Peace through Strength

"The Lord will give strength to his people: the Lord will bless his people with peace"(Psalm  29:11)

"We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression."

President Ronald Reagan

ANNOUNCEMENT: "Peace Through Strength Challenge"  July 16 - August 15

Beginning Monday, July 16 (Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel) and leading up August 15(Feast of Our Lady of the Assumption) ... 

Fr. Richard Heilman of "Roman Catholic Man"
Sam Guzman of "Catholic Gentleman"
Doug Barry of "Battle Ready"
Major Jeff Heller

... will be joining forces to lead what we believe is the most important challenge of our times. 

Let me explain ...

A word used to describe elements of our culture today is "unhinged." Yes, by and large, our culture is unhinged or "detached." We are detached from the Source--God--of our supernatural strength; the supernatural power of "grace." In fact, the critical underlying problem is an epidemic of disbelief in the supernatural. Our culture is supernaturally weak.

In the culture and on the political stage, this being "unhinged" has led to anarchy and discord. In our homes and in our hearts it has led to distress and despair. No grace; No hope; No peace!

In the midst of a current epidemic of despair and suicide, even the Psychiatric community is surrendering to the solid evidence that "strong/devout faith" plays a key role in psychological well-being.

Applied to our nation's desire to avoid war, President Ronald Reagan famously stated, "We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression." Yet, this is all too true when we apply it to our own spiritual lives.

God wants to walk with you in verdant pastures of tranquil repose and beside restful waters. Yes! God wants you to be happy and at "peace."

But, how do we get to this place of peace? God has revealed the prescription in so many ways that all boil down to: "When you are well-connected with Me and supernaturally strong, you will find peace." Moreover, if you are supernaturally strong--"grace shields up!"--and ready for anything, the devil and his minions are less apt to disturb your peace. Yes, "Peace Through Strength."

We all know there is an urgent need to make our homes, parishes, communities, country and world strong again. And, deep down, we all know that those places will become strong once we, ourselves, become strong once again. Make America Holy Again begins with each individual's pursuit of sanctity; pursuit of supernatural strength. In this pursuit, we must be willing to accept this challenge and say, 
"I'm Going In!"

As we approach the 54 Day Rosary Novena for Our Nation on August 15, leading to Rosary Coast to Coast on October 7, we want to be the strongest Special Forces Prayer Warriors we can possibly be.

From July 16 to August 15, on the nine (novena) Mondays and Thursdays leading up to the 54 Day Rosary Novena for Our Nation (concluding with Rosary Coast to Coast), Sam, Doug, Major Jeff and I will lead the "Peace Through Strength Challenge," as we break down all of the ways God has revealed for us to become well-connected and supernaturally "strong."

Please sign-up for the "Peace Through Strength Challenge" HERE(This will also sign you up for the 54 Day Rosary Novena for Our Nation).

For Facebook users, join the Special Forces Training group.

"And one day, through the Rosary and Scapular, Our Lady will save the world." -St. Dominic

From the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, we will call out to God, through the intercession of our Lady, to heal our nation and world!

July 16 - August 15 - Peace Through Strength Challenge

August 15 - October 7 - 54 Day Rosary Novena for Our Nations

October 7Rosary Coast to Coast(Joined with the Holy League of Nations)




There is a lot at stake in our world. Powerful, diabolical forces are stopping at nothing to throw everything they have at whatever is good, holy and Godly in our society. They are doing everything possible to teardown the moral fabric of our society, seeking the ruin of our souls and the souls of our loved ones. We. Need. To. Respond! We need to be well-trained and well-formed so that we can engage this battle.

In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI said, "The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects." We all see this; we know this is going on. What is needed is warrior minded individuals - God loving, God fearing, Rosary praying, Sacrament receiving Catholics who have the courage to step in the fight; to engage the battle; to say "I'm Going In!"

Bishop Thomas Olmsted made an impassioned appeal to men in his Apostolic Exhortation,
"Into the Breach." His Excellency wrote ...
"As Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati said, 'To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth - that is not living, but existing.' Are you and I merely existing? Or are we living our Christian faith as men fully alive? Recall the famous words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: 'You were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness.' Any greatness that we might merit as Catholics depends upon this fight for holiness. It is the same fight Jesus Christ fought in the desert and the same fight our Christian forefathers fought in order to hand down the faith. Woe to us if we do not pick up the weapons of the Spirit - offered to us freely - and accept them bravely and gratefully! Courage, confidence, and humble reliance on God's infinite resources are called for here as we engage. Forward! Into the breach!"
That's what the "Peace Through Strength Challenge" is all about ... the strength that we receive in that Divine Connection with God - body, mind and soul - brings about peace in knowing we are all in for God.

"I'm Going In" is the battle cry of every warrior who accepts the challenge of putting their very life on the line in battle. But, when it comes to spiritual warfare, I must know that "I'm going in" with the strength of supernatural power!

Are you Going In?

As we approach the 54 Day Rosary Novena for Our Nation on August 15, leading to Rosary Coast to Coast on October 7, we want to train to be the strongest Special Forces Prayer Warriors we can possibly be.

From July 16 to August 15, on the nine (novena) Mondays and Thursdays leading up to the 54 Day Rosary Novena for Our Nation, concluding with Rosary Coast to Coast, Sam, Doug, Major Jeff and I will lead the "Peace Through Strength Challenge," as we break down all of the ways God has revealed for us to become well-trained, well-formed, well-connected and supernaturally "strong."

Please sign-up for the "Peace Through Strength Challenge" HERE. (This will also sign you up for the 54 Day Rosary Novena for Our Nation).

For Facebook users, join the Special Forces Training group.

"And one day, through the Rosary and Scapular, Our Lady will save the world." -St. Dominic


From the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, we will call out to God, through the intercession of our Lady, to heal our nation and world!






Day 1

Peace Through Strength
The Challenge to Enter the Supernatural Life

"The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." -Psalm 29:11


Per Virtutem Pax - This is Latin for "Peace Through Strength." The image of Our Lady seen here comes from a famous sculpture entitled, "Regina Pacis" (Queen of Peace) found at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The sculpture was commissioned in 1918 by Pope Benedict XV during WWI. That means this is the 100th anniversary of this beautiful sculpture (Fr. Calloway has stated it is his favorite statue in Rome). We embrace this beautiful image for the "Peace Through Strength Challenge," as well as Rosary Coast to Coast and the Holy League of Nations, as we will call out to Mary our Mother under the titles of both Regina Pacis (Queen of Peace) and Virgo Potens (Virgin Most Powerful). Fr. Chad Ripperger has asked all of us to call out to Mary under this title of Virgo Potens, as we face this fierce spiritual battle in our times. Together, the two titles for Mary point to "Per Virtutem Pax" (Peace Through Strength).



Getting in "Supernatural Shape" - Forming Strong Catholic Habits for a Life of Peace


President Ronald Reagan once famously stated, "We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression." The "Peace Through Strength Challenge" is about our resolve to become strong in God's supernatural power; the only power capable of standing athwart the aggressive satanic forces of evil (Ephesians 6:10-12). We want hundreds of thousands of "supernaturally strong" warriors ready for Rosary Coast to Coast on October 7.

There is much at stake in our world. Powerful, diabolical forces are stopping at nothing to aggressively throw everything they have at whatever is good, holy and Godly in our society. These vicious forces are doing everything possible to tear down the moral fabric of our society, seeking the ruin of our souls and the souls of our loved ones. We. Need. To. Respond! The only effective response is to know we need to be well-trained and well-connected to God and His supernatural power so that we can engage this battle.

In writing about the effects of Baptism, Archbishop Fulton Sheen said:
Baptism infuses seven virtues into the soul, the first three of which relate to God Himself, namely, faith, hope, and charity. We are thus enabled to believe in Him, hope in Him, and love Him. But four other virtues, called moral virtues, are related to the means of attaining God; these are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. By the right use of things for God's sake, by paying our debts to God, by being brave about witnessing our faith and temperate about even the legitimate pleasures of life, we reach God more quickly.
The world, therefore, is divided into the "once born" and the "twice born": between the sons of the old Adam, and the sons of the new Adam, Christ; between the unregenerate and the regenerate. There is a real inequality in the world. There are "superior" and "inferior" peoples, but the basis of distinction is not color, race, nationality, or wealth. The superior people of the earth are the supermen, the God-men; the inferior people are those who have been called to that superior state but, as yet, have not embraced it. But the reborn must follow the laws of divine life, for which the Lord has prepared other Sacraments.
Yes! Under the supernatural power of God, we are called to be "supermen/superwomen."
But, the sad reality is that far too many have rejected this invitation to a superior life in favor of an inferior life. In other words, this supernatural power on offer is not forced upon us, as though we were created as robots. No, God respects our free will, so I can choose Him as my God or I can choose myself as my God. The choice is one between an elevated superior life filled with all meaning and purpose, or a base inferior life that flounders in an empty darkness, searching for the next "quick fix" of carnal pleasure.

What we are referring to, here, is our ultimate purpose; Our raison d'être-our reason for being. Venerable Pius XII wrote, "We belong to the Church Militant; and she is militant because on earth the powers of darkness are ever restless to encompass her destruction." 

St. Paul, who came from a military background himself, calls us to be "good soldiers of Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:3). Yes, we are being called upon to fight the mother of all wars against powerful evil spirits in the heavenly realm, but we are sure to meet our demise unless we discover these battles cannot be won without first acquiring God's strength and mighty power:
"Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Eph 6:10-12)
God is looking to recruit spiritual warriors to step up and embrace the call. But, God needs warriors who are "Strong in His mighty power!" Bishop Thomas Olmsted made an impassioned appeal to men in his Apostolic Exhortation, "Into the Breach." His Excellency wrote ...
"As Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati said, 'To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth - that is not living, but existing.'  Are you and I merely existing? Or are we living our Christian faith as men fully alive? Recall the famous words of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI: 'You were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness.'  Any greatness that we might merit as Catholics depends upon this fight for holiness. It is the same fight Jesus Christ fought in the desert and the same fight our Christian forefathers fought in order to hand down the faith. Woe to us if we do not pick up the weapons of the Spirit - offered to us freely - and accept them bravely and gratefully! Courage, confidence, and humble reliance on God's infinite resources are called for here as we engage. Forward! Into the breach!"
"I'm Going In" is the battle cry of every warrior who accepts the challenge of putting their very life on the line in battle. But, when it comes to spiritual warfare, I must know that "I'm going in" with the strength of supernatural power! This is the "Challenge to be a Strong Catholic." That's what the "Peace Through Strength Challenge" is all about ... the strength that we receive in that Divine Connection with God - body, mind and soul - brings about peace in knowing we are all in for God.

