When Will It Stop?

July 6, 2015

When Will It Stop?

Family, today is the Feast of St. Maria Goretti.  For those of you who don’t know, she was an Italian young girl who chose death rather than give up her virginity.  This took place at the beginning of the 20th Century.

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Penny felt very strongly about Maria Goretti.  She wrote in our book, “Holy Innocence”

“The name of Maria Goretti has a special place for me.  I would judge that most everyone in my generation has grown up having heard the story of the little crimson and white Rose of Jesus, St. Maria Goretti.  Her story inspires such emotions in us, such a desire to bring ourselves to Jesus and His Mother Mary as pure buds, ready to flower into whatever vocation They desire for us, whether it be religious, lay people or as in the case of little Maria, Saints who gave their lives as martyrs rather than stain their immortal souls by committing a sin.  And in that way, Saints like Maria Goretti become role models for young people in these modern times.”

We know the story of Maria Goretti with surface knowledge.  She is famous for what she obviously did, die rather than allow her relationship with Jesus to be compromised by giving into a sexual temptation.  This is the obvious cause for her Sainthood, much as St. Maxmilian Kolbe’s obvious reasoning for Sainthood was taking the place of a fellow prisoner in the death cells of Auschwitz during the Second World War.  But these are only the apparent.  There is so much more to each life which calls for us to venerate them as special servants of God, true role models.”

There were two other virtues of St. Maria Goretti which are so subtle, they get lost in the shadow of giving her life.  One of them was selflessness.  She cared more about her eternal soul than her bodily safety.  And possibly even more than that, she cared about the soul of her attacker more than her own life.  As we get into the woeful story of her life and death, we can’t help but realize that part of the reason for her determination not to give into Alessandro Serenelli was for his salvation.”

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Maria Goretti was a good little girl, a pure little girl.  At eleven years old, she had such a love relationship with Jesus that she would rather die than allow her chastity to be compromised, rather die than take a chance on breaking relationship with Jesus.  But how can that be?  How could she possibly understand what path her Yes to Jesus would take her down?  We’re not talking about St. Agnes or St. Cecilia or Saints of the early Church who gave up their lives for Jesus.  This is the Twentieth Century.  She is a product of this century.  Where have we gone, how low have we become, that our young people can’t possibly understand how a girl from their own century could sacrifice her life for her morals?”

Girls as young as eleven, are “sexually active,” have become pregnant, have had abortions often with help of their own mothers, in many instances, and those who did not die on the abortionist’s table, have died of AIDS in many instances.  We’re at a time in our society when there are virtually no morals being taught or practiced either in the classrooms of our schools, or in the homes by the parents of these children.  Our schools are giving children condoms and parents are putting girls on the birth control pill.  We’re being taught safe sex in an effort to avoid the spread of dangerous diseases and to keep the world population down.  Last on the list of priorities is the prevention of the spread of moral decay of a civilization, which in its final analysis will be much more deadly than any physical disease our children may contract.”

When will it stop?

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I recall standing with Penny on the stairway of the house where the family lived in Ferriere, Italy, near Nettuno, in the heat of June one year, as we made the program on St. Maria Goretti.  At one point, we stopped talking and just looked out at you, our family.  Finally, I believe it was Penny, who cried out

 “When will it stop?

When will our children stop raping and killing each other?”

Our dear Pope Pius XII, on the occasion of the Canonization of Maria Goretti in 1950, pleaded with our young people to take Maria Goretti as a role model.  He said “

“The concourse of the faithful come here for the occasion, exceeds anything that has ever been witnessed at any other canonization.  You have been lured here, We might almost say, by the entrancing beauty and intoxicating fragrance of this lily mantled with crimson whom We, only a moment ago, had the intense pleasure of inscribing in the roll of the Saints: the sweet little martyr of purity, Maria Goretti.

          “But why, beloved children, have you come here in such countless numbers to assist at her glorification?

          “…why does this story move you even to tears?  Why has Maria Goretti so quickly conquered your hearts, and taken the first place in your affections?

