Take No Chances
Thomas A. Droleskey
We live in a world where the propagandists of the left urge us to "take no chances" when it comes to prolonging our physical health, unless, that is, you happen to be a preborn child or a person who is simply brain-damaged and in need of being fed and hydrated. The Mayor of the City of New York, Michael Bloomberg, an ardent pro-abort who court papers filed by an employee of his Bloomberg Company claimed years ago that he yelled Kill it! Kill it!" when learning of her pregnancy, has been on a campaign to force restaurants in the five boroughs (Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island) of New York City to eliminate the use of "trans-fats" in their preparation of fried foods, such as French fried potatoes and fried chicken. Governments at all levels have been warning about the dangers posed by cigarette smoking since the report of the United States Surgeon General, Dr. Luther Terry, in 1964. Mayor Bloomberg has been on a campaign to see to it that smoking in most public places in the City of New York is prohibited. (Mind you, I have never smoked a day in my life. Not anything, legal or illegal. I did not need the government tell me that my late father's habit of thirty years, which he kicked following the aforementioned surgeon general's report. I do though love all sorts of food that is unhealthy. Yummy for the tummy, except in Lent.) We mustn't take any chances, you know.
Those who desire to "help" us live physical lives on their fascistic terms, thereby imposing their view of what is "good" for us, are the very same people who wax with indignation when complaining about "those people" who seek to "impose their values" upon "the rest of society." Oblivious to the fact that moral truth exists in the nature of things and is knowable, albeit imperfectly, by human reason, the "behavior police" such as Michael Bloomberg support abortion and contraception and the "right" to manufacture and distribute and own pornography and sodomy and usury and just about any other evil one can name. One can take chances with one's immortal soul as one takes no chances with the physical survival of his body. Such is the way of a world where the Social Reign of Christ the King as it must be exercised by the Catholic Church is overthrown and replaced by the reign of the adversary, who convinces fallen men that they are "gods" and can live as they wish.
This is the world in which we live. This is the world in which our children live. This is why we must take no chances when it comes to the salvation of their immortal souls. Yes, "risk" is part of life. There are no guarantees that even our best efforts will help our children to cooperate with the graces won for us by the shedding of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross and that flow to us through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces. We cannot insulate our children from every possible unexpected source of spiritual danger. Granted. However, we must nevertheless minimize the risks to which our children are exposed in this manifestly unsafe world. We must think proactively with respect to making sure that their immortal souls are not infected with images and sounds and impressions that could wind up damaging them spiritually and bodily for the rest of their lives.
Although I believe I have told this story before, there was a man who came up to me once after one of my talks (given in my "To Be Catholic from the Womb to the Tomb" lecture program) to explain that he fought an on-again/off-again battle with pornographic magazines. He said that his fascination with the scatological material began when he was thirteen years old, having been left by his parents to wander about in a neighbor's large home. He came upon a stockpile of Hugh Hefner's wicked wares. The images he permitted himself to leer at made their way deep into his soul, which struggled with an attraction to this terrible vice for the next fifteen years until he made a firm purpose of amendment after one Confession to deal with it once and for all. The man, who told the story with humility and a sense of shame, wanted to amplify a point I had made that parents must always keep an eye on their children and to choose well their own friends, to say nothing of forbidding contact with other children of their own ages whose company might endanger their growth in the interior life. Yes, even one inadvertent slip on the part of a parent, who thinks that his child his "safe" in a neighbor's home, could produce a lifetime of moral struggle.
We are, for example, really careful with our daughter, who, despite her own strong will (a phenomenon for which we have no real explanation; must have skipped several generations), dearly loves the Faith. Although grateful for the kindness and solicitude shown to us when we are invited on occasion to the home of people we have just met, we are wont to beg off at first until we know a bit more about the environment. This is not snobbery. This is a simple effort to prevent exposure to things that are part of the adversary's effort to get us to succumb, even if little by little, to his way of thinking and acting in our daily lives.
As I noted in yesterday's commentary, Heaven Knows Anything Doesn't Go, many Catholics across the ecclesiastical divide are oblivious about the dangers of television and motion pictures and "rock" music. Images of that infernal animated mouse that made the thirty-third degree Freemason named Walt Disney quite wealthy and powerful festoon many "traditional" Catholic homes. I don't want our daughter one day demanding, a la Nikita S. Khrushchev in 1960, to visit Disneyland. (See a marvelously written story about this incident at Nikita Khrushchev at Disneyland) I don't want our daughter demanding to be taken to Knott's Berry Farm or to the Six Flags theme parks, which she sees along the highway and knows to be places of scary rides. What she does not know about the popular culture will not hurt her. Although she gets to go to zoos and aquaria and to play miniature golf in outdoor facilities that do not play wretched music, our daughter knows that the daily routine in our family revolves around getting to the Immemorial Mass of Tradition (save for those few days in a year when our driving places us, quite literally, in a liturgical desert). Lucy has known for some time why we can't go to the baseball parks I frequented so much until just a few months after her birth. "Bad music there, Dada. What a shame." Indeed.
