St. Paul instructs, “Test Everything”…Good Time To Do So!

St. Paul was a wise, extremely intelligent and very much a man in touch with the pulse of his times. His words to the early Church of Thessalonica are good to reflect on in light of the recent events politically. St. Paul advises us to “hold fast to what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

I am holding fast to all of the good that President Trump did in the past four years. What about you?

In truth, there is no president who has ever done more for the pro-life movement than Donald Trump–it is not even close with any other president (see for yourself at

I am not as well versed on foreign policy, immigration or economic policies from past presidents, but I can deductively conclude that President Trump’s achievements might be commensurate with some of the best when it comes to such policies. His handling of North Korea could be measured against that of Reagan’s handling of the Soviet Union in the 1980s, albeit with much swifter results. His handling of domestic terror in the Middle East could be measured with Clinton’s handling of Muammar Gaddafi or Bush W’s handling of Osama Bin Ladin or Saddam Hussein. The economy could find resurgence comparisons with that of the post Depression and WWII era and would certainly rival, if not surpass, the economy during the Clinton administration.

But again, the pro-life record of President Trump shines the brightest in light of his efforts in the past four years. After all, as the pro-life movement has always said, if you are right on the life issue, likely you will be right on many other important issues. In my opinion, President Trump was.

As far as the character of the man, I cannot speak much about that as I personally don’t know the man. I can say that I very often had a distaste for his choices in words either via social media or during his hard to watch debates. That said, I recognize that Donald Trump is not a perfect man. Who among us is? But I “hold fast” to the great good that he did. His Supreme Court Justice appointees, alone, will speak to the legacy of his presidency, and no impeachment process nor any invoking of the 25th Amendment can ever take that away from his time in the Oval Office.

Arguably, President Donald Trump did everything he said he would do when he campaigned for the presidency back in 2016. In all honesty, how many Presidents can say that? He strived to always be honest with the American people and perhaps this was to his great downfall.

But in the end, Donald Trump can leave the nation’s highest office with his head held high, and those of us who voted for him should do the same.

Regardless of the tragic 11th hour hysterics in Washington, D.C., President Trump worked hard for the American people. He took no salary for himself and worked harder in 4 years than the vacation prone Barack Obama did in 8 years. I still can’t believe that President Obama spent nearly $300,000 of American tax payer dollars to fly Air Force One back to DC to collect their family dog while the Obama’s vacationed in Hawaii. President Trump would have never have thought of such poor use of the American tax payers hard earned dollars.

The results are in and time will tell the legacy of this past president. I am grateful for his efforts for the pro-life movement. I hold onto the memory of his live address at the March for Life, which no President has ever done prior. I hold onto his very Catholic St. Thomas Becket proclamation in the twilight of his presidency. I hold onto his defense of the Catholic Church during the pre and post-coronavirus. I hold onto his defense of Catholic chaplains in the military when Congress proposed cutting all need for Catholic chaplaincy funds from the military budget. I hold fast to the memory of Fr. Scalia (the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s son), praying in the Oval Office at the launch of his first term seeking God’s providence, blessing and mercy upon the next four years of service to the American people.

In short, thank you President Trump for being the most Catholic President we have ever had in the White House.

President Trump or President Biden?

The American people have made their decision or have they? I am not quite sure. Who do we trust when it comes to the truth about these matters? Apparently, our media is not trustworthy. If that is true, then where is one left to find the truth these days?

I gather we could look to an alternative news outlet online and see what we can dig up. The truth of the matter is God will grant authority to the next President of the United States of America. If it truly was not the will of the people that Donald Trump be President or Joe Biden, then there is one truth that we can all confidently rest in the peaceful knowledge of, and that is: God’s permissive will has allowed our current situation to be what it is.

As I write, I am reminded of some sage like wisdom from the great Academy Award winning movie, Chariots of Fire, the true story about the 1924 Paris Olympics. In that movie, there is a powerful scene where the great runner and devout Christian, Eric Liddell, declares before the Prince of Wales the following bold proclamation:

“God made countries, God makes kings, and the rules by which they govern.”

Whether he said them or not, they certainly jive with Christ’s own words as He stands before Roman Governor Pontius Pilate, “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above” (John 19:11).

