THERE are many hopeful things developing in the Church, most of them quietly, still very much hidden from view. On the other hand, there are many troubling things on the horizon of humanity as we enter 2014. These too, though not as hidden, are lost on most people whose source of information remains the mainstream media; whose lives are caught in the treadmill of busyness; who have lost their internal connection to God’s voice through a lack of prayer and spiritual development. I am speaking of souls who do not “watch and pray” as Our Lord asked us.
I can’t help but call to mind what I published six years ago on this very eve of the Feast of the Holy Mother of God:
This is the Year of The Unfolding…
Those words were followed in the spring of 2008 by these:
The sense was that events around the world were going to unfold very rapidly. I saw three “orders” collapse, one upon the other like dominoes:
The economy, then the social, then the political order.
That autumn of 2008, as we all know, the financial “bubble” burst, and economies built on illusions began to crumble. It indeed became the Year of the Unfolding since the fallout continues to ripple throughout the world. What stopped them from collapsing altogether? Something called “quantitative easing”, that is, governments printing money in order keep up with debts, artificially propping up their infrastructures, and giving bailouts (ie. handouts) to select corporations. This has only further prolonged the unrealistic consumerist lifestyle of wealthy nations at the expense of developing nations, and led countries and individuals deeper into debt.
But it cannot go on forever. Hence, several financial experts, with varying timelines, are seeing this coming collapse drawing nearer, if not in 2014. Here’s just a few of the forecasts by some respected financial experts:
I think the crash of 2008 was just a speed bump on the way to the main event… the consequences are gonna be horrific… the rest of the decade will bring us the greatest financial calamity in history. —Mike Maloney, host of Hidden Secrets of Money, www.shtfplan.com; Dec. 5th, 2013
Sometime in this decade the whole system is going to collapse… You saw what happened in 2008-2009, which was worse than the previous economic setback because the debt was so much higher. Well now the debt is staggeringly much higher, and so the next economic problem, whenever it happens and whatever causes it, is going to be worse than in the past, because we have these unbelievable levels of debt, and unbelievable levels of money printing all over the world. Be worried and be careful. —Jim Rogers, co-founder of the Quantum Fund with George Soros. This statement may carry greater significance given Rogers connection to Soros who is known for influencing the formation of a new world order through his philanthropy; bullmarketthinking.com; Nov. 16th, 2013
And as for the international scene… the whole thing is collapsing. That’s our forecast. We are saying that by the second quarter of 2014, we expect the bottom to fall out… or something to divert our attention as it falls out… It will be a year of extremes. —Gerald Celente, Trends Forecaster, www.shtfplan.com, www.geraldcelente.com; Oct. 22nd, 2013; Dec. 29th, 2013
We’re in the very end stages of this system because of the amount of U.S. government debt… If they allow interest rates to rise, it will effectively make the U.S. government bankrupt and insolvent, and it would make the U.S. government collapse… They are preparing for a major societal collapse. It is obvious and it will happen, and it will be very scary and very dangerous. —Jeff Berwick, financial editor of dollarvigilante.com; from www.usawatchdog.com; Nov. 27th, 2013
*Update: According to MoneyNews.com in a January 2nd article:
Despite the 6.5% stock market rally over the last three months, a handful of billionaires are quietly dumping their American stocks… and fast… So why are these billionaires dumping their shares of U.S. companies?…It’s very likely that these professional investors are aware of specific research that points toward a massive market correction, as much as 90%. —moneynews.com, January 2nd, 2014
One top Wall Street advisor and contributor to Forbes magazine, David John Marotta, went as far to recommend that people buy guns and supplies—not what one might expect to hear in the “mainstream.”
I receive a fair number of videos, emails and articles about the coming financial crash. It is always nigh. It is always imminent. And it is always being predicted by the elite people who predicted the last three big events correctly. The cause is deficit spending, the growing debt, entitlement spending, rising taxes, the elite, the banking cartel, the energy companies, Obamacare, aging baby-boomers, the administration, the NSA, the government, the world government… The expected outcome is vague but terrifying. The banks will close, trade will cease, mobs will roam the city streets looking for people to eat. The cause and effect for these horrors isn’t clear, but what it clear is that you need to take action in order to save yourself and those you love from this inevitable collapse of civilization. —www.emarotta.com, Nov 24th, 2013
These are not exactly encouraging forecasts, and their solutions for the most part leave out hope and trust in Christ. But nor are they unexpected predictions. Jesus warned that a house built on sand will collapse. The illusory and unjust global economic system that has been created is near its end. But what will emerge from the ashes?
As readers here know, there is a bigger picture unfolding. It can really only be understood in light of the revolutions and progressions in society and the Church over the past four centuries that have brought us to such a point as we are today.  It tells us at once that God’s timing is not ours, that the “end times” can take generations to unfold. At the same time, we should not fall asleep, especially when we see such rapid changes unfolding in front of us and harbingers appearing in every direction. It is indeed as though time is accelerating and we are rapidly spiraling toward the end, not of this world, but this age. Hence, we need to remain “sober and alert” as St. Paul said, for the “day of the Lord will come like a thief at night.” 
