Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Homily for Easter 4 - April 22, 2018

Homily for April 22, 2018
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Shepherding the Domestic Church

            Today is often called “Good Shepherd Sunday”, after the beautiful Gospel we just heard. It is often typical to talk about the priesthood, which is one way in which some people are called to be shepherds. But let’s be realistic – most of you are called to the beautiful vocation of marriage. So I’d like to talk about shepherding a different kind of church – the Domestic Church.
            “The Domestic Church” is the phrase that the Second Vatican Council used to describe the family. Such a great insight – the family is, indeed, the Church in miniature. It’s in the family that we grow in holiness; it’s in our families that we first learn about the love of God and the truths of our Catholic faith. Parents, then, are the shepherds of this Domestic Church – they are the ones entrusted with shepherding their family to Heaven.
            Daunting task? You bet. But today’s Gospel gives us some insights on how to become that good shepherd of your family.
            First, Jesus speaks about unity in the flock. And unity in the flock of the family can only come about through forgiveness.
            Dr. Scott Hahn tells a great story. He’s a nationally-known Scripture professor at my alma mater, and as he was studying the Old Testament, he noticed that it was a Jewish custom called the “Jubilee”. Every fifty years, the Jewish people would forgive any and every debt that anyone had – basically hitting a “reset” button on all debts. So Scott Hahn decided to try that in his house.
            He has six kids, and one day at the breakfast table he said to them, “Okay kids, your mom and I have decided that today is a day of Jubilee. You can come to us and tell us anything that you want to tell us, and we promise that we will forgive you, no questions asked.” His kids looked at him a little strangely, confused about what they meant.
            A few hours went past, and Dr. Hahn was in his study, when slowly the door creaked open. It was his oldest son. With a timid voice he said, “Hey Dad…did you really mean what you said about a day of Jubilee? When everything would be forgiven?”
            “Yes, son, I really meant it.”
            “Great!” his son said. “Then I want to tell you that it was me who dented your car the other day with a baseball…and pushed my sister down the stairs…and stole your hammer and didn’t return it…and…”
            The list went on and on. His dad just took it all in, his eyes getting wider and wider. He began to think this Jubilee wasn’t such a good idea! He was learning about some of his son’s sins that he never knew about! But then finally, his son wrapped it up and with a heavy sigh, said, “Whew! Thanks for listening, Dad. I feel so much better, knowing that I’m forgiven.”
            Dr. Hahn sat back in his chair after his son left, just amazed. Amazed at the power of forgiveness. Amazed at how his son felt so free to unburden himself when he knew there would only be mercy. And as he was sitting there, stunned, he heard his door open a bit, and his second child peeked in and asked, “Dad, did you really mean what you said about a day of Jubilee?”
            Forgiveness is the path to unity. If you want to shepherd your flock well, according to the Heart of Jesus, begin by forgiving your family members.
            Jesus then gives us the example of sacrificial love: “A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” Cardinal O’Brien from Baltimore once told me a story. When he was a younger priest, he was invited to the retirement party of a four-star general in the army. This general was so tremendously loved and admired by all of his men. They really viewed this general as a true father. During the party, the men urged the general to get up and give them a speech. They asked him to share the secret to his success – why had he inspired such loyalty and admiration in everyone around him?
            Reluctantly, the general got up to give a very short speech. He said, “You have asked me to speak about how to be a leader. When I was a young officer, I was told the greatest secret to leadership in the Army, and it’s very simple. Officers…eat…last.” And then he sat down. And Cardinal O’Brien told me that it was the most important lesson on leadership he had ever heard.
            Officers eat last. They are more concerned about the men under them than they are about their own ranks, honors, and awards. In the same way if we wish to shepherd our families following the example of Christ, shepherds eat last. They only take their rest once everyone around them is well-cared-for. A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep – a good father or mother lays down their lives for their family in self-sacrificial love.
            Finally, a third insight into leading your families to holiness is to keep your flock away from the wolf – that is, the Evil One. As parents, we have a special duty to preserve the innocence and holiness of our children. Sin should have no place in your home. Allow me to be extremely blunt – one of the greatest causes of sin and lack of faith among young people is unfettered access to the internet. What parent would leave their child unsupervised in a library where many of the books are filled with filthy content, where many of the videos are rated R, where violence and lust and atheism prowl? No good parent would do that – and yet parents don’t think twice about allowing their kids to spend hours on the internet, watching Youtube or playing games with random strangers. My friends, any parent who gives their child an iPad or iPhone and does not put restrictions on it has allowed Satan to enter your Domestic Church. You’ve practically invited the wolf to sit down with the sheep for dinner. I have seen too many young people fall into sin and lose their faith because parents have not been vigilant to keep the wolf away. I’m not saying to get rid of all technology – I am saying that you need to put filters and restrictions on your kids’ phones and iPads, and be constantly aware of what they are doing with technology. If you need resources for filters or how to put parental controls on an iPhone, I’m happy to offer some suggestions.
            My friends, all of us have people to shepherd. I have the parish and the high school; you have your families, coworkers, and friends. But in a special way, parents and grandparents are called to be shepherds of the Domestic Church – the family. When I see Christ face-to-face, I will be judged on how well I have led my flock to Heaven – and when you see Christ face-to-face, you will have to give an account of how well you have led your family to Heaven. Be not afraid, with God’s grace, to be the shepherds of the Domestic Church!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Homily for Easter 3 - April 15, 2018