There are, I am happy to report, traditional Catholic families who do get it, who don't take chances with the right formation and thus the salvation of their children's immortal souls. Dear friends of ours who live in Post Falls, Idaho, and have eight children, the youngest being just a little over one month old, are exemplary in this regard. Lucy loved her several visits to this thoroughly Catholic home during the nearly four weeks we spent in the Spokane, Washington, area recently. Taking oneself out of the snares of popular culture takes effort. It takes discipline. It takes vigilance. It takes, above all else, God's ineffable graces. The efforts that we make to protect our children at a time of great spiritual peril will be rewarded amply in eternity if we die in a state of Sanctifying Grace. Children will not complain about not having things or experiencing things they do not know exists. And they will not know that these things exist if we, their parents, understand that they are not to associate with children (or adults who are unwilling to hold their tongues) who do know about them and who will serve the role of pint-sized serpents to lead them to want to know about the things of "popular culture" that are so injurious.
Oh, please, don't try to retort with the old canard that "good influence" will win out over bad influences. Influence cuts both ways. One cannot blithely assume that the good influence of an innocent child can withstand the bad influence of a worldly child, especially one who watches television indiscriminately and will probably talk about the very indecent things that he or she is permitted to watch wantonly. No Catholic parent who wants his child to be a saint can let his child visit a neighbor's house where the television is blaring and where the parents are immersed in the culture themselves. What about turning these people around? Pray for them. Make sacrifices for them as best you can as the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Give them Miraculous Medals and Green Scapulars. We must not risk the proper formation of our children by assuming "all will work out well" by permitting them to associate with children whose parents are not interested in fostering a Catholic environment at all times without any exception whatsoever. The truth of the matter is that the allure of the bad offers a child who has been protected from it a sense of "freedom" and "independence" and "rebellion" that will fester over the course of the years.
Children who are shielded from knowing about things that are injurious to them will be content with the simpler pleasures of a life that centers on the Holy Faith and a love of the lives of the saints. Yes, this is really, really possible, which is why, as I have noted several times on this site, I was preserved from becoming a father until after my fiftieth birthday so that I could unlearn what I accepted uncritically in my childhood as I learned from Catholic home-schooling families what it takes to replicate the spirit of the Holy Family of Nazareth, something that my dear wife, a convert, knew from all of the graces that flooded into her soul, which loves God as He has revealed Himself through His true Church, with an unalloyed purity that defies accurate description, as she converted to the Faith some twenty months before I met her. One would never know that Sharon has not been a lifelong Catholic. She has created in our "home on wheels" a veritable bastion of Catholicism, something that Lucy soaks in as we keep her from anyone and anything that might cause her to slip at some point in the future. And far from being unable to socialize, the little girl who lives in a motor home takes quite well to children, such as the ones in Post Falls, Idaho, who are themselves protected by their parents from the culture and who share with her the love of the Faith, the true bond that unites us in a charity that is from Heaven and is meant to lead us there for all eternity.
Part of taking no chances with our children (or, for that matter, with our own immortal souls) means running the risk of being considered "odd" or "hypersensitive" or "reactionary" even by fellow traditional Catholics. So what? Right is right. Our critics are not going to answer God at the moment of their Particular Judgments for the right formation of our children's immortal souls. We will. Let them wag their tongues and point their fingers. Children who are kept from television and motion pictures and "play stations" (we saw people "camping out" in front of a Best Buy in Peoria, Arizona, yesterday as we were out and about running errands) and "rock" music and from bad company will have an innocence about them that will be, if not quite purely angelic, certainly the stuff of angels.
The proper formation of our children requires also, I am sorry to say, complete and total insulation from everything to do with the Novus Ordo Missae and the falsehoods of conciliarism. The synthetic concoction that offends God as it makes endless concessions to "inculturation" must never be experienced by our children if we want them to have no confusion about what constitutes the proper worship of God. We should no more expose our children to the Novus Ordo Missae than any responsible parent of, say, eighty or ninety years ago would have exposed their children at the time to a Protestant service. We can take no chances when it comes to mixing the true religion with its counterfeit replacement. Once again, we will be criticized and calumniated. Once again, so what? Children who are exposed exclusively to the true Mass of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church will have a solid spiritual foundation to reject novelty and innovation in the Faith, thereby inclining them to reject anything in the "popular culture" as they grow older that is contrary to the good of their immortal soul and offensive to God and His Holy Truths.
