Thursday, February 23, 2012


The prelude to Holy Lent this year in the United States at the federal level and, given provinces have great power, in Canada at the provincial level, is outright war against Christianity in general, the Catholic Church in particular and against the sanctity and sanctuary of the family.

Bl. Pope John Paul gave ALL families, not just Catholic/Christian families, their charter rights, a copy can be found at:

As the Pope teaches, 3D: the family, a natural society, exists prior to the State or any other community, and possesses inherent rights which are inalienable;

When an American President or a Canadian Premier seeks to invade the sanctity of the family, such as stating by law what parents may/may not teach their children, such action is evil, destructive and is the very type of action which spreads ever more dangerous anger throughout the land.

In Article 5 of the Charter the Holy Father reminds us that: Since they have conferred life on their children, parents have the original, primary and inalienable right to educate them; hence they must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children.

Listen up government warriors against the family: that inalienable right means to educate their children in conformity with the parents’ own moral and religious convictions, and includes the right to choose the specific schools or other means necessary to teach their children in the faith of the family.

The Church herself is a family, Christianity in general is a family and so when a President seeks to force Catholic institutions to subsidize in any way medical procedures or drugs whose sole purpose is to murder unborn children then such a President has chosen not to wage war on an institution alone but to wage war against God, the creator and sustainer of life, to throw the gauntlet down before Christ, to insult the Holy Spirit.

Those government leaders referred to herein are waging war against every citizen’s religious liberty, which includes the freedom to be a non-believer, and it is a slippery slope for if government can do that, and if government can make it a crime in the sanctity of the home for parents to teach their children according to their faith – then the question must be asked: why do we wage war against the Taliban? Are they not already, to the extreme, doing what American and Canadian politicos are doing?

This Lent already are we not experiencing the prophecy of Jesus: “….you will be hated because of Me….many will turn from the faith and will betray and hate each other….but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved..”[cf. Mt.24:4-14]

Monday, February 13, 2012


Was heading out to get supplies for the hermitage when I noticed I had left the car unlocked.
Obviously some thief had noticed that too.
Only thing missing: a rosary!
Guess whomever it was felt an urgent need to pray!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Conclusion = WHEN YOU HEAR: WAR!

Jesus states this bluntly: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.” [Mt.12:30]
Yet there appears to be a paradox within all that has been said about spiritual warfare.
A paradox apparent in these words of Jesus which are explicit: “…I say to you offer no resistance to one who is evil.” [Mt.5:39]
This is the passage where Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek, to go further than we are forced too along the road.
We can fall into the trap of either assuming fighting in spiritual warfare means head-on confrontation, or the trap of the other extreme, a form of passivity.
Mostly spiritual warfare means loving without counting the cost, forgiving without self-interest, bearing one another’s burden with a light and generous heart, embracing the cross, suffering, spending ourselves in generous intercessory prayer, among which potent weapon is the Holy Rosary, fasting and in particular being faithful to the duty of the moment in our chosen vocation.
A mother who tenderly and patiently cares for a colicky child, a husband who worn out from his day’s labour surprises his wife with a night out, just two examples of how we build the civilization of love with Jesus and defeat the enemy.
It is rather simple: the Holy Trinity, God: first; everyone else: second; last/third: self.
It is to always have before our hearts the teaching of St. Peter: “For this you have been called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His footsteps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth. When He was insulted, He returned no insult; instead, He handed Himself over to the one who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.” [1 Pt. 2:21-24]
It may feel unfair that we should suffer in silence when the other side gloats and screams their position – yet the power of silent, prayerful witness in front of the slaughter-houses where babies are murdered is a peaceful, powerful sign of contradiction and truth of life in the face of evil and death.
When we contemplate Christ in the cross our hearts will be enlightened with understanding by the Holy Spirit about the immense power of sacred silence.
Bl. Pope John Paul has taught us in his letter on human suffering, SALVIFICI DOLORIS: “Down through the centuries and generations it has been seen that in suffering there is concealed a particular power that draws a person interiorly close to Christ…”
In spiritual warfare most of us will not be called to martyrdom by blood.
All of us however are called to the martyrdom of death to self, of laying down our lives moment by moment in union with Jesus, as the Servant of God Catherine Doherty teaches in her book MOLCHANIE: “Consider the martyrs in the Roman coliseum. Who can count them all?....Many not only forgave, but like St. Stephan, implored the Lord not to hold against them what their persecutors were doing……You must enter a whole new dimension, cross the bridge of God’s silence into His love….you are completely in love with Him…You stagger…like a person intoxicated with love, seeking your Lover…..back and forth He walks the desert of your souls crying out, ‘Don’t you know how much I love you!’ You answer, ‘You are God. You understand. You brought me to Your silence, and Your silence brought me to Your love. And now I want to identify myself with You completely. I want to die for You.’”
In his book WHEN JESUS SLEEPS, Archbishop Martinez encourages us: “The very state in which Jesus is found in the Most Holy Sacrament is a state of silence….He placed Himself in that state so that He might have nothing else to do but love…Let us not forget it: the summit of love is silence. Love that can still be expressed with words has not arrived at its perfection….Let us understand the silence of the Eucharist and put ourselves in unison with Jesus in that wondrous stillness.”
Our Lady of Silence will teach us this truth and in this, as in all aspects of Gospel life, Our Blessed Mother is our consolation, model, help, and protection.
The final word here, then, on being faithful to Jesus, soldiers of Christ, pilgrims of communion of love, is from Bl. Pope John Paul in his encyclical THE GOSPEL OF LIFE: “Mary…helps the Church to realize that life is always at the center of a great struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness….by His Incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every person…..Mary is a living word of comfort for the Church in her struggle against death. Showing us the Son, the Church assures us that in Him the forces of death have already been defeated…The Lamb who was slain is alive, bearing the marks of His passion in the splendour of the Resurrection….we…pilgrim people…people of life and for life, make our way in confidence to a new heaven and a new earth…O Mary, bright dawn of the new world, to you we entrust the cause of life: Look down, O Mother, upon the vast number of babies not allowed to be born, of the poor whose lives are made difficult, of men and women who are victims of brutal violence, of the elderly and the sick killed by indifference or out of misguided mercy. Grant that all who believe in your Son may proclaim the Gospel of life with honesty and love to the people of our time. Obtain for them grace to accept that Gospel as a gift ever new, the joy of celebrating it with gratitude throughout their lives and the courage to bear witness to it resolutely, in order to build, together will all people of good will, the civilization of truth and love, to the praise and glory of God, the Creator and lover of life.”

