Monthly Archives: February 2023

St. Peter Damian: “For God’s sake, why do you damnable sodomites pursue the heights of ecclesiastical dignity with such fiery ambition?”

Today is the feast of St. Peter Damian, one of the truly great Doctors of the Church. Why? Why do I say that? Read these twelve quotes and you will see EXACTLY why…

St. Peter Damian (far right) with St. Augustine, St. Anne and St. Elizabeth, Ercole de’ Roberti, ARSH 1481, Milan.

“Tell us, you unmanly and effeminate man, what do you seek in another male that you do not find in yourself?”

“For God’s sake, why do you damnable sodomites pursue the heights of ecclesiastical dignity with such fiery ambition?”

“By what right or by what law can one bind or loose the other when he is constrained by the bonds of evil deeds common to them both?”

“Who can expect the flock to prosper when its shepherd has sunk so deep into the bowels of the devil?”

“Who, by his lust, will consign a son whom he spiritually begotten for God to slavery under the iron law of Satanic tyranny?”

“This utterly diseased queen of Sodom renders him who obeys the laws of her tyranny infamous to men and odious to God.”

“Without fail, [the vice of sodomy] brings death to the body and destruction to the soul. It pollutes the flesh, extinguishes the light of the mind, expels the Holy Spirit from the temple of the human heart, and gives entrance to the devil, the stimulator of lust.”

”[The vice of sodomy] leads to error, totally removes truth from the deluded mind . . . It opens up Hell and closes the gates of Paradise.”

”[The vice of sodomy] is this vice that violates temperance, slays modesty, strangles chastity, and slaughters virginity.”

“[The vice of sodomy] defiles all things, sullies all things, pollutes all things.”

“Who will make a mistress of a cleric, or a woman of a man?”

“It is not sinners, but the wicked who should despair; it is not the magnitude of one’s crime, but contempt of God that dashes one’s hopes.”

Collect of the Mass of St. Peter Damian:

O Almighty God, grant that we may follow the teaching and example of Your blessed confessor bishop Peter, and turn away from the things of earth that we may attain the joys of heaven.

St. Peter Damian, pray for us.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and liberate your Holy Church from the infestation of sodomites.

Ash Wednesday Meditation: We Should Be Ashamed.

We should be ashamed.

But we’re not.  And that is the problem, because without shame there is no hope, and believe me, I fully appreciate the enormity of the phrase “no hope”.

Shame is a gift from God to fallen man, and nothing less.  Shame is a grace that God desperately wants to shower us with in light of our concupiscent nature and sinfulness.  Do you remember that SHAME, or “sorrow for sin”, is the fruit, yes FRUIT, of the First Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary, Christ’s Agony in the Garden?  We are to beg God every day in our prayers to increase the shame we feel for our own sins, and also for the sins of the world.  We are to meditate on what our sins and the sins of others do to God, trying as best we can to grasp in even the most tenuous way how even the smallest sin is an offense of INFINITE proportion to God, and in doing so to be ever-more filled with God’s grace so that we sin less and less.

Now let’s think about the contemporary world, both secular and within the Church among the Freemasonic-modernist-communist-sodomite infiltrators.  Shame is viewed not as the gift from God that it is, but as a scandal to be eliminated, a character fault to be purged, and a “hate crime” when recommended to others.

“Um, you should be ashamed of yourself.”
“Shut up!  Who are you to judge?”

Psychopathy and Sociopathy (the severest categories of Diabolical Narcissism), which are the absence or near-absence of shame or guilt in the human person, a massively blunted or completely absent conscience, terms which I will continue to utilize, promote and scream from the rooftops without apology, are encouraged today under the banner of “self-esteem”, “freedom”, and even more obviously, “pride”.

Here’s the problem.  Christ’s Mercy, which is INFINITE, can only apply if the person is SORRY for their sins.  We have to be sorry.  If we aren’t sorry, if we do not believe that our sins are sins, or if we believe that our sins DON’T MATTER because we have a “legal right” to be forgiven and we gone through the motions and mindlessly bleated out the right words with no actual contrition or shame behind them, or if we simply don’t care, then Christ, who can work with infinitesimally little, at that point has NOTHING to work with.  When we give Him NOTHING to work with, we go to hell.  And while we can never know if any specific person is in hell because we can never know if at the very last instant they gave Our Lord “something to work with”, what we can know for an absolute certainty is that people have, do and will go to hell.  Lots of them.  Our Lord and His Saints have made this crystal, crystal clear.  In fact, when taking Our Lord’s and the Saints’ warnings together as a whole, the prudent man can operate under no other assumption than that it is far, far easier to achieve hell than the Beatific Vision.

I will now address this question from three vantages: the atheistic, the Catholic, and the Protestant.  First the atheistic tack, but it applies to everyone.  Let’s talk about the Natural Law.  Every single human being is given by God an innate understanding of the difference between good and evil, including the psychopaths.  Everyone knows, deep down, that walking up to a stranger on the street and gouging his eyeballs out is EVIL.  Everyone knows, deep down, that stealing someone else’s property is EVIL.  Now stay with me, modern western man:  Everyone knows deep down that tearing a baby limb from limb is EVIL.  We have to be massively conditioned to think otherwise.  Don’t believe me?  Have you ever known a family wherein the Mommy was pregnant and there was an older sibling – even only two or three years old, old enough to understand that there was “a baby in Mommy’s tummy” and the following proposition:

Do you remember that I told you that there is a new baby in Mommy’s tummy?
I am going to go kill the baby.  I am going to rip its head off, pull it out of my tummy and throw it in the trashcan.  Okay?