"Strength" implies we are "totally connected" to the source of power; totally connected to God. This requires a strong life of prayer. Each strong Catholic must start their day with prayer. It is said, "Until you realize that prayer is the most important thing in life, you will never have time for prayer." Without prayer, a soul is like a soldier who lacks food, water, and ammunition.

Best Supernatural Strength Practices

As we begin this "Peace through Strength Challenge," we want to pledge to adhere to (restore?) the best foundational practices of an authentically strong Catholic. If you obey Christ and His Church 100% (remain loyal), and practice the following (All, not most or some), you will be strong in God's supernatural grace, and you will live in peace. You'll notice we are not addressing such things as tithing, volunteering and catechesis. Why? Because all of these will follow as we are filled with supernatural grace. Grace fills us with a hunger for "the more" of knowing and pleasing God.

Make a plan: Ask yourself, "Can I embrace all of these now? Or, do I embrace some, and add others over time? Either way, you'll want to make these foundational practices a regular habit in order to be a "strong Catholic."

Support System: You may want to create or join a "Peace Through Strength Squad" of 3+ people. Maybe create a Facebook group. Also, try to join together with an "Accountability Buddy." Commit to these practices from July 16 - October 7.

Morning Offering - Set aside some time to speak with God first thing each morning (and speak with Him throughout the day) and pray the Morning Offering Prayer.

Go to Mass - Absolutely on days of obligation, and daily Mass, if at all possible. Bishop Olmsted says, "The Mass is a refuge in the Spiritual Battle, where Catholics meet their King, hear His commands, and become strengthened with the Bread of Life."

Frequent Confession - Keep your Confessions no more than one month apart. Pope Pius XII wrote: "The Sacrament of Penance is the masterpiece of God's goodness. By it our weakness is fortified ... By it genuine self-knowledge is increased, Christian humility grows, bad habits are corrected, spiritual neglect and tepidity are resisted, the conscience is purified, the will strengthened, a salutary self-control is attained, and an increase of grace is secured by the very fact that the Sacrament is received."

Fasting - Pope John Paul II has taught: "Jesus Himself has shown us by His own example that prayer and fasting are the first and most effective weapons against the forces of evil (cf. Mt 4:1-11). As He taught His disciples, some demons cannot be driven out except in this way (cf. Mk 9:29)" (Gospel of Life, 100). Fasting is one of the main ways the Lord gives us strength for victory and freedom from the evil one (Mt 4:1ff). Fasting is a way in which the Lord gives the underdog victory.

Eucharistic Adoration - Dedicate some time each week for Adoration. If it is not possible during the week, take some time before or after Sunday Mass to pray on your knees before Our Lord present in the tabernacle. Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen spent an hour everyday in Adoration:
"The reason I keep up the Holy Hour is to grow more and more into his likeness. As Paul puts it: 'We are transfigured into his likeness, from splendor to splendor.' We become like that which we gaze upon. Looking into a sunset, the face takes on a golden glow. Looking at the Eucharistic Lord for an hour transforms the heart in a mysterious way as the face of Moses was transformed after his companionship with God on the mountain."
Read the Bible - I highly recommend the Magnificat Magazine (Magnificat.net). Magnificat offers beautiful prayers for both morning and evening drawn from the treasures of the Liturgy of the Hours, the official texts of daily Mass, meditations written by spiritual giants of the Church and more contemporary authors, essays on the lives of the saints of today and yesterday.

Pray at every meal - Before food or drink touches your lips, make the Sign of the Cross, say the "Bless us, O Lord" prayer, and end with the Sign of the Cross. Praying as a Catholic before every meal is a simple but powerful way to keep strong and fill the breach.

Examine your conscience before going to sleep - Take a few minutes just before bed to review your day asking, "How have I behaved as a child of God?" It's also a great time to look at that "dominant fault" you need to improve upon in order to become a saint. Conclude these few minutes of reflection by praying three Hail Marys for purity and then pray the "Act of Contrition."

Marian Devotion - Pope St. John Paul II stated that the word "home" refers to the spiritual and inner life of believers, and "to take Mary into one's home" signifies a filial entrustment to her as mother in every aspect of life. John Paul II suggested Saint John as an example of how every Christian should respond to the gift of the spiritual motherhood of Mary.

Daily Rosary - Fr. McCloskey reminds us, "by repeating words of love to Mary and offering up each decade for our intentions, we take the shortcut to Jesus, which is to pass through the heart of Mary. He cannot refuse her anything!" Pope Pius IX once said, "Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world."

Wear the Brown Scapular (or Scapular Medal) - The Brown Scapular, revealed to St. Simon Stock in 1251, was a way for us, upon our death, to be identified as a child of God.Our Lady of Mt. Carmel said, "This will be the sign of the privilege that I have obtained for thee and for the children of Carmel; whoever dies clothed with this habit will be preserved from the eternal flames." Scapular Medal - In 1910, Pope St. Pius X introduced a Scapular Medal which may be substituted in most cases for any of the various scapulars. Valid enrollment in the (cloth) scapulars must, however, be made before the substitution. According to Father John Hardon's Catholic Dictionary the scapular medal may be worn for any reason even for reasons of convenience. 

Pray the Angelus (or Regina Coeli) - This is the very ancient Catholic custom that has us stop what we are doing to greet our Blessed Mother for a moment (6:00 a.m.noon6:00 p.m.daily), as any good child remembers his mother during the day, and to meditate on the Incarnation and Resurrection of our Lord, which give such meaning to our entire existence.

Marian Consecration - The process of Total Consecration to Mary was introduced by Saint Louis de Montfort in the early part of the 18th century. The beginnings of the notion of "belonging to Mary" can be seen in the writings of Saint Ephrem the Syrian in the 4th century, and a form of personal consecration to Mary dates back to the 5th century, where its practitioners were called "servants of Mary" and the practice was sometimes referred to as "holy servitude."

Join the Auxilium Christianorum - For those who feel called to take it to the next level in this spiritual warfare we face, this is the one of the best practices in our times. Go HERE to learn about Auxilium Christianorum. Fr. Chad Ripperger, one of the leading lights among Exorcists, strongly recommends this, as we face so many strong diabolical forces in our times. This is more of a strong recommendation, rather than declaring it as an essential foundational practice of strong Catholics.

Fr. Rick Heilman






Peace Through Strength
Day 2
The Challenge to Enter the Supernatural Life

"The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." -Psalm 29:11
Fear: The Root of Many Faults


Contributed by Sam Guzman of Catholic Gentleman


(A reminder that Peace Through Strength Challenge posts are every Monday & Thursday between July 16 & August 15)


Many of our faults and failings are more complex than we at first realize. Our patterns of behavior are rarely random, and surface sins are often merely symptomatic of deeper, more subtle wounds in our souls.


Fear is a prominent example of a deeper wound, for fear, perhaps second only to pride, is the cause of many of our faults and failings.


Laziness or sloth can be a hidden fear of discomfort or of failure.


Narcissism may be but a manifestation of a hidden fear of being unloved and unwanted.


Greed can be nothing more than a fear of scarcity-that there isn't enough to go around.


Lust and its associated behaviors can reveal a hidden fear of intimacy or of commitment.


Materialism can drown a fear of ultimate meaninglessness or despair.


Even anger can be a defensive mechanism to mask a fear of weakness and vulnerability.


That is not to say every fault is caused by fear by any means. But it is a significant factor that we should consider as we consider our faults and why we are prone to the sins we are.

Why Are We So Afraid?


If fear is as powerful as it is, the question arises, why are we so afraid? I believe the answer lies in our deep awareness of our creatureliness and our broken communion with God.


By definition, we are finite creatures, and finitude implies vulnerability. Despite our occasional delusions of grandeur, we control far less of the world than we think. Many forces are beyond our ability to foresee or manipulate, and these forces often wound us.


We are deeply aware of our fragility and of this very real ability to be hurt, and so we are afraid. Like spiky-skinned lizards in the desert, we form defensive mechanisms to shield ourselves emotionally from others. These defensive mechanisms can, if unchecked, become habits of being that define us.


Now, in our primordial state, we were no less finite and vulnerable. The difference was, we had an intimate and constant communion with God. We perceived God's goodness in everything, and we knew that every moment of being was a gift. Like a child confident in his father's arms, we returned thanks for the gift of life with perfect trust that our Father willed the good for us.


Since the Fall, however, our communion with God has been broken. We no longer perceive his goodness. We no longer trust him with complete confidence. And so we are afraid.


Perfect Peace


The Psalmist David was no stranger to fear. He constantly speaks of enemies relentlessly pursuing his life, threats to his kingdom, and even of the warfare within his own soul. This is why the Psalms are so enduring-they reveal the depths of the human heart in all its fragility.


Even our Lord, in his frail humanity, was not impervious to fear. In the garden before his passion, his anxiety was so great that his blood vessels burst and great drops of blood streamed down his face.


Despite the storms that raged and threatened, our Lord Jesus, and all the suffering saints of the ages who followed him, had hearts perfectly at peace. And this because they were perfectly surrendered to the will of God. No matter how great the external threats they faced, they could say like Job, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15).


Such peace is possible for all of us. Yet, moving from fear to perfect trust is no easy thing. It is a process that takes a time and experience. We must "taste and see that the Lord is good" in the concrete circumstances of our lives.


That does not mean that we will never face trials. Suffering, in one form or another, is inevitable. But if we surrender ourselves with perfect confidence to the will of God, we will find peace regardless of what may come. Paradoxically, the more we resist his will, the more we fight and flee from suffering, the more we suffer. The more surrendered to him we are, the less power suffering has over us.


From Fear to Freedom


American President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." While he was hardly speaking of the spiritual life, I believe he was correct. Fear can bind us, paralyze us, asphyxiate us. It is the root of many faults and failings.


If we are ever to progress on the road of virtue, if we are ever to find true freedom, we must recognize our fears and overcome them with patience. We must trust perfectly in our Lord's goodness, knowing that in all the chances and trials of life he works for our eternal good, and we will find peace.


Let us then say with St. Paul,

What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Best Supernatural Strength Practices


As we continue this "Peace through Strength Challenge," we want to pledge to adhere to (restore?) the best foundational practices of an authentically strong Catholic. If you obey Christ and His Church 100% (remain loyal), and practice the following (All, not most or some), you will be strong in God's supernatural grace, and you will live in peace. You'll notice we are not addressing such things as tithing, volunteering and catechesis. Why? Because all of these will follow as we are filled with supernatural grace. Grace fills us with a hunger for "the more" of knowing and pleasing God.


