“Make Friends with the Angels”

St. Peter tells us that “the devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” One does not have to look far to see Satan’s influence in our world, our society, and in the lives of many poor souls who have fallen under his sway. 

God has given us many aids to combat the influence of Satan in our own lives. One of these is very easy to overlook and forget about: the Angels, and in particular, our Guardian Angels. 

Each angel is created with an intelligence far surpassing our human intellects, and they possess great power. As men are far superior in power and intelligence to ants, so are angels far superior to men. As spirits are of a higher order than what is material, so the angels have power over the physical, material creation. We read in the Old Testament that one angels was sent to deliver the Israelites from the army of Sennacherib, which was threatening Jerusalem. In one night, a single angel slew 185,000 Assyrians, thus ending the plight of God’s people. 

It is good to keep this in mind. No matter what forces of evil are arrayed against us, God can put to flight all of this worlds power and might by sending one of his angels to our aid.    

“Then I looked and and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.”

There are 9 Choirs of angels: Angels, Archangels, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Dominations, Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim.

We cannot fathom the number of angels God has created. Our guardian angels are taken from the lowest of the 9 choirs, and in this choir there is an individual angel assigned to every human being that has ever lived or will live.  That is an incredibly large number, but each of the ascending choirs is larger than the choir beneath it!  What a vast number of angels there must be!

While innumerable angels fill the courts of Heaven, there are millions and millions of angels here on earth. God has given to their care, not only mankind, but all of his works of creation.

“It is true that all the stars and heavenly bodies, by the natural direction given them by God, pursue their several courses, but these great worlds are material and therefore, as the Angelic Doctor points out, are liable to decay and deterioration. To prevent, therefore, disorder and confusion in the thousands of heavenly bodies which are whirling through space with inexpressible speed, God gives each one, in His all-wise Providence, an Angel to keep it in its course and avert the dire calamities that would result were it to stray from its allotted orbit.

Few people think of all this when, on beautiful star-lit nights, they gaze on the Heavens and the myriads of stars. How fitting it would be to salute the countless Angels who guard these stars: “O, glorious Angels of the stars, we love you, we thank you! Please bless us and shower on us your graces.”

Excerpt from “All About the Angels” by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan 

Because we cannot see them, it is easy to forget about the Angels, but thankfully, they do not forget about us. The angel assigned to us does not cease to watch over and care us. They are our guardians, our friends, and have been since we were born. And just as the devils can have an evil influence over us and tempt us to sin, so the angels continually strive to inspire us to do good, to resist temptation, to practice virtue and to love God. 

The effect of their influence depends of course on us – on our free will. We can certainly choose to ignore or block their inspirations and the good influence that they can have on us. However, to those who are open to their promptings and request their help, they can do a lot of good. 

Imagine that you see someone who spends all their time and makes every effort to help another, and instead of appreciating that help, the beneficiary never shows any appreciation and more or less fails to even acknowledge his existence.  We would be appalled and would rightly condemn this behavior in others. Yet how many of us treat our guardian angels this way?

The greatest of earthly kings would be as nothing compared to the splendor and glory of our guardian angel. What a privilege to be guarded and cared for by such a powerful and wonderful being! 

Let’s make an effort to think about the angels throughout the day and ask them for their help. They will be delighted when we do so and will do a lot more for us if we honor them. Let us make friends with the Angels.

The Catholic Church: The Church of Christ

The following text is taken from the preface to an excellent 3 volume series of books titled “Radio Replies” by Fathers Rumble and Carty. It was first published in 1938 and its question and answer format can be very helpful when confronted with the plethora of questions and objections to Catholicism which arise in our very not-so-Catholic-at-all society.

In following posts, I will be sharing excerpts from this book. It is important for us as Catholics to continually read and learn more about our Faith so that we can be bolstered against error, doubts and confusion; as well as be equipped with the necessary knowledge and conviction to defend the Faith if ever there is a need.  There is much contained even in just this preface that can help us do just that.

