For several years, there has been a list that has been passed around the internet with the title, “Advice from An Old Farmer.” The list contains lessons of life that apply to everyone. I did some research to see if I could find out who the original author was, but I was unable to identify who it was.
While I was preparing to write this article, I went to YouTube and watched the opening theme of a weekly TV show that aired on NBC from 1966 to 1968. When the show began in 1966, I was nine years old. I’m referring to Tarzan, a TV show that I watched with my younger brothers every Friday night.
I ordinarily attend daily Mass at Sacred Heart Church in downtown Peoria. Last Monday (March 25), I saw my parents at noon Mass and talked to them after the Mass. My mom told me that it was the 58th anniversary of her consecration to the Mother of God. I knew that she had made her consecration years ago, but I was not aware of the actual date.
If a devil were to take on the form of a human, how do you think he would look? How would he behave? There was a time during the reign of Adolf Hitler that he was considered by many to be the devil incarnate.
The definition of “incarnate” is someone who is “in human form, embodied in flesh.” At the moment that the Son of God was conceived inside the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, He became incarnate — in human form, embodied in flesh.
It could be argued that the so-called Catholic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, is the devil incarnate. On January 22, 2019 (the 46th anniversary of the infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States), Governor Cuomo approved a new law in New York that had been voted on and passed by the New York State Assembly and Senate.
The new law, which was deceptively called the “Reproductive Health Act,” made it legal for any pregnant woman in New York to kill her unborn child, up until the moment of delivery. The new law also expanded the list of executioners who could be hired to do the killing, from only licensed doctors to any “healthcare practitioner.” The new law also removed protections that were in place to save babies who survive an abortion procedure, meaning that those babies can now be left on a table to die after birth.
When evil is not stopped dead in its tracks, it always continues to progressively get worse.
If what happened in New York — and what is currently happening in other states — is not stopped, the next wave of evil will be laws that give parents and the government the right to murder children and elderly people who are potential burdens on their family or society.
I watched a replay of a video that showed Governor Cuomo signing the abortion bill into law. When he signed it, he had a big smile on his face. He then declared, “Congratulations, the bill is signed!” He received a standing ovation accompanied by thunderous applause from the large crowd that was present for the signing.
The new law has stripped all fully developed unborn children in New York of their personhood. They are now nothing more than disposable property. That’s what slaves were before the Civil War — disposable property that was subject to the whims of their owners.
After Governor Cuomo approved the new law, several influential Catholics, Christians, and conservatives called on the Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, to excommunicate Cuomo from the Catholic Church. While Cardinal Dolan harshly condemned the actions of Governor Cuomo, he stated that excommunication was “not an appropriate response to a politician who supports or votes for legislation advancing abortion.”
I’m not going to give my opinion on whether Cardinal Dolan should have excommunicated Governor Cuomo, but I will say this: Whatever path Cardinal Dolan decided to take on the matter, he was walking onto a field of landmines. Lucifer, the brilliant and cunning leader of all the fallen angels always has a dual strategy in place to deal with men like Cardinal Dolan. If Cardinal Dolan had excommunicated Governor Cuomo, Lucifer and his followers would have seen to it that the power brokers would unleash a flurry of accusations and threats against Cardinal Dolan and the Catholic Church.
As a reminder, the “power brokers” are the men and women who are in control of Hollywood, the mainstream media, the institutions of higher education, the public school system, the multinational corporations, the high-tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Netflix, and our federal, state, and local governments.
If Cardinal Dolan had excommunicated Cuomo from the Catholic Church, the power brokers would have immediately pushed for the removal of the tax-exempt status of the Catholic Church, its agencies, and its healthcare institutions. They would have screamed at the top of their lungs that the Church has no business threatening politicians. Some of them would have also surreptitiously called for violence against Cardinal Dolan, the Catholic Church, Catholic priests, and members of the Catholic Church.
