Death can strike at any moment of any day. Wherein Fr. Z begs bishops and priests to preach unvarnished truths.

Just the other day I was catching up on episodes of the series Blue Bloods (Catholic family, cops in NYC, etc.).  In one episode a rep from the police force in London pressed the NYC police commissioner about what he truly feared.  He responded: Paris.

There is still a lot we don’t know about the terror attack on the homosexual night club in Orlando. We know that the perp, from Port St. Lucie, was Muslim and of Afghani origin and, born in NY, is an American citizen. He was a registered Democrat and he had class G, statewide firearms license.  He married a woman from Uzbekistan in 2009.  They met online.  He was a wife-beater. They divorced.  More information will eventually come out.  READERS NEAR ORLANDO: Consider giving blood!  Especially if you are type O (but all types will be helpful).

That said, the point I want to make is that you do not know the day, hour, minute when you will find yourself before the Just Judge for the accounting of and disposition of your immortal soul for eternity.

Death can strike at any moment of any day.

Dear readers, examine your consciences.

Make amends with people.

Perform works of mercy.

Pray.

Fast.

GO TO CONFESSION.

Fathers, bishops, preach about the Four Last Things.

Preach about confession.

Preach with urgency!

I thrust upon you the words of Paul in 1 Timothy 4:

I charge thee, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming, and his kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears:And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. Be sober.

I beg you, dear bishops and priests, tell people the unvarnished truth about Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. I implore you. Your eternal fate also hangs in the balance.  Right?

All you readers out there, in most of the places where you are around the world, things are getting sporty. I urge you to exercise prudence in where you go and when.

When you are out and about – and I think we ought to be – practice great situational awareness. Look around at your surroundings. Watch for things or people or their mannerisms and what they carry that is out of place. If it catches your eye, keep an eye on it. If you are able to take some kind of training that might involve also learning about situational awareness, you will not have wasted your time and we could all be just a little safer if you do.

One thing I can ask you to do right now and that you don’t need a class for: when you are out and about, put your damn phones away! Don’t walk about with your eyes glued to little screens, walking though a digital tunnel of situational oblivion. Please?

Remember: We are all going to face our maker and be judged.  My prayer for you is that that meeting be a happy one – and not any sooner or more violently that it has to be, submitting all things to God’s will, of course.

From a sudden and unprovided death, spare us, O Lord.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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26 Responses to Death can strike at any moment of any day. Wherein Fr. Z begs bishops and priests to preach unvarnished truths.

  1. Nicholas says:

    Good point about phones. Keeping them away when walking can also stop you from being hit by a car.

  2. louiseyvette says:

    “All you readers out there, in most of the places where you are around the world, things are getting sporty. I urge you to exercise prudence in where you go and when.”

    Good advice.

    Father, our family is going to confession very regularly. I beg God not to take me without being in a state of grace.

  3. Wise words, Fr. Z. Thank you so much.

  4. Elizabeth D says:

    All murder is very bad. The murder of people in mortal sin is a greater tragedy than the murder of Christians who are in a state of grace. What happened in Florida is a very, very evil and disgusting act of someone whose Islamic beliefs lead him to a very, very different understanding of relationship with God and the situation of a sinner, than that of Christians.

    Who wants to bet that those who label Christians who hold Christian beliefs about chastity and sexual morality “homophobic” will not use that label for this murder? And yet, they will claim Christians are equally as bad as this mass murderer and somehow to blame?

  5. Supertradmum says:

    A book published in 1922 and re-published in 1999, by Dom Benedict Bauer of Bueron, titled
    Frequent Confession, is superb.

    I highly recommend it for anyone. I hope it is still in print-Scepter Publishers. The Introduction is fantastic, which is something, with a star bibliography.

  6. Clinton R. says:

    Prayers for the victims of the massacre in Orlando. So many of them were likely active in those sins that cry to Heaven for veangeance. May God be merciful upon their souls. This is another example of the how the religion of “peace” differs greatly from our Catholic Faith. We pray for the conversion of the sinner, while Islam sees the sinner as one who should be killed.

