God’s love for us is perfect. He loves us far too much to stand by idly and watch us lounge in our comfort, luxury, safety, and security, even when in doing so we damn our souls to hell – or at least consign them to a particularly long and painful Purgatory. Therefore, if we spurn His repeated calls to sanctity for too long, then He sends us a Cross that is sure to do the job.
We, dear fellow Westerners, now collectively need that Cross. And it is coming very soon.
I was reminded of this fact today as I watched the following short video about the Church’s newest Servant of God – and Pakistan’s first – Akash Bashir:
These completely impoverished and severely persecuted Pakistani Catholics show us what the Catholic Faith is supposed to be.
Look at that parish.
Look at how the people pray.
Look at the love, the devotion, the zeal, and the sincerity they all clearly have in their Eucharistic Lord.
Look at the vigor and vitality – forget pews, as those would prevent fitting in the 2,500 people that attend a single Mass in a Church which would, in most places in America, hold a couple hundred on any given Sunday, and maybe a baker’s dozen for a weekday Mass.
And don’t forget to look at the Church building. Simple and clearly built by poor parishioners, but reverent and edifying. Beautiful, traditional images of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. Rectangular. Golden crucifix, ornate altarpiece, heavily Marian emphasis.
Why such flourishing faith? Why such an exemplary illustration of what Christianity is supposed to be?
Because in each respect, their Catholicism is exactly the opposite of mainstream Western Catholicism: the latter being decadent, merely cultural, lukewarm, comfort obsessed, safety obsessed, convenience obsessed, self-absorbed, worldly, humanistic, secular, rationalist, anti-supernatural, subservient, relegated, compromised, bureaucratic, rich, self-interested, continued only out of habit, and completely emptied of its power by those with no real faith in its teachings and promises but who nevertheless dominate its pews, its clergy, its bureaucracy, and its hierarchy.
And it is because those faithful Pakistanis labor under such heavy crosses that, if any of the aforementioned evils were to even attempt to infiltrate their parish, they would feel such automatic and immediate revulsion to it, that the evil would not last a minute in their parish. Such attempted infiltrations would appear to them like an invitation to go golfing would appear to a man on the way to his wedding. Blasphemous. Discarding a precious pearl for a vile piece of coal. Indeed, the faithful who are persecuted, poor, and suffering instinctually see worldly and lukewarm Catholicism for the blasphemy that it is.
But, enter your typical Catholic Church just about anywhere in the Western World today, and what are you likely to find? (Thankfully, there are many exceptions to this. Odds are, however, you will see one or more of the following:)
- First of all, you likely won’t be able to enter at all. 90% of the time, the Church will be locked. Even though there is almost no truly substantial risk (certainly not compared to those faced by the parish above!) in keeping the Church open so as to promote prayer and enable the purpose of Christianity – Jesus’ closeness to His children– these doors will be kept securely locked shut so as to please the insurers at all costs, and Jesus remains a prisoner Whom His own children are not even permitted to visit. They are barred from doing so by too many of the very men who ostensibly sacrificed their lives to bring Jesus to the world.
- If you are fortunate enough to enter – perhaps because it is within minutes of Mass beginning or ending – you will likely be greeted not by any sort of prayer, or devotion, or even a holy silence – but by a cacophony resembling a coffee shop (or perhaps a frat party) because the parishioners cannot ever, even for one minute, stop gabbing away about sports, or the weather, or doctors appointments, or, worse, gossip. You don’t need any Pew research poll to tell you what is immediately obvious the moment you walk in the door of most Catholic Churches: there is no real Faith left in the Real Presence. The very reverence that any well mannered person would adopt in a library or a museum is apparently far too much to ever ask in the physical presence of Almighty God in a Catholic Church.
