A Church in Crisis

The Crowning with Thorns

(The Crowning with Thorns by Caravaggio)

Dear Brother’s and Sisters in Christ,

The Church is in crisis. I do not mean that she is at a breaking point, as though she were about to collapse under the intense weight of sin; but, rather, I mean that She is in crisis because she has reached a critical point in Her life, if we want to use such terms. A great scar has blemished the face of the impeccable Bride of Christ, and this scar is the sexual abuse that has recently been revealed to have been taken place at the hands of Her ministers. Now, this has rightly merited a response from the faithful, as such a horrendous crime cannot be ignored; however, how we respond is of the utmost importance. As it stands, people have responded in one of three ways. The first way is to remain ignorant and avoid the issue altogether, hoping that it will be lost in the passion of history. However, as we have already said, a sin of this caliber not only necessitates a response on the part of the faithful, but demands one. The second option is to walk away, to abandon the Church in this hour of darkness and turn towards “greener pastures”, as it were. The third option is to stay and fight for Holy Mother Church, to cleanse the abscess of sin that has formed in Her beautiful countenance, to pray for reform and mercy for those that are in Her leadership and to pray for healing for those who were victimized and abused.

Hopefully, I pray, it is obvious which stance I take; for there can only be one right, just, and proper response to this grotesque defilement: we must stay and fight. Why stay and fight? Because there is no salvation outside of the Church. Or, in other words, there is no salvation separate from Christ. Now, the question arises, why can I not leave the Church and still remain Christian too. After all, there are numerous sects of Christianity (More than 40,000 established denominations alone) that I could join and still love Christ. But, I must maintain that it is impossible to leave the Church and still love Christ, and here’s why. Imagine for a moment that a couple has been married for a number of years, and each professed to love each other more than anything, after all they made this vow to one another on their wedding day. Now, imagine that one day the wife came to the husband and said, “You know that I love you, but I really don’t feel like living with you anymore, so I’m going to go and live with a friend. Oh, but don’t worry, I still love you and I’ll still be thinking about you, but I just can’t actually be with you anymore because the house is a mess and the kids are kinda rotten; but don’t worry, I still love you.” Can you imagine anyone doing this? The sad reality is that people do this all the time, but is this love? The answer is unequivocally no. If you love someone, you do not abandon them, rather you suffer with them. This is, after all, the root of the word compatibility (from the Latin compati which means “to suffer with”).

In much the same way, we are the Church, and so we are the Bride of Christ; and to leave the Church now when it is in most need of Her Children to stand up and fight for Her sanctity is to be no different, and actually more grave, than a wife leaving her husband (or vice versa) in the above mentioned scenario. If we really love Christ and if we really take Him on His word when He said that “the gates of hell shall never prevail against it (the Church)” (Mt. 16:18), then to abandon the Church is to doubt Christ. Additionally, as the Bride of Christ, the Church is nuptially united to Christ, and so they are “one flesh” (Mk. 10:8). Therefore, to abandon the Church is to abandon Christ. We cannot abandon Christ. Why would we dare abandon the one who gave everything for us? The Eternal God who became man so that we men might become God.*

I think that it is important to always keep in mind that the Church is not holy because Her members are holy, but because Her true head, Jesus Christ, is holy; and if we do abandon the Bride of Christ because of sins of men, as grave and heinous as they might be, it is only because our love was not rooted in Christ. Brother’s and Sisters, I must implore you to remain strong in your faith and to pray for our priests and Bishops, especially those who are guilty of these crimes. Pray that those who are innocent will continue to grow in all virtue and holiness, that they may be given the grace to truly imitate Christ and love their Bride as “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27). Pray that those who are guilty will be led by the Spirit to repentance and contrition, so that they may experience the love and mercy of Christ on the Cross and may merit, by the grace of God, the rewards of eternal life. Pray that those who were victimized and abused will receive healing and peace in this time of great distress, that they too may grow in all virtue and holiness, imitation Christ even to the point to cry out, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:24).

