THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for May 6th, 2016
Liturgical texts here
Wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta (photo CBC)
SEVERAL of you have written asking if our family is okay, given the huge wildfire in northern Canada in and around Fort McMurray, Alberta. The fire is about 800km away… but the smoke darkening our skies here and turning the sun into a reddish burning ember, is a reminder that our world is much smaller than we think it is. It’s also a reminder of a what a man from there said to us several years ago…
So I leave you this weekend with a few random thoughts on the fire, Charlie Johnston, and fear, closing with a reflection on today’s powerful Mass readings.
FIRES THAT PURIFY
After hurricane Katrina displaced millions in 2005, including my friend Fr. Kyle Dave, we decided to do a fundraiser for his parish south of New Orleans. Fr. Kyle came and stayed with me in Canada for several weeks. It was during that time that, while we were on a retreat in the mountains, the Lord spoke prophetically to us through the Mass readings and Liturgy of the Hours, essentially laying the foundation for the over 1100 writings now on this website.
At one of our fundraiser events, we traveled to Fort McMurray. This was a booming oil city at the time. Residents there told us that real estate prices were off the charts, hourly wages were extravagant, and the wealth of the region was producing a wave of hedonism and drug addictions. In the midst of this, Fr. Kyle spoke about the trials he had just endured through Katrina; how he had been stripped of everything… and how we all need to prepare ourselves for the times ahead. Afterward, a man came up to us and shared how he’d had visions of black, billowing smoke rising from the city, and he feared it was coming.
I don’t know if this is what he saw… but the images pouring out of Fort McMurray this week jogged our memories of that vision of fire… and should move our hearts to pray—and prepare. For the “day of the Lord” will come like a thief in the night…cf. Like a Thief in the Night
A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog called Meeting in the Clearing in which I identified a few souls who have also been speaking about these times we’re living from different perspectives, faith walks, and backgrounds. While we may not agree on everything, there are many common themes, most prominently, that we are entering a “Storm” or time of purification.
One of them is Charlie Johnston. A few years ago, he contacted me after his spiritual director had pointed out the similarities in our writings. We both found comfort and confirmation in our respective missions, since it is often a lonely journey. Most notably, Heaven had seemingly revealed to both of us that there was a “Storm” coming.
My little introduction to Charlie has led to many other people now following his writings (judging by the letters I receive, thanking me for pointing out his website). Many of you have found reassurance, especially in his central message to “take the next right step and be a sign of hope for others.” It is a marvelous little summary of Catholic spirituality. Moreover, I have come to know Charlie personally and can say without reserve that he is a stalwart defender of the faith, a man of great integrity, sincerity and selflessness. He is not your typical “seer”; he hasn’t changed his name to “Charles of the Sacred Heart” while flaunting his decades long encounters with angels (in fact, he tends to downplay them.) And neither is he afraid to scrap with his adversaries rather than hide out of a false sense of humility. Too much is at stake to let others continue the status quo rebuttals that keep others bound in fear and apathy, he says. I agree.
However, recent letters to me in the past few months reveal that many assume that I am on the same page as Charlie regarding all his alleged revelations. Most notably is his claim that an “angel” has revealed that a “Rescue” is coming toward the end of 2017 in the midst of terrible turmoil that will end “the Storm” and usher in an “era of peace” and a period of rebuilding. After much reflection, I feel that I have an obligation to respond to those letters, if only to enhance our discernment at this hour. For some people have written me thinking that all our troubles will end next Fall… and I think that could be a setup for great disappointment.
As I wrote yesterday in The Coming Judgment, my particular ministry is concerned, in part, with bringing forward Sacred Tradition and the teachings of the Church Fathers and popes on the “end times.” It has been a remarkable journey for me, because I have discovered that the Magisterium has actually provided us more insight, chronology, and detail at times than “private revelation”. And so let me state as briefly as possible where Charlie and I seem to differ (and might I add that he and I have discussed this several times in conversation—so Charlie, you can skip class today.)
I too received a “word” from the Lord, albeit not from an angel, but in the “prophetic habit” of prayer. I sensed the Lord say that there was a Storm coming like a hurricane. As I began to deepen my study of the Church Fathers, I began to see that their teachings, Sacred Scripture, as well as the revelations given to many of the mystics and seers of the past couple of centuries all fit the pattern of this hurricane. That the first part of the Storm would unfold much like Charlie and many others have said: economic collapse, civil chaos, famine, etc. In a word, the seals of Revelation. see The Seals of Revolution
Now interestingly enough, in Scripture there is a break in this Storm, like the eye of a hurricane, when there is a “great shaking.” cf. watch: Great Shaking, Great Awakening, and Fatima, and the Great Shaking The entire world sees “a Lamb who appeared to have been slain” cf. Rev 5:6 and they cry out to be hidden “from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come.” cf. Rev 6:16 That is, there is a massive conviction of sin, what appears to be an “illumination of conscience.” As I have already written, many mystics and seers such as St. Faustina, Servant of God Maria Esperanza, Fr. Stefano Gobbi, Jennifer, and others have all spoken of this “judgment in miniature” that would shake the world as a “warning.” cf. The Great Liberation The Scriptural text itself seems to indicate that it heralds in the “great day”, that is, the “day of the Lord”, which begins to transition this era from a “time of mercy” to a “time of justice” that would usher in the last phases of this world. Revelation indicates that this break in the Storm is a period when souls are going to be marked eit her by God, or by the “beast”.
“Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God”… When he broke open the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (Rev 7:3; 8:1)
And then the Storm resumes, eventually leading to the appearance of the “beast”, both an antichrist system as well as the appearance of the “lawless one”, according to Tradition. And to be certain, several commentators today tend to always place the antichrist or “lawless one” before the very end of the world. However, this is an injury to St. John’s clear chronology of events that sees the rise of a “beast and false prophet” before an era of peace (“thousand years”) and the rise of a last adversary, “Gog and Magog” before the very end. That is to say, “antichrist” cannot be restricted to any one individual, though the Church Fathers point specifically to the “lawless one” or “son of perdition” as appearing before the era of peace and restoration of the Church.
As far as the antichrist is concerned, we have seen that in the New Testament he always assumes the lineaments of contemporary history. He cannot be restricted to any single individual. One and the same he wears many masks in each generation. —Cardinal Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), Dogmatic Theology, Eschatology 9, Johann Auer and Joseph Ratzinger, 1988, p. 199-200
The most authoritative view, and the one that appears to be most in harmony with Holy Scripture, is that, after the fall of the Antichrist, the Catholic Church will once again enter upon a period of prosperity and triumph. —The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life, Fr. Charles Arminjon (1824-1885), p. 56-57; Sophia Institute Press
And there is where Charlie and I differ… and I must say, where Charlie in fact differs with most other mystics. His assertion that, next year, the Church’s tribulations will virtually end through Our Lady’s intervention, tends to fly against the ‘prophetic consensus’ of a host of seers and mystics who all say more or less the same thing as one another, as I’ve generally outlined above, including the eventual if not imminent arrival on the scene of an antichrist. Among them:
• Edson Glauber (Itapiranga approved apparitions – 1000 pages of messages)
• Agustin del Divino Corazon (Colombia, founder of the ‘Servadores de Reparacion’ congregation with official diocesan recognition, 12 books)
• Pedro Régis (Anguera apparitions, Brazil)
• Sulema (Québec, 3 volumes on preparing for the Illumination of Conscience)
• Francine Bériault (a.k.a. ‘La Fille du Oui à Jésus’, 6 volumes and countless oral presentations)
• Fr Adam Skwarczynski (Poland)
• Adam-Czlowiek (Poland, real name Pawel Szcerzynski (1969-2014), 20 years of locutions edited by Fr Adam Skwarczynski and approved for publication by the Archbishop of Szczecin Andrzej Dziega)
• Anna Argasinska (Poland, also edited by Fr Adam Skwarczynski – locutions ongoing)
• Luz de Maria Bonilla (stigmatic, Costa Rica/Argentina, 20 years of locutions, ongoing)
• Jennifer (an American seer; wordsfromjesus.com)
• Fr. Stefano Don Gobbi
• Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta
It is not for me to make a pronouncement on Charlie’s revelations as “true” or “false”. But perhaps we could ask some questions. Is “the Rescue” he speaks of possibly the same thing as that which other seers have referred to as a “great miracle” following the Illumination or “warning”—an indestructable sign from Heaven? Wouldn’t there obviously be, after such events, a burst of evangelization and regathering of the Church’s strength (and possibly a brief “period of peace”—the “half hour” of the seventh seal)? And given that the Scriptures themselves testify that not everyone will convert, would not such events serve to definitively separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats, the army of light from the army of darkness—in preparation for a “final confrontation” before God purifies the earth, ushering in the reign of the Divine Will?
He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice… —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, Jesus to St. Faustina, n. 1146
This is what the prophetic consensus suggests, and more importantly, what the Church Fathers generally taught in the first centuries of the Church.
We shall indeed be able to interpret the words, “The priest of God and of Christ shall reign with Him a thousand years; and when the thousand years shall be finished, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison;” for thus they signify that the reign of the saints and the bondage of the devil shall cease simultaneously… so in the end they shall go out who do not belong to Christ, but to that last Antichrist… —St. Augustine, The Anti-Nicene Fathers, City of God, Book XX, Chap. 13, 19
The consensus also suggests that there are yet many years of trial and triumph ahead, not just months. I have formulated some further answers here: The Triumphs in Scripture, where I explore the possibility that the “period of peace” promised at Fatima could very well be this “pause” in the Storm, followed by the Church’s full Passion, which leads to an “era of peace”…
FOCUSING ON FEAR RATHER THAN FAITH
What is without question is that the Storm is clearly upon us. The thunder of persecution is rolling and lightning strikes are already appearing on the horizon for us who live in the once free and democratic West. Wildfires have started, and the winds of change are about to blow them into a firestorm of revolution. For Christians in the Middle East, they are already living the Storm in its ferocity.
