The Catholic Defender: Be Strong, Be A Man Is A Plea To Be Vigilant
King David gave this instruction to his son, Solomon just before he died, "I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man, and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies..." 2 Kings, 2-3
St. Paul takes this sound word and applies it to all of us, "Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong."
Deepertruth recently has opened up a new show on Thursday evenings with Co-host Mark Kiser, a former Methodist Pastor who became Catholic Easter Vigil 2015. We are calling all Catholic men to be strong and courageous and it is amazing to find that most women want their husbands to be men. Just thinking about what the Easter Vigil implies, we are to remain vigilant as we await the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Church Calender, but far more than this, we are awaiting the Second Coming of Christ.
We are to remain vigilant on a daily basis, 1 Peter 5:8-10 states, "Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour.9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world."
In this fast pace society that we live it is easy to be centered on the here and now. We take each moment and live each moment expecting that tomorrow will be a better day.
We make our plans, we go to work, go to school, take our trips, most of the time our day is already mapped out for us. As we spend our day, how many of us realize how fragile life can be? It was not all that long ago when President Obama not only forbid Catholic priests from offering Mass for Soldiers world wide serving for the Military, even if they volunteer for no pay. When the Federal Government becomes a tyrant against it's own people, things can get bad really quickly.
Colossians 4:2 states, "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving; and pray for us also, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison, that I may make it clear, as I ought to speak." When St. Paul is calling for us, the Church, to pray for him as he was in chains, we are to pray for our leaders today. St. Paul is in the heavenly realm, but his plea for prayer is just important today. Being a 26 plus year veteran in the Army myself, I was horrified when President Obama had shut down the World War II monument in Washington D.C. It is difficult to watch WWII Veterans many over 90 years of age in wheelchairs, walking with strollers breaking through the Obama barriers to keep them out?
The threat of Catholic Priests facing arrest for offering Mass for Soldiers deployed all over the world was horrible but the conditions reminded me of St. Paul's plea. He himself was in chains. I know many Catholic priests would have disobeyed Obama just as many priests have offered Mass despite tyranny and great persecution throughout all time. I remember that the Archdiocese of the Military received many complaints such as "This is Outrageous, especially threatening them with arrest to voluntarily do their job"? Act's 20:31 St. Paul states, "Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears." Sadly, the attacks on Catholics in the Middle East by Islamic Terrorists have made the news and how terrible this is. Those killed are martyrs bearing witness to Christ daily. Consider that Syrian refugees that are Muslim are coming to the United States by the thousands, yet the Christians are not allowed to come, those who have suffered the most. The Muslims coming here without being vetted avoids the warning that Islamic Terrorists are arriving planning to wage war on Americans. Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump warns that those coming could possibly the biggest Trojan Horse of all time.
The recent killing spree by an Islamic Terrorist in Orlando Florida is another horrible example. Violence is a way of life as people are affected by their environment. Ever since Adam and Eve with the fall of mankind, sin and death entered the world. The question has been asked, "Why does evil happen to good people"? Our faith does not take away the evil in life, it helps us through it, to navigate around it. Sadly, a thousand people will rise this very day not knowing for them, this is their last day. Will they be ready? For many who live one day to the next without regard to their eternal inheritance this will be brutal. Jesus warns, "Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come". Recently I was told by one of our Catholic Priests of an American Soldier deployed to Iraq who came to Father wanting to go to Confession.
The Soldier told Father that he had been in more skirmishes with the enemy and he felt that his own life was seriously in danger. Father heard his Confession, gave him absolution, and the Soldier left there with God's grace. Six days later, this same Soldier was killed in action after an attack upon his patrol. Tragic as this is, what a great sign this Soldier has left us. Through his example, he shows a great sign of predestination knowing that he packed his bags for eternity and today is in the hands of the Lord. It is a terrible thing to have someone die in your hands as I did during our 2007 deployment. There was no priest. I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet for this Soldier as that was all I could do. I trusted in the Lord's promise to those who prayed this devotion in the presence of the dying. After returning from Iraq in January 2008, our unit held a evening dinner for all the Soldiers and their families.
As my wife and I were sitting down a man walked up to me saying that he recognized me. I had never seen him previously, he recognized me from the video given to him of his Son's Military Memorial Service held in Iraq. He sadly explained to us that his wife was particularly brokenhearted over the fact their Son did not receive the Anointing of the Sick. She was deeply distraught over this on behalf of her Son. I responded to the man that I would like to talk to her if she would like as I might have words that might console his wife. He gladly brought her to us that evening and I explained to her the importance of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and of the Lord's promise he gave to St. Faustina concerning this devotion. This was a devotion that I had been saying on behalf of our Soldiers in Iraq along with the Rosary.
After speaking with his wife for a few minutes, she became greatly consoled with what I told her. You can never take the sorrow away of a morning Mother for their Child, but because she has great trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, she was greatly consoled.
Here at Deepertruth, we honor all our Veterans many who gave the highest sacrifice for this Country. Freedom is not free. I remember my Mother at the funeral of my older Brother David and how she was gathered around by the family trying to console her. Interestingly, this is the only time I remember my Mother ever playing the piano. Mom's demeanor certainly created the somber tone of the scene. Sadly, many are not as vigilant. They lead their lives with a terrible void they fill with fleeting things that will never satisfy the soul.
The Virgin Mary at Fatima after giving the Children of Fatima a vision of Hell (13 July 1917), told them: "You see Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If they do what I will tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace... But if they do not stop offending God... He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, of hunger, and of persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father."
Pope Pius XII warned the world in 1950 that to be a true Christian beginning in the later half of the 20th Century they would have to live as "Living Martyrs" because the attack on the family will be so severe, because people will be greatly affected by their environment. The secularization of our Society is very dangerous to the soul. Because of this,many live out each day like a mouse in a maze not aware of the potential dangers lurking at any corner.
Proverbs 4:24 states, "Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life." Enjoy life, it is God's gift to you, but be ever vigilant and faithful to His Church loving God above all things. I have found that if you put God first, you appreciate the things you have more profoundly with a thankful heart.