    You are right, Father. We should be aware always of our surroundings. There is no place in the world that is safe from terrorism. We need always to be prepared, for the time of our death can come like a thief in the night.

  7. pelerin says:

    The BBC say that the perpetrator was ‘known to the FBI’ and yet he had a licence to own a gun. Why?

  8. HeatherPA says:

    I agree with praying to be in a state of grace at the hour of death, every day. We ask this petition in our daily family rosary and also say an old prayer by St John Newman asking for Holy Viaticum and a state of grace on our last day. Something every family should pray.
    Also getting everyone to Confession every other week, at most, is what we strive for.

  9. Luvadoxi says:

    This makes me think of something evangelical Bible teacher Beth Moore said in her study, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, about Revelation 20:15 and Satan’s rage at his time being short:

    “The thought of the future of the unredeemed makes me shiver. I have no desire for anyone to go there (the lake of fire). Not even the vilest sinner. I pray for all to repent! If God was willing to save me, He is willing to save anyone who asks.”

    This is my prayer from the bottom of my heart! This is the Christian response to a sinner. Lord keep me in a state of grace and free from condemnation of my fellow man.

  10. Elizabeth D says:

    Clinton R. that is well said, and is the meaning of my own comment above. I see now that an Islamic scholar invited as a speaker to an Orlando Islamic center who had previously taught frankly that for homosexuality “death is the sentence, there is nothing to be embarrassed about that” and that this is compassionate to kill them for them to have forgiveness. Nauseating and outrageous, and at the same time gives a clarity to the beauty and mercy of Jesus’ sacrifice for forgiveness of all of our sins. God does NOT will sinners to die. There is video https://pjmedia.com/homeland-security/2016/06/12/orlando-night-club-attack-by-known-wolf-terrorist-previously-investigated-by-fbi/

    The killer’s father claims it is nothing to do with religion. Well, Muslims lie and see nothing wrong with lying if it seems better for the cause of Islam.

  11. acmeaviator says:

    A. Being questioned by the FBI does not take away your constitutional rights. B. If you insinuated that he should not have a gun up to the moment he started shooting you would be considered a bigoted racist profiler.

    [Being questioned by the FBI might, however, have an effect on your employment as a security guard. It might raise questions in the minds of your employers…. sigh… who are also probably worried about getting sued. Sigh.]

  12. ml1948 says:

    Words never heard in a homily at my parish:
    Hell, Purgatory, Confession, Repentance
    Sin mentioned two times in the past 20 years; in both cases in the context of those who obsess over sins already forgiven.

    Baptismal service today (at another parish), with the baptismal vow free of any mention of “Satan”, “his works” and “all his empty promises”; instead a rather abstract and anodyne phrases along the lines of “do good, avoid evil.”

    And to point this out one risks being labeled a heartless, law-bound Pharisee along the lines of the one in today’s Gospel – or, in a sign of theological ignorance, a Neo-Pelagian.

  13. Gerard Plourde says:

    This, like the shooting of Christina Grimmmie also in Orlando the day before, clearly reminds us that we do not know the day or the hour. Prayers for all of the victims. Also, to echo Fr. Z’s request, because of the great need, even those more distant should donate blood if they can. It can be airlifted.

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  15. Dutchman says:

    Whenever there is a sudden death or major illness affecting the students of faculty at the Catholic school I teach at, I always remind them no one knows how long their loved ones will be around and how long they have. Always love, express love, confess and be ready.

