A Welcome Mat for Prodigal Sons
Thomas A. Droleskey
Now the publicans and sinners drew near unto him to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying: This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spoke to them this parable, saying: What man of you that hath an hundred sheep: and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert, and go after that which was lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders, rejoicing:
And coming home, call together his friends and neighbours, saying to them: Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost?
I say to you, that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance. Or what woman having ten groats; if she lose one groat, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently until she find it? And when she hath found it, call together her friends and neighbours, saying: Rejoice with me, because I have found the groat which I had lost. So I say to you, there shall be joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.
And he said: A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his substance.And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went abroad into a far country: and there wasted his substance, living riotously. And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want. And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his farm to feed swine.
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. And returning to himself, he said: How many hired servants in my father's house abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger? I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee: I am not worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck, and kissed him.
And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, I am not now worthy to be called thy son. And the father said to his servants: Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry: Because this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field, and when he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing:
And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said to him: Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe. And he was angry, and would not go in. His father therefore coming out began to entreat him. And he answering, said to his father: Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandment, and yet thou hast never given me a kid to make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son is come, who hath devoured his substance with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.
But he said to him: Son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine. But it was fit that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found.(Luke 15: 1-32).
The lost sheep and the lost groat and the prodigal son. These parables told by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man in Our Lady's Virginal and Immaculate Womb, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, explain to us quite clearly that conciliarism's false belief that those outside of formal membership in the Catholic Church are perfectly assured of their salvation is at odds with Our Lord's own concern for even one lost sheep who is outside of His true Sheepfold, founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. The conciliarists believe that there is no need to seek out the lost sheep, no need to search for the lost groat, no need to invite the prodigal son back into his true home, outside of which there is no salvation. Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI would not, for example, have thought it necessary to seek out the lost sheep who remains my dear wife's father for all eternity, the late Mr. John Collins. Indeed, all priests working in the conciliar structures are forbidden to proselytize anyone (although there are some who do try to do so by means of the Legion of Mary). This is not in line with the Gospel passage above. It is not in line with the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church, which has always sought with great urgency the conversion of souls to her maternal bosom.
A Protestant concept of sappy sentimentality and of Protestant and Judeo-Masonic indifferentism have combined to produce the heresy of Universal Salvation, taught by Joseph Ratzinger's late mentor, Father Hans Urs von Balthasar, which assures one and all that there is no need to "strain" one's relations with others by speaking to them about the necessity of converting (or returning) to the true Faith. Conciliarism teaches falsely that everyone is "fine" where they are. Joseph Ratzinger placed Roger Schutz, a lifelong Protestant, in Heaven following his murder in 2005. God does not care about denominationalism, the conciliarists have convinced themselves--and attempt to convince all others, principally through the ethos of the Novus Ordo Missae.
After all, the conciliarists convince themselves, isn't it God's will that ever person is whey he is meant to be at any given moment? He, a God of love, would not punish anyone for not belonging to the true Faith, for refusing with quite obstinacy to refuse to return to the true Church after having left its maternal bosom. Conciliarists believe that God has certainly repealed these words issued by Pope Eugene IV in his Papal Bull, Cantate Domino, February 4, 1442:
The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosaic Law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were established to signify something in the future, although they were suited to divine worship at that time, after our Lord's coming had been signified by them, ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began; and that whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of the law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally. Yet it does not deny that after the passion of Christ up to the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been observed until they were believed to be in no way necessary for salvation; but after the promulgation of the Gospel it asserts that they cannot be observed without the loss of eternal salvation. All, therefore, who after that time (the promulgation of the Gospel) observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, it declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors. . .
It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.
A "loving" God would not adhere to something so "stern," so "unfeeling," so, well, thoroughly un-Modern, would He? God the Holy Ghost must have had "second thoughts" after directing Pope Eugene IV to issueCantate Domino. The Holy Ghost had to "update" His theology through ages. He had to "understand" that truth "changes," that "true love" never seeks to remonstrate openly with the sinner. That is not "loving," is it? Things change over time, right? New pastoral approaches are "necessary" so as not to offend the sensibilities of "modern" man, right? People can no longer respond to the firm, unequivocal proclamation of the truth as the Jews did on Pentecost Sunday when listening to Saint Peter or when the Druid chieftains listened to Saint Patrick? "Things" change, right?
No, "things" do not change. God does not change. He is immutable. He wants the lost sheep to be sought out. He wants us to say the word of correction to those who have strayed. He wants us to offer an invitation to those who have never known the surety of the safe harbor provided solely by the Catholic Church. He wants us to offer our prayers and penances and sacrifices and humiliations and crosses and sufferings to His own Most Sacred Heart through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother as her consecrated slaves for the conversion of all men, especially those closest to us (our family members, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, coworkers), to the true Church. He wants us to make some kind of effort to cooperate with the graces He won for us on Calvary by the shedding of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross-and that flow into our souls through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces--to bring about the conversion of all men to the authentic patrimony of the Catholic Church, which is at odds with conciliarism on many things, especially the necessity of preaching the true Faith to others by means of our words and by our example.
