OVER the past month, there have been several questions which I feel inspired to respond to here… everything from fears over Latin, to storing up food, to financial preparations, to spiritual direction, to questions on visionaries and seers. With God’s help, I will try to answer them.
Question: Regarding the coming (and present) purification you are speaking of, are we to physically prepare? ie. store up food and water etc.?
The preparation Jesus spoke of was this: "watch and pray." It means first of all that we are to watch our souls by remaining humble and small before Him, confessing sin (particularly grave sin) whenever we discover it in our souls. In a word, remain in a state of grace. It also means we are to conform our lives to His commandments, to renew our minds or "put on the mind of Christ" as St. Paul says. But Jesus also told us to stay sober and alert regarding certain signs of the times which would signal the nearness of the end of the age… nation rising against nation, earthquakes, famines etc. We should watch these signs too, all the while remaining like a little child, trusting in God.
We are to pray. The Catechism teaches that "prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father" (CCC 2565). Prayer is a relationship. And so, we should speak to God from the heart as we would to someone whom we love, and then listen to Him speak back, especially through His Word in Scripture. We should follow Christ’s example and pray every day in the "inner room" of our hearts. It is crucial that you pray! It is in prayer that you will hear from the Lord how you are to personally prepare for the times ahead. Simply put, He is going to tell those who are His friends what they need to know—those who have a relationship with Him. But more than that, you will come to know how much He loves you, and thus grow in confidence and love for Him.
Regarding practical preparations, I think in today’s volatile world it is very wise to have some food, water, and basic supplies on hand. We see all over the planet, including North America, instances where people are left for several days and sometimes weeks without electric power or access to groceries. Common sense would say it is good to be prepared for such occasions—2-3 weeks worth of supplies, perhaps (see also my Q & A webcast on this topic). Otherwise, we should always trust in God’s providence… even in the difficult days which seem to be coming. Didn’t Jesus tell us this?
Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. (Matt 6:33)
Question: Do you know of any Catholic communities ("sacred refuges") to go to when the time comes? So many have new age tendencies and it’s hard to know who to trust?
It is possible that Our Lady and the angels will lead many to "sacred refuges" when difficult times come. But we should not speculate about how and when so much as we should simply trust in the Lord to provide in whatever way He sees fit. The safest place to be is in God’s will. If God’s will is for you to be in a war zone or in the middle of a city, then that’s where you need to be.
As for false communities, this is why I say you must pray! You need to learn how to hear the Lord’s voice, the Shepherd’s voice, so that He can lead you to green and safe pastures. Many are the wolves today in these times, and it is only in communion with God, especially with our Mother’s help and the guidance of the Magisterium, that we can navigate the true way to The Way. I want to say with all seriousness that I believe it will be supernatural grace, and not our own cleverness, by which souls will be able to resist the deception that is here and coming. The time to get on the Ark is before it starts raining.
Question: What should I do with my money? Should I buy gold?
I am not a financial advisor, but I will repeat here what I believe Our Blessed Mother spoke in my heart at the end of 2007: that 2008 would be the "Year of the Unfolding". That events would begin in the world that would start an unfolding, an unraveling of sorts. And indeed, this unraveling began the autumn of 2008 as the economic crisis continues to wreak havoc around the globe. The other word I received was first "the economy, then the social, then the political order." We may now be seeing the beginning of the collapse of these major edifices…
The advice we hear a lot today is to "buy gold." But every time I hear that, the voice of the prophet Ezekiel keeps echoing back:
They shall fling their silver into the streets, and their gold shall be considered refuse. Their silver and gold cannot save them on the day of the LORD’S wrath. (Ezekiel 7:19)
Be a good steward of your money and resources. But trust in God. That’s gold without an "l".
Question: You have written in your blog that God will also "clean up" the environment/land from what man has done to corrupt it. Can you tell me if the Father also means that we should be eating more organic and all natural foods?
Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. What we put in them and how we use them is of utmost importance since one’s body, soul, and spirit make up the entire person. Today, I think we need to be very aware that not everything approved by our government agencies is safe. We have fluoride and chlorine in city water as well as remnants of contraceptives; you can’t buy a pack of gum without aspartame, which has been known to cause an array of problems; many foods have harmful preservatives like MSG; corn syrup and glucose-fructose are in a multitude of foods, but may be the leading cause of obesity since our bodies can’t break it down. There is also concern about hormones injected into dairy cows and other animals sold for meat, and what this effect has on our bodies. Not to mention that genetically modified foods are essentially an experiment on human beings since we still don’t know their full effect, and what we do know is not good.