The words of Jesus came alive as I read them in today’s Gospel:
Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices.
Indeed, while the world celebrates the innovations of gay marriage, transgender bathrooms, unethical technologies, the legalization of euthanasia, abortion pills, the explicit sex education of children—and the prosecution of anyone who opposes these things—I know many Christians today who are quietly preparing their children for martyrdom (be it white or red). I admit that I too struggle at times with what seems to be inevitable…
And so did St. Paul, such that the Lord appeared to him in a vision, saying:
Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you. (Today’s first reading)
Look, who w ants to be persecuted? Who wants to be fined, imprisoned, tortured, beheaded, etc.? Even Jesus said to the Father:
My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done. (Matt 26:42)
Once Jesus embraced that it was not possible, His entire disposition changed as he entered an even deeper conformity to the Father’s will. Suddenly, the man of sorrows also became a man of strength. So too, it says that St. Paul “settled there for a year and a half and taught the word of God among them.” The key is to “settle” into the will of God for today, for the next moment… “take the right next step”, as Charlie says. Therein lies our food, our strength.
Which is why Our Lady gave us the Lenten Retreat that she did this year. Do you want to know my secret to overcoming my fears as an evangelist on the front lines of the Church? Prayer. It is in prayer that I encounter Jesus, and suddenly all of the darkness I am experiencing turns to light. Suddenly, I have the grace to enter the duty of the moment, and live it with joy! Then, through the grace of prayer and the Sacraments, I am able to live today to the full, smell the flowers that are still growing, bask in the warmth of the sun, delight in the presence of our farm animals, and melt in the embrace of my dear spouse and children. It is through prayer that a divine wisdom comes, and I see that all my worrying about tomorrow is futile, because I may not even live beyond tonight. And if I do, then tomorrow’s prayer will supply me with all I need once again. Jesus will never leave me.
Friend and theologian, Peter Bannister, said to me recently, “Too many people seek information rather than transformation.” Yes, there is a danger in that. Many people come to my website looking for those sensational prophetic words. Indeed, the “hits” climb and the website hums with traffic on those days…. but I tell you, knowing what is coming will not prepare you for what is coming. It is only in grace, which comes through prayer and the Sacraments, that you will find your “daily bread.”
In that regard, the messages of Medjugorje—still under scrutiny by the Vatican—are absolutely bang on. Many pass over them because they are “boring”, “repetitive”, the “same ‘ole, same ‘ole”. But I’m telling you that Medjugorje is the heart of the prophetic message for our times: the call to prayer, fasting, Scripture and the Sacraments. Everything else (chastisement, antichrist, persecution, signs of the times, etc.) is secondary. Here, I absolutely agree with Archbishop Sam Aquila, who concluded his preliminary assessment of Charlie’s messages in this statement:
…the archdiocese encourages [souls] to seek their security in Jesus Christ, the Sacraments, and the Scriptures. —statement from the Archdiocese of Denver, March 1st, 2016; www.archden.org
I had a powerful dream not long ago in which I saw a chastisement coming, and then St. Michael appeared, passing to me what seemed to be gold bars. I immediately had terrible remorse that I hadn’t done enough… prayed enough, actually… in order to merit more graces. Another seer whom I will be speaking about more shortly, an American mother named Jennifer, received an interior locution recently in which Jesus allegedly said:
If man only knew the significance of this “time of mercy” and the merit of graces the soul obtains by turning to it, he would be gathering the graces like flowers in the meadow, for I tell you this: the pendulum has swung in a direction that man has chosen, for the time of mercy is here. —private text to me, May 4th, 2016
This is what Our Lady continually tells us at Medjugorje: pray, until it becomes joy for you… pray, until you become like Jesus, etc. Pick the flowers! People want to sit and nitpick at Medjugorje, one of the greatest centers of conversion since the Acts of the Apostles. And as I wrote in On Medjugorje, I want to ask them, “What are you thinking??” Whether you think the messages are supernatural or not, for the love of God, listen to what is being said and live it. You won’t go wrong, because the message is the very heart of Catholicism. That is to say that, if the Pope were to shut down Medjugorje tomorrow, it would make no difference to me, for its messages are the summa of the Catechism, which we should be living anyway. I would, of course, be fully obedient to whatever the Pope will say on the matter.
In closing, the world is entering into the labour pains that eventually will give way to the birth of a new era. Ponder what Jesus is saying in today’s Gospel:
When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world.
That is, don’t focus on the labor pains, but on the new birth that is coming…
When you see all these things, know that he is near, at the gates… know that the kingdom of God is near… when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. (Matt 24:33, Luke 21:31; 21:28)
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