Matt C. Abbott
October 28, 2017
Chicago priest's spiritual pep talk for rebuilding America
By Matt C. Abbott

Below is the text of a talk recently given by a priest-friend of mine, Father Charles P. Becker of the Archdiocese of Chicago. Father Becker is also the national responsible of the Marian Movement of Priests.



Rebuilding America – Post-Bolshevik Revolution

October 25, 2017, 100th Anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution


By Father Charlie Becker

In order to rebuild America, we need to return to some basics missing the last 50 years or so. We often hear of Our Lady's request to return to prayer, especially the Holy Rosary. This is a simple request and a simple answer. My generation and following, from the high school years in the 1970s, abandoned church on Sunday. The previous generation generally would not think of missing Mass on Sunday and so many of us grew up going to Mass every Sunday.

Then the college years came and we were free of that constraint and many other constraints that led many of us down a road of darkness: "sex, drugs and rock and roll." These worldly desires and expectations, still in full throttle today, have left us, individuals and families, broken and hurting, separated and without joy and peace.

Let us look at the remedy again. Sunday Mass keeps us in tune with God's direction for life. A simple request with not much demand upon us but to show up. But if we show up we find encouragement, challenge, hope, faith and even a return to the love of neighbor and friends we once enjoyed back in our formative years, grade school through high school. Unfortunately, what occurred for us in the college years is being introduced even into the middle schools. How sad! And the young adults know nothing about the remedy of regular Sunday Mass because they have been brought up as "Chreaster" (Christmas-Easter) Catholics.

When returning to Sunday Mass, it will be important to find a truly good Catholic church. By "good" I mean a parish with a pastor who's respectful of and adhering to Catholic teaching. A good quick test for this is 1) the tabernacle of Jesus is in the center of the church, 2) a Blessed Mother statue is in the sanctuary, and 3) the pope is respected by the priests. This is known as the three blesseds: Blessed Sacrament, Blessed Mother, and "Blessed are you Peter," the pope.

Let's return to the remedy. Prayer is the first thing that starts a reaction moving toward peace and happiness in ourselves and then family. A simple Our Father will do for beginners. Prayer ultimately opens us up to seeing what we have been missing and have messed up in our lives. Humility and willingness to see how we have been misled is the first gift. Then as we increase our prayer, maybe the Holy Rosary, which, by the way, I myself as a priest didn't know how to pray even three years into my priesthood because not only is our family life and country out of whack, but the church community – and most parishes are run in a dysfunctional way.

If the leadership is unholy and dysfunctional, so will be the parish. As we put back prayer, the new light in our mind and soul begins to convict us, meaning that the prayer is reminding us of what we are not doing right in the eyes of God. So, we begin to feel guilty. Sometimes guilt is a good thing because it is our conscience saying we are out of whack with God's plan for us. This conscience is drawing us to get right with God. Our Lady has said that monthly confession will be the remedy for the West.

As we cooperate with prayer and monthly confession, a transformation begins to occur in our lives individually as well as in the family. And as the family changes, so does the parish, the neighborhood and eventually our country, the United States of America. However, we need to change and return to personally getting right with God. Maybe it seems like a lot to come clean, but "nothing is impossible with God." If your last confession was your first confession at 7-years-old, then be ready for a great renewal and a whole new way of seeing life for yourself and your family, whether it's your family of origin or your current family in marriage.

We are a culture in decline because of the loss of our Christian heritage and life in Christ.

As Catholics our life in God is restored through the sacrament of confession. Protestants will often criticize us for going to a priest to confess our sins, but this is the way Jesus wants it. There is a particular grace received that allows us to be totally aware that our sins are forgiven. Jesus wants us to know this experience! Young people don't even know about it.

And Jesus wants us at Mass on Sunday. Yes, we can talk to God in the "woods," but He wants us together on Sunday so He can teach us and feed us on Himself. Then we individually are changed for the better; also our family gets along better and ultimately our Church and nation begin to rebuild for the better: less division, less hate, more love and forgiveness. But only in the path of doing things God's way and not the devil's way will we see this restoration.

