’s will, “Just Stop It!”
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