Lesson #20 – On the Incarnation, First Contemplation

                    Mary’s School of Sanctity                   

Lesson #20 – The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius – SECOND WEEK – FIRST DAY AND FIRST CONTEMPLATION – THE INCARNATION

Now at this point of the Spiritual Exercises St. Ignatius changes the method in which he sets up his meditations because he wants us to do our meditations in a slightly different manner.  Because St. Ignatius wants to encourage us to imitate Our Lord, he sets forth a series of meditations which will be an in-depth study of Our Lord’s Life and virtues.  He will take us through the key mysteries of the life of Christ and have us spend some time in pondering each of them.  However, in these meditations he wants us to paint a scene with our imagination and focus on what we see, hear, and observe actions in the given particular scene.  He has us do this so we can draw lessons for our souls which will bring with them many fruits.  One of these fruits is a greater dedication to Our Lord in our service of Him.

First, we will give the text of what St. Ignatius calls the First Contemplation of the Second Week which is on the Incarnation.  Then we will give some further ideas for the present considerations we are making.  Here we are going to study the circumstances surrounding this very important aspect of Our Catholic Faith, the Incarnation— Our Lord becoming Man through the Hypostatic Union, namely, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity uniting to human nature in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The preparatory prayer is the same as usual, I ask God Our Lord the grace that all my intentions, actions, and works may be directed purely to the service and praise of the Divine Majesty.

The FIRST PRELUDE: is to recall to mind the history of the subject I am about to contemplate.  Here it is how the Three Divine Persons were looking upon the whole extent and space of the earth, filled with human beings.  They see that all were going down into hell, and They decreed, in Their eternity, that the Second Person should become man to save the human race.  When the fullness of time had come, They sent the Angel Gabriel to Our Lady.

The SECOND PRELUDE: is a mental representation of the place.  I will see, in imagination the great extent and space of the world, where dwell so many different nations and peoples.  I will then see particularly the city of Nazareth in the province of Galilee, and the house and room where Our Lady dwells.

The THIRD PRELUDE: is to ask for what I desire.  Here I will ask for an intimate knowledge of Our Lord, Who has become man for me, that I may love and follow Him better.

The FIRST POINT: First, I will SEE all the different people on the face of the earth, so varied in dress and in behavior.  Some are white and others black; some at peace and others at war; some weeping and others laughing; some well and others sick; some being born and others dying, etc.

Second, I will SEE and CONSIDER the Three Divine Persons seated on the royal throne of the Divine Majesty.  They behold the entire face and extent of the earth and They behold all nations in such great blindness, dying, and going down into hell.

Third, I will SEE Our Lady and the angel who greets her.  I will reflect that I may draw profit from this scene.

The SECOND POINT: I will HEAR what the people throughout the world are saying, how they converse with one another, how they swear and blaspheme, etc.  I will also listen to what the Three Divine Persons are saying, that is, “Let us work the redemption of mankind,” etc.  I shall then listen to what the angel and Our Lady are saying.  I will then reflect upon what I hear to draw profit from these words.

The THIRD POINT: I will CONSIDER what the people throughout the world ARE DOING; how they are wounding, killing, and going to hell, etc.  I will also consider what the Three Divine Persons are doing, namely, accomplishing the most Holy Incarnation, etc., also what the angel and Our Lady are doing, as the angel fulfills his office of ambassador, and Our Lady humbles herself and gives thanks to the Divine Majesty.  I will then reflect to derive some profit from each of these things. 

The COLLOQUY: I will now think of what I should say to the Three Divine Persons, or the eternal Word Incarnate, or to His Mother, Our Lady.   I will ask help according to the need that I feel within myself, so that I may more closely follow and imitate Our Lord Who has just become Incarnate.  Close with the “Our Father”.

Considerations for the

·         SEE the world before and at the time of the Incarnation;

Let us bring to our minds, dear reader, what the world was like before the Incarnation.  Paganism was everywhere.  The Israelites were sorely tempted by idolatry and often fell into the worship of false gods.  Very few of the Israelites were faithful to the Commandments of God and the belief in the Redeemer to come, both of which were required for salvation in the Old Testament.  We can think about the few just people waiting in anticipation for the promised Redeemer.   Mary and St. Joseph were among them.

The Roman Empire had conquered most of the known world at that time.  The Romans occupied all of the land around the Mediterranean Sea including the entire coastline of northern Africa.  They owned all of Spain, France, the Netherlands and all along the English Channel in the north.  In fact, they owned most of the island we now know as Britain.  Also, in the northeast, they owned up to the Black Sea and of course they occupied the Holy Land in the east.  In this we can see God’s Providence because when Our Redeemer would set up the one true Church, He could establish His Church on the foundation of the Roman civil order.  Yet, consider how the majority of people were living in the darkness of Paganism.  On the other continents of the world where people migrated, there was the even greater emptiness of ignorance and sin.  Worldwide unhappiness prevailed.

·          SEE the Trinity overseeing the world before the Incarnation;

Behold in your mind’s eye, dear reader, how God, in His infinite mercy pitied mankind.  Try to picture the great Council of the Trinity looking down on the entire world.  Remember, Jesus is called the Angel of the Great Council.[1]

·         SEE the scene of the Annunciation:

Picture Our Lady praying in her small home in Nazareth.  The Angel Gabriel appeared to her.  Scripture tells us that she was troubled by his voice and his message.  Does this mean that she was not looking at the vision of the angel?  She, no doubt, had perfect custody of her eyes, so we can imagine that she wasn’t looking at the angel.  Or was it that she already had such a life of contemplation that the visitation of angels was a common occurrence and that it was not the vision of an angel which troubled her soul?


·         HEAR the world in the period before Christ.

Picture the pagan and confused world as St. Ignatius speaks of it in his words given above; let us hear the tumult of the world.  Let us listen to the crowds of the entire world.  The people are going through life completely ignorant regarding the purpose for which they were created. 

As St. Ignatius describes for us in his text above, we can imagine the people as they scream and shout.  They laugh at all types of crude and banal things.  They chatter unceasingly about worthless things.  What a mass of confusing babble!

·         HEAR the Trinity conversing about working out the Incarnation;

As in Genesis God promised to send a Redeemer saying, “I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel” [Gen. 3:15].   God is about to fulfill His promise.  The Trinity, in our imagination, is setting out that now is the time to work the crushing of the head of Satan.  Imagine God the Father saying, “Now let us work the redemption of mankind.  Thou, My Only Begotten Son, Oh Word, shalt take flesh.   Behold Thy Mother, Our Masterpiece, will be told of Our Divine Plan.  We know that she will humbly accept the Plan and will be the Cause of Joy to Our adopted sons and daughters.”

·          HEAR what is occurring between Gabriel and Mary.

The actual Scriptural text is given here: St. Luke 1: 26-56

And in the sixth month, [of St. Elizabeth’s expectancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David: and the virgin’s name was Mary.  And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Who having heard, was troubled at his saying and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.

 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.  Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus.  He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and He shall reign in the house of Jacob forever.  And of his kingdom there shall be no end.

 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?

And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.  And therefore, also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.  And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren.  Because no word shall be impossible with God.

And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

 And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. 

And she entered into the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth.  And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost.  And she cried out with a loud voice and said: Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.  And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.  And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.

And Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord.  And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.  Because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed, because He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His name.  And His mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear Him. He hath shewed might in his arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.  He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble.  He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.  He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy.  As He spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to his seed forever.  

And Mary abode with her about three months. And she returned to her own house.

Considerations for the THIRD POINT: to consider actions

CONSIDER THE ACTIONS of the people in the world before and at the time of the Incarnation:

In the above sections, we have brought out the sights and sounds of the pagan world before Christ and at the time of the Incarnation; we need now to consider the actions of the people more.

They are living a banal existence.  They do not have any eternal perspective and therefore have no goal or purpose for living.  The people war against each other and the victor enslaves the defeated.  What poor people!  Think of the overall fear that the majority of people are feeling!  They have to fight for survival every day.  Not only do they have to provide for themselves from day to day, but they live in constant fear of being invaded by thieves or some foreign army.  What a terrifying existence for those who do not know God!  The people of most of the nations have no Mosaic Law for guidance and likewise they have no God-given orders about the sacrifices that God wants.  These peoples live for sensual pleasures, riches, pursuit of power.  What an empty existence they must have!  Most of them were working out their damnation and live without any hope of happiness!

They try to tell themselves that they are happy; yet, they know in their hearts that they are not convinced of this.  They commit murders and steal.  They cheat each other and gossip.  They do not trust one another. The Roman soldiers are patrolling the towns and villages.  These soldiers are watching to keep some kind of order. 

CONSIDER THE ACTIONS of the Holy Trinity– the loving providence and compassion that God has for mankind:

As we heard the Council of the Trinity above, we now consider the fulfillment of God’s promise.  Even though the human race was living unmindful of God, He is ever mindful of the human race.   As He said in Jeremiah, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love”.  [Jeremias, 31:3]  God shows that He wants the redemption of the world. “God so loved the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son.” [St. John’s Gospel, 3:16]

From all eternity God knew that He would work the Redemption by sending His Son.  He also knew when He would accomplish this task.  God now sends St. Gabriel with the joyful task of conveying to Our Lady the special mission God has for her, namely, to be the Mother of God.

Let us consider how we have not appreciated His loving care of us as we ought.  We could never be thankful enough for the gifts that God has given us.  The Incarnation alone is a wonderful gift to mankind and we must not forget that the purpose of the Incarnation was in order to atone for the sins of man and to open the gates of heaven which had been closed to man ever since the fall of Adam.  Indeed, where would we be without this Great Act of Love? 

The beautiful reality of the Hypostatic Union of God the Son to human flesh is awe-inspiring in Itself.  God the Son became man and will remain so for all eternity.  What condescension!  What a humiliation!  He wanted to give us a chance to save our souls and He wants to be our friend.    He also wanted to be a model for us to follow.

CONSIDER THE ACTIONS: of St. Gabriel and Our Lady

Let us now take some time to consider this beautiful scene of the messenger of God announcing to the Blessed Virgin, God’s Plan for her, and asking for her consent.

The entire text of this scene is given above as well as the wondrous scene of the Visitation and the Sanctification of St. John the Baptist in his mother’s womb.  We include the entire interchange between Mary and St. Elizabeth because we want to get an intimate understanding of Mary, as well as Our Lord.  Mary’s response to St. Elizabeth, which is known as her Magnifcat, shows her very profound humility.

So, the Angel Gabriel comes to Mary and tells her she is found special in the Eyes of God.  Why is she special?  It is precisely because she is full of grace.  She was full of grace ever since the moment she was conceived because the merits of the Redemption were applied to her long before Our Lord suffered His Passion and Death.  God can make an exception to His decree that all humans contract original sin.  Since He is not limited by the bounds of time, He chose to prevent original sin from ever sullying the soul of the Virgin Mary.

Thus, Mary is a pure vessel of honor and God willed her to be the place where the Hypostatic Union would occur.  Mary has ever been God’s willing handmaid.  Her parents presented her in the Temple when she was three years old.  She was taught in the Temple.  Therefore, she knew the Scriptures very well. 

What did she think when Gabriel announced that she would conceive a son and He would be called Jesus and He would be the Son of the Most High?  And of His kingdom there would be no end?  Her humility was being tested.  She would have known the passage from Isaiah, “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign.  Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel.”

She wondered if Isaiah’s prophesy applied to her.  She was cautious lest the Angel Gabriel’s words were a trap of the devil in order to tempt her to pride.  Her response shows that she did not trust the praise she had been given.  She tests the apparition to see if it is indeed from God.  She knows that she made a vow of perpetual virginity and this vow was done purely out of love for God.  God had showed her that He accepted her vow.   So now, how can this be that she could conceive since she is a virgin and not at all interested in breaking that vow?   So, she inquires of the angel how this conception can take place and indicates to him that she is a consecrated virgin. 

The angel tells her that the Holy Ghost will cause the Conception and therefore the Child so conceived will be called the Son of God.  He also reveals to her the remarkable news that her elderly cousin Elizabeth had conceived a son even though she had been considered barren.  The angel tells her this as his way of proving to her that nothing is impossible with God.

When Mary hears of this extraordinary expectancy of her aged cousin, she is convinced that this apparition is from God.  Therefore, she readily submits her will to God saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word.”  She only wants to do the Will of God.  For her His Will is the only thing that matters.  Then, at that moment, the “Word became Flesh.”  Wisdom became incarnate; hence Wisdom became man.

We must remember that Mary was well-schooled in the Scriptures.  She knew that the Messiah was to be the Savior and Redeemer.   She knew that He would suffer a miserable death and be the “Man of Sorrows and the outcast of His people.”

As a mother she would suffer from this future suffering of her Son, and yet, she does not worry about her own future suffering, she only is concerned about doing what God wants.  Again, for her, His Will is the only thing that matters.

She humbles herself and immediately goes to be of assistance to her cousin Elizabeth who must be in need being so old and with child.  Mary’s generosity is “with haste.”

Then we see and hear Mary’s humility again when she sees her cousin and her cousin praises her.  She recites her beautiful canticle giving God all the glory of making her the Mother of God.

We have few words of Mary in the Gospels.  The Magnificat is a masterpiece of eloquent praise of God and giving Him all the credit for the glory and fame which is and will be associated with her.  “He that is mighty hath done great things to me.” 

Concluding thoughts:

Let us be astonished about how God is so loving and merciful to men as to become like unto them.  Ponder the humiliation of the Son of God at His Incarnation.  As St. Paul says, “Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal to God; emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man.  He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.” [Phil. 2:6-8]

Think about how Our Lord wanted to become our model so we could imitate His virtues and His love.  “No greater love hath a man than to lay down his life for his friend.”  What priceless love to not only become man, but to die for the sake of the salvation of men!  When Adam rejected the goodness of God in favor of Eve, Our Lord, the new Adam, reverses this dastardly act by embracing a life of suffering and the most shameful death on the Cross.  He wants us to learn humility, for His whole life was one continuous act of humility.

Think also with wonder about how Mary, the new Eve, rejected anything to do with the serpent – the evil one.  Instead, she exclaims that she owes everything to God.   She proclaims that she wants only to serve God and not act like Eve who wanted to become as a god.

COLLOQUY: How do I begin to thank Thee, O my Supreme Good for Thy mercies in becoming man to save us from hell fire?  O Holy Trinity, how sweet and how loving of Thee to give us an opportunity to share Thy divinity with us!  O, God the Father, how Thou dost provide in the extreme for us by sending Thy beloved Son to be butchered for us wretched sinners!  O, Thou Incarnate Wisdom, our words cannot praise Thee enough for Thine example of a most holy life!  Thou didst become man to be our Model, our Hope, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Friend, and our Beloved Spouse.  What more could we ask for?  Thou hast given all!  O, Holy Ghost, can our lips utter sufficient words to thank Thee for overshadowing Our dear precious Mother Mary and making her the true singular vessel of honor?  Help us, O most Holy Trinity, to love Thee with an ardent love and serve Thee ever more faithfully.  We do not deserve all Thy tender mercies shown towards us.  Help us to humble ourselves ever more and more in Thy Presence and pour forth our hearts in tearful gratitude of love. 

O dear tender Mother Mary, guide us in our homage and love of God.  Help us to imitate Thy virtues, o sweet Virgin Mary.  We, like thee, want to be generous to God and give ourselves completely in His service.  Teach us, O Mary, the countless ways we can sacrifice ourselves for God.

The possibilities for our colloquy are numerous.  The above is only a sample of what could be said.

Now that we have begun our intimate study of Our Lord, we hunger to increase our knowledge of Our Beloved Lord and Redeemer.  We have laid a foundation of desire to imitate the virtues and love of Our Lord.  Hence, in our next lesson we will continue our study of Christ by doing what St. Ignatius refers to as the Contemplation on the Nativity. 

[1]           Taken from the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus

Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition


The great value and advantage of suffering chastisements


St. Alphonsus de Liguori gives us these consoling words to encourage us to appreciate the Crosses we receive from the loving Hand of God:


“God”, say St. Augustine, “is angry when He does not scourge the sinner.”  (In Ps., LXXXIX).  When we see a sinner in tribulation in this life, we may infer that God wishes to have mercy on him in the next, and that He exchanges eternal for temporal chastisement.  But miserable is the sinner whom the Lord does not punish in this life!  For those whom He does not chastise here, He treasures up His wrath and for them He reserves eternal chastisement.