Finally, when we begin receiving Holy Communion in the state of grace, which means not being conscious of any unconfessed mortal sins, then this new life and peace grows and grows. What are mortal sins? Any serious offense against the Ten Commandments. I often like to use the example that the TV show "48 Hours" portrays. It seems as though all, or most, of the murders are committed due to adultery. See how powerful mortal sin is?

One mortal sin unconfessed and made excuses for leads to another and another. Missing Mass on Sunday is a mortal sin. This mortal sin, rationalized away or justified begins to allow for more rationalizations and making excuses for other mortal sins, e.g. smoking weed, masturbation, drunkenness, promiscuous sex, lying, stealing, abortion, artificial birth control, in vitro fertilization, immodesty (rampant today: yoga pants and short shorts), pornography, violent and indecent movies and music (the list of examining one's conscience can be viewed at www.olpgchicago.org).

Let's talk about sex outside of marriage. This type of relationship is without commitment. The guy is generally at ease with such an arrangement because he doesn't have to assume any real adult responsibility for his woman. She, on the other hand, can feel trapped and fearful to find another guy if she doesn't allow herself to be used physically. And that is the problem! They are both using each other, one out of irresponsibility and the other out of fear. True love is met with genuine concern for each other and openness to God's plan of bringing new life into the world.

In order to do this, they need to love each other, respect each other, help each other assume the duties each has for the betterment of the marriage and future family life. Many young people are afraid to get married, to commit to one another. This is a sign of a great breakdown in our country. A marriage relationship is a beautiful relationship and actually the only way to ensure peace in the family. I have heard it said that young people are afraid to get married because they don't want to get divorced! This is so illogical, yet I can understand their desire to avoid the pain of divorce, but that is not the way to find peace in a heterosexual relationship.

The answer, the absolute answer, is again, by doing God's way for relationships; by being pure and chaste until married, which means no sex until married. Women need to be aware they have been duped and lied to by the culture and need to quit this feminist agenda of thinking that they can do everything.

Let's look to the Holy Family for direction on this. Joseph led the donkey, not Mary. Mary was free to tend to the Child, not Joseph. The happy family life will be the one that conforms to God's designs for our human nature. Also, the couple needs to be married in the Catholic Church, for those who are Catholic; otherwise this is a mortal sin and again keeps you from knowing peace and joy in your marriage.

I am reminded of a famous sociological study in the 1940s [that illustrated] a marked difference in the suicide rates among Catholics versus Protestants. The reason being: the sacrament of confession. Not only is there the psychological effect of having a place to dump our problems, but we as Catholics know that Jesus is present through the priest relieving us of our guilt and shame through His forgiveness.

I am also reminded of the words of Venerable Therese Neumann, mystic, "that America will not know war on its soil, but it will know economic ruin through natural disasters." We live in a time of great upheaval with hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, etc. Salvation history shows us time and again that when we are faithful to God, we are blessed. But when we are unfaithful, like now, we fall into disorder and chaos. Sin causes diseases and even wars, directly or indirectly, to the guilty and the innocent. Let's get straight with God and know His peace and love among ourselves and one another.

In conclusion, any of the above sins not overcome with the grace of God, firstly in confession and then Holy Communion, can wreak havoc upon relationships with family and society. This practice doesn't guarantee a problem-free life, but it gives foundation to handle problems. So why not try something new for many of you who are reading this? Go see a good Catholic priest, a priest who believes in what he is ordained to do. And if he compromises on these things, find a different one. A source for true Catholic teaching is the Catechism of the Catholic Church and EWTN television or internet at www.ewtn.com.

Also see www.mmp-usa.net for my talks on the Marian Movement of Priests.

Peace, Father Charlie Becker, Chicago

© Matt C. Abbott

 

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Matt C. Abbott

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic commentator with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication, media and theatre from Northeastern Illinois University. He's been interviewed on MSNBC, NPR, WLS-TV (ABC) in Chicago, WMTV (NBC) in Madison, Wis., and has been quoted in The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at mattcabbott@gmail.com.


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