My wife and I took a few days off last week and drove to Branson, Missouri, for a short vacation. It was our third trip to Branson. Our last trip there was more than 15 years ago. One of the reasons we wanted to go to Branson was because we had heard about a Broadway-quality musical show about the life of Jesus that was playing at one of the theaters. The title of the show was Jesus.
We recently learned that a newly discovered virus — the “Coronavirus” — was spreading in China. It didn’t take long before other countries began reporting that some of their citizens had been infected with the virus. When I first read about the virus, the thought occurred to me that it would be a good idea to order a box of face masks, just in case the virus got out of control.
During the 1980s, I purchased several sets of cassette tapes of talks that had been given by the late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. At the time, I had a small battery-operated cassette tape player that I used to listen to tapes while I was shaving and getting ready for work, while I was driving, and while I was getting ready for bed.
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.
While you are waiting for help to arrive, the man tells you that his name is Tony, and that he was raised as a Catholic. You quickly take off the Brown Scapular that you always wear around your neck and place it around his neck, fearing that he is going to die before he gets to the hospital. You tell him that you are going to pray an act of contrition with him. You then slowly recite the prayer out loud, so he can follow along with you.
During the summer of 1983, I heard about a Saturday morning event that was being sponsored by a local pro-life organization. The speaker for the event was Joe Scheidler, a well-known pro-life activist from Chicago. I had read about how Scheidler was using creative tactics to disrupt and close abortion clinics in the United States.
I told my wife about the upcoming event, and she made arrangements for her mother to babysit our two children, so we could attend the event. There were about 30 people who showed up to listen to what Scheidler had to say.
Scheidler reminded me of the men I grew up with on the Williams side of my family: tough, rugged, no-nonsense, aggressive, and at times, eager to do battle. He described how he had gotten involved in the pro-life movement in 1972, which was a year before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand. He then worked with several pro-life organizations before forming his own organization, the Pro-Life Action League.
There are only two things that I remember about what Scheidler said during his talk. The first was the story he told about how he got involved in the pro-life movement. The second was a challenge that he made to each of the people who were in the room listening to him. The challenge came at the end of his talk. Here’s what he said:
All I ever hear from people is, “What can I do? I’m only one person.”
Fr. McTeigue’s complaint was that the lyrics imply that Mary was a sinner who needed to be delivered from her sins. This is contrary to Catholic doctrine which states that Mary was preserved free from all stain of original sin from the moment of her immaculate conception, which allowed her to be a pure vessel in which the Son of God could be conceived and born without ever having come into contact with sin.
Another article that was published before Christmas stated that the song implies that Mary was not fully aware that she was the Mother of God. The article went on to say that anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that Mary possessed knowledge that she was the Mother of God, not only because of the Angel Gabriel’s announcement (Luke 1:26-56), but also because of her “song of praise” — known as “The Magnificat” — which indicated that she was aware of her role in the salvation of mankind. Here are the first two sentences of the Magnificat:
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his handmaid. For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed; for he who is mighty, has done great things for me and holy is his name. (Luke 1:46-49)
It was 2 a.m. Monday morning. Dr. Kenny Omlin of Napa was in the process of getting his family off their 11-acre estate as flames from the Atlas Fire rapidly approached. He opened his car door and saw his 80-year-old mother sitting in the passenger seat, clutching a rosary and praying.
Thousands of homes are still in danger of being burned to the ground. The path of the fires is completely unpredictable because no one knows how strong the winds are going to get or when the winds will shift course. One of my older brothers, Mike, lives with his wife in Santa Rosa, California, which is one of the cities that was hit by the wildfires. While several areas that surround my brother’s neighborhood were destroyed by fire, his neighborhood was spared. Unfortunately, there’s still a chance that the fire will come roaring back into his neighborhood. I would appreciate it if you would say a prayer that everything will go well for my brother, his wife, and their property.
The wildfires in California came only a month after Hurricane Irma left a devastating path of destruction in the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. In addition to the widespread destruction that was caused by Hurricane Irma, there were 134 deaths, most of which occurred in the United States. A month before Hurricane Irma arrived, hurricane Harvey barreled through Texas causing extensive property damage, flooding, and 77 confirmed deaths.
Of course, each time one of these devastating natural disasters occurs, we are lectured by Hollywood celebrities, the talking heads in the media, and various “experts” from around the world that the disasters are being caused by climate change. We are then told that we should listen to these so-called experts, so they can tell us what needs to be done to eliminate future catastrophic events.
