The Vigil of Sorrows

Masses are being canceled throughout the world… (Photo by Sergio Ibannez)

 

IT is with mixed horror and grief, sadness and disbelief that many of us read of the cessation of Catholic Masses around the world. One man said he is no longer permitted to bring Communion to those in nursing homes. Another diocese is refusing to hear confessions. The Easter Triduum, the solemn reflection on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus, is being canceled in many places. Yes, yes, there are the rational arguments: “We have an obligation to care for the very young, the aged, and those with compromised immune systems. And the best way we can care for them is minimizing large group gatherings for the time being…” Never mind that this has always been the case with seasonal flu (and we’ve never canceled Masses for that). 

At the same time, I can’t help thinking of St. Damian who deliberately lived among lepers in order to care for their physical and spiritual needs (eventually succumbing to the disease himself). Or St. Teresa of Calcutta, who literally picked the dying and diseased out of the gutters, carrying them back to her convent where she nursed their rotting bodies and thirsting souls into Heaven. Or the Apostles, whom Jesus sent among the diseased to heal and deliver from evil spirits. “I came for the sick,” He declared. If Jesus meant it only spiritually, He would never have cured the ailing, much less told the Apostles to go out and touch them. 

These signs will accompany those who believe… They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

In other words, the Church has never approached sin, disease, and evil with kid’s gloves; her saints have always faced her enemies, both physical and spiritual, with the sword of the Word of God and the shield of Faith. 

…for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. (1 John 5:4)

Thus, laments one priest:

What a generation of wimps. Disease is real—wash your hands. Sin is real—let the Lord wash our souls…. Why do we close our schools [and churches] to the threat of a virus that might cause children to sicken their elders, but roll out the carpet for the technology that brings the virus of pornography into our children, addicting them to the dopamine hit that conditions them to salivate like Pavlov’s dog at the thought of consumerism and entertainment? — Fr. Stefano Penna, Message to the Board of the Canadian Catholic School Trustees, March 13th, 2020

Let’s pray for this, that the Holy Spirit may give to pastors the ability for pastoral discernment so that they might provide measures which do not leave the holy, faithful people of God alone, and so that the people of God will feel accompanied by their pastors, comforted by the Word of God, by the sacraments, and by prayer. —POPE FRANCIS, Homily, March 13th, 2020; Catholic News Agency

Again, it is the response to the coronavirus “Covid-19” that is deeply troubling. There are three enormous spirits at work in the world right now: Fear (which has to do with judgment), Control and Sloth; they are operating in the viral lack of faith, worldliness, and apathy. They are the same spirits who operated on the Apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane…

 

THE CHURCH’S GETHSEMANE

One of my French readers just shared this story with my translator:

Today, when I received the Eucharist on the tongue, I heard the Host cracking in my mouth, something I have never heard before. At the same time, I heard a word in my heart: “The foundations of My Church will be shaken,” and I burst into tears. What I felt I cannot explain, but we are really at the point of no return: humanity needs this purification to return to Our God.

Yes, this reader has just summarized fifteen years and over 1500 writings on this website—a message of warning and hope. It is the story of the Prodigal Son in today’s Gospel: we have abandoned Our Father’s house, and now, humanity collectively finds itself slowly sinking into the pig slop of its rebellion. Here is another word from my own diary some nine years ago:

My child, brace your soul for the events which must take place. Do not be afraid, for fear is a sign of a weak faith and impure love. Rather, trust wholeheartedly in all that I will accomplish upon the face of the earth. Only then, in the “fullness of night,” will My people be able to recognize the light… —March 15th, 2011

The Father desires nothing more than to reclothe us in the purity, sonship, and dignity that is rightfully ours because we are made in His image. But just as the Prodigal Son had to go through chastisements to finally “recognize the light”, so too must this generation.

Do you think this is negative? Do you think I am gloomy? Or do you think that, as long as we have our comforts, among them—toilet paper—that it really isn’t our problem that billions of people no longer know, or outright reject, Jesus Christ?

We cannot calmly accept the rest of humanity falling back again into paganism. —Cardinal Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), The New Evangelization, Building the Civilization of Love; Address to Catechists and Religion Teachers, December 12, 2000

But we do. We are quite content it seems to watch the foundations of Christianity vanish in the West; to overlook our fellow Christians martyred in the East or the unborn decimated to the tune of 100,000 every day across the globe. Ah! But God is merciful and loving. All this talk of judgment, justice, and chastisement is simply… well, this is how one priest put it to one of my European readers after he read The Point of No Return:

I am more than reluctant with regard to these sites whose piety is made especially of criticisms and apocalyptic predictions. Please don’t send me these kind of links.
To which Jesus replies:
Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. (Matt 26:45)
 
It’s our very sleepiness to the presence of God that renders us insensitive to evil: we don’t hear God because we don’t want to be disturbed, and so we remain indifferent to evil… the ‘sleepiness’ is ours, of those of us who do not want to see the full force of evil and do not want to enter into his Passion. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Catholic News Agency, Vatican City, Apr 20, 2011, General Audience
Maybe it is time to share with you a Scripture the Lord gave me at the beginning of this writing apostolate. At the time, I was traveling throughout North America giving concerts, singing my love songs and spiritual tunes to little audiences here and there while sharing loving warnings of what is now unfolding today. When I read these following words, I laughed… and then shuddered:
As for you, son of man, your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doorways of houses. They say to one another, “Let’s go hear the latest word that comes from the Lord.” My people come to you, gathering as a crowd and sitting in front of you to hear your words, but they will not act on them… For them you are only a singer of love songs, with a pleasant voice and a clever touch. They listen to your words, but they do not obey them. But when it comes—and it is surely coming!—they shall know that there was a prophet among them. (Ezekiel 33:30-33)
No, I am not claiming to be a prophet—but Our Lady and the popes are God’s chief prophets—and I have tried to shout their words from the rooftops (cf. Habb 2:1-4). But how few have listened! How many continue to dismiss the signs of the times because they do not want to face the Passion of the Church? Indeed, the prophets often complained to the Lord, as did Isaiah, in another passage the Lord gave me at the same time:

“Go and say to this people: Listen carefully, but do not understand! Look intently, but do not perceive! Make the heart of this people sluggish, dull their ears and close their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and their heart understand, and they turn and be healed.”

