With all of the justifiable attention being paid to the catastrophic destruction that has been wrought by Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean, where it has destroyed ninety percent of the buildings on the island of Barbuda and wreaked great damage upon the island of Antigua (which was part of the itinerary of the MS Oslofjord during a Christmas cruise we took between December 18, 1964, and January 5, 1965), as it makes its approach to Florida’s Gulf Coast in but a few hours of this article’s posting, we should be reminded of the fact that it was only two weeks ago now that the Houston, Texas, metropolitan area was getting pounded by Tropical Storm Harvey’s relentless rainfall.
Yes, just two weeks.
The amount of flooding that Houston and its environs, including places to the south such as Pasadena, Texas, Dickinson, Texas, to the northeast such as Humble, Texas, and to the west, such as Katy, Texas, and the southwest, such as Sugar Land, Texas, and Richmond, Texas, was staggering to witness on our cellular phones. What made this tragedy very personal to us is that we know many people in the affected areas, starting with my own first cousins (the sons of my late father’s late brother), and have spent much time in the area over the years.
Indeed, I started my own trips to the Houston area in September of 1973 when returning to Notre Dame, Indiana, from a brief visit to my parents in their new home in Harlingen, Texas, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and there was hardly a year after that until the last decade that I had not traveled there. Knowing the area as I do, therefore, I could tell which areas which being most affected by the flooding as we prayed for those who lived there, and we were grateful to learn that Saint Jude Shrine in Stafford, Texas, was spared any damage from the rains at a time when Father Louis J. Campbell was taking his annual vacation in his native Nova Scotia to visit his family there. (Father Campbell celebrated his fifty-sixth anniversary of priestly ordination on September 3, 2017.)
Flash floods are not uncommon in the Houston area. This is something that I experienced first-hand in June of 1999 when visiting my cousins in Pasadena while I was on a speaking tour. No sooner had the skies opened up around 11:00 a.m. than the streets began to flood. The water table in the Houston area is very high, which means that there is nowhere for lots of water to go if it comes down in torrents over a short period of time. I prayed to get back to my cousin’s house, whereupon I realized I could not open the door to my 1995 Saturn station wagon without flooding the inside of the car. I just had to wait until the water subsided, which took about an hour.
It was but a mere six years later that we were ordered to evacuate a campground in Dickinson, Texas, when the hysteria over the approaching Hurricane Rita, which actually hit along the Texas-Louisiana, border, not the Houston area. However, this hysteria was generated by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans just three weeks before. Traffic was nightmarish leaving Houston in our motor home, which, unbeknownst to us at the moment it occurred, parted ways with our 2004 Chevrolet Trail Blazer in Splendora, Texas, on US-59. (For further details on this, which occurred during our “resist while recognize” days, please see Better This Than Purgatory (Or Worse), Flatbed Trailer for Sale: Real Cheap (and Getting Cheaper),)
Thus it is that we watched with great interest as we prayed fervently for family members, friends and acquaintances who were enduring the endless rains from Tropical Storm Harvey two weeks ago now. We have been to practically every part of the greater Houston area over the years, spending more time stuck in the area’s endless traffic delays during the afternoon rush hour than we desired.
One of the things that we have noticed during our trips to Houston is that many underpasses on the major highways feature high water markings on the cement walls on either side. We have known what those markings meant, but it was amazing to see extent of the flooding on those highways in “real time,” as they say today. The storm just sat over the Houston metropolitan area for four days, spinning around and around and around at a snail’s pace. It is nothing other than the ineffable mercy of God and the prayers of His Most Blessed Mother that more people were not killed, especially since the pro-abortion, pro-perversity Mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, contradicted Texas Governor Gregory Abbott, who, knowing that Harvey would be a rain event with the potential for massive flooding once it had made land near Corpus Christi, Texas (which is where my late parents’ mortal remains are buried), by telling Houstonians to “shelter in place.”
No sooner had Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey ceased to be news, although its after-effects will be felt by residents whose homes were flooded and/or damaged for many months, did Hurricane Irma began to ratchet up as it threatened some Caribbean islands before hitting Florida this morning, Sunday, September 10, 2017, the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost and the Commemoration of Saint Nicholas of Tolentino. And it was Irma was wreaking its devastation upon the islands of Barbuda, St. Maarten, the British Virgin Islands and St. Thomas in the American Virgin Islands that southern Mexico was hit with an earthquake that registered 8.1 on the Richter Scale.
What is striking about all of this is the fact that we are a little more than a month away from the one hundredth anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, a fact that so few people want to recognize as important. Indeed, most of the secular commentators who adhere to the naturalism of the false opposite of the “left” have blamed Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey and Hurricane Irma on “man-made climate change” and “global warming. Most of these utter nincompoops and fools refer to the force of “Mother Nature,” not to the omnipotence of God, Who uses natural disasters as a means to chastise and punish His wayward children.
