How Long Is Eternity?

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Welcome to Virginia Beach, home of America’s friendliest people and worst drivers.  (Well, that’s my assessment, but it’s a great place to be, all things considered.)  This is a military area known as the “Redneck Riviera.”  The entire metropolitan area is a waterland of fresh and salty rivers containing about ten 100,000-person-cities collectively known as Tidewater or Hampton Roads. It’s  home to the Atlantic Fleet of the Navy, countless other military bases and real-life heroes they make movies about (literally.)  But not every soldier comes back home to Hampton Roads…

So, where do all the dead soldiers and normal civilians go?  100% of them ultimately go to heaven or hell.  Do they all go to heaven?  No.  “Small is the gate and narrow the road” that leads to heaven, said Jesus.  This isn’t a scary post, but to show you how long heaven and hell last, I’m going to try to fit eternity into an analogy of space and time.  Someone will cleverly point out that eternity is actually longer than my analogy.  True.  But even that becomes  a greater argument a fortiori to avoid hell and get to heaven.

Imagine you are standing on Virginia Beach like me, and you take a handful of sand:

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Then, you brush all the sand off except for one tiny grain:

From Skitch

Can you see it with your iPhone 6s?  It’s in the orange circle.  Let’s say you have to hold that single grain of sand for 100 years.

…okay….waiting 100 years….

Then you flick off that single grain of sand into the ocean:

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…and then you have to pick up a second grain of sand:

From Skitch-2

Hold that second grain of sand for 100 years on the beach…time elapse…

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…flick it into the ocean.  Then take a third grain of sand.  Hold it for 100 years.  Flick it in the ocean…Then you pick up the fourth grain of sand and you have to hold that one for 100 years…time elapse on the beach…

Imagine you have to do that with every grain of sand from Virginia Beach to Miami, each grain being held for 100 years:

From Skitch

How long would this take?  I did the math.  It would take at least 56,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years to hold every grain of sand from Virginia Beach to Miami if you did 100 years for each grain of sand, each of which is closer in size to a grain of pepper than a grain of salt.  When you have held every speckle of sand from Virginia Beach to Miami, then and only then can you can begin to grasp how long heaven or hell will endure for every man and woman on this short-lived planet.

We’re talking about trillions and trillions and trillions of years somewhere mind blowing  if the soul be immortal.  If Jesus rose from the dead (and thus Christianity be true—and I’m 100% sure it is—but I’m beefing-up Pascal’s wager here) then we’re talking trillions and trillions of years in unspeakable torture or trillions and trillions and trillions of years gazing upon the face of God in supersonic contemplation and bliss.

This is the outrageous claim of Christianity that is worth investigating, considering the stakes.

But here’s the single part you may have missed from the analogy:  All those grains of sand are determined by the first grain of sand.  Why?  You may remember that we set each grain of sand at 100 years.  100 years is how long you will spend on earth! You will not get a second grain (unless you’re my grandma.)  Thus, the first grain of sand in your hand on Virginia Beach is your time on earth.  Every subsequent grain of sand in your hand (each lasting 100 years) is a long trip to Miami.  This is just the beginning of heaven or hell.

If there’s even the tiniest chance that Christianity is true, then we could all agree that no amount of honors, pleasures or riches could possibly be worth risking 560,000,000,000,000,000,000 grains of sand for…

From Skitch

That’s how long you have on earth:  One grain of sand at 100 years.  So,

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and to lose his soul?—Mark 8:36

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.—Matthew 5:30

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No other holidays reflect the gravity of this decision as much as:

  • October 31st, Halloween, the reflection of hell.
  • November 1st, All Saints, the reflection of heaven.
  • November 2nd, All Souls, the reflection of purgatory.

Do you see why God might allow suffering in your life now?  It’s to detach you from one grain of sand (100 years on earth, “a bad night at a bad inn,” according to St. Teresa of Ávila) to obtain 560,000,000,000,000,000 grains of sand (add two zeros to see it in years.)   What amount of suffering or unhealthy attachment to sin would not be worth detaching yourself from a grain for a whole beach?  Nothing could be that pleasurable.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.—Romans 8:18

Get your family to heaven, no matter what it costs.  Jesus paid 100% of the price, but for salvation to be realized we must cooperate—with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind.