So God grants authority to Presidents, Kings, Governors, Mayors and yes, even our bosses. What are we left to do? We are left to pray, fast, encourage and stand ready to hold our elected officials, even appointed superiors, to the standards, duties and responsibilities that are contained in the office they hold and charged by God to fulfill.

In the November Magnificat issue, there was a powerful excerpt on the Thanksgiving Day meditation, which I would like to share in this piece for clarification on just how an elected official, like a US President, should conduct his affairs while in office. This is taken from the first national Thanksgiving Proclamation as issued by Congress in 1777:

Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to him for benefits received, and to implore such farther blessings as they stand in need of: And it having pleased him in abundant mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable bounties of his common providence; but also to smile upon us…for the defense and establishment of our unalienable rights and liberties…it is therefore recommended to the legislative and executive powers of these United States to set apart Thursday…for solemn thanksgiving and praise:

To inspire our commanders, both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace; that it may please him,…to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety, under his nurturing hand; and to prosper the means of religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisteth, ‘in Righteousness, Peace and Joy in the Holy Spirit.’

Truly remarkable that our nation’s founding legislative officers, had this profound understanding of their role in light of Providence. I am not certain that either President Donald Trump or a President Joe Biden, or whomever it might be when the dust settles, truly understands their office the way our Founding Fathers once did. Be that as it may, it is clear to me that God’s Holy Will, will be accomplished. God can use whomever He chooses to do His Holy Will, even those who are supposedly unfit for office.

Like you, I pray that whomever sits in the Oval Office come the end of January, whether it be incumbent President Donald Trump or Joe Biden, begins his tasks for the next four years with profound gratitude for the opportunity which Providence has afforded him. I pray that he bases his executive decisions and fulfillment of his executive duties with the knowledge that God is his greatest aid in assisting him in governing with wisdom and rendering him truly as a ‘fit instrument’ for the office he has been so-called elected to fill.

Your brother in Christ,


Confusion from the Vatican–Are you exhausted as me?

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I am writing this as an open letter in an effort to put out to the masses, or at least our TKM network, my personal thoughts on the repeated confusion and misplaced compassion that is emerging on this issue related to same sex matters.

First, allow me to say that I totally respect and honor the office of the Holy Father and his role and authority in our lives as head of the Holy Catholic Church.

That said, I must write, that I find the latest confusing statements on civil unions, emerging from the Vatican/Pope Francis, in the documentary Francesco, as totally misguided, irresponsible and dangerous to the lay faithful. This is my opinion.

The fact is, the pope, has no authority to change the teaching of the Church on marriage. Jesus Christ elevated marriage to a sacrament. What is a sacrament? A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to transmit grace. My 7 year old daughter knows that. There is no sacramental grace within relationships contrary to this one flesh union, which has been affirmed over and over again throughout the history of the Church. Still, Pope Francis thinks it somehow prudent to submit a supposedly and pastorally compassionate, but regrettably misplaced comment on this important issue of our times.

What changed for him?

In 2010, while archbishop in Argentina, he called a proposed gay marriage law in his country a “destructive proposal to God’s plan.” Well said Archbishop Bergoglio.

What happened to that man?

I don’t know, but I am tired of this rhetoric coming from the Vatican. We need clear teaching from the shepherd of the largest Christian denomination in the world. We need guidance and the wisdom of the Church from our Holy Father. We have not gotten that in 7 years of his papacy.

I submit that his Jesuit formation and spirituality has to be, on some level, a contributing factor to these recurring poor statements. St. Ignatius of Loyola should be turning over in his grave in disbelief at his spiritual sons widespread abandonment of Christ’s teachings.

Why else does Pope Francis keep making these reckless comments? Why else would he be promoting the writings of fellow Jesuit, Fr. James Martin, who is even more confusing on this issue of same sex matters? Why else would any Catholic author’s misguided writings or commentary on the issue of homosexuality usually have an SJ after his name?

Whether it is a Jesuit theologian or a misdirected bishop, the fact remains that the grace of the office of the pope, in union with the bishops, will preserve him from teaching in error when he speaks ex cathedra, from the chair of Saint Peter.

Short of that edict or type teaching on faith and morals, the pope’s words are really meaningless to a well formed Catholic. However, to a Catholic who does not know his or her faith well, these words are extremely destructive and damaging to the perception of their faith. Even to a devout Catholic, his words can pastorally confuse and mislead the flock.