- Do not misunderstand: socializing with fellow parishioners is a good thing, and we are not obliged to only converse about holy things! But when the Church itself always resembles a coffee shop up until the moment Mass starts, and again the moment Mass ends, then there is no time or space set aside for what is infinitely more important: worshiping Jesus in the Eucharist and spending time with Him in prayer. The effects of this sorry situation can, and will, be measured in souls.
- During Mass, you will likely be subject to an utterly self-absorbed liturgy with hymns (and musical settings for the Mass parts) that sound like they were taken from a low budget children’s television show, a homily which – though endless in its storytelling, joke telling, “affirmation,” pointless pseudo-academic meanderings, pontificating, repeated secular culture references, and self-esteem psychobabble – did not manage to share a single teaching or exhortation from Scripture/Magisterium/Saints/Mystics which actually aids in the salvation and sanctification of souls and draws people closer to Our Lord. Despite the empty homily’s extraordinary length, all of the exalted prayers of the Roman Missal are still deemed “too long” and thus perpetually ignored, and the Creed – and then the entire liturgy of the Eucharist – is rushed through without an ounce of reverence, devotion, faith, or love – though all of these virtues should be utterly palpably overflowing from the Sanctuary in each Liturgy.
- And what will you be surrounded by in the pews even during Mass? Too often, entirely faithless comportment from those who nevertheless believe that they should be regarded as living saints merely because they are among the minority that go to Mass each Sunday: Flippant and informal postures, endless fidgeting, immodest dress, incessant chatting – even if “only whispering” – and commentary exchanged with the people next to them, couples cuddling, parents openly playing with their children (to whom they give food to devour and noisy toys to play with as Almighty God literally descends upon the altar in front of them), and on the list goes. Any silent time during the Mass is not spent praying, but leafing through the bulletin’s advertisements or scrolling away on their phones.
- After Mass? The moment it ends, the cacophony of entirely worldly conversation returns. Virtually no one can be bothered to pray for a moment. There are never any post-Mass devotions (though this should be each day!), Benedictions, extra Confession times, etc., offered for those who would like to stay for them. All immediately return to the conversations they were having before Mass. The fact that Jesus, in His literal, real, substantial, Eucharistic presence, still physically remains in the very bodies of each person who received Him (though most who received Him only did so sacrilegiously, thus crucifying Him anew), is as absent from their minds and hearts as their middle school algebra lesson. And Our Lord is left entirely alone, though superficially surrounded by – and even physically received by – His people.
- But what is just as tragic is what you won’t see. You’ll never see 90% of the regular Massgoers on their knees at any point other than when required during Mass, or praying by the tabernacle (or by a statue, holy image, etc.). You’ll almost never see heartfelt devotion and zeal. You’ll almost never see genuflections made with love and devotion, or a pious soul prostrate before our Eucharistic Lord. You’ll almost never stumble upon groups or individuals undertaking pious practices – Rosaries, Chaplets, Stations, Litanies, etc. In fact, there is so very much you won’t see, that it might be difficult to distinguish this typical American Catholic parish from a nearby Christian themed social club lightly sprinkled with some inoffensive and culturally-acceptable Catholicism (just none of that “morally rigid” stuff or “medieval dogma” or “old lady piety”!).
- If you are looking for opportunities to go to Confession, good luck. Though this is what most priests should spend a very large chunk of their time doing, only 30 minutes of this utterly vital Sacrament are offered each week – in the middle of what may well be the only day of the week you have to get your house work, errands, etc. done.
- If you are looking for opportunities to go to daily mass and thus receive Communion each day – as Pope St. Pius X begged all Catholics to do each day – you better be ready to bend over backwards if you are a working person or a student. Virtually no daily Masses are offered except those which can only be attended by retirees (that is, 9am Masses). 6am, 7am, or evening daily Masses are practically nowhere to be found.
- Oh, and, if you want your Church to have any care or concern for your soul at all, you better hope there isn’t a flu by another name going around. Then, all Sacraments will be suspended.
