Gideon, sifting his men, by James Tissot (1806-1932)
As we prepare for the release of a new encyclical this week, my thoughts have been drifting back to the Synod and the series of writings I did then, particularly The Five Corrections and this one below. What I find most notable in this pontificate of Pope Francis, is how it is drawing, in one way or another, fears, loyalties, and the depth of one’s faith into the light. That is, we are in a time of testing, or as St. Paul says in today’s first reading, this is a time “to test the genuineness of your love.”
The following was published October 22nd, 2014 shortly after the Synod…
FEW fully grasp what took place over the past couple weeks through the Synod on Family Life in Rome. It was not just a gathering of bishops; not only a discussion on pastoral issues: it was a test. It was a sifting. It was the New Gideon, Our Blessed Mother, further defining her army…
A WORD OF WARNING
What I am about to say will upset some of you. Already, a few are angry with me, accusing me of being blind, deceived, oblivious to the fact that Pope Francis is, they say, an “anti-pope”, a “false prophet”, a “destroyer.” Once again, in the Related Reading below, I have linked to all my writings related to Pope Francis, to how the media and even Catholics have distorted his words (which have admittedly needed contextualization and explanation); to how some contemporary prophecies regarding the papacy are heretical; and last, to how the Holy Spirit protects the Church through the infallibility and grace bestowed upon “Peter”, the rock. I have also posted a new writing by theologian Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi who responded to my question on whether a pope can be a heretic or not. 
I cannot waste any more time debating with those who are “little popes,” who refuse to humbly and carefully examine the facts and what our Tradition teaches; those cowards who stand at a distance casting stones over the Vatican walls at the Holy Father; those armchair theologians who judge and condemn as though they sat on thrones (“super apostles” as St. Paul called them); those who, hiding behind avatars and anonymous names, betray Christ and the family of God by attacking the rock which He established; those who passively-aggressively obey the Holy Father while casting him in deep suspicion,  harming the faith of the little ones, and dividing families through fear.
Don’t get me wrong—I have been speaking for eight years about the crisis in the Church, the degradation of the Liturgy, the crisis in catechesis, and warning about the Coming Counterfeit, a schism, apostasy, and many other trials. During the entire week of the Synod, I did outline how the Mass readings were pointing out the compromises that were being put forth (and should have been kept from the public, in my opinion). If you think that there is confusion now, wait till you see what’s coming. The enemies of Christ are in high gear, and the disinformation and media distortions of what the Pope is actually saying and standing for are incredible, sucking in the gullible. Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata, Argentina noted the media’s lies when it comes to the Church, saying:
“We not talking about isolated incidents,” he said, but rather a series of simultaneous events that bear the “markings of a conspiracy.” —Catholic News Agency, Apr. 12, 2006
Of course, there are those cardinals and bishops who made clear that they are already departing from Sacred Tradition. As I read the Synod’s first draft report, the words came swiftly to me: This is a framework for the Great Apostasy. In fact, that document in its first draft is precisely what the “smoke of satan” looks and smells like. It smells sweet like incense because it purports to be “merciful”, but it is thick and black, obscuring the truth.
I was very disturbed by what happened. I think confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across was one of confusion. —Archbishop Charles Chaput, religionnews.com, Oct. 21st, 2014
But why should we be all that surprised? From the very beginning of the Church there were Judases among them. Even St. Paul warned:
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. (Acts 20:29)
Yes, this is the same St. Paul who wrote:
Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Heb 13:17)
You see, brothers and sisters, what happened in Rome was not a test to see how loyal you are to the Pope, but how much faith you have in Jesus Christ who promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church.
THE SHRINKING ARMY OF GIDEON
It is based on the story in the Old Testament of Gideon whom the Lord asked to reduce his army, which was 32,000 men. The first test came when the Lord instructed Gideon, saying:
Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home. And Gideon tested them; twenty-two thousand returned, and ten thousand remained. (Judges 7:3)
But still, the Lord wanted the army to be smaller such that it would seem an almost impossible victory. And so the Lord says again,
Lead them down to the water and I will test them for you there. Everyone who laps up the water as a dog does with its tongue you shall set aside by himself; and everyone who kneels down to drink raising his hand to his mouth you shall set aside by himself. Those who lapped up the water with their tongues numbered three hundred, but all the rest of the soldiers knelt down to drink the water. The Lord said to Gideon: By means of the three hundred who lapped up the water I will save you and deliver Midian into your power. (NABre translation; note, other translations reverse the 300 to those who knelt down, keeping their eyes up. One could say that this group of 300 are those who “watch and pray”, aware of their surroundings.)
