Monday Pope Francis gave a homily at daily masses whose main points should be taken to heart by every Christian in general and Catholic in particular:
Beware, the Pope warned, of the devil’s seduction.
“The devil is a seducer,” Francis reminded, saying, he “knows what words to tell us” and this is dangerous as “we like to be seduced.”
“He has this ability; this ability to seduce. This is why it is so difficult to understand that he is a loser, because he presents himself with great power, promises you many things, brings you gifts – beautiful, well wrapped – -‘Oh, how nice!’ – but you do not know what’s inside – ‘But, the card outside is beautiful.’ The package seduces us without letting us see what’s inside. He can present his proposals to our vanity, to our curiosity.”
His light, Francis said, is dazzling, but it vanishes.
More importantly he advises not having a dialog with him
Do not converse with the devil
Finally, we must be careful not to dialogue with the devil as Eve did. Jesus does not dialogue in the desert, but rather responds with the Word of God. He hunts the demons, sometimes he asks for his name but does not make a dialogue with them.
And gives first rate advice on what to do when confronted by this enemy:
in the end, go to the mother, like children. When the children are afraid, they go to the mother: ‘Mom, mom … I’m scared!’ When they have dreams … they go to their mothers.
“Go to the Madonna; she guards us. And the Fathers of the Church, especially the Russian mystics, say: in the time of spiritual turmoil, take refuge under the mantle of the great Mother of God. Go to the Mother. May she help us in this fight against the defeated, against the chained dog to win it.”
Pope Francis concluded, urging us always to seek refuge in the Mother of God.
And offers this prayer
Our Lady Queen of the Rosary, pray that Jesus may have mercy on us sinners.
As I said when I announced my three days of fasting and prayer for the Church while this pope has been a mediocre one at best one of the best things about him has been his constant reminders that the Devil is real, cunning and needs to be resisted.
This morning I posted two statuses on my Facebook page that received a lot of reaction. The one I want to discuss is this one.
There are two types which are the opposing sides of the same coin: “Trump-worshippers” and “Trump AntiChristers[i].” The first group is much more vocal than the last one (coined by me), but they have the same MO. One group says that you will go to Hell if you didn’t vote for Donald Trump; the other says that you will go to Hell if you did. And both groups can take scripture and twist it into something unrecognizable to prove their respective conclusions.
Prophets[ii], all–according to them–and for such people, there is no middle ground.
Both types are rooted in denial of the sovereignty of God, to put it mildly. They invert this admonition.
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
This type of thinking is the result of an erosion of our civic education and the resultant erosion of the separation of powers. Because the executive and judicial branches have become so powerful and the legislative branch so craven, we accept that power imbalance without thinking it over too much or at all.
Thus, we unconsciously inculcate the presidency with God-like authority—an authority which it was never meant to have. Many think that the abdication of legislative powers started when Barack Obama became President, but that’s very wrong.
The erosion of biblical education has run parallel to that of civics. Trump worshippers have called Donald Trump the New Nebuchadnezzar or the New Cyrus—both biblical foreign kings who held ancient Judah in captivity after the dissolution of the United Kingdom of Israel and the first sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of Solomon’s Temple.
Is Trump foreign? Is he a monarch? Has America been razed and all Americans been carried off into a foreign land? Has Washington, DC been sacked? Does America have a singular Temple/Church building? You get the point.
As for Trump AntiChristers, they say, because of his political flip-floppery and his moral flaws, that anyone who votes for him is damned by God—not just the worshippers. Anyone.
I recall one criteria for human beings to be eternally saved and two commandments from my Lord and Savior; none of them have anything to do with voting. And I don’t even believe that Christians who voted for Clinton will be damned. Corrected by listening to God, but not damned.
So, it is that many are driven emotionally—driven by fear of things other than God–when presidential elections come around. They view their candidate as the savior from the last ruler, the like-minded as fellow believers, the opposing candidate(s) as the Devil, and skeptics/political opponents as unbelievers/heretics. Corresponding reactions follow.