I regret to write this, but I believe this confusion has already happened on a very large scale among the faithful and I, for one, refuse to allow this pope to continue to mislead and potentially scandalize those in my care and periphery.

Your brother in Christ,

Mark J. Houck, Sr.

McCarrick and the Presence of Evil in the Church

I have been contemplating, like many of you, the myriad of reasons why the Catholic clergy and hierarchy in the Church has fallen into major controversy through the alleged and credible accusations of sexual misconduct, and the genuine distrust and disrespect from the lay faithful over the last two decades. I have long posited that the primary crisis in the Church today is not a vocation crisis, but a failure to form men properly crisis. I am convinced, this remains the primary root of the evil that has developed within the Church today.

The ex-cardinal and laicized, Theodore McCarrick, does not emerge as the pre-eminent sex abuser and sex ring leader that he is without the failure of men to fulfill their natures to lead, protect and provide for those in their care and periphery.

It is hard to judge the inner spiritual life of anyone, let alone those with a Roman collar, but we can judge the fruits of their labor can we not?

I heard recently a faithful priest declare that those who pray the rosary will have the ability to recognize truth and be better able to discern evil. We know through the 15 promises of Our Lady to St. Dominic that there are many graces available to those who are faithful devotees of her Rosary. Our Blessed Mother confirms, in the first four promises of the Rosary, that this powerful prayer will grant: signal graces (1), special protection and the greatest graces (2), powerful armor against hell, vice, sin and heresy (3), and cause virtue and good works to flourish (4). Truly, praying the rosary is a means to safeguarding oneself against evil and sin.

If Our Lady’s promises are true, and whom would ever doubt such, then is it safe to say that the presence of evil in the Church today, and at the highest level of the episcopacy, is a result of a failure to simply pray our Lady’s Rosary, and in so doing, fulfill their true nature as men to lead, protect and provide for those in their custody?

I believe it is so the case. How can one explain the deception, the lies, the cover up among the men called to serve His Church? Their collective prayer lives should have led at least someone to step forward in the midst of these stories of grave depravity, right? The Prince of Darkness, while he is certainly present in the Church both then and today, has enemies, whom we call many saints, stepping forward to proclaim the truth and shed God’s light on the past and present crisis does he not? Surely, there was someone who had the courage to say “No, not on my watch”? Sadly, if there were any, they were either silenced, threatened, dismissed from their duties or shunned for such commentary.

Is the same behavior still true today? In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic Church response and the collective fears of both clergy and lay faithful, are we not seeing the same demonstration of a failure to trust in the provision of Almighty God, and His Holy Mother’s protection and promises?

Do the people of God fear death and so choose to preserve life at all costs and our selfish interests or do we fear God and choose to serve Him at all costs to our life?

I have some priest friends who are chastised by their fellow priests for their great work ethic and desire to save souls . “You are making us all look bad,” said one cleric. The evil in the Church is rampant and no doubt extends from the last person in the pew to the highest seat in Rome.

The Rosary is the weapon of our times (St. Pio). Are we each praying it daily? Is the family rosary a part of the domestic church’s prayer life? Are priests and bishops praying it daily? It appears from the calamities and confusion present among us today, that more prayer of the Holy Rosary is needed both by clergy and laity.

The next time you look at a statue of our Lady, take note of what is under her feet while she stands on the world. It is the serpent. The presence of evil in our Church can be rooted out and will be accomplished through our faithful devotion to the rosary.

“In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…I believe in One God, the Father, the Almighty…”

What is going on in our world today?

Many in the United States and around the world have recently grown in their love of neighbor and appreciation of the many things in life we take for granted. Some might say that this is one of the positive elements of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have recognized, many of us, the importance of family, friends and the human connection. We have experienced the absence of our communities of faith and again, for many of us, as Catholics, who have been denied the source through which our life finds its true meaning–the Holy Eucharist–we have grown in our reverence for and dependence on the Blessed Sacrament.

That said, as we emerge from our homes and enter the world again, we find it a very scary place. We recognize that what we learned about one another is only as lasting as our latest behavior towards each other.

I am a white male who grew up in a middle class home and often had some exposure to even upper middle class things. I grew up with many privileges and opportunities. I came even to expect such given how commonplace it was in my worldview. Overall, I grew up free from racial injustices, but only read and periodically pondered how such could be.

