THE Ark God has provided to ride out not only the storms of past centuries, but most especially the Storm at the end of this age, is not a barque of self-preservation, but a ship of salvation intended for the world. That is, our mentality must not be "saving our own behinds" while the rest of the world drifts away into a sea of destruction.
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
It’s not about "me an’ Jesus," but Jesus, me, and my neighbour.
How could the idea have developed that Jesus’ message is narrowly individualistic and aimed only at each person singly? How did we arrive at this interpretation of the “salvation of the soul” as a flight from responsibility for the whole, and how did we come to conceive the Christian project as a selfish search for salvation which rejects the idea of serving others? —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Spe Salvi (Saved In Hope), n. 16
So too, we have to avoid the temptation to run and hide somewhere in the wilderness until the Storm passes (unless the Lord is saying one should do so). This is "the time of mercy," and more than ever, souls need to "taste and see" in us the life and presence of Jesus. We need to become signs of hope to others. In a word, each of our hearts needs to become an "ark" for our neighbour.
IT’S NOT "US" AND "THEM"
Whether it’s out of fear or our own insecurity, we often cling to others who think the same way and turn our backs on others who differ. But love is blind. It overlooks faults and differences and sees the other the way that God created them: "in the divine image…" Gen 1:127 That is not to say that love overlooks sin. If we truly love our neighbour, we would not turn away if he were about to fall into a pit, nor ignore him when he is already at its bottom, in a kind of "tolerant" pretend world where heaven and hell do not exist. But as St. Paul says, love…
…bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor 13:7)
This is the incredible message at the heart of salvation history: that God bears our sins; He believes in us and our worth; He has given us new hope, and is willing to endure all things—that is, all our faults and imperfections that we may attain the object of our hope, which is union with Him. This is no lofty dream or fairytale. Jesus demonstrated this love to the very end, giving His whole being, every last drop of blood, and then some. He sent us His Spirit; He gave us an Ark; and He remains as close to us as our breath. But if we think this love is only intended for a special few, for a "remnant," then we have shrunk the heart of God to fit into a very narrow world view. In fact, He…
…wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:4)
But if our thinking is Christian vs. pagan, American vs. Muslim, European vs. Jew, black vs. white… then we have not yet learned to love with the love of God. And we must! The so-called Illumination of Conscience will either shrink hearts further, or open-wide their doors. For when it comes, it will be in the midst of chaos and turmoil, famine and plague, war and disaster. Will you reach only for the souls that appeal to you, or every soul God brings to you, whether they are whole or broken, peaceful or disturbed, Hindu, Muslim, or atheist?
During one of the evenings when I spoke in California last month, I led the people in a time of prayer and surrender to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Suddenly, the Lord stopped me. I sensed Him saying,
Before you can receive My blessings and the ocean of graces I have to give you, you must forgive your neighbour. For if you do not forgive, then neither will your Heavenly Father forgive you.
TO LOVE IS ALSO TO FORGIVE
As I led the people to forgive their enemies, I shared with them the story of a woman I prayed with at a mission in British Columbia, Canada. She wept as she recounted how her father abused her as a child and how she could not forgive him. Just then, an image came to mind that I shared with her:
Imagine your father as he was when he was a little baby. Imagine him lying there in his crib sleeping, his little hands curled in tight fists, his soft, downy hair across his tiny head. See that little baby sleeping peacefully, breathing quietly, innocent and pure. Now, at some point, someone hurt that baby. Someone caused pain to that child who in turn has hurt you. Can you forgive that little baby?
At that moment, the woman began to sob uncontrollably, and we stood there for a moment and wept together.
When I finished telling this story, I could hear others in the church beginning to weep as they understood the need to love and forgive the way Christ has loved and forgiven them. For Jesus said upon the Cross:
Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)
That is to say, Father, if they really knew and accepted Me, if they knew and saw the true state of their souls, they would not do what they are doing. Isn’t this true of any of us and any of our sins? If we truly saw them in the light of grace, then we would be appalled and repent immediately. The reason we often don’t is because we continually close off our hearts to His light…
LIGHT OF CHRIST
Such an illumination of conscience is possible each and every moment. The more we love God with our heart, soul, and strength, seeking Him in prayer, obeying His will, and refusing to compromise with sin, the more divine light floods our beings. Then those things that we previously did, watched, said or thought that are sinful become offensive and even repulsive. This is the operation of grace, of the Holy Spirit, to the degree we co-operate with the divine impulses:
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Rom 8:13)
Such a soul is filled with light and is then capable of drawing others to the same freedom. And this fr
eedom flows in and out of the Great Ark, the Ark of love and truth from which we must reach out to others.
It is from God’s love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, "for the love of Christ urges us on." Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth"; that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, 851
But we can only do so if we recognize in the face of the other the same heritage we share, and thus, the same destiny:
All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city… —Catechism of the Catholic Church, 842
True unity, true ecumenism, begins with love but must end in truth. The move afoot today to blend all religions together in a homogenous faith that is essentially without dogma or substance is not of God. But the eventual unity of all nations under the banner of Christ, is.
