Keep your eyes open!...


Lent, 2018  

(Ecc 3:1-7) All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather. A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.

UPDATES: Non-subscribers can access items emailed during Lent at!forum/tribulaton-times


ALETEIA: Begin Lent with this powerful prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

: Formulating a Plan of Life for Lent and Beyond

LENTEN READING: Padre Pio read this book four times!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Beginning Saturday Feb. 17, 2018, Radio Maria ( offers a new one-hour weekly program entitled, “Learning to Live in the Divine Will”, hosted by Fr. J. Iannuzzi, STL, STD..  Archives will be available at

Reverend George William Rutler, S.T.D.: There are different theories as to why Schubert did not finish the Unfinished Symphony. If his Symphony in B minor lacks two movements, it has two, and explaining why it began is as challenging as explaining why it did not end. Mozart did not finish his Requiem for the simple reason that he died. That also is why Thucydides did not finish his history of the Peloponnesian War, Raphael’s incomplete Transfiguration, Giorgione’s “Sleeping Venus” which was left for Titian to complete, and Dostoyevsky’s unrealized chapters for “The Brothers Karamzov.”

A Roman soldier’s sword prevented Archimedes from resolving a mathematical problem. Chaucer did not finish his “Canterbury Tales” because he had to go back to work as a clerk in the Port of London, and Spencer did not finish the last six books of “The Faerie Queen” for political reasons. Coleridge could not complete his “Kublai Khan” because someone awoke him from a laudanum stupor. Perhaps the arrival of Alessandro de Medici caused Michelangelo to quit Florence, without finishing the statue which still puzzles experts who are not sure if it is Apollo or David. We do know that Donatello deliberately used his “non finito” technique to give a kind of emerging vitality to his figures.

Artists rarely think that they have completed a work. Tolkein, for example, kept re-writing “The Silmarillion.” At least they have an intuition, a mental sense, of what should be realized with paint or pen. But if life has no goal, there is nothing to complete. Chesterton said that man has always been lost, but modern man has lost his address and cannot return home. Far different was Saint Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)" His faith was trust that life has a goal, and it is realized in the eternal existence offered by the Creator who made us in his image. “In Him you have been made complete. (Col.2:10)”

The days of Lent are like signposts toward the goal. Meanwhile, we are “works in progress,” The question is, “Can these bones live? (Ezekiel 37:3)" When Ash Wednesday is coincident with St. Valentine’s Day, there is a stark contrast between love and sentiment. The martyr Valentine loved so much that he sacrificed his life for the love of God. To reduce him to some sort of cupid, is never to finish the picture. The world’s greatest Lover shouted from the cross: “It is finished!” That “teteletai” is an accounting term meaning “paid in full.” The Son cried out to the Father that he had paid the debt incurred by human pride. It is what every composer, painter, writer and scientist wants to be able to say, but can only be said satisfactorily when Christ is seen “face to face, and not as a stranger. (1 John 3:2)”

Easter 2018 Dates

February 14 - Ash Wednesday
March 25 - Palm Sunday
March 29 - Maundy (Holy) Thursday
March 30 - Good Friday
April 1 - Easter Sunday (Western Christianity - Roman Catholic, Anglican Communion, Protestant Churches, etc.)
April 8- Divine Mercy Sunday

April 8 - Orthodox Easter Sunday (Orthodox Christianity - Eastern Orthodox Churches)


The TRIB TIMES will not be updated again this year during the Lenten season, extending to the first week after Easter.  My computer time will be limited to 30 minutes each morning and evening during Lent. I will read all emails I receive, and will answer all that I can, time permitting.  I may also occasionally email non-reformatted news articles to Trib Times subscribers that I find to be of particular interest. But barring a major event (admittedly not unlikely these days), the Trib Times web page itself will not be updated. 

I apologize to all who have recently subscribed but will keep your email information for use after my return.  God willing, the next issue of the Trib Times should be shortly after Divine Mercy Sunday, April 8, 2018.  Please keep me in your prayers, and be assured that I will do the same.

I recommend the following links to keep up with unfolding events:

Catholic News

Signs of the Times

Readings & Meditations for Lent & Holy Week

Catholic Commentary
Courageous Priest
Statements of Archbishop Chaput
Crisis Magazine

Newer subscribers may also be interested in a meditation that first appeared in the Trib Times in 2004, The Pain of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ.

