God and the Double BBQ Sandwich

God and the Double BBQ SandwichIt is no secret that America is polarized. This is a fact that is manifested in so many different ways. Traveling down the highway to Chicago, for example, I came upon two successive billboards that I thought were striking examples of our divided culture.

The first billboard caught me by surprise: it consisted of an electrocardiogram of a heart that suddenly stops beating. The caption read: When you die, you will meet God.

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As we were passing through the snowy night, I was unable to catch more details of this billboard. I do not know who put it out or what I was expected to do. It really did not matter because for a brief moment I thought about what the Catholic Church calls the “Four Last Things” – Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. Think of these things, Scriptures says, and you will not be lost eternally. The simple phrase served to trigger in me a gentle yet fleeting reflection upon the meaning of life. I am sure I was not the only one to make this quick reflection.

The billboard is clearly polarizing since it is directed toward that strong vein inside the American public that is turned toward things religious, spiritual and eternal. It is a sector of the American public that lives amid the fast, superficial and materialistic aspects of our pop culture yet is not entirely comfortable with them. These Americans are drawn by God, family, honor and country. On the other hand, this billboard would not appeal to other Americans who would tend to disparage the message as backward and unenlightened.

BBQ_sandwichThe second billboard came immediately afterwards and struck me by how contrary it was to the former. It consisted of a massive BBQ sandwich with the caption: Happiness is a double BBQ sandwich.

There is nothing wrong with a double BBQ sandwich or even deriving pleasure from eating one. However, the message behind this billboard is clearly materialistic yet more subtly polarizing. There is no invitation to profound reflection. Rather there is the quick insinuation that happiness can be easily bought by obtaining the immediate object of our desires. In this case, gratification equals happiness. According to the same logic, life should be a long succession of gratifications.

This billboard represents a second, more commercial, vein found in America that I call in the book, Return to Order, the perception of the nation as a co-op. This perspective holds that individuals unite themselves together in society as a means to facilitate each one’s inebriating pursuit of happiness.

How Do We Return to OrderUnder this view, an appreciation of America is tied to its ability to make everything fun and everyone happy. Like a co-op, those who hold this position expect returns on their social union in the form of constant and instant gratification. Happiness consists of participating in the excitement of a party economy that they hope will keep on going.

Of course, we cannot generalize and say that all Americans fit neatly into one category or the other. Sometimes the two can be found in differing proportions inside the same person. Other times, the same person might gravitate toward one or later the other. We might also observe collective swings of the national mood towards one or the other category.

As our crisis deepens, this fascinating interplay of perspectives, this dramatic clash of mentalities becomes the material for a great debate now taking place in America over our future. This discussion is found everywhere—even on highway billboards.

There are many categories that people have used to characterize the nation’s polarization. There is red and blue, conservative and liberal, or retro and metro. Perhaps it is the case to add yet another: God and the double BBQ sandwich.


How a Good Lent Can Help Fix a Bad Economy

good_lentTo those who see no link between Lent and our failing economy, it might be the case to look again.

Economics is about people. It cannot be reduced to numbers, formulae and analyses. “The subject matter of economics,” observes economic historian Odd Langholm, “is properly the habits, customs, and ways of thinking of producers, consumers, buyers, sellers, borrowers, lenders, and all who engage in economic transactions.”

That means our moral habits can have a definite effect on determining if our economy grows—or fails.

In my book, Return to Order, I show how our present economic crisis is being caused by what I call “frenetic intemperance.”

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Frenetic intemperance can be defined as a restless spirit inside certain sectors of modern economy that foments a drive inside men to throw off legitimate restraints and gratify disordered passions. It is not a specifically economic problem but a moral and psychological vice that throws everything out of balance. When frenetic intemperance dominates, it often sends the whole system into convulsions—as we saw during the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. And, unless addressed, it is virulent enough to crash the entire financial system.

In our daily lives, we see frenetic intemperance in the tendency to desire everything, right away, regardless of the consequences. Everyone must have the latest gadget even though they do not need it and really cannot afford it. The mad lack of restraint leads to an unstable economy laden with boom and bust, debt and stress. It creates a cold mechanistic economy where money rules. It gives rise to a materialistic culture which values quantity and utility over quality and beauty. The long and short of it is that a frenzied economy comes from frenzied lifestyles.

And that brings us to Lent. Fighting bad moral habits and practicing restraint is what Lent is all about. More than giving up a box of chocolates, how about giving up habits that foster frenetic intemperance, which is the real root cause of our economic decline? Besides the personal benefits of interior peace, detachment, and greater spiritual freedom, a good Lent can also help save our economy.

Here are some suggestions on how this might be done.

1. Avoid speculative investments that promise huge returns on investment in little time. Such offers usually do not deliver what they promise and always feed frenetic desires that create anxiety and stress.

2. Stay away from business relationships that are cold and mechanical. Treat workers like family. Respect those for whom you work.

3. Avoid trendy business gurus and books that call for radical changes that will “revolutionize” a company or keep people in a constant state of change.

4. Eschew work schedules that are inhuman and stressful. Learn to appreciate leisure.

5. Avoid compulsive buying especially during those sales frenzies around the holidays.

6. Shun the abuse of credit cards and especially the temptation to pay only the minimal monthly amount. Avoid consumer debt as you would the plague (i.e. borrowing to buy things for your immediate consumption, e.g. that new laptop, games, cars, fashion clothing, etc. that you cannot afford, as opposed to investment debt , e.g. your home mortgage).

7. Learn not to have everything right now. The culture of instant gratification creates a frenzied lifestyle—and economy.

8. Do not take as role models those who have money as the central axis of their lives. Admire character not a person’s bottom line.

9. Resist the temptation of seeing only quantity and cheapness. Learn to appreciate the beauty of quality and good taste.

10. Avoid lavish display, especially of fancy gadgetry that leads to a desire to keep up with the e-Joneses with the latest version.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

As Lent progresses, we would do well to do something that has an impact beyond our own spiritual lives. It would be good to practice charity toward our neighbor by looking at the big picture. Giving up frenetic intemperance is a good start.

Should We Stop Opposing the Ruling Legalizing Same-Sex “Marriage”? Bishop Robert Barron’s Surprising Statements

Pope Saint Pius V moved a victorious crusade against the Turks.

