Hurry On In! He’s Practically Giving It Away!

I have been having more conversations lately where the subject of God’s grace has been coming up more and more frequently. Typically these conversations are with my male confreres, for lack of a better word. I am referring to men whom I count among my family and friends, but also with several of my sisters. Why am I focusing on the men? It is because we have a particular interest in raising our families that is distinct from the interests our wives have.

I mentioned last week the phrase that kept popping up in a Fr. Ripperger video – the husbands and fathers, through their prayers, sufferings, and good works merit grace for their wives and children. It is also, of course, the holy season of Lent – a time when we are to pray, fast, and give alms in a more focused and heightened way. And it MUST be heightened and intentional. Gentlemen, I’m speaking to you. And I am speaking as a man humbled and sorrowful in the knowledge that I have never truly done this before.

What am I talking about? Let’s see… On the prayer front; I can say I always pray for my wife and kids. I am at Mass every day, pray my rosary, all the things you’d expect. Could I do better? Of course I could. On the almsgiving? Let me leave that one for another post. But on the fasting? Oh boy…

Something, some pious knowledge, some sermon, something over the past few years finally burrowed deep into my brain and my heart and finally clicked for me. In addition to the mortifcations and disciplines of “giving something up” for Lent, I need to be actually fasting. This year I think it finally dawned on me that fasting is just that – actual fasting, like for the full 40 days. It means an actual reduction in my intake of food. It implies abstinence from meat(s) for the full 40 days. I have never truly done this before; not seriously anyway. And just like the blessed Mary Magdalene, forgiven by Our Lord Himself yet who lived a life of austere penance and mortification and, yes, fasting until He brought her to her reward; I too MUST do these things to atone for my sins. The beauty is that fasting is so much more than this. Remember, certain demons are only driven out through fasting? And yes, let’s get this one out of the way for all the haters… *Fasting should be conducted according to one’s state in life and overall physical health. Believe me, I understand. Which is why I am extraordinarily grateful that Our Lord has seen fit to give me overall excellent health and a daily life suited to what I have undertaken.

Sacred Heart of Jesus statue, St. Lucy’s Church/Shrine of St. Gerard Magella, Newark, NJ

And yet in all of this, the question might arise, “What does this have to do with your conversations on grace with other guys?” Here’s how it comes back.

Have you not noticed that grace – specifically the graces of protection and greater desire to cling to Our Lord and a strengthening of cogitative and common sense powers and a deep and abiding love for the Holy Sacrifice – seem to be abounding among our ilk lo these past few years? Is it not obvious that the world has gone mad? You see the same people as I do – driving in cars, alone and wearing paper masks over their faces. You wonder as I do what was it that caused people like us immediately to take the firm stand that we would never take the poison from the moment it was announced there would be a poison to take. What brought all of us into tradition – whether it was five decades ago or just recently? What continues to bring people into tradition, for they are still coming… And I only include myself in any of this because I am cognizant of the fact that, on my own, I never would be in this place and I am filled with thanks and even joy. We know there is a bigger fight looming over the Mass. I am at peace. All of this is God’s supernatural and superabundant grace flowing in these days. Most especially, if you are a husband and father you definitely know that God’s grace is far more abundant in these days to those who call upon Him and ask for it. How else could we defend our families from what is purely the most evil and vile generation ever to roam the earth?

I especially recognize that in my attempt at fasting. I legitimately thought it would be impossible. Yet, thanks be to God, He has given me the grace such that I am not bothered. I’m only two weeks in but I already feel as though I am not doing enough because it doesn’t really “hurt” the way I thought it would. I believe He has given me the grace to do what He has asked me to do.

Today one of my nephews shared a passage from a book he’s reading that put it all in perspective. I quote the section below. It is from The Catechism Explained by Fr. Spirago. Sidenote: This book is available through Mediatrix Press. I highly encourage you to purchase it there so as to support Ryan Grant. I am sure you all know that his wife is very ill. Say a prayer for their family and for her and then give your money. Consider it almsgiving for Lent.

“The action of the Holy Spirit on the souls of men is not constant, but occasional.
Hence the exhortation of St. Paul: “Now is the acceptable time; behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Compare the parable of the vineyard where the workmen received only one summons (Matt. 20).
Times of special grace are the seasons of Lent or when a mission is being given, or the jubilee year. These times of grace are like the market-days when things are easier to obtain; with this difference, that no money is required, “Come buy wine and milk, without money, and without any price” (Is. 55:1).
Actual graces are obtained by the performance of good works, especially by prayer, fasting, and almsdeeds; and more especially by the use of the means of grace provided by the Church, by hearing of holy Mass, worthy reception of the sacraments, and attendance at sermons.”

p. 175

And there it is! Grace IS more readily available to us right now! The season of Lent is a time of special grace. If I’m reading that correctly, it’s almost like there’s a mega-giveaway on grace right now. “These times of grace are like the market-days.” Not to be crass; but compare it to a super-sale at the mall if you will, but you get the point. And we see as well that these actual graces are obtained through the Lenten means (prayer, fasting, almsgiving) and also by using the grace given by Our Lord through His Church – in particular Mass and the sacraments. Go to daily Mass if you are able. You will never regret that, I promise you. Pray your rosary – all of it if you can. Confess often. Our Lord wants to shower you with grace during these days. Never more than now should we heed His own words to us:

“Ask and ye shall receive.”

And by the way, supplies never run out.

St. Robert Belarmine, pray for us!

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us!

One response to “Hurry On In! He’s Practically Giving It Away!

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