Why Our Lady of Fatima’s Message is Relevant 100 Years Later

Our Lady of Fatima

Our Lady of Fatima pray for us! 🙏


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 13, 2017.


The centennial anniversary for any historical event is impressive. Reaching one hundred years is a relatively rare thing in the animal kingdom: humans, tortoises, bowhead whales, and jellyfish to name a few centenarians. May 13, 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of Mary’s appearances to three young shepherd children in the city of Fatima, Portugal. Our Lady of Fatima’s message is always applicable. Here are three reasons why.

Mary is Always God’s Mother

Icon portraying Mary as Theotokos

The Catholic Church has always believed that Mary is the Mother of God. Jesus entrusted Mary as Mother of the Church in John 19:26-27. The evangelist writes, “When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son. Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.”

To combat a false teaching that tried to deny Mary’s role as the Mother of God, the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D. formally declared Mary as Theotokos—God-bearer. It’s also fitting the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima fell on the Eve of Mother’s Day! This is another reminder Mary is a spiritual mother to all.

The Fatima Prayer and Divine Mercy

One of the most popular Catholic prayers that we learned from this Marian Apparitation in Portugal is simply known as the Fatima Prayer. It is a simple yet powerful prayer:

O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in most need of Thy mercy.

The most important message Mary brought to those three shepherd children to share with the rest of the world is— Divine Mercy. Mary desires to bring all people closer to her Son. God desires Christians to pray for the the salvation of EVERYONE!

Our Lady of Fatima as Bridge to Islam

The single greatest book I have ever read about Mary is The World’s First Love: Mary, Mother of God by Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. He begins chapter 17 of this book title Mary and the Moslems by mentioning the references Mary has in the Koran and the honor she has in the religion of Islam.

Fulton Sheen on Our Lady of Fatima

One of the best book on Mary I’ve ever read!

The passage I found most fascinating is when Sheen explains why Mary appeared to the small village of Fatima,

“Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: “Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary.”In a variant of the text, Fatima is made to say: “I surpass all the women, except Mary.”… Since nothing ever happens out of heaven except with a finesse of all details,

I believe that the Blessed Virgin chose to be known as “Our Lady of Fatima” as a pledge and a sign of hope to the Moslem people, and as an assurance that they, who show her so much respect, will one day accept her Divine Son, too” ( The World’s First Love: Mary, Mother of God p. 141).

I agree with Sheen; the selection of Mary’s 1917 Apparition seems too fitting to be a mere coincidence. Let us continue to ask Mary to work in the hearts of non-Christians to draw them to Christ!

Today is also the completion of my wife and I’s Marian Retreat which culminates with a consecration to Jesus through Mary. Through drawing ourselves closer to the person who is closest to Jesus we ourselves are drawing ourselves closer to Jesus Himself. Thank you God for the gift of Our Lady of Fatima and we pray that all of humanity is able to more deeply grow in love!

Related Links and Resources

Our Lady of Fatima & Eucharistic Devotion

Fatima Family Center

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Windex, Storage Containers, and Teresa of Avila


Editor’s note: Article originally published on March 17, 2017.


My wife and I completed an intense bout of pre-spring cleaning this past weekend. Spring is a time of renewal of body and soul. A clean start.

Spring Cleaning for the Soul

spring cleaning gif

I am a neat freak. One of the three tenets my blog is based on is organization. I am passionate about decluttering, sorting, and cleaning dusty crevices in my house. Why do I lack the same fervor when it comes to my spiritual life?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church 797, states,

“What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church.”243 “To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members.”244 The Holy Spirit makes the Church “the temple of the living God”.

Teresa of Avila on Cleaning the Soul

This imagery of the Holy Spirt being housed in the church is not new. St. Paul clearly states this in 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 2 Corinthians 6:16 to name just a couple verses. However, it was through the intercession of St. Teresa of Avila’s writing that I especially encountered this truth recently. She begins her greatest work, Interior Castle, with the following divinely inspired words, “ I thought of the soul as resembling a castle, formed of a single diamond or a very transparent crystal and containing many rooms, just as in heaven there are many mansions.”

Teresa’s description of the soul is easy for me to understand. Yet at the same time her writing illustrates the complexity of our human condition.

Throughout the Interior Castle the doctor of the Church takes readers on a spiritual journey by examining how in navigating through the castle of our soul we are able to grow in closer union with God.

