Building Strength

by Howard Hain


Jacopo Tintoretto, “The Ascent to Calvary”, 1566-67 (detail)

In spiritual matters, weight training principles often apply:

Without sufficient resistance, strength won’t increase.

Resistance is then not only something to be tolerated, it’s to be seen as necessary, as something desirable:

Without proper resistance, real growth won’t take place.

In fact, the more resistance the better, as long as we maintain good positioning and form, eat and drink properly, and get enough off-time and rest.

In spiritual terms, these conditions easily translate:  1) Stay close to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receive the Body and Blood of Christ with a grateful heart; 2) Remain in the Word of God and actively do the will of the Father; 3) Live a life of mental prayer—residing continually in “your inner room”—where we encounter the Divine Presence and lovingly adore the One True Source of all existence.

Let us then not be fools and seek shortcuts. Let us put aside all fads and worldly ways. Let us instead properly train, keeping in sight, and practice, the very basics:

To build strength, we need resistance.

Accept resistance then in every form—obstacles, roadblocks, annoyances, ridicule, mockery, difficulties, delays…

Accept it all as if directly delivered to you from the personal-training hand of God.

Accept it willingly, thankfully, even joyfully, as if weight added to the bar—as part of perfectly planned resistance—individually and specifically designed to increase moral strength and spiritual stature.





Holy Orders (a play in One act)


“Orphan in Church” by Pascal-Adolphe-Jean Dagnan-Bouveret (1852-1929)

Holy Orders

(a play in One act)


Act I


Scene I


Union City, New Jersey. Central Avenue, Saint Anthony of Padua Church. Morning.


Stage Black.


(Lights up. Church empty. Sitting alone. After Mass. Slight chill. Lighting dim, brighter at altar.)


ME: (out loud, but in a low volume, slightly louder than a whisper) So God, what is it you want me to do today?


GOD: (very matter of fact, almost as if with a shrug) Love…just love.


Stage to black.





—Howard Hain





Birthday Present

This is what I want:

All the world to pray a Hail Mary and sincerely mean it.

Thank You, Jesus, for such a sweet mother. Such a treasure. Such a gift. Such an everything, for all needs, at all times. If only all the world would take Your sweet mother into their homes.

May we all live in Nazareth.

May all our homes be like the womb of Mary.

Purity. Fertility. Righteousness. Compassion. Hope. Mercy. And Love.

Most of all Love.

The sweet love of a Virgin whom God Himself deemed Mother of us all.


Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, 
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of our death.


Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

—John 19:27



See Right Thru Him

Let Christ put His palms over your eyes…

…and look at the world through the holes in His hands.


“Christ displaying his wounds”, The “Doom” Wall Painting (c. 1435) Holy Trinity Church, Coventry

The man of intelligence fixes his gaze on wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.

—Proverbs 17:24


—Howard Hain





A Note to a Dear Friend (and you are one of them)


Thomas Couture, “Soap Bubbles” (1859) The Met

A Note to a Dear Friend (and you are one of them),

You know that I never will be able to give enough thanks and praise to our Good God, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for all the blessings He has made manifest thru you: your thoughts, your words, your actions, your prayers—the intention of your heart—but most of all, His Divine Presence in you, with you, and working thru you.

No pure intention goes unanswered.

I have received so much.

My family has become so rich.

Praise be to God for His obedience in you—for allowing yourself to be an instrument in His mighty, powerful, faithful, and always present hand.

Thank you for your sacrifice.

Thank you for placing it upon the altar.

Thank you for participating in the sufferings of Jesus.

Thank you for offering up.

Thank you for receiving.

Thank you for doing so in union with Christ Jesus.

Thank you for praying the Eucharistic prayer.

Thank you for assisting Christ at Mass.

Thank you for saying “Amen”, “So be it”, “Yes”.

God bless you.

God bless you.

God bless you.

—It is I, little Howie Hain of Long Island, who pens this message and prayer to and for you. I, a small, poor, silly man, offering you the child of an Eternal King a present. I humbly wrap it in The Loving Wounds of Jesus. I devoutly seal it with The Precious Blood of Christ Crucified. And I gently deliver it upon the luminous rays of Christ Risen, Christ Ascended, and Christ promising to come again.

Please then receive this small “coin” as if handed to you by the poor woman in the Gospel whom Jesus praises—offering “little” but all that she has. Receive it as from a dear friend, a friend filled with gratitude, a friend bowing down his soul to praise the Lord, a friend asking The Good God to bless you—all of you—each and every one of you—those I have spent much time with in person and those I have spent much time with at Mass and in prayer but have never “met” nor even laid human eyes upon.

Christ is mighty.

His family is real.

The Community of Believers is present.

The Communion of Saints surrounds us.

The Holy Angels cheer!

“Holy, Holy, Holy…”


In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.   Amen.


—Howard Hain


Web Link: Thomas Couture, “Soap Bubbles” (1859) The Met