If the child genuinely comprehends those words: baby, kill, rip, throw away, trashcan; then the child WILL object.  Even if the child does not comprehend death, it will comprehend “throw away in the trashcan”.  If there is no Natural Law, if there is no baseline infusion of objective moral norms, how could a three year old possibly know that killing a baby is wrong and terrible?

Let’s look at another example, modern western man.  Adultery.  I know that I have many atheist readers that I have attracted over the years mainly from my financial/economics posts.  I am willing to bet that the majority of my atheist readers would happily concede that a married man should not cheat on his wife.  I would further guess that the majority of such men have never cheated on their wives.  I would further guess that those who have cheated on their wives (working the averages, here) felt some sort of shame or guilt at some point afterwards – and not mere regret because it cost them half of their estate and pre-tax income for life, but actual shame – even if they got away with it and the wife never found out.  What is that about?  That is the Natural Law.  The Natural Law is why most people don’t steal.  The Natural Law is why, up until recently, most people have not cheated or gamed the system to survive, but instead worked and lived lives of general integrity, including many pagans.  The Natural Law is why we all still to this day look down upon those cultures that are largely built on grift, theft and thuggery, specifically the “gypsy con-artist and pickpocket” culture, the rap/hip-hop culture, and the musloid culture.  It requires massive conditioning and inculcation to blunt and eventually eliminate altogether shame and the pangs of conscience that spring innately from the Natural Law.  The easiest way to do it is to start as early in childhood as possible.

It is simply dishonest to say that the atheist is not capable of and does not feel sorrow for sin.  Most do.  The atheist’s problem is that he does not acknowledge WHOM his sorrow is directed towards.  He thinks that it is towards himself, or other people alone, or towards “the universe”.  It is neither.  His sorrow, even if he swears up and down to the contrary, is first towards God, because God, being Perfect Good Itself is the Standard by which good and evil are defined, and it is God who gave the atheist his conscience and his knowledge of the Natural Law.  It is for this reason that I make the following statement:  I’d rather find myself stuck in a foxhole with an atheist with a conscience than a baptized, confirmed and Mass-going Catholic who feels no shame – in other words, is a Diabolical Narcissist sociopath or psychopath.

Which brings us to the Catholic perspective.  I want to address this from what I feel is probably the most relevant and valid critique of Catholics (not Catholicism, but Catholic people) by Protestants today.  Protestants say that Catholics lack a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” and that they sin shamelessly, and then go “babble a few prayers in the confessional” and smugly call it all good.

Yeah.  I’ve got to agree with that.  WHOLE. HEARTEDLY.  In fact, it is precisely this that kept me out of the Church and hesitating for years.  I personify this exact critique in the Kennedy Family.  Now, Teddy may have repented and felt genuine contrition for the all of the rapes and sexual assaults he committed, the satanic political agenda he executed, and the murder of Mary Jo Kopechne, among all of his other sins.  We can’t know.  But we do have a fairly good indication that that psychopathic servant of satan was NOT sorry for most of his life.  He JOKED OPENLY about Chappaquiddick for the rest of his life.  Now if I had to lay money, I would guess that he probably at some point went to confession and made some mention of murdering Mary Jo Kopechne, but all appearances would indicate that if he did confess murdering her, that he did it NOT because he was sorry (because nobody laughed harder or knew more Chappaquiddick jokes than ol’ Teddy the Swimmer – utterly, terrifyingly shameless), but because he felt that the Sacrament of Confession would provide iron-clad LEGAL protection, and I don’t mean “legal” in the earthly sense.  I mean “legal” vis-a-vis God.  “If I go through these physical motions then God is LEGALLY OBLIGED to forgive me.”  Um, no.  God cannot forgive you and offer His Infinite Mercy if you are not SORRY.

This is why there is such a supernatural gift among saintly priests throughout history as the ability to “read souls” in the confessional.  The most famous and most recent of these is St. Padre Pio.  People FLOCKED to him for confession because you couldn’t lie to him, or confess sins that you weren’t sorry for.  If you dared kneel in his confessional without genuine contrition for your sins he would throw you out on your ear.  And the same if you lied to him.  He knew.  By the grace of the Holy Spirit, he knew.

And this is where the accusation of Catholics not having a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” is actually accurate – in the way that a stopped clock is right twice per day.  Yes, for many Catholics today it is all a legal system to be gamed.  Sin, make a purely legalistic confession (if that), have zero genuine sorrow and zero intention to stop the sinful behavior, lather, rinse, repeat.  In excess of 95% of western Catholics today of breeding age contracept.  Of those, a relatively small percentage do confess this sin regularly, but are not sorry and have zero intention at any point of ceasing to contracept.  Is such a confession valid?  No it is not.  Surprisingly, it is not the absence of the feeling of sorrow, but the absence of the decision or will to avoid the sin in the future that is the invalidator.  Now this is nuanced, so stick with me here because it is EXTREMELY important.  It is not that the sinner might fall into the same sin again, that is not the standard, because as we all know, we all keep falling.  The invalidator is confessing a sin that you have NO INTENTION OF EVEN ATTEMPTING TO STOP.  So, the Catholics who confess contracepting just to, for lack of a better term, “cover their butts” in a legalistic sense, with no intention of stopping, invalidate their confession.  As does the (rare) sodomite today who confesses sodomy (I’ll spare using the previous term here because the pun would be too much for even me to bear) in a purely legalistic mindset, but who have zero intention of living a chaste life or even to renounce the habit of assenting to same-sex attractive thoughts. And even if one’s conscience has been malformed by bad clergy, we must never forget that the Natural Law never, ever goes away. That money doesn’t belong to you, so you can’t have it.  Don’t murder chicks you pick up in bars, or babies.  Don’t have sex with other people’s spouses.  And about your thingamajig?  Yeah.  IT DOESN’T GO THERE.

