The Abortion Battle Will Grow More Fierce

Anxious in Victory

As happy as I am over the recent Supreme Court decision overturning Roe vs. Wade, it fills me with anxiety. First, the news tends to focus on liberal politicians’ outrage and quasi-terrorist groups like Jane’s Revenge. The media muffles the voices of those happy over the decision. I also have this feeling that something horrible is going to happen beyond the recent vandalism like shootings or bombings. And worse, I feel like those in power will ignore or stoke the chaos suggesting that it’s righteous indignation over an unjust decision.

Fallout from Supreme Court abortion decision: When reporters parrot partisan talking points — GetReligion

Legal Misconceptions

Beyond people’s personal safety, I’m also frustrated over the misconceptions, if not outright lies, that people have over this ruling and issue. Legally, this ruling puts abortion legislation back into the hands of the state governments. This is a good thing. Many of our laws should be decided at the state and local levels instead of at the federal level. People acting crazy over this foundational principle of the United States frustrates me. It shows the lack of understanding of how the US government is designed to function.

As abortion policy returns to the states, the pro-abortion lobby will find themselves fighting on multiple fronts and with less political cover from the federal government. We may start to see greater restrictions on abortions in many states which will put pressure on the entire abortion industry. Like a cornered beast, we’re going to see the pro-abortion lobby get louder, less rational, and more extreme. I think they will counter the general lack of support for their position with outrageous claims and actions. I’m afraid of what those actions may be.

7 myths about Roe v. Wade, now that it’s been overturned | Catholic News Agency

Social Misconceptions

The other aspect of this SCOTUS decision that stresses me is the lack of understanding of why people have pro-life convictions. If you were to listen to the media and shouting heads on Twitter, you would think that the sole reason to ban abortion is to suppress women’s rights and establish a patriarchy in the USA. Why do people have such a hard time seeing that there are those who see the preciousness and value of all human life and seek to preserve it? It seems so obvious and good to me. That is why I get so unnerved when I see the vitriol directed at people who only want the best for everyone — women, men, mothers, fathers, children, the elderly, and the unborn.

This hatred will be well-publicized and encouraged by pro-abortion politicians. They will seek to label all Christians as “extremists” and, ironically, opponents to a just and civil society. I fear that Christian persecution will become more widespread and legal action against those who do harm will go unenforced. And where they’ve lost ground on abortion, we’ll see redoubled efforts in other aspects of the woke agenda to undermine Christian and other religious values.

Strength in Weakness

What frightens me is that all of this comes when the Church is in a weakened state. We’ve endured waves of scandals from the priesthood. High-ranking church officials have become indulgent in political power instead of acting as servants in Christ’s Church. And people in general are starting to believe and practice their faith less. I fear we’ve unleashed wild beasts hungry for our destruction at a point in time when we will have a harder time fighting them off.

I think about Saint Paul’s words, “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10) We find comfort and inspiration that the Church has endured and thrived at times when opposing cultures believed they had defeated us. The Church has been in difficult positions countless times. But we have found strength to not only survive but to grow stronger. This isn’t a strength that comes from adopting the tactics of our persecutors. This is the strength that has come from putting our faith in God. It’s about knowing that God is Truth and embracing that Truth will ultimately set us free.

If you’re looking for comfort in the Rosary, meditate on the Second Joyful Mystery. Remember these lines from the Canticle of Mary:

He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.

No matter how much influence and power the pro-abortion lobby has, no matter how much glowing coverage they receive from the media, their efforts won’t bring forth fruits where it matters. Their position is shaky on logical, legal, and moral grounds. They can’t fight Truth and win. Let us pray for their conversion so that God doesn’t send them away empty, but rather unites us all as his children.

Why Abortion Activists Target Catholics

Why Catholics?

