…the daybreak from on high will visit us
to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.
AS it was the first time Jesus came, so it is again on the threshold of the coming of His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven, which prepares for and precedes His final coming at the end of time. The world, once again, is “in darkness and death’s shadow,” but a new dawn is quickly approaching.
Dear young people, it is up to you to be the watchmen of the morning who announce the coming of the sun who is the Risen Christ!… I did not hesitate to ask them to make a radical choice of faith and life and present them with a stupendous task: to become “morning watchmen” at the dawn of the new millennium. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Message of the Holy Father to the Youth of the World, XVII World Youth Day, n. 3; (cf. Is 21:11-12); Novo Millennio Inuente, n.9
In fact, it is this dense darkness that tells us precisely how close the dawn is…
HOW THESE TIMES WERE SHORTENED
In 2005, my wife came bounding into the bedroom where I was still sleeping, waking me up with unexpected news: “Cardinal Ratzinger has just been elected Pope!” I turned my face into the pillow and wept for joy — an inexplicable joy that lasted for three days. The overwhelming feeling was that the Church was being given an extension of grace and protection. Indeed, we were treated to eight years of beautiful depth, evangelism and prophecy from Benedict XVI.
But on February 10, 2013, I sat in stunned silence as I listened to Pope Benedict announce his resignation from the papacy. For the next two weeks, the Lord spoke an unusually strong and persistent word in my heart (weeks before I’d hear the name Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio for the first time):
You are now entering into dangerous and confusing times.
The confusion, division, and uncertainty are spreading now by the hour, like the ripples of a tsunami descending upon an unsuspecting coastline.
Recently, Fr. Charles Becker, former American representative of the Marian Movement of Priests (MMP), gave an invaluable nugget of information that sheds more supernatural light on Benedict’s election. In a recent video, he shared a passage from the writings of the late Fr. Stefano Gobbi, the founder of the MMP whose prophecies are now unfolding before our very eyes. Referring to St. John Paul II reigning at the time, Our Lady said to Fr. Gobbi:
When this Pope will have completed the task which Jesus has entrusted to him and I will come down from heaven to receive his sacrifice, all of you will be cloaked in a dense darkness of apostasy, which will then become general.There will remain faithful only that little remnant which, in these years, by accepting my motherly invitation, has let itself be enfolded in the secure refuge of my Immaculate Heart. And it will be this little faithful remnant, prepared and formed by me, that will have the task of receiving Christ, who will return to you in glory, bringing about in this way the beginning of the new era which awaits you. —Our Lady to Fr. Stefano, To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, “The Pope of My Secret”, n. 449, Salzburg, Austria, May 13, 1991, p. 685 (18th edition)
But four years later — after many more priests and prayers joined Our Lady’s cause, she announced that “time will be shortened”:
The times will be shortened, because I am Mother of Mercy and each day I offer, at the throne of Divine justice, my prayer united to that of the children who are responding to me with a “yes” and consecrating themselves to my Immaculate Heart… The times will be shortened, because I am your Mother and I want to help you, with my presence, to carry the cross of the painful events through which you are living. How many times have I already intervened in order to set back further and further in time the beginning of the great trial, for the purification of this poor humanity, now possessed and dominated by the Spirits of Evil. The times will be shortened, because the great struggle which is being waged between God and his Adversary is above all at the level of spirits and is taking place above you… I entrust you to the powerful protection of these Archangels and of your Guardian Angels, so that you may be guided and defended in the struggle which is now being waged between heaven and earth, between paradise and hell, between Saint Michael the Archangel and Lucifer himself, who will appear very soon with all the power of the Antichrist.—”The Times Will be Shortened”, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), September 29, 1995, n. 553If the Lord had not shortened those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect whom he chose, he did shorten the days. (Mark 13:20)
Fr. Charles then retells the story of a European priest in the MMP who was with Fr. Stefano on the day that Benedict XVI was elected:
Upon hearing the name of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, [Fr. Stefano] exalted with joy. He immediately said these precise words: “Our Lady has kept her promise. She has shortened the “great test” by eight years.“ —see video starting at 38:58
Eight years, of course, ended up being the length of Benedict’s papacy — something Fr. Gobbi could not have known back then, except prophetically. However, with the resignation of Benedict XVI and the new pontificate of Pope Francis, Fr. Charles says the “test commenced full swing.”