  16. Maltese says:

    This is a good book by a former CIA Officer: https://www.amazon.com/Secrets-That-Save-Your-Life/dp/B014E4QNAI
    When I was in Counterintelligence with the FBI I did quit a bit of training with the CIA. The most useful were surveillance and counter-surveillance. That book was approved by the CIA, so there is nothing classified in it, just useful information. I think the best piece of advice I can give readers here is not to be out late at night. I used to enjoy clubs, bars, and the like. But now, when it’s dark, you’ll find me at home with my son watching a movie. That said, if terrorists makes you change your life-patterns, they’ve won. It’s just that now, I don’t personally want to deal with anyone in a crowd who may have been drinking–plus, at nighttime you can’t see the same obvious clues. The sad truth is that if someone intelligent wants to perform an act of terror, they will know how to blend in with the crowd, which might make them impossible to detect. As the writer of that book advises, always carry a knife, and know how to use it.

  17. Raymond says:

    Considering that this was a homosexual nightclub, I hope and pray that many (if not all) of the victims had a last minute repentance just before the moment of death. I hope the same for those wounded in the hospitals, as well.

  18. AnnTherese says:

    Elizabeth D: “Muslims lie and see nothing wrong with lying if it seems better for the cause of Islam.” Blatant generalizations like this are not helpful. Not all Muslims lie. Neither do all Catholics lie. Though some do, of both groups. Some are hateful– of both groups. Some are abusers– of both groups. Some are violent. “Some” is a useful word, and contributes to the dialogue rather than shutting it down.

  19. kekeak2008 says:

    Elizabeth D. and Clinton R. I agree completely with both of you. Great post, Fr. Z. I will pray for the victims tonight, as well as our Church and myself. It must be readily apparent to all that we are all deeply entrenched in an all out war against Satan. We pray and mourn for the dead regardless of their state in life, but not ignorant of it. To die in a state of mortal sin is truly tragic. I pray that our bishops and priests finally begin to preach and talk about the Four Last Things. I shudder to think of all the souls who are lost to Hell because of their lack of knowledge about Four Last Things.

  20. Elizabeth D says:

    AnnTherese, it’s a mistake to assume Islam is just like Christianity. Muslims BELIEVE IN LYING if it seems good for the cause of Islam; they do so with impunity. To them, even Allah can lie if he wants to. Some individuals may vary, but truly Islamic teaching is NOT that it’s always wrong to lie. I have a Christian friend from Pakistan who talks about how routinely Muslims lie. If Christians outright lie they go against the commandment to not bear false witness. We worship God Who is Truth.

  21. un-ionized says:

    Taqiyya is an important part of religious warfare, which is the principle that a Moslem may not lie to another believer (that is, another Moslem) but they may lie to a non-believer, especially if it furthers conquest.

  22. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Raymond,

    In praying for the dying (all the dying, mostly the huge majority unknown to me at any time), I often think of the prayer I’ve seen attributed to St. Thomas More: “Almighty God, have mercy on N and N and on all that bear me evil will, and would me harm, and their faults and mine together, by such easy, tender, merciful means as Thine infinite wisdom best can divine, vouchsafe to amend and redress, and make us saved souls in heaven together where we may ever live and love together with thee and they blessed saints, O glorious Trinity, for the bitter passion of our sweet saviour Christ, amen.”

  23. Padre Gabriel says:

    FrZ
    I thought this post was very urgent. Here’s my translation into Spanish in case you would like to make it available. No obligation to do it, of course.
    Fr. Gabriel-Maisonet
    Diocese of Tyler

