FOCUS (sep3fcs.htm)

September 3-4, 2004
vol 15, no. 168

Assisting in the Restoration

Jacob Michael

    We can remain addicted to the wreckage of the Novus Ordo and wallow in stating the obvious, or we can put ourselves fully to the task Pope St. Pius X calls us to and assist in the Restoration of the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church for the salvation of souls.

      "Today is the feast of Pope St. Pius X, and certainly on this feast day we will remember the sainted pope and his fight against Modernism. But remember also what his papal motto was: Instaurare Omnia in Christo. “To restore all things in Christ.” This is our burden, is it not? To do whatever we can to help bring about the restoration of all things in Christ? It begins with you, in your own soul. It can only be done by constant prayer and penance - how much time are you devoting to these things every day of the week?"

    Have you seen that monstrosity of a "cathedral" that Cardinal Mahony built?

    Did you hear that Cardinal Law got promoted to a high position in Rome?

    Did you catch the buzz about Deal Hudson's scandal?

    Have you read that new book about the Protestant, Masonic, Tri-Lateral, United Nations conspiracy to change the Catholic Church?

    Are you up to speed on the latest Catholic "prophecies" predicting what will happen at the end of the world?

    What do you think of what the ADL is saying about Mel Gibson's movie, and how the Vatican seems to be on the side of the ADL?

    Alright. Enough. Stop.

    Let me sum it all up for everyone: things are really, really, really bad. On a global scale, I mean - from the Church throughout the world, to secular leaders across the globe, things are decaying fast.

    Now you know. Now please move on.

    The Traditionalist movement has, by all outward appearances, forgotten why it exists. It has become so dependent upon the World/Church Crisis that I'm not even sure the movement would survive something as drastic as, oh, say, the pope consecrating Russia and the world becoming Catholic again.

    What would you do if that happened? Would you have anything to talk about with your parishioners? Would you have to burn 2/3 of your library, because most of the books and magazines you read right now have nothing to talk about but the crisis?

    Not that I'm advocating ignorance, or the head-in-the-sand ostrich approach to the crisis. We need to know what's happening, so we can be prepared when the "boom" finally drops from Heaven. We need to know, even more so, in order to get our own spiritual lives in order.

    Christ The Son of Man is coming, and He's coming soon. But what does He ask? He asks, "Will you be ready? Will you be waiting? Will you be watching for me? Will I find faith upon the earth?"

    This is the question that you must ask of yourself. The crisis in the Church is temporary; it is passing; it will not last. If you have built your Catholicism upon this crisis, your foundations will - I guarantee you - crumble and collapse.

    In my last hour upon this earth, what do I want to be doing? Do I want to be reading yet another book about how rotten the New Mass is? Listening to a taped lecture about the Freemasonic conspiracy in the Church? Praying the Rosary? Contemplating holy mysteries? Doing penance?

    Today is the feast of Pope St. Pius X, and certainly on this feast day we will remember the sainted pope and his fight against Modernism. But remember also what his papal motto was: Instaurare Omnia in Christo. “To restore all things in Christ.”

    This is our burden, is it not? To do whatever we can to help bring about the restoration of all things in Christ? It begins with you, in your own soul. It can only be done by constant prayer and penance - how much time are you devoting to these things every day of the week?

    There is, unfortunately, a tendency in Traditionalism to fall into Pharisee-ism. The Pharisees also loved their traditions, every last little and particular ritual. But they elevated the traditions to the point that they neglected their own souls. This was Our Lord's condemnation of them! He said, in essence, "You obsessively wash your hands at the appointed times, avoid the least contact with tombs and graves, wash your cups, and give tithes from the smallest of your possessions - but on the inside you are rotten, dirty, stinking, and decaying."

    The traditions were meant to be external tools, tools to be used for the formation of the soul. The washing of hands and cups was meant to symbolize the need for an internal cleansing - they forgot this.

    And we forget it too. You who so eagerly complain about the addition of five new "luminous" mysteries to the Rosary - do you even pray the fifteen traditional mysteries that you do accept? You who know so well the evils of the New Mass, who can actually name the six Protestant ministers who helped create it - do you attend the Traditional Mass whenever and wherever you can? When you do attend it, do you attend well, taking the time to prepare your soul at home beforehand?

    I know priests who are baffled by the fact that, for all of the professed love of laity for the Old Mass, the turnout at week-day Masses is pitifully small. Sunday is one thing, but what about the rest of the week?

