A running commentary by a former Anglican priest who was baptized Catholic,

kidnapped from the Church in his youth,

and found his way back through the blessings of Anglican spirituality.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

New Blog

A couple of you may have found the other blog that I started (over at wordpress.com), and now noticed that it is gone. Long story--here is the short version. Big bad complications make things difficult. Therefore, forget that one, go here instead: declaringthewholecounsel.blogspot.com. This blog that you are currently reading, The Maccabean, was mainly a chronicle of my transition from Protestantism to Catholicism. That transition is over, so I thought I should begin anew with writing. Check there if you are interested in reading more. God bless you!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Rebel Against The Rebellion

My wife and I were speaking about some rebellious children that we had encountered at the store recently, and our sixteen year old daughter came into the room. Overhearing our description of the children, she was shocked at their behavior. She has been raised to respect adults and to honor authority, and the children in question did not appear to have the same blessings. Her comment was, "they seem to think of rebellion as a virtue". Wanting her input, I asked her why she herself was not more rebellious, and her response was priceless: "I am rebellious; I am rebelling against the rebellion".

The world we live in is filled with rebellion, and though some of it can be justified most of it cannot. It seems as though there is now a joy in "coloring outside the lines" like never before. The current popularity of rebellion is something that needs to be "rebelled against" because it is only leading our youth into a life of misery and sadness. The Apostles knew that there were times when, in order to obey God, they had to rebel (cf. Acts 5:29). In the degenerate society of today, this dilemma will likely occur more often than in the past. The problem arises when our youth are not properly taught how to deal with these situations. If they are listening to the world, then they will seek to rebel against everything (except, of course, against the world itself).

A proper understanding of obedience will include a proper understanding of disobedience. All Christians need to understand what disobedience is, for it is more than just "not doing what you're told". Disobedience is a rejection of authority and willful choice to pursue self-determination. What few people are aware of today (both children and adults) is that if people are consistently rebellious against authority, then they will refuse to submit to those who tell them that they need to rebel (it is a self-refuting issue). Hence, those who "rebel against the rebellion" are the only ones who are applying the principle somewhat consistently.

What are the youth groups doing at your Church? Are they working harder to get children to attend than they are to get children to obey Jesus? If they are working to appeal to children's base desires (entertainment, pleasure, etc.) as a means of "upping the numbers" then the children are not properly being taught what it means to live a life dedicated to Christ. They are being taught, rather, that you go where the fun is (and when the fun stops, you leave). Yet, this is not the Christian life, this is the life of the world; "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die". We need to go beyond just telling the kids what to obey, and tell them how to obey. The manner of obedience is almost more important than the obedience itself.

Children today desperately need to be taught that the Christian faith is not merely a set of rules and beliefs. Living the Christian faith is like living in a whole other dimension. Distinct from the world around, and having its own set of rules that often differ from the rules of the world that we see with our eyes. It is not merely something to do, but something to "be". To become dedicated to something outside ourselves takes more than just a set of rules and beliefs, it takes a heart that is devoted and a mind that is trained in such a way that we decide beforehand that whatever happens, we will submit to God's commandments. This is the opposite of the world's rebellion. It is called faithfulness to God.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Priests People Need

Having returned to parish ministry, I find that I am once again in my niche. I was not exactly cut out for hospital ministry, I have to admit (needles still make my knees weak). I know I have much to learn (although I have been serving in pastoral ministry for fifteen years now, I have only been a Catholic priest for eight months), but I have to say that it is truly a joy learning it.

One of the most important things that I have come to more clearly over the last few months is that people need a father. They call me "father" because that is what they are used to, but I have come to realize that most Catholics see that title as equivalent to something like "ruler" (and nothing more). Yes, the priest is supposed to rule the people; they need a guide. Yet, he is supposed to rule like a physical father, and since there is so much confusion about parenting today it is difficult for many to know what that means.

If the wife and children do not see that the father of the home is willing to lead them with firm conviction and gracious gentleness, then they will have a hard time trusting him. They will see him as merely pursuing his own happiness. If, on the other hand, the family sees the father's loving guidance then they can follow him with confidence that he is truly seeking to do what is best for them.