G.K. CHESTERTON: “But when fundamentals are doubted, as at present, we must try to recover the candour and wonder of the child; the unspoilt realism and objectivity of innocence. Or if we cannot do that, we must try at least to shake off the cloud of mere custom and see the thing as new, if only by seeing it as unnatural.  Things that may well be familiar so long as familiarity breeds affection had much better become unfamiliar when familiarity breeds contempt. For in connection with things so great as are here considered, whatever our view of them, contempt must be a mistake. Indeed contempt must be an illusion. We must invoke the most wild and soaring sort of imagination; the imagination that can see what is there.”

LINK TO DONATE TO AID TO THE CHURCH IN NEED:;jsessionid=1B6D0D927CE5E03CD247F9BC016AAE5D.app322b?idb=1588471532&df_id=1240&1240.donation=form1&idb=0.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

12. People of high spirit bear offence nobly and gladly, but only the holy and righteous can pass through praise without harm.

February 12, 2018

(Lev 19:19) Keep ye my laws. Thou shalt not make thy cattle to gender with beasts of any other kind. Thou shalt not sow thy field with different seeds. Thou shalt not wear a garment that is woven of two sorts.

POPE JOHN PAUL II: Christ taught another way: it is that of respect for human beings; the priority of every method of research must be to know the truth about human beings, in order to serve them and not to manipulate them according to a project sometimes arrogantly seen as better even than the plan of the Creator.



Rice Expert Alert: Age of genetically engineered humans has begun
Christian Biologist: Human Dignity Is Under Assault in China Monkey Cloning
First human eggs grown in laboratory

NCBC: Human Cloning, Stem Cell Research and Attempts at Hybrid Embryo Creation

A Commentary On Dignitas Personae, Part Three, nn 28-33 by Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D.

The document Dignitas Personae, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is an “instruction on certain bioethical questions.” In the latter part of the document, several controversial research techniques, including cloning, stem cells, and attempts at creating hybrid human-animal embryos are examined and ethically evaluated.

The document notes how human cloning is a technique of reproduction to produce a copy of a human who would be nearly genetically identical (in effect, an identical twin), and concludes that such attempts are “intrinsically illicit.” It identifies the general ethical principle that we have an “obligation to respect the singularity and integrity of each person, even on the biological and genetic levels.” This is a consequence of being willed by God in all of our specificity and particularity. Every human being “owes his existence and his proper characteristics to the love of God, and only the love of husband and wife constitutes a mediation of that love in conformity with the plan of the Creator.”

In the light of these considerations, it becomes clear how cloning, when carried out to produce a live birth, is morally objectionable for two reasons: first, because it transforms human reproduction into a laboratory undertaking, rather than the interpersonal and shared marital activity it is meant to be; and second, because it sanctions the raw arrogation of power by one human being over another by allowing the former to choose “who” the latter shall be through direct predetermination of many of that individual’s most fundamental characteristics. This kind of cloning is called “reproductive” because it seeks to reproduce or copy an individual.

When cloning is carried out to produce an embryo not for reproduction, but for the purposes of harvesting stem cells from it, it is objectionable for both of the above reasons, and for the additional reason that it “makes the existence of a human being at the embryonic stage nothing more than a means to be used and destroyed.” This kind of embryo cloning is sometimes termed “therapeutic” because the stem cells extracted from the clone can theoretically be used to develop therapies for the patient who was cloned (the clone’s adult identical twin) and the transplanted cells should not be rejected by the recipient, given that identical twins are generally immune compatible with each other. It should be noted, though, that this kind of cloning is not “therapeutic” for the embryo. On the contrary, it is invariably lethal to the cloned embryo, and could therefore more accurately be termed “exploitative cloning” instead of “therapeutic cloning.”

Certain other, more recently-proposed techniques for obtaining stem cells, putatively without destroying embryos, remain questionable in terms of their ethical permissibility, since it is not entirely clear whether embryo-destructive steps might or might not be involved. The document mentions several techniques of this kind, including parthenogenesis (using an activated egg to create stem cells), altered nuclear transfer (a modified form of cloning to create stem cells), and oocyte-assisted reprogramming (another modified form of cloning to obtain stem cells).