Please, don’t tell this to the Talmudic-Marxist naturalist masquerading as “Pope Francis,” as he believes that these storms are caused by “global warming” and that is a “sin” to deny the junk science of “climate change. He scoffs at the notion of a God Who judges and chastises, an attitude which reflects the fact that references to God’s justice and eternal punishment were pretty much eliminated in the ethos and the collects of the Protestant and Judeo-Masonic Protestant Novus Ordo liturgical service.
That the truth is, of course, that God will not be mocked. Sins must be punished. God chooses a variety of ways to punish us errant, recidivist, ungrateful sinners. The elements of the earth are themselves disturbed by human sins as they are part of the Order of Creation (Nature) whose perfect balance was rent asunder as a result of Original Sin.
I would entreat you, however, to consider how Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself told Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres that the sins of men in Ecuador, a country favored with the visits of Our Lady of Good Success and ruled for twelve years (1859 to 1865 and 1869 to the time of assassination in 1875) by that great exemplar of the Social Reign of Christ the King, Gabriel Garcia Moreno, would diminish the luster of the sunsets in that country on the equator:
She saw that when this would happen, the beautiful dawn that each morning would break forth with refulgence over this land--so enchantingly spectacular that some persons would rise at daybreak just to see the day break--would lose some of its brilliance. Thus does earth reflect Heaven, and the earth's beauty and vitality diminish with sin and infidelity to grace. This favor of beautiful dawns should cease, Mother Mariana was given to understand, because the Republic [of Ecuador, which was then only a Spanish colony] would become corrupt and ungrateful for the benefits it received from God. (Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D., Stories and Miracles of Our Lady of Good Success, Tradition in Action, Inc., 2002, p. 68.)
Men must quit their sins and repent of them in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance.
They must treat each other as they would treat Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Who was made Flesh in Our Lady's Virginal and Immaculate Womb, where He spent nine months growing to the point of His Nativity in poverty and anonymity in Bethlehem on Christmas Day. No one can say--that he loves Our Lord and yet supports His dismemberment mystically in the persons of innocent preborn children. And it is impossible to provide for any element of the common temporal good on an enduring basis as long as the innocent preborn are attacked with legal impunity, as long as the Sovereignty of God over the sanctity and fecundity of marriage is denied by means of contraception, as long as perversity is promoted under the slogans of "diversity" and "human rights," as long as men live as though there is no true Church and that they do not have to face Christ the King as their Judge at the moment of their Particular Judgments.
Men cannot sin wantonly without realizing terrible chastisements from God.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori made this clear in Preparation for Death:
The Lord does not wish us to be lost; and therefore, by the threat of chastisement, he unceasingly exhorts us to a change of life. Except you will be converted, He will brandish His sword. Behold, he says in another place, how many, because they would not cease to offend me, have met with a sudden death, when they were least expecting it, and were living in peace, secure of a life of many years. For whey they shall say: Peace and security: then shall sudden destruction come upon them. Again he says: Unless you shall do penance, you shall likewise perish. Why so many threats of chastisements before the execution of vengeance? It is because he wishes that we amend our lives, and thus avoid an unhappy death. "He," says Saint Augustine, "who tells you to beware, does not wish to take away your life." It is necessary, then, to prepare our accounts before the day of account arrives. Dearly beloved Christians, were you to die, and were your lot for eternity to be decided before night would your accounts be ready? Oh! how much would you give to obtain from God another year or month, or even another day, to prepare for judgment? Why then do you not now, that God gives you this time, settle the accounts of your conscience? Perhaps is cannot happen that this shall be the last day for you? Delay not to be converted to the Lord, and defer it not from day to day; for His wrath shall come on a sudden, and in a the time of vengeance He will destroy thee. My brother, to save your soul you must give up your sin. "If then you must renounce it at some time, why do you not abandon it at this moment?" says Saint Augustine. Perhaps you are waiting till death arrives? But for obstinate sinners, the hour of death is the time, not of pardon, but of vengeance. In the time of vengeance He will destroy thee.
Well, many homes have been destroyed in the Houston area by Harvey’s endless rains and by Irma’s hurricane force winds in the Caribbean, although the extent of the damage on Marco Island, where it made landfall earlier today, is unknown at this time, noting also that there will be storm surges on the Gulf Coast of Florida at some point after the storm passes.
This reminds us once again must be prepared to accept the loss everything we own with the same equanimity and serene acceptance of God’s Holy Will as that of Holy Job:
And while he was yet speaking, another came, and said: The fire of God fell from heaven, and striking the sheep and the servants, hath consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell thee.  And while he also was yet speaking, there came another, and said: The Chaldeans made three troops, and have fallen upon the camels, and taken them, moreover they have slain the servants with the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell thee.  He was yet speaking, and behold another came in, and said: Thy sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their elder brother:  A violent wind came on a sudden from the side of the desert, and shook the four corners of the house, and it fell upon thy children and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell thee.  Then Job rose up, and rent his garments, and having shaven his head fell down upon the ground and worshipped,
 And said: Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away: as it hath pleased the Lord so is it done: blessed be the name of the Lord.  In all these things Job sinned not by his lips, nor spoke he any foolish thing against God. (Job 1: 16-22.)