The problem with the whole climate change argument is that we never hear what the definitive plan is for controlling the climate in such a way that the natural disasters will stop occurring. We are, however, told that we need to submit to a worldwide governing body that has no allegiance to the United States, but will have the power to impose taxes, regulations, and restrictions upon us that will supposedly help eradicate natural disasters.
During each of the recent events, I couldn’t help but think about all the calamities that occurred during the time period covered by the Old Testament.
The definition of “calamity” is “an event that causes great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster.”
If you review the Old Testament, you’ll be reminded of all the calamities that occurred from the beginning of time until the birth of the Son of God. There was the great flood, followed by catastrophic plagues, deadly diseases, and wars. These calamities were frequent and massively destructive. It was as though there was nothing holding back Almighty God’s hand of justice.
But then something changed after the birth of Jesus. The hand of justice was replaced by the mercy of our Divine Savior. While calamities continued to occur, they were less frequent and less destructive. Why? Because it was a new era in which the people of the world benefited from the rise and growth of the Catholic Church and Christianity.
Great grace and protection resulted from the establishment of our Lord’s church and was fueled by the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion, Penance, Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick. These sacraments ushered in a new era of mercy, which resulted in a significant reduction in the number and severity of calamities.
But then a momentous event occurred in 1917 — an event that put the world on notice that if sinful men and women did not repent and turn back to God, a great calamity would be unleashed upon mankind. The event that I’m referring to was the appearance of a special woman to three young children in Fatima, Portugal.
The special woman was the one person who had the most influence on the Son of God while He was on Earth, and who, at the time of her appearance, had (and still has) the most influence on Him in Heaven. She was the one who had been responsible for teaching, by word and example, the human side of the Son of God how to love and show mercy toward others. She was and still is the Mother of God.
Why did the Mother of God appear to the three children in Fatima? To warn the world that there was a trend that was occurring in society that was moving humanity away from the sacraments and back to the sinful and decadent age that existed before the establishment of the Catholic Church. She warned the world about the growing movement toward the sins of the flesh, and the immediate need for prayer and reparation.
To prove that her appearances to the children were genuine, the Mother of God engineered the “Miracle of the Sun,” which occurred on October 13, 1917. The miracle was witnessed by more than 100,000 people and was reported in all the major newspapers throughout the world. It was a supernatural phenomenon that could not be explained by anyone.
I am writing this article on October 13, 2017, the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun. During her apparitions, the Mother of God warned that if the people of the world did not repent and turn to God in prayer, a war worse than World War I would break out. Because her message to the world was ignored, one of the greatest calamities of all time — World War II — began in 1939, and did not end until six years later. World War II turned out to be the deadliest military conflict in history, with more than 50 million people killed.
The sins of mankind have only gotten worse since the end of that war. During the past 60 years, the one gift from our Lord that helped usher in the age of mercy — the Catholic Church and the sacraments — has taken a beating throughout the world.
Marriage has been redefined to include acts of perversion. Millions of people have lost faith in and abandoned the sacraments of Holy Communion and Penance. The number of men dedicating their lives to our Lord through the Sacrament of Holy Orders is at an all-time low. Catholic Churches are being closed because millions of lapsed Catholics no longer bother to baptize their children or attend Mass.
When calamities such as hurricanes and fires kill people, wipe out thousands of acres of property, and disrupt the lives of millions of other people, the self-proclaimed gods that control our government, our public institutions, the mainstream media, and Hollywood shrug their shoulders and chalk it up to climate change.
In the meantime, there’s a maniac in North Korea who is threatening to incinerate the United States with nuclear weapons. There’s also the mullahs in Iran who are developing the capability to destroy the United States with nuclear weapons. And then there’s a much smarter and more subtle China, hiding in the wings preparing for the moment when it can conquer the United States and rule the world.
Each incremental loss of influence that has taken place within the Catholic Church, combined with the abandonment of the sacraments by members of the church, has increased the likelihood that God will allow more severe and catastrophic calamities to occur in the future.
Will we return to the days of the Old Testament when massive calamities wiped out entire nations, while causing immense suffering for those who survived? Or will we return to prayer and the sacraments where our Savior’s mercy holds back Almighty God’s hand of justice?
The choice is ours to make.