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Eucharistic Procession 2015

Friends helped me make this 1 minute video of our Eucharistic Procession on the boardwalk of Virginia Beach.  This Eucharistic Procession was spearheaded by my pastor and continued by him and many others the past few years.  Special thanks to Mike Cistola, Keith Forrest and especially John and Rich at Tele-Video Productions of Virginia Beach.  Our goal is to see these in every city, especially on the East Coast, so please post this on social media and share it with your pastors.  It’s great evidence what one pastor can do to fire up a whole city.

Make sure to watch it in HD.

Prophesy from Malachi

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I’m on the traditional calendar with an older “Divine Office.”  But today, Pope Francis and every synod bishop in Rome should have read Malachi chapter one in their new Divine Office. It’s the Scripture readings that every priest has promised to pray on the day of his ordination. In Malachi 1, God Himself tells what He thinks about the priesthood, the worthiness of a sacrifice, divorce, and false-mercy becoming a mockery of God. If everyone at the synod has their mind made up (for better or for worse) then perhaps this is a last offer of unity…or even a last offer of mercy for those who would tamper with Scripture, timed impeccably by God, as always:

The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi:  And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name? ’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you? ’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations…And this second thing you do:  You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”

—Malachi 1:1-14, 2:13-16

God said “My name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.  But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised,” and “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence.”  Combine these two and you have a clear injunction against sacrileging the altar of sacrifice with divorce-and-remarriage.  And yet Pope Francis’ men are promoting open communion with the sole restriction being a false understanding of conscience.  1

But I mention Malachi 1 because I imagine God is still merciful to Pope Francis and the synod Fathers “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”  But if they don’t listen, what would justice look like?  Of course, God only wills the good of His children, but if we, His beloved children reject His hand, we also reject His protection.  Justice entails losing God’s protection.  Primarily, this would mean the loss of souls to Satan, especially if the Pope’s moral theology statements remain purposefully vague.

But there is something at the physical level, too.  I am reminded that the number one goal of ISIS is not the destruction of the USA but the physical destruction of Rome.  This is not some ultra-conservative doomsday prophesy.  In fact, the best article I read on ISIS comes from the left-leaning Atlantic Magazine.  Graeme Wood’s  What Isis Really Wants has over half-million FB likes.  Do a quick search for the word “Rome” in this article, and you will see that Rome appears 10 times.  ISIS wants to destroy Rome.  We need God’s protection.  Now is no time to mock His doctrine or discipline on marriage.  2

No Pope or bishop can ever change God’s Word.  Their job is to aid in the interpretation of Scripture in concert with Sacred Tradition.  So when bishops conceal heresy with mercy, or give the theological wink-and-nod to kill consciences, Divine Justice is being tested.  How are these men more merciful than Jesus who died for sinners like me?  They’re not.  They have overlooked the fact that there is no mercy without repentance.  In a Vatican-approved apparition called Our Lady of La Salette, Mary said in 1846 to the French children:  “Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.”  Pope Pius IX approved and promoted this apparition.

I’m not saying we’re there yet.  But I do know that Mary’s call to the faithful transcends this silly synod…just as timeless and infallible Catholic teaching transcends this synod, too.  There will always be good bishops and bad bishops. We worship neither.  That’s why it’s still awesome to be Catholic, regardless of certain bishops trying in vain to change Church teaching.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not worth reading any more news on the synod. Why get flustered? God will protect us from evil or from this evil He will bring good (and open schism would indeed be better than the current silent-smiley-schism.)  Either way, Our Lady of La Salette showed us the way to Her Son:

Finally, I call on the Apostles of the Last Days, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, who have lived in scorn for the world and for themselves, in poverty and in humility, in scorn and in silence, in prayer and in mortification, in chastity and in union with God, in suffering and unknown to the world.  It is time they came out and filled the world with light.  Go and reveal yourselves to be my cherished children.  I am at your side and within you, provided that your faith is the light which shines upon you in these unhappy days.  May your zeal make you famished for the glory and the honor of Jesus Christ.  Fight, children of the light, you, the few who can see.


