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(LifeSiteNews) – To say this has been the hardest year of my life, sounds cliché. Given what is going on in the world today, it may be a familiar refrain in many of our lives. For most of us, we have not lived through a world war, but now we have been thrown into one and it came upon us like a storm. Tragically, most don’t yet realize we are in the midst of a third world war. 

Many of you already know of the suffering my daughter Mary-Catherine went through this year with her diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Encephalitis. We had to pull her out of college and she continues to experience seizures regularly.  

Our family is experiencing the same pressures as most, except with eight children, half in their twenties, it is a bit exaggerated. Seeing your children suspended from jobs, college and high school sports, and not being able to travel out of province, go to restaurants, movies etc is painful. The loss of the Mass, even for a short time, was a nightmare and being forbidden from receiving Holy Communion on the tongue inside the Mass is disturbing.  

But, by far, the most troubling and difficult aspect of the year has been the demonic disorientation rampant today. I have seen those I truly consider saints turn and take opposite sides. I could never, ever have imagined what I have seen transpire this year. I knew the world would go crazy, I knew it would one day embrace anti-Christ, but the prophesied confusion of the elect (Mt. 24:24) has been mind-boggling for me. 

And while this has been the hardest year of my life, at the same time I am full of gratitude. Gratitude first and foremost to the Good Lord who rescued me from a life of sin bound for hell. Gratitude for being able to get to Mass and receive Our Lord daily. Gratitude for a wife who has stuck by my side and has her ear tuned in to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit to guide our children to eternal life. Gratitude that before the travel restrictions our family took a last vacation. Gratitude for friends in tough times. 

It is said, a good friend is a priceless treasure. Never as today is the import of that phrase made evident. If we are to survive these times, survive physically sure, but more importantly to survive spiritually, we must find ourselves a community. Get together with like-minded brothers and sisters among whom you are free to speak openly and plainly, to strategize how to survive, to pray together, to help one another. It is vital. I am so grateful for the good friends I have. 

These times are truly perilous, and we should be prepared. First and foremost spiritually, but also it wouldn’t hurt to have a few months of imperishable food in reserve, to have a handy list of close contacts whom you can trust without reserve.  

A few years ago, Bishop Athanasius Schneider told me, “prepare your children for martyrdom.” At the time I was struck by it but didn’t put into action a plan to make that preparation. The darkness of these times all over the planet with no real possibility of escape has caused me to embark on that preparation. For the first time in my lifetime the concept of martyrdom in my own nation seems a real possibility. 

And that is not a negative. To be given the glory of martyrdom it is a great hope. It also brings us to a stark reality about this present darkness. We all know that light shines brightest in the darkness. The darkness is becoming overwhelming thus we have a time for evangelization now the likes of which we have never experienced. It is a time to let the light of Christ shine in you, and through you. 

May the Christ child be born into our hearts anew this Christmas. May His holy Mother and Good St. Joseph warm and cleanse the stables of our hearts for His Coming. May our friends shepherd us with the wisdom they have heard from on high, with the good news of great joy they were sent to cheer us. And may we, like the Wise Men, offer to the Infant Saviour through His Mother our finest gifts to acknowledge Him as our King, the King of Kings, the Lord of Glory, so that at the hour of our deaths He may call us and bid us come to Him that with His angels and saints we may praise him forever. 

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