 

Preface to Radio Replies:

There are not over a hundred people in the United States who hate the Catholic church. There are millions, however, who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church – which is, of course, quite a different thing. These millions can hardly be blamed for hating Catholics because Catholics “adore statues” ; because they “put the Blessed Mother on the same level with God” ; because they say “indulgence is a permission to commit sin” : because the Pope “is a Fascist” ;  because the “Church is the defender of Capitalism.” If the Church taught or believed any one of these things it should be hated, but the fact is that the Church does not believe nor teach any one of them. It follows then that the hatred of the millions is directed against error and not against truth. As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believe all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do.

If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church which is accused of being behind the times, as Our Lord was accused of being ignorant and never having learned. Look for the Church which men seer at as socially inferior, as they sneered at Our Lord because He came from Nazareth. Look for the Church which is accused of having a devil, as Our Lord was accused of being possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Devils. Look for the Church which in seasons of bigotry, men say must be destroyed in the name of God as men crucified Christ and thought they had done a service to God. Look for the Church which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because He called Himself the Truth. Look for the Church which is rejected by the world as Our Lord was rejected by men. Look for the Church which amid the confusion of conflicting opinions, its members love as they love Christ, and respect its Voice as the very voice of its Founder, and the suspicion will grow, that if the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other worldly. Since it is other-worldly it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself. But only that which is Divine can be infinitely hated and infinitely loved. Therefore the Church is Divine.

If then, the hatred of the Church is founded on erroneous beliefs, it follows that basic need of the day is instruction. Love depends on knowledge for we cannot aspire nor desire the unknown. Our great country is filled with what might be called marginal Christians, i.e., those who live on the fringe of religion and who are descendants of Christian living parents, but who now are Christians only in name They retain a few of its ideals out of indolence and force of habit: they know the glorious history of Christianity only through certain emasculated forms of it, which have married the spirit of the age and are now dying with it. Of Catholicism and its sacraments, its pardon, its grace, its certitude and its peace, they know nothing except a few inherited prejudices. And yet they are good people who want to do the right thing, but who have no definite philosophy concerning it. They educate their children without religion, and yet they resent the compromising morals of their children. They would be angry if you told them they were not Christian, and yet they do not believe that Christ is God. They resent being called pagans and yet they never take a practical cognizance of the existence of God. There is only one thing of which they are certain and that is that things are not right as they are. It is just the single certitude which makes them what might be called the great “potential”, for they are ready to pulled in either of two directions. Within a short time they mus take sides; they must either gather with Christ or they must scatter; they must either be with Him or against Him; they must either be on the cross as other Christs, or under it as other executioners. Which way will these marginal Christians tend? The answer depends upon those who have the faith. Like the multitudes who follower Our Lord into the desert, they are as sheep without a shepherd. They are waiting to be shepherded either with the sheep or goats. Only this much is certain. Being human and having hearts they want more than class struggle and economics; they want Life, they want Truth, and they want Love. In a word, they want Christ.

It is to these millions who believe wrong things about the Church and these marginal Christians, that this little book is sent. It is not to prove that they are “wrong” ; it is not to prove that we are “right” : it is merely to present the truth in order that the truth may conquer through the grace of God. When men are starving one need not go to them and tell them to avoid poison; nor to eat bread because there are vitamins in bread. One need only go to them and tell them that they to starving and here is bread, and the laws of nature will do the rest. This book “Radio Replies” with 1,588 questions and answers goes out on a similar mission. Its primary task is not to humble the erroneous; not to glorify the Catholic Church as intellectual and self-righteous, but to present the truth in a calm, clear manner in order that with the grace of God souls may come to the blessed embrace of Christ.