So… what is missing here?  What is God’s gift to us that corrects this problem?  You guessed it!  SHAME.  But why?  Why should we feel shame at breaking a set of rules?  Because the “set of rules” is a PERSON.  More precisely, the set of rules is derivative of a Person.  And that Person is God, who is perfect Good, perfect Justice and infinite Love, and thus is infinitely offended by our sins, and despite this, so loved the world that He Incarnated, suffered (infinitely) and died, because nothing short of God sacrificing Himself, and suffering infinitely in the process, could ever come even remotely close to redeeming humanity.  There is NOTHING that any human being could do that could ever even begin to make up for even the slightest, tiniest sin.

Western Catholics, especially since The Asteroid (™) hit in the mid-1960s, have been steadily drained of an appreciation of the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary, and have been indoctrinated with Protestant-atheist ideas that A.) their sins aren’t really sins at all and thus they should NOT feel shame or guilt for them and B.) even if they do sin, God’s mercy is a given, a blanket that covers everything (ahem), so don’t even sweat it. Or C.) declare according to the base premise of Freemasonry and its parent, satanism, that the individual’s conscience is the arbiter of objective truth and morality.  Shame is a an antiquated, peasant concept far beneath the modern, everlasting man, who needs only to unshackle himself from “the old paradigm” and simply acknowledge his own divinity….

The modern world and the scourges upon and infiltrators of the Church constantly do the following:

(Michael Sam is an unrepentant sodomite?  GOOD FOR HIM! -Cardinal Timothy Dolan)

and, they

(Stop obsessing!  Who am I to judge?  – Antipope Bergoglio)  

If we truly have a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” as the Protestants are ironically fond of saying, we think about how our sins offend Him PERSONALLY, and how our sins are what scourged Him, mocked Him and crucified Him during the infinite agony of His Passion.  The Divine Law, both Natural and codified within the Church, which is derivative of Him because He is perfect Good, perfect Love and perfect Justice, is what tells us the difference between right and wrong.  In other words, HERE CONCUPISCENT DUMMIES.  I’VE WRITTEN IT ALL DOWN FOR YOU, BECAUSE I LOVE YOU.  AND ALSO THE SERPENT IS SUBTLE, AND SIN MAKES YOU DUMB.

We know sodomy is wrong and utterly shameful because it is repellant to the depths of our being, and it requires a massive effort to become desensitized to its repugnant foulness and the shame that it naturally, by the grace of God, elicits.  (Cough, media and education system, cough.) And, He wrote it down for us too!  We know that adultery, masturbation, theft, lying and a host of other common sins are wicked and shameful both via the Natural Law and because… HE WROTE THEM DOWN FOR US, but to continue doing doing these things because, “Meh, I’ll just go to confession every so often and I’ll be covered” with NO SHAME, no sorrow for having offended God, and most critically, no intention whatsoever of stopping, but only of continuing to legalistically “game the system” – in other words, scourging, spitting upon and crucifying The One Who Loves You Infinitely so that you can continue to have WHAT YOU WANT, that is what is referred to as the Unforgivable Sin: presuming upon God’s mercy.  Think about it.  You know what you are doing is wrong. You know Christ and that He died for your sins.  And knowing these things you callously and with full, conscious premeditation decide to SIN ANYWAY because Christ’s Passion and Death on Calvary, His Agony and Blood, LEGALLY OBLIGES HIM TO FORGIVE YOU.

That’s just about as bad as it gets.  It is a truly psychopathic lifestyle – diabolical even.  Shamelessness and utter indifference to Him.

Which leads us to the Protestant portion and conclusion.  I had an acquaintance when I was in college – a seeker who jumped from denomination to denomination with no disqualifications save one: The Roman Catholic Church.  Years later he had an infant grandchild to whom he started writing letters – a very cool idea indeed.  However, I had to ask him to stop including me in the email list of folks he sent these letters to after the letter in which he told his grandson to NOT worry at all about sin and just to live his life however he wanted because … you probably know where this is going … the Blood of Jesus covered all of his sins and thus his sins were IRRELEVANT so long as he “accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior”.  In other words, this well-intentioned but desperately, woefully, terrifyingly heretical man advised his grandson to live his life without shame for his sins, and thus committing the Unforgivable Sin, presuming upon God’s Mercy… AS PROOF OF HIS FAITH.  This is stone-cold Luther, who said “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.”  This is why I call Luther a psychopath, and why that incident still makes me shudder to this day.  I hope it always does.

