Do Catholics deserve what the Obama administration is doing to them? He has thrown out the First Amendment and usurped the right to tell us what we believe. If He succeeds with his contraception mandate, the Church will never be the same. We will be subject to the whims of whoever occupies the Oval Office. One can only imagine what will come next.
The Fortnight for Freedom is going on now. This is the time designated by the bishops to go to the One who can truly help us, God. Go to church and look around. Where are the crowds? Where are the people praying?
The most powerful weapon we possess is prayer yet I see little evidence that American Catholics are joining the Fortnight for Freedom. We have the same people attending daily mass and joining together to say the rosary. Yet we ignore our greatest weapon.
We have adopted the tactics of the enemy. I see negative email after email but they accomplish nothing. They didn’t stop the president from being elected or roughly half of Catholic from voting for him. We’ve turned to the Republican Party rather than the God who is sovereign. No wonder the president is winning. The only hope for our Church and our country is God, not the Republican Party. We can not depend on the Supreme Court. We will not win by sending negative emails or letters to the editor. Only by prayer can we succeed
Don’t we believe in prayer? Don’t we trust God? Don’t we understand our faith? Or is it that we enjoy complaining? We’d rather sit around complaining than do the most constructive thing we could do, pray?
Your prayers are important. This is not a job only for saints or “holy people”. All of us need to be praying. We have the power in prayer to change the world.
Mark 10:27 says “with God, all things are possible”. Only with God will we succeed. We can not expect to win without prayer. We can not expect to win using the weapons of Satan. Wake up!
More than half of all Catholics stay home from Sunday mass. To make it even worse many ex Catholics attend services in a Protestant church. One has to ask whether we really understand the Mass at all.
Millions flock to be in the same places that famous people have been. Men walk in reverence through the halls of West Point because Robert E. Lee, General s Grant, Custer, Mac Arthur and Eisenhower walked there. Hundreds of thousands have flocked to Independence Hall where Jefferson, Hancock, Washington and Franklin once worked. How many have gone to Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park or Wrigley Field to see where greats like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Ernie Banks played? How many have gone to Hollywood or to Rome to tread where the great have walked?
We do these things because we want to connect with greatness, to feel we have a connection with someone we have admired greatly. We travel great distances and spend a great deal on money to be in the same spot as Frank Sinatra, Elvis or some other star once stood. We can go to Gettysburg and look out and think that Robert E. Lee once looked at these same hills.
Each Sunday, and often each day we have the opportunity to stand where St. Francis and St. Patrick once stood, before Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, the same Jesus Christ who John and Mary stood before at the Cross. In some mystical way beyond our capacity to explain we stand with Mary before Jesus on Calvary. We are joined by all those who ever worshiped Christ at mass.
We join in with St. Mary Magdalene, St. Monica, St. Benedict, St. George, Padre Pio, Frances Cabrini, Elizabeth Seton, Maximilian Kolbe, Mother Teresa and John Paul II as they worship Jesus in heaven. Every time at mass we say the Sanctus, the Holy, Holy, Holy we joined them in heaven as they worship the God of all Creation.
As we say the prayers of the mass we repeat in modern English the same words that all the saints used to worship God. We perform many of the same actions as the greats of the Church performed. Our mass is the same mass instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper. The prayers of the Consecration come from the New Testament accounts of the Last Supper. Our mass goes back to Jesus. Why would we want to attend any other Sunday service?
We should be in awe of what happens at mass. We stand with all those over the course of 2000 years who have worshipped God in the Mass. We receive the same Jesus who died on the Cross. We receive the same body and blood as the Apostles did at the Last Supper. We receive the same Jesus, Mary received in Communion. We receive the same Lord as any of our favorite saints. We not only get to stand where they stood but we get to touch and be touched by the same Jesus they touched.
At West Point they talk about the long grey line of cadets who went through there. Some how each cadet carries on the mission of those who went before. We too stand as part of a longer line of billions going back 2000 years to Mary, the first disciple. We share in the same tradition and mission. We are part of something greater than anything on earth. We not only connect with human greatness, we touch the Divine.