The recent (January 30) statements by the Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, Robert Barron, that he will not fight for the abolition of the same-sex “marriage” ruling has scandalized even his admirers. He contends that revoking that decision “would probably cause much more problems and dissension and difficulty if we keep pressing it.” He doubles down: “I wouldn’t want to get on a crusader’s tank and try to reverse that.”1

Is Homosexual Tendency Intrinsically Disordered?

This statement by a bishop known for his writings, videos, homilies and cultural comments is even more serious because he made them to David Rubin, a homosexual journalist living in a same-sex “marriage.”2

For Bishop Barron, “if the only thing a gay person hears from the Catholic Church is, ‘you’re intrinsically disordered,’ we’ve got a very serious problem, if that’s what the message has become.”

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Contrary to the above statement, the Church has never taught that a person with same-sex attraction is “intrinsically disordered,” but rather his homosexual tendency. To say that someone is “intrinsically” disordered, that is, in their very nature, would mean that God created a disordered nature, which is absurd.

Taking a Principled not a Personal Stand


As practicing Catholics, we are filled with compassion and pray for those who struggle against violent temptation to sin, be it toward homosexual sin or otherwise.

We are conscious of the enormous difference between these individuals who struggle with their weaknesses and strive to overcome them and others who transform their sin into a reason for pride, and try to impose their lifestyle on society as a whole, in flagrant opposition to traditional Christian morality and natural law. However, we pray for them too.

According to the expression attributed to Saint Augustine, we “hate the sin but love the sinner.” And to love the sinner, as the same Doctor of the Church explains, is to wish for him the best we can possibly desire for ourselves, namely, “that he may love God with a perfect affection.” (St. Augustine, Of the Morals of the Catholic Church, no. 49, www.newadvent.org/fathers/1401.htm)

In What Sense Is a Sinner a Child of God?

The Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles added, “The first thing a gay person, like any person, should hear is ‘You’re a beloved child of God.”

In the context in which this statement was made—that is, on a pro-homosexual program—it takes on a dangerous ambiguity. For it does not make clear whether the bishop is referring to a person with a disorderly tendency who resists and does not sin, or to one who actually practices the act against nature.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

There is no doubt that all men are children of God. But the sinner is a son in revolt against his Creator, whom he offends by despising His Law. In this state of revolt, he loses divine friendship, sanctifying grace, and is on his way to Hell should he die in such a state.3

A True “Son of God” Is One Who Keeps the Commandments

The words of the Savior are clear and unequivocal: to love Him as a son loves his father, one must keep His words—that is Faith—and His commandments:

“If you love me, keep my commandments.”

“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me.”

“If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. He that loveth me not, keepeth not my words” (John 14:15, 21, 2324).

Does Concern With Morals Hinder Evangelization?

Bishop Barron, apparently angered by the protests caused by his statements, posted a response on his blog titled “Dave Rubin, the Pelvic Issues, and Larry David.”

Referring to Catholic sexual morality in a derogatory fashion as “the pelvic issues” is really shocking. In his view, people who care about moral issues hurt evangelization.

He says, “[T]his preoccupation with ‘the pelvic issues’ has served to undermine the work of evangelization.”

With the qualification that he does not scorn morality, he adds, “But I fear that for so many people in the secular world today, religion is reduced to the policing of sexual behavior, and this is massively unfortunate.”

As far as he is concerned, the Sacred Scriptures are not concerned with sexual morality:

“When you read the great evangelizing texts of the New Testament—the Gospels, the Epistles of Paul, the book of Revelation, etc.—you don’t get the impression that what their authors wanted you primarily to understand is sexual morality.”

Now, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, Saint Paul makes it clear that he is talking sexual morality:

“Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers. Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10).

Silence on Morality, a Triumph of the Sexual Revolution

Has the silence of the clergy on sexual morals (save for well-deserving exceptions) favored evangelization? On the contrary, one should consider the empty churches and the closure of convents and seminaries for lack of vocations.

This silence has only favored the Sexual Revolution, which keeps advancing and destroying the very foundations and remnants of morality, modesty, and human dignity.

Sexual pleasure is more and more idolized, with ominous consequences: destruction of marriage and the family, exaltation of free love, normalization of all forms of sexual aberration; sexual frenzy no longer respects barriers of age, sex and even species, with an increase in zoophilia.

Modesty—that flower of chastity that at the same time embellishes and protects it—has become virtually unknown. The human body is exposed and exploited by all means through fashion, movies, pictures, in an erotic exhibitionism opposed not only to morality but even to human dignity.

Is Christian Perfection Impossible?

Even more surprisingly, Bishop Barron declares that the Bible is ironical and skeptical in relation to “any claim to human perfectibility.” If that were the case, every effort man makes to sanctify himself with the help of grace would be useless. Nor would it make any sense for the Church to have canonized the saints for having practiced virtue to a heroic degree.

Sympathy for an Advocate of Same-Sex “Marriage”

Bishop Barron is entirely at ease with, and praises a journalist who advocates same-sex “marriage”:

“Dave is a stand-up comedian, political satirist” he says, though recognizing that “He is also an advocate of gay marriage.” He adds that “I am very grateful to Dave Rubin for the interview and the opportunity to explore a number of issues related to faith and society.”

The bishop again refers in a derogatory fashion to those concerned with sexual morality:

“I just hope that his viewers can appreciate that there is a lot more to Christianity than the ‘pelvic issues.’

Hell Is Supposedly Empty…

It is scandalous for a bishop to employ the crude and unworthy “pelvic issues” formula to refer to the divine and natural moral laws that condemn all sexual practice outside marriage, and especially those contrary to nature.

But Bishop Barron’s moral stance is related to his optimistic theory about Hell. Although he is obliged to reject Origen’s theory, condemned by the Church, that at the end of time the reprobates and even demons will be forgiven,4 he adopts its veiled form, espoused by Hans Urs von Balthasar:

“My own conviction is that Balthasar has this more or less right. Catholic doctrine is that Hell exists, but yet the Church has never claimed to know if any human being is actually in Hell.”

For Bishop Barron, “Hell” or “Gehenna” are “spatial metaphors.” He concludes with a formula very close to Origen’s heresy:

“The divine love, freely rejected, results in suffering. And yet, we may, indeed we should, hope that God’s grace will, in the end, wear down even the most recalcitrant sinner.”

