Monday, November 23, 2015

Feast of Blessed Miguel Pro

[Reposted from Musings Over a Pint.]

November 23 is the Feast Day of Blessed Miguel Pro. Born on January 13, 1891, in Guadalupe, Mexico, Miguel Pro was ordained a Jesuit priest in Belgium in 1925. He returned to his home country in 1926, in the midst of that country's Cristeros War. After being falsely accused of an attempted bombing, Father Pro was executed by government forces without trial

Blessed Miguel Pro's final request was to be allowed to pray to his heavenly Father.

After which he refused a blindfold and faced the firing squad bravely, proclaiming ¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Father Pro's executioners initially failed at their task, and the deed was finished at point blank range.

I am saddened, but hardly surprised, at the ignorance of the American public regarding the persecution of Catholics, and of the Cristero War that took place in Mexico in 1926 through 1929. Some 250,000 people lost their lives in a persecution that was supported by the government of the United States with both funds and air support. Given the ever-growing intolerance towards Christians, especially Catholics, in the United States, we would do well to remember.

Christ the King, by the intercession of Blessed Miguel Pro, I beg you to answer my prayers. Give me the grace and the strength necessary to follow your heroic example and to live my Catholic faith in spite of all temptations and adversities. Amen.

Images from Wikipedia.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Feast Day of Saint Gabriel Possenti

Today is the Feast Day of our patron Saint, Gabriel Possenti. In his honor, why not take a friend to the range today?


[This February 27, 2013 post at Musings Over a Pint tells of our affinity for the Saint.]

I am often struck by how the Saints work themselves into our lives. One Saint with whom I am feeling a growing connection is St. Gabriel Possenti. Today, February 27, is the Feast Day devoted to this interesting Saint.

St. Gabriel Possenti was a Catholic seminarian in Isola del Gran Sasso, Italy. In 1860 he is said to have used his skills with the pistol to drive off a band of marauding soldiers who were terrorizing the town. Possenti faced the troublemakers after grabbing revolvers from two soldiers. As they laugh at the young student, he took aim and accurately shot a lizard that was running across the road. Impressed, the soldiers left the town, escorted by the seminarian, who had become the hero of the town.

Like many Saints, there's an unclear line between the facts of the Saint's life and the "tradition" associated with him. However, this story about Gabriel Possenti has led to him being promoted as the Patron Saint of Handgunners. The St. Gabriel Possenti Society was created for the purpose of promoting the Saint's cause. The society also promotes the study of the historical, philosophical and theological bases for the doctrine of self-defense.

A couple of years ago, our parish was presented with a relic of St. Gabriel Possenti, under the name St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. It was an exciting moment when I saw the blurb announcing the displayed relic in our weekly bulletin. Since then, I've enjoyed sharing the story of Gabriel Possenti with many parishioners.

When some local Catholics were looking for a name for a blog devoted to Catholicism and self defense,  we were naturally drawn to honor the Saint by creating Gabriel Possenti Shooters. I dare say most of our Catholic friends who also enjoy shooting are familiar with the Saint and his story.

Recently, I was looking at my Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit when I was struck by the anniversary date printed on the permit — February 27. Wow, my permit was issued on the Feast Day of the Patron Saint of Handgunners! That's some "coincidence." It would appear the Saint has been watching out for me longer than I have been aware of him.

St. Gabriel Possenti ora pro nobis!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Day After Christmas Range Trip

Sitting around Christmas evening, I got an email from a friend who was arranging a trip to the range for Friday morning. He had included a few fellow parishioners from our church as well. The temperature was expected to be in the unseasonable 50's the next day, making the range trip all the more attractive.

The morning dawned cool, my car dashboard read 30° when I left the house, and the frost was thick on the ground. When I arrived at the range one friend and his son were already there but surprisingly no one else was using any of the ranges. Very soon, two more friends arrived, one also with his young son. Everyone set up their targets, we loaded guns, and got quickly to the shooting to work off the chill.

We shot for just over an hour. There was a lot of camaraderie and friendly banter. There was a variety of firearms on the bench so it was also a good chance shoot some different guns. I took the opportunity to try out another SIG I had never shot, a P229 in .40. Everyone was most generous in sharing, as gun folks generally are.

I've known all of the guys, and their sons, for a long time, but had only shot with one of them previously. I was very pleased, but not surprised, to see everyone was very conscientious regarding muzzle awareness and safety in general, even the kids. The head Range Officer had been sitting in his car watching us for a long time and after I finished, I went over to talk to him. The first thing he said was "I love sitting and watching a group of shooters all being safe and doing what they are supposed to do." That was indeed a compliment coming from him.

There's already talk of making this an annual "Day After Christmas" event, and perhaps we can expand the event to include more of our fellow parishioners. (And of course, making it more frequent would be welcome too.) I look forward to shooting with these guys again. Catholic and armed, my kind of people!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Remembering the Battle of Lepanto

[Originally posted at Musings Over a Pint.]

