Choosing Sides

 

Whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another,
“I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely men?
(Today’s first Mass reading)

 

PRAY more… speak less. Those are the words Our Lady has allegedly addressed to the Church at this very hour. However, when I wrote a meditation on this last week,[1]cf. Pray More… Speak Less a handful of readers somewhat disagreed. Writes one:

I’m concerned that just like in 2002, the Church will take the road of “let this pass over us and then we will move on.” My question is, if there is a group within the Church that is dark, how can we help those cardinals and bishops that are afraid to speak out and have been silenced in the past? I believe Our Lady has given us the Rosary as our weapon, but I feel in my heart she has also been preparing us to do more…

The question and concerns here are good and right. But so is Our Lady’s advice. For she did not say “don’t speak” but “speak less”, adding that we must also “pray more.” What she is really saying is she indeed wants us to speak, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

 

WORDS OF WISDOM

Through authentic interior prayer, we encounter Christ. In that encounter, we are transformed more and more into His likeness. This is what sets apart saints from social workers, those who only “do” from those who “be.” For there is a vast difference between those who speak words, and those who are the words. The former is like one who holds a flashlight, the second, like a little sun whose rays penetrate and transform those in their presence—even without words. St. Paul was such a soul, one who had so utterly emptied himself so as to be filled with Christ, that even though he was apparently a poor orator, his words radiated with the power and light of Jesus. 

I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. (Monday’s first Mass reading)

Here, Paul is differentiating between human wisdom and the Wisdom of God. 

…we speak about them not with words taught by human wisdom, but with words taught by the Spirit… (Tuesday’s first Mass reading)

This was only possible because St. Paul was a man of deep faith and prayer, even though he suffered tremendous hardships and trials.  

We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. (2 Cor 4:7-10)

So, when we pray more and speak less, we are making room for Jesus to live in and through us; for His words to become my words, and my words to become His. In this way, when I do speak, I am speaking with words “taught by the Spirit” (ie. true wisdom) and embued with His presence. 

 

WHY DIVISIONS ARE GROWING

Before Pope Francis ascended the throne of Peter, I shared with readers a powerful warning the Lord kept repeating in my heart for several weeks after Benedict’s resignation: “You are entering dangerous days and great confusion.” [2]Cf. How Do You Hide a Tree? This is why it is even more crucial that we pray more and speak less because words are powerful; they can cause division and create confusion where there was none before.

While there is jealousy and rivalry among you, are you not of the flesh, and walking according to the manner of man? Whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely men? (Today’s first Mass reading)

“I belong to Pope Benedict… I belong to Francis… I belong to John Paul II… I belong to Pius X…”  I am hearing these sentiments more and more today, and they are tearing at the seams of Catholic unity. But as Christians, we have to move beyond our limited affections and cling to Christ alone, who is Truth itself. We need to always choose Christ’s side. When we do, we will be able to “hear” truth in all of Peter’s successors, despite their shortcomings and sins. Then we can look beyond the “stumbling block” of their faults to the rock that they are, by virtue of their office (though this is not to say that they should not be held accountable for such grievous charges such as those being put forth at this time). 

I have followed some of the media reports surrounding Pope Francis, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former Cardinal McCarrick, etc. This is only the beginning, not the pinnacle of the necessary purification through which the Church must pass. What I sense the Lord saying this week is what I have warned about in the past: that we are entering a Global Revolution not unlike the French Revolution. It would be “like a storm,” the Lord showed me over a decade ago… “like a hurricane.” Several years later, I read the same words in the approved revelations to Elizabeth Kindelmann:

You know, my little one, the elect will have to fight against the Prince of Darkness. It will be a terrible storm. Rather, it will be a hurricane which will want to destroy the faith and confidence of even the elect. In this terrible turmoil currently brewing up, you will see the brightness of my Flame of Love illuminating Heaven and earth by the effusion of its effect of grace I am passing on to souls in this dark night. —Our Lady to Elizabeth, The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: The Spiritual Diary (Kindle Locations 2994-2997) 

So, brothers and sisters, let us not add to the Tempest which must necessarily come by the winds of rash and divisive words! I can honestly say I was astonished to hear the reports of several Catholic “conservative” media outlets over the past couple of weeks. One publication stated that the Holy Father was “neither holy, nor a father.” Another commentator stared cooly into the camera and threatened Pope Francis with hellfire if he did not resign and repent. Here is where souls would do better to heed Our Lady’s words rather than foment schism, which itself is a grave sin. Even Cardinal Raymond Burke, who affirmed that it is canonically ‘licit’ to call for the Pope’s resignation, called for restraint until all the facts are in:

I can only say that to arrive at this one must investigate and respond in this regard. The request for resignation is in any case licit; anyone can make it in the face of whatever pastor that errs greatly in the fulfillment of his office, but the facts need to be verified. —interview in La Repubblica; cited in American Magazine, August 29th, 2018

 

LOVE IN TRUTH

Alas, I cannot help what others do or say, but I can help myself. I can pray more and speak less, thereby creating the space within my heart for Divine Wisdom. We need to courageously defend the truth, more than ever today. But as Pope Benedict said, it must be caritas in veritate: “love in truth.” Our best example is Jesus Himself who, even when face to face with Judas the Betrayer or Peter the Denier, did not lash out or condemn but remained the steady Face of love in truth. That’s who we need to be, people unswerving in truth, but radiating He who is love. For does the Church exist to convict or convert others?

This is a followup message of Our Lady a few days after her advice to pray more, and speak less… including a word on how we should respond to our pastors. 

Dear children, my words are simple but are filled with motherly love and care. My children, all the more the shadows of darkness and deception are being cast over you, and I am calling you to the light and truth—I am calling you to my Son. Only He can transform despair and suffering into peace and clarity; only He can give hope in the deepest pain. My Son is the life of the world. The more that you come to know Him—the more that you come close to Him—all the more you will love Him, because my Son is love. Love changes everything; it makes most beautiful also that which, without love, seems insignificant to you. That is why, anew, I am saying to you that you must love a lot if you desire to grow spiritually. I know, apostles of my love, that it is not always easy, but, my children, also the painful paths are paths which lead to spiritual growth, to faith, and to my Son. My children, pray—think of my Son. In all the moments of the day, raise your soul to Him, and I will gather your prayers as flowers from the most beautiful garden and give them as a gift to my Son. Be true apostles of my love; spread the love of my Son to everyone. Be gardens of the most beautiful flowers. With your prayers help your shepherds that they may be spiritual fathers filled with love for all people. Thank you.—Our Lady of Medjugorje allegedly to Mirjana, September 2nd, 2018

 

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