Giving Thanks

It is the time of year, in the US, that we cook (fry, smoke, etc.) the turkey, gather with family (if you have any nearby) and feast, nap, and typically watch football. It is an American Tradition! What usually is missing from this day is a quiet reflection on what we are thankful for.

I do remember a time growing up where we gathered as a family, and all said what we are thankful for. Usually, this was right before we said the “blessing” and ate, so everyone was very quick to throw something out there so we can get to the food.

This isn’t a bad thing, but I’m reminded it is little to nothing in the grand scheme of things. This thought, of course, brought to mind the subtle reality of just how much we owe to God and just how little we return thanks.

I started this year apart from God. I started this year in a false religion, a false faith, false sacraments, and I started this year with the intellectual pride that I knew better than the Popes, the Magisterium, and the Saints and what they taught. I started this year on the road to hell due to pride.

Yet

God, our Merciful, Kind, Benevolent, Faithful, and Tender Lord had mercy. Our Lady, through countless rosaries, said so badly, kept on praying for me. St. Philomena, our family patroness took pity on us and through the intercessions of the saints, angels and our immaculate Mother, God gave me and my family the gift to accept the Truth and to accept the Faith as it once was delivered.

I’m thankful that the Gates of Heaven have been opened. I am grateful that I know the sacraments I partake in are valid. I’m thankful that I can receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of our Blessed Lord at Mass.

I’m thankful that the Spirit of God has been given to me in Confirmation. I’m grateful for the few but faithful priests that travel all over, get very little to no sleep, that never stop just to provide us with the sacraments of our Faith.

This year, I could thank God for where I live, the home I have, the profession I am in, the income I have, the friend I have, and I should do so, but in reality, all of that is destined for burning.

The only thing that really matters is Our Lord Has shown Mercy. For that, I will praise the Lord and try my best for the rest of my life here on earth (and through God’s mercy hopefully one day in heaven) to give him a worthy return for all of the benefits he has bestowed upon me.

So I challenge you to take a moment today and say a prayer. Offer a rosary intention for those that don’t have the Faith and pray that they, too, may receive the grace to return to the Father.

Finally, never forget to return thanks for the Faith that you have been given and never do anything that might jeopardize it.

Maiden Mother

Today I’m excited to announce the addition to the ranks of bloggers on this site. Lynn Biehl is going to be sharing with the audience some of her thoughts on what is going on now and has gone on for some time within the church and some commentary on it. In time, she will reveal more about herself, and I will leave that to her, but for now, just enjoy the article she wrote for this blog.

— The Editor

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Good friends, let me introduce myself, as a friend on the Way of the Cross. I pray you to accompany the Maiden and Mother of all, Holy Mary, on the Holy Way.

Consider this humbling reality:  We are children. Children of Holy Mary, and children of the Church.

What a pearl it is, Our Holy Mother the Church. [1]: The truth taught by Our Lord Jesus Christ, is brought to us through the Church. [2] This spotless Bride of the Lamb, is the one and only Church. There is no other.

As children, we are like the new spring bird in need of the mouth of God, and The Sacramental nourishment. Our need to stay in the nest made for us by Holy Mother Church is equally great. We are little children in need of our Mother the Church, to teach, rule and sanctify her little children in grace.

So much is this true, that it is written in our hearts from creation. Our intellect and will are made to seek out and conform to the Truth which the Church teaches.  Just as a worldly mystery compels us to uncover what is hidden, so too, our minds are ordered to Truth, and relieved by meditating on the holy mysteries.

Therefore, in these times of uncertainty, being the little children of the Church, maybe we are asking:  where is the Church?  Where is my mother?

When not on our knees, with beads in hand, or when we are not working our duty of state, are you reluctantly discovering the latest news of desolation in  Rome?

Do you find that those who are so sure about how to respond to the desolation in the See of Peter , and speak so clearly in Truth, often sound angry, or worse yet, sarcastic?

I am learning this: Everyone grieves differently. Some people need to defend the Church with sharp verbal instruments. This eases the pain.  It is the duty of every Catholic to defend the Church. Doing this unhappy task often works good out of evil, and aims to fortify with strong medicine, the malignant infection of sins in the mind. The seemingly gentle word “error” must be corrected.

Others, need to weep privately.

I probably vacillate between these two types.  But, what I do know is that the Maiden Mother has reason to weep torrents of tears for her children, in her family the  Church.  And, in response to sin, I do not want to commit sin.

How could I dare to bring this Maiden a single more tear, with neither a rash remark, murmur or detraction.

There is an anecdote and vaccine for the spiritual plague we are in: prayer, meditation and fasting, according to one’s state under the care of a trusted spiritual advisor, if you can find one.

But there lies the problem, you say. Where – you might be asking, shall we attend the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary? Shall we be in union with these Roman soldiers doing the bidding of Ciaphas, cohorts of Judas?

Idols on the Vatican lawn, a synod of dogmatic desecration, married priests, ecology sins. What next?  What happened to the comical truism:  Is the  “Pope Catholic”?

So now what?

Do you currently accompany the holy Virgin, with prayer beads in hand, asking for her heart, meek and mild, and for her intellect and will to seek Truth Incarnate? At times in this calamity for souls, do you feel incapable of being meek and mild, like this astounding Maiden and Mother was, in the face of so much suffering she endured? She suffered much more than we ever could, in the purity of her Immaculate Heart. Yet, she is ever so lovingly full of sentiment to console us in grace.

When you can  move away from grief and shock from the latest debacle in Rome, will you not trace the steps of time with this Maiden and Mother, and go back to the Temple with her? Because, the Child Jesus seems to have disappeared and Truth seems to have gone missing.  He was somehow lost and left behind, like the Third Sorrow of the Blessed Virgin.

