The Verdict

 

AS my recent ministry tour progressed, I felt a new weight in my soul, a heaviness of heart unlike previous missions the Lord has sent me on. After preaching about His love and mercy, I asked the Father one night why the world… why anyone would not want to open their hearts to Jesus who has given so much, who has never hurt a soul, and who has burst open the gates of Heaven and gained every spiritual blessing for us through His death upon the Cross?

The answer came swiftly, a word from the Scriptures themselves:

And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. (John 3:19)

The growing sense, as I’ve meditated on this word, is that it is a definitive word for our times, indeed a verdict for a world now upon the threshold of extraordinary change….

 

THE WEEPING WOMAN

As I prepared to speak at a Cathedral, I received an email from a husband and wife in the United States whom I have mentioned here before. [1]cf. He Calls While We Slumber The husband has received messages from Jesus and the Blessed Mother, though they have kept these private, known only to their spiritual director (who was the vice-postulator for the cause of canonization for St. Faustina) and a few other souls. In their home, where I stayed for a few days last year, are statues, pictures, and icons of the Lord, Mary, and various saints. All of them have wept oil or blood at one time or another. One of the images is now hanging at the Marian Helpers Center (of the Divine Mercy) in Stockbridge, Mass., USA.

One statue, Our Lady of Fatima, began to weep again. “She wept from both eyes just as any human would weep, and the tears hung from her nose and chin,” wrote the wife. “She was so painfully sad and pale looking as she plead with us from this incredible demonstration of love through her precious tears.”

Then a message was conveyed to her husband:

You must prepare yourselves now…

 

PREPARE… FOR WHAT?

During the Encounter With Jesus that I presented along this tour, I began the evening speaking about the unconditional and infinite love and mercy of God; how He has treated me like the prodigal son in my life, surprising me by His love when I least deserved it. I also spoke how the world, who is much like the prodigal son, has walked away from God. We too have gone bankrupt—morally and financially. [2]cf. Landslide! We too face a world famine, not only physically, but also a famine of the Word of God. [3]cf. The Prodigal Hour; Amos 8:11 And that we too will have to experience the humbling moment of our utter poverty, a great shaking of our consciences, before we are ready to return to the Father. [4]cf. Entering the Prodigal Hour I explained how over the past four centuries, the woman and the dragon of Revelation 12 have been locked in a confrontation. [5]watch The Big Picture That we have arrived today at a “culture of death” and a decisive moment for humanity. [6]see Living the Book of Revelation

When I arrived home, someone sent me a link to an alleged “live” apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Ivan Dragicevic of Medjugorje (cf. Medjugorje: Just the Facts Ma’am).  I caught only a few minutes of a talk he gave afterward where he recalled the very first message Our Lady allegedly gave the visionaries some 30 years ago:

I am the Queen of Peace. I am coming, my dear children, because I was sent by my Son in order to help you. Dear children, peace, peace, peace, only peace. Peace must reign in the world. Dear children, there must be peace between man and God. There must be peace among all people. Dear children, this world and mankind are in great danger, in danger of self-destruction.

He added,

Throughout the 30 years of these apparitions, truly this has been a turning point for humanity, for the family, for the Church. And when I say that we are at a turning point, what I mean is: will we walk the way of God or will we walk the way of the world? —Ivan Dragicevic, Medjugorje Today, February 2, 2012

This week, on the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Our Lady allegedly gave to another seer of Medjugorje a very direct message for the world:

Dear children; I am with you for so much time and already for so long I have been pointing you to God’s presence and His infinite love, which I desire for all of you to come to know. And you, my children? You continue to be deaf and blind as you look at the world around you and do not want to see where it is going without my Son. You are renouncing Him — and He is the source of all graces. You listen to me while I am speaking to you, but your hearts are closed and you are not hearing me. You are not praying to the Holy Spirit to illuminate you. My children, pride has come to rule. I am pointing out humility to you. My children, remember that only a humble soul shines with purity and beauty because it has come to know the love of God. Only a humble soul becomes heaven, because my Son is in it… Message to Mirjana, February 2nd, 2012

That is to say:

…this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light…

So what are we to prepare for?