One last closing thought: It is Catholic belief that Christ took on the sins of mankind and that He knew them; and yet despite knowing the horrible acts that all mankind had committed, were committing, and would commit, He still gave Himself up on the Cross, enduring intense suffering and torture for our sake. The crimes of those who committed the grave acts of sexual abuse are horrendous and inexcusable and they will be held accountable for them before God, there is not denying that. Christ knew them at His death and He still went through with it out of love for us, His Bride. With all of this in mind, I earnestly beg you to remain with Christ, to fight for His Bride, Holy Mother Church, and to defend Her integrity by praying for Her sinful members and by doing what you can to clean out the sin and disfigurement that has crept into Her Body. Stay strong my friends, and may God bless you.

In the love and peace of Christ,

Bryce C. Arnett

Related image

Should Pope Francis Resign?

Prayerful Pontiff

The question as to whether or not Pope Francis should resign has been causing me a lot of discontentment recently, for a variety of reasons. Firstly, I have always had a bit of mixed feelings about our current Pontiff because he has been pretty vague in a lot of his teaching on important matters, which causes opportunity for some of his flock to stray the wrong way; but at the same time I have seen him do many things that are truly done out of love for Christ. So, while he lacked clarity in word, he exemplified the Gospel in deed. The Church, however, needs clarity and exemplification in both word and deed, and so I’ve had some mixed feelings about our current Pontiff. Secondly, it is precisely because I have seen so much love present in His Holiness’ ministry that I am so shocked and appalled that he would fail to even comment on the horrendous actions committed by the very men in our hierarchy who were supposed to be shepherding and protecting us. I have read Archbishop Vigano’s letter, and I find the allegations contained therein to be credible and so I believe that they ought to be investigated with the utmost care. Now, do I think that Pope Francis ought to resign? The short answer is that I simply do not know if he should or not. The Pope is Christ’s vicar here on earth, the physical head of Holy Mother Church, who is appointed by sinful men, yes, but more importantly by the Holy Spirit. Have there been horrible Popes? ABSOLUTELY. Has God protected and guided the Church despite these horrible men? ABSOLUTELY. I hesitate, however, to say definitively whether or not Pope Francis should resign, and here’s why. The last Pope to resign from his office was Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and he only did so because he discerned that his deteriorating health left him unfit to properly carry out his ministry as Pope. Before him was Pope Gregory XII in 1415, who resigned to put an end to the Western Schism; and before him was Pope Saint Celestine V, who saw it befitting to resign because he was incompetent in the office and fell under the influence of secular political leaders. St. Celestine was also the first Pontiff to officially resign and put forth the canon on Papal resignation. The reason I bring up these past Popes who have resigned is because I want to highlight the fact that each Pontiff who resigned did so freely, as the canon says, and because they sought to protect the Church or because they recognized that they could not shepherd the Church of Christ in the capacity that they were called to. So, this in mind, if I am forced to have an opinion on the matter, this is what I have to say: If Pope Francis is unwilling to shepherd his flock through these harsh time, if he is unwilling to take the necessary steps to clean out the abscess that has formed in Holy Mother Church, and if he honestly and truly realizes that he does not have it within him to do what he needs to do as the Supreme Pontiff, as Christ’s physical head here on earth, then he needs to resign; because it is the duty of the Pope to protect and shepherd the Bride of Christ, dying to himself so that She may be “holy and without blemish.” Also, if the allegations in Archbishop Vigano’s letter turn out to be true and His Holiness was in fact complicit, then I personally think that it would be right and proper for His Holiness to abdicate the papal throne and dispatch himself along with the other Bishops who were complicit in these heinous crimes. Conversely, if the Pope is not guilty and not complicit and if, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, he is able to remedy to the best of his ability the evils that have occurred within Holy Mother Church, then there is no need for him to resign. If the Pope is innocent and he allows himself to truly and fully be the servant of Christ that he has always claimed himself to be, then our Holy and Beloved Lord will lead his Holy Bride out of this darkness through his Vicar. I know it seems like a cop out answer, that I am saying “well, maybe he should or maybe he shouldn’t”, but I truly think that this is the reality of the situation. There are a lot of things left unknown to us currently, and so I cannot honestly and definitely subscribe to one side or the other. I just really hope that Pope Francis does whatever is best for the Church with no regard to personal consequences, and I hope that we do the same. For the time being, however, it is up to us to pray continuously for our priests and Bishops, for our Holy Father, and for Holy Mother Church. God bless.

