Authentic Hope

 

CHRIST IS RISEN!

ALLELUIA!

 

 

BROTHERS and sisters, how can we not feel hope on this glorious day? And yet, I know in reality, many of you are uneasy as we read headlines of the beating drums of war, of economic collapse, and growing intolerance for the Church’s moral positions. And many are tired and turned off by the constant stream of profanity, lewdness and violence that fills our airwaves and internet.

It is precisely at the end of the second millennium that immense, threatening clouds converge on the horizon of all humanity and darkness descends upon human souls. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, from a speech (translated from Italian), December, 1983; www.vatican.va

That is our reality. And I can write “be not afraid” over and over again, and yet many remain anxious and worried about many things.

First, we have to realize authentic hope is always conceived in the womb of truth, otherwise, it risks being false hope. Second, hope is so much more than simply “positive words.” In fact, the words are merely invitations. Christ’s three year ministry was one of invitation, but the actual hope was conceived on the Cross. It was then incubated and birthed in the Tomb. This, dear friends, is the path of authentic hope for you and I in these times…

 

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Weep, O Children of Men!

 

 

WEEP, O children of men!

Weep for all that is good, and true, and beautiful.

Weep for all that must go down to the tomb

Your icons and chants, your walls and steeples.

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Involuntary Dispossession

 

 

THE Gospel calls us to share our possessions with one another, particularly the poor—a voluntary dispossession of our goods and our time. However, the anti-gospel calls for a sharing of goods that flows, not from the heart, but from a political system that controls and distributes wealth according to the whims of the State. This is known by many forms, particularly that of Communism, which was birthed in 1917 in the Moscow revolution led by Vladimir Lenin.

Seven years ago when this writing apostolate began, I saw a strong image in my heart that I wrote about in The Great Meshing:

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Voluntary Dispossession

birth-death-ap 
Birth/Death, Michael D. O’Brien

 

 

WITHIN only a week of his elevation to the Seat of Peter, Pope Francis I has already given the Church his first encyclical: the teaching of Christian simplicity. There is no document, no pronouncement, no publication—just the powerful witness of an authentic life of Christian poverty.

With nearly every passing day, we see the thread of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio’s life-before-pope continuing to weave itself into the upholstery of Peter’s seat. Yes, that first pope was just a fisherman, a poor, simple fisherman (the first threads were mere fishing net). When Peter descended the steps of the Upper Room (and began his ascent of the heavenly steps), he was not accompanied by a security detail, even though the threat against the newborn Church was real. He walked among the poor, the sick, and the lame: “bergoglio-kissing-feetSilver and gold, have I none, but what I do have I give you: in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean, rises and walk.”  [1]cf. Acts 3:6 So too, Pope Francis has ridden the bus, walked among the crowds, lowered his bullet-proof shield, and let us “taste and see” the love of Christ. He even personally phoned to cancel his newspaper delivery back in Argentina. [2]www.catholicnewsagency.com

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1. cf. Acts 3:6
2. www.catholicnewsagency.com

Snopocalypse!

 

 

YESTERDAY in prayer, I heard the words in my heart:

The winds of change are blowing and will not cease now until I have purified and cleansed the world.

And with that, a storm of storms came upon us! We woke up this morning to snow banks up to 15 feet in our yard! Most of it was the result, not of snowfall, but strong, unrelenting winds. I went outside and—in between sliding down the white mountains with my sons—snapped a few shots around the farm on a cellphone to share with my readers. I have never seen a wind storm produce results like this!

Admittedly, it’s not quite what I envisioned for the first day of Spring. (I see I’m booked to speak in California next week. Thank God….)

 

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Protector and Defender

 

 

AS I read Pope Francis’ installation homily, I couldn’t help but think of my little encounter with the Blessed Mother’s alleged words six days ago while praying before the Blessed Sacrmament.

Sitting in front of me was a copy of Fr. Stefano Gobbi’s book To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, messages that have received the Imprimatur and other theological endorsements. [1]Fr. Gobbi’s messages predicted the culmination of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart by the year 2000. Obviously, this prediction was either wrong or delayed. Nonetheless, these meditations still provide timely and relevant inspirations. As St. Paul says regarding prophecy, “Retain what is good.” I sat back in my chair and asked the Blessed Mother, who allegedly gave these messages to the late Fr. Gobbi, if she has anything to say about our new pope. The number “567” popped into my head, and so I turned to it. It was a message given to Fr. Stefano in Argentina on March 19th, the Feast of St. Joseph, exactly 17 years ago to this day that Pope Francis officially takes the seat of Peter. At the time I wrote Two Pillars and the New Helmsman, I did not have a copy of the book in front of me. But I want to quote here now a portion of what the Blessed Mother says that day, followed by excerpts from Pope Francis’ homily given today. I can’t help but feel that the Holy Family is wrapping their arms around all of us at this decisive moment in time…

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1. Fr. Gobbi’s messages predicted the culmination of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart by the year 2000. Obviously, this prediction was either wrong or delayed. Nonetheless, these meditations still provide timely and relevant inspirations. As St. Paul says regarding prophecy, “Retain what is good.”