THE RISING BEAST
I did not rush to to publish those words from New Year’s Eve six years ago without much prayer and discernment since they contained a very specific timeline—namely, that 2008 would begin an unfolding. But of what? There would be a collpase of…
The economy, then the social, then the political order.
The sense was that, from the rubble, a “new world order” would begin to unfold. Indeed, this has been on the horizon for some time.
…efforts to build the future have been made by attempts that draw more or less profoundly from the source of liberal tradition. Under the title New World Order, these efforts take on a configuration; they increasingly relate to the U.N.and its international conferences… that transparently reveal a philosophy of the new man and of the new world… —Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), The Gospel: Confronting World Disorder, by Msgr. Michel Schooyans, 1997
The question is whether this New World Order is taking on the dimensions of Christian unity or the framework of that new world order foreseen in apocalyptic Scripture. St. John foretold of a coming “beast” that is very much a new economic, social, political power that would utterly dominate every sphere of life. Daniel also spoke of this beast that would arise at a time when:
Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase. (Dan 12:4)
It’s only been in the last century that we have the advent of flight and more recently technology that enables us to communicate and gather knowledge in the twinkle of an eye! It is hard not to see that humanity is at a turning point that is bringing it face to face with new and undetermined forces.
In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history, as we can see from the advances being made in so many fields…. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity. This epochal change has been set in motion by the enormous qualitative, quantitative, rapid and cumulative advances occuring in the sciences and in technology, and by their instant application in different areas of nature and of life. We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 52
Among those powers that work in the “shadows” are those entities that dominate finances and economies and have openly called for a New World Order. Most striking is that often these wealthy businessmen and bankers are part of a “conspiracy against life” by funding abortion, contraception, sterilization, etc. both at home and abroad. This is significant given that the dragon who empowers the “beast” is whom Jesus calls a “liar” and a “murderer from the beginning.” 
By the envy of the devil, death came into the world: and they follow him that are of his side. (Wis 2:24-25; Douay-Rheims)
The same ideology that drives men to “reduce the population”  are the same ideas that are driving today’s economic policies: profit before people (and they are often the same men behind both).
Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 53
Pope Francis, like his predecessors, has given a blazing criticism of this growing “globalization of indifference” expressed in a profit-only oriented global economy.
Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape. Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “throw away” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 53
Pope Benedict directly linked this tyrannical exploitation of humans to “Babylon”:
The Book of Revelation includes among the great sins of Babylon – the symbol of the world’s great irreligious cities – the fact that it trades with bodies and souls and treats them as commodities (cf. Rev 18:13). In this context, the problem of drugs also rears its head, and with increasing force extends its octopus tentacles around the entire world – an eloquent expression of the tyranny of mammon which perverts mankind. No pleasure is ever enough, and the excess of deceiving intoxication becomes a violence that tears whole regions apart – and all this in the name of a fatal misunderstanding of freedom which actually undermines man’s freedom and ultimately destroys it. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, On the occasion of Christmas Greetings, December 20th, 2010; http://www.vatican.va/
The problem both he and Pope Francis have underscored is that this tyranny is spreading across the globe unopposed for the most part, either because we have fallen asleep,  we don’t care, or worse, we desire it.
…we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 55
Here, the warning of Benedict XVI against this new “dictatorship” is becoming more urgent.
…without the guidance of charity in truth, this global force could cause unprecedented damage and create new divisions within the human family… humanity runs new risks of enslavement and manipulation.—Caritas in Veritate, n.33, 26
Perhaps the popes are giving us a window into what St. John meant when he spoke of the earth’s inhabitants ‘worship’ of the beast that becomes irresistible.
Fascinated, the whole world followed after the beast. They worshiped the dragon because it gave its authority to the beast; they also worshiped the beast and said, “Who can compare with the beast or who can fight against it.” (Rev 13:3-4)
Remarkably, given this context, Pope Francis writes that we are indeed being led to worship a new deity where “man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.” 
A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God… a new self-centered paganism is growing. —POPE FRANCIS, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 56-57, 195
UNTIL WE CALL HIS NAME
Mankind has set out upon a path of rejecting God, and the fruits of it are everywhere, from the rebellion of nature to crumbling economies to unrest in families and communities. On this eve of 2014, perhaps we need to recall the words of Jesus to St. Faustina more than anything:
Mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to My mercy. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 300
Let us recommit ourselves in this New Year, my dear readers, to praying and interceding for God’s mercy upon our world, especially the vulnerable. More than that, becoming present to them in ways that liberate them from their oppression by using our own “profits,” resources, and talents.
Last, do not cave in to despair! The Cross always precedes the Resurrection, winter before spring. These tribulations are only labor pains that will eventually give way to life.
And so with that, I want to share with you another song from my latest album Vulnerable. It’s called “Call Your Name.” The answer to all our problems, economic or otherwise, is to turn to Jesus whose Gospel gives us the keys to global peace and true prosperity. May we call upon His name to deliver us from all evil.
Mary, Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Begin the New Year by praying with the Mass readings
and Mark’s daily reflections on them!
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