The Catholic Commentator  

In perhaps one of the more iconic biblical stories, David, a young shepherd answering God’s call, slew the Philistine giant Goliath with a sling and a single stone, heralding the triumph of good over evil. 

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Popular Catholic author Dr. Scott Hahn addresses a crowd of 1,000 during the Men of Immaculata Conference on Feb. 17 at St. George Church in Baton Rouge. Photo by Richard Meek | The Catholic Commentator 

 

Today, Christians are awash in the waters of a spiritual flood, engaged in a war against a spiritual Goliath that encompasses such secular evils as the sexual revolution, the re-definition of marriage, pornography, the blasphemy of Jesus’ name in public and new norms of conduct. 

Rather than stones, however, God has given the faithful the spiritual weapon of the rosary, according to Father Miles Walsh, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Baton Rouge.

“He sends us forth with a mighty sword, that is what the rosary is, a powerful spiritual weapon in the arsenal of God,” Father Walsh said during his gripping homily during Mass at the Men of the Immaculata conference on Feb. 17 at St. George Church in Baton Rouge. 

“The iron of five Our Fathers, and the carbon of 50 Hail Mary’s, forged together into a steel sword set ablaze by the word of God in the mysteries of the rosary,” Father Walsh said in his homily. “The weapon, to be effective, must be constantly honed and used and sharpened by prayer.” 

“Today, I hold in my hand the sling of David,” he added while holding up a rosary. 

The daylong conference drew 1,000 men in its second year, up by nearly 200 from its inaugural year in 2017, which was held at Sacred Heart. The lineup included an impressive list of speakers, highlighted by well known Catholic author Dr. Scott Hahn. 

Also featured were Father Mitch Pacwa SJ, the popular host of “EWTN Live” and “Threshold of Hope” on EWTN as well as a biblical scholar and best-selling author; Matt Fradd, the founder of The Porn Effect, a site dedicated to exposing the reality behind the fantasy of pornography and offering help to those who seek sexual freedom; and popular Baton Rouge chef John Folse, who also provided lunch. 

Bishop Robert W. Muench celebrated the Mass which came at the midpoint of the conference.

But it was Father Walsh who upstaged the featured speakers with his stunning homily that was one of inspiration, a deep sense of spirituality and a definitive call to action. 

“We are awash in the waters of a spiritual flood, a rising tide of spiritual weakness in our nation, in our church and in our homes,” Father Walsh said. “Spiritual walls that were built to protect us have grown weak from the unrelenting pressure of moral confusion and widespread lack of faith, and water from the flood is pouring in.” 

He noted that since 2000, an estimated 14 million Catholics in the United States have left the faith, infant baptisms have declined 28 percent and sacramental marriages have declined 40 percent. 

He said the damage wrought by the “so call sexual revolution” has weakened the institution, and what he called the very indissolubility of marriage. He offered that marriage has been redefined. 

“We live in a world where gender is fluid, commitment weak, sex is no longer intrinsically tied to procreation, abstinence never practiced in loving relationships, opiods have become our solace and self-sacrifice is a forgotten word,” he said. 

He said that Sunday is no longer considered the Lord’s day but one of recreation and sport, without God being the center. He said religion has been replaced by spirituality, the seven sacraments are no longer the ordinary means of salvation, sanctifying grace no longer needed for salvation, atheism and unbelief the new creed. 

Worst of all, he said, children are being trained according to this new way, “while we stand silent and afraid. We are a nation in need of God.” 

He acknowledged some might believe the clock cannot be turned back but to answer that question he illustrated the story of David and Goliath. 

“I hold in my hand today the sling of David and his five smooth stones,” Father Walsh said. “After lunch today, we, the sons of Mary, Men of the Immaculata, will take out this sling of David and pray upon these five stones, and we will call out full-throated and unsparingly to the Lord. 

“What would happen if 1,000 men went forth from this conference and got down on their knees and prayed the holy rosary daily with all of their hearts, and gave their wives and their children, their families and friends an example of sacrifice and trust in the Lord?” 

“What is the Goliath holding you back from going forward in faith?” he said. “God is calling you to go forward in faith. Will you answer God’s call?” 

Hahn blended his own conversion story with his uncanny humor in his address to those gathered. He said it’s important for the father to be the spiritual head of his family. 

“That’s challenging,” he admitted, adding that “we are called to be sons (of God).” 

Hahn said men must be soldiers on the battlefield of spiritual warfare and that each person must be willing to repent. He said not repenting for sins is upsetting to God. 

“We come up with excuses,” he said, adding that even some of the Bible’s greatest figures, including Noah, Abraham and the first family were broken by sin. 

“When we commit mortal sin, you commit spiritual suicide,” Hahn said. “Through suffering we are going to bring ourselves back to our Lord. We must learn to hate sin.” 

He urged the men to tap into their potential and recognize the gifts they have been given. 

“We have more than we can measure; that is why we are Catholic,” Hahn said.