Just Today

 

 

GOD wants to slow us down. More than that, He wants us to rest, even in chaos. Jesus never rushed to His Passion. He took the time to have a last meal, a last teaching, an intimate moment of washing another’s feet. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He set aside time to pray, to gather His strength, to seek the will of the Father. So as the Church approaches her own Passion, we too should imitate our Savior and become a people of rest. In fact, only in this way can we possibly offer ourselves as true instruments of “salt and light.”

What does it mean to “rest”?

When you die, all worrying, all restlessness, all passions cease, and the soul is suspended in a state of stillness… a state of rest. Meditate on this, for that should be our state in this life, since Jesus calls us to a state of “dying” while we live:

Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it…. I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. (Matt 16:24-25; John 12:24)

Of course, in this life, we cannot help but wrestle with our passions and struggle with our weaknesses. The key, then, is not to let yourself be caught up in the rushing currents and impulses of the flesh, in the tossing waves of the passions. Rather, dive deep into the soul where the Waters of the Spirit are still.

We do this by living in a state of trust.

 

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Two Pillars & The New Helmsman


Photo by Gregorio Borgia, AP

 

 

I say to you, you are Peter, and
upon
this
rock
I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld
shall not prevail against it.
(Matt 16:18)

 

WE were driving over the frozen ice road on Lake Winnipeg yesterday when I glanced at my cellphone. The last message I received before our signal faded was “Habemus Papam!”

This morning, I have been able to find a local here on this remote Indian reserve who has a satellite connection—and with that, our first images of The New Helmsman. A faithful, humble, solid Argentinian.

A rock.

A few days ago, I was inspired to reflect on the dream of St. John Bosco in Living the Dream? sensing the anticipation that Heaven would grant the Church a helmsman who would continue to steer the Barque of Peter between the Two Pillars of Bosco’s dream.

The new Pope, putting the enemy to rout and overcoming every obstacle, guides the ship right up to the two columns and comes to rest between them; he makes it fast with a light chain that hangs from the bow to an anchor of the column on which stands the Host; and with another light chain which hangs from the stern, he fastens it at the opposite end to another anchor hanging from the column on which stands the Immaculate Virgin.https://www.markmallett.com/blog/2009/01/pope-benedict-and-the-two-columns/

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Living the Dream?

 

 

AS I mentioned recently, the word remains strong on my heart, “You are entering dangerous days.” Yesterday, with an “intensity” and “eyes which seemed filled with shadows and concern,” a Cardinal turned to a Vatican blogger and said, “It is a dangerous time. Pray for us.” [1]March 11th, 2013, www.themoynihanletters.com

Yes, there is a sense that the Church is entering unchartered waters. She has faced many trials, some very grave, in her two thousand years of history. But our times are different…

…ours has a darkness different in kind from any that has been before it. The special peril of the time before us is the spread of that plague of infidelity, that the Apostles and our Lord Himself have predicted as the worst calamity of the last times of the Church. And at least a shadow, a typical image of the last times is coming over the world. —Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890), sermon at opening of St. Bernard’s Seminary, October 2, 1873, The Infidelity of the Future

And yet, there is an excitement rising up in my soul, a sense of the anticipation of Our Lady and Our Lord. For we are on the cusp of the greatest trials and the greatest victories of the Church.

 

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1. March 11th, 2013, www.themoynihanletters.com

The Question on Questioning Prophecy


The “empty” Chair of Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy

 

THE past two weeks, the words keep rising in my heart, “You have entered dangerous days…” And for good reason.

The enemies of the Church are many from both within and without. Of course, this is nothing new. But what is new is the current zeitgeist, the prevailing winds of intolerance toward Catholicism on a near global scale. While atheism and moral relativism continue to strike at the hull of the Barque of Peter, the Church is not without her internal divisions.

For one, there is building steam in some quarters of the Church that the next Vicar of Christ will be an anti-pope. I wrote about this in Possible… or Not? In response, the bulk of letters I’ve received are grateful for clearing the air on what the Church teaches and for putting an end to tremendous confusion. At the same time, one writer accused me of blasphemy and putting my soul at risk; another of overstepping my bounds; and yet another saying that my writing on this was more of a danger to the Church than the actual prophecy itself. While this was going on, I had evangelical Christians reminding me that the Catholic Church is Satanic, and traditionalist Catholics saying I was damned for following any pope after Pius X.

No, it is not surprising that a pope has resigned. What is surprising is that it took 600 years since the last one.

I am reminded again of Blessed Cardinal Newman’s words that are now blasting like a trumpet above the earth:

Satan may adopt the more alarming weapons of deceit—he may hide himself—he may attempt to seduce us in little things, and so to move the Church, not all at once, but by little and little from her true position… It is his policy to split us up and divide us, to dislodge us gradually from our rock of strength. And if there is to be a persecution, perhaps it will be then; then, perhaps, when we are all of us in all parts of Christendom so divided, and so reduced, so full of schism, so close upon heresy… and Antichrist appear as a persecutor, and the barbarous nations around break in. —Venerable John Henry Newman, Sermon IV: The Persecution of Antichrist

 

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