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Heroic Catholicism

The days in which we live now require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism. We can no longer be Catholics by accident, but instead be Catholics by conviction…We must be a fearless army…ready to give everything we have for the Lord, who gave everything for our salvation. – Bishop Daniel Jenky, (Peoria, Ill) April 14, 2012

The Blood of Martyrs

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. – Tertullian Apologeticus l

To be a martyr is to bear witness to the Faith. Presently, for Western Christians, the literal spilling of blood (red martyrdom) in witness to the Faith remains a very foreign occurrence. On the other hand, white martyrdom (a bloodless persecution) is unquestionably prominent.

Following Christ demands the courage of radical choices, which often means going against the stream. “We are Christ!”, St Augustine exclaimed. The martyrs and witnesses of faith yesterday and today, including many lay faithful, show that, if necessary, we must not hesitate to give even our lives for Jesus Christ. – Pope John Paul II, Jubilee of the Apostolate of the Laity, n. 4

It is neither hyperbole or doomsday jargon to state that the chasm between the past and present – between persecution and peace –  is rapidly closing.

Looking Back

The Cristero War (1926-1929) gave birth to many martyrs who were beatified and canonized by Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and, most recently, Pope Francis. They fought and died for love of God and their right to worship Him freely.

Many of the martyrs were priests who defied President Plutarco Calles and the mercilessly mandated anti-clerical laws written into the socialist Mexican Constitution of 1917.

Today, we must fast and pray so that our bishops and priests have the courage to lead and love in Persona Christi – in the Person of Christ.

The World Today 

With God’s holy faith forgotten, each individual will want to direct himself and rise above his peers. Civil and ecclesiastical authority will be abolished, all order and justice will be trampled underfoot. Only murders, hatred, jealousy, lying and discord will be seen, with no love of country or family…Civil governments will all have the same objective, which will be to abolish and make every religious principle disappear, to make way for materialism, atheism, spiritism and vices of all kinds. (Our Lady of LaSallete, 1846)

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths. (2 Timothy 4: 3-4)

Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:11)

Ah! Those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness to light, and light into darkness, who change bitter to sweet, and sweet into bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

Father, a time will come when the decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family. And those who will work for the good of the family will experience persecution and tribulation. But do not be afraid, because Our Lady has already crushed his head. – Venerable Sister Lucia of Fatima in a letter to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra (1983 or 1984)

The Final Confrontation

Pope St. John Paul II
Pope St. John Paul II

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the Gospel and the anti-Gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously. It is a trial of not only our nation and the Church, but, in a sense, a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations.” – Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (Pope St. John Paul II) The 41st International Eucharistic Congress, Philadelphia, 1976

Fight Not Flight

Si vis pacem, para bellum: if you want peace, prepare for war

Are you a spiritual warrior or are you a spiritual prisoner of war? Do you even realize that we are in a war? What’s the condition of your personal armor? How sharp is your sword?

“The Church and her faithful are under attack by a world hostile to Jesus Christ and his sacred mysteries. The times are so serious, that the spiritual sword of the rosary must find itself in the hands of new champions.” –  Fr. Donald Calloway, Champions of the Rosary

Holy Mother Church needs humble and heroic Catholics whose armor is restored in the Sacrament of Mercy and whose souls are worthily nourished by the Bread of Life. The Church needs intentional pilgrims on the journey, not casual sightseers. She needs sober players on the field of spiritual battle, not drunken hecklers in the bleachers. The Bride of Christ needs evangelists, not pacifists. The Church Militant needs courageous warriors with the heart of David willing to march under the banner of the Queen Warrior and engage the principalities, the powers, the world rulers of this present darkness, the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

We are living in a time and place of intense spiritual battle, and only in taking up spiritual arms will we alleviate the spiritual disease that is at the root of so much of the physical and mental suffering in the world today. It is time to leave the sensational aside, and respond to the requests of our Lady at Fatima. – Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, Homily of October 7, 2017

Are you that warrior? Are you that champion?

Love the Madonna and pray the rosary…the rosary is the weapon that wins all battles. – St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina

True Devotion to Triumph

Our Lady of Guadalupe. “Our Lady who crushes the serpent.” © 2019 Smith Catholic Art

There is a battle that our ancestors have been participating in for centuries, a battle that we are all born into, whether we know it or not…To be born is to be immersed in this epic cosmic drama that has eternal consequences…Our Lady has a significant role in this battle. – Fr. Daniel-Maria Klimek, T.O.R, For the Love of Mary, 139-140

In True Devotion to Mary, 54-59, St. Louis de Montfort prophesied that in latter times Mary will rouse her humble servants to fight against the enemy and that in union with her, they will crush the head of Satan and bring victory to Jesus Christ.

