Tag Archives: Mary

Fathers: Protect Your Children Spiritually

What is Transferred in the Generational Line

One of the most amazing things about the God of the New and Old Testament is how He deals with families. Although women are frequently holier than their husbands, God has chosen—already found in the first book of the Bible—the generational blessing to be transferred from the husband through the boys of his family and so on.

Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.—Genesis 27:38

We long for our father’s blessing, but we often only receive his negligence or bad habits. Nowadays, there is a lot of talk these days about generational curses, and these do indeed exist, but we have to be careful about falling overboard into generational fatalism. At one point in the history of Israel, God gets so fed up with the Hebrew “daddy-wound” excuse that He prohibits this parable from being spoke all over Israel: The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.

What this means is that God prohibited the excuse, “I sinned because my Dad sinned.” It’s like:  My Dad ate bad grapes, so I can’t get my act together. In modern terms, it would be “I’m an alcoholic because my Dad is an alcoholic.” or “I’m addicted to porn because my Dad abused me.” Although there is a high correlation for both of these evils that I do not mean to mock, we must also remember that God prohibits excuses, for God has given to every man a free-will to begin a new family with fresh responsibility:

The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.—Ezekiel 18:1-4. 1

The reason we can not use a pious “daddy wound” excuse for our sins is because the grace we receive from God in the sacraments is infinitely more powerful than our physical, fallen bloodline. The grace and peace coming through the Precious Blood of Jesus is more powerful than the sins of the bloodline of the Maranzano family or the Mangano family or your family or my family. This is why God prohibits the ancient “daddy wound” excuse of the fathers eating sour grapes as it somehow transfers to the kids.  2

Although only original sin (not actual sins) transfers down a bloodline, the propensity for sins can indeed transfer down a bloodline, especially when mortal sins are committed under the roof of your children (and yes, pornography and drunkenness are both mortal sins.) This is where I am going to admonish the men reading this blog post to double-down in their vigilance against curses (that come primarily from their own sins) and blessings (literal blessings upon their children) to leave a legacy in their families today. I am going to give five battle-goals in this post.

Why should our vigilance be doubled?

Good Catholic parents keep telling me about their good children who are more frequently showing a propensity for same-sex attraction, transgender feelings, children making strange noises (yes, I know most kids make odd noises, but I mean preternaturally strange noises) as well as a highly-unusual propensity for finding pornography. Even relatively sheltered kids are doing sexual dances without ever having been taught. How is this possible?

It is either through learned behavior via the five-senses or through some type of cultural osmosis or even by demons that come into the home. I had written in an earlier blog post against pornography that a man must not use pornography unless he wants demons to invade his home. I realize this is a rather show-stopping claim, but every exorcist I know will back me up on this claim. Thus, I stick by this original claim.

But now, I am realizing something more scary: Even men who are successfully avoiding pornography and other mortal sins are finding their very young children get into sexual dancing and perverted experiments with themselves or other strange things. Some of this is the common effect of original sin that is only avoided in the childhood accounts of canonized saints.  But nowadays, some of these unusual perversions are because the fathers of families are not providing the full gamut of protection prayers and blessings that their children need against the most perverse and pro-death culture in the history of the world. Indeed, refraining from pornography is only the beginning of keeping many demons out of the home. But from what many good Catholic families are now reporting to me, I see: It is not enough.

I want to give my top five suggestions for how men can begin to provide spiritual protection for their families.

Five-Point Battle Plan:

1. Pray at least Five Decades of Daily Rosary with your family. You can no longer afford to say “We try for one decade at night but we have little kids who are too unruly.” Fine. Put the little ones to bed and say the five decades with the kids who can stay awake. Or, if none can stay awake, go to your bed and get on your knees with your wife at your side, and pray five decades of the Rosary with her. Or, perhaps you are waiting for her to lead the family? Men, you must take the initiative of spiritual warfare here, or you will lose. No exagerration here with what I’m coming against even in good Catholic families. You can’t afford to call me an extremist anymore with the preternatural proof I have of what is going on in even sheltered Catholic families. With the current spiritual and cultural war, you can not afford to spiritually lead your family without the minimum of 5 decades of the Rosary a day.