Now is the Time to FIGHT

Cries From the Garden

The Angel Comforts Christ

by Nicholas Hunter Hitz

Where/what was the Mountain of Olives? The Mount of Olives was located just to the east of Jerusalem. Jesus particularly went up to the southwest slope to Gethsemane, which means “oil press”. Jesus went up to pray here because he knew that his hour had come. The hour that he knew that he was about to lay down the single greatest sacrifice in all of human history. Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John. The three main leaders of the disciples. He took these three for a important reason. In verse 34 of the 14th chapter of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus tells them that “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch over me”. Jesus asked them to pray that they would not fall into temptation, because he knew that he would soon be leaving them. Jesus also knew that they would need extra strength to face the temptations ahead- temptations to turn and run or to deny their relationship with him. They were ultimately about to see their friend, their teacher, die a horrible and gruesome death. Would they still believe he was the Messiah after he died? But honestly, the disciples’ strongest temptation would be
to think that they had been deceived. Also, if Jesus Christ had to pray during a time of temptation. How much more do we need to pray? He was tempted in all aspects of life just like us, only He never sinned. Jesus drew on the Fathers protection and power in this time of need. After this Jesus walks on a few paces more and drops to his knees and starts to pray: “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Mk. 14:36). While
praying, Jesus was aware of what doing the Father’s will would cost him. He knew what was about to happen, and He truly did not want to have to go through it, but Jesus prayed, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (MK. 14:36). Anything worth truly having, truly has a price. What does our commitment to God cost us? We must be willing to give everything that we have, to gain what is priceless- eternal life.  If you look in Luke’s account of the Agony in the Garden, Luke states that a angel came down to
give Christ strength. And in ch 22 verse 44, “He prayed more fervently and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood”. Jesus was in so much agony and under so much stress that an angel from Heaven had to come and give him strength, and his sweat turned to blood. The medical name for sweating blood is called Hermatidrosis. The cause of Hermatidrosis is the
bursting of capillaries, which feeds blood to the sweat glands. The sweat glands then begin to ooze blood. This condition can be brought on by extreme stress or anguish. Luke’s account is the only one of the four Gospels to include the fact that Jesus sweat turned into blood. Jesus was in extreme agony, but he did not give up or give in. Even though the stress truly almost killed him, He continued on with the mission
that was laid out before him by the Father. Then Jesus came down to the disciples after his near death encounter to find the disciples asleep. Jesus tells Peter to “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mk. 14:38). Jesus used Peter’s drowsiness to warn him about the kinds of temptations he would soon face. The way to overcome temptation is to keep
alert and pray. Keeping alert means being aware of the possibilities of temptations, being sensitive to the subtleties, and spiritually equipped to fight it. Because temptations strikes where we weakest and more prone to fall. We can’t resist temptation on our own, and we don’t have too. Prayer is a very useful, even essential, because God’s strength makes up our defenses and is the ultimate way for us to defeat Satan.


The Annunciation: Mary’s Motherhood

The Annunciation

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you! (Lk. 1:28) 

Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb, Jesus! (Lk. 1:42)

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

DO YOU LOVE YOUR MOTHER? If you do, great! If you do not, then start. I ask this question in two respects. The first is quite obvious: your earthly mother, the woman who bore you in her womb for 9 months and then went through excruciating pain to bring you into this world. The woman who worked, cried, laughed, and sacrificed with you and for you your entire life. When I was younger, I would have this competition with my parents about who loved who most, and each of them would respond in different ways. The exchange I would like to focus on right now is that which I had with my own mom. It would go something like this:

Me: I love you!

Mudder: I love you too.

Me: I love you more!

Mudder: I love you more.

Me: I love you most!

Mudder: No, I love you most.

Me: I’ve loved you my whole life!

Mudder: I’ve loved you your whole life, and since before you were born.

At that point I knew I couldn’t win, she had me beat, she had loved me since before I was born, and this is true for all mothers. They knew us and they nurtured us long before we were even aware we existed, from the very beginning they have loved us; and, it is due to this love, love that has been there since before we were born, love that inspired us and supported us, cared for us and demanded of us and nurtured us, that we owe the utmost love and respect to our mothers. This is why I say that if you do not love your mothers, start right now.

The second respect is less obvious, unfortunately, especially in our day and age: Our Heavenly Mother, Mary. This woman is absolutely amazing, for a variety of reasons.


