TWO things happened after Pentecost as the Apostles began to proclaim the Gospel in the name of Jesus Christ. Souls began to convert to Christianity by the thousands. The second is that the name of Jesus sparked a renewed persecution, this time of His mystical body.
THE GREAT DIVIDER
Christ’s followers had little impact on the world—until Pentecost. That’s when they began to preach in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the principal agent of evangelization: it is he who impels each individual to proclaim the Gospel, and it is he who in the depths of consciences causes the word of salvation to be accepted and understood. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Ecclesia in Africa, n.21; Yaoundé, in Cameroon, on September 14th, 1995, Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.
Understood… and yet, it can be rejected.
So that [the Gospel] may not be spread any further among the people, let us give them a stern warning never again to speak to anyone in His name. (Acts 4:17)
To preach in Jesus’ name is to preach the truth Jesus revealed. It is the power of this truth which draws persecution:
[The world] hates me, because I testify to it that its works are evil. (John 7:7)
Truth ignited a confrontation with the spirit of the world, leading to the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D, and to major persecutions against the newborn Church. Truth is the great sword which divides, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart (Heb 4:12). If it is received, it liberates; if it is rejected, it enrages.
We gave you strict orders (did we not?) to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us. (Acts 5:28)
THE PINNACLE OF THE COMING PERSECUTION
In December of 2006, I wrote in Persecution! (Moral Tsunami) that the pinnacle of deception in our times has been the accepted redefinition of sexuality:
…a dissolution of the image of man, with extremely grave consequences. —May, 14, 2005, Rome; Cardinal Ratzinger in a speech on European identity.
Mandatory acceptance of the gay lifestyle may become the great battleground which will draw out the fiercest persecution of Christians. This redefinition of who we are as humans appears to be Satan’s greatest triumph, for in essence he is attempting to redefine God Himself in whose image we are created.
This may prove to be the compromise foreseen by a holy mystic which precipitates a schism in the Church:
I had another vision of the great tribulation… It seems to me that a concession was demanded from the clergy that could not be granted. I saw many older priests, especially one, who wept bitterly. A few younger ones were also weeping… It was as if people were splitting into two camps. —Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich
In an apparition approved by Pope Benedict himself in 1988 (then Cardinal Ratzinger), our Blessed Mother warned of this also:
The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confréres…churches and altars [will be] sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. —Blessed Virgin Mary to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa , Akita, Japan
Already, we see nations such as Canada and Britain, and American states such as Massachusetts and California, becoming a testing ground for forcing state-defined morality on the masses. Persecution of this sort is not new in the world. What is new is that this enforcement comes, not through marching jackboots and violence, but through ornate court rooms, finely suited lawmakers, and strident intellectualism, all played out bloodlessly in the Coliseum of the media.
The attack is no longer directed against nations, but against the mind of man. —Our Lady of All Nations allegedly to Ida Peerdeman, Feb 14th, 1950; The Messages of The Lady of All Nations, p. 27
Christians are being systematically discriminated against for holding their moral ground, especially on the gender issue. It becomes clearer and clearer each day that we are entering more deeply into the "final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, the Gospel and the anti-Gospel" which John Paul II prophesied in 1976.
Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. ( Matt 24:6-8)
Why? Because Christians will become the stumbling block to a new world order of "peace" based upon a false religion. Christians will be seen as the new terrorists, the enemies of "peace." The Truth will enrage.
The hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. (John 16:2)
And this would happen to every Christian except for the fact that God will protect His Bride, while setting aside some of us to receive the crown of martyrdom. What is certain is that the Church will be victorious and the forces of darkness will not prevail (Matt 16:18). The Church will emerge purified and holy, and that which is good, holy, and true will protect the world as a hedge encloses a rose garden. It will be a day when:
…at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:10-11)