World Youth Day
WE are entering a most profound period of purification of the Church and the planet. The signs of the times are all around us as the upheaval in nature, the economy, and social and political stability speaks of a world on the verge of a Global Revolution. Thus, I believe we are also approaching the hour of God’s “last effort” before the “day of justice” arrives (see The Last Effort), as St. Faustina recorded in her diary. Not the end of the world, but the end of an era:
Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 848
Blood and Water is pouring forth this moment from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is this mercy gushing forth from the Heart of the Savior that is the final effort to…
…withdraw [mankind] from the empire of Satan which He desired to destroy, and thus to introduce them into the sweet liberty of the rule of His love, which He wished to restore in the hearts of all those who should embrace this devotion.—St. Margaret Mary (1647-1690), sacredheartdevotion.com
It is for this that I believe we have been called into The Bastion—a time of intense prayer, focus, and preparation as the Winds of Change gather strength. For the heavens and earth are going to shake, and God is going to concentrate His love into one last moment of grace before the world is purified.1 It is for this time that God has prepared a little army, primarily of the laity.
THE HOUR OF THE LAITY
Vatican II (despite those who abused the Council’s directives) not only breathed new life into the Church, but new life into the laity. These past forty years have been a preparation for these times we now live in:
…the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council marked a decisive turning-point. With the Council, the hour of the laity truly struck, and many lay faithful, men and women, more clearly understood their Christian vocation, which by its very nature is a vocation to the apostolate… —BLESSED JOHN PAUL II, Jubilee of the Apostolate of the Laity, n. 3
John Paul II’s insights are prophetic in both their hindsight and foresight, due in part to the pervading crises in the priesthood that, ironically, grew out of Vatican II. For one thing, the clergy have lost tremendous credibility in the wake of the ongoing sex scandal revelations in many countries. Secondly, theological distortions of the true teachings of Vatican II have had devastating consequences, from liturgical abuses, to watered-down teachings, to pervasive homosexuality in seminaries, to liberal theology, and a certain “impotency of the pulpit” that have left the flock in many quarters without true shepherds.2 Third, a persecution, aimed firstly at the priesthood, is about to burst upon the universal Church that will limit freedom of speech, remove charitable status, and even result in the closure of parishes.3 Add that to the wide collapse and withering away of many religious orders due to the embrace of radical feminism, progressive theology, and lax discipline, and it is evident that the “wind of the Spirit” has been blowing mostly through grass roots movements among the laity (thanks in part to the popes who have watered the seeds).
The bureaucracy is spent and tired. These initiatives come from within, from the joy of young people. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Light of the World, A Conversation With Peter Seewald, p. 59
Thus, we are now living in “the hour of the laity.” This does not mean, however, that the priesthood has become obsolete (or that there are no thriving religious communities). No! Without the priesthood, the laity cannot be fed the “Bread of Life.” Without the priesthood, absolution of sins is not available. Without the priesthood, the whole sacramental order collapses and the power of Christ made manifest through the Sacraments is vanquished. In fact, one of the great signs of an authentic laity is their love and obedience toward the shepherds who have been given to them through Apostolic succession. And truly, the young priests coming up in the ranks hold much potential and hope that the laity will once again be able to follow leaders who are also apostles.
The “hour of the laity” is this time, then, when in the fading light of clerical influence, the Holy Spirit is calling upon housewives, tradesmen, doctors, scientists, husbands, children, etc. to become “signs of contradiction” in the marketplace. To become a visible sign of Christ’s presence through our actions and through the truth we are called to speak. To, in a word, exercise our baptismal duty and right:
To you the Council opened extraordinary perspectives of commitment and involvement in the Church’s mission. Did the Council not remind you of your participation in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ? In a special way, the Council Fathers entrusted you with the mission “of seeking the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will” (Lumen gentium, n. 31).