I pray every day that God give me the grace to feel ever more shame, guilt and sorrow for my sins, and also for the sins of others as well.  I want to take up others’ slack, if that is even possible given the burden of my own sins.  I also fear greatly the sins that I commit and have committed that I don’t realize or currently comprehend are sins.  Remember, we are not the arbiters of truth or the determiners of what does or does not constitute sin.  We do not decide FOR OURSELVES what is and is not sin, no matter how many clergy tell you this truly pernicious lie. There are millions if not billions of people on this planet who truly do not believe that their sins are sins.  This does not change the objective, external reality of their sins, nor does it in any way reduce the offense caused to God, or the suffering that He endured because of them.  Remember those heartbreaking words of Our Sweet Lord, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  I want – DESPERATELY – to know all of my sins so that I can be ashamed and confess them, and also so that I don’t do them again, because every one of my sins tortured, mocked and crucified Christ, and I AM NOT OKAY WITH THAT.

The world is going to hell IN A HANDBASKET because shame is considered a psychological defect to be overcome, and a hate crime when recommended to others.

Well, that’s 3000 words.  There is more to say on this topic, but I think that is enough for today.  I hope this helps you as we embark on Lententide.

He can only forgive you if you are sorry, which means that you have a firm resolution and intention to stop.

Mailbag: For Married Catholics, there is ANOTHER Eucharistic Fast. Yep. Married Catholics are to abstain from the Conjugal Embrace for three days prior to making a Sacramental Communion

This is a “make the interwebz go explody” kind of a post. I know a lot of people are not going to like this, but it is what it is.

I think the thing to remember here is the fact that the lay faithful did NOT receive Holy Communion daily until relatively recently. In fact, it was Pope St. Pius X who opened up the possibility of daily/frequent reception in ARSH 1905 in the document Sacra Tridentina. Before then, many Catholics made a Sacramental Communion at Eastertide (as is required), and then perhaps a few other times per year at a Major Feast, or perhaps on their “name day” – the feast of the saint they were named after, and usually with permission from their confessor or spiritual director. I just want to reiterate to the modern lay faithful: people did NOT go to Holy Communion every time they went to Mass as almost all practicing Catholics – Novus Ordo AND Trads and Byzantine Catholics – today do. So as you read the following, you HAVE to keep this in mind.

Hello Miss Barnhardt,

I hope this finds you well. I read your blog almost every day, and I must say that I was very inspired by the first discussion on the Eucharistic Fast that you started a while ago. This post is again very timely, and I also wanted to bring to your attention a point that I myself was unaware of until this year (and I am celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary this year). In the Roman Catechism (of the Council of Trent), in the section touching on the Eucharist, it specifically states that married couples must abstain from the marital embrace at least a few days (3) before the reception of Holy Communion. I was gobsmacked, to say the least. Think of the sheer number of Catholics who are unaware of this necessary preparation for the reception of the Blessed Sacrament. Just think how we can approach the Sacrament more worthily if we keep this command in mind, although it has been obscured and forgotten, just like the midnight fast.

Here is a link to a well-researched article.

I think that you are in a position to help a lot of people in your audience by sharing this news. It is a very beautiful teaching.

God bless,


I’d encourage everyone to click over and read the whole document, and even print it off. I’ll put the key citations below. And I would like to request that if you read this and it makes you angry, PLEASE don’t email me because I really don’t want to have discussions with people about their sex lives. The only person you should EVER discuss your sex life with is your spouse, and if absolutely necessary a good priest, or with a doctor IF NECESSARY.

I’ll present the information, and then it is up to you to ponder it in your own heart, discuss it with your spouse OF COURSE, and discuss it with a good and holy priest. I can also tell you right now that you could walk into ANY Novus Ordo parish, go into the confessional, bring this up, and the priest will tell you, “Oh, NO. The Church doesn’t require that anymore….” In fact, I think many Trad priests would be taken aback by the question and probably say something non-committal. So “priest-shopping” on this question would be EXTREMELY easy to do. Obviously, I don’t think “priest-shopping” is a good idea in this or any other context.

So here we go. A few pull quotes and citations from “Abstinence from Conjugal Relations Before Reception of the Body of Christ: A Brief History” by Daniel G. Van Slyke:

This study addresses a traditional Christian ascetical and liturgical practice that has been largely obscured or forgotten in recent times—the custom of abstaining from sexual intercourse for a period of some days preceding the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ in Eucharistic Communion. This study focuses on abstinence from the conjugal act as a means of preparing for reception of Communion by married Christians who possess the moral and physical ability to lawfully engage in sexual intercourse.


To some it will seem quaint, outdated, or perhaps unbelievable that married Christians ever practiced sexual abstinence as a means of preparation for the reception of Communion. Certainly this is a topic that few clergy in the early twenty-first century would broach in a pastoral setting. The hesitation among clergy may stem in part from the influence of Karl Rahner over their seminary studies….


If silence on the topic may be considered evidence, the sig- nificance of pre-Communion sexual abstinence among the faithful has waned. Any suggestion that sex should be subjugated to other goods is likely to be received with little sympathy. But the subjugation of sex—a created good, but a material and passing good—to eternal goods has been ensconced in the Christian tradition from its inception, in part as an inheritance from ancient Hebrew practices. Ascetical practices bear witness to the preference of mind and heart that Christians should give to the Creator over any created good.