We need our Mother and Queen, in order to suffer this cross rightly, as with  any cross. The Beads (Rosary) and Stations (of the Cross), these are light-posts in order to find the Child Jesus lost in the Temple, and to understand who His true friends are, and are not.

I wonder why, when Jesus went missing, the search went back to the place of the Temple. Why didn’t Holy Mary and Joseph go forward, in case Jesus had gone ahead in conformity to the direction of the multitude?  Or, why not search laterally, as if He had wondered off course?

Why did the Holy Virgin and St. Joseph refuse to remain in the comfort of  their kin and crowd, in the hopes their Divine Child would find them soon enough? To ignore this loss and desolation when Jesus went missing, would have been reckless. To ignore that Truth Incarnate was missing among His own nation, and remain in a familiar place out of ease and comfort, would be not to love the Divine Child, but to love our temporal lives much more.

When Jesus was lost (or rather, when Mary and Joseph lost Him),  this spotless Maiden and Mother perhaps faced criticism for losing her Divine Son. Yet, she and St. Joseph chose to retrace their steps. They did not look to the future for the Truth, or in any other direction, than where He was last seen.

My friends, by now it is plain that I am writing neither a theological nor doctrinal commentary. Footnotes of reference are included where necessary,  simply as prompts to assist. The grace of the Maiden and Mother will move the intellect gently on its way to finding Truth, in the midst of desolation.

These times require no less than the advocate of sinners: our Maiden and Mother. This extraordinary Virgin and Queen, is the counselor for the children of Mother Church, the Church Militant, the Church she co-founded with Our Redeemer.

What is it like when mother and child lose each other?

In the natural order of things, a mother whose child is missing or gone,  is a mother par excellence. She is sublime and beautiful, when suffering this loss.  Why? because then, she has the chance to imitate and share in the life of Holy Mary.

To such a suffering mother, the joys and sorrows of motherhood are one in the same.  Each draws out her motherhood, like the high and low tide of the sea.

Our Blessed Lady, and particularly her Son, sanctified motherhood, both joys and sufferings, in the life of Our Redeemer. As mother, she is the Co-Mediatrix in the economy of grace.

In these days of grief and confusion, the desolation is truly the alter ego of  abomination.[3]  But, be the cheerful giver.  Be like the Fatima children,  who are said to have danced in jail for having witnessed the apparitions of our Mother. Not so long after, they were rewarded for their cheerfulness, by seeing the sun dance back at them .

Rest assured that Christ is truly at the Head, even when the Church is suffering the beheaded crown of martyrdom. A family without a visible head, is still a family.  Holy saint Philomena was beheaded for Christ’s sake, She not only still exists, but exists in eternity in Heaven.  Since the Church is the very source of sanctity,  is it fitting to likewise lose its visible head, like so many in the glory of the Church Triumphant?

Therefore, do not become depressed, children of Mary. With Mary, our Defender is at hand. Wait on Him and thankfully offer Him your broken heart or confusion as an evening  sacrifice. It is your royal crown.  And in your mind’s eye, gaze at the Precious Blood-soaked feet, and hold them as the bridal in this perilous race to eternity. These feet bleed for your sake, so do not loosen your grip.

Until then, walk the Stations and keep company with the Maiden and Mother.

Recently,  I have seen two women who have lost their sons. One is walking the Stations of the Cross with Holy Mary, because she knows of the Maiden and Mother of our holy Faith. The other has never learned of the holy company sharing her grief.

In the Stations, the solution to all the problems of the world, be they temporal or spiritual, are fixed in time, and solved for eternity.

Check back soon, and until then, in the words of  St, Louis DeMontort, I remain,

Very truly yours,

A Friend of the Cross.*

Oh Sweet St. Philomena pray for us!

 

[1] “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it?” Matthew 13: 45-46.

[2] (The Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism, Lesson 1, Q6, Catholic Book Publishing Corp.NJ).

[3] “When therefore for you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that breadth let him understand. Matthew 24:15 Douay Rheims Version. (DRV).For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets.” Matthew 24:24.

Abomination: extremely disgusting. Desolation: complete ruin. Websters.

[4] Denzinger, Sources of Catholic Dogma, 2288, Mystici Corporis June 29, 1943, citing Divinum illud, Leo XIII: Let it suffice to state, this, as Christ is the Head of the Church, the Holy Spirit is her Soul.

            

The Hands That Bring You Jesus

I have always found a lot of food for thought in contemplating hands: specifically, the hands of Christ. There are entire devotions devoted to the wounds of Christ, but for some reason, the hands of Christ have always fascinated me.  

The hands that gave blessings, that washed feet, that healed the sick, and were willingly laid out on wood and pierced all because Jesus desired to obey His Father and, simply put, loved me – and you – so much.  

They remind me much of the hands of an older woman; A grandmother that has given her life to serve her family. They are old and wrinkled. You will find evidence of scars, burns, bruises, and they aren’t really pretty anymore, but they also speak of a life of service.  

Christ’s hands weren’t worn out over 80 years of being on this earth. The 33 years were enough, and the passion itself was the final evidence of his supreme love and life of service for poor sinners. If we lift our eyes off of this world and behold the pierced hands, the hands that are full of life, of healing, and see them dripping with blood, blood that has purchased our salvation – we begin to glimpse just how precious the hands of Jesus are.  

