“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church… must take up.” Karol Cardinal Wotyla (Sept. 1976)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Understanding the Devil

Today, at 4:12PM, the devil unleashed an unspeakable howl that even Heaven could hear. Today the devil’s frustration over-flowed and could not be contained as his efforts on me proved as empty as his promises to the world. Today the devil filled my mind with every doubt and confusion possible of what I should and should not say until 4:11PM but would not step pass the velvet curtain with me. Today the devil knew I still belonged to Christ; a child of God. Today I went to confession.

French poet Baudelaire was quoted as saying “…the devil's best trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist!" The world today definitely believes the devil doesn’t exist. Even many of the Faithful don’t have a firm belief and/or a reoccurring awareness that the devil is absolutely tangible and working behind the scenes with definitive actions to destroy lives and leads souls astray. To make my point, when was the last time you thought about ways to keep the devil out of your home?

Archbishop Fulton Sheen spoke at length about the devil. Sadly, many spiritual leaders today do not. Sheen mentioned that the world “di-abolical” literally translates to “breaking/ripping in two” and “look down upon” which is the devil’s M.O.

The devil’s work and presence can be easily identified in a situation where something was whole; and belonging to God but is now ripped into two and left in fragments; no longer whole.

I am convinced that the horrible Church scandals that were revealed over the past decade were the results of devil’s work. In not taking the least amount of responsibility away from the priest who took these evil actions, but the devil knew who were the weak links, sought them out, and got them. Christ’s Church is supposed to be whole, "one Body"; "One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church". This scandal left our Church ripped in two as many marginal Catholics left the Faith, and end product that the devil desired and planned. This scandal also lead to infighting among Christ’s Church – the parishioners (VotF) versus the hierarchy, the hierarchy against the Vatican, etc. Most significantly, the children's lives that this atrocity affected, the wholeness of their innocence that belonged to God, where also ripped in two, no longer whole and intact.

Do you see the devil's work in these scandals now? If you were the devil and wanted to destroy the Church, could you have devised a better scandal for this purpose of ripping the Church in two and discrediting the true way to Salvation?

Infidelity that arises to threaten a marriage covenant also has the devil’s fingerprints on it. A covenant that is supposed to be Divinely whole, but is ripped into two and left tattered in shreds; the complete opposition of what it should be. The devil has a host of options on how to destroy a marriage in today's society, and he will use any of them of them. What does infidelity do to the children's lives? What does divorce do to a family? All ripping in two.

Look for the ripping in two to know where the devil has been and fight any of these situations with spiritual warfare, prayers and fasting. St. Jean Vianney says nothing scares the Devil more than fasting because it denies your human nature which is his entry point. The Blessed Mother is the perfect intercessor and protectoress; use the Rosary as "the weapon". The disdain the devil must has for the Blessed Mother must be off the charts. Someone so pure and beyond reproach that she was even born without origin sin, his claim mark on every person who comes into this world. Keep her in your homes to keep him out of your homes.

A second way to easily identify the devil’s hand print is to identify what spreads quickly and steals souls. William Golding’s novel title The Lord of the Flies infers that Satan spreads evil at the same rate that flies spread infection. Drugs, alcohol, war violence and pornography spreads like wildfire in these ways. They all have their origin in the devil. Look for the rapid spreading of a destructive force to know the devil is the originator.

Archbishop Chaput spoke of these matters at a recent address:

“During his keynote address, Archbishop Chaput had also referred to the importance of recognizing that evil exists and that "Satan is real."

Responding later to a question from CNA about where he sees the Devil's presence in society, the archbishop said, "Well, one of the most obvious things in the United States is internet pornography which is pervasive, and subtle, and attractive and totally destructive of peoples' lives and there's very little talk about fighting it."

"If you talk about fighting pornography in the media you're somehow seen as anti-American, anti-freedom of speech. ... things that are so obviously destructive to society..." he said.
The archbishop also named divorce and the changing definition of marriage as places where Satan is holding sway."

…"So, those kind of basic human values, the value of chastity and the value of family life are popularly seen as 'old fashioned' because of the lies, because of the deceptions of the Evil One. Even Catholics are afraid of standing up for the truth because we're afraid of being branded 'old-fashioned.'"

When asked whether there are any successes in the fight today, the archbishop responded, "I think we're doing a lot of very good things and doing well in terms of fighting but in terms of winning the battles, we're not winning many of those cultural battles in terms of the formal direction of society."

"But," he added, "every time an individual is converted the battle has been won in a huge kind of way, because we're not saved as a group. We're saved as individuals and what pleases the enemy of God, Satan, is that individuals are not being faithful to their identity as children of God.”

"The Devil never runs upon a man to seize him with his claws until he sees him on the ground, already having fallen by his own will. " - St. Thomas More

US Catholic Church Growing

Despite the most horrible, stomach-turning scandals ever in the history of the Roman Catholic Church coming to light over the past decade, our numbers are growing:

"U.S. membership has increased in the Catholic Church — the nation's largest Christian body — but the No. 2 Southern Baptist Convention, along with most mainline Protestant denominations, reported continuing decline, according to new figures released by the National Council of Churches."

Take a look at these growth numbers over the past year, comparing the home team with other Protestant sects:

The Catholic Church: 68.1 million, up 1.49 percent. [Blogger note: represents over 1 million people entering]
Southern Baptist Convention: 16.2 million, down 0.24 percent.
The United Methodist Church: 7.8 million (U.S.), down 0.98 percent

The Church of God in Christ: 5.5 million, no change.
National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc: 5 million, no change.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: 4.6 million, down 1.62 percent.
National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.: 3.5 million, no change.
Assemblies of God: 2.9 million, up 1.27 percent.
Presbyterian Church (USA): 2.8 million, down 3.3 percent. ."

The Protestant churches in the U.S. are in a very bad place right now. Many of them are establishing ideologies within their church that is strictly in contrast with God's teachings in the Bible. They try to explain this away, but their church members know. Say what you want about the Roman Catholic Church, I will bet my life of where their position will be on abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, etc.. five centuries from now.

I firmly believe this growth is a byproduct of the U.S. Bishops forcefully speaking out over the past two years on moral issues instructing their flocks.

People always get it wrong. They believe if you need numbers you soften and modify your beliefs (the Big Tent - so they say). In truth, it is the complete opposite. People respond quicker and more enthusiastically to conviction. The continuity in the bedrock teachings of our Church represent two millenniums of the greatest minds in the world and is extremely attractive to millions if it is heard unfiltered. And don't forget a little thing called the Holy Spirit as well.

"You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18)

1/21 Post Note: The Vatican has confirmed that the increasing Catholic population is not only a U.S. trend but a world trend, with an increase of +1.7% growth this year. 19 million more baptisms this year than last year.

The Blobfish; Things to Come

This is a picture of the blobfish, a fish found off the coast of Australia. It has no muscles, just basically a gelatin like covering.

I saw this picture the other day and it alarmed me significantly. I came to the conclusion, "Boy this is the direction my looks are heading in." Actually, put some glasses on it, and it pretty much looks like any patriarch member of my family who lived past 70 years old.