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July 9, 2017

The Only Tragedy

“There is only one tragedy, ultimately: not to have been a saint”

For many years that quote has been my email signature. There it stands, at the bottom of each message I’ve sent – whether to friend, family member, blog-reader, co-worker, boss, friend of the Faith, foe of the Faith, or anyone else – as a perennial reminder to them all, but above all to myself, of what should constitute the entirety of one’s deepest concern: sainthood.

I began writing this piece last year after having just attended the funeral of my cousin’s 4 year old son (and the year before, similar thoughts were on my mind as I will presently express, after I attended the funeral of the one year old son of another cousin of mine, which Steve Skojec wrote about here). I resumed work on it this summer, in the wake of joy turned to sorrow when the expectation of the birth of our own third child turned to the sorrow of God taking this child home to Himself after a brief time in the womb (thanks be to God, we have since been blessed again with the expectation of another child).

What is more sorrowful than the death of a child?

And yet, in the actual reality of what transpired, what is more glorious?

Without the slightest doubt, we know that this child entered into eternal bliss the very moment his soul left his body. And without the slightest doubt, we know that in the twinkling of an eye we shall be reunited with him forever if we too accept the salvation that is offered to us; an offer that is never rescinded so long as there is breath in our lungs.

So often we are assailed by temptations to dwell on regret. An opportunity for more money, recognition, worldly memories, possessions, security, travels, comfort, pleasure, or whatever other vanity, sails on by. Another year passes and so too, we lament, does one more notch in the likelihood of the realization of our dreams. A loved one dies and we lament what seems to be a lost future with him. Forgiven sins come to mind to haunt us and accuse us and tempt us to despair at their mere existence.

But all of that is nothing. Nothing.

Nothing is lost if, despite it all, one strives for sanctity. Then, truly, all is gain.

Therefore consider: What now robs you of the unbroken peace and joy to which you have a right as a Christian who trusts in Jesus and desires that His Will be done?

That there is suffering in your life? You have all eternity — which will scarcely have begun once countless trillions of centuries have passed — to enjoy permanent ecstatic joy and the absolute absence of any and all pain. You have a brief few moments before your death to suffer redemptively in union with Christ, grow from it, merit from it, contribute to the salvation and sanctification of souls with it. Far from a curse to lament over, it is a gift to rejoice at the bestowal of; for as St. Padre Pio said, “suffering is the one thing the angels envy us for.”

That you aren’t working your dream job and pursuing your dream career, like others you envy are, and like the daydreams you entertained previously consisted in? All those who work such jobs will, in the twinkling of an eye, find themselves old and decrepit, with the mere faint memory of their former professions proving radically incapable of giving even one ounce of joy. Go about the job and/or duties that God has called you to here and now with prayer and submission to the Divine Will, and you are achieving infinitely more than one who works the supposedly “perfect and best” job is.

That your marriage is not what you always dreamed it would be? Great and glorious as marriage is, that too is a passing thing, designed by God for the procreation and education of children, and it will no longer exist in eternity; which will be upon us in a flash. Don’t get me wrong: you should spare no expense in working towards making your marriage beautiful, peaceful, joyful, and above all holy. But ultimately the fulfillment of those goals is up to two people; yet when all is said and done, you answer only for yourself; therefore the deepest joy of your soul cannot ever depend upon another earthly creature – not even your spouse.

Or perhaps even that your life lacks the holy things that you wish it had? So long as it is not a slothful indifference to the pursuit of holy things, but rather the Will of God, that has deprived you of them, then even the absence of these things is no harm whatsoever to you. If your life’s circumstances prevent you from going on those great pilgrimages you envy your friends for, being a part of those wonderful Catholic groups and communities that others so seem to enjoy, attending those amazing Catholic events that you now only read of, or whatever else; this is nothing to lament. Heaven will infinitely surpass all of these essentially temporal blessings, and when you are there, not having had these temporal things will seem to you then as it now seems to you when you see a child missing one extra cookie during one day’s dessert. Remember that all treasures in Heaven are built up solely by the Will of God; and this Divine Will can be submitted to and lived in anywhere, by any one, at any instant.

So indeed, none of these thing are tragedies.

 

The only tragedy is to not become a saint — and to not help others become saints.

 

How, then, do we direct our lives so as to avoid The Only Tragedy? Thankfully it is easy.

Many things are hard: acquiring advanced degrees, making large sums of money, gaining recognition for ourselves, getting people to like us, securing our legacy, trying to guarantee our safety and security, acquiring and maintaining possessions, looking for promotions and new jobs, striving to order all things to our comfort and pleasure…. and oh how much we pour ourselves out in the pursuit of all of this vain garbage which seems so pressing and direly important now, and yet the next day is barely even a memory.

For on the Day of Judgement you won’t regret missing the extra $100,000 on your salary that you could have had — but you would regret foregoing the daily family Rosary in order to have more time to secure this salary. On the Day of Judgement you won’t regret a few people disliking you or thinking you’re weird — but you would regret keeping your Faith hidden in order to ensure you blend in well with modern society. On the Day of Judgement you won’t regret “missing out” on this or that questionable movie, book, TV show, or other entertainment that is popularly praised by your friends, neighbors, and coworkers — but you would regret the decay of the soul that you risk by exposing yourself to such garbage. On the Day of Judgment you won’t regret “missing out” on this or that college degree, sports tournament, worldly spotlight, honor or recognition that simply requires too much of you — but you would regret having spent a life waking up each morning with your primary motivation for getting out of bed being the pursuit of such utter vanity instead of the pursuit of eternal goals. On the Day of Judgement you won’t regret not having lived in a beautiful remote paradise with hundreds of acres to yourself — but you would regret the thousands of Communions – every single one of which is incomprehensibly powerful – you could have made but didn’t due to your insistence upon living in a utopia on earth. On the Day of Judgement you won’t regret having had health problems — but you would regret having spent your life expending all of your time and energy experimenting with the various health and diet fads that inundate us daily, instead of simply doing what is prudent for the sake of health and then accepting whatever suffering remains as the Will of God for your salvation and sanctification and that of the whole world. On the Day of Judgement you won’t regret not having sent your children to the “best” schools and ensured that they have the “best” opportunities — but you would regret letting the world’s values seep into their minds and hearts. On the Day of Judgement you won’t regret failing to ensure you and your family members can pursue every hobby, vacation, sport, etc., that the world insists you must engage in — but you would regret neglecting significant daily prayer time that you will need to forego to enable these interests.

In short, on the Day of Judgement, you will have precisely zero regret for all of these things you are now tempted to regret. You will only regret the times — and indeed, you will regret all such times — that you were not pursuing sanctity by refusing to strive to live in the Will of God: that same Will of God that is never more than one simple act of your own will — one simple Fiat — away from being the very essence and substance of your own life. And not only that, but helping an enormous amount of other souls avoid what is, truly, the only tragedy is so very easy: show them God’s love and they will be inspired to trust in it and themselves attain salvation; which is sainthood. I assure you it is that simple.

  • Show them God’s love by sacrificing the five extra seconds your day would “gain” by being in a hurried bustle at the store and, instead, treat the cashier as an actual human being made in God’s image. Look the person behind the counter at McDonald’s in the eye when you make your order and smile to brighten his day instead of pretending that you need to stare at the menu the entire time and rush out of the way the second you have finished paying.
  • Show them God’s love by talking to the beggar who asks you for money instead of lying, quickly saying you have none, and walking off
    • Though I had a recent spell of not being able to do my DWMoM walks, I still strive to live the Spirit of one. Just recently, I stumbled upon a beggar after Mass whom I had given a Rosary to the week before. He was proudly wearing this Rosary, thanked me again profusely for it, and told me “I never take it off.”
  • Show your family God’s love by daily ensuring that they recognize — by deeds, not words — that your primary concern is not that they fit nicely into your plans, not that they become what you want them to be, not that they merely ensure they aren’t a burden on you, but rather, ensure they recognize that your primary concern is to serve them: to will their well-being, salvation, and sanctification. But remember that in the family especially; what truly is love will not always be seen as true love by its recipients in the short term, but it will in the long term, which is what matters. Nevertheless remember as well that a love that is not tender, merciful, and compassionate, cannot be called love at all.
  • Show them God’s love not by pretending that giddiness and chattiness achieves anything — supposing that droning on about worldly topics is some sort of evangelization (it isn’t), or that exhibiting an obnoxious excess of joy will somehow magically attract people to Christ (it will only repel them) — rather, show God’s love by way of a deep and mature peace and joy that comes from the absence of fear, the presence of a constant spirit of prayer, and a certain awareness of the fact that nothing but God’s Will can happen.
  • Show them God’s love by refusing to do anything anonymously, semi anonymously, or covertly, that you wouldn’t do while looking the person in the eye — whether online comments, emails, letters, driving maneuvers, gossip, dealing with bureaucrats via phone, online, or behind a desk; or anything of the sort. Instead, show God’s love by, each and every time you hear someone detract or complain about another, being a sower of peace and helping to mend the discord instead of relishing the darkness and appreciating that venom is being directed toward someone else; falsely supposing that this somehow makes you look better.
  • Above all, show them God’s love by your life of prayer and sacrifice for their salvation and sanctification. This of course will garner you no praise on this side of the tomb — for it is entirely hidden — but as such, it is the most powerful and the most pleasing in the sight of God. Do this in the Divine Will and this love you show them will acquire the strength of God’s own infinite Love.

