Chapter 18 – A Witness to Truth and Hope –
“He said in reply , “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!” – Luke 19:40.
I have been called by The Power of The Holy Spirit to witness, to pray, to study, to preach and to glorify God in business in life while helping others along the way.
If I keep silent, the stones will cry out.
I am compelled. I have gained knowledge through 33 years of prayer, reading and study. Those who have been given knowledge cannot undo that knowledge.
Two of our seven spiritual works of mercy are, 1. To instruct the ignorant and, 2. To admonish the sinner. These are acts of love and mercy.
One who has knowledge must speak and act on it. It is better to obey God than man.
I have also been “in the belly of the whale”, read Jonah chapter 1-4 and “in the tomb”, Matthew 12:40 – “Just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights”.
My time in the “belly of the whale” was from March 18-22, 2015 inside Chester county hospital undergoing tests related to my heart due to chest pain, eventually resulting in a stent being inserted into my severely blocked circumflex artery. Minor blockages were found in 2 other arteries. I suffered a mild heart attack during the procedure. Because of the insertion points through the wrist to get to the heart and the fact that they had to redo the procedure and therefore pierce both my wrists and having welts all over my upper body from all the heart probes attached stickies being put on and taken off and needles inserted in my hands and bend of elbows I was blessed and joyful to receive a gift from God, called the stigmata in miniature and experience during this time of lent the hand wounds as well as the scourge wounds of Jesus on my upper body in a miniature and prayerful way like never before. I did not have to endure even a miniscule of what our Lord and Savior Jesus endured or many of the saints endured.
God spoke to my heart very clearly during my hospital stay and he continues to “speak” to me every day since up to this moment. I write this in “fear” and trembling. Fear and trembling, are actually awe and wonder which is a good thing. It is very difficult to articulate in words spoken or written how God has “spoken” to me. I can tell you His love and mercy endure forever and He will never be outdone in generosity.
My one and only sibling, my older brother Kenny DeFeo, was called home by my God and his on December 28, 1997 at age 37 by a sudden and fatal heart attack. December 28 is the feast of The Holy Innocents. This is what I call a Godcident, as I don’t believe in coincidence, and that feast day is an appropriate day of feast as to the kind of man my brother was and continues to be through his intercession. My father, Robert DeFeo, was diagnosed with heart disease at age 39, but he did live with it for 30 more years. God called my Pop home on June 21, 2008. God could have called me home as well back in March but He has other plans for me. This is why I write this blog. Another Godcident is He is clearly telling me to write and act in this year 2015 as we prepare for the World Meeting of Families and visit from Pope Francis as well as the Jubilee year, which will start on December 8 of this year (The feast of the Immaculate Conception) and culminate with start of advent 2016. In addition the USA Supreme court has legalized same sex marriage and Planned Parenthood is selling body parts as they continue the destruction of human life. So, I am commanded to write. I believe the Holy Spirit inspires me to because it’s a feeling I am unable to articulate. Thoughts just pour out like water.
We were and are a family of faith. My parents dealt with the death of their oldest son with grace, dignity and continued to walk in faith and that had a profound affect on me.
All this has brought me to this point as a witness, which is a person who testifies, along with a few other defining moments in my life starting in the third grade when my school teacher asked us as Good Friday approached to do something for Jesus, especially between the hours of noon – 3pm, when we believe He was crucified, hung on the cross and eventually died at 3pm. I decided to remain silent, not eat and read my bible for those 3 hours while I sat in my bedroom. There was a bit of humor when my pop called from work to talk to my mother. As the phone rang and no one picked I figured I should, so I did. I picked up the phone but did not speak, my father on the other end was speaking into the phone and trying to figure out was going on. He was not happy with playing a guessing game, so through clenched teeth like a ventriloquist I spoke and explained as quickly as I could what I was up to and why. He just said, OK, go find your mother, so I did.
A couple of years later, at age 11, I had my first experience in viewing pornography. As is usually the case and as is usually the age, I stumbled upon it by accident. A friend and I were just walking to our usual hangout at the bowling alley in Westbrook Park and there was trash blowing around in an alleyway and what appeared to be a ripped up magazine so we picked it up to look at it. We didn’t even know what it was, but we read the words on this magazine, Playboy. We looked through it and laughed and threw it away.