This is how bad things have gotten in America today. There was a time when Catholics and Christians were left alone to practice their faith and live their lives in peace. Those times are gone forever. There is now constant pressure that is being exerted by the power brokers to bully, intimidate, and force those of us who believe in Jesus Christ to comply with their evil plans.
So what did Lucifer’s agents do after Cardinal Dolan refused to excommunicate Governor Cuomo? They instigated multiple attacks against him and his fellow bishops. They (again) branded the bishops as impotent cowards who are no longer willing or capable of leading the Catholic Church in the way that Christ intended them to lead. The power brokers will never give up in their efforts to completely destroy the influence and credibility of the spiritual leaders of the Catholic Church.
When I was preparing to write this article, I stumbled upon a 2012 National Review article that was written by Michael Walsh. The title to the article was “What Would Dagger John Do?” The article started out by stating:
In 1844, faced with a Nativist threat to burn down St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral (at Prince and Mott streets), John J. Hughes, the Irish-born bishop (and later first archbishop) of New York, gathered several thousand of his mostly Irish parishioners and deployed them around the church. Any attack on the cathedral, warned the man known as “Dagger John,” would be repulsed with force. The Nativists backed down.
When I was a teenager, there was an ad that frequently appeared in the comic books that promoted the “Charles Atlas Bodybuilding Course.” The ad was written in comic-strip format. The first frame of the ad showed a young man who was a “97-pound weakling” being humiliated in front of his date by a bully kicking sand in his face.
The next frame of the ad showed the young man in his home kicking a chair and sending away for the Atlas body building course. The ad then showed the man receiving the course and building up his muscles. The last frame of the ad showed the man on the beach punching the bully in the face. He was then identified as the “Hero of the beach,” while a beautiful girl standing next to him declared, “Mac! You are a real man!”
Back then, teenage boys wanted to be just like the man in the ad — tough, muscular, and admired by pretty girls. At that time, to me, real men were warriors who didn’t back down from bullies. That’s the way my dad and my grandfather, Tom Williams, were while I was growing up. They were tough, strong, and ready to do battle if it ever became necessary.
As I grew older, I realized that being a real man wasn’t just about being tough and strong. There were more important qualities that real men possessed. Those qualities included a man’s loyalty and devotion to his wife and children, his work ethic, his resiliency, his industriousness, his confidence, and most importantly, his strong faith in God. Fortunately for me, I was able to learn about those qualities from the example of my dad and my grandfather.
If you think about it, those same qualities have been found in real men since the beginning of time. The men of the Old Testament — including Abraham, King Solomon, and Moses — had those qualities. The Son of God and His foster father, Saint Joseph, had those qualities. And, of course, all of our Lord’s followers — including St. Peter, St. John, St. Stephen, and St. Paul — possessed those qualities.
Today, in America, there is an unprecedented attempt by what I call the “power brokers” to silence and eradicate men who possess those qualities. Such men have been branded as being toxic and harmful to society. The word “masculine” has become a bad word — a word that is associated with bullying, arrogance, and sexual abuse.
Who are the power brokers? In most cases, they are the men and women who are in control of Hollywood, the mainstream media, the institutions of higher education, the public school system, the multinational corporations, the high-tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Netflix, and our federal, state, and local governments.
The power brokers have perfected the practice of lumping certain individuals into cleverly named, all-inclusive evil categories. After coming up with a clever name for a particular group of individuals, the power brokers proceed to silence and restrain those individuals by slandering, berating, demeaning, and bullying them into submission. The power brokers use every tool at their disposal to accomplish their goal. They are masters at using social media and the court system to get their way.
What do the power brokers have in common? They are all evil to their very core. As a society, we are often surprised by the behavior of someone who is truly evil. Unfortunately, we don’t really have any predictable ways of recognizing and dealing with individuals before it becomes obvious that they are evil.