As I have noted on many, many occasions throughout the course of teaching, writing and speaking careers, God's love for us is an act of His Divine Will, which seeks our eternal good, the ultimate expression of which is the salvation of our souls as members of the Catholic Church who die in states of Sanctifying Grace. We love no one, including ourselves, authentically if we do or say anything, whether by omission or commission, which in any way even seems to reaffirm another in his sins and/or an attitude of blithe indifferentism about the salvation of his immortal soul. It is not enough to perform only the Corporal Works of Mercy for others. We must also perform the Spiritual Works of Mercy for others in order to help them to start responding to the graces that Our Lady wants to send them for their conversion to the true Faith before they die.
Our Lord, for example, not only gave us the parables of the lost sheep and lost groat and the prodigal son. He gave us the real-life example of Saint Mary Magdalene having been caught in her sin against the Sixth Commandment. He did not condemn her. Neither did He, however, reaffirm her in her sins. Our Lord spoke to her these truly loving words of correction aimed at helping his dear friend, the sister of Saints Lazarus and Martha, to reform her life once and for all:
Go, and now sin no more. (Jn. 8: 11)
Sin is the very antithesis of Our Lord's Sacred Divinity. Sin is what caused Our Lord to suffer unspeakable horrors in His Sacred Humanity during His fearful Passion and Death. We cannot say we love Our Lord if we are indifferent to sin in our own lives or in the lives of others. Yes, each of us is a sinner. Each of us is in need of the words of Absolution from an alter Christus acting in persona Christi in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance. It is one thing to sin however and then to be sorry, to seek out the ineffable Mercy of the Divine Redeemer in the confessional. It is quite another to persist in sin unrepentantly, worse yet to promote it or to overlook it in the lives of others. No, none of us is any "better" than anyone else. However, it is not to act "Pharisaically," as some charismatically-minded Catholics are wont to believe, to call to correction those whose persistence in unrepentant sins, especially those that cry out to Heaven for vengeance, place them on the threshold of eternal ruin if they were die before converting to the true Faith. Indeed, it is our solemn duty to serve as God's voice to help those in our lives to reform and thus to get themselves to the baptismal font or to the confessional before it is too late.
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice noted in
The Little Number of Those Who are Saved that God would not seek out the lost sheep if there was not a real possibility of their going to Hell. God will indeed use all means possible to seek out the lost sheep. We must recognize, however, that we must run the risk of a temporary estrangement from others in this mortal vale of tears by speaking truly loving words of correction that might, please God and with the intercession of His Most Blessed Mother, plant a few seeds to bring about the conversion of one we want to have with us in Heaven for all eternity (please God that we persevere in a state of Sanctifying Grace until our own deaths!). Saint Leonard put it this way:
Where are they now, those who believe that the number of the saved among Christians is greater than that of the damned and who, to authorize their opinion, reason thus: the greater portion of Catholic adults die in their beds armed with the Sacraments of the Church, therefore most adult Catholics are saved? Oh, what fine reasoning! You must say exactly the opposite. Most Catholic adults confess badly at death, therefore most of them are damned.
I say "all the more certain," because a dying person who has not confessed well when he was in good health will have an even harder time doing so when he is in bed with a heavy heart, an unsteady head, a muddled mind; when he is opposed in many ways by still-living objects, by still-fresh occasions, by adopted habits, and above all by devils who are seeking every means to cast him into hell. Now, if you add to all these false penitents all the other sinners who die unexpectedly in sin, due to the doctors' ignorance or by their relatives' fault, who die from poisoning or from being buried in earthquakes, or from a stroke, or from a fall, or on the battlefield, in a fight, caught in a trap, struck by lightning, burned or drowned, are you not obliged to conclude that most Christian adults are damned? That is the reasoning of Saint Chrysostom. This Saint says that most Christians are walking on the road to hell throughout their life. Why, then, are you so surprised that the greater number goes to hell? To come to a door, you must take the road that leads there. What have you to answer such a powerful reason?
The answer, you will tell me, is that the mercy of God is great. Yes, for those who fear Him, says the Prophet; but great is His justice for the one who does not fear Him, and it condemns all obstinate sinners.
So you will say to me: Well then, who is Paradise for, if not for Christians? It is for Christians, of course, but for those who do not dishonor their character and who live as Christians.
Moreover, if to the number of Christian adults who die in the grace of God, you add the countless host of children who die after baptism and before reaching the age of reason, you will not be surprised that Saint John the Apostle, speaking of those who are saved, says, "I saw a great multitude which no man could number."
