FATALISM—an indifference fostered by the belief that future events are inevitable—is not a Christian disposition. Yes, Our Lord spoke of events in the future that would precede the end of the world. But if you read the first three chapters of the Book of Revelation, you’ll see that the timing of these events is conditional: they hinge on our response or lack thereof:
Therefore, repent. Otherwise, I will come to you quickly and wage war against them with the sword of my mouth. “Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev 3:16-17)
St. Faustina is God’s messenger of mercy for our times. So often, it was her and others’ intercession that stayed the hand of justice.
I saw a resplendence beyond compare and, in front of this brilliance, a white cloud in the shape of a scale. Then Jesus approached and put the sword on one side of the scale, and it fell heavily towards the ground until it was about to touch it. Just then, the sisters finished renewing their vows. Then I saw Angels who took something from each of the sisters and placed it in a golden vessel somewhat in the shape of a thurible. When they had collected it from all the sisters and placed the vessel on the other side of the scale, it immediately outweighed and raised up the side on which the sword had been laid…Then I heard a voice coming from the brilliance: Put the sword back in its place; the sacrifice is greater. —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 394
You have heard the words of St. Paul:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church… (Colossians 1:24)
In the footnotes of the New American Bible, it says:
What is lacking: although variously interpreted, this phrase does not imply that Christ’s atoning death on the cross was defective. It may refer to the apocalyptic concept of a quota of “messianic woes” to be endured before the end comes; cf. Mk 13:8, 19–20, 24 and Mt 23:29–32. —New American Bible Revised Edition
Those “messianic woes”, also recorded in the “seals” of chapter six of Revelation, are for the most part man-made. They are the fruit of our sin, not God’s wrath. It is we who fill up the cup of justice, not God’s anger. It is we who tip the scales, not God’s finger.
…the Sovereign Lord patiently waits until [nations] reach the full measure of their sins before punishing them… he never withdraws his mercy from us. Although he disciplines us with misfortunes, he does not abandon his own people. (2 Maccabees 6:14,16)
Thus, can we not tip the scales the other way? Yes. Absolutely, yes. But what cost does our delay procure, and for how long can we delay?
Hear the word of the LORD, O people of Israel, for the LORD has a grievance against the inhabitants of the land: there is no fidelity, no mercy, no knowledge of God in the land. False swearing, lying, murder, stealing and adultery! In their lawlessness, bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, and everything that dwells in it languishes: the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and even the fish of the sea perish. (Hos 4:1-3)
IT DEPENDS ON US
In the highly regarded apparitions to Sr. Mildred Mary Ephrem Neuzil, Our Lady of America (whose devotion was officially approved) stated:
What happens to the world depends upon those who are living in it. There must be much more good than evil prevailing in order to prevent the holocaust that is so near approaching. Yet I tell you, My daughter, that even should such a destruction happen because there were not enough souls who took My Warnings seriously, there will remain a remnant untouched by the chaos who, having been faithful in following Me and spreading My Warnings, will gradually inhabit the earth again with their dedicated and holy lives. These souls will renew the earth in the Power and Light of the Holy Spirit, and these faithful children of Mine will be under My Protection, and that of the Holy Angels, and they will partake of the Life of the Divine Trinity in a most remarkable Way. Let My dear children know this, precious daughter, so that they will have no excuse if they fail to heed My Warnings. —winter of 1984, mysticsofthechurch.com
This is clearly a conditional prophecy, one that echoes Pope Benedict’s own thoughts on the “triumph of the Immaculate Heart.” In 2010, he made a passing reference to 2017, which was the hundredth year of the Fatima apparitions.
May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity. —POPE BENEDICT XIV, Esplanade of the Shrine of Our Lady of Fátima, May 13th, 2010; vatican.va
He clarified in a later interview that he was not suggesting that the Triumph would be accomplished in 2017, rather, that the “triumph” will draw closer.
This is equivalent in meaning to our praying for the coming of God’s Kingdom… The point was rather that the power of evil is restrained again and again, that again and again the power of God himself is shown in the Mother’s power and keeps it alive. The Church is always called upon to do what God asked of Abraham, which is to see to it that there are enough righteous men to repress evil and destruction. I understood my words as a prayer that the energies of the good might regain their vigor. So you could say the triumph of God, the triumph of Mary, are quiet, they are real nonetheless.—Light of the World, p. 166, A Conversation With Peter Seewald (Ignatius Press)
It depends upon “enough righteous men to repress evil,” which evokes what St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. The height of lawlessness embodied in the Antichrist, the “son of perdition,” is presently being restrained, Paul wrote:
And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed… (2 Thess 3:6-7)
While still a Cardinal, Benedict wrote:
Abraham, the father of faith, is by his faith the rock that holds back chaos, the onrushing primordial flood of destruction, and thus sustains creation. Simon, the first to confess Jesus as the Christ… now becomes by virtue of his Abrahamic faith, which is renewed in Christ, the rock that stands against the impure tide of unbelief and its destruction of man. —POPE BENEDICT XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger), Called to Communion, Understanding the Church Today, Adrian Walker, Tr., p. 55-56
According to the Catechism, the Pope “is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.” cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 882 When our unity with one another, with the Vicar of Christ, and above all with the Lord fails… then evil will have its hour. When we fail to live the Gospel, then darkness overcomes the light. And when we are cowards, bowing before the gods of political correctness, then evil steals the day.
