Making Like They're Padre Pio and Don Bosco
by Thomas A. Droleskey
The legendary exploits of the late Marvin Eugene Throneberry, famously known as "Marvelous Marv" to those of us who suffered and laughed our way through the maiden season of the Metropolitan Baseball Club of New York (aka The New York Mets) in 1962, have been chronicled in many places. My own There Is No Cure for This Condition carries several Throneberry anecdotes, one of which I witnessed on television on June 17, 1962, when the hefty first baseman, then only twenty-nine years of age, was called out on appeals play at first base for failing to touch the bag on the way to third base in what should have been a triple in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader at the Polo Grounds at 155th Street and Eighth Avenue in the Borough of Manhattan, City of New York, New York between the Mets and the visiting Chicago Cubs.
The legendary Throneberry's legendary manager, Charles Dillon "Casey" ("The Ole Perfessor") Stengel, was intercepted by first base coach Harry "Cookie" Lavagetto, who, as a member of the 1947 National League champion Brooklyn Dodgers, broke up New York Yankees' pitcher Bill Bevens's bid for a no-hitter in Game 4 of the World Series on October 3, 1947. Lavagetto said to Stengel, "Don't argue too long, Skipper. He [Throneberry] missed second [base], too!"
Throneberry, who committed seventeen errors as the Mets' left-handed first baseman in 1962, was booed at first by Mets' fans at the Polo Grounds. The boos then turned to cheers as one of Throneberry's sixteen home runs would win a game or two (and the 1962 Mets only won forty of one hundred sixty games played that year; two games with the fellow expansion team that year, the Houston Colt .45s, were rained out and never made up) and as the fans saw the earnestness with which Marvelous Marv, who died on June 23, 1994, at the age of sixty, played the game. It was for the way in which Throneberry took the good-natured kidding about his mistakes that he was awarded the "Ben Epstein Good Guy Award" at the annual dinner of the New York Chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in January of 1963, whereupon Throneberry announced shortly thereafter that he was "holding out" for more contract money from Mets' President and General Manager George Weiss, who had served as the General Manager of the New York Yankees from 1947 to 1960 after serving as that team's farm direction from 1932 to 1947.
Weiss reacted as follows when he learned of Throneberry's demand for more contract money for the 1963 season:
Marv Throneberry has confused the Ben Epstein Good Guy Award with the Most Valuable Player [MVP] Award.
Well, fallen human nature has a way of inflating quite substantially our own powers and abilities, which is why we should pray daily to be humiliated and misunderstood and calumniated by others. Suffering humiliation and misunderstanding and calumny as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary helps to destroy our disordered self-love and help us to understand, perhaps in some miniscule little way, what our Actual Sins caused Our Lord and His Most Blessed Mother to suffer during His Passion and Death. Each of us needs to be taken down a notch or a thousand every day, which is why I am just tinkled pink that this site has so few visitors and so few people attend my lectures, and that so many people think so ill of me and my work. Humiliation is indeed good for the soul as it might peel away at least some of the self-delusion that we, continent beings whose bodies are destined for the corruption until the Last Day at the General Resurrection and Judgment of the Living and the Dead, permit ourselves to labor under for most of our lives.
Those who hold important positions in civil government or who are prominent figures in the prominent culture are the most apt to suffer from inflated egos and delusional views of their own powers and abilities. The Roman Martyrology is replete with stories of potentates who dared to blaspheme God by treating the followers of His true Church, the Catholic Church, with contempt and ridicule before subjecting them to cruel deaths as they bore a bloody witness to the integrity of the true Faith.
It is just twelve days from now that we will commemorate the beheading of Saint John the Baptist on the reluctantly-given orders of King Herod the Tetrarch after having given his oath to his niece Salome, the daughter of his concubine Herodias (who was actually his own brother Philip the Tetrarch's wife), that he would give her whatever she wanted after she performed a dance for him on the occasion of his birthday:
For Herod feared John, knowing him to be a just and holy man: and kept him, and when he heard him, did many things: and he heard him willingly.