Quoted from St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Sermon #2, for the 2nd Sunday of Advent, first point, §10.


Let Us Undergo the Trials that God Sends Us!

Catholic Candle note: The article below is a reminder of the benefit we receive from the trials that God sends us. 

This article is a “companion piece” to Catholic Candle’s prior article, Strategies for Lightening the Crosses You Now Have, which can be found here: https://catholiccandle.org/2020/04/01/77/

St. John Chrysostom gives five reasons why God permits us to undergo trials and tribulations, even very severe ones.  Here are his words:

Whoever thou art then that after thy baptism sufferest grievous trials, be not troubled thereat; for this thou receivest arms, to fight, not to sit idle.  God does not hold all trial from us:

·         firstly, that we may feel that we are become stronger;

·         secondly, that we may not be puffed up by the greatness of the gifts we have received;


·         thirdly, that the Devil may have experience that we have entirely renounced him;


·         fourthly, that by it we may be made stronger; and


·         fifthly, that we may receive a sign of the treasure entrusted to us; for the Devil would not come upon us to tempt us, did he not see us advanced to greater honors.[1]

Let us examine each of these reasons why God permits us to suffer trials.

1.   God permits us to undergo trials that we might feel that we become stronger.

We need encouragement and (reasonable) confidence in spiritual battles.  If we never fight spiritual battles, we will be afraid to do so.  We would wonder “how would I do?”  Because of this insecurity, we would shrink back like cowards from future spiritual battles that God wishes us to fight, for His glory and for our reward.

An army’s general values his battle-tested and battle-hardened soldiers because they know from experience that they can succeed and they know what they must do in order to succeed.  Those veteran soldiers gain in courage and confidence by fighting battles, so that they feel ready to fight future battles.

Similarly, Christ, our “General” in the Church Militant, gives us trials to help us Soldiers of Christ to be battle-tested and battle-hardened spiritual warriors.  Through trials, we test our spiritual armaments, our (spiritual) combat skills, and our strength in the spiritual battles of this life.  We learn by experience that the devil cannot conquer us provided that we do not let him do so (by consenting to sin).  We know that, with God’s help and if we do our part, we will conquer all demons. 

For this reason, God sends us trials so that we might gain courage and (reasonable) confidence that we are able to fight life’s spiritual battles for God’s glory and for the salvation of souls.

2.   God permits us to undergo trials that we may not be puffed up by the greatness of the gifts we have received.

When we are inside our home while a wild storm rages outside, we feel secure, like a sailor looking out from the security of a safe harbor at a storm raging at sea.[2]  By contrast, when a sailor is caught out at sea, with his ship almost capsizing, fighting for survival amidst the buffeting waves, then he remembers that he needs God and that his own efforts are very weak and small.

Let us apply that principle to the spiritual life:

The angelic spirits are truly awesome – greatly exceeding our comprehension:

  The angelic nature is so great that it would be a greater thing for us to understand the nature of the lowest angel than it would be for us to know everything about all material creation combined.

  The lowest angel is so powerful that he could very easily destroy all of material creation, if God permitted him to do so.

The devils have such very high angelic natures.  Their rebellion against God did not change the greatness of their natures.

Suppose we found all trials to be easy.  Suppose that, for us, avoiding temptation was “child’s play” and that when the devil tempted us, we could simply “snap our fingers in the devil’s face” (as it were) and that we could prevail against his temptations without need to make any serious effort to resist him.

If all trials were so easy for us, our pride would grow exceedingly.  Thus, God lovingly sends us the precious gift of trials in order to deflate our pride by forcing us to fight hard for the life of our souls, in the spiritual storms that rage in this world.

It is during spiritual trials that we best know that we need God’s help.  At such times, we best remember that we are small and weak and that we are not the great spiritual champions that we would otherwise imagine ourselves to be.  We remember then that we would be deluding ourselves to think that we can terrorize all devils and put them to flight because of our great holiness and spiritual power.

For this reason, God sends us trials – including severe trials – in order that these trials would remind us of our weakness so that we do not get puffed up by the magnificent spiritual gifts that God gives to us Catholics who follow the full traditions of the Church.

3.   God permits us to undergo trials in order that the Devil may have experience that we have entirely renounced him.

It is appropriate that the devil should have discernable evidence that we belong to God and are soldiers in His army.  It is fitting that the devil sees that the soldiers of Christ fight for Him and that the devil sees that we fulfill our baptismal vows to “renounce Satan and all of his works and pomps”.

It befits the Divine honor that we, who are Our Lord’s servants and friends, do not render Him service which is so indiscernible that the devil is able to mock Our Lord that he can’t even tell that we are serving the Divine Majesty.

God must not only triumph in us but must also be seen to triumph in us.  This is good and fitting just as it is good and fitting that, at the end of the world, not only will justice be done at the General Judgment but also that it will be seen to have been done.

Thus, God sends us trials to make manifest that we belong to Him and not to the devil.

4.   God sends us grievous trials in order that, by this spiritual combat, we can be made stronger.

A soldier is given weapons in order that he can fight.  If he were not supposed to fight, he would not have been given weapons.  If he were supposed to remain idle, he would have been given pillows instead of weapons.

Similarly, St. John Chrysostom teaches us that we Soldiers of Christ receive spiritual weapons for the very purpose of we fighting God’s battles in the trials He sends us.  St. John Chrysostom teaches us that God wants us “to fight, not sit idle”.  Id.

Just as hard physical exercise causes our bodily muscles to gain strength, likewise grievous spiritual trials and tribulations strengthen our “spiritual muscles”.  That is, our wills gain strength in virtue through hard spiritual work. 

We should welcome the trials that God sends.  We should generously enter into the penitential times (e.g., Lent, Ember Days, vigils of high feasts, Advent), valuing them as opportunities and as blessings, not as misfortunes which we must endure.  We should not approach such times with a stingy heart, doing the minimum required, and making as little change in ourselves as possible. 

We should look upon penitential times as occasions of great liberty, freeing ourselves from the burden of our lower nature which pulls us downward.  We should also view the Great Apostasy in which we live as a blessing and as a trial meant for our good.[3]  For we know that such trials “work together unto the good, for those who love God”.  Romans, 8:28.

Thus, God sends us trials in order to make us stronger in His service.

5.   God permits us to undergo trials that we may receive a sign of the treasure entrusted to us; for the Devil would not come upon us to tempt us, did he not see us advanced to greater honors.

Suppose we inherited an old painting of little apparent value from a distant relative.  As we receive it, suppose we also receive an offer from a rich art collector to purchase it for $25 million.  That offer would cause us to regard this painting much differently.  We would keep it safe and not throw it away or otherwise disregard it.

Suppose we learned that an art thief planned to steal that painting.  We would take great care to not allow this valuable possession to be stolen.

Analogously, we possess a far greater treasure: sanctifying grace (which is always accompanied by Charity and the indwelling of the Holy Ghost).  That grace is infinitely valuable, although it can seem to people that it is like that old worthless-seeming painting we inherited. 

However, when we know that the devil is trying to “steal” this priceless treasure from our souls, it helps us to remember the incomparable value of grace.  Just as the art thief’s desire to steal our painting warns us of the value of that painting and reminds us to protect it from theft, likewise, the devil’s desire to “steal” the grace in our soul reminds us to take all precautions to protect the life of grace.

Thus, we see that God permits the devil to tempt us through trials to remind us of the infinite value of the grace we have in our souls.


Let us appreciate the trials and tribulations that our Dear Lord generously gives us! 

Let us value them more than all material goods and more than a life of ease, since those trials are a crucial means for our salvation. 

Let us thank God for those trials and use them for God’s greater honor and glory and for maximum merit!



[1]           Catena Aurea on St. Matthew ch.4, v.1.  St. Thomas Aquinas, greatest Doctor of the Catholic Church, chooses and quotes these words of St. John Chrysostom, Doctor and Father of the Church, from St. John’s sermon #13 on St. Matthew’s Gospel

[2]           Here is how the Roman philosopher Lucretius explained the comfortable security that a person has when he sees others, but not himself, undergoing great tribulations:

Pleasant it is, when on the great sea, the winds trouble the waters, to gaze from shore upon another’s great tribulation: Not because any man’s troubles are a delectable joy, but because to perceive what ills you are free from yourself is pleasant.

Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Book II, line 1.

[3]           This time of Great Apostasy is a glorious time to be Catholic and to live for Christ the King!  https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/it-is-a-blessing-to-live-during-this-great-apostasy.html

The Traditional Catholic Faith – the Greatest of God’s Gifts

A gift, yes indeed!  But how many appreciate it and thank God daily for this greatest[1] of gifts?  God came to earth, suffered and died to establish the Faith and demonstrate how to live a happy life on earth and to be perfectly happy forever in heaven.  Here are Our Lord’s words, as set forth in the Imitation of Christ, beautifully echoing St. John’s Gospel, 14:6:

          Follow Me.  I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Without the Way,

          there is no going.  Without the Truth, there is no knowing.  Without

          the Life, there is no living.  I am the Way which you must follow, the

          Truth which you must believe, the Life for which you must hope.  I

          am the inviolable Way, the infallible Truth, the unending Life.[2]

This gift of Faith comes with an obligation to do our part and to do our best to keep

liberalism and compromise out!  Here is Thomas à Kempis’ exhortation to us:

          Take courage, brethren, let us go forward together and Jesus will be

          with us.  For Jesus’ sake, let us persevere with it.  He will be our help

          as He is also our leader and guide.  Behold, our King goes before us

          and will fight for us.  Let us follow like men!  Let no man fear any


Webster defines compromise as a “process or a result of settlement by arbitration,

or by consent reached by mutual concessions – surrender.  There is no place

for compromise or liberalism in God’s perfect gift of Faith.


It is sad to say that, after the Second Vatican Council, the substance of this gift of Faith has been thrown away by 99% of those who describe themselves as Catholics.  This includes the “lukewarms”, and the majority of people who thought of themselves as Catholics but didn’t bother to notice that our leaders in Rome (and in every diocese) are heading in the opposite direction from Our Lord.  With little thought they surrendered various Catholic principles and jumped on the conciliar bandwagon, encouraged by a Rome that has lost the Faith[4] and is the driving force behind the anti-Catholic Conciliar church. 


However much this makes life difficult for Traditionalists, who must fight endlessly to preserve the True Mass, valid Sacraments, and cherished traditions, be assured that Our Lord sees all and will reward those who fight the good fight and do not surrender their principles.  Here are Our Lord’s words, as set forth in the Imitation of Christ:


          My child, patience and humility in adversity are more pleasing

          to Me than much consolation and devotion when things are

          going well.[5]


In order for us Traditional Catholics to avoid all compromise, we must stand our ground and not give in to criticism for the stand we take for Christ the King.  We must be willing to forgo the compromise Sacraments and parish life.  Christ suffered daily for 33 years to establish a perfect Faith.  We can certainly suffer some to do our little part to keep the Faith as pure and holy as He intended. 


God knows what we need and is sure to provide the necessary help and strength as required to carry on in the current drive by political forces to stamp out God and traditional Catholicism, e.g.., Latin Mass Catholics (now designated “violent extremists” by the FBI.)[6]




[1]           In one way, Charity is the greatest of God’s gifts and is the greatest of the Theological Virtues.  As St. Paul teaches: “there remain Faith, Hope, and Charity, these three: but the greatest of these is Charity”.  1 Corinthians, 13:13.


On the other hand, as St. Paul teaches: “without Faith it is impossible to please God.”  Hebrews, 11:6.  Thus, although Charity is greatest absolutely, Faith is not only very great but is necessary for possessing Charity.  That is, if a person does not have the Catholic Faith, he will not have Charity either.  So, in that sense, Faith is greatest – because it is a necessary condition for possessing Charity.

[2]           Imitation of Christ, Thomas à Kempis; Book III, Ch. 56.


[3]           Imitation of Christ, Thomas à Kempis; Book III, Ch. 56.


[4]           Our Lady of La Salette predicted in 1846: “Rome will lose the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.”

[5]           Imitation of Christ, Thomas à Kempis; Book III, Ch. 57.


[6]           https://www.heritage.org/religious-liberty/commentary/the-fbis-targeting-radical-traditional-catholics-bodes-ill

More Information to Remind Us to Avoid the Covid “Vaccine”

Catholic Candle note: The so-called Covid “vaccine” is not really a vaccine but is really gene therapy.[1]  This “vaccine” is a mortal sin to accept just like all vaccines developed through abortion.  https://catholiccandle.org/2021/01/01/reject-the-covid-vaccines/

The SSPX used to uphold this Traditional Catholic position that vaccines developed through abortion are always mortally sinful to receive.  But the now-liberal SSPX has completely reversed itself and now accepts the conciliar position.  To read the SSPX’s prior prohibition and its current permissive words, read part 3 of this article: https://catholiccandle.org/2021/01/01/reject-the-covid-vaccines/ (citing to the SSPX’s own sources).  The “new” SSPX’s current liberal position includes permitting not only receiving abortion-related vaccines but also the Covid so-called “vaccine”.

Further, this Covid “vaccine” is very harmful in many ways, especially harming the immune system[2] and causing grave cardiac problems.[3]  As explained below, the “vaccine” offers negative protection even for Covid itself nor does it “stop the spread” as the leftists lied that it would.

The short article below is merely a reminder to avoid the Covid “vaccine” for all of these reasons.

We hope and pray that Catholic Candle’s readers had the good judgment and firmness of principles to not get the Covid jab(s).  Our lives should be a principled stance against all of the evils of our time, including this “vaccine”.

However, to help our readers to inform others, we report to you an interesting risk-benefit analysis performed recently which examined the impact of Covid booster mandates for university students.  The test group was people in the age bracket of 18-29.

As shown in the study discussed below, this risk-benefit analysis shows that the Covid gene therapy (the so-called “vaccine”) does more harm than good.  Of course, the more important point is that receiving these Covid boosters constitutes mortal sins since they are cooperating in the murders of innocent babies in abortion, and the further evil of the vivisection of those babies without anesthesia to enhance their “cell lines” for research purposes. 

But this summary of the recent interesting study reminds us to avoid this evil “vaccine” and also to not trust the leftists who control the mainstream channels of information.

The recent risk-benefit analysis on young adults

This risk-benefit analysis which was recently conducted examines the impact of booster mandates for North American university students.  It concludes that:

  Between 22,000 and 30,000 previously uninfected adults (aged 18 to 29) must be boosted with an mRNA “vaccine” to prevent one COVID-19 hospitalization.

  For each hospitalization prevented, the jab will cause 18 to 98 serious adverse events, including 1.7 to 3 “booster-associated myocarditis cases in males, and 1,373 to 3,234 cases of grade ≥3 reactogenicity which interferes with daily activities”.

  That means mandating a third COVID shot for university students will result in “a net expected harm”.


  The study emphasizes that the results are actually worse than that because “Given the high prevalence of post-infection immunity, this risk-benefit profile is even less favorable.”[4] 

The study concludes that university booster mandates are unethical for five reasons:

1.    There has been no formal risk-benefit assessment pertaining to this age group;


2.    The vaccine mandates may result in a net expected harm to individual young people;

3.    The mandates are not proportionate: the expected harms are not outweighed by public health benefits – given the modest and transient effectiveness of vaccines against transmission;


4.    U.S. mandates violate the reciprocity principle because rare serious vaccine-related harms will not be reliably compensated due to gaps in current vaccine injury schemes; and


5.    The mandates create wider social harms. The study’s authors consider counter-arguments such as a desire for socialization and safety and show that such arguments lack scientific and/or ethical support.

This interesting risk-benefit analysis was financed by the leftist Wellcome Trust.  The study is currently in “preprint” advanced publication.  The study’s principal author is Dr. Kevin Bardosh, from the School of Public Health, University of Washington, USA, and the Division of Infection Medicine, Edinburgh Medical School, University of Edinburgh, UK.[5]

Dear Readers, if anyone wonders why/how this study “came out of the blue”, then he is not keeping himself informed.  This study is merely one of many.

There is a constant trickle of new studies – mostly ignored by the mainstream media – showing how harmful the Covid “vaccine” is.  Each study comes from a different “angle”.  The studies are not all exactly the same but they all show, in their own way, that the Covid “vaccine” is dangerous and is harmful to the recipients.  (We also know that it is an additional mortal sin since it causes the recipients to share culpability for the murder of those innocent babies). 