And this is what deceives those who pretend that the number of the saved among Catholics is greater than that of the damned... If to that number, you add the adults who have kept the robe of innocence, or who after having defiled it, have washed it in the tears of penance, it is certain that the greater number is saved; and that explains the words of Saint John, "I saw a great multitude," and these other words of Our Lord, "Many will come from the east and from the west, and will feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven," and the other figures usually cited in favor of that opinion. But if you are talking about Christian adults, experience, reason, authority, propriety and Scripture all agree in proving that the greater number is damned. Do not believe that because of this, paradise is empty; on the contrary, it is a very populous kingdom. And if the damned are "as numerous as the sand in the sea," the saved are "as numerous at the stars of heaven," that is, both the one and the other are countless, although in very different proportions.
One day Saint John Chrysostom, preaching in the cathedral in Constantinople and considering these proportions, could not help but shudder in horror and ask, "Out of this great number of people, how many do you think will be saved?" And, not waiting for an answer, he added, "Among so many thousands of people, we would not find a hundred who are saved, and I even doubt for the one hundred." What a dreadful thing! The great Saint believed that out of so many people, barely one hundred would be saved; and even then, he was not sure of that number.
What will happen to you who are listening to me? Great God, I cannot think of it without shuddering! Brothers, the problem of salvation is a very difficult thing; for according to the maxims of the theologians, when an end demands great efforts, few only attain it.
That is why Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor, after weighing all the reasons pro and con in his immense erudition, finally concludes that the greater number of Catholic adults are damned. He says, "Because eternal beatitude surpasses the natural state, especially since it has been deprived of original grace, it is the little number that are saved."
So then, remove the blindfold from your eyes that is blinding you with self-love, that is keeping you from believing such an obvious truth by giving you very false ideas concerning the justice of God, "Just Father, the world has not known Thee," said Our Lord Jesus Christ. He does not say "Almighty Father, most good and merciful Father." He says "just Father," so we may understand that out of all the attributes of God, none is less known than His justice, because men refuse to believe what they are afraid to undergo.
Therefore, REMOVE THE BLINDFOLD that is covering your eyes and say tearfully: Alas! the greater number of Catholics, the greater number of those who live here, perhaps even those who are in this assembly, will be damned! What subject could be more deserving of your tears? King Xerxes, standing on a hill looking at his army of one hundred thousand soldiers in battle array, and considering that out of all of them there would be not one man alive in a hundred years, was unable to hold back his tears. Have we not more reason to weep upon thinking that out of so many Catholics, the greater number will be damned? Should this thought not make our eyes pour forth rivers of tears, or at least produce in our heart the sentiment of compassion felt by an Augustinian Brother, Venerable Marcellus of St. Dominic? One day as he was meditating on the eternal pains, the Lord showed him how many souls were going to hell at that moment and had him see a very broad road on which twenty-two thousand reprobates were running toward the abyss, colliding into one another. The servant of God was stupefied at the sight and exclaimed, "Oh, what a number! What a number! And still more are coming. O Jesus! O Jesus! What madness!" Let me repeat with Jeremiah, "Who will give water to my head, and a fountain of tears to my eyes? And I will weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people."
Poor souls! How can you run so hastily toward hell? For mercy's sake, stop and listen to me for a moment! Either you understand what it means to be saved and to be damned for all eternity, or you do not. If you understand and in spite of that, you do not decide to change your life today, make a good confession and trample upon the world, in a word, make your every effort to be counted among the littler number of those who are saved, I say that you do not have the Faith. You are more excusable if you do not understand it, for then one must say that you are out of your mind. To be saved for all eternity, to be damned for all eternity, and to not make your every effort to avoid the one and make sure of the other, is something inconceivable.
Perhaps you do not yet believe the terrible truths I have just taught you. But it is the most highly-considered theologians, the most illustrious Fathers who have spoken to you through me. So then, how can you resist reasons supported by so many examples and words of Scripture? If you still hesitate in spite of that, and if your mind is inclined to the opposite opinion, does that very consideration not suffice to make you tremble? Oh, it shows that you do not care very much for your salvation! In this important matter, a sensible man is struck more strongly by the slightest doubt of the risk he runs than by the evidence of total ruin in other affairs in which the soul is not involved. One of our brothers, Blessed Giles, was in the habit of saying that if only one man were going to be damned, he would do all he could to make sure he was not that man.
So what must we do, we who know that the greater number is going to be damned, and not only out of all Catholics? What must we do? Take the resolution to belong to the little number of those who are saved.
You say: If Christ wanted to damn me, then why did He create me? Silence, rash tongue! God did not create anyone to damn him; but whoever is damned, is damned because he wants to be. Therefore, I will now strive to defend the goodness of my God and acquit it of all blame: that will be the subject of the second point.