Homily for Third Sunday of Easter
April 15, 2018
Scar Stories

            It may just be a guy thing, but young boys love to tell stories of their scars. It’s always humorous when I’m at the middle school and I just ask, “Hey, where’d you get that scar on your forehead?” and then the kid launches into an excited description of that time he was having a rock fight with his friend, and then he proceeds to show me three other scars and tell me their stories too.
            Scars have stories. Even Shakespeare recognized this when he writes in his play Henry V about the warriors that fought with King Henry at the Battle of Crispin’s Day. He writes: “He that lives through this day and comes home safe, will stand when Crispin’s Day is named, and will strip his sleeve and show his scars and say, ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s Day!’” For these men who fought with the king, their wounds would be their badge of honor, a testament to their courage. And Shakespeare goes on to say that any man who, out of cowardice, stayed home on Crispin’s Day would “hold their manhoods cheap” when in the presence of those brave warriors who bear the scars of the battle.
            Jesus, then, to show His courage, His victory, shows His disciples His scars. Have you ever thought how odd that is? I mean, if you’re going to resurrect into a perfect Body, why not get rid of those scars in the hands and feet? Why not look perfect?
            Very simple – the scars are a visible reminder of what He endured for them. When they see the scars, they see the price of repentance – but also the Victory of Christ.
            As an ancient homily from the second century says, “We had left a garden; Christ returned to a garden to be betrayed and a garden to be buried. See on His face the spittle He received in order to restore to us the life He once breathed into us. See there the marks of the blows He received in order to refashion our warped nature in His image. On His back see the marks of the scourging He endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon our back. See His hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for we once wickedly stretched out our hands to a tree” in the Garden of Eden.
            And consider the words of St. Theodore the Studite: “The Lord, like a brave warrior wounded in His hands, feet, and side, healed the wounds of sin that the evil serpent had inflicted on our nature.”
            His wounds undo our wounds. His scars wipe away our scars. All of us have wounds and scars – we can’t get through life unscathed. Sometimes those scars are caused by other people: maybe we’ve been abused, treated poorly, bullied, hated, rejected. Maybe people we love have died. Maybe we’ve struggled with depression, anxiety, illness, fear. Maybe the scars came because we made bad choices: the guilt of our sin, the addictions we’ve developed, the broken relationships that we just can’t heal. All of us have wounds; all of us have scars. It would be impossible for any human being not to suffer or be wounded.
            But wounds can either be healed, or kill us. Wounds that are brought to Christ, the Divine Doctor, can be healed. Wounds that we hide, that we don’t treat, will fester and cause misery and unhappiness – and eventually the spiritual death of hatred.
            We bring our wounds to Christ through prayer and Confession. Pray about it – “Lord, what are You teaching me through my suffering? How can You use it to make me more like You? What are You calling me to let go of? How can I trust You more?” This is bringing our wounds to Christ. Then, if the wound involves our own sin, we can bring it to the Lord in Confession. Sin is the biggest wound, because it wounds our relationship with God – thus, Jesus’ first gift here in today’s Gospel is that “repentance for the forgiveness of sins” comes through our faith in Him.
            My friends, life is tough, and sometimes we suffer. We suffer because of other people’s choices, we suffer because of our own bad choices and our sins, and sometimes we just suffer because we’re human. But when we get wounded, we can bring those wounds to Christ. He can forgive our sins. He can heal our wounds and make them, like His, signs of victory and triumph.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Homily for Friday, April 6, 2018 - Friday of Easter Octave

