Tag Archives: Saints

Age of Angels

Padre Pio said that the 21st century would be the “age of the angels.” I am going to give five reasons why I believe this to be true. The first is based on demons. The other four on the angels.

1) There are more demons on earth now than there were 500 years ago. I know this sounds crazy.  On 5 May 1995, a mother and dentist named Gloria Polo was struck by lightning in Bogotá, Columbia. She was with her cousin who was killed instantaneously. She was brought to the trauma center. Her medical records later showed that the IUD torched her whole reproductive system. The lightning also burned most of her body and she was sent into cardiac arrest at the hosptial. As she faced God, her sentence was hell. Although she thought of herself as a decent Catholic, Christ showed her that she had greviously broken all ten commandments. God gave her life back and she has told her story to millions of people. (Miraculously, she has since had more children with her husband.) Her account has the approbation of the South American bishops. The private revelation of her particular judgment before God is found here. Gloria Polo was able to see why there are more demons on earth now than ever before, as found in this excerpt from her near-death experience:

The devil, with his malefic strategy, has brought humanity to the point of killing their own children. Now I understand the reason why I lived in continual bitterness, depression, always ill tempered, ill-mannered, with ugly ways of doing things, with a bad face, frustrated with everything and with everyone. Of course! I had transformed myself, without knowing it, into a machine to kill babies [her IUD] and for this reason I was sinking ever more into the abyss. Abortion is the worst of all the sins because to kill the children still in the womb of the mother, to kill a little innocent and defenseless creature, is to give power to Satan. The devil commands from the depths of the abyss, because we are scattering innocent blood! A baby is like an innocent lamb and without stain… And Who is the Lamb without stain? It is Jesus! In that moment, the baby is the image and likeness of Jesus! The fact that it might be the mother herself to kill her own child, determines a profound bond with the darkness, permitting that more devils from hell might come out to destroy and strangle humanity. It is as if one might open the sealsSeals that God has put to impede evil to come out, but that, for every abortion, it opens… And so horrible larvae come out, so that there are more and more devils… They come out to chase and persecute humanity, and then make us slaves of the flesh, of sin, of all the bad things that we see, and we will see always more. It is as if we might give the key of hell to the devils, to let them escape. And so escape more devils, of prostitution, of sexual aberrations, of Satanism, of atheism, of suicide, of indifference… Of all the evils that we see around us. And the world is getting worse every day… Think how many babies are killed every day: it is all a triumph of the evil one! That you might know that for the price of this innocent blood, the number of devils outside of hell grows; they circulate freely in our midst! Let us take shelter! … We sin without even realizing it! And our life transforms itself into an inferno, with problems of every type, with sicknesses, with so many evils that afflict us; all of this is the pure and simple action of the devil in our life. But it is we, we alone, that open the gates of evil, with our sin, and we permit him to freely circulate in our life. It is not only with abortion that we sin! … But it is among the worst sins. And then we have the nerve to blame God for so much misery, so much disgrace, so much sicknesses and so much suffering!

God showed Gloria Polo in this approved private revelation that abortion is the reason why the demons of other sins are allowed to escape hell. Seals were placed by God’s mercy, but God in His justice (as a punishment to abortion) has decreed that the seals were to be loosened.  These seals were meant to protect us from more demons roaming the earth.  These include demons “of prostitution, of sexual aberrations, of Satanism, of atheism, of suicide, of indifference.” But it is primarily due to the sin of abortion that these other demons are permitted to “come out to chase and persecute humanity.” Do we need more proof of this? Look, first-world parents are mutilating 10 year old children under the pretext of gender-compassion. Not even demon-worshipping pagan cultures have mutiliated their own children into sterility. How could anyone argue that the new army of demons on the earth must be those of child-sacrifice based in abortion?