Make a plan: Ask yourself, "Can I embrace all of these now? Or, do I embrace some, and add others over time?" Either way, you'll want to make these foundational practices a regular habit in order to be a "strong Catholic."


Support System: You may want to create or join a "Peace Through Strength Squad" of 3+ people. Maybe create a Facebook group. Also, try to join together with an "Accountability Buddy." Commit to these practices from July 16 - October 7.
  • Morning Offering (Morning Offering)
  • Go to Mass (Daily Mass, if at all possible)
  • Frequent Confession (Keep your Confessionsno more than one month apart)
  • Fasting (Fasting is a way in which the Lord gives the underdog victory)
  • Eucharistic Adoration (Dedicate some time each week for Adoration)
  • Read the Bible (I highly recommend the Magnificat Magazine - Magnificat.net)
  • Pray at every meal (Make the Sign of the Cross, say the "Bless us, O Lord" prayer)
  • Examine your conscience before going to sleep (Take a few minutes just before bed to review your day asking, "How have I behaved as a child of God?" It's also a great time to look at that "dominant fault" you need to improve upon in order to become a saint. Conclude these few minutes of reflection by praying three Hail Marys for purity and then pray the "Act of Contrition")
  • Daily Rosary 
  • Wear the Brown Scapular (or Scapular Medal) 
  • Pray the Angelus (6:00 a.m.noon6:00 p.m. daily)
  • Marian Consecration (We will make - or renew - our Consecration on October 7)
  • Join the Auxilium Christianorum (Go HEREto learn about Auxilium Christianorum. Fr. Chad Ripperger, one of the leading lights among Exorcists, strongly recommends this, as we face so many strong diabolical forces in our times. This is more of a strong recommendation, rather than declaring it as an essential foundational practice of strong Catholics).
Sign-up to receive these posts in your email HERE. (Again, Peace Through Strength Challenge posts are every Monday & Thursday between July 16 & August 15)


Physical Strength


Doug Barry of Battle Ready will coach us into physical fitness with every "Peace Through Strength Challenge" post:


Peace Through Strength
The Challenge to Enter the Supernatural Life

"The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." -Psalm 29:11
How Sloth is Sapping Your Strength

By Major Jeff Heller


When I think of sloth, I think of laziness, or inactivity.  I think of hitting the 'snooze' button instead of getting up when the alarm goes off.  But what if sloth is much more dangerous to the spiritual life?

Dom Lorenzo Scupoli says in his book "The Spiritual Combat,"
"It is of the greatest importance to make war against sloth. This vice is not only an obstacle on our way to perfection, but it delivers us over to the enemies of our salvation."
Peter Kreeft, in his book "Back to Virtue" also notes:
"Of all the seven deadly sins, sloth is the most distinctly modern.  Nothing so distinguishes modern Western society from all previous societies as its sloth."
So, we find that sloth is more important than we may have thought.  Perhaps it is more relevant to our own spiritual journey than we imagined.
For me, sloth manifests itself in many ways:
  • Writing a philosophy paper throughout the night it's due, because *** was more important.
  • Realizing the book "The Spiritual Combat" has a chapter on sloth after revisiting the book months later.
  • Letting the TV raise my children because it's easier than teaching them to read.
  • Putting worldy desires in front of Heavenly ones.
  • Watching sports or some show on TV instead of relating to my family.
  • Working 13 years on a thesis for a masters' degree (and not completing it...)
There are many times in which I find myself aiding the search of the enemy, instead of intentionally reading/studying the readings proscribed for the day.  I often find myself struggling to do the right thing at the right time when there is something else do to (or watch) which more easily takes my focus.

Dom Scupoli says, "If you desire to fight this vice in earnest, begin by avoiding all curiosity and vain amusements. Withdraw your affections from worldly things and stop all pursuits that are not in harmony with your state of life."  Easier said than done?  I don't know about you, but as a father of five, I find worldly affections and vain amusements all too common.

How does one put aside the pressures of the day (or the vain amusements) and begin to follow the Lord as one ought?  Dom Scupoli says, "Things must be done at the proper time, and in the most perfect manner possible. A precipitous act, which is done with no regard for its proper execution, but only to be rid of the trouble and to enjoy peace again as soon as possible, cannot be called diligent. It is rather an artful, refined sloth."  In other words, do at this moment that which must be done.  Do tomorrow that which must be done tomorrow.  We must stay close to the will of the Lord in prayer to know what is required of us each day, that way we may do that which is required of us at the time in which it is required.

We may find difficulty at first, but Fr. Scupoli gives us a practical method to overcome sloth:  "If you are to pray for an hour, and the time seems long, begin as though you were to pray but a quarter of an hour. When that is finished, propose another quarter hour, and the hour will elapse imperceptibly."  The same principle may be applied to any work.  If I am to clean the garage, I may start by moving one item which is out of place.  After that, I will move the next item.  Soon, the garage will be clean, but I will not have to worry about the whole of the job at one time.

The same principle may be applied to my physical work, as well as my spiritual.  I can take the first step tomorrow, say it's putting the workout DVD into the player, as well as getting up early enough to accomplish the work.  I can also accomplish my spiritual work by making the first step to complete my "Peace Through Strength" tasks of saying the Angelus at 6am prior to my physical workout.

Finally, for me, I will take steps to finally finish my master's degree, which I have been putting off for years.

Which task will you take on?!

Best Supernatural Strength Practices

As we continue this "Peace through Strength Challenge," we want to pledge to adhere to (restore?) the best foundational practices of an authentically strong Catholic. If you obey Christ and His Church 100% (remain loyal), and practice the following (All, not most or some), you will be strong in God's supernatural grace, and you will live in peace. You'll notice we are not addressing such things as tithing, volunteering and catechesis. Why? Because all of these will follow as we are filled with supernatural grace. Grace fills us with a hunger for "the more" of knowing and pleasing God.

Make a plan: Ask yourself, "Can I embrace all of these now? Or, do I embrace some, and add others over time?" Either way, you'll want to make these foundational practices a regular habit in order to be a "strong Catholic."

Support System: You may want to create or join a "Peace Through Strength Squad" of 3+ people. Maybe create a Facebook group. Also, try to join together with an "Accountability Buddy."

Commit to these practices from July 16 - October 7.
  • Morning Offering (Morning Offering)
  • Go to Mass (Daily Mass, if at all possible)
  • Frequent Confession (Keep your Confessions no more than one month apart)
  • Fasting (Fasting is a way in which the Lord gives the underdog victory)
  • Eucharistic Adoration (Dedicate some time each week for Adoration)
  • Read the Bible (I highly recommend the Magnificat Magazine - Magnificat.net)
  • Pray at every meal (Make the Sign of the Cross, say the "Bless us, O Lord" prayer)
  • Daily Rosary 
  • Wear the Brown Scapular (or Scapular Medal)
  • Pray the Angelus (6:00 a.m.noon6:00 p.m. daily)
  • Marian Consecration (We will make - or renew - our Consecration on October 7)
  • Examine your conscience before going to sleep (Take a few minutes just before bed to review your day asking, "How have I behaved as a child of God?" It's also a great time to look at that "dominant fault" you need to improve upon in order to become a saint. Conclude these few minutes of reflection by praying three Hail Marys for purity and then pray the "Act of Contrition")
  • Join the Auxilium Christianorum (Go HERE to learn about Auxilium Christianorum. Fr. Chad Ripperger, one of the leading lights among Exorcists, strongly recommends this, as we face so many strong diabolical forces in our times. This is more of a strong recommendation, rather than declaring it as an essential foundational practice of strong Catholics).
Sign-up to receive these posts in your email HERE. (Again, Peace Through Strength Challenge posts are every Monday & Thursday between July 16 & August 15)
Physical Strength
Doug Barry of Battle Ready will coach us into physical fitness with every "Peace Through Strength Challenge" post:



Peace Through Strength
The Challenge to Enter the Supernatural Life

"The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." -Psalm 29:11
The Doorway to the Divine Life

By Fr. Richard Heilman

On day two of our "Peace Through Strength Challenge," Sam Guzman of Catholic Gentleman pointed out the crippling fears that can, actually, be the underlying source of many of our trials and tribulations; the source of sin and suffering. It's true, and Sam goes on to say, "If fear is as powerful as it is, the question arises, why are we so afraid? I believe the answer lies in our deep awareness of our creatureliness and our broken communion with God." Sam is, actually, speaking directly to an even deeper underlying problem which has led to an epidemic of depression, addictions and, tragically, suicide in our time.

I wrote about "The Day I Discovered the Greatest and Deepest Truth" (You can read the full article HERE). In a nutshell, on that amazing day at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, I felt I had broken through to an understanding that revealed the very "Doorway to the Divine Life." And, what is that doorway? Ironically, it refers to another kind of fear ... the good kind ... and it is called "Fear of the Lord."

Let me say, first, that I believe we are passing through one of the most perilous periods in history. This modern strategy from the father of lies is actually as old as the Garden of Eden itself. It is simply to convince us we do not need God (Gen. 3:5-6), nor do we need His strength and His power (Eph. 6:10). Once the devil has us convinced that we can challenge him under our own natural power, or simply deny that he even exists, he's cut us off from the only real power capable of defeating him: God's supernatural grace. This disconnection from the Divine Life has left us weak and vulnerable to attack.

Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, the Catholic Church, established by Jesus Christ, is meant to be the rock bed foundation (Matthew 7:24-27) for a strong culture. Morals, principals, values, virtues, ethics are all drawn from a "strong" connection to God. Without this connection, we are left to flounder and fight and fixate on our own base, animalistic desires. Possibly more than any other time in history, Satan has been successful in disconnecting us from the Divine Life. How did Satan do it?

Recall that the inspiration for this "Peace Through Strength Challenge" comes from the famous quote by President Ronald Regan: "We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression." Knowingly or unknowingly, leading aggressiveprogressive figures in the Church, immediately following the Council of Vatican II, set out to de-mythologize our faith; a flat-out rejection of the supernatural power of God.

By the time I entered seminary in the 1980s, we were not offered one minute of Eucharistic Adoration in all of our seminary training. Also, if someone was known to pray the rosary and have a devotion to Our Lady, they were treated as a dangerous fanatic and, either attempts were made to, in essence, deprogram them, or (failing that) they were asked to leave seminary. In those days, hundreds of devout young men never made it through to priesthood, due to this "sifting out" of anyone who actually believed, too strongly, in the supernatural power of God.