One of my goals for RosaryMeds is to draw connections between current events in the world and the mysteries of the Rosary. We do not pray the Rosary in a vacuum but in the context of world events. This is what makes the Rosary such a great and powerful prayer. The mysteries, while remaining the same, take on new meaning and value as the world and our individual situations change.

There is no event in greater need of our Rosary prayers right now than the pending Supreme Court decision in the United States of America that may transfer abortion law from the federal government to the state governments. The prospect of states being free to limit access to abortion has set off a firestorm of attacks against pro-life organizations. The largest target of these attacks is the Catholic Church. But why do pro-abortion activists direct so much rage toward the Church? This Catholic Exchange article, Why Abortion Attacks the Church and the Eucharist, sheds some light on that question.

Rosary Meditation

It’s time to get out those Rosary beads. The article alludes to the Third Sorrowful Mystery beautifully:

Abortion is a new crown of thorns for our Lord, as His innocent children are senselessly killed, the very people He came to save.

When I chose the Third Sorrowful Mystery as my mystery to focus on in 2022, I never thought we, the people of this world, would be adding so many figurative thorns to Jesus’ crown in such a short period of time. Every time we sin, attack, or dismiss Church teachings and God’s Truth, we weave new thorny stems into this crown. Let us pray the Third Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary in sorrow for all the sins we commit against Christ our King.

We should also pray for the conversion of those who are attacking pro-life organizations and Catholic churches. Like the Roman soldiers who created a crown of thorns, I think many of these activists/terrorists don’t fully understand what’s going on. The soldiers and many of the Jews got caught up in mocking and then crucifying Jesus and probably didn’t give what they were actually doing much thought. I think the same goes for those who are attacking churches. They are being whipped up and acting without much thought on what exactly they’re doing.

The situation is going to get ugly in the near future for Catholics and pro-life advocates. Let us remember that things got ugly for Jesus too in his Passion. But all that ugliness eventually led to God’s glory. Let us continuously pray that the same happens to us.

Remember to Honor the Eucharist

By now, many of us have heard about the uproar over Archbishop Cordileone telling Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, that she cannot receive Holy Communion as long as she clings to her pro-abortion views. I think now is a good time to review the criteria for receiving Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Here’s a good article on Catholic Exchange on what one must do to worthily partake in Communion.

I appreciate how seriously Archbishop Cordileone takes the Eucharist. He’s been a champion of promoting the Real Presence of the Eucharist. It’s unfortunate that so many Catholics think the Eucharist is just a symbol of an event that took place 2000 years ago. It’s no wonder that Mass attendance is down. People don’t realize the miracle that takes place when Jesus comes to us through Holy Communion.

There has been a lot of talk of politicizing and weaponizing the Eucharist. But it isn’t coming from bishops despite what uninformed media are saying. It’s coming from radical, pro-abortion groups vandalizing churches and desecrating the Eucharist over the possible overturning of Roe v. Wade. The Archbishop invites all of us to pray with him this Thursday in a Litany of Reparation for Abuses against the Most Holy Eucharist. It’s virtual over Zoom so anyone can participate.

Join the Archbishop to honor the Blessed Sacrament

Thursday is a good day to pray this litany as it’s also when we traditionally pray the Fifth Luminous Mystery — The Institution of the Eucharist. When we pray this mystery, we should remember how the Eucharist we receive today is every bit as real and miraculous as what the apostles received at the Last Supper. We are connected through time, space, the physical, and the metaphysical to Jesus Christ through Holy Communion. This is the cornerstone of our faith. Without it, Catholicism is basically a record of some good advice Jesus gave long ago. Pray that we worthily receive Jesus and for the conversion of those who harm the Church by intentionally desecrating the Eucharist or receiving it unworthily.

Embrace the Pro-Life Label

A Disturbing Ad

I live in California which is run by far-left politicians. We just had state-wide elections for governor, attorney general, senator, and many other high-level offices. Neighborhoods are littered with political signs endorsing candidates and the radio plays political ads nonstop. I just heard one that first confused and then angered me.