Described above is the majority of the Church of the Western World today. Illustrating its moribund condition could be extended for many pages, but even from this list, we can clearly see that this is a sickness unto death. Depressing as it was to write that list, and depressing as I’m sure it is for you to read it, it had to be done – so that we can be better prepared not to rebel when God begins His Divine Surgery. A patient oblivious to the gravity of his condition may react quite foolishly when the surgeon walks in with scalpel in hand.
My soul overflows with hope for the future, as I know with certainty that God will soon intervene for The Great Vindication. He will win. Not only beyond history (indeed, that above all!), but also within it. Our Lady’s Heart Will Triumph! The Our Father prayer will be fulfilled!
But I have no optimism for human solutions. That is not despair or despondency; it is only sanity. We have sunk so deep that only Divine Intervention can save us now. We must affix all our prayers and all our hope on Him alone.
This does not mean sitting by idly and waiting for God to do the work. It means, rather, diverting our zeal – away from pathetic attempts at human solutions derived from committees, marketing experts, business gurus, money, technology, political leaders, incremental “reforms” of various temporal structures, medicines, etc. – and instead directing it towards cooperating with God in what He has asked of us to do in engaging in the Mission.
I am overwhelmed with joy to see that more and more in the Church are waking up to this reality, though we have so much further to go. Among the most significant testimonies to this shift I have seen is Pope Francis’ announcement that he – inviting all the Bishops of the world with him – will consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart on March 25th. Let’s set aside all the debate and commentary about this consecration vs. the 1984 consecration for a while, and instead focus entirely on praying and fasting for this upcoming to be miraculously fruitful. Please pray this prayer each day up to the 25th. Prayer is especially important now, as there are indications the Pope may be softening on the nature of the Consecration.
(Even mainstream secular news is taking special note!)
Returning now to the title of this post, let us recall another admonition from Scripture:
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him.”
This is Hebrews 12:5, itself referring to Proverbs 3:11 – thus this is a specifically repeated, and therefore a particularly important, Biblical teaching.
God is going to intervene alright. But the initial stages of this intervention – what I referred to above as a “Divine Surgery” – will hurt. I bid you rejoice when that pain comes just as a cancer patient rejoices upon learning that his cancerous tumor can be successfully surgically removed, and that he will be entirely healed.
Yes, the Almighty is about to prune us. He is going to give to us – in the Western World – the Faith that you can palpably sense (even through a mere YouTube video!) among the persecuted Christians in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere. But everything that is coming will go much better for you if you acquire that Faith now. You don’t have to wait for anything external to “do that for you.” (In fact, nothing external can do it for you — only your free will, cooperating with God’s Grace, can do so — though circumstances can certainly help.) For such Faith is not restricted to outright persecuted Christians, even if it is today most common among their ranks. I have seen it in plenty of other places. I saw it, for example, in Medjugorje, and I see it at most Divine Will conferences I am at. The key is to approach your entire life as a pilgrimage, for that is what it is. When we go on actual pilgrimages – perhaps to places like Medjugorje – that should merely be to remind us to approach our entire lives the same way: the way we almost can’t help but comport ourselves at those holy places and events.
(A picture I took of Saint [then only Blessed] Mary Mackillop’s tomb when I was at World Youth Day in Australia in 2008)
Therefore, while your parish might not be what a parish should be – a pilgrimage-mentality-place like St. John’s in Pakistan – your own life, at least, can be even now.
Go to a Church by yourself, get on your knees before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament – whether in the Monstrance of just in the Tabernacle – and beg Him for the grace to undergo a radical transformation. Hand over your self-will entirely to Him – everything you have been clinging to that is not God Himself, dump it out on the floor right there before the Tabernacle. Not only all of your sins – indeed, those above all – but also all of your attachments, your plans, your preferences, your desires, your temporal hopes and intentions, your ambitions, your expectations for the future, your expectations for others. All of it. He will take care of everything if you let Him. Then beg Him for His Divine Will alone to reign in you and over you…and over the whole earth. Now is the time.