I witnessed from my grandparents an attitude about African American citizens that was very biased and was likely inherited and ingrained from their own parents. Generationally speaking, I recognized in my grandparents, in particular my grandfather, who fought in World War II, an invincible ignorance on these matters. Some might say it was a lack of education or just his own cultural upbringing, which seemed a near impossibility to shake out of his system. It was as if it was inbred in him, although I know that it was a learned pattern of behavior and attitude.

My dad changed these views and demonstrated a different attitude. He had a “pure heart” when it came to race in my humble opinion. I say this because recently I heard NBA Hall of Famer and outspoken sports commentator Charles Barkley say, and I am paraphrasing him now, “its hard to talk about race, because most people don’t have a ‘pure heart’ when it comes to these issues.” Our personal biases influence indeed our views. My dad observed no doubt his father’s prejudice and he made a decision to be different.

My dad was accused once of keeping black men and women down because he hired many of these wonderful human beings for his janitorial business, which he started to support his family in 1978. My dad would later be assaulted and nearly killed by the same man who accused him of keeping his fellow African Americans down.

Dad had a unique perspective though. The man who saved his life from the assault was an employee and his right hand man. His name was Lonnie Smith and he literally intervened and stopped the attack on my father. Lonnie was a black man, and my dad’s friend.

Once, while dad was in Alabama in the early 1980s purchasing a unique vehicle for his janitorial service–a litter truck–he found himself desperate. My father had diabetes since the age of three and he was in daily need of insulin. A kind soul, and a black man, drove my dad around to many pharmacies to get the insulin he needed. Dad desired to return the favor, and extend a kindness to this man by offering to buy him a drink and a meal. My father invited the man to join him at a particular restaurant to which the man said he was not welcomed in such an establishment. My dad couldn’t believe this and said you are with me and bought the man a meal. Dad did not know he was in a cess pool of hate and discrimination that extended far beyond his years.

Sadly, the world does not seem to have changed much. Sure, we have black athletes today making millions upon millions of dollars, but they are the rare few. Most of us white privileged males cannot appreciate the cultural divide, which our black brethren inherit and experience.

As I said to my son, in an effort to help him understand my father’s attitude and why we need to look at people with a ‘pure heart’: “Son, my father believed and we need to reclaim the understanding that we are all made in the image and likeness of God.” George Floyd was made in the image and likeness of God and so is Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is rightfully charged with his murder. Each one of us is a child of God.

The altruistic lessons and spiritual fruits many of us have offered, as positive results of this COVID-19 shutdown, have seemed to all vanish or at least it appears to this writer. We haven’t learned anything as a country in my opinion. I realize that the majority of our citizens are not committing these current acts of terror and violence, however, our perspectives likely all need a major overhaul.

Whether you are a black or white person, our country needs to stop treating people like they are any less human and Christ-like than they are. Black people are of infinite value and obviously entitled to the same respect any white person is given. I know we are long way from that happening and the walls of injustice and racial prejudice are deep and rooted in our society, which does not want to deal with this reality on the whole.

All people, Christians, and Catholics alike, need to pray and fast earnestly and fervently for a change of heart not once or during this current crisis, but each and every day. Do you do this? I know I don’t.

We need to ask God to soften our collective stoney hearts and grant us each a new one. A heart more like His. A heart, which loves all His children and wants the best for all the members of His family. The late George Floyd’s family members, Derek Chauvin, the peaceful protestors, the hate filled and selfishly motivated rioters, ANTIFA, Black Lives Matter supporters, President Trump and all who call themselves Americans, need to recognize their part in ushering forth peace.

I sim ply offer the following to accomplish these ends. Everyone of us needs to begin with one prayer. Everyone of us needs to extend one act of kindness to our neighbor. Everyone of us needs to assume the best of each person or stranger we meet whether in the rural or in an urban community. All healing begins with a prayer, an action of love and forgiveness.

Of course, I know we must be situationally aware of the environment we find ourselves, but even too much of that thinking may frustrate the process of healing and hope. Christ did not minister in safe places nor are we called to avoid all risk for the good of our safety. All must come together now to help heal these long divisions of hate and prejudice. How?

I only offer myself as a victim like my father did for the kind black man who offered his support to an ignorant American brother in need. I will buy a meal for a stranger. I will extend a welcoming hand or handshake to someone whom I don’t know. I will offer a smile to someone who is marginalized in society. I will encourage my children to do the same. I will offer my example to them. I will share stories to encourage and inspire them and I challenge all who read this to do the same.