 

Show them God’s love and, in some way, make sure you give Him the credit He deserves for that love, which is entirely His own. Perhaps a visible crucifix worn around the neck; perhaps a Divine mercy image pin; perhaps by handing the person a divine mercy card, perhaps by simply saying “God bless you,” or perhaps simply by nothing more than the deed itself if the one to whom it is done already knows that your love for your brothers proceeds from your love of God, and is for His sake, and is because your brother bears His image. But if you do not in some way try to make sure that God receives the credit for this love (not you), then you risk your act of mercy being nothing other than a nice (but petty) “random act of kindness,” which may succeed in briefly and weakly lightening someone’s day, but will not build up treasures for that person in Heaven.

Do these things — little though they may be — without self-interest, without desire for praise or vain glory, without any carefully devised strategy for earthly gain charting their course — and the chorus of voices that will rise to your vindication on Judgment Day would easily drown out even all of hell shouting against you.

 

For a few years before this particular quote, my email signature had for a long time been another quote:

…the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations…. You have never talked to a mere mortal.

-C.S. Lewis

 

That is what is at stake.


I recently posted two other pages:

  1. A rebuttal of a popular attack made late last month against the 4 Cardinals who submitted the Dubia to Pope Francis. If you are confused about Amoris Laetitia and the controversy surrounding it, this piece may prove helpful

  2. A brief admonition to courage in face of the persecution now being levied against the good Bishop Paprocki of Springfield.

April 5, 2017

Battle Orders for the Church Militant – Pope Francis and Hacksaw Ridge

 

What confusing times these are.

And yet, they are not that confusing. For one who truly wants to see the path that God has laid out for him, it is not difficult to discern.

For indeed, we are soldiers. And a good soldier need not have the whole war figured out. He just needs to know what his orders are.

So I will presently do something that I ordinarily wouldn’t dream of doing, but I feel I must do it in order to give the present distress some context that many seem to now be forgetting. I am going to write a little “rant” against a man I admire immensely. I pray to him every single day. I believe he is among the greatest saints we have had. I am incredibly devoted to his writings and missions and I promote them tirelessly:

The man is Pope St. John Paul II

I am going to issue this “rant” against him because I want to demonstrate that Pope Francis is not the the first good and holy Pope to do and say stupid things. I want to point out that you can still be absolutely submissive to a Pope’s Magisterium, be absolutely devoted and loyal to the Pope himself, and heartily endorse the main thrust of his mission and indeed make it your own mission — all while still believing that many of the Pope’s words, deeds, and omissions, are very foolish.

Because we are at the point where it is simply obvious that this foolishness applies well to many of Pope Francis’ decisions. And yet, I continue to insist as I always have: he is a holy man, the true Pope, and his mission is a beautiful one that we should all join him in.

Now onto the rant:

JPII made all sorts of terrible Episcopal appointments that have wreaked havoc upon the Church in many nations. He made female altar servers mainstream, thus leading to the disaster we see today where boys don’t want to be altar servers any more and thus a main source of vocations to the priesthood is lost. I believe he crossed the line in what is permissible within the bounds of prudence and modesty in a friendship between an unmarried man and woman (although I am absolutely not accusing him of any sort of actual unchastity! I just think he set an example in this regard that set up some weaker people to fall into unchastity by insufficiently avoiding occasions of sin). I disagree with his removal of the fig leaves from the Sistine Chapel (for the vast majority of the Sistine Chapel’s history, fig leaves made its art more modest. JPII decided to undo over 400 years of precedent by having them removed. And disagreeing with him on that, and with Michelangelo for drawing the explicit nudes in a Church, does not make you a bad Catholic!). He allowed numerous liturgical violations to occur under his watch, especially at World Youth Days. In an interview, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, he said that humans have existed for “tens of thousands of years,” which is absolutely untrue. His omission of certain infallible and essential truths about marriage from any and all of his teachings is deeply misleading, evidenced by the fact that most Catholics today seem to think that these truths can now be abandoned due to their absence in Theology of the Body (For example, despite writing countless hundreds of pages on marriage, I know of no single teaching in which he made clear the head and heart relationship between husband and wife so that people understand that  1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:22, 1 Peter 3:1, Pope Leo XII’s Immortale Dei 17,  Pope Pius XI’s Casti Connubi 26, etc., are still 100% as applicable today as when they were written, just as all Scripture and Magisterium is.) I think it was foolish and misleading of him to kiss the Quran. And I think he somewhat crossed the boundary in other ecumenical endeavors as well.

This list could go on for a long time. And I doubt anyone reading this agrees with me on all of those points. That’s okay; the purpose of this post is not those points. (So there’s no need to send me an email castigating me for them — I am not going on a crusade for any of them right now!). The purpose of listing those points is just to give context to the present confusion with the present Pope. For we all have different things about Pope Francis’ decisions, too, that we think are stupid and foolish.

But hearing all of that, are you now surprised that I have been so devoted to JPII’s legacy, so promoting his message, and so insistent upon his Magisterium, for all these years?

You shouldn’t be.

Catholics are not called to be schizophrenics. That’s a mental disorder, not a virtue. And yet, that is exactly what we would need to be in order to agree with each Pope and think that everything each Pope does is wise and right and just. For Popes all disagree with each other; often seriously. They take very different approaches. Why, for example, should I agree with Pope St. John Paul II any more than Pope St. Pius X, on those issues on which they disagreed or took opposite approaches? They were both Popes. They are both saints. Whom to side with on issues they (at least seem to) disagree on is up to you: that is, it is up to you to discern the truth for yourself and in what station God is calling you to serve. Therefore even more obviously: why should I think that Pope Francis choosing to do something that previous Popes clearly specifically chose to not do make me think that this something is right, or even okay? It needn’t. It is merely yet another thing that I can think was wrong of him to do but which need not shake my positive convictions regarding the man himself.

God doesn’t give us a Pope in order to re-write Catholicism (as if that were even possible). He doesn’t give us a Pope so that we can abandon everything that has come before and re-formulate our understanding of God and the Church from a blank slate. No. Rather, God gives us a Pope because the essence of that Pope’s particular mission is what the Church and the world really need at a given point in time.

Admittedly, Pope Francis’ blunders are more serious and more frequent than Pope St. John Paul II’s ever were. But I am writing this post to show you that the difference is in degree, not in kind. To show you that neither man’s assortment of blunders should shake your faith in the man himself. But I’m not going to give you a rant against Pope Francis here. The Catholic blogosphere is replete with endless depiction of the details of his alleged or actual blunders and also the promulgation of unfounded dark rumors with such a degree of dedication and morose delectation that would make even the most perverse of celebrity gossip tabloid editors blush. Such is the sorry state of what many corners world of conservative Catholic subcultures have descended to. 

Nor am I going to give you just another post saying “only worry about submitting to what the Pope teaches infallibly and forget the rest,” as there are also already countless Catholic voices out there promoting that lie as well — a lie that only gives you a false sense of security and inoculates you against the workings of the Holy Spirit and the ability to respond to the Signs of the Times.

Instead, my exhortations to you — my Battle Orders for the Church Militant — are threefold. For the mere adherence to the dictates of any given Catholic subculture will prove radically insufficient to save you from the coming Apostasy. Only standing firm on the Rock of Christ, and the consequences of His promise to Peter in Matthew 16:18, will do that.