I don’t recall the specifics of the political ad I heard. All I remember hearing was that a certain candidate was pro-life. And then the ad ended by proclaiming that the choice is clear who you should vote for. “Oh wow, someone running for office in California is touting his pro-life position”, I thought. But like an M. Night Shyamalan movie, there was a twist. The pro-abortion candidate paid for the ad! He was trying to scare people into voting for him by labeling his opponent pro-life.

The “Pro-life” Label

In the past, pro-abortion candidates would use euphemisms to label pro-life politicians like “anti-choice” or “against women’s health.” They usually don’t say “pro-life” because it exposes pro-choice for what it actually is — anti-life. And being against life doesn’t exactly paint someone in a compassionate light and would scare away voters. At least, that would be the case in normal societies. But this is the liberal Bay Area where being anti-life appears to be a selling point for political office.

There have always been pro-abortion politicians. That doesn’t surprise me. What’s shocking is that now someone can just proclaim their opponent is pro-life and expect support from a significant portion of the voter base. Today’s politics is all about labels; no debate or logical argument is needed. The right labels have the ability to propel you, the wrong labels can destroy you. Labels are the foundation of “cancel culture” — no context or debate necessary. You just label, cancel, and repeat.

Where Labels Lead

But this line of thinking goes beyond a television show going off the air or a comedian not being able to perform. Labels can ultimately lead to the destruction of a functioning society. I think we all know the basic history of people making laws and policies based on labels, not sound arguments. Nazi Germany, the USSR, Cambodia, Rowanda, and modern-day China are all examples of the horrors that occur when the state creates policies that label and target groups of people. And while there’s been an undercurrent of that in American politics, it’s starting to pick up momentum at an exponential pace. Just look at the increased violence against Catholic churches, pro-life foundations, and even Supreme Court justices.

Having the Same Labels as God

Well, now I’m depressed. I started this article by writing about an ad on the radio and somehow I found myself thinking about how we’re seeing the next Khmer Rouge. On the bright side, Christians have been labeled and targeted for 2000 years. The Jews had been labeled even longer. And we’re still here! When you’re on the side of truth, you wear your labels with pride and conviction. If I find myself in the same group as God, should I fear? I should rejoice to be in the same group as God!

Remember what Christ said in the Beatitudes: Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. As difficult as it might become to bear the label of “Christian”, “pro-life”, or “moral” in the modern world, I think about the Beatitudes and the true joy and happiness those labels will bring me if I wholeheartedly accept them.

Find Joy by Rediscovering “Awe” of God

Walking Alone

This article is my commentary on these interesting articles. I suggest reading these articles first and then finishing up with mine.

The central message in both of these articles is that many of us choose to walk through our lives without God. We work, eat, sleep, and find various leisure activities but it’s all in a very secular way. We fail to acknowledge God’s influence on our lives throughout our day. Not living with God results in a bleak worldview because we see nothing beyond what can be seen, heard, and explained.

Ignoring God at Our Peril

When we seek answers but then deliberately ignore God’s response, we often receive an inaccurate view of reality. We get information through the lens of politics, media, and big business; all of which have their own interests. Their interests usually don’t include providing you peace, truth, and joy. For example, we may have fears about climate change or Covid. But listening solely to the media or government mouthpieces will give you a distorted view of how you should respond. If you want peace, perspective, and truth, you need to include God in the conversation through prayer.

I’m not saying that you completely ignore all worldly sources of information. Science does a good job of explaining the nature of the physical world around us. Engineering, technology, mathematics, etc. have given us wonderful inventions and improved our standard of living. But there is so much more to our lives than what these fields can explain. We may know the science to create a Covid vaccine or engineer an iPhone. But science and secular psychology can’t show us how to live with true joy. For that, we need to have God in our worldview.