Making some practical application to the parish situation, we find that a priest really needs to make it obvious that he loves his people (this is something that cannot be taken for granted). This is especially important in the area of being firm in truth and righteousness. If a priest is seen as seeking his own ends, or (worse) just "doing his job" then the people do not feel loved and cared for. They will be stunted in their spiritual growth, and they will not be able to feel confident in their service to God.

As little children will flourish under a loving discipline, so also will adults flourish when they know that their priest is working for their good. He may not be the best pastor in the world, but if the people know that they can entrust their souls to him because he is truly striving for their good, then they will be able to find clarity and security in their spiritual walk.

Parishioners do not need a "nice guy" who will be their buddy. They do not need a hired hand who is just doing work. Nor do they need an invisible CEO who is making all the decisions. They need a father who will put his arms around the people and love them, and who is also willing to be firm in guiding them to greater faithfulness. The delicate balance of "mercy and justice" is so important in ministerial duties. Like Jesus with the woman caught in adultery, there is necessary application of both "neither do I condemn" as well as "go and sin no more". For when we are imbalanced in this basic principle, then those in our care will end up unbalanced also.

We should be praying for more men to pursue holy orders, but that also means that we should be praying for men to know what that calling really entails. We do not want to fill the priesthood with warm bodies, but rather with men who are passionate about serving Christ, and who are committed to love God's people. This is the only way that parishes will grow and thrive.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Two Weeks

Whoosh! Have you ever had one of those weeks (or two) that seemed like the activity was never going to stop? There is a significant value in those times, and if we miss it we are missing a wonderful lesson. No, I do not mean that there is value in being overly busy, but that there is value in what we can learn from those times. When we come to the end of them it gives us an opportunity to sit back and take a look at what we missed.

When I got to the end of it (just the other day) I sat and read stories to my littlest one, played with the older ones and spent some significant quality time with them. I also made sure that I dedicated an entire evening to being with my wife. All in all, I took time to be with them. Having seen so little of them for the previous twelve days, I was able to see that what they needed was personal time. "Sorry, I've been busy" is not sufficient. They need to see that they are still a priority, and it is one's presence that shows this more than anything else.

Yes, there are times when things will take up our time more than normal, but how we make up for the lost time will reveal how we feel about what was lost. I know families that rarely ever eat a meal together. My family expects that it is normal for us to be together for meals. It is that very same personal interaction that is vital to our spiritual and emotional well being. As Gaudium et Spes pointed out, our society is adding more and more ways of having social interaction, and at the same time, we are becoming more and more disconnected. Sad, but true. We must be actively fighting against this trend.

We do not need to give our kids a five thousand dollar vacation to show them our love. We need to give them ourselves. A long talk is worth more than a hundred presents. Many Churches are struggling because they have lost the sense of what it means to be the "body of Christ" and appear to behave more like the "collected body parts of Christ". Parish families need to spend time with one another in addition to the time they spend in Church. People find more security in the personal love that we show each other than in big bank accounts. We need to get this right, for there is more depending on it than most of us realize.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Being "Anglican" on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

Definitions can be an enormous factor in how a conversation goes. If we do not share the same defintion of a word, we can become greatly confused in what we are discussing. It is often helpful for us to stop and ask someone, "How do you define your terms?" For example, if I say "it's sick", there are a number of possibilities for what I could be referring to. I could mean physically sick (as in "that dog, it's sick"). I could also mean morally repulsive (as in "that movie should never be watched by anyone, it's sick"). A third, very modern, usage is comparable to the standard slang term, "cool" (as in "I like that song, it's sick"--I did not make this up, I am only repeating what I have heard elsewhere); though I do not use this terminology myself.

The difference in a definition could be the difference between truth and heresy. Some of the Church's early theological arguments had aspects that turned on a matter of simple definitions. Likewise for Anglicans today, much turns on how one defines "Anglican". If you ask ten Anglicans for a definition of the word "Anglican" you will likely get eleven definitions (with three so heavily qualified you cannot understand what they mean). [It was once suggested that the duck-billed platypus would be the perfect mascot for Anglicanism since it seems to be impossible to categorize!] Yet, in spite of this, all of these definitions will boil down to two distinct categories. There are some whose definition of "Anglican" has to do with certain practices and traditions. They view Anglicanism as an historical practice that carried with it certain habits and traditions familiar to the spirituality of the churches in England from a long time ago.