  1. The Archbishop of Chicago is theologically correct in his statement that conscience is “inviolable.” But if conscience itself can self-absolve from the grave sins he discussed in that link, then there is no longer a need for a Magisterium nor the sacrament of confession.  Archbishop Cupich is not a party-crasher.  He said: “I came here at the request of the Holy Father. In fact, I was not elected. I was appointed by the Pope to come here.” Although open communion will probably not be promoted explicitly next year by Pope Francis, the notion of “inviolable conscience” seems well on its way to replace (at least at the level of discipline if not doctrine) both the Scriptures and the Magisterium.  It’s important to note that a post-synod statement is not to be considered ex-cathedra infallible nor considered to be articulated faith and morals of the ordinary Magisterium. Thus, although Pope Francis’ continued errors would not overturn the indefectibility promised by Christ to Peter in Matthew 16 regarding the Catholic Church, this would lead to an unprecedented loss of souls. We must pray for nothing short of conversion or intervention. Error has indeed been spoken. In May of 2013, Pope Francis preached at the Domus Santae Martae. While speaking of atheists at Mass, Pope Francis said: “We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.” By “there,” Pope Francis meant heaven. Hebrews 11:6 is very clear on belief and salvation. 

  2. A faithful bishop from Poland attending the synod said:  “Practically all are repeating that there will be no doctrinal change, but this is understood in different ways. For if you add to this first group that disciplinary changes are possible, this means, in practice, that doctrinal stability is being nullified. In my opinion one cannot speak of the separation of the practice of the Church from her doctrine, from her teachings. The two are inseparable. I have the impression that many supporters of this modernity, are in fact thinking about changing doctrine, yet calling it a change in Church discipline. It is a disturbing point in these discussions, for it is strongly emphasized: “we accept the entire doctrine”, but there immediately follows a suggestion that doctrine has nothing to do with it. This is greatly worrying me, for one and the other are saying that they want no change in doctrine. From where then, are arising these practices opposed to doctrine?”—Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, translation from Toronto Catholic Witness.

Marriage Prep and “Annulments”

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The basics of annulments can teach us a lot about the beauty of marriage.  The first thing to realize about an annulment is that it is not a Catholic divorce.  The starting point for why divorce does not exist in the Catholic Church is simple:  Jesus said: But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. ’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. ’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.—Mark 10:6-9.  No man (not even a priest or bishop or the Pope) can break up what God has put together at a sacramental marriage since an unbreakable bond of love was formed at the words of the altar and at the consummation of the bed.

This means that neither adultery, nor fighting, nor “divorce,” nor even the Catholic Church can break what God has put together.   The only thing that can break the bond of marriage is the death of one of the two members.  Set me as a seal upon your heart,as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death.—Song of Songs 8:6.

Imagine a man whose body and soul is represented by a 2 x 4 piece of wood.  Imagine a woman whose body and soul is represented by another 2 x 4 piece of wood.  They can only become one flesh by forming a bond, represented below by superglue. In the Catholic West, the unbreakable bond is formed by the couple at their wedding in the presence of a priest who must witness it to make it sacramental:

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In the Catholic East and the Orthodox East, the unbreakable bond is formed by the priest:

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Notice that in both cases, two become one via an invisible and invincible bond.  (In real life, they’re happily married to each other and pregnant with their fourth.)  In any case, the superglue bond is a bond that is essentially not formed by the couple nor the priest, but by God Himself.  The only thing that dissolves the superglue is death, for God is the author of life and death.  That means that neither a big argument, nor a cute secretary, nor a priest of the Catholic Church can break this bond:

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Essentially, in the eyes of both God and the Catholic Church, a “divorce” is a modern myth, for divorce doesn’t exist.   This is why Jesus Christ said such shocking words:  And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for adultery 1   and marries another, commits adultery.”—Mt 19:7-9.

If a Catholic couple gets married without a priest (or not in a Catholic Church without prior permission from the bishop of their diocese) then this situation is called a “lack of form” in getting married.  The diocese’s ecclesiastical court is called a Tribunal.  The Tribunal will always admit that two Catholics married outside of the Catholic Church (without a dispensation from the bishop) never actually formed a sacramental bond in the first place.  Thus, they declare in about two weeks that there was a “lack of form.”   After the necessary paperwork, the couple can marry each other (convalidation ceremony) or they are free to marry someone else because there never was a marriage in the first place.  This is one type of annulment process.