I believe we are to prepare, in part, for the inevitable fruits of a world that has embraced a “culture of death.” And what are these fruits? Pope Benedict has been consistently warning mankind that the dark path it has set upon, a technological road without a Christian ethic and moral consensus based upon the natural law (see On the Eve), has placed the very “future of humanity” at risk. [7]cf. The Prophetic Mountain

Humanity today is unfortunately experiencing great division and sharp conflicts which cast dark shadows on its future… the danger of an increase in the number of countries possessing nuclear weapons causes well-founded apprehension in every responsible person. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, December 11th, 2007; USA Today

The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects.Letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to All the Bishops of the World, March 10, 2009; Catholic Online

He is merely identifying what Our Lady of Fatima warned the world would face if it did not turn from its path. She said, in fact, that Communism (Russia’s “errors”) would spread throughout the world… something we are now witnessing through the emergence of globalization concomitant with the philosophy of materialism, [8]a philosophical system which regards matter as the only reality in the
world, which undertakes to explain every event in the universe as
resulting from the conditions and activity of matter, and which thus
denies the existence of God and the soul. —www.newadvent.org
thus, once again, placing humanity into the jaws of the dragon.

Unfortunately, the resistance to the Holy Spirit which St. Paul emphasizes in the interior and subjective dimension as tension, struggle and rebellion taking place in the human heart, finds in every period of history and especially in the modern era its external dimension, which takes concrete form as the content of culture and civilization, as a philosophical system, an ideology, a program for action and for the shaping of human behavior. It reaches its clearest expression in materialism, both in its theoretical form: as a system of thought, and in its practical form: as a method of interpreting and evaluating facts, and likewise as a program of corresponding conduct. The system which has developed most and carried to its extreme practical consequences this form of thought, ideology and praxis is dialectical and historical materialism, which is still recognized as the essential core of Marxism. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Dominum et Vivificantem, n. 56

This is precisely what Our Lady of Fatima warned would happen:

If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. —Our Lady of Fatima, Message of Fatima, www.vatican.va

One of the things I told my listeners on this tour was how, in 1917, the three child visionaries of Fatima saw an angel with a flaming sword about to strike the earth with chastisement. But the Mother of God appeared, light streaming from her toward the angel, who then stopped and cried out “Penance, penance, penance.” With that, the world was granted a “time of mercy” that we are now living in, as Jesus later confirmed to St. Faustina: [9]cf. The Time of Grace Expiring? Part III

I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]…. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy… He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St Faustina, 1160, 848, 1146

But now, there is a sense among many that the “time of mercy” may be drawing to a close.

The angel with the flaming sword on the left of the Mother of God recalls similar images in the Book of Revelation. This represents the threat of judgment which looms over the world. Today the prospect that the world might be reduced to ashes by a sea of fire no longer seems pure fantasy: man himself, with his inventions, has forged the flaming sword. —Cardinal Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), The Message of Fatima, from the Vatican’s website

Remembering that the “day of the Lord,” according to the early Church Fathers, is not a single 24 hour day, but a period of time that begins in the darkness of the vigil before the coming of dawn, [10]cf. Two More Days St. Paul’s words carry a message to us today that is more relevant than ever:

For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober. (1 Thess 5:2-6)

Those words… the tears of Our Lady… the warnings of Benedict… they make us uncomfortable. They are not a cheerful prospect. We don’t want to believe that the world we have grown accustomed to is going to change. But as I often tell my listeners, “Mary isn’t appearing to have tea with her children. She has been sent by God to call us back from the precipice.” From “self-destruction.”

 

PREPARING FOR PEACE

But part of the message of Our Mother, announced at Fatima, was also to prepare for a great “triumph.”

In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world”. —The Message of Fatima, www.vatican.va

Thus, we are not preparing for the end of the world—as the movie 2012 would have us believe. The Fatima message (and perhaps Medjugorje, what John Paul II called “a continuation, and extension of Fatima.” [11]cf. http://wap.medjugorje.ws/en/articles/medjugorje-pope-john-paul-ii-interview-bishop-hnilica/ ) is consistent with the vision of the early Church Fathers; that at the end of this era, evil would climax… but be purified from the earth for a period of unprecedented holiness (cf. Rev 20:1-7):

Since God, having finished His works, rested on the seventh day and blessed it, at the end of the six thousandth year all wickedness must be abolished from the earth, and righteousness reign for a thousand years… —Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius (250-317 A.D.; Ecclesiastical writer), The Divine Institutes, Volume 7

A man among us named John, one of Christ’s Apostles, received and foretold that the followers of Christ would dwell in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and that afterwards the universal and, in short, everlasting resurrection and judgment would take place. —St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. 81, The Fathers of the Church, Christian Heritage

This triumph is not something “out there;” it is not something Our Lady will do while we watch as spectators. Recall the words addressed to Satan after he seduced Eve:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; they will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel. (Gen 3:15)

The “heel of the woman,” you could say, is you and I in Christ. It is through our life in Him, through His power, the power of the Holy Spirit, that Satan will be defeated: [12]cf. The Triumph of Mary, Triumph of the Church

Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:19)

Thus, Our Mother comes to form this life of Jesus within us—the way she, with the Holy Spirit, together formed the life of Jesus within her womb. [13]cf. The Last Apparitions on Earth But she can only do so insofar as we give our daily “fiat” to God—our yes to prayer, the Sacraments, the Scriptures, to forgiving our enemies, and to loving and serving our neighour as Jesus loved and served us.