And when a convenient day was come, Herod made a supper for his birthday, for the princes, and tribunes, and chief men of Galilee. And when the daughter of the same Herodias had come in, and had danced, and pleased Herod, and them that were at table with him, the king said to the damsel: Ask of me what thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he swore to her: Whatsoever thou shalt ask I will give thee, though it be the half of my kingdom. Who when she was gone out, said to her mother, What shall I ask? But she said: The head of John the Baptist. And when she was come in immediately with haste to the king, she asked, saying: I will that forthwith thou give me in a dish, the head of John the Baptist.
And the king was struck sad. Yet because of his oath, and because of them that were with him at table, he would not displease her:But sending an executioner, he commanded that his head should be brought in a dish. And he beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a dish: and gave it to the damsel, and the damsel gave it to her mother. Which his disciples hearing came, and took his body, and laid it in a tomb. And the apostles coming together unto Jesus, related to him all things that they had done and taught. (Mk. 6. 20-30)
Oh, yes, various potentates have indeed considered themselves more important than God Himself, subjecting the children of Holy Mother Church to a seemingly endless variety of persecutions:
According to Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, over thirteen million Catholics preferred death between 67 A.D. and 313 A.D. rather than to do the bidding of the Roman emperors, men who considered themselves "gods" on earth, who demanded that they worship or at least esteem false idols (too bad that the emperors couldn't have waited for Joseph Ratzinger to come along and do their bidding for them).
Saint Wenceslaus would not do the bidding of his brother Boleslaus, who conspired in his death.
Saint Thomas a Becket would not do the bidding of King Henry II, who uttered the words that led to his death.
Saints John Fisher and Thomas More and the other English Martyrs, both under Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, would not do the bidding of the English Protestant revolutionaries. Elizabeth I was personally involved in the trial of Blessed Edmund Campion, S.J.
Saint John Nepomucene would not reveal the confession of the queen to King Wenceslaus IV.
Countless numbers of men and women gave their lives in defense of the Faith in the French Revolution.
Countless numbers of men and women gave their lives in defense of the Faith in Ireland in the wake of the English Protestant Revolution.
Countless numbers of men and women gave their lives in defense of the Faith in Mexico in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, including Father Miguel Augustin Pro, S.J., who would not yield to the the threats of the Masonic revolutionaries in Mexico in 1927, exclaiming "Viva Cristo Rey" as the bullets pierced his flesh on November 23 of that year.
Countless numbers of men and women gave their lives in defense of the Faith in Spain between 1936 and 1939 as they uttered "Viva Cristo Rey!"
Countless numbers of men and women gave their lives in defense of the Faith at the hands of the Nazis and the Soviets.
The late Ignatius Cardinal Kung would not yield to the tortures of the Red Chinese Communists in 1956, pronouncing the words, "Long live Christ the King! Long live the Pope!" at a dog track stadium in Shanghai before he was taken away for over thirty years of imprisonment.
Countless have been the numbers of Catholic and non-Catholic politicians alike in the United States of America and other Western "democratic republics" who have denounced Catholic teaching on matters contained in the Deposit of Faith, oblivious to the fact that they hatred for the true Church might very well wind up casting themselves into Hell at the moment of their Particular Judgments if they do not repent of these crimes before they die.
Oh, yes, mortal men have quite an inflated view of themselves. Pride is the chief of the Seven Deadly (or Capital) Sins.
It is pride, you see, that leads civil potentates to think that their intelligence is brighter than it is in reality. It is pride that leads civil potentates to think that they have powers of perception and discernment that rival the God-given ability of Catholic mystics such as Padre Pio or Saint John Bosco or the saint we commemorate today, Saint Hyacinth, or Saint Catherine of Siena or so many others to read the character of the souls of others. What is actually nothing other than "gut hunches" become transmogrified into nearly infallible "mystical revelations" in the minds of these civil potentates, becoming the basis for major public policy decisions, especially in the realm of what used to be called diplomacy or statecraft (and what is now called "international relations").