From that moment on I looked at so much porn up to March 18, 2015 I cannot even keep track. I did have long periods of abstinence throughout my life by the grace of God as well. I have also engaged in much worse sexual sin than just looking at porn, which is a gateway to worse sexual sin. So many men are wounded by the scourge of pornography and priests state 9 out 10 men have confessed to viewing pornography in the sacrament of confession. It is an addiction and damaging. It destroys marriages and families and did not help me to say the least to be the husband and man God wanted me to be. The Kingsmen is a great apostolate and has helped many men in their struggle to overcome pornography addiction. As a priest in the sacrament of confession once told me, “you are staring into the gates of hell”. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:28 – “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” and again in Matthew 18:9 – “And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into fiery Gehenna”. These words come directly from Jesus Himself and are serious beyond belief. These verses alone should be cause for repentance, turning away from sin and remaining faithful to the Gospel, but we are weak, I know I am weak. But as the Apostle St. Paul tells us when I am weak, He is strong ( see CCC 1264, 1426 and 2515). The Apostle St Paul also exhorts us to put on the full armor of Our Lord Jesus Christ to battle and defeat concupiscence. If we go it alone and think we don’t need God’s help, we lose, every time (“For if God is with us, who can be against us”). If we go into “battle” without God or worse yet if we don’t even see, recognize or acknowledge the battle, than we are placing ourselves in harm’s way and playing God. By saying I don’t need you God or if the thought of God does not even enter your mind, you are in fact saying you are God, you are replacing God by becoming God yourself, and the devil loves that!
Throughout all my struggles with concupiscence since age eleven I never wandered from the Church and the receiving of all its sacraments including regular confession and Mass on Sunday’s.
As I grew physically, mentally, intellectually, emotionally and even spiritually I continued to remain immature sexually but I kept walking in faith and because of my formed or rather forming conscience based on Church teaching I was aware when I was sinning and went to the sacrament of confession as soon as possible. I hated knowing I would be going to mass on Sunday and refraining from receiving Communion, but I would refrain when I knew I was in a state of mortal sin and my heart ached not being able to receive Jesus in me in the sacrament of the Eucharist but I had remembered what St Paul wrote to us about receiving Holy Communion unworthily – see 1 Cor. 11:26-34, and Hebrews 10:29 – and therefore I knew it was more important not to receive than to receive if I was not in a state of grace. Catholics have an altar call every day! It’s called Holy Communion and it’s awesome! A gift given to us by Jesus Himself; He instituted this sacrament during the Last Supper on Holy Thursday night before His passion and death.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 12:31 “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the only sin that will not be forgiven”. We should be trembling at this. This means if we don’t have a formed conscience based on the truths of the Bible and Church teaching we are in grave danger of being lost, because it is impossible to acknowledge God or allow Him to be in your thought process if we don’t know or want to get to know Him. Allow the Holy Spirit in you. How do we get to know Him? By living in His word for one, but that is just the start. Pray unceasingly and study and read everything you can on Church teaching and the lives of the saints.
I mention these two gravest of grave sins to say we can be in God’s word and practice our faith but still fall into sexual sin because I am living proof of that. Reading God’s word is not enough to avoid the temptation of falling into sexual sin, you and I must LIVE in God’s word to avoid this temptation. I have been a faithful, practicing, well read and studious believer in God’s word and the teachings of The Catholic faith for as long as I can remember. I was even baptized in The Holy Spirit during the spring of 1982 at age 17 at a charismatic renewal retreat, all this after being baptized, receiving first confession, Holy Communion and Confirmation which makes us soldiers for Jesus but I still thirsted for my Lord and Savior and wanted more, so I made my profession of faith at age 17 but still continued to fall into sexual sin, why?