God helps us navigate our fears, anxieties, and all the other aspects of our modern lives. Science may be able to explain Covid and even treat it, but God helps us manage our fears and concerns around it. I think many people are so fearful of Covid, climate change, or the issue of the day because they don’t listen to any higher authority than their social media feeds. They don’t want to listen to God and hear His guidance for navigating our lives amidst these challenges. Take God’s voice out of any current issue and you’re left with a bleak outlook on the world governed by whoever is yelling the loudest.

Finding our Daily “Awe of God”

If you’re looking to bring God into your daily life, pray the Fourth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary — The Transfiguration. When I think of Jesus rising into the sky and turning a dazzling white, I envision the sense of awe St. Peter, James, and John must have felt. I think we need to have a sense of awe of God (traditionally known as “Fear of God”) throughout our day. We need to acknowledge God at work in the very large and the very small.

This is becoming a theme in my posts, but I’m saddened by the drop in regular Mass attendance in my parish since the Covid lockdowns. I think there is a strong correlation between the drop in Mass attendance and the increasing unhappiness many people are feeling. Secularism doesn’t give people a very good means of finding joy. Ever wonder why babies and small children are so happy? Everything in their world has a sense of awe to it. When Jesus said we should be more like children (Matthew 18:3), perhaps he is calling us to regain some of that childlike awe regarding our faith. I think attending Mass and praying will help us find that awe as we start to acknowledge God at work in our lives.

Joy is Following God’s Truth, Not Attacking it

Spinning Plates

Have you ever seen the circus or carnival act where someone attempts to spin multiple plates on sticks? It starts out easy enough but as more plates start to spin, the harder it is to prevent them from crashing down. By focusing on certain plates, others are neglected and fall. It’s only by running around frantically that you keep them going. Even a small miscalculation sends them crashing. It’s difficult to micromanage so many objects taken out of their natural state that will just follow the laws of physics without your constant intervention.

I feel like our society is spinning plates right now on multiple levels whether political, economic, or social. Many of our politicians and their supporters insist on abortion on demand. But we then have to deal with the social impact of life being seen as an inconvenience, not something worth protecting. We have to spin the plates of suicide, euthanasia, broken families, and health issues just to name a few. You can’t just demand freely available abortions and pretend they will happen in a vacuum. Devaluing human life has a chain effect of many undesired consequences.

We see this spinning plate scenario play out in many other areas. We want to legalize all sorts of drugs and behaviors citing “personal freedom.” But then we need to deal with the side effects of people needing to feed their addictions. Society doesn’t want to lock people into marriage and raising families. But then we need to address issues brought about by single-parent households. Lately, we don’t even want to acknowledge basic biology. We then wonder why young adults are so confused and retreat to their phones. After all, isn’t easier to bury your head in Tik-Tok videos than face all these societal messes?

Catholicism: A Solid Foundation

The beauty of Catholicism is that her doctrine avoids the spinning plate problem. Instead of life being a tumult of spinning plates, it’s a nicely set table. Acknowledging the truth about the sanctity and dignity of life avoids the issues and tragedies of promoting a culture of death in the name of freedom or privacy. Following the 10 Commandments leads to people treating each other with respect, peace, and harmony instead of everyone doing whatever they feel like. Knowing that there is the Truth of God sure makes life a lot less confusing than the mess woke progressivism has made.

Catholic doctrine has been pondered and refined for centuries by some of the greatest human minds. Just think of the great works and logical arguements of Saint Thomas Acquinas or Saint Augustine for example. Think about the brilliant encyclicals of the popes. These weren’t politicians looking to boost their re-election chances by catering to their base. They looked at Jesus and his disciples’ teachings and made logical, sound arguments about their validity.

Don’t get me wrong, following Catholic teaching doesn’t lead to a utopia. After all, we are sinful people who can easily be led astray by Satan. But Catholicism has answers that don’t lead to more dispair and unhappiness. It might create more work in the short term whether that be finding a loving home for an unintended pregnancy, fighting addictions, and generally nudging people towards what is good. But, work and effort are not the same as being unhappy or unfulfilled.