Those forms of research where stem cells can be obtained without causing serious harm to the donor, including stem cells obtained from spontaneously miscarried fetuses, umbilical cord-derived stem cells, and other kinds of adult stem cells “are to be considered licit.” Induced pluripotent stem cells, derived by “turning the cellular clock backwards” for an adult somatic cell by genetic reprogramming would fit in this category as well. In fact, any such research which does not raise significant ethical problems, and most particularly adult stem cell research, “should be encouraged and supported,” in the words of the document.

Stem cell research which depends on the destruction of human embryos, on the other hand, is identified as morally unacceptable. It represents, in the final analysis, an inhuman and inhumane activity that progresses “through the suppression of human lives that are equal in dignity to the lives of other human individuals and to the lives of the researchers themselves.”

It is not merely the derivation of these cells from embryos that is problematic, but even their subsequent use when somebody else may have done the embryo-killing years earlier in order to obtain the cells, which now propagate continuously in the lab. There are likely to be concerns about whether a researcher, who uses such cells derived by somebody else, would be involved in an unacceptable form of cooperation with evil, and there could be additional concerns about the scandal that would be caused by tacitly accepting the use of such cells within one’s own laboratory or pharmaceutical company.

Other ways of generating stem cells have also been proposed, including approaches that might be construed to “reduce the humanness” of an embryo by “mixing it” with animal parts (in street parlance, sometimes termed “Franken-embryos”). The technique involves using an animal egg, rather than a woman’s egg, to start off the process of cloning. The animal egg is given a kind of “DNA transplant” using human DNA, to make an embryo which contains mostly human genetic information, and a little bit of animal genetic material as well. The document reminds us that doing this kind of hybrid cloning to make a hybrid embryo (to be harvested for its stem cells) represents “an offense against the dignity of human beings on account of the admixture of human and animal genetic elements capable of disrupting the specific identity of man.”

COMMENTARY: Cloning: A Diabolical Counterfeit of Eternal Life

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

11. The flatterer is a servant of devils, a guide to pride, a destroyer of contrition, a ruiner of virtues, a misleader. Those who pronounce you blessed, lead you astray, says the prophet.

February 9, 2018

(2Ti 4:6-8) For I am even now ready to be sacrificed: and the time of my dissolution is at hand. I have fought a good fight: I have finished my course: I have kept the faith. As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day: and not only to me, but to them also that love his coming.

POPE FRANCIS: "Adoration is an uphill journey with the memory of election. We can only arrive there with the memory of having been chosen, of bearing within our heart the promise which pushes us to keep going with the covenant in our hand and in our heart. In the presence of God’s glory words disappear, we do not know what to say.”

VATICAN NEWS: Benedict, Pope emeritus: I am on a pilgrimage towards Home

Pope emeritus Benedict has sent a short letter to the editor of the Italian news daily Il Corriere della Sera.

The Pope emeritus was responding to the many inquiries from readers as to how he is spending “this last period of his life.” Noting the “slow decline” of his “physical strength,” Benedict says in the letter that “interiorly, I am on a pilgrimage towards Home.” The former Roman Pontiff admits that “this last stretch of the road” is “at times difficult,” but says, “It is a great grace for me to be surrounded by a love and goodness that I could not have imagined.”

Concluding his letter, Benedict said he considers the concern of the readers for his well-being as an “accompaniment” for the journey. In closing, he expresses his gratitude, and assures everyone of his prayers.

In 2013, Benedict XVI became the first pope since Gregory XII in 1415 to resign the papacy. In the announcement of his resignation, Benedict said he would continue to serve the Church “through a life dedicated to prayer. Since May of 2013, the pope emeritus has resided in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery within the borders of Vatican City State.