2) We can imitate the Purity of the Angels
Abortion is the rotten fruit of impurity, and to battle this, we need the purity of the angels. Thankfully, the United States is chaulked full of youth conferences and young adult conferences that put an emphasis on purity more than anywhere else I have seen in the world. But few speakers at our Youth Conferences will ever point out that the Church holds that celibacy is still a higher way of life than married life. For celibates to denigrate marriage has been condemned as a heresy. But equally condemned as a heresy is to put marriage above celibacy. In fact, the Church still teaches it is the more perfect way-of-life. This comes straight from the theology of Jesus Christ as found in Luke’s Gospel that you will rarely hear quoted by an American chastity speaker:

And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.—Jesus Christ in St. Luke 20:34-36

Notice that Jesus says that in “that age,” those who are actually saved will be “equal to the angels” for they will “neither marry nor are given in marriage.” Unlike the angels, we will have bodies in heaven. But there will be no more sexual reproduction in heaven. Some are called to skip the try-outs and go straight to the ultimate goal. Although marriage and the creation of new children is a beautiful calling on earth, everyone who is saved will become celibate in heaven. Men joke that “in that case, it wouldn’t be heaven,” but this reveals how few Christians have ever had an experience of the power and love of God. Yes, we will have physical bodies in heaven, but we will be as chaste and glorious as the angels in heaven. Although married people are not called to celibacy [normally], married couples are indeed called to chastity since “nothing unclean will enter heaven.”—Apocalypse 21:27. In heaven, our nature will be human, not angelic, but we will be as pure of heart and mind and body as angels are pure in their spiritual existence. Are you ready for this state of union with the Trinity?

St. Aloysius Gonzaga was called by the Roman Breviary “an angel in the flesh” while already on earth. This is not conflating a human nature for an angelic nature in some type of Cartesian dualism. It is simply saying that St. Aloysius had reached the state on earth where Christ Himself urged many believers to enter.  This is where celibates “cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” St. Thomas Aquinas says one in three Catholic children are probably called to celibacy.  It’s a hard call to answer, when so many religious orders have been tanked by the hierarchy or racked with internal sexual and doctrinal scandals. This is why I believe that single-celibate is the most under-rated of all vocations. Many in the early Church answered this beautiful calling to celibacy without a fancy habit or a big religious motherhouse.

3) We can learn humility by contemplating the Angels
We should have unspeakable and unspoken humility before God in the Blessed Sacrament, for even the angels must “cover their faces” (Isaiah 6) while praising Him. Angels were made as an intermediary between God and man. I am amazed at how many young Catholics tell me about their prayer as if they were in a state of perpetually-banal private-revelations: “So, I was like, ‘What’s up God?’ And God was all, ‘Come on dude!’” Besides the fact that God did not call you “dude,” consider this: Not even Mary and Joseph got to talk straight to God at the beginning of the Gospels. Let it sink in. Even the Immaculate Conception herself, at the greatest time of prayer in all of human history up to that point (the Annunciation and Incarnation) had to speak to an angel before Mary herself was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. Also, St. Joseph in Matthew 2 is told where to go for the safety of the Holy Family. But it is not God who speaks to St. Joseph (doctrinally the second greatest saint ever.) Still, God sends an angel to be the intermediary of St. Joseph’s conversation.

Even St. John spent three years on earth with God-the-Son. Yet even after that he was tempted to worship an angel, so glorious was this spiritual being: “And the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.’ Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.'”—Apocalypse 19:9-10. If an angel came to your neighborhood in the middle of the night, your front porch would light up like it there was daytime sunlight: “After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory.”—Apocalype 18:1. The earth is lit up by one single angel! How much greater must God Himself be? I’m not saying that a relationship with angels should replace a personal relationship with God or even talking to Jesus as your best friend. Of course, we should. But let’s try to have a little respect for the hierarchy of creation here. I guarantee you that God did not say to you “Come on, dude!” Your imagination did.

Another way to grow in humility before the angels is to consider the fact that your guardian angel has never sinned. Never. Ever. Think about that. Why did God send a sinless being to serve a sinful being? Your guardian angel has never spoken bad of another angel, yet we gossip behind the backs of our enemies and friends and families. How this must embarrass our guardian angels (Matthew 18:10.) We can learn from the total holiness of the angels that we don’t have “try out a little sin” in order to evangelize people away from bigger sins. Angels are fully alive in God without ever having had to try “a little sin.” We should not commit a single venial sin, even if we were mistaken into thinking it would save a whole continent of gentiles.

