IF you are looking for someone to tell you that everything’s going to be okay, that the world is simply going to go on as it is, that the Church is not in a serious crisis, and that humanity is not facing a day of reckoning—or that Our Lady is simply going to appear out of the blue and rescue us all so that we won’t have to suffer, or that Christians will be “raptured” from the earth… then you have come to the wrong place.
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! —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)
But dawn is preceded by night, birth preceded by pangs, springtime preceded by winter.
True Christians are not blind optimists who have once and for all put the Cross behind them. Nor are they pessimists who see nothing but suffering ahead. Rather, they are realists who know that three things always remain: faith, hope, and love—even when Storm clouds gather.
But it is also true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit. On razed land life breaks through, stubbornly yet invincibly. However dark things are, goodness always re-emerges and spreads. Each day in our world beauty is born anew, it rises transformed through the storms of history. Values always tend to reappear under new guises, and human beings have arisen time after time from situations that seemed doomed. Such is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelize are instruments of that power. —POPE FRANCIS,Evangelii Gaudium, n. 276
Yes, some things I write can be a bit “scary.” Because the consequences of turning against God are themselves scary and no trifle. They can not only shatter our personal lives but entire nations and generations to come.
SOAPBOX… OR SENTINEL?
Some think this website is a mere soapbox for personal rantings. If you only knew how often I have wanted to run from this apostolate. In fact, the Lord knew such would be the case—that like Jonah of old, I would prefer to be thrown overboard into the depths of the sea than face a hostile crowd (ah, The Temptation to be Normal.) And thus at the beginning of this writing ministry twelve years ago, He gave me a few Scriptures to challenge my self-love and “commit” me to His work. They came from the thirty-third chapter of Ezekiel, who was himself a “watchman” for the Lord.
You, son of man — I have appointed you as a sentinel for the house of Israel; when you hear a word from my mouth, you must warn them for me. When I say to the wicked, “You wicked, you must die,” and you do not speak up to warn the wicked about their ways, they shall die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their blood. If, however, you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, but they do not, then they shall die in their sins, but you shall save your life. (Ezekiel 33:7-9)
I remember that day clearly. There was a strange peace in that word, but it was also firm and convicting. It has kept my hand to the plow all these years; either I was to be a coward, or to be faithful. And then I read the end of that chapter, which made me chuckle:
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 33:31-33)
Well, I claim to neither have a pleasant voice nor to be a prophet. But I got the point: God is going to pull out all the stops; He’s going to send not only prophetic voice after voice, seer after seer, mystic after mystic, but also His very Mother to warn and call humanity back to Himself. But have we listened?
Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 848
AWAKE OR ASLEEP?
As the Pope also said, we are no doubt “living in a time of mercy.”cf. Opening Wide the Doors of Mercy How close, then, is that “day of justice”? Is it near when “Catholic” countries like Ireland vote en masse in favor of infanticide? When in once “Christian” countries like Canada the government demands that churches must sign an agreement that they favor abortion and gender ideology?cf. When Communism Returns When in America, new polls show that 72 percent of that country are in favor of assisted-suicide? When nearly the entire Christian popluation in the Middle East is being tortured or driven out? When in Asian countries like China and North Korea, Christianity is being driven underground? When the Church herself begins to teach an “anti-mercy,” and bishops set themselves against bishops, cardinal against cardinal? In a word, when the world embraces death as the catch-all solution?
I don’t know. God doesn’t share His itinerary with me. But perhaps the ecclesiastically approved events at Akita, Japan have something to say:
The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops… the Church will be full of those who accept compromises… The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them…. As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests. —Message given through an apparition to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa of Akita, Japan, October 13th, 1973; on April 22, 1984, after eight years of investigations, Rev. John Shojiro Ito, Bishop of Niigata, Japan, recognized “the supernatural character” of the events; ewtn.com
(Ah, there’s Our Lady calling for us to pray for the Pope again—not to whip him with our tongues.) Now, those are pretty strong words from the Blessed Mother. I’m not going to ignore them—and to be honest, that really ticks some people off.