Just to list a few. Mary is an absolutely incredible woman, and if you don’t believe me, allow me the opportunity to explain to you just how awesome she is. So, first of all, at the time of the Annunciation, which can be found in the Gospel of Luke chapter one, verses 26-38, Mary was approximately 14 years old. Now, imagine that you’re Mary, only 14 years old and sitting in your garden when all of a sudden an angelic being, resplendent with glory, appears to you and proclaims, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” Now, all throughout scripture, whenever an angel appears to a human, they always begin with saying, “Be not afraid,” but not here. Why? Well, for one, Mary was not afraid. A 14 year old girl is not afraid at the apparition of an angelic being when countless full-grown warrior men throughout Sacred Scripture were. However, scripture does say that she was troubled, but not by the angel, but rather by his greeting, “full of grace.” Then, Scripture says, “she considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.” Only people who are calm consider things in their mind, Mary was calm; and she was calm for the exact reason that Gabriel said: she was “full of grace.”

What does it mean that Mary was full of grace? If you are familiar with the hierarchy of being, then you know that angels are higher than us in this hierarchy. They are purely spiritual beings that possess both a will and an intellect and they are constantly worshiping God in the Beatific Vision; they have the grace of literally being in God’s presence, which is the highest thing that any existing thing can attain to. Yet, Gabriel, one of the seven Archangels who stands before the Throne of God Almighty, appears to this young, innocent village girl and says to her, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” What does this mean? There are several things going on here. First of all, there is the Immaculate Conception. If you are not sure what the Immaculate Conception is, don’t feel too bad, there are a lot of Catholics who are not familiar with it either; however, this does need to be remedied. The Church’s dogma (which means that the Church had definitively stated that this is the way it is, so you must believe this) on the Immaculate Conception says this, “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.”  What this means is this:

  1. The Immaculate Conception refers to the conception of Mary, free and completely untouched by original sin. This does not refer to the birth of Christ.
  2. Mary is not some sort of exception to God’s plan for salvation, and by this I mean, she, like every other human being, receives salvation and freedom from sin by the merits of her beloved son on the Cross. But, how can she be kept free from original sin prior to her conception when Christ did not die on the cross until after she was born? This question is confusing because to our human brains, this makes no logical sense; however, since God is outside of time and eternal, He is able to apply the graces of Christ’s sacrifice to anyone at anytime. Such is the power and love of God.
  3. Mary was preserved from sin because she was the one chosen by God, from all eternity, to bear the Son of God in her very womb. God is perfect, therefore His mother would also need to be perfect; and so God made His mother perfect. Mary’s humanity is second only to that of the Sacred Humanity of Christ, but she is the most perfect mere creature. She is not God, but she is the mother of God, and even though she is His mother, her Son exceeds her.


How, then, are we to love our Heavenly Mother? First of all, how do we even know that she is our mother? There are many Protestant groups who do not view Mary as any more special than any of the other Saints in heaven, and because of this do not view her as their mother. However, like any good mother, she is always there for her children whether they know it or not. There is scriptural evidence for this though, and it appears in the Gospel of John:

When Jesus saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing near, He said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home (Jn. 19:26-27).

Some, however, say that isn’t proof that Christ gave His mother to us, all that the Scripture says is that Christ gave His mother to the “disciple whom He loved.” This is a fair objection, I’m not denying that it isn’t, because they would be right. Literally, the Scripture only says that He gave His mother to the “disciple whom He loved,” which Church tradition identifies as the Apostle John. However, when we are interpreting scripture, there is always a spiritual sense behind the literal sense. The literal sense in this instance is that Christ is giving Mary to His closest friend (which is also proof for the perpetual virginity of Mary, because the way that society worked then was that the next of kin would take her in, ie., a brother). However, the wording here is important. Christ gave His mother to His disciple whom He loved, and are we not also His disciple whom He loves? Are we not followers of Christ? Do we not know that Christ loves us? If we don’t believe that Christ loves us, we need to go back and read Scripture again, especially the Gospels. The spiritual sense behind the giving of His mother to the “disciple whom He loved” is that Christ gives His very own mother to us, for us to “take into our home.” Our “home” can mean many things. It can mean our literal home, the home that we live in with our family, where we learn to love Mary with the rest of our family.  Our “home” can be our workplace, where we let Mary guide us in what we do. Our “home” can also be our heart, our innermost being, where Christ resides if we let Him. I think that this is the most important “home” to take Mary into, because it is by first letting Mary into the home of our heart that we are able to take her into the other “homes” in our lives.

