I am sure you have seen the news this week. To hear some of these cases reminds us: the devil is prowling around seeking the ruin of souls (cf. 1 Peter 5:8). A few things to keep in mind: God is merciful, but God is also just. There is a hell, and souls who do not repent and desire to live only for this world will be forever apart from God. At the second judgment, they will feel this suffering in their very bones. God’s mercy is not permissiveness, and how we live in this world does very much matter, and we will be judged on how faithful to our vocations we have been.
As a priest I will be judged on how I have kept my promises at ordination: obedience to the bishop, chastely living celibacy, and if I have prayed for the people of God and if I have offered the holy sacrifice well. So please pray for me and other priests who I know are trying very hard to be good faithful priests. We need good men to be priests—men who would make good fathers. A good holy priest can do great good for the Body of Christ.
Some of you ask me why I often use the Roman Canon or the First Eucharistic Prayer. One of the reasons is very simple: it is a clear reminder to us of what is actually occurring at the holy Mass. There are two lists of saints—all of them martyrs for the Faith. They would rather die than give in to the permissive lies of the devil and deny their Catholic Faith. The first list is a series of Apostles, Popes, Bishops, A Deacon, and laymen. At the conclusion we hear: “…through their merits and prayers, in all things we may be defended by your protecting help”.
The second list begins with John the Baptist, Stephen the martyr, Matthias who replaced Judas, Barnabas a coworker of Saint Paul, then a series of other early martyrs in the Church, some of them were very young girls. The list concludes “admit us, we beseech you, into their company, not weighing our merits, but granting us your pardon”. In the book of Revelation we hear how the martyrs are under the altar in heaven. In the Old Testament when the priest offered the sacrifice, the blood of the victim collected under the altar. They offered up their lives to God, and their blood cries out to God for vengeance. These are our brothers and sisters, who lived the Faith, who loved God deeply, and who want to help us. We pray through their intercession we may be defended against evil and admitted into their company! We get a reminder of our connection to them when at the beginning of Mass we confess even to the saints and angels that we have sinned.
They call us to also offer up our lives to God, especially when it seems when the way has become very dark. We have an entire army of Saints and Angels to help us, and they are especially present at the Mass. This is a time to pray, to do penance, and to fast like never before. Make visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and get to daily Mass, and if you have Saturdays without work, come to morning Mass. Pray the Rosary everyday. God calls us to live with pure hearts and pure bodies, to not live for pleasure, but to live in the true freedom that is offered to us by Jesus.