    Do you bring the Mass home with you and live it out during the week? You who know the inside and outside of the crisis in all of its gory details - what are you doing about it? Here in Grand Rapids, I've started the practice of making pilgrimages in the city. I may not be able to go to Lourdes, or Guadalupe, or Fatima, but I can walk 10 miles to my local Novus Ordo Cathedral and offer up prayers of reparation, and beseech God to restore the Faith in my own city.

    Yes, it's a small thing. It only takes 2-3 hours to make the trip and say the prayers. But it's at least something that I can do, proactively, instead of contenting myself with merely reading about the crisis and clucking my tongue about how bad things are. And I have to say, the turnout at these local pilgrimages has been discouragingly small. Two, three, maybe as many as four people come along; but surely there are more than four people who know of the crisis and yearn to see it corrected?

    So we do what we can. We make inner-city pilgrimages, we try to make Holy Hours, we pray the Rosary ... we should be looking for extra things to do on this spiritual level! You hate the state of things, but for the love of God and His Holy Church, what are you going to do about it?

    Let me suggest a few things that are easily done, requiring only the least bit of effort on your part. Buy a prayer book, and pray through all of the prayers to Our Lady that are in it. If you can't afford a book, get on the Internet and make your own prayer book. There are a thousand and one web sites out there that have Catholic prayers posted on them, from the famous to the obscure, in English or in Latin - it's all within your reach. So use them. Go to those sites, copy and paste the prayers into a document on your computer, and have at it! (if you need help with this, I’d be more than happy to assist you – just send me an email).

    Be creative. Find all the prayers to St. Joseph that you can locate, and start praying to the Protector of the Holy Church. Find a dozen or so prayers to St. Peter, and start praying to our First Pope and original Keeper of the Keys.

    Here are a few more ideas: take one hour - just 60 minutes - and go to your local cemetery to say prayers for the poor souls in Purgatory; invoke their prayers for the restoration of the Church. Inject your prayers with a heavy dose of extra efficacy by fasting for a few hours before you pray; or, set your alarm so that you get up and say these prayers at 3:00 in the morning - you'll be tired, but that sacrifice is worth something!

    Make your own Litany to the Saints - this is really easy. All Litanies start the same way: Lord, have mercy, Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy, Christ, hear us - Christ, graciously hear us; God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us; God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us; God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us; Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

    After that, it's fair game. You can start with the saints in the Traditional Litany of the Saints, but don't stop there. How many saints can you name right now, off the top of your head, which aren't in that litany? Add them to the litany. Need more names? Check your Roman Missal - there's a new saint for every day of the year. Add the New Testament writers: St. Mark, St. Matthew, St. Luke, St. John, St. Jude, St. Paul, St. James, St. Peter, etc. Add the early Church Fathers: St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Irenaeus, St. Justin Martyr, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. Cyril, St. Cyprian, St. Jerome, St. Clement of Alexandria, St. Ephrem, St. Aphrahat, and so on. Add the saints of the later centuries: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, St. Bernard, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese, St. Francis of Assisi, and so on.

    Add your patron saints, and the patron saints of your whole family; look for saints you know nothing about, the neglected saints that no one ever prays to.

    And how about making sacrifices? Just small sacrifices, I mean, stuff you can handle - God doesn't need heroes who can fast for 40 days straight while standing naked in the freezing cold and reciting the breviary in Latin. He needs weaklings like you who can do small things with great love.

    What "small things?" Brush your teeth. Take a nap. Drink a glass of really good wine (or beer, your choice). Soak in the hot tub. Ok, I know, these aren't exactly sacrifices, are they? That's ok. What you may not realize, though, is that these are sacrifices, if you offer them to God (anything offered to God is, by definition, a “sacrifice,” whether it involves pain or not).

    We seem to think we can only offer our sufferings to God as a sacrifice, but that's not true. Remember the Morning Offering prayer? We explicitly ask Jesus to accept our "joys" along with our "sufferings."

    So start small. Go buy yourself a really good pie, and before you sink your teeth into it, say "I offer you this pleasure, the wonderful taste of this pie, O my Jesus, for ... (state your intention)."

    Or, if you're really bent on causing yourself pain, then try this: buy yourself a food you really hate. For me, that's mushrooms. A few months ago, I ate an entire bowl of mushroom soup for the benefit of the poor souls in Purgatory - and knowing how much I hate mushrooms, I'd be surprised if that one bowl of soup didn't empty Purgatory that very night.