How do we do this, though? How do we take Mary into our “homes”? How do we learn to love Mary? Well, there are certainly some activities that we can do. We can pray the Rosary, we can pray the Angelus, we can wear the Brown Scapular (which I definitely encourage), we can do lots of practical things that Mary asks us to do. However, even if we do not do these things, there is something that we must always do: Join her at the foot of the cross. Saint Pio of Pietrelcina once said, “Even Mary, the Mother of Jesus, knew that through His death, man would be redeemed, and yet she cried and suffered, and suffered much.” So, the greatest way that we can love Mary is to love her Son with her at the foot of the cross. A priest here at Benedictine said it this way, “The birth of Mary’s firstborn son was painless, it had none of the pain or the effects of original sin. The birth of her second and third and one-thousandth, though, was very painful, because where she gives birth to her other children, everyone of us, all whom we see before us, is at the foot of the cross.” Love of Christ at the foot of the cross is the best way that we can love our Blessed Lady.

However, we are not always at the foot of the cross, and sometimes we just can’t seem to get there ourselves, I know I certainly struggle with this. So, the second best way, I think, that we can love our Lady is to just let her be our mother. When I was in high school, I was absolutely awful to my mudder. She’ll say that I was one of her easier children, but I know the truth, I know I was bad, and I regret it. I remember that I would get so upset when she would tell me to change my clothes into something nicer for Mass, or for the Spring Formal, or whatever. I remember that I would get so upset when she asked me to wash the dishes, or sweep the floor, or to simply pick up a piece of trash off the floor. I remember that I would get so upset when she would tell me to turn off my computer so that I could go to bed and actually be a well-rested human being who could function properly the next day. Yet, it wasn’t until I was much older, and by the Grace of God, that I began to realize that as much as I loved my mudder in desire, I did not love her in actuality, because I was not letting her be my mother; and it wasn’t until I slowly began to submit and recognize that all those things she told me to do were only told to me out of love that I began to enter into a deeper relationship of love with my mudder. The same is true for Mary, and, in fact, it is most true for Mary.

I’ve actually been giving this a bit of thought here recently (God is so good to me by allowing me to have these thoughts). Now, all of this is pure speculation and is by no means official Church teaching, but Mary is the Queen of the Angels, which means that she is above the angels by grace. Our Guardian Angel, which is a being created specifically for us, is infused with God’s love for us. This means that, in the case of the angel, they are infused with a perfect created love, and if Mary is above the angels in every respect, this means that she must also love us with this kind of perfect created love as well. The tradition holds that when Christ’s Heart was pierced by the spear, her heart was also pierced, and in the words of the Venerable Fulton J. Sheen:

If He willed to be a ‘Man of Sorrows,’ He willed that she be the ‘Mother of Sorrows.’ But it was no imposed will; she accepted it all in her original Fiat in the Annunciation. The Sword He plunged into His Heart, He, with her cooperation, plunged into her own. He could hardly have done this if she were not His Mother and if they were not in a spiritual sense ‘two in one flesh,’ ‘two in one mind.’ The sorrows of His Passion were His, but His Mother considered them her own, too, for this is the meaning of compassion”  There were not seven swords but only one, and it plunged into two hearts. The Seven Dolors are as seven thrusts of the Sword Christ, one edge for Him as Redeemer, the other edge for her as the Mother of the Redeemer. Christ is the Sword of His Own Passion; He is the Sword of her compassion. Pius XII says that she, as the true Queen of Martyrs, more than any of the faithful, filled up for His Body the Church the sufferings that were wanting to the Passion of Christ! (Taken from “The World’s First Love” by Fulton J. Sheen).

That spear that thrust through the Most Sacred and Merciful Heart of Christ also pierced through the Most Sorrowful Heart of His Mother, uniting the two hearts in the perfect fire of the Divine love of the Divine Redeemer. If this is true, we cannot neglect to love her or let her love us. She is our Mother, given to us by Christ Himself, given to us by Him so that she may love us. If she was the one whom God made perfect so that He could come to us in the world, then she is the one whom God gives us so that, just as she brought Christ to us, she may bring us to Christ. If Christ, in His perfect Wisdom, who is Perfect Wisdom itself, saw no better way to enter into this world, then there is no better way to enter into Him. Let us love Mary, let us let her love us. In the peace and love of Christ, God bless.