4) We have Our Mother as Queen of all Angels
God gave Mary the ability to direct the angels on earth to help us. She was assigned an astonishing army herself, assigned by God before Mary ever existed. In fact, the supreme privilege of protecting Mary was assigned in heaven immediately following the ejection of the demons who had rebelled:

The other ten seraphim, which complete the number of seventy, were likewise chosen from the more distinguished leaders of those who in their opposition to the dragon had manifested a greater reverence for the Divinity and humanity of the Word and for his most holy Mother; for all this was determined during that brief conflict of the holy angels. It was one of the principal distinctions merited by them at the time that they were to be selected as guardians of their Queen and Lady. Altogether a thousand angels were chosen from the Seraphim and the lower orders of angels, and thus that City of God [Mary] was superabundantly fortified against the infernal hosts.—Mystical City of God, Ven. Mary de Agreda, Book one, chapter 14, #205.

Yes, this papal-approved private-revelation is saying that Mary has thousands of guardian angels, including 1,000 from the highest order (the Seraphim.)  She also had thousands of guardian angels from the lower choir of angels.

Why is this more important now than in the middle ages? Remember that Mary appeared at Fatima with promises of peace before a century of wars and genocides. In fact, it was during her July apparition (100 years to the month of this blog post publication) that Mary said the following to the children at Fatima, on 13 July 1917: “The good will be martyred…Various nations will be annihilated …Suddenly the horizon will darken… Later, a brilliant ray of light and hope will arise…In the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

Now we wait to see what it really means to say that Mary’s “Immaculate Heart will triumph.” Will this be an era of peace? Will this be Christ’s coming in glory?  I do not know, but here is what St. Louis De Montfort prophesied would happen with Marian devotion before the end of the world:

Mary hardly appeared at all in the first coming of Jesus Christ, in order that men, as yet but little instructed and enlightened on the Person of her Son, should not remove themselves from Him in attaching themselves too strongly…to her….This is so true that St. Denis the Areopagite tells us in his writings that when he saw our Blessed Lady, he would have taken her for a Divinity, because of her secret graces and incomparable beauty, had not the faith in which he was well established taught him the contrary. But in the second coming of Jesus Christ, Mary has to be made known and revealed by the Holy Spirit in order that, through her, Jesus Christ may be known, loved and served.1

Because Mary is both the Queen of Angels and Our Mother, the conclusion is obvious:  Our Mother will send as as many angels as we ask in faith, especially in this time of diabolical disorientation. 

5) We should learn the names of the nine choirs of angels.
St. Bonaventure lamented the laxity of 13th century Catholic Europe where not even priests could name the nine choirs of angels. Did you catch that? He was disappointed that priests then could not name the 9 choirs of angels. Nowadays, I bet I know few priests who could name the ten commandments. No exagerration. The Vatican has condemned the practice of naming your guardian angel or divining his name. To name your guardian angel is wrong because it inverts the hierarchy of creation. That is, only the higher gets to name the lower, like God naming Jacob “Israel” (Gen 32:28.) Divining the name of your guardian angel is equally condemned by the Church because it is dangerous. What if you thought you “heard” the name of your angel and it was actually a demon transmitting his name? Would you talk to that demon your whole life?

The saints did not take the lazy way out. They simply memorized the names of the nine choirs of angels (something that will only take you 15 minutes, really.)2

Even the greatest saints knew that they needed the help of the nine choirs of angels. St. Francis Xavier is my favorite saint outside the first century.  He travelled three-fourths the circumference of the earth on 16th century boats to evangelize the nations. During the worst storm he had seen on any ocean, he called on the nine choirs of angels. Xavier lived to write a letter regarding this trip from Indonesia to India in December 1547:

On that voyage from Malacca to India we underwent manifold perils from a great storm which lasted three days and nights. I never experienced a worse storm at sea. The people aboard wept and wailed for their own deaths while still alive, and mighty were the vows they made never to put to sea again, should God deliver them. We jettisoned all the cargo we could to save our lives. While the tempest was at its height, I commended myself to God our Lord, taking for my first intercessors on earth all those belonging to the Company of Jesus, and the friends of the Company, blessed of God. With that great help, I gave myself completely to the loving prayers of the Spouse of Jesus Christ, Holy Mother Church, who, still on earth, is unceasingly heard in Heaven. Nor did I neglect to have recourse to all saints in the glory of Paradise, beginning with those who here below were with the holy Company of Jesus, especially the blessed soul of Father Favre. I could never convey to you the consolation I received from thus commending myself to God our Lord through the intercession of my brethren of the Society, living and dead. While the danger lasted, I also put myself in the hands of the angels, praying to them choir by choir, and under the protection of the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, virgins—all the saints in Heaven—and to strengthen my hope of obtaining pardon for my infinite number of sins, I took for my protectress the glorious Virgin, Our Lady, because in Heaven everything she asks of God our Lord is granted. Finally, I put all my trust in the infinite merits of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Lord. With all this protection and help about me, I think I felt happier in the thick of the storm than afterwards when delivered from it. That a grandissimo pecador should have shed tears of joy and consolation in so great an extremity seems to me, when I think of it, matter for the deepest self-abasement. So, I begged our Lord during the storm that, if I came out of it alive, it might only be to endure others as bad or worse for His greater service.—St. Francis Xavier by Fr. James Brodrick SJ, page 301-302.

