Three Prophetic Insights from Pope Leo XIII That Still speak powerfully 120 Years Later

042113A reader alerted me to an interesting and insightful analysis by Pope Leo XIII of three trends that both alarmed him and pointed to future problems. He wrote of these three concerns in 1893 in the Encyclical on the Holy Rosary entitled Laetitiae Sanctae (Of Holy Joy). The Pope enunciates these three areas of concern and then offers the mysteries of the Rosary as a necessary remedy. Lets look at how the Pope describes the problems and then consider too what he sees as a solution. His teaching is in bold, italic, black. My remarks are in plain text, red.

There are three influences which appear to Us to have the chief place in effecting this downgrade movement of society. These are–first, the distaste for a simple and laborious life; secondly, repugnance to suffering of any kind; thirdly, the forgetfulness of the future life. (# 4)

Problem 1 – The distaste for a simple and laborious life We deplore….the growing contempt of those homely duties and virtues which make up the beauty of humble life. To this cause we may trace in the home, the readiness of children to withdraw themselves from the natural obligation of obedience to the parents, and their impatience of any form of treatment which is not of the indulgent and effeminate kind. In the workman, it evinces itself in a tendency to desert his trade, to shrink from toil, to become discontented with his lot, to fix his gaze on things that are above him, and to look forward with unthinking hopefulness to some future equalization of property. We may observe the same temper permeating the masses in the eagerness to exchange the life of the rural districts for the excitements and pleasures of the town….(#5)

One of the truths that sets us free is to simply realize and come to accept that life is hard. It involves trials, arduous work, and setbacks, along with some of the progress we can and do experience. Very few things of true values come to us without a significant cost. Simply put, life is hard. But, coming to accept this is a freeing thing for many of our resentments are minimized or removed by this acceptance. The fact is, many today expect that life should be peachy. And when it is not, there is resentment, anger, even threats of lawsuits. Many today think of happiness as a God-given right. Our Founding Fathers recognized the pursuit of happiness as a goal. But today many expect that happiness to be the norm and to be a sort of right. When it does not exist for them, there has been a failure of the system somehow. Many today expect to live lives where there is little danger, and where things come easily. This has been one of the factors that influenced the growth of government. For as insistence on a comfortable life grows and hard work seems unreasonable, we expect government to ease our burdens and provide increasing levels of comfort and happiness, and we are less willing to work hard for these things. Rather we see happiness and comfort as things to which we are entitled.

But unrealistic expectations are premeditated resentments. And so, with often unrealistic expectations, people quickly grow resentful and even pout. It would seem that our ancestors who lived even as recently as 150 years ago had different notions. They looked for happiness alright, but largely expected to find that in heaven. Many of the old Catholic prayers bespeak a vision that this world was a place of travail, of exile, a valley of tears, where we sighed and longed to be with God. Most Catholics of those earlier times lived lives that were brutal and short. Most were peasants, and lived with far less creature comforts than we. There was no central air, electricity, running water, and medicines were few and far less effective. Entertainment was limited, houses were smaller, even tiny and transportation was far more limited.

We live so well compared to them. And though we are more comfortable, there is little evidence that we are happier. Indeed, we seem more resentful, because we expect more, a lot more. As the Pope notes, young people resent discipline and expect to be spoiled. The majority of parents seem willing to indulge them and shun giving correction since it raises tensions and causes difficulties.

The value of hard work and the satisfaction that comes from it seems lost on many today. Cardinal McCarrick used to counsel us priests that if we did not go to bed tired, something was wrong. We all need some rest and relaxation, sure, but hard work actually brings greater satisfaction to times of rest.

The fact is, high expectations of this world like we have today, breed discontent and resentments. For by it these unrealistic and high expectations, we really insist on living in a fantasy that this world is, or can be paradise. It cannot. A better strategy is to accept that life is difficult and, though it has its joys, it presents arduous difficulties to us that must be met with courage and acceptance. Though this is a hard truth it brings peace when it is accepted.