Mother With Child

“Never be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You can never love her more than Jesus did.”
–Saint Maximilian Kolbe

Divine Mercy Sunday: Oh What Wondrous Love Is This!

Look Into My Heart

I’d like to first give a shout out to my mother and my father, who are celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary this day. I have been so very blessed to have these two beautiful people as my parents, showing me how to love God in their love for me and for one another. I have learned so much about patience and mercy from my mother, and I have learned so much about commitment and respect from my father; and from both of them I have learned love and sacrifice. They have showed me, in their own way, that Sainthood is possible for ordinary folk like us, and I hope and I pray that I and they will enter gloriously into the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

What is Divine Mercy?

Divine Mercy is the most beautiful thing that a human being can hear. As we know, our first parents Adam and Eve both royally messed up; and, now, because we are intimately connected to them, we also royally mess up. We lie, we cheat, we kill, we steal, we fight, we fornicate, and the list goes on and on. We do so much evil, we sin so much, that if we could see the state of our soul when we do such things, we would be beyond revolted by what we see. And, yet, God looks at us with pity and with mercy, and He gives us the chance to run back to him like a prodigal son or daughter.

In 1931 our Lord appeared to Saint Faustina in visions to bring His message of Love and Mercy to an all too sinful world. I think that as humans, we have a tendency to view this mercy as a free pass; but that’s kind of the exact opposite of what it is. With this message of mercy comes a warning: if we do not run to this mercy, we are lost. St. Paul says, “where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more” (Rom. 5:20), and so Christ bringing this message of great mercy is also Christ pointing out the fact that humanity is exceedingly sinful. In fact, there are several instances throughout the Diary of St. Faustina that God is ready to exact justice on the earth for mankind’s sin, yet, in His mercy, He does not. Here is one such example:

“I saw an Angel, the executor of God’s wrath… about to strike the earth…. I began to beg God earnestly for the world with words which I heard interiorly. As I prayed in this way, I saw the Angel’s helplessness, and he could not carry out the just punishment…” (Diary, 474)

Now, it’s not as though God suddenly changed His mind, because we know He does not do that, He’s immutable (unchanging). So, these visions must have been for our benefit, as if God were saying to us, “Look at what the sins of mankind reckon, but look also at the great love and mercy that I have in My Heart for mankind.” How can we not be overjoyed at this love? Don’t we burst with joy when someone we love looks beyond our own failures, our betrayals of their love? When you say or do something that harms your brother or your sister, your boyfriend or your girlfriend, your husband or your wife, and they decide to forgive you, does this not bring us so much joy? But, when it comes to God, the only one who is truly worthy of all of our love and affection, we are nothing but apathetic. Let’s not be like this, let us be overcome with joy for God’s great love and mercy.

In the midst of all this, though, there seems to be a weird paradox. What is this paradox, you ask? Well, it seems that God does not withhold His justice for our sake, it seems that He does so for the sake of His Only Begotten Son:

 “I saw a great light, with God the Father in the midst of it. Between this light and the earth I saw Jesus nailed to the Cross and in such a way that God, wanting to look upon the earth, had to look through Our Lord’s wounds. And I understood that God blessed the earth for the sake of Jesus” (Diary, 60).

We repeat this every time we recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet: “For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” This has to do with God’s Justice. As we know, it was necessary for us that Christ die on the Cross, because Christ was the only sacrifice that could make just recompense. However, we also know that God Himself did not have to do that. He did not need to assume our human nature and die for us, nor did He need to redeem us. God gets absolutely nothing out of our salvation, because God is perfectly fulfilled in Himself, and so He lacks nothing outside of Himself. God does not need humanity, but humanity needs God. Therefore, our creation and our salvation are activities of God that are purely for our own sake. God’s mercy and God’s justice are realities that are caught up in one another. One could say that God is not truly just without His mercy and God is not truly merciful without His justice. This seems confusing, what does this mean?

It was God’s mercy and love that brought us into being, because it was purely for our own good that God created something outside of Himself to share in Himself, and it was His justice that condemned us when we rebelled against Him through our sin. It was also His justice that demanded recompense for our sin, and it was His mercy that provided Himself to be that just recompense; and so we see that God’s mercy satisfies His justice.