Thursday, February 02, 2012


Lest at this juncture we become anxious or discouraged this wisdom from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 395: “The power of satan is…not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God’s reign. Although satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and His kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries – of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature – to each man and to society, the action is permitted by Divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but ‘we know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him.’”
Love, rather than the death-darkness of hatred, building the civilization of love, is the heart of the struggle.
As Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Elder Zosima teaches in THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV: “….what is hell? I think it is the suffering of one who can no longer love….knowledge of active, living love….this is why that creature was given life on earth, and with it, time and space. And what happens? The privileged creature rejects that priceless gift, fails to appreciate it, does not even like it, sneers at it, and remains unmoved. When such a creature leaves the earth….when he is already in sight of heaven and allowed into the presence of the Lord, he is filled with suffering at the thought that he will appear before the Lord never having loved and will be brought into the presence of those who have loved him but whose love he has scorned…..”
That is the ultimate horror of satan and the damned.
Who among us would choose such darkness?
It is the absolute absence of Gospel love which facilitates all the factors that bring about the murderous action of aborting an unborn child, a tiny creature created by Love Himself to be beloved of Him, of us; it is the same absence which facilitates the contraceptive, pornographic, addicted, greedy, self-centered culture which denies the objective truth that every human being, from cradle to grave is, like myself, beloved in the image and likeness of God, a redeemed person, and as baptized persons living, breathing, acting temples of the Holy Spirit.
No wonder we Christians need to be soldiers of Christ, need the intervention of St. Michael, are warred against by satan. [Rev. 12]
Reflecting on the life of the patron of parish priests, St. John Vianney, and drawing on the wisdom of Pope Paul VI, Fr. George Rutler writes in his work THE CURE D’ARS TODAY: “The modern age, which has seen the power of evil so gigantically displayed, is also a time of disbelief in the existence of evil. In 1972 Pope Paul VI told nations reeling from hunger, violence, indolence, and nuclear threats that evil is not the absence of good: it is a ‘living, spiritual being’ who is perverted and perverts: ‘What are the greatest needs of the Church today? Do not let our answer surprise you as being over-simple or even superstitious and unreal: one of the greatest needs is defense from that evil which is called the devil.’ And he publicly lamented that the smoke of satan had even entered the Church. The warning redresses what had already become the quandary of Vianney’s progressivist culture. Father Ravignan said of the devils in the nineteenth century: ‘Their masterpiece, Sirs, has been to get themselves denied by the age.’”
Fr. Rutler also stresses, and this is vitally important for us to peacefully, with intimate confidence in Jesus never to forget: “The evil one terrorizes no one as much as he is terrified himself by Christ the Victor….”
Thus as we read in St. Mark and elsewhere in the Holy Gospel: “He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” [cf. Mk. 1: 21-28]
By His grace we are challenged to embrace the stark reality spiritual warfare is the nitty-gritty daily, even nightly for many souls, life of the Church Herself and of all the baptized.
Both Revelations 12 and St. Paul speaking to the Ephesians, chapter 6, underscore this reality: “…draw your strength from the Lord and from His mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded with truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the Gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones and also for me, that speech may be given to open my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the Gospel….” [V.10-19]
One of the challenges we face in spiritual warfare is, seeking always the grace of purity of heart, to express this with a pure mouth.
By this I mean not only avoiding swearing, blasphemy, telling off-coloured stories, and most critically never gossiping, but also never to speak ill of another, but always to speak with sincere charity.
Sometimes in the heat of the battle I have heard both clergy and laity speak ill of the ‘other side’.
In many Western countries a blatant example of unbridled and unholy converse can be found in the way, by their own words or advertisements, political candidates speak about each other.
St James teaches us: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not brindle his tongue but deceives his heart, his religion is vain. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world. [Ch. 1]
Jesus teaches us this about anger and forgiveness, the latter being the external expression of a heart which is pure, humble, meek like His own: “…whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement…[Mt. 5:22]…I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father..[Mt.5: 44, 45]…If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you your transgressions.” [Mt. 6: 14ff.]
Anything we do which is contrary to the teachings of Jesus, contrary to the Holy Gospel means we are if not deliberately, at least to a dangerous degree by slackness, withdrawing from the field of battle.
In this spiritual war there is no neutral ground.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