For others, though, this view of the term, "Anglican", is unacceptable. Their definition of "Anglican" is determined primarily by the question of authority and not of traditions. In other words, an "Anglican" is someone under a certain authority structure, or denomination. There are Anglicans who will say that all Anglican denominations are basically the same, and that each merely has some insignificant distinctives. Then on the other hand there are Anglicans who say that there is really only one denomination that is truly Anglican; the others all fall short. Regardless of their position on this latter issue, they are defining "Anglican" based on who you are in covenant with.

Hence, for the latter group (definition based on authority) it is impossible to be "Anglican" and be Catholic at the same time. The former group (definition based on practices), however, would have no problem with someone saying that he is "Anglican" and Catholic at the same time. This would be comparable to someone saying he is a "traditionalist" and a Catholic at the same time because it refers to a set of practices and traditions, not to a specific authority structure (i.e. one's manner of being Catholic).

For those who see the primary concern to be that of "who is in charge", they are mired in the need to find the group that is "Anglican enough" and does things the way that they want. I would prefer to side with the former definition and say that I am an "Anglican" and Catholic at the same time. This is not the same as those Anglican denominations who say that they do not need communion with Rome because they are already as Catholic as they need to be (in spite of the fact that schism is a direct contradiction of the very definition of the word "catholic"). My definition of "Anglican" is based on an historic understanding that views Anglicanism as a subset of traditions and culture within the larger category of Western Christianity. This means that I am first a Catholic, and secondly I am "Anglican" (by tradition, not by denomination) because of certain aspects of the Anglican heritage that I have been allowed to retain as a Catholic.

Being a priest who is incardinated in the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (which is the feast for today, February 22nd), I am profoundly aware of what that title means. It reminds us that we are the Ordinariate established by Pope Benedict XVI, and that we are specially under the authority of the Holy See. Yes, this does have to do with "who is in charge", but it goes against the grain of how many Anglicans think. Their understanding of "Anglican" being based on which denomination a person is in, means that it is only possible to be Anglican if one is not in communion with the Chair of St. Peter (because they insist on an Anglican--not Catholic--denomination). There is a factor in this that I believe they have not considered. By this same definition, there were no Anglicans before the sixteenth century, since all of England was in communion with the Holy See before Thomas Cranmer and Henry the 8th made their departure.

This kind of philosophy is self destructive, though they do not realize it. It cuts oneself off from the historic Church, and thus makes it clear what that form of Anglicanism really is; Protestant. This type of Anglicanism is not a "middle way" between Catholic and Protestant, it is merely one more Protestant denomination in the quagmire of Protestant denominations. If, on the other hand, there were Anglicans before the Church of England separated from Rome, then Anglicanism does refer to a set of traditions and practices that can be retained once they return to Rome. The "Chair of St. Peter" refers to the authority of the papacy, and it is that very authority that will protect and retain the beautiful traditions that I, and many others, appreciate so deeply.

On this last feast of the Chair of St. Peter with Pope Benedict XVI as our Holy Father, I give thanks to God for granting us such a generous and wise leader during the first year of the Ordinariate. I thank God that I can continue my Anglican traditions within the protection of the barque of Peter. I thank God that He inspired the Holy Father to choose Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson for our Ordinary; my family and I have been blessed by him in many ways. I thank God for all my brethren who are in the Ordinariates with us. And most especially, I thank God for all my (still-separated) Anglican brethren; I pray to God for them, for they hold a special place in my heart. May they all return home with the same joy that I had, and find the same peace that I have found, resting comfortably under the authority of the Chair of St. Peter.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Picking Ourselves Back Up

One of my sons came to me recently seeking advice on how to resolve a situation with his brother. They had had a disagreement and he tried to resolve it the way that I have taught him, but it did not succeed. Step two in the reconciliation process for our home has always been "if you cannot fix it yourself, then get help from those who are over you", and he did. Parents should teach their children the commands of God so that they will know what is good and right. Unfortunately, there is more to this than "do this" and "don't do that". Not all parents teach their children how to deal with problems, and that is a priceless lesson. If we teach our children that chastity is good, then we also need to teach them what to do when someone tempts them to go against that. "Just say no" is never sufficient.