Since then a lively season of associations has blossomed, in which, along with traditional groups, new movements, sodalities and communities have arisen (cf. Christifideles laici, n. 29). Today more than ever, dear brothers and sisters, your apostolate is indispensable, if the Gospel is to be the light, salt and leaven of a new humanity. —BLESSED JOHN PAUL II, Jubilee of the Apostolate of the Laity, n. 3
Indeed, when God poured out His Spirit upon upon several retreatants at Duquesne University in 1967, which sparked what is known today as the “Charismatic Renewal”,4 it began with the laity. Other movements such as Focolare, Taizé, Life Teen, World Youth Day, etc. have been movements that have been mostly driven by, and have renewed especially, the laity. Technology has also played an intrinsic role in this hour by readily providing formation to the laity through the internet, television, CD’s, cassettes, books, and other media. God has been steadily preparing a small army of believers in both heart and mind who, in the face of a clerical crisis, would be ready to do their part to help lead the People of God in a decisive victory, to a “new humanity”…
THE TRIUMPH OF THE TWO HEARTS
The victory that will culminate—ultimately in a cleansed world in an Era of Peace5—is understood in Catholic terms as the “Triumph of the Immaculate Heart” and “Triumph of the Sacred Heart” among other titles (“new springtime”, “new pentecost”, etc.)
We say it will be the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, for it is Mary who has been given the special task of gathering and forming an army of believers. We say it will be the Triumph of the Sacred Heart because Mary has not gathered an army for herself, but a people who will form the heel that will crush the head of the serpent, and bring about the glorification of Jesus to the ends of the earth. The Triumph, then, is a decisive victory for the Holy Trinity. These are the times written of by the prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, St. John in his Apocalypse, and foretold by the Early Church Fathers as a period of triumph for the whole People of God when Christ will reign for a “thousand years” through His Church. The Holy Eucharist will become the pinnacle and center to which and from which all human activity will flow. It is during that period in an “era of peace” that the Church will become corporately and truly holy,6 having passed through her own passion, preparing her for her ascension into Heaven.
[Mary] was commissioned to prepare the Bride by purifying our “yes” to be like hers, so that the whole Christ, Head and Body, could offer a total sacrifice of love to the Father. Her “yes” as the public person is now to be offered by the Church as a corporate person. Mary now seeks our consecration to her so that she might prepare us and bring us to the docile “yes” of Jesus on the Cross. She needs our consecration and not just a vague devotion and piety. Rather, she needs our devotion and piety in the root meaning of the words, ie., “devotion” as the giving of our vows (consecration) and “piety” as the response of loving sons. To grasp this vision of God’s plan to prepare his Bride for the “new age”, we need a new wisdom. This new wisdom is especially available to those who have consecrated themselves to Mary, the Seat of Wisdom. —The Spirit and the Bride Say “Come!”, Fr. George Farrell & Fr. George Kosicki, p. 75-76
Remember, Lord, your Church and deliver her from all evil. Perfect her in your love; and, once she has been sanctified, gather her together from the four winds into the kingdom which you have prepared for her. For power and glory are yours for ever. —From the ancient document entitled “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol III, p. 465
One could compare this hour of the laity and the coming Triumph to the story of Gideon (see Our Lady’s Battle). In the Old Testament, Gideon is called to lead a battle against the enemy.7 He has 32 000 troops, but God wants him to reduce the number. At first, 22, 000 men voluntarily abandon Gideon. Could this not be compared to the apostasy that has devastated the Church with vast numbers of theologians and clergy abandoning the true faith for the easy road of innovations and compromise?
The tail of the devil is functioning in the disintegration of the Catholic world. The darkness of Satan has entered and spread throughout the Catholic Church even to its summit. Apostasy, the loss of the faith, is spreading throughout the world and into the highest levels within the Church. —POPE PAUL VI, Address on the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Fatima Apparitions, October 13, 1977
God weeds out the army further, taking only those soldiers who lap up water like a dog, that is, the humblest souls. In the end, only 300 soldiers are chosen to fight the vast armies of the foe—an impossible scenario.
The Triumph will come about, not by the might of papal armies or fearful inquisitions, but primarily through a small remnant comprised of those faithful priests, religious, and laymen who have given their “fiat.” Gideon, you could say, represents Our Lady, who says to the little army:
Watch me and follow my lead. (Judges 7:17)
On this universal level, if victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her because He wants the Church’s victories now and in the future to be linked to her… —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p. 221
Gideon provided them all with horns and torches inside empty jars. No armor. No weapons…
Not by an army, nor by might, but by my spirit, says the LORD of hosts. (Zech 4:6)
The horns represent the Word of God—more precisely, the message of the Good News, of Divine Mercy, the announcement that in Christ, a new day is dawning. The torches hidden inside the jars represent the hidden preparation going on interiorly in the souls of those consecrated to Our Lady. And what is this preparation? The ignition of the Flame of Love in the hearts of the remnant. For without love, our words are just a banging gong, our actions just whisps of smoke rather than the fragrant incense of the Holy Spirit. This Flame of Love comes to us from the Blessed Mother’s own Immaculate Heart. But her heart was lit like a candle from the everlasting flames of the Sacred Heart. So you see, her work is to bring about our transformation into the likeness of her Son, that Jesus may be known in and through us throughout the entire world through love; that the world could be set on fire with the Flames of Mercy leaping from His Heart to hers to ours.
