Catholic Family News

A Voice Crying in the COVID-19 Wilderness: Embrace the True New Norm!

In the daily lexicon, the latest catchword fast closing in upon our currently cherished comrade and constant companion social distancing is The New Norm. Preaching from the roof tops (a socially distanced and thus currently acceptable place, of course), our intrepid leaders, social experts and media gurus are relentlessly encouraging us to prepare for the new norm i.e. a new manner in which we will need to live our lives in this bright, new, controlled, yet ever-lurking-virus world. This new norm, however, is not really new at all, having been oft foisted upon an unwitting, unprepared, lethargic and lazy populace in ages (and not so distant ages) past.

Have we forgotten the New Norm following Friar Martin’s heretical hammer tacking and attacking the Divinely established Church of God and the authority which guides, steers and defends that singular Barque of salvation?

Have we forgotten the New Norm in France, overturning altar and throne, beheading Christian civilization through the brazen proclamation of the spurious rights of man and declaration of independence from the rights of God through the sharp shrieks of Madame Guillotine?

Have we forgotten the New Norm of Comrade Lenin’s Soviet Utopia and the heavy hand of Uncle Joe Stalin bloodily enforcing the People’s Paradise with an iron fist and an Iron Curtain?

Have we forgotten the New Norm of good Pope John’s Vatican Council and the New Norm imposed upon a hapless people through a New Mass, a New Law, a New Catechism?

Far from a new norm, this is simply the next step, a further and deeper implementation of the revolution; the final stages, perhaps, in that long struggle first announced in the primordial, subversive war cry of the ancient enemy, the Adversary: I will not serve! That clarion call of pride, rejection and revolution, hatred of all that is true, good and beautiful.
Now, my dear friends, please hold onto your hats, for I wish to say, state and boldly declare … that we should, yes, each and every one of us, man, woman and child unequivocally, absolutely, without restraint nor hesitation, body and soul, whole heart, mind and will, accept and adopt into the very depths of our beings, into the very fiber of our existence, a New Norm. The time has come to finally and unreservedly capitulate. Let us stop dragging our feet, and get in step! I can almost hear the jaws dropping.  Have you gone mad, dear Father? Too much of the Canadian cold? Yes, my dear friends, raving mad, crazy even, nay foolish, a fool: … for we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake (I Cor 4:19-20).

Now, for the sake of clarity, sanity and sanctity, let me explain and exhort:  A New Norm, yes, but the correct, the objectively real New Norm, the only Norm. There is one, and there is only one, and the time has arrived for us to completely convert to it, to wholeheartedly embrace it, to unfailingly live it to the very best of our powers and capabilities. Plain and simple, always true, ever old, yet always new, it is the everlasting Covenant between God and men, the one true Faith, sealed once and for all in the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ! This norm, this recognition of the greatest of realities, this perfection and fulfillment of all life, truth and holiness, born through the Incarnation, Life, Passion, ignominious and bloody Death upon the sacred wood of the Holy Cross through which came the newness of life and the most normal of norms. And He that sat upon the throne, said: Behold, I make all things new (Apoc. 21:5).

The principles of this Norm must be received and taught, understood and embraced, loved and lived by each and every man and woman brought into this world.  We must practice what we claim to believe, not merely in the sacristy, not only in the church, not just privately in our homes, but every waking moment, every single day, every single thought, word and action before the eyes of the entire world for the restoration of The Norm, submission to the will of God, Creator and Redeemer: Omnia et in omnibus Christus! [Col. 3:11] Did not the inspired Apostle Saint Paul say that whether you eat or drink […] do all for the glory of God! [I Cor. 10:31]

My dear friends, NOW, NOW, NOW is the acceptable time, not a moment to lose. We have tarried far too long on the primrose paths of mediocrity and acceptance; sat disinterestedly by in the comfort of climate control, playing with our gadgets, watching filth from Hollywood as blasphemy has been spewed, the rights of God trampled, our holy Faith mocked, the Sacred Name of the Savior bandied about as a common curse, and the very persons of Our Lord and the Immaculate Virgin Mother ridiculed, ignored and forgotten. NO MORE. Let the blood boil. We must now live like there is no tomorrow: NOT, eat drink and be merry; rather Jesus, Joseph and the Immaculate Mary!

The words written by Saint Paul to the Colossians above summarize perfectly the attitude of the baptized and confirmed soul, the soldier of Christ: Our Lord Jesus Christ must be all in all things; not all in some, not some in all, not a sometimes thing, not just when we pray, or feel holy and good, not just in church or in private moments of devotion or desolation, but all and everywhere, to the depths of our being, penetrated and permeated by His Spirit; a burning desire to enkindle to the ends of the world in each and every soul, bar none, the knowledge and love of Christ the King … and what is more, the willingness to pay any price to see that it be done or to die trying. The time has come for heroes, let us fill this role! As the wayward and their ilk fearlessly fly their flag of multicolor, let us in righteous reply, to them and anyone else, anywhere, anytime, for any reason who dares cry out, “We will not have Him reign over us,” bravely unfurl the banner of Christ the King, the standard of the Cross, the wood of our salvation, the glorious emblem of peace, justice and true charity, and make our own the glorious words from the Vesper’s hymn for the Feast of Christ the King:

We acknowledge Thee, Christ, to be Lord of the ages, King of the nations and only Master of man’s soul and heart.