Another recent news report concerns a new study from researchers in the Netherlands which shows area-by-area of that country, the close correlation between Covid “vaccine” rates and the all-cause mortality rates in those same areas.[6]  In other words, wherever, in the Netherlands, the Covid “vaccine” rate is higher, the all-cause mortality rate is higher.  Wherever one rate is lower so too is the other rate.  It makes sense to look at the all-cause mortality rates in relation to the Covid jab because it causes so many serious health problems of so many types.

Yet another recent study showed that, in college and professional athletes, there is close correlation between Covid “vaccine” uptake and career-ending heart inflammation, especially in previously-healthy young men.[7] 

A different study showed that the rate of professional athletes who are dropping dead without warning, is many times higher than the annual averages “pre-Covid-vaccine”.  As our readers might know, the professional sports leagues require Covid “vaccination” for all of their players.[8]

A further study showed a higher rate of catching Covid for those who are “vaccinated”.  These studies show a very short protective benefit, followed by “negative protection”.[9]

Another study showed a higher rate of hospitalization and a higher rate of death from Covid for those who are “vaccinated”.[10]

The “experts” are supposedly puzzled by the onset of “sudden adult death syndrome”.[11]  But people who do not gullibly believe the mainstream media lies and spin are able to “put two and two together”.

There are so many other studies.  They show, each in its own way, that the Covid “vaccine” is harmful.

A person might naively wonder why our leaders don’t know about these studies.  The answer is: they DO know!  There are several reasons why they are acting the way they are – and all of those reasons are evil, e.g., to reduce the world’s population to make it easier for the globalist to achieve control.

This is a good reminder, too, that we should not rely on the public health “experts” and mainstream media concerning the harm of accepting that booster.


[4]           You can find the entire study here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4206070


[5]           You can find the entire study here: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4206070



Words to Live by – from Catholic Tradition


We must not follow the crowd, or acquiesce in

What Our Lord’s enemies decide is “politically correct”


A Commandment of God in the Book of Exodus:


Thou shalt not follow the multitude to do evil: neither shalt thou yield in judgment to the opinion of the most part, to stray from the truth.


Exodus, Ch. 23, v.2.


Lesson #19 The Call of Christ the King

Catholic Candle note:  Lesson 19 (below) is the latest lesson in this series.  Prior articles in this series can be found here: https://catholiccandle.org/category/resources-for-faith-and-practice/on-working-for-holiness/marys-school-of-sanctity/


                    Mary’s School of Sanctity                   

Lesson #19  The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius – ON THE CALL OF CHRIST THE KING [also called The Kingdom of Christ]

At this time, we bring our attention back to the content of the actual Spiritual Exercises.  As we mentioned in the introduction to the structure of the Spiritual Exercises in Lesson#5, St. Ignatius sets out his exercises to be done over a month’s time.  We now enter into the Second Week of St. Ignatius’s plan. We are going to be undertaking the meditation entitled The Call of Christ the King, one of the most famous meditations of St. Ignatius.  As we stated earlier in these lessons, under normal circumstances, we would have at this point of the retreat made a general confession.[1]

Thus, by this means, we have girded our loins and taken the breastplate of justice.[2]  St. Ignatius, having been a soldier once himself, has us consider Our Lord as on His throne inviting us to join the ranks of soldiers in His Divine army.  He is the head of the Catholic army of souls in the Church Militant.  Also, we can consider this meditation as a way to bring The Principle and Foundation back to our minds giving us greater zeal in our service of God.[3]  With this meditation to strengthen us, we can intensify our resolve to follow Christ in whatever He wills for us.

First, we will give the text of St. Ignatius’s meditation The Call of Christ the King and then expound on the various points one can use for his consideration in doing this present exercise.

St. Ignatius says:

The call of the earthly king helps us to contemplate the life of the Eternal King.

The preparatory prayer is the same as usual, I ask God Our Lord the grace that all my intentions, actions, and works may be directed purely to the service and praise of the Divine Majesty.

The FIRST PRELUDE: St. Ignatius calls this prelude “a mental picture of the place”.  Here we will see in our imagination the synagogues, villages, and towns where Jesus preached.

The SECOND PRELUDE: I will ask for the grace that I desire.  Here it will be to ask of Our Lord the grace that I may not be deaf to His call, but prompt and diligent to accomplish His most holy will.


The FIRST POINT: I will see in my mind a human king, chosen by God Our Lord Himself, to whom all princes and all Christians pay reverence and obedience.

The SECOND POINT: I will consider how this king speaks to all his subjects, saying, “It is my will to conquer all infidel lands.  Therefore, whoever wishes to come with me must be content to eat as I eat, drink as I drink, dress as I dress, etc.  He must also be willing to work with me by day, and watch with me by night.  He will then share with me in victory as he has shared in the toils.”

The THIRD POINT: I will consider what the answer of good subjects ought to be to such a generous and noble king, and consequently, if anyone would refuse the request of such a king, how he would deserve to be despised by everyone, and considered an unworthy knight.  


The second part of this Exercise consists in applying the example of this earthly king to Christ Our Lord, in these three points:

The FIRST POINT: If we heed such a call of an earthly king to his subjects, how much more worthy of consideration is it to see Christ Our Lord, the Eternal King, and before Him, all of mankind, to whom, and to each man in particular, He calls and says: “It is My will to conquer the whole world and all My enemies, and thus to enter into the glory of My Father.  Whoever wishes to come with Me must labor with Me, following Me in suffering, he also will follow Me in glory.”

The SECOND POINT: I will consider that all persons who have judgment and reason will offer themselves completely for this work.

The THIRD POINT: Those who wish to show the greatest affection and to distinguish themselves in every service of their Eternal King and Universal Lord, will not only offer themselves entirely for the work, but by working against their own sensuality and carnal and worldly love, will make offerings of greater value and importance saying:

Eternal Lord of all things, I make this offering with Thy grace and help, in the presence of Thy infinite goodness and in the presence of Thy glorious Mother and of all the Saints  of Thy heavenly court, that it is my wish and desire, and my deliberate choice, provided only that it be for Thy greater service and praise, to imitate Thee in bearing all injuries, all evils, and all poverty both physical and spiritual, if Thy most Sacred Majesty should will to choose me for such a life and state.

The COLLOQUY: St. Ignatius does not specify any particular colloquy for this meditation.  However, the above offering could be made and it is desirable to make it or something similar to it.  We should certainly speak to Our Lord and give ourselves completely to Him. 


Considerations for the FIRST POINT: a model earthly king.

St. Ignatius wants us to imagine what it would be like if an earthly king who was very noble and virtuous called everyone to help him conquer the Muslims.  If this king proposed to conquer the world for Christ and convert the entire world to Christianity, how wonderful it would be if the world truly acknowledged Christ as King!

This type of king is very much like King St. Ferdinand III who lived from 1199 A.D. to 1252 A.D.  He was a very pious king who was devoted to Our Lady and was a Third Order Franciscan.  He devoted his life to purging Castile and Leon of the Moors.  According to Butler’s Lives of the Saints, St. Ferdinand’s body is incorrupt, which is a great reminder to us that God is pleased with those who spend their lives extending the reign of Christ.

Considerations for the SECOND POINT: how the earthly king leads.

In this point, St. Ignatius has us continue to imagine our earthly king who leads us in battle against the enemy.  Here again, King St. Ferdinand fits the description that St. Ignatius sets forth above.  Here is how Alban Butler describes King St. Ferdinand in the Lives of the Saints:

His whole conduct bore testimony to the truth of his solemn protestation, “Thou, O Lord, Who searchest the secrets of hearts, knowest that I desire Thy glory, not mine; and the increase of Thy faith, and holy religion, not of transitory kingdoms.”  He set his soldiers the most perfect example of devotion.  He fasted rigorously, prayed much, and wore a rough hair-shirt made in the shape of the cross; often spent whole nights in tears and prayers, especially before battles, and gave to God the glory of all his victories. In his army he caused an image of the Blessed Virgin to be carried, and wore another small one on his breast, or sometimes when on horseback placed it on the pommel of his saddle before him.[4]

King St. Ferdinand III led his knights into battle.  He fought fearlessly at the head of his army.  His men felt drawn on by zeal and were willing to follow him into the direst circumstances.  He won victory after victory, even when he was greatly outnumbered by the Moors. There was an occasion in which it was testified by his men that St. James the Apostle, appeared at the head of the troops in the armor of a knight.  In this particular battle only eleven lost their lives—one a knight who had refused to forgive an injury, and ten additional soldiers.

King St. Ferdinand won back lands which had been in the hands of the Moors for five hundred and twenty years.

He gave the spoils of war to the Church.  For example, he rebuilt the cathedral of Toledo.  He purified the churches and places which had been desecrated by the Moors and established bishoprics in many places.

What is clear from the account of King St. Ferdinand III was that he fought valiantly with his whole heart for God, and God was with him. This king never once was wounded in battle.  God gave him victory upon victory.[5]   

Considerations for the THIRD POINT: who would not follow such a leader?

With a heart throbbing for the conversion of the heathen and the restoration of the Church’s properties, who would not burn inside to attach himself to such a noble king?  This earthly king, by his example of dedicated love of the Faith and Holy Mother Church, would and should spur us on to die for Christ and His Church.  His zeal would almost seem contagious and irresistible in its intensity.  Would we not long to follow him with confidence in his strength and power?  When we saw his tremendous victories, we would not doubt that he was a man to follow. What remarkable leadership!  What remarkable virtue!  And oh how ashamed we would feel if we did not take up arms and follow such a man!  We would have the deep guilt of having shirked our duty and our life-long vocation of the salvation of our souls.  Who could bear such shame and ignominy of deserting such an upright king and mission?

Now let us turn to the second part of this meditation where St. Ignatius wants us to apply what we considered about the worthy earthly king to the Divine King of kings, Our Lord Himself.


Part II

Considerations for the FIRST POINT: Our Lord Himself calls us to His service.

In this meditation, St. Ignatius is telling us that we must follow Christ for He is truly calling all of us into His ranks.  This meditation may be seen as a call to the religious life, but, in fact, it is a call to be entirely in God’s service.  It harkens back to the Principle and Foundation because this meditation reminds us that we were created to be in God’s service and use this wonderful service to save our immortal souls.

So, in this first point, we consider how, indeed, Our Lord Himself calls us to follow Him.  He says plainly to us in St. Matthew’s Gospel, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Matt. 16:24]

See in the following quotes how He beckons us to follow Him lovingly!

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth Me. [John 14:21]

Come to Me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is sweet and My burden light.  [Matt 11: 28-30]

He truly wants us to follow Him in everything.  He wills to be Our Shepherd and to lay down His Life for us.  He not only wants to show us how He willed to honor His Heavenly Father by His death, but He also wants us to realize that He is setting us an example of sacrificing Himself completely for love of God. 

Thus, He wants us to know that we must be willing to follow Him in this way too, namely, unto death.  Listen to what He tells us in the following quotes:

If the world hates you, know ye, that it hath hated Me before you.  [John 15:18]

Remember My word that I said to you: the servant is not greater than his master.  If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept My word, they will keep yours also.  But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake: because they know not Him that sent Me.  [John 15: 20-21]

They will put you out of the synagogues: yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God.  [John 16:2]  

By these weighty words Our Lord is telling us that we must be willing to follow Him in every aspect of our lives.  He will take care of us and we must not feel overwhelmed because the Paraclete will be with us to guide us.

He wants us to be apostles of the truth and spread His Kingdom.  We must be able and willing to teach Catholic Faith and Morals.  We must teach this primarily by our examples – to truly live a Catholic life during the neo-pagan times in which we live.

Are we the Catholics He desires us to be?  Are we willing to undertake the work of being true apostles of Christ?  Do we have apostolic zeal for the spread of His Kingdom and the salvation of souls?  Are we willing to be an outcast for love of Him?  Are we willing to stand up for Him and Truth?

This brings us to the consideration in the next point— who exactly is called? Is this point for those with a religious vocation only?

Considerations for the SECOND POINT: Every Catholic is expected to heed Christ’s call.

Since the Principle and Foundation applies to us all, it makes sense that Our Lord is indeed calling all of us into His service.  He is Our Creator, Our Father and Provider, Our Redeemer, Our Beloved, and Our Judge.  We owe Him everything.  Our Lord says, “I am the way, and the truth and the life.  No man cometh to the Father, but by Me.” [John 14:6]   

However, we must keep in mind that He lovingly invites us.  Here is how Fr. Hurter, S.J. in his Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat explains this invitation:

What is the form of the invitation? Our Divine Redeemer does not stand on His well-grounded rights, He does not force, He does not threaten with thunder and lightning those who hang back.  He appeals to the heart: He appeals to our generosity; He invites us. To what does He invite us?  To the grandest undertaking we can think of: To spread the kingdom of God upon earth; to glorify His Holy Name, to build up the Church of God, which shall stand invincible against all the attacks of hell: “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her”[6]   

Both religious and laity are called to be apostles of Christ and His Church.  Fr. Hurter brings forth another noteworthy point for our apostolate. We give his point as follows:

And what are the conditions which He lays down?  He asks of us no more than He Himself has done; no greater privations than those He took up Himself; no obedience more difficult, no humility more profound, no cross more painful than He Himself submitted to.  He was the Son of God, the Lord of the world, the Innocent, and all that He did was for us.  When we come down to reality, He is satisfied with much less, with the tenth part of what He Himself has done, even with a mere shadow of it.  For such humility, such poverty, such obedience as He practiced, He does not ask us for.[7]

We cannot be indifferent to His Kingdom and the spread of the Kingship of Christ. If we are truly the friends of Christ, we must love to bring souls to Him.  However, if we hunger to bring souls to Him, we sense the real need of beginning with the perfection of our own souls.  So St. Ignatius impels us to dig deeper and to work harder on the perfecting of ourselves.  In his third point, he raises the bar of what we should expect from ourselves.  We must desire our own sanctification.  Let us consider this higher calling alluded to in the third point.

Considerations for the THIRD POINT: Our Lord wants everyone to follow Him, if not in actual poverty in the religious life, then in at least spiritual poverty.

In this third point, St. Ignatius seems to be tying the first two points together for the sole purpose of urging us to strive for high perfection.  We know that the religious life is the best means to achieve the highest perfection; however, St. Ignatius wants us to realize that the laymen are also called to perfection.  He is encouraging the laity to live a life of mortification because this is necessary even for laymen in order to come to the perfection which Christ wants for each of us.   In order to have the deepest friendship and mystical marriage with Christ, which is Our Lord’s plan for every member of the Elect, we must not put any obstacle in His way.

“I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one cometh to the Father but by Me.”  [John 14:6].  By these words, Our Lord shows us that we must wage an interior battle with our own flesh in order to master our lower nature and to be His devoted friend and fellow laborer in the field, winning souls for Heaven.

This is why St. Ignatius tells us that we must be willing to distinguish ourselves in a special service of Our Lord.  We must be willing to literally give everything up for Him and be detached from everything in order to give ourselves interiorly and exteriorly to Him.  Thus, we must fight the battle against ourselves and bring our passions into subjection.  Bearing this complete detachment in mind, we then lovingly root out our disorderly self-love which so often manifests itself in our passions.

Because we cannot help others to come to the Faith if we are not properly disposed ourselves, St. Ignatius reminds us to work hard on our own perfection.

Fr. Hurter explains this concept of properly disposing ourselves when he says:

In saving souls, we are but instruments in the hands of God.  But the force of the master enters sooner and more perfectly into the instrument, the better it is adapted to the artist and, as it were, coalesces with him.  We shall be more useful, docile, and pliable as instruments in the hands of Our Divine Savior if there be less in us that resists Him.  That is, we must mortify and deaden within us all that is opposed to God, viz., our evil passions and disorderly self-love.[8]

Concluding thoughts:

In the light of all these considerations of how Our Lord is inviting our souls to Him in true friendship, we should be very willing to repeat the prayer that St. Ignatius gives us above (in his third point, in the introduction of this meditation).  We should give Our Lord our entire selves to use as He sees fit.  If He wants us to have actual poverty, then we embrace His will.  If He is not causing us actual poverty, then we tell Him that we will heartily embrace the spirit of poverty.  With this resolution we can imitate Him as He desires us to do.  

