AFTER Pope Benedict XVI relinquished the seat of Peter, I sensed in prayer several times the words: You have entered into dangerous days. It was the sense that the Church is entering into a period of great confusion.
Enter: Pope Francis.
Not unlike Blessed John Paul II’s papacy, our new pope has also overturned the deeply rooted sod of the status quo. He has challenged everyone in the Church in one way or another. Several readers, however, have written me with concern that Pope Francis is departing from the Faith by his unorthodox actions, his blunt remarks, and seemingly contradictory statements. I have been listening for several months now, watching and praying, and feel compelled to respond to these questions regarding our Pope’s candid ways….
O LORD, we were once companions.
You and I,
walking hand in hand in the garden of my heart.
But now, where are you my Lord?
I seek you,
but find only the faded corners where once we loved
and you revealed to me your secrets.
There too, I found your Mother
and felt her intimate touch to my brow.
But now, where are you?
THERE is a new breeze blowing through my soul. In the darkest of nights these past several months, it has been barely a whisper. But now it is beginning to sail through my soul, lifting my heart toward Heaven in a new way. I sense the love of Jesus for this little flock gathered here daily for Spiritual Food. It is a love that conquers. A love that has overcome the world. A love that will overcome all that is coming against us in the times ahead. You who are coming here, be of courage! Jesus is going to feed and strengthen us! He is going to equip us for the Great Trials that now loom over the world like a woman about to enter hard labour.
TO you, Jesus,
Through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer my day and my entire being.
To look at only that which you want me to see;
To listen to only that which you wish me to hear;
To speak only that which you want me to say;
To love only that which you wish me to love.
IMAGINE a small child, who has just learned to walk, being taken into a busy shopping mall. He is there with his mother, but does not want to take her hand. Every time he begins to wander, she gently reaches for his hand. Just as quickly, he pulls it away and continues to dart in any direction he wants. But he is oblivious to the dangers: the throngs of hurried shoppers who barely notice him; the exits that lead to traffic; the pretty but deep water fountains, and all the other unknown dangers that keep parents awake at night. Occasionally, the mother—who is always a step behind—reaches down and grabs a little hand to keep him from going into this store or that, from running into this person or that door. When he wants to go the other direction, she turns him around, but still, he wants to walk on his own.
Now, imagine another child who, upon entering the mall, senses the dangers of the unknown. She willingly lets the mother take her hand and lead her. The mother knows just when to turn, where to stop, where to wait, for she can see the dangers and obstacles ahead, and takes the safest path for her little one. And when the child is willing to be picked up, the mother walks straight ahead, taking the quickest and easiest path to her destination.
Now, imagine that you are a child, and Mary is your mother. Whether you are a Protestant or a Catholic, a believer or an unbeliever, she is always walking with you… but are you walking with her?
NOT only can we hope for the fulfillment of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, the Church has the power to hasten its coming by our prayers and actions. Instead of despairing, we need to be preparing.
What can we do? What can I do?
AS Pope Francis prepares to consecrate his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima on May 13th, 2013 through Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo, Archbishop of Lisbon, Correction: The consecration is to happen through the Cardinal, not the Pope in person himself at Fatima, as I mistakenly reported. it is timely to reflect on the Blessed Mother’s promise made there in 1917, what it means, and how it will unfold… something that seems more and more likely to be in our times. I believe his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, has shed some valuable light on what is coming upon the Church and the world in this regard…
In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. —www.vatican.va
|Correction: The consecration is to happen through the Cardinal, not the Pope in person himself at Fatima, as I mistakenly reported.
CHRIST IS RISEN!
BROTHERS and sisters, how can we not feel hope on this glorious day? And yet, I know in reality, many of you are uneasy as we read headlines of the beating drums of war, of economic collapse, and growing intolerance for the Church’s moral positions. And many are tired and turned off by the constant stream of profanity, lewdness and violence that fills our airwaves and internet.
It is precisely at the end of the second millennium that immense, threatening clouds converge on the horizon of all humanity and darkness descends upon human souls. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, from a speech (translated from Italian), December, 1983; www.vatican.va
That is our reality. And I can write “be not afraid” over and over again, and yet many remain anxious and worried about many things.
First, we have to realize authentic hope is always conceived in the womb of truth, otherwise, it risks being false hope. Second, hope is so much more than simply “positive words.” In fact, the words are merely invitations. Christ’s three year ministry was one of invitation, but the actual hope was conceived on the Cross. It was then incubated and birthed in the Tomb. This, dear friends, is the path of authentic hope for you and I in these times…
YESTERDAY in prayer, I heard the words in my heart:
The winds of change are blowing and will not cease now until I have purified and cleansed the world.
And with that, a storm of storms came upon us! We woke up this morning to snow banks up to 15 feet in our yard! Most of it was the result, not of snowfall, but strong, unrelenting winds. I went outside and—in between sliding down the white mountains with my sons—snapped a few shots around the farm on a cellphone to share with my readers. I have never seen a wind storm produce results like this!