This is the beauty of the Divine Mercy, “in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). I truly believe that we all fail to recognize how great a gift this is, that God Himself would reach down into our misery and pull us up to Himself. God is the perfect gift-giver, because He gives of Himself with no way of receiving anything in return. How do we make sense of such a gift? I don’t know, and I don’t pretend to know, because this is a great mystery that is beyond our human comprehension; however, know this: whatever the reason for God showing such an abundance of mercy, mercy that is entirely free and undeserved, it manifests to us the incomprehensible love of God for man, and we would be fools to neglect to reap the fruits of such mercy. Let us not be fools, let us not neglect Christ as He opens the merciful depths of His Merciful Heart. Throw yourselves into this great mystery, and let God’s love and mercy envelop you this day and every day of your life. All in love, pax Christi.

O Greatly Merciful God, Infinite Goodness, today all mankind calls out from the abyss of its misery to Your mercy – to Your compassion, O God; and it is with its mighty voice of misery that it cries out: Gracious God, do not reject the prayer of this earth’s exiles! O Lord, Goodness beyond our understanding, Who are acquainted with our misery through and through and know that by our own power we cannot ascend to You, we implore You, anticipate us with Your grace and keep on increasing Your mercy in us, that we may faithfully do Your holy will all through our life and at death’s hour. Let the omnipotence of Your mercy shield us from the darts of our salvation’s enemies, that we may with confidence, as Your children, await Your final coming – that day known to You alone. And we expect to obtain everything promised us by Jesus in spite of all of our wretchedness. For Jesus is our hope: through His merciful Heart, as through an open gate, we pass through to heaven. (Diary, 1570). Amen.

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The Triduum: The Passion of Our Lord

The Crucifixion of Christ

29 March 2018: Holy Thursday

Hello, my brothers and sisters in Christ,

We have reached Holy Week, today is Holy Thursday, and we approach ever nearer the Passion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, a most solemn time indeed. For many, the excitement of Easter becomes ever present, and rightfully so. However, we must not let that excitement overshadow the Dolorous Passion of Christ. Lent officially ends tonight after the days Vigil, and for many this means that “Meat is back on the menu, boys!” BUT, we must recognize that Lent only ends for a more intense, yet ever so brief, time of fasting. Lent officially ends tonight, but tomorrow is Good Friday, the day of the death of our Lord, and so it must be approached and celebrated with an increased atmosphere of sacrifice and solemnity. Think about it, Good Friday is the only day of the year where Mass is not celebrated. If the Church in her wisdom recognizes the immensity of what takes place on this day to such a degree that she does not even offer the sacrifice that is to be offered in “remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19), then how much more so should we be aware of the necessity to forgo more intensely the pleasures and enjoyments of this earthly life?

As it is Holy Thursday, we have officially entered into the Holy Triduum, the three days that take place before the Joys of Easter Sunday; and these days, as mentioned above, are marked with fasting and solemnity. There is much suffering in these days, but there is much hope as well, which will eventually be fulfilled in the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ this coming Sunday. Until then, we must maintain a warrior’s heart: stout and strong, bearing all things well. If your Lent has not been what you wanted it to be, if you have failed time and time again in your Lenten resolution, do not be dismayed; for, we still have time to prepare for the Suffering of our Lord, and we can do this by willingly taking on our own suffering to unite it with Him and to walk this Way of Pain with Him.

We refer to the suffering and death of Jesus as the Passion, and we do so for good reason. The reason that many of us are familiar with is that in it (His Passion) Christ loved us with a passionate love, and this is certainly true, and immensely so. However, to state is so simply, I think, fails to get to the very depths of what that means. In modern terms, Passion merely means to love with intense emotion; but, when you look at the etymology of the word ‘passion’, you will find that it means something much more radical.

‘Passion’ comes from the old Latin word ‘pati’, in later Latin rendered ‘passio’, which means “to suffer”. This is why the word ‘compassion’ means “to suffer with”, because when you have compassion on someone you take their own suffering upon yourself and seek to alleviate it. Passion, then, means not to love with intense emotion, as the English dictionary will tell you; but, rather, it means to love with intense desire, so much so that you are not just willing to suffer with and for the object of your love, but you actually are suffering for and with the object of your love. The Passion, so aptly called, refers to the intense and insatiable love that Christ had for us, so much so that he “gave Himself up for [us]” (Eph. 5:25), and it tells us exactly how He showed this love to us: through suffering. This is the Passion, this is what we are approaching during the Triduum, this is why Good Friday is such a big deal, and this is why we must not spurn this gift by indulging ourselves while our Lord suffered immeasurably on the Cross.