First) Submit to Today’s Magisterium

Submit to Pope Francis’ Magisterium. Every. Single. Word. Of. It. There are four primary Magisterial Documents that, at a minimum, everyone who calls himself a Catholic should submit to from this Pope (Chronologically):

  • Lumen Fidei
  • Evangelii Gaudium
  • Laudato Si
  • Amoris Laetitia

Put any of these documents next to even the very quintessential “traditionalist” Magisterial Document — the Syllabus of Errors — and you can rest fully assured that you will not find one single, solitary substantial contradiction in teaching. Yes, there are ambiguities in A.L. No, they do not need to be interpreted in a heretical fashion. Yes, it would be nice if Pope Francis answered the Dubia. But there’s no need for him to do so. Any Catholic who wants the truth already knows it: the Dubia’s answers are very simple and are already settled by Church Teaching we already have: No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. 

Second) Submit to Yesterday’s Magisterium

Through diabolical Modernism, the truth is today being assaulted more outrageously and pervasively than ever before in history.  It will become increasingly difficult to stand firm on the Truth, but stand firm we must. This is not complicated. Therefore I present to you a simple list, for now, of those absolutely and unquestionably infallible, permanent tenets of the Truth that you will soon be demanded to recant by the devil and his minions. And recant any single one of these you must never do. Rather, set your face like flint right now to stand firm by them, come what may:

  • No intrinsic evil can ever be licitly undertaken in any conceivable circumstance. Committing an intrinsic evil is never compatible with God’s Will and is never right or okay.
  • Formal cooperation with any intrinsic evil is never licit
  • Fornication, adultery, masturbation, direct abortion, suicide, and homosexual acts are intrinsic evils
  • Marriage is absolutely indissoluble
  • The Catholic Church alone has the fullness of the truth, and God calls all men to be under the authority of her Earthly head, the Successor of St. Peter, who is the only Vicar of Christ.
  • Every single one of her dogmas — including those pertaining to morals — are absolutely infallible and categorically impossible to ever deny or change.
  • Although the inclination itself is morally indifferent, homosexuality is nevertheless intrinsically disordered. As such, any good that seems to proceed from it is in fact accidental to it, and was not directly caused by it (for contradictories cannot be causes). Footnote 1.
  • Sacramental Absolution is impossible to be validly and efficaciously granted to one who is without any way, shape, or form, of repentance of deliberately committing an intrinsic evil

How, when, using what words, and to whom to preach these truths is another question entirely. It is one of prudence and prayerful care. Mastering this balance may well take a lifetime. But knowing and submitting to the principles is not. Rather, it should not take more than a few moments for any catechized Catholic. These principles themselves — including each and every one of them listed above — are absolutely black and white. You must never, ever, doubt, reject, or contradict with your own behavior, a single one of them. No matter who tells you to do so. No matter how many other people are doing it and saying it’s okay. No matter how many people you once trusted are now performing these acts.

But please note, friends, what is deliberately absent from this list of absolutely certain tenets we must stand by:

  • Precisely when Material Cooperation with evil (or silence in the face of it) is permissible or called for is an entirely different question.
    • Do not dare appoint yourself the judge of this against those under whose authority God has placed you — judging them as evildoers by standards that you yourself (though you may be too blind to now see it) will also fall by on the Day of Judgement. Recall especially that the measure with which you measure will be measured out against you, and this is doubly true when you measure out condemnations on the Vicar of the Second Person of the Eternal Trinity.
  • Precisely what degree of avoiding the occasion of sin and avoiding scandal is required in order to validly confer absolution on a penitent is also not a clear Dogma that you have the right to draw your own line in the sand on and judge the Vicar of Christ by.
  •  Just what degree of evil to tolerate occurring as a consequence of one’s actions so long as that evil was neither undertaken nor directly willed (i.e. Double Effect)

Third) Engage in Today’s Mission

Heed Pope Francis’ call — that is, the essence of the mission that God has appointed him to this time for — and make it your own. His mission is a final, pull-out-all-the-stops proclamation of the Divine Mercy while there is still time left to do so.

For God appoints men to a task for the sake of the main thrust of their mission. Aside from the men who wrote Sacred Scripture and the infallible proclamations of the Popes, God does not micromanage their undertaking of the mission to ensure the perfection of each of their decisions. It is certainly beyond obvious that God is not doing so with this Pope! So it is the essence of the mission we must focus on: a mission that I have spoken about incessantly on this blog for the last five years or so.

Now enough of that. I run a Catholic blog and for over two years I haven’t made a single substantial contribution to the various raging Pope Francis controversies; striving as I have been to take my own advice. And I almost wonder if I should have even published this one. Alas, I have done so, and alas, it is time to return to what is actually important instead of addressing endless pointless controversies:

THE MISSION

When I realized how important this mission was, I made it the primary page on this blog’s main index: www.dsdoconnor.comAnd I would now like to present to you more inspiration for carrying out the Battle Orders for the Church Militant — The Mission — to the fullest:

Hacksaw Ridge

Not since years ago, when I urged everyone to watch Beyond the Gates , have I been able to so heartily recommend a movie as I now recommend Hacksaw Ridge.

It is an antidote to the typical modern movie: for it has almost everything a story should have, in contrast to almost every other modern movie which has nothing a story should have and everything a story should not have. Instead of an anti-hero, Hacksaw Ridge gives us a hero. Instead of encouraging sin, it encourages virtue. Instead of providing mere eye candy, all of its action is provided for a higher purpose, without admixture of morose delectation or vainglory. Instead of providing existential nihilism, it provides Divine Purpose and Plan. Instead of merely giving us a way to pass the time (“as if one could kill time without injuring eternity“), it helps us to choose the good, which is the purpose of all art and the ultimate standard by which all art must be judged.

And indeed, instead of being just another Hollywood screenwriter’s daydream, it is non-fiction. Now, unlike the aforementioned ailments, there is nothing wrong with fiction in and of itself (rest assured there is no greater fan than I of Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia, for example). But it is equally undeniable that today we suffer from fiction overload and non-fiction atrophy. For we forget that no effect can ever be greater than its cause; and the cause of any good in fiction is the wisdom of the author, whereas the cause of whatever good can be gleaned from reality – in other words, non-fiction – is none other than God. Therefore the former is severely limited in its fittingness as art; more or less so depending upon the wisdom of the author, whereas the power of the latter as good art is without bound. And what a travesty that, for decades and decades, Hollywood has been too busy deluging us with endless comic book movies that this true hero’s story was left untold by them.

Now I must briefly interject an advisory: Old time readers here know that I would never, ever accept or promote a sex scene (regardless of whether it is graphic or restrained; glorifying promiscuity or condemning it; real or simulated), for any sex scene is, by its very nature, pornographic, and therefore evil. This is taught quite unambiguously by Catechism, paragraph 2354. Yet I am quite confident Hacksaw Ridge has none; and although there is one questionable scene we skipped past when my wife and I watched Hacksaw Ridge, the parent preview websites seem in agreement that there is nothing but an implication that newlyweds consummated their marriage AFTER the scene– in which nothing major is shown– ends. Furthermore, there is some minor crude dialogue that I could have done without; especially in the barracks scene. It is not a perfect movie, but it is nevertheless a movie that I heartily endorse for adult audiences.

Allow me next to assuage any concerns you may have had in hearing of the premise of this movie or seeing its preview. It is not pacifist propaganda. It is a story of a man with the courage to be true to a personal vow he made; not some debate glorifying an erroneous theological position (that killing is in and of itself an intrinsic evil or that there is no such thing as just war). It is furthermore pragmatic in this regard: for the main character’s ultimate justification for his position is “With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together.” This justification we too can give for deciding to focus our own apostolates on proclaiming the Divine Mercy instead of succumbing to the scrupulous fear that we are neglecting the Divine Justice in so doing.

For I do not write this to give you a mere movie review. I write this to encourage you to draw inspiration from the most important teaching of the movie:

JUST. ONE. MORE.

In these final few days of the Time of Mercy, this must be our rallying cry. This must be what gets us up in the morning. This must be what urges us on despite the seeming insurmountable obstacles and the temptation that swirls about us on every side insisting that we give up, rest, and forget about the Salvation of Souls and the Coming of the Kingdom of the Divine Will.

It does not matter how many days are left in the Time of Mercy. All that matters is that there is still breath in our lungs; still blood coursing through our veins; still the ability to rouse ourselves as the soldiers we are to fight this most worthy battle… and still a single soul left who can benefit from our resolve.

You. can. still. save. one. more. soul.

Every day.