Saint Teresa of Avila quote

Without a thorough examination of oneself and spiritual guidance we are not able to recognize the graces God grants us daily. God can clean out the “dustiness” of our souls. Just like how my home needs frequent seasonal cleanings, the Church in Her wisdom has seasonal cleanings as well for us to grow in holiness.

My goal is to take a few minutes each remaining week in Lent to reflect on St. Teresa of Avila’s words in Interior Castle. I hope you all prayerfully consider to join me in this journey and cleanse your own soul of the “dustiness” of sin and temptation.

Related Links

Exploring the Cellars of the Soul

Spiritual Surgeons— Clean Out the Wounds of Your Soul with Teresa of Avila

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How Saint Patrick’s Breastplate Will Shield You on Your Spiritual Journey

Saint Patrick lived in the 5th century and was a Christian missionary. He was instrumental in converting Ireland to Christianity. Known most for his usage of the shamrock to help explain the Trinity, Patrick’s successfully converted the pagans.

Saint Patrick

Several posts on this feast day focus on “little known facts” or about whether Saint Patrick was actually Irish. I’m going to on something a bit different. Saint Patrick’s Breastplate prayer always provided me a great comfort. This article will examine the various aspects to his prayer.

Here’s the short version of the prayer (for the long version check out the link in the related resources at the end of this article):

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Put on the Armor of God

Immediately, I think of Saint Paul’s description in Ephesians 6:10-18.  The Bible acts as a defense against the temptations of the devil and the world. Reading and listening to the Word of God shields one with truth. The Devil enjoys sowing discord and twisting truth to fit his desire― draw people away from God.

Saint Patrick Breastplate

Christ is always with us but sometimes it can be easy to forget. Sometimes we push God away or turn our back on Him. Saint Patrick’s breastplate prayer uses directional words to help remind one the closeness of Jesus. Jesus is beside you. He is with you. On the right and left. Christ’s presence envelops you as a protection like how armor surrounds a soldier in battle.

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

In Matthew 22:39 Jesus tells the Pharisees, “The second (greatest commandment) is like it (the first): You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Saint Patrick loved God first, but he followed the second great commandment too. He served the Irish peoples by leading them out of the errors of paganism and towards the truth of the Gospel.

In praying Saint Patrick’s Breastplate prayer, one is reminded to see God in others. It’s easy to get frustrated at strangers who commit a wrong: cutting you off in traffic, providing less than helpful advice at a call center, or even those who annoy you at church. Patrick was a foreigner in Ireland (contrary to popular views he wasn’t Irish!). But he accepted God’s call to spread the message of Jesus Christ as Savior. And you and I are called to do the same in our words and deeds.

Drive Out the Serpent(s)

Saint Patrick drives snakes out of Ireland

Hiss-terical

The above image is a p(f)unny way to describe how Saint Patrick drove out the snakes from Ireland. Joking aside, it was because of his cooperation with God’s will Patrick had the ability to perform such as miracle (herpetologists might disagree). Christ with me. Those opening words to the Breastplate prayer can give us hope. The battle and journey through life doesn’t have to be done alone. God is with us. He was (and still is in Heaven) with Saint Patrick during his early years when he was captured as a slave. And God was with Patrick as he drove the snakes (and the pagan ideologies) out of Ireland.

Saint Patrick pray for us to put on the armor of God, to love God and fellow men, and to relay on Jesus to help us drive out the spiritual serpents in our lives. Amen.

Related Links

Saint Patrick Breastplate Prayer: Long Version

A Better Way to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

 

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How The Conversion of Saint Paul Gives Hope to All of Us

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” It is no coincidence that the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, traditionally occurs a week after the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. Throughout Church history the reformed murderer and the simple fisherman frequently are portrayed in art and sacred liturgy together as exemplars for Christians to follow.

In fact, Peter and Paul share a feast day together on June 29th. The celebration of Paul’s conversion marks the conclusion of the Octave (Week) of Prayer for Christian Unity — a feast of international Christian ecumenical observance that began in 1908.

While celebrating a saint as legendary as the Apostle of the Gentiles may appear out of touch with the ordinary lay person, that cannot be further from the truth. Recalling the great witness of conversion of Saul to Paul provides great hope and a remedy for the division that the Enemy sows in this world.