To the first error Pope Leo commend to our attention the Joyful mysteries and particularly a meditation on the implicit lessons of the home at Nazareth:

Let us take our stand in front of that earthly and divine home of holiness, the House of Nazareth. How much we have to learn from the daily life which was led within its walls! What an all-perfect model of domestic society! Here we behold simplicity and purity of conduct, perfect agreement and unbroken harmony, mutual respect and love….devotedness of service. Here is the patient industry which provides what is required for food and raiment; which does so “in the sweat of the brow,” which is contented with little….These are precious examples of goodness, of modesty, of humility, of hard-working endurance, of kindness to others, of diligence in the small duties of daily life, and of other virtues…., Then will each one begin to feel his work to be no longer lowly and irksome, but grateful and lightsome, and clothed with a certain joyousness by his sense of duty in discharging it conscientiously….home-life…loved and esteemed….(# 6).

Problem 2 – Repugnance to suffering of any kind A second evil…. is to be found in repugnance to suffering and eagerness to escape whatever is hard or painful to endure. The greater number are thus robbed of that peace and freedom of mind which remains the reward of those who do what is right undismayed by the perils or troubles to be met with in doing so….By this passionate and unbridled desire of living a life of pleasure, the minds of men are weakened, and if they do not entirely succumb, they become demoralized and miserably cower and sink under the hardships of the battle of life. (# 7)

Yes, today more than ever, there is almost a complete intolerance to any sort of suffering. This has been fueled by the fact that we have been successful in eliminating a lot of suffering.

As noted, we have many creature comforts that protect us from the elements, medicines that alleviate physical pain and bodily discomforts, appliances and technology that provide unprecedented convenience and make a lot of manual labor all but unnecessary.

This, as we have also noted, leads to expectations which are ultimately unrealistic. Namely, that all suffering should be eliminated. There is almost an indignity expressed when one suggests that perhaps some things should be endured or that it is unreasonable to expect government, or doctors, or science to eliminate every evil or form of suffering.

Further, we seem to refuse the notion that accidents sometimes happen or that unfortunate circumstances will just occur. Instead we demand more laws that are often intrusive and oppressive, and we undertake huge lawsuits that often discourage the very risk taking that makes new inventions, medicines and medical techniques possible.

We often hold people responsible for things they can do little about. Sometimes economies just have cycles, climates too. Governments, laws and politicians cannot be expected to solve every problem or alleviate every burden. Sometimes accidents just happen.

Not a Padded room – While we can and should undertake to fix unnecessary hazards and seek to ease one another’s burdens, life isn’t a padded room. Suffering, sorrows, accidents, burdens and difficulties are part of life in this valley of tears. Acceptance of this truth leads to a kind of paradoxical serenity. Rejection of it and indulgence in unrealistic notions that all suffering is unreasonable leads to resentments and further unhappiness.

Here too, Pope Leo commend to us the rosary, in particular the sorrowful mysteries:

…If from our earliest years our minds have been trained to dwell upon the sorrowful mysteries of Our Lord’s life…we [may] see written in His example all the lessons that He Himself had taught us for the bearing of our burden of labor– and sorrow, and mark how the sufferings…He embraced with the greatest measure of generosity and good will. We behold Him overwhelmed with sadness, so that drops of blood ooze like sweat from His veins. We see Him bound like a malefactor, subjected to the judgment of the unrighteous, laden with insults, covered with shame, assailed with false accusations, torn with scourges, crowned with thorns, nailed to the cross, accounted unworthy to live….Here, too, we contemplate the grief of the most Holy Mother…”pierced” by the sword of sorrow…. (# 8 )

Then, be it that the “earth is accursed” and brings forth “thistles and thorns,”–be it that the soul is saddened with grief and the body with sickness; even so, there will be no evil which the envy of man or the rage of devils can invent, nor calamity which can fall upon the individual or the community, over which we shall not triumph by the patience of suffering….But by this patience, We do not mean that empty stoicism in the enduring of pain which was the ideal of some of the philosophers of old, but rather….It is the patience which is obtained by the help of His grace; which shirks not a trial because it is painful, but which accepts it and esteems it as a gain, however hard it may be to undergo. [Men and women of faith] re- echo, not with their lips, but with their life, the words of [the Apostle] St. Thomas: “Let us also go, that we may die with him” (John xi., 16). (# 9)

Yes, indeed, the cross is part of this life. But Christ has made it clear that the cross yields ultimately to glory if we carry it willingly and with faith.