Personally? I am horrified at what is happening to the food chain. This was also something the Lord spoke about in my heart a few years back… that the food chain has been corrupted, and it too must begin again.
The irony is that we actually have to pay more today to simply buy foods that haven’t been messed with—"organic" foods that our grandparents used to grow in their gardens for a few cents. We should always be concerned what we put into our bodies… being stewards of our flesh just as much as we are of our money, time, and possessions.
Question: Do you think we will all be martyred?
I don’t know if you, or I, or any of my readers will be martyred. But yes, some people in the Church will be, and already are being martyred, particularly in Communist and Islamic countries. There were mor
e martyrs in the last century than all the centuries before it combined. And others are suffering a martyrdom of freedom whereby they are being persecuted among their peers for speaking the truth.
Our focus should always be on the duty of the moment and upon that charity which is often a "white" martyrdom, a dying to self for the other. This is the martyrdom which we should focus on with joy! Yes, dishes and diapers require a "shedding of blood" for most of us!
Question: Do you think it is okay to put blessed salt around your home and blessed medals?
Yes, absolutely. The salt and medals contain no power in and of themselves. It is the blessing which God gives them that surrounds your home. There is a fine line here between superstition and the proper use of sacramentals. Trust in God, not the sacramental; use the sacramental to help dispose you to trust in God. But they are more than symbols; God does use objects or things as conduits of grace, just the way that Jesus used mud to heal a blind man’s eyesight, or hankerchiefs and aprons that touched the body of St. Paul to confer healing grace.
A Lutheran once told me about a man they were praying over who began to manifest evil spirits. He became violent, and began to lunge for one of the women praying there. Though the woman was not Catholic, she recalled something about an exorcism and the power of the sign of the cross, which she quickly made in the air in front of the lunging man. Immediately, he fell backward. These signs, symbols, and sacramentals are powerful weapons.
Have your home blessed by a priest. Sprinkle salt around your property. Bless yourself and your family with Holy Water. Wear blessed crosses or medals. Wear the Scapular. Trust God alone.
God blesses objects and symbols. But more so, He honors our faith when we recognize the One granting the blessing.
Question: There is no adoration in the Catholic churches where I live. Any suggestions?
Jesus is still present in the Tabernacle. Go to Him, love Him there, and receive His love for you.
Question: I can’t find a spiritual director, what do I do?
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you find one, most preferably a priest. A saying of my own spiritual director is, "Spiritual directors are not chosen, they are given." In the meantime, trust in the Holy Spirit to guide you, for in these days, finding good and holy directors can be a challenge. Carry the Bible in your right hand, and the Catechism in your left. Read the Saints (St. Therese de Liseux comes to mind, St. Frances de Sales "Introduction to the Devout Life", as well as St. Faustina’s diary). Go to Mass, daily if you can. Embrace the Heavenly Father in frequent Confession. And pray, pray, pray. If you remain small and humble, then you will hear the Lord directing you in these ways… even through His manifold wisdom revealed in creation. A spiritual director helps you discern the voice of God; he does not replace your relationship with God, which is prayer. Don’t be afraid. Trust in Jesus. He will never abandon you.
Question: Have you heard of Christina Gallagher, Anne the Lay Apostle, Jennifer…etc.?
Whenever it comes to private revelation, we need to read it cautiously in a spirit of prayer, doing our best to avoid over-curiosity. There are some beautiful and authentic prophets in our time. There are some false ones too. If the bishop has made any statements regarding them, take heed to what is said. (The only exception to this, and it is rare, is Medjugorje in which the Vatican has declared the local bishop’s statements to be only his ‘opinion’, and has opened a new commission, under Vatican authority, to investigate the supernatural origins of the alleged apparitions.)
Does reading certain private revelation bring you peace or a sense of clarity? Do the messages "resonate" in your heart and move you toward deeper conversion, sincere repentance, and love of God? You will know a tree by its fruits. Please take a moment to read my writing on the Church’s approach On Private Revelation and that Of Seers and Visionaries.
Question: In To The Bastion! you refer to a communication from a priest relaying a message from Our Lady of La Salette from September 19th, 1846. This message begins with the sentence: "I’m sending out an SOS." The problem with this message is that the use of "SOS" as a distress signal originated in Germany and was only adopted Germany-wide in 1905…
Yes, this is true. And Our Lady would have also delivered the message in French. That is, you are reading a contemporary English translation of the message. Here is, apparently, a more accurate version: "I make an urgent appeal to the earth…" Essentially, it is the same meaning, but a different translation. To avoid any further confusion, I have edited the first line according to this latter version.