2. Auxilium Christianorum: The exorcist Fr. Ripperger has put together an international team of tens of thousands of lay men and women and priests. They are now praying basic prayers of spiritual protection over their families and over each other from afar. (One laywoman told me that there are now hundreds of thousands of people signed up!) The goal of Auxilium Christianorum is to provide prayers for the members – priests, laity, family and friends – so that they are not adversely affected by the demonic. Because men have the greatest gift of spiritual authority and protection in their families, I suggest as many men as possible enroll in this venture, provided they meet these few requirements. These are the willing ones, the spiritually vigilant warriors who want to fight to get their families to heaven. Auxilium Christianorum has an excellent FAQ here that you should read before signing up.

3. Praise God for His goodness together as a family! This is first because praise is God’s due and secondly because it is our salvation to praise God and thirdly because it unites our families to thank God but as a distant fourth: Praise is exorcismal against Satan. Satan and his legion of demons can not stand a family that praises God. Satan got especially angry at St. Faustina for writing about His goodness: “Do not write about the goodness of God! He is just!”—Satan to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy Diary 1338.

4. Praise your wife and children.  By “praise” I do not mean “praise” in the same way as number three above, for the above refers to “latria” in the sense of adoration due only to God. By praise of your family, I mean encouragement and compliments. At least, let your encouragements be as frequent as your corrections.

5. Bless your wife and your children. This is the blessing that is transferred inter-generationally for as many generations as will exist from your progeny until the second coming of Jesus Christ. Imagine this blessing passing through your son, to his son, to your grandson, to the point of leaving a dynastic legacy. Satan can not do this, because his only legacy is de-creation. A humble man becomes God-like by simply blessing his children before they go to bed. This blessing is not to make them feel good (although it will make them feel more protected than living in a fortress!) or encouraged (although it will make them feel like the son or daughter of a warrior!) but because the multi-generational blessing that a father can give his son is real. A blessing is efficacious, meaning it will change world history, as we see in Aaron’s blessing in the Old Testament:

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
“So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”—Numbers 6:22-27

If you’re not good at making up spontaneous prayers, just memorize and pray the bold above, every night upon your wife and children. 3

We long to be blessed by our fathers, to be protected by our fathers, to be praised by our fathers. This is done through blessings, encouragements and protection prayers. Men, I admonish you to begin one or even all of the above five today.


  1. All of Ezekiel 18 is worth reading: The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.  “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God. “If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.  “Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity. “Yet you say, Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. “But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die. “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

  2. A friend wrote me an email after reading this article tonight and it read:   “As a veterinarian, I can tell you that wounds that are licked fester and become extremely gross.”  I had never thought of licking wounds this way!

  3. There is a modern myth among conservative Catholics that only a priest can bless people. This is simply not the tradition of the Church. You can find St. Catherine of Siena blessing people. You can find biological fathers blessing their family in all ancient rites of the Catholic Church (Roman, Byzantine, Armenian, Greek, Russian, etc.) To be sure, there are some unique things about a priest’s blessing. First, only a priest carries with him the whole blessing of the Church behind him. Secondly, it is probably best that only the priest bless with his whole arm “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (although I think some non-priestly saints did this occasionally, too.) But certainly, every father of a family can bless his wife and children by tracing the sign of the cross on her forehead as he says the above prayer, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” Every mother can bless her children in a similar way, but she can not bless her husband this way. This is not to say that she is not holier than him. She probably is holier than her husband! But God established the blessing to go down the latter of spiritual authority, not holiness. This is also why a holy layman should not bless a rotten priest. The layman’s prayers for the priest will be more powerful than vice versa, but we must respect the authority given in a blessing. Finally, I want to give one more reason why you should not be afraid of blessing your children: Satanists and witches have absolutely no qualms about cursing strangers (especially those with big families) with their diabolical hexes, curses and voodoo. Families should not live in fear of these people. Why? Because the curses of Satanists upon children are not as powerful as the blessings that parents bring into their children’s lives…provided the parents are actually blessing their children before bed. Again, just trace the sign of the cross on their forehead as they go to bed and bless them in spontaneous prayer or the above Aaronic blessing.

Where is the Ark of the Covenant?

About 1700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, so he was brought from Israel to Egypt. But due to Joseph’s supernatural ability to interpret Pharaoh’s prophetic dreams, the Pharaoh raised him to Prime Minister of Egypt:  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”—Gen 41:39-41.