Thomas Aquinas summarizes what many ancient Hebrews as well as ancient Christians understood almost intuitively: “Just as certain places are holy because they are devoted to holy things, so are certain times holy for the same reason. But it is not lawful to demand the [conjugal] debt in a holy place. Therefore neither is it lawful at a holy time.”14
This attitude towards conjugal relations reappears in the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians, Paul admonishes spouses: “Do not refuse one another except perhaps by agreement for a sea- son, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, lest Satan tempt you through lack of self-control” (1 Cor 7:5). This passage provides scriptural support for sexual abstinence for the sake of prayer in general and for participation in the sacraments in particular.


Vauchez observes that advocacy of periodic abstinence became official and widespread during the Middle Ages if it was not already. One prominent example is found at the end of the rites of the nuptial Mass in the Missale Romanum revised after the Council of Trent. There the priest is instructed to advise the newlywed couple that they should remain continent in times of prayer and especially during fasts and solemnities. These times of prayer above all include occasions on which the couple might receive Communion. The Roman Catechism composed following the Council of Trent clearly states this in the section devoted to “preparation of the body” for receiving:

“The dignity of so great a Sacrament also demands that married persons abstain from the marriage debt for some days previous to Communion. This observance is recommended by the example of David, who, when about to receive the showbread from the hands of the priest, declared that he and his servants had been clean from women for three days.”


The same recommendation is found again in the Roman Catechism (Trent) at the end of the section on matrimony:

“But as every blessing is to be obtained from God by holy prayer, the faithful are also to be taught sometimes to abstain from the marriage debt, in order to devote themselves to prayer. Let the faithful understand that (this religious continence), according to the proper and holy injunction of our predecessors, is particularly to be observed for at least three days before Communion, and oftener during the solemn fast of Lent.”


This survey outlines a tradition of abstaining from conjugal relations in preparation for encounters with the divine and espe- cially for reception of the Body of Christ in Communion from Mount Sinai to the Roman Catechism of the sixteenth century. In more recent times, this tradition has fallen into obscurity and disuse among the faithful. Nonetheless, no teaching authority has rejected the longstanding practice of pre-Communion abstinence from conjugal relations and it remains proper to the general ab- stinence and penance encouraged by Pope Paul VI in Paenitemini and Pope John Paul II in Reconciliatio et Paenitentia. Although the practice may not have pertained to all Christians at all places and times, an initial outline of the evidence suggests that the practice of pre-Communion sexual abstinence was widespread and signifi- cant enough to the lives of the married faithful that it deserves more serious attention than it presently receives.

Again, I STRONGLY suggest reading and even printing off the whole paper – it is very clearly written and a fascinating read. I hope that this will help people to stop, remember and contemplate just exactly how big of a deal it is to make a Sacramental Communion.



Q&A: Ann, how can it be said that God loves us infinitely when He never speaks to us directly or shows Himself to us directly?

Q: Ann, how can it be said that God loves us infinitely when He never speaks to us directly or shows Himself to us directly?

A: Great question, and sadly, one that is inevitably cropping up as the long-prophesied mass apostasy in the Church comes to full stinking flower, and most especially as the scandal of the Bergoglian Antipapacy drives those who refuse to acknowledge that Pope Benedict Ratzinger never validly resigned into raging interior contortions of perverse and luciferian anti-logic, alliance with the satanic-Freemasonic agenda of tearing down the Office of the Vicar of Christ, and hatred of God Himself for “breaking His promises”, or whatever the blasphemous rant of the day is.

The problem, as always, is a failure to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When people fail to relate to the Triune Godhead and most readily the Second Person of the Godhead, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, incarnate as True God and True Man as He is, as a Divine Person, but rather as a mascot of an institution, a philosophical system, and/or a codex of laws, bad things can and usually do happen.

When you love someone (and here is where having been in love and/or having children comes in VERY handy, and where narcissists are left totally crippled and unable to comprehend the following) you want to know everything about them. St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that in order to love someone or something, one must first APPREHEND the beloved with the intellect. And the more one intellectually apprehends the beloved, the more one loves him/her/it and wants to learn MORE, and thus love becomes a positive feedback loop. This is why we often see elderly people say of their spouse, “I love her more today at age 90 than the day we were married seventy years ago.” The superficial modern mind thinks this a lie – how could somebody love the 90 year old version of their spouse more than the 20 year old version? It is because the spouses have had seventy years to intellectually apprehend each other, and the more they learned, including the ways that their spouse has dealt with the joys and trials of life and old age, the deeper the knowledge of the other, the more they loved the other. The initial rush of love at age twenty, largely focused at the beginning on physical beauty (and that is not an altogether bad thing), becomes more profound, nuanced and full even as the body degrades such that the senescence of aging is more than offset by the ascent of love rooted in the unending process of simply asking the question of the beloved: WHO ARE YOU? TELL ME, SHOW ME WHO YOU ARE.

This same dynamic should happen with well-raised children. While new parents often report “falling in love at first sight” with their newborn children, this dynamic of pining to know WHO THIS LITTLE PERSON IS, longing to see them grow into adults, longing to learn their character and personality, and thus the horrible and unnatural pain when parents outlive their children and that process of learning WHO THE CHILD IS is interrupted, all points to the universal dynamic of loving.

