Beloved, this is my first column to you within the wonderful and God-blessed family of TAN. I am honored to be invited to write this monthly column and am especially grateful that we can, in this way, support one another as the enemy continues his battle for the destruction of the family. I say that knowing, as I pray you do, that the “gates of Hell will not – ever – prevail against God’s Church. Nor will evil ever triumph over our Blessed Mother’s Immaculate Heart.
“I have said this to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Indeed, this is a time – perhaps the time – of tribulation of which the prophets have spoken. Whatever the time frame, it is absolutely clear that all of Hell is blanketing the world, both within and without the Church. It is time for us to put a survival plan into place – sooner than later.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan, one of the holiest, most courageous and most orthodox bishops of the Church today, grew up with his family under the terror of a communist regime. This is an excerpt from his amazing testimony, given in an interview with LifeSiteNews:
“I would say that I had the privilege to live in a time of persecution of the faith and of the Church, because such persecution gives you a foundation for all your life. It is a grace. And therefore, in some way, I would not characterize the time of persecution always negatively. God uses these circumstances of persecution in several degrees for our [good], to purify our faith, to strengthen our faith. So, in this way, I would see the persecution [coming] from the modern society — as you [mentioned], against the family — also as a chance to be purified, to be strengthened.”[i]
Bishop Schneider said that “being a Catholic ‘family’ in the truest sense of the word is the key to survival.”[ii] In this most outstanding interview, Bishop Schneider gave Catholic parents the roadmap to surviving in what he called, a “heretical wasteland.”[iii]
1. See persecution as a grace from God for becoming purified and strengthened, not simply as something negative.
2. Become rooted yourself in the Catholic faith through study of the Catechism.
3. Protect your family’s integrity above all else.
4. Catechize your children as your first duty.
5. Pray with your children daily, such as litanies and the Rosary.
6. Turn your home into a domestic church.
7. In the absence of a priest and Sunday Mass, make Spiritual Communion.
8. Withdraw your family from a parish spreading error and attend a faithful parish, even if you have to travel far.
9. Withdraw your children from school if they are encountering immoral danger in sex-ed.
10. If you cannot withdraw your children, establish a coalition of parents to fight for that right.
11. Fight for parental rights using available democratic tools.
12. Be prepared for persecution in protecting your children (see first point).
“From my experience of the time of the persecution,” Bishop Schneider continued, “the vital importance is the family, the integrity of the family, and that both parents are deeply rooted in the faith. This is then transmitted to the children. I would like to say that the children have to receive the faith with the milk of the mother. And then the first task of the parents is to transmit to the children the purity, the beauty, the integrity of the Catholic faith in a simple manner.”[iv]
Here below, Beloved, is the wonderful fruit of a son raised in a godly household whose parents, in good times and in bad, would not compromise the Faith or neglect to teach their son to honor the God who called them to Himself, even as he calls us to Himself.
From the Book of Tobias (Tobit):
“Tobias of the tribe and city of Nephtali, (which is in the upper parts of Galilee above Naasson, beyond the way that leadeth to the west, having on the right hand the city of Sephet). When he was made captive in the days of Salmanasar king of the Assyrians, even in his captivity, forsook not the way of truth. But every day gave all he could get to his brethren his fellow captives, that were of his kindred. And when he was younger than any of the tribe of Nephtali, yet did he no childish thing in his work. Moreover when all went to the golden calves which Jeroboam king of Israel had made, he alone fled the company of all.
And went to Jerusalem to the temple of the Lord, and there adored the Lord God of Israel, offering faithfully all his first fruits, and his tithes. So that in the third year he gave all his tithes to the proselytes, and strangers. These and such like things did he observe when but a boy according to the law of God. But when he was a man, he took to wife Anna of his own tribe, and had a son by her, whom he called after his own name. And from his infancy he taught him to fear God, and to abstain from all sin. And when by the captivity he with his wife and his son and all his tribe was come to the city of Ninive (when all ate of the meats of the Gentiles) he kept his soul and never was defiled with their meats. And because he was mindful of the Lord with all his heart, God gave him favour in the sight of Salmanasar the king. And he gave him leave to go whithersoever he would, with liberty to do whatever he had a mind. He therefore went to all that were in captivity and gave them wholesome admonitions.”
Source: Tobias 1:1-15, Douay Rheims Version of the Catholic Bible[v]
I hope you will take time to read the Book of Tobias/Tobit with your family. You will see that Bishop Schneider’s “roadmap” for the family is not a “survival guide” only; it is a roadmap for all times – in peace or persecution, in prosperity or in want.
The Bishop has given us further help, not merely for the times in which we live, but, again, for all times. Summarized in his interview with LifeSiteNews are the following counsels:[vi]
- Parents need to rise up to the responsibility of creating an environment within the home where children can flourish spiritually;
- This is today the main task for families: To establish a culture of domestic churches;
- If children are being poisoned outside the home, such as in school, through hedonistic and nihilistic sex-education programs, then parents have the “obligation” to withdraw their children;
- “You cannot expose your children to an immoral danger. It is impossible. Catholic parents, in defending their children from this immorality, have to be even ready to suffer, yes, to suffer consequences . . . If a country’s laws make it impossible for withdrawal, he added, then parents should band together and fight for the right using whatever democratic means are available.
- If children are being poisoned from the pulpit, the same logic applies and parents must find a faithful parish, he said, calling unfaithful priests and bishops “traitors of the faith.”
- “When pastors or members of the hierarchy contradict the teaching of Christ, the teaching of the perpetual Magisterium of the Church, of the Catechism, you have to withdraw your children from these churches, and not to go to them, even if you have to travel [far to a faithful church].”
Dear ones, I sincerely believe that if we ignore or postpone the counsel of Godly men, whether a Tobias who wrote, it is estimated, in the early 2nd Century B.C., or a Bishop Schneider who writes now in the 21st Century A.D., we do so at our peril and the loss of our children. It is never too late to begin, to change our values, our lifestyles, our priorities, and, most importantly, our more sure road to Heaven.
Our Lady of Fatima’s words to Sr. Lucia dos Santos, one of the three children who witnessed Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima, are no secret and give reason for the battle of our day…
“The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family. Don’t be afraid,” she added, “because whoever works for the sanctity of Marriage and the Family will always be fought against and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.”
We will take up the most pressing matters in the fight between marriage and the family in future columns, including how to live out Bishop Schneider’s 12 keys to the survival of the family. We are in this together, Beloved. Fear not, Our Lord and Our Lady will assist you as you take each step, no matter how small, to turn your dear home into a domestic church.
“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” -Pope John Paul II
Until next time, our love and prayers are with you,
Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B