We are surrounded by billions of demons, but most importantly, let us remember that for all the demons on earth, all the angels around us outnumber the demons by a ratio of two to one! (See Apocalypse 12:4.)


Finally, one reason that we may be in the age of the angels is that we have more resources on the angels than any group of Catholics in History.  Here are a few:

  1. My buddies from seminary at Catholic Stuff You Should Know did a profound and funny podcast on Celibacy.  You will hear why this state of life is more about union with God than making time to serve lay people.
  2. The exorcist Fr. Ripperger’s most visited talk on YouTube is Guardian Angels.
  3. Dr. Mark Miravalle has an excellent talk on the nine choirs of angels.  Unfortunately, it costs a few bucks on mp3 or CD.
  4. St. Francis Xavier’s prayer to his guardian angel is here for you to copy and paste:

I beg thee, Blessed Angel, to whose providence I am entrusted to be always at hand to help me. Present my petitions to the merciful ears of God our Lord that of His clemency and by thy prayers He may pardon my sins of the past, give me to know truly and repent heartily of my present sins, and counsel and warm me that I may shun sins in the future. Through thee may He give me grace to do good and persevere to the end. Drive away from me by the power of Almighty God every temptation of the Devil, and that which my own deeds, mixed as they always are with some evil, merit not, do thou obtain for me by thy prayers before our Lord. And if at times thou seest me straying from the paths of goodness to follow the errors of sin, procure that I may turn again speedily to my Savior in the way of justice. When though beholdest me in tribulation and anguish, obtain for me help from God by thy sweet advocacy. I beg thee never to forsake me, but ever to shield, help and defend me from all troubling and assaults of the demons, watching over me day and night, at all hours and moments. And when this life draws to a close, do not permit the demons to frighten me, and let me not fall into despair. Leave me not, my Guardian, until thou hast conducted me into the blessed vision of God, in the glory of which I with thee and God’s Blessed Mother Mary and all the saints may rejoice for ever. Amen.—St. Francis Xavier, page 316


See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.—St. Matthew 18:10

 


  1. St. Louis De Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, “The Necessity of the Blessed Virgin and of Devotion to Her,” part 4, article 3.

  2. 9 choirs of angels:
    Angels
    Archangels
    Principalities
    Powers
    Virtues
    Dominations
    Thrones
    Cherubim
    Seraphim

4th Sunday After Easter: Fortitude

Today’s sermon is about fortitude as we prepare for Pentecost. If you’re listening on the blog, please consider joining and ranking me on iTunes so you have my sermons to go! You can find a free subscription to my sermons here on iTunes at this link here on my blog.

Second Sunday After Easter

aka Good Shepherd Sunday
This sermon recognizes the wolves that have caused the current crisis in the Catholic Church. In this sermon, I also describe the shepherds that God may be currently raising in order to shepherd the Church, as Christ and the early Apostles led and guarded the Church. This Sunday is appropriately called “Good Shepherd Sunday,” due to the Gospel from St. John chapter 10.

Today is the eclipsed feast day of St. Catherine of Siena in the old calendar. In line with today’s sermon, it is worth noting the seven things that God the Father told St. Catherine of Siena would restore the Catholic Church in times of crisis:

  1. Prayer
  2. Sweat
  3. Tears
  4. Fiery Desire
  5. Endure much
  6. Cast the light of your patience into the darkness of perverse men.
  7. Don’t fear the world’s persecutions.

