Things Above from Fr. Bilot

November 1, 2020

     One of my favorite solemnities, which is a holy day of obligation, is All Saints. I try to imagine what heaven is like with all those awesome men and women who had the ability to connect with Jesus so powerfully on earth that they are now counted among the Saints in Glory. To think that they, who lived the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus here on earth, despite their humanity and sinfulness, persevered and won the crown of victory that St. Paul encourages us to obtain. Even more, these men and women are given the Grace of Jesus to continue to help us here on earth with their power to perform miracles in our human nature. Magnificent!
     Within the last several years, we have had an extreme and humbling experience to witness two Beatifications and now another one this Saturday, October 31, 2020. These three men are now on their way to sainthood. They line the halls of heaven for their lives of service to Jesus and for the miracles they performed here on earth in Christ’s name.
     The first was Fr. Stanley Rother, from Oklahoma City, OK. He was martyred on July 28, 1981 while serving the humble indigenous people of Guatemala. He was beatified September 23, 2017. A shrine is being constructed now in his honor. A little over a year later we had the privilege of witnessing the beatification of Fr. Solanus Casey, a Capuchin Franciscan who served a great many years here in Detroit. He was beatified on November 18. 2017. He was a humble man who served as a porter and performed miracles because of his deep connection and willingness to suffer with Jesus Christ. A priest asked to be a porter! Unheard of. Humiliating? For some, probably. For Fr. Solanus, he was fine doing what was asked of him. Finally, this year on October 31, 2020 Fr. Michael McGivney will be beatified in Hartford CT. He was an inspiration in Christian charity, especially during the pandemic of 1890. (A great wakeup call if we are not inspired to be a people of Christian charity during our pandemic!). He founded the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal organization of men who are asked to witness to Jesus Christ by their prayer, works of charity for the poor, the mentally ill , vocations, and beyond.
     How wonderful to see these three men devoted to Jesus Christ being held up in esteem in the Catholic Church. The Saints among the Saints in the halls of heaven. We are all called to sainthood. These three men just did what the Holy Spirit inspired them to do to work for the honor and glory of God. They did it with all their limitations and sinful inclinations. Jesus sees our humanity and desires to raise it up to a higher dignity… a place with the Father.
     The Catholic Church celebrates All Saints, and All Hallo’s Eve to remind us that we are made for heaven. There are two spirits: the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit (the devil). The devil seems to have a heavy hold on us now. The lack of listening and responding to holiness is pushing the Holy Spirit aside making it easier for the evil spirits who are prowling around looking for whose next to devour.
I read an article recently in a local publication about embracing evil practices. Some think it is fine to conjure up the dead, evil spirits and call on spirits (that are not holy.) Believe me, these spirits are real. They think it is fun and helpful. Oh, it is helpful alright, in dragging us down to the abyss.
Jesus Christ suffered and died and went down to the abyss to show us that He rose victoriously and ascended into heaven. Jesus didn’t stay there. Why would we? Why on earth would anyone seek guidance from unholy spirits through tarot cards, palm reading, witchcraft, and Ouija boards or even at its worse, devil worshipping, to solve problems and get answers? Craziness… Disastrous… I have seen the effects of people dabbling in the dark side.
     What has happened that people feel the need to delve in the dark side? Why this malaise in our hearts and minds? Evil works very subtly and deviously. If we are not centered in Jesus, it is easier for the evil one to infiltrate. The Sacraments, Scripture and the Catholic Church surround us with protection. To be free from evil spirits is unsettling. Thankfully, the Catholic Church has the rituals which has the ability to free one from these evil spirits.
     The Catholic Church’s response in helping people move away from the fear of death and evil spirits was Halloween. People dressed up as saints to show that there is no fear of death or the Holy Spirit. Just look at the saints. Our culture has secularized the event and it has lost its value and meaning. However, the Church hasn’t given up. The Solemnity of All Saints gives us a time to reflect, rejoice and have the courage to move forward in confidence that we are members of Jesus Christ.
     To further help us move forward and ward off the forces of darkness, we are embarking on the 33 Days of Consecration to our Blessed Mother. I wrote about it last week and there is a video on our web page. The first day is November 5th. Please join us. We need healing. We need hope. We need the dignity of human life restored. We need the Holy Spirit to change the hearts and minds of a world gone awry. Will you help bring joy back to our families, our parish, our community and the United States?
     Grateful for the Saints among the Saints in the halls of heaven to spur us on to victory. We will not let the evil spirit win! Jesus shows us the way.

Fr. Jim Bilot