ZENIT.ORG:  Archbishop Chaput: ‘Charity, Clarity, & Their Opposite’


The “new knighthood” St. Bernard once praised never really disappears. It’s new and renewed in every generation of faithful Catholic men. And brothers, that means us. It’s a vocation that belongs to us, and nobody else. The rules of our order—all 22 of them—were written down 500 years ago by the great Catholic humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam, in his book, The Manual of a Christian Knight. It’s a dense text for the modern reader, but here’s the substance of what he says:

Rule 1: Deepen and increase your faith.
Rule 2: Act on your faith; make it a living witness to others.
Rule 3: Analyze and understand your fears; don’t be ruled by them.
Rule 4: Make Jesus Christ the only guide and the only goal of your life.
Rule 5: Turn away from material things; don’t be owned by them.
Rule 6: Train your mind to distinguish the true nature of good and evil.
Rule 7: Never let any failure or setback turn you away from God.
Rule 8: Face temptation guided by God, not by worry or excuses.
Rule 9: Always be ready for attacks from those who fear the Gospel and resent the good.
Rule 10: Always be prepared for temptation. And do what you can to avoid it.
Rule 11: Be alert to two special dangers: moral cowardice and personal pride.
Rule 12: Face your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
Rule 13: Treat each battle as if it were your last.
Rule 14: A life of virtue has no room for vice; the little vices we tolerate become the most deadly.
Rule 15: Every important decision has alternatives; think them through clearly and honestly in the light of what’s right.
Rule 16: Never, ever give up or give in on any matter of moral substance.
Rule 17: Always have a plan of action. Battles are often won or lost before they begin.
Rule 18: Always think through, in advance, the consequences of your choices and actions.
Rule 19: Do nothing—in public or private—that the people you love would not hold in esteem.
Rule 20: Virtue is its own reward; it needs no applause.
Rule 21: Life is demanding and brief; make it count.
Rule 22: Admit and repent your wrongs, never lose hope, encourage your brothers, and then begin again.

MEDITATION: Thoughts by St Theophan (1815-1894)

[James 1:19-27; Mark 10:17-27]

Someone turned to the Lord with a question: Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? What necessitated this question? Were there no scriptures? Was the law not read every Saturday for everyone? There was everything — both Scripture and its interpreters; but in society difference of opinion went around and muddled everyone. The Pharisees said one thing, the Sadducees another, the Essenes, their own thing, the Samaritans their own. In Galilee, perhaps even pagan teachings were heard, and each put forth their own with a tone of conviction. Anyone who was zealous for salvation naturally came to the question: What should I do? What should I follow, that my soul not be destroyed?

Our situation now is very similar those times. What teachings are not going around our schools, in society, and in literature! For the indifferent it is nothing; but they for whom every teaching is not the same cannot but seek an answer to the question, “What should I do?” So what is the solution? The one the Saviour gave: Believe and live as God commanded, and do not listen to people's talk; let them talk. The talk of scientists is like rumours and fashion: today they say one thing, tomorrow another. But you should heed only God's word, which abides unto the ages. What the Lord commanded no philosophizing can revoke. Everything must be done, and cannot be put off. The judgment indeed will be according to the word of the Lord, and not according to our philosophizing.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

10. God often hides from our eyes even those perfections that we have obtained. But he who praises us or, rather, misleads us, opens our eyes by his praise, and as soon as our eyes are opened, our treasure vanishes.

February 7, 2018

(1Co 3:16-17) Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are.

CRISIS MAGAZINE: The Antichrist and the Temple in the Christian Mind

RNS: Why is Jerusalem’s Temple Mount so disputed?

EWTN Q&A:  Will the Third Temple ever be built?

Divinely Planned Obsolescence

Why the Temple in Jerusalem will never be rebuilt and how the Sacrifice of the Mass is “the source and summit of evangelization”.

The events of A.D. 70 and 362 serve as covenant exclamation points that the New Covenant has indeed fulfilled the Old (see CCC 66-67). Still, Catholics should not view these events as reason to celebrate Israel’s downfall, lest they endure a much harsher divine judgment themselves. Nor should they invoke events of nearly 2,000 years as justifying virulent prejudices today. Anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism are, in fact, invariably anti-Catholic. As Pope XI noted about Jews and Catholics, “Spiritually, we are all Semites,” the beneficiaries of God’s covenant plan to make a universal blessing of the nation of Israel (Gen. 12:1-2; 22:18)6 through his Jewish Son (Mt. 1:1). Jesus himself reminds us that “salvation is from the Jews” (Jn. 4:22), and the biblical story of the Mass incontrovertibly testifies to the privileged role that the Jewish people have played in salvation history (see Rom. 9:3-5).

