A Fatherly Priest

For the past two weeks I have been attending daily Mass at a beautiful little parish church in the small town where I live. The parish is in a bit of turmoil as the most recent pastor has announced that he is leaving the priesthood after 18 years of ministry – it seems Father is getting married. What is most distressing about this sad situation is that when Father announced his plans to leave, the congregation APPLAUDED him and wished him luck in his “new life.” Have Catholics been so left in the dark, so weakened in their faith and so indifferent to the current situation in the Church that something as tragic as a priest leaving his vocation provokes only applause and congratulations? This is akin to a man with a wife and children deciding that he wants to leave and start a “new life.” What has happened to the idea of commitment and unselfish service, even in times of suffering and trial?
We have lost respect for the dignity of the priesthood and a life in imitation of Our Lord who endured everything that we endure and much more.
But this post is meant to share a hidden grace and gift given by God to the folks who attend daily Mass at this parish. The elderly priest who has been offering Mass while this chaos has enveloped the parish is the picture of humility, a great example of devotion and selfless commitment to doing the Lord’s work. His quiet demeanor and unassuming manner is a breath of fresh air in the midst of the turbulence caused by proud posturing and self seeking by the vast majority of the souls which he encounters day by day. I watch him as he says Mass with his gentle but firm voice and I can tell he has been through all the battles and wars with the enemy – he has encountered every trial and problem that a truly holy priest is almost guaranteed to face. But, he understands that he is in the school of the Master and the cross of tribulation and trouble is the surest, fastest way to sanctity and happiness.
I found myself face to face with this priest one day as he visited relatives next door. I complimented him on the way he offers the Mass and he just lit up like a Christmas tree. He is childlike – not childish – and dignified. His humility is like a sweet fragrance that pleases those he encounters – probably similar to a certain carpenter from a little town named Nazareth who just happened to change the world. Pray for priests. God Bless.

Lost Masculinity

I recently listened to an excellent talk on masculinity. This talk centered on the question “where are all the real men?” It is tempting to think that this is a side issue, not something to be too concerned about. On the contrary, it is my opinion that this a vital cog in the machinery being used to dismantle and cripple our society and the Church. It can be compared to a quarterback preparing to receive the snap from the center and one of the cheerleaders standing up, pushing the quarterback aside and running the offense herself. The appointed and intended leader is not leading – he is pushed aside and becomes a spectator of the events on the field. Granted, under normal circumstances, the coach would immediately put a halt to such madness but the point can still be made: when we circumvent or ignore the intended order, the outcome we desire is in jeopardy of never coming to pass. Our success is forfeited in favor of an inferior way of doing things.
In our homes and in the Church, the question can be asked “where are the men?” What has happened? The emasculation of men is painfully obvious to anyone with a sincere desire to discover what has brought about the problems our society faces these days.
There was a time when women were groomed and taught from an early age to be feminine, to yield to the men in positions of leadership in their lives. Why? Because it was taught by the Church and the social institutions in our society that men were intended by Almighty God to lead, to adhere to the traditional order that God had instituted and which proved to be very successful in insuring an acceptable order in civil society. The divorce rate at the turn of the century was less than 10%. Beginning in the 1960’s with the rise of the radical feminist movement, that percentage has steadily risen. The venerated old order was discarded and suddenly men were finding their God-given authority in their homes being challenged and disputed by their wives and daughters. What followed was tension, fighting,
fractured unity and a general sense of unease. Satan is a divider, an instigator – he has used this development in family life and the Church in a masterful way. He is filled with malice and he is very intelligent and crafty.
Here is the point I am trying to make: the proper response for the men in these situations – in the home and in diocesan offices – would have been to assert themselves in a dignified, firm manner and refuse to buckle to this new challenge to authority. Confidence, dignity, and masculinity are vitally needed at moments like these. If done with humility and Christian charity, this response by dads and Church leaders would have prevented some of the carnage we now face. I once heard a bishop state that he and his colleagues had never been confronted with aggressive women before – they simply didn’t know how to react.
Entire generations of young men, verile and wild at heart have been silenced
and stripped of masculinity – that quality God imbues him with to take on the world and subdue it. How has this happened? At the point in their young lives when Dad should gently take him and begin to groom him for manly things and remove him lovingly from the feminine nurturing of his mother –
this natural development is being omitted by absent Dads or Dads who have yielded to society’s pressure to back off and let Mom do it all. A woman has a natural tendency to protect her boys like innocent young bucks in the wilderness – she will hover over those boys at all cost and until Dad steps in and begins to introduce them to the hard lessons life has to teach.
Thankfully, the realization of the gravity of this problem is causing small pockets of christian men to learn their roles as fathers and what needs to happen with their boys. This bodes well for the future – let’s embrace the traditional, SUCCESSFUL, ways of raising our children – God will be there with grace and support – we can count on that. God Bless.

