One of the clear signs of the arrival of the End Times was given by Our Lord Himself in the Gospel:
“Because wickedness hath abounded, most men’s love will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12)
I cannot recall when I last saw such a clear illustration of this Biblically prophesied “apocalyptic coldness” as what was exhibited on May 24th by the Uvalde police department. More on that later.
In the afternoon of May 24th, I suddenly felt an urge to draw attention to the following words of Jesus to Luisa. This passage is one of a number from her revelations that I find constantly coming back to my mind; namely, Our Lord’s assurance that He tolerates such evil in these times only because He sees the far surpassing glory of what is soon to come to earth. I often take great consolation in that passage, but before that day I had never really gone out of my way to draw special attention to it. Here is what I posted to Twitter:
I had no idea, when putting that post on Twitter, that news was just breaking about the horrendous massacre in Uvalde (I had not at that time recently checked the news). Of course, I now know exactly why I felt inspired to post that when I did. It is precisely in such dark times as these that we need to be reminded of God’s plan for the present Era, the evil of which was indeed at that moment bursting violently into even plainer view.
There is nothing at all wrong with, upon observing the evil inundating the earth these days, crying out to God:
“How long, Lord? How long!!??”
In fact, open eyes along with a modicum of honesty just about demands voicing this lamentation regularly.
I assure you that His answer is this:
“Not long at all. Hold on. Keep praying. Keep trusting. Keep proclaiming. I am coming soon.”
In the meantime, we must do all that we can.
Returning to the question of May 24th, I must admit that atrocities in Uvalde that day impacted me very deeply. Part of this, I am sure, is that I now have children, and the last elementary school shooting of this magnitude (Sandy Hook) occurred just before I was married. (Though that, too, impacted me greatly; I lived in Connecticut at the time, and my own cousin, Fr. Luke, was a priest at the nearby parish.) But it is more than that.
Of course, in the grand scheme of things—in terms of the actual quantity of innocent blood shed, for example—it is scarcely a drop in the bucket, when we consider the thousands of innocents murdered every single day across the globe: abortion, war, the human trafficking industry, the overwhelming persecution and martyrdom of Christians in Africa and Asia, the countless millions suffering under cruel tyrants; all not to mention the slew of murders each day that scarcely make the news (for example, in the city of Chicago alone, there is on average more than one murder each day—already there, this very month [May], more than twice as many people have been murdered in Chicago as in Uvalde).
Nevertheless, I can scarcely describe the horror and anger I felt when reading about an army of heavily armed police officers standing outside, for over an hour, while a lone teenage gunman massacred 19 children mere yards away from them… while they waited for the janitor’s key. This exposed what can only be called out bluntly: a rot, a cancer, an utter moral degeneracy in our institutions.
If perchance you follow me on Twitter, then you already know that this is something I have been publicly livid about since it happened, but what follows is something I am only publicly saying now.
Before I get to that, remember: we cannot become Quietists; standing by idly waiting for Christ to Triumph. That is the very opposite of our calling, which is to hasten and actively cooperate with that Triumph in every way we possibly can. Above all, indeed, by trusting in and proclaiming the Divine Mercy, and in striving to live in and proclaim the Divine Will. But also by fighting for what is good, true, and beautiful in the here and now. We must, in other words, “Till the Soil” for the Restoration of All Things in Christ (see pages 226-228 of Thy Will Be Done).
One of the most important dimensions of that “tilling of the soil” is being ever ready to be a Good Samaritan; standing ever prepared to intervene to do what is good, right, and just, in any situation no matter what. Remaining ever cognizant of the fact that wherever we are… we are only there because God put us there, and proceeding with confidence that His Will is never that we be apathetic or cowardly.
(Note: That’s a great scene, despite its Liturgical oddities. But the movie is filthy; please don’t watch it!)
A lurking temptation in some of the circles I travel in is the trap of placing far too much emphasis — inspired by the low desire of keeping oneself physically safe — on always trying to figure out (to insulate oneself from) all the evil plans of evil men. Always trying to be sure to stay on top of every single silly conspiracy theory that circulates about every story that hits the news. Ever paranoid that some government or corporate agency, or malicious billionaire, is trying to spy on them, or sneak a chip into them, or poison them, and on the list goes. Some of these concerns are sometimes valid (I have commented on them and will continue to!), but when it becomes paranoia or obsession, it is a sin and a disorder.