From the ecclesiastically backed messages given to Elizabeth Kindlemann:
Take this Flame… It’s the Flame of Love of My Heart. Ignite your own heart with it and pass it on to others! This Flame full of blessings springing from my Immaculate Heart, and that I am giving you, must go from heart to heart. It will be the Great Miracle of light blinding Satan. It is the fire of love and concord (harmonious unity). I obtained this grace on your behalf from the Eternal Father by virtue of the five Blessed Wounds of my Divine Son… The torrential flood of blessings about to jolt the world must begin with the small number of the most humble souls. Each person getting this message should receive it as an invitation and no one should take offense nor ignore it… —from the diary of Elizabeth Kindlemann (c. 1913-1985), “The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”; In June of 2009, Cardinal Peter Erdo, Archbishop of Budapest, Hungary and President of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe, gave his imprimatur authorizing the publication of the messages given by God and Mary to Elizabeth Kindlemann over a twenty year span from 1961. See www.flameoflove.org
At Gideon’s command, they blew their horns and broke their jars so that suddenly their torches were visible. This, I believe, is an apt symbol of the revelation of the Sacred Heart that is coming in a profound way—a part of the last effort of God’s mercy upon a wayward world.
I could compare this torrential flood (of grace) to the first Pentecost. It will submerge the earth by the power of the Holy Spirit. All mankind will take heed at the time of this great miracle. Here comes the torrential flow of the Flame of Love of My most Holy Mother. The world darkened already by lack of faith will undergo formidable tremors and then people will believe! These jolts will give rise to a new world by the power of faith. Trust, confirmed by faith, will take root in souls and the face of the earth will thus be renewed. For never has such a flow of grace ever been given since the Word become flesh. This renewing of the earth, tested by suffering, will take place through the power and the imploring force of the Blessed Virgin! —Jesus to Elizabeth Kindlemann, Ibid.
It will be a moment of mercy, a moment of decision, and the army of Mary, the remnant of God, will be called into action to reclaim as many souls as possible with the “sword of truth” and through a prophetic word for the world that the “day of justice” is dawning.
They held the torches in their left hands, and in their right the horns they were blowing, and cried out, “A sword for the LORD and Gideon!” (Judges 7:20)
Witness to Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Rev 19:10)
The word martyr means “witness,” and thus, the “passion, death, and resurrection” of the Church will become the seed for a new era and a renewed world, bringing to a close “the hour of the laity,” and marking the dawn of a new day.
Following Christ demands the courage of radical choices, which often means going against the stream. “We are Christ!”, St Augustine exclaimed. The martyrs and witnesses of faith yesterday and today, including many lay faithful, show that, if necessary, we must not hesitate to give even our lives for Jesus Christ. —BLESSED JOHN PAUL II, Jubilee of the Apostolate of the Laity, n. 4
Therefore, the Son of the most high and mighty God… shall have destroyed unrighteousness, and executed His great judgment, and shall have recalled to life the righteous, who… will be engaged among men a thousand years, and will rule them with most just command… —4th century Ecclesiastical writer, Lactantius, “The Divine Institutes”, The ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol 7, p. 211
We do confess that a kingdom is promised to us upon the earth, although before heaven, only in another state of existence; inasmuch as it will be after the resurrection for a thousand years in the divinely-built city of Jerusalem… —Tertullian (155–240 A.D.), Nicene Church Father; Adversus Marcion, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Henrickson Publishers, 1995, Vol. 3, pp. 342-343)
I and every other orthodox Christian feel certain that there will be a resurrection of the flesh followed by a thousand years in a rebuilt, embellished, and enlarged city of Jerusalem, as was announced by the Prophets Ezekiel, Isaias and others… A man among us named John, one of Christ’s Apostles, received and foretold that the followers of Christ would dwell in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and that afterwards the universal and, in short, everlasting resurrection and judgment would take place. —St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. 81, The Fathers of the Church, Christian Heritage
*Two Hearts artwork by Tommy Canning: www.art-of-divinemercy.co.uk
First published July 7th, 2011.
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