WHEN Heaven promises "refuge" to us in this present Storm (see The Great Storm), what does that mean? For Scripture appears to be contradictory.
Because you have kept my message of endurance, I will keep you safe in the time of trial that is going to come to the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. (Rev 3:10)
But then it says:
[The Beast] was also allowed to wage war against the holy ones and conquer them, and it was granted authority over every tribe, people, tongue, and nation. (Rev 13:7)
And then we read:
The woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where, far from the serpent, she was taken care of for a year, two years, and a half-year. (Rev 12:14)
And yet, other passages speak of a time of chastisement which does not discriminate:
Lo, the LORD empties the land and lays it waste; he turns it upside down, scattering its inhabitants: layman and priest alike, servant and master, the maid as her mistress, the buyer as the seller, the lender as the borrower, the creditor as the debtor… (Isaiah 24:1-2)
So, what does the Lord mean when He says that He will keep us "safe"?
The protection that Christ promises His Bride is foremost spiritual protection. That is, protection against evil, temptation, deception, and ultimately, Hell. It is also Divine assistance given in the midst of trial through the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and fortitude.
All who call upon me I will answer; I will be with them in distress; I will deliver them and give them honor. (Psalm 91:15)
We are pilgrims. This is not our home. While physical protection is given to some to further help them complete their mission here on earth, it is of little value if the soul is lost.
Time and again, I have been moved to write and speak these warnings: that there is a tsunami of deception (see The Coming Counterfeit) about to be unleashed on this world, a wave of spiritual destruction that has already begun. It will be an attempt to bring peace and security to the world, but without Christ.
The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 676
As the light of Truth is smothered more and more in the world, it is burning brighter and brighter in those souls who are saying "yes" to Jesus, "yes" to the Spirit who is calling for deeper and greater surrender. I truly believe this is a Time of the Ten Virgins (Matt 25:1-13), the time to fill our "lamps" with graces for the coming trial. That is why this time has been called by our Blessed Mother: "the time of grace." I beg you not to take these words lightly. You need to put your spiritual house in order. There is so little time left. You need to be sure you are in a state of grace, that is, having repented of any grave sin and set your course on the Way, that is, the will of God.
When I say "very little time", that could mean hours, days, or even years. How long does it take us to convert? Some people complain that Mary has been appearing in some places for over 25 years, and that this seems excessive. I can only say that I wish God would let her remain for another fifty!
One of the reasons why God is calling us to be in a "state of grace" is this: there are events coming in which souls will be called home in the blink of an eye—chastisements which will take many souls to their eternal destination. Does this cause you to fear? Why? Brothers and sisters, if a comet is coming to earth, I pray it hits me on the head! If there is to be an earthquake, may it swallow me up! I want to go home! …but not until my mission is done. And so it is with you whom Our Lady has been preparing all these months and years. You have a mission to bring souls into the Kingdom, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against you. Are you not part of the Church, a living stone of this divine temple? Then the gates of Hell will not prevail against you until you complete your mission.
Thus, there is going to be a measure of physical protection for the holy ones during the coming trials so that the Church can continue her mission. There are going to be incredible miracles that will begin to become commonplace as you walk among chaos: from the multiplication of food, to the healing of bodies, to the casting out of evil spirits. You will see the power and might of God in these days. Satan’s power will be limited:
Even the demons are checked by good angels lest they harm as much as they would. In like manner, Antichrist will not do as much harm as he would wish. —St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part I, Q.113, Art. 4
According to Scripture and many mystics, there will also be physical "refuges," places set aside by God where the faithful will find divine protection, even from the forces of evil. A precedent for this was when the Angel Gabriel instructed Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt—to the desert of safety. Or St. Paul finding refuge on an island after a shipwreck, or being set free from prison by angels. Just a few of the countless stories of God’s physical protection over His children.
In modern times, who can forget the miracle of Hiroshima in Japan? Eight Jesuit priests survived the atomic bomb that was dropped on their city… only 8 blocks from their home. Half a million people were annihilated around them, bu
t the priests all survived. Even the nearby church was completely destroyed, but the house they were in was minimally damaged.
We believe that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the Rosary daily in that home. —Fr. Hubert Schiffer, one of the survivors who lived another 33 years in good health with not even any side-effects from radiation; www.holysouls.com
That is, they were in the Ark.
Another example is in the village of Medjugorje. On one occasion in the early years of the alleged apparitions there (which reportedly still continue while the Vatican has opened a new commission to draw a "decisive" conclusion to their investigations there), the Communist police set out to arrest the seers. But when they came to Apparition Hill, they walked right by the children who seemed invisible to the authorities. Early on, during the Balkan war, stories emerged that efforts to bomb the village and the church miraculously failed.
And then there is the powerful story of Immaculée Ilibagiza who survived the Rwandan genocide in 1994. She and seven other women hid in a tiny bathroom for three months which the murderous throng missed, even though they searched the house dozens of times.
Where are these refuges? I have no idea. Some say they do know. All I know is that, if God wishes me to find one—and I am praying and listening, my heart filled with the oil of faith, He will take care of everything. The path of His holy will leads to His holy will.
THE PASSION OF THE CHURCH
The main theme running through all the writings on this site is the teaching that:
Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 676
We have to be careful that, as Catholics, we don’t invent our own version of the erroneous concept of a "rapture," a kind of earthly escape from all suffering. That is, we cannot hide from the Cross, which is in fact the "narrow way" through which we enter eternal life. In eschatological times, war, famine, plagues, earthquakes, persecution, false prophets, an Antichrist… all of these trials that must come to purify the Church and the earth will "shake the faith" of believers—but not destroy it in those who have taken refuge in the Ark.
For the Almighty does not absolutely seclude the saints from his temptation, but shelters only their inner man, where faith resides, that by outweard temptation they may grow in grace. —St. Augustine, City of God, Book XX, Ch. 8
In fact, it is faith which will eventually conquer the powers of darkness, and usher in a period of peace, the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the triumph of the Church.
The victory that conquers the world is our faith. (1 John 5:4)
More than anything, then, it is faith we must fill our lamps with: absolute trust in the providence and love of God who knows precisely what we need, when, and how. Why do you think trials have increased so much for the faithful in recent years? I believe it is the hand of God, helping His little ones to first empty (of self), then fill their lamps—at least those who have accepted these trials, even if at first we resisted. It is this faith which is the substance of our hope, the evidence of things not seen…. especially when we are surrounded by the darkness of tribulations.
the Lord knows how to rescue the devout from trial and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment… Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to save them on the day of the LORD’S wrath. (2 Pet 2:9; Zeph 1:18)
…none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. (Psalm 34:22)
First published December 15th, 2008.
- The Psalm of refuge… let it be your song!: Psalm 91
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