The rules that guide us in faithfulness, should also apply to how we deal with unfaithfulness--both in ourselves and in another person. When God tells us that we need to obey all the law, then that means we need to obey the law that tells us what to do when we disobey the law. In other words, there are laws and principles that deal specifically with what to do when you fail. Do children know how to deal with disappointment and failure? Do they know how to overcome their weaknesses and grow closer to God as a result? Many do not, and that is the reason why so many of them fall to temptation.

The principles of reconciliation are the same whether we are dealing with a brother, an enemy, or God Himself. If we instill the law of God into our children, teaching them that God has created an orderly world and there are consequences to our actions, then they will be better prepared in how to respond to all that this wicked world will send against them when they grow up. If, however, we ignore the future consequences of their actions and let them do as they please--"hoping for the best", but not actually doing what is necessary to accomplish it--then we are setting them up for failure, with no means to overcome it.

Parents who paint a "rosy" picture of the world, by pandering to a child's every wish, do not prepare them for reality. In truth, this kind of parenting (so common today) teaches them to imagine that they are entitled to receive all their desires, and thus that the world owes them. The painful thing is that this is the default parenting method most used today. This is why our society is so radically selfish. We do not see our calling as one of self-sacrifice, but as self-indulgence. I meet adults regularly who still think that they "deserve" the best of everything, and when it does not come, they seek ways to exact their revenge on others. Some do this only by harboring grudges and building up bitterness. Others lash out with violence--sometimes at their families, and other times at complete strangers.

If we teach children that the world was not created to satisfy their lusts, but to please the Lord God, then this simple and different perspective will help them to understand their place in the world. People who understand that we are broken, and that this means that failure is a part of life, recognize their own limitations, and are therefore better able to succeed. People who think that they can "achieve anything they want" (which is a sad lie) are only being primed to fail more miserably. How we reconcile with others is intimately related to how we pick ourselves up after we fall. Fixing what is wrong and making restitution are vital behaviors that are rarely taught much today.

We are told in the Scriptures that the meek shall inherit the earth; this is not because the proud will kill themselves off and the meek will be the only one's left. It is, rather, because the meek are the only ones who know how to succeed. They are the only ones whose perspective on life is balanced between the awesome power of God and the sinful state of man. In the middle, between those two drastic extremes, we find the grace of Jesus Christ. Grace that can help us to move forward after we fail, and will also teach us how to succeed in the strength of God Himself.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Reverence and Awe

I once watched a man down an entire glass of some of the most foul smelling home-made liquor I can imagine. His taste buds were so fried from years of drinking this fluid (somewhat akin to battery acid--but probably a bit more dangerous) that he barely even noticed what it tasted like anymore. Over time, we can acclimate ourselves to something in such a way that we become desensitized to its effects. This is just like what happens when someone is addicted to a drug, and then continually needs a stronger dose in order to receive the same "high".

Liturgy is quite similar. When we steadily accustom ourselves to modernism, we find that traditional modes of language and practice are less and less appealing. I recall someone once telling me that even listening to traditional language (especially as it is found in our Anglican Use liturgy) made him extremely "uncomfortable". He went on to say that much of the language in the new Roman Missal third edition was too "stuffy" for him, and he wishes it was never changed. Yes, serving God should give us comfort, when we need to be comforted; that is not the same thing as a liturgy making us "comfortable". If we are "uncomfortable" with reverence and awe, we have lost any sense of what honor means. The more he exposed himself to modernism, and the "laid-back" culture of today, the more he acquired a distaste for the more historic manner of the liturgy.

It may appear to some that people got sick of hearing the traditional liturgy forms, and then longed for the modernist ideas (like "liturgical" dancing during Mass!). In reality, they longed for modernism (as they were taught to do by the media), and then incorporated it into their liturgical practices. I know of a Catholic parish that was exposed to a great deal of modernist ideas and practices over a number of years. Then, when a new priest was assigned to them (one with some traditional influences) they started asking for more and more traditional practices to be revived in the Mass.

There is a longing among many Catholics today for a return to the reverence and beauty of the ancient Church. This does not mean, necessarily, a return to the traditional Latin Mass, but rather a return to what lies at the heart of the Latin Mass--deep respect and honor for God; and many of the modern practices of the Church do not help to foster this. This desire is found in many of the new Catholic seminarians as well as in the laity. The sentiment that I have heard from some is that they are tired of "playing" Church for the past few decades and are ready to rediscover what it means to worship in the faith of our fathers.

