The Catholic Defender: The Importance for Vigilance

Posted by John Benko - October 5th, 2013

In this fast pace society that we live it is easy to be centered on the here and now.

We take each moment and live each moment expecting that tomorrow will be a better day.

We make our plans, we go to work, go to school, take our trips, most of the time our day is already mapped out for us.

As we spend our day, how many of us realize how fragile life can be?

The following is just being reported that Catholic Priests are being forbidden  to offer Mass, even if they volunteer for no pay.  The Obama Administration is doing everything they can to inflict pain on the American people.

We have watched this beginning with the shut down of the World War II monument in Washington D.C.

It is difficult to watch WWII Veterans many over 90 years of age in wheelchairs, walking with strollers breaking through Obama barriers to keep them out?

Now it is being reported that Catholic Priests can face arrest for offering Mass for Soldiers deployed all over the world.

The Archdiocese of the Military are receiving many complaints such as “This is Outrageous, especially threatening them with arrest to voluntarily do their job”?

Because eternity is very important, I want to consider this for a moment. There are those who spend a great deal of energy studying the last times.

For me it is a great point of interest, to look at the signs the Scripture refers to the last days. People are all over the chart on this subject.

Many times people go off making attacks on the Catholic Faith because they reject it’s foundations and so like a crazy doctor who miss diagnose his patients, they make false prophecies and accusations. 

Instead, we are to live this life in vigilance. We are to stand guard not as people who are paranoid, but as pilgrims in a strange land. Our homeland is here and now, but yet Heaven is our ultimate goal.
St. Peter instructs us to “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings”. 

Recently, the attacks on Catholics in Iraq by Islamic Terrorists have made the news and how terrible this is. Those killed are martyrs bearing witness to Christ daily. 

It is interesting that the Catholic Church is the most attacked group, yet the fundamentalists like Chick continues to make false attacks leading others to continue those attacks.

Violence is a way of life as people are affected by their environment. Ever since Adam and Eve with the fall of mankind, sin and death entered the world. 

Why does evil happen to good people?Our faith does not take away the evil in life, it helps us through it, to navigate around it. Sadly, a thousand people will rise this very day not knowing for them, this is their last day. Will they be ready? 

For many who live one day to the next without regard to their eternal inheritance this will be brutal. Jesus warns, “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come”.

Recently I was told by one of our Catholic Priests of an American Soldier deployed to Iraq who came to Father wanting to go to Confession. 

He told Father that he had been in more skirmishes with the enemy and he felt that his own life was seriously in danger. 

Father heard his Confession, gave him absolution, and the Soldier left there with God’s grace. 

Six days later, this same Soldier was killed in action after an attack upon his patrol. Tragic as this is, what a great sign this Soldier has left us. Through his example, he shows a great sign of predestination knowing that he packed his bags for eternity and today is in the hands of the Lord. 

It is a terrible thing to have someone die in your hands as I did during our 2007 deployment. There was no priest. I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet for this Soldier as that was all I could do.
I trusted in the Lord’s promise to those who prayed this devotion in the presence of the dying. After returning from Iraq in January 2008, our unit held a evening dinner for all the Soldiers and their families. 

As my wife and I were sitting down a man walked up to me saying that he recognized me. I had never seen him previously, he recognized me from the video given to him of his Son’s Military Memorial Service held in Iraq. 

He sadly explained to us that his wife was particularly brokenhearted over the fact their Son did not receive the Anointing of the Sick. She was deeply distraught over this on behalf of her Son.
I responded to the man that I would like to talk to her if she would like as I might have words that might console his wife.

He gladly brought her to us that evening and I explained to her the importance of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and of the Lord’s promise he gave to St. Faustina concerning this devotion. 

This was a devotion that I had been saying on behalf of our Soldiers in Iraq along with the Rosary. 

After speaking with his wife for a few minutes, she became greatly consoled with what I told her. 

You can never take the sorrow away of a morning Mother for their Child, but because she has great trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, she was greatly consoled. 

I remember my Mother at the funeral of my older Brother and how she was gathered around by the family trying to console her. Interestingly, this is the only time I remember my Mother ever playing the piano. Mom’s demeanor certainly created the somber tone of the scene.

Sadly, many are not as vigilant. They lead their lives with a terrible void they fill with fleeting things that will never satisfy the soul.