So what makes a person evil? From a Catholic perspective, a person becomes evil when he either (1) allows himself to be consumed by one or more of the seven capital sins, or (2) intentionally chooses to engage in and embrace sinful behavior. (As a reminder, the seven capital sins are pride, lust, anger, avarice, envy, gluttony, and sloth.)
When a person surrenders to sinful behavior, he becomes an agent of the devil. It is at that point when evil metastasizes inside the person’s soul and begins to spread like cancer. And like cancer, the evil does not usually reveal itself until it has gotten out of control and has destroyed the conscience of the person.
Whether they know it or not, at a spiritual and subconscious level, the power brokers are agents of the devil who are committed to one primary goal — the complete silencing and, if necessary, the destruction of every person who is a reminder to them that their sinful behavior is an abomination, and that they must either repent or they will burn in Hell for all eternity.
Who is it that is a reminder to the power brokers, by word and example, that their sinful behavior is an abomination? The answer is, real men.
What is it about real men that is a threat to the power brokers? It’s their deeply held belief and faith in God, His Church, and His commandments. The real men that I’m referring to are those men who are devout Christians or Jews. Their lives are governed by the Judeo-Christian values and beliefs that have been the foundation of all successful civil societies since the beginning of time — values and beliefs that reject sinful behavior while promoting virtuous behavior.
If you pay any attention to the news, you know about what happened to Nicholas Sandmann, a 16-year-old Catholic boy who attended the pro-life March for Life in Washington DC on Friday, January 18, 2019. Sandmann and several of his classmates from Covington Catholic High School attended the march.
Sandmann was ruthlessly attacked by the power brokers after a three-minute video was posted on Twitter by a member of a radical group. The video allegedly showed that Sandmann was being disrespectful and confrontational with a so-called “Native American Elder.” After the video was posted, Sandman was savaged by the media, members of Hollywood, government officials, and even members of his own church. There were multiple instances where people made death threats against Sandmann and his family.
It wasn’t until a second, two-hour long video was released that the true facts of what actually occurred were revealed. That video showed that it was the native American protester who walked over to Sandmann, lifted up his drum until it was close to Sandmann’s face, and then began beating on the drum in an attempt to get a negative reaction from Sandmann. While the protester was attempting to get Sandmann to become confrontational, Sandmann simply smiled and stared at the protester.
Despite what was revealed in the two-hour video, the power brokers have continued to attempt to destroy the good name and reputation of Sandmann and his fellow students at Covington Catholic High School. Why? Because to the power brokers, Sandmann, his classmates, and his church are toxic.
To the power brokers, toxicity is synonymous with belief and faith in God.
To my delight, Sandmann’s father is a real man who is not going to let the evil power brokers get away with trashing his son’s and his family’s good name and reputation. He has hired the top libel and slander attorney in the country to go after the power brokers. I hope that the Sandmann family and their attorney obtain a multi-million dollar court verdict against the power brokers.
There is a spiritual war that is going on in our country. On one side are the evil power brokers who want to silence and eradicate the real men who they believe are a threat to their sinful way of life. On the other side are the real men and their families who believe in and are faithful to God — men who do their best to lead virtuous, holy lives.
Make no mistake about it. This is a war that is raging between good and evil and it’s up to you and me to do everything in our power to be victorious (with the assistance of our Lord and our Lady).
Our Savior warned us that we would be hated by His enemies. His enemies not only hate us but they also genuinely believe that we are toxic and poisonous to their beliefs and way of life.
All the more reason to stand tall like real men and defeat the enemies of God.
Apparently, the National Enquirer has been conducting an investigation for several months and is in possession of text messages and inappropriate images that Bezos sent to his mistress last summer. It is believed that the messages and images were obtained from a friend of the mistress.
Bezos is well-known in the business community because he is the richest man in the world. His current net worth is $137 billion. He and his wife MacKenzie met in 1992, while they were both working for a hedge fund in New York. They were married the following year. In 1994, they moved from Manhattan, New York, to Seattle, Washington, where Bezos founded Amazon. Bezos is 55 and MacKenzie is 48. They are the parents of four children: three sons and one daughter who was adopted from China.