While the Church speaks of herself as the restored “Israel of God” (Gal. 6:11-16), God has certainly not abandoned those Jews who continue to profess the Old Covenant, even though its sacrifices cannot be offered. He desires them, as he desires all men and women, to freely embrace Christ and his New Covenant as members of his Catholic Church (see CCC 836, 839-40). The Messiah came to save all mankind, particularly those who share his heritage as an Israelite (see Mt. 1:21; 10:6, 15:24; CCC 438; 528). To participate fruitfully in this saving mission to both Jews and the world in general (Mt. 28:18-20), Catholics en masse must make knowing, living, and sharing their faith the unambiguous, number-one life priority it should be. They must truly seek God’s kingdom first in their lives (Mt. 6:33), setting aside soul-sapping modern distractions so they can understand well and passionately convey the biblical story of the Mass. While Mary, the Pope and the Eucharist are typically the three major obstacles that prospective converts must overcome, the roles of the Mother of God and the Vicar of Christ are more easily negotiated when seen in light of the foundational, saving work of our Eucharistic Lord. As Pope St. John Paul II reminds us, the mission of Christ and his Church is primarily conveyed and carried out in the celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass, implicitly reaffirming the pointlessness of trying to rebuild the Temple:

From the perpetuation of the sacrifice of the Cross and her communion with the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, the Church draws the spiritual power needed to carry out her mission. The Eucharist thus appears as both the source and the summit of all evangelization, since its goal is the communion of mankind with Christ and in him with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

If people come to know and believe in Jesus Christ, and how his saving work is profoundly continued in the Mass, the rest of the doctrinal dominoes will follow. Yet, testifying to the Truth in word must be coupled with witnessing to the Incarnate Word in deed. The example of ancient Israel bears emulating. Ancient Israelites yearned to pierce the veil of the Temple’s most holy place, consistently approaching God with reverential fear. Today, Catholics pierce that sacred veil on a regular basis, yet frequently commune with the Real Presence of the Eucharistic God-man in a casual and sometimes irreverent manner.

As St. John Paul II has exhorted, Catholics must become more like the One they worship, reverently offering themselves with Christ’s Sacrifice to the Father at Mass; receiving frequent Holy Communion; spending time with their Beloved in Eucharistic adoration; and making regular spiritual communions,  so that the world might better know that Jesus is truly Lord. If Catholics begin to see the Mass as the most profound and intimate communion with almighty God that is possible on earth, unworthy reception of the Eucharist will end overnight, liturgical abuses will cease; and the world will be won over to Christ, who will lead us to our ultimate and everlasting Communion in the heavenly sanctuary, when the sacramental veils of bread and wine will be removed and we will love our Lord, face to face, forever:

Almighty God, help us to live the example of love we celebrate in this Eucharist, that we may come to its fulfillment in your Presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

8. A vainglorious ascetic is cheated both ways: he exhausts his body, and he gets no reward.

February 5, 2018

(Luk 1:28-30) And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

CNS: Pope puts founder of Rosary Crusade one step closer toward sainthood

EXCERPT HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS: As the journeying People of God, we are here to pause at our Mother’s temple. The presence of the Mother makes this temple a family home for us sons and daughters. Together with generations and generations of Romans, we recognize in this house of our mother our own home, the home where we can find refreshment, consolation, protection, shelter. The Christian people have understood, from the very beginning, that in difficulties and trials we need to turn to our Mother, as the most ancient Marian hymn has it: Beneath your protection, we seek refuge, O Holy Mother of God; do not despise our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin. Amen.

We seek refuge. Our fathers in faith taught that in turbulent moments we should gather under the mantle of the Holy Mother of God. At one time those who were persecuted and in need sought refuge with high-ranking noble women: when their cloak, regarded as inviolable, was held out as a sign of welcoming, protection had been granted. So it is for us with regard to Our Lady, the highest woman of the human race. Her mantle is always open to receive us and gather us. The Christian East reminds us of this, where many celebrate the Protection of the Mother of God, who in a beautiful icon is depicted with her mantle sheltering her sons and daughters and covering the whole world. Monks of old recommended, in times of trial, that we take refuge beneath the mantle of the Holy Mother of God: calling upon her as “Holy Mother of God” was already a guarantee of protection and help, this prayer over and again: “Holy Mother of God”, “Holy Mother of God”… Just like this.