No one can stop you.

Let all the world conspire against you – wage total war against you – it would be utterly powerless to suppress the power of your will, entirely submitted to the Divine Will and living in It, yet never failing to exert itself in accord with its proper end, from fulfilling its Divine Calling of achieving the salvation of souls.

Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up.

This must be the approach of any Catholic who is now confused as to the path he should be taking: that of mercy, or that of justice. I hate heresy as much as anyone and I am as concerned as the next man of errant interpretations of Amoris Laeititia that essentially normalize divorce and/or adultery, or turn the Commandments of God into mere “ideals.” And yet, I remain utterly convinced that the general approach of mercy is still the one that the Holy Spirit needs of us today. For few of us are theologians; few of us are Canon Lawyers; few of us are Bishops. On the other hand, almost all of us are confronted every day with so many souls wounded from this sickening, sin and error infested world over which the devil has reigned with unprecedented power for the past 100 years.

In a word, as the Holy Father has said so many times that too many of us have become tired of hearing it:the world needs a Field Hospital, and the Church must be that Field Hospital. This is the main thrust of Pope Francis’ mission. That it is better to risk injury by going out to the gutters than it is to ensure sickness by remaining stuffed up within our own artificial realms of safety, security, and comfort. That it is better to be a warrior than a commentator. That it is better to be a witness than an apologist. 

And the Church needs us to be modern day Desmond Dosses manning this Field Hospital that the Church must be.

But we are not on a literal battle field with wounded soldiers lying all around. So how do we say, and act on, “Just One More”?

First of all by recognizing that boredom is a sin. Over 150,000 people die every single day in this world. You are your brother’s keeper, and you have a duty to strive to ensure that as many of them as possible make it to heaven. Therefore, say:

  • Just One More when you hand out an Evangelization Card to someone or place it somewhere knowing that it will be picked up and knowing that Jesus promised that whoever venerates that image shall not perish
  • Just One More when you read the Hours of the Passion – carefully and prayerfully – knowing that Jesus promised the salvation of a soul for every word of it read in such a manner.
  • Just One More soul when you say “God Bless You” to someone on a Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy walk, knowing that this simple interaction can be a channel of grace into his heart and effect his salvation
  • Just One More soul when you drag yourself yet again to the local Planned Parenthood to pray and sidewalk counsel
  • Just One More whenever you choose to pray for the salvation and sanctification of souls instead of engage in some vanity, pleasure, hobby, or waste of time
  • Just One More when you spend time praying with the residents of the local nursing home
  • Just One More when you abandon human respect and instead use opportunities daily life presents to draw souls to Christ — holy bumper stickers, pins, a visible crucifix, a lawn statue of Our Lady, holy salutations, holding & praying a Rosary while walking, etc.
  • Just One More whenever you choose to associate with the lowly and the needy instead of those you merely enjoy yourself around, knowing that it is through association with the former that we may more effectively draw souls to Christ
  • Just One More whenever you wake up on a Wednesday or Friday and decide to fast and offer it up for souls — knowing that God will accept your sacrifice — instead of letting the desire of the flesh guide you. 
  • Just One More when you go to morning daily Mass for the three thousandth time, no matter what you feel like doing when you wake up, knowing that the power with which you can save souls there is unparalelled
  • Just One More when you pick up your beads and do your Daily Rosary, no matter how busy you are and no matter how tempted you are to think it useless, knowing full well that Our Lady has promised that she will conquer the world through this most sublime devotion
         
     
    Therefore let us say, with Desmond Doss of Hacksaw Ridge, “with everyone in this world intent on tearing his enemy to shreds, I will rather dedicate myself unreservedly, with no thought to my own safety or self interest, to snatching souls out of this fire of evil and drawing them to the Divine Mercy. Every breath God blesses me with is one more opportunity to say: Just One More Soul. Every blow God allows me to receive is one more opportunity to allow grace to touch the heart of its originator. And I will not spare one drop of my sweat or blood in ensuring that I do not neglect a single one of these eternal opportunities. I’ll rest when I’m dead.”

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Footnote 1:  As this is a delicate issue wrought with confusion on both sides, allow a little clarification. There are very many very good people who have the homosexual inclination. To argue against this reality by saying “the inclination itself is also sinful and therefore all who have it are to be condemned” is blasphemy against God’s goodness, for He gives everyone the grace to avoid every single sin, yet He does not give everyone the grace to be (immediately) free of an inclination. Anyway, it may seem that the good those with a homosexual inclination do proceeds from this inclination. But it is not so. Rather, the good they do can only possibly proceed from some other thing within them, which an onlooker and perhaps even they themselves confuse with the homosexual inclination. For example: consider alcoholism; also intrinsically disordered, for it is an inclination to an excess and a sin (drunkenness). Alcoholics often do good things; for their “all or nothing, all out, hold nothing back” approach to life often enables them to achieve great success in certain realms by guarding them against a petty and bland life. Nevertheless, none of these good things can correctly be said to have proceeded directly from the alcoholism. Rather, the alcoholism and the good thing both proceeded from a deeper, morally indifferent, tendency.

January 24, 2017

Aligning Our Expectations With The Prophetic Consensus

darkcloudsSeven years ago, in the year 2010, Michael Brown posted a prophecy on his website, SpiritDaily. His first public announcement of this prophecy was actually just before that posting, during a conference he gave in Boston that I happened to be attending.

It is a brief and fascinating prophecy, well worth reading, but especially relevant is this part:

“…expect the error of premature expectation, but not error in the truth of the expectation itself.”

And who can fail to see that this premature expectation has been utterly rampant, fulfilling this “prophecy of failed prophecies” to the fullest extent, in these short seven years since its publication?

  • Shortly after the publication of this prophecy the infamous Harold Camping affair transpired — wherein a group insisted with enormous public exposure that the world would end in May of 2011. Although this was nothing but a joke to anyone actually serious about Catholic Prophecy, it is still worth noting here as it garnered unprecedented attention.
  • Then there was the December 2012 end of the world craze based off the Mayan Calendar and the popular Hollywood movie bringing it to light. This, too, was nothing but a joke for those serious about Catholic Prophecy. But still very relevant to the aforementioned consideration of “premature expectation.”

But then we started to get into the realm of prophecies/predictions that seemed perhaps worth taking seriously. In the Protestant Prophecy world, we saw the following prognostications which were followed by millions upon millions:

  • Four Blood Moons. In a seemingly impossible to deny sequence of celestial signs that insisted upon the most apocalyptic of events occurring in 2015… none did.
  • The Shemitah. In a seemingly impossible to deny sequence of Biblical Patterns applied to the context of the Modern World, utter catastrophic worldwide economic collapse was supposed to occur in 2015… nothing happened.

These were not mere run-of-the-mill fundamentalist protestant rapture proclaimers, of which we have seen a steady flow for a long time. They were main-stream mega Church pastors whose books on these topics were truly major best sellers and who regularly appeared on mainstream media. It is difficult to imagine dire prophecy getting more publicity than these did.

Still, nothing.

But then it became even more urgent, as in the world of Catholic Prophecy there were a few very loud voices:

  • “Maria Divine Mercy,” who was clearly a false prophet, nevertheless managed to attract thousands upon thousands of followers, insisting that the warning, collapse, and events in the Book of Revelation would begin in 2013 to be ended in 2016. Obviously none of that occurred.
  • Locutions to the World, a much more seemingly reasonable private revelation (but still with many red flags), insisted that the collapse would occur while Pope Francis was visiting the United States in 2015. No collapse.
  • Antonio Yague, who was sure he could interpret the Signs in the Stars by way of sacred astronomy to prove that the long-prophesied Illumination of Conscience had to be November 13th, 2016. Nothing.
  • Pope Francis himself seemed to indicate that things would heat up quickly, saying he would not resign but that he would only be Pope for 2 or 3 years (it has now been almost 4) and acting with an unprecedented sense of urgency, even saying that we are now in the midst of WWIII. 
  • And now, to top it off, there is the failure of Charlie Johnston’s Presidential Prophecy, wherein there was supposed to be a massive disruption before this past inauguration and no peaceful transfer of power from Obama to Trump. And of course, again, business as usual. (Please Note: Charlie is a good man and a solid Catholic. I’d trust him with my life. I am completely confident that he did not intentionally deceive anyone. I am very grateful to him for running a couple of my articles. That being said, I have never endorsed his alleged private revelations or promoted his site (even though on a couple of occasions I have defended him when he was unjustly attacked; for I will readily defend anyone who is attacked in such a manner, whether or not I condone his apostolate). Indeed, we see now that Charlie was simply wrong, for whatever reason. Let’s leave it at that, treat him charitably, and pray for him.)