Now, if Hell is purely metaphorical and “in the end” all sinners will be saved by grace no matter what state they die in, why worry about what he contemptuously calls “pelvic issues”?

Morality loses all its meaning, as does the notion of sin and offense to God.

Unfortunately, with his statements, the popular apologist has discouraged those opposed to same-sex “marriage” and created confusion about the very foundations of morality.

If a Catholic Politician Has to Resist Same-Sex “Marriage” Why not a Bishop?


In June 3, 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the document CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION TO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS, signed by then-Cardinal Ratzinger.

The document is emphatic in the necessity to oppose same-sex “marriage” laws.

In n. 5, Section II it states:

“In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty.”

And in Section IV of the document, with guidance for Catholic Politicians, the document insists:

“When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth.”

If that is the obligation of a layman, a Catholic politician, what to say of the obligation of a Bishop that, by his own office is a guardian of the faith and morals?


Updated February 9, 2017.


How Christianity Created a System of Trust for Money and Investments

How Christianity Created a System of Trust for Money and Investments

“financial systems outside of Christendom were untrustworthy”

Most people do not realize how the financial systems outside of Christendom were untrustworthy in pre-modern times. The moral structures of the Church created a climate of trust and honesty that was unknown to other civilizations.

Historian Rodney Stark relates an astonishing example of the Turks after their defeat in the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. The victorious Christians were amazed to find enormous fortunes in gold coins in the holds of the ships of the Muslim admirals. Without a system of banking and any safe means of storage, it appears the admirals brought most of their fortunes with them. They also feared their fortunes might be confiscated by an angry Sultan should the outcome of the battle be negative.

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The fear also extended to the Ottoman commander Ali Pasha whose fortune was found in his captured flagship, the Sultana. It appears not even Ali Pasha’s high connections were considered enough to save him from the Sultan’s wrath. He was a member of the upper elite and married to the Sultan’s sister.

Dr. Stark asks: “If such a person could find no safe investments and dared not even leave his money at home, how could anyone else hope to do better?”

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

What Can We Expect for 2017?

What Can We Expect for 2017?

“The key to survival is fidelity to our Christian principles and confidence in Providence.”

As we enter 2017, many people are still recovering from the stress and drama of 2016. From a political, social and religious standpoint, 2016 was a year of unexpected and unimaginable turmoil. The year brought us to the edge of a tall cliff.

Equally traumatic and unexpected were the last-minute rescues from disastrous descents into the chasm below. Fortunately, the plunge to ruin was avoided (for now) not only by the unexpected results of the American elections but some good reactions worldwide, in which people brexitted away from global and socialistic “solutions” which they saw as overbearing and catastrophic. The death of Communist icon Fidel Castro added yet another blow to leftist movements everywhere that suffered terrible defeats in 2016.

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The situation, however, remains dangerous and tenuous, as instability, uncertainty and chaos are found everywhere. The frenetic intemperance of our frantic lifestyles has upended so many of the anchors and convictions that keep a society well-grounded and balanced. A great confusion exists inside the Church about moral teachings. Society appears to have lost the moral compass that would help us find our way out of the present mess.

And so entering 2017, we have not yet gone off the cliff; rather we have only avoided disaster. We are still precariously perched on the edge of a precipice looking out over a vast and alarming panorama. Choices must now be made to find a way out. Avoiding disaster does not mean the fight is over. It only means a new phase has just begun.

If 2016 was the year of the unexpected, we might well ask what we can “unexpect” for 2017.

“we should imagine a giant rollercoaster with all sorts of twists, turns and dives that can be extremely dangerous”

If there is a new image that might be used to describe the coming 2017, it might be that of a roller coaster near the precipice. It is admittedly a strange metaphor since roller coasters do not typically appear near cliffs. However, the image somehow fits since it reflects the carnivalesque atmosphere of a political year full of twitterfests, email hacking wars and reality show antics that characterized events both here and abroad.

Thus, we should imagine a giant rollercoaster with all sorts of twists, turns and dives that can be extremely dangerous, nerve-racking and dizzying. This particular roller coaster does, however, allow for turns and alternative routes depending on the skills and capacities of those in the cars.

Those who avoided disaster are euphoric because this unexpected rollercoaster appeared on the precipice. They have entered the cars and are festively celebrating. Others are frightened and angry at the prospect of leaving what they think is the security of the precipice for the risky route ahead. They enter the cars reluctantly.

As the rollercoaster starts to pull out from its resting place, everyone, festive or angry, on the right or the left, needs to prepare for the first descent. They need to strap themselves in. If not, the cars will become a tangle of highly emotional and irrational people struggling to survive the unexpected twists and turns that will inevitably come.

What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

This is the state of the world today. We are beginning to descend from the precipice for a ride from which we can “unexpect” just about anything to happen. There are political challenges found in an increasingly aggressive China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran from which we expect war, an uneasy peace and anything in-between. Islamic terrorism can and does ruthlessly strike anywhere and in unexpected places – even open-air Christmas markets. There are financial challenges ahead in the form of asset bubbles, massive debt and regulation. There are the moral problems like abortion, assisted suicide, attacks on marriage and sexual identity issues that are promoted everywhere. These leave in their wake a trail of broken marriages and families, shattered lives and relationships, devastated communities and empty churches, that turn people’s lives upside down.

How we deal with these challenges will determine the course of the roller coaster ride we can expect in 2017. All we really know now is that it will be full of unnerving twists, turns and dives. We may even crash if not careful. No one can predict what will happen in the face of so many unknowns. However, there is only one way to be prepared for the roller coaster ride. We need to be strapped inside by our principles that will hold us firmly in place and allow us to make the proper judgments to guide the cars away from disaster.

Even with the straps in place, it will not be an easy ride. There will be those inside the cars who think they can leave their principles behind and ride unrestrained. There will even be those who will scoff at the laws of physics and believe that they can do their own thing regardless of gravity and reality. When the unexpected twists and turns happen, such occupants will create havoc inside the car. There needs to be enough heroic people inside the cars who are strapped in by their principles and can step up to the plate and return things back to order.

But these principles cannot be just any principles or values. They cannot be based on emotions or feelings that guide so many people today down the road to disaster. Rather they must be tied to an objective moral law as enshrined in the Ten Commandments. These principles should be embedded in institutions like marriage, the family and private property, without which any return to order is impossible.

The principles must lead us back to God, the Source and Creator of all order. We must have recourse to God if we are to survive the dangerous path down the mountain.

In 2017, we might ‘unexpect’ Divine action. As the hundredth anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima approaches, it is impossible for Catholics not to think of her Message in 1917. Looking at the past, we saw her maternal warnings about world wars, conflicts, persecutions, and the spreading of the errors of Russia throughout the world have all come to pass. There is no reason to doubt that her remaining predictions for the future will also happen. In the back of many people’s minds is the question of whether this will be the “Fatima year” when further events might occur—and heavenly aid might be supplied.

So much could happen in 2017. The key to survival is fidelity to our Christian principles and confidence in Providence. Indeed, we were brought to the edge of the abyss in the first place because so many abandoned moral principles over the last decades. We have avoided disaster so far, but it would be wrong to think that we will survive the rough roller coaster ride ahead without a return to moral principles.

As seen on catholic365.com

The Twelve Days of Christmas

We have all heard the song, The 12 Days of Christmas, a delightful but apparently nonsensical rhyme set to music.

However, it is a good deal more than just a repetitious melody with pretty phrases and a list of strange gifts.

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St. Thomas More parts with his daughter, Margaret, to be executed for being faithful to the Pope and the Catholic Church.

From the year 1558 to 1829 Catholics in England were prohibited by law from the practice of their Faith. The religion was officially illegal until Parliament finally enacted the Catholic Emancipation Act in 1829. Until then it was a crime to be a Catholic and to be faithful to the pope.

The 12 Days of Christmas’ was written as one of the ‘catechetical songs’ to help young Catholics learn the tenets of their faith. It was a memory aid, when to be caught with anything Popish would not only get you imprisoned, but possibly hanged, shortened by a head, or even subjected to the awful ordeal of being hanged, drawn and quartered.


The 12 days refers to the period between Christmas Day and the Feast of the Epiphany, traditionally celebrated on the 6th of January

The twelve days refers to the period between Christmas Day and the Feast of the Epiphany, which is traditionally celebrated on the 6th of January.


The gifts referred to in the song are in fact coded references to the teachings of the Catholic faith. The ‘true love’ mentioned is God himself. The ‘me’ who receives the presents refers to every baptised person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.




In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings.

The pear tree represents the cross.


The other symbols are as follows:


Two turtle doves refers to the old and new testament. For centuries the Jews offered doves to God. The two doves remind us of the sacrifice Our Lady and St. Joseph offered in the temple at Jerusalem on behalf of Our Lord.







Three French hens refers to the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. These hens were very expensive during the 16th century and only the rich could buy them. They symbolised the three presents offered by the magi to Our Lord:
– gold, the most precious of metals;
– incense, used in solemn religious ceremonies;
– and myrrh, an exquisite spice.



Four calling birds refers to the four gospels. The gospels contain the life of Our Lord and His teachings. Just like birds singing in a clear and loud voice, the four evangelists spread the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ throughout the world.

Five golden rings refers to the five first books of the old testament, called the pentateuch, which gives the history of man’s fall from grace. The Jews considered these books more valuable than gold. It also reminded people of the five decades of the holy rosary.


Six geese a-laying refers to the six days of creation. They also remind us how the Word of God gave life to the earth.





Seven swans a-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and the seven sacraments. With the sacraments and the gifts, the faithful can sustain themselves in times of persecution.

Just as cygnets change from ugly ducklings to become beautiful swans, so also does the grace of God transform us from mere creatures into children of God.




Eight maids a-milking refers to the eight beatitudes preached by Our Lord in the sermon on the mount. The beatitudes, just like milk, feed and nourish the faithful.






Nine ladies dancing refers to the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, mildness and temperance. In the same way that ladies dance joyfully, so also can Christians rejoice with a life transformed by the fruits of the Holy Spirit.




Ten lords a-leaping refers to the ten commandments of the law of God. The lords were men of authority to govern and discipline the people.




What Does Saint Thomas Say About Immigration?

Eleven pipers piping refers to the eleven apostles who remained faithful to Our Lord after the infamous treason of Judas. As children follow the piper joyfully, the disciples accompanied Jesus. They also called others to follow Him, and they play an eternal song: the message of salvation and life after death.




Twelve drummers drumming refers to the twelve articles of the creed. In the same way that drummers play sonorously so others can accompany the rhythm of the music, the creed reveals the faith of those who are Christians.




Christmas Novena

Christmas Novena banner
Christmas Novena Opening Prayer

(To be recited each day)

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment

In which the Son of God was born

Of the most pure Virgin Mary

At midnight, in Bethlehem

In piercing cold.

In that hour, vouchsafe I beseech Thee, O my God,

To hear my prayers and grant my petitions

Through the merits of Jesus Christ and of His most blessed Mother. Amen.

(Mention your intentions here)



Day 1
Christmas Novena Day 1
Prayer: O Great Son of God, you have become man in order to make yourself loved by men. But where is the love that men give you in return? You have given your life blood to save our souls.

Why then are we so hard-hearted, repaying your love with our ingratitude? More than others, I have myself ill-treated you in this manner, Lord.

But your Passion is my hope. For the sake of that love which led you to take upon yourself our human nature and to die for me on the cross, forgive me all the offenses I have committed against you.

I love you, O Word Incarnate. I love you, O infinite goodness. Contrite and repentant, out of love for you, I could die of grief for these offenses. Give me, O Jesus, your love. Let me no longer live in ungrateful forgetfulness of the love you bear me. I wish to love you always. Grant that I may always persevere in this holy desire.

O Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, pray for me that your Son may give me the grace to love Him always. Amen.


Day 2
Christmas Novena Day 2
Prayer: O Dearest Infant! Tell me, what have you come on earth to do? Tell me, whom do you seek? Yes, I already know. You have come to die for me, to save me from hell. You have come seeking me, your lost sheep, so that, instead of fleeing from you, my gentle shepherd, I may rest in the protection of loving arms. O my Jesus, my treasure, my life, my love and my all!  Whom will I love, if not you?  Where can I find a father, a friend, a spouse more loving and more lovable than yourself?