          “The reason is because there is still in this world, apparently sunk and immersed in the worship of pleasure, not only a meager little band of chosen souls who thirst for Heaven and its pure air – but a crowd, nay, an immense multitude on whom the supernatural fragrance of Christian purity exercises an irresistible and reassuring fascination.”

…all of you who are intently listening to Our Words, know that above the unhealthy marshes and filth of the world, stretches an immense heaven of beauty.  It is the heaven which fascinated little Maria; the heaven to which she longed to ascend by the only road that leads there, which is, religion, the love of Christ, and the heroic observance of His commandments.”

          “We greet you, O beautiful and lovable Saint! Martyr on earth and Angel in Heaven, look down from your glory on this people which loves you, which venerates, glorifies and exalts you.”

          “…In you, through Our hands, the children and all the young people will find a safe refuge, trusting that they shall be protected from every contamination, and be able to walk the highways of life with that serenity of spirit and deep joy which is the heritage of those who are pure of heart.  Amen.”

You would think that these inspired words by this Holy Man of God would have an effect on the morals for years to come, not only on those who heard them, but the millions who would read them throughout the world. 

You would think, wouldn’t you?

Unfortunately the situation has escalated since 1950.  There are more rapes reported, and murders due to death than ever before.

When will it stop?

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I know I’m preaching to the choir here.  You moms and dads are protecting your children with everything you’ve got.  Pray to St. Maria Goretti.  Ask her to help you inspire your children.  Be aware of the young people your children associate with.  Remember, as they begin to mature, so do their friends.  And I don’t know why it is, but girls from good families often have this strange desire to get involved with “Bad Boys”.  That’s the best word I can use.

Your job is not easy.  But you have help from above.  Pray to Maria Goretti.  Pray to Penny Lord.  They will help you.  We love you!

 

 For more information about Saint Maria Goretti Click here

Or call 1-800-633-2484 and ask for Blanca – she has some prayer cards of Saint Maria Goretti she will be more than glad to send you.

 NOTE: The presentation on the life of Saint Maria Goretti will be shown at 4 pm CST Tuesday July 7


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We Salute the American Martyrs of Today

May 30, 2011

Martyrs - They Died for Christ bookFamily, we have gone all over the world in honoring the martyrs we wrote about in our book, Martyrs, They Died for Christ.  We have gone to Poland, to Auschwitz, for the Martyrs of Poland, to Germany, to Ireland for the Irish Martyrs, and to Mexico for the Mexican Martyrs.  We have written about English Martyrs, American Martyrs, Bishop Oscar Romero, and St. Joan of Arc.

But what about the Martyrs of today, our American boys and girls who have fought and died for their country, for what seems like forever?  Do we consider the thousands upon thousands who have given their lives as Martyrs?  Are they any less Martyrs than those Martyrs who went before them, fighting and dying for a cause, for a belief, for their country?

We want to take this time and dedicate this article to those American Martyrs, and their families who are saddened by the loss of them, not just on Memorial Day, but on every day of the year.  We want to salute the husbands and wives who are without a spouse; we want to salute the children who will be without a mother or father, because their mother or father gave their life for something they held dearly, not necessarily the war in which they died, but for the country they believed in.  We want to salute the mothers and fathers of those sons and daughters whose lives were cut short by an enemy thousands of miles away, whose reasoning for killing their children is unknown to them, other than that they hate Americans.  The parents of these children are proud of their lost sons and daughters, but wonder if whatever we’re accomplishing through these wars is worth the sacrifice.

We want to thank you, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters for the sacrifice you have made through the martyrdom of your loved one.  We pray we continue to honor you and your loved ones, not only today, but all the days of our lives.  We pray that your country appreciates you as much as we do.  God Bless America!

