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On Our Lenten Devotional Life

February 17, 2021 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


Dear family, the past Sunday is known in the Traditional Calendar as Sexagesima Sunday, as we are beginning to prepare for Lent as we draw close to Ash Wednesday — and the profound devotion of having the Sign of the Cross traced in ashes on our foreheads.
For the record, the day-to-day life of a real Catholic necessarily includes devotions. If we want to know why we have such failure in the practice of our faith, amongst clergy and laity alike, look no further than the postconciliar attacks on the devotions we had practiced for millennia. For decades, and even as recently as when I was in the seminary, seminarians were persecuted, and even kicked out, for being devotional. I experienced it, and saw it with my own eyes. Further, countless are those who have spoken to me about having to “go underground” in the seminary just to pray the holy rosary.
Dear family, let us get this straight. We do not in our human nature go do social justice things for humans as a means to inspire us to serve God. No! We practice devotions to God, to grow in knowledge and love of God, which then inspire us, enkindle in us such love of God that we are compelled to serve Him through our acts of love. Some people like to use the word “charity” without fully comprehending that it means loving in the way Jesus loved — through real sacrifice for the good of others. That includes sacrificing our reputation among men, as Jesus did, to serve others with love.
So let us strive to lives such lives of devotions, so that when we die, people immediately say things like: “He was so devoted to the Holy Eucharist” or he was saintly because of his devotions.
The Eucharist certainly is something to which we should be devoted. As we know, it is the source and summit of all Grace. Not surprisingly, then, we hear such quotes as:
St. John Vianney, patron saint of priests, said: “How sweet and full of comfort are the moments spent before the Blessed Sacrament! Are you in trouble? Come and throw yourself at His feet!”
And St. John Bosco: If you remember, he is the saint with the visions and dreams. For sixty years he received remarkable dreams. Probably his best-known dream-vision was that of the Church like a ship taking refuge between two pillars in the sea. Atop one pillar was the Holy Eucharist, while atop the other, Our Blessed Mother. In short, the Church has two means to save itself amidst persecutions: devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist and devotion to Mary.
That certainly explains why St. John Bosco had this to say, quote:
“Take refuge often at the feet of Jesus. . . . My dear ones, the visit to the Blessed Sacrament is an extremely necessary way to conquer the Devil. Therefore, go often to visit Jesus, and the Devil will not come out victorious against you.”
And it explains why Pope St. John Paul II said this:
“Jesus waits for us in this sacrament of love. Let us be generous with our time in going to meet Him in adoration and in contemplation that is full of faith and ready to make reparation for the great faults and crimes of the world. May our adoration never cease!”
After devotion to the Holy Eucharist comes devotion to the holy rosary. As Our Blessed Mother said to St. Dominic: “By this devotion, the faithful shall obtain numberless benefits and shall always find me ready to help them in their wants.”
That certainly was affirmed by Blessed Pope Pius IX, who said:
“Among all the devotions approved by the Church none has been so favored by so many miracles as the devotion of the Most Holy Rosary.”
Which explains why St. Padre Pio said:
“The rosary is the ‘weapon’ for these times.”
We also have devotion to St. Joseph, Guardian of Jesus, thus the Guardian of the Holy Eucharist. St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, said:
“Though you have recourse to many saints as your intercessors, go especially to St. Joseph, for he has great power with God.”
Every month in my parish, we observe the devotions to the Sacred Heart on First Fridays, with adoration and Confessions, and the Immaculate Heart on First Saturdays, with Confessions.
Reading up on saints’ quotes is a great way to become devoted to our 2,000 years of saints and martyrs.
I recommend the great Fr. Rick Heilman’s compilation of 70 saint quotations. He said that these “are but a glance at the 2,000 year history of the ‘Heroes in Holiness’.” His compilation really is a “who’s who” in the pantheon of saints, and some, such as St. Thomas Aquinas, speak directly to devotions: “Devotion is a certain act of the will by which man gives himself promptly to divine service.”
So now, as we approach the devotion of Ash Wednesday, just realize that we do not mess with our Ash Wednesday Devotion. That should be obvious to every shepherd when we ponder the simple fact that the two most greatly attended Holy Masses after Christmas and Easter are Ash Wednesday and Paul Sunday. Even weak Catholics nevertheless desire their ashes and their blessed palms.
And, to another point, please know this, dear family, my personal sentiments about the Jesuits. Two of my top five all-time saints, including the first-place St. Isaac Jogues, are Jesuits. When Almighty God first called me to His service I was certain He was calling me to be a Jesuit. And please know — beyond all doubt — that among the holiest priests I ever was privileged to know, were a small number of Jesuits. My first spiritual director, Fr. William Lynn, was born and died Christmas Day, 90 years apart. Fr. Lynn lost his entire family to polio by the time he was 14, but never once exhibited the slightest shadow of a “woe was me” lament. He didn’t put up with nonsense in his charges. I saw that with my own eyes!
The seminarians all knew he pretty much was the holiest man on campus. He was joined by a handful of other Jesuits who were so holy that we jokingly used to call our seminary The “Jesuit Protection Program.” Similar to the government’s Witness Protection Program, we would say those Jesuits were there for “protection” from persecution by others in the Order precisely because they were holy and orthodox.
And if you think I’m exaggerating on the extent of the loss of true devotion, here is the latest sacrilege coming out of Jesuit Fr. James Martin, who apparently can get away with anything these days. He tweeted out a picture of the ancient and sacred picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa, the glorious icon in which she holds the Baby Jesus. But Martin tweeted an altered photo of that glorious icon wherein Our Blessed Mother’s halo and that of Jesus are replaced with a rainbow.
Can you imagine what Polish Pope St. John Paul II would have thought about the desecration of the image of Our Blessed Mother in support of an ideology that not just normalizes, but promotes, one of four grave sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance?
I’ve been to the monastery in Czestochowa, Poland, ten times, and celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the small chapel where that ancient icon is preserved — an icon that may have been written by none other than St. Luke himself. People go on pilgrimage to the monastery in Jasna Gora, Czestochowa, and process on their knees around the icon. Pope St. John Paul II is not amused. Our Blessed Mother is not amused. Jesus the Lord is not amused.
But what does Fr. James Martin care? The Jesuits do not seem to care. Not once have I heard the Jesuits censure James Martin. And where is the Bishop of Rome in the midst of this insanity? Oh, that’s right. He’s a Jesuit. What do we hear coming out of Rome about Martin?

Pope’s Talk At LAREC

In a related development: Pope Francis is zoom-appearing at this year’s LA Religious Education Congress, headlining along with none other than — wait for it — James Martin.
The congress [LAREC], which this year is held under the theme of “Proclaim the Promise,” has a history of hosting speakers who dissent from Catholic Church teaching, particularly on matters pertaining to LGBT ideology. There are reports of Catholics protesting the event going back as far as 1994.
It is diabolical, dear family, to take our sanctuaries, our Sacred Liturgy, and our devotions, and turn them into the train wrecks we have suffered through over the last 50 years, the wreck-ovations of our sanctuaries, and the sacrileges such as a Pachamama carried into St. Peter’s Basilica. The list of sacrileges over 50 years cannot be counted, nor recounted in writing. Make no mistake about it, though, Almighty God is well aware of every one of them.
Let us realize amidst all this that the words of the fourth-century St. Anthony of the Desert ring true: “[The time will come] when men will go mad, and when they see someone who is not mad, they will attack him, saying you are not like us!” The time has indeed come which is exactly why we are seeing such abominations in the world, arising from the redefinition of sin as not sin.

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