Friends, let me remind you: you will die. Maybe very soon. When you die, you will be judged. When you are judged, the standard of that judgment will be love. Obsession with one’s own safety, health, and security will not merely be indifferent to your own Judgment Day; it will testify against you. So continue being prudent, but get your heart out of the filthy gutter of paranoia and obsession with your own physical well being. Instead, hitch your heart to the stars such that, even when the diabolical plans now in the works among the elite come to light, you can laugh at them just like the martyrs we revere — and should imitate — have laughed at the instruments of their torturers.
So what am I getting at?
I am getting at the Crisis of Apathy in the world today; the unwillingness of most people to take the risks – and to endure the pain– that God Wills for them (by virtue of what the circumstances they find themselves in say; for He is in control of all the circumstances that are outside of our control). Uvalde Police Department gave us a glimpse into that crisis with an unusual degree of shocking clarity, even though it was nothing fundamentally new.
As I pondered and prayed about this tragedy, I felt it impossible to simply sit around writing critical articles from a comfortable armchair. I felt that I had to at least try to help effect some sort of positive change in this horrible apathy the world finds itself mired in.
So I started “The Vigilants.”
I’ll have to wait on the Lord and see where God leads me regarding “The Vigilants.” As it now stands, though, I’ll admit that I don’t have any plans to turn this into a formal organization of any sort; one replete with newsletters, membership cards, donation requests, obligations, etc. My primary mission remains proclaiming the Divine Mercy and the Divine Will, and that (on top of the duties of my state in life, of course), will continue to be my focus and require most of my time. (And here I will add that, considering oneself a member of The Vigilants dovetails perfectly with being a Divine Will Missionary of Mercy. For we should be Vigilant, above all, for souls, and our endeavors to go out and evangelize souls presents many opportunities to potentially rise to the occasion as a Vigilant, so there is a great mutual enrichment between the two missions.)
Instead, I for now simply want the mission of The Vigilants, articulated on that website, to stand as a reminder to men of the ideal they should strive to live up to. But without further ado, let me put an extremely important announcement about this in very big, bold font:
I am not courageous, I am not a hero, and I am not an example that others should strive to imitate. (And though I judge the actions of the Uvalde Police Department, I have no judgments on their hearts, nor do I claim to know how I would act in an extreme situation.) Quite the opposite: I am a miserable and unworthy sinner as direly in need of prayers as anyone. A major reason I made “The Vigilants” was precisely because I need to be reminded of what I myself need to do a better job of doing and preparing for.
So, even if it turns out to be absolutely nothing other than this, The Vigilants is, at a minimum, something to remind me—Daniel O’Connor—to stop being apathetic, stop being a coward, and stop being self-interested. But to, instead, try my best to always stand ready to rise to whatever occasion the circumstances God places me in might entail.
And if you feel that you are also a man who could use that reminder, feel free to consider yourself a Vigilant also.
Uvalde, however, was only the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.
Long have I felt called to try to do something more concrete about the Crisis of Apathy in our society. It is getting so much worse with each passing day. Every day, new videos find their way to social media, or even the news, of horrendous things happening on our city streets. And what is the reaction, almost every time, of the passersby? Nothing. A man is bleeding to death on the ground; he is ignored by hundreds of pedestrians until he dies. A person violently harasses women on a NYC subway; the men standing around do nothing to stop it. A person’s car is on fire on the side of the road; everyone simply drives by.
But I have come to my conclusions about today’s Crisis of Apathy not merely by reading the news; it has proven unavoidable also by my own observations in life. As I said above, I am certainly no hero, but there are plenty of occasions where I’ve stopped to help someone who appeared to be in need. Usually, the first reaction of the person is the same: “I clearly was in need, but so many people just drove on by… no one stopped … I don’t understand.”
Well, I do understand. It cannot be explained merely by psychoanalyzing the subtleties of “Bystander Effect.” It is far, far deeper than that, for it is what I opened this post with. As Our Lord said, “the love of many will grow cold” in the End Times due to the spread of sin. Tell me what you think a society would look like wherein that prophecy is realized.
You just described 2022.
Such times as these, however, are the envy of saints. The colder the world, the more intensely we should strive to make the heat of Divine Love felt. The darker the times, the more dedicated we should be to making the resplendence of the light of God’s Truth shine forth. Be zealous. Be courageous. Be bold.
In a few hours, it will be Memorial Day, and I believe this is the ideal moment to present this call. As we honor those soldiers who have died fighting for our nation, let us recall that we do them the most honor not merely by praising them, but by looking up to their heroism and striving to imitate their virtues.
God bless you.