    Ok, maybe not. Your prayers are only as efficacious as your soul is holy - so maybe you should be doing these penances (or non-penances, such as smoking a premium cigar) for your own sanctification. But the poor souls in Purgatory will take whatever relief they can get, so don’t hold back just because you’re not a saint yourself.

    If you want to make it more challenging, then do what I suggested. Make a trip to the cemetery; or look up a nursing home in your neighborhood, and offer to go pray the Rosary with some dear elderly saint. Collect several prayers in Latin and pray through them, even though you don't understand them - you'll butcher the pronunciation, but darn it, you'll be butchering it for the love of God, and that's what counts.

    Take a nap, and offer God every breath you breathe during that nap for the salvation of souls. Go for a walk, and tell God explicitly that you're offering every single step for the worst sinner in the world today. Hit the floor and do 15 push-ups, but first tell God that you're offering them for your evil Novus Ordo bishop. Go to a Novus Ordo Mass (gasp!), sit in the very back, and pray through the whole thing that God would restore the Old Mass in that very parish. (there’s no need to participate and receive Communion, if you have a problem with that: you can pray in front of a strip club without having to actually go in and watch, so you should be able to pray at a Novus Ordo Mass without having to participate)

    No, no, no, you say - I need really hard penances. Alright, have it your way. Make yourself get up from 2:00-4:00 in the morning and say prayers. Deny yourself any hot water for your morning showers this week. Sleep in triple layers of hot winter clothing tonight, even though it's going to be 90 degrees outside. Drop a few rocks in your shoe before you go to work. If harsh penance is your thing, I'm sure there are endless ways to abuse yourself - but please, do it for the love of God. That's what counts in the end.

    This is the challenge. If you devote yourself to even a small percentage of these activities, you won't have more than a few minutes a day to pay attention to the latest gossip about the Church's crisis. Knowing what Bishop X most recently said about the Jews and their "salvific Old Covenant" is not going to save your soul; offering every one of your least activities to God out of love for Him will not only help you save your soul, but it will actually help fix the crisis in the Church.

    Wait - stop right there. I know how this works: you're reading this, you're thinking, "yeah ... YEAH! That's right! I should be doing those things!" And then you're going to click off this page and go on to read the next article, and the next, and the next, and pretty soon, your good intentions will have come to nothing.

    So do something different this time. Go, right now, and grab a piece of paper and a pen. Seriously, go do it now, before you read another word.

I'll wait, because it's important...

    Ok? Got paper and pen? (If you don't, you're a very poor listener - I don't know how you're going to follow through on your intentions to pray better if you can't even stop for a few minutes to get a paper and pen - do the simple things first, then do the hard things). Write down three of the things in this article that you're going to start doing in your own life, whether it be praying in the cemetery, taking cold showers, going for walks, or whatever. But write down three things - or five, or ten, or however many you're going to do. Oh, and as you're writing, offer God every stroke of the pen for His glory and the salvation of the world. (I'm telling you, everything can be a grace-meriting action!)

    That's a step in the right direction. Now you have a permanent reminder of your intentions, and when you finally close your web browser and leave the computer for the day, you'll have that paper with you.

    Please do the things that you've written down. The Church needs you to do them; sinners need you to do them; the poor souls need you to do them; every Catholic in the Traditionalist movement needs you to do them.

    And most especially, I need you to do them. Pray often, offer up everything, and remember to include me in your intentions. The crisis will pass, I promise - the flood-waters will wash away the gunk, and the purified Church will be left standing. The question is, what will you do when it's all over? Stand around looking bored because there's nothing to fret or gossip about? Or say a "thanks be to God," and continue going about the work of sanctifying your soul and helping to save the souls in the world, which you’ve been doing all along anyway?

    When it's all said and done, when a pope finally consecrates Russia and the world becomes Catholic, there will still be prayers that need to be said; souls will still need to be saved; the poor souls in Purgatory will still need your suffrage; your own soul will still be in need of sanctification.

    So please, for your good and the good of everyone in the world, resolve now to start focusing on these eternal and lasting things, and give your time sparingly to those things that are temporary and will soon be "old news."

    Pope St. Pius X, pray for us.

    (Oh, and .... someone say a prayer for Mr. Hudson, please.)

    September 3-4, 2004
    vol 15, no. 168