It is not only the point of “Radio Replies” to prove that the Church is the only completely soul-satisfying Church in existence at the present day: It is also to suggest that the Catholic Church is the only Church existing today which goes back to the time of Christ. History is so very clear on this point, it is curious how many minds miss its obviousness. When therefore you, the readers of “Radio Replies” in the twentieth century, wish to know about Christ and about His early Church, and about His mysteries, we ask you to go not only to the written records but to the living Church which began with Christ Himself. That Church or that Mystical Person which has been living all these centuries is the basis of our faith and to us Catholics it speaks this way: “I live with Christ. I saw His Mother and I know her to be Virgin and the loveliest and purest of all women in heaven or on earth; I saw Christ at Caesarea-Philippi, when after changing Simon’s name to Rock He told him he was the rock upon which the Church would be built and that it would endure unto the consummation of the world. I saw Christ hanging on a cross and I saw Him rise from His tomb; I saw Magdalene rush to His feet; I saw the angels clad in white beside the great stone; I was in the Cenacle room when doubting Thomas put fingers into His hand; I was on Olivet when He ascended into heaven and promised to send His Spirit to the apostles to make them the foundation of His new Mystical Body an earth. I was at the stoning of Stephen, saw Saul hold the garments of those who slew him, and later I heard Saul, as Paul, preach Christ and Him crucified: I witnessed the beheading of Peter and Paul in Rome, and with my very eyes saw tens of thousands of martyrs crimson the sands with their blood, rather than deny the faith Peter and Paul had preached unto them; I was living when Boniface was sent to Germany, when Augustine when to England, Cyril and Methodius to the Poles, and Patrick to Ireland; at the beginning of the ninth century I recall seeing Charlemagne crowned a king in matters temporal as Peter’s vicar was recognized as supreme in matters spiritual; in the thirteenth century I saw the great stones cry out in tribute to me, and burst into Gothic Cathedrals; in the shadows of those same walls I saw great Cathedrals of thought arise in the prose of Aquinas and Bonaventure, and in the poetry of Dante; in the sixteenth century I saw my children softened by the spirit of the world leave the Father’s house and reform the faith instead of reforming discipline which would have brought them back again into my embrace; in the last century and at the beginning of this I heard the world say it could not accept me because I was behind the times. I am not behind the times, I am only behind the scenes. I have adapted myself to every form of government the world has ever known; I have lived with Caesars and kings, tyrants and dictators, parliaments and presidents, monarchies and republics. I have welcomed every advance of science, and were it not for me the great records of the pagan world would not have been preserved. It is true I have not changed my doctrine, but that is because the ‘doctrine is not mine but His who sent Me’. I change my garments which belong to time, but not my Spirit which belongs to eternity. In the course of my long life I have seen so many modern ideas become unmodern, that I know I shall live to chant a requiem over the modern ideas of this day, as I chanted it over the modern ideas of the last century. I celebrated the nineteen-hundredth anniversary of the death of my Redeemer and yet I am no older now than then, for my Spirit is Eternal, and the Eternal never ages. I am the abiding Personage of the centuries. I am the contemporary of all civilizations. I am never out of date, because the dateless; never out of time, because the timeless. I have four great marks: I am One, because I have the same Soul I had in the beginning: I am Holy, because that Soul is the Spirit of Holiness; I am Catholic, because that Spirit pervades every living cell of my Body: I am Apostolic, because my origin is identical with Nazareth, Galilee and Jerusalem. I shall grow weak when my members become rich and cease to pray, but I shall never die. I shall be persecuted as I am persecuted now in Mexico and Russia: I shall be crucified as I was on Calvary, but I shall rise again, and finally when time shall be no more, and I shall have grown to my full stature, then shall I be taken into heaven as the bride of my Head, Christ, where the celestial nuptials shall be celebrated, and God shall be all in all, because His Spirit is Love and Love is Heaven.”

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen, D.D.

I Will Put Enmities Between Thee and the Woman

St. Louis de Montfort

There is a lot of enmity in the world today. With all that’s happened just in 2020, the preceding sentence could probably be called the understatement of the year.