Homily for April 6, 2018 – Friday of Easter Octave
Catholic Academy of Stamford Mass
A Different Life

            How many of you are Boy Scouts? I am an Eagle Scout, and Scouting has been a big part of my life and my family. The foundation of Boy Scouts in America comes from an unlikely source – an unknown young boy in England. You see, there were Boy Scouts in England before the program came to the United States. One day, a businessman from America named William Boyce was traveling in England. As it often is, it was very foggy in London that day – so foggy that he was completely lost and couldn’t find his way to his destination as he walked through the streets. A boy came to his aid, and led him to his destination. When Mr. Boyce arrived at his destination, he reached in his pocket to give the boy some money for his kindness, but the boy refused to take it. The boy explained that he was a Boy Scout and that he was just doing his scout’s duty to help a stranger.
            The boy and Mr. Boyce parted ways, but Mr. Boyce was so impressed by that boy’s generous action that the next day he visited the Scouting headquarters in England, got information on how the Boy Scout program is run, and brought it to America. Since then, more than 110 million young men have gone through Boy Scouts. All of this happened because one young boy decided he would live differently because he was a scout.
            It’s a temptation to all of us to let our faith in Jesus be just one more “thing” in our life. We have our sports, our school friends, being in the play, our families, our faith, our social media, our Fortnite life…and faith is just one part of who we are. But that’s not what our relationship with Jesus should be – it should be the driving force, the main goal of our entire lives! Our life should be different because we know and love Jesus Christ!
            St. Peter was struggling with that in the first reading. We know that Simon Peter was a fisherman, who for many years – probably until he was in his 40s or 50s – lived on a lake and would go out every day and fish. But then…he met Christ…and he gave it all up. It says in the Gospels that when Jesus called him, Peter literally dropped his nets and followed, never looking back.
            But even after three years, having seen all the miracles Jesus did, heard all the teachings of Jesus, watching Him walk on water and raise the dead and then get crucified and die and be Resurrected, Peter still didn’t get it. He didn’t know what to do, so he went fishing. That sounds strange to me – Peter, you’ve just seen the Risen Lord…and you’re going fishing? You’re the first Pope, called to preach the Gospel to far off lands…and you hop in a boat and put down some nets?
            But isn’t that our story too?  You’re called to be a saint…and you’re wasting your time on Fortnite? You know that Jesus loves you enough to die for you…and yet you find it hard to love your little brother or sister? You know that you were made to spend eternity praising God in Heaven…and yet you find it hard to praise God for 10 minutes a day in prayer?
            Consider this – what, in your life, is different from a kid who doesn’t believe in Jesus? Do you love like Jesus? Do you have a daily relationship with Him? Do you sacrifice? Do you obey your parents? If we believe in Jesus, this belief must change us!
            Say what you will, but one of my favorite pizza places in Stamford is Domino’s Pizza. I know, I know…but I’m not Italian so I’m allowed to love Domino’s. The man who founded Dominos Pizza, Tom Monaghan, was a devout Catholic – and a billionaire from starting this international pizza chain. As he continued to grow in his faith, though, he knew that following Jesus meant he had to live differently. He stopped building his dream house – because he felt he could better use the money to give to the Church and to the poor. He sold his $8 Million Bugati, since Jesus said it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, and gave the money to a Catholic university. His faith in Jesus caused him to change his lifestyle!
            Peter spent three years with Jesus, but nothing had changed. He went back to fishing. Does your life look different because YOU follow Jesus?

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Divine Mercy Sunday - April 7, 2018

Homily for April 8, 2018
Divine Mercy Sunday – Second Sunday of Easter
My Jesus Mercy