Why? Well the reason is I had not fully surrendered my life and total trust to Jesus. I thought I needed sexual pleasure to be happy all the while sexual pleasure outside of God’s plan for human sexuality (read Pope Saint John Paul II Theology of the Body) does great harm and collateral damage; I damaged others including my wife as well as bring on despair and depression. (In another and separate post I will explain from the Book – Witness for Atonement – by Robert Margetts how the USA’s dropping of and using Atomic weapons in 1945 on the Japanese innocent people, noncombatants in population centers, was a grave offense to God and an atrocity and brought this country’s downfall morally and led to the atrocities of abortion we experience today, not to mention the other immoral acts we allow. If we can allow dropping bombs on innocent people than it is easy to kill people in their mother’s womb. I am pro-life from moment of conception until natural death and everywhere in between. I don’t like gun use or any weapons but understand why they are legal. I don’t believe in capital punishment and I believe a baby conceived even in the violent act of rape has a right to life and I have witnessed those who were born by their mother who was raped speak and it was pretty awesome listening to them and the act of love their mother made for them so they can have life. Our collective conscience has been numbed to mass murder, which is what abortion is, because of our use of weapons of mass destruction in 1945 on innocent people. I encourage you to read this book. It is very short and you can purchase online). We all are searching for true joy, we all are searching for Jesus and we don’t even know it! The devil does everything in his limited power to obstruct us from getting to Jesus. We have to fight and we need God’s grace in us, His sanctifying grace and we need each other, we are in spiritual warfare. Surround yourself with warriors who will fight this battle with you on your knees. That is why I am with The Kingsmen.
The title of this chapter is A Witness to Truth And Hope so I close with this I am a Witness to Truth, the truth God gave us written in His Word, The Bible. Admit the truth, accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, believe on HIM and confess on your lips and in your heart and mind that He is Lord of your life. Then just keep walking, reading, studying and practicing your faith and meet with others of faith regularly. Growing in faith is a lifelong process, listen to God’s whispers, open your eyes and your heart. Live in His Word every day, The Bible, it is Truth, and the teachings of The Catholic Church have safeguarded this truth for 2000 years and continue to do so today and will forever.
Secondly as I state in the title of this chapter, A Witness to Hope! Never despair, never! It is written in the Bible over and over again in both Old and New Testament, “Do not be afraid”, and Jesus says it often as well. As I stated earlier admonishing the sinner and instructing the ignorant are two spiritual works of mercy. A spiritual work of mercy is a WORK OF LOVE! If we really love than we don’t enable, we speak the truth. Faith, Hope and Charity! We are people of hope. Repenting brings hope, conversion brings hope, change brings hope. Experiencing the Risen Jesus like I did from March 18-22, 2015 brings hope. I was wounded and still am but Jesus filled that wound, let Him fill yours, whatever caused it, and I am here to witness to it and tell you not to wait until you experience chest pain like I did to fully surrender to His Love and Mercy. It is the greatest and most joyful experience you will ever have!
So, how did I finally break free of the slavery of concupiscence even after being a person of faith for my entire life, by opening my heart, ears and mind to those God surrounded me with and on the advice of a friend joining the Angelic Warfare Confraternity which provides sanctifying grace and by staying connected to the Triune God through the intercession of His and ours Blessed Mother, the Queen of Virgins, and virgin saints like Thomas Aquinas every second of the day, by “making an agreement with my eyes”, see Job 31:1, and by repenting, turning away from sin and remaining faithful to Gospel and knowing it’s in my past but not being foolish to not know my vulnerabilities and by not consuming alcohol or drugs or smoking anything, which damages the body, heart and lungs and ultimately the soul.
This post ties into two other posts, which I recommend you go to called Angelic Warfare Confraternity and Whitehouse Witness.
Please know that are bodies are temples of The Holy Spirit and anything we do to damage the body is sinful. Excessive eating, drinking alcohol, drugs are all bad, get enough sleep and exercise.
In other posts we will dive into difficult subjects all inter related or stemming from the same tree of death including use of Pornography, domestic violence, in vitro fertilization, use of artificial birth control, abortion, fornication, adultery and same sex acts. All are sinful, but there is hope, admit, accept, believe and confess even if you continue to stumble like I did keep confessing and never despair, St Paul tells us “where sin abounds , grace abounds all the more”!!! Meet with a spiritual director regularly.
It is important to note that having same sex attraction is not a sin! Engaging in same sex is. Just go to confession and confess this sin and stop. You can do it! “With God all things are possible”!
As the author of this article I want to state that I have ministered to others who are same sex attracted and transgendered but striving for holiness through my various ministries in serving. I have witnessed talks from same sex attracted individuals who are living a chaste life and practicing their faith and are joyful!
I pray and sidewalk counsel outside abortion mills. I serve in a soup kitchen regularly. I help and support those trying to break away from Porn addiction or any addiction that is bad. I teach and coach middle school age and high school age people.
We are all called to serve in some way so I encourage you to, all in the name of Jesus!
God loves you and so do I! Peace, love, truth, hope and mercy!!!