This is how we will change our country. It will take divine love and forgiveness to change this current situation. We must begin with ourselves and extend our love to those first in our care and periphery. You want to change our country? Look around you and become Christ to those you see. May God grant us the courage to have a pure heart like His.

Restore the Bread of Life Prayer Vigil May 17th

Where: Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, 18th & Race Streets, Center City Philadelphia

When: Sunday, May 17, 2020

Time: 10:00-11:00 AM

5 Solid Reasons Why:

1.) Public Appeal & Encouragement to Archbishop Nelson Perez and archdiocesan leadership;

2.) Encourage restoration of Mass in a limited & voluntary manner;

3.) The USCCB has provided effective guidelines for such restoration;

4.) Overwhelming medical evidence that there is little to no threat to non-vulnerable people for public Mass gatherings if proper guidelines are followed;

5.) Restoration is permissible under the current civic authorities directives.

Please join us!

Abortion, the Mass & COVID-19 Response

As I write this blog, I am still in great disbelief over how the overwhelming majority of the lay faithful are still without access to their Blessed Lord in Holy Communion. Yes, many churches and parishes have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, but very few dioceses in the United States (three as of this writing), have allowed the faithful to once again receive the Most Sacred Body and Most Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Commonwealth of PA, where the headquarters of The King’s Men is maintained, Governor Tom Wolf has allowed religious institutions, like the Catholic Church, to continue its ministry with full exemption. In fact, TKM, Inc. is enabled as well. Yet with the social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders, TKM has not been able to do much ministry outside of blogging, emailing, letter writing, phone banking, zoom meetings and teleconferencing.

However, the church in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is fully able to offer their services to the people locally. Again, many churches are offering confession, adoration and web streaming of live masses. The faithful are grateful for these offerings, but the glaring element missing with these activities is the most important function of the Catholic Church–the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and reception of the Holy Eucharist.

The Eucharist is the “source and summit” of our faith as declared in the Vatican II documents. The Eucharist is the spiritual nourishment of God’s people and is needed to avoid venial and mortal sin, exercise virtue and discipline in the midst of this crisis and extend the kindness that all are being asked to provide to our neighbors during this pandemic. If people are struggling with such requests, then is it possibly because the people are not being given the strength they need to be obedient and compliant with such regulations? I wonder.

With our fallen human natures, our Lord knew that we would need His grace to assist us in our pursuit of holiness, fight temptation and our many disordered inclinations. In short, the Eucharist, is indeed the life line that all Catholics need to sustain themselves spiritually and live virtuous and altruistic lives. Without the Eucharist, the faithful are spiritually sick and their soul’s are in serious jeopardy. These are not my thoughts by the way, but those of many saints throughout the history of the Church, including the Council Fathers of Trent, St. Francis de Sales, St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Thomas More, and St. John Fisher just to name a select few.

Without the Eucharist, the world is lost. While many Catholics are perplexed like me over this reality, I frustratingly observe and wonder how abortion on demand is still unabated by this pandemic with apparently very little oversight and restrictions from Governor Wolf. Why? Its precisely because abortion is deemed essential for the common good. Abortion has been qualified as an “essential service”, yet gathering for Holy Mass is not. How is this justifiably possible? Babies are dying everyday during this pandemic and commensurately souls without access to the sacrament of Holy Communion. Yet, there has been relative silence on the primordial issue of abortion and the inconsistency of the government as far as their directives to its citizens from the Catholic Church.

The questions still for us remain:

Why are the risks worth taking for abortion service providers while the risk is not the same for Holy Mass?

Isn’t our spiritual well being just as important as our physical and emotional well being?

If it is just as important, then what can the lay faithful do to encourage their bishops and priests to provide them that which is vital for their earthly journeys?

Many lay Catholic people throughout the world have offered responses to encourage a return of the Mass. The country of Austria issued a great response recently. Catholics in the city of Dallas offered their voice too in a great procession around their Cathedral. I believe these efforts are admirable and should be mirrored in other dioceses across the globe. I encourage Catholics, specifically men, to pray about this outrage and their own response. Not only should Catholics be raising awareness to their local and statewide elected officials, but to their local bishop and diocesan wide pro-life efforts. TKM will continue to encourage, challenge and invite others to engage in noble battles like this one.

