During the spring semester of my junior year in high school (1974), I organized a barbershop quartet. I recruited three of my friends who were in the music program with me at the high school. We started out by practicing at the house of one of the guys in the quartet. We continued practicing throughout the summer and started performing in the fall.
During the summer, I heard about a show that was scheduled to take place at the Shrine Mosque in downtown Peoria. The featured performers for the show consisted of a group of four men — a barbershop quartet — who had won the previous year’s international competition of barbershop quartets. Also performing at the show was a local men’s singing group.
At that time, I had a part-time job at a restaurant that was located inside the Ramada Inn in downtown Peoria. I initially started working as a busboy and was later promoted to room service.
The show was scheduled for a Saturday evening in August. I was not available to attend because I was scheduled to work during the evening of the show. On the night of the show, I convinced my boss to let me off early. After leaving work, I jumped in my car and drove to the Shrine Mosque. As I drove around the back of the building looking for a place to park, I saw a group of four men who were standing next to the building.
I quickly parked my car and walked over to the men and introduced myself. It turned out that they were the featured performers for the show. They told me that it was intermission and they had stepped outside to get some fresh air. A couple of the men were smoking cigarettes.
I explained to them that I was going to be a senior in high school and that I had organized my own barbershop quartet. I told them that I had wanted to attend their performance, but was unable to because I had to work. One of the men responded by telling me that I was welcome to watch the rest of the show from backstage.
Of course, I was thrilled with the offer and followed them into the building through the side door. I was able to watch the remainder of the show from the side of the stage, just behind the curtains. After the show, I thanked the men for giving me the opportunity to watch them perform. It was an exhilarating experience for me to be able to be backstage watching and interacting with professional performers.
Now I would like for you to imagine a heavily guarded building that is located in Heaven. The building is made of 24-karat gold. Inside the building is all the grace that exists in Heaven. The Holy Spirit is in control of the building and is in charge of dispensing grace to individuals on Earth, to help them ward off evil and grow in holiness. Each time grace is dispensed, additional grace is created by the Holy Spirit to replace the grace that was dispensed.
There are only two ways to get in and out of the building: the main entrance and a door on the side of the building.
While there are different levels of tickets that can be purchased to get into the main entrance, the primary ticket has already been purchased by Jesus Christ. The cost of that ticket was paid for with His suffering and death on the cross. Additional tickets are available for greater levels of grace, but if you want to obtain any of those tickets, you must either purchase them directly, or someone else must purchase them for you.
The cost of each ticket is high because the ticket must be purchased with prayers, suffering, the Sacraments, or acts of mercy. As evil increases in the world, more tickets must be purchased because more grace is needed to counter the evil.
If you pay attention to the national news, you know that the level of evil in the world has been increasing at an alarmingly rapid rate.
Last week we learned about an undercover video that was released on YouTube by the Center for Medical Progress. The video shows Dr. Deborah Nucatola, the senior director of medical research at Planned Parenthood, calmly explaining how body parts of aborted babies are harvested and sold by Planned Parenthood. (We know from the New Testament that King Herod ordered the killing of all male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and younger. Not even Herod was evil enough to harvest and sell the organs of the babies that were killed.)
We also learned last week that the executive committee of the Boy Scouts of America had unanimously approved a resolution that would end the ban on open and avowed homosexual adult leaders. This will turn out to be the fatal blow to the organization that was originally founded to teach boys virtuous behavior and to instill in them the love of God, family, and country.
We also learned last week that the United States had entered into an agreement to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons within the next ten years. The leaders of Iran have no problem teaching their children how to strap explosives to their bodies so they can blow up large groups of people, along with themselves. Once the leaders of Iran are in possession of nuclear weapons, they will have no problem blowing up entire nations for no reason other than the hatred they have toward other people.
It’s obvious that evil is increasing at an exponential rate. It is as though hell has been unleashed against the world and there are no restraints against what Lucifer and his agents are allowed to do. Our Catholic faith assures us that as evil increases, the grace to combat and overcome that evil also increases. Since evil is increasing at an exponential rate, we know that grace is also increasing at an exponential rate.
In order to have access to that grace, we must be willing to pay the cost of the tickets that are needed to secure the grace. Those tickets can only be purchased with prayer, suffering, the Sacraments, and works of mercy. Once the tickets are obtained, the purchaser will be given greater access to the main entrance of the building that houses those graces.
But there’s an easier way to get into that building — the side door. I’ll cover that topic next week.