Before going on, let us gather on one side all the books and all the heresies of Luther and Calvin, and on the other side the books and heresies of the Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians, and let us burn them. Some destroy grace, others freedom, and all are filled with errors; so let us cast them into the fire. All the damned bear upon their brow the oracle of the Prophet Osee, "Thy damnation comes from thee," so that they may understand that whoever is damned, is damned by his own malice and because he wants to be damned.
First let us take these two undeniable truths as a basis: "God wants all men to be saved," "All are in need of the grace of God." Now, if I show you that God wants to save all men, and that for this purpose He gives all of them His grace and all the other necessary means of obtaining that sublime end, you will be obliged to agree that whoever is damned must impute it to his own malice, and that if the greater number of Christians are damned, it is because they want to be. "Thy damnation comes from thee; thy help is only in Me."
In a hundred places in Holy Scripture, God tells us that it is truly His desire to save all men. "Is it My will that a sinner should die, and not that he should be converted from his ways and live?... I live, saith the Lord God. I desire not the death of the sinner. Be converted and live."
When someone wants something very much, it is said that he is dying with desire; it is a hyperbole. But God has wanted and still wants our salvation so much that He died of desire, and He suffered death to give us life. This will to save all men is therefore not an affected, superficial and apparent will in God; it is a real, effective, and beneficial will; for He provides us with all the means most proper for us to be saved. He does not give them to us so we will not obtain it; He gives them to us with a sincere will, with the intention that they may obtain their effect. And if they do not obtain it, He shows Himself afflicted and offended over it. He commands even the damned to use them in order to be saved; He exhorts them to it; He obliges them to it; and if they do not do it, they sin. Therefore, they may do it and thus be saved.
Far more, because God sees that we could not even make use of His grace without His help, He gives us other aids; and if they sometimes remain ineffective, it is our fault; for with these same aids, one may abuse them and be damned with them, and another may do right and be saved; he might even be saved with less powerful aids. Yes, it can happen that we abuse a greater grace and are damned, whereas another cooperates with a lesser grace and is saved.
Saint Augustine exclaims, "If, therefore, someone turns aside from justice, he is carried by his free will, led by his concupiscence, deceived by his own persuasion." But for those who do not understand theology, here is what I have to say to them: God is so good that when He sees a sinner running to his ruin, He runs after him, calls him, entreats and accompanies him even to the gates of hell; what will He not do to convert him? He sends him good inspirations and holy thoughts, and if he does not profit from them, He becomes angry and indignant, He pursues him. Will He strike him? No. He beats at the air and forgives him. But the sinner is not converted yet. God sends him a mortal illness. It is certainly all over for him. No, brothers, God heals him; the sinner becomes obstinate in evil, and God in His mercy looks for another way; He gives him another year, and when that year is over, He grants him yet another.
But if the sinner still wants to cast himself into hell in spite of all that, what does God do? Does He abandon him? No. He takes him by the hand; and while he has one foot in hell and the other outside, He still preaches to him, He implores him not to abuse His graces. Now I ask you, if that man is damned, is it not true that he is damned against the Will of God and because he wants to be damned? Come and ask me now: If God wanted to damn me, then why did He create me?
Ungrateful sinner, learn today that if you are damned, it is not God who is to blame, but you and your self-will. To persuade yourself of this, go down even to the depths of the abyss, and there I will bring you one of those wretched damned souls burning in hell, so that he may explain this truth to you. Here is one now: "Tell me, who are you?" "I am a poor idolater, born in an unknown land; I never heard of heaven or hell, nor of what I am suffering now." "Poor wretch! Go away, you are not the one I am looking for." Another one is coming; there he is. "Who are you?" "I am a schismatic from the ends of Tartary; I always lived in an uncivilized state, barely knowing that there is a God." "You are not the one I want; return to hell." Here is another. "And who are you?" "I am a poor heretic from the North. I was born under the Pole and never saw either the light of the sun or the light of faith." "It is not you that I am looking for either, return to Hell." Brothers, my heart is broken upon seeing these wretches who never even knew the True Faith among the damned. Even so, know that the sentence of condemnation was pronounced against them and they were told, "Thy damnation comes from thee." They were damned because they wanted to be. They received so many aids from God to be saved! We do not know what they were, but they know them well, and now they cry out, "O Lord, Thou art just... and Thy judgments are equitable."