Given this, when we love God we are called to consciously ask exactly the same questions of Him that we would ask of our spouse or child or any object of our love: WHO ARE YOU? This is what I am talking about when I use the phrase co-opted by Protestants in the 20th century – “a personal relationship with Jesus Christ”. You can’t love Him, at least not very much, if it never occurs to you to sit down and think about WHO HE IS. If you do this, all kinds of questions will be answered. And one of those questions is: Why doesn’t He just appear and speak directly to us?

The reason why God does not generally manifest Himself (the technical term for God manifesting Himself is “THEOPHANY”) is because there can never, ever, ever be any COERCION where love is involved. Coercion instantly eliminates love. Where coercion is present, love is absent. If God were to manifest Himself to us directly, we would not have the full freedom to CHOOSE to love Him. We would be so frightened, dazzled, awestruck, completely overloaded in every sense that there would be no choice. And where there is no CHOICE, there is no LOVE.

This is what happened with the fall of one-third of the angels.  God created all of the angelic beings, and before any were given the Beatific Vision Itself, they were given knowledge of God and of Creation, and the choice to serve, or not serve. Lucifer, enraged that he would not be the vector by which the Second Person of the Trinity incarnated as man (yes, Lucifer wanted the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary), declared that he would not serve, and that he would rather rule in hell than be subjugated to Mary as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven. And he took one third of the angels with him.  Had Lucifer and the angels been given the Beatific Vision from the moment of their creation, they would have had no choice, because it is not possible for any creature to turn away from the Beatific Vision once inside It. No choice means, essentially, coercion. And coercion means the absence of love. And so we run up against an example of the Law of Non-contradiction, which God Himself is bound to by His own existential nature.

Now to humanity. To you and me and everyone else. Imagine, in whatever crippling way possible, what it is like to be God, interacting with us. Imagine the position He is in. He loves us infinitely. But He is Himself… Infinite. Infinite Power. Infinite Beauty. Infinite Justice. Infinite Rationality. Infinite Love. He made and sustains the entire universe for us to exist in so that we may love Him, but BY DEFINITION we cannot be coerced into loving Him in any way. But He is Infinite.

Now just stop and THINK about this. Imagine if you were presented with an amoeba, and you loved this amoeba with all your being, and you wanted the amoeba to love you, but you CANNOT COERCE the amoeba in ANY WAY. You provide everything for the amoeba, but the amoeba can never directly see you doing it, because then the amoeba would be coerced. The only way the amoeba can love you is by coming to the realization that you not only exist, but that you also love the amoeba, by its own freely-chosen intellectual apprehension of the fact. This example is spectacularly flawed in nearly every sense, obviously, not the least of which is the fact that the existential gulf between God and Man is infinite, whereas the existential gulf between a man and an amoeba is finite and somewhat graspable.

This is why God, generally, does not directly manifest Himself to people. Because there can be absolutely no coercion. This is why we don’t hear His literal voice, but rather experience what can only be described as “the gentle whisper, the small, still voice” in prayer. This is why the Divine Providence operates in such a way that it is possible for people to mistake it for “luck” or “random chance”. This is why the Real Physical, Substantial Eucharistic Presence of God is said to be “behind the veil of friendship”, and why Christ forgives our sins in the confessional through a human proxy – His priest. It is odd to consider, but isn’t it actually easier for us to make a good confession knowing that the man on the other side of the grate isn’t the Infinite Creator and Sustainer of the Universe Himself directly manifesting Himself, but rather a proxy vector through which the Infinite Creator and Sustainer of the Universe operates so that we can not die of fright while confessing our sins? Having a heart attack or being otherwise paralyzed with fear or sensory overload tends to markedly reduce the quality of one’s Confession and/or one’s Sacramental Communion. Markedly.

There have been examples of Divine Manifestations, Theophanies, to human beings who actually did see and converse with God. I’m thinking of Saints Catherine of Alexandria and Siena, who were both mystically espoused to Our Lord, and who conversed with Him, I am also thinking of St. Thomas Aquinas to whom Our Lord spoke by animating a Crucifix that St. Thomas was praying before. What these Theophanies have in common is the fact that the people to whom Our Lord manifested Himself already loved Him so much that they were not coerced by His appearance. They had reached the third and highest state of Christian perfection, the Unitive Way. They were not coerced by Our Lord’s appearance to them any more than a loving wife would be coerced when her beloved husband walked through the door.

Another aspect to contemplate is the infinite power and control required for Infinite Love to hold Himself back from lavishing us with His directly manifested love. Again, this is where the experience of having been in romantic love somewhat helps, even if the love was unrequited, and where narcissists are crippled out of the chute.  The feeling of wanting to GIVE love to another, the longing ache of, “Please, please, just let me love you, please accept what I so desperately want to lavish you with….” Note the precision here in what we are talking about: the desire that the beloved person PERMITS US to love THEM. That is the antecedent to the love being reciprocated. It isn’t “Love me first, and then I will love you.” No, true, healthy love BEGINS with the donation, and hopefully develops into a freely-chosen reciprocity.

Now consider God. He looks at every one of us without exception with that, “Please, please just let Me love you, please accept what I so desperately want to lavish you with…” and it is INFINITE. So while there exists this infinite outpouring of love, He HAS to hold back and constrain Himself in order to never, ever coerce us. Just sit in stillness and think about the two infinities in play, swirling around you every moment of your existence: God’s infinite love for you AND God’s infinite restraint in holding back so that you might, MIGHT love Him back in full freedom.