October 7 marks the anniversary of The Battle of Lepanto in the year 1571. In this historically significant battle, the Fleet of the Holy League defeated the much larger fleet of the Ottoman Empire. This Christian victory stopped, for a while, the aggression of the "religion of peace" into the Mediterranean, and into Europe as well. Untold hundreds of thousands of innocent people were saved from slavery, execution, and other barbarisms the moslems were bringing to conquered lands as they spread their violent and tyrannical agenda.

We have a good idea what an islamist victory at Lepanto would have brought to Europe and the rest of the world. Witness the genocide of Christians in the Middle East and the application of "islamic law" in those same lands, as well as the growing islamic unrest in Europe. We should offer a prayer of thanksgiving for those Christian warriors of long ago, even as we face the resurgence of islamic conquests at home and abroad.

Lest we be complacent, heed the words of Robert McMullen,
Many Christian knights, soldiers, and sailors have died defending Christendom against the onslaughts of Islam down through the centuries. Today, the borders of many European countries, Canada, and the United States are practically wide open, and the old enemy is invited to come in and make himself at home. And many 'Christians' in the West are just too busy enjoying their material prosperity to be bothered with unpleasant history. 

But the enemy has not forgotten history. He remembers it all too well, and he is still deadly serious about his religion. His goal over the years has not changed in the slightest, and he is very patient. The enemy within is now smiling, just biding his time.

And also the reminder from Theodore Roosevelt, writing at the start of the 20th Century,
Christianity is not the creed of Asia and Africa at this moment solely because the seventh century Christians of Asia and Africa had trained themselves not to fight, whereas the Moslems were trained to fight. Christianity was saved in Europe solely because the peoples of Europe fought. If the peoples of Europe in the seventh and eighth centuries, and on up to and including the seventeenth century, had not possessed a military equality with, and gradually a growing superiority over the Mohammedans who invaded Europe, Europe would at this moment be Mohammedan and the Christian religion would be exterminated.

The uninformed, the willfully ignorant, along with the islamic mouthpieces in our own government, continue to spout off about the "peaceful muslims." Yet history shows us islam is not, and has never been, peaceful. That a majority of muslims aren't actively killing Christians and other non-mulsims, does not mean they don't support those who do. It in no way changes the true basis of the islamic creed. The truth is, you cannot separate terrorism from islam. There is nothing in islamic theology that proves this aggression as un-islamic. All of Christendom once knew this, but sadly over the centuries many have forgotten, or surrendered to political correctness.

The violent acts of faithful followers and imitators of mohammed, those who actually do as their "faith" commands, are occurring daily around the world, ignored by the leftist media, and excused by inept politicians and the clueless Hollywood elite. The "lone wolf" attacks on our country have been occurring for decades. How long before we face a renewed, and modern, version of the moslem fleet that sailed against Lepanto? The head of the FBI says, "very, very soon." Let us mark this anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto with an increased awareness of the very real threat to civilization from this satanic and barbaric ideology.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Church Militant

The Universal Church, Christianity, is traditionally said to be comprised of three parts; the Church Triumphant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Militant. The Church Militant refers to those of us here on earth fighting against sin and evil, struggling daily to gain our way into Eternal Glory. As the forces of Satan grow stronger throughout the world, the Church Militant begins to take on additional and foreboding relevance.

Recently, the exiled Chaldean Catholic Archeparch of Mosul, Archbishop Amel Nona, made this impassioned plea,
Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future. I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive. 
Please, try to understand us. Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.
During a recent Sunday homily, the priest spoke of the Church Militant, and reminded us of the importance of standing strong and not denying our faith, even in the face of death. We were urged to prayerful solidarity with the Christians in the Middle East who are facing genocide at the hands of muslims.

I have often said that if, or when, I am put on trial for my faith, I pray that there is enough evidence to convict me. But I know the weakness that exists to tempt me towards an earthly survival. I pray that I am indeed strong enough, by the grace of God, to accept what may come. I shudder at the peril of that poor Christian who denied his faith, only to be immediately beheaded by his tormentors. May God have mercy on his soul.

But we do not have to accept the evil in our midst. It is my belief, that if the Christians living today took the title of Church Militant to its literal end, we might actually save ourselves from the same fate as the martyred Christians in Mosul and beyond. We might avoid being faced to make that choice of martyrdom or eternal damnation.

Archbishop Nona's warning is chilling. Read it again. Let that unsettling warning sink into your heart. The silence of the "irrelevant" and silent muslim aside, Islam is, and has always been at odds with freedom, and it remains at war with Christianity. Never has this ideology of submission peacefully "co-existed" with Christendom. Those Christians in Iraq, in Syria, and throughout the Middle East know it, and they are dying because of it. To deny that the satanic spread of islam will ever willingly self-limit is but fatal ignorance.