Problem 3- Forgetfulness of the future life The third evil for which a remedy is needed is one which is chiefly characteristic of the times in which we live. Men in former ages, although they loved the world, and loved it far too well, did not usually aggravate their sinful attachment to the things of earth by a contempt of the things of heaven. Even the right-thinking portion of the pagan world recognized that this life was not a home but a dwelling-place, not our destination, but a stage in the journey. But men of our day, albeit they have had the advantages of Christian instruction, pursue the false goods of this world in such wise that the thought of their true Fatherland of enduring happiness is not only set aside, but, to their shame be it said, banished and entirely erased from their memory, notwithstanding the warning of St. Paul, “We have not here a lasting city, but we seek one which is to come” (Heb. xiii., 4). (# 11)

I have become increasingly amazed at how little most modern people think of heaven. Even Church-going believers talk little of heaven, priest preach little on it. Our main preoccupation seems to be making this world a more comfortable and pleasant place. Even in our so-called spiritual life, our prayers bespeak a worldly preoccupation: Lord, fix my finances, fix my heath, get me a better job. Almost as though we were saying, “Make this world pleasant enough and I’ll just stay here.” It is not wrong to pray for better health etc. It is not wrong to work to make this world a better place. But in the end, our home is in heaven and we ought to be solicitous of it and eagerly seek its shores. It should be a frequent meditation, and to be with God forever, the deepest longing of our soul. Instead we fear getting “older” and hide death away in our culture. It ought to be that we can’t wait to see God. Sure, it would be nice to get a few things done that we’ve started, but as heaven and being with God draw closer, we ought to be happy that the years are ticking by faster. Each day is one day, closer to God!

Here too, our prosperity and creature comforts have mislead us into a love of this world that is unhealthy. A friend of the world is an enemy to God (James 4:4). We are distracted and too easily dismiss that this world is passing away. The fact is, we are going to die. Only a proper longing for heaven can correct the absurdity that an obsessional love for this world establishes in our soul.

Meditate on heaven often! Read the scriptures, such as Revelation 1, & 4-5, 20-21. Ask for a deeper longing from God.

Pope Leo commends the Glorious mysteries of the rosary to our attention as a medicine for this absurd attachment to this passing world and our forgetfulness of heaven:

These mysteries are the means by which, in the soul of a Christian, a most clear light is shed upon the good things, hidden to sense, but visible to faith, “which God has prepared for those who love Him.” From them we learn that death is not an annihilation which ends all things, but merely a migration and passage from life to life. By them we are taught that the path to Heaven lies open to all men, and as we behold Christ ascending thither, we recall the sweet words of His promise, “I go to prepare a place for you.” By them we are reminded that a time will come when “God will wipe away every tear from our eyes,” and that “neither mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow, shall be any more,” and that “We shall be always with the Lord,” and “like to the Lord, for we shall see Him as He is,” and “drink of the torrent of His delight,” as “fellow-citizens of the saints,” in the blessed companionship of our glorious Queen and Mother. Dwelling upon such a prospect, our hearts are kindled with desire, and we exclaim, in the words of a great saint, “How vile grows the earth when I look up to heaven!” Then, too, shall we feel the solace of the assurance “that this momentary and light affliction produces for us an eternal weight of glory beyond measure, exceedingly ” (2 Cor. iv., 17).

Here then are three diagnoses, and three remedies. It is interesting to see that the roots of them were already evident in 1893 and how they have come further to press upon us more than 100 years later. It is helpful to have a Doctor of Souls to help us name the demons that afflict us. For having named a demon, we have more power over it and learn its moves:

  1. Demon, your name is “laziness” and “distaste” for hard work. By the joyful mysteries of the Lord’s Life, be gone.
  2. Demon your name “refusal of any suffering” and an “resentment at the cross.” By the sorrowful mysteries of our Lord’s life, be gone.
  3. Demon your name is “forgetfulness of heaven” and “obsession with the passing world.” By the glorious mysteries of Lord’s life and our Lady’s too, be gone.

