The men of that [last] generation will have no deeds whatever, but there will come upon them temptation, and those who are worthy in this temptation will be higher than us and our fathers.—St. Ischyrion of Egypt.

I have wondered for a long time if good Catholics in any given period in history have to “take the hits” (so to speak) of that specific era in which they live. In other words, if Medieval Catholics were physically very cold, it is no wonder that saints like St. Francis of Assisi had to face to cold as a poor beggar. If Christians in Muslim lands had their throats slit, it is no wonder that many saints offered just such a decapitation for the conversion of Muslims. We know through the writings of numerous saints that their glory in heaven will not just be quantitative in proportion to their sufferings endured on earth, but even qualitative. That is, the elect will see within the Beatific Vision of other elect not only how much they suffered, but what and why they suffered on earth.

What, then, will it be for American Catholics who are trying to keep the faith? Yes, it is true we have today what I call the Three-H’s more than past times: Health, Heat and Hygiene.  But I think we are enduring more than most Catholics in times past.  Why do I think this?  Because we are facing modernists running the Church, globalists running the State, chemicals being peppered all over our food to make us weak, vaccines making us sick, pressure upon anyone “having too many children” as  “a climate threat” and finally immodest ads reaching even the most isolated of families.

I don’t listen to Fr. Mike Schmitz much since the one time I gave his Bible-in-a-Year podcast a shot, there was Scriptural error in it.1 But he told a fascinating story on Instagram of a Catholic man tortured in China for the Faith.  That Chinese man sought asylum in the United States and began his time here as a daily communicant.  The slow wear-and-tear of a consumeristic society dialed him down to Sunday Mass only, then only Christmas and Easter.  Then, he apparently left the Church, or at least stopped attending Mass.

The Chinese man’s apparent departure from the Catholic faith wasn’t due to the physical torture he faced in China, for he endured that heroically.  Rather, he was crushed by the slow-burn of something in the United States.  What was it?  Modernism in the parish? Individualism in the USA? EMF and 5G towers? Consumerism? Fast-food breaking down his intellect?  Maybe all of those, but primarily  I suspect he found a more modernist parish in the USA than China.  He also probably had no strong Catholic community.  Without orthodoxy or charity, one is bound to fail alone.  But I honestly don’t know.

I’m not sharing that story to get you down during the Easter Octave (though I would ask that you please stop reading and say a Hail Mary for that Chinese man who apparently left the Church.)  The fact is that I’m sharing that account for the good news, namely, that heaven might be just as impressed with Catholics keeping the Faith in the West amidst our slow-burn as Catholics keeping the Faith in the East amidst their fast burn.  In other words, his story implies white-martyrdom is harder than red-martyrdom.  I’m not saying I could endure the latter without screaming the name of Jesus constantly like a maniac.  But that account of the Chinese man shows that those of you who keep the traditional faith amidst the heresy of modernism are doing something extremely impressive.

Padre Pio endured the stigmata all day and all night. But on top of the physical pain, he seems to have been making very specific expiation for the more hidden sins of the 20th century. Pio stated: “It would seem that God expects the just to expiate in a special way, by means of temptation, the public sins of their contemporaries” and to his spiritual director:  “Blasphemies cross my mind incessantly, and even more so false ideas, ideas of infidelity and unbelief. I feel my soul transfixed at every instant of my life, it kills me… My faith is upheld only by a constant effort of my will against every kind of human persuasion. My faith is only the fruit of the continual efforts that I exact of myself. And all of this, Father, is not something that happens a few times a day, but it is continuous… Father, how difficult it is to believe!”

All of this is to say that heaven might be more “impressed” (poetically speaking of course) with you keeping faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and love of His most holy Mother and the traditional faith than you give yourself credit for. Your sufferings (which might indeed be mighty, but might seem small to you, as they are hidden from you to keep you humble) might be doing exactly what Padre Pio said above: “It would seem that God expects the just to expiate in a special way, by means of temptation, the public sins of their contemporaries.” This could explain why it was harder for that Chinese man to keep the faith amidst the hidden sins of the West than even under that glaring communist torture in the East.

If you are maintaining the Apostolic Faith, you are making expiation for the sins of your era better than you realize. Here’s more proof:  The suicide-rate in any culture shows the level of perceived-meaninglessness in suffering (not necessarily the objective level of suffering, but again the meaninglessness subjectively experienced) and we have among the highest rates in the world.  One of my University’s professors taught that the suicide rate in most countries was inversely proportional to the per-capita income of most countries.  People commit suicide under psychological pressure much more often than under physical pressure.  That’s almost statistical proof it’s harder to carry a psychological cross than a physical cross.

Thus, the psychological coldness we face today in the West is much harder than the physical coldness our Catholic European ancestors faced in the Middle-Ages.  Again, I’m not claiming I’m capable of the latter.  (I have hypothyroid and I am a total wimp when it comes to the cold.) But I have been fit by God into the 21st century and I’m carrying the cross of orthodoxy upstream when everyone in Church and State wants me to drop it. I’m not saying I’m a saint. Far from it. But I have been given the tools required to not just my state in life, but to my state in life in this specific era of Church history.

So also for you: You carry hidden crosses, in say, standing against Communion in the Hand, childhood or C19 vaccines, “alternative marriages” and “divorces” (both modern-myths) internet-addictions, narcotics, chemicals in food, being called “schismatic” for holding to what every Catholic saint lived for and every martyr died for.  All of these are admittedly absent from the Beatitudes explicitly, but they are all in there implicitly.   Again, I’m not saying you and I should start thinking of ourselves as saints, because then that arrogance makes us drop the few crosses we’re carrying well.  But I am saying:  Don’t despair.  You are walking the road of the Passion and the Resurrection by just remaining an orthodox Catholic amidst all the snarky false-accusations you endure.

I’m not giving anyone a “pass” for mortal sins. I made this very clear in my Holy Thursday article, Slavery to Sin standing against subjective excuses when we have objective moral theology guiding us.  But I am suggesting that perhaps the reason we can’t fast and vigil as much as our forefathers is found in the opening quote by the Desert Father.

If indeed these are those days of overwhelming pressure from all sides, then heaven may be just as honored that a US Postal worker in the far West makes it to a TLM without mortal sin as a Chinese engineer enduring long nights in a communist prison in the far East. Even if I’m wrong on this, both men belong to the same suffering body of Christ which will one day be raised like Our Divine Savior into heaven, wounds and all (physical and psychological both) on glorious display for the other one to see forever.

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