I love you, O my God; I love you, my only good.  I regret the many years when I have not loved you as I ought, but rather spurned and offended you. Forgive me, O my beloved Redeemer; I am heartedly sorry for having treated you so coldly.

Pardon me, and give me the grace never more to withdraw from you, but constantly to love you in all the years that still lie before me in this life.  My love, I give myself entirely to you; accept me, and do not reject me as I deserve.

O Mary, my advocate, by your prayers you can obtain whatever you will from your Son. Beseech Him, then, to forgive me, and to grant me holy perseverance until death. Amen.


Day 3
Christmas Novena Day 3
Prayer: O Dear Infant Jesus, would I have been so ungrateful and offended you so often, if I had realized how much you have suffered for me? But these tears which you shed, this poverty which you embrace for love of me, fill me with the hope that you will pardon all the offenses I have committed against you.

My Jesus, I am sorry for having so often turned my back on you. But now I love you above all else. “My God and my all!” From this moment forward, O my God, you shall be my only treasure and my only good. With Saint Ignatius of Loyola I will say to you, “Give me the grace to love you; that is enough for me.” I long for nothing else; I want nothing else. You alone are enough for me, my Jesus, my life, my love.

O Mary, my Mother, obtain for me the grace that I may always love Jesus and always be loved by Him. Amen.


Day 4
Christmas Novena Day 4
Prayer: O Dearest Savior, you have embraced so many outrages for love of me, yet I am incapable of bearing a single insult without immediately being filled with resentful thoughts, I who have so often deserved to be trodden underfoot by the demons in hell! I am ashamed to appear before you, sinful and proud as I am. Yet, do not drive me from your presence, O Lord, even though that is what I deserve. You have said that you will not spurn a contrite and humbled heart. I am sorry for the offenses I have committed against you. Forgive me, O Jesus. I will not offend you again.

For love of me you have borne so many injuries; for love of you, I will bear all the injuries that are done to me. I love you, Jesus, who were despised for love of me. I love you above every other good. Give me the grace to love you always and to bear every insult for love of you.

O Mary, recommend me to your Son; pray to Jesus for me. Amen.


Day 5
Christmas Novena Day 5
Prayer: O Jesus, my sweet Love! I too have caused you to suffer during your life. Tell me, then, what I must do in order to win your forgiveness. I am ready to do all you ask of me. I am truly sorry, O sovereign Good, for all the offenses I have committed against you. I love you more than myself, or at least I feel a great desire to love you. Since it is you who have given me this desire, do you also give me the strength to love you exceedingly.

It is only right that I, who have offended you so much, should love you very much. Always remind me of the love you have borne me, so that my soul may ever burn with love of you and long to please you alone. O God of love, I, who was once a slave of hell, now give myself entirely to you. Graciously accept me and bind me to yourself with the bonds of your love. My Jesus, from this day and forever, I shall live loving you, and, in loving you, will I die.

O Mary, my Mother and my hope, help me to love your dear God and mine. This is the only favor I ask of you, and through you I hope to receive it. Amen.


Day 6
Christmas Novena Day 6
Prayer: O my Dear Redeemer! Where would I now be, if you had not borne with me so patiently, but had called me from this life while I was in the state of sin?

Since you have waited for me till now, forgive me quickly, O my Jesus, before death finds me still guilty of so many offenses that I have committed against you. I am so sorry for having despised you, my sovereign Good that I could die of grief. But you cannot abandon a soul that seeks you.

If hitherto I have forsaken you, I now seek you and love you. Yes, my God, I love you above all else; I love you more than myself.

Help me, Lord, to love Thee during the rest of my life. I seek nothing else of you. But this I beg of you, this I hope to receive from you.

Mary, my hope, pray for me. If you pray for me, I am sure of obtaining this grace. Amen.


Day 7
Christmas Novena Day 7
Prayer: Dear Infant Jesus, crying so bitterly! How much reason you have to weep in seeing yourself persecuted by men whom you have loved so much. I, too, O God, have persecuted you by my sins. But you know that now I love you more than myself, and that nothing pains me more than the thought that I have so often spurned you, my sovereign Good.

Forgive me, O Jesus, and let me bear you with me in my heart, during the remainder of my life’s journey, so that together with you, I may enter into eternity. How often have I driven you from my soul by my sins. But now I love you above all things, and more than all other misfortunes, I regret that I have offended you. I wish to leave you no more, my beloved Lord. But give me the strength to resist temptation. Never permit me to be separated from you again.  Let me rather die than ever again lose your good grace.

O Mary, my hope, obtain that I may always live in God’s love and then die in loving Him. Amen.


Day 8
Christmas Novena Day 8
Prayer: O Jesus, my Savior! When I consider how, for love of me, you spent thirty years of your life hidden and unknown in a poor workshop, how can I desire the pleasures, honors and riches of this world? Gladly do I renounce them, one and all, since I wish to be your companion on this earth, poor as you were, mortified and humble as you were, so that I may hope to be able one day to enjoy your companionship in heaven. What are all the treasures and kingdoms of this world? O Jesus, you are my only treasure, my only Good!

I keenly regret the many times in the past when I spurned your friendship in order to satisfy my foolish whims. I am sorry for them with all my heart. For the future I would rather lose my life a thousand times than lose your grace by sin. I desire never to offend you again, but always to love you. Help me to remain faithful to you until death.

O Mary, the sure refuge of sinners, you are my hope. Amen.


Day 9
Christmas Novena Day 9
Prayer: O Adorable Infant Jesus! I should not have the boldness to cast myself at your feet, if I did not know that you yourself invite me to draw near. It is I who by my sins have made you shed so many tears in the stable of Bethlehem. But since you have come on earth to pardon repentant sinners, forgive me also, now that I am heartily sorry for having spurned you, my Savior and my God, who are so good and who have loved me so much.

This blessed night, during which you bestow great graces on so many souls, grant your heavenly consolation to this poor soul of mine. All that I ask of you is the grace to love you always, from this day forward, with all my heart. Set me all on fire with your holy love. I love Thee, O my God, who became a Babe for love of me. Never let me cease loving you ever more.

O Mary, Mother of Jesus and my Mother, you can obtain everything from your Son by your prayers. This is the only favor I ask of you: pray to Jesus for me. Amen.