It’s always about God. When He’s missing in the soul of anyone, that person will allow something or someone else to fill the void and they will call it “God.” And that goes also for many who say they are Christians.
Earlier today, I opined that chaotic thinking is one of the wiles of the Enemy, meaning the Devil.
Chaotic thinking is mostly jumbled thinking, and I suffer from it. There are so many thoughts whirling around in this head that it’s difficult to put them in some semblance of order, as I’ve whined about many times. But I think also that chaotic thinking can disguise itself as ordered: the inability to think the unthinkable. We all do this, too. We wall “crazy” ideas and approaching bad stuff out of our consciousness, and, because of that mental block, we refuse to prepare ourselves for the bad stuff. Many who do this habitually, lose their sanity when the bad stuff can no longer be ignored. Some commit suicide, as we saw in the wake of the 2008 Financial Crisis.
…a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster and its possible effects. This may result in situations where people fail to adequately prepare and, on a larger scale, the failure of governments to include the populace in its disaster preparations.
The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred, it never will occur. It can result in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.
As I watch what’s going on far outside of my door, horrible things are becoming more and more thinkable.
From a friend whose normalcy bias is also falling away:
You start to see the evidence, but ignore it…sort of. You think of arguments for the ‘defense’ of why it’s not necessarily true. But..something nags at you…
“No! That cannot be true!” That spot is not cancer; that money has to be there; the preacher did not lie; that man is not cheating; that child is not addicted…. A time comes when the evidence cannot be ignored. That’s a hard truth. It makes you hurt in your soul.
I think that is where we are in the US right now. The whole world actually.
Our Enemy—the author of world chaos–wants us biased by normalcy and, therefore, disarmed against him, his servants, and his unwitting dupes. He wants us un-shielded–spiritually, emotionally, and, yes, physically. So, armed with that knowledge, what are you going to do about it?
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Screwtape: Keep everything hazy in his mind now, and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the peculiar kind of clarity which Hell affords.
C. S. Lewis The Screwtape Letters
The Rosary is the Weapon for these times
St. Padre Pio
Friday was rather odd. While I fully expected the result in the Supreme Court concerning Gay marriage like a lot of Christians I found myself in despair for my country and for the seemingly inevitable persecution that will be coming our way.
When I turned on the TV and saw that everywhere those in the left and media (but I repeat myself) were in full celebration mode it was simply too much to watch it was like watching the people on the Titanic celebrating as the ship headed to sea.
On twitter it was not much better as people where doing their best to rub noses into it finally I saw a tweet lighting up Disney in Gay colors and tweeted thus in reply
While the Devil will use politics like anything else as a tool he is not about politics he is about individual result. This exchange from the movie: The Devil and Daniel Webster puts it well:
Daniel Webster:Mr. Stone is an American citizen… and an American citizen cannot be forced into the service of a foreign prince. Mr. Scratch:Foreign? Who calls me a foreigner? Daniel Webster:Well, I never heard of the de… I never heard of you claiming American citizenship. Mr. Scratch:And who has a better right? When the first wrong was done to the first Indian, I was there. When the first slaver put out for the Congo, I stood on the deck. Am I not still spoken of in every church in New England? It’s true the North claims me for a Southerner and the South for a Northerner, but I’m neither. Tell the truth, Mr. Webster – though I don’t like to boast of it – my name is older in the country than yours.
The Devil & Daniel Webster 1941
What the Devil wants from us is >spiritual pride. He wants us to revel in the fact that WE as believing Christians would never have made this decision so destructive of the sacraments of heaven and the will of God. As if the very fact of our opposition to this measure takes the place of our baptism or the absolution of the priests after we say our act of contrition. Forget our own faults, forget our own envy, lusts, sloth, gluttony, greed or wrath. We have saved ourselves by the mere public twitter pronouncement of our opposition to such people rather than humbling ourselves before Christ in contrition for our own sins. As Al Pacino once put it in a famous move ending:
We (like those who are attacking us) forget the passage from Luke:
When the days for his being taken up were fulfilled, he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem and he sent messengers ahead of him. On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for his reception there, but they would not welcome him because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” Jesus turned and rebuked them,
Luke 9 51-55
Note what Christ did here, he didn’t rebuke the Samaritans who rejected him , he rebuked his disciples for their lack of mercy.