For those who recoil at the idea of bringing back the traditional reverence and awe of the historic Church, I believe there is an element of "pendulum swing" going on in their thinking. They have taught themselves to reject anything that resembles the deep veneration and devotion of the historic Church. It would be like someone who cannot chew steak because he has been eating Twinkies so long his teeth have weakened. The pendulum moved to the far left in an overreaction against tradition, and so anything that seems to resemble a pendulum swing towards the right seems to be "too far right".

I can understand if someone says that they are uncomfortable in the presence of a high dignitary; those in powerful positions usually intimidate others. Yet, none of us imagines that it is best to say "hey dude" to the king of a powerful foreign nation when we first meet him. Nor do we think it a good idea to dress in torn jeans, flip flops, and a t-shirt. Why do some of us, then, imagine that it is acceptable to behave this way toward the Divine Creator when we go to Mass?

If you discover that you have desensitized yourself to reverence and awe, and if you want to return to an appreciation of the Most High God, then it is time to start making yourself sensitive to the manner of tradition once again. It is time to start thinking about how you behave toward God, especially in Mass. You will get out of it what you put into it. If all you want to put into Mass is casual clothes and a distracted heart, then all you will get out of it is casualness and distraction. If you put reverence and awe into Mass, you will get reverence and awe out of it.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Thanking God for Pope Benedict

Yes, I am shocked, but no, I am not surprised. That may not seem to make sense, but let me explain. For those of you who have not heard (are there any?), our beloved Pope Benedict has chosen to resign at the end of this month (February 2013). It was apparent that he was weakening over the past year or two (and probably longer for many). Also, he always seemed to be a very humble man who knew what he was called to do (and thus also knew what it took to fulfill that calling). Thus, we should not be surprised.

On the other hand, I am shocked because I found such joy in his ministry and what he has done that it hit me like a bullet when I read that he was not going to serve as the Holy Father much longer. I am saddened, but I am also happy that he has shown all of us an example of wisdom. He knew when he could not continue to perform his duties, and he chose the godly path. All too often, the rest of us will continue on a particular course because we refuse to quit (stubbornly), when we should be mature and look at the situation with godly wisdom.

Our beloved Pope has shown us once again that his vision is truly that which has been blessed by God. He has realized that the Barque of Peter is bigger than he, and more important than anyone's personal motivations. We can, at this time, give thanks to our Lord Jesus for granting us the blessings we have received at Pope Benedict's hands over the last number of years. It should be clear that there are a number like myself who have extra reason to be appreciative of him, since our very place in Mother Church is a result of his historic vision for the reconciliation of departed brethren.

His body may be weakening, but his heart is strong, and it will always be an influence on me and my family. My children will always remember him as their first Pope, as well as the Pope that said "yes" to their Papa's ordination. At this time, we can look forward to being blessed once again by our gracious Lord with another Pope who will serve us by leading the way. He has a tremendous task ahead of him. The Church has many issues that need to be dealt with, and it will take a man of uncommon stamina and determination to continue the path that has been laid out by John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Let us pray that he not be merely what we want, but rather, what we need; especially for such a time as this.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Quoting from Gaudium et Spes:
"The biblical Word of God several times urges the betrothed and the married to nourish and develop their wedlock by pure conjugal love and undivided affection."
Every time I watch a movie with a "hot and bothered" romantic scene in it, I find it painful to watch. No, it is not because I avoid romantic movies (there are a few I actually like), but because they are portraying this worldly perspective on love that pervades our society. It is actually a bit sickening when you have two people swarming over each other like a couple of dogs in a fight. That is not the love of a man and his wife who are "nourishing and developing their wedlock" but the uncontrolled passion of lust. Yes, Christian spouses do engage in this behavior, but that does not mean that it is necessarily a godly expression of marital love. When we accept this perspective as normal, we are opening ourselves up to host of problems.

True love is not the uncontrolled passion of beasts, but is, rather, fully subject to the fruit of the Spirit known as "self control". True love is often spontaneous, but spontaneity and self-control are not mutually exclusive. In fact, the best and most godly spontaneity is that which is fully self-controlled (this is a subject in itself, so if it does not make sense to you, it will need to wait until another post in the future). I wanted to write on the importance of this pure conjugal love, but there is a problem. Many within the Church give it no more than lip-service, and many others do not understand the importance of it.