Indeed, Saint Alphonsus de Liguori reminded us in a sermon for this very day, the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, that all things end, and that they must end quickly:
When one of the great of this world is in the full enjoyment of the riches and honours which he has acquired, death shall come, and he shall be told: "Take order with thy house; for thou shalt die, and not live"--Isa., xxxviii. 1. Oh! what doleful tidings! The unhappy man must then say: Farewell, O world! farewell, O villa! farewell, O grotto! farewell, relatives! farewell, friends! farewell, sports! farewell, balls! farewell, comedies! farewell, banquets! farewell, honours! all is over for me. "For when he shall die, he shall take nothing away; nor shall his glory descend with him"--Ps., xlviii. 18. St. Bernard says that death produces a horrible separation of the soul from the body and from all the things of this Earth. "Opus mortis horrendum divortium"-serm. xxvi., in Cant. To the great of this world, whom worldlings regard as the most fortunate of mortals, the bare name of death is so full of bitterness that they are unwilling even to hear it mentioned; for their entire concern is to find peace in their Earthly goods. "O death!" says Ecclesiasticus, "how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that hath peace in his possessions"--Eccl., xli. 1. But, how much greater bitterness shall death itself cause, when it actually comes! Miserable the man who is attached to the goods of this world! Every separation produces pain. Hence, when the soul shall be separated by the stroke of death from the goods on which she had fixed all her affections, the pain must be excruciating. It was this that made king Agag exclaim, when the news of approaching death was announced to him: "Doth bitter death separate me in this manner?"--I. Kings., xv. 32. The great misfortune of worldlings is, that when they are on the point of being summoned to judgment, instead of endeavouring to adjust the accounts of their soul, they direct all their attention to Earthly things. But, says St. John Chrysostom, the punishment which awaits sinners, on account of having forgotten God during life, is that the forget themselves at the hour of death. "hac animadversione percutitur impius, ut moriens oliviscatur sui, qui vivens oblitus est Dei."
But how great soever a man’s attachment to the things of this world may be, he must take leave of them at death. Naked he has entered into this world, and naked he shall depart from it. “Naked,” says Job, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21). In a word, they who have spent their whole life, have lost their sleep, their health, and their soul, in accumulating riches and possessions shall take nothing with them at the hour of death, their eyes shall then be opened; and of all they had so dearly acquired, they shall find nothing in their hands. Hence, on that night of confusion, they shall be overwhelmed in a tempest of pains and sadness. “The rich man, when he shall sleep, shall take away nothing with him! He shall open his eyes and find nothing... a tempest shall oppress him in the night.” (Job 27:19-20). St. Antonine relates that Saladin, king of the Saracens, gave orders at the hour of death, that the winding sheet in which he was to be buried should be carried before him to the grave, and that a person should cry out, “Of all his possessions, this only shall Saladin bring with him.” The saint also relates that a certain philosopher, speaking of Alexander the Great after his death, said, Behold the man that made the earth tremble. “The earth,” as the Scripture says, “was quiet before him.” (1 Mac. 1:3). He is now under the earth. Behold the man whom the dominion of the whole world could not satisfy, now four palms of ground are sufficient for him. “Qui terram heri conculcubat, hodie ab ea conculcatur; et cui heri non sufficiebat mundus hodie sufficiunt quatuor ulnæ terræ.” St. Augustine, or some other ancient writer, says, that having gone to see the tomb of Caesar, he exclaimed, “Princes feared you; cities worshipped you; all trembled before you; where is your magnificence gone?” (Serm. xxxviii. ad Fratr). Listen to what David says, “I have seen the wicked highly exalted and lifted up like the cedars of Libanus. And I passed by, and lo! he was not.” (Ps. 36:35-36). Oh! how many such spectacles are seen every day in the world! A sinner who had been born in lowliness and poverty, afterwards acquires wealth and honors, so as to excite the envy of all. When he dies, everyone says, He made a fortune in the world; but now he is dead, and with death all is over for him.
3. “Why is earth and ashes proud?” (Sir. 10:9). Such the language which the Lord addresses to the man who is puffed up by earthly honors and earthly riches. Miserable creature, he says, Hence, comes such pride? If you enjoy honors and riches, remember that you are dust. “For dust you art, and into dust you shall return.” (Gen. 3:19). You must die, and after death what advantage shall you derive from the honors and possessions which now inflate you with pride? Go, says St. Ambrose, to a cemetery, in which are buried the rich and poor, and see if you can discern among them who has been rich and who has been poor; all are naked, and nothing remains of the richest among them but a few withered bones. “Respice sepulchra, die mihi, quis ibi dives, quis pauper sit” (lib. vi. exam., cap. viii).. How profitable would the remembrance of death be to the man who lives in the world! “He shall be brought to the grave, and shall watch in the heap of the dead.” (Job21:32). At the sight of these dead bodies he would remember death, and that he shall one day be like them. Thus, he should be awakened from the deadly sleep in which perhaps he lives in a state of perdition. But the misfortune is, that worldlings are unwilling to think of death until the hour comes when they must depart from this earth to go into eternity; and therefore they live as attached to the world, as if they were never to be separated from it. But our life is short, and shall soon end, thus all things must end, and must soon end.