Photo: Orchard Lake via Creative Commons

35 Replies to “Three Prophetic Insights from Pope Leo XIII That Still speak powerfully 120 Years Later”

  1. The West is afraid of suffering ,myself included…I’ve always tried to avoid it but it comes regardless .Now
    I pray for fortitude and and trust in God .I also keep a picture of Jesus holding Peters hand when
    he begins to sink in the water as a result of doubting…it helps me focus and keep my eyes on Christ when
    I’m filled with anxiety. Praying the Devine Mercy is also a great comfort. Thank you for your instructive
    blog…such a blessing to my family.

  2. Suffering shapes us. It forms a certain character and wisdom in those who are earnestly seeking Christ and Heaven. Suffering should be a cause for gratitude as it allows us the opportunity to give back to Jesus a mite of what He suffered so willingly for us.

    God means for all of us, no matter what our physical condition is, to be productive. To do something meaningful every single day. Some days, the pain is so terrible, i want to just go crawl into a corner and weep. But you see, Christ endured so much more and did neither. So, i push myself to do just one or two things as a little gift for Him.

    One day, thanks be to God, this suffering will be over and i will be with my Abba in Heaven. Until then, i will pray and share whatever comes with Him for His glory.

  3. How true! The wonder of our age really is that we have had so many of our wishes granted and live lives the most debauched Roman emperor would envy – and still moan and gripe and feel hard done by! We won’t be satisfied with the next updated iPhone and militant homosexuals won’t be happy after they been granted the “right” of “marriage”.

  4. There are definitely many insights in this post that I can benefit from and, God-willing, I will benefit from.

  5. Superb and blessed instruction from the Holy Father and deeply insightful analysis from you Monsignor. Thank you ever so much and my prayers are with you daily.

  6. Thank you for this post, which I will share with my church community. Pope Leo was a very farsighted man and how true it all has become. And by the way, the St. Michael prayer is still one of my favorites.

  7. Guilty ! Still a work in progress ! Hope we all gain from this reading ……………. !

  8. Msgr. Pope,
    Another one for the Confirmation class, you can really put it into view. I pray for the pain everyday as for me this is the way, I pray for any death that pleases my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and once I too wanted the easy road, but for the grace of God my eyes, ears and heart were opened by his Love for me.

    I pray the most blessed Rosary daily as it brings me fuller into my faith and an E. Free friend of mine heard it for the first time at a Catholic bible study they attend and was in such AWE of our (Catholic) ritual prayer. They were stunned to know they could attend Mass (not partake in the Holy Eucharist) and they have been to witness Adoration.

    God has opened your lips and your mouth proclaims his praise.

  9. Remember that Leo xiii had a vision of satan’s conversation with God regarding satan’s desire to “persecute” the world for a hundred years –in the 19th century recall the events of the 1900s!!! coincidental???

  10. Msgr. Pope, you should put some of these posts in a book form.

    Thank you and God bless!

  11. May the legacy of Vincenzo Gioachinno Raffaele Luigi Pecci ( Pope Leo XIII) remain with us till we reach the City of God which is to come.

  12. Thank you for bringing forward these words of Pope Leo XIII and though in most part I appreciated your comments I felt you detracted from the whole by exhibiting a certain political bias which ends up tainting and lessening the efficacy and power of the Holy Father’s words.

    For example, on the passage about a “simple and laborious life” you commented “For as insistence on a comfortable life grows and hard work seems unreasonable, we expect government to ease our burdens and provide increasing levels of comfort and happiness, and we are less willing to work hard for these things. Rather we see happiness and comfort as things to which we are entitled.” I think such a statement really distorts what entitlement programs are about – essential minimum supports to help sustain people. They do not provide much more than that. They help people only to survive. Too many misrepresent these programs or demonize those who are recipients of such programs because of cases of fraud without acknowledging that fraud can be found in all areas of society.

    As a person brought up in a Protestant household where I constantly heard my father saying “Life is a battle.” and subsequently lost my health and eyesight and worked at several part-time jobs seven days a week with no benefits and no vacation time for many, many years and still couldn’t afford housing or medical treatment. I am most grateful for subsidized housing, food stamps, and Medicaid/Medicare — especially as my family would never help because, as they said, “God helps those who help themselves.” Unfortunately it is even these essential programs which are reduced when governments seek to cut deficits.