Leading aggressive progressive figures in the Church seemed to be embarrassed by any belief in the supernatural power of God. Seminary scripture study courses often attempted to explain away miracles in the Bible. Even, to this day, devoted "strong" Catholics are mocked as rigid and fanatical and attempts are made to marginalize them as they are seen as the source of division in the Church today. Focus is placed, instead, on trending liberal themes that placate the radical secular ruling class. One cannot help but think back to the scene with Judas conspiring with the ruling class of his day.

So, where do we go from here? I believe we have been going in the right direction -  the direction of God - for some time now. Belief in the supernatural is on the rise, especially among millennials, and push-back from aggressive progressive leaders in the Church is waning.

Many are coming to understand what I discover on that day, February 2, 1998 at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Like so many, I believe I was awakened to the understanding that we, by and large (thanks to aggressive progressive Church leaders), removed the very doorway into the Divine Life. And, in our times, our highest priority must be focused squarely on leading souls to this "doorway." Let me explain ...

I wholeheartedly agree with Pope St. Gregory the Great who, wanting to capture the spiritual dynamism of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, posited the following order:
"Through the fear of the Lord, we rise to piety, from piety then to knowledge, from knowledge we derive strength, from strength counsel, with counsel we move toward understanding, and with intelligence toward wisdom and thus, by the sevenfold grace of the Spirit, there opens to us at the end of the ascent the entrance to the life of Heaven" ("Homiliae in Hiezechihelem Prophetam," II 7,7).
Once I discovered Pope St. Gregory the Great's ordering of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, my logical mind thought, "Okay, if I want all of the Gifts - the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit -- then I need to go through the very first Gift of the Holy Spirit to get to the rest." That makes the first Gift of the Holy Spirit the doorway into the proverbial "Upper Room" (reference to Pentecost) where all of the Gifts are received; where I receive the strength and power of the Lord (Ephesians 6:10).

As you can see, that means the doorway is "Fear of the Lord." What is Fear of the Lord? According to Fr. John Hardon, Fear of the Lord ...
"... inspires a person with profound respect for the majesty of God. Its corresponding effects are protection from sin through dread of offending the Lord, and a strong confidence in the power of His help. The fear of the Lord is not servile but filial. It is based on the selfless love of God, whom it shrinks from offending. Whereas in servile fear the evil dreaded is punishment; in filial fear it is the fear of doing anything contrary to the will of God. The gift of fear comprises three principal elements: a vivid sense of God's greatness, a lively sorrow for the least faults committed, and a vigilant care in avoiding occasions of sin. It is expressed in prayer of the Psalmist, 'My whole being trembles before you, your ruling fills me with fear'" (Ps 119:120).
St. Francis de Sales said, "We must fear God out of love, not love him out of fear." In other words, Fear of the Lord is a fear of ever offending the One we love so much; the One in which we have totally dedicated and devoted our lives; the One Who fills us with awe and wonder in His presence. Fear of the Lord is the entry point; this is the "trigger" that ignites all of the other Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Without this "trigger," we are prone to reduce our faith/religion to merely another organization that has a sense of social responsibility (The direction the aggressive progressive Church leaders want it to go). Jesus is then reduced to an historic figure to emulate. Mass is just a social gathering that many may say (without saying), "It had better have good entertainment if you are going to make me endure this for an hour." Again, all of the supernatural is stripped out and the belief in miracles and the power of supernatural grace is mocked as the ignorance of our ancestors. In speaking of the need for a New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI said, "the true problem of our times is the 'Crisis of God,' the absence of God, disguised by an empty religiosity."

St. Paul, in his letter to Timothy, spoke directly to this ..
"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people" (2 Timothy 3:1-15).
So, we can see why Satan has been winning. He is in the supernatural realm using supernatural weapons, while we have surrendered ours.

Fr. John Hardon wrote:
"St. Thomas Aquinas believed that man is more than a composite of body and soul, that his is nothing less than elevated to a supernatural order which participates, as far as a creature can, in the very nature of God. Accordingly, a person in the state of grace, or divine friendship, possesses certain enduring powers, the infused virtues and gifts, that raise him to an orbit of existence as far above nature as heaven is above earth, and that give him abilities of thought and operation that are literally born, not of the will of flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."
This is what happened to me at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome on February 2, 1998. In that moment, filled with awe and wonder, I surrendered any former prejudices I had about faith and religion. In that moment, I knew in my bones that this power of God; this "state of grace" was everything to me. In that moment, I knew I had, in essence, entered into a higher and deeper place that I never wanted to leave. I knew I had entered the place where all meaning, purpose and happiness is found. A greater happiness and peace I had never known came over me, in that moment.

And, ever since February 2, 1998, I have devoted my entire priesthood to helping souls, in any way I can, to walk through the doorway of Fear of the Lord; the doorway of Awe and Wonder; the doorway to "Strength" and "Peace."

"Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. All I have and call my own, You have given all to me. To You, Lord, I return it. Everything is Yours; do with it what You will. Give me only Your love and Your grace, that is enough for me." -St. Ignatius of Loyola

In Christ's love,

Fr. Richard Heilman

Best Supernatural Strength Practices

As we continue this "Peace through Strength Challenge," we want to pledge to adhere to (restore?) the best foundational practices of an authentically strong Catholic. If you obey Christ and His Church 100% (remain loyal), and practice the following (All, not most or some), you will be strong in God's supernatural grace, and you will live in peace. You'll notice we are not addressing such things as tithing, volunteering and catechesis. Why? Because all of these will follow as we are filled with supernatural grace. Grace fills us with a hunger for "the more" of knowing and pleasing God.

Make a plan: Ask yourself, "Can I embrace all of these now? Or, do I embrace some, and add others over time?" Either way, you'll want to make these foundational practices a regular habit in order to be a "strong Catholic."

Support System: You may want to create or join a "Peace Through Strength Squad" of 3+ people. Maybe create a Facebook group. Also, try to join together with an "Accountability Buddy."

Commit to these practices from July 16 - October 7.
  • Morning Offering (Morning Offering)
  • Go to Mass (Daily Mass, if at all possible)
  • Frequent Confession (Keep your Confessions no more than one month apart)
  • Fasting (Fasting is a way in which the Lord gives the underdog victory)
  • Eucharistic Adoration (Dedicate some time each week for Adoration)
  • Read the Bible (I highly recommend the Magnificat Magazine - Magnificat.net)
  • Pray at every meal (Make the Sign of the Cross, say the "Bless us, O Lord" prayer)
  • Daily Rosary 
  • Wear the Brown Scapular (or Scapular Medal)
  • Pray the Angelus (6:00 a.m.noon6:00 p.m. daily)
  • Marian Consecration (We will make - or renew - our Consecration on October 7)
  • Examine your conscience before going to sleep (Take a few minutes just before bed to review your day asking, "How have I behaved as a child of God?" It's also a great time to look at that "dominant fault" you need to improve upon in order to become a saint. Conclude these few minutes of reflection by praying three Hail Marys for purity and then pray the "Act of Contrition")
  • Join the Auxilium Christianorum (Go HERE to learn about Auxilium Christianorum. Fr. Chad Ripperger, one of the leading lights among Exorcists, strongly recommends this, as we face so many strong diabolical forces in our times. This is more of a strong recommendation, rather than declaring it as an essential foundational practice of strong Catholics).
Sign-up to receive these posts in your email HERE. (Again, Peace Through Strength Challenge posts are every Monday & Thursday between July 16 & August 15)
Physical Strength
Doug Barry of Battle Ready will coach us into physical fitness with every "Peace Through Strength Challenge" post:



This may be the most important article I have ever written. This goes to the heart of "Why we are losing in this battle of spiritual warfare in our times, and how do we stem the tide and begin to reclaim surrendered ground."

Jesus weeps over Jerusalem ...

As Jesus drew near Jerusalem,
he saw the city and wept over it, saying,
"If this day you only knew what makes for peace-
but now it is hidden from your eyes.
For the days are coming upon you
when your enemies will raise a palisade against you;
they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides.
They will smash you to the ground and your children within you,
and they will not leave one stone upon another within you
because you did not recognize the time of your visitation." -Luke 19:41-45

"If this day you only knew what makes for peace ..." What does make for peace? Notice Jesus goes on to point to the impending destruction of Jerusalem. In essence, Jesus was noting that Jerusalem was "vulnerable to attack"... they had become weak, and their enemies were ready to take advantage of this opportunity. Of course, Jesus was not referring to their cash of spears, swords and arrows ... but their "spiritual weakness."

We know that rarely, if ever, will evil seek compromise or sit down for negotiations, as it is, literally, "hell bent" on conquering new territory; seizing control. So, evil looks for "weaknesses" ... "breaches in the wall." Jerusalem had become spiritually weak and, therefore, vulnerable to attack. Jesus wept because they did not understand that, as Ronald Reagan once said, "We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression."

Make no mistake about it, Jesus weeps over our own spiritual weakness in our times. Why? Because He knows we have made ourselves vulnerable to attack. Countries around the world (British Isles, Ireland, etc.), including the USA, are awakening to this understanding ... the more spiritually weak we have become, the easier it is for a radical secular force of evil to move in and seize control.

It is often not enough to just "offer a prayer," and then retreat to our "spiritually weak" worldly lives. This is why so many from around the world were shocked to find their prayers unanswered. They calculated that a singular prayer campaign, amidst a profoundly diminished Christianity, would be enough. No! We must dedicate ourselves to become "spiritually strong" again!

We must, as St. Paul says, become "strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the tactics of the devil" (Ephesians 6:10). We must be "in sync" with God; well-connected. Msgr. Charles Pope wrote, "We are at war for our own souls and the souls of people we love. We are at war for the soul of this culture and nation. And like any soldier, we must train to fight well."

This is why I am calling us to re-double our efforts, especially as we have seen a potential positive turn in our culture ... we may have gained a beachhead, but we must now move inland and reclaim surrendered ground.

I am calling all souls, from around the nation, to join forces in training to become a kind of NAVY SEAL level spiritual warrior.  Be brave, accept the call, and say, "I'M GOING IN!"

I urge you to read what the "Challenge" is all about, as I layed it all out on Day One of the "Peace Through Strength Challenge" (HERE). 

We simply MUST get these foundational "Best Supernatural Strength Practices" up and running in our life. Our unwillingness to do even these basic practices is evidence of the stranglehold the world and the prince of this world has on us. God will not be "active" in our lives, until we are ready to be "serious" about our faith lives. It's just that simple.

