As you know, in our Church this has been an interesting week. You know it is interesting when news channels claim that all what you read about the Church is nothing more than politics: Liberals vs Conservatives. Again that is their
take, not necessarily what is actually going on.
As I said last week, the main focus here is the spiritual take.
There are many that see the confusion and believe it is a sign to leave the Church. They miss the point of why they are here in the first place. You see, as you know the Church is not the priest and the bishops alone, it is not the buildings, it is all of us.
When you see it from that perspective you may want to be aware of another aspect. This current upheaval in the Church aligns with what was predicted at least four times: St. John Bosco in the mid 1800’s, Pope Leo XIII in the late 1800’s, Our Lady at Fatima 101 years ago and Pope John Paul II in the late 1900’s. Being aware of it, what we need to be concerned about is not what is happening now, but what will happen next.
Let me explain.
First, what was predicted was a crisis in the Church greater than any other, which would result in a huge apostasy and cause bishop to turn on bishop. It is possible that what was predicted is what is happening and Cardinal Raymond Burke already highlighted that possibility.
St. John Bosco warned that the Church would face its most difficult struggle in the future. He warned about it when relaying a prophetic dream he had. A copy of the dream is in the back of the Church.
The Church, in the dream, was portrayed as a flotilla of ships under attack by the world and among the armory of ammunition against the Church was books and pamphlets.
Coincidentally enough, this week in National Review David French wrote an article describing Christianity as a flotilla of ships with the Catholic Church the center ship. If he never read St John Bosco’s dream that would be an interesting coincidence.
Our Lady at Fatima warned the children that the Church would suffer a terrible time and there would be a powerful attack on the priests, the bishops and the Pope.
St. Leo XIII warned, near the turn of the 19th to the 20th century that Satan would have free reign for a hundred years and great destruction would happen. This is source of the prayer to St. Michael.
In every case, the real issue then is what I said earlier. What happens next.
Let us look at this in light of the Gospel.
What did the leaders of the Jews do wrong in the time of Jesus? They protected the culture of Judaism and sacrificed the message. Many people accuse the bishops of doing the same thing. To paraphrase Jesus, they focused on the structure and not on the message of the structure. Well, what was the solution in the time of the Jesus?
The same thing predicted in every situation: revolutionary divine intervention.
I am guessing that the world, which is constantly changing, is more in a state of flux than it was twenty-five years ago when the Berlin Wall came down.
Now this flux has affected the Church.
Where do we stand now?
The same place we always did, except I think in a stronger position. When I say we, I mean you and I. One of the greatest struggles this church had to endure is for the laity to be over reliant on the hierarchy and leaving the role of Church to them. That is a great mistake. Let’s go to John Bosco’s dream. The role of the hierarchy is to steer the ship. Having been a sailor and actually having been a helmsman we have to remember that while the bridge steers the ship, the rest of the crew keeps the mission going. Unfortunately, people believe that the mission is for us to reach our port. It actually is not. In a war ship the mission is to fight the battle at sea it is not to reach the port.
We are always in a battle and the battle is for souls, it has always been such. There is a fiercely evil force that we call the devil that works day and night to destroy the soul of every person on the planet. If you could see that battle you would be down on your knees in prayer, I assure you. I was told a very graphic description of that battle that I warn people, if you hear it, you will want to be on your knees in prayer for the rest of your life, it is so scary.
When there is a revolutionary divine intervention it is rooted in the repentance and devotion of the people of God. This is our greatest tool. One of my favorite sayings is that the one thing the devil hates the most is the worst of all sinners on their knees in prayer.
Occasionally, I hear the words of good Catholics who have stopped going to Church tell me that God is so merciful and good he would not cast anyone in Hell. That may be true, but that is now how it works. The Devil works by the law. If you break the law, then the devil demands that you are cast into Hell. God acknowledges your breaking of the law in sin and demands repentance in which case as judge he forgives you and you are saved. However, if you have nothing on which to state your claim as one of His subjects then you are lost. Our role is to bring as many people into that kingdom as possible through repentance and hope for salvation so that they can stake that claim. The devil works intensely to ensure that they do not. Remember what Jesus says those to who are lost, they are not lost by God casting them into Hell, they are lost by Him saying: “I never knew you.” In other words, you have shown no claim on your citizenship in Heaven so I cannot claim you as one of my subjects.
Many people feel it is time to abandon ship in the Church, but then the devil succeeds. Others warned us this time was coming and our role is to strengthen our call to lead others to the King. That is because we need to discern if we are going through a crisis or the prophetic warning given over and over again for the past one hundred and fifty years and if it is the latter, then be prepared and prepare others for what comes next.