Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fr. John Hardon, S.J. - 10th anniversary of his death.

Servant of God
This morning at prayer Fr. Hardon came to mind.  Only later, while checking Te Deum Laudamus blog did I discover today is actually the tenth anniversary of Fr. Hardon's death.  Diane has details here.  I'm always delighted when I experience Divine Providence and the intercession of the saints in this way - I never attribute such graces to coincidence.
Mortal sin
I was thinking of something Fr. Hardon once said regarding his caution of people in mortal sin - a quote I have never found by the way - but I once read something to the effect that he said about how much harm such unfortunate souls can cause.  Fr. Hardon was a great champion of the Sacrament of Penance, and keenly grasped the gravity of sin - especially the prevalence of grave sin in our culture.  The Fr. Hardon Archives contain many conferences and excellent instruction on the subject - as well as a conference on the benefit of frequent confession.
I noted elsewhere on the blogosphere today that Bishop Slatterly of Tulsa is scheduling a conference for priests on exorcism, a topic very much in the news of late.  After searching the Fr. Hardon site on sin and the Sacrament of Penance, I wonder if the pressing need for exorcists these days would be as critical if proper catechesis on the sacrament and the necessity of frequent confession had been consistently taught in the last forty years?  Instead, as Fr. Hardon noted:
Judging by the drastic drop in confessions in countries like the United States, the false opinion is gaining ground that Confession is not to be received, or made, frequently.
No doubt, one reason for this sad state of affairs is the prevalence of some wild theories about mortal sin. For example, the Fundamental Option theory claims that no mortal sin is committed unless a person totally rejects God. Who but the devil hates God? One adultery or one abortion is not a mortal sin. On these grounds, there are parishes in which almost no one goes to Confession. - The Spiritual and Psychological Value of Frequent Confession
"There is no hatred more cruel, no treachery more demonic than that of an unrepentant sinner."
My thoughts went in this direction this morning as I reflected upon my sins and their consequences - examining their source, I couldn't avoid recalling how I was raised.  I was sent to Catholic schools but I lived in a home which was less than ideal - family members lived in mortal sin whilst attempting to justify their predicament.  Thus I wondered if parents living in mortal sin leads to other more grave offences within the family?  The alcoholism, the abuse, the lying, the stealing, the fraud, and on and on - such was the atmosphere wherein I grew up.  In turn I considered what it must be like today when many people no longer have any faith, and children are raised in single parent households exposed to adultery, drugs and alchohol and all sorts of abuse.  These are all mortal sins and outright rejection, if not hatred, for God.
There is no hatred more cruel, no treachery more demonic than that of an unrepentant sinner. Thirty-seven years in the priesthood have taught me many things none more clearly than that.  - Fr. Hardon

To be sure, I know I am responsible for the amendment of my own life and I do not look to "blame" my sins on how I was raised or external forces - but one cannot avoid reflecting upon the necessisty of a good, holy, stable family life in order to raise children, while protecting them from the errors of our time.

Lord Jesus, you are the loving God Who came into the world to save sinners. But we believe You are also the almighty God. Who, if sinners do not repent, punish even for all eternity those who love themselves more than You. What we most want, Dear Jesus, is the grace to love You more than ourselves even if the price You demand is the sacrifice of what we most love on earth. Jesus, mighty God, have mercy on us sinners.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen - ibid


  1. Certainly a person who was in total rejection of God would be someone I would want to avoid. There has to be a middle ground between that extreme of a definition of mortal sin; and the one I grew up with in Catholic school in the 50's and early 60's, in which there were bazillion ways to commit mortal sins; as an 8 year old I was in fear of committing a mortal sin between confession on Saturday on Mass on Sunday. I wasn't sure what an impure thought was, but was terrified I was going to hell if I ever did figure out how to think one.

  2. That is a remarkable coincidence, Terry. This man changed my life, as you know. I do go on about him, don't I? I never fogot what he said: anyone who is in a state of mortal sin is an agent of the enemy. So. How right you are. Fr. Hardon was persecuted because he told the Truth...but this story is as old as Christianity. I will be so happy when he is made a Saint.

  3. Got to his website:

    Go to photo galleries. Peruse the photos and see if charity isn't in his face in every photo...

    Prayer for the Beatification and Canonization of Father John Hardon

    Almighty God, You gave Your servant,
    Father John Anthony Hardon of the Society of Jesus,
    the grace of consecration as a religious dedicated to the
    apostolate and the grace of consecration as an ordained priest,
    after the Heart of Your Divine Son, our Good Shepherd.

    Through Father Hardon,
    You provided for your Flock an extraordinary teacher of the faith.

    You entrusted Father Hardon into the loving
    care of the Blessed Virgin Mary
    whose counsel, "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5)
    he faithfully followed and whose intercession he unceasingly invoked.

    If it be Your holy will, please grant the request I now make,
    calling upon the help of Father Hardon,
    so that his heroic sanctity may be recognized in the whole Church.

    I ask this through Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who
    with You and the Holy Spirit, is one God forever and ever.


  4. Father Joe1:59 PM

    Excellent post, Terry; indeed, if people were frequenting the Sacrament of Reconciliation more faithfully there would be infinitely fewer opportunities for the evil one to oppress and possess.

  5. God bless Fr. Hardon - I do hope he's canonized. What a marvelous Saint he'd be for the times we're living in, one who lived though the turmoil of the 60s and 70s, and one who understood things in that overused phrase 'the hermeneutic of continuity'.

    No-nonsense at all, but full of loving charity. What a great Christian.

  6. my *courage* chaplain is a faithful jesuit and celebrated Mass this week for/in remembrance of fr. hardon and knew him, worked with him. what a blessing. terry, this is a coincidence (read: providential) you bring this up. i've recently started praying for a deeper understanding of the gravity of my sins; rather a scary undertaking, especially if one is prone to scrupulosity. with that prayer, i ask our Lord to help me see myself as He sees me.

  7. doughboy - that is an excellent prayer - don't worry - the Lord helps us understand gently and lovingly - I promise you. I sometimes think purgatory is just that - so it is good to start asking in this life. He won't give you more than you can bear.

  8. Doughboy: It only leads to His love and mercy. I cannot recommend reading Hardon SJ enough...

  9. Father Joe1:04 PM

    Doughboy, I'll keep you in my prayers, too. The more we rest in His light, the more we see our sins, and the more we see our sins the more we realize our need for His mercy -- and how generous He is in doling it out! God bless you.

  10. maria: i added fr. hardon's site to my favorites & will start reading up on him more. thanks.

    fr. joe and terry: thank you. i need all the prayers/encouragement i can get.

  11. Doughboy--It was when I read the Spiritual Exercises that I began to understand my own sin-- and just like Padre above says, the more we see our sin the more we realize the need for his Mercy. I developed true compunction and then went to Confession. It just changed everything...He sees all your efforts...


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