Question: I wonder why the Holy Father would not be saying the same thing to the flock? Why isn’t he talking about the Bastion?
I wrote in To The Bastion!: "Christ is the Rock upon which we are built—that mighty fortress of salvation. The Bastion is its upper room." The call to the Bastion is a call to the Rock, who is Jesus—but which is also His Body, the Church built upon the rock who is Peter. There is probably no prophet in the Church speaking this message louder than Pope Benedict! The Holy Father has been sending clarion warnings regarding the dangers of straying from the Rock through moral relativism, the disregard of natural law, the divorce of history from Christianity, the acceptance of gay marriage, the attack on human dignity and life, and abuses within the Church itself. Pope Benedict is calling us back to the truth which sets us free. He is calling us to trust in God, who is love, and in the intercession of the Blessed Mother. He indeed is pointing us to the Bastion, to battle against the heresies and deceptions of our times by being Christ’s bold witnesses.
Heaven is speaking to us now in a myriad of different ways… not always using the same vocabulary nor the same medium. But the message is always the same it seems: "repent, prepare, witness."
Question: Why do you think that the permission to say the Tridentine Mass is going to change anything? Isn’t going back to Latin going to move the Church backwards and isolate people?
First, let me say that it would be wishful thinking to believe that the re-introduction of the Tridentine Mass is suddenly going to change the current crisis of faith in the Church. The reason is that it is precisely a crisis of faith. The solution to this troubling situation is a re-evangelization of the Church: to create opportunities for souls to encounter Christ. This "personal relationship" with Jesus is something that the Holy Fathers have spoken of often as fundamental to knowing God’s love, and in turn, being His witness.
Conversion means accepting, by a personal decision, the saving sovereignty of Christ and becoming his disciple. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Encyclical Letter: Mission of the Redeemer (1990) 46.
The first and most powerful way to evangelize the world is by hol
iness of life. Authenticity is what gives our words power and credibility. Witnesses, said Pope Paul VI, are the best teachers.
Now, the restoration of the beauty of the Mass is just one more opportunity in which we can convey the reality of Christ.
The Tridentine Mass was not without its abuses… poorly said and poorly prayed at times as well. Part of the goal of Vatican II was to bring freshness into what was becoming a rote worship, the beauty of the exterior form maintained, but the heart so often missing from it. We are called by Jesus to worship in spirit and in truth, God glorified by both the internal and external, and that is what the Council hoped to revive. However, what resulted was unauthorized abuses which, rather than refreshing the Mystery of the Eucharist, diminished and even extinguished it.
What lies at the heart of Pope Benedict’s recent motu proprio (allowing the Tridentine rite to be said without special permission) is the desire to reconnect the Church to more beautiful and proper forms of Liturgy in all rites; to begin moving the Body of Christ toward rediscovering the transcendence, beauty, and truth in the universal prayer of the Church. His desire is also to unite the Church, bringing together those who still enjoy more traditional forms of the Liturgy, but have been, until now, deprived of them.
Many are concerned about renewing the use of Latin and the fact that no one understands the language anymore, even many priests. The concern is that it will isolate and marginalize the faithful. However, the Holy Father is not calling for the elimination of the vernacular. He is rather encouraging the use of more Latin, which up until Vatican II, was the universal language of the Church for nearly 2000 years. It contains its own beauty, and connects the Church worldwide. At one time, you could travel to any country and participate more effectively in the Mass because of the Latin.
I had been attending the Ukrainian rite of the Liturgy for the weekday masses in the town where I used to live. I barely understood two words of the language, but I was able to follow along in English. I found the Liturgy to be a powerful reflection of the transcendent mysteries being celebrated. But that was also because the priest who led the Liturgy prayed from the heart, had a deep devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist, and transmitted this in his priestly functions. Yet, I have also been to Novus Ordo masses where I found myself weeping at the Consecration for the same reasons: the prayerful spirit of the priest, often enhanced by beautiful music and worship, which all together magnified the mysteries being celebrated.
The Holy Father has never said that Latin or the Tridentine Rite is to become the norm. Rather, that those who desire it can request it and that any priest throughout the world may celebrate it whenever he wishes to do so. In some ways, then, this may seem to be an insignificant change. But if the way young people are falling in love with the Tridentine Mass today is any indication, it is most significant indeed. And this significance, as I have expressed, is eschatological in nature.
Question: How do I explain to my children many of the things you have written here about things which are coming?
I would like to answer that shortly in a separate letter (Update: see On Heresies and More Questions).