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… 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
SIGN OF CONTRADICTION
Another part of this ministry has been learning the art of becoming nearly everyone’s punching bag. You see, I don’t fit into most people’s mould. I love to laugh and joke around—not the serious, glum guy some expect. I also love the ancient liturgies with their chants, bells, candles, incense, high altars and drama… but I play guitar at Novus Ordo liturgies where I find Jesus Present just as much (because He’s there). I adhere to and defend every single Catholic teaching as much as any “traditionalist”… but I also defend Pope Francis because his evangelical vision of the Church as a “field hospital” is right on (and he should be listened to as the Vicar of Christ). I love to sing and write ballads… but I listen to chant and Russian choral music to edify my soul. I love to pray in silence and lie prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament… but I also lift my hands in charismatic gatherings, raising my voice in praise. I pray the Office or a form of it… but I also speak to God in the gift of tongues that Scripture and the Catechism promote.cf. CCC, 2003
This is not to say, of course, that I am a holy man. I am a broken sinner. But I see that God has continually called me to the center of the Catholic Faith and to embrace all of Mother Church’s teachings, as she calls all of us.
All that the Lord has said, we will hear and do. (Exodux 24:7)
That is, to be loyal to the Magisterium, to be contemplative in prayer, charismatic in action, Marian in devotion, Traditional in morality, and ever anew in spirituality. Everything I have just stated is explicitly taught and embraced by the Catholic Church. If my life is meant to challenge other Catholics to quit acting like Protestant Reformers, picking and choosing and discarding whatever they like, then so be it. I will be their punching bag, if that is what’s needed, until they exhaust themselves with fighting the Holy Spirit.
Many years ago, a nun sent one of my writings to her nephew who then wrote back and told her to never send that “crap” to him again. A year later, he re-entered the Church. When she asked why, he said, “That writing started it all.”
Several weeks ago, I met a young father who said that when he was a teenager, he came across my writings. “It woke me up,” he said. And since then, he has been a faithful reader, but more importantly, a faithful Christian.
WATCHING AND PRAYING…
All of this is to say that I am going to continue writing and speaking until the Lord says “Enough!” While the Lord’s patience continually surprises (and even shocks) me, I am seeing many of the things I’ve written about seemingly on the verge of being fulfilled. cf. Seven Seals of Revolution It seems to me that we have inched toward the edge of a cliff and are now mere moments from the plunge. But a plunge to death? More like a plunge through the birth canal…
With that, I leave you with words from God’s chosen messengers that are realistic, yet sobering, but also contain hope:
So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
There is a great uneasiness at this time in the world and in the Church, and that which is in question is the faith. It so happens now that I repeat to myself the obscure phrase of Jesus in the Gospel of St. Luke: ‘When the Son of Man returns, will He still find faith on the earth?’…I sometimes read the Gospel passage of the end times and I attest that, at this time, some signs of this end are emerging. Are we close to the end? This we will never know. We must always hold ourselves in readiness, but everything could last a very long time yet. —POPE PAUL VI, The Secret Paul VI, Jean Guitton, p. 152-153, Reference (7), p. ix.
Now we have arrived at approximately the third two thousand years, and there will be a third renewal. This is the reason for the general confusion, which is nothing other than the preparation for the third renewal. If in the second renewal I manifested what my humanity did and suffered, and very little of what My divinity was accomplishing, now, in this third renewal, after the earth will be purged and a great part of the current generation destroyed… I will accomplish this renewal by manifesting what My divinity did within My humanity. —Jesus to Servant of God Luisa Picarretta, Diary XII, January 29th, 1919; from The Gift of Living in the Divine Will, Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi, footnote n. 406, with ecclesiatical approval
I have pointed out to you the signs of the cruel winter through which the Church is now passing… The Spouse of my Jesus appears again covered with wounds and obscured by my Adversary, who appears to be celebrating his complete victory. He is certain that he has won the victory in the Church, by the confusion which has subverted many of her truths, by the lack of discipline which has caused disorder to spread, by the division which has attacked her internal unity… But see how in this most cruel winter of hers, the buds of a renewed life are already appearing. They tell you that the hour of your liberation is near. For the Church, a new spring of the triumph of my Immaculate Heart is about to burst forth. She will still be the very same Church, but renewed and enlightened, made humbler and stronger, poorer and more evangelical through her purification, so that in her the glorious reign of my Son Jesus may shine forth for all. —Our Lady to Fr. Stefano Gobbi, n. 172 To the Priests Our Lady’s Beleoved Son’s, n. 172; Imprimatur given by Bishop Donald W. Montrose of Stockton, Feb. 2, 1998
Now more than ever it is crucial that you be “watchers of the dawn”, the lookouts who announce the light of dawn and the new springtime of the Gospel of which the buds can already be seen. —POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, 18th World Youth Day, April 13th, 2003; vatican.va
A ballad I wrote for my wife, Léa…
The Now Word is a full-time ministry that
continues by your support.
Bless you, and thank you.
To journey with Mark in The Now Word,
click on the banner below to subscribe.
Your email will not be shared with anyone.