Men know well, and believe firmly, that they shall die; but they imagine death as far ass of it if were never to arrive. But Job tells us that the life of man is short. "Man born of a woman, living fora short time, is filled with many miseries. Who cometh forth like a flower and is destroyed"--Job., xiv. 2. At present the health of men is so much impaired, that, as we see by experience, the greater number of them die before they attain the age of seventy. And what, says St. James, is our life, but a vapour, which a blast of wind, a fever, a stroke of apoplexy, a puncture, an attack of the chest, causes to disappear, and which is seen no more? "For what is your life? It is a vapour which appeareth for a little while"--St. James, iv. 15. "We all die", said the woman of Thecua to David, "and like waters that return no more, we fall down into the earth"---II. Kings, xiv. 14. She spoke the truth;--as all rivers and streams run to the sea, and as the gliding waters return no more, so our days pass away, and we approach to death.
They pass; they pass quickly. "My days", says Job, "have been swifter than a post"--Job, ix. 25. Death comes to meet us, and runs more swiftly than a post; so that every step we make, every breath we draw, we approach to death. St. Jerome felt, that even while he was writing, he was drawing nearer to death. Hence he said: 'What I write is taken away from my life". "Quod scribo de mea vita tollitur". Let us, then, say with Job: Years pass by, and with them pleasures, honours, pomps, and all things in this world pass away, "and only the rave remaineth for me"--Job, xvii. 1. In a word, all the glory of the labours we have undergone in this world, in order to acquire a large income, a high character for valour, for learning and genius, shall end in our being thrown into a pit to become the food of worms. The miserable worldling then shall say at death: My house, my garden, my fashionable furniture, my pictures and rich apparel, shall, in a short time, belong no more to me; "and only the grave remaineth for me".
But, how much soever the worldling may be distracted by his worldly affairs and by his pleasures--how much soever he may be entangled in them, St. Chrysostom says, that, when the fear of death, which sets fire to all things of the present life, begins to enter the soul, it will compel him to think and to be solicitous about his lot after death. "Cum pulsare animam incipit metus mortis (ignis instar praesentis vitae omnia succendens) philosophari eam cogit, et futura solicita mente versari" serm. in II. tim.--Isa., xxxv. 5. Then indeed shall be opened the eyes of those blind worldlings who have employed their whole life in acquiring Earthly goods, and have paid but little attention to the interests of the soul. In all these shall be verified what Jesus Christ has told them--that death shall come when they least expect it. "At what hour you think not, the Son of Man will come"--Luke, xii.--40. Thus, on these unhappy men death always comes unexpectedly. Hence, because the lovers of the world are not usually warned of their approaching dissolution till it is very near, they must, in the last few days of life, adjust the accounts of their soul for the fifty or sixty years which they lived on this Earth. They will then desire another month, or another week, to settle their accounts, and to tranquilize their conscience. But, "they will seek for peace, and there shall be none:--Ezec., vii. 25. The time which they desire is refused. The assisting priest reads the divine command to depart instantly from this world: "Proficiscere anima Christiana de hoc mundo." Depart, Christian soul, from this world. Oh! how dangerous the entrance of worldlings into eternity, dying, as they do, amid so much darkness and confusion, in consequences of the disorderly state of the accounts of their souls.
7. “Weight and balance are the judgments of the Lord.” (Prov. 16:11). At the tribunal of God, nobility, dignities, and riches have no weight; two things only our bins, and the graces bestowed on us by God make the scales ascend or descend. They who shall be found faithful in corresponding with the lights and calls which they have received, shall be rewarded; and they who shall be found unfaithful, shall be condemned. We do not keep an account of God’s graces; but the Lord keeps an account of them; he measures them; and when he sees them despised to a certain degree, he leaves the soul in her sins, and takes her out of life in that miserable state. “For what things a man shall sow those also shall he reap.” (Gal. 6: 8). From labors undertaken for the attainment of posts of honor and profit , for the acquisition of property and of worldly applause, we reap nothing at the hour of death, all are then lost. We gather fruits of eternal life only from works performed, and tribulations suffered for God.
8. Hence, St. Paul exhorts us to attend to our own business. “But we must entreat you, brethren.... that you do your own business.” (1 Thess. 4:10-11). Of what business, I ask, does the Apostle speak? Is it of acquiring riches, or a great name in the world? No; he speaks of the business of the soul, of which Jesus Christ spoke, when he said, “Trade till I come.” (Luke 19:13). The business for which the Lord has placed, and for which he keeps us on this earth, is to save our souls, and by good works to gain eternal life. This is the end for which we have been created. “And the end eternal life.” (Rom. 6:22). The business of the soul is for us not only the most important, but also the principal and only affair; for, if the soul be saved, all is safe; but if the soul be lost, all is lost. Hence, we ought, as the Scripture says, to strive for the salvation of our souls, and to combat to death for justice that is, for the observance of the divine law. “Strive for justice for your soul, and even unto death fight for justice.” (Sir. 4:33). The business which our Savior recommends to us, saying, Trade till I come, is, to have always before our eyes the day on which he shall come to demand an account of our whole life.