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Why the Totalitarian Temptation Lives On After the Berlin Wall

Why the Totalitarian Temptation Lives On After the Berlin Wall

“communism and liberal modernity, share in their own vastly different ways a common vision…”

“Happy the man that understands the causes of things,” wrote Virgil.

Polish philosopher Ryszard Legutko, who is also a Member of the European Parliament, is one of those deep thinkers who likes to get to the root of matters. He is not content with superficial observations or political platitudes. In his new book, The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies, he takes on the challenges of where the post-Cold War program went wrong.

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He has all the qualifications to make such an appraisal. Having lived and suffered under communism for decades, Legutko played a major role in the movement to bring down communism in Poland. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, he joined many in thinking that it would signal the end of conflict and the triumph of freedom.

He soon found out that the new liberal Western-style order that replaced the old communist regime did not live up to these expectations. He was shocked to learn how many were hostile to his anti-communist position. He was mystified by the sympathy and favor enjoyed by so many former communists and socialists.

That is when Legutko looked at the roots of things. He began to wonder why communist persecution of the Church had failed while its later counterpart “without any effort and simply by allowing people to drift along with the flow of modernity succeeded.” He was familiar with communism’s militant anti-Catholic boot but not modernity’s strong cultural intolerance.

With penetrating analysis, he concludes that communism and liberal modernity have common philosophical roots although they follow different methods. “Modernity and anti-Christianity cannot be separated,” he affirms, “because they stem from the same root and since the beginning have been intertwined.”

What is so refreshing about Legutko’s analysis is its depth and originality. He refuses to fight on the enemy’s turf by reducing everything to just politics. He delves deeply into his subject and finds the two systems, communism and liberal modernity, share in their own vastly different ways a common vision of history, society, religion, politics, culture, and human nature.

In his analysis of what went wrong in the East, he ironically helps explain what went wrong in the West. From the very beginning, the modern experiment carried within itself the seeds of its own decadence. As it reaches its final stages, modernity has produced its neo-barbarians who are turning upon their culture and rejecting its established norms of behavior.

Modernity’s problem is that it is all so cultural and therefore so imperceptible. That is why Legutko’s focus on culture is important. He traces how what he calls liberal-democratic thought did much to change the culture, secularize the West and legitimize “a lowering of human expectations.” He notes that this current did not progress by radical outbursts but by gradually breaking down “the social hierarchies, customs, traditions, and practices that had existed prior to the emergence of the new political system.”

Over the last few decades, the West has spread this decaying process to the East. Legutko laments “a gradual sliding down from the high to the low, from the refined to the coarse,” which has brought vulgarity to language, behavior, education, and moral rules. It has given rise to an anti-culture of frenetic intemperance and instant gratification that has helped corrode and smother remnants of faith still alive.

The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies

“the merit of the book lies precisely in its unvarnished portrayal of modernity”

The author enters into other areas of concern that have an eroding effect on society. The modern sense of entertainment, for example, has led to a shallowness of life that permeates all aspects of life, “separates us from the seriousness of existence, and fills this existence with false content.”

These and other insights are so accessible because they are observable in daily life. He manages to deal with everything from political correctness to modern feminism. There is a logic to Legutko’s arguments that allows the reader to perceive not only causes but also ultimate goals. Thus, it appears that not only do the two systems have common historical and cultural roots but also a common enemy: the Catholic Church and its social structures.

Legutko affirms that “There is virtually no area in which the influence of Christianity has not been challenged. Everything that Christianity imbued with its spirit, legacy and wisdom—education, morality, sensibility, human conduct, even diet—the liberal-democratic order put to question and in many cases eliminated.”

Legutko is unduly pessimistic about the future, perhaps because he is impressed by the tragic grandeur of this struggle. He cannot see beyond the terrible totality of the liberal democratic ideal that so dominates everything around him.

Although not mentioned in the book, it would be better to see this great battle over the culture as a supercharged version of the age-old fight of Christ against the world, flesh and the devil. Perhaps the merit of The Demon in Democracy lies precisely in its unvarnished portrayal of modernity. By contrast, it becomes evident that the solution can only come from a much greater supernatural power.

As seen on crisismagazine.com

Did God Give America a Great Reprieve?

Did God Give America a Great Reprieve?To those Americans concerned about the moral state of the nation, the immediate reaction to the November 8 elections was one of enormous relief. It was as if a colossal amount of pressure was suddenly released. There was the thrill of something entirely unexpected. People were overjoyed beyond words.

Adding to the intense drama, there was the sensation that a great danger was taken from our path. We had averted a dead-end situation for which there were no human solutions. We were somehow saved from a terrible calamity that had seemed so imminent.

Two main elements contributed to this perception of inevitable disaster. The first was that so much was at stake—the Supreme Court, anti-abortion laws, socialist big government programs, massive regulations and even the specter of persecution for the Faith. The candidate that represented all these things enjoyed all the prestige of the media and the favor of the pollsters. The foreboding of a sinister outcome could not have been greater.

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The second element was the lack of a moral solution proportional to the level of the crisis. Moral conservatives were faced with a candidate that was universally acknowledged as flawed and many considered as merely the lesser of two evils. This was an election of desperation not enthusiasm because the alternative was just too awful to fathom. Significant sectors of the electorate, however, did not feel they could unite around a candidate that did not share many of their values.

And then it happened. A startled electorate watched the results come in and saw the numbers slowly shift in their favor with a sweep of the White House, both houses of Congress, and a record number of state houses.

Analysts are still scrambling to explain the unexpected results of the elections. They point to abstract categories like the blue-collar vote, the white vote or the Catholic vote. For them, all elections are number games and media shows. They believe the outcome depends on who plays the game best and spends the most.

There was, however, another factor outside the game that should not be underestimated. In the face of an impending disaster, many Americans did something that they do not often do in political situations like these. They prayed.

Prayer is not something that can be measured by polls or political observers. And since it cannot be quantified, those without faith treat them as something quaint and childish hardly worthy of consideration. But in an election where all the rules of the game were broken, there is no reason to rule out the influence of prayer. The fact is many Americans did pray in the weeks and days leading up to that fateful November day when the course of the nation was decided.