COLLOQUY:  Oh, dear Lord how can I thank Thee for such a loving invitation to follow Thee in all things, yes, even to death for love of Thee?  Oh, allow me to have the strength to conquer my inordinate self-love so I can give myself entirely to Thee without reserving anything for myself!!  I repeat the words that St. Ignatius gave above.  Indeed, it is my desire to give myself to Thee, to embrace actual poverty if Thou dost wish, and to have a true spirit of poverty so as to imitate Thee my Lord and Master.  I want no extravagant life, nothing that would distract me from abandoning myself completely to Thy holy service.  Please give me strength to die to myself and not to fear to stand up for Thee and Thy Truth.  Be Thou the King of my soul, and this means I will try to show my neighbor that he, too, must have Thee reign in him and in society.

We are now resolved to begin a more earnest and in-depth study of Our Lord and His virtues.  Hence, in our next lesson, we will begin our study by doing what St. Ignatius refers to as the Contemplation on the Incarnation

[1]           Since we are living in the time of the Great Apostasy, there are no uncompromising priests, at least in most places.  Thus, a general confession is not possible.  But we should go through the steps which would have led up to making a general confession, if we had been able to make one. 


We should make a very thorough examination and preparation for a general confession which would include making a sin list and telling God that if/when an uncompromising priest should become available, we are most willing to go to confession.  We should take these steps with sincere and humble hearts. 


We should humbly trust in God and beg His Mercy by trying to make a perfect act of contrition after having performed that thorough examination of conscience for confession.


We must trust in God and practice the virtue of hope.  We should be striving with all our hearts to make many acts of contrition as often as we can and make these acts as perfect as we can.


We must have a repentant disposition of mind.  We need heartfelt contrition for our sins.  The Council of Trent (session 14, chapters 1 and 4) explains that heartfelt sorrow for sins has at all times been necessary to obtain forgiveness of sins. 


There are two kinds of contrition: perfect and imperfect.  We should always endeavor to make perfect acts of contrition and get in the habit of making them.  We have always known that no one is guaranteed the chance to go to confession, but especially now in these times of apostasy; most of us do not have the opportunity.


Perfect contrition consists in being sorry because we have offended God the Supreme Being and Our dear loving Father, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Who is most worthy of our love. We have been so ungrateful to Him, and we must be determined never to commit sin again.  We want our love to be as perfect as possible.  Of course, we must beg God and our heavenly helpers to help us have a pure motive in our contrition.  Our contrition cannot simply be because we are afraid of punishment, for then, our contrition would be imperfect.  Perfect contrition involves filial fear and filial love, whereas, imperfect contrition involves servile fear which is simply the fear of punishment.


The effect of perfect contrition is wonderful because it blots out all of the guilt (but not necessarily all of the punishment) due to sins.


[2]           Reference to St. Paul, “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and

having on the breastplate of justice: And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be

able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one.”  Ephesians, 6:14-16.

[4]            This quote is taken from Alban Butler’s Lives of the Saints under May 30th.

[5]           The information about King St. Ferdinand III is taken from Alban Butler’s Lives of the Saints under May 30th. and Saint Fernando III, James Fitzhenry, Arz, ©2009.

[6]           Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918; third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, Page 111.


[7]           Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918, third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, Page 112. 


Of course, we must realize that Our Lord, being a perfect human being suffered more than we could ever suffer.  Nevertheless, He wants us to give Him our absolute best and be as perfect as we can be.  One further point we must realize is that the primary reason Our Lord suffered was for the greater honor and glory of His Father. 

[8]           Considerations from Sketches for the Exercises of An Eight Days’ Retreat by Hugo Hurter, S.J., Ph.D., D.D., Professor Emeritus of Theology in the Catholic University of Innsbruck, copyright 1918, third edition, 1926, St. Louis, MO and London, Page 118.


God is Just and Will Not Be Mocked

Catholic Candle note:  The article below pertains to Our Lord’s command that the pope together with the bishops of the world consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  In 2022, Pope Francis performed a consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, naming Russia.  However, this consecration did not fulfill the necessary requirements as Our Lord commanded.  For an explanation and analysis of this, read this article: https://catholiccandle.org/2022/04/20/did-the-popes-consecration-fulfill-heavens-command-no/

So far, a just God has punished mankind, which has been steeped in sin over the centuries, thereby sending a message He will not be held up to scorn.  One of the first great punishments was the Deluge.  We read in Genesis:

God seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times, It repented him that he had made man on the earth.  And being touched inwardly with sorrow of heart, He said: I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the face of the earth, from man even to beasts, from the creeping thing even to the fowls of the air, for it repenteth me that I have made them.  But Noe found grace before the Lord.[1]

Warning of the Flood

These are the generations of Noe: Noe was a just and perfect man in his generations, he walked with God.  And he begot three sons, Sem, Cham, and Japheth.  And the earth was corrupted before God, and was filled with iniquity.  And when God had seen that the earth was corrupted (for all flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth,)  He said to Noe: The end of all flesh is come before me, the earth is filled with iniquity through them, and I will destroy them with the earth.[2]

Another early, great punishment was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha. 

For the sins of their inhabitants Sodom, Gomorrha, Adama, and Seboin were destroyed by “brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.”[3]

Much more recently, came World Wars I and II, with a great loss of life.  The Blessed Mother at Fatima revealed that they were punishments for sin.  Also at Fatima, Our Lady revealed that God wills that Russia would be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart.  In 1929, she appeared to Sister Lucy and told her:

The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means ….[4] 

Earlier (viz., in 1917), Our Lady of Fatima revealed that the pope definitely will consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart and through this means God will grant peace.  Here are her words:

The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she [viz., Russia] shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.[5]

However, Our Lady of Fatima warned in 1917 that, when she came in the future, (viz., in 1929) to ask for the consecration, if the pope delayed this consecration, his delay would cause great harm throughout the world.  Here are Our Lady’s words

I shall come [viz., in 1929] to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, by the Holy Father and all the bishops of the world.  If my request is heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace.  If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and persecution against the Church.[6]

In 1931, Our Lord assured Sister Lucy that the pope and bishops will perform this consecration – but He revealed that there will first be a long delay.  Here are Sister Lucy’s words describing Our Lord’s revelation to her:

Later on, by means of an interior communication, Our Lord said to me, complaining: “They [viz., Pope Pius XI and the bishops of the world] did not want to heed My request!  …  Make it known to My ministers, seeing that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My demand, they will also have to follow him into misfortune.  Like the King of France, they will repent and do it, but it will be late.[7]

Because the world is becoming continually worse, it is reasonable to suppose that another chastisement is coming.  We can ponder what this new chastisement will be.  But when and how it will occur, I don’t know.

Readers of the Catholic Candle are aware, and so I needn’t recount just how depraved and steeped in sin this world has become today.  However, one evil  which must be addressed is this: Rome and, perhaps, 99.5% of Catholics in the world said good-bye to the Catholic faith in the 1960s and 1970s (and afterwards) to join the anti-Catholic Conciliar church, catastrophically adding to the mockery of God which sin always is.  Christ established a perfect religion, and we must do our part, the best we can, to promote and practice this religion: the uncompromising Traditional Catholic Religion.

Just how does the world avoid another chastisement?  By doing as Our Lord said: the pope and all the Catholic bishops[8] must consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the way He directed that it be done.  Then, and only then, will peace follow. 

Considering the words and actions of our current pope, Francis, and most of the Catholic bishops[9] of the world, I don’t see that consecration happening any time soon.  What we can and should do now is to use the Blessed Virgin Mary’s “sword against evil” – viz., the rosary – in our fight for peace in the world.  Since my visit to Fatima in the 1980s, I’ve always felt that Our Lady’s request for us to pray the rosary every day meant all 15 decades.  They are all part of the rosary, and she didn’t say “at least part of a rosary.”  In this way, you’d say seven complete rosaries a week, as compared to two and a third partials.  Which do you think she prefers?  (You are no doubt busy, so it’s acceptable to say each mystery at a different time of the day, morning, noon, or night but we should all do our best to pray the entire rosary – 15 decades – every day.)

What do you think?  Did I make my case? 

[1]           Holy Bible, Genesis, Ch.6, vv. 5-13.

[2]           Holy Bible, Genesis, Ch.6, vv. 5-13.

[3]           The Catholic Encyclopedia, article: Sodom & Gomorrha, 1913.

[4]           The Whole Truth About Fatima, Frere Michel de la Sainte Trinite, translator John Collorafi, vol. II, Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, NY, copyright 1989 for English translation, p.464 (emphasis added)

[5]           This is a portion of Our Lady’s message during the Third Apparition of Fatima, July 13, 1917 (emphasis and bracketed words added), quoted from The Whole Truth About Fatima, Frere Michel de la Sainte Trinite, translator John Collorafi, vol. II, Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, NY, copyright 1989 for English translation, pp. 281-282.

[6]           This is a portion of Our Lady’s message during the Third Apparition of Fatima, July 13, 1917 (emphasis and bracketed words added), quoted from The Whole Truth About Fatima, Frere Michel de la Sainte Trinite, translator John Collorafi, vol. II, Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, NY, copyright 1989 for English translation, pp. 281-282.

[7]           The Whole Truth About Fatima, Frere Michel de la Sainte Trinite, translator John Collorafi, vol. II, Immaculate Heart Publications, Buffalo, NY, copyright 1989 for English translation, p. 464, (emphasis added; bracketed words added for clarity).

[8]           This consecration of Russia which Heaven commanded to be performed, pertains to the bishops wielding jurisdictional power to govern the Church throughout the world.  As such, it can be performed by those Ordinaries who govern the Church, despite the doubtfulness that their conciliar consecrations give them the sacramental power of a bishop.  For an explanation of this, please read chapters 10 and 11 of this book: https://catholiccandle.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/sedevacantism-material-or-formal-schism.pdf

Catholic Candle holds that a bishop consecrated under normal conditions, by the Church in normal times, properly receives the presumption of the validity of his Episcopal consecration.  In other words, the fact that he was consecrated under the Church’s normal conditions, in normal times, causes an appropriate presumption that he is a valid bishop.

However, this presumption (of the validity of such a bishop’s consecration) could be rebutted even in normal times, by a positive doubt – even a small positive doubt – concerning the validity of his particular consecration.  Read more about this principle here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/new-ordination-doubtful.html

We hold that the consecrations performed outside these normal conditions and not during normal times, do not deserve such presumption of validity because the Church does not vouch for those consecrations.  Those consecrations should not be taken as valid unless they are proven valid.

We hold that the consecrations (as of the present date – February 2023) consecrating the bishops of the N-SSPX and of Bishop Williamson’s group have been proven to be valid, even though those groups are compromising Faith and morals in other aspects.

We assess that the Thuc line, Mendez line, William Moran line and other supposed lines are, at a minimum, unproven and, on occasion, range into the obviously invalid.

For further information about the doubtfulness of the conciliar “consecration” rite, read this analysis: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B49oPuI54eEGZVF5cmFvMGdZM0U/view

For more about the principle that it is our duty to treat doubtful consecrations and ordinations as invalid, read this article here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/new-ordination-doubtful.html

[9]           Here is a repetition of the previous footnote, for those readers who did not read it: This consecration of Russia which Heaven commanded to be performed, pertains to the bishops wielding jurisdictional power to govern the Church throughout the world.  As such, it can be performed by those Ordinaries who govern the Church, despite the doubtfulness that their conciliar consecrations give them the sacramental power of a bishop.  For an explanation of this, please read chapters 10 and 11 of this book: https://catholiccandle.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/sedevacantism-material-or-formal-schism.pdf

Catholic Candle holds that a bishop consecrated under normal conditions, by the Church in normal times, properly receives the presumption of the validity of his Episcopal consecration.  In other words, the fact that he was consecrated under the Church’s normal conditions, in normal times, causes an appropriate presumption that he is a valid bishop.

However, this presumption (of the validity of such a bishop’s consecration) could be rebutted even in normal times, by a positive doubt – even a small positive doubt – concerning the validity of his particular consecration.  Read more about this principle here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/new-ordination-doubtful.html

We hold that the consecrations performed outside these normal conditions and not during normal times, do not deserve such presumption of validity because the Church does not vouch for those consecrations.  Those consecrations should not be taken as valid unless they are proven valid.

We hold that the consecrations (as of the present date – February 2023) consecrating the bishops of the N-SSPX and of Bishop Williamson’s group have been proven to be valid, even though those groups are compromising Faith and morals in other aspects.

We assess that the Thuc line, Mendez line, William Moran line and other supposed lines are, at a minimum, unproven and, on occasion, range into the obviously invalid.

For further information about the doubtfulness of the conciliar “consecration” rite, read this analysis: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B49oPuI54eEGZVF5cmFvMGdZM0U/view

For more about the principle that it is our duty to treat doubtful consecrations and ordinations as invalid, read this article here: https://catholiccandle.neocities.org/faith/new-ordination-doubtful.html

A Short History of the Via Crucis Devotion

Plus: a method of Constructing your own Stations

A Truly Marian Devotion

Throughout Lent, we must make a truly Marian meditation to fully receive the spiritual fruits of this holy season. Tradition holds that Mary, the Mother of God, would daily retrace the route of her Son’s Passion in prayerful recollection.[1]  Thus, the Via Crucis devotion originates in Mary’s very reflections during her earthly sojourn.

A Tradition With Deep Roots

Early Catholics also began imitating the way Jesus walked in Jerusalem during His Passion, which came to be known as the Via Dolorosa in the 1500s.  St. Jerome spoke of great crowds of pilgrims from all countries coming to reflect on the Passion in the Holy Land.[2]  Interestingly, early Catholic pilgrims actually walked a reverse route from that of Our Lord, commencing the prayerful walk at Calvary and concluding downhill at Pilate’s house. However, seeing it to be more suitable, the direction was changed in the 16th Century to go from Pilate’s house uphill to Calvary.[3] 

Franciscan and Dominican Influence

Motivated by the spirit of Crusades, Catholics began making more frequent pilgrimages to Jerusalem in the twelfth century.  Pilgrims of the time mention walking a Via Sacra during these visits.  In the mid-13th Century, the stable presence of Franciscan Friars as custodians in the Holy Land, one being Bl. Bernardo Caimi, facilitated external devotion to The Passion.  In 1491, a set of Stations was built at Varallo, Italy by Franciscans.[4]  The Via Crucis devotion, with the identical fourteen stations in the same order as today, became widespread in Spain in the seventeenth century, mainly among Franciscans.  Early Dominicans also took an interest in promoting devotion to Our Lord’s Passion in stations including Blessed Alvarez (d. 1420), who, upon returning from the Holy Land, erected small chapels adorned with paintings dedicated to the primary scenes of the Passion.[5] 

Universal Recognition of The Stations

The first use of the term Stations to describe the route frequented in Jerusalem is seen in the account of English pilgrim William Wey, who visited the Holy Land in 1458 and again in 1462.[6]  To formalize a Stations devotion, Pope Innocent XI permitted Franciscans to erect stations within their communities in 1686.  Pope Clement XII further gave all churches the right to construct stations, provided that a Franciscan father oversaw the erection of the stations, and the local bishop consented.  While the number of stations has fluctuated over time, the number was fixed at 14 by Clement XII in the same year.  English bishops were subsequently allowed to erect the stations by themselves in the 19th Century, without a Franciscan priest, and in 1862 this decree was extended to all bishops of the universal Church.[7]

Stabat Mater

While many have laid claim to the development of the Stabat Mater hymn, sung as a poignant reminder to conclude each station with Marian fervor, Pope Benedict XIV “gives it without question” to Innocent III (d. 1216).[8]  Found in several fifteenth-century European missals, the Stabat Mater was formally accepted into the Roman Breviary and Missal in 1727 for the Feast of the Seven Dolors of the B.V.M.[9]  This hymn evokes the emotion of Mary grieving over the sufferings of her Son, a most fitting way to meditate on such a sorrowful, yet necessary, event with the help of Our Lady.

Our Via Crucis Devotional Project

Since wild bamboo grows in our North Georgia backyard, our family decided to make use of the natural environment to commemorate the Via Crucis this Lent. After cutting the stalks to 6-ft tall, we drove them into the ground with a stake-driver, arranging them in a circle on a woodsy hillside. We selected images for each of the 14 stations and brought them to a local print shop, which made them into weather-resistant, polycarbonate placards with holes drilled for the insertion of  screws.  Finally, we affixed the images near the top of the stakes.  Now, we are ready every Friday of Lent to meditate on the Stations at-home using the methods of St. Alphonsus Liguori and St. Francis Assisi.  