Brothers, you must know that the most ancient belief is the Law of God, and that we all bear it written in our hearts; that it can be learned without any teacher, and that it suffices to have the light of reason in order to know all the precepts of that Law. That is why even the barbarians hid when they committed sin, because they knew they were doing wrong; and they are damned for not having observed the natural law written in their heart: for had they observed it, God would have made a miracle rather than let them be damned; He would have sent them someone to teach them and would have given them other aids, of which they made themselves unworthy by not living in conformity with the inspirations of their own conscience, which never failed to warn them of the good they should do and the evil they should avoid. So it is their conscience that accused them at the Tribunal of God, and it tells them constantly in hell, "Thy damnation comes from thee." They do not know what to answer and are obliged to confess that they are deserving of their fate.
Now if these infidels have no excuse, will there be any for a Catholic who had so many Sacraments, so many sermons, so many aids at his disposal? How will he dare to say, "If God was going to damn me, then why did He create me?" How will he dare to speak in this manner, when God gives him so many aids to be saved? So let us finish confounding him.
You who are suffering in the abyss, answer me! Are there any Catholics among you? "There certainly are!" How many? Let one of them come here! "That is impossible, they are too far down, and to have them come up would turn all of hell upside down; it would be easier to stop one of them as he is falling in."
So then, I am speaking to you who live in the habit of mortal sin, in hatred, in the mire of the vice of impurity, and who are getting closer to hell each day. Stop, and turn around; it is Jesus who calls you and who, with His wounds, as with so many eloquent voices, cries to you, "My son, if you are damned, you have only yourself to blame: 'Thy damnation comes from thee.' Lift up your eyes and see all the graces with which I have enriched you to insure your eternal salvation. I could have had you born in a forest in Barbary; that is what I did to many others, but I had you born in the Catholic Faith; I had you raised by such a good father, such an excellent mother, with the purest instructions and teachings. If you are damned in spite of that, whose fault will it be? Your own, My son, your own: 'Thy damnation comes from thee.'
"I could have cast you into hell after the first mortal sin you committed, without waiting for the second: I did it to so many others, but I was patient with you, I waited for you for many long years. I am still waiting for you today in Penance (confession). If you are damned in spite of all that, whose fault is it? Your own, My son, your own: "Thy damnation comes from thee." You know how many have died before your very eyes and were damned: that was a warning for you. You know how many others I set back on the right path to give you the good example. Do you remember what that excellent confessor told you? I am the one who had him say it. Did he not enjoin you to change your life, to make a good confession? I am the One who inspired him. Remember that sermon that touched your heart? I am the One who led you there. And what has happened between you and Me in the secret of your heart, ...that you can never forget.
"Those interior inspirations, that clear knowledge, that constant remorse of conscience, would you dare to deny them? All of these were so many aids of My grace, because I wanted to save you. I refused to give them to many others, and I gave them to you because I loved you tenderly. My son, My son, if I spoke to them as tenderly as I am speaking to you today, how many others souls return to the right path! And you... you turn your back on Me. Listen to what I am going to tell you, for these are My last words: You have cost Me My blood; if you want to be damned in spite of the blood I shed for you, do not blame Me, you have only yourself to accuse; and throughout all eternity, do not forget that if you are damned in spite of Me, you are damned because you want to be damned: 'Thy damnation comes from thee.' "
O my good Jesus, the very stones would split on hearing such sweet words, such tender expressions. Is there anyone here who wants to be damned, with so many graces and aids? If there is one, let him listen to me, and then let him resist if he can.
Baronius relates that after Julian the Apostate's infamous apostasy, he conceived such great hatred against Holy Baptism that day and night, he sought a way in which he might erase his own. To that purpose he had a bath of goat's blood prepared and placed himself in it, wanting this impure blood of a victim consecrated to Venus to erase the sacred character of Baptism from his soul. Such behavior seems abominable to you, but if Julian's plan had been able to succeed, it is certain that he would be suffering much less in hell.
Sinners, the advice I want to give you will no doubt seem strange to you; but if you understand it well, it is, on the contrary, inspired by tender compassion toward you. I implore you on my knees, by the blood of Christ and by the Heart of Mary, change your life, come back to the road that leads to heaven, and do all you can to belong to the little number of those who are saved.
If, instead of this, you want to continue walking on the road that leads to hell, at least find a way to erase your baptism. Woe to you if you take the Holy Name of Jesus Christ and the sacred character of the Christian engraved upon your soul(through Baptism) into hell! Your chastisement will be all the greater. So do what I advise you to do: if you do not want to convert, go this very day and ask your pastor to erase your name from the baptismal register, so that there may not remain any remembrance of your ever having been a Christian; implore your Guardian Angel to erase from his book of graces the inspirations and aids he has given you on orders from God, for woe to you if he recalls them! Tell Our Lord to take back His faith, His baptism, His Sacraments.