    La muerte puede atacar en cualquier momento de cualquier día. En donde el P. Z suplica a los obispos y sacerdotes predicar las verdades sin ambigüedades.
    Publicado el 12 de junio de 2016 por P. John Zuhlsdorf
    El otro día estaba viendo episodios de la serio Blue Bloods (familia católica, policías en NYC, etc.). En un episodio un representante de la fuerza policiaca en Londres presionó al comisionado de la policía de NYC para que dijera a qué cosa realmente le tenía miedo. Él respondió: París.
    Hay mucho que todavía no sabemos acerca del ataque terrorista en el club nocturno homosexual en Orlando. Sabemos que el perpetrador, de Port St. Lucie, era musulmán y de origen afgano y, nacido en NY, es un ciudadano americano. Él era un demócrata registrado y tenía una licencia estatal para armas clase G. Él se casó con una mujer de Uzbekistán en 2009. Se conocieron en línea. Él la golpeaba. Se divorciaron. Eventualmente más información saldrá a la luz. LECTORES CERCA DE ORLANDO: ¡Consideren donar sangre! Especialmente si usted es tipo O (pero todos los tipos serán de gran ayuda).
    Habiendo dicho eso, el punto que quiero hacer es que usted no sabe el día, la hora, el minuto cuando se encontrará a si mismo ante el Juez Justo para dar cuenta de y disponer de su alma inmortal por la eternidad.
    La muerte puede atacar en cualquier momento de cualquier día.
    Queridos lectores, examinen sus consciencias.
    Hagan enmiendas con la gente.
    Realicen obras de misericordia.
    Oren.
    Ayunen.
    VAYAN A CONFESIÓN.
    Padres, obispos, prediquen acerca de las Últimas Cuatro Cosas.
    Prediquen acerca de la confesión.
    ¡Prediquen con urgencia!
    Les lanzo las palabras de Pablo en 2 Timoteo 4:
    Te encargo delante de Dios y del Señor Jesucristo, quien juzgará a los vivos y a los muertos en su manifestación y en su reino, que prediques la palabra; que instes a tiempo y fuera de tiempo; redarguye, reprende, exhorta con toda paciencia y doctrina. Porque vendrá un tiempo en que no soportarán la sana doctrina, sino que aun teniendo comezón de oír se amontonarán maestros conforme a sus propios malos deseos, y apartarán de la verdad sus oídos y se volverán a las fábulas. Pero tú sé sobrio en todo, soporta las aflicciones, haz obra de evangelista, cumple tu ministerio.
    Les suplico, queridos obispos y sacerdotes, díganle a la gente la verdad sin ambigüedades acerca de la muerte, el juicio, el cielo y el infierno. Se los imploro. Su suerte eterna también cuelga en la balanza. ¿No es cierto?
    Todos ustedes lectores, en la mayor parte de los lugares en que están alrededor del mundo, las cosas se están poniendo difíciles. Les urjo que ejerciten la prudencia en donde quiera que vayan y estén.
    Cuando estén en sus quehaceres normales—y pienso que así debemos continuar—practiquen conscientemente la percepción de su medio ambiente. Miren alrededor las cosas que lo rodean. Manténganse en vigilancia de las cosas y las personas o de su comportamiento y de lo que están llevando consigo que parezca fuera de lugar. Si llama su atención, manténganse observándolo. Si pueden tomar algún tipo de entrenamiento que involucre aprender acerca de la percepción consciente del medioambiente, no habrán perdido su tiempo y todos estaremos un poco más seguros si ustedes lo están.
    Algo que puedo pedirles ahora mismo y para lo cual no necesitan tomar un curso: cuando estén afuera en sus labores cotidianas, ¡guarden sus malditos teléfonos! No caminen alrededor con sus ojos pegados a unas pantallas pequeñas, caminando como si estuviesen en un túnel de ceguera situacional. ¿Sí?
    Recuerden: Todos enfrentaremos a nuestro Hacedor y seremos juzgados. Mi oración por ustedes es que ese encuentro sea uno feliz—y no antes o más violentamente de lo que tiene que ser, claro está, sometiendo todas las cosas a la voluntad de Dios.
    De una muerte repentina y sin preparación, líbranos, oh Señor.

  24. chantgirl says:

    I have thought about the possibility of a terrorist entering our church during Mass as has happened in Africa and other places. They would most likely enter through the back where most of the moms with unruly children end up sitting. The most likely casualties would be mothers and children as they would be the first people the terrorist would find.

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  26. Gerhard says:

    And be enrolled in, wear, and observe the requirements of the Brown Scapular.