American Presidents have had a particular inclination in the direction of inflating their own abilities as they have, most unknowingly perhaps, used the semi-Pelagianism of the American "experience" to inflate the collective "ability" of the "American people" to do "anything they put their minds to doing" while projecting onto God Himself His unfailing support for all American foreign and military initiatives.
President Theodore Roosevelt believed in this American jingoism as he crushed indigenous opposition to the American occupation of The Philippines in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War after succeeding the assassinated President William McKinley on September 14, 1901. Roosevelt brutally crushed the rebellion, led by Emiliano Aguinaldo, and oversaw the the introduction of Protestant "churches" and Masonic lodges in the name of the American concept of "religious" and "civil" "liberty" in this Catholic nation, taking untold numbers of souls of the true Church as a result to this very day. This over-inflated view of Americanism resulted in introduction of those same Protestant "churches" and Masonic lodges in Puerto Rico and Cuba during this same time frame after the Spanish-American War, producing similarly devastating results for souls.
President Thomas Woodrow Wilson, a Catholic-hating Americanist of the first order, had an over-inflated view of his brand of internationalism as the means to "prevent" future wars. He also had an over-inflated view of his ability to impose his will upon the Paris Peace Conference, held at the Versailles Palace, in 1919. Wilson was amazed that the Premier of the Third Republic of France, Georges Clemenceau, and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Lloyd George, did not find his "Fourteen Points" as how he viewed them, as having the character approaching Holy Writ Itself. Clemenceau himself said,
"Mr. Wilson bores me with his fourteen points. Why, God Almighty has only ten!"
Without understating for a moment the incredible spiritual and temporal costs of the arrogance and hubris of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped to enslave nearly half of Europe to Soviet Bolshevism as result of the blind trust that he put in Soviet dictator and mass murderer Josef Stalin. Despite his snappy cadence and blue-blood airs, Roosevelt was not a serious man of the mind. He, a thirty-third degree Mason, did not like to read much and flew throughout his career very much by the seat of his pants, so to speak. Even much of Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" was not "new," but simply a repackaging of the statist policies of his predecessor, the hapless and humorless Quaker named Herbert Clark Hoover. Roosevelt's trust of Stalin, which began to wane a little bit by the time of his death on April 12, 1945, caused his fellow Mason Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, a great deal of anguish during the Yalta Conference from February 4 to 11, 1945.
It should be pointed out, if only in passing, that Stalin himself was averse to placing too much trust in his own judgment of other civil potentates. Stalin was crushed when the forces of Germany under the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler invaded the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on June 22, 1941. Stalin actually believed that Hitler, one of the penultimate delusional leaders in world history, meant to keep the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact of August 25, 1939, that permitted Hitler to focus on his plan to invade Poland from the west on September 1, 1939, and the Soviets from the east on September 17, 1939.
More recently, of course, we have seen President James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr., believe in his ability to "discern" the character of such tyrants as Soviet dictator Leonid Brezhnev, who took Carter to the cleaners at the Vienna Summit Meeting in June of 1979, and the murderous felons in charge of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, among others. The Carter Administration's Ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, called the murderous Mohammedan Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as a "saint" shortly after the overthrow of Iranian Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi in early 1989.
Not to be outdone, however, is the man who spent an hour a day playing video golf in his office in Austin, Texas, after he had spent an hour exercising during his years as the Governor of Texas. That man, of course, is none other than current President of the United States of America George Walker Bush, who has a hyper-inflated view of his own abilities and powers. Bush said the following in 2001 when he met the then dictator, excuse me, President of the Russian Federated Republic, Vladimir Putin:
"I was able to get a sense of his soul, a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country."