The life that awaits the souls of the just in eternity promises us a happiness that surpasses all of the false allurements of this passing, mortal vale of tears. Saint Paul put it this way in his First Epistle to the Corinthians:
Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, neither of the princes of this world that come to nought; But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, a wisdom which is hidden, which God ordained before the world, unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew; for if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him. But to us God hath revealed them, by this Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man that is in him? So the things also that are of God no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God; that we may know the things that are given us from God. Which things also we speak, not in the learned words of human wisdom; but in the doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot understand, because it is spiritually examined. But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man. (1 Cor. 2: 6-15)
Consider this description of verse fourteen found in the Douay-Rheims Bible:
"The sensual man"... The sensual man is either he who is taken up with sensual pleasures, with carnal and worldly affections; or he who measureth divine mysteries by natural reason, sense, and human wisdom only. Now such a man has little or no notion of the things of God. Whereas the spiritual man is he who, in the mysteries of religion, takes not human sense for his guide: but submits his judgment to the decisions of the church, which he is commanded to hear and obey. For Christ hath promised to remain to the end of the world with his church, and to direct her in all things by the Spirit of truth.
Do we want our children to be the "sensual men" who judge the world by human wisdom and human standards and by human pleasures? Or do we want our children to view the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith so that they can be fortified with all of the temptations that will come their way as they grow older manifest themselves to deter them from loving God with their whole heart, mind, body, soul and strength? If this is what we want for our children, each of whom we must encourage to at least consider pursuing a vocation to the priesthood (for boys) or the consecrated religious life (for boys and girls), then we must take no chances in assuming that the influences of the things, people or places of this world that are not in accord with the truths of the Faith will not influence the sanctification and salvation of their immortal souls adversely. We must foster a Catholic home. We must associate with fellow Catholics who foster a truly Catholic home. We must be vigilant as we drive to look out for billboards and marquees and other images that could damage our children's souls, being ready to command them to close their eyes (and accustoming them to doing this for love of God and for the love of their immortal souls) as we pray at Hail Mary or two for the conversion of the people responsible for these vile images.
The road to accomplishing this is not easy, especially if one has his or her own attachments to the things of this world that he or she finds hard to give up once and for all. Nevertheless, a reformed child of television and a newsaholic can report to you that there is great liberation from withdrawing from the things that one might have thought it "impossible" to live without. There is, of course, a heightened sense of duty when one has to form a little soul that has been made in the image and likeness of the Blessed Trinity and redeemed by the shedding of the Most Precious Blood of the Divine Redeemer, a soul that has been consecrated totally to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God.
Consider these words, inspired by the Holy Ghost, that are contained in Saint Peter's First Epistle:
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires which war against the soul, Having your conversation good among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by the good works, which they shall behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation. Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God's sake: whether it be to the king as excelling; Or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of the good: For so is the will of God, that by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
As free, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if for conscience towards God, a man endure sorrows, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if committing sin, and being buffeted for it, you endure? But if doing well you suffer patiently; this is thankworthy before God. (1 Peter 2: 11-20)
No matter what anyone says about us, you see, the Catholic Faith must permeate all of our activities at home just as it must permeate all of our activities in the world. The words of Pope Saint Pius X, contained in Singulari Quadam, September 24, 1912, apply just as much to home life as they do to the realm of economics, which was the focus of this particular encyclical letter:
These are fundamental principles: No matter what the Christian does, even in the realm of temporal goods, he cannot ignore the supernatural good. Rather, according to the dictates of Christian philosophy, he must order all things to the ultimate end, namely, the Highest Good. All his actions, insofar as they are morally either good or bad (that is to say, whether they agree or disagree with the natural and divine law), are subject to the judgment and judicial office of the Church. All who glory in the name of Christian, either individually or collectively, if they wish to remain true to their vocation, may not foster enmities and dissensions between the classes of civil society. On the contrary, they must promote mutual concord and charity. The social question and its associated controversies, such as the nature and duration of labor, the wages to be paid, and workingmen's strikes, are not simply economic in character. Therefore they cannot be numbered among those which can be settled apart from ecclesiastical authority. "The precise opposite is the truth. It is first of all moral and religious, and for that reason its solution is to be expected mainly from the moral law and the pronouncements of religion."
We must order all things, including the smallest choice we make in life, to "ultimate end, namely, the Highest Good," which is, of course, the salvation of our immortal souls. And while, as Pope Pius XI noted in Divini Illius Magistri, December 31, 1929, we live in the midst of a world and cannot withdraw our children from that world entirely, but that :they must be forewarned and forearmed as Christians against the seductions and the errors of the world, which, as Holy Writ admonishes us, is all "concupiscence of the flesh, concupiscence of the eyes and pride of life." Let them be what Tertullian wrote of the first Christians, and what Christians of all times ought to be, "sharers in the possession of the world, not of its error."