Memorial Weekend Special Offer Check it out http://www.bobandpennylord.com/today-only-offer.htm


Mexican Martyrs

May 12, 2011

The Martyrs – They Died for Christ

Martyrs: They Died for Christ book

Our dear Lord has been so good to us.  Now, in this period of our ministry, we find ourselves not only bringing you on a Journey of Faith (pilgrimage overseas) but also very often in your home through radio and television. We find ourselves being swept as if by a strong wind by the Holy Spirit speaking to us through books and programs we have written years ago.  When we first began to reread our books, (some written as far back as 1986), we had the funniest feeling, like they were being written, now, for this time in our Church and in our country.  As we turned one page after another, we found ourselves crying for what had happened, and asking ourselves, how do we share this with you?  You have heard us, from the very beginning, say at the end of each of our programs on EWTN, “We love you.”  And we do!  Our newspaper is called The Good Newsletter, and we strive to bring you always the Good News. On that vein, we hesitated to share some of the sadness and price our brothers and sisters paid for us and our privilege to worship Jesus.

Lately, the thought keeps coming – Our Lord has given us the privilege of traveling and walking through the lives of Jesus, His Mother Mary, and the Saints not for ourselves; but for you.  Please read on and ask yourself if God wants to reach you with these real life stories that really happened.  As for us, we believe nothing is by coincidence, except by Holy Coincidence.  Somehow, we believe God, always in charge, wants us to share some thoughts from our book “Martyrs – They died for Christ”, which we published in 1993!  When we first wrote about the Martyrs and then made it into a series for EWTN, little did we imagine it would be for not only that time, but for time in memoriam, history sadly repeating itself.  P.S. We found it strange, at conferences; the young always chose our book on the Martyrs. Now seeing so many of our youth in uniform going off to fight wars overseas, us walking up to them telling then we are praying for them, and their gentle polite response, Thank you, Sir and Thank you, Ma’am, you have to fight back the tears and you want to shout, Bring them home, Now!!

When our book was introduced on Mother Angelica Live October, 1993, the audience response was overwhelming; and the momentum has never stopped.  But never as much as now!

As we became more and more emotionally involved with our brothers and sisters, the Martyrs, who gave their lives for our Church, we knew that the Lord wanted these words to come to life for not only those who would read our books, but for their families and friends who only watch television.  That’s when the Series was born in our hearts.  We stepped out in faith and began traveling to different parts of the world to videotape the lives of the Martyrs.  But our dream to share this with you did not become a reality until Mother Angelica, and all those who pray and work so very hard at the Network, became excited.  The date was set, and now we had to go to all the shrines we had as not yet covered on videotape.

Humbly, we cannot praise our Lord enough for each day of our lives serving Him.  But as it is a blessing, it can often be a mixed blessing.  We are joyful because He gave us the gift of tracking the lives of those brave men and women who gave their lives for Christ and their Church.  The overpowering selfless courage we encountered, as we spoke to those who knew these martyrs.  As we stood on ground made holy by their blood, we became part of the vibrant thread which bound them all together.  They were brothers and sisters; they became our brothers and sisters.  As we ate, drank and slept with the memories of the Martyrs who would not die, who would not be stilled, death not the end, we could still hear their cries – “Long Live Christ the King!, and we knew we would never be the same, and we pray you will not be, either.

As Bishops and Promulgators of the Causes of Beatification and Canonization of the Martyrs, shared the Glorious Resurrection of our Church through their willing deaths, our hearts felt as if they would burst.  It was, as Mother Angelica says, “awesome!”  But the Glorious Mysteries follow the Sorrowful.  We had to walk the Way of the Cross; we had to share in the sadness, the abuse, the torture, the suffering – physical as well as spiritual – endured by the Martyrs; we had to look into the face of man’s inhumanity to man.  It made us want to reach out and touch our Priests and Religious, our brothers and sisters of the Laity who had given their yes to the last ounce of their blood; we needed to hug them, to hold them, to try to make it better.  But we were grieving from man’s viewpoint, not from God’s.  These dear brothers and sisters had been “washed in the blood of the Lamb”.  There was no more pain and suffering for them.  They are basking in the Light of the Kingdom.  They are interceding for those of us who have followed.  And because of that, we have the motivation to share what we found when we researched their lives.  Although we have written about Poland and her Martyrs, and those of Ireland, America, England, and Auschwitz, at this time we would like to bring you some Martyrs close to home, our neighbors to the south of us.