Storms have no strength to upset [souls filled with God] even slightly, because there is no strength that can defy God; at the most, they may feel it superficially. Even more, as the soul detects the storm, she puts the virtues in order, and goes to nest in the inmost depths of God. So, while externally there seems to be a storm, it is completely false – it is then that the soul enjoys more peace, and rests, tranquil, in the bosom of God, just like the fish in the bosom of the sea.
Courage, my daughter – courage is of souls resolute to do good. They are imperturbable under any storm; and while they hear the roaring of the thunders and lightnings to the point of trembling, and remain under the pouring rain that pours over them, they use the water to be washed and come out more beautiful; and heedless of the storm, they are more than ever resolute and courageous in not moving from the good they have started. Discouragement is of irresolute souls, which never arrive at accomplishing a good. Courage sets the way, courage puts to flight any storm, courage is the bread of the strong, courage is the warlike one that knows how to win any battle. Therefore, good daughter, courage, do not fear.
-Jesus to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.
- I’ve received much correspondence since my last post. Apologies if I haven’t been able to respond to you. But one thing I want to address here is the matter of World War 3 and prophecy. As Mark Mallett and I discussed in 2020, we are aware that an early Medjugorje message (and perhaps one or two other Cold War era prophecies) made reference to another world war at that time “not happening.” I do not believe this was intended as a prophecy that there would never be another World War until the end of time (indeed, such an insistence would appear irreconcilable with countless authentic prophecies – including the Book of Revelation!), but rather that the global circumstances of that time would not degenerate into another World War. And, of course, they did not. The Cold War fizzled out by 1991, thus vindicating those prophecies. But we are now in an entirely new dynamic, and we should no longer rule out the possibility – even the downright likelihood – of WW3 soon occurring; indeed, it may have already started. That said, a full blown global total war could still be averted. Although some recent prophecies have indicated that WW3 is imminent, I do not regard that as a set-in-stone prophecy. Perhaps if this consecration on the 25th goes well enough, and if we faithful undertake our own duties well enough (e.g., the First Saturdays Devotion), World War can still be averted. Above all, live in and proclaim the Divine Will. Nothing will be as powerful as this in mitigating the Chastisements.
- In Point #17 of my last post, I listed several Feast Days that the Warning could perhaps occur on, regardless of the year. I failed to include the date on which the greatest event in history – The Incarnation – transpired. March 25th. Although a mere 4 days from now does seem a bit early for the Warning… who knows? All that really matters? Be ready. Repent. Confess. Spiritually prepare.
- Apropos Point #15 in my last post, Biden just today (March 21st, 2022) released more fear-mongering about an imminent “Russian Cyber Attack.” Of course, such an attack is possible, but I advise extreme caution in choosing whom and what you trust regarding this. “Cyber attacks” orchestrated by our elite themselves will doubtless be a significant tool in finishing the Infrastructure of the Antichrist. Now might be a good time to examine how your life depends upon the internet and to prepare for the possibility of its collapse. Perhaps you could download important data to your hard drive instead of relying on the cloud (especially contacts lists, administrative documents, etc.), ensure you have your friends’ and families’ phone numbers/ physical addresses printed out, rely less on “smart home” devices (remember those amazing things called light switches that don’t need a router, or a hub, or an app??), delete any particularly sensitive information from the cloud (your inbox/google drive/ one drive/ etc.) — and empty it from your trash folder (and your secondary trash folder, which some services sneak in there, as they really don’t want you deleting your data!). Of course, a cyber attack can affect much more than your own access to the internet, so now might also be a good time for some general sober minded preparedness.
- God has blessed my wife and me with another child! Please pray for a smooth pregnancy and delivery for baby number 5. Thank you, and be assured of our prayers for you!
And since I’m now sharing photos from World Youth Day 14 years ago, here’s another picture I snapped there, which I find too amusing to resist turning into a meme: