Beloved, included in my previous (first!) column was the “road map” to the survival of the Catholic family in the midst of what Bishop Athanasius Schneider has called a “heretical wasteland.” I mentioned I would strive to cover each of the twelve points in subsequent posts.
Here, as a brief refresher, are Bishop Schneider’s twelve points, followed by what I believe are our very next “marching orders” if we truly take seriously the daunting times in which we are living.
- See persecution as a grace from God for becoming purified and strengthened, not simply as something negative.
- Become rooted in the Catholic Faith through study of the Catechism.
- Protect your family’s integrity above all else.
- Catechize your children as your first duty.
- Pray with your children daily, such as litanies and the Rosary.
- Turn your home into a domestic church.
- In the absence of a priest and Sunday Mass, make Spiritual Communion.
- Withdraw your family from a parish spreading error and attend a faithful parish, even if you have to travel far.
- Withdraw your children from school if they are encountering immoral danger in sex education.
- If you cannot withdraw your children, establish a coalition of parents to fight for that right.
- Fight for parental rights using available democratic tools.
- Be prepared for persecution in protecting your children (see first point).
In this article, let’s start with the first point.
See persecution as a grace from God for becoming purified and strengthened, not simply as something negative.
Okay, how? What do we do? Where do we start?!
(1) Live Our Blessed Lord’s two greatest commandments daily, moment by moment, at home, with friends, in the workplace, school, marketplace, and wherever you are.
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like to this: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments dependeth the whole law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:37–40).
“If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, whom he seeth not?” (1 John 4:20).
“Wherefore putting away lying, speak ye the truth every man with his neighbour; for we are members one of another. Be angry, and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. Give not place to the devil. He that stole, let him now steal no more; but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have something to give to him that suffereth need. Let no evil speech proceed from your mouth; but that which is good, to the edification of faith, that it may administer grace to the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God: whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and anger, and indignation, and clamour, and blasphemy, be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to another; merciful, forgiving one another, even as God hath forgiven you in Christ” (Ephesians 4:25-32).
(2) Learn the Faith so that you may live it and teach it to your children.
A relatively new, excellent, and utterly trustworthy online Catechism course is titled Our Lady of the Rosary Family Catechism. It is a wonderful resource for you and for your family to begin at any time and follow at your own pace. Many other programs are available as well as reading through the Scriptures, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and even the lives of the saints!
The “old” and ever new Baltimore Catechism, a TAN Books classic, asks this question: “Why did God make you?” The answer is: “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.” We cannot love a God we do not know. Saint Jerome wrote that “ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” I believe we can say the same for the study of our God-given faith. Few will live, or die, for a faith they do not know and a God they do not love.
In the words of Monsignor Charles Pope, “It is time, past time, to retool. It is time to prepare for persecutions that will get bolder by the month and year. The dark movements that marched in under the banners of tolerance never meant it. And having increasingly gained power, they are seeking to criminalize anyone who resists their vision. No tolerance for us. Religious liberty is eroding, and compulsory compliance is already here. The federal courts increasingly shift to militantly secular and activist judges who legislate from the bench.
“When will we as a Church finally say to the bureaucrats who demand we comply with evil laws: ‘We will not comply. If you fine us we will not pay. If you seek to confiscate our buildings, we will turn maximum publicity against you, but we still will not comply. If you arrest us, off to jail we go! But we will simply not comply with evil laws or cooperate with evil.’”
(4) Have confidence in the triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart!
On October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII entered a trance after celebrating Holy Mass in the Vatican and saw Jesus and Satan talking:
Satan: “I can destroy Your Church.”
Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
Our Lord: “How much time? How much power?”
Satan: “Seventy-five to one hundred years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”
Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”
Pope Leo XIII then went to compose his prayer to Saint Michael to be prayed after Masses everywhere.
Fast forward thirty-three years to 1917 when the Mother of God appeared monthly to three simple shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. To these children, Our Blessed Mother revealed warnings about World War II and the future of the Catholic Church. Her final public miracle at Fatima, the “miracle of the sun” was seen by seventy thousand pilgrims.
Several months prior to that miracle, Our Blessed Mother spoke to the children of the triumph of her Immaculate Heart:
“If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
On May 13, 2010, the anniversary of Mary’s apparition, Pope Benedict XVI said: “We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete. . . . May the years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
(5) Live this Christmas and throughout the season as a people for whom the Savior came to earth and for whom He died.
Let the world do whatever it does during what has become a man-made, materialistic, over-the-top greedy and money-wasting season. Spend time with your family, perhaps praying a Christmas novena together (e.g., this traditional Catholic Christmas Novena), praying the “O Antiphons” together, or simply praying the Rosary together each night, especially the Joyful Mysteries focusing on the birth of our Savior.
Let your children know who they are and Whose they are. Help them to know their heritage, their identity as true children of God through baptism, and their destiny which has already been bought for them by the Blood of the Lamb. A better Christmas gift, although rejected by many, has never been given.
God bless you!
 Charles Pope, “Comfort Catholicism Needs to Go, It’s Time to Prepare for Persecution,” National Catholic Register, August 21, 2016, https://www.ncregister.com/blog/comfort-catholicism-has-to-go-it-is-time-to-prepare-for-persecution.
Used with permission of the author.