Not only did they pray, but it appears they prayed hard. All across America, there were prayer vigils, rosaries, novenas and benediction services that were mentioned on social media or announced in church bulletins. Some fasted for the nation. Thousands gathered and prayed in the public square. Others simply poured out their souls to God in almost biblical manner asking for His aid in their moments of affliction. And as is common with such prayers, there was an implicit promise that if we were delivered from this trial, we would turn back to God.

Of course, to suggest that this prayer might have had something to do with the final results of an election is anathema. None dare whisper it for it is so politically incorrect.

But in this election that broke all the rules, why not break one more rule and shout it about? The fact is countless Americans who woke up on the morning of November 9 after the election sensed their prayers had been answered beyond all expectations. They sensed unexplainable Christian joy and hope in seeing a calamity had been averted. They were convinced in the depths of their souls that God had heard their prayers. They were energized by the results, and are determined to turn back to God.

This is not to say that God endorsed the winning candidate (he lost the popular vote) only that He heard the cries of those who were afflicted and found a way to deliver them from a catastrophic future. The victory may have been due much more to those who called it forth with their prayers than the efforts of its flawed victor.

God also did not grant total victory. However, many feel He has given America a great reprieve, a second chance, to get it right with Him.

If we have been given this reprieve, then we should use it to turn back to God. We should keep our part of the bargain and turn back to Him and His law. There is no time to be complacent or delve into purely economic solutions that sidestep the moral crisis in America. The fervent prayers must continue. Above all, we must also make sure our elected officials follow through on their promises of a platform that puts God first and thus will truly make America great.

Indeed, we have a little time, a short reprieve. We would do well to use this time wisely. This election has shown what can be done. If we uphold God’s law, we can count on Him to break all the rules.


What Does Love of Country Mean Today?


“We are a people who are justifiably proud of our nation’s many achievements.”

We Americans are a people who are justifiably proud of our nation’s many heroes and achievements. Our history is full of great explorers, soldiers, statesmen, clergy, and civic leaders—George Washingtonian characters—who accomplished great deeds. Their legacy is a long, unbroken line of service, sacrifice, and honor that gives substance to our Fourth of July celebrations.

This history threatens to be overshadowed, however, by the terrible cultural and moral decadence that has festered across our land. Great institutions once admired for their role in our country’s development are now tainted with scandal. “Alternative lifestyles” such as cohabitation, homosexuality, and transgenderism are increasingly accepted as part of the new “normal,” and those who disagree with them are ruthlessly persecuted. The perverse antics of Hollywood stars such as Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga have virtually eliminated the very notion of indecency. And this moral degeneracy is not only tolerated by everyday Americans but eagerly and rapidly consumed on social media, particularly by our youth.

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Although this moral revolution, like a cancer, has silently metastasized and spread in our nation’s cultural landscape, it has undeniably come into stark relief during this year’s presidential election. American politics has become like the French Quarter of New Orleans during Mardi Gras: an endless parade of sexual and financial scandals from the candidates of both major parties, each outdoing the last one.


“The perverse antics of Hollywood stars s have virtually eliminated the very notion of indecency.”

Even worse, these scandals—which thirty years ago would have swiftly ended a candidate’s career—are forgotten almost as quickly as they surface, and are even excused as the necessary price for “change” in America. Most tragically, Americans have grown indifferent to the unprecedented moral abominations committed by some of our most prominent politicians and cynical about the nation’s leadership, or even leadership in general. This moral decline has greatly diminished America’s moral standing in the world and our self-confidence at home.

This decline is exactly what those on the political left seek. Not only do liberals celebrate moral degeneracy such as abortion and homosexuality, but they generally promote anything that diminishes or humiliates the United States in the eyes of the world. Socialists of every stripe see the United States as an imperialistic cancer in the world, relish in her humiliation, and sometimes work hand-in-hand with our enemies to overthrow the world order that she sustains, whether they be Islamist jihadists, Russian nationalists, or Chinese communists. Conservative, God-fearing Americans—both by instinct and by conviction—overwhelmingly reject this socialist-inspired hatred for America. They genuinely love their country and grieve over the crisis in which we find ourselves.

But for conservatives, the unprecedented scale of the moral crisis on full display during this election cycle has led some to entertain ever-so-slight doubts about their love of country and all it represents. Where once they would dismiss liberal propaganda about America’s faults, now they are tempted to believe that, perhaps, America really is just as bad as some people say she is.

In generations past, it was considered part of being an American to love our country and be ready to sacrifice oneself for it. But many patriotic, God-fearing Americans, demoralized by endless scandals and a dismal outlook for our country, are questioning what it means to be patriotic. Some religious Americans even go so far as to affirm that America’s sins far exceed those of other countries and other peoples. America is beyond redemption, they say, and therefore deserves a particularly severe dose of divine wrath. According to them, those foreign leaders who seek to destroy America or at least to knock her down a few notches, such as Vladimir Putin, are doing God’s work.

On the surface this position may seem legitimate, even virtuous. It appears to be based on love of good and hatred of evil. Its proponents appear humble with their endless litany of criticisms of their own country. They know all the gory details about the Obama administration’s recent missteps in the Middle East, the State Department’s pro-homosexual initiatives in Africa, or the latest scandals of our presidential candidates.

No one can deny that America is guilty of many sins. The American government has promoted abortion and homosexuality across the world. Our foreign policy has at times favored socialist or communist governments. No country has remained untouched by our degenerate pop culture in the form of immoral Hollywood movies, television, music, and fashions. As Americans, we must recognize these sins and make every effort to atone for them.

But deep down, this narrative is flawed. It exaggerates America’s real problems while ignoring her good aspects. Yes, the Obama administration does promote abortion and homosexuality across the world, but it is also true that America is the birthplace of the modern pro-life and pro-family movements. The president is doing everything he can to warm up to communist dictators like Raul Castro, yet American public opinion remains radically anti-communist, especially when compared to Europe and Latin America. Hollywood continues to spread its blasphemy and filth across the globe, but only in America does one find organized movements to protest them. Only in America does one find serious movements that present weighty opposition to the political left such as the homeschooling movement, Intelligent Design theory, global warming skepticism, the gun-rights movement, not to mention Americans’ rejection of socialized medicine or UN-style internationalism.

So in the midst of what is, by all appearances, our country’s worst crisis ever, what does love of country mean today? How should a patriotic American confront our national crisis? How can we denounce our national sins while maintaining our national pride? And what can we do to work for her eventual conversion?