            So here is your Jeopardy question of the day: what famous American has on his tombstone the epitaph “My Jesus Mercy”?
            Answer: Al Capone. One of the most famous – or infamous – gangsters ever, Al Capone is no model of virtue. Ol’ Scarface, as he was known, worked his way up through the mafia as a bouncer at brothels, before running an entire empire of liquor during Prohibition. He was ruthless, willing gun down seven rival gang members in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and was even named Public Enemy #1 in the city of Chicago. Eventually jailed for tax evasion, he died of syphilis at a young age. Not at all a saint or a role model to anyone!
            And yet, he dared to hope in Jesus’ mercy. This says far more about Jesus than it does about Al Capone – to have a Savior whose mercy even extends to the depths of human depravity! Whether we are a saint like Mother Teresa or a sinner like Al Capone or the vast mass of humanity in between, we can all turn to the mercy of God with confidence and hope.
            It is so valuable that our Church gives us this feast only eight days after we celebrated the Resurrection, because there is a close connection between Jesus’ Passion, Death, and Resurrection and the abundance of His Mercy. Jesus was only able to give the Apostles the power to forgive sins now, on Easter Sunday night, because it was Good Friday that purchased the power! It was Good Friday that broke open the floodgates of mercy, and now He entrusts His Church with the power to apply that mercy to souls.
            In fact, that is the entire reason why Jesus came! The name “Jesus” means “God saves” – and what did He save us from? Our sins. Why did we need saving from our sins? Because sin is more than just breaking a law – sin deprives us of the very divine life of God in our souls. Sin separates us from God who is Love Itself. Our hearts desire love, life, meaning and purpose – and sin gives us only death, despair, hopelessness.
            Thus, Jesus Christ came to bestow mercy upon us. No matter what we have done, how far we have strayed from the Lord, His mercy awaits to bring us home again.
            St. Jerome wrote a wonderful meditation on this. He was imagining the conversation between the soul and Christ. The soul looks upon the nail marks in His hands and His feet and says, “Jesus, You have gone to such great lengths to save me! How can I ever thank you?”
            Jesus responds, “If you wish to thank Me, offer Me your praise and Adoration.”
            The soul replies, “Yes, Lord, I will, but I wish I could offer you more! My money? My possessions?”
            “I made the entire world – I have no need of money or possessions.”
            “Then what can I give You, Lord? What would adequately thank You for Your love?”
            Jesus responds, “If you wish to thank Me, give Me your sins. Give me your past, your shame, your weaknesses. Let Me take them on My shoulders on the Cross, and let Me pour My mercy upon you. That will give Me the greatest joy.”
            What a beautiful meditation; what a beautiful Savior! He Who could have anything in the world wants nothing more than your sins, laid upon His shoulders, so that He can forgive them. There is nothing in the whole world that gives Jesus greater joy than forgiving our sins.
            And this isn’t just for huge sinners. All have fallen short of the glory of God, St. Paul tells us. All of us need repentance, to turn back to Him. It says in Scripture that “the just man sins seven times a day” because the little things, too – the lack of honesty, the impure glance, the sharp word, the grudge – prevent us from the abundance of life God wants for us.
            So, my friends, let us resolve to repent and trust that His mercy can cover us. Repent every day by examining your conscience before you sleep for the night, and beg God for His mercy. Repent by frequently going to Confession. Repent by apologizing to those you have harmed. If Al Capone could trust in the mercy of Jesus, how much more can we believe that He will have mercy on our souls?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Palm Sunday Homily - March 25, 2018

Homily for Palm Sunday
March 25, 2018
My Sins Did This

            In the Old Testament, sins were forgiven through sacrifice. That sounds rather basic, but consider what a sacrifice means. It means that the sinner must go to his flock or herd and pick out, not just any sheep, but the finest, most healthy, most unblemished male – a valuable commodity.
            He then takes the sheep on a journey of many miles to Jerusalem – an arduous, difficult journey. He is forced to drag it against its will into the Temple, where he kills it. The sinner is forced to hold it down on the altar as it struggles to be free, all the while thinking: my sins caused this. He drives the knife into its throat, as it shrieks and writhes in pain, thinking: my sins caused this. He watches the struggle slowly stop, as blood flows out from the animal and washes onto the floor, all the while thinking: my sins caused this. He then must cut the animal open, feeling the still-warm heart and innards, knowing that he killed this innocent animal because his sins caused this. He offers and burns this animal’s organs on a fire, knowing that this destruction was because his sins caused this.
            I apologize for being graphic, but we need to understand just how much sins cost – when you feel the blood running over your hands, when you hear the shrieks of pain of the animal, when you see it stop breathing and touch its still-warm organs, you know, viscerally, the cost of sin.
            But we do not live under the Old Covenant. Our New Covenant was sworn with a much more precious price. Now, when we see the crown of thorns, we should think, my sins caused this. When we consider the scourge marks across His back, we should think, my sins caused this. When we look at the nails that penetrated through flesh and bone, we realize, my sins caused this. When we see the Holy Face contorted in agony, when we see the Precious Blood race to the ground, when we see the Man upon the Cross wheeze His last breath, we are forced to think: my sins caused this.
            And when we look upon the Cross, we realize that here, our judgment has been passed, our sentence has been paid, and all that is left for us is love and mercy.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Homily for Fourth Sunday of Lent - March 11, 2018