You are horror-struck at such a thought? Well then, cast yourself at the feet of Jesus Christ and say to Him, with tearful eyes and contrite heart: "Lord, I confess that up till now I have not lived as a Christian. I am not worthy to be numbered among Your elect. I recognize that I deserve to be damned; but Your mercy is great and, full of confidence in Your grace, I say to You that I want to save my soul, even if I have to sacrifice my fortune, my honor, my very life, as long as I am saved. If I have been unfaithful up to now, I repent, I deplore, I detest my infidelity, I ask You humbly to forgive me for it. Forgive me, good Jesus, and strengthen me also, that I may be saved. I ask You not for wealth, honor or prosperity; I ask you for one thing only, to save my soul."
And You, O Jesus! What do You say? O Good Shepherd, see the stray sheep who returns to You; embrace this repentant sinner, bless his sighs and tears, or rather bless these people who are so well disposed and who want nothing but their salvation. Brothers, at the feet of Our Lord, let us protest that we want to save our soul, cost what it may. Let us all say to Him with tearful eyes, "Good Jesus, I want to save my soul," O blessed tears, O blessed sighs!
Brothers, I want to send all of you away comforted today. So if you ask me my sentiment on the number of those who are saved, here it is: Whether there are many or few that are saved, I say that whoever wants to be saved, will be saved; and that no one can be damned if he does not want to be. And if it is true that few are saved, it is because there are few who live well.
As for the rest, compare these two opinions: the first one states that the greater number of Catholics are condemned; the second one, on the contrary, pretends that the greater number of Catholics are saved. Imagine an Angel sent by God to confirm the first opinion, coming to tell you that not only are most Catholics damned, but that of all this assembly present here, one alone will be saved. If you obey the Commandments of God, if you detest the corruption of this world, if you embrace the Cross of Jesus Christ in a spirit of penance, you will be that one alone who is saved.
Now imagine the same Angel returning to you and confirming the second opinion. He tells you that not only are the greater portion of Catholics saved, but that out of all this gathering, one alone will be damned and all the others saved. If after that, you continue your usuries, your vengeances, your criminal deeds, your impurities, then you will be that one alone who is damned. What is the use of knowing whether few or many are saved? Saint Peter says to us, "Strive by good works to make your election sure."
When Saint Thomas Aquinas's sister asked him what she must do to go to heaven, he said, "You will be saved if you want to be." I say the same thing to you, and here is proof of my declaration. No one is damned unless he commits mortal sin: that is of faith (doctrine). And no one commits mortal sin unless he wants to: that is an undeniable theological proposition. Therefore, no one goes to hell unless he wants to; the consequence is obvious. Does that not suffice to comfort you? Weep over past sins, make a good confession, sin no more in the future, and you will all be saved. Why torment yourself so? For it is certain that you have to commit mortal sin to go to hell, and that to commit mortal sin you must want to, and that consequently no one goes to hell unless he wants to. That is not just an opinion, it is an undeniable and very comforting truth; may God give you to understand it, and may He bless you. Amen.
Mere kindness alone does not help people to convert. Even the pagans are kind to each other now and again. People need to hear the truth proclaimed, as Pope Leo XIII noted in Sapientiae Christianae, January 10, 1890:
The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason yields assent. Now, faith, as a virtue, is a great boon of divine grace and goodness; nevertheless, the objects themselves to which faith is to be applied are scarcely known in any other way than through the hearing. "How shall they believe Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Faith then cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Since, then, faith is necessary for salvation, it follows that the word of Christ must be preached. The office, indeed, of preaching, that is, of teaching, lies by divine right in the province of the pastors, namely, of the bishops whom "the Holy Spirit has placed to rule the Church of God.'' It belongs, above all, to the Roman Pontiff, vicar of Jesus Christ, established as head of the universal Church, teacher of all that pertains to morals and faith.
No one, however, must entertain the notion that private individuals are prevented from taking some active part in this duty of teaching, especially those on whom God has bestowed gifts of mind with the strong wish of rendering themselves useful. These, so often as circumstances demand, may take upon themselves, not, indeed, the office of the pastor, but the task of communicating to others what they have themselves received, becoming, as it were, living echoes of their masters in the faith. Such co-operation on the part of the laity has seemed to the Fathers of the Vatican Council so opportune and fruitful of good that they thought well to invite it. "All faithful Christians, but those chiefly who are in a prominent position, or engaged in teaching, we entreat, by the compassion of Jesus Christ, and enjoin by the authority of the same God and Savior, that they bring aid to ward off and eliminate these errors from holy Church, and contribute their zealous help in spreading abroad the light of undefiled faith.'' Let each one, therefore, bear in mind that he both can and should, so far as may be, preach the Catholic faith by the authority of his example, and by open and constant profession of the obligations it imposes. In respect, consequently, to the duties that bind us to God and the Church, it should be borne earnestly in mind that in propagating Christian truth and warding off errors the zeal of the laity should, as far as possible, be brought actively into play.