Notice that this happens in the first book in the Bible, Genesis. Soon, Joseph’s entire family arrives in Egypt, and things went well for the Jews…for awhile. The next book of the Bible (Exodus) quickly tells us in the first chapter: Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.—Exodus 1:8. The Egyptians then enslave the Jews for 430 years, all out of fear for their procreation (as all pagans are always preternaturally afraid of breeders of the true religion.)

Then, around 1200 BC, Moses led millions of Jews out of slavery to modern day Israel. His route is seen in this map here:

Sorry for the poor graphics above, but the two most important mountains in the life of Moses are Mount Sinai and Mount Nebo.  Mount Sinai is in the south of the map and Mount Nebo towards the Northeast.  Mount Sinai is where Moses obtained the 10 Commandments from God Himself. Mount Nebo is where Moses died and was buried.  Between these two mountains, millions of Jews followed the Levites who carried the Ark of the Covenant for forty years.   The Ark of the Covenant contained and still contains (somewhere in the world) the manna that God gave the Jews in the wilderness as well as the 10 commandments as well as Aaron’s rod which budded.

The end of Moses’ life is found in Exodus 34:  Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho…And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.—Ex 34:1,4-5. So Moses dies on Mount Nebo, within view of the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey, but was not allowed to enter. 1

We will return to Nebo, but for now, lets switch gears and talk about the current location of the Ark of the Covenant.

Steven Spielberg placed the Ark in his movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, in Egypt:

Spielberg would have been more historical to place the Ark in Ethiopia, since the Ethiopian Orthodox actually claim to this day that the Ark of the Covenant is located at their very own St. Mary of Zion Church in Axum.  In fact,  Smithsonian Magazine did a story on this.

But Catholics have a book of the Bible that Steven Spielberg did not know about:  Maccabees.  Our Catholic Bible actually tells us where to find the Ark of the Covenant today:  On Mount Nebo  (Before going further, if you doubt that Maccabees is canonical and inspired by God, please read yesterday’s blog post proving the canonicity of the Catholic Bible above and beyond the newer, cut-up Protestant Bible.)

Now we return to Mount Nebo:  About 1050 years after the death of Moses and 150 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, a Jewish-Greek author wrote Maccabees in Greek under inspiration by the Holy Spirit around 150 BC.  In it, he describes where to find the Ark of the Covenant. It turns out that the prophet Jeremiah hid it on Mount Nebo around 600 BC! The Bible tells us in 2 Maccabees:

It is also found in the records, that Jeremiah the prophet commanded them that were carried away to take of the fire, as it hath been signified: And how that the prophet, having given them the law, charged them not to forget the commandments of the Lord, and that they should not err in their minds, when they see images of silver and gold, with their ornaments. And with other such speeches exhorted he them, that the law should not depart from their hearts. It was also contained in the same writing, that the prophet, being warned of God, commanded the tabernacle and the ark to go with him, as he went forth into the mountain, where Moses climbed up, and saw the heritage of God. [Mt. Nebo] And when Jeremiah came thither, he found an hollow cave, wherein he laid the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door. And some of those that followed him came to mark the way, but they could not find it. Which when Jeremiah perceived, he blamed them, saying, ‘As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gather His people again together, and receive them unto mercy. Then shall the Lord shew them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was shewed under Moses, and as when Solomon desired that the place might be honourably sanctified.’—2 Macc 2:1-8

Notice that the author (around 150 BC) is describing something spoken by the prophet Jeremiah (who died around 600 BC.)  The Maccabean author shows that although Jeremiah revealed that the Ark of the Covenant is buried somewhere on Mount Nebo, we are not to know exactly where it is.  In fact, future generations will not know exactly where it is until “God gathers His people again and receives them into mercy.”—2 Macc 2:7. Although this could be anytime in the New Covenant (after the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ) we have no evidence that the Ark has been discovered, unless the Ethiopians provide some evidence (which they haven’t, and won’t, because their tradition is to not show the goods.)

However, I believe that if we look at the Greek of 2 Macc 2:7, we will find something very interesting:  ἄγνωστος ὁ τόπος ἔσται, ἕως ἂν συναγάγῃ ὁ Θεὸς ἐπισυναγωγὴν τοῦ λαοῦ καὶ ἵλεως γένηται· καὶ ὀφθήσεται ἡ δόξα τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ ἡ νεφέλη.—2 Macc 2:7-8.