And these are just some of the Prophetic failures. The list could indeed go on for a long time.

Meanwhile, so many signs of the times have swirled around us: upheaval, an unprecedented Papal Resignation, “Cardinal against Cardinal, Bishop against Bishop,” an unprecedented and seemingly impossible rise of a populist President, economic collapses and recoveries, unprecedented weather, enormous societal unrest and class warfare, geopolitical strife not seen since the Cold War…. and the list goes on, and on, and on…

And in the midst of all this, the Devil is having a field day with the Faithful. Having won over the vast majority of the world and its worldings to his ways, he is not content. He is not even content with destroying those “in” the Church, but really more of the world. For he is now even tearing to shreds the very true remnant Faithful itself; sowing discord, sin, apostasy, and schism within their ranks like never before and even managing to convince a large portion of them that their own theological opinions are above the Magisterial teachings of the Vicar of Christ, while convincing another large portion of them (perhaps larger) to believe heresy (and live heresy) due to certain errant interpretations of Pope Francis’ Magisterium; errant interpretations even offered by some Bishops.

All this expectation, and still……. nothing.

But here we are in the beginning of the Year of Promise; the Centenary of the Apparitions of Fatima. The supposed end of the 100 year Reign of Satan (foreseen by Pope Leo XII) that perhaps began with Red October in 1917. The year after the Year of Mercy (perhaps implying it will wind up being the Year of Justice?). The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Revolt. The approximate 400th anniversary of the beginning of Modernism (R. Descartes) and the “Enlightenment” (F. Bacon). The 300th anniversary of the founding of Freemasonry. The 200th anniversary of the founding of the New York Stock Exchange (the activity of which many prophecy watchers today correlate to the adultery of the harlot in the Book of Revelation). Above all, the 100th anniversary of Communism; the “errors of Russia” spoken of by Our Lady at Fatima.

Will our expectations actually come to pass in 2017? Has the full measure been filled of “premature expectation” in the prophecy this post started with, or will God seek to purify us even further by allowing 2017 to also pass without the long-awaited events?

I do not know. I could easily see this being the year in which they occur, or just another “ordinary” year for our purification along with several more to come leading us closer to the 2,000th anniversary of Redemption which makes the most sense for the Prophesied Third Renewal. Or perhaps there will first be some chastisements, with a “pause” therein after the imminent Illumination of Conscience, during which time Our Lady triumphs for the Remnant, and after this Triumph, the more major chastisements will occur which the true Era of Peace; the Reign of the Divine Will, shall follow. 

We of course do not know. But in response to either possibility, I continue to urge what I always have urged: diligently performing the duties of your state in life but using the clearly prophetically urgent nature of our times as an incentive to be particularly zealous for Proclaiming the Divine Mercy and Living in the Divine Will.

Beyond that — I have never even had so much as the faintest hint of prophetic locution or vision myself and I have no timeline of dates to offer you.

And while I cannot give you a timeline or any prophecies of my own, what I can give you is a sure way of avoiding pitfalls like the ones mentioned above and any similar ones that are doubtless to come:

Align your expectations with the prophetic consensus

Because sadly, what we are left with today is a batch of (certain) lay authors and career lay apologists scrambling to be recognized as the ultimate authority on eschatology; people who seem to think that unveiling what is coming is a massive jigsaw puzzle to be mastered by their own historical, geopolitical, Vaticanista, and Biblical cunning instead of a mystery to sit down and listen to as it is spoken about by heaven here and now. Instead of naming names of such authors and thereby encouraging factiousness, I would like to simply lay down clearly where I stand.  (And encourage you to read those who are trustworthy on this issue; including, for example, Fr. Iannuzzi and Mark Mallett.)

When someone comes along with messages of his own that seem to stand in contrast to what the majority of trustworthy private revelation is saying, do not put too much stock in these predictions. When someone comes along saying he has found a pattern in the Bible, or in the Skies, put even less stock in these predictions. When someone comes along with a specific date, put the least stock in this. When someone spills oceans of ink piling facts upon facts to try to prove to you that his eschatology is right, but whose writings are not founded in and inspired by the souls God is speaking to today, then run in the opposite direction. 

Instead, sit like a (wise and discerning!) child at the feet of those special souls whom God has chosen as His messengers for this day, and shut up and listen. Being like a wise and discerning child also means reading the Book of Revelation — although not literalistically — at least in an honest, plain, and clear fashion. 

In a post to soon come, I hope to put together more details on this prophetic consensus; from whom the consensus is formed, the actual prophecies themselves, etc.

So in addition to the above, I would just like to for now briefly lay down what I have taken from this approach in general terms. And in light of so much prophetic failure in recent times, I am hoping that some readers may take this as a time for prayerful reflection and purification, and consider what opinions and approaches they may have (even subconsciously) adopted from some failed prophecies that are now in need of reorientation:

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1) On the Era of Peace

Some have insisted that the Era of Peace, will be nothing more than “another chance given by God to get it right,” with no change at all except a “change of hearts.”

But this goes against so much prophecy that God has given to us about the Era of Peace. Now is our chance to get it right! Every new day we wake up still within the bounds of time, and before the Day of Justice arrives is that chance. The Era of Peace is more than just another chance. It’s a radical intervention of God and a reordering of creation.

As I said, I hope to soon publish a post where I compile some parts of this wealth of trustworthy private revelation insisting on such a glorious reign to come. In the meantime, you can see a small portion of that starting at about 10 minutes and 40 seconds into this talk.

Divergence with the prophetic consensus is a much more serious problem when it comes to the Era of Peace, because if we do not understand that it will be truly Glorious, then we will not sufficiently long for it. If we do not sufficiently long for it, then we will not earnestly and continuously pray for it. If we do not earnestly and continuously pray for it, then its coming will be long delayed. Jesus reveals this dynamic to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta almost verbatim.

Now,it is true that having a very downplayed vision of the Era of Peace will help you to not be condemned and harassed by the self-proclaimed Holy Inquisition of Eschatological Orthodoxy who insist that every opinion Ratzinger ever put forth, or every opinion that was popular in the middle ages, is somehow dogma. And those who are on this side of the debate are the most dangerous of all. They preach an Eschatology of Despair; wherein the world is merely condemned to get worse, and worse, and worse, and worse until the very end where, in the depths of its misery, Jesus comes at the end of time to destroy it and judge it. They scream “heresy of Millenarianism!” at any sort of actual belief in Our Lady’s promise at Fatima, where she said “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph … and an Era of Peace will be granted to the world,” for they insist that this Era of Peace has already occurred; whether after WWI, or after WWII. This is, of course, an utterly insane assertion, for no one in his right mind would call what the world has had in the past hundred years an Era of Peace. 

And indeed, it is not just Fatima, but a real consensus has formed that an Era of Peace is coming. And it is no mere subtle change. It is a radical intervention of God which will reorder the world like never before. 

Be well assured that the only things (in other words, the heresy of millenarianism)you cannot believe as a Catholic regarding the Era of Peace are what follows:

  • That Jesus will reign visibly or physically on Earth during it
  • That the “Age of the Church” shall pass and give way to the “Age of the Spirit,” or where we will no longer have the Catholic Church.
  • That the definitive destiny of the Church will be reached before her final passover (i.e. the End of Time).
    • Indeed, the destiny of the Church is the Heavenly Wedding; the Beatific Vision. The direct vision of God’s essence without medium. Even the most glorious Era of Peace, even if it were to be a veritable worldwide return to Eden, would be absolutely nothing in comparison to this. You see, Our Lady Lived in the Divine Will. There was neither sin, nor concupiscence, nor even illness in her. And yet her definitive destiny was still not obtained until the Assumption. Now, Our Lady is both Mother and Image of the Church, and indeed the Church will follow this course as well.

Steer clear of those heresies and you are perfectly safe anticipating a truly Glorious Era of Peace, in which “His Will Shall be Done on Earth as It is in Heaven.” Jesus prayed it, therefore it will happen. Period. But we must know that it is coming, yearn for it, and ardently pray for it, so that it may come soon.

2) On Ecumenism

While I heartily endorse true ecumenism, I find that the brand of it that some have promoted in the Prophecy World often allowed the line to be crossed, or at least blurred. 