There is a billboard, outside one of our neighboring Protestant churches that says: “We need to talk – God”. Might this be the message God has for American Catholics? We seem to have forgotten that we are called to be different from the rest of Christians. Our faith is meaningless if we are the same as the rest of Christian churches. We might as well shut down the Church if we aren’t going to be different from the rest of Society.
There are those who say we’re behind the times. They claim the Church must change with the times. That is wrong. We are not called to change with the times but to change our times. We are supposed to be the light in the darkness drawing people to Christ. We are supposed to be the presence of Christ in the world today, not just like the rest of the world.
We are called to take up our cross, to sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. We are called to surrender on a daily basis. It is supposed to be about what God wants, not what we or Modern Society wants. We are called to be like children, a people of humility.
It is definitely a challenge impossible to do this on our own. We need God’s help. But we are a sacramental people. If we are open to the sacraments God pours a torrent of graces upon us. We receive the grace to become more like Jesus, more loving, forgiving, obedient and humble. Every time we receive Communion we should become a little more like Jesus.
Jesus taught that the way to heaven was narrow. It was not along the most popular route. One doesn’t get there by following the rest of society. Do we really understand that? Do we really want that or do we prefer to be like the rest of society?
We’ve been given the gift of the Church to guide us. Its teachings and doctrines are intended to help us follow the narrow road to heaven. Do we really comprehend how vitally important this is? Why then are so many people claiming to be Catholics yet contradicting the Church’s teachings?
Many people point to Jesus mercy and claim that the Church should be more merciful and therefore more open to Modern Society. You may recall his failure to condemn the woman caught in adultery. However, His last words to her were “go and sin no more”. He never condoned her sin. He didn’t say she should continue in her sin. He said to “go and sin no more”.
Jesus always forgave those who came to Him in sincere repentance but a desire to change was important. He was harshest with the Pharisees precisely because they failed to see their need to change. Everyone else was supposed to change.
We need to remember both Jesus’ call for mercy and for repentance. All of us have sinned. All of us need to repent. All of us need God’s mercy. All of us need to be merciful.
At the same time we need to stand behind the teachings of our Church if we are going to claim to be Catholic. Otherwise we confuse people especially youth about what the Church teaches. It is frustrating to listen to public figures who claim to be Catholic but take Protestant positions on various issues. They want the Church to change.
We need to remember who we are called to be. As a Church we are called to defend the truth. As Catholics we are called to defend our faith, not attack it. We are called to trust that the Holy Spirit is leading our Church. We are called to live by God’s values not the world’s.
I wonder if American Catholics realize how privileged this generation of American Catholics are. We alone of all the Catholics in the history of this country have the opportunity to stand with the heroes of our faith, people like St. Thomas More, St Thomas Becket and St Margaret Clitherow, all Englishmen who stood up for their faith against the persecution of tyrants. We can stand with the Apostles and early martyrs. We can stand with those in Spain who were persecuted by the Moors and later the Socialist government of the 1930’s. We can join with the Catholic heroes of Japan who kept the Church alive underground through 2 centuries of persecution. We can stand with those in Vietnam and Korea oppressed by first their emperors and later the Communists. We can join the priests in Revolutionary France who refused to renounce the papacy and the Mexican priests executed during the 20’s.We have the opportunity to join with the members of the Underground Church in China today who stand for the true faith.
We are challenged today to decide who we really are. Are we Catholics in name only, Catholic because our parents had us baptized or are we Catholic because we really believe in the mystery and power of our faith? Do we understand the gift our parents gave us especially the power and privilege of receiving the Eucharist? Do we understand we can’t make it in today’s world without receiving Jesus in Communion? Do we know what a treasure we have?
Do we know how awesome our faith is? For two thousand years we have stayed true to the faith despite persecution and political pressure. Individuals have broken but the Church has stayed true to the mission given her by Jesus Christ, to preach the gospel and lead people to heaven. Always, always despite persecution, political correctness and pressure by politicians there have been Catholics willing to say no, to lay down their lives rather than compromise their faith. Unlike other religions which seem to change with the times we’ve stayed true to the teachings of Christ. Our liturgy may have evolved, fasts may have changed but the core of our faith, our understanding of the Commandments and Christ’s teachings have remained true. We should be proud of our faith and angry over our government’s attempt to change it, to force Catholics to go against it.