The beginning of the end – The Mexican Revolution

To look upon Mexico, and the Mexicans, as backward and different from us, is to make a major mistake and to learn nothing.  The Mexico that rose from the ashes of the Mexican Revolution of 1810 was not the Mexico who was for 150 years, after Our Lady of Guadalupe came, one of the greatest nations in the world.

Ironically, the actions of a Priest, Miguel Hidalgo, who might have been well-meaning initially, brought about revolution!  He began only wanting some equity for the Indians.  The Priest was about social justice; what he accomplished was social uprising, against the wealthy landowners, and (possibly not part of his plan, in the beginning) against the Church.  As we have said, over and over again: Social justice without Jesus is Judas revisited.  We end up selling out our Lord, once more.  This Priest may have had good intentions, but without God in charge, he had to turn against Him.

The people followed this Priest, believing he was speaking the Church.  Farmers and peasants, without weapons other than pitchforks, knives and the like, rallied round Hidalgo, and marched on the towns and villages of Mexico.  The force swelled to over a hundred thousand, at which point, Hidalgo lost control of his followers completely; it became a bloodbath.  Hidalgo was not a military man; he became the dupe for ambitious men, who would use him for their own ends.  Finally, he was killed, a year after his ill-begun revolution.  And from that poor beginning, revolution upon revolution has continued.  The Spanish regained control of the towns after Hidalgo was killed, but they never quite controlled the country again.

We went to Mexico

We had been looking for the final resting place of Blessed Miguel Pro for some years.  We finally tracked down the church where a beautiful shrine has been built to the Martyr of the 1920’s.  December 1993, we left a week before our annual Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Guadalupe begins.  We wanted not only to be able to videotape Miguel’s shrine, but we wanted to bring our pilgrims to it.  For years, we have been looking for the place where he was executed.  We finally found it.  We knew it was off the main boulevard in Mexico City; where this brave and holy priest was martyred, today, a monument to greed stands – the National Lottery building.  We got our driver to bring us there, and we kept walking around the building looking for a plaque designating the place where Miguel Pro had been executed.  We couldn’t find it.  Our guide and friend, a Mexican, went inside the National Lottery building to ask if anyone knew where it was.  Nobody there knew anything about it.  But as we stubbornly walked around the building, searching, a guard on the other side of the street, in back of the National Lottery building, called us over.  He pointed to the wall in back of him, which was almost completely covered by electric cables.  There it was, about 8 by 12 inches.  It said (I’m paraphrasing now), “Across the street from this place, at the beginning of the stairway, is the spot where Fr. Miguel Pro was executed on November 23, 1927.”  We stood there.  It was a strange feeling.  All he had to do was hide, to deny Christ and the Church; instead, on this spot Bl. Padre Pro, Martyr, raised a Rosary in one hand and the crucifix he was given on the day of his ordination in the other, blessed his executioners and cried out “Viva Cristo Rey! – Long live Christ the King!

In our book on the Martyrs, we wrote about the three children of Tlaxcala who were the first three Martyrs of the Western World; they were beatified with Juan Diego in 1991 (who has since been canonized).  We had planned on traveling out to the state of Tlaxcala, solely to interview the priests who had worked on the Beatification of these three children.

But in November, 1992, as we were watching EWTN, which we do exclusively, we saw the Beatification of Twenty Five Mexican Martyrs, all of whom had been murdered during the persecution of the Church in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  We were amazed at what we heard.  Most of these were in their late 20’s or early 30’s.  When we looked at their photos, they looked so young, barely more than children.  Fifteen of them were graduates of the Seminary of Guadalajara.  We went to the Seminary and interviewed some seminarians.  We asked one of the young men, “Why are you here, to become holy?”  At which he replied, “I am here to become a Saint!”