It has been reported that until 1999, the Bezos family rented a one-bedroom house in Seattle. Today, they own five houses across the United States and Bezos is the 28th-largest landowner in the United States. Until 2013, Bezos’s wife still drove their four kids to school in their Honda and then dropped her husband off at work. At one time, a family friend, Danny Hillis, told Vogue magazine that the Bezoses “are such a normal, close-knit family, it’s almost abnormal.”
Until now, Bezos and his wife have taken extreme measures to make sure that their personal lives and the lives of their family members have been kept private. The floodgates have now been opened. Their lives will now be scrutinized like never before. He really is an idiot.
It is believed that Bezos and his wife did not sign a prenuptial agreement. Since they didn’t have much when they got married, he probably didn’t give it much thought. If that’s the case, his wife will end up with half of their assets, which will have a value of approximately $68.5 billion. When that happens, she will be the richest woman in the world, and he will lose the title of being the richest man in the world.
So now people are asking, “What was he thinking? Why would a man who has everything — a beautiful wife and children, money, fame, fortune — throw it all away? How could he be so stupid?”
Does he really believe that the woman who is currently satisfying his desires will end up loving him more than his wife loved him for the past 25 years?
While Jeff Bezos may be the richest man in the world he’s no smarter than the average idiot that you and I periodically run into. He knows that millions of people hate him because he’s rich and that millions of other people hate him because they believe that his company wiped out thousands of local businesses. There are a lot of people who would love to see him taken down. What did he think was going to happen when it became known that he was messing around with another married woman?
But then again, he’s a billionaire and billionaires are used to getting everything they want… until they die. Then their souls are no better off, and often worse, than the soul of the typical bum on the street.
Regardless of what the experts have to say about Bezos’s behavior, there is no reasonable explanation for his behavior without considering it within the framework of what the Catholic Church teaches.
Every year throughout the 1990s I attended a silent men’s retreat with about 70 other Catholic businessmen. The retreat master each year was Fr. John Hardon, a Jesuit priest and theologian. Fr. Hardon was very smart, humble, and holy. In fact, he wasn’t just smart, he was an intellectual giant. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 40 books which expounded upon the richness of the Catholic faith. His saintly soul passed into eternity in December of 2000 (at the age of 84).
During each retreat, Fr. Hardon gave ten different one-hour talks to the men. Meals were provided and each day we participated in Mass at noon, a group rosary at 3:00 p.m., and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament throughout the night. Private conference times were available for individual meetings with Fr. Hardon, and priests were available for confession.
Every year, Fr. Hardon dedicated at least one of his talks to the virtues of purity and chastity. Year after year he emphasized how critically important it was for each of us men to practice those virtues. He drilled into our heads two main points about purity and chastity: (1) it is impossible for a man to remain pure and chaste if he is not in the state of grace, and (2) impurity blinds the intellect.
Fr. Hardon taught that the intellectual blindness caused by impurity always leads to irrational, reckless, ruinous, and self-destructive behavior. He cautioned us to be vigilant about controlling our thoughts, words, and actions. He emphasized the fact that we need to constantly monitor what we allow our eyes to see — because our eyes are the windows to our souls.
He told us that we are obligated as Catholic men to exercise extreme care and caution when it comes to what we read, what television shows and movies we watch, and what images we look at. Finally, Fr. Hardon repeatedly reminded us that we are required to avoid the “occasion of sin” by staying away from the people, places, and situations where we might be tempted to engage in impure thoughts and/or activities.
He admitted that what he was asking each of us to do was very difficult for a man. He told us that we were called to practice “heroic” purity in a seductive world in which we were constantly being enticed to entertain impure thoughts, and then tempted to follow through with impure words and actions.