Either inside or outside, consider making your own Via Crucis for a fruitful Lent. Thanks be to God for such a beautiful tradition!  Let us enter into Our Lord’s Passion with Marian devotedness throughout this blessed and solemn Liturgical season. 



[1]           1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol XV, article: Way Of The Cross, Cyprian Alston, paragraph 4.

[2]           1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol XV, article: Way Of The Cross, Cyprian Alston, paragraph 4.

[3]           1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol XV, article: Way Of The Cross, Cyprian Alston, paragraph 4.

[4]           1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol XV, article: Way Of The Cross, Cyprian Alston, paragraph 4.

[5]           1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol XV, article: Way Of The Cross, Cyprian Alston, paragraph 4.

[6]           1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol XV, article: Way Of The Cross, Cyprian Alston, paragraph 4.

[7]           1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol XV, article: Way Of The Cross, Cyprian Alston, paragraph 4.

[8]           1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol XV, Stabat Mater, by Hugh Thomas Henry, paragraph 3, The Encyclopedia Press.

[9]           1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol XV, Stabat Mater, by Hugh Thomas Henry, paragraph 2, The Encyclopedia Press.

Climate Alarmists Abuse Data from Natural Weather Cycles

The goal of climate alarmism is not to protect the environment but is a global power grab for a New World Order.  Read the evidence here: https://catholiccandle.org/2019/12/22/the-baseless-climate-change/

Climate alarmists begin their global warming graphs at about 1960-1970 because that is the bottom of a cooling trend after which the climate began the next warming cycle. 

Before that, the leftists promoted a “new ice age” scare involving climate alarmism making deceptive use of a cyclical cooling trend that was occurring until about the early 1970s.  Read about this phony “emergency” here: https://catholiccandle.org/2022/10/25/recalling-a-1970s-climate-change-hoax/

Below, is a government climate graph to which Catholic Candle added the blue box (the left box, toward the center) showing the part of the data used to scare gullible people with a “new ice age” as the climate was undergoing one of its cooling cycles. 

We added a red box (on the right side) to show the type of data used subsequently to scare naïve people that a catastrophic global warming will ruin the earth, as the climate began its next warming cycle.

This government graph is found here: https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/6/ (red and blue boxes added)

Below, is a different, similar graph of the weather data.  Fraudsters selectively pulled data from this sort of graph to scare people by purportedly showing that a “new ice age” was coming.  These fraudsters used this scare until about 1970 or so, and then shifted to sounding the alarm that a (purported) global warming crisis was coming – because the climate cycle began to head in the other direction during the next warming trend of the cycle.

This 1999 NASA graph on page 37 of 47 of the report found here: https://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1999/1999_Hansen_ha03200f.pdf  The red box (on the right side) and the blue box (toward the center), have been superimposed.

The climate-scare fraudsters cut the data wherever it suits the goal they have at the time.  They cut it at the low point of the cooling cycle when they wanted to scare people by a claim of global warming.  They cut the data at the high point when they wished to scare people by claiming a “new ice age”.  It is all in the service of the globalist power grab, seeking to control people on the pretense of “saving the planet”.[1]

Temperatures go in short and long cycles

It is clear to everybody that temperatures go in cycles.  There are daily cycles, (e.g., from day to night, then back to day), and annual cycles (the seasons).  What might be less clear to some people is that there are longer climate cycles too.  There are cycles that span decades.  For example, look at the cyclical fluctuations in the three graphs below, published by the U.S. government, which cover 120 years of climate data. 

There are also cycles that span hundreds of years, such as the spans of time called The Medieval Warming Period, The Little Ice Age, and The Roman Warming Period.  These centuries-long climate fluctuations are long-recognized and are well-researched. 

The daily climate cycles, the annual cycles, the decades-long cycles, and the centuries-long cycles are all occurring simultaneously

Decades-long temperature cycles

First let us look at the decades-long temperature cycles below, using the government’s data spanning 120 years.

This government graph is found here: https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/6/

This government graph is found here: https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/6/


This government graph is found here: https://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1999/1999_Hansen_ha03200f.pdf

During the “new ice age” hoax of the 1960s-1970s, the leftists sounded the alarm about the cooling trend which they warned could continue forever in that direction.[2]  Gullible people were alarmed with warnings such as a 1970s-era prediction that ice buildup would be permanent and would be so excessive that it would close many of the world’s crucial and busy shipping lanes even in the summer.  (A member of the Catholic Candle Team specifically remembers this 1970s-era prediction.)

When that cooling cycle was over and the next warming cycle then began, those “climate experts” (viz., those leftist alarmists) and their dupes did not admit they were wrong.   They merely re-structured their alarmism to predict global warming instead of cooling.

However, their dire climate predictions (although in opposite directions) share the pattern that the climate alarmists cut the data to fit their claims.  The alarmists also focus people’s attention on pity stories (anecdotes) about harms that people suffered in various places.  It is not necessarily true that such pity stories are false.  But those stories selectively and deceptively illustrated in concrete terms the lie that the effects resulting from the climate cycle are all negative – although the truth is that there are advantages in some places and disadvantages in other places.  Of course, those climate “Chicken Littles” (the alarmists) also falsely assert that the temperature trend (in whichever direction it happened to be at the time) was actually caused by human activities.

What the climate alarmists say is a lie.  Although their lie fools gullible people, the leftist leaders know it is a lie.  They are the ones that cut the data to only use the portion of the climate graphs that supports their lie. 

Centuries-long temperature cycles

In examining the decades-long temperature cycles (above), we use government temperature graphs which often start in about 1880. 

The reason why the 1880s has long been a common beginning point for many longer-term climate graphs of U.S. weather patterns: it is because this is the beginning of widespread exact temperature measurements across the U.S.  In most of the rest of the world the beginning of exact temperature measurements occurs later – often much later.

Because roughly 140 years of these exact temperatures exist in the U.S., this is enough data to enable us to clearly see those decades-long climate cycles. 

But there are longer climate cycles than those decades-long ones: there are centuries-long climate cycles too.  And many researchers have studied them.  But to study those climate cycles which occurred before we had widespread exact temperature measurements, the scientists had to be more resourceful.  They used the best proxies they had in lieu of those widespread exact temperature measurements that we have had for the last 140 years.  They have been using these proxies for many decades when studying the pre-1880 climate.  There are hundreds of studies using such proxy data.

Everyone recognizes that those proxies are not as good as having many exact temperature measurements.  Those proxies are things such as changes in crops grown in various places, over time.  For example, in Medieval England, the climate had warmed enough for grapes to be successfully grown there to sustain a thriving wine industry.[3]  But after hundreds of years of growing grapes, England’s climate then cooled enough so that this indigenous industry waned and essentially disappeared.  As another example, for hundreds of years during this same Medieval period, China cultivated citrus trees much further north than was possible before that or afterwards.[4]  The northward extension of the range of these citrus trees reached its maximum extent in the 13th century.  Id.

These climate researchers used many other proxies to estimate the prevailing temperatures before 1880.  For example, they used data showing: 1) how far north the northern margin of boreal forests in Canada went; 2) how far up the Rocky Mountains the tree lines went.  Further, they used 3) tree-ring measurements; 4) ice core samples (including in Antarctica); 5) ocean bed core samples; 6) glaciers advancing and retreating; 7) Alpine Mountain passes opening for a time but being impassible before and after that; 8) the doubling of the size of the Anasazi Indian’s land under cultivation on the northern Colorado Plateau (in America), compared to what is currently possible; and many other proxies for actual temperature measurements.[5]

The fruit of these studies was the evidence that there are centuries-long climate cycles.  There was a Roman Warm Period (~250 B.C. to A.D. 400), a Medieval Warm Period (~A.D. 950–1250), and a subsequent 400-year cold period called the Little Ice Age.  The proxy data certainly seems to show these centuries-long cycles occurred even though there are no exact temperature measurements.  Further, these cycles were worldwide[6] but (as could be expected) were not to the same extent everywhere in the world.

The Medieval Warm Period had a largely beneficial impact on the earth’s plant and animal life.  In fact, the environmental conditions of this time period were so favorable that it was often referred to as the Little Climatic OptimumBy contrast, the 400 year-long “Little Ice Age” (cooling cycle) brought a wide range of food shortages and famines.[7]

Overview of the temperature cycles

From the above article, we see that the temperatures go in daily cycles, annual cycles, decades-long cycles, and centuries-long cycles.  Temperature cycles, like other cycles, return to their base normal.  So, e.g., any warming cycle arises out of a cooling cycle and ends in one.

When there is a warming cycle, this greater warmth benefits some places and not other places.  So, during a long-term warming trend, places such as Alaska, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greenland, and Russia benefit far more than tropical countries.  The reverse is true in cooling cycles.

During a warming trend, places farther from the equator enjoy longer growing seasons and increased food production.  This is like the analogous situation where (hypothetically) the entire planet undergoes a rainy cycle in which, e.g,, the planet has a 5% increase in precipitation.  The cycle would tremendously help some places, e.g., the fertile but dry farmland of the Central Valley of California.  But this extra rain would be unhelpful to places such as Lloro, Colombia (in the Pacific lowlands) where the long-term average annual precipitation is already over 43 feet of water![8]

Although our purpose is not to dive deeply into the causes of these temperature cycles, we note that those cycles correspond nicely with different phases of solar activity, such as fluctuating cycles of solar winds, solar storms, etc.[9]

So, in any temperature or precipitation cycles, there are places where a change in either particular direction is welcome and places where that same trend is unwelcome.  But either way, those cycles are natural, inevitable, and last only until the cycle swings back in the other direction. 

When a temperature cycle is favorable, like the current modest warming trend, we should thank God for it.  If the temperature trend is unfavorable, we must offer up this Cross (suffering) given to us and thank God for it.[10]  Either way, we must just continue living our lives knowing that every such cycle will reverse course.  These cycles are not manmade and are not a cause for alarm.  We must have a spiritual outlook and see that they are God’s Will for us.

Let us not be fooled and alarmed by the ongoing climate scare!  Instead, let us fight the global power grab which is the real motive for this climate change lie!

[3]           Le Roy Ladurie E., 1971. Times of Feast, Times of Famine: A History of Climate since the Year 1000, Doubleday, New York, New York, USA, as cited here: http://www.co2science.org/subject/g/summaries/globalmwp.php

[4]           De’er, Z, 1994, Evidence for the existence of the medieval warm period in China. Climatic Change, ch. 26, pp. 289-297 as cited here: http://www.co2science.org/subject/g/summaries/globalmwp.php.

[5]           For more information and explanation, as well as climate graphs and a compilation of climate studies using these temperature measurement proxies, use this link: http://www.co2science.org/subject/g/summaries/globalmwp.php

[8]           Latin America: A Sketch of its Glorious Catholic Roots and a Snapshot of its Present, by the Editors of Quanta Cura Press, p.113, © 2016.

[10]         Read this article about the importance of valuing Crosses, thanking God for them, and carrying them well: https://catholiccandle.org/2020/04/01/77/

How to fight feminism – Part III

Catholic Candle note: Previously, we saw how the program of feminism is, at its core, the same as the program of Satan and the Marxists.  Read the analysis of this program, which begins here:


  and which proceeds through a total of seven parts, ending with this seventh part: https://catholiccandle.org/2022/08/26/the-feminist-program-is-the-same-as-that-of-satan-and-marx-part-vii/

Because we are Soldiers of Christ, we must fight feminism like we fight Satan and Marxism, because they all attack Christ the King and His Reign.  Below is part 3, the final part of Catholic Candle’s article explaining an effective way to fight the evils of feminism.  The first part of this article was published in the November 2022 issue of Catholic Candle and is also available here: https://catholiccandle.org/2022/11/28/1917/

The second part was published in December 2022 and is also available here: https://catholiccandle.org/2022/12/21/how-to-fight-feminism-part-ii/


How to Fight Feminism – Part 3

In this article’s part 2, we saw how the feminists follow the Marxists (and Satan) by hating – and seeking to destroy – monogamy because they reject the goodness and the importance of monogamy, which are shown by reason, by the Natural Law, and by God. 

In that part 2, we saw how the feminists and Marxists hate the special friendship and special fidelity which exists between good spouses.  The feminists and Marxists seek to destroy monogamy because they desire to promote disharmony, hatred, and division between persons (as is shown in the seven-part article linked above). 

Polygamy (the destruction of monogamy) fosters jealousy, distrust, disharmony, hatred, and a divisive spirit.  By contrast, monogamy fosters unity, harmony, trust, generosity, and love.  A man and his wife (but especially the wife) have a singular focus on pleasing the other.  As St. Paul teaches:

[S]he that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

1 Corinthians, 7:34.

But if there could be multiple so-called “husbands” or so-called “wives”, this good and natural focus on each pleasing the other above all other people, could not exist.

Further, polygamy causes jealousy as the wife compares how her husband treats her compared to his other so-called “wife” (or “wives”).  Foreseeably, one of the two women would think that their supposedly joint “husband” treats his “other wife” better than he treats her or that he treats his “other wife’s” children better than he treats her children.  Also, she would often think, because of the way her husband acts, looks, and what he says, that he loves the other so-called “wife” more than her, etc.  The same would apply among the men, if there could be multiple so-called “husbands”.

Moreover, destroying monogamy is extremely disruptive to the family and throws its God-given order into disarray.  A husband is the head of his home, by the Natural Law and by God’s revealed law.  The wife is the heart of her home for the same reasons.  Without monogamy, a family would be disordered and would resemble a monster – with multiple heads or multiple hearts.

Also, with multiple so-called “husbands” there would often be life-long doubt concerning who the father of the mother’s child is.  This would cause many problems.

So how can we defend monogamy and fight the feminists’ and Marxists’ attack on it?

We now see better the importance of defending monogamy against the enemies of God and society.  But how do we do that?

First, we must promote monogamy!  We must praise and honor monogamy and the unique fidelity proper to spouses.  We should do this especially by praising couples who have faithfully fulfilled their marriage vows for a long time.  For example, at weddings there is a customary dance where the announcer calls off the dance floor “every couple married for less than one day” (viz., the newlyweds), then, a little later, “every couple married for less than one year”; then less than five years, and so on until the last couple is alone on the dance floor.  Then everyone gives them a big round of applause.  This is a fitting way to honor monogamous fidelity in marriage and years of wedded bliss.  It is a way to honor that accomplishment itself, even when the couple is unknown to most people in the room.

Importance of Not Treating False “Marriages” as if they were True Marriages

To defend monogamy, we must avoid condoning the false so-called “marriages” and so-called “spouses” of those who are divorced and “remarried”.  Such “remarriage” is an abject failure, a public mortal sin, and an attack on monogamy. 

Even if a close relative is involved in this tragedy, the false “spouse” should not be accepted, given gifts, or allowed in the homes of Catholics.  The false “spouse” should be treated like a pariah for three reasons:

  The false “spouse” would be included solely because of the supposed “marriage”, so treating the false “spouse” like a real spouse would be lying by our actions;

  Treating the false “spouse” like a real spouse is a scandal and bad example; and

  Refusing to treat the false “spouse” like a real spouse can be a help to causing the false “spouses” to make their lives right with God, with the Catholic Church, with reason, and with the Natural Law.

To treat an adulterous relationship as if it were a faithful marriage, constitutes a lie not only for their relatives but also for anyone else who “plays along” with the charade.  This lie, in a way, is no less false than for some so-called “transgender woman” (who is really a biological man) to be treated as if he were really a girl.  In both situations, we would be violating reason and flaunting God’s law, showing that (sinful) human respect is more important to us than the Truth and the love of God. 

Concerning the Careful Reserve that Spouses Should Exhibit toward Others of the Opposite Sex

To protect monogamy and the precious fidelity between spouses, each spouse should exhibit due reserve and appropriate distance around other persons of the opposite sex.  The general standard (for reserve and distance) is no less than (but maybe more than) the minimum that one’s spouse would desire, even if that spouse is not present.  When one of two persons is married, then any flirting or “free” manners between them disrespects monogamy, marriage, and his (her) spouse.

Although this is always true, such reserve and appropriate distance is not the same in all circumstances, e.g., the distance a married man would keep from an aged, widowed, neighbor lady, would not be the same as the sisterly reserve he would show to his sister-in-law, and both of these would be much different than the even greater reserve he would show to the friendly young lady behind the counter at the coffee shop that he patronizes regularly.  Such due reserve is part of honoring, protecting, and defending monogamy.  Obviously, this decorum should not only be practiced by married persons but also by unmarried persons in relation to married persons of the opposite sex.