We contacted the priest who had finalized the work on the Beatification, and pushed it through to its successful completion, Fr. (now Bishop) Oscar Sanchez.

He set up appointments for us in every church or shrine to these twenty-five martyrs, possible.  He found eyewitnesses to the Martyrdom of these priests.  We found that our own Luz Elena’s uncle Jose‚ was an altar boy to two of the martyrs in Cuquio, Mexico, a small town outside of Guadalajara.  We interviewed him, as well as his younger brother, Marcos Sandoval, Luz Elena’s father, who was very young at the time, but remembered the events of the 1920’s.  We interviewed many of the people who had been alive during the Martyrs’ lifetime.

We went to the ranches where these priests ministered, to the poorest villages in Mexico, and once, we actually found ourselves in a jungle, or a rain forest, outside of Tequila, Mexico, where the people still live in adobe huts, have no electricity, and wash their dishes in a brook; and their smiles were radiant.  In the midst of this brush which no ordinary transportation could bring you, was the house where one of the priests, Blessed Toribio Romo lived and celebrated Mass underground, and where he was finally caught and executed by the soldiers.

There are many stories of pain and persecution, many efforts to rob the Mexican people of their God and Madre, Our Lady of Guadalupe, but the holy stubbornness quality that our Blessed John Paul II loved will live on.

We’ve said it from the beginning, and the Lord bears us out.  In times of crisis, God sends us “Powerful Men and Women in our Church,” God sends us Martyrs!  God sent us Miguel Pro, not only for the Mexican people, but for God loving people everywhere, to let us know loud and clear that God is alive!

There are many messages in the story of our modern day Martyr, Miguel Pro. Perhaps the greatest lesson, the most important truth we will ever learn, is Blessed Miguel Pro’s battle cry, the victory cry of Christians everywhere, for all the world to hear, “Vivo Christo Rey!”  Long live Christ the King!

This is taken from Bob and Penny Lord’s book, Martyrs, They died for Christ.

Link to our page about the Mexican Martyrs
http://www.bobandpennylord.com/mexican.htm

 

View video clip – Mexican Martyrs

http://www.staged.com/video?v=eQd

Saint Toribio Romo – Patron of Immigrants

July 18, 2009

Patron of Immigrants

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Toribio Romo was born on the Santa Ana Ranch in Guadalupe, in the state of Jalisco, Mexico on April 15, 1900. He was baptized the next day by Father Miguel Romo. He received First Communion at the age of 7. He grew up in a small town of reverent and humble people, where the custom was to adore Our Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every night. Through this influence, he developed a great devotion to Our Lord Jesus in the Eucharist and Our Lady of Guadalupe. As a child he was an altar boy and was known for his devotion and the conscientious manner with which he carried out his duties.

At 13 years old, he began his studies at the Minor Seminary of San Juan de los Lagos. He received his minor vows in February, 1919 at that Seminary. That same year, he entered the Major Seminary of Guadalajara to continue and conclude his studies He consecrated his life to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Joseph.

He was ordained deacon on Sept. 3, 1922 and on the 23rd of December of the same year he was ordained priest by his local Bishop. The joy that Father Toribio had so longed for had reached its peak that day.

He celebrated his first Mass at his Parish Church at the age of 22. in the same church where as a seminarian he had dedicated himself to La Morenita, the dark-skinned Virgin of Tepeyac. He dedicated his works to the establishment of Catechism. He founded centers, commissioned catechists and organized a collective First Communion which was memorable.
He was transferred to Coquio, but religious persecution had begun and he found himself along with Fr. Justino Orona and his associate, Fr. Atilano Cruz, living a nomad’s life which paralyzed his pastoral activities. The strong Catholic atmosphere in which he was raised, only served to increase his faith and to propagate devotion for the Eucharist

When his Bishop asked him to take charge of the parish in Tequila, he did this obediently, since it was a parish that already had been refused by many priests. To be the parish priest in Tequila was akin to signing a death warrant. Toribio overcame his natural fear, since Tequila was a place when the military and civil authorities most hated priests. Two days after he received his orders and his last blessing from his Bishop, he left for Tequila to fulfill a mandate that would lead to his martyrdom. When the persecution forced him to hide in the thick brush, he prayed constantly for his parishioners and he suffered tremendously knowing what the townspeople were going through at the hands of the military and the reformers.