This wisdom, that comes to us from far off, helps us: the Mother protects the faith, safeguards relationships, saves those in storms and preserves them from evil. Where our Mother is at home, the devil does not enter in. Where our Mother is at home, the devil does not enter in. Where our Mother is present, turmoil does not prevail, fear does not conquer. Which of us does not need this, which of us is not sometimes distressed or anxious? How often our heart is a stormy sea, where the waves of our problems pile up and the winds of our troubles do not stop blowing! Mary is our secure ark in the midst of the flood. It will not be ideas or technology that will give us comfort or hope, but our Mother’s face, her hands that caress our life, her mantle that gives us shelter. Let us learn how to find refuge, going each day to our Mother.

Do not despise our petitions, the hymn continues. When we petition her, Mary implores on our behalf. There is a beautiful title in Greek that says this: Grigorousa, that is, “she who intercedes swiftly”. And it is this swiftly that Luke uses in the Gospel to indicate how Mary went to Elizabeth: quickly, immediately! She intercedes at once, she does not delay, we heard in the Gospel, when she brings the people’s concrete need to Jesus at once: “They have no wine” (Jn 2:3), they have no more! This is what she does each time, if we call on her: when there is no hope, when joy is scarce, when our strength is all used up, when life’s star grows dark, our Mother intervenes. And if we call on her, she intervenes even more. She is attentive to our weariness, sensitive to storms – the storms of life, she is close to our hearts. And she never, never despises our prayers; she does not let even one of them fall to the ground. She is our Mother, she is never ashamed of us; on the contrary, she waits for the chance to help her children.

One event can help us understand this. Next to a hospital bed, a mother was keeping watch over her son, who was in pain after an accident. The mother complained to the priest, saying: “There is one thing that the Lord did not grant us mothers”. “What is that?” asked the priest.  “To take away the pain of our children”, answered the woman. Here we see a mother’s heart: she is not embarrassed by injuries, by her children’s vulnerability, but wants to take these injuries upon herself. And God’s Mother – and our Mother – can take things upon herself, can console, keep watch and cure.

A MOMENT WITH MARY: The day that Ireland was encircled by the Rosary

The Rosary on the Borders, an event in Poland that gathered a large number of Catholics on Saturday, October 7, 2017, has been replicated. First by a the National Rosary in Italy on Friday, October 13th, "to follow the teachings of Mary and to follow the very good example given by our Polish brothers," then more recently in Ireland on Sunday, November 26, 2017, feast of Christ the King, with a "Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith." Why on this day? Quite simply because, according to those who organized it, Ireland was the first country dedicated to Christ the King, in the 1940s.

All along the Irish coast, people prayed the Rosary at 2:30 pm, followed by the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at 3 pm. More than 250 prayer locations were designated for this event, including places in Northern Ireland, far exceeding the original goal of 53 locations!

At least four bishops and many priests had announced their intention to participate. The goal of this great national prayer was the restoration of the Catholic faith in Ireland and the protection of children from the moment of conception. The organizers evoked the words of Pius IX: "Give me an army that recites the Rosary and I will conquer the world.” They asked the faithful to bring miraculous medals with them to have them blessed by the priests and bury them on the seashore, while asking the Virgin Mary to intercede to protect Ireland against evil.

CHINA: The Maria Rosa Mystica Sanctuary of Changle

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

7. Every lover of self-display is vainglorious.  The fast of the vainglorious person is without reward and his prayer is futile, because he does both for the praise of men.

February 2, 2018

(Psa 84:10-12) For better is one day in thy courts above thousands. I have chosen to be an abject in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners.  For God loveth mercy and truth: the Lord will give grace and glory. He will not deprive of good things them that walk in innocence: O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

ROMAN CATHOLIC MAN: Super Blue Blood Moon and St. John Bosco's Dream/Prophecy

REVIEW CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT: “Created for Greatness”: The Emerging Catholic Men’s Movement

: RISE and the vocation of Christian men

This week’s column is meant explicitly for the men of our local Church. I’m talking to you.

C.S. Lewis once described Christianity as a “fighting religion.” He meant that living the Gospel involves a very real kind of spiritual warfare; a struggle against the evil in ourselves and in the world around us – not with violence, but with courage and love.