Virtue Vs. Vice

Our little homeschool began the day yesterday with a story on the wisdom of work and striving for virtue instead of seeking pleasure. This story was taken from a book written by former Secretary of Education William Bennet.
The title of the book is “The Book of Virtues.” We are currently using stories from this book to try to instill in our children the character traits that lead to successful living. I remarked to my wife after reading one of the stories that our present day culture in many ways discourages the very principle set forth in the story – namely, that seeking short term gratifying pleasure does not lead to TRUE happiness. It might lead to fun or a good time or ease of life – but it does not produce true, lasting happiness. That type of happiness is a product of living according to the will of Almighty God and the dictates of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To read the Gospels and come to the conclusion that life is supposed to be an endless seeking of comfort and pleasure is to miss the entire purpose and scope of the teachings of Christ Himself. After all, he spoke constantly of self denial, carrying crosses and sacrificing for the good of others. These activities are not always fun but they will produce joy if our intention is right and we act in true humility. The enemy knows our insatiable desire for the fulfillment of selfish desires and our need for comfort – he is only too happy to watch us blindly go off on the road to vice and enslavement.
Jim Rohn passed away last year. He was a world renowned motivational speaker and he changed the lives of thousands of people. He said the following, which fits well with this discussion: “discipline weighs ounces and regret weighs a ton” If we discipline ourselves to seek virtue through hard work and self denial we will not live with the painful and burdensome regret of mediocrity and wrecked lives. It is our responsibility to find out the duties of our state in life, seek out people who are successfully doing their part, learn from them and then set out to actually be faithful to whatever God wills for us.
The story in the book concludes with the image of two roads, one smooth and easy with birds singing on both sides – and the other road shrouded in mist with many curves and unknown perils ahead. A lady awaits at the entrance to both roads – the lady on the misty road promises no easy ride or comfortable trip – but she does promise a beautiful blue sky at the end of the road which satisfies the soul through and through. The lady at the beginning of the smooth, picturesque road just winks and says “trust me, it will be alright” and a feeling of dread fills the soul. It’s virtue or vice – one is work, one is easy. Let’s have the good sense and moral compass to work for virtue and reject the temporary pleasure of vice. God Bless.

A 40 Year Old Mistake

While attending Holy Mass at one of our local parishes, I noticed literature
in the pews for the weekly Life Teen Mass. I must admit that the first time I even heard the term Life Teen, my suspicions were aroused. That was several years ago, and my suspicions were well founded. The intentions might be good but this approach to spark some interest or devotion in young people reveals an ignorance or lack of understanding which in the end can cause more damage than good. The lack of understanding of which I speak is a lack of appreciation or knowledge of the absolute divine beauty of traditional, authentic worship in the liturgy. What we are actually saying or implying is that young people cannot or will not be profoundly affected by the Church’s ancient, traditional and dare I say – mystical order of worship. This is a gross underestimation – a selling short – of the power of traditional Catholic worship and of these young people as well.
I unknowingly attended a Life Teen Mass approximately 12 years ago and I was horrified – sickened – by loud drums, Protestant sounding music and a very casual atmosphere. So I have witnessed first hand this silly attempt to lure teenagers to Mass. It demeans them and the Mass itself. What a shame.
If we have to lure them to Mass with these gimmicks, will their faith – built on emotion – be able to survive the temptations raging all around us? Why do we lower the bar and strip the Mass of it’s mysterious, mystical power that the Holy Spirit invests it with? Do we believe that these young people are so shallow and superficial that they won’t appreciate a liturgy that is permeated with reverence, silence and awe of the miracle happening on the altar? We give them casual, silly, PROTESTANT liturgical innovations and then we wonder why they leave the Church for the same rock n roll atmosphere a short time after the Life Teen experience ends. This actually happens – I spoke to someone the other day whose friend’s FIVE children left the Catholic Church in search of the same emotional lift they THOUGHT they recieved at Life Teen liturgies. We are not edified and made holy in our emotions – we are edified and made holy in our hearts and souls – places where emotions are oftentimes never detected.
Approximately 40 years ago, the Mass of All Time, the Mass according to the missal of 1962-was discarded in favor of the Novus Ordo – New Order of Mass. This event has resulted in the creation in the minds of millions of Catholics a Protestant mind set. We are losing our Catholic identitiy and the Novus Ordo – while valid – has contributed to this sad development in the Church. More on this next time. God Bless.

