by Fr Richard Heilman | November 19, 2017 2:28 PM
I’ve been a priest for going on 30 years. I’ve seen a lot, and patterns begin to emerge. I have become particularly attuned to snarky and negative behavior, since I have a big huge target on my back for daring to speak the truth (always with love), and for choosing to stand against the big monster called “modernism,” by loving and advocating “all” of the beautiful jewels of our Catholic faith. Yes, even those prior to 1965. For those who do not take the risk of speaking the truth or advocating pre-1965 Catholicism, I’m fairly certain they go unscathed … the devil leaves them alone, because they pose him no threat.
Through all of this, I have noticed that the “harassment” (persecution) seems to come in waves or periods or “seasons.” There can be long periods of time when most everyone seems to be floating on a spiritual high, as they spend most of their time counting their blessings and try their best to “be a blessing” to those around them. Then, “WHAM!” All of sudden, everything is “wrong” or “bad.” What was once counted as a blessing, is now seen as an irritation or major problem.
I’ve come to call these “Sneeze Seasons,” not because people have colds or allergies, but because, no matter what you do, it is wrong or bad. During this time, I say, “It’s as though if I sneeze to the right, I should have sneezed to the left.” Everything that was once seen as a positive and a blessing (or, at least, neutral, like a sneeze) is scrutinized and demonized. And, it seems to come, one after another after another. It reminds me of the scene from the movie, “Airplane,” where the poor woman has a line of people ready to deal her the next blow.
The other thing I have noticed is that it is not just happening to “poor little ole me” during these “Sneeze Seasons.” It just seems to be in the air. And, I hear of conflicts everywhere … marriages, families, workplace … everywhere.
I believe there may be a certain truth to these occurring at different times of year. Like, I noticed toward the tail end of Winter, I start begging for sunshine and warm weather to melt away all of the mountains that, for most people, were molehills at any other time.
But, I think there is more to it than that. For whatever reason, I think the devil gets especially busy at times. Then what he does is “use weak people.” These are people who may simply be suffering from depression (maybe undiagnosed), or maybe they were raised in households that modeled aggressive and negative behavior, or maybe they are locked in some kind of repetitive sin (no true contrition in their Confessions), or maybe they are just people choosing to live outside of God’s grace … people living lifestyles contrary to the teachings of the Church are especially vulnerable for being used by Satan. Whatever makes them vulnerable, they seem to be appropriate for long periods of time, and then a “spirit of negativity and attack” seems to usher in like a black cloud of a mighty storm.
The reason I titled this article, We’re in a “Super Sneeze Season.” Please Pray for Priests, is because I believe this is a particularly severe season we are going through right now. All one has to do is observe what is going on in the world – Hollywood, Government, Nations, Church – to see there is a wildfire of consternation and division, especially in the past few weeks. Fr. Z even warned of this by way of a dream he had (See HERE). This past Friday night, Fr. Andy McAlpin spoke about this spirit of attack and persecution (particularly toward priests) at our Ladies of Divine Mercy evening and, just this morning, our Vicar General, Msgr. Bartylla talked about this very thing in his sermon at the Traditional Latin Mass here at St. Mary of Pine Bluff. I thought it was just me, until it was confirmed over and over again.
Here’s what I am asking. First, pray for priests. All of the priests I just mentioned, called for the same. Pray, especially, for traditional priests who speak the truth. Satan hates them the most, and he is using weak people to destroy them. Second, know this “Sneeze Season” is occurring and, PLEASE, don’t participate. In other words, don’t let yourself be used by Satan to “tear down” … “build up” instead! Third, the holidays are here and so are family gatherings. You are going to be baited by weak people. Don’t take the bait!! Lead people to Christ by being a blessing in their life, not by “trying to win the argument.”
Lastly, consider ramping up your prayer during this “Super Sneeze Season.” I am. I have spent the past two days praying about how I will begin on Monday with an intensive period of seeking God’s strength through prayer, fasting, etc.. When the devil is running wild, we must grow stronger.
“Draw your strength from the Lord and his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. Our battle is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above. You must put on the armor of God if you are to resist on the evil day; do all that your duty requires, and hold your ground” (Eph 6:10-12)
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