In this same vein, the hands of those that are ordained are precious as well. In yesteryear, the faithful would kiss the hands of their Priest when they met. It wasn’t just the padre pio’s that have born the wounds of Christ visible, Catholics everywhere recognized just how special the gift of ordination was and what it truly meant. This sacrament was something that truly set these men apart spiritually and physically, and it had very real ramifications on how they were to be treated and reverenced. 

I was reminded of all of this yesterday. We invited our Priest over for an afternoon of southern food (it is our duty to fatten them up you know…), but prior to our feasting, we were privileged to have Mass celebrated at our home. This wasn’t the first time. In fact, it has occurred several times, and we are always excited and honored that we are able to do this. 

When you stop and consider what is going on – it is just such a special treat. Our Lord, Jesus, is shortly going to be in my home in a very real and visible way. My home is going to be a special place set apart for the Lord. The King is coming for a visit.  

It is a grand and humbling thought. It is also such an exciting thought. While many people would think of this as the King is coming – rolling out the red carpet – extra cleaning – making sure everything is in perfect order – and this is a good thought and thing to do, my mind wasn’t really going in that direction.  

I likened it to when Jesus went to visit His friends, Sts. Mary Magdalen, Martha and Lazurus. We honor our King, but we relish that this King is also our Particular Friend. Our Friend, our Saviour, our Favorite, our delight was soon to be amongst us and who brings Him: our Priest.  

What a special privilege priest have; They bring Jesus with them. What great company priest have and what a joy it is that they can bring our beloved to us.  

So what has all of this to do with hands?

Ever since the time I started attending a Latin Mass, I always have had younger kids. Most of my time at Mass has been spent making sure the kids are behaving. If you have younger ones, you know how difficult it is. “Don’t touch your sibling.” “Sit up straight.” “No, you can’t go to the bathroom.” “Stop squirming.” You get the idea…  

Thankfully, I now have many older kids (who can also help with the younger ones), so I was almost left alone during Mass. I was able to observe the hands of our Priest during Mass – the very same hands that were bringing our best Friend to us to both see Him and to receive Him. 

I have never served at Mass before – so this was the first time I was able to observe all of the rubrics up close. As I watched him go through the actions to confect the sacrament, I couldn’t help but envy him (in the best way). He holds power to bring Christ our Savior down – to hold Him physically in his hands and to give life to those that will receive Him. 

What struck me the most was the particular care in which Christ is reverenced on the Altar by the Priest. I never knew just how much time and care was taken to make sure not one piece; not one small particle was left. The linen is scraped as if someone was looking for the only thing that would save his life. I have never seen such care in my life. Excessive? No, not in the least.  

This speaks to what our Holy Mother the Church has decreed about Christ being truly present on the Altar. Our Church has commanded her sons to not just be careful, but to treat it as if a life is at stake. The holy hands of our Priest are making sure that the King will not be left to be mistreated, to be abused, to be ignored and that a sacrilege can not occur.

Throughout the Mass, the highest respect, reverence, and care is called for by the rubrics to be sure that Christ is honored, and that those that aren’t Priest – the laity – know by the rubrics that we, as Catholics, believe in transubstantiation. This didn’t happen by accident. Our Holy Mother the Church has faithfully passed down the Mass since the beginning. Our Church has faithfully guarded the Mass so that the average person in the pew will always know that Christ is with us.  

You see, only the Priest has this special gift. Only he can bring Christ to us. Through the gift of ordination, these hands are now different. They are set apart. They and they alone are fit and worthy to handle the most precious body and blood of Our Lord. 

I recall a story that encouraged Archbishop Sheen to spend 1 hour each day before our Lord In Adoration, and I will include it below then draw this post to a close. 

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The narrative that follows is an adaptation of the English translation of an unnamed priest’s first-hand account of the events that happened during the Communist takeover in China (presumably around 1949.

Uncertain times

When the Communists first came into town, the parish priest started to feel uneasy about his fate not knowing how the intruders would act. During each day that passed, he paid keen attention to every din or commotion that transpired outside the Church as he knelt in prayer inside. He was on edge expecting to be executed at any moment.

Just a day after the unwelcome band of soldiers arrived, someone paid him a visit. Thinking it was the police, he was struck with terror. Could this be his end? But contrary to his worst fears, the man at the door turned out to be cordial. As they conversed in Chinese, he was told to proceed with his daily routine. As they parted, his guest accepted a cigar, bowed and eventually left seemingly contented.

Days, weeks and months passed without any untoward incident. He would run into soldiers in the streets but they would only look at him with a straight, cold face but not without a dose of curiosity. Once, he felt perturbed when a certain inspector dropped by to see him. 

Turning the tables

One beautiful summer’s day, just when things seemed to be settling down, the dreadful gang of communists finally descended on the town to turn things upside-down. Four soldiers and the inspector unceremoniously barged into the Priest’s school house.

The inspector announced to the shocked schoolchildren that sweeping and drastic changes would be implemented from then on. In one fell swoop, the fearsome commander and his cohorts began tearing down the crucifix, holy pictures, blackboards and statues from the walls and laid them on the desks.

In a stentorian voice, he barked orders at the terrified children to put the articles in a box and to take them to the toilet while he threatened them with his handgun. In spite of the harsh treatment, the children resisted but eventually complied reluctantly. 

An icon of resistance

But deep back in the room, sat a little girl in her desk; unmoving, with hands folded, and lips tightly shut. As the inspector caught sight of her, he immediately rushed in her direction and shouted curses at her. Mad as hell, he threatened her, “Take this!” But the girl only looked down and hardly flinched thus sending the rest of the terrorized children to gawk with bated breath.

Amidst the ghastly silence, a shot rang out shattering glass and driving the children into tears and screams. The violent disturbance attracted curious townsfolk to gather in front of the school.