The Feminist’s Attack on Monogamy by Promoting Impurity

An important reason why feminists (and Marxists) hate monogamy is because they hate purity.  Free license to indulge every urge of passion results in destroying a person’s purity, personality, and character.  Kate Millet and other founders of the National Organization of Women (NOW) singled out destruction of purity as their main method of destroying monogamy.

Again (as quoted earlier in this article), here is the chant with which they opened their feminist meetings:

“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” she demanded.

“By destroying the American family!” they answered.

“How do we destroy the family?” she came back.

“By destroying the American Patriarch,” they cried exuberantly.

“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.

“By taking away his power!”

“How do we do that?”

“By destroying monogamy!” they shouted.

“How can we destroy monogamy?” …

By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality!”, they resounded.[1]

The Marxists and other servants of Satan follow the same program as the feminists do, promoting impurity, especially unnatural impurity.

The trained Marxists who lead Black Lives Matter (BLM) also promote unnatural impurity and they view (and attack) purity as the enemy.  Here is one way BLM stated its position:

We foster a queeraffirming network.  When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking, or rather, the belief that all in the world are heterosexual (unless s/he or they disclose otherwise).[2]

So, BLM is saying here that, when they gather, their intent is “liberation” from the normalcy of the Natural Law.  Here is one way that St. Paul described this filthy, shameless (so-called) “lifestyle”: 

God delivered them up to shameful affections.  For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature.  And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error.

Romans, 1:26-27 (emphasis added).

It is not by accident that feminists (especially their leaders) live lives of unnatural impurity.  Feminism leads to that (so-called) “lifestyle”.  As Ti-Grace Atkinson (board member and president of its New York City chapter of NOW) explained:

Feminism is the theory; lesbianism is the practice.[3]

In other words, although gullible and naïve persons don’t understand this fact, feminism is the explanation (or worldview), which leads to, results in, and explains unnatural impurity.

Because the feminist movement leads to this life of unnatural vice, feminism seeks to break down women’s and girls’ modesty, purity, reserve, and natural bashfulness by continually exposing them to shamelessness, promiscuity, eroticism, and continual contact with filth (impurity) of all kinds.

Thus, among the 45 goals which the communists listed as means to take over the United States, these three goals (#24 – #26) seek to destroy the nation’s purity: 

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press. 

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV. 

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, and healthy.”[4]

One reason that the feminists, Marxists, and the so-called “racial justice” movement all promote impurity (especially unnatural vice) is because they follow Satan’s program.  Satan is like a “vulture” in the spiritual realm seeking to “devour” the spiritual “carrion”, i.e., souls which are dead and are reeking with the “stench” of mortal sin.

But there is a further reason these groups promote the vilest impurities.  These sins of impurity (especially unnatural impurity) more than other sins, most effectively dull the mind,[5] weaken the will, and destroy the character.[6]  Satan, the Marxists, and the feminists strongly promote unnatural impurity because a society is defenseless to their cultural revolution when people are weak-willed and dull-witted because they are steeped in the vice of impurity.

This is obvious.  But let us look at this truth a little deeper.  If a man is impure, he is weak and is a slave to lust.  By contrast, purity is strong.  Here is how St. Augustine refers to this fact, while addressing himself to God:

You formed the living soul of the faithful by bringing their passions into control under the strength of continence.[7]

The Confessions of St. Augustine, Bk. 13, ch.34.

Because continence and purity are strong, Satan, the Marxists, and the feminists know that their cultural revolution requires that they bring society to the weakness of incontinence[8] and impurity.

St. Paul teaches the same thing as St. Augustine, viz., that purity is strong, teaching us this and giving us this crucial example:

I chastise my body, and bring it into subjection.

1 Corinthians, 9:27.

Impurity constitutes being conquered by our body (i.e., passions).  Using St. Paul’s words, impurity is a means by which our bodily passions bring US into subjection.  Plainly, we cannot fight exterior enemies (e.g., the feminists and Marxists) if we ourselves are slaves and have already been brought into subjection by our interior enemies (i.e., disorderly passions).  Thus, our enemies know with satanic cunning, that our subjection to impurity is crucial to their subjugating us in a cultural revolution.

What can we do to fight the feminists’ promotion of impurity?

As explained in part 1 in this article, to fight feminism, we must see what the feminists particularly attack and then we must concentrate our defenses there.  So, we see (above) that they are attacking purity in order to attack monogamy because purity is the safeguard of monogamy.  Therefore, (as already intimated above), we must defend monogamy, by promoting and defending the safeguards of monogamy, viz., the related virtues of purity, modesty, custody of our eyes, custody of our thoughts, and custody of our imagination.  We know this not only though our Catholic Faith but also through the Natural Law (e.g., as masterfully set out in Aristotle’s treatise called The Nichomachean Ethics).

We must not be ashamed that our standard of modesty is different from (and stricter than) the world’s standard and is also much firmer than those who call themselves “Traditional Catholics” but who partially follow the fashions of the world.  For example, their women wear trousers (which are men’s clothing) like the world does, but they wear what they would euphemistically call “modest”, “women’s” trousers.

Faithful and informed Traditional Catholics must dress differently than the world, as well as act differently.  As one of the more senior members of the Catholic Candle Team emphasized to his own children when he was raising them: “You are going to dress differently because you are different” (emphasis in his voice).

In our pagan and corrupt times, if our attire does not proclaim that we are different – very different – then we are not dressing the way we should.  This point is sometimes made in a slightly amusing way, as follows: “When it becomes a criminal offense to be Catholic, may there be enough evidence to convict you.

Thus, we see that the virtue of purity plays a key role in the fight against the feminists’ cultural revolution.  (Of course, purity plays a key role in saving our own souls too, as we remember that Our Lady revealed to us at Fatima that more people go to Hell because of sins of impurity than for any other reason.) 

Part of the essential purity we must have and must promote among others, is the strong custody of our eyes, custody of our thoughts, and custody of our imagination.  On the most basic level, these custodies are essential for avoiding lust (which, as we know, is one of the seven deadly sins).  As Our Lord teaches us in the Sermon on the Mount about the lack of these three custodies:

Whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.

St. Matthew’s Gospel, 5:28.

But, looking deeper, we see that these three custodies are mandatory not only to avoid mortal sins of lust, but also to avoid other unnecessary occasions of sin. 

God made women the more beautiful sex and made men attracted to them.  Even aside from a man looking upon a woman with lust, if he looks upon her to simply and chastely admire her beauty, is that a good idea?  Well, in some circumstances it is, but not in others.  For example, it would usually be a good idea for a man to admire the beauty of his own wife.  This would be a natural help in his fulfilling his vocation. 

Also, it could be a good idea for an unmarried man whom God is calling to the married vocation to chastely admire an unmarried lady’s beauty.  God made her beautiful for such situations, as an aid to both of them fulfilling their vocations.

But if he is already married, or if she is, then what business does he have to be giving himself over to admiring her?  It is not an aid to his vocation but is rather a potential and unnecessary occasion of sin, and a hindrance. 

Similarly, if an unmarried woman is called to the married vocation and she makes herself attractive to (unmarried) men, in a modest manner, this would be an aspect of her doing her part to fulfill her vocation.  But if she is seeking to be admired for her beauty by married men or if she is a married women seeking to be admired by men who are not her husband, then that is a potential and unnecessary occasion of sin, and a hindrance – at least unless she has good reason to do so – perhaps, to honor her husband by her modest display of her beauty when it is reasonable that she does so – e.g., among their friends and acquaintances.  Although we need not treat this point further now, she (and all of us, at all times) must act according to reason and not mere vainglory. 

We should keep Our Lord’s admonishment in mind;

[F]or every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the Day of Judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

St. Matthew’s Gospel, 12:36-37.

The same admonition applies to idle thoughts and actions too.

Thus, we see that we must pray daily for purity and encourage others to pray for purity.  We should praise purity and seek to make others esteem this great and strong virtue.  The same is true for modesty and the three custodies.

We must be devoted to Our Lady, the Mother Most Pure and Mother Most Chaste, striving to make others devoted to her also. 

We should be devoted to St. Joseph, who is the Lily of Purity, invoked in his litany as “Joseph Most Chaste” and “Chaste Guardian of Virgins”.  We can profitably use a St. Joseph cord of purity (which is a traditional sacramental and devotion).

We should foster purity by fasting and by performing other mortifications generously and regularly.

From all of the foregoing, we see that we should:

  Promote and defend modesty, strong custody of our eyes, custody of our thoughts and custody of our imagination, in order to:

  Promote and defend the virtue of purity, in order to:

  Promote and defend monogamy, in order to:

  Promote and defend patriarchal authority, in order to:

  Promote and defend the family, in order to:

  Defend society against the feminist/Marxist cultural revolution.

Let us give ourselves wholly to this fight for Christ the King and His Mother Most Pure!

[1]           Marxist Feminism’s Ruined Lives, found here: https://mallorymillett.com/?p=37 (emphasis added).


[2]           Quoted from https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/ accessed on June 4, 2020 (emphasis added).  


Beginning in about June 2020, conservatives noticed the BLM credo and its overt Marxism.  They began quoting it to warn the public about the encroaching Marxism throughout the Western World.  Sometime, in approximately September 2020, BLM removed this credo and substituted a vaguer and more generic one in its place.  Here is an archive copy of BLM’s Marxist credo we quote here.  https://web.archive.org/web/20200917194804/https://blacklivesmatter.com/what-we-believe/


[3]           Quoted here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_lesbianism (quoting these words of Ti-Grace Atkinson from a pamphlet called “Lesbianism and Feminism”, published by the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union in 1971, and then re-published in a book to be used in a college course.  This book is called Feminism and Sexuality: A Reader, by Stevi Jackson and Sue Scott, Columbia University Press, 1996.  The quote is found on p.282.    

[4]           Quoted from the Congressional Record – Appendix, pp. A34-A35, Current Communist Goals, Extension of Remarks of Hon. A. S. Herlong, Jr. of Florida in the House of Representatives, Thursday, January 10, 1963.

[5]               Here is how St. Thomas explains this truth:


Intemperance [including impurity] is most disgraceful … because it is most repugnant to man’s glory … inasmuch as the pleasures which are the matter of intemperance dim the light of reason from which all the glory and beauty of virtue arises: wherefore these pleasures are described as being most slavish.


Summa, IIa IIae, Q142, a.4 (emphasis added).


[6]           Here is how St. Thomas explains this truth:


Intemperance [including impurity] is most disgraceful … because it is most repugnant to human excellence, since it is about pleasures common to us and the lower animals, as stated above (Summa, IIa IIae, Q.141, a.3).  Wherefore it is written (Psalm 48:21): “Man, when he was in honor, did not understand: he hath been compared to senseless beasts, and made like to them.”


Summa, IIa IIae, Q142, a.4.

[7]           A person has continence when he performs the actions of a particular virtue (e.g., temperance when eating), before he has the virtue itself – which is the habit of doing those good actions such as eating temperately.  In this sense, continence is not a virtue but it is the path to acquiring the virtue.  Summa, IIa IIae, Q.155, a.1.  (In a different sense not discussed here, “continence” can be called a virtue in the sense of the celibacy of a monk, etc.)


When a person has continence, then he performs good actions despite a struggle occurring in his soul as he fights the unruly demands of his passions.  By contrast, when the person has the virtue itself, then his passions are conformed to reason and there is no more disorder in his passion which had previously fought his reason.  As a result, a person who possesses the virtue of temperance no longer has an interior struggle.  His passions have been so conformed with reason that they no longer seek to eat to excess and so his performance of virtuous acts is sweet, easy, and more meritorious.

[8]           Like continence, incontinence is a person’s struggle with his disorderly passions except that the incontinent man yields to the demands of his unruly passions.  This is a sin and causes a weakening in the man, leading toward vice, which is the habit of committing the sin.

Lesson #18 The Mercy of God

                    Mary’s School of Sanctity                   

Lesson #18  The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius – ON THE MERCY OF GOD

The meditations we have done on hell, with both its moral and physical suffering; death; and the judgments were intended to sober us and to foster sorrow for our sins.  Yet to prevent ourselves from falling for the temptation of discouragement, which is a lack of trust in God, we now add a specific meditation on the Mercy of Our Lord.  Our Lord does not want us to ever forget His Providential care for us.  He wants us to truly appreciate His kindness and His mercy.  This meditation was not included in St. Ignatius’s original Spiritual Exercises.  Still, because appreciation of Our Lord’s Mercy brings great gratitude, humility, and filial love for God, we include this meditation here.

This meditation will be set out in the style of St. Ignatius.

The preparatory prayer is the same as usual, I ask God Our Lord the grace that all my intentions, actions, and works may be directed purely to the service and praise of the Divine Majesty.

The FIRST PRELUDE is the mental representation of the place.  Here it will be to see with my imagination Our Lord as the Good Shepherd or Our Lord on the Cross suffering greatly for my soul.  

The SECOND PRELUDE is to ask for the grace:

To weep tears of gratitude for the many countless blessings and mercies that the Lord has poured out on my soul.  Also, I will beg Our Lord to have continued mercy on me.

The FIRST POINT is to consider what God has done for me.  He has taken such tender care of me.  He had me baptized and has given me innumerable blessings.

The SECOND POINT is to consider how Our Lord died for my sins.  He became Man for the purpose of dying on the Cross for me, a sinner.  He truly wants my salvation and has promised His constant forgiveness if I am truly sorry for my sins.

The THIRD POINT is to consider that Our Lord has not allowed me to die and be condemned to everlasting death in the tomb of hell.  He wants my salvation more than I do.  I must be grateful for His tender mercies that He has shown to me.

The COLLOQUY: I will pour out my heart to Our Lord, the Sacred Heart, and the Good Shepherd of my soul.  I will thank Him for ever seeking my soul, I who am so unworthy of His love.  I will beg Him to keep me ever close to His Heart and to never let me forget what I owe to Him.  I will beg Him to ever increase my love Him..

Considerations for the FIRST POINT: the blessings God has bestowed on me.

We tend to rely on ourselves[1] and do not think about the fact that we need God.  Yet when we reflect honestly within ourselves and look back on our life so far, we find countless things that God has done for us.

We can consider them in chronological order: He created me, He had me baptized as a Catholic etc.  Not only these, but He also gave me (and each of us) insights and knowledge that He did not give to others.  He drew me to the traditions of the Church.  He has given me the means to stay informed about the truth I need in order to maintain my Faith and Morals.  Indeed, He continues to instruct me every day if I truly am docile to what He wants to teach me.

Yes, He even has given me blessings in the form of crosses and I have not been grateful for this fact.  Here is what St. Alphonsus de Ligouri says of how valuable crosses are to us:

The saints have done but little to acquire Heaven. So many kings, who have abdicated their thrones and shut themselves up in a cloister; so many holy anchorites, who have confined themselves in a cave; so many martyrs, who have cheerfully submitted to torments, to the rack, and to red-hot plates have done but little.  “The sufferings of this life are not worthy to be compared to the glory to come." (Rom. 8:18.) To gain heaven, it would be but little to endure all the pains of this life. Let us, then, brethren, courageously resolve to bear patiently with all the sufferings which shall come upon us during the remaining days of our lives: to secure heaven they are all little and nothing.  Rejoice then; for all these pains, sorrows, and persecutions shall, if we are saved, be to us a source of never-ending joys and delights. “Your sorrows shall be turned into joy.” (John 16: 20.)  When, then, the crosses of this life afflict us, let us raise our eyes to heaven, and console ourselves with the hope of Paradise.  At the end of her life, St. Mary of Egypt was asked, by the Abbot St. Zozimus, how she had been able to live for forty-seven years in the desert where he found her dying.  She answered: “With the hope of Paradise.”  If we be animated with the same hope, we shall not feel the tribulations of this life. Have courage! Let us love God and labor for heaven. There, the saints expects us, Mary expects us, Jesus Christ expects us; He holds in His Hand a crown to make each of us a king in that eternal kingdom.[2]

With these consoling words to encourage us, let us resolve to forge ahead accepting everything that God deigns to send us.

Let us pass on to the next consideration of how to appreciate God’s mercy that He has shown us.

Considerations for the SECOND POINT: Christ’s sufferings for the salvation of souls.