I will transliterate this Greek as best as I can with the underlining coordinated to the above underlining:  Unknown the place will be until God synagogues the synagogue of the people and becomes mercy and the glory of the Lord is shown in the cloud.  Notice that this is a play on words, namely, that the noun “synagogue” (meaning a gathering) can being used as a verb, “gathering.” So, the location of the Ark of the Covenant is not going to happen until God “gathers the gathering” or “synagogues the synagogue” (!!!)

What could this possibly mean?  I believe this is a reference to the end of the world, when God will gather the Jews into the Catholic Church.  

The first proof we have of this is through St. Paul:  For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, (lest you should be wise in your own conceits), that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved, as it is written: There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.—Romans 11:25-26. St. Paul certainly did not mean that every Jew will go to heaven, but that Israel will have her eyes opened to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and that there will be a massive influx of Jews into the Catholic Church at the end of time.  This new Catechism of the Catholic Church also holds this:

The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by “all Israel”, for “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” in their “unbelief” toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.” St. Paul echoes him: “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” The “full inclusion” of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of “the full number of the Gentiles,” will enable the People of God to achieve “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”, in which “God may be all in all.”CCC 674

Thus, the Ark of the Covenant is still located on Mount Nebo near the Dead Sea and Jericho but the specific location will probably not be revealed until near the end of the world. 

As the prophet Jeremiah promised in the Bible: As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gather His people again together, and receive them unto mercy.—2 Macc 2:7

Eschatologically, remember: Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant as she carried the law of love in her heart as well as the bread from heaven, Jesus Christ (John 6). Remember: The Ark of the Covenant is always considered in typology to be the pre-eminent type or symbol of Mary in the Old Testament because her visit to Elizabeth (Luke 1) reflecting the rejoicing of King David when the Ark of the Lord came to Him (2 Sam 6-7)  Remember:  Mary is the exemplar of the Church—she to whom the Church is striving to be in heaven at the end of time.  Remember: Mary’s body in heaven but entirely genetically Jewish, making her the full daughter of Zion in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Put this all together and you have the obvious conclusion that: Mary is to be the Mother of the Jewish people at the end of the world, when she is to be revealed as the new Ark of the Covenant as well as the mother of the Eucharist and the true daughter of Zion and the Jewish people.   God will then “synagogue His synagogue” of Jews as they recognize Jesus Christ as God, friend, Savior and Messiah, and the original Ark of the Covenant will be found on Mount Nebo with the 10 Commandments, Aaron’s sprouted rod and even the manna from heaven.

Or…the Ethiopians already have it:


St. Mary of Zion Church in Axum, Ethiopia.


  1. My friend took the main picture of this blog post way up at the top at Mount Nebo.  Although that is desert, it should be noted that Jerusalem, just a short drive West of Nebo, looks more like Napa Valley in California.  I do not know why so many mindless American Bible movies film the life of Jesus in modern-day deserts, like Morocco or Wyoming when they should be filming in rural northern California if they wanted to be accurate.

Mary’s Trust in Crisis

Mary is the Heavenly Jerusalem even on earth at the cross, so we’ll consider the virtue that helps frees us from Satan’s bonds even before heaven. This sermon was given on Laetare Sunday, 2018. (I’ll be away from the parish next week so there will be no podcast next week. In two weeks you’ll hopefully have both a new sermon and Heresy Class 3.)

Candlemas Sermon

This sermon was given on the feast of the Purification, 2018.

Please note that my sermons for the next month will be very short, due to fundraising events in this diocese that will take place prior to Holy Mass.

Please also note that every other Monday, I will be publishing a new class here called “Heresies and Their Remedies,” beginning with Christological heresies that began almost immediately following the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The first of these classes will take place with my parishioners on Sunday, 11 February.  That Sunday (as usual) I’ll podcast my sermon.  The next day, on 12 February (God-willing) I will podcast the first “Heresies and Their Remedies.”

The reason that podclass is only going to be every other week is because every other Monday I will be on Station of the Cross, a NY-based radio station that is also an EWTN-affilitate.  We will be discussing a difficult Catholic topic every evening, live at 5pm Eastern.  This will obviously be alternated  every Monday from my above “podclass” on heresy.