All things in this world--acquisitions, applause, grandeur--must, as we have said, all end, and end very soon. "the fashion of this world passeth away"--I. Cor., vii. 31. The scene of this life passes away: happy they who, in this scene, act their part well, and save their souls, preferring the eternal interests of the soul to all the temporal interests of the body. "He that hateth his life in his world, keepeth it unto life eternal"--John, xii. 26. Worldlings say: Happy the man who hoards up money! happy they who acquire the esteem of the world, and enjoy the pleasures of this life! O folly! Happy he who loves God and saves his soul! The salvation of his soul and was the only favour which king David asked of God. "One thing have I asked of the Lord, this will I seek after"--Ps., xxvi. 4. And St. Paul said, that to acquire the race of Jesus Christ, which contains eternal life, he despised as dung all worldly goods. "I count all things as loss.......and I count them as dung, that I may gain Christ"--Phil., iii. 8.
But certain fathers of families will say: I do not labour so much for myself as for my children, whom I wish to leave in comfortable circumstances. But I answer: If you dissipate the goods which you possess, and leave our children in poverty, you do wrong, and are guilty of sin. But will you lose your soul in order to leave your children comfortable? If you call into Hell, perhaps they will come and release you from it? O folly! Listen to what David said: "I have not seen the just man forsaken, nor his seed seeking bread"--Ps., xxxvi. 25. Attend to the service of God; act according to justice; the Lord will provide for the wants of your children; and you shall save your souls, and shall lay up that eternal treasure of happiness which can never be taken from you--a treasure not like Earthly possessions, of which yo may be deprived by robbers, and which you shall certainly lose at death. This is the advice which the Lord gives you--"But lay up to yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither the rust nor the moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal"--Matt., vi. 20. In conclusion, attend to the beautiful admonition which St. Gregory gives to all who wish to live well and to gain eternal life. "Sit nobis in intentione aeternitas, in usu temporalitats". Let the end of all our actions in this life be, the acquisition of eternal goods; and let us use temporal things only to preserve life for the little time we have to remain on this Earth. The saint continues: "Sicut nulla est proportio inter aeternitatem et nostrae vitae tempus, ita nulla debet esse proportio inter aeternitatis, et hujus, vitae curas". As this is an infinite distance between eternity and the time of our life, so there ought to be, according to our mode of understanding, an infinite distance between the attention which we should pay to the goods of eternity, which shall be enjoyed for ever, and the care we take of the goods of this life, which death shall soon take away from us. (Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost: All Ends And Soon Ends.)
The Gospel which was read at Holy Mass today is a direct warning from Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to quit the world and our attachments to it:
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: No man serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will stand by the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, what you shall eat; nor yet for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life a greater thing than the food, and the body than the clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you of much more value than they? But which of you by being anxious about it can add to his stature a single cubit? And as for clothing, why are you anxious? Consider how the lilies of the field grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of those. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which flourishes today but tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more you, O you of little faith! Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or, ‘What shall we drink?’ or, ‘What are we to put on?’ -for after all these things the Gentiles seek; - for your Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His justice, and all these things shall be given you besides. (Matthew 6: 24-33.)
No believing Catholic can ignore any of Our Lord’s teachings, whether contained in Sacred Scripture on in Sacred Tradition as explicated infallibly by Holy Mother Church. There can be no compromise of any kind with the world or its false spirit, something that I have examined many times on this site, including in a reflection, Crushed by the Weigh of Error, part one , which was posted on February 5, 2013, just six days before Joseph Alois Ratzinger/Benedict XVI announced his resignation effective on February 28, 2013. While we work hard to provide for our temporal necessities, we do so without anxiety and without a spirit of making the love of wealth, which is different than its accumulation from the sweat of one’s own labor and honest endeavors, the defining characteristic of our very identities that is an inherent part of Judeo-Protestant-Calvinist capitalism.
The original edition of Preparation for Death, which is in our possession and is not as long as the book published under that title by TAN Books and Publishers, contains the following important exhortation from Saint Alphonsus de Liguori concerning the necessity of conquering the world and all creaturely attachments:
Let us now see how we must conquer the world. The devil is a great enemy, but the world is worse. If the devil did not make use of the world and of bad men (by which is meant the world), he would not gain such victories as he does. Our Redeemer does not warn us so much to be on guard against devils as against men: “Beware of men” (St. Matt. x. 17). Men are often worse than devils, because the devils are put to flight by prayer, and by invoking the most holy names of Jesus and Mary; but if bad companions tempt a person to sin, and he reply by some spiritual word, they do not fly, but tempt him the more; they laugh at him, call him a miserable man of no education, and good for nothing; and when they can say nothing else, they call him a hypocrite who affects sanctify. To avoid such reproaches and derision, certain weak souls unhappily associate with these ministers of Lucifer, and return to the vomit. My brother, be assured that if you wish to lead a good life, you must endure the jeers and contempt of the wicked: “The wicked loath them that are in the right way” (Prov. xxix. 27). He who leads a bad life cannot bear the sight of those who live well; and why? Because their life is a continual reproach to him; and he would therefore wish all to imitate himself, that he might not feel that pain of remorse which the good life of others causes him. There is no help for it (says the Apostle); he who serves God must be persecuted by the world: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim iii. 12). All the Saints have been persecuted. Who more holy than Jesus Christ? And the world persecuted Him, even to cause Him to bleed to death upon a cross.