I think one of society’s largest problems is that we’ve stopped nudging people to do what’s morally good. Instead, we allow them to do what feels good. As a culture, we indulge peoples’ wants instead of helping them seek what they need. As a Church, we’ve stopped emphasizing the need to regularly attend Mass and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. How do we expect people to do what is right if they no longer hear the Truth and pray to follow it? How can we expect people to reform and convert if they don’t understand the saving power of Reconciliation?

God’s Truth isn’t necessarily a prescription for a specific economic, social, or political system. Although, I’m sure we can all think of political systems that deliberately attack religion and how the countries that embrace them turn out. While the details may be different, systems based on Truth certainly lay a solid foundation for a stable society. I said this in a previous article about how the Bible said God repeatedly punished the Israelites for disobeying Him. I pointed out that the Israelites were probably bringing punishment upon themselves by stealing, lying, murdering, and coveting. A society that embraces the opposite of God’s Truth will inevitably collapse into chaos.

Seeking Truth in the Rosary

I think this is a good time to reflect on the Fourth Luminous Mystery — The Transfiguration. I love the image of Jesus appearing between Moses and Elijah. You have Moses, the bringer of the Law. You have Elijah who challenged and won against the followers of Baal — a pagan God the Israelites repeatedly worshiped and led to much suffering. The Transfiguration is this image of the unification of the Old and New Testament laws and rejection of actions that are anti-Truth. We need to keep this image in our heads when we’re confronted with current issues. Are we following and promoting the laws and practices preached by the people present in the Transfiguration? Or are our “causes” running counter to the Truth?

I also like the Fourth Joyful Mystery when contemplating these topics. The fruit of the Presentation in the Temple is obedience to the law of God. Mary and Joseph faithfully followed Jewish laws and customs. Simeon and Anna, who were praying in the temple, also devoutly followed the law. We too must follow the laws of God even if they create challenges and inconveniences in our lives. Going to Mass, confession, adoration, and prayer services may not be fun compared to video games, movies, and parties. But being aware and obedient to God’s laws is what gives us that moral foundation that will lead to true happiness. It’s a happiness that can only be realized when we embrace God, not fight Him.

The Miracle of Individual Conversion

Conversion is a Process

I find inspiration and hope in the conversion of St. Paul. It makes me realize that God has a plan for all of us, even for those who we deem “lost.” And let’s face it, there are plenty of lost people in this world right now. We live in a post-truth, woke, relativistic, manipulated, fearful, easily offended, snowflake, whipped-up world. It’s easy to feel lost amongst the media noise and competing agendas. Like Saul, who thought he was protecting the Jews from these crazy Christians, people are fighting for all sorts of “causes.” This often ends in people feeling angrier and sadder. Yet, even in all this chaos, God’s plan is at work. Maybe it’s not as dramatic as St. Paul’s conversion, but individuals are converted all the time.

Conversion isn’t usually a one-time event surrounded by blinding light and a voice in the sky. It’s a process of gradual change. For many, conversion is opening their hearts and minds to God’s voice. You may find yourself more motivated to pray, read scripture, and attend Mass. That could evolve into receiving the sacraments, especially Reconciliation. You might find yourself letting go of an old grudge and forgiving those who wronged you. It’s a process of taking a few steps forward and maybe a few steps back.

Conversion in the Rosary

Conversion is a central theme of the Third Luminous Mystery, The proclamation of the kingdom of Heaven and Jesus’ call to conversion. Jesus calls all of us to come to him with our imperfections and ask for his help to convert them. But we should not only pray that we convert our own earthly ways into heavenly ones but for others’ conversion as well. The world feels torn apart right now with the war in Ukraine and various ideologies, ones that have caused so much tragedy, taking hold once again. We need to pray for those individuals who are lost that they may find Jesus Christ and convert to living for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Convert Souls, Not the World

I think we should focus on the changing of individual souls and not praying that the whole world changes. It’s not that praying for world change is a bad thing. I just think it’s a bit of a cop-out. It’s like we want to wake up tomorrow and see that God fixed everything and made our world a utopia. We lost our utopia when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. The world will never be a perfect place. That’s what God wanted, but we choose differently. While the world may never be perfect, God still reaches out to each individual soul offering him a chance to start living for His kingdom.