Humility of Heart

An elementary fact related to the construction of a house, apartment buiding or other structure: the foundation comes first and is vital to the stability and duration of the entire facility. Nothing else happens until that concrete slab is poured and prepared for the next steps in the process. To build a house in any other way is to invite problems and potential disaster.
According to a simple, powerful book I am currently reading for the second time – this idea holds true in our spiritual lives as well. A foundation is the prerequisite first step and in the case of our immortal souls, the virtue of humility is that foundation. Why? Because humility is nothing more than an accurate assessment or vision of who Almighty God is, who we are and the proper understanding of the relationship between us and the Good Lord.
When that relationship is properly understood and we live according to it, then all the other beautiful virtues and qualities of a Godly person can be added unto us.
Humble people are simple – they simply believe in what they are taught by Holy Mother Church without having to have an intellectual understanding of every nuance of the faith. They do seek understanding, but their seeking is characterized by an openness to truth and a childlike obedience to Church authority. To see ourselves accurately and to see God as he really is generates a confidence and power that can propel us to live full, radiant, grace-filled lives. Humble people are not self-concious – they naturally focus their attention outward to the will of God and the needs of those souls God places in their path. Humble people are not touchy or easily offended – their realization of their nothingness before God and their dependence on Him helps them to know that they probably deserve to be criticized or admonished – they nod their heads in agreement and thank God for the chance to know themselves better. How different is that than the reaction the vast majority of us have when we are contadicted or corrected? Our pride rebels at criticism or correction and we lose our peace.
That brings us to the enemy of humility of heart – pride. Pride is the insidious enemy of our soul – every sin springs from pride – we overestimate ourselves, we prefer our own will and our own way and we defend ourselves even when we know we are wrong. Because of the fall of original sin, we are disordered in our self love and the result is blindness to the corruption that lives in us. The result of all this could lead to our damnation – we cannot spend paradise in Heaven with God without humility – because humility is truth and heaven is populated only by truth and love.
How do we become humble? Ask for this virtue every day, many times a day.
Study humility, read about it, beg God for it. He resists the proud and embraces the humble. I repeat: he RESISTS the proud and races to help the humble. A simple prayer that St. Augustine said every day and one that I have adopted myself: “May I know Thee, and may I know myself.” That is as simple as it gets. We live in a society that disdains humility and humble souls – we are encouraged to live for number 1, get all we can get, be as comfortable and rich and as fat and lazy as we can – our lack of humility is revealed in how violent and immoral and depraved we have become. We separate ourselves from God by being proud and the consequence of leaving our God is suffering and death. Without the Creator,
the creature dies. Let’s all say this prayer of St. Augustine for ourselves and those who read this blog. Jesus asked us to learn only one thing from Him –
“Learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart” Can it be any clearer than that? God Bless.
Book information: Humility of Heart by Fr. Cajetan Mary da Bergamo. I purchased my copy from Amazon for less than $10.

Dale Hayes Address to Home School Part 2


Dale Hayes Address to Home School

Dale Hayes Address to Home School

Over the Edge

The local newspaper recently ran a story with the following headline: “Turtle Egg Rescue at Space Center billed Big Success”. My blood pressure immediately rose as I began reading this story. It seems the local wildlife officials were deeply concerned about the effects of the gulf oil spill contaminating these defenseless, precious turtle eggs. Please don’t misunderstand – I am for protecting innocent wildlife and I am not so cold-hearted as to not care about animals being treated properly. But we cannot let things become out of proportion and devoid of common sense. Back to the turtle eggs – these eggs were delivered to safety from the gulf coast to the space center in Florida. They were transported by truck over a three month period. The article, while discussing the possible problems facing these turtles, contained the phrase “humans are also a threat”
A question: how many innocent human beings – human beings with an eternal soul – were executed in their mothers’ wombs as these trucks rumbled down the highway with their precious cargo? Do we see the insanity of what we are doing? We have devolved into a state of denial characterized by the stupidity of calling good evil and evil good. We are killing babies and calling it good and watching those who are trying to stop the killing of babies and calling them bad. We have gone past insanity and entered the theater of barbarism. We consider the environment sacred but human life expendable. We have not only accepted the sick rantings of radical feminism but we have embraced them and now promote them – even among members of the leadership of the Catholic Church.
The Roman barbarians would leave unwanted babies on the hillside to die.
Guess who would secretly save those babies and raise them – the Christians.
In post-Christian America today, the Christians are the ones leaving the babies to die while we pay a high price to save and rescue TURTLES(?)
The murderous legacy of legalized abortion is a staggering number of dead children of Almighty God – over 50 MILLION. And we wonder why God has allowed us to fall into the hands of corrupt, evil leaders?
A billboard at one of our local businesses said it very succinctly – “The best thing to do is to pray and try again.” But we will not pray if we do not believe. And we will not believe if we are not humble. If we do not humble ourselves, God will humble us in His way and His ways are not our ways.
God Bless.