Conversion — Call for All

Sacrament of Confession

The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Sacrament of Confession as the sacrament of conversion because “It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus’ call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin,” (CCC 1423).

No matter the stage, circumstance, or mindset a person is at in life transformation is possible. St. John Paul the Great talked about conversion in Dives In Misericordia, “Conversion is the most concrete expression of the working of love and of the presence of mercy in the human world” (no. 6).

The colloquial phrase ‘knocked off your high horse’ certainly calls to mind strong image of Saul falling off (perhaps a horse!) after witnessing a blinding light in Acts 22:6-7.  Vatican II reminded the world that all the faithful are called to holiness. The Council Fathers put it this way in Lumen Gentium,

“Fortified by so many and such powerful means of salvation, all the faithful, whatever their condition or state, are called by the Lord, each in his own way, to that perfect holiness whereby the Father Himself is perfect.”

Despite our failures, the first step in our relationship with God is conversion. St. Paul is a perfect example that shows that even the worst sinners can convert.

Growing Pains

Along with that initial conversion, Saul encountered a brief period of blindness. Acts 22:11 details that Saul had to be led by hand to the city of Damascus by his traveling partners.

While I have never experienced blindness myself and cannot speak about any physical pain involved, I can provide experience as a newbie or novice in a work situation or as a new parent where it felt like I had to have my ‘hands held’ until I could grasp a better understanding of my situation. As the premier Jewish leader in rounding up the ‘blasphemous’ early followers of Christ, Saul probably heard frequent praise and had a strong ego. Lowering or limiting oneself to relying on others may not be physically painful, but it definitely hurts the ego!

True growth cannot happen without at least some painful transformation. The Catholic Church teaches that while conversion is a good first step in order for effective change to take place, penance needs to occur. According to the Catechism,

Conversion is accomplished in daily life by the following:

  • Gestures of reconciliation
  • Concern for the poor,
  • Exercise and defense of justice and right,
  • By the admission of faults to one’s brethren
  • Fraternal correction
  • Revision of life
  • Examination of conscience
  • Spiritual direction
  • Acceptance of suffering
  • Endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness

Taking up one’s cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance. (CCC 1430).

Hope for Humanity

2 Corinthians 1 10

The pandemic along with negative coverage national politics provide ample opportunities for despair to seep into our lives. The Enemy’s most sinister weapon to prevent a relationship with Jesus Christ is the voice of despair.

What is the antidote to such a spiritual attack? St. Paul provides the answer in 2 Corinthians 1:10—hope in Jesus Christ. The saint writes, “He rescued us from such great danger of death, and he will continue to rescue us; in him we have put our hope [that] he will also rescue us again” Hope dispels despair.

Whatever trial or tribulation hits you, large or small, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul is a great reminder that hope exists even in the seemingly impossible situations. As a killer of Christians, and even of St. Stephen, Paul’s story of transformation reminds us of all that good can still come out of the most sinister of events. Hope exists for humanity, and I am grateful for this feast as an opportunity to ponder the infinite mercy of God!

Related Links

3 Reasons Why Peter and Paul Share the Same Feast Day

Conversion of Saint Paul: Franciscan Media

 

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The Little Way of the Hobbit: Celebrating Tolkien and the Holy Name of Jesus

tolkien birthday gif.gif

January 3rd celebrates two important events: the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus and the anniversary of the birth of J.R.R. Tolkien. As a Catholic obvious the former has to take precedence, I mean Jesus is the center of the Catholic faith. However, I think it is ironic, maybe even providential, of the placement of the great English literary figure’s birthday within the season of Christmastide.

Creation Leads to the Creator

The famed creator of Middle Earth himself was a devout Catholic and belief in Jesus Christ permeated his entire life. I admire Tolkien because of his creativity, devotion, and ability to invoke joy into my life simply by reading his works or striking up a conversation with a random stranger about his life!

In An Unexpected Journey? The Case for the Canonization of J.R.R. Tolkien I discuss the reasons for canonizing Tolkien as a saint of the Church.

According to the Baltimore Catechism paragraph 215, Catholics honor saints because

“We honor the saints in heaven because they practiced great virtue when they were on earth, and because in honoring those who are the chosen friends of God we honor God Himself.”

The excitement, peace, and joy I receive when reading, researching, or talking about Middle Earth ultimately is aimed at a higher reality. A deeper reality of full communion with God in Heaven! Tolkien once wrote, “After all, I believe that legends and myths are largely made of ‘truth’.”