The truly remarkable aspect of this is that George Walker Bush believes in his nonexistent "mystical" powers to "read" souls, although he was a little more cautious upon meeting Putin's puppet-successor, Dmitry Medvedev, at the Tokyo G-8 Summit, which took place from July 7-9, 2008:
I found him to be a smart guy.
You know, I'm not going to sit here and psychoanalyze the man, but I will tell you that he's very comfortable, he's confident, and that I believe that when he tells me something, he means it.
Among many other stupidities of Bush the lesser, including his belief--and that of the neoconservatives who planned the American invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2002 and 2003--that the Iraqis would welcome the forces of the United States as "liberators" once our invasion was underway and that there would be a relatively quick transition to "democratic" self-rule once Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown, the "soul-reading" of Vladimir Putin has got to rank as one of the most insane statements ever made by a President of the United States of America. Bush has had to change his tune in the last ten days since Soviet, I mean, Russian, forces have invaded two breakaway regions in the Republic of Georgia under false pretenses and have killed or injured several thousand Georgian citizens while claiming, falsely, as it turns out, that the Georgian government had killed 2,000 people in South Ossetia in the complex set of events that Russia is using to reassert its hegemony over the former republics of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (Barack Hussein Obama, who has an equally high view of himself, may get his own chance to utter his own presidential stupidities soon enough!)
Civil potentates had better leave the business of reading the character of souls to genuine mystics. Lacking (or, in some instances, abandoning) the true Faith, these civil potentates make like they are Padre Pio and Saint John Bosco as they seek to "solve" the problems of the world by means of their Judeo-Masonic ethos of naturalism, which is from the devil and leads to chaos in the world and so many souls to Hell.
We must not permit ourselves to be deceived by the false opposites of the naturalist"left" or the naturalist "right." We must reject naturalism in all of its forms in our personal lives and in how we view the events of the world.
Father Frederick Faber was a great foe of naturalism. He provided us in All for Jesus with the insights of one of the first members of the Order of the Visitation on worldliness:
There is another intercessory devotion of such great beauty that the simple statement of it will be its sufficient recommendation. This is to be found in the life of Marie-Denise de Martignat, one of the first religious of the Visitation. She spent almost the first fifty years of her life in the courts of France and Savoy, but the spirit of the world never passed upon her heart, any more than the smell of fire upon the garments of the three children in the fiery furnace. They way in which she fenced off the spirit of the world was as follows: She took a text of Scripture for each of the seven days of the week, in order to occupy her mind continually with the words of truth. Her choice of texts was remarkable. On Sunday she took the words--I am come into the world to bring light that he who believeth in Me may not abide in darkness. On Monday: He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. On Tuesday: It is as hard for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, as to pass a cable through the eye of a needle; nothing, however, is impossible with God. On Wednesday: My kingdom is not of this world, and the devil is called by Jesus the prince of this world. On Thursday: I pray not for the world, but for those whom Thou hast given Me. On Friday: Now is the judgment of the world; and I, if I am lifted up, shall draw all things unto Me. On Saturday: If you love Me, My Father will give you another Paraclete, to abide with you eternally, the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him. From these even fountains of truth, her soul was visited by such abundant lights as to the misery of this world, and the unsatisfactoriness of its honors and pleasures, that she had continually in her mouth the words of Solomon: Vanity of vanities, all things under the sun are vanity! She used to say that if a hermit had uttered these words, they would have been taken for the exaggeration of a contempltative; but that God having put them into the mouth of one of the greatest, richest and most peaceable of kings, they caused in her such a profound compassion for great people, because of the risk of their salvation, that she took the rich, high-born and prosperous as the matter for a special devotion and desired to communicate the same devotion to everyone she met. "Ah!" she exclaimed, "they are hemmed round with no common misery; they go down to Hell without thinking of it, because their staircase thither is of gold and porphyry. Great in this world, they let themselves have no leisure to reflect that soon they will be very little; having the habit of commanding others, they presume upon themselves, and live as if God, Heaven and the angels were under their obedience, as well as earth and men. How will they be disenchanted when, in a moment, they shall discover themselves to have ben, and now to be forever, slaves of the devil; or if God shows them mercy, what a surprise to them to find themselves in the Kingdom of Heaven far below the poor and vile whom on earth they would not allow to come near them!"