But what of hell? Our Lord’s warnings of hell, which is the state of being permanently outside the Beatific Vision, never to see God, are because most people very freely choose it. Most people freely choose their own sins, their own pride, over God. Of all of the Dogmas of the One True Faith, the one that is the most visible, the most obvious, the most undeniable is the Dogma of Original Sin. Human beings have a TENDENCY toward sin, and have to fight this tendency all day every day. We see this and know this about ourselves (to deny it is a textbook trait of Diabolical Narcissism, a MASSIVE red flag), and we do see it in others every single day.  This isn’t a threat, it is an objective fact. Some people fall so far into their own sin, pride and narcissism that they actively declare war on God, declare Him to be evil, and some even become literal admirers of lucifer for having rebelled against God who “didn’t care enough about me to ever directly manifest Himself to me.” But it is precisely in this fight against concupisence that our free choice to accept God’s infinite love for us takes on heft and meaning – to put it mildly. We aren’t pawns on a chess board. We are sovereign beings who can freely choose to be loved and love in return the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, Infinite Good, Infinite Beauty, Infinite Power and Infinite Love Himself. But that freedom MUST include the freedom to say, “No.” And sadly, so very, very sadly, most people ultimately do choose to say “No.” But for the ones who do choose to know, love and serve God in this world, “That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him.”

We simply cannot even begin to understand how GOOD the Beatific Vision is. We cannot comprehend just what God wants to lavish upon us. The horror of the damned will be going to their Particular Judgment and being shown, realizing just how much they were and are loved, and just how much they FREELY REJECTED – to see that they freely rejected INFINITE LOVE. This is the torment of hell. KNOWING what you rejected. KNOWING the enormity of your mistake. For the Baptized this torment is magnified. To know that YOU HAD IT, but that you freely chose your sins and thus freely chose to reject God and His Infinite Love, to reject the eternal and ever-new bliss of the Beatific Vision.  It is a very strange thing indeed to hate God because He DOES NOT coerce us.

Love can never be coerced. God is waiting for you to turn to Him and freely fall in love with Him, because He has been in love with you since before the Creation of the Universe. If you stop and think about just how much He has to hold Himself back with us, it can only make you love Him even more.

This is why St. Catherine of Siena said, “Strange that so much suffering is caused because of the misunderstandings of God’s true nature. God’s Heart is more gentle than the Virgin’s first kiss upon the Christ.”

My conclusion is this: None of us can ever possibly understand how much He loves us. And we CAN know that He loves us by simply looking up a the night sky, or thinking for a few seconds that He consciously keeps every electron in every atom of our bodies in its valence shell orbit. Just that is enough to know. I was given a recommendation in the Confessional years ago, that I have never stopped doing: Kneeling before Our Lord reposed in the Tabernacle or exposed in the Monstrance, say slowly, ten times, MEANING IT, “Jesus, I know that You love me.” And this isn’t “cultic” in the contemporary negative sense, because we are not talking about mere man, but of God Himself. You cannot and must not apply purely human categories and definitions to Him. You can, you MUST “throw yourself” at Him with an abandon not otherwise recommended. He wants to lavish you with love, eternally. All you have to do is say, “Yes.”

Just say yes, and “yes” on His terms. Even if that means that you won’t know the timbre of His voice saying, “I love you so much”, the sparkle in His eyes as He looks at you, the perfume of Him, the softness of His hair on the nape of His neck as you fall on Him in relief, the warmth of His chest, rising and falling with His sweet breath, the strength of His hands holding you up as you wilt in grateful sobs, until your earthly race is run.

Just. Say. Yes.

As always, I hope this helps.

Lenten Almsgiving Recommendation: Home Hospice Care for Mrs. Sarah Grant

Mrs. Sarah Grant was discovered to have a terrible, aggressive terminal cancer when she had to have a c-section to deliver her last child in October. The Grants have nine living minor children.

Servant of God Fr. Aloysius Ellacuria is being enjoined for a miraculous healing.

A fundraiser is HERE to defray home hospice costs which will give Mrs. Grant as much time at home with her husband and children as possible.

I recommend this fundraiser for Lenten almsgiving, and I recommend praying for the intercession of Fr. Aloysius Ellacuria to ask God for a miraculous healing of Mrs. Grant.

Please spread the word.

Servant of God, Fr. Aloysius Ellacuria, pray for us.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.

Repost by request: It’s Time We Have An Adult Discussion About the Eucharistic Fast

(Originally penned and posted in June of ARSH 2018.)

I recently had a very thoughtful piece come across my transom regarding the Eucharistic Fast – that is, the amount of time one abstains from food before receiving Holy Communion.  This is a question that has always stuck in my craw, and after reading the text that was sent to me, I have resolved to only receive Holy Communion if I have fasted from the previous midnight.

The Eucharistic Fast from midnight was the perennial tradition of the Church going back to the very beginning.  Up until the middle of the twentieth century (RED FLAG!!!!), the three conditions for the faithful receiving Holy Communion as universally taught in every Catechism were:

  1. Being in a state of grace (that is, not having sacramentally unconfessed mortal sin)
  2. Fasting from midnight
  3. Being aware of Whom you are to receive – Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity

Reception of Holy Communion by the faithful was relatively infrequent up until December of ARSH 1905, when Pope St. Pius X explicitly encouraged frequent and even daily Communion of the faithful in the document Sacra Tridentina.  Many people received Holy Communion once per year, and many saints such as St. Catherine of Siena received Holy Communion sacramentally only four to six times per year, and only with the permission of her spiritual director. The point here is that so very many great saints (who were not priests) did NOT sacramentally communicate daily, or even weekly. The vast majority of their Communions were spiritual.