Admittedly, it’s not quite what I envisioned for the first day of Spring. (I see I’m booked to speak in California next week. Thank God….)
GOD wants to slow us down. More than that, He wants us to rest, even in chaos. Jesus never rushed to His Passion. He took the time to have a last meal, a last teaching, an intimate moment of washing another’s feet. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He set aside time to pray, to gather His strength, to seek the will of the Father. So as the Church approaches her own Passion, we too should imitate our Savior and become a people of rest. In fact, only in this way can we possibly offer ourselves as true instruments of “salt and light.”
What does it mean to “rest”?
When you die, all worrying, all restlessness, all passions cease, and the soul is suspended in a state of stillness… a state of rest. Meditate on this, for that should be our state in this life, since Jesus calls us to a state of “dying” while we live:
Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it…. I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. (Matt 16:24-25; John 12:24)
Of course, in this life, we cannot help but wrestle with our passions and struggle with our weaknesses. The key, then, is not to let yourself be caught up in the rushing currents and impulses of the flesh, in the tossing waves of the passions. Rather, dive deep into the soul where the Waters of the Spirit are still.
We do this by living in a state of trust.
SINCE Pope Benedict XVI renounced his office, I have received several emails asking about papal prophecies, from St. Malachi to contemporary private revelation. Most notable are modern prophecies that are completely opposed to one another. One “seer” claims that Benedict XVI will be the last true pope and that any future popes will not be from God, while another speaks of a chosen soul prepared to lead the Church through tribulations. I can tell you now that at least one of the above “prophecies” directly contradicts Sacred Scripture and Tradition.
Given the rampant speculation and real confusion spreading throughout many quarters, it is good to revisit this writing on what Jesus and His Church have consistently taught and understood for 2000 years. Let me just add this brief prologue: if I were the devil—at this moment in the Church and the world—I would do my best to discredit the priesthood, undermine the Holy Father’s authority, sow doubt in the Magisterium, and attempt to make the faithful believe that they can only rely now upon their own inner instincts and private revelation.
That, simply, is a recipe for deception.
Photo by EPA, at 6pm in Rome, February 11th, 2013
FOR some reason, a deep sorrow came over me in April of 2012, which was immediately after the Pope’s trip to Cuba. That sorrow culminated in a writing three weeks later called Removing the Restrainer. It speaks in part about how the Pope and the Church are a force restraining the “lawless one,” the Antichrist. Little did I or hardly anyone know that the Holy Father decided then, after that trip, to renounce his office, which he did this past February 11th of 2013.
This resignation has brought us closer to the threshold of the Day of the Lord…
Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Ludolf Backhuysen, 1695
IT felt like the last straw. Our vehicles have been breaking down costing a small fortune, the farm animals have been getting sick and mysteriously injured, the machinery has been failing, the garden isn’t growing, windstorms have ravaged the fruit trees, and our apostolate has run out of money. As I raced last week to catch my flight to California for a Marian conference, I cried out in distress to my wife standing in the driveway: Doesn’t the Lord see we are in a free-fall?
I felt abandoned, and let the Lord know it. Two hours later, I arrived at the airport, passed through the gates, and settled down into my seat in the aircraft. I looked out my window as the earth and the chaos of the last month fell away beneath the clouds. “Lord,” I whispered, “to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life…”
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DO you feel as though you are an insignificant part of God’s plan? That you have little purpose or usefulness to Him or others? Then I hope you have read The Useless Temptation. However, I sense Jesus wanting to encourage you even more. In fact, it is crucial that you who are reading this understand: you were born for these times. Every single soul in the Kingdom of God is here by design, here with a specific purpose and role that is invaluable. That is because you make up part of “the light of the world,” and without you, the world loses a little color…. let me explain.
WITH the ongoing scandals coming to surface in the Catholic Church, many—including even clergy—are calling for the Church to reform her laws, if not her foundational faith and morals that belong to the deposit of faith.
The problem is, in our modern world of referendums and elections, many do not realize that Christ established a dynasty, not a democracy.
ONE of the great graces of the Illumination is going to be the revelation of the Father’s love. For the great crisis of our time—the destruction of the family unit—is the loss of our identity as sons and daughters of God:
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
At Paray-le-Monial, France, during the Sacred Heart Congress, I sensed the Lord saying that this moment of the prodigal son, the moment of the Father of Mercies is coming. Even though mystics speak of the Illumination as a moment of seeing the crucified Lamb or an illuminated cross, cf. Revelation Illumination Jesus will reveal to us the Father’s love:
He who sees me sees the Father. (John 14:9)
It is “God, who is rich in mercy” whom Jesus Christ has revealed to us as Father: it is His very Son who, in Himself, has manifested Him and made Him known to us… It is especially for[sinners] that the Messiah becomes a particularly clear sign of God who is love, a sign of the Father. In this visible sign the people of our own time, just like the people then, can see the Father. —BLESSED JOHN PAUL II, Dives in misercordia, n. 1