In two days, on Station of the Cross, I will be discussing how the genesis of  the current Church crisis was neither liturgy, nor issues of the sixth-commandment, but rather a denial of the traditional teaching of the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture.  This didn’t enter the seminaries until sometime between 1905 and 1915.  These radio shows will not be produced here, but rather only at the above link.

Now for today’s sermon:

Wedding Feast of Cana in the Old Testament

This sermon was given on the Second Sunday after Epiphany, 2018.  The featured picture on the blog for this sermon is from a stained glass window at my basilica of residence downtown.

A continued thanks for the music-bumpers of my sermons to the holy nuns of Ephesus.

The Priest and Our Lady

I was staring at the Eucharist in my private chapel, and I marvelled at how the Eucharist came from me. And the Eucharist is Jesus. And Jesus is God. So…God came from me? I immediately knew there was something wrong about in my thinking. It was this: The Eucharist did not come from me.

The best preposition is probably “through.” That is, the Eucharist came through me. The Catholic Church uses the verb to confect as seen in Canon Law: “Can. 900 §1. The minister who is able to confect the sacrament of the Eucharist in the person of Christ is a validly ordained priest alone.” This verb comes from the Latin conficere, meaning to produce or to effect. It’s a variant-stem of con-facere, meaning “to make with.” Combine these two roots, and we have something like “to effect with.” So, the priest is an instrument who effects something with God…but even then it is only Christ Himself saying Hoc est enim corpus meum, or “This is my body.” This is the summit of a priest’s day when he functions in the person of Christ. He also functions as the person of Christ when the priest says Ego te absolvo or “I absolve you from your sins…” (See John 20:22-23.)

It is the priest who confects the Eucharist. In my chapel in the picture above, I stared at Our Lord and I realized that this is another link between the priest and Mary:   Jesus came through Mary. In this sense, the priest is yet again like Mary: Jesus in the Eucharist comes through me. Although the dignity of being the Mother of God has no parallel, we can both say:  I do not make God. The priest only confects the Eucharist, and even that is God’s own supreme act of love and sacrifice lived through me at my fingertips.

But why was Mary such a perfect vessel? In some sense (and I mean this with the utmost reverence to the fact she is the Immaculate Conception and the Mother of God) it was because of what she was not. She was not impure. She was not arrogant. She was not self-centered. She was not a braggart. She had no concern with being popular. The Uncreated Light of the Blessed Trinity was too transcendent for man to see.  But at Christmas and Epiphany, the Divine Word was all of a sudden visible because of a pure prism with no selfishness.

That prism is of course the Holy Theotokos, Mary, Our Lady.  Because of her purity, Christ could enter the physical world through her. Like a perfect prism, purity is more about what is not there. There are no blemishes, marks, scratches or cracks. Purity of intention is more than just matters of the sixth or ninth commandment. Purity of intention is to ascribe nothing to oneself. He must increase and I must decrease. In fact, the word arrogance means to ascribe something to oneself that should not be there.

The mystics tell us that no one in first century Israel was praying for the coming of the Messiah more than Mary. In fact, she only wanted to be the maid of the mother of the Messiah. That is all that she wanted—to be the sidekick of the Mother of the Messiah! Of course, it was her humility that “troubled”  her (Lk 1:29) at the greeting of the glorious angel Gabriel.

Perhaps this is why the best of the desert Fathers did not want to be priests.

I have a good female friend who does a lot of good for the Church, but she is still unmarried and she does not have a religious vocation. The one place she finds great consolation is the most mysterious of all lines of the Apostle Paul: God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.—1 Cor 1:28-29. I can almost hear that deep movie-preview voice say, maybe for a new Lord of the Rings movie, that mysterious line about some barely-existing creature that would change the world: “even things that are not…” I don’t think she realizes how much this humility makes her like Mary, even when she doesn’t understand her vocation.  This is how Mary saw herself, as something that was not. I don’t mean this in the way of self-pity or lack-of-self confidence.  It actually takes an extremely humble person to have self-confidence.