“How long, O Lord?” I asked. And he replied: “Until the cities are desolate, without inhabitants, houses, without people, and the land is a desolate waste. Until the Lord sends the people far away, and great is the desolation in the midst of the land.” (Isaiah 6:8-12)

I know I am speaking right now primarily to Our Lady’s Little Rabble. You get it; I know that you share in my grief and frustration. At the same time, you understand that chastisement is not the last word. As Our Lady said to Fr. Stefano Gobbi:
Pray in order to give thanks to the Heavenly Father, who is guiding human events toward the fulfillment of His great plan of love and of glory… Peace will come, after the great suffering to which the Church and all humanity are already being called, through their interior and bloody purification… Even now, the great events are coming about, and all will be accomplished at a faster pace, so that there may appear over the world, as quickly as possible, the new rainbow of peace which, at Fatima and for so many years, I have already been announcing to you in advance.To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, n. 343, with Imprimatur
To be certain, if God could have His way, that very peace would come through love, not destruction—if only we would accept it! Did you know that? But humanity has instead built a New Tower of Babel to, in our astonishing hubris, topple God. Thus, the birth of a new Era of Peace must come through hard labour pains: the Passion of the Church.
So, the Chastisements that have occurred are nothing other than the preludes of those that will come. How many more cities will be destroyed…? My Justice can bear no more; My will wants to Triumph, and would want to Triumph by means of Love in order to Establish Its Kingdom. But man does not want to come to meet this Love, therefore, it is necessary to use Justice. —Jesus to Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta; Nov. 16th, 1926
A priest asked yesterday: “Does [the American seer] Jennifer have something published with more of the Lord’s loving words and messages?” I replied, “You can find her writings here: wordsfromjesus.com. I’m not surprised by the warning in many of her messages. We have already refused the Lord’s loving words….”
 
 
THE PASSION OF THE CHURCH

I have no doubt that the Covid-19 crisis we are in will at some point abate—just as labour pains come and go. However, when you reach hard labour, each contraction leaves the mother a little more dilated, a little more exhausted, a little more prepared for the coming birth. So too, the world is going to be changed when this present contraction subsides. How do you shut down the world’s economy and deprive people of their living and think this will have no effect? How do you enact universal martial law for a relatively minor pandemic and not move the boundaries beyond a certain point of no return? On the other hand, there is also a sense that people have begun to wake up a little and realize that we cannot depend on science and technology to save us. This is good, very good.

But that is not, by far, the worst crisis. It is the reality that tens of millions are being deprived of the kiss of Christ, the Eucharist. If Jesus is the Bread of Life and the “source and summit of the Christian life,” [1]Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1324 what then does it mean when the Church herself withholds this gift from her children?

Without the Holy Mass, what would become of us? All here below would perish, because that alone can hold back God’s arm. —St. Teresa of Avila, Jesus, Our Eucharistic Love, by Fr. Stefano M. Manelli, FI; p. 15 

It would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to do so without the Holy Mass. —St. Pio, Ibid.

I have been reading the 24 Hours of the Passion in the writings of Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta. I had a feeling that as I meditated on the last and 24th hour this morning that it was going to be prophetic. Given all that’s happening, I was stunned: it is a reflection on Our Lady, paralyzed in grief, while she stands in the tomb, about to be separated from the Body of her Son. Recalling the Church’s magisterial teaching that Mary is a “mirror” and reflection of the Church herself,[2]“Holy Mary… you became the image of the Church to come…” —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Spe Salvi, n.50 here is an echo of the cry rising to the heaven’s tonight, on this Vigil of the Third Week of Lent:

O Son, O beloved Son, I will now be deprived of the only comfort I had and that assuaged my sorrows: Your most sacred humanity, over which I might pour myself out by adoring and kissing your wounds. Now this too is taken from me, and the Divine Will decrees it thus, and to this Most Holy Will I resign myself. But I wish You to know, my Son, that I am deprived of your most sacred humanity which I long to adore… Oh Son, as I make this sorrowful separation, please increase in me your [divine] strength and life…The Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 24th hour (4pm); from the diary of Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta

In closing, I want to share an image of hope. It is my grandaughter, Rosé Zelie. Lately, this has become her appearance. Behold, the first buds of the little ones who will populate the earth in the Era of Peace, the saints of the latter days. When the night of sorrows is over, the Daybreak of Peace will come.

 

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.

 Weep, O children of men!

For all that is good, and true, and beautiful.

Weep for all that must go down to the Sepulcher

Your teachings and truths, your salt and your light.

Weep, O children of men!

For all that is good, and true, and beautiful.

Weep for all who must enter the night

Your priests and bishops, your popes and princes.

Weep, O children of men!

For all that is good, and true, and beautiful.

Weep for all who must enter the trial

The test of faith, the refiner’s fire.

 

…but weep not forever!

 

For dawn will come, light will conquer, a new Sun will rise.

And all that was good, and true, and beautiful

Will breathe new breath, and be given to sons again.

 

m.m.

 

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1. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1324
2. “Holy Mary… you became the image of the Church to come…” —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Spe Salvi, n.50
Posted in HOME, THE GREAT TRIALS.