Gains are made one soul at a time. Sometimes those converted souls can have a large impact on others. Look at Saint Paul’s conversion again. Not only did he stop persecuting Christians, but he went on to write letters that make up a good-sized portion of the New Testament. But a meaningful conversion isn’t one that has a large worldly impact. Finding God’s mercy and grace mean the world to the converted soul. Imagine the near-infinite joy of a single soul, one possibly headed for Hell, finding salvation in Heaven because he converted.

I’m not saying we give up on our world. But the world will never be perfect regardless of what leaders we elect and what laws we pass. It will always be broken until the end of time when God establishes a “New Jerusalem.” There will always be sadness, hardship, and tragedy. But the world and our lives are temporary. Our souls are eternal. Investing in our soul’s well-being is the wiser, long-term investment.

There’s a Little “Doubting Thomas” in All of Us

Poor Saint Thomas. I always felt like he got a bad wrap being forever known as Doubting Thomas. All the apostles had their faults, but Saint Thomas and Saint Peter’s are probably the best known along with Judas Iscariot. How unfortunate that his moment of weakness came to define him. He’s like the kid at school that picked up an unflattering nickname based on doing something silly on his first day.

Why did Saint John include this story about Saint Thomas? All the Gospel writers had good reasons for removing or including certain content. Saint John even went as far as providing editorial notes saying that he intentionally left out many of the acts Jesus performed (John 20:30, 21:25) But he included Saint Thomas’ doubt. That story made the cut. What’s so important about it?

We Can’t Put Our Hands in Jesus’ Side

I think Saint John included this story about doubt knowing that everyone reading it for ages to come would relate. Future generations would be like Saint Thomas — being told of Jesus’ resurrection without actually seeing him. We have the Church telling us that Jesus rose from the dead, but we can’t actually place our hands in Jesus’ nail marks. In the lack of physical evidence, will we doubt or believe?

Before we’re too hard on Saint Thomas, ask yourself if you would have acted differently. Jesus rising from the dead was an extraordinary claim. It wasn’t hardened by thousands of years of Church history. Remember, the apostles at this time were still trying to make sense of Jesus’ teachings. They didn’t have centuries of teachings and theologians to help guide them. I think Saint Thomas’ reaction was reasonable. And it was one that many of us still exhibit today.

Many of us have moments of doubt about our faith. We’re just lucky that we don’t have someone recording our doubts and putting them into the most widely distributed book of all time as Saint Thomas did. I think there are times when we want more proof from God. We want to know that the prayers, fasting, almsgiving, etc. are all necessary and ultimately beneficial. Our doubt manifests itself in various ways such as:

  • Not going to Mass or not paying attention during Mass
  • Not believing in the Real Presence of the Eucharist
  • Delay receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Not praying
  • Acting in ways that are contrary to Church teaching
  • Committing sin

Sin is Doubting God

It’s that last one, committing sin, that I would like to focus on. Sin is demonstrating a lack of faith. It’s knowing what Jesus wants out of us and then doing the opposite. If we were 100% faithful to Jesus with no doubt in him or his Church, we wouldn’t dare do anything contrary to his teachings. And yet, we all show our doubt when we sin. We implicitly say, “I’ve heard the Church’s teachings, but I don’t fully believe them.” We wouldn’t dare commit a sin if Jesus was physically standing in front of us. But he is always there with us but our doubt blinds us to his presence.

