Wherein Fr. Z rants: A baptized person in the state of grace is terrifying to demons. 

I’m a bit shell-shocked from the blast of information that is pouring forth.  It took me 3 hours to triage my email.

Thank you to everyone who have sent kind notes.   Thank you to everyone who has sent links.  Thank you for the questions, too.  Alas, I can’t respond to all of you.

Also, I just got off the phone with a prominent Catholic writer.  The conversation helped put some good energy back into my day.   Hence, I recommend that all of you who are struggling with The Present Crisis should get out and get together with other faithful Catholics and do something positive. Go over a little of a good Catechism, watch a good old movie, listen to some music, make a fine meal and enjoy it together, get some fresh air.

Didn’t Screwtape warn his underling about the dangers (from Hell’s point of view) of simple pleasures?  They reconnect us with reality.  Hell wants us to be in a perpetual fog of illusions and the artificial.

Moreover, a thought came during my aforementioned conversation. 

People rightly say that the Church isn’t just bishops, priests, etc.  Exactly right!   If you are wondering what bishops and priests and POPES ought to do about The Present Crisis, well.. okay.

Ask yourself what YOU, a layperson, can do.

Think about this.

The Present Crisis has its human dimensions.  But an invisible, spiritual battle is being fought.  Demons, the Enemy, is at work.  The sins that are at the hellish foundation of The Present Crisis draw demons who attach themselves to people who commit them and places where they were committed.


A baptized person in the state of grace is terrifying to demons. 

Imagine what the clean, baptized soul, praying and doing reparation for sins, looks like to a demon.

Imagine what agony Hell’s agents experience when you receive the Eucharist in the state of grace and you receive the blessings of the priest, alter Christus.

If you are examining your conscience well, striving to live your vocation well, using well the sacraments and sacramentals and praying, you are Hell’s worst scenario.


St. Paul describes you as warriors:

Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God). By all prayer and supplication praying at all times in the spirit; and in the same watching with all instance and supplication for all the saints [Ephesians 6:11-18]

Si vis pacem para bellum!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. LeeGilbert says:

    Although I have an advanced degree in Scripture, I will admit to being an ignoramus about reparation and find the very idea of it uncongenial. This I think you would prefer me to admit, since there are likely other people in the same boat who could also use some instruction and exhortation.

    I get that when one is under debt of sin, he must confess his guilt and do penance, both of which I would think fall under the heading of reparation.

    However, when we are talking about reparation for other people’s sins, in this case the abusers, I find the idea of doing reparation for THAT completely daunting and paralyzing, like throwing a cup of water into a forest fire. Doing a lifetime of penance for my own sins, not excluding a diet of bread and water, taking the discipline every day, wearing a hairshirt, would hardly rise to the level of sufficient reparation, and with all of that I have not even made a beginning.

    Psychologically for me the concept of reparation does not work since it is all about the past. Here I am not talking about the theology of it, which I am not at all challenging, but the psychology of it. It seems like one would always be in the position of unsuccessfully trying to pay off an insurmountable debt. Am I wrong?

    I get that we need to pray and do penance, but from the standpoint of motivation I approach it as an endeavor to bring graces down from Heaven in the here and now, for the conversion of hearts here and now, in this case for a brighter ecclesial future soon.

    Perhaps this will strike you as a difference without a distinction, but psychologically they are two entirely different motivations, and for me at least one is off-putting and the other inspiring.

    I am absolutely open to remonstrance about all this. Otherwise I would not have piped up. Nothing would surprise me less than to find myself in a controversy with several saints over this, and possibly Our Lady as well, but it seems better to admit these reservations and have them corrected than not.

  2. LeeGilbert says:

    Regarding bringing grace down from Heaven for all this business, lately I have made a discovery that could be very helpful, but possibly controversial, and that is

    a. That many priests in third world countries do not have Mass intentions. That is to say that no one has offered them a stipend to have a Mass said, and
    b. The stipend requested is often very low. For example, I contacted a major diocese in India, Bangalore, that indicated that the requested stipend for a Sunday Mass is 180 rupees, and that for a daily Mass is 120 rupees or about $1.75. In other words, one could have a novena of masses ( 9) said for the Pope, or the victims, or the Church, or whatyouwill for about $16.00. Lately I have been doing that for each of my siblings and their families, though I roughly doubled the stipend.

    In proposing this I have sometime encountered the argument that this is unjust, but that argument seems based on faulty premises, namely that this will take away income from our own priests, but at least in my experience in two parishes the Mass book for the parish is hardly lacking for intentions, most of them for the deceased.

    Secondly, if I am sending Mass intentions to a priest in a third world country that gives him purchasing power there equivalent to what a ten dollar stipend would obtain here, how am I being unjust to him? In my experience they are very grateful, especially since Mass intentions are often their only source of income.

    Beyond that, I believe virtually all Mass intentions in our first world countries are for the dead. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I have never encountered any promotion of the notion to have Masses said for the living, especially our fallenwaways. Typically we are encouraged to fast, pray the Rosary, do penance, but IF we were encouraged to have many more Masses said for the living and saw the resulting conversions and graces raining down, the notion of having a Mass said would be the very first thing to come to mind and the Mass books of the Church throughout the world would begin filling up. In other words, how is anything lost by encouraging people to send Mass intentions for the living to third world priests?

