THERE is much chatter these days among the Catholic remnant about “refuges” — physical places of divine protection. It is understandable, as it is within the natural law for us to want to survive, to avoid pain and suffering. The nerve endings in our body reveal these truths. And still, there is a higher truth yet: that our salvation passes through the Cross. As such, pain and suffering now take on a redemptive value, not only for our own souls but for that of others as we fill up “what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church” (Col 1:24).
In our times, God has provided a spiritual refuge for believers, and it is the heart, no less, of our Blessed Mother:
My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God. —Our Lady of Fatima, June 13, 1917, The Revelation of the Two Hearts in Modern Times, www.ewtn.com
Jesus affirmed this again in the approved revelations to the Hungarian, Elizabeth Kindelmann:
My Mother is Noah’s Ark… —The Flame of Love, p. 109; Imprimatur from Archbishop Charles Chaput
At the same time, both Scripture and Sacred Tradition confirm that, most especially in the latter times, there will also be places of physical refuge — what Church Father Lactantius and St. John Chrysostom called “solitudes” (read The Refuge for Our Times). There will come a time when the flock of Christ will require the physical protection of God in order to preserve the Church — just as Our Lord Himself and Mary required Joseph to take them into Egypt to flee the persecution of Herod.
It is necessary that a small flock subsist, no matter how small it might be. —POPE PAUL VI, The Secret Paul VI, Jean Guitton, p. 152-153, Reference (7), p. ix.
But it is not yet that time. Indeed, we ought to flee Babylon, that is, depart from the depravity and corruption that has now infected nearly every institution, including yes, even parts of the Church. Of Babylon, St. John warns:
Depart from her, my people, so as not to take part in her sins and receive a share in her plagues, for her sins are piled up to the sky, and God remembers her crimes. (Rev 18:4-5)
And yet, brothers and sisters, it is precisely because of the general apostasy that this is the hour to shine in the darkness — not extinguish the Light of Christ beneath the blanket of self-preservation.
Do not be afraid to go out on the streets and into public places, like the first Apostles who preached Christ and the Good News of salvation in the squares of cities, towns and villages. This is no time to be ashamed of the Gospel. It is the time to preach it from the rooftops. Do not be afraid to break out of comfortable and routine modes of living, in order to take up the challenge of making Christ known in the modern “metropolis”. It is you who must “go out into the byroads” and invite everyone you meet to the banquet which God has prepared for his people. The Gospel must not be kept hidden because of fear or indifference. It was never meant to be hidden away in private. It has to be put on a stand so that people may see its light and give praise to our heavenly Father. —Homily, Cherry Creek State Park Homily, Denver, Colorado, August 15th, 1993; vatican.va
You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Matt 5:14-16)
As Jesus said again to Elizabeth:
The Great Storm is coming and it will carry away indifferent souls who are consumed by laziness. The great danger will erupt when I take away my hand of protection. Warn everyone, especially the priests, so they are shaken out of their indifference… Do not love comfort. Do not be cowards. Do not wait. Confront the Storm to save souls. Give yourselves to the work. If you do nothing, you abandon the earth to Satan and to sin. Open your eyes and see all the dangers that claim victims and threaten your own souls. —The Flame of Love, p. 62, 77, 34; Kindle Edition; Imprimatur by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia, PA
But we are only human, eh? If the Apostles fled the Garden of Gethsemane, what about us? Well, that was before Pentecost. After the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles not only did not flee their persecutors but faced them boldly:
“We gave you strict orders [did we not?] to stop teaching in that name. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:28-29)
If you are afraid, it is time to enter the upper room of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, and grasping her hand, beg Heaven that a new Pentecost would take place in your soul. Indeed, I truly believe that is the primary function of Consecration to Mary: that the Holy Spirit would also overshadow us that we may become true disciples of Jesus — indeed “other Christs” in the world.
That is the way Jesus is always conceived. That is the way He is reproduced in souls. He is always the fruit of heaven and earth. Two artisans must concur in the work that is at once God’s masterpiece and humanity’s supreme product: the Holy Spirit and the most holy Virgin Mary… for they are the only ones who can reproduce Christ. —Arch. Luis M. Martinez, The Sanctifier, p. 6
The Hour to Shine
And so, the time of refuges will undoubtedly come. But for whom? Some of us are called to be martyrs in this time, whether it is through the shedding of blood or simply the loss of social standing, careers, and even our family’s acceptance.
I wish to invite young people to open their hearts to the Gospel and become Christ’s witnesses; if necessary, His martyr-witnesses, at the threshold of the Third Millennium. —ST. JOHN PAUL II to the youth, Spain, 1989
Others will be called home through the tribulations that are now inevitable. But for all of us, our goal is Heaven! Our eyes are to be fixed upon the eternal Kingdom whence the veil will be torn asunder and we will see our Lord Jesus face to face! O, to write those words lights a fire in my heart, and I pray, in you as well, dear reader. Let us hasten to Jesus, not by deliberately walking into the “coliseum” as the saints of old did. Rather, by plunging ourselves into His Sacred Heart where “perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18 In this way, we may be wholly abandoned to the Divine Will and thus allow God to accomplish in and through us His Divine Plan. So, let us pray together:
Lord Jesus… grant us the courage of Pentecost to overcome the fear of Gethsemane.
You are loved. Therein lies the kernel of strength to conquer everything…
May you “be blameless and innocent, children of God
without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,
among whom you shine like lights in the world,
as you hold on to the word of life…”
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|1 John 4:18