We should indeed be supporters of (for example) praying with non-Catholic Christians, engaging in good ministries with them, regarding them as our brothers, and the like. 40 Days for Life is the quintessentially ideal example of Ecumenism. I feel that we can do all of these things gladly (I myself often have done so) without having to have classifications for each other and have figured out exactly what God’s plan is with it all. I will gladly work side-by-side with a Protestant without “trying to convert him.” But that does NOT mean that I, as a Catholic, can adopt a substantially identical attitude toward Protestantism (or Judaism) as I do towards Catholicism. It doesn’t mean I can go about encouraging him to remain Protestant. It doesn’t mean I can fail to hope and pray that he becomes Catholic. For such a failure would be an act of hatred. Why? Because to hate someone is to wish evil upon him. Evil is the absence of a due perfection. And the Eucharist, which only Catholic and Orthodox truly and validly have, is the greatest perfection. (as a side note: Eastern Orthodox Christianity is also not a valid alternative to Catholicism, as they are not in communion with the Successor of Peter, and God Wills that all men be in communion with the Successor of Peter. But it is at least a second best.)

A name for Protestants and Jews like “full and equal partners” in and of itself has nothing wrong with it. But the practical effect seems to sometimes be the blurring of the essential distinctions, and to forget that utterly essential, unchangeable truth: In the Catholic Church alone is the fullness of the Truth, and God calls all men to the fullness of the truth. Period. Non-magisterial opinions (even openly admitted as non-magisterial, mind you!) of a few clergymen working in the Vatican do not change this permanent truth one iota. It applies to all Protestants, all Anglicans, all Orthodox, all Jews, all Muslims, etc.

Dear Friend: if you are a Catholic, then you should be praying every single day for the conversion of all souls to Catholicism, and hoping against hope that this petition is answered soon!

This concerns me because, like many, I too believe a storm is coming (though unlike many I have no timeline). We must remember that in this storm, Catholics need to be more Catholic than ever. Some seem to be okay with Catholics becoming less Catholic during the storm; heading off to Protestant worship services if those are the most accessible ones, etc. But there have been plenty of persecutions before, and this never has been, nor is it ever going to be, how God Wills that Catholics respond to dark times. Just read up on the persecution of Catholics in England during the Reformation to see a great example of how we ought to behave during the coming persecution.

3)On Politics

There’s no need to go into a million details here; I’ve said enough (too much, perhaps!) on this site already about Politics. But since many in the Prophecy world combine their apostolates with running political commentary, this needs to be addressed. It is very difficult (and unfortunately rare) to find public voices who have really let the the teachings of the Church form their political stances from the ground up. So just please remember that the commentaries of the Signs of the Times watchers should not be the political writings one uses as a definitive guide to modern politics. Don’t get me wrong; there is certainly much wisdom in them, but much is, in fact, contrary to the Social Teachings of the Church (e.g. those in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Caritas in Veritate, Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si — all of which should be every Catholic’s guide to modern politics), that what was good does not sufficiently drown out what was not. I need not repeat what I said in a previous post on the erroneous nature of dispensing oneself from adhering to the Social Magisterium of the Church on the grounds of “Oh, the Church can’t speak infallibly on politics,” or “Oh, the Church doesn’t offer specific policies” — so if you would like to see such responses addressed, please just see the relevant portion of the linked post.

But perhaps most dangerously in my opinion, some in the Prophecy world have preached something to the effect of “traditional politics is dead.” The implication that people take from this is that we should abandon political efforts aimed at justice, peace, and truth, because the “whole system is nothing but a house of cards/smoke and mirrors anyway.”  But Church teaching is very clear that Catholics living in a Democracy have a grave duty to vote and to be an active part of the political community. And personally, as one who has put a great amount of time, effort, and sacrifice into this very end, I cannot help but take offense at such an attitude.

Fight we must. And the teachings of the Church must, as always, be our guide in this noble battle.

4) On Hope

Some fear and even insist “we will all lose hope during the storm.” But this is dangerous defeatism. The loss of hope is a sin; and whether or not any of us will sin again, and if so in what way, we do not know. But we need to trust that God’s grace will always be sufficient so that we do not have to sin. Sin is never necessary. It is never a determined consequence of free will. With the help of grace, avoiding it is never impossible (which was doctrinally defined at the Council of Trent). It is never a guaranteed fact merely due to certain external circumstances. If we refuse to acknowledge that, we are essentially blaspheming against God’s omnipotence, goodness, and mercy.

You need to trust God enough to believe that it really is possible that, from this day forward, you will never sin again — that you will never choose to distrust God again. That you will never choose to doubt God again. That you will never choose to act uncharitably again.

Whether or not that is what in fact actually happens, it nevertheless really is possible. Don’t ever, ever say that it isn’t.

 

5) On the Mission Itself and the Nature of Devotions

A simplistic motto is a good thing to fall back on in times of confusion and trial. I suggest this one: “Jesus, I Trust in You. Thy Will be Done. But I think we need to be careful to understand those as starting points and safety nets; not as ends sufficient unto themselves. Especially when we are instructing Catholics — to whom our Lady has issued so many very specific pleas and devotions (e.g. Rosary, Eucharist, Confession, Fasting, Scripture, Divine Mercy Chaplet). 

I understand as well as anyone that it is easy to be overloaded with devotions, being that God has blessed us with so many. It is certainly important to not allow yourself to scrupulously feel like you must do each and every thing that each and every alleged private revelation invites you to! I do appreciate that some have cautioned against this. Rather, you must follow your heart, follow your discernment, and take on whatever devotions you feel you can without burning yourself out and without neglecting the duties of your state in life.

But some, it seems, go further than this basic advice, and instead almost are satisfied with their followers taking a “whatever floats your boat” mentality regarding devotions and private revelations; a mentality that is common and explicitly taught today among certain popular career lay apologists; a mentality I zealously argued against in my book pages 60-61. 

But this specific issue of private revelation brings us to the more general issue of the temporal vs the spiritual.

6) On the Temporal and the Spiritual

I have been openly criticized for neglecting the temporal for the sake of the spiritual, so this seeming conflict I would like to address. Now, I would be the first to admit and indeed insist that we must be zealous for both temporal and spiritual matters, and that the fulfillment of the duties of one’s State in Life absolutely precedes in importance the performance of pious practices above those of obligation (e.g. Sunday Mass, avoiding mortal sin). But in general, the spiritual must have priority. Always. Everywhere. I think we fail to give it that priority it needs when we see the Divine Invitations in the most important private revelations of the day as merely nice options for those who feel inclined to them, and nothing more.

This criticism made of me arose in the midst of two conversations:

One, wherein I encouraged conduct that can actually succeed in evangelizing Muslims as more important than bashing Islam at every chance one gets. And this remains encouragement that I firmly stand by. It is clearly encouragement that the Catholic Blogosophere in general, which seems to be locked in endless competition to see who can more vociferously condemn Islam, needs to hear. We must indeed be frank, open, and honest about the errors in Islam. And yet I unabashedly stand by the spiritual assertion that such frankness will not save us from the present distress over and above the temporal assertion that it will. When I look at what God is asking of us today — through the Magisterium, the Popes, and trustworthy private revelation — I do not see Him saying “oppose other religions more harshly and you will conquer them” Rather, I see Him saying “pray, perform works of mercy, evangelize, and be uncompromising and unflinching in your Faith and Morals and Principles, but do not pretend that simply being more vociferous and combative in promoting them against those of other religions will achieve anything.”

The other conversation in which that criticism arose was one in which I myself criticized the notion that it is okay for one to be a “prepper” for the sake of having an adult “teddy bear.” Now we must give most in the Prophetic realm credit here: they usually do caution against major preparedness. But some have said something to the effect of “Just as I would not take a teddy bear away from a child if it gives him comfort, so too I would not begrudge survivalism of one who finds comfort in it as a way of easing his fears. I do not think this is a good mindset. What is good for a child is not necessarily good for adult, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” and as St. Francis de Sales says “Children chase butterflies and that is fine, because they are children. But is it not lamentable to see a man doing such a thing?” 

Willfully chosen fear of anything external is never God’s will. Fear as a mere passion — a mere emotion that is passively felt — is morally indifferent, and whether we feel it (and, if so, to what degree) is largely not our choice. But having a “don’t take the teddy bear away” notion is to serve as an accessory to the sin of willed fear. And willed fear is the absolute opposite of the very most essential thing in these dark days: Trust in God. Jesus, I Trust in You. Thy Will be Done.