—From Dialogue

In Cena Domini

Tonight’s podcast is from the Traditional Latin Mass for the Supper of the Lord (Cena Domini.)  This sermon is about the connection between the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Priesthood, and why Jesus transfers His suffering and leadership to His priests.  We will see that both the leadership and the suffering of priests are for the life of the world.  

5 Things You Might Not Know About St. Joseph

I’m going to write on five surprising things of St. Joseph in celebration of his feast day today.

1) St. Joseph was probably born without original sin. I know this one sounds heretical, but follow me here. A nun in Ohio received private revelations from Mary and Joseph in 1956, all of which were approved by Cardinal Burke in his letter to the USCCB in 1997. These apparitions are known as “Our Lady of America.” St. Joseph said the following about himself in this apparition: “It is true, my daughter, that immediately after my conception I was, through the future merits of Jesus and because of my exceptional role of future Virgin-Father, cleansed from the stain of original sin. I was, from that moment, confirmed in grace and never had the slightest stain on my soul. This is my unique privilege among men. My pure heart also was from the first moment of existence inflamed with love for God.” Mary was conceived without original sin. Joseph was conceived with original sin. However, if this apparition is true (and I believe it is) then immediately after his conception, Joseph was cleansed by God via the merits of Jesus on the cross applied retroactively. Thus, Jesus is still the Divine Savior of His foster-father, Joseph. Many ancient saints, popes, doctors and theologians of the Church have firmly believed that St. Joseph never committed an actual sin—neither mortal, nor even venial. This theological assertion does not empty the cross of its power, but rather reveals the omnipotence of God to apply the merits of the Redemption as He sees fit, even outside of time. Again, Jesus still saved Joseph from sin. (But this one probably deflates the old joke of Joseph getting blamed for everything in the breakfast-nook by the rest of the Holy Family.)

2) St. Joseph, betrothed to Mary, was a young-virgin himself. Although not defined, this is the teaching of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. Combine this with the dogma of Mary’s perpetual virginity, and the outcome is that St. Joseph is still a virgin in heaven. This sheds light on the hidden life of Nazareth, namely, that it took great virtue—not old age—to live in celibacy with the most beautiful woman ever created. This also means that Jesus was the only child that Joseph ever raised. Imagine this father teaching his son the Hebrew Scriptures late at night in his workshop. The angels themselves could not have made greater praise than these deep but tender, joyful whispers of the Psalms coming from a carpenter’s workshop day and night. (For Scriptural clarity on the identity of the mother of those relatives of Jesus always debated to be either His “brothers” versus His “cousins,” you can decide for yourself by reading Matt 27:55-56. It’s the entire Scriptural key to Mary’s Perpetual Virginity.)

3) St. Joseph was probably taken body-and-soul into heaven at his death. Have you ever seen a first class relic of St. Joseph? Me neither. St. Francis De Sales, a doctor of the Church, considers it definite that St. Joseph was taken body-and-soul into heaven at his death. Many such saints look to Gen 50:25 as a prophesy. Common sense dictates: Would God let his own foster father rot in the ground until His second coming? Indeed, we know that although Mary’s Assumption was unique, Mary was not the only one taken body-and-soul into heaven for a preemptive resurrection of the body. (See Gen 5:24, 2 Kings2:11 and Matt 27:53.) That St. Joseph should be among this small party of bodies in heaven is easy to believe when you consider that St. Joseph has been defined doctrinally by the magisterium as the second greatest saint. (See the writings by Pope Leo XIII.) I would have thought that the runner up to Mary would have gone to, say, St. Paul or St. Catherine of Siena. Nope. St. Joseph is the second greatest saint, even higher than the angels in glory. A simple carpenter! In fact, St. Teresa of Ávila says of St. Joseph: “I do not remember that I have ever asked anything of him which he has failed to grant.” Remember this when you pray for—and with—the dying. Since St. Joseph died with Jesus and Mary at his side, he is considered the patron of a good death. My experience is that his intercession is almost immediate.