The inspector kept on shouting furiously. And yet the little girl remained silent, still frozen like a statue, a big tear rolling off her cheek. At the point of losing composure at the girl’s staunch yet quiet defiance, he turned his ire at the crowd and snapped, “Go find this girl’s father and bring the townspeople here in the church!” 

Desecration of the Hosts

As the Church filled with people, the little girl’s father was ushered in with hands bound behind his back and placed to the right of the communion rail. Immediately, the girl was forcefully shoved into the communion rail.

The inspector spoke to the crowd and mocked the people’s belief in the Real Presence. And in a malicious and sarcastic tone, he announced that they were tricked into believing that God is present in the tabernacle. In fact, he told them he and his gang of soldiers would stamp on the Hosts with their boots to show nothing would happen.

Then the soldiers rushed on to the tabernacle and forced it opened with their revolvers. The tense crowd watched in silent disbelief. The inspector seized the ciborium, took the lid off and scattered the Hosts on the sanctuary floor.

Egging on his soldiers, he ordered them to go and step on the Hosts. And without hesitation they carried out the dastardly act. Not content with that, he taunted the crowd, “Do you still believe in those fairytales your priest told you?”

Turning to the child’s father he asked him if he still believed. No sooner did the father say yes did the inspector order him to be hauled away.

Dispersal

A non-commissioned officer then entered the scene who spoke with the inspector. They reached an agreement and the inspector submitted to higher authority. The crowd was told to disperse leaving the little girl alone in the communion rail.

The soldiers incarcerated the Priest in the Church’s coal bin where a small opening allowed him to see the area of the sanctuary where the Hosts lay strewn on the floor as well as the little girl who was leaning on the wall.

A beautiful lady

While peering through the opening, the Priest saw a lovely young woman clad in beautiful garments enter and smile. As she hugged her, she said, “Poor child! Poor little one, what have these men done to you? Come with me. Will you?” The child broke into sobs and sought comfort in the woman’s arm and they left. 

Witnessing a marvel from his cell

As time went by, the Priest lost track of hours and days while imprisoned in the coal bin. He endured the stillness of the surroundings and at times he heard sounds he wasn’t used to. One morning, he heard the door open quietly. Through the little opening, the Priest saw the little Chinese girl sneaking ever so carefully into the sanctuary, kneeling and bowing in homage. As she lowered her head, she took a desecrated Host with her tongue. She raised her head, folded her hands, closed her eyes and prayed in silence. Several moments later, she arose and departed.

Every morning the Priest witnessed the uplifting scene that became a source of comfort inside the dark and somber environs of his makeshift prison cell. There he eagerly waited the break of dawn expecting to see the sweet, enchanting, little girl receive and adore the Host. Though it occurred many times, he couldn’t recall how often times she came to practice the soul-stirring daily ritual. 

A Heroic Death

But alas, the day of final reckoning arrived. As the little heroine went through her daily pious exercise one morning; knees bent, hands folded and absorbed in deep prayer, the church door behind her burst open. Tumultuous screams stirred the air and a shot rang out.

As the Priest hurriedly looked through his peephole, he saw the pallid little girl crawl agonizingly along the floor as she reached a Host to receive Holy Communion. When the soldier drew near to check on her, she tried in vain to pull herself up and to fold her hands. Instead she fell on her back and hit her head on the floor with a thud. The little Chinese girl-martyr lay dead motionless on the floor. For a moment, the soldier stood hesitant not knowing what to make of his deed and its fatal outcome. Finally, he turned around and stormed out of the Church.

Set free

The moving yet harrowing scene left the Priest in a state of shock. While he pondered on that painful experience, his prison door opened and the same soldier went in to announce that he was free to go.

Without any hesitation, he scampered towards the sanctuary to see the lifeless little girl. As he knelt besides her, the soldier approached him and uttered, “Sir, if in every town there was such a little girl, no soldier would ever fight for the Communists!”

Fortunately, the Priest still had time to give the little martyr a decent burial. As he left the cemetery and walked along the road, a man approached and invited him into his car. He dropped him off at the border.

References/resources: 

  1. HARRER, Karl Maria, Die schönsten Eucharistischen Wunder, Heft 1-5 (je 48 Seiten) Miriam Verlag, The Little Chinese Girl-Martyr of the Holy Eucharist

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What a story – a true story of belief in the presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. What a story of love for Jesus, and I hope you noticed something. Even in that horrible environment, she refused to touch Our Lord with her hands. Such was the reverence, love, and devotion she had for our Lord she would only get on her knees and bow herself down to receive the Body of Our Lord with her tongue 

Why did she do this? She believed, and she wanted to protect our Lord from abuse. Our Holy Mother The Church has shown her the way, and even in those dire circumstances, she didn’t dare to pretend she had right to touch the Lord with her hands. 

This is the faith that was handed to us.  

So why bring all of this up?  

It is yet one more evidence that the novus order religion is not the Catholic Church. The Church can only bring us that which is Good. The Church can never – ever – approve of a rite that can lead us away from that which is Holy and God. The Church would never approve of a rite that devalues the sacrifice of the Mass. She would never approve of a rite that says the “priest is just a presider” and not make the central focus of the Mass the Emulation of Christ. 

Our Faith, Our religion, Our Church has spent 2,000 years living and dying to protect the Mass, protecting Christ in the sacrament so that no matter what, no sacrilege could ever occur. 

The novus ordo religion says I can receive Jesus in my hands. That is a lie from the pits of hell meant to send us to hell. If I can touch Jesus in the sacrament, if Priest aren’t special, then pretty soon no one believes in the real presence of Christ and that was the entire purpose of communion in the hands. 