The wicked mob screams out, “We don’t want Christ as King,” while we, with shouts of joy, hail Thee as the world’s Supreme King!

May the rulers of the world publicly honor and extol Thee; may teachers and judges reverence Thee; may the laws express Thine order and the arts reflect Thy beauty.

May kings find renown in their submission and dedication to Thee;  bring under Thy gentle rule our country and our homes!

May the rulers of the world publicly honor and extol Thee; may teachers and judges reverence Thee; may the laws express Thine order and the arts reflect Thy beauty.

May kings find renown in their submission and dedication to Thee;  bring under Thy gentle rule our country and our homes!


Today, my dear friends, is the Vigil of the Voice crying in the wilderness, the Precursor, Saint John the Baptist, manly model of virility and virtue, fearless and humble, brave and unfettered by human respect, singularly devoted to duty and the will of God in the face of any and all opposition; a man, a model, a saint. This is a perfect time to attend Holy Mass and renew our baptismal promises, fervently begging from Almighty God the graces to become His voices crying out in this modern wilderness of darkness, death, evil, error and sin. Let us make firm resolutions which will fortify our souls and correspond to those divine graces given at Confirmation when we were anointed as soldiers of Christ, spiritual warriors, to propagate the Faith and defend the rights of Our Lord and His Holy Church. This is NOT an option; it is our sacred trust and duty, and our greatest honor! As the great Saint Chrysostom boldly wrote: We have been armed with such powerful spiritual weaponry, not that they may lie idle and unused, but rather firmly grasped in order that we may bravely sally forth to battle!

God needs nothing, but He does want our cooperation, desires to “dine with us.” He wishes to give us gifts beyond compare, and a peace and joy which the world simply cannot begin to understand. Yet He does not compel nor force; He respects the great gift of free will with which we are endowed. He only knocks at the door. We must open. He daily rains down the manna from Heaven, yet we must go forth and gather. Many are called, few are chosen. [Matt. 22:14] We must ourselves manifest the greatest of gratitude and thanksgiving for remaining on the path, keeping that door open, and truly display it by a daily deepening of faith and charity not in word alone, but ever more fervently in deed before this poor Godless world.

Here is a short but important list of potential and quite powerful resolutions that can be made by anyone in order to sally forth to this battle:

  • Frequent attendance at Holy Mass (source and center of all grace, strength, peace and joy!)
  • Careful attention to our daily prayers (which should be scheduled into our daily routine as befits such sacred acts)
  • 15-minute daily meditation/mental prayer (use the recommended book The Prayer of Love and Silence)
  • A serious program to study our Faith, as well as modern errors
  • Read, read, read (shut off the gadgets, the movies, the TV!)
  • Strenuous and calculated avoidance of the occasions of sin
  • Make a spiritual retreat
  • Crush human respect and defend our holy Faith and morality at every possible occasion
  • Frequent recitation of the prayer to Saint Michael—Defend us in battle!
  • Consecration to Our Lady: our life, sweetness and hopecalling upon Her most terrible as an army arrayed for battle!

Let us repeat frequently in this desperate battle, from which the weak and mediocre will be swept away, vomited from His mouth, the Deus in adjutorium meum intende, the Audjutorium nostrum in Nomine  Domini … and the prayer to the Warrior of God, Saint Michael, that we remain numbered in that small band of noble and faithful followers, like Gideon’s, the ones who will manfully carry the fight against an overwhelming foe to manifest the glory and power of Our Lord!

As the great G.K. Chesterton wrote: The Christian ideal has not been tried and found lacking; rather it has been found difficult and left untried. God forbid that Catholic souls, baptized in the Blood and anointed as His soldiers, would leave this life-giving ideal “untried.” Allow me to conclude with the beautiful prayer from the Holy Mass of the saint of my ordination day, Saint Paulinus, June 22nd:

O God, Who hast promised a hundredfold hereafter and life everlasting to those who leave all things in this world for Thy sake, grant in Thy mercy that, following in the footsteps of the holy bishop Paulinus, we may despise the things of this world and desire only those of Heaven.

Be assured of my fervent prayers at the Holy Sacrifice each day, that once resolved, we will persevere, for to these are promised the crown!

Fr. Michael McMahon is a priest of the Society of St. Pius X and was the founding headmaster of Notre Dame de LaSalette Boys Academy in Illinois. He presented a conference on the topic “New Priest for a New Mass” at the 2019 Catholic Family News Conference (video available here). We are grateful to Father for his permission to print this inspiring letter that he sent to his parish faithful on the Vigil of St. John the Baptist.

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Fr. Michael McMahon