Homily for Fourth Sunday of Lent
March 11, 2018
Grace Is Enough

            Many people find it difficult to go to Confession. A common complaint I hear is, “Father, I just feel like I commit the same sins all the time!” To which I respond, “Well, it sure is good you aren’t coming up with new ones!” But truly, it can be discouraging to see very little progress in the spiritual life. We try to stop gossiping, but we find we always slide back into it. We seek purity, but lust ensnares us once again. We try to be patient, but it’s just so difficult with our difficult family!
            Israel faced a similar struggle. It is called the “Cycle of Sin” – they would commit grave sin (usually idolatry, worshipping the gods of the surrounding nations), and God would chastise them by letting them be oppressed. So Israel would repent of their sin, cry out to God for mercy, and God would rescue them…only to have the cycle begin all over again. Sin, consequence, repentance and mercy, rescue…and then sin again. This is the lament in the First Reading today – is there anyone who can possibly break the cycle of sin?
            Yes, there is – both for Israel, and for us. It is the Savior, Jesus Christ.
            One reason why we get stuck in a rut, spiritually speaking, is because we’re trying to do it on our own. We’re trying to be good people by our own efforts. My friends, that never works. We need Someone greater living in us – Jesus Christ. It is He Who transforms us with His grace.
            I can testify that if you knew me as a teenager, you would probably say, “This guy will never become a priest!” Not that I was horrible, but I had the typical teenage sins, and when I look back on who I was, I’m not proud of a lot of my decisions, words, and attitudes. But that’s only a testament to God’s grace living and working in me, that He could take someone as crazy and mixed-up as me and fill me with faith and joy and hope – that is grace!
            I pray that you can say the same thing about your own life. When you look back at all God has brought you through, when you consider how many flaws He has given you the grace to overcome, you realize that He IS at work in your life.
            So how do we accept that transforming grace and break the cycle of sin? Paul gives the answer – faith. It is by our faith in Him that He comes into our life. And faith is expressed in prayer – persevering, trusting prayer.
            I heard a story recently that Mother Teresa once told. There was a woman who lived at the top of a very tall mountain. The woman had to climb down the mountain every day to get food and water, and walk all the way back up. She was elderly and exhausted from her daily ritual, and as she was praying one night, she read the words of Scripture, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will be able to move mountains.” The woman thought, great! I have a mountain to move – I’ll ask the Lord to move it! That night she prayed, “God, move this mountain so I no longer have to climb up and down it.” The next morning she awoke – and the mountain was still there – so she said, “See Lord, I knew it wouldn’t work!”
            In other words, she prayed as if prayer is ineffective!
            We have to understand prayer properly. As Mother Teresa said, “I used to believe that prayer changes things – now I understand that prayer changes us.” God’s desire for you is a totally changed life. Not a bigger bank account, or a better car, or an easier job – but a life of holiness, transformed by grace. If we pray with faith, believing that God can and will transform our souls so that freedom and holiness can be ours, then we will be free.
            But praying with faith involves perseverance. There is a wonderful story of St. Moses the Black, who joined a monastery after a life of great sin. He had been a monk for many years but still found himself struggling with anger and lust. He had resolved to leave the monastery out of discouragement, but the abbot one morning brought him up to the roof where he could see the sun peeking its head over the horizon. The abbot said, “You are frustrated that you are still so sinful, but see how the sky lights up – not all at once, but gradually as the sun rises. Likewise your soul will be filled with light – not all at once, but gradually.” And Moses stayed a monk, and became a saint. If we want to be holy, if we want to be like Jesus, we must persevere. Fighting the battle, as long as it may take, is part of the path to holiness and freedom!
            So do you find yourself stuck in a rut, in a cycle of sin, feeling frustrated that you still struggle with the same flaws? Pray with faith – unceasingly and perseveringly – and God, Who is faithful, will free you.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent - March 4, 2018

