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This Vortex episode was originally written and shot on January 10th. Russ passed away January 11th.
Many of you may know through various social media that my father's health is declining, and he's been in and out of the hospital and rehab for about two months now. It's tough, as many of you may know, watching a parent decline and go through the end-of-life struggles of being anxious and worried for their children after they have died — of the constant hospitalizations and tests and poking and prodding and drugs and the whole scene.
To sit and be present to this, day after day, is quite draining, and it got me to thinking, what do those who don't have faith do? How do they get through this kind of thing — those who are dying, as well as those who are watching those who are dying? What a sad thing, indeed, to experience the dying process without God. And not just a sentimental vision of God which so many Catholics these days suffer from but a truthful, full, square-on understanding of just how momentous the approaching moment is.
As of this recording, the doctors can't say that my father's death is imminent, but it is clear that his time is drawing to an end, whether that's weeks or maybe months. Which means as it does and will for every one of us that he will close his eyes on this life forever and be escorted into the presence of the Living God, Who created him to be with Him for all eternity. And he will undergo the judgment of his life — every single thought, word, deed, action that he ever did or should have done and failed to do. For this reason, very close friends and I are at his bedside praying with him, mostly the Rosary but also specific prayers for the dying.
He has received the anointing of the sick, numerous times, the apostolic blessing, absolution — all that his Mother Church can provide. Everything in his life has prepared him for this final moment, and his eternal destiny hangs in the balance. Much of the medications he is on to battle pneumonia and settle his breathing have resulted in his being less aware, but before he started declining he was extremely aware of the final truth of his life and daily prepared himself to stand before his God. Acutely aware of the truth of eternal life and death that would soon be his lot, he became even more prayerful and even worried when he was too tired from aging to be able to say all his prayers.
This is how a Catholic should die — with a complete understanding of the enormous and final fate that lies before him and spiritually prepared to go before his God, Who is both loving Father, yes, but also the just judge. My father is one of a dying generation when it comes to this sort of understanding of the Faith. He never bought into the happy-clappy idiocy of the contemporary Church, which never ever teaches about this moment except draping it in a syrupy sentimentality that obscures the reality.
The sentimental Catholicism so prevalent these days deprives people of the truth of their ends. It paints a picture that everyone just waltzes into Heaven. It is constantly preaching the non-Catholic doctrine that we have a reasonable hope that all men are saved — a most insidious novelty. This is why my father was always so incredibly supportive of our work here at Church Militant and St. Michael's Media — why he would always encourage me to call out the phonies and dissent and error spewing from so many pulpits and clerics — to give them no rest or quarter for their errant mumblings. He recognized that those errors were from the diabolical as all spiritual error is.
My dad was on the exact same wavelength as other great Catholic men like Charlie Rice who was happy to host two seasons of one of our Premium programs, Right Reason or Fr. Pablo Straub who appears at the beginning of every episode of The One True Faith and also hosted his own show with us, Fr. Pablo Says. The instant each of these men met here at our studios, there was an immediate and lasting connection, the binding tie being of the sublime truth of the Catholic faith and its ultimate end, the salvation of their souls. It was such a quiet joy for me to sit back and watch the three of them interact and just be Catholic together.
They knew life, and they fully grasped its purpose. Each of them is and was all about Our Blessed Lord, and it was so evident. Three older gentlemen, two of whom have since gone to Our Lord and the third more than likely soon to go, each completely absorbed in their love of the God Whom they could not see but carried so closely within themselves. And there is a reason each of them was so supportive of what we do here because they saw in our work the truth of the Faith — the One True Faith established by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, outside of which there is no salvation.
Each of these men, my dad, Charlie and Fr. Pablo, were happy to host some Premium shows, here, at Church Militant. They wanted a demonstration of their love for Our Lord and His Holy Catholic Church to last beyond their own personal times here on earth. It's why we are inviting you today to sign up to be a Premium member or if you were in the past and your membership lapsed to renew your membership. It's just $10 a month and with that you get access to the tremendous insights of three men completely in love with Our Lord and His Church.
Two, as we said, have gone to Him, and my dad is soon to embrace the single reality for which he was created and known by God before all time. Sentimental Catholicism is a joke, it's a fraud, and it's a deception of the enemy. It plays on your emotions with the intent of obscuring the truth from your intellects. God commanded us to love Him with every aspect of our beings, including our minds, which are the only part of us capable of apprehending the Truth and Jesus Christ is the Truth.
Satan wants us thinking on the way to our deathbeds that everything is OK. Our sins are no big deal. Going to Mass isn't really important, that basically, I'm a good person because I'm not a mass murderer. But then once we actually arrive at the last days of our life on our deathbeds, it's a whole different scene. Now, the ancient enemy, the serpent, goes on the attack, accusing us, for he is the accuser and launching his last and most violent attacks against us, seeking to cause us to despair. And if you have spent a life in willful blissful ignorance, sinning and thinking it's no big deal because God never damns anyone, it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to overcome the demonic assaults that await you as they await all of us.
How we live is how we die. Did we live in accord and preparation to meet our God or did we marginalize it all and blow it off, presuming on the mercy of God when we did nothing to merit it? The purpose of this life is onefold — to die in a state of grace.
Everything we do here at Church Militant is geared to help you and us achieve that one end. It's why we are always asking you to sign up for a Premium membership because every single show we produce is painted on that canvas — man, in what state will you be when you go before your God? Nothing and we do mean absolutely nothing is more important than the answer to that question.
Thank you in advance for your support and Premium membership. And please keep my father in your prayers.