    One of the things that I perceived in my conversion to the Catholic Faith was that whereas Protestantism emphasizes personal salvation the Church teaches us that we can participate in the salvation of the world by uniting our sufferings with those of Christ. Hardships and sufferings then are seen as opportunities to “restore all things in Christ”. I think your message today would be ever so much more effective by appealing to the truths of the faith rather than going into the terrain of politics.

    I would also like to add that it would be well for Americans if more of both our Religious and our secular priests and hierarchy were greater witnesses to simpler and more austere lives even if they take no vows of poverty. For some people who never see the inside of a church but see the local bishop on tv, overweight and chit-chatting about good restaurants or recent trips, who wants to present himself as “one of us” with all our mundane interests, it is a lost occasion for grace. We need witnesses of the beatitudes.

    1. I guess it takes two to be political no? I wonder if it isn’t in fact your political views that have affected how you understand what I am saying and if per chance you are actually projecting your own issues on to me. Let me explain.

      You seem to presume I speak of a legitimate safety net. I do not. At some point in this nation, given the enormity of the Federal Debt, we have moved beyond “essential minimum supports to help sustain people” and into expectations of far more than that. Why for example are so many corporations on the take? Why do we pay farmers not to plant, prop us the ethanol industry, etc., et al? Both side of the political aisle run up federal spending on all sorts of pork and pet projects.

      Also, not to quibble, but you are using “entitlement” incorrectly. There are true entitlement programs such as SSI and they are called such since people have paid into them and are “owed” their money back. That is the technical meaning of entitlement. But you have confused my saying that many feel they are “entitled” to things, with “entitlement” programs. There is a need for a safety net and there are legitimate entitlement programs (things people have already paid for and are entitled to receive). That is a different matter than speaking to the way in which many think they are “entitled” to all sorts of things. That is a mentality, not an actual entitlement

    2. I heartily agree with your point about austerity. John Wesley (Methodist founder) taught we should earn all we can so we can save all we can so we can give all we can. Too many people earn all they can so they can buy more pleasures for themselves. They would be happier if they desired to give more to others instead. It takes so little to bring a smile to another. Think of how much joy could be created. And I say all this recognizing that my concern should not be for the speck in my brother’s eye. 🙂

  13. In regards to the first point, I wonder what His Holiness would have thought about the modern advertising industry and its endless creation of artificial needs and wants.

  14. Thank you for another deeply insightful post. There’s more than one Catholic turned atheist among my in-laws. I have been trying to untangle the mess of issues that caused their unbelief. Your post gave me a good framework to reflect more about it.

    Atheism/agnosticism is alarmingly trendy among my age set, especially up in Seattle where I live. I am quite close with one Catholic turned atheist sister-in-law (age 26). At least in her version of the story, the fall started with something that sounds like the basic philosophical ‘problem of suffering’:

    Say a good and omnipotent God exists. Since God is omnipotent, He has the power to stop suffering. Yet, suffering continues. This means the omnipotent God must desire that suffering continues, since He has the power to stop it, yet chooses not to stop it. That is not ‘good.’ Therefore, if God exists, He cannot be called both ‘good’ and ‘omnipotent.’

    She has construed our present suffering as the worst thing possible. (There’s Point #2 from above.) She assumes that the “highest good” would be an immediate end to suffering within the present world. I called that assumption out explicitly, and we analyzed it for awhile. She admitted that she is so fearful of physical suffering that she is terrified of ever having a child. I observed that this seems to be a complete inversion of priorities: the passing problem of pain becomes magnified ten thousand times, and the great good of a new life becomes minimized as though life is a mere passing triviality. She didn’t deny that this is absurd.

    I tried to take it a step farther: “Present suffering is not the worst thing possible. This present suffering is necessary so we will be better prepared for life in Heaven. The suffering caused by eternal separation from God is far worse.” But, I encountered this objection:

    “What kind of God would create this world where his people toil endlessly for no seeming point, are constantly abused by hardships, and then expect those people to want to be with Him for eternity?”

    There is Point #1: Life shouldn’t be so hard! We reached our first major impasse on this point. Essentially, I was arguing that it’s OK that life is hard, and she was saying that it is not OK. I noted that she was really, really resentful about the toils of life. It would take forever to recount all that in specifics, but suffice to say, feminism is a major cause of her resentment.