Homily for Lent 3
March 4, 2018
Worth Fighting For

            The 2003 Kevin Costner movie “Open Range” has a great scene that is one of my all-time favorites. The movie is a classic 1880s Western with good guys and bad guys, and the bad guys have taken control of the town, filling it with corruption and evil. A couple of cowboys find themselves in the saloon, talking with some of the locals.
            One local business owner says, “It really is a shame, what this town has come to.”
            The crusty, trail-hardened cowboy responds, “You could do something about it, you know.”
            The businessman throws up his hands in frustration. “What can we do? We’re businessmen and shopkeepers. What can we do about the evil in this town?”
            To which the cowboy shoots back, “You’re men, ain’t ya?”
            Drop the mic!
            You’re men, ain’t ya? Get off your duff, stop feeling sorry for your town, and fight back! There are some things in life worth fighting for!
            Christians often have a very skewed view of Jesus. We see Him as a nice, friendly guy, someone who hugs kids and does an occasional miracle now and then. Basically Mr. Rogers with a beard. But today’s Gospel shows His fierce side – He grows furious at these imposters, these cheaters and thieves who are stealing from the people of God!
            There are some things in life worth fighting for, some things worth getting angry about. Our modern culture extols tolerance as the highest virtue – but Jesus makes it clear that we must never tolerate sin, injustice, hypocrisy. Tolerance is actually not a virtue at all – we must love sinners, yes – we must be patient with others weaknesses, yes – but we must never make peace with sin in our life or in others’ lives.
            You see, we live in a world at war. We have an enemy, Satan, who hates us, tempts us, wants to interrupt our friendship with God, and ultimately tries to make us eternally miserable in Hell. We can ignore this spiritual battle, but it doesn’t go away. We must stand and fight it. It’s a battle that wages internally, in our own souls, and externally, in our modern culture that is so toxic.
            How do we fight it? Let’s start with the internal war, the battle for our own soul. We fight with the three weapons our Church gives us during Lent – with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. The Evil One will tempt us to make pleasure our god – so we practice fasting, denying ourselves a chocolate bar so that immoderate pleasures have no power over us. The Evil One tempts us to desire money and worldly goods – so we practice almsgiving, to empty ourselves of our attachment to material things. The Evil One tempts us by telling us that we don’t need God, that we can live our lives according to our own desires – so we pray, recognizing God as King of our lives, and offer Him our obedience.
            The battle against evil in the world must also be fought. There is a wonderful story of St. Louis de Montfort, a French priest who traveled the countryside in the 1700s preaching and leading many souls to Christ through Mary. In one particular town, he began preaching in the church which was next door to a loud and raucous tavern. Some of the drunk patrons began to stand outside the church, loudly insulting the priest and the Catholic faith. The people were amazed at how calmly St. Louis continued to preach – he didn’t seem the least bit flustered by the noisy scoffers. When the sermon had finished, he collected his notes and headed straight out the door, where he proceeded to soundly beat up the drunk men with his fists.
            The very next day he was giving another sermon in the same church, and those formerly-drunk men – now humbled by the beating – were in attendance! As he continued to preach, yet another drunk man stumbled in, cursing and blaspheming loudly. St. Louis stopped his sermon and approached the man. The crowd expected another fight, but much to their surprise, Fr. Louis knelt down before the man and begged forgiveness for any way in which he offended the drunkard. The drunk man was so stunned that he ran out of the church and converted.
            So for St. Louis de Montfort, knowing how to win souls to Christ was a matter of different tactics for different souls. And as we try to fight for our families, our children, our friends, and our culture, I suggest three tactics to combat evil.
            To fight against evil, sometimes we must speak up about it. If we see our boss cutting corners and cheating customers at work, we cannot remain silent! We must speak up, even if it costs us something. Sometimes, fighting against evil means a campaign of prayer and fasting. If your son or daughter has left the Church, then we must pray and fast for their return, knowing that God’s grace alone can change their hearts! Sometimes, fighting against evil means living a life as a radical witness. In a culture that says that love is a feeling and marriage is only for fun, living out a faithful and faith-filled Catholic marriage through good times and bad, through sacrifice and kindness, is a powerful way to fight against a toxic culture. All of these things might be abrasive and controversial to others – no one likes it if you live your faith out-loud, if you invite your fallen-away children back to Mass, if you speak up against evil happening in your community. But as Jesus shows us, tolerance is not a virtue – we have a duty to fight against evil, both in our own lives and in our world.
            This Lent, fight the good fight, with Christ as your leader and we as His faithful soldiers. Fight to bring God’s grace to your soul, to your family, to your country. There ARE some things in this world worth fighting for.