It’s time for Catholics to get serious about penance and sacrifice – LifeSite

+Laudetur Jesus Christus+

(LifeSiteNews) — There is no doubt that the defining event in the Catholic Church in our times is the apparition of the Queen of Heaven to the three shepherd children at the Cova da Iria in Fatima in 1917, where the world was given a solemn warning from Heaven that if it did not convert, that God would punish it for it’s many sins. God in His infinite mercy also gave the world a solution to avoid punishment delivered by Our Lady to the children.

In the revealed part of the Third Secret of Fatima as recorded by Sister Lucia we read of an angel bearing a flaming sword crying “penance, penance, penance.” This aspect of the message has indeed has been almost completely forgotten by Catholics but was already contained in the first message given to the world by Our Lady of Fatima. Many Catholics have prayed countless Rosaries and many have been faithful to the devotion of the Five First Saturdays hoping for the triumph promised by Our Immaculate Queen. Yet despite the millions of Rosaries prayed since the message was given, the world continues to fall apart and the situation in the Church worsens with every passing hour. There continues to be a seeming lack of fruit to these efforts, and even after a strangely worded consecration of Russia and the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary that took place almost a year ago, we are still waiting for God to intervene in this mess and put a stop to the madness.

Some holy men have suggested that we are still waiting because Rome has not officially prescribed public reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is indeed in order. But is this lack of official Papal mandate to make the Five First Saturdays devotion of reparation the missing ingredient in the recipe given by Heaven for a holy restoration of all things in Christ that we should expect during the promised triumph of His Virgin Mother? Or rather is it something more obvious and easily obtainable in this time when Rome in general is more interested in serving the sustainability goals of the United Nations than saving souls?

If any Catholic today who knows about Fatima has not spent time meditating on those chilling words of the Blessed Virgin, “so many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make SACRIFICES for them,” then they have missed the point of Our Lady’s message entirely. From the time of Christ until relatively recently, a battle has been waged in the Church between comfort and austerity, that is, between the spirit of the world and the spirit of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

God has sent many Saints and holy reformers so that the people would throw off the worldly spirit and do penance. From the time of the early Church martyrs and down through the ages, pages of books have been filled with accounts of holy men an women who subjected their flesh with real and physical pains so that they might better imitate their Divine Lord, whose lacerated body is honoured on every crucifix in every parish on earth. This seeming superhuman strength has awed countless enemies of God who knew full well that such strength was well above natural ability. These displays of rigorous penance have converted millions of unbelievers and filled countless pages of books written about the lives of the Saints whom we honour every day on our altars at Holy Mass.

We claim to believe that Saints are holy men and women whose lives are worthy of imitation, yet, in reality, this claimed belief is completely denied in practice. The priests of today urge caution and temperance not of food and drink, but temperance of acts of external mortification. We have no more need of hair-shirts, disciplines, cilices, and other instruments of penance, as such things only belong in museums, they say. Today, Catholics are more civilized and delicate and have no need of such things, they say. We must conform the penitential practices of today to man’s modern ideas of comfort and leisure.

So-called traditional Catholics do the same things, yet delude themselves that they are traditional simply because the prayers they recite and the doctrine that they learn hold to the unchanging Catholic Faith. Yet, in practice, these so-called traditionalists live in as much comfort as the pagans whom they spend so much time denouncing on the internet. Though they may eat fish on Fridays and perhaps give up sugar in their morning coffee during lent and perhaps chocolate if they are really ambitious, they treat the penitential tradition of the Catholic Church as though it were optional and of no real importance to living the Faith.

But what excuses are given by so-called traditionalists who in fact apply the principles of modernism to penitential practices, though they may not even realize what they are doing? “Man’s nature is weaker than that of their forefathers and such rigour would only weaken them further and render them incapable of performing their daily duties.” Thus they believe that the Holy Church has embraced this principle even well before Vatican II and wisely relaxed fasting requirements. But is this really why the Popes have relaxed the Lenten observances, or was it rather that they thought it better to remove the canons making it obligatory under pain of mortal sin in order to not overburden men of such little piety as was seen in the world at the time, who simply didn’t seem to have the grace to do the prescribed Lenten fast any more?