How were we to meet this difficult challenge? Fr. Hardon told us that we should start each day with Mass and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary — the “Mother of Purity” and the only human being who was ever conceived without original sin.
While none of us are billionaires who have to worry about the media writing stories to make us look bad, in the spiritual realm, we have Lucifer, his pack of evil angels, and his agents on Earth who are out to destroy everything that is of any value to us — our faith, our loved ones, our relationships, our careers, and our very souls.
We need to remember to turn to our Lord and our Lady every day for the grace, humility, strength, and courage to practice heroic purity and chastity. We owe it to God, ourselves, and our loved ones.
At that time, the Craftsman brand was owned by Sears, and Craftsman tools and accessories we’re known worldwide for their quality and lifetime guarantee. During the summer following my 18th birthday, I worked for my dad’s construction company. Most of what I earned went into my savings account to pay for college, but I did set aside a percentage of every paycheck for tool purchases. The only tools that I purchased were Craftsman tools. During that summer, I got into the habit of going to Sears every few weeks to roam around the tool department and purchase at least one tool that I needed.
I followed the same routine during each of the summers that I was in college and law school. During those summers, in addition to working for my dad’s company, I also did home repair and remodeling projects for homeowners. Each time that I was paid for a project, I went to Sears and purchased whatever additional tools that I needed at the time. I acquired so many hand tools that I eventually purchased a second Craftsman toolbox. Both of my toolboxes are still in good shape and are currently sitting on a shelf in my garage, filled with many of the tools that I acquired during the years that I was in college and law school.
Last year, because Sears was in desperate need of cash, it sold its iconic Craftsman brand to Stanley Black and Decker for $900 million. In October of this year, Lowes and Stanley Black and Decker announced that Craftsmen tools were going to be available for sale at Lowe’s, a direct competitor of Sears. Within days of the announcement, Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At that time, Sears announced that it was closing 142 unprofitable stores. A month later, it announced the closure of 40 more stores. Last week, it announced plans to close 80 additional stores, bringing the total number of closures to more than 260 (which is more than a third of its 700 stores).
It’s only a matter of time before Sears finally crashes and burns, which will leave the 125-year-old company and its more than 68,000 employees in the trash bin of history.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the Boy Scouts of America was considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The purpose of the bankruptcy would be to put a halt to the numerous lawsuits that are pending against the organization for the allegedly inappropriate behavior of several of its employees. In addition, there has been a massive exodus from the ranks of the boy scouts over the past few years, because of changes that have been made to allow for the acceptance of girls and openly gay individuals into the organization. The Boy Scouts of America was founded 108 years ago.
What is happening to Sears and the Boy Scouts proves that nothing is permanent in this world. There will be a day when Wal-Mart dies and goes out of business. There will also be a day when Amazon.com dies and goes out of business. The same will eventually occur for General Motors, AT&T, Google, and Apple.
While there are currently several billionaires who are funding medical research that is expected to allow humans to live forever, there will never be a day when that happens. Original sin put an end to men and women living forever on Earth. While we will continue to hear predictions of future immortality, it will never happen.
As a result of original sin, we were all born to die. And just as every human faces certain death, every plant, animal, organism, institution, business, and government face certain death … except for one organization — the Catholic Church, which has already been in existence for more than 2,000 years.
Nothing on this earth is permanent, except for the Catholic Church. When we die and our souls enter into eternity, everything will then be permanent for us. If we’re fortunate enough to make it into Heaven, we will enjoy a permanent and perfect relationship with our Lord, our Lady, and all the other saints in Heaven. (The horror of Hell is that those who end up there will experience a permanent and painful eternal relationship with Lucifer, his agents, and the other unfortunate souls who will forever suffer from the same fate.)
Why is the Catholic Church a permanent institution? Because it was founded by our Savior with the promise that it would never die. The permanency of the Catholic Church will endure until the end of time, at which time it will be merged with the Heavenly Kingdom.