There is no remedy for this, because the maxims of the world are all contrary to those of Jesus Christ. That which the world esteems, is called folly by Jesus Christ. That which the world esteems, is called folly by Jesus Christ. That which the world esteems, is called folly by Jesus Christ: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God” (1 Cor. iii. 19). On the contrary, the world calls folly that which is esteemed by Jesus Christ – such as crosses, sufferings, and contempt: “For the word of the Cross to them indeed that perish is foolishness” (1 Cor. I. 18). but let us console ourselves; for if the wicked curse and blame us, Almighty God blesses and praises us: “They will curse, and Thou wilt bless” (Ps. cviii. 28). Is it not enough for us to be praised by God, by Mary, by all the Angels, by the Saints, and by all good men? Let us, then, leave sinners to talk as they please, and let us continue to please God, who is so grateful and faithful to those who serve Him. The greater the repugnance and the opposition we meet with in doing good, that more shall we please God, and the greater will be our merit. Let us imagine that there is none in the world save God and ourselves. When the wicked jeer at us, let us recommend ourselves to the Lord; and, on the other hand, let us thank God and ourselves. When the wicked jeer at us, let us recommend ourselves to the Lord; and, on the other hand, let us thank God and ourselves. When the wicked jeer at us, let us recommend ourselves to the Lord; and, on the other hand, let us thank God that He gives us that light which He withholds form these unhappy men, and so let us go our way. Let us not be ashamed of appearing as Christians; for if we are ashamed of Jesus Christ, He protests that He will be ashamed of us, and to have us at His right hand at the Day of Judgment: “For he that shall be ashamed of Me and of My words, of him the Son of Man shall be ashamed, when He shall come in His majesty” (St. Luke ix. 26).
If we wish to be saved, we must resolve to suffer to overcome ourselves, nay, to do violence to ourselves: “Straight is the way that leadeth to life” (st. Matt. vii. 14); “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence violence, and the violent to himself will not be saved. There is no help for it since if we wish to practise virtue, we must act in opposition to our rebellious nature. We must especially do violence to ourselves at the beginning, in order to root out bad habits and to acquire good ones; because, when once a good habit is formed, the observance of the Divine law becomes easy, nay, even sweet. The Lord said to St. Bridget, that whoever in the practice of virtue endures with patience and courage the first pricks of the thorns, will find the thorns turn into roses. Be careful, therefore, dear Christian; Jesus Christ says now to you what He said to the paralytic: “Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest some worse things happen to thee” (St John v. 14). Understand, says St. Bernard, if you should unhappily relapse, your ruin will be greater than in all your previous falls: 'You hear that to relapse is worse than to fall' Wo, says the Lord, to those who take the way of God, and then depart from it: “wo to you, apostate children” (Is. xxx. 1). These are punished as rebels against the light: “They have been rebellious against the light” (Job. xxiv. 13). And the punishment of these rebels, who have been favoured by God with a great light, and then are unfaithful to Him, is to remain blind, and so to end their life in their sins: “But if the just man turns himself away from his justice . . . . shall he live? All his justices which he has done, shall not be remembered . . . . in his sin he shall die” (Ezek. xviii. 24).
AFFECTIONS AND PRAYERS.
Ah, my God, I have often deserved such a punishment, since I have many times foresaken sin through the light which Thou gavest me, and then have miserably returned to it! I thank Thy infinite mercy for not having abandoned me in my blindness, and left me wholly deprived of light, as I deserved. How great, then, O my Jesus, are my obligations to Thee: and how ungrateful should I be, were I again to turn my back upon Thee! No, my Redeemer, “I will sing Thy mercies for ever.” I hope, during the remainder of my life and for all eternity, to sing for ever and to praise Thy great mercies, by always loving Thee, and never to be again to be deprived of Thy grace. The great ingratitude which I have hitherto shown Thee, and which I now detest and curse above every other evil, will serve to make me always weep bitterly over the injuries I have done Thee, and to inflame me with love of Thee, who, after my many offences against Thee, hast bestowed on me such great graces. Yes, I love Thee, O my God, worthy of infinite love. From this day henceforth Thou shalt be my only love, my only good. O Eternal Father, through the merits of Jesus Christ, I ask of Thee final perseverance in Thy grace and in Thy love. I know, indeed, that Thou wilt grant it whenever I ask Thee for it. But who can assure me that I shall be careful to beg this perseverance of thee? Therefore, my God, I ask Thee for perseverance, of Thee? Therefore, my god, I ask Thee for perseverance, and the grace always to ask for it. O Mary, my advocate, my refuge, and my hope, obtain for me, by thy intercession, constancy in always asking of God the grace of final perseverance. By the love thou bearest to Jesus Christ, I beseech thee to obtain it for me. (Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, Preparation for Death, published as an eighty-nine page pamphlet in 1972 by Burns and Oates, London, England, pp. 81-84.)