But Mary’s power over the evil spirits will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lie in wait for her heel, that is, for her humble servants and her poor children whom she will rouse to fight against him. In the eyes of the world they will be little and poor and, like the heel, lowly in the eyes of all, down-trodden and crushed as is the heel by the other parts of the body. But in compensation for this they will be rich in God’s graces, which will be abundantly bestowed on them by Mary. They will be great and exalted before God in holiness. They will be superior to all creatures by their great zeal and so strongly will they be supported by divine assistance that, in union with Mary, they will crush the head of Satan with their heel, that is, their humility, and bring victory to Jesus Christ. (Treatise on True Devotion, n. 54)

In essence, according to St. Louis de Montfort, total consecration to Jesus through Mary is a grafting of our life into the heel of Mary with whom we are instrumental in crushing the head of Satan and bringing about the triumph of her Immaculate Heart. Those who are totally consecrated to Jesus through Mary are participators in the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15.

Be courageous and brave. You have nothing to fear. Fight for Your Mother, the Church. She may be wounded. We can heal Her with our love, our compassion, and zeal. – Mother Angelica

Die on the Side of God

At the tender age of fourteen, when most boys these days are absorbed in sports, gaming, and girls, a young farm boy affectionately known as Joselito (St. José Sánchez del Río) was serving as a flag bearer in the Cristero army – the grass root Catholic militia that rose to defend the Church and fight the tyrannical, anti-Catholic Mexican government which criminalized the Sacraments and the celebration of the Mass.

Joselito was captured in battle, jailed in the church of his baptism, beaten, tortured, mutilated, and martyred for refusing to renounce his faith in Christ. The bottom of his feet were sliced and he was forced to walk to his grave all the while reciting the rosary, praying for his enemies, singing songs to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and proclaiming, “Vivo Cristo Rey y Santa Maria de Guadalupe!” It was Jose’s godfather, Rafael Picazo, a federal sympathizer, who ordered his execution. He was stabbed and shot twice in the head on Feb. 10, 1928.

My Dear Mother

Whether we suffer the bloodless persecution of white martyrdom or bear witness to our love of God by the spilling of our blood, we must pray for the grace and courage to die to ourself that we may die happy on the side of God. Joselito bore witness of such heroic love and faith in a letter he wrote to his mother while in captivity shorty before his execution.

My dear mother,

I was made a prisoner in battle today. I think I will die soon, but I do not care, mother. Resign yourself to the will of God. I will die happy because I die on the side of our God. Do not worry about my death, which would mortify me. Tell my brothers to follow the example that their youngest brother leaves them, and do the will of God. Have courage and send me your blessing along with my father’s.

Send my regards to everyone one last time and finally receive the heart of your son who loves you so much and who wanted to see you before dying. José Sánchez del Río (February 6, 1928)

Let Us Pray

Saint José, littlest soldier of Christ, whose last bloody steps brought you into the arms of our Lady and our Lord, keep healthy and strong the steps of our Lord’s soldiers who remain here on earth, so that they may have your strength to endure and persevere to the end. Amen.

Viva Cristo Rey! Viva La Virgen de Guadalupe!

© 2023 Brian Kravec

Brian is a cradle Catholic, husband and father. He’s a writer, speaker, and the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Possibility Productions, a 501(c)(3) faith event evangelization apostolate in service of the Body of Christ.

8 Responses

  1. Inspiring and encouraging that we are surrounded by so great number of heroic warriors! Thankyou for reminding us to take up our arms of the rosary and fight!
    Great article Brian

  2. Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.- CCC 675

  3. People must recite the Rosary every day. Our Lady repeated this in all her apparitions, as if to arm us in advance against these times of diabolical disorientation, so that we would not let ourselves be fooled by false doctrines, and that through prayer, the elevation of our soul to God would not be diminished…. This is a diabolical disorientation invading the world and misleading souls! It is necessary to stand up to it… — Sister Lucy, to her friend Dona Maria Teresa da Cunha
    Read More

  4. From Our Lady of Good Success (16th Century): “At the end of the nineteenth century and throughout a great part of the twentieth, many heresies will be propagated in these lands.…Unbridled passions will give way to a total corruption of customs…The sacrament of Matrimony, which symbolizes the union of Christ with the Church, will be thoroughly attacked and profaned…The holy sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed, and despised…The devil will work to persecute the ministers of the Lord in every way, working with baneful cunning to destroy the spirit of their vocation and corrupting many. Those who will thus scandalize the Christian flock will bring upon all priests the hatred of bad Christians and the enemies of the One, Holy, Roman Catholic, and Apostolic Church…This apparent triumph of Satan will cause enormous suffering to the good pastors of the Church…In those times the atmosphere will be saturated with the spirit of impurity which, like a filthy sea, will engulf the streets and public places with incredible license.… Innocence will scarcely be found in children, or modesty in women…watch Fr. Chris Alar explain the relevance of these prophecies for our times

  5. I never heard of this brave boy until now and I’m a lot older. what an amazing faith he had in God and Mother Mary Brought tears to my eyes. We are living in very hard times spiritually and in every way, everything’s turned upside down little martyr Jose, please pray for us all and keep us strong in spiritual battle Thanks for sharing this about this saint.

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