When reading the Bible, the revelations to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, the revelations to St. Faustina, and so many other similar works, one theme seems to jump out even more clearly and constantly than all the others: Jesus absolutely begging us, admonishing us, insisting that we banish every fear. There is no need for it!!!

A storm is coming indeed, but we must, must, must continually remind ourselves of the admonishment of Our Lord to be not afraid!

Although I have been criticized when I’ve pointed this out, alas, if only this input was taken more seriously, there would be fewer people today angry than there in fact are, as they took all sorts of preparedness measures thinking that society would have to collapse by now and they wanted their teddy bear! Let us learn our lessons, move on, and leave the past in the past. Just as importantly, let us not over-react to our mistakes, but instead learn from them. I am concerned that many who are now so fed up with the over-preparedness they engaged in will now reject even basic preparedness and basic keeping an eye on the signs of times.

Now, I have long encouraged a relatively small degree of “Sober Minded Preparedness,” not as a “teddy bear,” but as a simple act of prudence. One may be inclined to say that I am splitting hairs; but that is a radical misunderstanding of Christianity itself. Christianity is all about intention. That is primarily what God looks at when we undertake an action and it is primarily what we are judged on. Preparedness is a duty if — when you undertake it — you are merely following prudential judgment and conscience. It is a sin if you are doing it so as to have a teddy bear to cling to in an act of deliberately willed fear.

The importance of this admonishment to never fear cannot be overstated. This is the point I ended on in the talk I gave in Tampa. It was not my intent, but Providence, that ended my talk on that point. If you would like to see that, just listen to the last several minutes of this same talk linked above.

7) On the Antichrist

Some in the Catholic prophecy world today insist strongly that the Antichrist is not coming any time soon, but can only possibly come at the very end of the world. But this is quite the opposite of what the prophetic consensus seems to be indicating. Mark Mallett has written powerfully on this here and in other places.

The notion of the Antichrist coming at the very end of the world is also inconsistent not only with the clear sense of the Book of Revelation (which makes it clear that the Antichrist comes before the Era of Peace), but is inconsistent with the true nature of the Era of Peace. As you will see if you read the many trustworthy private revelations that speak of it, it is completely incomprehensible that the Antichrist could manage to arise during it and sway the masses to join him in his evil and apostasy. That, friends, describes our current day. It does not describe a plausible scenario during a time in which His Will is Done on Earth as It is Done in Heaven

Gog and Magog will indeed be the final unleashing of evil to usher in the definitive end of time, the true physical Final coming of Our Lord, and the General Judgement. But the swift death that this final unleashing of evil will give to the world is more akin to the chop of an axe laid to the neck of a saint who sings his way joyfully to his martyrdom. The persecution of the Antichrist, which is likely imminent, is more akin to the final and tragic drug overdose of an addict who has slowly but surely been destroying his own life with his sins and then willfully takes that last step. The Antichrist is the natural and inevitable consequence of the Great Apostasy that we are already in the midst of. It would be entirely unfitting for him to arise in the midst of  (or at the end of) the Era of Peace.

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If you’re looking for trustworthy voices online in the wake of so much confusion, allow me to suggest:

 

Mark Mallett

Fr. Robert Young

Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi

Anthony Mullen

Peter Bannister

(at the moment Peter, a theologian, does not have a site dedicated to his theology work, but if that changes I will certainly link to him. He has –understandably and probably correctly — stopped posting on the “motheofgod” forum since many on it, including the site’s owner/operator, have adopted a largely anti-Pope Francis tone)

Dan Lynch

Janet Klasson

November 11, 2016

The Last Hail Mary

queen-of-heavenFar too often I begin to realize, towards the end of praying the Rosary, that I have done anything but meditate on the mysteries of it or even focus on the words I was saying; but rather, that I have allowed my mind to wander from one distraction to the next almost without intermission throughout the duration of this most sublime devotion.

When this happens, I do not become disheartened or discouraged. Rather, I ask God’s forgiveness, resolve to try harder next time, and I then strive to at least pray the very last Hail Mary with the greatest attention and great devotion — truly from the heart.

I believe this is a powerful practice.

As 50 Hail Mary’s adorn the Holy Rosary, so too 50 weeks comprise this Holy Year of Mercy. And we now are on the cusp of entering the last.

If, like me, you did not come close to living this Year of Mercy as you had hoped you would, then do not despair. Rather, join me in striving to make fruitful and faithful this last week (which begins Sunday, November 13th and ends Sunday, November 20th with the closing of the Holy Door of Mercy), like the Last Hail Mary of an otherwise distracted Rosary.

I abhor using myself as an example, for I know full well that I am anything but worth imitating. However, in order to be as practical, concrete, and genuine as possible with the encouragements that follow, I will simply share what I plan to do this upcoming week. Prayerfully consider what you yourself can do next week as well.

  • I will continue to fulfill the duties of my state in life as usual. For indeed, honorably fulfilling these duties is more important than any pious practices above and beyond those of obligation. However, I will strive to better compartmentalize my work instead of allowing it to overflow into hours of the day and week that it need not. I will strive to cease pretending that I need to be thinking about my various worries and plans and strategies while not actively engaged in working on them.  I will strive to cease imposing frantic rushes on myself regarding jobs and projects and ToDos that I feel urgently need to get done when, in fact, they could easily wait.
  • I will begin the week; in its vigil on Saturday afternoon, with a heartfelt confession so that I may be as pure as possible for the task ahead, satisfy Our Lady’s request at Fatima for the First Five Saturdays Devotion (as tomorrow is still within 8 days of the First Saturday; and I highly recommend that anyone serious about hastening the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart as she promised at Fatima do a perpetual First Saturday Devotion instead of only five), and be ready to receive a Plenary Indulgence each day of the week ahead.
  • I will try to be more devoted to the Divine Will Missionary of Mercy regimen.
  • I will take care to, before I go out in the world either for work, errands, recreation, or anything of the sort, make sure I have Divine Mercy Evangelization Cards in my breast pocket and keep on the lookout for opportunities to hand them out or place them in good spots as the Holy Spirit directs.  If you would like some of these (or a replenishment), you can still request them here. I still have a few more boxes full of them and will happily send then out for free as long as I can afford to do so! I will also try to more often wear a Divine Mercy Pin as I go out.
  • I will try to do a better job with Wednesday and Friday fasting. Let us not mistakenly call ourselves prayer warriors if we do not in some way fast — those who do not fast are, at best, sunshine patriots and fair weather friends! Your own manner of fasting is a question I leave to you to discern for yourself, but I will share a fasting regimen I have found fruitful: Wednesdays and Fridays, “bread and water,” loosely speaking. I still have dinner as usual with my family, but before dinner I stick to plain white bread with some peanut butter on it and black coffee. If I do a more severe fast; such as only plain bread and not even black coffee — midnight to midnight — then I find I am more distracted by the fast than I am empowered by it (although there are certainly times where this or a more strict fast are called for). If I do a less severe fast; I find the sacrifice is too minimal to notice and therefore be powerful.
  • At least once I will visit a cemetery to walk through it and pray for the repose of the souls of those buried there — as well as the repose of all of the Holyfinish-the-race Souls — while reciting a Rosary and/or Divine Mercy Chaplet.
  • I will strive to receive a Plenary Indulgence each and every day, also offered for the repose of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. Though the most neglected Work of Mercy, this is indeed among the most powerful and important.
  • I will spend more time with the Blessed Sacrament, either by way of going out of my way to do Holy Hours or Holy Half Hours with Our Lord, or at least by arriving at daily Mass early and only leaving after I have spent plenty of silent time following Mass giving thanks to our Eucharistic Lord who remains inside us in His Real Presence for at least 15 minutes after we receive Him. (And yes, as I have yet to find a Church with a daily Mass that is not dominated by chatter both before and after, I will be sure to bring an mp3 player and earbud headphones so I can drown out the chatter with Gregorian Chant or other Holy Hymns).
  • At least once I will pray and sidewalk counsel outside of a Planned Parenthood.
  • At least once I will visit a nursing home and pray with the residents there.
  • Above all, I will strive to do all of this — and, indeed, spend every waking moment — Living in and Acting in the Divine Will, so that all of my finite acts may be elevated into the eternal realm, and thereby gain an infinite value before God. Therefore I will strive to do a better job of being faithful and attentive to the means Jesus gave us through Luisa to these ends; especially the daily meditation on the Hours of the Passion and allowing Our Lady to lead me to the Divine Will of her Son through her own words.