Here’s the good news and why Saint John included Saint Thomas’ story in his Gospel. He knew that future generations, billions of people, will not have the advantage of seeing proof of Jesus’ resurrection like Saint Thomas and the apostles. John’s Gospel says, “Blessed are those who have not seen but believe” (John 20:29). That’s us! This account, while at Saint Thomas’ expense, is meant for us. It is a call for us to have faith in Jesus Christ for all time after Jesus physically left this world in the Ascension.

Fighting Doubt with Rosary Prayer

When I’m looking to fight doubt and have faith, I turn to praying the First Joyful Mystery, The Annunciation. Mary, while confused and puzzled by the Angel Gabriel’s announcement, didn’t doubt God’s plan. Likewise, Saint Joseph, while having concerns of his own, also put his faith in God when he stood by Mary’s side instead of divorcing her. They didn’t demand proof or challenge God like Saint Thomas. Rather, they humbly accepted God’s Will. When we pray this mystery, let’s also ask God for humble faith in His divine Will.

I also think about the Third Luminous Mystery, The Proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Call to Conversion. The Kingdom of Heaven is real. But how much faith and confidence do we have living for it instead of earthly delights? Again, when we sin, it shows our doubt in the reality of God’s heavenly kingdom. And that is why Jesus calls us to conversion. Conversion means having more faith and less doubt in God’s plan for us. It means trying harder to live for something we cannot immediately see instead of demanding God to prove himself.

Unfortunately, Saint Thomas can’t escape his Doubting Thomas label. But Saint John included his account in his Gospel for our benefit. Are you striving to live in God’s grace and have faith in God’s plan? Or are you wasting valuable time demanding proof before living for God’s kingdom?

Evil is Real, Prayer is Necessary

Suddenly Too Tired

Like most kids his age, my 7-year-old son has tons of energy. He runs around the house all day chasing his older brother. He talks at great length about his interests. He’s an active kid. But then, when it’s time for evening prayers, he is suddenly “too tired” to pray. If we’re lucky, we’ll get some mumbled prayers out of him but not much else. But then a miracle usually strikes and he’s soon jumping off sofa cushions before going to bed. It’s uncanny how he gets his second wind immediately after prayers are over.

Is what my son does during evening prayers really that much different from how many of us practice our faith? How many times do we not seem to have the energy to pray, fast, or go to Mass? And yet, we somehow find the energy to go to work, parties, and various social events. We can spend hours watching TV or sports, but can’t spare any time or energy to go to a church to pray.

The Real Risk of Sin

Many people diet and exercise because they want to avoid many medical complications that come from an unhealthy lifestyle. But exercise and diet can only lower your risk. They can’t guarantee that you won’t get sick or contract a serious disease. Because of this lack of certainty, many of us choose to roll the dice. We’ll take the immediate gratification now like eating what we feel like and sitting in front of a screen. Why not enjoy life now instead of trying to fight diseases we may never get right?

“I don’t need exercise; I have strong genes”

I think that mentality spills into many of our prayer lives. Prayer and living the Catholic faith aren’t a guarantee of earthly happiness. This is because we don’t see all the sins or unhappiness that we avoid through prayer. This is similar to how someone doesn’t exactly know all the diseases he didn’t get through exercise and healthy living. Unfortunately, it’s not knowing what didn’t potentially happen that dissuades many of us away from prayer, fasting, and receiving the sacraments.

Unlike a physical illness which we may not get whether we exercise or not, sin and temptation are a certainty. We face it every day and we need to be prepared. The war in Ukraine shows the evil that is always lurking around us just waiting to be unleashed. Here is what Ukrainian Greek Catholic Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk had to say about the nature of evil:

“This war reminds us more and more of the rules of unseen warfare, the spiritual struggle that every Christian wages with the devil, with evil, and his servants, Therefore, if we hide or conceal our sins, our flaws, they become stronger, they dominate us. But when we bring them to light, go to confession, speak of them truthfully to ourselves, and open our hearts to a spiritual father, it is as if we bring the devil to the light and take away his power.”