Look around at those in the Novus Ordo – as a whole – they don’t believe anymore. 

The hands that bring us Jesus are special. They are ordained for that purpose. If I only had one reason for choosing the path that I have traveled and have accepted as true, namely, the sedevacantist position, this would have been enough right here.  

Any person that claims to be a pope, bishop, or a priest that tells us that we can do this – you can know for certain it didn’t come from God, and they are heretics that are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  

Union Of Our Will With God During Tribulations – St. Francis De Sales

THAT THE UNION OF OUR WILL WITH THE GOOD-PLEASURE OF GOD TAKES PLACE PRINCIPALLY IN TRIBULATIONS.
PAINFUL things cannot indeed be loved when considered in themselves, but viewed in their source, that is, in the Divine Will and Providence which ordains them, they are supremely delightful.
Look at the rod of Moses upon the ground, and it is a hideous serpent; look upon it in Moses’s hand, and it is a wand of miracles. Look at tribulations in themselves, and they are dreadful; behold them in the will of God, and they are love and delights. How often have we turned in disgust from remedies and medicines when the doctor or apothecary offered them, which, being offered by some well-beloved hand (love surmounting our loathing), we receive with delight. In truth, love either takes away the hardship of labour, or makes it dear to us while we feel it.
It is said that there is a river in Bœotia wherein the fish appear golden, but taken out of those their native waters, they have the natural colour of other fishes: afflictions are so; if we look at them outside God’s will, they have their natural bitterness, but he who considers them in that eternal good-pleasure, finds them all golden, unspeakably lovely and precious. If Abraham had seen outside God’s will the necessity of slaying his son, think, Theotimus, what pangs and convulsions of heart he would have felt, but seeing it in God’s good-pleasure, it appears all golden, and he tenderly embraces it.
 If the martyrs had looked upon their torments outside this good-pleasure, how could they have sung, in chains and flames? The truly loving heart loves God’s good-pleasure not in consolations only but in afflictions also; yea, it loves it better upon the cross in pains and difficulties, because the principal effect of love is to make the lover suffer for the thing beloved.
The Stoics, especially good Epictetus, placed all their philosophy in abstaining and sustaining, bearing and forbearing; in abstaining from and forbearing earthly delights, pleasures and honours; in sustaining and bearing wrongs, labours and trials: but Christian doctrine, which is the only true philosophy, has three principles upon which it grounds all its exercises,—abnegation of self, which is far more than to abstain from pleasures, carrying the cross, which is far more than tolerating or sustaining it, following Our Lord, not only in renouncing our self and bearing our cross, but also in the practice of all sorts of good works. But at the same time there is not so much love shown in abnegation or in action, as in suffering.
The Holy Ghost in Holy Scripture certainly signifies the death and passion which our Saviour suffered for us, to be the highest point of his love towards us.
1. To love God’s will in consolations is a good love when it is indeed God’s will that is loved, and not the consolation which is the form it takes: however, this is a love without contradiction, repugnance and effort: for who would not love so worthy a will in so agreeable a form?
2. To love the will of God in his commandments, counsels and inspirations is a second degree of love, and much more perfect, for it leads us to the renouncing and quitting of our own will, and makes us abstain from and forbear some pleasures, though not all.
3. To love sufferings and afflictions for the love of God is the supreme point of most holy charity, for there is nothing therein to receive our affection save the will of God only; there is great contradiction on the part of nature; and we not only forsake pleasures, but embrace torments and labours.
 Our mortal enemy knew well what was love’s furthest and finest act, when having heard from the mouth of God that Job was just, righteous, fearing God, hating sin, and firm in innocence, he made no account of this, in comparison with bearing afflictions, by which he made the last and surest trial of the love of this great servant of God.
To make these afflictions extreme, he formed them out of the loss of all his goods and of all his children, abandonment by all his friends, an arrogant contradiction by his most intimate associates and his wife, a contradiction full of contempt, mockery and reproach; to which be added the collection of almost all human diseases, and particularly a universal, cruel, offensive, horrible ulcer over all his body.
And yet behold the great Job, king as it were of all the miserable creatures of the world, seated upon a dunghill, as upon the throne of misery, adorned with sores, ulcers, and corruption, as with royal robes suitable to the quality of his kingship, with so great an abjection and annihilation, that if he had not spoken, one could not have discerned whether Job was a man reduced to a dunghill, or the dunghill a corruption in form of a man.
Now, I say, hear the great Job crying out: If we have received good things from the hand of the Lord, why shall we not receive also evil? O God! How this word is great with love! He ponders, Theotimus, that it was from the hand of God that he had received the good, testifying that he had not so much loved goods because they were good, as because they came from the hand of the Lord; whence he concludes that he is lovingly to support adversities, since they proceed from the hand of the same Lord, which is equally to be loved when it distributes afflictions and when it bestows consolations.
Every one easily receives good things, but to receive evil is a work of perfect love, which loves them so much the more, inasmuch as they are only lovable in respect of the hand that gives them. The traveller who is in fear whether he has the right way, walks in doubt, viewing the country over, and stands in a muse at the end of almost every field to think whether he goes not astray, but he who is sure of his way walks on gaily, boldly, and swiftly: even so the love that desires to walk to God’s will through consolations, walks ever in fear of taking the wrong path, and of loving (in lieu of God’s good-pleasure) the pleasure which is in the consolation; but the love that strikes straight through afflictions towards the will of God walks in assurance, for affliction being in no wise lovable in itself, it is an easy thing only to love it for the sake of him that sends it.
The hounds in spring-time are at fault at every step, finding hardly any scent at all, because the herbs and flowers then smell so freshly that their odour puts down that of the hart or hare: in the spring-time of consolations love scarcely recognizes God’s good-pleasure, because the sensible pleasure of consolation so allures the heart, that it troubles the attention which the heart should pay to the will of God.
S. Catharine of Siena, having from our Saviour her choice of a crown of gold or a crown of thorns, chose this latter, as better suiting with love: a desire of suffering, says the Blessed (S.) Angela of Foligno, is an infallible mark of love: and the great Apostle cries out that he glories only in the cross, in infirmity, in persecution.
Treatise on the Love of God ~ St. Francis De Sale ~ Page 275-277