4) St. Joseph is the head of the Holy Family. This seems obvious, but think about it: St. Joseph is #3 in holiness in his family, but he is #1 in the authority of his family.  Right here we have the whole Catholic answer to the issue of women’s ordination, the role of the father as the spiritual leader of the family and even the necessity of complementary roles played by two different genders in the family. Why? Because the Holy Family reveals to post-moderns that roles themselves do not imply superiority; roles prove natural law. (Natural Law is the universal law of family and morality already stamped into the heart of human beings found in any culture.) One day, we Americans may learn that the equality of dignity enjoyed by man and woman is not the same as a bland, interchangeable sameness of family members. How boring. Rather, real roles provide beauty when they are lived without chauvinism or manipulation. Mary was holier than Joseph, but that didn’t stop her from being obedient to him. In fact, Jesus—the Divine Word of the Universe—was obedient to both of them (Luke 2:51.) So, what was Joseph’s role, anyway? That of every man: To protect, guard, provide, teach, guide and love. When a woman lets a man do this, it’s not conveying inferiority. It’s letting him live the fullness of his own masculine love for his family.

5) St. Joseph is the Return of the King. If you look at St. Joseph’s genealogy in the Gospel of St. Matthew, you will see that Joseph had to be the hidden king of Israel by being a direct descendent of King David. Why didn’t anyone know it? Because David’s royalty had to go underground to give way to a corrupt Hebrew theocracy in cahoots with Greek invaders. (For more, see the Old Testament’s 1 and 2 Maccabees, aka the Jewish Braveheart…Yes, some poor Protestans took out the most exciting book in the Bible because Luther didn’t like the Purgatory reference in 2 Macc 12:39-42.) Anyway, follow closely for one more minute: St. Joseph was “King of Israel.” This is proved right there in Matt 1:6-16. He is in the direct bloodline of King David! Read it if you think that that is a title that belongs only to Jesus. In fact, Jesus being the supposed-son of the king may have been a cruel but prophetic twist on the head-placard written by Pontius Pilate at Jesus’ crucifixion: HIC EST IESUS, REX IUDAEORUM—Matt 27:37. Of course, Jesus goes beyond Joseph as the prophesied everlasting King of Israel (2 Sam 7:12-13) since Jesus is God. If you’ve read any Scott Hahn, you know that the queen of a Jewish king was not his wife, but rather His mother (1 Kings 2:19.) Thus, if Jesus is king, then the queen of Israel is clearly Mary. Put it all together and this means: For different reasons, Mary and Joseph are both hidden royalty! The royal duty of Joseph was to guard and protect his queen, Mary. But it doesn’t end there. His duty of guarding this queen was the cameo of his longer vocation to protect the Catholic Church by his intercession in heaven. Is this a pious but random connection? No. The Church’s theology is that Mary lived as the exemplar (supreme goal and example) of the Church. This means that everything St. Joseph did once for her on earth, he would do now for the Church from his spot in heaven. Now it is easy to understand why St. Joseph’s current role is to guard and protect the Church in her pilgrim state of danger here on earth. He is summoned to protect her from both theological error and real demons. We need to call on him now more than ever in this time of nearly unprecedented confusion within the Church and diabolical attack within the family (the domestic Church.) “St. Joseph, terror of demons” is ready to help us pray and act and teach as men.

Lastly…I’ve traveled to missions and parishes on five continents during the past three years and I would argue that it is mostly in Western nations where people consider religion to be a “woman thing.” Not so in the Middle East, in India, in Africa. God is for both genders. Consider the witness of the 21 Egyptian Christian martyrs whose heads were sawed off with knives last month while they were still alive. (This is not “beheading” as the media erroneously calls it. “Beheading” was something merciful that Herod did to John the Baptist.) Did you know that these 21 were not ultra-religious Copts hand-picked by ISIS for torture? They were ordinary Christian men. Did you know every one of them was given the chance to verbally deny Jesus and then accept Islam? These normal fathers and husbands submitted to a gory death on the shores of Libya instead of denying our dear Savior, Jesus Christ. Beshir Kamel, a brother of two of the martyrs, later said that his brothers and friends were “a badge of honor to Christianity…ISIS gave us more than we asked when they didn’t edit out the part where they declared their faith and called upon Jesus Christ. ISIS helped us strengthen our faith.” Yes, this was the year 2015. Perhaps it is no coincidence that both Josephs of the Bible have blessed the sands of Egypt by their courageous and manly witness when compromise could have “saved” them. St. Joseph, genetically so close to these modern heroes and martyrs of Libya/Egypt, pray for similar men to be raised up in the Church of the Americas.

—I originally wrote this article for Those Catholic Men.