Our Lady explained Our Lady of La Salette told Melanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud about the terrible effects of sin in the world on September 19, 1846:
The Church will be in eclipse, the world will be in dismay. But now Enoch and Eli will come, filled with the Spirit of God. They will preach with the might of God, and men of good will will believe in God, and many souls will be comforted. They will make great steps forward through the power of the Holy Spirit and will condemn the devilish lapses of the Antichrist. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! There will be bloody wars and famines, plagues and infectious diseases. It will rain with a fearful hail of animals. There will be thunderstorms which will shake cities, earthquakes which will swallow up countries. Voices will be heard in the air. Men will beat their heads against walls, call for their death, and on another side death will be their torment. Blood will flow on all sides. Who will be the victor if God does not shorten the length of the test? At the blood, the tears and prayers of the righteous, God will relent. Enoch and Eli will be put to death. Pagan Rome will disappear. The fire of Heaven will fall and consume three cities. All the universe will be struck with terror and many will let themselves be lead astray because they have not worshipped the true Christ who lives among them. It is time; the sun is darkening; only faith will survive.
Now is the time; the abyss is opening. Here is the King of Kings of darkness, here is the Beast with his subjects, calling himself the Savior of the world. He will rise proudly into the air to go to Heaven. He will be smothered by the breath of the Archangel Saint Michael. He will fall, and the earth, which will have been in a continuous series of evolutions for three days, will open up its fiery bowels; and he will have plunged for all eternity with all his followers into the everlasting chasms of hell. And then water and fire will purge the earth and consume all the works of men's pride and all will be renewed. God will be served and glorified."
As recorded in The Mystical City of God, Our Lady explained to the Venerable Mary of Agreda, the earth itself will be shaken of the work of the devil to inspire us to commit unrepentant after unrepentant sin, and that she, Our Lady, will make possible our salvation by her perfect fiat to the will of God the Father at the Annunciation:
"Woe to the earth, and to the sea, because the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time." Woe to the earth, where so many sins and such wickedness shall be perpetuated! Woe to the sea, which refused to pour forth its floods and annihilate the transgressors at the sight of so great offenses against its Creator, and to avenge the insults against its Maker and Lord! But more woe to the profound and raging sea of those that follow the demon, after he had descended in their midst in order to war against them with great wrath and with such unheard of cruelty! It is the wrath of the most ferocious dragon, and greater than that of the devouring lion (I Pet. 5, 8), who attempts to annihilate all creation and to whom all the days of the world seem a short time to execute his fury. Such is his hunger and thirst to do damage to mortals, that all the days of their life do not satisfy him, for they come to an end, whereas he desires eternal ages, if possible, in order to wage war against the sons of God. But incomparably greater than against all others is his rage against that most blessed Woman, who was to crush his head (Gen. 3, 15).
How can there not be "woe to the earth, and to the sea" when men sin so wantonly, when multinational corporations are so driven by the insanity of their Talmudic-Calvinist-Masonic "bottom line" profit margin that American manufacturing jobs are shipped overseas, especially to Red China, to exploit low-paid, if not slave-labor, workers to manufacture practically everything that is sold in this country and around the world?
How can there not be "woe to the earth, and to the sea" when men in those multinational corporations enjoy their ill-gotten gains by living in the lap of utter material luxury and decadence as they hire Americans to sell the substandard—and are sometimes quite dangerous to our health—Red Chinese-manufactured goods that are sold in mega stores (Walmart, Target) for wages that are so meager in order to "cut costs" and, it should be noted, to keep their own wage-slaves on the "credit merry-go-round" to purchase appliances and computers and other "big ticket" items made in Red China?
How can there not be "woe to the earth, and to the sea" the man who believes himself to be the Vicar of Christ on earth refers to sins against Holy Purity as “peccadilloes” and blasphemes Our Lord, His Most Blessed Mother, and numerous saints while promoting heresies and committing sacrileges that not even the Arians themselves could have imagined?
Our Lady told Jacinta Marto that many souls are going to hell because of sins of the flesh, and Saint Paul himself explained that the unclean cannot enter the Kingdom of God in Heaven:
Brethren: Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, so that you do not do what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are immorality, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, witchcraft’s, enmities, contentions, jealousies, anger, quarrels, factions, parties, envies, murders, drunkenness, carousings, and suchlike. And concerning these I warn you, as I have warned you, that they who do such things will not attain the kingdom of God. But of the fruit of the Spirit is: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, long-suffering, mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such things there is no law. And they who belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5: 16-24.)
Although sins against Holy Purity abound on a worldwide basis at this time, especially here in the United States of America, which is reaping the rotten fruit of fifty years of explicit classroom instruction in matters pertaining to the Sixth and Ninth Commandments and about thirty years of explicit promotion of vice in the so-called “popular culture,” God sends chastisements in some areas so as to put everyone on notice that, yes, all ends, and all ends soon.