In St. John’s Gospel, we see Our Lord has such tender love for souls, for He says, “I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd giveth His Life for His sheep.” [John 10:11] 

St. Alphonsus tells us in his beautiful sermon on the Mercy of God how Our Lord truly wants our salvation.  Listen to his consoling words:

Oh! With what tenderness does God embrace a sinner that returns to Him! This tenderness Jesus Christ wished to declare to us when He said that He is the good pastor, who, as soon as He finds the lost sheep, embraces it and places it on His own shoulders.  “And when He hath found it, doth He not lay it upon His shoulders rejoicing?" (Luke 15:5.)  This tenderness also appears in the parable of the prodigal son, in which Jesus Christ tells us that He is the good Father, Who, when His lost son returns, goes to meet him, embraces and kisses him, and, as it were, swoons away through joy in receiving him. ”And running to him, he fell upon his neck and kissed him."  (Luke 15: 20.) God protests that when sinners repent of their iniquities, He will forget all their sins, as if they had never offended Him. “But, if the wicked do penance for all the sins which he hath committed. … living, he shall live, and shall not die.  I will not remember all his iniquities that he hath done.” (Ezech. 18: 21, 22.) By the Prophet Isaias, the Lord goes so far as to say: “Come and accuse Me, saith the Lord. If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow.” (Isa. 1:18.)[3]

We can see the tender care Our Lord takes of us and how in the Gospels there are countless examples of His mercies that He shows to us, His poor sheep. He searches for us and the angels rejoice over the repentant sinner, “There shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than ninety-nine just, who need not penance.” (Luke15:7)

He wants us to lean on Him and trust in Him. By doing so, we foster humility.

In our last consideration, we must ponder on how we must be completely committed to showing our gratitude to God by being willing to see our nothingness and our unworthiness of His mercy.  We must also have sorrow for all our sins.

Considerations for the THIRD POINT: I am still alive and I can dedicate the remainder of my life to more fervent service of Our Lord.

Let us see yet another instructive quote from the preaching of St. Alphonsus de Ligouri.

But no!  God cannot despise a humble and contrite heart. “A contrite and humble heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” (Ps. l: 19.)  To show mercy and grant pardon to sinners, God regards as redounding to His own glory. And therefore shall He be exalted sparing you.” (Isa. 30:18.) The holy Church says that God displays His omnipotence in granting pardon and mercy to sinners. O God, Who manifested Thy omnipotence in sparing and showing mercy.”  Do not imagine, dearly beloved sinners, that God requires of you to labor for a long time before He grants you pardon: as soon as you wish for forgiveness, He is ready to give it.  Behold what the Scripture says: Weeping, thou shalt not weep, He will surely have pity on thee.” (Isa. 30: 19.) You shall not have to weep for a long time: as soon as you shall have shed the first tear through sorrow for your sins, God will have mercy on you. At the voice of thy cry, as soon as He shall hear, He will answer thee." (Ibid.) The moment He shall hear you say: Forgive me, my God, forgive me, He will instantly answer and grant your pardon.[4]

These words show us again how God will only listen to those who are striving with all their might to be truly His friend.  Those who are indifferent to God do not take the time or make the effort to be concerned about how they live and act.  In the following passage of St. Alphonsus, he shows us the extreme patience God has for souls.

The same Prophet [Isaiah] answers: “The Lord waiteth that He may have mercy on you.” (Isa. 30:18.) God waits for sinners that they may one day repent, and that after their repentance, He may pardon and save them.  “As I live, saith the Lord, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” (Ezech. 33: 11.) St. Augustine goes so far as to say that the Lord, if He were not God, should be unjust on account of His excessive patience towards sinners.  By waiting for those who abuse His patience to multiply their sins, God appears to do an injustice to the Divine honor.  “We,” continues the saint,sin; we adhere to sin (some of us become familiar and intimate with sin, and sleep for months and years in this miserable state); we rejoice at sin (some of us go so far as to boast of our wickedness); and thou art appeased!  “We provoke Thee to anger; Thou dost invite us to mercy.”  We and God appear to be, as it were, engaged in a contest, in which we labor to provoke Him to chastise our guilt, and He invites us to pardon.  Lord, exclaimed holy Job, what is man, that thou dost entertain so great an esteem for him? Why dost thou love him so tenderly?  “What is man that thou shouldst magnify him?  Or why dost Thou set Thy Heart upon him?” (Job. 7: 7.)  St. Denis the Areopagite says, that God seeks after sinners like a despised lover, entreating them not to destroy themselves.  ‘Why, ungrateful souls, do you fly from Me?  I love you and desire nothing but your welfare.’  “Ah, sinners!” says St. Teresa, “remember that He Who now calls and seeks after you, is that God Who shall one day be your Judge.  If you are lost, the great mercies which He now shows you shall be the greatest torments which, you shall suffer in hell.”[5]

Indeed, these words are both consoling and sobering!  Yes, we must want to show Christ that we belong entirely to Him.  How could we not love Him for His constant display of mercy and kindness to us, unworthy sinners!  So overwhelmed should we be from these powerful inspirations and admonitions, that we should not want to take God’s mercy for granted.

COLLOQUY: How can I thank God for the edifying instructions from the doctors of the Church?  I see more than ever before how I must not take God’s mercy for granted.  He does not owe me anything.  I will thank Our Lord, for giving me many insights.  I will beg Him under the titles of the Good Shepherd, my Redeemer, etc., reminding myself that even though God gives His blessings for free, I must be serious and sober about how I use them.  I will pour out my heart to thank Him devoutly and beg His continued mercy for my soul and for my loved ones.     

In our next lesson, we will consider St. Ignatius’s famous meditation on The Call of Christ the King.  This next meditation begins St. Ignatius’s Second Week which has been referred to as the ‘true’ beginning of the retreat because we are now ready to launch out into the depths of learning about how to imitate Our Lord.

[1]           “What hast thou that thou hast not received?  And if thou hast received, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” 1 Corinthians 4:7.


[2]           Sermon On the Mercy of God, preached on the Third Sunday after Pentecost, taken from Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year, by St. Alphonsus M. Liguori. Translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori by the late very rev. Nicholas Callan, D.D., Roman Catholic College, Maynooth, Eighth edition, Dublin, James Duffy & Sons, 15 Wellington Quay, and London, 1 Paternoster Row, 1882.


[3]           Sermon On the Mercy of God, preached on the Third Sunday after Pentecost, taken from Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year, by St. Alphonsus M. Liguori. Translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori by the late very rev. Nicholas Callan, D.D., Roman Catholic College, Maynooth, Eighth edition, Dublin, James Duffy & Sons, 15 Wellington Quay, and London, 1 Paternoster Row, 1882.


[4]           Sermon On the Mercy of God, preached on the Third Sunday after Pentecost, taken from Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year, by St. Alphonsus M. Liguori. Translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori by the late very rev. Nicholas Callan, D.D., Roman Catholic College, Maynooth, Eighth edition, Dublin, James Duffy & Sons, 15 Wellington Quay, and London, 1 Paternoster Row, 1882.


[5]           Sermon On the Mercy of God, preached on the Third Sunday after Pentecost, taken from Sermons for All the Sundays in the Year, by St. Alphonsus M. Liguori. Translated from the Italian of St. Alphonsus M. Liguori by the late very rev. Nicholas Callan, D.D., Roman Catholic College, Maynooth, Eighth edition, Dublin, James Duffy & Sons, 15 Wellington Quay, and London, 1 Paternoster Row, 1882.


Avoid the False “Divine Mercy” Devotion

Catholic Candle note: The article below is a warning against a false, conciliar, counterfeit devotion concerning God’s mercy.



Catholics should stay away from the so-called “Divine Mercy” devotion and stick to the traditional Catholic devotions, especially the devotion to the Sacred Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The “Divine Mercy” devotion sprang out of supposed apparitions to Sister Faustina in Poland.  She is a supposed conciliar “saint”.  Pope John Paul II, of course, was Polish and loved “all things” Polish.  He “canonized” her.  He encouraged devotion to Sister Faustina, her supposed visions, and this devotion. 


Before Vatican II, the Holy Office quelled the so-called “Divine Mercy” devotion.  The Congregation of the Holy Office, in a plenary meeting held on November 19, 1958, declared the following:

·         The supernatural nature of the revelations made to Sister Faustina is not evident.

·         No feast of Divine Mercy is to be instituted.


·         It is forbidden to divulge images and writings that propagate this devotion under the form received by Sister Faustina.

Sister Faustina’s diary was also placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, or List of Prohibited Books by Pope Pius XII.  The diary was never removed from the List, but the list was completely abolished by the Modernist Pope Paul VI.

There was also a second decree, on March 6, 1959, in which of the Holy Office decreed the following:

·         The diffusion of images and writings promoting the devotion to Divine Mercy under the form proposed by the same Sister Faustina is forbidden.

·         The prudence of the bishops is to judge as to the removal of the aforesaid images that are already displayed for public honor.


Pope Paul VI lifted these prohibitions and restrictions on April 15, 1978 and Pope John Paul II introduced a “feast” of Divine Mercy into the novus ordo mass’s calendar.  These actions are part of the conciliar pattern of overturning the pre-Vatican II safeguards of the Faith.


There are many things in the writings of Sr. Faustina which would scandalize an informed Catholic.  For example, Sr. Faustina claimed that “Our Lord” declared that “He” is uniting “Himself” more closely with her than anyone else, including “His” own Mother.  Here are the words of this supposed apparition to Sr. Faustina:


I am uniting Myself with you so intimately as with no other creature.[1]


How different from these words are Our Lord’s words to a real saint, St. Catherine of Sienna!  Our Lord told St. Catherine:


Do you know, daughter, who you are, who I am?  If you know these two things, you will be blessed.  You are she who is not; whereas I am He who is.[2]


There are many other evils in the supposed words of “Our Lord” to Sr. Faustina.  But for the present article, let this quote (above) suffice for a warning against the supposed “revelations” to Sr. Faustina.


The real image of God’s mercy is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, crowned with thorns, dripping with His Precious Blood.  The Sacred Heart calls for a devotion of reparation, as the Church had continually promoted before Vatican II. However, this is not true with the “Divine Mercy” devotion.


The picture that accompanies this false “Divine Mercy” devotion is an image of “Our Lord” with rays coming from “His Heart” but “He” has no heart.  It is a Sacred Heart without a heart, without reparation, without the price of our sins being shown. This points toward this devotion being a satanic counterfeit of the Real devotion to the Sacred Heart.


In the “Divine Mercy” devotion, there is an absence of the need for reparation for sins.  For example, there is a claim that all the temporal punishment for sin will be removed for persons who observe the 3:00 p.m. Low Sunday devotions. How could such a devotion be more powerful and better than a plenary indulgence?  How could it not require as a condition that we perform a penitential work of our own?  How could it not require the detachment from even venial sin that is necessary to obtain a plenary indulgence?


The “Divine Mercy” devotion seems to place so much emphasis on God’s mercy as to exclude His justice.  Our sins, and the enormity of their offensiveness to God, is pushed aside as being unimportant.  That is why the aspect of reparation for sin is omitted or obscured.  The “Divine Mercy” seems to be the sort of presumption on God’s mercy which is described by Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Catholic Church:


Let him who does all that he can, rely firmly upon the mercy of God.  But for him who does not do all that lies within his power, to rely upon the mercy of God would be simple presumption.[3]


Although God is truly all-merciful, nonetheless, this devotion seems like a devotion NOT suited to our time.  Presently, most people seem more inclined to presume upon God’s mercy than to despair of God’s mercy.  People today have less need to be convinced that God will accept them back as prodigal sons and have more need to be convinced they should “work out their salvation in fear and trembling”,[4] as St. Paul teaches.  No doubt some people need to focus on the fact that it is not too late to repent.  But it would seem this is not most people’s problem and that this supposed “Divine Mercy” devotion is especially contrary to what we need in our time.


The chaplet of Divine Mercy contains orthodox prayers.  However, the evil is that it is the chaplet of this false vision and “Divine Mercy” devotion.  If a person thinks that he received spiritual benefit in connection with his use of the “Divine Mercy” devotion, that merely shows that God can draw a person to Himself in any circumstances.  If a person got an inspiration while attending the novus ordo mass or a protestant service, that does not indicate that those evil services are in themselves good or a source of any good.  The same is true of the “Divine Mercy” devotion.


Lastly, the “new” SSPX now promotes this false conciliar devotion in a low-key way.




[1]           Quoted from Divine Mercy in My Soul, The Diary of Sr. Faustina, Stockbridge, MA, Marian Press, ©1987, p. 288 (emphasis added).


[2]           The Life of St. Catherine of Sienna, by Blessed Raymond of Capua (St. Catherine of Sienna’s confessor), © 1960 by Harvill Press and P. J. Kennedy & Sons, republished by TAN Books (c) 2011, Part 1 ch. 10.


[3]           The Four Last Things, by Fr. Martin Von Cochem, quoting Pope St. Gregory the Great – Tan Books and Publishers, Inc. Rockford, Illinois ©1987, Part 4, ch. 4, page 219.

[4]           “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.”  Philippians, 2:12.

Lesson #17 The Judgment

Mary’s School of Sanctity

Lesson #17  The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius –—ON THE PARTICULAR AND THE GENERAL JUDGMENT [In the state of grace VS In the state of mortal sin]

Now after the sobering meditations that we have done on the pains of hell both of the senses and pain of the loss of God, and on death, we now consider how we can  increase our sobriety by meditating on our particular judgment and the general judgment at the end of time.  This meditation was also not included in St. Ignatius’s original Spiritual Exercises; however, since we know that we are poor creatures and cannot be too serious about our salvation, we must endeavor to take more means to help us be as sober as we can.

For the same reason, we should do meditations on hell, on death, and on judgment often in order to keep the seriousness of the goal of our life ever before our eyes.

This meditation will be set out in the style of St. Ignatius.

The preparatory prayer is the same as usual, I ask God Our Lord the grace that all my intentions, actions, and works may be directed purely to the service and praise of the Divine Majesty.

The FIRST PRELUDE is the mental representation of the place.  Here it will be to see with my imagination my particular judgment before God.  My body and soul have been separated and I am aware of my past and know exactly how I have been.  

The SECOND PRELUDE is to ask for the grace:

To weep for my sins while I still have time and to put my life in order before it is too late for me, knowing that my eternity will be determined by the way I live my life now.

The FIRST POINT is to consider what the particular judgment of my immortal soul is.  What is involved in the particular judgment?   Our Lord Jesus Christ will be my Judge.  He will repay me for all I have done and all I have neglected to do.  I will also consider what my particular judgment will be like if I am in the state of grace.  I will contrast this with what my particular judgment will be like if I am in the state of mortal sin.

Furthermore, I will consider that the sentence from the Divine Judge will be final.  I will resolve to live my life now at present the way I will want to be found at my particular judgment— which will occur as soon as my soul leaves my body.

The SECOND POINT is to consider the general judgment.  What will this scene be like?  I will try to form an image in my mind of the valley of Josaphat where the Church teaches that the general judgment will occur.

I will consider Our Lord judging the just and the damned.  On which side will I be?

The COLLOQUY: the possibilities for the colloquy are numerous. I will ask Our Lady and St. Joseph to help me live now the way I would have wanted to have lived when I am called to stand before the tribunal of the Incarnate Wisdom, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

I will now humbly beg Our Lord, Our Lady, St. Joseph or all three to help me live with the thought of pleasing God ever before my eyes.  I want to fear my Judge, Our Lord Jesus Christ with a filial fear, that is, a loving fear of displeasing my dear Lord and the Spouse of my soul.  Because I know that I will die the way I lived, I will beg for the grace of perseverance in my daily struggles and the gift of final perseverance.

Considerations for the FIRST POINT: the particular judgment

I have just drawn my last breath.  My body is motionless and those attending me have already assumed that my soul is gone, but no, my soul’s departure will happen in God’s mysterious way and in His timing.  No one can guess the exact moment.  Some time has passed.  But oh!  It is now, and the pain is like no other pain that I have ever felt before!!!  My will says, “Oh, my Lord, be merciful to me, help me!” [If I am in grace, I do hope I prayed that last prayer well.] [If I am in wretched sin, I did not think to say it but instead I have cursed that awful pain!] This last pain of my life, this tremendous pain, is only lasting one moment, but to be torn asunder in such a manner!!  WOW!! Unspeakable pain!!  Alas, my soul is now severed from my body.  How did I fair?  Lo, the Judge is already here to ask me the ONE TERRIBLE QUESTION—WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH THE TALENTS I GAVE YOU?  RENDER AN ACCOUNT OF YOUR STEWARDSHIP BECAUSE YOU CAN BE STEWARD NO LONGER!!!