In fact, without humility, God could not have made her the most famous woman in history. Yes, “He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”—Lk 1:48

What does this have to do with Our Lady’s priests?  As Archbishop Fulton Sheen got older in all his sermons and retreats, it seems to my listening ears (many years after his death) that there was a progression in all his talks through the 1970s of his growing concern about how many priests wanted to exert their own personality…to be funny, to be entertaining, to be relevant, to be hip. Archbishop Fulton Sheen would frequently boom a mockery-motto of the modern priest: “I gotta be me!” No, Mary did not need any of these things for Christ to come through Her. Rejecting popularity, she became the most popular woman in history. It’s quite a mystery, actually.

This is true for preaching, too.  We have had 50 years of the via positiva, people preaching from the pulpit that “God loves you.” And this is fine.  But there’s a detriment to no preaching the via negativa.  Years ago, when I first read the hellfire sermons of St. John Vianney, I was discouraged. When I first heard of St. John of the Cross, I thought that this saint spent too much time writing on detachment (the via negativa). Why not more time writing about God and His love? The answer is at the top of Mount Carmel: Because at the top of Mount Carmel, when one’s spiritual ego is totally sunk, the only thing that one experiences is in the honor and glory of God.

In blue-collar terms: All we need to do is reduce the bad, and God will do His job of turning up the good.   The great saints of old spent so much time preaching against vice precisely because they were sure that God would do his job of shining through us if we could discipline ourselves (of course after the unmerited forgiveness of the blood of Christ arriving via the sacraments and faith.) The preaching of detachment was ironically a brilliant plan to make saints in love with God even more than the modern preachers who demand that we all become “saints in love with God” without any plan, without any content.  The call to surrender without content is comforting…but not for long.    People now again long for the clear moral directives of the old saints and Popes again.  The old-school spiritual writers who wrote so much pro-detachment and anti-vice seem to have treated the spiritual life as an aqueduct:  In a non-Pelagain way, after the grace of our initial conversion, the walls of discipline need to be built by us, and then the Divine Water will flow constantly.

My favorite line from GK Chesterton is: “And the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was for good things to run wild.” Rules make us run faster!  The zealous and scary saints like St. Vincent Ferrer spent so much time preaching on the moral life not because they thought the moral life is the end-all be-all of the life of grace, but because they knew that if we drew strong parameters, the aqueduct bridge of grace would flow quickly into our lives.

This was true for the Apostle Paul:  “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”—Rom 8:6-7.  This certainly includes sexual sins for any vocation, for the Spirit of life cannot reside in a body that is impure: “But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”—Romans 8:10. All vocations must live this purity, but especially the priest. St. Alphonsus Liguori said that the priest who confects the Eucharist in mortal sin actually tags four new sins onto it!

But as I wrote earlier, this is not only about purity in body. Purity of intention is to want only one thing. That one thing is God’s glory, that is, sinking popularity and personality-cult followers. The priest must be like Our Lady, to want God’s glory alone, even at the price of a funny or witty mind.  The truth is:  None of it matters to Our Lady.  She loves her priests, but not our egos.  She knows that especially the priest’s heart will ebb and flow in one front of love and purity and orthodoxy as the Catechism points out:

The sixth beatitude proclaims, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” “Pure in heart” refers to those who have attuned their intellects and wills to the demands of God’s holiness, chiefly in three areas: charity; chastity or sexual rectitude; love of truth and orthodoxy of faith. There is a connection between purity of heart, of body, and of faith: The faithful must believe the articles of the Creed “so that by believing they may obey God, by obeying may live well, by living well may purify their hearts, and with pure hearts may understand what they believe.”—CCC 2518

Notice that the beginning of chastity is not doing seemingly-creative things with the body.  Notice that orthodoxy is not doing seemingly-creative things with doctrine.  Both seem boring, but both lead the via negativa to supernatural love (charity.)

How about the via positiva?  How do we get to God through positive actions?  In some sense, it really is how much time any of us in any vocation we spend with the Eucharist and with Our Lady.  It’s not that God counts how many prayers we do (though He does know this, of course) but rather, as the Catechism says:  “The choice of the time and duration of the prayer arises from a determined will, revealing the secrets of the heart.“—CCC 2710

Why is the pathway to high levels of supernatural love in the 21st century going to be found in much time with the Eucharist and the Rosary?  Because St. John Bosco predicted these days 150 years ago in his prophetic dream:  “Very grave trials await the Church. What we have suffered so far is almost nothing compared to what is going to happen. The enemies of the Church are symbolized by the ships, which strive their utmost to sink the flagship. Only two things can save us in such a grave hour: devotion to Mary and frequent Communion. Let us do our very best to use these two means and have others use them everywhere.”