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk

When we don’t pray, fast, attend Mass, or receive the sacraments, evil grows more powerful. I’ll reiterate that this isn’t a probability of sin and evil having an effect on you, it’s a certainty. Some people may get lucky and live a long healthy life without proper exercise and diet. But you can’t get lucky and avoid the wickedness and snares of the devil without a strong prayer life.

The devil is always around trying to lead us astray

How to Defeat Sin

Many of us are tied as we enter Holy Week and then the Easter season. We’ve been praying and fasting for over five weeks now. But now is not the time to let up on our commitment to faithfully serving God. Like I said in my previous post, God calls on all Catholics to be His elite followers. He asks a lot of us but only because the dangers are real. God loves each of us and doesn’t want us dominated by evil. We have the tools to fight back and remain in God’s grace:

  1. Prayer
  2. Fasting
  3. Reading the Bible
  4. Confession
  5. The Eucharist

God Wants Us to Lead this World

Leaders are meant to go that extra mile for their team or organization. They need to set a great example for others. They inspire people to do their best. People want to work for great managers. Athletes want to play for great coaches. But being a leader isn’t easy. You can’t phone it in or be a hypocrite — creating rules that you don’t follow.

Jesus calls us to lead

I was thinking about great leadership when I read the Gospel for Wednesday, March 23. Here Jesus talks about fulfilling the law.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent | USCCB

Jesus is telling us that we need to be great leaders in our spiritual life. He is telling us how God calls us to follow Him in all ways, both big and small. We may not know it, but the way we live sets an example for others. It may be for our kids, our family, friends, or coworkers. They all see us as a representative of a group whether that be a family, community, company, or faith. Jesus tells us we need to be great leaders and examples of the Catholic faith for others to follow.

Not acting as leaders

Unfortunately, I think many of us take our calling as leaders of the Catholic faith too casually. We don’t realize that the way we live paints a picture of Catholic life to others. When we don’t attend Mass, receive the sacraments, or do not acknowledge the importance of Jesus in our life, others will think that’s what Christianity teaches and promotes. And that is what Jesus in the Gospel tells us we can’t let happen.

You can’t lead the Church if you don’t go to church

I feel like we Christians are called by God to be his elite leaders. We are like the star athlete or rock star employee. God asks a lot of us and He expects us to come through. An athlete can’t ignore the rules of the game or slack off in the middle of a big game. A manager can’t ignore the needs of the company or his employees. And a Christian can’t ignore God’s plan.

As you go through Lent, think about what God asks of you. Be thankful that He wants you to succeed in living a Christian life. All those rules and laws are there to help you achieve that. They help mold and shape us into the humble leaders God intends us to be. Lent is that period of sacrifice and prayer that can strengthen us in our faith and eventual joy if we choose.

Mary’s example of leadership

Meditate on Mary in the Fifth Glorious Mystery. She wears the crown as Queen of Heaven because she accepted God’s calling for her to be a humble leader. She obeyed God’s Will in all ways, big and small. Imagine the difficulty, sorrow, and confusion she faced when you meditate on her seven sorrows:

  1. The Prophecy of Simeon
  2. The Flight Into Egypt
  3. The Loss of the Child Jesus in Jerusalem
  4. Mary Meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary
  5. Jesus Dies on the Cross
  6. Mary Holds the Life Less Body of Jesus in Her Arms
  7. Jesus is Laid in the Tomb

God laid out this challenging path for Mary to follow and she did. He lays out a path for us to follow as well. It may not be an easy path, but it’s one that we have the ability to traverse and ultimately succeed. We don’t do it alone. We have the help of Mary, the saints, the Holy Spirit, and our Christian brothers and sisters. Rejoice that God has put a path before you that ultimately leads to His Kingdom of Heaven.