The Virgin Mary at Fatima after giving the Children of Fatima a vision of Hell (13 July 1917), told them: “You see Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If they do what I will tell you, many souls will be saved, and there will be peace… But if they do not stop offending God… He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, of hunger, and of persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.”



Pope Pius XII warned the world in 1950 that to be a true Christian beginning in the later half of the 20th Century they would have to live as “Living Martyrs” because the attack on the family will be so severe, because people will be greatly affected by their environment. 

The secularization of our Society is very dangerous to the soul. Because of this,many live out each day like a mouse in a maze not aware of the potential dangers lurking at any corner.

Enjoy life, it is God’s gift to you, but be ever vigilant and faithful to His Church loving God above all things. I have found that if you put God first, you appreciate the things you have more profoundly with a thankful heart.


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*BEST OF DTB #242* The Catholic Defender: The Holy Innocents

Posted by John Benko - December 26th, 2012

December 28 is the Feast of the Holy Innocents. These are the male children who were murdered by King Herod in an attempt to kill the Christ Child.

There was an ancient prophecy going back to the time of the Patriarch Jacob.

His beloved wife Rachael died right out side of where Bethlehem would be built. She died having Benjamin, her second son.

Genesis 35:16-20 states, “Then they departed from Bethel; but while they still had some distance to go on the way to Ephrath, Rachel began to be in labor and to suffer great distress. When her pangs were most severe, her midwife said to her, ‘Have no fear! This time, too, you have a son’. With her last breath–for she was at the point of death–she called him Benoni; his father, however, named him Benjamin. This Rachel dies; and she was buried on the road to Ephrath that is, Bethlehem. Jacob set up a memorial stone on her grave, and the same monument marks Rachel’s grave to this day”.

Jeremiah 31:15 states, “Thus says the Lord: In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping! Rachel mourns her children, she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more”.
This is a prophecy of the end of Rachel’s morning, we read the fulfillment of this prophecy Matthew 2:16-18 says, “When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more”.

What brings an end to Rachel’s morning is the Christ who lives to free all those in captivity.

Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Thus says the Lord: Cease your cries of morning, wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have it’s reward, says the Lord, they shall return from the enemy’s land”.

Jeremiah is prophesying that the children of Israel would return from the Babylonian Captivity, but even more than that!

Revelation 21:3-4 says, “I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them as their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or morning, wailing or pain, for the old order has passed away”.

We are living in a New Testament, a new Covenant, a new age. Rachel’s children are in heaven with Rachel.

We are reminded of the massacre of Herod because what we see today with abortion heaven hears the cry of the silent scream.

Heaven intervened with the plight of the Indian’s in Mexico in 1531 putting an end to the human sacrifices conducted there, heaven again responds to the atrocities committed against humanity today.

Jesus institutes the Ministry of the Divine Mercy.

The more we spread the message of His Divine Mercy, the more children will be saved from the Herod’s of our time.

Now is the day of Salvation, now is the time!


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*BEST OF DTB #47* The Catholic Defender: Arizona Reprentative Gabrielle Gifford

Posted by John Benko - January 8th, 2011

Today, Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords was among 19 people to include staff members and a Judge (John Roll) were shot while meeting at a supermarket in Tucson AZ.

5 people including a 9 year old girl were killed. Judge John Roll also among the dead.

There are a number of victims in critical condition to include Representative Giffords. Please keep these victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers. A large number of people are asking what religion is Representative Giffords. It is reported that she is Jewish. She is considered a moderate well liked by both Republicans and Democrats. I have an issue of her strong pro-abortion record, that I must oppose. Let’s pray that she will recover from this attack and play politics later.

Quick update, Judge John Roll was a dedicated Catholic who went to daily Mass there in Tucson. He went from the Church to where Representative Giffords was meeting people. For him and the other 5 people who died there today, may the perpetual light of the Lord shine upon them now and forever more. Amen.

9 year old Christina Taylor Green’s funeral was today, At one point they played Amazing Grace with bagpipes. We had bagpipes in Iraq used at the Military memorial service. May God grant her peace. Amen.


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*BEST OF DTB #39* The Catholic Defender devotes the Divine Mercy

Posted by John Benko - November 28th, 2010

“SFC Hartley, we have 4 wounded arriving in about 10 minutes, two gun shot wounds and two shrapnel”.