Of course, some will immediately point to Francis as the source of this apostasy, which is far too simplistic if not careless. For one, the apostasy in the Church long precedes Pope Francis. As far back as 1903, St. Pius X stated that ‘apostasy’ was spreading like a ‘disease’ and that ‘there may be already in the world the “Son of Perdition” [the Antichrist] of whom the Apostle speaks.'E Supremi, Encyclical On the Restoration of All Things in Christ, n. 3, 5; October 4th, 1903 However, there is no question that since Francis’ election, the “dense darkness of apostasy” has obscured the truth in many quarters of the Church and that there has been escalating confusion, disorientation and division. As Fr. Charles concludes:
We’re in the throws of the darkness of this apostasy becoming general. Now Pope Francis may or may not be purposely involved in that… but at least — not-purposely — he’s involved in it, because things are coming apart, things are being misaligned and misconstrued, and confusion is reigning more and more in his papacy. So, Blessed Mother warned us that this is part of the tribulation. —cf. video starting at 43:04Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 675
Great darkness envelops the world, and now is the time… Small flock, fear not. I will assist you. In due time will come the glory of My Son, Jesus, in view of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of My daughter and of your Blessed Mother Mary! —God the Father allegedly to Fr. Michel Rodrigue, December 31st, 2020; cf. “Now is the Time”
The crisis of fatherhood we are living today is an element, perhaps the most important, threatening man in his humanity. The dissolution of fatherhood and motherhood is linked to the dissolution of our being sons and daughters. —POPE BENEDICT XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger), Palermo, March 15th, 2000
While writing this reflection, a new message from the Brazilian seer Pedro Regis came down the pike regarding this “confusion.” Our Lady said to him:
Dear children, testify to the truth. You are living in a time of great confusion, and only those who pray will be able to bear the weight of the trials. I suffer over what comes to you. You are heading towards a future where few will bear witness to the faith. Many will retreat out of fear and My poor children will walk like the blind leading the blind. Do not leave what you have to do until tomorrow. Devote part of your time to prayer. Pray much before the cross. Whatever happens, do not stray from the path that I have pointed out to you. You are not alone. I love you and will be by your side. Repent and serve the Lord faithfully. Let your lives speak of the Lord more than your words. Onward without fear!—January 7th, 2021; countdowntothekingdom.com
Here, Heaven has given yet again clear directives — antidotes to the fear and confusion. But are we doing them? Are we really truly living these words? You see, the world may be in darkness; your neighbour may be frightened and confused. But as Christians, we need to hear the powerful words of today’s first reading on this feast of the Baptism of the Lord as though they are written for us. For what refers to Jesus also applies to His Mystical Body, the Church, who shares in His divine life.
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice, I have grasped you by the hand; I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness. (Isaiah 42:6-7)
You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. (Matthew 5:14)
And yet, are not many Catholics hiding in the shadows today, cowering in fear, capitulating to the State, succumbing to political correctness or otherwise living in mere self-preservation as they await “divine justice”?
Of course, one can still safely identify oneself as a ‘Catholic,’ and even be seen going to Mass. That is because the guardians of those norms of cultural orthodoxy that we have come to call ‘political correctness’ do not assume that identifying as ‘Catholic’ or going to Mass necessarily means that one actually believes what the Church teaches on issues such as marriage and sexual morality and the sanctity of human life. —Princeton Professor Robert P. George, National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, May 15th, 2014, LifeSiteNews.com
On the other hand, despair can shipwreck one’s faith. One American reader sent this letter recently:
I thought I was to be part of the Remnant / Rabble but I can no longer bear this burden and follow His plan. Watching yet another evil plan unfold in our country today… my hope has been crushed and my faith destroyed. For months and years I have prayed, fasted, said the Rosary and Divine Mercy chaplet, Adoration, etc. And what has it brought to us? Evil and wickedness and corruption that goes unchecked and gets away with murder, literally. The more devotion time I have, the greater the spiritual attacks are against me. The times we are in are supposed to be the most extraordinary times ever in human history for the Church and Christianity… and I ask, where are our leaders on earth and in heaven?? We have been betrayed by our Church on earth, and I ask where is our Lord and our Lady? This is supposed to be the greatest battle ever on this earth between Good and Evil yet we do not see them, hear them or feel them?! Not a word of comfort, not a word of encouragement, nothing. The silence is deafening. I never asked to be part of this and was never given a choice to be part of His plan.
