Wherein Fr. Z rants in the wake of the Florida school mass murder

When man-made or natural disasters occur which result in the loss of life, I have often posted here about the importance of being in the state of grace.

In the first LENCAzTs I have done, I’ve used texts from St. Alphonsus de Liguori about our preparation for death.

We don’t know when death will come.  This is why in important prayers such as the Litany of Saints we pray: “From a sudden and unprovided death, spare us O Lord.”

A sudden death is not so bad in itself.  Sudden and unprovided,without access to the last sacraments, is terrifying.

Turning my thoughts to the recent school shooting in Florida, I have a few thoughts.

First, given that we don’t want an unprovided death, let us not have an unprovided life.  To avoid both, we must practice situational awareness.

Spiritual situational awareness involves a daily examination of conscience. 

Sacred situational awareness involves full, conscious and active participation in our sacred liturgical worship.

Temporal situational awareness involves watching your physical surroundings, taking in the actions of people around you, knowing where your exits are, being aware of how to defend yourself and loved ones, taking in who is doing what and where, etc.

Know yourself.  Know your surroundings.

Next, we must train in all three spheres.

Spiritual awareness is trained up through an examination of conscience which gets more thorough as we practice it on a daily basis.  Sacred awareness becomes more profound as we discipline ourselves in it.  Temporal awareness can be honed and sharpened over time.

In each case, we have aids to help us.  There are printed examinations of conscience and spiritual reading.  There are good aids, such as hand missals and commentary on the meaning of sacred worship.  There are courses and different types of training for awareness of our surroundings.

We are members of the MILITANT Church. Soldiers drill.  If you are a baptized Christian, you are a pilgrim solider.  That means that you are never in the same place from day to day… you are making progress..

You must constantly drill and you must constantly advance.

This applies to all three spheres of situational awareness, spiritual, sacred and temporal.

Your souls and the souls of those around you depend on it.

In the wake of the Florida school shooting, we are once again hearing, “If you see something, say something.”

Cain the murderer said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

We are all in this together.  My spiritual progress helps the whole Church.  My sins hurt you, members of the same Church.

When we see someone in need, we must intervene.  If you see something, say something and act.

Having drilled in threefold situational awareness, you will find many opportunities for spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

Pilgrim soldiers on the march do not abandon their brethren on the wayside.

As I contemplate the Florida shootings – and I get alternately angry and sorrowful – I want at the very least to offer from my platform, in my role as a priest, for the love of God take yourselves seriously in the ways that count.

Take your vocations seriously.  Take your unavoidable death seriously.  Take your eternal destiny seriously.

None of the people who were killed yesterday knew that they were going to die yesterday.

It’s always some one else … until it’s your turn.

Situational awareness… spiritual, sacred and temporal.


That’s step number one.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ACTION ITEM!, Cri de Coeur, Four Last Things, GO TO CONFESSION, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, Wherein Fr. Z Rants and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Andrew says:

    Today I drove across town to a distant parish that offers daily confessions from 10:30 to 11:00. I stood in line with others as one penitent wasn’t coming out for a longest time. The next person stayed a very long time also. The third penitent took just as long. I started to suspect the confessor as someone who likes to give lots of advice. And I started to wonder if I would get a chance to confess. The line behind me was getting a little longer. I kept looking at my watch. Finally, I got to a point where I was the next person in line. As the door opened, I rushed to get in, but the priest was already leaving. He said something about future opportunities for confessions, as he departed. Total time wasted: two hours. Parking fee: $4.00. Cash donation to a bum sitting at the door: $5.00. Miles driven: 42. And now I have something else to confess. We’re all in this together.

  2. frjimt says:

    Total time wasted? C’mon… You were in the presence of Christ Jesus, the company of saints & a priest of Jesus Christ dispensing great mercy… Wasted, my eye…

  3. frjimt says:

    Take a look at the nationwide map of the school shootings, locate the place on an online map service… You will find that most are within 15 miles of an abortion clinic..
    Mother Teresa: kill children in the womb & what’s to stop our children from killing each other…
    Post this on as many social media sites as you can!

  4. From what I understand about abortion clinics from exorcists, the demonic activity around them is unfathomable.

  5. Pingback: Situational Awareness.Yeah,it’s important(wherein Fr Z rants) | Trump:The American Years

  6. JonPatrick says:

    So instead of “gun free zones” maybe we need “abortuary free zones” around our schools.

  7. That’s a start. Not only around our schools.

  8. OldProfK says:

    According to some reports I’ve read, people saw something.

    And said something.

    And the FBI apparently couldn’t be bothered. Whatever they had that was better to do…I leave as an exercise for the reader.

  9. stephen c says:

    People should have a way to know if local crazy people are threatening , on the internet, to go on a local rampage. There is no easy was, right now, to log in to Facebook or Google and ask if there are any people posting vicious aggressive things and threatening to kill people in their area, and get an accurate answer.

    Also, our legislators need to develop a little bit of courage. Democratic party legislators – and a few Republicans in places with lots of liberal voters – are frightened to vote even for mild pro-life legislation, such as legislation that prohibits the killing of an unborn baby old enough to feel pain. Protecting unborn babies is an important step to protecting all the rest of our young people. We need to either elect better legislators or to pray more often – and pray with fasting, if need be – for the conversion of the cold-hearted legislators we have. Of course, the most important thing is that those pro-choice legislators are endangering their eternal souls, but it is also important that they, for selfish reasons, are adding to a climate of violence.

    In the 1950s there were very few of this type of shootings – although guns were even easier to obtain back then – and abortion was almost always a crime. Think about it.
    Think about it.

  10. RAve says:

    My parish includes plenty of 2nd Amendment supporters and participants. This weekend our parish father-son club (Fraternus – an alternative to Scouting) spent a weekend doing Appleseed firearms training. 49 men and boys spent 2 days at a private training center for Special Forces and Law Enforcement – the facility provided the range for 2 days, clean air conditioned sleeping quarters with hot showers and beds with towels and sheets and a dining facility for discounted price of $1000 total. There were a dozen Appleseed volunteers who provided expert range safety and marksmanship training – and context. They only charged $10 for each boy to cover ammunition costs, and some of the vomu drove 9 hours to be there for us. These patriotic men and women all paid their own travel and lodging expenses. The context I mentioned is key: they taught our boys the history of the second amendment and the use of firearms by citizens to secure and defend liberty against a tyrant king, and how individual citizens changed the course of history. The boys learned some important lessons. They developed new skills and a cautious respect and knowledge of firearms and safety. They became marksmen. Our pastor drove to the range and celebrated Mass on the range itself and made it clear to us men and boys that our marksmanship weekend was something worthy and important – and in accord with the Gospel. I’d guess the Appleseed people are largely Protestants, but they were very pleased to see our pastor there, and 50 men and boys worshipping God on our knees. I felt that it was fitting to have this weekend occur at a time when the media outcry is to abolish the second amendment. God bless America. AMDG.

    [That sounds like a great experience for everyone. This could be just the thing for a certain legumian eurowimp – constantly running down our nation while living here – to try with his son. Maybe he would develop an appreciation of a country that doesn’t seem to love every dictator that comes along.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

Comments are closed.