With all of the contentions and divisions that we see in society today, especially between those who defy God’s laws and those who hold to the teachings of Christ and His Church, one can’t help but think of the words of Our Lord: “And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold”. (Matthew 24:12) 

Who would have thought that such an “advanced and civilized” society could be so divided on such obvious issues as whether an unborn child should or should not have the right to life? I am reminded of a writer that said that the more a civilization moves away from God, the more it falls back into barbarism.

It is important that we recognize that, ultimately, the struggle that is taking place in the world is “not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers,against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

It is the same struggle that has been going on since the fall of Lucifer and the other rebellious angels who were his first followers. Perhaps at no time in history has this struggle and the division between the followers of Christ and the followers of Lucifer – disguised though he be as an angel of light –  been more obvious.

The two standards as described by St. Ignatius of Loyola are unfurled and openly displayed.

Christ Himself has warned us that for everyone involved in this struggle, there can be no compromise      

He who is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23) 

 Now, enough of the doom and gloom for the present discussion. Such reflections are important and beneficial in their own right, but if we’re not careful can easily take over our thoughts, rob us of our peace of soul, and spread a shroud of gloom to those around us.

“Saints are not sad”, and joy is one of the 12 fruits of the Holy Ghost, so let’s move on to a very bright, very cheerful subject: Mary, the Mother of God.

She is the “Cause of our Joy”, the “Comfort of the Afflicted” and the “Help of Christians”.

She is the solution to the problems that we face in the world today.

Pope St. Pius X said, “There is no surer or easier way than Mary in uniting all men with Christ.”

“I Will Put Enmities Between Thee and the Woman” 

Our Lady

This quote comes from the third chapter of the book of Genesis and are the words addressed by God to the serpent after the fall of Adam and Eve. It is fascinating to consider that immediately following the first and most damaging victory of Satan over mankind, Almighty God pronounced Satan’s doom.

Satan may have thought that he had brought about the ruin of mankind, but God foretold that one of the daughters of mankind would bring about his complete and utter ruin.

The pride of Satan would be crushed by the humility of the Mother of God. The works of Satan would be brought to nothing by the handmaid of the Lord.

No doubt, most every Catholic has heard an explanation of this excerpt from Genesis. Many also know that when Christ spoke to his mother in the Gospels, he addressed her as “Woman” in order to point to her as the Woman foretold in Genesis.

He did this when he would work his first miracle, thus giving the first public sign of his divinity: “Woman, what is that to me and to thee? My hour is not yet come.” He would again do this as He was hanging on the cross, accomplishing the Redemption of mankind: “Woman, behold thy Son. Son, behold thy Mother.”

It was the will of God that the Blessed Virgin Mary was to have a very important role in the Redemption of man as well as a vital role in man’s sanctification and salvation. 

Perhaps no one explained this role better than St. Louis de Montfort. True Devotion to Mary is an incredible work, as is The Secret of the Rosary, and The Friends of the Cross.

Several Popes highly commended his writings and the special devotion to Mary that he practiced and preached. 

Pope Pius IX said that Saint Louis De Montfort’s devotion to Mary was the best and most acceptable form of devotion to Our Lady. 

Pope Leo XIII beatified him and granted a plenary indulgence to those who made the consecration to Mary that St. Louis promoted. 

Pope St. Pius X: “I heartily recommend True Devotion to The Blessed Virgin, so admirably written by [Saint] De Montfort, and to all who read it grant the Apostolic Benediction.”

Pope Pius XI  said that he had practiced this devotion from his youth.

Pope Pius XII canonized him a saint and declared that his “great secret of attracting and giving souls to Jesus was his devotion to Mary. All his activity was founded upon her, all his confidence rested in her. In opposition to the joyless austerity, melancholy fear and depressing pride of Jansenism, he promoted the filial, trustful, ardent and expansive love in action of a slave of Mary.”