May God grant us each an extra portion of courage to fulfill our duties to lead, protect and provide for the most innocent and vulnerable–the pre-born child.

Manly Lessons from Coronavirus

So we find ourselves with really no end in sight for this pandemic, and still, life and responsibilities continue. Men are still called during pandemics, plagues and pestilences, to Lead, Protect and Provide. We are still called as men, husbands and fathers to sacrifice for the benefit of our families and the common good. Many men are finding new and creative ways to continue in the fulfillment of their natural vocations. However, I daresay, many are also floundering and struggling with great temptations during this time of isolation.

This blog today is meant for those who are struggling. Take courage my brothers! God has already won the victory over sin and death. St. Augustine wrote in the 5th Century and his words, like so often with this great saint, seem timeless for us today:

“‘The times are troubled! The times are bad!’ This is what we humans say. But we are our times. If only we would live properly, our times would be good. Such as we are, such are our times.” Sermon 80, 8

Brothers, we need to live each day like we have been called to live from our Lord.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments (Mt. 22:37-40).

The manly thing to do is to carry on in the manner which we should have been doing pre-coronavirus outbreak. Now here is where the rubber hits the road:

Were you living in such ways prior to this pandemic?

That is a question and perhaps the greatest lesson we could get from this global crisis. Life is a gift and many of us have taken it completely for granted. If there is any good to come from this plague right now, its that, people are recognizing the fragility of life and that death does, in fact, come like a “thief in the night” and so we must live as Jesus instructed (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Who then is the faithful and wise servant whom the master has put in charge of the servants in the household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns (Matthew 24:42-46 with emphasis).

We need to live a life good and pleasing to the Lord. Many need to take a spiritual inventory at this point in time. Even the church goers need to evaluate ourselves and our so-called pious devotions and practices. Us as Catholics, need to seriously reflect on our sinfulness and attitude towards God’s heavenly gifts to us.

The Eucharist has become very pedestrian among God’s people. Now that we are being deprived this great sacrament, some of us, this writer especially, is coming to know how dependent we are and should be on this great life source. The Eucharist is the nourishment of our souls. It is the life giving food that sustains us for our earthly journeys and enables us to fulfill our duties as the good servant does in Matthew 24 whom the Master finds doing the work he has tasked him to do.

So the manly questions for us all are these:

Are we doing the work the Lord has asked us to do?

Is God truly at the center of our lives?

Does our daily decisions revolve around God or me?

Don’t be foolish, the Lord has spelled out everything for us in the Scriptures. Read your bible brothers and be ready. There are no major secrets here. God has revealed how he will be coming one day (Read all of Matthew 24). Pay attention to the signs of the times.

Jesus answered: ‘Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famine and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

…Because of the increase of the wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved’…” (Matthew 24:4-8, 12-13).

I invite you to read all of these powerful words that speak to our present times and circumstances. Scripture is God’s word breathed and we must rely on it for times such as these. But the Lord comforts us when he says, “see to it that you are not alarmed.” Stay focused on Christ and the work he has called you to as a man, husband, father and leader, protector and provider. I believe if we do that, there is nothing we have to fear, not even death.

Yours in Christ,

Mark Houck

COVID-19 & The Great Commission

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him, but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:16-20).

Did Jesus add to his clear instructions about making disciples of all nations some clause surrounding pandemics or plagues? He must have said “…unless there is a pandemic, then quarantine yourself until there is no possibility of catching the virus?” Wasn’t leprosy a rampant sickness in his day? Surely, He told them to make disciples of those who weren’t lepers. No, he didn’t. So how are we to respond to the great commission in light of the times we live?

This is a very good question and, one, which I have been pondering these past few days of quarantine myself. I am in full-time ministry and, yet, I sit at home, obediently following the instructions of the CDC, WHO and my President. Prior to ending another day of social distance, I read of the 6 Italian priests who died ministering to those with COVID-19 in Italy this past week. I whispered to my wife, as I closed my eyes for the night, “Those priests will one day be recognized as saints in our Church you know.” They gave their lives for those suffering from the coronavirus. They ministered to the end. They loved their flock enough to sacrifice their own lives so that those who were under their care spiritually would not be without the sacraments and it cost them their lives. They fulfilled their vocation and have earned an eternal reward in heaven.