I make a plea to my all fellow Christians, and to my fellow Catholics in particular. Do not become complacent. "Turning the other cheek" does not mean acquiescence, it does not mean surrender. We must stand up to the silent surrender in the courts, and by those in political office. Political correctness is meekness, and meekness loses to oppression every time. I do not seek out warfare. I do not seek violence. I will however defend my faith and my family, violently, if forced to do so. The time to prepare draws nigh. The coming battle will be both spiritual and corporal. Heed the words of Theodore Roosevelt who noted at the turn of the 20th century, "Christianity was saved in Europe solely because the peoples of Europe fought." Sadly, it may now be too late for a Christian Europe. If we too fail to stand strong now, we in the West "will become the victims of the enemy [we] have welcomed."

See "Archbishop of Mosul: 'I have lost my Diocese to Islam - You in the West will also become the victims of Muslims'" for the complete warning from the exiled leader.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

St. Gabriel Possenti Feast Day

Today is a great day for hitting the range. February 27 is the Feast Day of St. Gabriel Possenti. The Saint's story is related in this post. In addition to the events of the past, Gabriel Possenti continues to touch many of us today. Our local parish has a relic of Gabriel Possenti, under his other title, St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. I will make a point of visiting with the Saint today.

Our range trip for today was planned well in advance, and before I realized it would fall on this date. Interestingly my original Concealed Handgun Permit was issued on February 27 as well. Coincidences? Maybe, maybe not.

On this Feast Day, share the story of the Saint with another shooter, or pay a visit to the range and work on your own accuracy skills. I think it would be a great way to honor St. Gabriel Possenti.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Intertwining of Church Militant Souls and Church Triumphant Saints

We are bound to time, and can easily overlook the eternal. Deadlines rush upon us, schedules crowd our thoughts and months pass as we work towards a goal. It is good to try to look with supernatural eyes at the world and the signs God has placed here for us to see. Each day. Signs pointing us toward our heavenly home. I caught a glimpse of a few such signs today.

The Federal Tax deadline weighing on my mind I ran to the accountant's first thing this morning to pick up our returns, ready to file. Other errands were planned into the morning hours creating a heavy sense of time and deadlines. Once home, I spent a few minutes reading blogs online and discovered a chain of Saints reaching out through time to let me know I am loved by God. Today.

St. Gemma Galgani is listed in the Roman Martyrology for April 11. A beautiful young woman, she looked like someone I would have wanted to know and be around. She was a mystic and one whom God chose to receive the stigmata. I was interested and read more about her. I noticed in her quotes a special love of Our Lady of Sorrows, who is dear to me and my family. But then I hit an "aha" moment as I read that she had a special devotion to our patron St. Gabriel Possenti! She was even visited by St. Gabriel Possenti and he assisted in her miraculous healing. "Huh!" I thought, St. Gabriel Possenti reached out through time to connect to St. Gemma and bring her closer to God. He led me to a new Saint, a new friend!

A few of us were interested in seeing the Medal of Honor being awarded to Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun today, and again I sensed those reaching out through time to touch lives of us still striving for heaven. CSPAN3 covered the ceremony, and we were in an online chat together as it happened. I listened to the glorious story of Fr. Kapaun, his generosity, his self-sacrifice, his encouragement, his daily commitment to do everything possible to make his part of the world an offering to God. I then looked at his family and friends, who did not give up pushing for the proper recognition of Fr. Kapaun's heroic efforts. Their perseverance, their commitment to his cause, and the dedication needed to wait 60 years for this moment is inspiring.

I watched as the president, perhaps uncomfortable recognizing a heroic priest's life, used stilted language and awkward phrasing to outline all that Fr. Kapaun did. The president mentioned a cross "and body" the other prisoners had carved from scrounged wood to remember Fr. Kapaun after he had died. Intrigued, I searched online and found a photo of sturdy, beautiful crucifix held by some of the men as they were freed. What a tribute to the priest!

I sensed that this priest, who may one day be canonized a Saint in the Catholic Church, was placed as a sign for us, and for the president. As he spoke the words, I wondered if they might be touching his heart, his soul - showing him what virtue is, what a real man does, how a faithful Christian serves God? I am certain Fr. Kapaun is to be canonized; to hear his actions described by a man who has no respect for the Catholic Church, who is actively pressing for Her destruction, who has no moral compass as he pushes for abortion in all forms, same sex marriage and other objectively evil things, my heart was touched, my eyes misty. Even coming from the mouth of one so distant from Mother Church and all that She teaches, Fr. Kapaun's story was still glorious!

How God decides to place each of us in a specific time and place to do His will includes even those beyond time, to be our friends and encourage us to holiness! He is the most gifted gardener, placing people in each others lives as one might select plants which compliment each other and grow well together. But not just people here and now, Saints already in heaven. They are the ones who strike a chord and touch our hearts and they will aid us as we strive for sanctity. Our friends on earth may fail us at times, snub our assistance, or rudely rebuff our kindness, but those in heaven never will! Hang onto the eternal friends, forgive the struggling ones here, and, as Fr. Kapaun did so heroically, offer every aspect of your life everyday to do God's will.