WHEN Heaven promises "refuge" to us in this present Storm (see The Great Storm), what does that mean? For Scripture appears to be contradictory.
MANY people believe in God, but say they want nothing to do with religion. "It creates division, war, and scandal," they object. So, if I have a relationship with God, and I pray, do I need religion? In this episode, Mark looks at where religions have come from and why, in particular, we have the Catholic religion. Do we need religion after all?
*NOTE*: Dear friends, I receive and read each and every email you send. But I confess, I am overwhelmed with the volume. I will try to reply, but I cannot always. If you heart moves you, write. If I can’t reply, please understand and know that I hold you still in my prayers.
Peter Martyr Enjoins Silence, Fra Angelico
EVERYONE’S talking about it. Hollywood, secular newspapers, news anchors, evangelical Christians… everyone, it seems, but the bulk of the Catholic Church. As more and more people are attempting to grapple with the extreme events of our time —from bizarre weather patterns, to animals dying en masse, to frequent terrorist attacks—the times we are living in have become, from a pew-persepective, the proverbial "elephant in the living room." Most everyone senses to one degree or another that we are living in an extraordinary moment. It’s jumping out of the headlines every day. Yet the pulpits in our Catholic parishes are often silent…
Thus, the confused Catholic is often left to Hollywood’s hopeless end-of-world scenarios that leave the planet either without a future, or a future salvaged by aliens. Or is left with the atheistic rationalizations of the secular media. Or the heretical interpretations of some Christian sects (just cross-your-fingers-and-hang-on-until-the-rapture). Or the ongoing stream of "prophecies" from Nostradamus, new age occultists, or hieroglyphic rocks.
POPE Benedict warned before Christmas that the “eclipse of reason” in the West was putting “the very future of the world” at stake. He alluded to the collapse of the Roman Empire, drawing a parallel between it and our times (see On the Eve).
All the while, there is another power rising in our time: Communist China. While it does not presently bare the same teeth that the Soviet Union did, there is much to be concerned about the ascent of this soaring superpower.
“Dirty City” by Dan Krall
FOUR years ago, I heard a strong word in prayer that has been growing recently in intensity. And so, I need to speak from the heart the words I hear again:
Come out of Babylon!
Babylon is symbolic of a culture of sin and indulgence. Christ is calling His people OUT of this “city”, out from the yoke of the spirit of this age, out of the decadence, materialism, and sensuality which has plugged its gutters, and is overflowing into the hearts and homes of His people.
Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Depart from her, my people, so as not to take part in her sins and receive a share in her plagues, for her sins are piled up to the sky… (Revelation 18:4-5)
The “her” in this Scripture passage is “Babylon,” which Pope Benedict recently interpreted as…
…the symbol of the world’s great irreligious cities… —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Address to the Roman Curia, December 20th, 2010
In Revelation, Babylon suddenly falls:
Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great. She has become a haunt for demons. She is a cage for every unclean spirit, a cage for every unclean bird, a cage for every unclean and disgusting beast…Alas, alas, great city, Babylon, mighty city. In one hour your judgment has come. (Rev 18:2, 10)
And thus the warning:
Come out of Babylon!
St. Francis Preaching to the Birds, 1297-99 by Giotto di Bondone
EVERY Catholic is called to share the Good News… but do we even know what the "Good News" is, and how to explain it to others? In this newest episode on Embracing Hope, Mark gets back to the basics of our faith, explaining very simply what the Good News is, and what our response must be. Evangelization 101!
NEW CD UNDERWAY… ADOPT A SONG!
Mark is just finishing the last touches on songwriting for a new music CD. Production is to begin soon with a release date for later in 2011. The theme is songs that deal with loss, fidelity, and family, with healing and hope through Christ’s Eucharistic love. To help raise funds for this project, we would like to invite individuals or families to "adopt a song" for $1000. Your name, and who you want the song dedicated to, will be included in the CD notes if you so choose. There will be about 12 songs on the project, so first come, first serve. If you are interested in sponsoring a song, contact Mark here.
We will keep you posted of further developments! In the meantime, for those new to Mark’s music, you can listen to samples here. All prices on CD’s were recently reduced in the online store. For those who wish to subscribe to this newsletter and receive all Mark’s blogs, webcasts, and news regarding CD releases, click Subscribe.
FOR some time now, I have spoken with the occasional reader who is befuddled as to why they are suddenly seeing the number 11:11 or 1:11, or 3:33, 4:44, etc. Whether glancing at a clock, a cellphone, television, page number, etc. they are suddenly seeing this number “everywhere.” For instance, they won’t look at the clock all day, but suddenly feel the urge to look up, and there it is again.
SOMEONE wrote recently asking what my take is on the dead fish and birds showing up all over the world. First of all, this has been happening now in growing frequency over the past couple of years. Several species are suddenly "dying" in huge numbers. Is it the result of natural causes? Human invasion? Technological intrusion? Scientific weaponry?
Given where we are at in this time in human history; given the strong warnings issued from Heaven; given the powerful words of the Holy Fathers over this past century… and given the godless course that mankind has now pursued, I believe Scripture does indeed have an answer to what in the world is going on with our planet:
FROM a reader:
In a homily on February 21st, 2001, Pope John Paul welcomed, in his words, "people from every part of the world." He went on to say,
You come from 27 countries on four continents and speak various languages. Is this not a sign of the Church’s ability, now that she has spread to every corner of the globe, to understand peoples with different traditions and languages, in order to bring to all the message of Christ? —JOHN PAUL II, Homily, Feb 21, 2001; www.vatica.va
Would this not constitute a fulfillment of Matt 24:14 where it says:
This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come (Matt 24:14)?