The truth is that we Westerners are quite spoiled. We are living in the most abundant and opulent times, and yet, when it becomes a bit uncomfortable, we begin to lose our faith. We are soft. In fact, how many even consider Jesus as the true solution to our problems much less speak of Him openly? Or as Benedict gently put it:
In our own time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the Gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied. And yet, the Church cannot withdraw from the task of proclaiming Christ and his Gospel as saving truth, the source of our ultimate happiness as individuals and as the foundation of a just and humane society. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, London, England, September 18th, 2010; Zenit
But the times we are entering will not be so kind to soft Christians. The Church is about to pass through her own “Passion, death and Resurrection” as she follows in the footsteps of her Lord.“The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.” (CCC, n. 677) In fact, we are to imitate Jesus: His patience with His captors, His silence before false accusers, His witness to truth before Pilate, His mercy to the “good thief”, and His meekness before His executioners. But first, we have to enter this night of faith, this Vigil of Sorrows, with the heart. For if we are to follow Our Lord in His Passion, then we will be given strength just as He was if we but dispose ourselves to it in perseverance.
…the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:3-4)
And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. (Luke 22:43)
…take a look at where Jesus calls you and wants you: under the wine press of My Divine Will, so that your will receives a continuous death, as did My human will. Otherwise you would not be able to inaugurate the new Era and make My Will reign on earth. What is needed in order for My Will to come and reign on earth is the continuous act, the pains, the deaths in order to be able to draw down from Heaven the “Fiat Voluntuas Tua” [thy will be done]. —the Lord to Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta, Manuscripts, December 26th, 1923
In a word, Gethsemane. St. John Paul II delivered this very message to the youth whom he called to be “watchmen” at World Youth Day in Toronto:
…only by following God’s will can we be the light of the world and the salt of the earth! This sublime and demanding reality can only be grasped and lived in a spirit of constant prayer. This is the secret, if we are to enter into and dwell in God’s will. —ST. JOHN PAUL II, To the Youth of Rome Preparing for World Youth Day, March 21, 2002; vatican.va
The secret is prayer — not scrolling through endless gloomy headlines of Satan’s hollow triumphs. Our Lady said to Gisella Cardia recently:
My children, light the candles of faith and continue with prayer; at this moment we are in need of you Christians and of those who are in the truth. My children, pay attention, because everything that is about to happen should open your eyes and make you see that God’s justice and punishment are upon you. Many are the nations that have turned their backs on God’s laws and made others their own that have nothing to do with the divine. Children, pray for those who have promoted laws concerning abortion, because their suffering will be great. Children, the road of the antichrist is opening up, but be calm, because the fire of the Holy Spirit will be upon my children, who will not let themselves be deceived. Now I bless you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. —January 3rd, 2021; countdowntothekingdom.com
Light the candles of faith with prayer. There again is that word from Heaven, the “secret” to preparing to live in the Divine Will.