Pope Pius XI summarized perfectly in Divini Illius Magistri what should be our goal as parents as we take no chances with the ways of a world that become increasingly more dangerous in the past seventy-six years:
The proper and immediate end of Christian education is to cooperate with divine grace in forming the true and perfect Christian, that is, to form Christ Himself in those regenerated by Baptism, according to the emphatic expression of the Apostle: "My little children, of whom I am in labor again, until Christ be formed in you." For the true Christian must live a supernatural life in Christ: "Christ who is your life," and display it in all his actions: "That the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh."
For precisely this reason, Christian education takes in the whole aggregate of human life, physical and spiritual, intellectual and moral, individual, domestic and social, not with a view of reducing it in any way, but in order to elevate, regulate and perfect it, in accordance with the example and teaching of Christ.
Hence the true Christian, product of Christian education, is the supernatural man who thinks, judges and acts constantly and consistently in accordance with right reason illumined by the supernatural light of the example and teaching of Christ; in other words, to use the current term, the true and finished man of character. For, it is not every kind of consistency and firmness of conduct based on subjective principles that makes true character, but only constancy in following the eternal principles of justice, as is admitted even by the pagan poet when he praises as one and the same "the man who is just and firm of purpose." And on the other hand, there cannot be full justice except in giving to God what is due to God, as the true Christian does.
There is great joy when one detaches himself and his family from the bread and circuses of a world gone mad, a world where Christ does not reign as King through His Catholic Church, a world where Our Lady is not honored publicly as our Immaculate Queen. The more we come to see the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith as we reject Modernity in the world Modernism in the conciliar church, you see, will be the more that we "think ahead" at all times so as to take no chances with the salvation of our own souls or those of our dear, dear children, which is why home-schooling, which is disparaged, sadly, by some traditional Catholic groups, is so necessary in most instances around the country today, save for those situations where a truly Catholic school operated by a traditional religious community with the highest of academic standards and rules of discipline.
Pope Leo XIII, writing Spectata Fides, November 27, 1885, explained the importance of the work of Christian education and the necessity of avoiding non-Christian education, words that apply equal to home-schooling parents as they do to parochial schools themselves:
The beginning and, as it were, the seed of that human perfection which Jesus Christ gave to mankind, are to be found in the Christian education of the young; for the future condition of the State depends upon the early training of its children. The wisdom of our forefathers, and the very foundations of the State, are ruined by the destructive error of those who would have children brought up without religious education. You see, therefore Venerable Brethren, with what earnest forethought parents must beware of entrusting their children to schools in which they cannot receive religious teaching.
As I have written several times in the past on this site, we must keep it traditionally Catholic all of the time and without any exception whatsoever. Our promptness as a family to attend to our morning and evening prayers, our love of the daily offering of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, our diligence in praying the family Rosary, our modesty of dress and speech (something I discussed in In Full Communion with the Golden Calf), our frequenting the Sacrament of Penance weekly as a family and our contempt for the world and its false allures will help us to create a true domestic cell of the Catholic Church at a time when most people who consider themselves Catholics have been convinced by apologists of Modernity and/or Modernist that it is all right to "take chances," especially when a "loving" God could never send anyone to Hell.
We know different. We know, by the grace of God and the intercessory power of Our Lady, that we can send ourselves to Hell for all eternity if we take chances with its earthly attractions in this life. We know that we must beseech Saint Michael the Archangel to defend us in battle so that he can be our safeguard against the wickedness and the snares of the devil. In addition to the short and longer versions of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer perhaps it would be wise to commit to memory the following prayer, August Queen of Heaven, and to pray it in the morning and at night as we seek the protection afforded by our own Guardian Angels and as we place ourselves and our families, with homes enthroned to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, under the patronage of the Queen of Angels and Saints, Our Blessed Mother:
August Queen of Heaven, Sovereign Mistress of the Angels, Thou who from beginning hast received the power and the mission to crush the head of Satan, we humbly implore Thee to send thy Holy Legions so that under Thy command and by Thy power they may drive the devils away, everywhere fight them, subduing their boldness, and thrust down into the abyss. Who is like unto God? O good and tender Mother Thou wilst always be our love and our hope. O Divine Mother, send thy holy angels to defend me and to drive far away from me the cruel enemy. Holy Angels and Angels, defend us and keep us. Amen.
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady, August Queen of Heaven, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gregory the Wonderworker, pray for us.
Saint Gertrude the Great, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Martin of Tours, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us.
Saint John Lalonde, pray for us.
Saint Gregory Lalamont, pray for us.
Saint Noel Chabanel, pray for us.
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, pray for us.
Saint John DeBrebeuf, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Gerard Majella, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Venerable Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Father Miguel Augustin Pro, pray for us.
Francisco Marto, pray for us.
Jacinta Marto, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.