Doesn’t that inspire you? It does for me. Still, I am not an ordained Catholic priest or deacon. It is not my job to minister the sacraments like it is for a priest or deacon. I am a husband, father of 7 children and a lay Catholic evangelist who is sitting in absolute amazement of the world’s confusion and local hysteria at the grocery store.

God has given me gifts and one of those is prudence–right reason in action. This tricky cardinal virtue of prudence. It is a virtue that all must call upon as we discern our next steps professionally, socially, and, yes, even spiritually.

So what is the prudent thing to do for us as we seek to fulfill God’s holy will in our lives and at the same time be obedient to the Kingdom work that He has summoned each of us towards with His great commission?

Well, first, obedience is a virtue that we must consider in these times. Many of us struggle with obedience to authority. I know I do at times. Perhaps it not Almighty God’s authority, but earthly authority we resent. Perhaps we struggle with our bosses direction and, now, we wrestle with the freedom restrictions that are being put on us. “Do I really have to do that?”, we might say to ourselves with the latest admonition from our elected government leaders. There would be great graces won by exercising the obedience that our President and health officials are asking of us.

Secondly, we need to exercise sacrificial love for others by not submitting to our own selfish desires. That may mean not traveling for spring break or getting together with friends during this downtime or canceling an important trip or event for our ministry.

Thirdly, we must exercise great trust in the Lord’s provision for His people. The Lord is allowing this to take place in our world for a reason and it is not up to us know the “why” behind the “what”. We may question and further reflect on how a good God would allow such, but we need only look to the past to see that this is not the first time such things have befallen our earthly dwelling place.

Okay, so at last to the great commission question. We must be open to the creative ways in which God is allowing us to be his instruments for discipleship. For instance, I was just invited to do a virtual men’s conference due to the fact that many men’s conferences are being cancelled around the country. That is one way to fulfill the commission in these times. We might also consider taking up pen and paper and writing letters again to those we love and those, more importantly, we have forgotten to show love during this time.

Have we forgotten that it is still the Lenten season? What other sacrifices will this quarantined state of existence afford us? Seriously, think and pray on it.

As a ministry leader, I am left to discern how our apostolic mission at TKM, Inc. can be a catalyst for hope, healing and further virtue development. Blogging is one means by which I hope to fulfill my call this day. I wonder what the Lord will have for me and my family this evening? Family rosary has become a standardized practice for me and my children this year. We are beefing up the prayers for the world and those who are fearful of lost income and filled with anxiety. Perhaps consider a phone call, text or email to those whom we know are most anxious at this time.

Finally, hold onto sacred scripture for much consolation in these times. I have been grasping at 1 John 4:18 particularly these days. Perfect love will indeed cast out all fear. So have no fear what the Lord is asking of you and allow Jesus’s perfect love to fill you with great confidence and courage in these times.

Especially, work on your struggles with obedience. Take your calling to prayer and ask God to grant you wisdom and clarity as to your next move both in the home as you serve your family and fulfill your professional duties.

Be safe. Be cautiously courageous. And trust that the Lord will provide you what you need both today, tomorrow and in the future.

Your discerning brother in Christ,

Mark Houck

Super Bowl Embraces “Year of the Woman”… Seriously?

Year of the Woman–what does that mean? In 1992, this label got some traction during an election year which saw 5 women from the Democratic Party take seats in the US Senate.

Fast forward to 2020. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are given the same moniker with their half-time performance at the latest Super Bowl. Reviews were great and many viewers were singing the praises of the Latino vocalist’s performance on the world’s biggest stage. Okay, I get it. Professional football is primarily a man’s interest, and the Latin women dominating the half-time show draws the natural comparison, but in truth, are women really in need of such a label today? And is it good for them to have such?

Perhaps a tacit review of the last two decades of female so-called achievements might be helpful here. In 2016, we nearly elected the first woman as President with Hilary Clinton’s bid for the White House. For the 2nd time in the last 15 years, Nancy Pelosi holds the third highest political position as Speaker of the House. A record number of women ran for public office in 2018. Three of the last eight US Secretaries of State have been women. 32 Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Three out of nine justices on the Supreme Court are women. 15 of 146 world leaders are women. There are more women in the workforce today than men. More women are enrolled in college than men today. 85% of church groups are led by women. Perhaps a “Decade of the Woman” would be a better label. But alas, women will say that there is still much more to be accomplished and the glass ceiling has yet to truly be broken for women in the workplace and on the world’s stage.