“OK, I’ll call the Chaplain, and alert the Battalion. Make sure that all the teams are assembled and ready”.

“Everyone take your positions, each team assemble as already dictated, we are expecting 4 wounded, one gun shot wound through the back, another through the right arm.

There are two Casualties with shrapnel wounds to the face, back and lower legs”. “As the Gun Trucks pull in make sure that the litter teams bring in the most severe injuries first and place them from this trauma bed on down.

Make sure that all your pieces are ready: I need your suction on hand, need IV ready to go, need plenty of supplies. Make sure the trauma chests are open and ready”.

“Come on people, just as we rehearsed! SPC Jones, I need you to keep monitoring the radio”.
“SFC Hartley, they are coming in”!

“Lets get them in now, bring the facial wound here, I need a line in and make sure you get an airway inserted.

CPT Wilson, here is your first Casualty. Place the Chest wound here in the second bed”

“Get started with him, I will be right back”.

“What are the last two”?

“SFC Hartley, they are delayed”!

“Ok, take them into the last two beds and begin treating their wounds, Doc will be right there”.

“SFC Hartley, this one has a high Blood Pressure of 180/120″

“Keep getting me the vitals every 5 minutes, yell it out. Where is the PA”?

“SFC Hartley, he is on the way, he should be here in just a few minutes”!

“I’m helping on the second bed, I’ll maintain spinal traction and keep the airway open”.

“Sir our second Casualty has a gun shot wound to the back, his vital signs are becoming rapid”.

The above scenario is sometimes a daily routine in a war zone. Sometimes it can happen multiple times a day with many more casualties. Sometimes the result is we lose some of them. That is always a difficult situation.

Sometimes the only thing I can do for someone is pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet! There may not be anything we can do as the wounds were just too catastrophic.

In this scenario, there are so many things happening at once, I have been involved with CPR trying to keep someone alive until the Doc calls it. I would silently pray:

Eternal Father,
I offer you the Body and Blood,
Soul and Divinity,
of Your Dearly Beloved Son,
Our Lord, Jesus Christ,
in atonement for our sins
and those of the whole world


I would be looking around ensuring that all can be done, making sure that the Casualties are packaged and ready for air transport Medevac if the sky is green. If the sky is red that presents problems getting a ground convoy. Continuing in my mind I would pray:

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion,
have mercy on us and on the whole world.


I remember the promise Our Good Lord made to St. Faustina consoling her that for the dying, if someone prays the Divine Mercy Chaplet the soul would find peace.

This hits home for me literally as my Mother would be told she had two days to live. She developed a massive blood clot that lodged in her right lower leg causing it to turn blue.

Without circulation, her leg did not make it. When I arrived at the hospital, the Doctors did not believe she would survive the knife. They gave her two days to live.

My Brother and I took Mom home to die as she didn’t want to die in the hospital, but at home with her family around her.

As soon as we got her in her bed, I elevated her leg giving some comfort, I placed a rosary above the site where it was dead, and bathed the area with holy water and prayer.

Mom’s medication such as Morphine helped at times, but what helped her most was praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet with me.

She felt at peace with herself and she was able to rest. This went on for about 10 days when I had to get an extension on my leave as Mom was living longer that what the Doctors projected.

I was sitting next to her bed when Mom asked me,
“Do you believe that the Lord will receive me when I pass”.

I told Mom, “Mom, you know He will receive you! You can trust in His word and stand on what He says”.

That’s when I began to sing to her a song we sing at Mass, “Be Not Afraid“!

Gigi, my wife, was standing on the other side of the bed when she saw Mom’s rosary on her desk so she gave it to Mom to hold.

As we were singing the song together, Mom was holding her rosary. It was at this point I noticed the rosary change from silver to gold in her hands. What a sign this was for us and I will write here that the Lord gave my Mom another 18 Months.
 
Mom was finally taken by the Lord on 1 August 2006. I will never forget how the Divine Mercy Chaplet made such an impact for my Mom.

That would lead to the earlier scenario. In the absence of a Priest, without the Anointing of the Sick (Last Rites), the Divine Mercy Chaplet is an important devotion.

I have meet parents of Soldiers who have died that were consoled by me when learning of our dedication of the Divine Mercy Chaplet praying for their Sons.

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