…[the Father] has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. (Eph 1:9-10)
Satan’s plan is thus to mimic this "summing up of all things," not in Christ, but in the dragon’s own image: a false church.
I saw enlightened Protestants, plans formed for the blending of religious creeds, the suppression of papal authority… I saw no Pope, but a bishop prostrate before the High Altar. In this vision I saw the church bombarded by other vessels… It was threatened on all sides… They built a large, extravagant church which was to embrace all creeds with equal rights… but in place of an altar were only abomination and desolation. Such was the new church to be… —Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824 A.D.), The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich, April 12th, 1820
Hence, in lowering the ramp of the Ark to all nations, we speak here not of compromising the faith handed on to us, but extending it further and further, if necessary, by the laying down of our lives for the sake of others.
MARY, MODEL AND ARK
Our Blessed Mother who forms part of this Great Ark is a prefigurement, sign and model of God’s plan to "to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth." This desired unity of all peoples is underscored in her apparitions in that she has appeared all over the world, from America to Egypt to France to the Ukraine, and so forth. She has appeared among pagan, Muslim, and Protestant populations. Mary is a mirror of the Church who extends her arms to every community in every nation. She is a sign and model of what the Church is and will be, and how to get there: through a love that knows no borders or boundaries but never compromises the truth.
On May 31, 2002, official recognition was granted by the local ordinary to the apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Amsterdam, Holland under the title "Our Lady of All Nations." cf. www.ewtn.com From her messages given in 1951, she says:
All nations must honor the Lord…all people should pray for the True and Holy Spirit… The world is not saved by force, the world will be saved by the Holy Spirit… Now the Father and the Son want to be asked to send the Spirit… the Spirit of Truth, Who alone can bring Peace!…All nations groan under the yoke of Satan…Time is serious and pressing… Now the Spirit is to descend upon the world and this is why I want people to pray for His coming. I am standing upon the globe because this message concerns the whole world… Listen, mankind! You will preserve peace if you believe in Him!… Let all men return to the Cross…Take your place at the foot of the Cross and draw strength from the Sacrifice; the pagans will not overwhelm you… If you practice Love in all its refinement among yourselves, the ‘big ones’ of this world will no longer have a chance to harm you… say the prayer I have taught you and the Son will grant your request… As the carpet of snow melts into the ground, so will the fruit [Peace] which is the Holy Spirit come into the hearts of all nations who say this prayer everyday!…You cannot estimate the value this prayer will have… Say the prayer…It has been given for the benefit of all nations… for the conversion of the world… Do your work and see to it that it is made known everywhere…The Son demands obedience!…The Blessed Trinity will reign over the world again!" —From the 1951 messages of The Lady of All Nations to Ida Peerdman, www.ladyofallnations.org
We can reach out from the Ark through love, service, forgiveness, and speaking the Word of truth that "sets us free"—and this prayer for the conversion of all nations:
LORD JESUS CHRIST,
SON OF THE FATHER,
SEND NOW YOUR SPIRIT
OVER THE EARTH.
LET THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVE
IN THE HEARTS OF ALL NATIONS,
THAT THEY MAY BE PRESERVED
FROM DEGENERATION, DISASTER AND WAR.
MAY THE LADY OF ALL NATIONS,
THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY,*
BE OUR ADVOCATE.
—The prayer given by Our Lady of All Nations as approved by the local bishop of Amsterdam in the above form (*Note: the line "who once was Mary" "We could use the simple analogies, "Pope John Paul II, who once was Karol" or "Pope Benedict XVI, who once was Joseph," or even the scriptural examples, "St. Peter, who once was
Simon," or "St. Paul who once was Saul." Another analogous example would be the following. Ann, a young woman, marries John Smith, and becomes a wife and mother of many children with the new title of "Mrs. Smith." In this case, you would have a new title with a new role of wife and mother of many, but the same woman. So it is with the "Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary"—new title, new role, same woman." —excerpt from motherofallpeoples.com was asked to be changed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. No specific rationale, theological or pastoral, has been given thus far regarding the prohibition of the clause. "The Blessed Virgin Mary" was inserted in the official form. See articles here and here.)
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|3.||↑||"We could use the simple analogies, "Pope John Paul II, who once was Karol" or "Pope Benedict XVI, who once was Joseph," or even the scriptural examples, "St. Peter, who once was|
Simon," or "St. Paul who once was Saul." Another analogous example would be the following. Ann, a young woman, marries John Smith, and becomes a wife and mother of many children with the new title of "Mrs. Smith." In this case, you would have a new title with a new role of wife and mother of many, but the same woman. So it is with the "Lady of All Nations, who once was Mary"—new title, new role, same woman." —excerpt from motherofallpeoples.com