    In the secular vernacular, is this not a win/win idea for everyone? More grace falls on the living, and the dead are not neglected; priests of the third world are helped and inspired by the generosity of their brothers in the first world, the faithful are encouraged to think of the Mass as a first resort in all difficulties.

    Masses will be said that otherwise would not be said. For myself, with this possibility now open to me in the foreseeable future I will have a novena of Masses said for each of my godchildren, for the conversion of President Trump and his family, for the healing of the Church, etc., etc.. None of this would happen were I constrained by the ten dollar stipend here. Nor am I going to neglect my local parish, either. There is no either/or here, but only both/and.

  3. capchoirgirl says:

    Going to confession on Friday! I just had a wonderful lunch with a faithful Catholic friend today and that was so refreshing. A local parish is doing a holy hour of reparation on Friday as well!

  4. Nan says:

    Divine Liturgy at 7 for the Beheading of St John the Baptist.

    Church and parish house are getting cameras by the doors due to the attack on Fr Basil, who will be convalescing for quite some time. There’s a strategic Louisville Slugger and when Father alluded to an offer of something else, I made a similar offer.

  5. maternalView says:

    “It seems like one would always be in the position of unsuccessfully trying to pay off an insurmountable debt. Am I wrong?”

    IMHO you are not wrong.

    Nothing we can do will ever deserve the Son of God getting up on that cross and dying for you and me knowing full well we will never in this life completely understand it.

    And nothing you and I do will ever make up for what McCarrick or any other priest did.

    But think of it this way. A child lies to momma. The child makes a card and writes sorry and draws hearts all over it. She brings mom some flowers from the yard. She gets mom a can of soda to please her. None of which will change that the child lied. But the love momma has for the child who is trying outweighs what happened. Imagine the child did this because it was the neighbor who lied to momma and made her very sad. How much more love flows from the momma because the child is making up for something she didn’t do.

    We will always be in the Father’s debt but because we love him we try to make up for those who don’t. He deserves us doing that.

  6. RosaryRose says:

    @MaternalView, beautiful example.
    @LeeGilbert, you raise two very good points – what’s the use of tossing a cup of water on a raging wild fire and it feels useless making reparation now for sins of the past of other people! What’s done is done.

    You are so right. Our reparations make no sense when we think of them in terms of this world, limited by time and space and our poor human bodies. As Catholics, however, when we pray with the Communion of Saints, as the Church Militant for the Churvh Suffering so we can all be a part of the Church Triumphant, we are joined to the eternal. Our little prayer and suffering will be gladly accepted and used to pay great debts because God loves us and wants us with Him. Jesus took a few loaves and fishes and fed thousands. God looks at our offerings like the widow who gave what she could.. Its not the size of our prayer and offering, it’s our heart and being in a state of grace that matters. The Blessed Mother has told us time and again to pray for the poor souls in Purgatory. Imagaine your little cup of water just that – a cup of water for a poor soul whom you may one day embrace in Heaven! Only this world has time as it is. Our Catholic Faith deals in the eternal. Our beautiful Traditional Mass transcends time. When we tried to form our Liturgy to man and his time, we lost that understanding.
    We must go to confession regularly so that we are in a state of grace and our prayers and offerings will be efficacious.

    A Protestant friend once said she doesn’t think her dead relatives are looking down on her; this world is too painful.. When she gets to Heaven, she doesn’t want to think about this world at all. It made me realize what it means to believe in the communion of saints, how we (all the souls) are in this together. We are a part of something so much greater than this moment. We are a soul in eternity, in a journey will all the souls.

    Don’t let the enemy tell you tat your prayers have no effect.

  7. Sink74 says:


    Remember Our Lord’s feeding of the multitude. By ourselves, we can certainly not accomplish sufficient reparation for our own sins, let alone those of others. But Christ delights in taking our meager offerings and magnifying them to great effect.

    Our voluntary penances carry with them the suffering of Christ who continually offers Himself to the Father as a reparation for our sins and this of the whole world. It is His delight to suffer with us because in voluntarily suffering for the sins of others, we imitate His sacrifice on Calvary.

  8. Semper Gumby says:

    Thanks for post and comments LeeGilbert, maternalView et al.

    “Something positive” and “Simple pleasures” – Amen.

  9. C says:

    One thing I really like about this blog is the generally charitable and helpful way people write back and forth to one another. For years I’ve been encouraged by many of the commentators. Thanks!

  10. MrsMacD says:

    “It seems like one would always be in the position of unsuccessfully trying to pay off an insurmountable debt. Am I wrong?”

    It’s a wonderful mystery of grace that Christ paid for our sins but He lets us participate in saving souls by our prayers, penance and sacrifice.

    St. Stephen was instrumental in the conversion of St. Paul.

  11. MrsMacD says:

    The devil is mad as hell. God is letting him show his ugly mug so we know God exists and that the devil roams about as a raging lion seeking whom he may devour. But I’m seeing Faith, as never before. I’m seeing conversions. Catholics are getting serious. Protestants are coming home. Miracles are everywhere. Christ is here in His One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church, and He’s sooooo Good!!!

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