The Temptation to be Normal

Alone in a Crowd 

 

I have been flooded with emails the past two weeks, and will do my best to respond to them. Of note is that many of you are experiencing an increase in spiritual attacks and trials the likes of never before. This does not surprise me; it is why I felt the Lord urging me to share my trials with you, to confirm and strengthen you and remind you that you are not alone. Furthermore, these intense trials are a very good sign. Remember, towards the end of World War II, that’s when the most fierce fighting took place, when Hitler became the most desperate (and despicable) in his warfare.

Yes, it is coming, and already begun: a new and divine holiness. And God is preparing His Bride for it by nailing to the Cross our will, our sinfulness, our weakness, and our helplessness so that He can raise within us His Will, His holiness, His strength and His power. He has always done this in the Church, but now the Lord wishes to bestow it in a new way, superceding and completing what He has done in the past.

Fighting against this plan of God now with a desperate and despicable hatred is the dragon—and his temptation to be normal.

 

THE TEMPTATION TO BE NORMAL

Over the past year, I have wrestled several times with this powerful seduction. What is it exactly? Well, for me, it has gone something like this:

I just want to have a “normal” job. I just want a “normal” life. I want to have my plot of land, my little kingdom, and work and live quietly among my neighbours. I just want to sit with the crowds and blend in, to be “normal” like everyone else…

This temptation, if fully embraced, takes on a more insidious form: moral relativism, where one waters down his zeal, his faith, and ultimately truth in order to keep the waters still, to avoid conflict, to “keep the peace” in one’s family, community, and relationships. [1]cf. The Blessed Peacemakers I dare say that this temptation has successfully neutered a great portion of the Church today, so much so, that now we see those who resist this temptation (like Archbishop Cordileone of San Francisco) being persecuted from within the Church.

We may see that attacks against the Pope and the Church do not only come from outside; rather, the sufferings of the Church come from inside the Church, from the sin that exists in the Church. This was always common knowledge, but today we see it in truly terrifying form: the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from external enemies, but is born of sin within the Church. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, interview on flight to Lisbon, Portugal; LifeSiteNews, May 12th, 2010

Perhaps, as you read this, you recognize this temptation against yourself, and even the ways in which you have caved into it. If you do, then rejoice! Because to see this truth, to see the battle is already an enormous first step in winning it. Blessed are you who humble yourselves in the light of this truth, who return to the foot of the Cross (like St. John after he fled Gethsemane) and remain there to be bathed in Divine Mercy pouring forth from the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Blessed are you who, like Peter, wash yourselves in tears of penance, and leaping from the boat of security, run headlong to Jesus who cooks a Divine and sumptuous Meal for you. [2]cf. John 21:1-14 Blessed are you who upon entering the confessional hold nothing back, but laying your sins at the feet of Jesus, keep nothing to yourselves, nothing from Him who says:

Come, then, with trust to draw graces from this fountain. I never reject a contrite heart. Your misery has disappeared in the depths of My mercy. Do not argue with Me about your wretchedness. You will give me pleasure if you hand over to me all your troubles and griefs. I shall heap upon you the treasures of My grace. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1485

For you see, beloved brothers and sisters, Jesus has formed this little apostolate around these writings because He has set you apart. You are not chosen because you are special, but because He has a special plan to use you. [3]cf. Hope is Dawning Like Gideon’s army of three hundred, you have been set apart as Our Lady’s little army to bear the torch of the Flame of Love—now hidden beneath the clay jar of your weakness and simplicity—but later to emerge as a light for the nations (read The New Gideon). What this demands of you and I is obedience to Our Lord and Lady. It demands resisting this temptation to not shine to not be set apart to not “Come out of Babylon.”  But see how Jesus was always on the outside, often misunderstood, frequently misaligned. Blessed are you who follow in the footsteps of the Master. Blessed are you who share in the ignominy of His Name.

Blessed are you who are set aside. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. (Luke 6:22)

You have been set apart, you who are little, unknown, counted in the world’s eyes as nothing. The world barely notices you… these little seeds that have fallen to the ground to die in order to bear fruit. But the dragon sees, and he knows full well that his defeat is coming about, not by a muscular fist, by by a lowly heel—the heel of a Woman. And thus, the enemy sets himself against you sowing these damnable temptations, these weeds to discourage, weaken, and ultimately choke your spiritual life. But you know how to defeat him, brothers and sisters: faith in God’s mercy, faith in His love, and now, faith in His plan for you.

 

IT IS LOVE THAT CASTS OUT ALL FEAR

Here is a very important footnote to the above: we are being set apart, but not set away. We are not called to be “normal”, as in follow the status quo, but to be in the world in the normal mode of our state of life. The key to understanding this beautiful reality lies in the Incarnation: Jesus did not spurn our flesh, but clothed Himself in all our humanity, all our weakness, all our daily routines and demands. In so doing, He sanctified our lowliness, transformed our weakness, and made holy the duty of the moment.

So, what we are called to bring into the world then is a “new normal.” Where men carrying themselves with dignity is normal. Where women adorned modestly and bearing true femininity is normal. Where virginity and chastity before marriage is normal. Where a life lived in joy and serenit
y is normal. Where work done with love and integrity is normal. Where peacefulness amid trials is normal. Where the Word of God on one’s lips is normal. Where truth lived and spoken is normal—even if the world accuses you otherwise.

Do not be afraid to be normal as Jesus was normal!

As Christians, we too are to sanctify everything we touch by love. And this is a love that, like the bow of great ship, breaks the icy waters of fear. To be set apart is not to be set away. Rather, it is to know that one is called into the deep—to not be afraid of the dark depths of the modern human heart, a darkness that has entered a great portion of mankind. We are called to enter that darkness as a living flame of love, shattering despair and breaking the power of Satan in the Name of Jesus. This is why the adversary hates you, hates Our Lady, hates Our Lord, and thus flails and smashes his tail furiously at this hour: he knows his power is coming to an end.

You are loved, beloved brothers and sisters. You are chosen. You are called to enter into an ancient plan. And thus, God is calling you and me this moment to be courageous. And He does so by simply saying,

Give me your full and complete “fiat.” In your utter brokenness, give Me your “yes.” And I will fill you with My Spirit. I will ignite you with the Flame of Love. I will give you the Gift of Living in My Divine Will. I will equip you for the Battle of the Ages. All I ask of you is one thing: your “fiat”. That is, your trust.

No, it is not automatic, brother. It is not a given, sister. You have to respond freely, just as Mary had to respond freely to Gabriel. Can you believe it? Can you believe that the salvation of the world hinged upon Mary’s “fiat”? What hinges now, at this hour, upon your “yes” and mine?? No one can take your place, no one. Satan knows this. And so he whispers to you:

What difference can you make? Why are you causing trouble? You are one of seven billion people. Your fiat is insignificant. You are insignificant. Yes, God and His Catholic Church are insignificant in the New World Order that has come…….

Brothers and sisters, resist the hot breath of these lies. You have been set apart. It is time for you to walk in this glorious predilection by giving everything to Jesus Christ our Lord today.

Do not be afraid!

Jesus is our courage. Jesus is our strength. Jesus is our hope and victory, He who is love itself… and love never fails.

 

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1. cf. The Blessed Peacemakers
2. cf. John 21:1-14
3. cf. Hope is Dawning
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