Okay, is that true? Is that truly what is best anyway? Is there, perhaps, a plan for women that is different than the culturally normalized offering? Is there a plan that is both authentically feminine and yet fully divine? I submit that there is and I offer my assessment of the situation and how detrimental much of this past and current rhetoric is and will continue to be. I don’t expect to win any popularity contests for this blog.

As men, we should be edifying the women in our lives every single day. Our mothers, we should be respecting, protecting emotionally and providing for much of their needs, especially as they grow into their elder years.

Our wives, we should revere for all they do each and every day. We should show them our greatest respect for the love and care they provide to our lives as husbands and the children which they have born for us. We should serve them each day with a grateful heart for their wonderful gift of complementarity to us as men.

I often say the greatest gift I can give to my children is the gift of their mother at home. I believe my wife feels similarly. Studies from years long past revealed that if a husband were to pay for all the services he and his family receives from his stay-at-home wife, he would need to shell out at least $235,000 per annum. That has probably increased much since that study was done! Thank you my dear wife for all you do each day for me and our 7 children.

Coincidently, that same wife said this to me today after I expressed briefly that I was writing this blog:

Women have given up their freedom by choosing to compete with a male dominated workforce. They have sacrificed their bodies and gifting as women in the name of choice. Look at me, I am truly free as a woman, wife and mother.”

Okay, I guess my wife won’t be winning any popularity contests either.

So what is God’s plan for woman? Clearly, from the Garden of Eden we see that God desired woman to be man’s help mate, which does not mean subservient or less than, but in fact partner (Genesis 2:18).

A man has certain gifts by nature and so does a woman. We see this played out in Adam’s role as he categorizes and names the animals and birds of the air for God (Genesis 2:20). It is apparent, right from the beginning, that Adam has a gift in problem solving and exploring in the Garden. From the creation story, we know that man comes from the dirt (Genesis 2:7), and so it is quite natural for man to feel most at home in nature and the wilderness where he was created. Whereas Eve comes from Adam’s rib/side, she has the gifting in human relationships. Eve is created out of relationship not dirt.

So, from a very simplistic, but very natural view point, we see that woman is gifted on the emotional and nurturing side of things. This is her great compliment to man. She offers him a greater ability to interpersonally connect with others and she teaches him how to properly nurture and care for children.

At TKM, Inc., we have long qualified and championed man’s calling as leader, protector and provider. For woman, we have often said that her complimentary roles to these are trust, surrender and receptivity. We see the leader, protector and provider fulfilled in the role of St. Joseph and the trust, surrender and receptivity roles perfectly manifest in the life of our Blessed Mother. The greatest and most powerful woman ever created was our Lady. This is the true model for women still today. Joseph is a great model for men, but in truth, Christ, offers even more for men to emulate in the aforementioned tri-fold roles. His bold, yet compassionate and courageous life coupled with his sacrificial heart is exactly what men need to witness for the world today.

I submit because the women of today reject their true natures and their Marian call to trust, surrender and receive, we see as my wife boldly proclaimed, a complete denial of the true freedom that God offers them with their true feminine gifts and genius. Dare I say, we see enslavement? Slavery to power and prestige? Through the pursuit of false feminist movement agenda which espouses equality in gender roles and encourages women to reject their own motherhood and pursue non-life giving alternatives, I see bondage. Bondage to an ideal that is not one iota linked to the true, good, beautiful and divine plan for woman.

The Super Bowl embraces the year of the woman? I don’t think so. In my house, ever day is the year of the woman. I am blessed with a great wife who understands her own gifting, her true inner and outer beauty and her own nature as both nurturer and mother. It is my privilege to serve her and provide for her everyday needs both physically, and as best I can emotionally (again not my gifting). It is my honor to protect her and our children. It is my joy to also lead her in our spiritual journey as husband and wife. I need her and continually affirm her as my help mate and partner in life and love. I need her feminine strength to carry on in my mission as a man. My accomplishments are truly hers. Her achievements as a mother raising 7 wonderful gifts from God are also mine. Together, using our collective gifts from God, we can do so much for each other and the world.

These truths are to be celebrated daily and the so called “woman of year” culture would one day be wise to think and reflect on the benefits of God’s plan for woman, which this blog barely does any justice towards.

May God be praised!