All of creation act as signposts pointing to God’s existence.

The same is true for the hidden or not so hidden Easter-eggs contained in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The date of the formation of the Fellowship—that is, the group of representatives of Middle Earth races—actually is December 25th!

easter christmas.jpg

The Little Way of the Hobbit

Much of Tolkien’s theology, whether he would have wanted to admit it or not, reminds me of the spirituality of The Little Way of St. Therese of Lisieux. Her path towards holiness consisted of relying on God’s mercy and forgiveness while seeking ordinary daily actions to show love of God and neighbor.

The French saint wrote, “Miss no single opportunity of making small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” Whenever I read and reflect upon that quote I am also reminded of the following words of Tolkien, “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”

jesus hobbit meme

Fantasy and Tolkien geeks now well that the bearer of the One Ring [the embodiment of temptation] was a hobbit. If only one word would suffice to describe a hobbit to individuals not too aware of this fictional Middle Earth race it would be diminutive. Littleness, at least in appearance, is the chief trait of the heroes of The Lord of the Rings.

Even the smallest person can impact the future

Like St. Therese of Lisieux, Tolkien recognizes that the smallest person can have a great impact on human history. The greatest event in human history is the Incarnation—God being man in the person of Jesus Christ in the form of a little baby.

I honor J.R.R. Tolkien today because his “complex”, extensive, and intricate sub-creation of Middle Earth provokes a sense of joy in the little acts done in great love and sacrifice. Ultimately, after reading any of his works, I am reminded to be grateful for creative genius not as a worship of the fantasy author. Instead, I honor him as he points me to the Real and Truth Author of All of Reality!


“At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” –Philippians 2:10-11

Related Articles

3 Things “The Hobbit of the New Testament” Taught Me

An Unexpected Journey- How September 21st, 2017 Became the New Start to my Spiritual Life

J.R.R. Tolkien: Truth and Myth

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4 Reasons Why Crying Out to God is Essential for the Spiritual Life


Editor’s Note: Post originally published on June 16, 2017.


Emotions ran high in my family yesterday. I struggled with a stressful situation at work and my son fell off his bike and scrapes his knee—a meltdown ensued. Feelings are part of the fabric of what it means to be human. I am not proud to admit this, but I have greatly failed in keeping my feeling in check during the past couple weeks.

On my drove to work this morning, words from a Christian song over the radio jogged a thought I had about prayer and our communication of God. I pondered how natural it is for humanity to complain when things do not go your way. How do we overcome the sin of complaining? Listening to the song lyrics I realized the answer is incredibly simple—cry out to God!

daryl-walking-dead-depression-113366

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using examples from the Scriptures, excerpts from Saint John of the Cross’ Dark Night of the Soul, and my own personal experiences I give 4 reasons why “crying out to God” is not complaining but rather an essential part of the spiritual life.

Lesson from Lamentations

Latent within the Old Testament, Lamentations is not among the first books that pop into my mind for having spiritual insight. I usually think of Proverbs or the Book of Wisdom. Lamentations is a collection of five poems that act as a woeful reply to the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C. Both individual and communal prayers of sorrow are found in this book. For my purposes today I will only focus on Lamentations 3:19-31 (click on link to see the full Bible passage) which contains an individual lament.

hope is in the lord.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The inspired writer of Lamentations speaks directly to me in this passage. His words, “Over and over, my soul is downcast,” calls to mind my state of mind and relationship with God over the past several weeks. I was downtrodden and I frequently wanted to give up. Interestingly enough, I actually pondered the fact that there is a glimmer of hope in my situation. The writer of Lamentations is prophetic again when he states, “I tell myself, therefore I will hope in him. 25The LORD is good to those who trust in him, to the one that seeks him; 26It is good to hope in silence for the LORD’s deliverance.”

Crying Out to God in Psalm 22

According to Mark 15:34, Jesus cries out to the Father in similar fashion as the book of Lamentations and myself when I encounter the stresses of life. The evangelist writes, “And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”* which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

These words used to befuddle me.

I have since learned that Jesus was invoking the psalmist’s lamenting words in Psalm 22. The psalm begins as a sorrowful prayer to God but similar to Lamentations 3 it ends with hope [see Psalm 22:23-32]. Reading these words, the Holy Spirit connected the dots for me on this subject. Verse 30 references homage toward God on bended knee and I already was planning on talking about how lament leads to kneeling before God even before I read Psalm 22!! The movement of the Holy Spirit is mysterious yet true.

