FROM a letter I recently received:
I have read your writings for 2 years and feel they are so on track. My wife receives locutions and so much of what she writes down is parallel to yours.
But I have to share with you that both my wife and I have been so disheartened over the past several months. We feel as if we are losing the battle and the war. Look around and see all of the evil. It is as if Satan is winning in all areas. We feel so ineffective and so full of despair. We feel like giving up, at a time when the Lord and Blessed Mother need us and our prayers the most!! We feel like we are becoming "a deserter", as it said in one of your writings. I have fasted every week for almost 9 years, but in the past 3 months I have only been able to do it twice.
You speak of hope and the victory that is coming in the battle Mark. Do you have any words of encouragement ? How long are we going to have to endure and suffer in this world we live in ?
Dear friend, a few years ago I sat at the piano and wrote a song which in many ways expresses the fatigue and grief which I hear in your letter. I want to share that song with you now before you read the rest of this letter. It’s called How Long? You can watch the video below, or click on the title to hear the song in high quality.
Song: How Long?
(Click on the title to hear the song. It should begin playing immediately. If you Ctrl-click your mouse, you can download the file for free, which is in Mp3 format. Video below.)
GOD IS OUR PILOT
On my recent flight to the United States, I was gazing out the window at the clouds, basking in the sun beaming down on my face as we descended into Chicago. Then suddenly, we plunged into dark, thick clouds swirling with wind and rain. The plane shuddered as the pilots navigated the turbulence. I had a sudden surge of adrenalin as the ground disappeared and the sensation of falling overtook my senses.
And I thought to myself, "Hmm… it’s always shining where God is." Indeed, the weather’s always sunny above the clouds. God is light. He lives in light. In Him there is no darkness. When I abide in God, that is remain in His will, I live in that light, no matter what kind of darkness surrounds me.
It is true, dear reader, that the degree of bloodlust and perversity which has overshadowed this generation is deeply troubling. The apostasy in the Church and sense of leaderlessness on the local level is a trial by fire for the faithful. The division in families and increase in violent crime has shaken the security of many, while the general loss of the sense of sin in society at large has left this generation spiritually malnutritioned and emotionally emaciated.
These are the Great Clouds which have produced such disheartening turbulence in our times. But God is still our pilot. And Mary is sitting in the co-pilot’s seat. This is not a plane about to crash, but one which is certain to land. You asked, "How long are we going to have to endure and suffer in this world we live in ?" The answer is:
We are right on schedule.
Sadly, many souls will jump from this craft before it lands; others will panic and tear each other apart; there will be a small group who will attempt to break into the cockpit and wrestle complete control away from God, while others will sit quietly and pray or bring comfort to those around them through their words and actions.
This Storm is a terrible one indeed. But the message from Heaven today is:
Prepare for landing.
ABOVE THE CLOUDS
As our plane jostled in its descent to the airport, I realized that as soon as I looked inside, straight ahead, the sense of falling vanished. But whenever I looked outside at the dense clouds, frightening thoughts of plummeting into the ground or colliding with a building or another aircraft danced through my imagination like white lightning.
In this present Storm, we cannot help but feel the turbulence. Only the most foolish are pretending that there is no relation with the extraordinary social and environmental upheavals of our times to the painful moral crisis. But there is a great temptation to fear and despair. It’s a question of where we fix our eyes. Believe me, this is something which I must struggle with on an hourly basis in this mysterious apostolate! But the solution is this: take your eyes off the Thunderheads when they begin to steal away your peace, and look deep inside your heart to the One who dwells within, and fix your eyes intently upon Him:
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith. (Heb 11:1-2)
To fix your eyes on Jesus takes a bit of work! Yes, it means picking up your cross, denying yourself the pleasures of the flesh, and following right along in the Master’s bloody footsteps. Does this too seem dreary? Only for the one without faith! For we know that to persevere in running this race wins us not only the crown of eternal life, but the foretastes of the kingdom of Heaven here on earth.
When I finally landed in Dallas, I joined about fifty believers of the Church there, and we adored the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. There was such an outpouring of grace, such a blessing of peace and joy in so many hearts… we truly encountered Jesus. Some people even experienced physical healing. Yes, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who approach the throne as little children.