    She also decided that Heaven sounds like mere wishful thinking: a pleasant daydream, but not something real that informs anyone’s actual decisions. There’s Point #3 from above. She said, “Sarah, your personal belief is beautiful. But, it’s still personal. Heaven and everlasting life in the presence of a benevolent God is your own personal wish. It’s a nice story, but it just isn’t real.” We got into a huge argument about science at this point. Basically, it became clear that she has internalized the rhetoric of Richard Dawkins et al as regards religious faith; briefly stated, faith is totally delusional. I would not allow philosophical claims masquerading as scientific facts to be used as a trump card. That made her really mad.

    I’m not able to continue the conversation in words right now, because she doesn’t want to talk about it any more. For the present moment, I decided the way forward is to continue is to involve her in our family life the best I can, leave the door open to future conversation, and keep praying for her, as well as the other family members who no longer believe.

    1. a benevolent landlord has two hundred slaves working for him in his farm. He decides to take in a hundred of them into his house to live with him no more as slaves but as his very own children. After some time he calls his hundred children to himself and informs them that he has decided to take the remaining hundred slaves into his house to also live with him as his children. Not only that, he informs them that out of this next set of slaves he has decided to choose one would be heir and who would be his first born who would inherit his whole property and who would command all of them and expect their obedience. In short this chosen one who be just as the landlord himself for all intents and purposes. Now what happen? About a third of the first set of slaves rebelled and revolted. They refused to accept the possibility of one chosen from the next set of slaves becoming their boss and commanding them as the landlord (now their father) does. The revolt was so severe that the rebel slaves (now children) intended to throw out the landlord (now Father) himself but the loyal slaves (now children) succeeded in defeating them and threw them out of the farm settlement. The landlord now sat down and said to himself, “if the first set of slaves rebelled what would guarantee that the next set of slaves wont rebel. Therefore before allowing this set to come in I will put them to the test. Especially since one of their own kind is already chosen to be my heir. I will test them with suffering and inconveniences and see which ones will persevere. To see which ones will not revolt”.

  15. So the demon can be identified and cast away in the light of the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. Not recognizing the demon in his true form and not casting him away can bring about darkess. However, this darkness can be overcome with mysteries of Light, proposed by the Great John Paul II.

  16. I am having such a beautiful time dissecting every sentence. Amazing insights. God has shown me how to deal with my frustrations concerning our society. I do get worked up sometimes what passes for truth nowadays. Thank you. Any suggestions for a beginning apologetics book or understanding the Catholic Faith through logic? God Bless. THANK YOU. PAX CHRISTI.

  17. Wow, Msgr. Pope Leo XIII. . . you are chewing down towards my spiritual core!

    In support, let me share a quote from Pope Leo XIII that teaches perfectly:

    “The Rosary is the most excellent form of prayer and the most efficacious means of attaining eternal life. It is the remedy for all our evils, the root of all our blessings. There is no more excellent way of praying.”

  18. We dont recognize God in the suffering.
    We dont want to suffer.
    We dont know how to suffer.
    We dont know how to keep company those who suffer.

    Because this world is extricating every sense of and in God from us.

  19. What a beautiful article. Thank you. It reinforces so many of my own thoughts, thoughts which I have shared with others but seem to go nowhere in this secular world.

  20. By the way, does any one know about the process for the canonization of Pope Leo XIII ?

  21. Ah, Pope Leo XIII who, in addition to encouraging devotion toward the Mother of God and frequent public recital of the Rosary, also sought to provide a heavenly protector (patron saint) for good works in the church (i.e., St.Thomas Aquinas, patron of those engaged in study; St. Vincent de Paul, patron of all charitable organizations; St. John of God & St. Camillus of Lellis, patron of associations concerned with the care of the sick, infirm, and mentally afflicted).