In a spiritual sense, the Catholic Church is perfect because its heart is the Holy Spirit. While there will inevitably come a time when every human heart stops beating, the Divine Heart of the Church will never stop beating. The Catholic Church is the only conduit by which souls reach Heaven, regardless of whether some of those souls were never aware that the Catholic Church is the one true Church.
Unfortunately, because the Catholic Church is managed by imperfect humans, there will always be scandals that flare up and disrupt the faithful operation of the Church. But those scandals will never deliver a death blow to the Catholic Church. We have that guarantee from our Lord.
As you and I conclude the Christmas season and begin a new year, we need to carefully consider what rituals and activities we engage in each day to enhance our permanent relationship with God. Then we need to work at increasing those daily rituals and activities. For most of us, if we were to write down everything we do each day, we would come to realize that most of our activities are geared toward our temporary existence on Earth, rather than our permanent relationship with God.
Now is the time to change all that.
The biggest obstacle to minimizing our pride is the satisfaction and pleasure we receive when we engage in prideful thoughts and behavior. We enjoy the feeling of being superior to others. We get great satisfaction from being defiant, intolerant, and impatient with others. We like the feelings and emotions that are associated with the belief that we are smarter than everyone else. We take pleasure in getting revenge against people who have slighted or betrayed us.
None of these attributes were present in the holy family. The Son of God was conceived inside the womb of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit and was completely free from all sin. The Blessed Mother was conceived without sin inside the womb of her mother, Anne. (This is referred to as the Immaculate Conception). And according to Catholic tradition, Joseph, the spouse of Mary and the foster father of Jesus, was born with original sin, but after his birth, his soul was cleansed and the stain of all sin was removed by Almighty God.
Even though Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were truly superior to all others, they behaved as though they were less deserving than everyone they came into contact with. They humbly relinquished the freedom they had to be self-righteous and to feel superior to others. They also voluntarily gave up their freedom to be defiant, intolerant, vain, boastful, impatient, unforgiving, dishonest, hypersensitive, conceited, stubborn, revengeful, and blind to advice.
The holy family had every right to be self-righteous, unforgiving, and revengeful, yet they consciously utilized their free will to reject any temptation that may have come their way to engage in one or more of those vices.
Pride is only the first of two steps that we have to take on a daily basis to deal with our limitations, faults, and fears. The second step is to work at overcoming our primary fault. Because of original sin, we were all born with seven root passions: pride, lust, anger, covetousness, envy, gluttony, and sloth. These are referred to as the Seven Capital Sins, and are also known as the Seven Capital Tendencies or the Seven Capital Passions.
Humanity’s first parents, Adam and Eve, had complete control over their root passions. Unfortunately, as a result of their original sin, they lost the ability to exercise complete control over their passions. Ever since then, original sin has automatically been communicated to and imposed upon all newly created souls. Every one of us — except for Jesus and Mary — inherited original sin from our first parents. Baptism removes original sin and restores sanctifying grace — the friendship of God — within a person’s soul; however, baptism does not remove the stain of original sin or our tendency to succumb to the root passions.
Our worst faults are often completely hidden from us. While the people who know us best can usually see our faults, most of the time we fail to see our own faults because our pride has completely blinded us to them. And, of course, the people who know and love us have given up on trying to tell us what our faults are, because they know we’ll react with anger and outrage if they are pointed out.
Because of our fallen human nature, combined with the individual unique traits we were born with, the environment we grew up in, and our life experiences as children and young adults, each of us developed a primary fault which caused us to become attached to and adept at one of the six remaining root passions — anger, lust, envy, gluttony, covetousness, or sloth. Here are the attributes that are associated with each of these six root passions:
Anger – Annoyance, indignation, rage, wrath, aversion, explosive, vindictive, impatience, revenge, cruelty, vengeance, not at peace, and/or fierce silence.