He sees everything I have ever thought, imagined, said, done or left undone.  Nothing is hidden from Him.  I am alone and I must answer.  I know how I stand in that instant of judgment after that ultimate moment of pain, that is, my death.  Now the next instant – THE SENTENCE.  What will it be?

St. Alphonsus De Liguori preached these words:

BELOVED Christians, of all the goods of nature, of fortune, and of grace, which we have received from God, we are not the masters, neither can we dispose of them as we please; we are but the administrators of them; and therefore, we should employ them according to the will of God, who is our Lord. Hence, at the hour of death, we must render a strict account of them to Jesus Christ, our Judge. “You are not," says St. Bonaventure, in his comment on these words, “a master, but a steward over the things committed to you; and therefore, you are to render an account of them."[1]

St. Alphonsus de Liguori goes on to comment on Our Lord’s words, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it on the day of judgment” [Matt 12:36] by saying:

But if every glance, every idle word, and even good works, shall be judged, with what rigor shall immodest expressions, blasphemies, grievous detractions, thefts, and sacrileges be judged? Alas! On that day every soul shall, as St. Jerome says, see, to her own confusion, all the evils which she has done.[2]

St. Augustine says referring to Our Lord in regard to the particular judgment of each soul that, “He will come in love to the good, in terror to the wicked.”[3]

Keeping these wise words in mind, let us investigate the death of a member of the Elect versus the death of a reprobate.

The Particular Judgment for those in the state of grace:                               

 We must remember, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” Ps. 115:15; and the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them.”  Wisdom 3:1

 St. Alphonsus De Liguori tells us that, “the just man is not afflicted at the thought of being obliged to take leave of the goods of the earth, for he has always kept his heart detached from them.”[4]

Here is another encouraging quote from St. Alphonsus:

He who dies loving God, is not disturbed by the pains of death; but, seeing that he is now at the end of life, and that he has no more to suffer for God, or to offer Him other proofs of his love, he accepts these pains with joy.  With affection and peace he offers to God these last moments of life, and feels consoled in uniting the sacrifice of his death to the sacrifice which Jesus Christ offered for him on the Cross to His eternal Father. Oh! How great the peace of the Christian who dies abandoned and reposing in the arms of Jesus Christ, Who has loved us to death, and has condescended to suffer so cruel a death in order to obtain for us a death full of sweetness and consolation.[5]

Death of the Just

Thus, the soul that dies in the state of grace is a friend of Christ and loves Christ above all things.  What a consolation for this just soul to hear the sweet words, “Come ye blessed of My Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world!” [Matt. 25:34] Or to hear the following: “Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord!” [Matt. 25:21]

These are very consoling and peaceful words, indeed!  Our Lord says these words to the straight-to-heaven saints.  Yet to most souls who die in the state of grace the words are modified to convey to the soul the need to expatiate in the horrible fires of Purgatory.  Tradition tells us that these fires are the same as hell, except, of course, the fires in Purgatory will have an end, therefore the souls in Purgatory are not in despair but in holy hope.  Also, it must be remembered that the souls retained in Purgatory suffer with love and longing for Heaven. What consolation for the Holy Souls to know that they will eventually be going to Heaven!

Of course, the souls of the best friends of Our Lord bypass purgatory and enter into the joy of their Lord immediately. They enter upon the reward for their heroic efforts—the Beatific Vision!

One can also think about how the devil will accuse the just man at his particular judgment, however, Our Lady, St. Joseph and the man’s patron Saint will be there to defend him.  From this peaceful pondering of the saved, let us pass on to the terrifying punishment of those who were not friends of Christ.

The Particular Judgment for those in the state of mortal sin:

What happens to the one who is so unfortunate as to die in the state of deadly sin [that is, mortal sin]?  

St. Augustine says, “Above shall be an enraged Judge; below, a frightful chaos; on the right, sins accusing him; on the left, the devils dragging him to punishments; within, a burning conscience:  beset in this manner, whither will the sinner fly![6]

St. Alphonsus De Liguori tells us,

In the first place, the Judge shall demand of sinners an account of all the blessings and graces which He bestowed on them in order to bring them to salvation, and which they have rendered fruitless. He will demand an account of the years granted to them that they might serve God, and which they have spent in offending Him.[7]

Thus, the reprobate will face his Judge with nothing good to say for himself.  Listen to St. Bernard’s words referring to the sins of the reprobate which will accuse her [meaning the soul of the reprobate]:

Her very sins shall accuse her [the soul] and they shall say: “You have made us; we are your work; we shall not desert you.  We are your offspring; we shall not leave you: we shall be your companions in hell for all eternity.”[8]

In addition to the fitting punishment just described, St. Alphonsus quotes some very striking words of St. Augustine as follows:

The devil will be at hand, and will recite the words of your profession [whether religious vows or other vows made].  He will charge us before our face with what we have done, he will state the day and the hour in which we have sinned.”[9]

St. Alphonsus gives the following impressive quote St. Cyprian describing what the devil will say to Our Judge, “I have suffered neither stripes nor scourges for this man."  Then St. Alphonsus explains the deeper meaning of St. Cyprian’s words.  Basically, the devil is saying here, “Lord, I have suffered nothing for this ungrateful sinner, and to make himself my slave he has turned his back on thee who has endured so much for his salvation. He, therefore, justly belongs to me.”[10]

The reprobate will be overcome by his shame.

St. Basil says, “That she [meaning the soul] shall be tortured more by her shame and confusion than by the very fire of hell.” [11]

Imagine the terror that seizes the reprobate, because he, of course, knows his own guilt for having rejected Our Lord during his life, as he now hears the sentence to DEPART FROM ME into EVERLASTING FIRE!!

God wants no part with this sinner who has hated Him.  This sinner has wanted his own version of so-called happiness without God in the picture and so now this unrepentant sinner will be condemned to unhappiness for all eternity.  He is getting what he deserves.  He really wanted no part with God in his lifetime while on earth, so he can possess no part with God in his eternal death in hell.

By the following strong words, St. Alphonsus exhorts us who are still alive to beware:

"Before judgment, prepare thee justice." [Eccl. 18: 19] Let us adjust our accounts before the day of accounts. Let us seek God, now that we can find him; for the time shall come when we will wish, but shall not be able to find him. “You shall seek me, and shall not find me." [John 7: 36] “Before judgment," says St. Augustine, “the Judge can be appeased, but not in judgment." By a change of life, we can now appease the anger of Jesus Christ, and recover his grace; but when he shall judge, and find us in sin, he must execute justice, and we shall be lost.[12]

Now let us turn our attention to the second point of this meditation, the General Judgment.

Considerations for the SECOND POINT: the general judgment

The general judgment, an article of our Catholic Faith, is a reality which we must drill into ourselves, deeply, and establish this reality into the very marrow of our bones.

If we keep this terrifying day in our minds, then how many evils and sins would be avoided by us?  Yes, we know we must not displease Our Dear Lord, but when we feel frail and sorely tempted or influenced by the world around us, we have to pull out the scene of the General Judgment and fear the whole world knowing the sin publicly that we are being tempted to commit right now.  If we really think about this particular single sin we could commit right now as being viewed by every human being that ever existed, exists right now, and will exists in the future, would we commit this sin?  Would to God that this scene of the terrifying Wrath of God would convince us of the evil of sin, every sin, great or small!

Apocalypse paints the scene of the General Judgment very vividly. First, we know that the present world will be destroyed by the final conflagration.  Nothing will escape this purifying fire. This fire will kill all the rest of mankind.  Every soul will have a particular judgment.  So much for worldly amusements!  So much for seeing the world!  The earth has been defaced by sin so it is fitting that God renew it and make a new heaven and a new earth.  “Heaven and earth shall pass away but My word shall not pass away.” [St Mark 13:31]

Yes, St. Alphonsus puts this fact aptly when he says, “all shall become one heap of ashes.”[13]

Indeed, do we not pray, “Thou shalt renew the face of the earth” in the prayer to the Holy Ghost?  Yes, we want our hearts to be renewed in the dew of the Comforter.

After the final conflagration, the angels will gather the Elect from the four corners of the world.  The trumpet will sound and all will rise again for the great assembly of mankind for the final judgment.  Then the angels shall come and separate the reprobate from the elect, placing the latter on the right, and the former on the left.

St. Jerome used to say: “As often as I consider the Day of Judgment, I tremble. Whether I eat or drink, or whatever else I do, that terrible trumpet appears to sound in my ears, arise ye dead, and come to judgment”[14] and St. Augustine declared, that nothing banished from him earthly thoughts so effectually as the fear of judgment.[15]

We wonder what the bodies of the just and damned look like and how the Elect and the damned will feel.

St. Alphonsus answers our questions in these awe-inspiring words:

At the sound of that trumpet the souls of the blessed shall descend from Heaven to be united to the bodies with which they served God on Earth; and the unhappy souls of the damned shall come up from Hell to take possession again of those bodies with which they have offended God. Oh! How different the appearance of the former, compared with that of the latter! The damned shall appear deformed and black, like so many firebrands of Hell; but the just shall shine as the sun (Matt xiii 43) Oh! How great shall then be the happiness of those who have fortified their bodies by works of penance![16]

But the reprobate, like goats destined for the slaughter, shall be placed on the left, to await their last condemnation.  St. Chrysostom says, “On the day of judgment there is no hope of mercy for poor sinners.” Furthermore, St. Augustine says, “The greatest punishment of sin in those who live in enmity with God, is to lose the fear and remembrance of the divine judgment.”

Continue, continue, says the Apostle, to live obstinately in sin; but in proportion to your obstinacy, you shall have accumulated for the day of judgment a treasure of the wrath of God “But according to thy hardness and impenitent heart , thou treasurest up to thyself wrath against the day of wrath” [Rom 2:5]

 Then sinners will not be able to hide themselves but, with insufferable pain, they shall be compelled to appear in judgment. "To lie hid” says St. Anselm, “will be impossible, to appear will be intolerable."[17]

Fr. Cochem tells us that the bodies of the elect will be beautiful to behold and fragrant, whereas the bodies of the damned will be utterly disgusting and hideous to see emitting such a horrific and vile stench.  The damned will howl and shriek as they are forced by the angels to assemble for judgment in the Valley of Josaphat.[18]

Then the Sign of the Cross and the instruments of Our Lord’s Passion will be brought to be visible by all.  Then Our Lord Himself, the Just Judge will appear.

According to St. Jerome, the presence of Jesus Christ will give the reprobate more pain than Hell itself. “It would,” he says, “be easier for the damned to bear the torments of Hell than the presence of the Lord.”[19]  Hence, on that day, the wicked shall, according to St. John, call on the mountains to fall on them and to hide them from the sight of the judge. “And they shall say to the mountains and the rocks: Fall upon us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.” [Apoc. 6:16.]

With what kindness will Our Lord speak to the sheep, the Elect!!

Let us listen to the beautiful and consoling text of St. Alphonsus:

But now comes the sentence.  Jesus Christ will first turn to the elect, and address them these consoling words: Come, ye blessed of My Father, possess the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…How great will be the joy of the elect in hearing the Judge say to him: Come, blessed children, come to a kingdom; for you there are no more pains, no more fears; you are and shall be saved forever. I bless the blood which I have shed for you and I bless the tears which you have shed for your sins.  Let us ascend into Paradise, where we shall remain together for all eternity! The most holy Mary will also bless her servants, and will invite them with her to heaven.  And thus, singing Allelujas, the elect will enter heaven in triumph, to possess, to praise, and to love God forever.[20]

Let us contrast the above beautiful words St. Alphonsus gives us to ponder with the terrifying words that come from the Lamb of God showing God’s just Anger and Wrath as He speaks to the damned.

But on the other hand, the reprobates, turning to Jesus Christ, will say to Him: What will become of us?  The Judge will say, since you have renounced and despised my grace, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire. Depart; begone from Me; I wish neither to see nor to hear you ever more.  You cursed, go, and since you have despised by blessing, go accursed.  And where, O Lord, will they go?  Into fire, into hell, to burn both in soul and in body.  And for how many years, or how many ages?  Into everlasting fire; for all eternity; as long as God shall be God.  After this sentence, says St. Ephrem, the reprobate will take leave of the angels, of the saints, of relatives, and the divine Mother. “Farewell, ye just! Farewell, O Cross! Farewell, O Paradise! Farewell, fathers and children, for we shall never see any of you again! Farewell O Mary, Mother of God![21]

St. Alphonsus tells us that the punishment of being separated from the sheep is a huge loss for the damned.  Here he cites St. John Chrysostom, “This punishment alone would be sufficient to constitute a hell for the wicked”.[22]

Then considering the finality of the sentence St. Alphonsus has this to say:

What excuses can save the wicked on that day? Ah! they can offer no excuses. “The just shall see, and shall rejoice, and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.” [Ps. 106: 42.) Their very sins shall close the mouth of the reprobate, so that they will not have courage to excuse themselves. They shall pronounce their own condemnation.[23]

St. Bernard says, that, “the sentence of the elect, and their destiny to eternal glory, shall be first declared, that the pains of the reprobate may be increased by the sight of what they lost.”[24]

Concluding thoughts:

On which side will I be?  I must consider with fear and trembling that I could easily be on the side with the goats.  I must examine my life and amend all defects I detect.  I must ask others for their advice about defects they find in me.  And I must do penance and not neglect my soul.  Indeed I must never forget that I will die the way I have lived and my eternity depends on how I live and how I die.

COLLOQUY: How can I thank God for the instruction I have received from all of these considerations!  What a healthy fear they have stirred up in my soul!  What a desire they have burnt into me to truly want to serve God as I ought and love Him with my whole heart and soul! 

I can beg Our Lord to help me always remember that I will have to render an account of myself to Him.  Likewise, I will beg my Mother Mary to guide and protect me in this life so I can be rendered safe for all eternity.  Also, I will fly to St. Joseph, the Patron of the dying to help me live virtuously, so I can die virtuously and be safe both at my particular judgment and at the General Judgment.  I will close with an Our Father, Hail Mary, and a Glory Be.

In our next lesson, we will consider the great Mercy of God, not only in His Redemption of Mankind, but in His having preserved us in life and having given us the Faith and insights to follow Him well.


[1]           This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon xxxvii. Eighth Sunday after Pentecost. – On the particular judgment.

[2]           This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon xxxvii. Eighth Sunday after Pentecost. – On the particular judgment.  

[3]           This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Preparation for Death, in his consideration fifteen, The Particular Judgment, First Point.

[4]           This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Preparation for Death,  in his consideration eight, The Death of the Just, First Point.

[5]           This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Preparation for Death, in his consideration eight, The Death of the Just, First Point.

[6]           This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Preparation for Death,  in his consideration fifteen, The Particular Judgment, First Point.

[7]           This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon xxxvii. Eighth Sunday after Pentecost. – On the particular judgment.  

[8]           This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon xxxvii. Eighth Sunday after Pentecost. – On the particular judgment.

[9]           This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon xxxvii. Eighth Sunday after Pentecost. – On the particular judgment.

[10]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Preparation for Death, in his consideration fifteen, The Particular Judgment, Second Point.

[11]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon xxxvii. Eighth Sunday after Pentecost. – On the particular judgment.

[12]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon xxxvii. Eighth Sunday after Pentecost. – On the particular judgment.

[13]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon 1, the First Sunday in Advent, on the General Judgment.

[14]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon 1, the First Sunday in Advent, on the General Judgment.

[15]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon 1, the First Sunday in Advent, on the General Judgment.

[16]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon 1, the First Sunday in Advent, on the General Judgment.      

[17]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon 1, the First Sunday in Advent, on the General Judgment.

[18]         This information is taken from The Last Four Things, Fr. Martin von Cochem, O.S.F.C., ©1899, Benzinger Brothers, on the chapter about the Resurrection of the Dead.

[19]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Preparation for Death, Consideration 25, Point 2.

[20]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Preparation for Death, in his consideration twenty-five, The General Judgment, Third Point.        

[21]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Preparation for Death, in his consideration twenty-five, The General Judgment, Third Point.

[22]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon 1, the First Sunday in Advent, on the General Judgment.

[23]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon 1, the First Sunday in Advent, on the General Judgment.

[24]         This quote is taken from St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s Sermons for Sunday, sermon 1, the First Sunday in Advent, on the General Judgment.