The above examples show us how heartily the Church approves of this special devotion to Our Lady.

This is important.

The Church, the immaculate Bride of Christ, can only approve and promote that which is good and holy, for if She did otherwise, the promise of Christ to be with the Church would have failed.

That which is taught and promoted by the Church can only be good and lead to holiness.  

If you have never read True Devotion to Mary or The Secret of the Rosary by this Saint, take the time to do so. One fantastic advantage we have in our day is such easy access to a plethora of  Catholic books and writings, and we ought to take full advantage of this opportunity.

When we stand before God to render an account of our life and how well or poorly we fulfilled our obligation to know, love and serve Him, we will not have the excuse that we couldn’t have learned any more because we didn’t have the opportunity. The internet ( and in particular, Amazon’s 99 cent digital books) has robbed us of this excuse. 

The insight of St. Louis de Montfort when speaking of the Mother of God and of the Rosary is powerful and inspiring. 

Here are a few excerpts from this great Saint:

“We never give more honour to Jesus than when we honour his Mother, and we honour her simply and solely to honour him all the more perfectly. We go to her only as a way leading to the goal we seek – Jesus, her Son.”

“Mary has produced, together with the Holy Ghost, the greatest thing which has been or ever will be—a God-Man; and she will consequently produce the greatest saints that there will be in the end of time.”

“For God, having given her power over his only-begotten and natural Son, also gave her power over his adopted children – not only in what concerns their body – which would be of little account – but also in what concerns their soul.”

“One and the same mother does not bring forth into the world the head without the members, nor the members without the head; for this would be a monster of nature. So in like manner, in the order of grace, the Head and the members are born of one and the same Mother; and if a member of the mystical Body of Jesus Christ—that is to say, one of the predestinate—was born of any other mother than Mary, who has produced the Head, he would not be one of the predestinate, nor a member of Jesus Christ, but simply a monster in the order of grace.”

“The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to her as the perfect model to imitate and as a powerful helper to assist them.”

“Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practice black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if-and mark well what I say-if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.”

Pius x

 

Let’s follow the advice of this holy Saint and devote ourselves to the Mother of God. Let’s be sure to take the time every day to do spiritual reading and fill our minds with good things, instead of only letting in the things of the world. (Garbage in, garbage out.) 

Pray the Rosary every day. If we tell ourselves that we don’t have time for it, let’s take a look at the screen time on our phones or the amount of time that we spend on Youtube and ask ourselves if we can’t make a little time for the Queen of Heaven. 

“Look to the star of the sea, call upon Mary … in danger, in distress, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. May her name never be far from your lips, or far from your heart … If you follow her, you will not stray; if you pray to her, you will not despair; if you turn your thoughts to her, you will not err. If she holds you, you will not fall; if she protects you, you need not fear; if she is your guide, you will not tire; if she is gracious to you, you will surely reach your destination.” 

–St. Bernard

Website Update Summer 2020

As there have been many people writing in and asking if the blog is still being maintained, I thought it might be a good idea to put up a quick post and letting the readers know what is going on.

I had a premonition that 2020 was going to be one of “those” years and it has certainly has been.  This year we had another child, worked on getting a private school going, set up a chapel, built a homestead and tried to keep sane.  Of course, dealing with all of the mess with covid hasn’t been fun either.  Satan has been up to his tricks and this has been annoying as most can imagine.

2020 has brought its difficulties, but it has also brought some great gains and one of them is help for this blog.  Fr. Geckle (CMRI) will now be making regular contributions to this blog and will be available to answer questions that our readers have.  He also might decide to correct all of my grammar as he is a bit of school teacher….

I have gotten to know Father and can attest to his love of God and his desire to help save souls.  I will welcome his help with the blog and his future posts as i’m sure you, the reader, will as well.

You can look for his first post sometime next week.  This post will be something dear to my heart and it is about a true devotion to Our Lady.

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.