Dark Night of a Soul

Saint John of the Cross was a great mystic of the Catholic Church during the 16th century. His spiritual work Dark Night of the Soul is as relevant today as it was when it was originally written. I will only focus on the dark night of the purgation of our senses and tie it to the theme of crying out towards God. The major characteristic of this dark night is the soul finding no pleasure or consolation in the things of God. I find myself occasionally in a “spiritual rut” where I do not receive consolation or experience direct joy from God.

St. John tells us to not worry,

“It is well for those who find themselves in this condition to take comfort, to persevere in patience and to be in no wise afflicted. Let them trust in God, Who abandons not those that seek Him with a simple and right heart, and will not fail to give them what is needful for the road, until He bring them into the clear and pure light of love” (Chapter X no 3).

Like the writer of Lamentations, John of the Cross, reminds us purgation is necessary to increase our holiness and awareness of God.

dark night of the soul

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skinned Up Knees Leads to On Bended Knee

This week my wife and I added training wheels to our son’s first bicycle. We taught him the fundamentals of pedaling and coaxing him when he got frustrated because they were “too heavy”.

Things were going well. He gained momentum and cruised on our neighbor sidewalk for about 50 feet.

Suddenly he hit a raised section of the sidewalk and toppled off his bike. Tears immediately streamed down his face. My wife added a Band-Aid and after a few minutes of reassurance had him get back on the bike to try again.

falling off bike.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does this common childhood experience relate to the spiritual life? Oftentimes we get metaphorical “skinned up knees”. Gossip in the workplace or stressful family events damage our relationship with God. True growth is not without pain—both in learning to ride a bike and deepening our spiritual life. Having undergone lots of skinned up knees in learning to ride my bike it makes it easier for me to be on bended knee in prayer to thank God for going through the school of trials to learn more about Him.

The difference between complaining and lamenting is the former lacks the virtue of hope. Complaining is more self-centered in orientations whereas prayers of lament focus communication with our Divine Creator. Do not be ashamed to cry out to God but remember that while it is a necessary step in the spiritual process– it is only the beginning. May we always ask the Holy Spirit to lead us toward prayers of thanksgiving after a season of lament!

Related Links

4 Reasons to Never Worry—Trust God Will Provide

Prayer― Catholic Answers

7 Ways to Shield Yourself against Anxiety!

Arrow Prayers: A Powerful Way to Cry Out to God

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How the ‘Superior Iron Man’ series warns us about immoral use of technology

Superior Iron Man

Since 2008, no other superhero has commanded as much attention or authority as Iron Man. Portrayed by Robert Downey Jr, the Armored Avenger has been the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe from the beginning. What is most fascinating about Tony Stark is his character development. He goes from a selfish and greedy business man to a selfless  hero.

In Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron Tony Stark almost makes the ultimate sacrifice to save the world. It was fitting that Iron Man was the superhero made the final snap of the new technological Infinity gauntlet in Avengers: Endgame. His death may have come as a surprise, but it was appropriate and necessary for the Golden Avenger to be the one to save everyone in the end. Iron Man’s completely noble deed completed the 180 degree transformation of his character.

Unfortunately, not every Iron Man storyline shows Tony Stark as a hero and leader. The Superior Iron Man (2014) series has an egomaniacal character thinking he is greater than the rest of humanity. This article will discuss the potential dangerous effects immoral use of technology would have on humanity, examine the Christian understanding of being the “best version of yourself”, and how Jesus is still the way in the age of superheroes.

The New Man vs. The Man of the Future

Jesus as the New man

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 452, “The name of Jesus means ‘God saves.’” Jesus did not enter our world as a political or military messiah to usher in a worldly power of dominion. Instead, he entered into our world and became one of us to show us the true path—the road of true love and obedience to God. He gave us the blueprint to overcome sin—the sacraments. St. Augustine described sacraments best by calling them, “an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace.” As the New Man, Jesus gave us access to become new and better versions of ourselves, free from sin and death.