The Tripod

The Cursillo Center in Prairie Ronde, Louisiana just held and completed a four day weekend during which 43 men were given a crash course in Catholicism. One of those men was a nephew of mine whom I sponsored.
The Cursillo Movement teaches and promotes living out our Catholic faith using the image of a tripod which is a very effective way for remembering and implementing the beautiful teachings of the Catholic Church. It is a proven method for fulfilling the commitment we make as Catholics when we are confirmed. The 3 legs of the tripod are piety (prayer), study and action. Typical of any tripod dependent on all 3 legs to remain standing, if any one of these areas of our spiritual life are lacking or even nonexistent, our union with God and our effectiveness in living an authentic christian life will be comprimised. The problem with us poor mortal human beings is that the effort required to live the tripod and be holy requires discipline and a strong commitment – not to mention a heart centered on Almighty God and His will for us. With the world, the flesh and the devil all working against us, the battle we fight can be quite treacherous. Because of the effects of original sin, we are prone to thirst for comfort and an easy life – to avoid the difficulty involved in bending our will to the will of God. The saints in heaven realized the discipline and hard work required and they cooperated with the graces which God makes available to each and every soul – they did what we all say we do – they loved God and His will more than their own. They lived for eternity, for Heaven – most of us live for the world – for earthly satisfaction and enjoyment.
The tripod of piety, study and action is a battle plan, a program which can mitigate and circumvent our natural tendency to backslide. Each day, a healthy dose of prayer, a few minutes of studying the faith, and an honest, humble effort to lead others to Christ by either word or example will keep the little fire in our souls burning – that little fire placed there during our baptism and stoked at our confirmation.
This method of living the tripod is stressed throughout the entire Cursillo weekend because the Holy Spirit has revealed to us that we have to seek Him and make the effort for union with Him – He will not force Himself on us. We have to make those baby steps toward Him and He will make God steps towards us.
The Cursillo Movement seeks to make leaders of men who will go out and re-Christianize our society. A dynamic man who truly loves God and seeks to fulfill His will knows the necessity of cultivating holiness in his soul so that he has the qualities which make a Man of God attractive to others. His study of the faith and his life of prayer will prepare him to be ready when the Lord sends those souls in his path who need what he has been given.
To view good, solid, short videos on these and other issues – especially family life, visit YouTube and enter Citadel Catholic Media in the search box.
God bless.

Dads – The Time Is Now!

This post comes as a result of several conversations with my wife and members of my family as this school year begins. Very simply: our society,
our Church, our institutions are STARVING for masculine leadership – men who will realize the role that God has given them, educate themselves and rise up to take on the great challenge of leadership. Our wives and mothers were not intended by Almighty God to shoulder these heavy responsibilities.
But almost by default, they have labored exponentially more than they could or should. A man is given the gift of masculinity for many reasons, one of which is that this gift enables him, equips him to learn the hard lessons that life has to teach. Once he knows his role, his quest, his mission – he can arm himself with the sacramental life of the Church and make his way in the world – with his family securely behind him confident of his ability to lead.
I will focus on one aspect of this masculine leadership – the rearing of Godly children for Christ and His Church. When I hear of discipline problems and unruly children, I can safely assume that Dad is pretty much unaware or unconcerned about what is taking place in his home. He also could be unable or ill-equipped to handle the situation. One thing is for sure: Mom IS aware and IS concerned and tension is mounting. If Mom senses or feels or KNOWS that her sweet husband will not step in and lead, and if Mom has not been informed of the danger of her assuming his duty – well, in the short term, the situation might be brought under control – but in the long run, a dangerous and harmful trend is being set in stone. That trend is this: Dad is merely a spectator in this family drama and Mom is the authority in this home. So, God’s appointed leader – Dad – is relegated to the back bench and the children are subjected to Mom’s frustration. Her intentions are good – the formation of her children – but her methods might further push her husband into the background. The point is: we want to have the order God established in place and functioning as well as can be expected with sinful human beings running things. Children NEED a firm, unemotional hand to correct and guide them. There was a time when men were truly the heads of their homes and they were the patriarch, the big boss who the children KNEW they would answer to for any misbehavior. We can get back to a sane way of living our lives – the information is available – God is waiting for men to rise up and do His bidding. A good friend of mine is in the process of filming short videos dealing with these very issues and other concerns for families. These videos will be posted on Youtube and I will make the information on how to access them available when the time comes. Stay tuned. God Bless.