ENLIST NOW: Do NOT refuse the call to join what I call the "D-Day of Spiritual Warfare." A 54 Day Rosary Novena for Our Nation starts on August 15, 2018. Join HERE. Get more information at RosaryCoasttoCoast.com.

What's more, I have designed a collection of spiritual weapons that will, hopefully, inspire thousands to join the alliance of special forces warriors as each says, "I'M GOING IN!" Please note that proceeds from this will help to fund the many efforts related to this alliance of spiritual warfare in our times.

PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH CASE

The "Peace Through Strength Case" comes in a real gun case. Padre Pio's famous words, "Bring me my weapon" are inscribed on the gun case, to remind us that these are truly the best weapons of spiritual warfare. The case can be used for a revolver by simply flipping the foam. Find it HERE.

Peace Through Strength Challenge Coin - Challenge Coins date back to WWI (some say as far back as the Roman Empire) and were meant to be a sign of camaraderie in facing the demands of some particular challenge. In most cases, it would be military units during a wartime period.

The "Peace Through Strength Challenge" is about our resolve to become strong in God's supernatural power; the only power capable of defeating the satanic forces of evil (Ephesians 6:10-12). Carry this coin as a constant reminder of your resolve to accept the call to become supernaturally strong, as you say, "I'M GOING IN!"

On the front of the coin, the image of Our Lady comes from a famous sculpture entitled "Regina Pacis" (Queen of Peace) found at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. The sculpture was commissioned in 1918 by Pope Benedict XV during WWI. That means this is the 100th anniversary of this beautiful sculpture. The titles for Mary on the Challenge Coin are both Regina Pacis (Queen of Peace) and Virgo Potens (Virgin Most Powerful). Fr. Chad Ripperger has asked all of us to call out to Mary under this title of Virgo Potens, as we face this fierce spiritual battle in our times. Together, the two titles for Mary point to "Peace Through Strength" which is inscribed in Latin on the Challenge Coin: "Per Virtutem Pax" (Peace Through Strength).

On the reverse side of the coin is the image of St. Michael the Archangel. The image comes from a very famous 17th century painting of St. Michael, which hangs in Santa Maria della Concezione in Rome. In this spiritual battle, we call out to St. Michael the Archangel. The inscription, "defénde nos in proélio," which is Latin for "Defend us in battle," comes from the St. Michael Prayer which is prayed after all Low Masses in the Extraordinary Form.

On the side of the coin, at twelve o'clock, is the first word the priest prays as he approaches the altar to offer the Traditional Latin Mass: "Introibo," which translates to "I will go in." At six o'clock, on the side of the Challenge Coin, are the words, "I'm Going In," which is the battle cry of every warrior who accepts the challenge of putting their very life on the line in battle. Find it HERE.

Patriot Combat Rosary - This is the "authentic" Combat Rosary originally designed by Father Richard Heilman, who was inspired to design this Combat Rosary based on the 1916 WWI US Government military issue pull chain service rosary. The Pontifical Swiss Guard (who guard the Pope) now, daily, carries Father Heilman's authentic Gun Metal Combat Rosary, as their official rosary. Father Heilman designed this Combat Rosary to use the most powerful of sacramentals by adding the Benedict Medal and Pardon Crucifix, which makes it a powerful spiritual assault weapon against evil forces.

The Patriot Combat Rosary is unique in that the centerpiece is designed in the shape of the United States of America, as we are called to pray for our country and ask God to Make America Holy Again! The images and inscriptions match those found on the Peace Through Strength Challenge Coin, described above. Find it HERE.

Brown Scapular - This particular Brown Scapular is extremely sturdy and made to last. Attached to this Brown Scapular is a medal that qualifies as a Scapular Medal (Sacred Heart on one side and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on the other side), but this medal is actually in the shape of a dog tag. A dog tag chain is included, in case one decides to just wear the dog tag shaped Scapular Medal.

"Dog tags" is an informal term for the identification tags worn by military personnel, because of their resemblance to animal registration tags. The tags are primarily used for the identification of dead and wounded soldiers. In a sense, the Brown Scapular (or Scapular Medal) is our "Catholic Dog Tag." The Brown Scapular, revealed to St. Simon Stock in 1251, was a way for us, upon our death, to be identified as a child of God. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel said, "This will be the sign of the privilege that I have obtained for thee and for the children of Carmel; whoever dies clothed with this habit will be preserved from the eternal flames." Find it HERE.

MAHA Pin - MAHA = Make America Holy Again! This lapel pin follows the model of the Secret Service lapel seen worn, especially, by many public servants. The only difference is replacing the Secret Service star emblem with the Cross of Christ. In essence, we are "Christ's Special Forces," who are given a special mission to wield the very force of supernatural grace in a fallen world, especially in our own nation. Find it HERE.

Combat Prayer Book - The Combat Prayer Book is inspired by the original World War II pocket prayer book, My Military Missal. Even down to the size and appearance of the original World War II prayer book. The Combat Prayer Book contains just about every prayer essential for keeping and maintaining a strong Catholic prayer life. Packed into this tiny pocket prayer book are many, many typical Catholic prayers, including the Seven Daily Habits of Prayer, the Holy Rosary, Prayers for Mass, Prayers Before the Blessed Sacrament, Manner of Making a Confession, Stations of the Cross, and much more. Find it HERE.

Basic Training in Holiness Book - The 54 Day Basic Training in Holiness, along with its companion, Combat Prayer Book, are both inspired by the original World War II pocket prayer book, My Military Missal. The daily reflections in this handbook are this basic training. Drawing from the truths found in the Holy Scriptures, the saints, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the first 27 days focus upon the qualities of excellence toward which we are all called to strive. The second 27 days contain excerpts from Fr. Richard Heilman's book Church Militant Field Manual: Special Forces Training for the Life in Christ. This book contains all that is needed to follow along with the 54 Day Rosary Novena for Our Nation. Find it HERE.

Peace Through Strength
The Challenge to Enter the Supernatural Life

"The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." -Psalm 29:11

Be Strong in the Lord

By Sam Guzman of Catholic Gentleman

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." (Deut. 31:6)

A few days ago, I wrote about how fear can dominate and even destroy us. It can lead to a myriad of faults, both great and small. Most of all, it can neutralize us and render us impotent in the service of God.

What is the alternative? How can we move from fear to faith? The answer is simple: We must learn to have confidence in God alone.
Spiritual Combat
In all of our spiritual battles, we face an army of unseen enemies. To think we could face them alone is the greatest folly, for these are spirits of immense power and they desire nothing less than our annihilation.

Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, in his classic work that every Catholic should read, The Spiritual Combat, recommends we begin each day imagining these thousands of demons ready to devour us:
"Imagine the enemy before you, that particular vice or disorderly passion that you are trying to conquer---imagine this hideous opponent is about to overwhelm you...At your left is Lucifer and his troops, ready to support the passion or vice you are fighting and resolved to do anything to cause your defeat."
Such a sight is enough to strike fear into the heart of anyone. But Dom Lorenzo does not stop there.
"At the same time, picture at your right Jesus Christ, your Invincible Leader, accompanied by the Blessed Virgin, St. Joseph, whole companies of Angels and Saints, and particularly by the glorious Archangel Michael....Imagine your guardian Angel thus spurring you on: "Today you must fight to conquer your enemy and anyone who tries to ruin you. Be courageous. Do not be afraid or cowardly. Christ your Captain is here with all the power of Heaven to protect you from the enemy, and to see that they never conquer you, either by brute power, or by trickery. Hold your ground! Do violence to yourself, no matter how painful it is. Call out for the help of Jesus and Mary and all the Saints. If you do this, you will be victorious."
It does not matter how weak you are---how strong the enemy may seem, either in number or in power. Do not be discouraged. The help you have from Heaven is more powerful than all that Hell can send to destroy the grace of God in your soul. God, the Creator and the Redeemer, is Almighty and more desirous of your salvation than the devil can be of your destruction.

His point is clear. We are weak. We are helpless. We cannot face this dreadful enemy alone. The sooner we realize this fact, the better off we will be, for humility is the prerequisite for any victory in the spiritual life. We should have confidence however, because we have a heavenly army fighting with us. Our guardian angel, the saints, the Archangel Michael, our Blessed Mother, and above all, Christ himself are all fighting for us.
The Courage of the Saints
All the great saints and holy men and women through the ages knew this. They found their boldness in God's power and not their own.

Think of the young shepherd boy David. Before Goliath, he was no more threat than an insect. Yet, his confidence, his boldness was not found in his physical strength or ability, but in God alone.
You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down, and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's and he will give you into our hand. (1 Samuel 17:45-47)
Would that we all had such courage! The Israelite armies cowered in fear because they had no faith. David confronted the giant because he knew the God he served and his confidence was in him.

It was such holy boldness, such confidence in God that inspired St. Clare of Assisi to face down an army with nothing more than the Eucharist. It was such courage that enabled the Holy League at Lepanto to defeat an invading army against incredible odds. It was the same fearlessness that inspire the North American martyrs to bring the Gospel to Native Americans, though they were tortured and killed in the most horrific ways. It was the same courage that inspired the Apostles to face persecution, beatings, and martyrdom with perfect peace.

The whole history of the church is the chronicle of men and women inspired by what the world would consider an insane courage. When they knew they were in the center of God's will, they threw caution to the wind and ventured forth boldly and without fear.
Courageous Catholics Needed
We have a tremendous need for such courageous men and women today. The world is falling into an abyss of evil. Darkness is spreading unchecked. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, we live in a culture of cowardice and fear. No one wants to risk anything for our Lord, and our service to him is often merely lip-service. To paraphrase Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good Catholics to do nothing." And that is what too many of us are doing.

Yet, we can have the same confidence, the same courage and boldness. The only three ingredients we need are complete distrust of self, which is humility; confidence in God, which is faith; and grace, which is strength.

The need is great, and there are few who want to follow our spiritual captain, Our Lord Jesus Christ, into the fray. Let us not be numbered among the cowardly. Let us shake off our complacency and choose the path of courage. Let us pray tirelessly and fight boldly for all that is good, true, and beautiful, always trusting in the power of God to come to our aid. For in him, with him, and through him is certain victory.
Best Supernatural Strength Practices
As we continue this "Peace through Strength Challenge," we want to pledge to adhere to (restore?) the best foundational practices of an authentically strong Catholic. If you obey Christ and His Church 100% (remain loyal), and practice the following (All, not most or some), you will be strong in God's supernatural grace, and you will live in peace. You'll notice we are not addressing such things as tithing, volunteering and catechesis. Why? Because all of these will follow as we are filled with supernatural grace. Grace fills us with a hunger for "the more" of knowing and pleasing God.