I truly want to shout: Jesus promises that those who come to Him to satiate their thirst—by obey
ing His commandments, by seeking Him in the Sacraments, by meditating upon the Word of God…
…whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:14)
The Spring is Joy. The Water is Peace. The Well is unconditional Love. For the living Spring is the Holy Spirit, and these are the fruits which He produces in abundance in the heart which is fertile with faith—whether you are surrounded by a vast army in war, or living in quiet solitude. Jesus will give this water in abundance. But the bucket which you lower into the Well must not be filled with doubt or sin, or it will hold nothing. Your heart is that bucket. It has to have the emptiness, or rather, the self-emptying that is faith and trust, repentance and surrender. (Do not be deceived! You cannot be Christ’s Bride if you remain in bed with sin.)
Let your soul cry out, "O God, I feel as though this world is plummeting head first into the ground, that the darkness is hemming me in, that I can hardly catch my breath as time races by…. but I trust in You completely because You said that even the hairs upon my head were counted. If You care for the sparrows, how much more then do I trust that You, who shed your blood for me, will carry me now."
That’s the prayer of one who fixes His eyes upon Jesus. Before you read my final thoughts, I want to share another song I wrote. May it become a prayer upon your lips, and a song in your heart:
STARS OF HOLINESS
Evil is not the only cloud that surrounds us. There is also that "cloud of witnesses" that St. Paul spoke of. These are the souls who went before us who can now, through the testimony of their lives, show us the way to go. How can we forget the courage of St. Ignatius of Antioch who begged to be martyred? Or St. Perpetua who guided the trembling hand of the gladiator to her throat? Or St. Maximilian Kolbe who exchanged his life for another prisoner’s in a death camp? We see in our own times the powerful lives of Mother Teresa or Pope John Paul II, which though not devoid of suffering, became living flames of love whether it was picking bodies out of the gutters of Calcutta or proclaiming truth in the face of Communism and other forms of materialism.
Where does this kind of joy, courage, and zeal come from in the midst of such terrible storms? It comes from the contemplation of Jesus within their souls… and then imitating what they see.
Some time ago, the words came to me:
We can look at the times we live in as depressing—or as an opportunity to witness. When the world is full of junk food, will souls not eventually begin to look for the real meal? When they have spent themselves on the illusory desires of materialism and unfettered hedonism, will they not, like the prodigal son, seek out the Father’s house? I believe they will and are… and you and I must be there for them as the hands, feet, and mouth of Jesus. As the darkness gets darker, the holiness of your life should become more and more apparent.
Be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life… (Phil 2:15-16)
I dare say this is the hour of the greatest evangelization about to sweep the earth. It is the hour of the Church’s glory when she will at once draw into her bosom many thieves crying out, "Remember me when you come into your kingdom…" while at the same time being mocked and persecuted, even from within her own ranks. It is the hour for the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon mankind so that our sons and daughters will prophesy, our young men see visions, and old men dream dreams of a future full of hope.
These are the days of preparation for the landing, the descent into an Era of Peace when all of creation will glow again like the Garden of Eden as the reign of Jesus extends to the very ends of the earth. It is not the day of despair but the dawning of Hope; it is not the hour for sleep, but preparation for battle.
And those who fix their eyes on Jesus, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, crying out, "How long, Lord, how long?"… they, indeed, will be satisfied.
The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us, but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly upon a rock. Let the sea rage, it cannot break the rock. Let the waves rise, they cannot sink the boat of Jesus. What are we to fear? Death? Life to me means Christ, and death is gain. Exile? The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord. The confiscation of our goods? We brought nothing into this world, and we shall surely take nothing from it… I concentrate therefore on the present situation, and I urge you, my friends, to have confidence. —St. John Chrysostom, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol IV, p. 1377
To listen to samples of all Mark’s music, go to :
- Paralyzed by Fear: writings on dealing with the fear of persecution and other anxieties
- The Third Watch: staying awake in these times
- Resist: winning against temptation