But what happens when a Catholic couple got married by a priest and they are not happy with each other 5 years into marriage?

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Notice that the bond still remains in this couple’s [feigned] unhappiness.  This is why it is so important to really be sure about the person you marry:  There’s no take-backs, no “prenups,” no re-dos with another potential spouse in the Catholic Church.  The only way the couple can even think about an annulment is by proving that one of them did not have the freedom of will to form a sacramental bond on the very day of their wedding.

When this happens, the Tribunal looks retrospectively (back through time) to see if they had all the ingredients of the glue (especially mental capacity) in their engagement time leading up to the wedding and on the wedding day itself:

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If they did not, then perhaps the bond will be retroactively declared null.  But this is only a “best guess” about the past.  This process is not an assessment of who is currently happy in their marriage.  If an unhappy Catholic Couple looks back through their common life together and honestly believes that one of them was not free to marry the other because of mental incapacity, then they can petition that the Tribunal declare their bond to be null (nothing.)  “Declaration of nullity” is more accurate than “annulment” because the Church looks back through time at that putative bond and says: “In our best guess, you didn’t have the freedom to consent to a lifetime commitment, so we don’t think there ever was a bond:”

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A person is not annulled. A couple is not annulled. A marriage is not annulled. A bond is declared nullsometimes, and even this is a best-guess.  It is not an infallible or efficacious act of the Church.  It’s not even a privilege-granted.  The diocese’s null-paperwork basically says: “We think one or both of you had freedom missing at the altar.” 2

When the Tribunal’s “best guess” on an annulment is objectively wrong in God’s eyes, then we can conclude that God still views the original marital bond as real, even when the annulment paperwork has declared the opposite.   Such a declaration from a Tribunal  is not an infallible binding of the Church. 3 However, the couple can still still remarry since they were obedient to the Catholic Church that God established (provided they were honest in the paperwork.)  But the members of a tribunal will answer to God for denigrating the sacrament of marriage if they handed out annulments carelessly, literally putting asunder what God has put together.  In fact, without vigilance and prayer in Catholic Tribunals, the Eastern Orthodox would be justified in calling our Catholic annulment discipline practically the same as the Orthodox concession for divorce, even while Catholic doctrine remains theoretically untouched.

In a “declaration of nullity,” when a bond is thought to have never existed, this is often done under the title of Canon Law number 1095 which is “incapacity for consent.”  Perhaps on the day of the wedding there was an unrevealed addiction or a lack of sufficient reason.  Or, perhaps it was a lack of prudent discretion or a psychological instability.  Is anyone getting married in their right mind?  No.  (Nor ordained.  Vocations are hard.)  Thus, there had to be an extraordinary incapacity to form a marital bond (more than cold-feet at a wedding) to start the annulment process.  St. John Paul II said of the annulment proceedings that “real incapacity is to be considered only when an anomaly of a serious nature is present.”—St. JPII on 25 Feb 1987.

Canon Lawyers have a term and it is “to favor the bond.”  It means that a bond of marriage is given the benefit of the doubt.  It seems merciful not to “favor the bond” when assessing if a couple who has applied for annulment should have their bond declared null when they have “moved on” and “moved in” with a new partner of civil marriage.  The million dollar question in Rome today essentially boils down to:  Is it best for the Tribunal to issue a declaration of nullity just to legalistically get them out of the imputation of sin?

Well, the actual bond on the day of the wedding has to be honestly assessed in view of finding an extraordinary anomaly, not ordinary lack-of-due-discretion.  If not, the bond will never be favored in that diocese.  When the leanings of a Tribunal are not towards the original bond of marriage, but rather towards a legalistic avoidance of the imputation of sin for new civil bonds to be given free-license, then the opposite effect of mercy starts to take place in a diocese:  Couples begin to wonder if anyone has a real mental capability to get married.