Make a plan: Ask yourself, "Can I embrace all of these now? Or, do I embrace some, and add others over time?" Either way, you'll want to make these foundational practices a regular habit in order to be a "strong Catholic."

Support System: You may want to create or join a "Peace Through Strength Squad" of 3+ people. Maybe create a Facebook group. Also, try to join together with an "Accountability Buddy."

Commit to these practices from July 16 - October 7.
  • Morning Offering (Morning Offering)
  • Go to Mass (Daily Mass, if at all possible)
  • Frequent Confession (Keep your Confessions no more than one month apart)
  • Fasting (Fasting is a way in which the Lord gives the underdog victory)
  • Eucharistic Adoration (Dedicate some time each week for Adoration)
  • Read the Bible (I highly recommend the Magnificat Magazine - Magnificat.net)
  • Pray at every meal (Make the Sign of the Cross, say the "Bless us, O Lord" prayer)
  • Daily Rosary 
  • Wear the Brown Scapular (or Scapular Medal)
  • Pray the Angelus (6:00 a.m.noon6:00 p.m. daily)
  • Marian Consecration (We will make - or renew - our Consecration on October 7)
  • Examine your conscience before going to sleep (Take a few minutes just before bed to review your day asking, "How have I behaved as a child of God?" It's also a great time to look at that "dominant fault" you need to improve upon in order to become a saint. Conclude these few minutes of reflection by praying three Hail Marys for purity and then pray the "Act of Contrition")
  • Join the Auxilium Christianorum (Go HERE to learn about Auxilium Christianorum. Fr. Chad Ripperger, one of the leading lights among Exorcists, strongly recommends this, as we face so many strong diabolical forces in our times. This is more of a strong recommendation, rather than declaring it as an essential foundational practice of strong Catholics).
Sign-up to receive these posts in your email HERE. (Again, Peace Through Strength Challenge posts are every Monday & Thursdaybetween July 16 & August 15)

Order your "Peace Through Strength Case" at RomanCatholicGear.com
Physical Strength
Doug Barry of Battle Ready will coach us into physical fitness with every "Peace Through Strength Challenge" post:
Peace Through Strength
The Challenge to Enter the Supernatural Life

"The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." -Psalm 29:11
Novena for Our Nation starts August 15Please do all you can to encourage your family and friends to sign up for the special prayers used for this POWERFUL 54 Day Rosary Novena that starts on August 15. Sign-up HERE.  (A place to sign-up is also found on the "Novena for Our Nation" website).

Strength Through Patience

By Major Jeff Heller
"...It is patience that both commends us to God, and saves us for God. It is that same patience which tempers anger, bridles the tongue, governs the mind, guards peace, rules discipline, breaks the onslaught of lust, suppresses the violence of pride, extinguishes the fire of dissension, restrains the power of the wealthy, renews the endurance of the poor in bearing their lot, guards the blessed integrity of virgins, the difficult chastity of widows, and the indivisible love of husbands and wives. It makes men humble in prosperity, brave in adversity, meek in the face of injuries and insults. It teaches us to pardon our offenders quickly; if you yourself should offend, it teaches you to ask pardon often and with perseverance. It vanquishes temptations, sustains persecutions, endures sufferings and martyrdoms to the end. It is this patience which strongly fortifies the foundations of our faith. It is this patience which sublimely promotes the growth of hope. It directs our action, so that we can keep to the way of Christ while we make progress because of his forbearance. It ensures our perseverance as sons of God while we imitate the patience of the Father." -St. Cyprian of Carthage - "The Good of Patience"
Well, I knew patience was a virtue, and important for salvation, but it does all that?!  St. Cyprian certainly believed so!  Often for me, I find myself reacting to impulses, rather than thoughtfully responding. How many times have I told my children "think before you act/speak!"?  It would not be much of a stretch to say that I've spoken these words daily for the last 5 years.  But have I heard them myself?!

We've been discussing Peace Through Strength, and St. Cyprian discusses the strength which comes from patience.  St. Anatoly of Optina said, "show patience, and there will be peace."  We can see that the saints knew well the connection between peace, strength and patience.  Indeed, St. Isaac the Syrian said, "when patience greatly increases in our soul, it is a sign that we have secretly received the grace of consolation. The power of patience is stronger than the joyful thoughts that descend into the heart."(!!!)  Secretly received the grace of consolation!?  Why does it have to be a secret?  Alas, much about the spiritual world IS a secret, or at least seems that way to the average Catholic.  The Catholic like you, or me, just trying to live our life as best we can.  But how can we best live our life?  St. Paul, in his Letter to the Church at Ephesus, beseeches us that we "walk worthy of the vocation in which [we] are called, with all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity" (Eph. 4:1-2).

So how do I know that I'm walking worthy of my vocation? Well, first, I believe, it means coming to grips with my vocation.  It means trusting that I am right where I'm meant to be.  And it means trusting that all things really do work together for good to those who love God. (Romans 8:28)   I must continually remind myself that God knows me better than I know myself, and that He desires what is best for me.  All I need do is accept my vocation, my place in His plan, with humility. Easy, right?!  Wrong.  Humility is hard.  Giving up control (or what control I perceive that I have...) over my affairs is really hard. But the hardest part for me is finding the time to even think about trusting God with everything I need to get done.  Technology and entertainment allow us to "control" almost all aspects of our daily routines.  It is so easy to fill our days with distraction.  I couldn't even write this article without checking the scores on the baseball game and talking with friends on a messaging app and watching the end of "Shawshank Redemption" because I found it whilst looking for the baseball game and...   Man, I need help with patience.  I need to stop.  I need to pray.  I need to listen.  I need to trust.  I need to obey.

Earlier we remembered that all things work together for good to those who love God.  And who are they?  Who are those "who love God?"  Well, Jesus said "if you love me, keep my commands." (John 14:15)  Or, put simply, those who love God are those who obey God.  I think we will find that obedience is the key to overcoming all our vices, but it is certainly where we will find the peace to be patient.

I pray that God will grant us the strength to obey His will, that we might rest in him.  And in that rest, that we will face all the challenges to our faith with patience.
Best Supernatural Strength Practices
As we continue this "Peace through Strength Challenge," we want to pledge to adhere to (restore?) the best foundational practices of an authentically strong Catholic. If you obey Christ and His Church 100% (remain loyal), and practice the following (All, not most or some), you will be strong in God's supernatural grace, and you will live in peace. You'll notice we are not addressing such things as tithing, volunteering and catechesis. Why? Because all of these will follow as we are filled with supernatural grace. Grace fills us with a hunger for "the more" of knowing and pleasing God.

Make a plan: Ask yourself, "Can I embrace all of these now? Or, do I embrace some, and add others over time?" Either way, you'll want to make these foundational practices a regular habit in order to be a "strong Catholic."

Support System: You may want to create or join a "Peace Through Strength Squad" of 3+ people. Maybe create a Facebook group. Also, try to join together with an "Accountability Buddy."

Commit to these practices from July 16 - October 7.
  • Morning Offering (Morning Offering)
  • Go to Mass (Daily Mass, if at all possible)
  • Frequent Confession (Keep your Confessions no more than one month apart)
  • Fasting (Fasting is a way in which the Lord gives the underdog victory)
  • Eucharistic Adoration (Dedicate some time each week for Adoration)
  • Read the Bible (I highly recommend the Magnificat Magazine - Magnificat.net)
  • Pray at every meal (Make the Sign of the Cross, say the "Bless us, O Lord" prayer)
  • Daily Rosary 
  • Wear the Brown Scapular (or Scapular Medal)
  • Pray the Angelus (6:00 a.m.noon6:00 p.m. daily)
  • Marian Consecration (We will make - or renew - our Consecration on October 7)
  • Examine your conscience before going to sleep (Take a few minutes just before bed to review your day asking, "How have I behaved as a child of God?" It's also a great time to look at that "dominant fault" you need to improve upon in order to become a saint. Conclude these few minutes of reflection by praying three Hail Marys for purity and then pray the "Act of Contrition")
  • Join the Auxilium Christianorum (Go HERE to learn about Auxilium Christianorum. Fr. Chad Ripperger, one of the leading lights among Exorcists, strongly recommends this, as we face so many strong diabolical forces in our times. This is more of a strong recommendation, rather than declaring it as an essential foundational practice of strong Catholics).
Sign-up to receive these posts in your email HERE. (Again, Peace Through Strength Challenge posts are every Monday & Thursdaybetween July 16 & August 15)

Order your "Peace Through Strength Case" at RomanCatholicGear.com
Physical Strength
Doug Barry of Battle Ready will coach us into physical fitness with every "Peace Through Strength Challenge" post:

Peace Through Strength
The Challenge to Enter the Supernatural Life

"The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." -Psalm 29:11
Novena for Our Nation starts August 15Please do all you can to encourage your family and friends to sign up for the special prayers used for this POWERFUL 54 Day Rosary Novena that starts on August 15. Sign-up HERE.  (A place to sign-up is also found on the "Novena for Our Nation" website).