Due to the political situation in the area Fr. Toribio had to establish as the center of his activities an abandoned tequila factory near a ranch known as “Agua Caliente.” It was near some ravines thick with vegetation. In one room he had a prayer Chapel where he taught religious classes to the people of the area and catechism to the children. When the troops were in the area they would celebrate Mass and other sacraments while they hid among the heavy brush.

It was here in the ravines that he baptized hundreds of children, united many couples in marriage and when necessary traveled secretly at night to the town of Tequila to minister to the sick.

He was accompanied by his older sister, María and later his brother, Roman, now a priest, who were there to help him. Often times the two priests would have to hide because the persecutors would be in search of victims.

On Thursday, Feb. 23rd, he asked his brother Roman to go to Guadalajara and try to settle urgent business concerning his parish. At 4 a.m. Fr. Roman, said Mass and Fr. Toribio Romo Gonzalez concelebrated.

On Friday the 24th after celebrating the Holy Mass, and lunch, he told his sister María, “I’m going to be very busy, I want to bring everything up to date.” He worked on this all day only stopping to pray the Rosary and Liturgy of the Hours. All night he continued with his work, putting in order all the documentation for baptisms and marriages.

On Saturday the 25th of Feb. of 1928 at 4 a.m. He awoke his sister, who had been sleeping in a chair and said, “I’m very sleepy, I going to celebrate Mass and later lay down.” While preparing for Mass he said, “Better I sleep for a while and later I will be able to celebrate Mass better.”

He returned to his room, removed his alb, and threw himself upon his straw bed and covered his face with his arm . María laid down on Fr. Roman’s bed and instantly they both were in a deep sleep.

At 5 a.m. the federales, acting on the tip of an informant, quietly arrived at the “Toma de Tequila” (factory). They jumped over the fence and went the room of the custodian. When he opened the door, one of the soldiers said, “This is not the priest.” They later opened the door to the room where Father Toribio slept, and when he pulled back his arm from his face, he yelled, “That’s the priest; kill him!”

The surprise awakened Fr. Romo immediately, and he said, “Yes, I am the priest but please don’t kill me…” and before he could finish the sentence, he was riddled with bullets amid insults. He staggered to the door and a second round of bullets were fired and this made him fall. His sister ran to take him in her arms and in a strong voice said,
“Courage Father Toribio… Merciful Jesus , receive him! ¡Viva Cristo Rey!”

With one last glance, Fr. Toribio Romo Gonzalez said good-bye to the sister who had guided him to the priesthood and now to his martyrdom.
The soldiers stripped him of his clothes while they sang vulgar songs and transported his body in a straw cot made by the local peasants. The blood of that future saint bathed the ravines as they drove the rocky roads back to Tequila, where they threw his body in front of the municipal court house. His sister María, was arrested, made to walk barefoot and not allowed to rescue her brothers body.  Read more click here


11 Nuns of Nowogrodek

July 16, 2009

Martyrs of Nazism

11 Nuns of Nowogrodek

11 Nuns of Nowogrodek

We only spent a short time in Poland; we listened to the eyewitness accounts of wholesale massacre of these brave people, first by the Communists, then by the Nazis, and again by the Communists.  We can’t help but wonder what kind of brainwashing had to be done to the troops of the Nazi and Soviet Union armies, to get them to believe that everyone else in the world except them was so much garbage, to be discarded at will, and slaughtered in any cruel and inhuman manner.  We do know that Hitler instituted an indoctrination program for the Nazi military, claiming that they were the Aryan race, and better than anyone else.  By comparison, the rest of the world was just so much trash.  Brother Joseph of our Ministry brought to our attention just recently that Poland had always blocked Germany from Russian attacks just by the nature of its geographical location.  When the Russians would attack the Germans, or vice versa, the battles always wound up being fought on Polish soil.