Again drawing from Jesus’ words in Mathew: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me…behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” [Mt.28: 16-20]
Again and again as we reflect upon the mystery and reality of spiritual warfare we do well to keep before the eyes of our hearts the salient truth that Christ IS risen, He IS with us.
In his novel ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, Cormac McCarthy, has characters reflect thus: “Rawlins leaned and tipped the ash from his cigarette into the fire and leaned back. ‘You ever think about dyin? Yeah. Some. You think there’s a heaven? Yeah. Don’t you? I don’t know. Yeah. Maybe. You think you can believe in heaven if you don’t believe in hell? I guess you can believe what you want to.’”
In those few lines of dialogue we find clues to the core malaise of our over indulged culture, a culture of relativism and death, of anxiety and violence, of addiction and extremes between those who have so much, those who have so little, a culture in the darkness of so much anger and divisions, hated and war.
We have been created by Love for love, by Life for life, by Light for light.
Even within the depths of their being every person hungers for love, life, light and for the baptized this hunger is, or should be if we open to it, urgent!
The urgency is for fullness of communion of love with the Most Holy Trinity.
The one who refused communion of love for the eternal stench of hatred and aloneness, is what has him so dangerously jealous of us and why he wages war against Love; he chose the eternal cold of darkness, for the fires of hell burn not with warmth but with the scalding relentlessness of liquid nitrogen; he assaults us not because he cares a wit about us but because of his hatred of Jesus.
When I glance out of the windows of my urban hermitage into the alley and see men and women, homeless dumpster divers, I can observe them with prayerful love and compassion as my brothers and sisters, or I can chose to judge them as anything ranging from dirty to druggies or whatever.
I mention this because one of the ways the evil one weakens our being in union with Jesus in the battles of spiritual warfare is to suggest judgment.
We Christians should be observant about the reality of the culture of death, however if we are to be faithful to the Gospel mandate: “…do not judge that you may not be judged….” [cf. Mt.7:1-5].
Commenting on this, Erasmo Levi-Merikakis, in his book FIRE OF MERCY HEART OF THE WORLD, notes: “ The important nuance here is that, if we do not judge others, most likely others will go on judging us, but God will not judge us, and that one Judgement at the threshold of eternity is the only crucial one…If I had the mind of God I would forgive all, which means I would sustain rather than judge, or, better still, my very judgement would consist of forgiveness, because it would judge the misery and plight that underline most human actions.”
If we be still for a few moments and reflect honesty about abortion, domestic violence, Islamists, clerical abuse, a particular political party or whatever pushes us towards unbridled emotion/harsh thinking, we will discover how indeed we judge and whether or not we have the mind and heart of Christ.
Satan relies on human harshness and hatred, judgement and un-forgiveness, on anger because these emotional whirlpools sap our spiritual strength and distract us from being truly Christlike lights in the darkness.
In Revelation we are given a further insight into the mind and heart of God who, long before He is shown releasing the horsemen, the Lord casts His gaze upon the Church, upon us, lamenting from His heart: “…I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent, and do the works you did at first.” [Rev. 2:4, 5] – and – “…I know your works; I know that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.’ [Rev.3:15, 16]
Once again we are reminded the first place of battle within this war is in the depths of our own being.
To be engaged in spiritual warfare is always the struggle to be faithful to our baptismal vocation, to be converted anew each day, cooperating with the action of the Holy Spirit within us as each day we take up our cross, His cross, and follow Jesus.