Response To Ann Barnhardt And More

Hmmm – well, it seems I stirred up a bit of a hornet’s nest with my last post so I figured I might as well set the whole thing ablaze and sit back and watch what happens. For the most part, I received very little “hate” mail for what I wrote (as if that truly mattered anyway).

Most recently, I was pondering what to write for this blog and all of a sudden, God gave me another answer to pray – to wit – Ann Barnhardt wrote a piece on me (she wasn’t a nasty meanie so chill out) and she offered up a few of her thoughts on what I said, why I said it, and her conclusions.

I will use this as an opportunity to go deeper into why I made the last post and to further illuminate the reasons behind it.

First, I have to say that I have read Barnhardt for a long time. I even bought her cattle marketing videos which I heartily recommend – seriously, in terms of business acumen they are brilliant.

Now, in terms of the church and canon law, we differ, and it is to this that I am going to make a reply.

First, she stated in her piece:

“Jonathan Byrd, a “Francis is Pope” partisan, recently announced that he has come to the false conclusion that the See of Peter is vacant due to Fauxp “Francis” losing the Office due to heresy, and then this error leads Byrd to fall even farther in declaring the See has been vacant since the death of Pius XII. Errors compound, folks.

His base premise is false, of course, but this is a perfect example of sound logical corollaries that are built upon a false premise yielding false conclusions.

Of COURSE Antipope Bergoglio is a heretic. He is an arch-heresiarch. He isn’t even Catholic. There is a strong, serious, not-exaggerated possibility that he is literally THE False Prophet of the Antichrist. He ticks every single box. So, OF COURSE if one starts from the false base premise that Antipope Bergoglio was ever the Pope (which he wasn’t), where that leads as the logical progression quickly unfolds is that “the See is vacant because Francis has lost the Office.”

So, it is absolutely NO SURPRISE whatsoever that the “Francis is Pope” partisans have been engaging in not just obvious and transparent Alinsky Rule #13 tactics (Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it – hence the name-calling, ban hammering, calumny crusades, etc.), but also classic PROJECTION in hurling the utterly irrational and laughable accusation of false sedevacantism. Deep down they know that holding the false premise that Pope Ratzinger’s attempted partial faux-resignation was valid and that Antipope Bergoglio was validly elected Pope on 13 March ARSH 2013 leads and led almost instantly to the realization that Jorge Bergoglio is a heretic and thus the discussion of Bellarmine’s, Suarez’ and John of St. Thomas’ writing on “deposing a heretic Pope” entered the conversation almost instantly. Given this false position, it is the “Francis is Popers” that arrive at the inevitable conclusion of false sedevacatism.”

——————–

The first thing I would like to address concerning what she wrote is that she misrepresented my previous position then based her argument on that (though I do not believe this was malicious on her part).

So what was my previous position? That was simple. I thought that Benedict never validly resigned therefor Bergolio couldn’t possibly be the Pope. I thought that for many years and actually wrote a blog post on that and used her as one of the references.

You can check out that post here: http://www.traditionalcatholicpriest.com/2017/09/03/the-time-has-come/ and if you will note the date – it was from September of 2017.

So her first premise is based on the idea that she thinks I thought Bergoglio was Pope and due to this – “all is lost and abandon ship.”

Well, this premise is false as it clearly shows from the above record. The facts are the complete opposite as shown above.

The second thing I would like to mention is that she stated her opinion, but she didn’t back it up with anything. It was simply what she thought.

In what I wrote, I stated what the Church has taught and gave you the references showing it.

My opinion doesn’t matter in this and if it did it wouldn’t be worth more than your opinion – I’m not protestant ya know….

I would also like to note that the blogger at Novusordowatch provided a very reasoned rebuttal on Ann concerning her position of Benedict of which you can read here: https://novusordowatch.org/2018/11/benedict16-mysterious-resignation-reply-barnhardt/

You see, my “arriving at the inevitable conclusions of … Sedevacantism” wasn’t based on the antics of this latest papal impostor in the least bit. I knew for a long time that he wasn’t.

What I didn’t fully understand was the teaching on the Church in regards to heresy, canon law, the ordinary magisterium and the infallibility of the Pope. I read a lot, but I didn’t read with the gift of knowledge. It is one thing to read a book, and it is something else entirely to apply that knowledge to real situations.

As she noted, I don’t believe that any of the previous “popes” since 1958 were valid. She quoted a comment I made on NovusOrdoWatch.com to make her point.

First, I’m shocked that she reads that blog…….. I’m sure everyone there would welcome her and her insights, so stop by and say Hi and introduce yourself – “don’t be a stranger y’ all.” What is it about “iron sharpens iron.”

Well, I purposely didn’t go into the previous “popes”, because at the length it was, there was no place for it nor did I have the time at the moment to write anything further. I still don’t have any intention of going over every single reason I believe what I believe. As I will show below, I’ve spent a lot of time learning what I have learned, and I will point out what I read and where you can read it too.

People with cognitive dissonance will go to the greatest links possible not to connect the dots because those dots scare them.