Now does this mean we should stop speaking out against Gay Marriage? Not in the least. Does this mean that we should stop making the rational arguments inherent in our cause? Absolutely not! Does that mean we should not make pols who choose to abandon this fight for the sake of convenience pay? definitely not!
What then does it mean we should do.
Pray as St. Paul writes, without ceasing. Pray for our country, pray for ourselves, pray for those on the other side, not for political conversion per se, that’s another version of “I’m holier than thou” but for God’s grace to touch them and help them in their lives. I suggest the Perpetual twitter Novena but whatever prayer you choose to use, pray.
Prayer, not pride That is the key as Fr. Allen MacDonald rightly put it at Southern Orders (bold italics his)
What about the damnation of souls! The Church’s primary mission is the salvation of souls and of the world to the ends of the world. In saving souls we build a just society, yes, this is true, but the just society building doesn’t come first for the Church the saving of souls does and the other things follow!
We are tempted to say that such souls- or such residual puddles of what once was soul- are
hardly worth damning. Yes, but the Enemy-for whatever inscrutable and Perverse reason-thought them worth trying
to save. Believe me, He did.
And the next time you feel tempted to play parry and reposte with someone onlnie remember that screwtape’s words and Fr. MacDonald’s words are both directed at us. Never forget the very first soul we are called upon to bring to salvation is our own.
#prayernotpride that is the hastag we should answer with.
THE latest craze to take over Twitter has participants trying to summon a Mexican demon called Charlie using an Ouija-board-style ritual then posting videos of their experiences online.
Said by some to be an “ancient Mexican tradition”, the so-called CharlieCharlieChallenge requires positioning two pencils on top of one another to form a cross on a piece of paper. The words “Yes” and “No” are written on each of the quadrants formed by the pencils on the page.
I can think of no better time than to post part 3 of my interview with former New Age follower turned Catholic Evangelist Moira Noonan along with Fr. Romain Rurangirwa a survivor of the Rwanda genocide
Here are parts one and two are here and my Interview with Fr. Romain is here.
Seeing the story of the “Charlie” cult and understanding the incredible danger these idiots are putting themselves in I can’t help but think of this line from the Screwtape letters by C.S. Lewis and consider it prophetic:
When humans disbelieve in our existence we lose all the pleasing results of direct terrorism and we make no magicians. On the other hand, only believe in us, we cannot make the materialists and ethics. At least, not yet. I have great hopes that we shall learn in due time how to emotional lies and mythologize their science to such an extent that what is, in effect, a belief in us (though not under that name) will creep in while the human mind remains closed to believe in the Enemy. The “Life Force,” the worship of sex, and other aspects of psychoanalysis, may here prove useful. If once we can produce are perfect work — the materialist magician, the man, not using, but veritably worshiping, what he vaguely calls “Forces” while denying the existence of “spirits” — the end of the war will be in sight.
I wonder if our atheistic friends who mock our worship of God will have absolutely any problem with this.
Cracker:You loved David, you love a man you make love with a man, you have a baby, but babies cost money, there’s never enough money, so you talk about abortion , you go and see Michael, his advice what does Michael say?
Maggie Harvey:Michael says we will always be welcome in his church no matter what I do.
Fr. Michael Harvey:I was trying to make it easier for you.
Maggie Harvey:I didn’t want it made easier, I wanted you to say ‘No’. I’m a good Catholic I believe, I go along to my priest a lifetime of sacrifice and all I ask for is to protect the child in my womb, but he won’t.
In the Catholic church for example priests, Bishops and even Popes still go to confession because they are not free from sin. Those confessors are also in a way coaches, helping people through the tough times.