Mary: God’s First Love

Although the pro-life movement’s arguments can be proved from science as much as religion, one of the reasons that I am so involved in the pro-life movement is based on this piece of theology: God imagined every person as an unrepeatable blueprint long before their conception. Since God is the exclusive Creator of the Universe, and since God is in eternity (two philosophical necessities to a world with only One God) this means that God imagined the blueprint to each person’s genome long before an individual zygote was ever conceived. Of course, “imagined” and “before” are words that fail us, especially since we are speaking of a God who exists outside of time with a “mind” that is obviously not a physical cerebrum.

It is good that we say in the pro-life movement: “From the moment of conception you were a genetically unrepeatable human being.” But once we add the eternity of God into the mix, it goes even deeper: God had you perfectly planned before He created the Universe. See, if God is eternal, this is not pious or sentimental devotion. God actually loved you into existence during the specific time of history where you are placed (now, if you’re reading this now) but God also had you in mind as the unshakeable version of you. Yes, you are an unrepeatable reality of His own image and likeness which was blueprinted before the galaxy. You were originally the perfect idea of yourself as a “thought” of God before you were ever conceived in your mother’s uterus. In fact, God had you in mind trillions of years before that physical union. “Trillions” is a also weak word to imagine the one and only God who planned you outside of time. So, really God wanted you from forever as an unrepeatable receptacle of His creative Love and as an intimate reflection of His eternal Love.

Imagine a carpenter who is making a door. Philosophers call the wood the “material cause” where the word cause actually means “end” or “goal.” It’s the same as telos in Greek, that towards which a being is aiming its own reality as the goal of its existence (more being than doing.)  So the “cause” is needed at the beginning as the intention, just as a door must actually have a form, not just random wood, but actually a cut and sanded door. (See St. Joseph working in the above image.) This “formal cause” is the telos or end toward which a being has its entire thrust of existence. Even more intimate to its existence is the “final cause,” which is in some sense the carpenter’s blueprint of his work.  It exists in his mind before he actually takes the wood to task. This is why Aristotle wrote that “First in intention is last in execution.” The mental blueprint of the door is the final cause, end, goal, telos of the carpenter’s work, even though the idea and intention existed before the finished product.  So also, each individual human soul had to be blueprinted in God’s mind just before conception.  God Himself is the true meaning of Planned Parenthood.  Everything else is a diabolical mockery.

October is the month of the Holy Rosary. Both the Roman Breviary and the Lesson from the Tradition Latin Mass for the Mass of the Holy Rosary today include some lines from Sacred Scripture that were ascribed to Mary by the Church for a very long time:

The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His ways, before He made any thing from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived.—Pv 8:22-24b

The old Roman Breviary also seems to ascribe pre-existence to Mary between the Psalms of Matins today: From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before Him.—Sir 24:14

I think many Protestants would be shocked to read that the Liturgy would ascribe to Mary the notion of pre-existence before time. They should be assured that we Catholics believe that Mary was not pre-existent. We do not believe that Mary existed before the galaxy like Her Son did. Jesus is the Divine Word and the Second Person of the Trinity, so He obviously existed before earth. But not Mary. So why then does it ascribe to Mary in both Proverbs 8 above and Sirach 24 that she was before He made anything and even before the world?

The answer is found in the first two paragraphs of this blog post: Mary was an idea of God long before she was conceived.  Yes, she was conceived as the Immaculate Conception during the holy but normal intercourse of her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne. But her soul had to have been planned before that actual act, just as a formal cause or blueprint in the mind of the Creator of all things must exist. Your soul and my soul was planned on being infused into our bodies as God pre-destined and foreknew us.