Men need a challenge. Men need to test and prove their worth. Men feel most alive when they’re giving themselves to some purpose higher than their own comfort. This is why young men join the Marines or Rangers or SEALs. They do it not despite it being hard, but exactly because it’s hard; because it hurts; because they want to be the best and earn a place among brothers who are also the very best.

Men joined the early Capuchins and Jesuits not to escape the world but to transform it; to convert the world by demanding everything a man had — every drop of his energy, love, talent and intelligence — in service to a mission bigger and more important than any individual ego or appetite.

As men, we’re hardwired by nature and confirmed by the Word of God to do three main things: to provide, to protect, and to lead — not for our own sake, not for our own empty vanities and appetites, but in service to others.

We men — all of us, both clergy and lay — bear a special responsibility because the Gospel tasks us as leaders. That takes nothing away from the genius and ability of women, or the equality of women and men. But human beings are not identical units. We’re not interchangeable pieces of social machinery.

Christian equality is based not in political ideology but in the reality of the differences and mutual dependencies of real men and women. As creatures we’re designed to need each other, not replicate each other.

Thus, when it comes to leadership, men are meant to lead in a uniquely masculine way. The great saint of the early Eastern Church, John Chrysostom, described every human father as the bishop of his family. All fathers are bishops. And every father shapes the soul of the next generation with his love, his self-mastery and his courage, or the lack of them.

So we need to ask ourselves: If I claim to be a believing Catholic man, can I prove it with the patterns of my life? When do I pray? How often do I seek out the Sacrament of Penance? What am I doing for the poor? How am I serving the needy? Do I really know Jesus Christ? Who am I leading to the Church? How many young people have I asked to consider a vocation? How much time do I spend sharing about God with my wife, my children and my friends? How well and how often do I listen for God’s presence in my own life?

The Church has lots of good reasons why people should believe in God, and in Jesus Christ, and in the beauty and urgency of her own mission. But she has only one irrefutable argument for the truth of what she teaches: the personal example of her saints.

That means the world needs faithful Catholic men, men with a hunger to be saints. The role of a Catholic husband and father — a man who sacrifices his own desires, out of love, to serve the needs of his wife and children — is the living cornerstone of a Christian home. The Church in this country may face a very hard road in the next 20 years, and her sons need to step up and lead by the witness of their daily lives.

Maleness is a matter of biology. It just happens. Manhood must be learned and earned and taught. So we need the friendship of real brothers in the Lord to be the disciples and leaders God intends us to be.

Where can we get that? Later this week, on February 3, I’ll be speaking at the excellent annual “Into the Breach” men’s conference sponsored by the Diocese of Phoenix. And here in Philadelphia, the “Man-Up Philly” gathering each year is a tremendous source of friendship and fraternity among Catholic men.

But this week in a special way I want to leave readers and parishes with an invitation to check out the program RISE: A 30-Day Challenge. RISE is the work of co-authors Chris Stefanick and Bill Donaghy — I greatly admire the work of both men — supported by an impressive production team. And in the program’s own words:

Our goal is simple: to use powerful media as a tool to present the true path to freedom and peace by challenging men to live the fullness of their vocation every day; at home, at work, and in their communities … RISE gives men a battle plan for daily living, while walking alongside them each day.

RISE is a journey through 30 days of impactful videos and written content. Each day men experience a short and powerful video meditation, inspirational words and quotations, and [they’re] given a [weekly] challenge based on their state-in-life (Single, Married/Kids at Home, Married/No Kids at Home, Separated/Widowed/Divorced). Men will also be immersed into powerful short films of other men who personify the theme of each week. The goal is to help all men, wherever they are on their faith journey, to live life to the full as Sons, Brothers, Spouses, and Fathers.

The decline of male maturity and responsibility is one of the greatest problems American culture now faces. Catholic men need to grow as men in the vocation God intends for them. In other words, the healing of the culture begins with the conversion of our own hearts and actions. RISE isn’t the only path to achieving that. But it’s an invaluable tool for the work.

More information about RISE can be found at

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 22- "On the many forms of vainglory"

6. A vainglorious person is a believing idolater; he apparently honours God, but he wants to please not God but men.
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