Therefore, join me, brethren, in whatever of these endeavors or similar ones you feel called to. Let us not allow this “Last Hail Mary” to pass us by distracted! We do not know how many, if any, more chances we will have. Do not forget how truly Extraordinary this Holy Year that is now passing both is and was.And let us be attentive to those most important Words — those spoken to us at Mass — as this Year comes to a close:

  • In today’s Gospel reading, Our Lord instructs us that the “day” of His Coming — which we are on the verge of, for while we are not on the verge of the actual end of time and Final Judgement, we are indeed on the verge of a series of events which, together, comprise His Second Coming — will be like the day of the Flood or the day of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. In speaking last year with a very special priest well known around the world for his orthodoxy and holiness (whose name I withhold because I do not know if he wants this observation of his to be publicly known at this point), shortly after the passage of same-sex “marriage” in this country by Judicial Fiat of the “Supreme” Court, he told me that the days immediately preceding the flood consisted in (and we know this from ancient Jewish texts) the society of that day doing just what we now have done: blessing same-sex unions. It was then that God said “enough” and told Noah to get in the Ark.
  • In tomorrow’s Gospel, we read Jesus pondering aloud to us “When the Son of Man comes, will He find Faith on earth?” One can be a blind optimist and look at the fact that most people still believe in God today and thus think that this does not refer to our times, or one can be realistic and realize that true supernatural Catholic Faith is almost completely dead today and thus realize that we are precisely in the days to which Our Lord refers.
  • Finally, in the Gospel of the day after tomorrow– the Sunday ushering in this “Last Hail Mary” week– Our Lord gives us a description of what will immediately precede, and what will go along with, this “day” of His Coming.

Whoever cannot see that this all refers to our times is either incredibly ignorant or willfully blind. Therefore, we must be on vigil right now as never before. As Mark Mallett profoundly observed in a post yesterday, many are saying “peace and security” now that Donald Trump has been elected. For years I have wondered how 1 Thessalonians 5:3 would be fulfilled. Now we know.

When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

I, too, rejoice in the defeat of Hillary Clinton; my wife and I prayed a novena precisely for that end. But this election’s outcome will not give us peace. The election of a lesser of two evils will barely alter the course of events that must come; although we might have a brief reprieve, thanks be to God. Or, perhaps not. Perhaps somehow this will even hasten the events to come. God knows; we do not. What we do know is our battle orders. Let us therefore be more vigilant, more zealous, and more attentive to them than ever before. Keep oil in your lamps, friends.

Be Converted

Trust in the Divine Mercy

Remain in a State of Grace

Live in the Divine Will

Proclaim the Divine Mercy

LineAs those of you know who attended the Divine Will conference in Tampa in September, I could not finish my talk in the time available and therefore promised to publish the transcript of it in its entirety. I finally have that ready. Here it is: Sure Ways of Living in the Divine Will.

I had the honor of speaking on the Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy at a conference in Denver last month. Here is the audio of that

September 14, 2016

Tampa Conference Audio and DWMoM Notes

Dear Friends,

A Blessed Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross to you all! On this solemn day let us remember that His Cross shall triumph; it is only a question of time. Let us pray that the day may be hastened! Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be Done, On Earth as It Is in Heaven. 

First of all, the Tampa Divine Will Conference was a true blessing and it was an honor to speak there. At the end of this post, I will include a recording of the speech I gave. Videos of the entire conference can be purchased from comingofthekingdom.org.

Unfortunately the curve balls that life has thrown have prevented me from doing my ordinary daily DWMoM regimen for the past few months, but I look forward to getting back into it now. If you are like me, you feel like this Year of Mercy is slipping away! But alas, remember: even those late to the vineyard receive the same payment. Let us ensure that, in these remaining two months of the Jubilee Year, we strive to proclaim the Divine Mercy in whatever way we can.

A small note: as some are uncomfortable with the notion of the “transubstantiation of one’s very self,” (and I will not begrudge that discomfort), I have changed that word, which I had had in the DWMoM prayer,to instead be the “transconsecration” of one’s very self, as St. Faustina herself spoke of in the fully approved Divine Mercy Diary (paragraph 137). (Incidentally, this “transconsecration” of St. Faustina is clearly a reference to Living in the Divine Will; for it occurred immediately after St. Faustina fully consented to the total sacrifice of her will to the Divine Will, and after she became “fused” with God. After it occurred she said that “God was now living in [my soul] with the totality of His delight.” I encourage you to read the context for yourself in paragraphs 135-138 to see that there is no doubt that St. Faustina is here speaking of the same Gift that was Luisa’s mission to reveal to the world in its fullness)

I have added information on the Patrons of of the Divine Will Missionaries of Mercy (Our Lady of the Visitation and St. Anthony Mary Claret) to the website. I encourage you to take a look if you haven’t yet seen it!

Now for the talk! Please note that this talk is not intended to introduce people to the Divine Will Revelations of Luisa. It is, rather, intended to inspire those who already know of it and believe in it. In this talk, I say (and quote) some bold words that should be given qualification and explanation if said to those who have not yet been taught the proper understanding of Luisa’s writings. So do use discernment in whom to send this talk. Anyone new to the Divine Will who listens to it would do well to also see my free ebook, the Crown and Completion of All Sanctity, for the proper context and orthodox understanding of anything that he might at first be uncomfortable with. I will again remind everyone interested in Luisa’s writings that, if you are ever confused as to how a teaching in Luisa’s writings fits with Church Teaching, you must always favor Church Teaching, and seek out further clarification on how to understand Luisa’s writings. Finally, there is at least one specific thing I said in this talk that I want to clarify now: at one point I referred to the Gift as the “same exact life as the blessed in Heaven have,” but what I meant to say is “the same exact life as the blessed in Heaven have in terms of holiness” (for of course, receiving the Gift on Earth does not bestow the Beatific Vision — the essence of Heaven — upon its recipient, therefore the actual differences are many. The point is that the degree of holiness is the same)

 

(Click here to download an mp3 of the talk)

August 24, 2016

Divine Will Conference, Tampa. September 8-11 2016

Dear Friends,

I would like to invite anyone interested to attend an upcoming Divine Will Conference being held in Tampa, FL on September 8th through September 11th! I am above all very excited to be attending this conference in order to learn from the wisdom of the other speakers there; but as God would have it, I will be a speaker as well. It is being run by Thomas Fahy (a veritable expert on the Divine Will) and the John Paul II Institute of Christian Spirituality. 

You may register for the conference with this form. The conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Tampa WestshoreDetailed information on reserving a room a this hotel can be found in this document.  (Update: that hotel is now full. You can instead reserve a room at the Marriott Tampa Westshore just across the street; their number is 813-287-2555. Just mention the John Paul II Institute Conference when reserving. Thanks!)

 

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P.S. In case anyone is wondering whether I am taking back my assertion (made under the “About the Author” section of The Crown and Completion of All Sanctity) that I would not be speaking on the Divine Will at conferences due to a restriction being in effect against this: the short answer is yes! Sadly, in writing that brief note last year, I had fallen prey to a common misconception; for indeed, there is no such restriction. Suffice it to say I have validated this with confidence through much research (and I have pinpointed the source of the confusion), but in an effort to take my own advice from my last post and avoid needless discord, I will avoid going down that rabbit hole and instead simply leave it at this. If you need more information on this before feeling comfortable attending such a conference, you can feel free to contact me.  From now on, I will indeed be available to speak on the Divine Will in the writings of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.

June 21, 2016

The Mission

In light of the unprecedented factiousness, discord, and needless heated debates that have come knocking at my door and the doors of so many (almost everyone, it seems, is embroiled in something) during the past couple months, I would like to do now what I have not done in my seven years of running this blog, namely: merely re-post something I have previously written. Considering all that has transpired in both the Church and the World during the past five months since I wrote it, I don’t suppose many will begrudge its repetition. These past five months have been nothing but a preview of what is to come, so focusing on the mission will only become more important.

What follows is excerpted from the bottom of my post written January of this year (only html/formatting altered):

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The Mission

Live in the Divine Will

 *

Proclaim the Divine Mercy

 *

Eucharist, Rosary, Chaplet, Scripture, Fasting, Confession, Works of Mercy

 *

Pray, pray, pray

*

love

*

May

Jesus, I Trust in You.

Thy Will Be Done.

Be ever on your mind, heart, and lips.