Anything less is surrender to being at the very least, cold of heart and soul, clearly at the very worst to be lukewarm.
The first letter of St. Peter, in a sense the first papal encyclical, is another template for how to live as faithful Christians, to embrace suffering as individuals, as Church [cf. 1 Pt. 1-5:7] and urges us to: “ Be sober and alert for your opponent the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” [v.8ff.]
The Servant of God, Catherine Doherty, in her book SOUL OF MY SOUL, expresses everything discussed here very bluntly: “What is He calling us to? He is calling us to what each of us most deeply desires. He is calling us to a life that will bear fruit, for sterility is the most tragic thing that can happen to us. Remember the parable of the fig tree? God offers us fertility. He offers us a life of unimaginable fruitfulness, because He offers us the possibility of helping Him build His kingdom. What is that kingdom? It is you and me, and the girl who takes drugs, and the alcoholic down the street. His kingdom is the lame and the blind, the lonely and the jobless, the rich and the poor. It includes all human races. It is the whole world.”
Are we then through our struggle to be faithful, through our prayer and action, crying out for Divine Mercy for every human being, crying with the Church, maranatha! Come back to us Jesus, or through our lack of faith, repentance, love, lukewarmness, have be we deliberately or inadvertently through our fascination with or surrender to the culture of darkness and death become conjurers?
“Macbeth: How now, you secret, black and midnight hags, What is’t you? All the witches: A deed without a name. Macbeth: I conjure you by that which you profess, howe’er you come to know it, answer me, though you untie the winds and let them fight against the churches, though the yeasty waves confound and swallow navigation up, though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down, though castles topple on their warder’s heads, though palaces and pyramids do slope their heads to their foundations, though the treasure of nature’s garments tumble all together even till destruction sicken, answer me, to what I ask you.
First witch: Speak. Second witch: Demand. Third witch: We’ll answer. First witch: Say if thou’dst rather hear it from our mouths or from out masters. Macbeth: Call’em, let me see’em.”
Shakespeare above, and in his own fashion Dostoevsky in novels, reveal this horrific human tendency to dabble in, or choose to invoke, powers and spirits of darkness and death, for example through the occult/pornography as two blatant examples, but we can also do so by giving into anger, hatred, ego, greed, etc..
We have Jesus, Mary, St. Joseph, St. Michael the Archangel indeed all the Angels and Saints for guidance and protection from every activity of evil spirits.
Most importantly we have Jesus Himself in the Holy Eucharist. Frequent participation, humbly, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and most critically in Holy Mass and Holy Communion envelops us with sacred shields, gives us a holy sword with which to battle the enemy.
In his work, in particular in his book HEALING YOUR FAMILY TREE, Fr. Hampsch teaches how we may indeed by impacted by the actions of others, warning clearly that: ``We must look particularly for involvement either in drugs or in the occult, which most often opens the door to evil spirits; also where there has been activity of a bizarre sexual nature. Within the occult, some practices are more deleterious, more dangerous, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. For instance, astrology is certainly a dangerous practice but nowhere near as dangerous as satan worship. Within the range of occultic practices, things…spawning demonic intervention would include astrology….the use of Ouija boards, consulting mediums, engaging in séances, using tarot cards,…fortune-telling….The prayer for relieving such bondage must involve exercise of consummate faith in Jesus [Mk.9:23]and spiritual maturity reflected in prayer and fasting. [v.29]