Yes, sure, there are a variety of ways by which we can plant seeds. Passing out Miraculous Medals and Green Scapulars is a very powerful tool to put Our Lady "on the case" of a lost sheep or a prodigal son or daughter. We should keep plenty of truly blessed (by validly ordained priests) Miraculous Medals and Green Scapulars on our person so that we can have them "at the ready" to pass out to those God places in our lives, perhaps just fleetingly, during the course of a day. The person you give a Green Scapular to in an airport, for example, might have no other chance in this mortal vale of tears to save his or her soul. The prayer associated with the Green Scapular ("Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death") will help that soul we meet fleetingly to come into the true Faith.
The Miraculous Medal, of course, has effected numberless conversions, including that of the Catholic-hating Jew, Alphonse Ratisbonne, who saw an image of Our Lady as she appeared on the Miraculous Medal
in the Church of San Andrea delle Fratte in Rome on January 20, 1842, which inspired him to become a priest and to go eventually to the Holy Land with his brother Theodore, who had converted to the Faith before the miracle, to work for the conversion (sorry, Benedict, yes, conversion!) of Jews and Mohammedans. Pass out those Miraculous Medals. It is a very good way to store up treasure in Heaven.
When all is said and done, however, we must face facts: to seek out the lost sheep requires courage. It requires true love of God and a willingness to forgo all sense of "human respect," to forgo, that is, all consideration of what others will think of us. So what if "things" do not go well in a particular conversation about the Faith with a family member who is outside of the Church or has fallen away? So what? God is not more powerful than a conversation that goes badly? So what? Do we dare place limits on the Omnipotence of the Blessed Trinity? Our Lady will use all of the efforts we make, no matter how badly they are executed or how poorly they are received by others, to plant the seeds of the Faith in hearts that are hardened if we offer them up to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as her consecrated slaves. Remember this and remember it well: the devil wants to convince us that it is an act of "love" not to speak openly and frankly about the Faith to others, which is why we must always keep in mind that the ethos of conciliarism, especially as it relates to the strict prohibiton on proselytism, is from the devil and is designed to lead souls to Hell for all eternity.
No, "things" do not always go well. "Things" did not look too good for my late father-in-law, John Collins, on the evening of January 3, 2007, when my dear wife Sharon, his daughter, was talking with him on her cellular phone in our motor home as it was parked in the driveway of a private residence in East Northport, New York. Sharon pleaded with her father to go to Confession, explaining to him that he had to prepare for death, especially in light of the fact that he faced the prospect of open heart surgery at the age of eighty-two and one-half years. Sharon's only Catholic sister (one of five other siblings) had also pleaded with her father to do so some days before he went into the hospital. Mr. Collins was, according to Sharon, totally frustrated with her efforts to convince him to go to Confession. "How did you become so religious?" he asked her at one point.
Praying to Our Lady all the while, Sharon insisted that her father repeat the following prayer: "Dear God, give me the grace to go to Confession." It took her several tries. She even told him that a priest would be on the way to his hospital in Kingston, New York, to hear his Confession, which is when I got on the phone and was able to reach Father Denis McMahon at Saint Michael's Chapel in Glenmont, New York. Father McMahon at first wanted to wait until the morning. I believed that it was best for him to drive down the fifty miles to Kingston as soon as possible. Father McMahon did so. Our daughter Lucy Mary Norma insisted on leading the family Rosary in the bedroom of our motor home as Father McMahon made his way down to Benedictine Hospital.
Upon entering Mr. Collins's room, Father McMahon, who has a very wonderful priestly demeanor about him, could see that my father-in-law was ready to go to Confession. What seemed, humanly speaking, to be a totally hopeless case turned out to be the case of the found sheep and the found groat and of the return of a prodigal son, for whom Our Lord had extended a welcome mat unto eternity to a true prodigal son. Tears of joy filled our eyes when we heard the news the next morning of Sharon's father having gone to Confession. Mr. Collins told Sharon, "My sins have been forgiven! It is as though they never existed!" He had recaptured the joy of his youth, talking about building a chapel in Olivebridge, New York, where Father McMahon could offer Holy Mass. John Collins, the little boy who ran away from the Church at the age of twelve after a bad experience with a priest, had come home to the Church just before he was called by God to leave this mortal vale of tears.
Truth be told, of course the return of John Collins to the Catholic Faith was prepared by the prayers and the tears and the sufferings and the sacrifices made by his two daughters who found their way into the Church by means of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition in the 1990s in, of all places, California. Their own children's prayers and loving witness to the Faith planted additional seeds that Our Lady used to effect the miracle of their beloved father's return to the true Church. And we will only know in eternity how many of Mr. Collins's Catholic ancestors and friends were praying for him from eternity.
