There's an axiom that goes, "there are only two sure things: death and taxes!" Two weeks ago we
commemorated the most celebrated death in the history of mankind on Good Friday and the tax
deadline - the Ides of April was this past Thursday. In other words, these two omens are stuffed quite close to each other. Speaking of stuffed, the famous humorist Mark Twain once said, "The
difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector is that the taxidermist takes only your skin." The
tax collector may take alot but he cannot take our soul. Ah, there's the rub! But is that all there is? To
the defeatest, yes; to those rooted in Christ, NO! Because, as we all know, His Resurrection
assured victory over death further assuring us of the surest thing: Eternal Life! But it's not a sure
thing if we don't practice it.
If we don't use our God-given talents, if we don't apply the doctrine we have learned in our daily life, if we don't
exercise spiritually, then we are not only cheating ourselves but cheating God as well. When we don't practice our faith we become become flabby spiritually and the cholesterol of complacency can seep
into our veins and harden our hearts. The Prophet Ezechiel reminds us of this in Chapter 18: 24,
"But if the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity acording to all the
abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? All his justices which
he hath done, shall not be remembered; in the prevaricated, and in his sin, which he
hath committed, in them, he shall die." Those words should prompt us to keep our nose to the
grindstone and our heart firmly united with the Sacred and Immaculate Heart. It is a reminder that we can't slack off, we can't let up for, as Our Lady is constantly reminding us at Medjugorje and
countless other places around the world, "satan is powerful and clever; he seeks our ruin and only
if we are rooted in faith and loyal to the Sacred Heart of my Divine Son and my Immaculate Heart will
you survive." God, in His Wisdom and Mercy, is so good. He has given us special gifts, one of which is the bridge between "death and taxes" - Divine Mercy!
Just because "Divine Mercy Week and Sunday" are over with doesn't mean we should put the chaplet and novena on the backshelf until next year. It should be a part of our daily exercises, especially now more than ever when Mercy is needed for all mankind. Have you seen the poor suffering Albanian refugees in Kosovo on the nightly news? Don't you think they need His Mercy more than anyone? Yes, and no, for the proud, arrogant American needs it just as much for we are suffering from a malady worse than the physical torments the Serbs have subjected the Kosavars to; it's called moral malaise and it's far more deadly than bombs and ethnic cleansing, which in itself is atrocious. We are suffering in this country and we don't even know it. As the stock market continues to escalate, so do prices where we're going to price ourselves right out of the economy. It happened in Rome, it happened in France, Spain, England, and recently in Japan. It will happen in the United States. The Blessed Mother has assured us of that. The "when" is the only question left unanswered. We're not here to paint a picture of doom and gloom, but of hope and the only way to attain that hope is to put aside our material concerns and focus on what's really important: our spiritual survival! After all, no one can cheat God.
Throughout this century America has been regarded as a "liberator of freedom" throughout the world but this moniker is called into question today when all Europe is relying on the American fly-boys to do the dirty work. As we alluded to in our last editorial, it doesn't make sense to spend billions bombing bridges and buildings and then spend even more in rebuilding what we destroyed. Taxes definitely come into play here for it was our tax dollars that helped rebuild Japan, Germany, France and Italy after World War II. Remember it was the allied bombers that destroyed that monumental monastery founded by Saint Benedict known as Monte Cassino. This magnificent edifice survived for nearly a millennium and a half before US bombs leveled it. It has been our tax dollars that rebuilt it and for that, we give thanks and say we don't mind paying it. After all, it was our responsibility to do so. But enough's enough! When will we learn? Didn't we learn from Vietnam? Pardon us but it just seems so incongruous that there is some unwritten law that you can kill as many soldiers and civilians as necessary, but you cannot "take out" the leader for that would go against the ethics of war!?! From a practical, yet unrealistic and utopian point of view, we still say the best way to save lives, billions of dollars, and countless heartaches is to pit Bill Clinton and Slobodan Milosevic one-on-one, mano a mano. Heck, sign 'em both up to face each other in a "death cage match" in the next Wrestlemania. The survivor can take on Saddam Hussein. Hey, they're all members of the "Legion of Doom" promoting the culture of death. We say this, of course, tongue in cheek, but as ridiculous as that scenario sounds, it is even more ridiculous to see so many innocent lives sacrificed for the political lust of these men. Harry Truman is credited with saying "War is hell!" but we would like to rephrase that with a twist, "hell is war!"
And that war is the spiritual battle between satan and his legions pitted against the Good Guys of God, led by Saint Michael the Archangel and his battalion of loyal warriors in the Communion of Saints. We have a great ally in this battle, one who knows the evil strategy of the enemy and knows how to assure victory over the deadly foe. This ally is the Blessed Virgin Mary who constantly over the past two centuries has entreated us to be ready for battle and has given us the greatest weapon we could have: the Holy Rosary. In a few weeks on May 1 in Washington D.C. this weapon will be tested on the Capitol steps when faithful from all over the country will gather en masse to pray the Rosary together in a show of mercy, a show of solidarity for standing up for what is right and doing what God asks. For more details we refer to today's special article Ecclesial Echoes from the Catholic Dispatch.
So as we push on further into the Paschal season, let us not forget the lessons of Lent and do all we
can to exercise our spirituality with continued daily prayers - Daily Mass if possible, Rosary and Chaplet,
constant sacrifice and fasting, and a renewed conversion to truly live each day to the
fullest of God's graces and gifts as Our Lady asks so that we can be assured of our everlasting reward.
Remember, we cannot let up, we have to persevere for, as pointed out by Ezechiel above, spirituality is a
use-it-or-lose-it kind of thing! Remember, we are also taxed in striving to live the Divine Will but Jesus, as the Almighty "Tax Man," has promised He will give us invaluable credit, deductions and an everlasting refund if we are obedient to Him. The more we truly live our faith, the more we can be assured of balancing our spiritual tax forms. Death and taxes are inevitable, but both can be conquered if we but trust in and ask for His Mercy - so vital in these dire times. Remember, the "Tax Man" will come. He trusts us to be ready. If we're not, then we're cheating God and ourselves, and in the final audit we'll have hell to pay if we're not honest with God and ourselves!