How can there not be "woe to the earth, and to the sea" when the government of the United States of America attacks and invades sovereign nations, overthrowing regimes said to be "threats" to their own people and to the world-at-large while enabling the mass murder of human beings in this country and coddling the most murderous nation on earth, Red China, in which the corporate robber barons who contribute to campaigns of the leaders of both major organized crime families of naturalism in this country as they also fund Planned Parenthood and related organizations, thereby depriving themselves of future workers and customers?
Who cares that the countries that are destabilized by American intervention (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya) turn into bloody messes as believing Mohammedans seize power and then engage in warfare upon their "liberators" and each other? We must export the "American way" that is bringing so many chastisements upon this country at the present time to other lands who are not been privileged to experience "this way" first hand. God will not be mocked.
Those in the counterfeit church of conciliarism who defy anathematized propositions and break the First and Second Commandments and teach untruths to Catholics and non-Catholics alike mock God.
Those who exercise political power in the nooks and crannies of governmental systems founded on false, naturalistic, religiously indifferentist, anti-Incarnational and semi-Pelagian principles mock God as they present themselves to us as demigods whose every decision must be obeyed without question lest one be called a "terrorist" or, in the case of the naturalists of the false opposite of the "right," "unpatriotic."
Those who control what is called "popular culture" mock God by polluting our souls in numerous ways, insidiously placing their foul words, sounds and images on our billboards, in the supermarkets and other stores where we shop, in restaurants and, for those foolish enough to own a television and to watch contemporary programming, in what is called "entertainment" right at home.
There are others who mock God as well and, truth be told, almost as frequently.
These others who mock God believe, as do the merchants of conciliar and social evil, that they are doing good, that they are virtuous and that things are all right with God for them.
These others who mock God consider most others to be beneath them.
These others who mock God think everyone else is uncharitable except themselves.
These others who mock God go to Confession regularly, perhaps even every week.
These others who mock God receive Holy Communion regularly.
These others who mock God spend time before the Blessed Sacrament when they are able.
These others who mock God pray at least one set of mysteries of Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary every day.
These others who mock God read about the lives of the saints as they believe that they are serious about pursuing the path to the heights of personal sanctity.
Who are these other people?
Look in the mirror.
To quote a cartoon strip from the 1960s that was written at the height of the Vietnam War and was also used to convey an urgency to the nonexistent "environmental crisis, "We have met the enemy, and they are us."
If we wonder why the earth rumbles and the winds blow so strongly and record heat and snowfall seems to get worse with each passing year, do not blame the junk science fiction of "global warming." Look in the mirror. We are in need of chastisement. Each of us is responsible, at least to a greater or lesser extent, for the state of the Church Militant on earth and that of the world-at-large.
The only possible advantage that we might have over the lords of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the counterfeit church of conciliarism, most of whom cannot plead invincible ignorance of the lies that they tell, is that we have the possibility of reforming our lives in cooperation with the graces won for us by the shedding of every single drop of the Most Precious Blood of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that flow into our hearts and souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, she who is the Mediatrix of All Graces.
While we pray for those who have been affected by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey, the earthquake in Mexico, Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean and now in Florida, let us remember to take precautions in our own lives to be kept safe for the moment of a sudden death, which can occur at any time. We have much for which to make reparation as many of us, myself included, have participated in various, if not all, aspects of the harms of naturalism that are very responsible for enticing men to sin and thus disturbing even the natural elements of the earth and the sky and the sea more and more and more with every passing year.
It will be when we get serious about cooperating with Sanctifying and Actual Grace that whatever seeds we plant for the conversion of men and their nations to o the Catholic Faith can bear good fruit so that that their constitutions will truly bind them together and serve legitimate national interests as civil leaders seek to pursue the common temporal good in light of the man's Last End, the possession of the glory of the Beatific Vision of God the Father, god the Son and God the Holy Ghost for all eternity in Heaven. We must remember that, as Pope Saint Pius X noted in Vehementer Nos, February 11, 1906, "the civil power must not only place no obstacle in the way of this conquest, but must aid us in effecting it." It will be only then that civil constitutions will serve the interests of men in this life because they seek to serve God through His Catholic Church as our mater and magister exercises the Social Reign of Christ the King, only then that we will have civil rulers who, like Saint Louis IX and Saint Wenceslaus and Saint Edward and Saint Casimir and Saint Canute and Saint Stephen of Hungary and Saint Henry the Emperor, will humble themselves on their knees before the King's Real Presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament rather than appear to be above the laws of God and man.
And in order for this to occur as the fruit of Our Lady's Fatima Message and the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart, we must lead the way with sincere and humble contrition for our sins and a firm purpose of amendment as we, consecrated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, make use of the ineffable Mercy of the Divine Redeemer, Christ the King, in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance as often as we can (and, for those who are without a true priest to hear their confessions and give them Absolution, making sure to pray to Our Lady for the grace of having true and perfection contrition for our sins in the hope of getting to Confession one day as God makes this Sacrament available to them).
What are we waiting for?
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, pray for us.
Saints Protus and Hyacinth, pray for us.