In our time, more than ever, before the greatest asset of the evilly disposed is the cowardice and weakness of good men, and all the vigor of Satan’s reign is due to the easygoing weakness of Catholics. O, if I might ask the divine redeemer, as the prophet Zachary did in spirit, ‘What are these wounds in your hands?’ the answer would not be doubtful. ‘With these I was wounded in the house of those who loved me. I was wounded by my friends who did nothing to defend me and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of my adversaries.’ This reproach can be leveled at the weak and timid Catholics of all countries. —Publication of the Decree of the Heroic Virtues of St. Joan of Arc, etc., December 13th, 1908; vatican.va
THIS TIME OF MERCY
Recall again the vision of the three children of Fatima where they saw an angel about to “touch” the earth with a flaming sword. But when Our Lady appeared, the angel withdrew his sword and cried out to the earth, “Penance, penance, penance!” With that, the world entered into a “time of grace” or “time of mercy,” which we are presently in:
I saw the Lord Jesus, like a king in great majesty, looking down upon our earth with great severity; but because of His Mother’s intercession He prolonged the time of His mercy… the Lord answered me, “I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation.” —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 126I, 1160; d. 1937
But for how long?
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 Joseph Ratzinger (BENEDICT XVI), The Message of Fatima, from the Vatican’s website
It depends upon us:
I also withhold My punishments only because of you. You restrain Me, and I cannot vindicate the claims of My justice. You bind My hands with your love. —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Jesus to St. Faustina, Diary, n. 1193
Indeed, Our Lady’s response to the angel’s threefold cry of “Penance” is to “Pray, pray, pray!”
THE COMING STORM
Several years ago, I received two seemingly prophetic “words” from the Lord. The first (which a Canadian bishop encouraged me to share with others) was when I heard in my heart the words “I have lifted the restrainer” (read Removing the Restrainer). Then, a few years later while watching an approaching storm on the horizon, I sensed the Lord say: “A Great Storm is coming like a hurricane.” So I was shocked several years later to read that Jesus and Our Lady said these very words in the approved apparitions to Elizabeth Kindelmann:
[Mary]: Earth is experiencing the calm before the storm, like a volcano about to explode. Earth is now in this terrible situation. The crater of hatred is boiling. I, the beautiful Ray of Dawn, will blind Satan… It will be a terrible storm, a hurricane that will want to destroy faith. In that dark night, heaven and earth will be illuminated by the Flame of Love that I offer to souls. Just as Herod persecuted my Son, so the cowards, the cautious and the lazy extinguish my Flame of Love… [Jesus]: The great storm is coming and it will carry away indifferent souls who are consumed by laziness. The great danger will erupt when I take away my hand of protection. Warn everyone, especially the priests, so they are shaken out of their indifference… Do not love comfort. Do not be cowards. Do not wait. Confront the storm to save souls. Give yourselves to the work. If you do nothing, you abandon the earth to Satan and to sin. Open your eyes and see all the dangers that claim victims and threaten your own souls. —The Flame of Love, p. 62, 77, 34; Kindle Edition; Imprimatur by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, PA
What I am saying, dear reader, is that the future of the world passes through you and I. The Lord never gave a timeline other than to repeatedly say to me and many other souls that “time is short.” It depends upon the generosity and sacrifice of enough good souls. As my friend, the late Anthony Mullen would say, “We just gotta do what Our Lady is asking us to do” (see The Right Spiritual Steps). This is the mystery of the human person, created in the Divine Image, and endowed with a free will. We are not mere animals. We are immortal beings who can either participate in the perfection of creation, or its destruction.
In a pastoral letter to all the bishops of the world, Pope Benedict XVI wrote:
In our days, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God. Not just any god, but the God who spoke on Sinai; to that God whose face we recognize in a love which presses “to the end” (cf. Jn 13:1) —in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen. 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. Leading men and women to God, to the God who speaks in the Bible: this is the supreme and fundamental priority of the Church and of the Successor of Peter at the present time. —Letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to All the Bishops of the World, March 10, 2009; Catholic Online
There is a sobering warning at the very end of the Book of Revelation. Among those whose “lot is in the burning pool of fire and sulphur,” Jesus also includes “cowards.” Rev 21:8.
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38)
The hour is late. But not too late to make a difference, even if it saves just one more soul… If we are sitting on our hands waiting for God to do something, He replies to us: “You are the Body of Christ—it is My hands on which you are sitting!”
…others think that the curb on the man of lawlessness is the active presence of Christians in the world, who through word and example bring Christ’s teaching and grace to many. If Christians let their zeal grow cold… then the curb on evil will cease to apply and the rebellion will ensue. —The Navarre Bible commentary on 2 Thess 2:6-7, Thessalonians and Pastoral Epistles, p. 69-70
Why not ask him to send us new witnesses of his presence today, in whom he himself will come to us? And this prayer, while it is not directly focused on the end of the world, is nevertheless a real prayer for his coming; it contains the full breadth of the prayer that he himself taught us: “Your kingdom come!” Come, Lord Jesus! —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection, p. 292, Ignatius Press
Do not delay or the time of grace will pass and with it the peace you seek… My little sister, the message is a dear one, there is no doubt. Make it known; do not hesitate… —St. Michael the Archangel to St. Mildred Mary, May 8, 1957, mysticsofthechurch.com
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|1.||↑||cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 882|