The world has entered into a new corridor in time, and it is only through prayer that you will find your peace, find your strength, for what lies ahead. —Jesus to Jennifer, January 4th, 2021; countdowntothekingdom.com
A Canadian reader, a successful businessman, who has begun to lose everything because of the lockdowns in his province, is a shining example of how to use these winds of change to carry him and his family closer to God:
God is now showing me to completely depend solely on Him. Every situation I am in, I am completely helpless. I can’t force to open my businesses and I can’t force someone to buy my home. I have surrendered all this to Him and our finances because we are in deep now. My wife is 26 weeks pregnant today and is working full time to try and help out. I’m home with the three kids homeschooling and looking after a 2 year old. Yet, it’s made us grow together as we march around our property saying the Chaplet at 3pm and the Rosary, admiring God’s creation that He’s allowed for us to enjoy… I’ve noticed the Spirit is much stronger in me lately. Like more powerful and right there at all times. Even when I say a simple grace at dinner…
That’s real Christianity being lived out right there, practically, in the present moment. What else can one do, or rather, what else should one do? Read Matthew 6:25-34 if you’re not sure of the answer.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely… (Proverbs 3:5)
This is why Our Lady has been begging us for decades to form cenacles around the world — small prayer gatherings, with our families or others, to pray (the Rosary, especially). Did you know that she is essentially forming the “upper room” all over again? And here’s why: so that the prodigy of the first Pentecost may be repeated in us. Again, as Our Lady said to Gisella, “Children, the road of the antichrist is opening up, but be calm, because the fire of the Holy Spirit will be upon my children, who will not let themselves be deceived.” She is preparing us for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will change everything, as it did in the first Upper Room.
Thus transformed, they were changed from frightened men into courageous witnesses, ready to carry out the task entrusted to them by Christ. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, July 1, 1995, Slovakia
The coming Warning will be more than an “illumination of conscience.” It is going to flood those who have entered into the upper room at this time with incredible graces if not the Gift of Living the Divine Will in its beginning stages.
The Lord Jesus… spoke to me at length about the time of grace and the Spirit of Love quite comparable to the first Pentecost, flooding the earth with its power. That will be the great miracle drawing the attention of all humanity. All that is the effusion of the effect of grace of the Blessed Virgin’s Flame of Love. The earth has been covered in darkness because of the lack of faith in the soul of humanity and therefore will experience a great jolt. Following that, people will believe… “nothing like it has happened ever since the Word became Flesh.” —Elizabeth Kindelmann, The Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: The Spiritual Diary (Kindle Edition, Loc. 2898-2899); approved in 2009 by Cardinal Péter Erdö Cardinal, Primate and Archbishop. Note: Pope Francis gave his Apostolic Blessing upon the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Movement on June 19th, 2013
So, repeatedly, we hear Our Lady saying all over the world to convert, to not put off until tomorrow what we need to do today, to cleanse our hearts and empty them of every tittle of darkness.
Depart from [Babylon], my people, so as not to take part in her sins and receive a share in her plagues… (Rev 18:4)
“The Holy Spirit will come to establish the glorious reign of Christ and it will be a reign of grace, of holiness, of love, of justice and of peace,” says Our Lady to Fr. Gobbi. And this is how it will begin: in the hearts of the faithful…
With His divine love, He will open the doors of hearts and illuminate all consciences. Every person will see himself in the burning fire of divine truth. It will be like a judgment in miniature. —Fr. Stefano Gobbi, To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, May 22nd, 1988 (with Imprimatur)
Hence, all the private revelation in the world cannot and will never replace the Public Revelation of Jesus Christ, namely, the great truths of our Faith and the Sacraments, which are the foundation of spiritual life and growth.
Private revelation is a help to this faith, and shows its credibility precisely by leading me back to the definitive public Revelation. —Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), Theological Commentary on the Message of Fatima
If you aren’t going to Confession regularly now, at least once a month, you are probably going to struggle. If you aren’t receiving Jesus in the Eucharist (while you still can), your soul is going to go hungry. If you aren’t following these sacramental graces with daily prayer and meditation on God’s Word, you are going to dry up like a grape without a vine because prayer is your life.
Prayer is the life of the new heart. It ought to animate us at every moment. But we tend to forget him who is our life and our all… We must remember God more often than we draw breath. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2697
We have so little time left to take advantage of these supernatural gifts before we may have to seek them underground (cf. Weep, O Children of Men!). This is a test of our faith, on the one hand… but then, This is Not a Test, if you know what I mean. The Labor Pains are Real. We need to light the candles of faith because it is only going to get darker now.
But the darker it gets, the closer is the Dawn and the The Resurrection of the Church…
God indeed is my Savior; I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my Savior. (Today’s Psalm)
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|↑1||E Supremi, Encyclical On the Restoration of All Things in Christ, n. 3, 5; October 4th, 1903|
|↑2||“The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.” (CCC, n. 677)|
|↑4||cf. The New Gideon|