As we say in the Creed, we “believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic church”. We are called to be a holy people, set apart, living by God’s standards and not the World’s or the president’s. We are a people called to sacrifice, to follow the “narrow road”. Too many people have forgotten that and fallen for Satan’s lies. No issue has been more divisive in the Church than the issue of artificial birth control. Too often our viewpoint has been shaped by those with something to gain, who distort the truth for profit or political gain.
What would we see if we looked at the issue from God’s perspective? Would we see the 600 percent increase in breast cancer since the Pill became popular? Would we see the danger of thrombosis, blood clots, pulmonary embolisms, strokes and deaths attributed to the Pill? Would we see the millions of girls hurt and abandoned because they were conned into having sex before they were mature enough to make the right decision? Would we see the emotional damage caused by an anything goes lifestyle? Would we see the millions of marriages destroyed because one partner was too emotionally damaged to fulfill a permanent commitment to their partner? Would we see the extent of adultery made possible by the Pill? Would we see the decline in morals destroying our society? Would we see all the pain caused by the promotion of an immoral lifestyle? Would we not want to protect people from the pain?
Would we see the benefits of natural family planning where couples work together and practice discipline? Would we see marriages strengthened rather than weakened by the need to work together? Would we see families growing in their commitment to their faith and to each other? Would we see people growing in holiness?
We should be grateful to belong to a Church that believes us capable of greatness with God’s help, that sees our potential for true love rather than lust that believes us to be capable of controlling ourselves, that recognizes the strength of our character and calls us to follow Christ through the “narrow gate”. We should be proud to belong to a Church that has the courage to stand up for truth, no matter how unpopular it may be to do so.
We have the opportunity to share in a small way with the sufferings of millions of Catholics who gave their lives for the faith, who found our faith worth dying for. We have the chance to stand with them with St. Thomas More, Thomas Hemerford, Robert Ludlam, Edward Waterford, Margaret Clitherow and the other Englishmen who died for their faith. Or you can stand with the President, Henry VIII and Cardinal Woolsey who betrayed the Church. What do you choose?
I know many people upset with the election results and all the radical changes taking place in America. There is a sense of powerlessness. We desperately need to do something to save America but what? What does God say?
Two verses from the book of Revelation seem to be speaking to the American Church
Revelation 2: 4 really challenges us. “Yet I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first”. Even more thought provoking was Revelation 3:16; “So, then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
Haven’t we lost the love of Jesus that we should have? Isn’t the problem the fact that we have been lukewarm? We are supposed to be on fire for the Lord. He is supposed to be the center of our lives. We are supposed to point to the Lord at every opportunity. Have we?
Today our Church is challenged. Society and the government want us to be a people, who go through the motions, go to mass on Sunday if we want but keep our mouths shut about the sinfulness in this society. We are expected to go along with laws that contradict our faith. As far as the world is concerned our faith should be restricted to an hour on Sundays.
Yet the Bible reveals that our faith and love for Christ must be the driving force of our lives. Everything we do should be rooted in our love for God. We are called to be a light in the darkness, an agent of love and change in society, changing or at least challenging society to be better rather than surrendering to society.
The book of Revelation tells us that we are involved in a spiritual battle, not a political battle. Our enemy is more than the politicians and activists. We are challenged to stand up and fight. We are fighting for the souls of those around us and the soul of America. Prayer and the Sacraments must be our weapons. We need to pray as we have never prayed before, for our family, friends, our country and our Church.
Is not our country in such a sorry state because we have been lukewarm? We have failed to bring Christ’s love to the rest of society. We have not been on fire. We’ve been more concerned with winning votes than souls. We have not been praying like never before.
Yet the only thing that can save America is prayer and Adoration. We possess such powerful weapons in The Eucharist and Rosary yet we use them so rarely.
We desperately need to pray for the conversion of our nation especially the lukewarm and fallen away Catholics. We need to pray seriously, passionately every day for the salvation of souls. Every day more and more lost souls are dying. How can we do nothing?
Don’t wait. Start now! Say the rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, whatever prayers you choose for the conversion of those you know and our country. This is what we are called to do.
It can’t wait! People are dying today. Our society is spinning out of control morally. Politics isn’t the answer. God and prayer are.