Pope Benedict XVI addressed the Roman Rota in 2009:

First of all, there is a need for a new and positive appreciation of the capacity to marry belonging in principle to every human person by virtue of his or her very nature as a man or a woman. We tend in fact to risk falling into a kind of anthropological pessimism which, in the light of today’s cultural context, would consider marriage as practically impossible. Apart from the fact that this context is not uniform in the various parts of the world, genuine incapacity to consent cannot be confused with the real difficulties facing many people, especially the young, which lead them to conclude that marital union is, as a rule, inconceivable and impracticable. Rather, a reaffirmation of the innate human capacity for marriage is itself the starting point for enabling couples to discover the natural reality of marriage and its importance for salvation. Ultimately, what is at stake is the truth about marriage itself and its intrinsic juridical nature…which is an indispensable premise for the ability to understand and evaluate the capacity required to marry.—Pope Benedict XVI’s Address to the Roman Rota on 29 January 2009, 8th paragraph.

In other words, you don’t have to be St. Anne and St. Joachim to form a valid marriage bond.  Children deserve Tribunals to favor the bond.  Why?  Because the souls of children are permanent, so they need a permanent structure of love in which to grow up, even when times get hard.  4 What happens when you start to wonder if your diocese would give you a quick annulment without sufficient reason?  At the end of the day, it’s a matter of the marriage covenant in the shadow of God’s covenant.  If you know that you’re still married after a big argument—that is, if you know you’re not going to go to the Tribunal for an annulment after a big argument—then you know that God’s love must be something like that:  Unbreakable.  This is because even a broken man and broken woman’s love are capable of maintaining a dim but real reflection Christ’s unbreakable love on the cross for His bride:

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So, do you see why it’s so important who you choose to marry?  In the eyes of God, you only get one bond your whole life, one shot at getting your whole family to heaven.  Who is the person most likely to do that?  The blog ucatholic had a tremendously moving post here.

Perhaps the only practical solution to the endless annulment game is to have priests actually meet with their engaged couples.  Yes, priests may actually have to sacrifice time for their spiritual children.  My first pastor told me that I should not witness the sacramental marriage of any couple unless I had given them 5 one-hour meetings.  A good layman I knew once said that any priest who stacked up more than two annulments a year should be “tried for pastoral malpractice.”

Time to start marriage prep…

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Don’t they look excited for my Bible Study on marriage?

But really, here’s the truth:  If I’m going to take seven years and six-figures of the laity’s money for my vocation (seven years in seminary, not my annual income!) then I think I can give back five short hours for the laity’s vocation.  After all, they do make the promise “til death do us part:”

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  1. Here, Jesus is talking about is a separation due to adultery and even in the case of adultery, the Church teaches that a person cannot remarry until the death of one or the other spouse because the marriage bond still exists.  Reasons for annulment will be discussed in the next footnote.

  2. Other reasons the Church would consider declaring the bond null would include:

    • Consanguinity (being of the same blood line)
    • Not being old enough
    • Lacking sufficient reason
    • Coercion, violence, force or grave fear
    • Previous marriage or religious vows or ordination
    • Simulation, fraud or deceit on who a person is.
    • Addiction
    • Opposition to monogamy
    • Opposition to children (absolute opposition, not only the use of contraception.  Although it’s a mortal sin, premeditated use of contraception is not enough for a declaration of nullity unless there was an unrevealed and unreversed sterilization.)
    • Absolute impotence
    • Ratam non consummatum (vows at altar but no intercourse ever.)
    • Conditions on the future (pre-nups)
    • Refraining from vows or Catholic sacramental procedures

  3. Before publication, I checked this with a Roman-educated exorcist.  He confirmed: “Tribunals bear a tenuous relationship with the ‘power of the keys’ given to the Church. Diocesan tribunals are exercises of a bishop’s particular magisterium, not that of the Church authority as a whole. This means that their decisions do not share the charism of infallibility. So by definition their binding and loosing is not automatically guaranteed to be in line with the Mind of Christ.”

  4. The Catholic Church allows for immediate separation when there is danger or violence to one spouse or children.  This should happen long before an annulment gets discussed.  Code of Canon Law #1153 says “If either of the spouses causes grave danger in soul or body to the other spouse or to the offspring or otherwise renders common life too difficult, that spouse gives the other a legitimate cause for leaving.”