Great Inner Peace or Fleshpots?
By Fr. Richard Heilman
Make no mistake about it, God wants you to be happy. Yes, that's right. And, not just some kind of superficial and fleeting happiness, but a deep and abiding happiness; an inner peace. This is the kind of happiness that is meant to fill that void in your life; to lift you up into that place of all meaning and purpose in your life. So, what does this void-filling happiness look like?
Fr. Robert Spitzer has done extensive research in this area. Fr. Spitzer writes, 
"The Greek Philosopher Aristotle (394-322 B.C.) observed that no person deliberately chooses to be unhappy. The purpose and end of man, Aristotle argued, was happiness - for happiness is self-evidently what all men seek and strive for ... it is what he directs all his powers towards. So, this universal quest for happiness defines humanness. 'Happiness', Aristotle pointed out, 'is the only thing willed by man for its own sake. Everything else is willed for the sake of happiness.'"
Based on his study of the great philosophers and theologians over the years, Fr. Spitzer refined this model of the Four Levels of Happiness. We can see that the level that is dominant in our lives will dictate our actions, choices, and ethics. We cannot understand ethics without understanding happiness. Furthermore, whichever level of happiness dominates our lives will determine the depth and endurance of our happiness."
Let's take a look at Fr. Spitzer's Four Levels of Happiness ...
Happiness Level 1 - Happiness level 1 is simply sensual gratification: enjoying a good meal, sexual gratification, owning the latest BMW or gadget, watching a good football match, etc. The pleasures of happiness level one are intense but short lived. There is nothing wrong with happiness level 1 unless one puts the little word ONLY in front of it. When you do this, you will sooner or later hit a crisis where life seems to be pretty shallow and empty.
Happiness Level 2 - Happiness level 2 is ego gratification: being the best, the fastest, smartest, funniest, most liked and esteemed, admired, powerful etc. Again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with happiness level 2, it's what drives progress, makes us build the Sydney Opera House, etc., and it's what makes the fundamentals of happiness level 1 healthy - we now eat and relax to perform better.
There is nothing wrong with happiness level 2, unless one again puts that little word ONLY in front of it. When we do this, others become competitors, a challenge, problems. Men locked into happiness level 2 may have several failed marriages. Friends and wives are for such people there to stroke their ego and tell them how wonderful they are. When they cease to do this, they are rejected for a new relationship. The worlds of politics and entertainment are filled with HL2 types.
Happiness level 3 - Happiness level 3 is best summed up by the word "love." It is reached when we genuinely move from the self to the other. That is, when we start to live to serve another, or others, or a cause that will be of benefit to others. HL3 involves commitment, giving, loyalty, care, concern, forgiveness, acceptance, compassion and above all self-sacrifice. HL3 again makes HL2 healthy: we start to achieve, to serve. I want to be a good lawyer so that I may give my children a good education and represent the poor well, for example. Other people are now no longer mere competitors or ego-strokers. Others become partners with whom I can work in a much more noble enterprise than my own ego-gratification.
But HL3 also has its crisis when we again put ONLY in front of it. Why? Because human beings do not just want love, we want ultimate unconditional love. We do not just want truth, we want ultimate unconditional truth. We do not just want beauty, we want ultimate unconditional absolute beauty. We do not merely want being, we want absolute being.
But I cannot be an ultimate unconditional infinite anything for you, nor you for me. Why not? Because I'm a creature, finite, limited. The more deeply we know one another, the more apparent that becomes and the more disillusioned we become. The crisis in the HL3 person leads to cynicism, the feeling that whatever I commit myself to inevitably disappoints me in the end. The philosopher John Paul Sartre summed it up when he wrote: "I seek perfection, but perfection does not exist, therefore life is absurd."
Happiness level 4 - The happiness level 4 person simply acknowledges his human desire for the ultimate and consciously seeks a relationship with God, the ultimate truth, love, goodness, beauty and being. HL4 involves surrender. The kernel of HL4 is summed up in the prayer: "Thy will be done." The true HL4 person enjoys a great inner peace. HL4 makes HL3 healthy, for you no longer need to be perfect for me and I no longer seek the ultimate in you. I'm easy and comfortable with the fact that we are deeply flawed and very finite. This liberates me to love unconditionally.
Returning to Our Fleshpots?
Let's say you are choosing to live that "liberated life" in Happiness Level 4; that you want that great inner peace. Great! Like the Israelites who left behind 400 years of slavery (Exodus), you are choosing to leave behind a slavery. A slavery that allows sensual gratification to rule your life (HL1); a slavery that allows ego gratification to rule your life (HL2); a slavery that allows your unrealistic expectations of others to rule your life (HL3). But, like the Israelites, we can become tempted to abandon our new self and return to our old self (Eph. 4:20-24).
Although freed, the Israelite wanted to return to sit by their fleshpots:
The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The Israelites said to them,
"Would that we had died at the LORD's hand in the land of Egypt,
as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!
But you had to lead us into this desert
to make the whole community die of famine!" (Exodus 16:2-3)
The literally meaning of fleshpot is a pot for cooking meat, but a modern definition is: "bodily comfort; luxury; a place of lascivious entertainment." Fleshpots symbolize for us the forces of backward pull that operate upon us when we hit snags of hardship, tiredness, discouragement in our pursuit of good goals. We get a little depressed and we complain and gripe and sometimes long to go back to what we are familiar with instead of pursuing our new adventure.
In essence, we are choosing victimhood over victory. This is one Satan's most effective tactics. He gets in our head and convinces us that because that person treated me poorly, or the job isn't working out, or the challenges of life are too hard ... whatever ... we "deserve" to return to our "old self" ... to our fleshpots.
Remember Jesus said that no one who has laid his hand to the plow and then looks back is fit for the kingdom or rule of God (Luke 9:62). Every farmer knows that to make straight rows on flat ground you must keep your eyes on the mark or goal that lies ahead. Those who have made attempts at health and fitness call it, "derailing." We use very convincing arguments to excuse "getting off the path we had chosen" ... we get derailed.
Now is a perfect time to "get back on track" and do what we know in our heart we must do. It will be challenging, we will find every excuse in the book to "derail," but we must stay the course. Now is a time to unite your prayers for living the victorious life of a champion (Happiness Level 4), as hundreds of thousands of prayer warriors are united in prayer for all of us to live in "strength" and "peace." 
I'M GOING IN!

Best Supernatural Strength Practices
As we continue this "Peace through Strength Challenge," we want to pledge to adhere to (restore?) the best foundational practices of an authentically strong Catholic. If you obey Christ and His Church 100% (remain loyal), and practice the following (All, not most or some), you will be strong in God's supernatural grace, and you will live in peace. You'll notice we are not addressing such things as tithing, volunteering and catechesis. Why? Because all of these will follow as we are filled with supernatural grace. Grace fills us with a hunger for "the more" of knowing and pleasing God.

Make a plan: Ask yourself, "Can I embrace all of these now? Or, do I embrace some, and add others over time?" Either way, you'll want to make these foundational practices a regular habit in order to be a "strong Catholic."

Support System: You may want to create or join a "Peace Through Strength Squad" of 3+ people. Maybe create a Facebook group. Also, try to join together with an "Accountability Buddy."

Commit to these practices from July 16 - October 7.
  • Morning Offering (Morning Offering)
  • Go to Mass (Daily Mass, if at all possible)
  • Frequent Confession (Keep your Confessions no more than one month apart)
  • Fasting (Fasting is a way in which the Lord gives the underdog victory)
  • Eucharistic Adoration (Dedicate some time each week for Adoration)
  • Read the Bible (I highly recommend the Magnificat Magazine - Magnificat.net)
  • Pray at every meal (Make the Sign of the Cross, say the "Bless us, O Lord" prayer)
  • Daily Rosary 
  • Wear the Brown Scapular (or Scapular Medal)
  • Pray the Angelus (6:00 a.m.noon6:00 p.m. daily)
  • Marian Consecration (We will make - or renew - our Consecration on October 7)
  • Examine your conscience before going to sleep (Take a few minutes just before bed to review your day asking, "How have I behaved as a child of God?" It's also a great time to look at that "dominant fault" you need to improve upon in order to become a saint. Conclude these few minutes of reflection by praying three Hail Marys for purity and then pray the "Act of Contrition")
  • Join the Auxilium Christianorum (Go HERE to learn about Auxilium Christianorum. Fr. Chad Ripperger, one of the leading lights among Exorcists, strongly recommends this, as we face so many strong diabolical forces in our times. This is more of a strong recommendation, rather than declaring it as an essential foundational practice of strong Catholics).
Sign-up to receive these posts in your email HERE. (Again, Peace Through Strength Challenge posts are every Monday & Thursdaybetween July 16 & August 15)

Order your "Peace Through Strength Case" at RomanCatholicGear.com
Physical Strength
Doug Barry of Battle Ready will coach us into physical fitness with every "Peace Through Strength Challenge" post:


Peace Through Strength
The Challenge to Enter the Supernatural Life

"The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." -Psalm 29:11
Novena for Our Nation starts August 15Please do all you can to encourage your family and friends to sign up for the special prayers used for this POWERFUL 54 Day Rosary Novena that starts on August 15. Sign-up HERE.  (A place to sign-up is also found on the "Novena for Our Nation" website).

Great Problems Call for Great Repentance
By Sam Guzman of Catholic Gentleman 
The world is sick with sin. And not just the world, but the Church.
As the culture around us seems unhinged right now, it is sad to say, there is indeed wickedness in high places in our own Church. Souls are being lost and lives destroyed. We should never simply shrug and turn a blind eye toward evil, as if the fact that it has always existed makes it any less appalling or egregious. The sooner we acknowledge the dark reality of our situation, the sooner we can begin to remedy it.
The Remedy
But how are we to remedy such systemic corruption? As laity, we have no ecclesiastical power. We cannot issue edicts or command a reform of faith, morals, or discipline. We cannot punish even one evil-doer. Yet, we do have authentic reform within our power-the ability to reform our own hearts.
We must realize that the crisis through which we are living is not merely a matter of depraved priests or duplicitous bishops. "We are wrestling not against blood and flesh," St. Paul tells us, "but against the Archons, against the Powers, against the Cosmic Rulers of this Darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the celestial places." 
Such spiritual enemies cannot merely be met with remedies of human devising, no matter how necessary they may be. They must rather be combatted with spiritual weapons. And what is the most potent of these?
The chief remedy is everywhere and always repentance. Throughout scripture, and indeed this history of the Church, the clear answer to great evil is always prayer and penance-true conversion of heart. 
The people of Nineveh wept, tore their clothes, and covered themselves in ashes when rebuked by the prophet Jonah. The people of Israel, too, fasted and cried out in repentance when they had abandoned their God and had been disciplined by him. And even in more recent times, the people of France built the great church of the Sacred Heart as a national sign of contrition and repentance after chastisement from God. 
We too must do penance. We must reject the temptation to activism, as though mere busyness could save us. Instead, we must feel true sorrow about the state of things, and indeed our complicity, albeit unconscious, in allowing them to arrive at this point. 
We must no longer blithely pretend that everything is alright, for such is a false peace. We must acknowledge the sins of the Church and allow them to break our hearts as they break Christ's. We must feel the full weight and horror of the evil engulfing us-and realize that such wickedness lives not just in others, but in our own hearts. We must cry out like the psalmist David, "Here, O God, is my sacrifice, a broken spirit; a heart that is humbled and contrite thou, O God, wilt never disdain."
Now is the Day of Salvation
At any time, God can bring true restoration and healing to his Church. He has shown that time and again through the ages. But it is also a fact of history that God rarely acts without the sincere contrition of his people.
Many of us are justifiably angered by the systemic evil in the Church. And yet if we examine our own hearts, we will find them filled with unforgiveness, bitterness, lust, envy, judgement, greed, hatred, materialism, ambition-and at the very least a great deal of worldliness and love of comfort.
The Church is the Lord's. He will judge and punish every wicked and complicit prelate, every false shepherd that does not sincerely repent. And in that day, it would have been better for them to have never been born.
As for us, let us strive to root out the evil in our hearts. Let us cry out to God with tears of sorrow for our sins, the sins of the world, and the sins of his Church. Let us pray and sacrifice for the salvation of all.
He alone can heal and save us. Could it be that he is waiting for you?
I'M GOING IN!

