DURING a speaking tour in the United States, a consistent warning kept rising to the forefront of my thoughts: do you know the voice of the Shepherd? Since then, the Lord has spoken in greater depth in my heart about this word, a crucial message for the present and coming times. At this time in the world when there is a concerted attack to undermine the credibility of the Holy Father, and thus shake the faith of believers, this writing becomes ever more timely.
First published May 16th, 2008.
DREAM OF THE GREAT DECEPTION
A close friend wrote me on that same tour with a powerful dream which expresses what has been coming to me through my own prayer and meditation:
Had a strange dream about being in a type of concentration camp with these people in charge over us. What was interesting is what these guards were teaching us, and it wasn’t anti-religious, but a type of Christianity without Jesus as Lord & Savior… maybe just another prophet. It’s hard to explain, but when I woke up, I realized that it was not going to be this battle between an evil that is obvious, but very much like Christianity. Then the Scripture "My sheep hear My voice and know My voice" (John 10:4) came to my heart, and the one about even the elect being deceived (Matt 24:24). I panicked wondering if I really knew the voice of Jesus, and had a sense that I could easily be deceived as many are going to be. My eyes seem to be opening up to how much the culture around us is preparing us for this great deception: the spirit of antichrist is really everywhere.
Still praying and trying to know the voice of the Shepherd.
(Compare this dream to my own which occurred near the beginning of my ministry: Dream of the Lawless One).
In my three part series on The Great Deception, I wrote about the deceptions which are here and are coming. It seems I am to write in even greater detail now. But before I do…
TWO WAYS TO KNOW HIS VOICE
The rock of our strength is Christ. But Jesus, knowing our human limitations and capacities for rebellion, left us a visible sign and safeguard in order to preserve us from error and lead us to Himself. That rock is Peter upon whom He builds His Church (see My Sheep Will Know My Voice in the Storm).
Thus, there are two ways in which the Good Shepherd speaks to us: one is through those whom He left as guardians over His Church, the Apostles and their successors. So that we, the sheep, would have confidence that Jesus can guide us infallibly through mere mortals, He said to His twelve Apostles:
Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. (Luke 10:16)
An angel spoke to the prophet Daniel saying,
Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase. (Daniel 12:4)
Could Daniel have possibly foreseen the unbelievable explosion of knowledge through astounding scientific developments and other research, and the practically infinite amount of information now available through the Internet? There is no excuse today for those who do not really want the Truth; and there is abundant material waiting for those who are sincerely seeking the Truth. If someone wants to know what the Catholic Church really teaches, they can visit websites such as www.catholic.com or www.surprisedbytruth.com. Here, they’ll find some of the most clear and logical answers to every objection ever raised against Catholicism, based not on opinion, but on what has been taught for two millennium, beginning with the Apostles and their immediate successors, and continuing uninterrupted until our present day. The Vatican’s website, www.vatican.va, also makes available the Archive of the teachings of the Holy Father and other apostolic statements.
There are some who have "upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind" (Acts 15:24). Those who wish to inject their opinion today without any desire to learn the facts, place themselves under the judgment of the Apostles.
There are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed! (Gal 1:6-10)
Healthy debate is one thing; obstinance is another. Many Protestants have been raised with a strong anti-Catholic bias based on distorted interpretations of Scripture, and fueled by some fundamentalist pastors and TV preachers. We must be charitable and patient. But there comes a point when we need to answer, as Christ did to Pilate’s question, "What is truth?" …with silence.
Whoever teaches something different and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the religious teaching is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid disposition for arguments and verbal disputes. (1 Tim 6:3-4)
Do not doubt the Faith that has been tried and tested and testified to by the blood of the martyrs for two thousand years. You cannot receive the Kingdom unless you become like a little child. You cannot hear the voice of the King unless you humble yourself.
Unless you listen.
PRAY, PRAY, PRAY
The second way the Good Shepherd speaks to us is in the stillness and silence of our hearts through prayer.
There is a reason Heaven is calling us to pray. It is in prayer that we learn to hear and know the voice of the Shepherd guiding our personal lives according to His will. Hearing God’s voice is not something reserved for the mystics. Jesus said, "My sheep know my voice," that is, not just a few, but all His sheep. But they know His voice because they learn to listen.
I have said it before and I will say it again: IT IS TIME TO TURN THE TV OFF and begin to spend time alone with the Holy Trinity. If we listen only to the voice of the world, to the voice of our flesh, to the voice of the seducing serpent, then we can not only fail to pick God’s voice out of the noise, but even mistake His voice for another. Hence, fasting is an indispensable companion to prayer in quieting the voice of the flesh as well as expelling the demon from our midst (Mark 9:28-29).
We come to know His voice in solitude. We need to spend time al
one with God frequently, daily. Do not see this as a burden, but as an incredible adventure into the heart of God. To know His voice is to begin to know Him:
Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.(John 17:3)
It will be too late for some to distinguish the voice of God if they think they can wait until the Storm arrives at their doorstep. There is a reason our Blessed Mother is telling us to pray: there are voices coming and already here which are pretending to be her Son’s—wolves in sheep’s clothing. If even the elect can be deceived, it is because they will have ceased listening to the voice of the Shepherd deep within (see The Smoldering Candle).
Prayer opens our hearts and minds to the graces we need in order to love and serve God (CCC 2010). It draws grace into the soul the way a branch draws sap from the vine. My friends, prayer is what helps to fill your lamps with oil so that you will be prepared to meet the Bridegroom at any moment (Matt 25:1-13).
There is coming upon the world a deluge of deception. It is already here. This too lies within the plans of Divine Providence: it is an instrument of purification (2 Thess 2:11). But we are being warned now so that we will climb high upon the Rock where the waves of deception cannot reach us, through obedience to the Magisterium and through prayer. It is this tsunami which I feel compelled to address in my next writing(s).
Pray, fast, go to Mass. Go frequently to Confession, pray the Rosary. Stay awake, love, watch, and pray.
It is time to look out the windows of the Bastion and see the approaching army.
I will gather you, O Jacob, each and every one, I will assemble all the remnant of Israel; I will group them like a flock in the fold, like a herd in the midst of its corral; they shall not be thrown into panic by men. With a leader to break the path they shall burst open the gate and go out through it; Their king shall go through before them, and the LORD at their head. (Micah 2:12-13)