Indeed, it was a concern for her father's spiritual well-being that prompted the then Sharon Collins to speak to me at length in the parking lot of Saint Mary's by the Sea Church in Huntington Beach, California, after my three hour lecture session on April 22, 2001, Low Sunday. And it was that conversation that led us to realize that God meant us to be together as husband and wife. That moment came to mind on Sunday, February 4, 2007, at Saint Gertrude the Great Church when His Excellency Bishop Daniel Dolan announced to those in attendance at the 9:00 a.m. High Mass that he wanted them to kneel down and pray for the repose of the soul of John Collins, the father of Sharon Droleskey. Tears welled up in my eyes. Sharon's heartfelt concern for her father's salvation, expressed to me so movingly on April 22, 2001, had borne fruit unto his eternal salvation. So had the concern and prayers and self-sacrificing generosity of time and worldly resources of Sharon's Catholic sister and her husband and their children.
Thus, as I noted on the home page of this site several times recently, we must never give up on any of our relatives and our friends who have yet to convert or to return to the Catholic Church, the one and only true Church founded by Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. Our Lady will indeed use all of the efforts we give her as the consecrated slaves of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart to crack open the "hard" or seemingly "hopeless" cases and melt hardened hearts and enlighten darkened intellects and restore sight to blinded eyes. We must never despair of or presume anyone's salvation, including our own. And we must remember that it could very well be that someone who does not have the "baggage" we carry in the eyes of our relatives will be the answer to our own prayers to help them to convert or return to the Faith.
For, truth be told, you see, each of us has been a lost sheep and a lost groat and a prodigal son or daughter every time, God forbid, we have been estranged from Him by means of Mortal Sin. Even our venial sins turn us away from God and incline us all the more to our own disordered wills. Each of us must be converted away from the ways of the world, the flesh and the devil on a daily basis in order to scale the heights of sanctity that can be climbed only as a formal member of the Catholic Church. Our Lord's most gracious welcome mat, embossed with the images of His own Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother, awaits each of us whenever we stray. All we have to do is to have the humility to confess our own sins and the apostolic courage to exhort others to do.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque composed a beautiful Prayer for Mercy on this exact theme:
Behold, O compassionate Father, this prodigal who has sinned against Thee by dissipating the treasures with which Thou hast enriched him. I throw myself at Thy Feet and cry for mercy. Do not reject me and do not forget Thy mercies. Exercise them over my poor soul, although it is unworthy of them. Do not permit that it be lost before Thine eyes, since Thy Sacred Heart has given birth to it with so much pain. Do not refuse me the title of child of Thy Heart, for I desire to die unto myself and unto sin, in order to live henceforth only by the life of submission and obedience. In this spirit I wish to do all my actions, uniting my obedience with that which Thou dost render to the priest, whether he be good or bad, without showing the pain it costs Thee to enter into the hearts of sinners. In like manner, I will repress my repugnances so that they will have no other effect on me but to make me sacrifice them to Thee, saying: Jesus was silent; Jesus was obedient unto death; I wish to obey until I breathe my last sigh. Amen. (Father John Croiset, The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus: How to Practice the Sacred Heart Devotion, reprinted by TAN Books and Publishers, Rockford, Illinois, pp. 321-322)
Keep praying and making sacrifices for your relatives and friends (we still have others on both sides of our own family, including my late father's brother, who will turn ninety years of age this coming October 4, who are outside of the Church), giving all to the Blessed Trinity through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. Teach your children to pray the Rosary with fervor and attention (and anyone who says that a little child cannot pray an entire set of Mysteries of Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary is deceiving himself and selling the spiritual innocence and purity of children quite short) for non-Catholic relatives and friends. Teach your children to pass out Miraculous Medals and Green Scapulars to those you meet in public places. Spend time as a family before the true Blessed Sacrament in prayer. Get yourselves to the Immemorial Mass of Tradition outside of the corrupt structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism as frequently as you can during the week. As Our Lady taught Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia at Fatima on July 13, 1917:
“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners; and say often when you make some sacrifice, ‘My Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.'”
May each of us take this to our hearts, consecrated as they should be to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, as we pray for the welcome mat of Our Lord to be extended to all of his wayward children, especially those who are closest to us and those for whom we are most bound to pray, those with whom we desire to be united forever in the glory of an unending Easter Sunday of glory with the Blessed Mother and all of the angels and saints in the Beatific Vision of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Romuald, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Dominic Savio, pray for us.
Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us.
Saint Peter Nolasco, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Monica, pray for us.
Saint Andrew Corsini, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us.
Saint John Lalonde, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel Lalemont, pray for us.
Saint Noel Chabanel, pray for us.
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, pray for us.
Saint John DeBrebeuf, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Gerard Majella, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Venerable Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Father Miguel Augustin Pro, pray for us.
Francisco Marto, pray for us.
Jacinta Marto, pray for us.
Juan Diego, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.