At this point, I sadly realize that I must explain that priests, of course, receive Holy Communion every time they offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, precisely because the Sacrifice is NOT OFFERED unless the priest consummates the sacrifice by immolating the Body and Blood by consuming Them both.  The consecration causes the Sacred Species to be made present upon the altar, but the Holy Sacrifice is offered when the priest consumes the Body and Blood.  Whether or not anyone else receives Holy Communion is simply not germane to whether or not the Holy Sacrifice is offered, and this is why priests absolutely CAN offer the Mass privately.  And by “privately”, we of course mean that the only other beings present at said Mass are the entire Communion of Saints and the entire Angelic Host.  So, you know, only several quintillion rational intellects at minimum.  “Private”.

With regard to Pope St. Pius X encouraging frequent Communion by the faithful, I have always assumed that this had to do with the fact that, as Pope Leo XIII was made aware, the world was under escalated satanic attack, as reiterated by Our Lady of Fatima, and confirmed by the events of the past 100+ years.  Given this, Our Lord desired that the remnant faithful be able to receive Holy Communion sacramentally with greater frequency, precisely because it would be needed in this time of war.  Obviously, what goes without saying is that the faithful would need to be properly disposed to receive Holy Communion sacramentally – absolutely NO relaxation of any standards of preparation were countenanced.

Sadly, what did happen was a relaxation of the Eucharistic Fast from the perennial (and common-sensical) MIDNIGHT, to a mere three hours.  This was done by Pope Pius XII in ARSH 1957.  Folks, the war in the Church began long before the conclave of ARSH 1958.  Very bad things had already started to happen, particularly under Pius XII, with the top three being the mangling of the Holy Week Liturgies, the introduction of the so-called Bea Psalter in the Breviary, and the relaxation of the Eucharistic fast to three hours. These were three massive blows to Holy Mother Church – and yes, Pius XII was responsible for them.  The only excuse that can be postulated was the fact that Pius XII was in very poor health in the late 1950s.  We will all find out exactly what happened at the General Judgment.

But back to the point of this piece – the Eucharistic Fast.  Pope Pius XII reduced the fast from midnight to three hours, which is what opened the door to Mass in the evening (along with electrification and the ability to illuminate churches at night).  The fast was further reduced in ARSH 1964 by Paul VI to one hour, something that I have never taken seriously.  One hour is NOT a fast.  The very notion is ridiculous, and defies common sense.  At a high (sung) Mass, one could literally sit in the back of the nave with a Super Value Meal, start eating it when the Mass begins, and as long as you’re done by the Gospel, you could licitly receive Holy Communion, having… “fasted.”

With regards to the three hour fast, this has always stuck in my craw as well.  I’m going to get graphic here, so be warned.  Have you ever gotten sick and thown up three hours after eating?  I have.  Most cases of food poisoning have a several hour delay.  Folks, the contents of the stomach after three hours are halfway between hydrochloric acid and sewage.  Now the question we have to ask ourselves is, if we really, truly believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, is it really considerate to Him to receive Him into a stomach filled with a slurry of acidic, half digested food?  Remember, He reposes physically in our bodies for approximately fifteen minutes.  Is it really too much to ask that we prepare not only spiritually to receive Him, but also physically by the simple courtesy of having an empty stomach?  Don’t decent people clean their houses when company is coming?  Doesn’t a loving wife take joy in providing a clean home for her husband?  If realizing this, we freely choose to revert to the perennial discipline of the Church of the midnight Eucharistic Fast, which the Church IN NO WAY DISCOURAGES, isn’t it possible that this action, done out of love for Our Eucharistic Lord, might result in even greater graces received from Sacramental Communion, and from any Spiritual Communions that we make at Mass in observance of the midnight Fast?

Secondarily, as I have mentioned before, I usually eat one meal per day, and have been on this general schedule for quite some time now.  On days that I eat two meals, it is almost always due to some sort of social commitment – and I always feel stuffed like the Christmas goose afterwards.  When left to my own devices, one meal is all I want or need these days.  I think food intake and satiation is largely a function of habit.  So, given this, there really is no reason whatsoever that a person of my age (46), in good health, and on the eating schedule that I am already on should NOT observe the Eucharistic Fast from midnight.  If one goes to Mass in the morning (as is best), observing the Eucharistic Fast from midnight really isn’t asking much at all.

I hope that this helps to open up the question to discussion, and ultimately to help people make BETTER Holy Communions, which I think pondering the Eucharistic Fast in a common sense way with regards to the Real Presence and the literal contents of one’s stomach, can do.  We are all so blessed to be able to receive Holy Communion so frequently that we must be all the more vigilant to NOT abuse the privilege, or to address the question for a purely legalistic perspective.  I don’t want to love Our Lord according to the bare minimums of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.  I want to do the best that I can for Him, and in those areas in which I could do more for Him, I want to do more for Him.  I think the Eucharistic Fast from midnight is a great place to start.

I hope this helps.

“He feeds me lest I faint, or fall, or die, with Food from Heaven.  He, His own Self, in wondrous mystery, to me has given.”