A statistic we read about World War II maintains that close to 30,000,000 people were killed during that war, and over half of them were civilians.  So much for the reported skill and bravery of those crack Nazi troops.  It doesn’t take much of either to mow down unarmed, defenseless people with machine guns.  They did their best work against unarmed men, women and children.  And let us not forget our priests and nuns.  They were not only unarmed victims; they even prayed for their attackers.

One of the most outrageous and senseless massacres of the Polish people we have learned about was the slaughter of 11 helpless nuns of the Order of the Holy Family of Nazareth in the woods of Nowogrodek, on August 1, 1943.  During the war, this was part of Poland.  The Soviet Union took it over after World War II, and is today part of Byelorussia.  This also gives you some idea of how these people have been footballed around by tyrannical bullies during this century alone.  Read more click here


Martyrs Introduction

July 3, 2009



Martyrs They Died for Christ – Introduction

Our Lord Jesus always works through my wife. I have to believe that His mandate to us, “Unless you come as little children” and “Suffer the little children to come unto Me.” has to apply to my wife. She has the beautiful faith of a child. He speaks to her; she listens; and she acts on what He says. Either He doesn’t speak to me, or my brain is too clogged with garbage to listen. Thank God for Penny. He told her to have us write our first book, This Is My Body, This Is My Blood, Miracles of the Eucharist, when I would have thought that was the last thing we should have done. That book is a best seller, which put us into a completely new Ministry, and it was because she listened to the Word of the Lord.

Even before we finished writing the Scandal of the Cross and its Triumph in 1992, Penny was getting the message to write about the Martyrs in the Church, those selfless brothers and sisters who gave their lives for this beautiful Church of ours, that it may survive, that it may spread to the four corners of the earth, that Jesus’ message, “Go out to all the world and proclaim the Good News” may be carried out.

Also, in 1992, we made a 13 part television series, The Many Faces of Mary. During the taping of this series, we had to travel all over Europe and into Mexico, in the course of just a few months. In Zaragoza, Spain, we were honored to interview the Archbishop, Elias Yanes Alvarez. He told us briefly about the Martyrs of Zaragoza, young men who died for their faith during the Spanish Civil War. Within a few days of this interview, we went to Knock, Ireland, to make the program about Our Lady of Knock. Monsignor Grealy, the custodian of the Shrine, told us about the 17 Irish Martyrs who were being beatified in September, 1992. And then, on our trip to Our Lady of Guadalupe in December, 1992, we were introduced to the three young Martyrs of Tlaxcala, Mexico, who were beatified with Juan Diego in 1990.

The Lord spoke to us again, when we appeared on Mother Angelica Live. A telephone caller asked the question, “How were the Martyrs of the early Church able to withstand the cruel torture they had to endure?” “How was Maxmilian Kolbe able to take another man’s place, and be willing to die, during the Nazi annihilation of prisoners at Auschwitz?” “How did Joan of Arc manage to pray, while being burned at the stake?”

We didn’t have the answer. Thank God we had Mother there. She zeroed in on the answer immediately. She said, “They were given Signal Grace. That is a special grace given to those who have to perform special tasks for God, or undergo severe anguish for God.” I recall that Mother was extremely serious that evening. Her eyes were sad; her jaw set.

No matter where we turned, the Lord was pointing out Martyrs to us. We knew that this was what He wanted from us this year. We knew the Lord wanted the world to know about those who had given up their lives, for Him, and for His Church which they had embraced as their own. But we weren’t sure why. We knew that one reason had to be the dissimilarity between those who are willing to die for Christ in His Church, and those who are not even willing to live for Christ in His Church, for those who take it so for granted, that it has very little meaning to them. It’s just something they do, someplace they go on Sunday.