FOCUS Breakout Sessions

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If you want to see something new and serious from me, see here.  But, on my Evernote,  I recently looked at this satire that my teammate and I had made a decade ago for an upcoming conference while working for FOCUS (also in Virginia, where I am now—but back in 2004.)   Forgive a few inside jokes, but here’s our FOCUS conference breakout-session title suggestions, mostly still valid suggestions for the next one:

  • Protestants: Friend or Foe?
  • Rainforest Decline: Ecoterrorism and the Catholic.
  • How I made it to Life on the Rock.
  • Dare We Hope that All Be Saved?
  • Why Lord of the Rings was, like, totally Catholic.
  • Fashion Tips for the New Evangelization
  • FACT: What it originally stood for.
  • Christendom vs. Steubenville: When will the war begin?
  • MTV and the Jesuits: “Keepin’ It Real” on the way to hell.
  • Breakout sessions: Why they’re much cooler than workshops.
  • Do we have to be circumsized to be saved? Rethinking Acts 15.
  • Mel Gibson vs. Justin Kraft: Who will win?
  • File 852UY: Superstar FOCUS team infiltrates the KGB with spiritual multipication.
  • A Heureumenic Analysis of Rahnerian Eschatological Solipsism
  • So you want to be a eunuch? Rethinking Matthew 19.
  • Predestination: Why you’re in Bible Study and your friends aren’t.
  • Fun with Puns with Dr. Hahn:  It’s Scott to be Good!
  • Laser beams and the Vatican
  • Fundraising in Hawaii: “It was so much fun!”
  • Xtreme fasting: So extreme you don’t need the “E”
  • The “I-know-Tony-Ariniello-Show!”…overbooked and canceled.
  • Ways to Pretend You Belong in a Dorm.
  • RPGs and How to Avoid Them—By Off. Kuetemeyer
  • Why I deserve a Motorcycle—By Jim Jansen
  • Bishop Morlino vs. Bishop Chaput: Who will get the guys?
  • Lethal Weapon 5: How Mel Gibson told Jim Caviezel he won’t be in this one.
  • Dumb things that Eck and Horn did on a mountain this summer: a documentary.
  • The life of Shane Ortega, as mimed by Jim Caviezel.
  • Self-flagellation: Then and Now
  • Hippolytus: From Anti-Pope to Saint in 12 easy steps
  • Deep Blue: The Staring Contest Between Staples and Martino
  • “We Built This City on Rock and Roll: My life before Benedictine,” by Dr. Ted Sri

Battle of Lepanto

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Today is the 444th year after the battle of Lepanto, the most important naval battle in history.  Without it, Muslim Turks would have taken over Italy in 1571.  Because of the Mother of God’s role in this naval battle, Pope St. Pius V asked that every first Sunday in October be thenceforth remembered and honored as the Feast of the Holy Rosary.  The full story of the naval battle is at Catholic Answers, but this homily ties in the current battle in the Church, and the victory that will come through the Rosary:

Incarnation Meditation

 

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“One will be sent in the flesh,” thundered the most beautiful Trinity to the angels and all the courts of heaven eons ago. In perfect harmony they rejoiced. But later, they wondered if anyone but a lowly archangel like Raphael (still more glorious than a burning star) could dare condescend again to take flesh as Raphael did for Tobit. Their best guess for the new assignment was Gabriel. God said “Gabriel will go…but in spirit as preparation. One much higher than he will become flesh.” “But how?” the angels wondered, “A cherubim’s eyes would melt the trees and mountains. No human warrior’s body could even instantaneously hold the power of a seraphim. Who will go in the flesh?” And they intuited through each other like laser beams, seared and alit by the thought of leaving the splendor of heaven for the dirt and sorrow of earth with man. And then the answer came from God:

“I will become man.”

After ages of silence, awe, wonder, war and adoration, a high angel said “The Lord’s voice flashes flames of fire. What warrior shall you absorb for your powerful and wise task?” And God replied “I shall assume the body and nature of a poor baby, and I will eventually be nailed to a tree to die quietly, without friends. This will be for mercy, for all.” All fell down in confused adoration that the essence of God would be humility.