Sadly, it doesn’t scare them enough.

If it did, more would be moved to this position for safety of their soul and those under their care.

……………………..

Why are people so scared of being a sedevacantist? Why is it so hard to admit that all of the previous ‘popes’ believed and promoted heresy? Why is it so hard to believe that what you see around you – this apostasy – is precisely that? What is it going to take to convince people?

I had a reader write in and tell me:

“Thank you so much for your “Ending Cognitive Dissidence” post! I agree with you completely, and have been on a very similar journey. I’ve been reading all the usual mainstream Traditional blogs, newspapers, etc. for a while now. (The Remnant, Steve Skojec, Ann Barndhardt etc.)

But I, too, have recently come to the some conclusion that you have. I started listening to the “Tradcast” podcast from Novus Ordo Watch about 2 years ago, and was absolutely blown away by the sedevacantist argument, which I never had heard. I knew that sedevacantists were evil, heretics; but that was all I knew. I didn’t know WHY they were evil heretics. I just knew they were!

Now that I’ve heard their argument, I can’t for the life of me figure out why their position is so feared and hated. People will accept any ridiculous idea thrown out there — including the one that we can and should resist a true pope! I’ve come to see that we as “recognize and resisters” have done so much to destroy the respect for the papal office.”

You see – in the real world – not the blog world – people are waking up. They realize they have been fed a load of bull for years and they are slowly realizing this. And it is to them that I devote the rest of this article.

I Was Scared

Yup, I was scared. Aren’t sede’s the mean people you see in the comment sections? Aren’t they all crazy, loony, flat earthers, ….people that don’t even own a television and living in caves waiting for the nuclear holocaust (and or the three days of darkness).

I heard one person say that sedevacantism is “intellectual Porn” and that only Intellectuals with super submissive wives would ever become a sede. I was also told “look at all of the hate they fill the comment sections with” and many other accusations against them.

Now, I would be the first to say that the comment sections are pretty rough. A lot of sede’s have been beaten up and down backward and forwards and then roasted, and frankly, they can tend to be harsh and caustic. It’s easy to stop this though – remove the comments from the blogs. I don’t allow them on this blog because I think they are, for the most part, pointless. Say what you need to say and let it be.

But – my livelihood ain’t wrapped up in keeping people on my website either, so I am in a different position than many others. Also, some good can come from the comment sections, but it takes lots of time to make sure they stay on topic and helpful and doesn’t degenerate into a free for all. Due to this – I decided its best not even to have them.

Now, most of what has been written about sede’s could be written about the different traditional groups. I was in them – in just about all of them at one point. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly and lived through it. So making an argument against charity doesn’t hold water as every single one of those groups has issues as well.

This brings us to the point of “intellectual porn” that was thrown at me. Really, I guess there are some people that just love reading canon law but I ain’t one of them. I would rather drink a scotch and smoke a cigar and enjoy my family, but I do know many that love this stuff.

The problem with this argument is simply this: refute what they say using the teachings of all previous popes, the doctors of the Church, the magisterium, and canon law. You see, the package Truth is delivered in might not be what you want to see or hear, but if it is the truth, then you have an OBLIGATION to seek it out.

After I wrote that initial article (the one where I agreed with Ann) I decided, after some time, that It wasn’t “INTELLECTUALLY” honest of me to talk bad about sede’s or to discount sede’s or to have any opinion on them at all until I first knew what they believed and why they believed it. I was like most R&R bloggers and people in general that will accept most things – never ever ever look into sedevacantism. It was the four-letter word of the traditionals within the new Church.

Now, being an entrepreneur and having a long history of bucking the trend, I decided that If I was going to argue against something, I needed to know what they say. I decided to start reading and praying. This – of course – had an effect on me. I took nearly a month off from work to just read.

I read just about every book I could find, every blogger that had articles written and every youtube video that was worthwhile and pretty much devoured whatever I could find on this.

For those that are interested. I have listed the ones that I found helped me the most below:

The Destruction Of the Christian Tradition

This book is a fantastic work outlining what has gone on in the last 60 years and the conclusions that must follow from it. You can get it online here

Work Of Human Hands

This is a critique of Paul VI’s mass and is a must-read. Check it out here.

Different Websites

NovusOrdowatch.com

I seriously have read nearly everything on this website, and the author of this blog always makes sure that he backs everything up with the teaching of the Church and not opinion.

https://stevensperay.wordpress.com/

Steven Speray also has loads of articles on his site that are all documented from church teaching.

Here are 4 excellent videos explaining the sedevacantist position:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_XxKD7X48g
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AClx-cmC0-U
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyGmT8IRyAE

Now, back to the story…

After reading all of this for a month and watching a lot of conferences on youtube – I was pretty convinced that the position of sedevacantism was correct. However, it wasn’t time for me to accept it fully.

Intellectually I agreed with the position. I took the arguments that I read from the teaching of the Church and spoke with trusted friends and asked their opinions. I said, if this is wrong, show me from the same sources (church teaching before Vatican II) where it is wrong. NOT one person could do that.

One person referred to the 1917 code of Canon law as a novelty of Pious X. One person said he couldn’t refute it but “feels” it is wrong. You get the idea. I have yet to read or talk to one single person that actually read all of the arguments for sedevacantism and actually be able to disprove it using the above criteria.

In fact, I find that those that argue against it tend to fall into error themselves most notably saying that a heretic can be the head of the Catholic Chuch (which is heresy itself).

So what did I do?

Well, at first, I was confused. I didn’t have anyone in the sede camp to talk to. All I had was books, videos, and prayer. I reached out to a sede priest and didn’t get anywhere at first.