With the numbers of those Christians who are actively engaging in sexual immorality (both adults and youth) it should be clear to all of us that we need a complete renewal of our understanding of both godly love and of sexuality. Although Pope John Paul II's lectures on the theology of the body would be incredibly helpful in this regard, few will read them.

"Pure conjugal love" and "undivided affection" seem to be foreign concepts. Teenagers fall victim to premarital sex and pregnancy out of wedlock almost as often in Christian homes as they do in non-Christian. This should not be. Confusion abounds, and we have to do something to overcome this problem. Purity must be taught in the home, and we have to protect our children from the world's rejection of purity. Pagans want to laugh at God's laws, and we are imbibing their philosophy. What is worse, parents rarely do much to prevent their children from being catechized by this wicked point of view (all you have to do is turn off the medium that brings the lies into the home in the first place). Be aware, sending them to youth group is not a "cure all" and it often creates more temptations to this very problem than would have been experienced otherwise.

We have to start at the beginning; which means that we need to teach the basics of God's law once again. We also need a heavy dose of teaching on the benefits and the blessings of Sacramental Confession. The serious and regular effort at dealing with our sins is vital to helping us to grow in our faith. Spouses, seek purity and develop a culture of purity in your homes; if you do not do the work to "nourish" it, it will die and so will your love for one another. Parents, teach your children what purity means and explain to them that sexual immorality is not "OK" just because you think you love someone. Priests, teach openly (but discreetly) about these subjects; and if you cannot do so yet, then you must work to prepare your congregation for it down the road. Only by an active effort to accomplish this, will we ever see the fruit of our labors.

Sunday, February 3, 2013


I attended a priest's workshop last year on the subject of The Theology of the Body (the series of lectures by Pope John Paul II), and was moved at the troubles that exist for men in the world today. I hear numerous stories of men who have fallen into pornography addictions. I see previews for movies that assume that all men have uncontrollable sexual urges and it is "only natural" for them to give in to these urges. These types of things give me a pit in my stomach because I realize that little is being done to combat this attack on the purity of Christian men.

I read stories about priests who have fallen into sexual sin (and various forms of sexual abuse). I have male friends whose marriages have fallen apart because they have indulged their lusts in various ways and thus driven their wives and children away from them. This is ugly and it only appears to be getting worse. Although I have always been faithful to my wife, I was not always a Christian, and can say that I know just how difficult this temptation is. The Devil wants to destroy us, and he is putting a concentrated effort into it through sexual temptation.

Our society is heavily pornographic (and this goes beyond movies, magazines, and the Internet!) and it appears that we are doing almost nothing to stem the tide. The biggest problem is that the vast majority of these men who are entrenched in this sin are trying to go through it alone. "The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I have no need of you'", but we do not seem to have learned this fact. I am speaking to the men primarily here (but ladies, if you love your men, it would not hurt to point them to this fact in a gracious manner), but I also want the young men to be aware of this: we are created by God in a way that makes us better able to endure life's challenges if we approach them in unity.

You can call them accountability groups or men's meetings, or anything you want, but parishes should provide an opportunity for men to be together on a regular basis to encourage each other in being faithful to God. Single men need the help of others so that they do not fall to the world's approval of promiscuity, and married men need the help of others to keep themselves focused on fidelity to their wives; this is true for young men and old. Expect for the rare occasion where someone is granted a special measure of grace, there are only two kinds of men: those who struggle to resist sexual temptation, and those who are lying about it.

If there is already something happening at your home parish, get involved with it. If there is not, then see what can be done to get something started. We are being attacked, and in times of war we need the help of fellow soldiers if we are going to withstand the attacks of the evil one. Men, reach out to each other for help. Young men, ask for guidance and help from those older men who have learned faithfulness. Women, encourage your husbands and sons to seek faithfulness. Parents, speak to your boys about the challenges they are going to face, and check on them regularly to ensure that they are working to keep their hearts pure. Those who assume that they are doing fine, and have nothing to worry about, are the ones who fall the quickest because they are not prepared for the battle.