Of course, we cannot neglect to offer up sacrifice on this day, Holy Thursday, either. Today is the day that the Lord celebrated Passover with His disciples. Today is the day where He instituted the Eucharist, and began to institute the new covenant in His blood, which reaches completion and fruition on the wood of the Cross. Today is the day when Christ suffered the agony in the garden, where He sweat His most Precious Blood, the moment that He began to “pour out His blood for the forgiveness of sins” before He was even struck for the first time. Today was the day when Judas betrayed Him with the kiss, and when He turned Himself into the hands of the Temple guards and the Chief Priests. Today is the day where we remember these things and unite ourselves to them. Holy Thursday is called Holy for a reason, because it is the day where our own holiness began to burst through the floodgates of Heaven. We must not let this opportunity pass by, we must seize it and allow it to make us holy. How we do this depends on how Christ is calling us to participate in His Passion. Our participation is intimate, and intimacy insinuates some sort of exclusivity, and so our participation is specific to us. For some this will be giving up food, for others it will be bearing the nagging of a nagging mother patiently, for some it will mean being patient with your insufferable spouse, and for others still, it will mean doing homework or household chores with more intentionalty when we really do not want to. But, whatever that looks like, it will demand a dying to ourselves.

Lastly, Holy Saturday is also a day of fasting, even though our Lord has already suffered and died. But, that’s exactly the point, our Lord just suffered and died, our Lord is still in the tomb. Our Lord is dead; so, while Good Friday has passed, while the Passion of our Lord has reached it’s culmination, the hopeful anticipation of the Resurrection has not yet been realized; and, so, we mourn the death of our Lord for another day still. And, perhaps this is a good time to review our Baptismal vows, that day when we died to our sin and were laid in the tomb with Christ, because at the Easter Vigil, we will renew them, and we want to be aware and fully present to what it is that we are vowing ourselves to.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the Triduum is the one act of Christ’s saving Passion, and this is, in fact, cause for great joy for us. It seems strange, and almost contradictory, especially with everything that I have just said, but bear with me. The Triduum, though it is marked with death and penance, is ultimately a story of joy, because through it we are brought to eternal life in Christ. We know how this all turns out, and we know that it all turns out well, for the Greatest Good. So, we must also keep a spirit of hopeful anticipation for the joys of Easter, which, at the Vigil, the Church enters into, gloriously celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord! But, until then, keep watch and bear the Cross of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ well, and may we all grow in love and enter more deeply these Sacred Mysteries. That’s what this is all about, isn’t it? To be made sharers in the Divine Life, to be perfected in love of God, and to grow in love of neighbor. Stay strong, my friends, and bear all things well. God bless, and in the Peace of Christ, have a blessed Triduum.

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Know always that I am not the source of my knowledge. If there is anything good that I say, it is because I have learned from men much more knowledgeable than I am, and because the Holy Spirit has guided me in my thoughts. I am nothing before the Lord, He is everything. 


If the Mass Has Infinite Merits, Why Doesn’t One Mass Empty Purgatory? Pt. 3

The Holy Mass and the holy souls in Purgatory

Finally we are nearing the final answer to this question. In the previous two articles, we have explored some of the teachings of the Catholic Church on suffering and Purgatory, and now it is time for me to posit what I believe the answer to this question to be. Now, remember, I am by no means the official voice of the Church, but I will try and use Her teachings, as given by Christ and inspired by the Holy Spirit, to back up my argument.

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If the Mass Has Infinite Merits, Why Doesn’t One Mass Empty Purgatory? PT. 2


Now, Purgatory. Now, the word Purgatory is never explicitly stated in Scripture, but then again, neither is the word Trinity, but that does not negate its presence in the Scriptures; and I’m sure that every Christian will agree that the Trinity is made apparent in the Scriptures. What exactly is Purgatory? Many believe that it is an in-between of Heaven and Hell. Now, this contains kernels of Truth, but I would say that it is more accurately described as a precursor to Heaven for holy, yet imperfect, souls. But, in order to get a more definitive answer, let us look towards the Catechism: Read more