It was strange, I could see the truth of it, but I was in a barren wasteland at the moment. Soon, we would be having another child, and I had so many thoughts going through my head. Who will baptize him? Who will provide us with the sacraments? What is going on? Are all priests not validly ordained? Where is the Church?

You get the idea – I had a ton of questions and didn’t have a lot of answers at the moment. This spell lasted for six months. It wasn’t time yet for me. I ended up going back to my diocesan Latin mass parish. I did this against my better judgment.

I wanted mass and something stable for my family. I was so tired of trying to understand things and not getting anywhere. I was so fed up with blogs as well as they typically sow discord.

When I went back, I refused to read blogs. I refused to read the news. I refused to do anything other than just “go to mass” and keep my head down and get home. I said I couldn’t understand it, so I was going to do my best, go to a mass, and say my prayers.

This sounds good in theory, but in practice, it was horrible. You see, I knew too much already. Pandora’s box was already opened. There was no going back. This – reverting – was an act of disobedience. It was a lack of faith. It was a putting my hand to the plow and then looking back.

That was one of the longest years of my life. I traveled all around the country, visiting different masses in each city we stopped in. I kept my “keep your nose clean and don’t cause trouble” mindset – went to mass – then went back to my day to day life.

Mass was simply an obligation at that point. It was something that I did because I was supposed, but my heart wasn’t in it as I knew there was something terribly wrong.

Of course, this mindset does something to the soul…it kills it.

You see, Jesus wants our hearts. He is Jealous. He wants all of us, not just our Sunday mornings. He wants every thought, every word, every action. He wants to fill us with Himself and conform us to His image.

The problem was, I couldn’t do that. Why? How Can I give myself to something I don’t believe in? Within the NO church, I knew there was something terribly wrong.

I knew that Jesus couldn’t be united to that. I knew that Jesus desires something different. But less I sound like I was super spiritual, the reverse was more true. This was a time of falling away. No, not in externals, but internals.

The prayers we prayed were merely that. The family rosary was just another part of the day much liking eating dinner and sleeping. The heart was missing…

This was spiritual aridity such as I have only ever experienced once prior in my life, and that was what I always referred to my desert experience. In short – it totally sucked.

This lasted for a long time. How can you continue to do something you didn’t even believe in. At some point, the chicken comes home to roost, and it was time for me. It was time that I either made a decision or stop the charade.

At this point, The Heart of Christ extended His mercy one more time. I decided I needed to start picking up some more spiritual readings and also checked out a few blogs. This, of course, got me to think again.

It got me to come face to face with the errors I willfully held. God, through His Mercy and the intercession of St. Philomena, allowed the scales to fall from my eyes.

I realized something through this process. The head can know something. It can define it, it can teach it, it can wax eloquent all day long on it, but if the Heart doesn’t know it – it is pointless. It is a clanging cymbal… You see – God reached down and gave me the faith I needed to accept what was true. He gave me a heart – He gave me a little bit of His Heart.

I emailed another Catholic (sedevacantist) priest to talk to him – I found something I didn’t expect. I found Love. Did I find this nasty mean spirited crazy sede ? Nope – it was the exact opposite. I found the Faith that was once delivered. I found that I no longer had to try to explain away all of the chaos. I found priests that had one thing on their mind – the salvation of souls. I found heroic Charity, perseverance under constant fire, I found souls that endured sufferings the like we could never understand. I also found laughter – I found joy – I found peace. I found what I was promised from the beginning – I found the pearl of Christ price: the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church…

Arguing with a protestant….

Have you ever had a discussion with a protestant about the Faith? You can bring up how the Church was founded. You can bring up the saints, the doctors, the counsels, and you can even bring up “where did you get the bible from” and yet they still can’t seem to put the dots together. You have to wonder why they can’t see it. Why can’t they look at what is so completely and totally obvious and backed up by two thousand years of church history, Popes, magisterium, canon law and they still can’t see it. It defies logic and drives you crazy.

Of course, I’m not really talking about protestants – I’m talking about those that are trying to say the sedevacantist position is false. It doesn’t really matter what I write here today. I can point to every link known to man showing every single quote from this saint or that one or this Pope or that one or this canon law, etc. and if the heart aint in it, it ain’t going to stick.

That is one of the reasons I refuse to reinvent the wheel. The truth is out there. It is staring at you in the face. Its everywhere and evident to a little child – but that is the problem – we don’t want to be the little child that simply trusts His Loving Father.

We want every question answered before we give assent. We want every problem solved. We want a perfectly straight and paved road with lots of rest stops.

We don’t want to take the “road less traveled” that is full of sacrifices, full of crosses that lead to our death and we can’t see the road ahead and don’t want to have “that type of faith.” That faith is too heroic. That faith is for the Saints. I just don’t want to go to hell…..

In choosing just to try to get along and ignore the facts – I chose hell.

God wants every bit of us. There isn’t one fiber of our being that God doesn’t own and He doesn’t want. We have to have faith. We can follow Christ or fall away – there is no middle ground.

For the arguments explaining why sedevacantism is true, I’m going to leave to much better men than me. They are there in the books and the websites I referenced above and if someone truly wants to know the truth – go ahead, read those blogs, buy those books, watch those videos and ask our Blessed Mother (the destroyer of heresy) to intercede for you so that you can know the truth.

I just wanted to share some of my journey because I think it can help someone. Maybe only one person will read this and God will speak to them, and if so, it was worth it. The purpose of this blog was never to make money. It was never to sit here and waste breath on the latest crap going on at the Vatican. The purpose was and still is the salvation of souls, and this is the reason I wrote the above.

May God be honored and praised in all His saints.