(The announcements that were posted previously can be found here)
Eight years ago I wrote “the unfathomable worth of your knowledge,” and today’s post issues a similar, updated, exhortation.
As the long-prophesied events grow ever closer and the prophetic expectation reaches a veritable fever pitch (I keep hearing of more and more people predicting The Warning for this year), a temptation may exist among some of the faithful to react to the imminence of the Chastisements by retreating into realms of apparently safety. (I say apparent because, indeed, there is absolutely no safety of any sort outside of the Will of God — and God’s Will is not that any of us retreat.) Such souls, if they succumb to the temptation, may proceed to retreat by, among other things:
- Dedicating themselves to survivalism — stockpiling freeze dried food, weapons, and gas masks — which will do nothing (this is not to repudiate a sober and moderate degree of prudent preparedness)
- Dedicating themselves to preserving their “privacy,” online or otherwise (sorry, there’s no such thing: everything will be known by all on Judgment Day) as, in this effort, they pass up opportunity after opportunity to be more powerful evangelists and reach more souls.
- Backing down on the boldness of their public witness, if not neglecting it entirely, for fear of being more easily caught up in the no doubt imminent persecution that the faithful will have to endure.
- Becoming “spiritually orthorexic” busy-bodies, dedicating all their concerns to striving — in vain — to ensure that each member of their little cliques are fully on-board with their own personal opinions on every single event that transpires in the Church.
- Becoming ever more caustic in their demeanor — which is tantamount to giving up on evangelization (for we all know that caustic attitudes convert no one) — because of how very “sick and tired” they are of how bad things are. And, indeed, things are more horrible today in the Church and the world than ever before in history. But the results of our efforts are up to God. We only answer for our faithfulness in doing what He has called us to do. Allowing ourselves to grow caustic because of how “sick and tired” we are with the apparent lack of temporal results, therefore, is rebellion against God’s Will and retreating from the battle He has called us to.
- Giving up on their apostolates — even if they are convicted God has called them to these apostolates — because they aren’t seeing the immediate and visible fruits that they would have liked to see, and they foolishly say to themselves “considering how messed up the Church is today, what’s the point anymore?” as if Jesus has somehow forgotten the promise He made in Matthew 16:18. Thus they continue to go to Mass and undertake the bare-bones basics of the Faith, but they revert to being “normal”: they reserve their zeal and dedication for career advancement, possessions, financial security, etc., and, in a word, “abandon the love they had at first” (Revelation 2:4)
- Growing ever more restrictive in their social circles: supposing that even reaching out to, much less genuinely conversing with, anyone outside of their tiny unwritten list of “approved Catholics” risks dirtying their hands by contact with someone they deem inferior to themselves in orthodoxy.
- Doubling down on their own flimsy personal opinions (and the personal opinions of their favorite Catholic pundits), instead of doubling down on the fundamentals, in these times of confusion. (Bear in mind that I am not here advocating for flexibility in dogma — rather, I strongly encourage doubling down on those teachings contained in the Catechism, especially — but in times of confusion we should not react by doubling down on our personal opinions on this or that Church discipline, liturgical style, prudential response to a delicate situation, political stance, etc.)
(If particular sternness towards some circles of “right wing” Catholics is detected in the admonitions above, that should not be regarded as any sort of endorsement of the opposite wing’s errors, to whose adherents I do not here even bother offering an exhortation, for one ought not cast pearls before swine. For many so-called “left wing” Catholics today have not merely retreated, but have actively joined ranks with the enemy by their promotion of behaviors that are intrinsically and gravely contrary to the moral law; and that they retain the name “Catholic” and even claim to be allies of the Pope will be of no help to them on Judgment Day.)
Retreating into realms of apparent safety when the going gets tough is for the cowardly (including the cowardly who parade themselves online as courageous so as to receive the praise of men); it is for the deserters and the effeminate (no matter how superficially masculine) who care more about preserving their own delicate flesh than about their dedication to the King. Retreat is not for those who form the front lines of the most elite fighting force in history — which is exactly what you are if you are a devout, sacrament-frequenting Catholic dedicated to proclaiming the Divine Mercy and the Divine Will.
For the very opposite of the aforementioned temptation is true: the power of your witness only grows ever stronger with each passing moment that brings us closer to the long-prophesied Great Events, and each new day presents an ever more urgent call to boldly proclaim the Faith. I am genuinely convinced of this, and I implore you to test out my thesis yourself. You will find it vindicated.
I’d like to share just a few experiences I’ve recently had with God’s utterly gratuitous outpouring of grace through my own meager efforts — efforts that all the faithful are easily capable of — in hopes of inspiring you to do likewise.
A couple of them have to do with my driveway; or, rather, the statue of Mary and the large Divine Mercy image we have at the base of the driveway, which, in turn, is on a busy road.
As our driveway is long and I cannot even see the base of it from my home’s windows I find myself most often near, I do not usually know what is transpiring down there. But the few times I do find myself at that spot (checking the mail, etc.), have often been encouraging when there happen to be passersby around. Just recently, as I was checking the mail, an elderly woman was walking by with her dog. She stopped to thank me profusely for the statue and the image; saying that pausing at them has become part of her daily prayer routine and has given her great hope. (She is Catholic but only just moved to the area and was greatly encouraged right away)
But it’s not just about edifying and encouraging the Faithful; it’s also about reaching out to the lost sheep. Some time before running into that elderly woman, a young woman was passing by when I was checking the mail and also thanked me effusively for the image and statue. I could easily tell she was very “new agey” and probably very spiritually confused, but the Divine Mercy image and the statue of Our Lady nevertheless spoke deeply to her, she said, and she very much appreciated being able to gaze upon them, which, she also shared with me, gave her great peace.
