AS world events intensify, many are feeling panicked as they watch their security begin to crumble. It should not be so for believers. God cares for His own (and how He wishes the whole world were of His flock!) The care God provided His people in the exodus from Egypt prefigures the care He is giving to His Church today as they pass through this desert toward the "promised land".
The LORD preceded them, in the daytime by means of a column of cloud to show them the way, and at night by means of a column of fire to give them light. Thus they could travel both day and night. Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire by night ever left its place in front of the people. (Exodus 13:21-22)
In the famous prophetic dream of St. John Bosco that I have quoted here before, he saw the Church anchored between two pillars, that of the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Christ is the pillar of fire by night, and Mary the pillar of cloud by day.
Christ is our mercy in the night of sin, whether personal or collectively, such as the night our world is now passing through. His Sacred Heart burns for us as a sign of hope that death and sin are not the victors, and that we should never be afraid, even if we have sinned in a terrible way.
I will not reject anyone who comes to me. (John 6:37)
His forgiveness is the warmth of this sacred fire. Its light is truth, and the path to take. The flames are His mercy, flickering in the places of hopelessness, casting away the darkness for those who draw near.
Mary is the cloud by day, the day of grace where, through her help, we are directed toward the Kingdom of Heaven, the ultimate fulfillment of the "promised land." Her Immaculate Heart is the cloud which collects all the graces of Heaven, and like a gentle rain, pours them out upon the desert path we are treading. Its light is the reflection of the Sun, her Son, illuminating a path of Hope. And the cloud of her Heart casts a cool shadow whereby, through her presence and assistance, we find comfort in the scorching heat of trials and temptations.
The two pillars the Church and the world are passing through are also the Time of Grace and the Time of Mercy (see Vision of our Times).
THE GREAT SHAKING
These pillars are an allegory of life and death. If we refuse to follow the pillar of cloud and fire, we risk being lost in the Desert of Sin for eternity. We are in a desert right now, and it is time the Church as a whole woke up to recognize that we are facing our greatest trial yet. Economic collapse is only the start. Swine Flu is only the beginning. Only a few weeks ago, I wrote in The Time of times that our civilization, it seems, must come to the point where it is broken, hungry, and on its knees in the "pig pen of chaos" before our consciences will be ready to see reality. Indeed, in the book of Revelation, it says:
People were burned by the scorching heat and blasphemed the name of God who had power over these plagues, but they did not repent or give him glory. (Rev 16:9)
It wasn’t until after tremendous chaos that there was an enormous earthquake, a Great Shaking, and finally the people began to come to their senses:
Seven thousand people were killed during the earthquake; the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Rev 11:13)
The consciences of this beloved people must be violently shaken so that they may "put their house in order"… A great moment is approaching, a great day of light… it is the hour of decision for mankind. —Maria Esperanza (1928-2004), Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, Antichrist and the End Times, P. 36
FINDING YOUR WAY
If you want to find your way through the days ahead, the answer is going to be simple, for Jesus said it is to little children that the Kingdom of Heaven is given. Follow the Pillar of Fire! That is, spend time before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. He is there to lead and guide and renew you by His Sacramental presence. Go to the Fire! Yes, it is hard! It means sacrificing something else. It means remaining in an often empty Church in the night of faith, as you remain in the quiet presence of the King. But there—oh, I promise you!—He will direct your soul, little by little, and will strengthen and heal you in ways which are mostly imperceptible. Is the Eucharist not Jesus? Is Jesus not there? He is there. He is there. Seek Him, then, where He is.
Follow the Pillar of Cloud! Our Lady is not simply a lovely object of Church art. She is the woman who crushes Satan’s head with her heel! Don’t let yourself be deceived into thinking that the Rosary, the chain of grace, is not for you. Do you wish to be holy? Do you wish to see Satan conquered? Then enter the daylight of the Holy Rosary. She will collect untold blessings from the treasuries of God’s mercy so that every good and beneficial grace will rain down upon you and your family, if you ask for them. But you must pick yourself up, go to your room, shut the door, and begin to pray. And the more dry, the more painful, the more difficult it is to pray, the more powerful your prayer is because then you are praying by faith and not by sight.
What more can I tell you? Jesus is the Word of God. Are you reading your Bible? Here too is the Pillar of Fire. What Sacred flames will illuminate your present path if you would but seek Jesus in the Word. He is waiting to speak to you, but you must take the time to listen.
Mary is your Mother. Do you need a mother? Do you want a mother? Then run to her as such. She is a lady, yes, but don’t forget that she is your Mother. Pull upon her hem, climb into her arms, tug upon her veil. Let her know with persistence all that you need, and she will make sure that her Son knows too. And remember—the Rosary is nothing other than a compendium of the Gospel. When you pray the Rosary, you are not contemplating Mary, but Jesus in the mysteries of His life.
So you see, these two pillars are really one—two hearts beating with the same love and the same mission: to bring souls safely home to the Father. And Jesus is the Way.
Two pillars. Anchor yourself to them, and you will weather the Great Storm. They form the sacred refuge of our times. And should you be called home in the midst of the thunder and lightning, count it all joy that you will see the Pillars face to face, and dwell in their midst for eternity.