Our Lady has come as the Mother of Hope, and she has come to lead us to a great future, but we have to change and put God in the first place in our life. We have to start walking through life with Him. And Our Lady has come to bring renewal to the very tired Church of today. Our Lady says that if we are strong, the Church is also strong – but if we are weak, so is the Church. —Ivan Dragicevic, seer of Medjugorje, reported by Jakob Marschner, Bosnia-Hercegovina; Spiritdaily.net

Lastly, just as the prodigal son was “surprised by love,” so too the world may be surprised by a great moment of mercy in which God will reveal Himself as the “light of truth” to a world lost in the “pig slop” of sin—what the mystics have called an “Illumination of Conscience” or “Warning” to mankind (see The Eye of the Storm and Revelation Illumination):

Then the legion of little souls, victims of merciful Love, will become as numerous ‘as the stars of heaven and the sands of the seashore’. It will be terrible to Satan; it will help the Blessed Virgin to crush his proud head completely. —St. Thérése of Lisieux, The Legion of Mary Handbook, p. 256-257

It won’t be the end of the battle. In fact, it will be the decisive moment when souls must choose to pass through the door of mercy… or the door of justice that the Antichrist himself may very well open, as he brings the culture of death to its zenith [14]see Global Revolution! and After the Illumination in a final confrontation against the Church in this era. [15]cf. Understanding the Final Confrontation

 

THE VERDICT

The verdict is this:

My child, all your sins have not wounded My Heart as painfully as your present lack of trust does—that after so many efforts of My love and mercy, you should still doubt My goodness. —Jesus, to St. Faustina; Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, n. 1486

…that the world should refuse His goodness. Thus, as Fatima seer Sr. Lucia wrote:

…let us not say that it is God who is punishing us in this way; on the contrary it is people themselves who are preparing their own punishment. In his kindness God warns us and calls us to the right path, while respecting the freedom he has given us; hence people are responsible. –Sr. Lucia, one of the Fatima visionaries, in a letter to the Holy Father, May 12th, 1982. 

In an address to a group of pilgrims in Germany, John Paul II was recorded to have said:

We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-too-distant future; trials that will require us to give up even our lives, anda total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it, because it is only in this way that the Church can be effectively renewed. How many times, indeed, has the renewal of the Church been effected in blood? This time, again, it will not be otherwise. —Regis Scanlon, Flood and Fire, Homiletic & Pastoral Review, April 1994

This was an echo of what he prophesied while still a cardinal, a word that we are now living out in our days, and the days ahead… days of glory, days of trial, days, ultimately, of triumph

We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine Providence; it is a trial which the whole Church, and the Polish Church in particular, must take up. It is a trial of not only our nation and the Church, but in a sense a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization, with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations. —Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (JOHN PAUL II ), at the Eucharistic Congress, Philadelphia, PA; August 13, 1976

 

…the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:5)

 

 

Here is a video segment that was sitting in my mailbox as I was writing The Verdict. I did not watch it until after posting this writing. It is worth hearing what “secular” analysts have to say, and the surprising answer they feel is the solution to our troubling times. I rarely publish links like this, but given the serious nature of the topic, it is good to discern what other voices are saying… especially when they are an echo. (This is not an endorsement of the show, its participants, or political views).

 To watch in full screen, go to this link.


 

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1. cf. He Calls While We Slumber
2. cf. Landslide!
3. cf. The Prodigal Hour; Amos 8:11
4. cf. Entering the Prodigal Hour
5. watch The Big Picture
6. see Living the Book of Revelation
7. cf. The Prophetic Mountain
8. a philosophical system which regards matter as the only reality in the
world, which undertakes to explain every event in the universe as
resulting from the conditions and activity of matter, and which thus
denies the existence of God and the soul. —www.newadvent.org
9. cf. The Time of Grace Expiring? Part III
10. cf. Two More Days
11. cf. http://wap.medjugorje.ws/en/articles/medjugorje-pope-john-paul-ii-interview-bishop-hnilica/
12. cf. The Triumph of Mary, Triumph of the Church
13. cf. The Last Apparitions on Earth
14. see Global Revolution! and After the Illumination
15. cf. Understanding the Final Confrontation
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