Earlier still, I started finding pots of flowers devotionally placed, anonymously, under the statue of Our Lady.
And these are just a few of the effects that I know of, that these simple channels of grace have provided. On Judgment Day, I am sure, I will discover exponentially more.
Mind you, I live in New York’s Capital Region: consistently ranked as one of the most, if not the most, post-Christian, “least Biblically minded” urban areas in the entire country. And even here, the Gospel can be proclaimed with great success. Not only do I live in this “post Christian” area, but I teach at a secular, public, New York community college. There, too, I will not be silent about my faith. Below is a picture of my desk, in my office, where any student who comes to my office hours is treated to an opportunity to exercise devotion:
Recently a student of mine was so taken in by the picture of Jesus and Mary that she asked if she could have one of those cards. Obviously I happily obliged and offered her as many as she would like. Some time after she reached out to me (after she was not only no longer my student, but also had graduated — so this was no effort to receive extra credit points!) and thanked me profusely for the cards and said she wanted to try and be more religious now.
These are just a few small examples of fruits I have seen from very tiny efforts I have made to evangelize; efforts anyone can easily make. Even if you aren’t feeling ready to walk through the ghetto proclaiming the Divine Mercy (I still try to regularly do my Divine Will Missionary of Mercy walks — www.DWMoM.org) or stand in front of a class lecturing on God’s existence, these small steps and others like them are so easy for anyone to do. And, mark my words, God will work marvels through your efforts. Lives will change. Wounds will be healed. Faith and Hope will be restored. Charity will flourish again. And, above all, salvation will be secured. All because of a bit of willingness on your part.
I know I constantly harp on the need to proclaim the Divine Will — and, if you’re tired of hearing me insist upon that… well… too bad, because I’ll never stop insisting upon it! But, remember, the indispensable foundation for proclaiming the Divine Will is the Gospel. And the Divine Mercy is at the heart of the Gospel. So we must never allow our proclamation of the Divine Will to dampen our zeal in proclaiming the Divine Mercy; we must, rather, grow in our zeal for proclaiming the Divine Mercy now that we know its crown — the Divine Will — is available for the asking!
So, a few ideas:
- Be a Divine Will Missionary of Mercy in whatever way and to whatever degree you discern God calls you to be. www.DWMoM.org
- Pray and sidewalk counsel outside of a Planned Parenthood (perhaps by participating in a local 40 Days for Life campaign)
- Hand out Divine Mercy cards or any other evangelizing material you feel drawn to
- Have a Divine Mercy card displayed on your desk at work
- Have some evangelizing materials on your lawn. Here’s the statue I have at the base of my driveway. And I made the Divine Mercy image next to my driveway using GotPrint.com’s aluminum sign tool
- If you have social media of any sort, boldly proclaim your Faith in Christ there
- If you don’t have social media wherein you can have an online outlet to boldly proclaim your faith, then start a blog in which you do so, in order that you may stand up and be counted. Blogs are free and very easy to start. Simply refusing to fear a “Google-ing” of your name revealing the depth of your devotion can itself be a great witness. You don’t need to be a blogger simply to have a blog on which you post just a brief few items/links/resources.
- Encourage souls in need of evangelization to visit www.PrepareToSeeHim.org, or any other website of your choosing that you think will effectively evangelize them
- Have a Divine Mercy/Guadalupe bumper sticker. You could also use GotPrint for this, or buy a premade one. I prefer, however, simply printing out an image, laminating it, and using clear packing tape to affix it to the back of my car. A little cheesy, maybe; but I, for one, have better things to worry about than the perfection of my car’s appearance.
- Gently, gracefully, and naturally evangelize in every conversation you have; even if it is only very subtle. Pray each night for these seeds you have sown to be given growth by God. Do not underestimate what these tiny seeds sown can do.
- Bid the cashier farewell with “God bless you”
- Wear a visible crucifix or something similar. A miraculous medal or a brown scapular, though more subtle, can also be very powerful: people will ask you what it is, to which you may respond, even if you only have a moment to spare, “It’s a brown scapular. Google it! It will change your life.”
As usual, my lists are intended just to get the ball rolling. Ponder, yourself, how you can best witness the Faith; be both innocent as a dove and wise as a serpent! Don’t let the worldly outdo us zeal. For we actually have something worth being zealous about.
No special skills are needed for any of this. No theology degrees are needed for any of this. No mandate or permission from your bishop or pastor is needed for any of this. No apologetics training certificates are needed for any of this. In fact, nothing special at all is needed for any of this. Sufficient, indeed, is a bit of good will, a bit of desire to be an instrument in God’s hands for the salvation of souls, and a bit of detachment from the various goals of this low world that you may think you “risk damaging” by being bold in proclaiming the Faith.
So, stand up and be counted.
Do not retreat.
Your efforts will not go unrewarded.
In the twinkling of an eye, all the glories of this passing world shall seem scarcely worth remembering; but the opportunities you used, in this world, to build up treasures in the next — that shall never be forgotten.