Mary was not God. Mary is not God. She is not pre-existent. But the plan predestined for her is the supreme pre-existing blueprint of God’s best plan for not only humanity but all of creation:

“God could make a bigger world or a wider sky, but He could not raise a pure creature higher than Mary.”—St. Bonaventure

This means that besides the sacred humanity of Jesus (yes, Jesus had a created soul and body even though the center of His personhood is purely Divine as God the Son) Mary was the greatest thing God could think of. Besides the created human soul and body of Jesus (that Christ actually created as God!) we can put all of the above paragraphs together to say that the blueprint of Mary’s soul was the greatest thought that God ever had for creation. God outdid Himself in creating Mary. From St. Bonaventure, we might be able to go so far as to say that God Himself could not have had a greater thought than that of planning Mary’s soul. Even if this is going too far, remember that St. Thomas Aquinas (always quite sober on his Marian theology) admits that although only the soul of Jesus had the Holy Spirit to an infinite degree, the perfection and grace of holiness infused into the soul of Mary “bordered on the infinite.” So, if God Himself could not raise a pure creature to a higher degree than Mary, we can easily say without  saccharine sentimentality that Mary was the woman that God dreamed of before all time.

And so, somewhere within the “eons” (so to speak) of this eternal plan of redemption, Christ made her perfect soul and Immaculate body…about 14 years before He made His own human soul and body.

This is why Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote my favorite book on Mary, The World’s First Love. He shows that Mary was God’s First Love. I am convinced Archbishop Sheen must have titled his book The World’s First Love after meditating on those Old Testament readings applied to Mary in the Traditional Latin Mass (Proverbs 8 and Sir 24, as seen above.) In order to contemplate what it means for a planned-but-not-pre-existent creature to hold the Creator for nine months inside her, the old Roman Breviary even ascribes this astonishing line on the Feast of the Rosary to the Blessed Virgin Mary: From the beginning, and before the world, was I created, and unto the world to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwelling place I have ministered before him.—Sir 24:14. That is, Mary was planned to be Christ’s holy dwelling before her creation.

One last time, St. Bonaventure’s quote: “God could make a bigger world or a wider sky, but He could not raise a pure creature higher than Mary.” This means that Mary’s soul was planned before the creation of earth to be so beautiful that it would outdo the combined beauty of the souls of all the saints, all the heroic acts of the martyrs, all the beauty of a newly born baby, all the beauty of uncharted planets with their own unknown Grand Canyons and even more glorious than the invisible world of angels. Such is the soul of Mary.

When you say one “Hail Mary,” you approach this Immaculate soul to intercede for you. Whether you go to the old Mass or new Mass or you’re not even Catholic, you can still fulfill the prophesy that all generations would call Mary blessed (Luke 1:48.) With the Rose garden of the Rosary this month of October, you will see (even if you are not a Catholic) that it is no wonder that Mary’s intercession prompted the very first miracle at the wedding feast at Cana (John 2.) Just try to ask her intercession and you will see: Mary is the mother of Catholics, the mother of Protestants, the mother of Muslims and the mother of Jews. Mary is the loving Mother of both transvestites and saints. Mary is the Mother of atheists and Mary is the mother of Jesus. Try the Rosary and you too will see: How could God refuse the request of the most perfect and powerful soul that He Himself has ever created? 1


  1. St. Junipero Serra wrote this beautiful prayer: “O Purest Queen of heaven and earth, most perfect work of the Holy Trinity, since from all eternity the Father chose you for His daughter, the Son selected you to be His Mother and the Holy Spirit selected you as His spouse, there could not be the slightest imperfection, not even the smallest shadow of original sin on your soul. As the first fruit of the redemption, your soul was free, beautiful and free from the initial moment of your conception. Receive, O Mother, in virtue of this singular mystery, my short but prayerful offering, or, to put it another way, the humble utterance of your lowly servant. I would like to offer you all the gold of the Indies and all the riches of the entire world. But what greater treasure could there be than a soul redeemed by the Precious Blood of your most Holy Son? Listen to this prayer, uttered by one of little virtue, for together with it I append the most fervent affections which the most gifted among your servants have offered you. In return, all I want is that for today, all the days of my life and at the moment of my death, I might have the grace of choosing you as mother, advocate and patroness. I ask that you take me under the mantle of your protection and, after gazing at me with your merciful eyes, you free me from human miseries, so that my soul may be happy with you in heaven. Amen. [3 Hail Mary’s in honor of the Trinity for the privileges accorded by the Father to His Daughter, the Son to His Mother and the Holy Spirit to His spouse.] God hails you, Mary, Mother of God and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, temple and chalice of the Holy Trinity, Mary conceived without original sin.”