In her wisdom born from 2,000 years of experience converting the nations, the Catholic Church provides a truly balanced solution to this problem.

The Church teaches that love of country is a duty that comes from the Fourth Commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother.” This Commandment, based in natural law, obliges us to respect, honor, obey, and have filial piety towards the parents who gave us life and the family that formed and raised us. It extends not only to our immediate nuclear family, but to our extended family including respect for one’s deceased ancestors.

God did not place any conditions on the Fourth Commandment, and therefore there are no conditions on our filial duties towards our parents. Even if they fall into sin, we are still obliged to love and respect them, without conferring any concessions or approval to the sin itself.

An authentic nation, before all else, is a family of families. It is not an assembly of atomized individuals or a corporate conglomerate but a vibrant patchwork of family trees, blood ties, and personal relationships. Since the nation is an extension of the family, our filial duties therefore extend beyond to the nation as a whole. Just as we must love our parents, we must love the nation of our birth and be willing to fight for it. Nations, like families, have members who perform great acts of virtue that bring honor to the nation as well as members who commit horrible crimes that bring disgrace. Some sins, such as iniquitous laws or acts of government, when not opposed, become national sins. But no matter how many national or individual sins we commit, our duty of patriotism is never suspended.

A good way to look at our sad situation today is through the eyes of the saintly missionaries that the Church sent to the four corners of the earth. Beginning with the Apostles, the Church fulfilled Our Lord Jesus Christ’s command in the Gospel, “Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”[1] Every one of the Apostles died or suffered as martyrs while on mission to convert the Jews and Gentiles across the known world.

Like the Fourth Commandment, Our Lord’s directive does not contain any conditions about the morals of the pagan nations in question. He instructed the Apostles and their successors to work towards the conversion of every nation. Omniscient, He was certainly aware of the perversions widespread among the pagan peoples. He knew the difficulties and resistance that the pagans would show towards the Christian missionaries. Yet He desired that all nations, like all sinners, be baptized and saved.

The great missionaries such as Saint Patrick, Saint Boniface, Saint Augustine of Canterbury, Saint Benedict, Saint Isaac Jogues, Saint Junipero Serra, Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Remigius, and innumerable others encountered pagan nations in varying degrees of savagery. It was difficult, dangerous, brutal, long, and usually deadly work to convert the nations to the True Faith. It would have been very easy for these apostles to stay in Rome and save their souls in peace and relative comfort. Why did they go to the forests of Germany, the deserts of the Middle East, and the jungles of the Americas to convert these savage, often ungrateful peoples?


“They are not Angles but Angels if they be Christian”

Because, in addition to their sublime mission of saving souls, these missionaries saw that Divine Providence assigned each pagan nation a particular mission to accomplish, and that by baptizing that nation they were participating in the realization of that sublime mission. Saint Patrick, as the father of Catholic Ireland, undoubtedly foresaw the missionary zeal that the Irish people were to so famously display centuries later. Pope Saint Gregory the Great, upon seeing pagan Angle slaves for sale at a slave market in Rome, famously exclaimed, “They are not Angles but Angels if they be Christian” and commissioned Saint Augustine of Canterbury to convert their nation. Saint Isaac Jogues and the North American martyrs, even as they were suffering unspeakable tortures at the hands of the savage Iroquois, dreamed of a truly Roman Catholic Franco-Indian civilization in the New World.

But perhaps the example of Saint Joan of Arc is the most fitting one for us today. The France into which the Maid of Orleans was born had fallen much since the happy times of King Saint Louis IX. Half of the kingdom, including the capital, had fallen into the hands of a foreign power, England. Much of the nobility and merchant classes had died in battle or colluded with the enemy. King Charles VI, France’s legitimate king, was insane. The Renaissance spirit, having sapped the religious fervor of the French, was gradually overthrowing the traditional social structures of the medieval order. Even worse, Christendom was divided by the Great Western Schism, with its three competing Popes. On the minds of every Frenchmen were thoughts of fear, uncertainty, pessimism, and despondency. In many important ways, the France of Saint Joan of Arc was very much like today’s United States.


“the example of Saint Joan of Arc is the most fitting one for us today”

And just like today, it was easy for her contemporaries to fall into discouragement and give up the fight against the English. To anyone desirous of rekindling it they could throw up their hands in despair and cynically recite a long litany of sins committed by the king, the bishops, and the people. It seemed that the France of King Clovis, Saint Remigius, Godfrey of Bouillon, and Saint Louis IX, the France of so many saints and blessings, the France of the Crusades, the first-born daughter of the Church, had finally and irrevocably broken its alliance with God.

That spirit of cowardice and defeatism was exactly what Saint Joan of Arc came to dispel. She certainly saw very clearly the sins and apostasy of her era. But unlike most of her countrymen, she saw France through the eyes of Divine Providence. She saw her country as Our Lord Jesus Christ saw Saul on the road to Damascus—a great sinner no doubt—but one with a glorious and sublime mission to perform. She did not see France so much as it was but as it was called to be, a totally Roman, Apostolic, Catholic nation at the service of God and Our Blessed Mother.

In His infinite mercy, God grants a plan and a mission for every person and for every nation. He gave one to the savage Indians of the Americas, the wild barbarians of sixth century Europe, and the decadent French of Saint Joan of Arc’s time. God also has a glorious mission for the United States of America. Although we are far from accomplishing this mission, occasional glimpses of it can be seen shining in the pages of our history. Although imperfect, the Washingtonian men and women who have always existed and still exist in America, the very best the nation has to offer, the long red, white, and blue line of heroes that inspire us, are like sign posts pointing us in the direction of our national calling. Just as the qualities of soul of Saint Paul—his tenacity and radicality—could already be seen before his conversion, we can see traces of a future glorious role for the United States in the footsteps of her heroes.

It is all too easy to lose sight of this vision while fighting in the dirty trenches of the Culture War, or even to flee from the battlefield entirely after certain tactical defeats. But like Saint Joan of Arc saw France, we must see our country as the entirely Christian nation that God desires it to be. Most of all, we must remember that a nation has not truly reached complete moral depravity until it no longer has men faithful to its divine mission and who are willing to fight for it.



Fourth Commandment


[1] Matt. 28:19.