    A truly inspired choice of Pope Leo XIII was naming the Patron of Eucharist Associations, St Paschal Baylon (San Pascual Bailon or Baylon to Hispanics), a humble Franciscan friar, not even an ordained priest, but most devoted to Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Pray for the intercession of San Pascual (in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, communions, and hours of adoration), especially for the gift of repentance for those who have left the Catholic faith and for separated brethren to come home to the Church. Read about the Life of Saint Paschal on-line free (U. of Toronto library) or purchase an on-demand reprint of “The Saint of the Eucharist: Saint Paschal Baylon, Patron of Eucharistic Associations (1905)”, 245 pages (@ $22, but check around).

  22. One story from the book on Saint Paschal previously cited: In Spain, in the Church of the Holy Rosary, after St. Pascual’s death, where there was an altar of St. Pascual (which held his remains, I think), a gang of brigands, armed to the teeth, having as their captain an unfrocked and fallen priest, arrived looking for a Mass and there were none still to be said that day. The defrocked priest put on vestments, and rose to the altar to say Mass, but at the consecration, the priest faltered and his tongue was paralyzed. The renegade raised his heart to God and, taking St. Pascual as a mediator, asked for the grace to continue and finish the Mass, promising, if heard, to be converted and repair by penance the scandals of his unhappy life. Long story short, the priest finished the Mass and left the altar with head bowed and face filled with tears. Ultimately, this priest, after numerous and protracted sessions and an interminable general confession with a good priest, retired from the world and repaired his past scandals by an exemplary life.

  23. I really think when talking about an ill of modern society, it should always be prefaced with “Leo XIII saw this 130 years ago”. For. Every. Ill. Boggles my mind that the cause for his sainthood was never greater, considering he essentially made Catholic Social teaching into the coherent force it is today, and set the ground for so much.

  24. Pope Leo was right, how many of us are willing to give up our radios, computers, air conditioning, etc. Many of these things are God-given, but misused by humans. I grew up in a 20×20 foot house that nine people lived in. We kids had a lot of fun, grew up knowing our basic prayers, taught by our parents. One note: I have a reel-type lawn mower. I live in a mobile home park and when I was mowing my little lawn one day, I actually drew a small crowd of children. When I was done, I got one question. “Where’s the motor?” We must teach by example, most of the developed world do not have the comforts we have, why not give a few of them up in union with them. I surely depend on my car, though, now that I am in the senior citizen bracket. Have a blessed day!

  25. Msgr. This is excellent! I was wondering if you could add a reflection of the demon/vices to combat with Luminous misteries added by our beloved Blessed Pope John Paul 2.

  26. How privileged we are to be able to suffer when we join our sufferings with those of Our Dear Lord! The angels envy us because we have bodies with which to suffer. Jesus promised the gift of a cross. A cross means suffering, but more importantly it is the ladder to Heaven. Think of this and rejoice that we are able to offer our sufferings to God. Those who have been prevented from suffering, who have been stolen from us by contraception, are the poorest of the poor. May I dare to say they exist only in the imagination of God, who knows all things.

  27. Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
    Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
    Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

    From the novel Illuminati “mysteries”, St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle…

    Yes, why hasn’t Pope Leo XIII been canonized?

  28. Spot on, my Dear Monsignor Pope and praise be to Pope Leo XIII for his glorious insights prompted by the Holy Spirit.

    Clarity is one word I can use to describe this wonderful insight.

    At my parish (one of the largest and wealthiest in Ohio) each Mass is held hostage and no dismissal rite is given until after the Pastor/Celebrant pulls out a note to remind worshipers of the “baked ham sale in the narthex, the ‘social justice’ raffle tickets on sale, the motorcycle rides with Father, ad nauseum….” Is this a Holy Mass or a secular shopping spree?

    Catholicism in urban Ohio has become big business. Millions are raised quickly for this or that and I get the impression that Pastors wax prideful and gloat to one another how much their “marks” have contributed. Seems like a game to them to outdo the other; “tally sheets” are published and distributed as to which Church “gave the most.” It’s like a Superbowl of donators (who gets a ring is unknown.)

    Meanwhile the abortion rate among Catholic women in our community is staggering; divorce and abuse rampant; drug use and violence the norm. And yet if you talk, in private and confidence, about issues to the Pastor or the Parochial Vicars, they hear you out, grimace, say nothing and walk away, back to their cushy fiefdom–no one wants to make waves. Don’t rock the boat.

    Lord Jesus, please pray for us!

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