In Marvel comics, Tony Stark stands at the vanguard of human advancement. He is often referred to as the Man of the Future. The future ignites excitement. Possibility. Promise. Fulfillment. We all hope for a better future. Issue #1 of Superior Iron Man opened with that excitement. In San Francisco, Stark delivered a free app to all citizens to access and download Exetremis 3.0 This was a techno-virus  created to turn people into the best version of themselves. Iron Man was a messiah figure!

Upgrading the Exterior

All promises for a better future are enticing at first. Superior Iron Man’s plan for the future was no different. However, Extremis 3.0 only solved physical defects. Tony Stark’s altruism quickly faded as he cut off free access to the techno-virus. He made the cost so expensive it caused people to turn to robbery. Bodily perfection became addictive.

Superior Iron Man

Acting as one of the moral compasses in this series, Pepper Potts expresses concerns about Stark’s use of technology. “You created a master race across the city, but you’ve also created an instant underclass. Extremis may have made people more beautiful on the outside but you know as well as I do that, for some it will only enhance all of the ugliness within,” Potts warns Tony (Issue # 1).

Similar to technology there is an allure, an attraction to the exterior—to the mere outside. We can only see outward appearances. It is difficult to sense the underlying beauty at times. Iron Man’s various suits of armor are both attractive aesthetically and technologically. Whenever I watched the Iron Man or Avengers film I dreamed a day where similar technology could be created and implemented in our world. Fighting off evil with the flick of a wrist or voice command would be incredible. If given the chance to overcome a physical limitation would you have it cured?

Playing God Not Man’s Destiny

Iron Man gave Daredevil his eyesight back temporarily. Infused with a dose of the Extremis virus, Matt Murdock regained his vision. In response to receiving the virus without consent Murdock asks Stark, “What gives you the right to play God?” (Issue #3). Stark quips back, “Being a God can’t be too hard. I mean if Thor can do it…I’m the most intelligent, capable person on the planet. I’m not playing God. All this time…I’ve been playing human.”

This world is definitely imperfect. Human beings are selfish. Manipulative. Greedy. Prideful. We long for control of our situation. Control over suffering—eventually the eradication of all suffering.

God Values His Creation

Goodness of creation

Another important theme in Superior Iron Man is the creator versus creation. Tony Stark prior to his personality becoming infected with pride and egomania implemented a contingency plan to keep himself in check if he ever got out of control. Pepper works with a mysterious “new” Iron Man to combat the Superior Iron Man (Issue #6 In His Own Image). Later it is revealed that the “new” Iron Man is actually an artificial intelligence (the consciousness of Tony Stark before he turned evil) in an earlier version of the Iron Man armor.

As creator of his advanced superhero armor and artificial intelligences, Tony Stark is like God because he creates. That is as far as the similarities go. God respects human freedom. He did not create humanity to blindly obey 100% of the time. We are not automaton. Mere robots. Fighting his creations across San Francisco, Tony takes a brief moment to inform the artificial intelligence Tony, “Do you know what’s left when you take away everything that was holding us back? Freedom” (Issue # 8 Bio-Mark-One). He goes on to boast in Issue #9, “I made you. All of you. And I can tell you: each and every one of you is inferior.”

Danger of Man’s Pride

Sin of Pride

This is definitely the mentality of a prideful man. According to St. Teresa of Avila, “There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world.”

The Superior Iron Man certainly possessed superiority, but dominance in worldly things alone. Tony Stark had a genius level intelligent, grand ambitions, and creativity second to none. His inability to account for human freedom and the need for morality would be his downfall. Stark failed to depend on others’ for help. Potts, Murdock, and their allies united together in humility to fight the selfish Stark.

Next Steps for Humanity?

Technological advancements such as advanced prosthetics, improving medical procedures, and renewable energy sources provide hope for the future. We can learn from the Superior Iron Man that true perfection is not skin (or armor) deep. Pride initially causes us to experience invincibility—and superiority. Experience shows us otherwise.

Jesus as the New Man—and True Man of the Future—teaches us the importance of the virtue of humility. His humble obedience to the Father led to suffering on the Cross, but it also led to the Resurrection—True life! We can experience authentic power when we follow Jesus, the Avenger of Sin. There is still value (and entertainment) in watching and reading about the adventures of Iron Man. Be a superhero. A superhero of virtue! St. Paul wrote, “Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.” Suit up. Not with arc reactor technology, but with the “ark technology” of the sacraments instituted by Christ and safeguarded by the Catholic Church.


Tony Stark Gif

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