Best Supernatural Strength Practices
As we continue this "Peace through Strength Challenge," we want to pledge to adhere to (restore?) the best foundational practices of an authentically strong Catholic. If you obey Christ and His Church 100% (remain loyal), and practice the following (All, not most or some), you will be strong in God's supernatural grace, and you will live in peace. You'll notice we are not addressing such things as tithing, volunteering and catechesis. Why? Because all of these will follow as we are filled with supernatural grace. Grace fills us with a hunger for "the more" of knowing and pleasing God.

Make a plan: Ask yourself, "Can I embrace all of these now? Or, do I embrace some, and add others over time?" Either way, you'll want to make these foundational practices a regular habit in order to be a "strong Catholic."

Support System: You may want to create or join a "Peace Through Strength Squad" of 3+ people. Maybe create a Facebook group. Also, try to join together with an "Accountability Buddy."

Commit to these practices from July 16 - October 7.
  • Morning Offering (Morning Offering)
  • Go to Mass (Daily Mass, if at all possible)
  • Frequent Confession (Keep your Confessions no more than one month apart)
  • Fasting (Fasting is a way in which the Lord gives the underdog victory)
  • Eucharistic Adoration (Dedicate some time each week for Adoration)
  • Read the Bible (I highly recommend the Magnificat Magazine - Magnificat.net)
  • Pray at every meal (Make the Sign of the Cross, say the "Bless us, O Lord" prayer)
  • Daily Rosary 
  • Wear the Brown Scapular (or Scapular Medal)
  • Pray the Angelus (6:00 a.m.noon6:00 p.m. daily)
  • Marian Consecration (We will make - or renew - our Consecration on October 7)
  • Examine your conscience before going to sleep (Take a few minutes just before bed to review your day asking, "How have I behaved as a child of God?" It's also a great time to look at that "dominant fault" you need to improve upon in order to become a saint. Conclude these few minutes of reflection by praying three Hail Marys for purity and then pray the "Act of Contrition")
  • Join the Auxilium Christianorum (Go HERE to learn about Auxilium Christianorum. Fr. Chad Ripperger, one of the leading lights among Exorcists, strongly recommends this, as we face so many strong diabolical forces in our times. This is more of a strong recommendation, rather than declaring it as an essential foundational practice of strong Catholics).
Sign-up to receive these posts in your email HERE. (Again, Peace Through Strength Challenge posts are every Monday & Thursday between July 16 & August 15)

Order your "Peace Through Strength Case" at RomanCatholicGear.com
Physical Strength
Doug Barry of Battle Ready will coach us into physical fitness with every "Peace Through Strength Challenge" post:
Peace Through Strength Part Eight - Inspiration or Discipline?
Peace Through Strength Part Eight - Inspiration or Discipline?

Peace Through Strength
The Challenge to Enter the Supernatural Life

"The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace." -Psalm 29:11

 
Novena for Our Nation starts August 15Please do all you can to encourage your family and friends to sign up for the special prayers used for this POWERFUL 54 Day Rosary Novena that starts on August 15. Sign-up HERE.  (A place to sign-up is also found on the "Novena for Our Nation" website).

Thy Will Be Done
By Major Jeff Heller
"And Samuel said [to Saul]: Doth the Lord desire holocausts and victims, and not rather that the voice of the Lord should be obeyed?  For obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat or rams.  Because it is like the sin of witchcraft, to rebel: and like the crime of idolatry, to refuse to obey.  Forasmuch, therefore, as thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord hath also rejected thee from being king.  And Saul said to Samuel: I have sinned, because I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words, fearing the people, and obeying their voice." -1 Samuel 15: 22-24
And there it is.  "Fearing the people, and obeying their voice." This is certainly ONE of MANY reasons we choose to disobey our Lord's commands.  Saul was concerned, as was Aaron with the golden calf, about what "the people" thought of him.  He chose the easy way, the way of non-confrontation.  How many times have I heard the Lord's name taken in vain, and said nothing?  How many times have I avoided sharing the truth out of fear for the response of "the people?"

We all struggle with the simplest of prayers, just after the start of the Lord's Prayer: Thy will be done.  Even our Lord Jesus Christ was tempted in this way, during His agony in the garden.  "And going a little further, he fell upon his face, praying and saying: 'My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will but as thou wilt.'" (Matthew 26:39)  Our consequences for choosing God's will over our own will are not likely to be as serious as the Lord's.  He knew what was coming.  He knew that God's will would result in the most agonizing mental and physical anguish that any human being could experience.  He would experience the worst humiliation imaginable, betrayed even by His closest friends.  And yet. He chose God's will.  Not His own.  That awkward conversation at work seems a bit trivial now, doesn't it?

Well... it didn't seem trivial at the time.  And it won't next time either.  That's why we need to be prepared.  Any athlete or marksman will tell you that when the pressure is on, you resort to your training.  Muscle memory takes over, and the drills you've practiced until they were second nature manifest themselves in your actions. For better, or for worse.  If you've practiced steadying your breath, slowly pulling the trigger backward, allowing the shot to surprise you each time, you'll likely hit your mark.  If you've not put in the hours, you will miss under pressure.  The same holds for our spiritual lives, and especially in obedience to the will of God.  If we are obedient with the small, easy (seeming) choices, over and over again, we will train ourselves to obey His will.  If we choose our own will, time and again, we will train ourselves to be disobedient.  So how do we practice obedience to the will of God?

St. Alphonsus said, "Perfection is founded entirely on the love of God: 'Charity is the bond of perfection;' and perfect love of God means the complete union of our will with God's." Furthermore, Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments."(John 14:15)  And so we see that obedience to the will of God and love of God are intimately related.  Sounds reasonable enough, right?  I love my wife, and I want what's best for her.  Therefore, I always strive to put her will ahead of my own, right?  Just ask her!  But we can see the correlation, at least.  I OUGHT to put her will ahead of my own, insofar as it is aligned to God's will.  If I really loved my wife like I should, I would put her will first, and actually be happy about it.  And how much truer is this principle when applied to our relationship with God?  If we truly love our Lord, how do we show our love?  "It follows then, that the more one unites his will with the divine will, the greater will be his love of God"(St. Alphonsus).  If we train ourselves to desire what God desires (our salvation, our friends' salvation, our enemies' salvation, etc.), our love for God will grow.  And as our love for God grows, it will become easier to desire what He desires.  But HOW do we do it?  What's our first step?!

A good first step is making time for prayer, and focusing on God's will.  Maybe say the "Our Father" and focus on the words "thy will be done."  I'd also recommend finding time to be with our Lord in adoration.  Adoration with the Eucharist exposed in a monstrance, if possible, but even visiting our Lord in the tabernacle is better than mental prayer.  I'd highly recommend reading "Uniformity with God's Will"by Saint Alphonsus Liguori, which can be found for kindle.  It's an excellent reflection on God's will, and has made me desire God's will for my life more than I would have thought possible.  And never forget our Mother Mary, who was in perfect uniformity with God's will.  Mary's intercession will always lead us closer to the will of God, as that is her constant desire.  To live in one with God's will, and to bring all of her children into His will.  I pray that with the help of our Blessed Mother, we will all be able to say "not my will, but thine be done."

The Fellowship of the Unashamed

I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in God's hands. I am finished and done with low living, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith. I lean on Christ's presence. I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of God's grace.

My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a Catholic. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is clear: I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.
I'M GOING IN!

Best Supernatural Strength Practices
As we continue this "Peace through Strength Challenge," we want to pledge to adhere to (restore?) the best foundational practices of an authentically strong Catholic. If you obey Christ and His Church 100% (remain loyal), and practice the following (All, not most or some), you will be strong in God's supernatural grace, and you will live in peace. You'll notice we are not addressing such things as tithing, volunteering and catechesis. Why? Because all of these will follow as we are filled with supernatural grace. Grace fills us with a hunger for "the more" of knowing and pleasing God.

Make a plan: Ask yourself, "Can I embrace all of these now? Or, do I embrace some, and add others over time?" Either way, you'll want to make these foundational practices a regular habit in order to be a "strong Catholic."

Support System: You may want to create or join a "Peace Through Strength Squad" of 3+ people. Maybe create a Facebook group. Also, try to join together with an "Accountability Buddy."

Commit to these practices from July 16 - October 7.
  • Morning Offering (Morning Offering)
  • Go to Mass (Daily Mass, if at all possible)
  • Frequent Confession (Keep your Confessions no more than one month apart)
  • Fasting (Fasting is a way in which the Lord gives the underdog victory)
  • Eucharistic Adoration (Dedicate some time each week for Adoration)
  • Read the Bible (I highly recommend the Magnificat Magazine - Magnificat.net)
  • Pray at every meal (Make the Sign of the Cross, say the "Bless us, O Lord" prayer)
  • Daily Rosary 
  • Wear the Brown Scapular (or Scapular Medal)
  • Pray the Angelus (6:00 a.m.noon6:00 p.m. daily)
  • Marian Consecration (We will make - or renew - our Consecration on October 7)
  • Examine your conscience before going to sleep (Take a few minutes just before bed to review your day asking, "How have I behaved as a child of God?" It's also a great time to look at that "dominant fault" you need to improve upon in order to become a saint. Conclude these few minutes of reflection by praying three Hail Marys for purity and then pray the "Act of Contrition")
  • Join the Auxilium Christianorum (Go HERE to learn about Auxilium Christianorum. Fr. Chad Ripperger, one of the leading lights among Exorcists, strongly recommends this, as we face so many strong diabolical forces in our times. This is more of a strong recommendation, rather than declaring it as an essential foundational practice of strong Catholics).
Sign-up to receive daily reflections and prayers these in your email for the 54 Day Novena for Our Nation that begins on Wednesday, August 15 HERE

Order your "Peace Through Strength Case" at RomanCatholicGear.com
 
Physical Strength
Doug Barry of Battle Ready will coach us into physical fitness with every "Peace Through Strength Challenge" post:
Peace Through Strength Part Nine - Do You Want This?
Peace Through Strength Part Nine - Do You Want This?

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