It wasn’t until we began the chapter on the Martyrs of North America, that the whole reasoning behind it came upon us full force. I would say coincidentally, but I became aware a long time ago that there are no coincidences with the Lord, unless they are Holy Coincidences. So, to rephrase, Holy coincidentally, we began writing the chapter about the American Martyrs around the 23rd of January, the anniversary of the Roe-Wade Decision, which legalized abortion in our country. And on the 23rd of this January, 1993, the twentieth anniversary, our new President Clinton issued Executive Orders wiping out all bans on federal aid regarding abortion, which had been instituted during the previous twelve years.

It was in this context, and against this background that we began to write about those people of the early days of our country who struggled against unbelievable odds to bring Jesus to the people of this new land. We had to read about those who left other countries to make a new life in this country, because of religious persecution and atrocities they suffered in their native land. It was with some irony and a great sense of loss that we compared their courage and bravery, and commitment to their God, with what seems to be a complete lack of religious rights in this country today, this free country founded under God. It was very depressing. We heard our pro-life leaders conceding that we could not expect any help from our government for religious freedom. We would have to convert men’s hearts, rather than expect justice through legislation. And we were ready to do that, and we are ready to do that. But we really felt defeated.

And then came January 25th, 1993. That is the Feast Day honoring the Conversion of St. Paul. Our minds and hearts clicked in on this totally impossible situation, Saul the Christian persecutor. His very name made the Christians shake with fear. They fled for their lives from this self-appointed defender of the Jews against this “New Way”, these Christians. Nowhere were they safe. He tracked them down in Jerusalem. When that seemed to get the desired results, he spread out his operation to areas outside Jerusalem, Damascus, for example.

Saul, the Christian killer, was on his way to Damascus, in hot pursuit of all those followers of Jesus who had fled Jerusalem. They would not escape him. He had the law on his side; he had the government behind him. Nothing could stop him; but something did stop him. That something was the end of Saul, the Christian Killer, and the beginning of Paul, the most powerful Apostle our Church has ever known. Jesus knocked him off his high horse to get through to him.

If Saul could be converted, who cannot be converted? Who can withstand the power of God? The battle cry of the mighty Archangel Michael, roars down through the celestial galaxies, “Who is like God? No one is like God!” We have weapons, family. We have prayer, which is the most powerful weapon available on the face of the earth and has always been from the beginning of time. Our cry should not be, “Well, when all else fails, pray.” No, our battle cry should be, “Our sword is our prayer.” Each prayer raised up to heaven is another sword in the hands of the mighty Angels. And whether you believe it or not, no one, not on earth, nor in heaven, or in hell, can come against the power of prayer.

We believe this was the light at the end of the tunnel, the reason the Lord wanted us to write this book, at this time. We believe we are to show the people of God the price we have paid, not only in this country, but all over the world, the blood which has been shed so that we can be Catholics. We must know how precious our Catholic Church is. We must fight every element within and without, who would destroy the people of God. We cannot fight among ourselves. We have a greater enemy, who is determined to gobble all of us up, and spit us out at the gates of hell.

We are in serious times. We’ve been in these times before; we’re in those times right now. The attacks against the Catholic Church, have become fierce. You can’t turn around without seeing a new, blatant attack mounted against the people of God. Sometimes I feel as if we are with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. “This is your hour and the power of darkness.” or when He said to Pilate, “If My kingdom were of this world, my soldiers would be all around me to protect Me, but My Kingdom is not of this world.”

Our Lord Jesus, our Mother Mary, our brothers and sisters the Saints, our cousins and guides, the Angels, are all crying out to us to save our world. Our Lady has been said to be appearing all over the world, to hundreds of thousands of people with one message, Repent and Reconcile. Stop killing one another. It’s not just the United States. We’re not unique. We’re just a part of world genocide. But we have to focus our country on the Martyrs who bought this land with their blood, and be an example to the rest of the world. We can only do it together. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Nor can a country, nor can a people. We are the people of God. We have been given a very clear cut mandate. We must unite now!

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