If we turn to the pursuits of the neo-pagans of today, we see men pushing the limits of their bodies to extremes previously unknown. Men subject themselves to extreme physical rigour through weight lifting in order to triple the size of their bodies. Men run thousands of kilometres every year to stay in shape and gain ever more athletic prowess. Football and rugby players and mixed martial artists beat themselves to a bloody pulp in order to gain more worldly honour. Intermittent fasting and one-meal-a-day practices have become increasingly common for those seeking good health in recent times, yet Catholics still delude themselves that the human body designed by God is losing its strength to such an extent that Catholics needn’t even consider fasting for 40 days as was done during Lent prior to the early 1960s.

One thing that many in the West don’t realize is that the food they consume regularly has been designed to be addictive like narcotics and has similar effects on the brain. Sugar and refined starches which are added to almost all food today have narcotic-like effects on the body, and when abstained from, produce similar withdrawal effects. This withdrawal manifests itself primarily in seemingly irresistible cravings, dizzy spells, foul moods, irritability, and restless sleep, much like withdrawing from typical street drugs. This is good business practice for the food industry, and the reality of this withdrawal process has been covered up by using stupid terms like hypoglycemia. Yet for ages, water fasting has been used to treat almost any ailment imaginable and even administered carefully to the sickest of patients.

The result of these addictions is that many Catholics haven’t the strength to break their addiction (which for the most part they are unaware of) and have almost abandoned holy fasting altogether. But if they treated this withdrawal period as temporary, which it most certainly is, they would see that these symptoms soon subside, as seen in those who embrace the Ketogenic Diet, which is a fast-mimicking diet. But today, for the most part, the Lenten fast is merely something made reference to in the texts of the Latin Mass, the old catechisms, and lives of the Saints. Yet many don’t seem to mind this abandoned tradition and cry from the top of their lungs for the restoration of all other Catholic traditions but this one. 

So what is the net effect of this abandoned age-old practice of holy fasting? St. Alphonsus says in his ascetical works, “St. Andrew Avellino used to say, that he who wishes to walk in the way of perfection must begin to mortify the taste.” Saint Leo asserts that this has been the practice of the Saints. To a penitent who practised little mortification, St. Phillip Neri said, “My son unless you mortify the appetite you shall never become a Saint …. The sin of gluttony has caused the ruin of the world: for the sake of eating an apple, Adam brought death on himself and the entire human race[.]” St. Bonaventure says that excess in eating nourishes impurity. And St. Augustine has written, “If the soul is weighed down by to much food, the mind becomes torpid, and there will spring up thorns of wicked desires.“ 

Not only is it plain to the eye that the world is overrun by impurity and that we lack real Saints today, but it is obvious to any Catholic with faith that the world is overrun by demons to the point that exorcisms seem to last five times as long as they used to. If there is one thing that Catholics should remember as the demons march on to completely overthrow the nations, it is those words of Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ Himself when His disciples asked Him, “Why could not we cast him out?” And He said to them: “This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” (St. Mark 9:28-29).

So, now that Pope Benedict XVI has passed away and the revolutionaries in Rome set their gaze on the Latin Mass and doing away with the Traditional Catholic Faith as though they themselves were possessed by demons, Catholics who truly care about the salvation of souls and putting an end to this madness before the churches are either shut down completely or all the priests and bishops become mere agents of the State, better wake up and make this Lent one to remember. Unless Catholics begin to walk in the way of perfection, which starts by daily mortifying their taste-buds, and restore the timeless tradition of fasting, things in the Church and in the world are going to get a whole lot worse before they get any better. There is no better solution than the one Our Lady already gave us, which is to make sacrifices for poor sinners. A sacrifice is voluntarily giving up something that one is not forced to give up, otherwise it’s just suffering. Only if Catholics take this up with the vigour needed to wage a Crusade and offer this in reparation for sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, do we stand any hope of seeing her promised triumph. Ungrateful children who make little of their mother’s pleas are deserving of punishment rather than rewards.

But this kind of spiritual battle requires special graces that there seems to be little of today. Along with the daily Rosary, Catholics who care about putting an end to this great apostasy must be devoted to and call every day on Saint Joseph, whom we honour with the title Protector of Holy Church and Terror of Demons. Gird your loins with the Cincture of Saint Joseph, properly blessed in Latin, and beg him for the grace of purity and to defend the Church and to help make you a Saint. If many heed this call, the triumph promised by the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary will quickly be realized. 

This matter we commended to Our Lady of Fatima, whom we also call on under the name of Our Lady of Good Success, praying that God sends the holy prelate whom she spoke of who will restore the spirit of His priests; and especially to Saint Joseph, Protector of Holy Church whom Catholic prophecy foretold would play a critical role in the end times. 

+In Jesus, Mary, and Joseph+

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