Hence, during her whole life, she possessed this enlightened compassion for the rich, and made special intercession for them. She said that it was a greater charity to pray for them than for those who were languishing in hospitals and prisons. She celebrated the feasts of the canonized kings, queens, and princes and princesses with a particular reverence and an unusual devotion. She declared that nothing ought at once to humble and encourage Christians more than the heroic sanctity of great people who have kept humility in the midst of glory, and have used this world as though they used it not. She was accustomed to fast on the vigils of these feasts, and all her prayers on those days were for the salvation of great people. I do not know if it will seem so to others, but to me there is something extremely touching in this devotion, so truly spiritual, considerate and heavenly.
It is in harmony with this her special devotion that we read toward the conclusion of her life, that one day when the Superioress asked her if it was worthwhile to ask a certain favor of a person of very high rank, she replied: "Yes! my dear mother, do it. I assure you it is a very great charity to princes and great people to make them do good works. The world, the flesh and the devil make them do so many bad ones, that they will one day return more thanks to us who have been the cause of their giving alms, than we gave them for the alms we procured from them." Another time, when she saw the Superioress writing to a princess, she said: "My dear mother, please always put something in your letters to great people about the holy fear of God, or the sovereignty of the Divine Majesty, or the greatness of eternity and the shortness of this life. For there are always so many flattering these poor great ones, and a day will come when they will wish it had not been so." When she heard of the death of Louis XIII, she said: "Alas! I saw that monarch born, I saw him baptized, I saw him crowned, I saw him married, I saw him reigning, and now he is no more!" Somebody asked her if she should pray much for him; she said: "Yes! more than people would believe; for, however well he lived, and however well he died, he may possibly ave something still to satisfy for to the equitable justice of the King of kings. He is gone into a Kingdom which is only conquered by the humble of heart. No one goes in there scepter in hand." She also said the Office of the Dead every Monday for the souls of princes and princesses; and every Friday for the Knights of Malta and those who had died in battle for the Church; and she often recited the Gradual Psalms for those in the army, lest they should acquire habits of vice in that which is not the best of schools for holy living, though it is far from having been unfruitful of saints. (Father Frederick Faber, All for Jesus, published originally in 1854 and republished by TAN Books and Publishers, pp. 93-95.)
We should do likewise, my friends. We must pray every day--by name if at all possible, certainly by generality (all office holders or office seekers, celebrities, educators, military personnel, artists, writers, entertainers, etc.)--for those who have acquired the fame or fortune or power accorded in this passing, mortal vale of tears. Most of them, steeped in some kind of combination of naturalistic and/or theological errors, aren't praying for themselves, either presumptuous of their salvation or unconcerned about their eternal destiny at all. We need, as a work of true Spiritual Charity, to pray for men and women who are not praying for themselves, men and women who believe in their own "press" and who consider their own insights and judgments to be received from "on high."
Unlike the rich and the powerful, who bask in their power and celebrity and who disdain suffering of any kind, especially the suffering of humiliation (although humiliation has become a means among naturalists to recycle themselves by means of naturalistic "confessions" and "rehabilitations," making millions of dollars in the process), we must embrace suffering as the price of our discipleship of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and give Him all of our sufferings and humiliations through His own Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. We must permit ourselves to be immolated and to be crushed by the world in order for there to be, please God and by the intercession of Our Lady, the Queen of Heaven and earth, the restoration of the Social Reign of Christ the King and of herself, Mary our Immaculate Queen, making sure to pray as many Rosaries each day as we do so.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady, Assumed into Heaven, pray for us.