And that takes me to the specific case of Jerry DeWitt who is mentioned in the CNN article. It’s very clear from his own words where his problems began:
As a young fresh-faced minister, DeWitt was first confronted with his disbelief when he “became the person who got the burden of preaching about hell,” he said. “I really loved the people I preached to, I loved them like family. So imagine preaching that if you don’t do this, you are going to burn in hell. That wasn’t easy for me.”
“It wasn’t easy for me”. This isn’t a question of doubt it’s was laziness, unwilling to talk about a harsh reality because of how it made him feel Think about that for a second:
Imagine if your doctor was not willing to tell his patients about a disease that could kill them because “he loved the patients” and “it wasn’t easy for him”.
Imagine if a parent unwilling to correct their children from doing wrong because “they love their child” and “it wasn’t easy for them”
Imagine if your accountant was unwilling to tell you about financial issues because “he loves his client” and “it wasn’t easy for him”.
In fact we see it in Washington today with elected officials unwilling to solve our financial issues because they love the people and “it isn’t easy for them”
In other words, he wanted to be liked. It’s difficult to be liked when you are telling unpleasant truths that people might not want to hear, even if Christ himself said they where true.
There is a reason Pride is first on the list of deadly sins.
What we have here isn’t someone who had disbelief, he had discomfort and because apparently he didn’t share his discomfort with someone with more experience who might have counseled him. If he had asked me I would have quoted one of my very first posts:
Some argue that a good God would not allow such a thing, yet they don’t question that a good law (against murder for example) may cause a person to be imprisoned for life or worse. It isn’t bad law its the offenders bad choice that makes him liable to judgment.
Our unwillingness as people to face that fact is not unlike an overweight person avoiding a scale or a person sick unwilling to see a doctor. It is much easier to avoid an unpleasant truth than to confront it and do something about it. To the degree that Satan is active this is by design, denial works in his favor
The Devil is a psychologist and a con man rolled into one and will always steer us toward the easier more comfortable choice. Of course he could have talked to people of more experience, who could have provided some answers, but again the sin of pride, I don’t need anyone else help or opinions I can do it all myself.
After doubts about hell, DeWitt began to research other schools of thought about God and belief. He began to develop other doubts, about certain biblical translations and about healing.
And of course the rest for Mr. DeWitt is history. He has the rest of his life to decide otherwise, but if he continues on this path the CNN article will make him popular with many in the media, he will appear on TV, he will be lionized, he will never lack for speaking opportunities with crowds of people cheering him while others less apparently and thus not able to fuel his ego will be silently praying for him and if those prayer are not answered affirmatively, if he hears the voices of the crowd above the silent voice whose message he decided was too hard to express he will achieve the fame and respect he desires and will be held up as an example to others for the rest of his life…
…after that he’s on his own. I wish him the best of luck in making that decision.
In the story there is a coincidental coalition between the increased prosperity and the murder of the children to please the “spirits”. To a non-Christian it is simple superstition nonsense about spirits and forces.
To a Christian it’s not nonsense, it has a name:
While to the non-believer death is the ultimate of ills, to Satan and his angels it’s both a limiting factor:
I know it seems strange that your chief aim at the moment should be the very same thing for which the patient’s lover and his mother are praying—namely his bodily safety. But so it is; you should be guarding him like the apple of your eye. If he dies now, you lose him. If he survives the war, there is always hope.
I am not in the least interested in knowing how many people in England have been killed by bombs. In what state of mind they died, I can learn from the office at this end. That they were going to die sometime, I knew already. Please keep your mind on your work,
It isn’t a question of the death of a child it is the question of the acquisition of a sole that produces value for hell and the concept of trading one’s soul for wealth, power or pleasure has been a staple of Western Civilization for centuries from Dr. Faustus to the Twilight Zone.
I don’t know if these people are making a deal with the devil or not but since the reality of Satan and Hell are intrinsic to Christian belief it certainly makes perfect sense for Satan to pay the requested price.
After all the coin involved is transitory, while the damnation is forever.