Yes, those who were like little children, setting aside their fears, pride, self-awareness, and hesitation, went straight to the water and drank with their faces to the ground. This is the kind of army Our Lady needs at this hour. A remnant of believers who are ready to leave their homes, their possessions, their doubts, their f ears, and walk in absolute trust and faith in Jesus Christ, prostrate before His promises—and that includes faith that He will not abandon His Church as He said:
I will be with you until the end of the age. (Matt 28:20)
The Synod at Rome was a test: it revealed the hearts of many—those who were tempted, as Francis said, to neglect the “deposit of faith” and become its master rather than its servants.  But also those who were “fearful and trembling” and who “returned home.” That is, those who were ready to flee the Church, abandon the Holy Father… which in some ways is to abandon Christ, because Jesus is one with His Church, which is His mystical body. And it is His promises to protect her, lead her into all truth, feed her, and remain with her until the end that ultimately were doubted.
And continue to be.
As I have said before, the Pope is not personally infallible; he is not immune to making mistakes, even serious mistakes in his governance of the Church. Whether you like or dislike the Pope’s style, he is canonically and validly elected as the Vicar of Christ, and therefore the one charged by Jesus to “feed my sheep.” He holds the keys of the kingdom. I tell you, when the Pope gave his final speech at the Synod, I could hear Christ clearly speaking through him, Jesus assuring us that He is right there with us (cf. My Sheep Will Know My Voice in the Storm). Even if Pope Francis were, in fact, inclined toward liberal or modernists views, as many speculate and assume, he made his position absolutely clear and unambiguous:
The Pope… [is] the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim… —POPE FRANCIS, closing remarks on the Synod; Catholic News Agency, October 18th, 2014 (my emphasis)
Those words, right there, are the first test. Sadly, I have readers who say to me that he is essentially lying. (What would St. Catherine of Siena do if the Pope were abdicating his duties? She would pray, honor, and then speak to him in truth—not slander him as so many are grievously doing). Even though Francis clearly put Cardinal Kasper and the progressives back in their chairs, noting the temptation to tamper with the “deposit of faith” and take “Christ down from the cross”, those words have gone in and out of the ears of those who think they know how to run the Church better. In trying to attack the modernists, Freemasons, Communists, and others who have set out to destroy the Church, they are carelessly lobbing their arrows at the very one who just promised to defend it.
And so, the army of Our Lady is shrinking. She is seeking out the humble…
THE FINAL TEST
In Revelation Illumination, I explained how the so-called “illumination of conscience” is already underway, which will culminate eventually in a global event. What happened this past weekend was, as I wrote in The Synod and the Spirit, an action of the Holy Spirit to expose our hearts at this hour in the world. The judgment begins with the household of God. We are being prepared for a great spiritual battle, and it will be a mere remnant who will lead it. As it says in today’s Gospel,
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more. (Luke 12:48)
I am not saying that this remnant is special in the sense that they are necessarily “better” than anyone else. They are simply chosen because they are faithful.  They are the ones who have become most like Mary, who constantly give their fiat, like Gideon’s men. They are leading the first assault. But note in Gideon’s story that those who fled home are eventually called back into the battle after the first decisive victory.
I am reminded here of St. John Bosco’s dream, which is a mirror image of Gideon’s battle. In his vision, Bosco saw the great Ship of the Church on a stormy sea with the Holy Father standing at its bow. It was a great battle. But there were also other ships who belonged to the Pope’s armada:
At this point, a great convulsion takes place. All the ships that until then had fought against the Pope’s ship are scattered; they flee away, collide and break to pieces one against another. Some sink and try to sink others. Several small ships that had fought gallantly for the Pope race to be the first to bind themselves to those two columns [of the Eucharist and Mary]. Many other ships, having retreated through fear of the battle, cautiously watch from far away; the wrecks of the broken ships having been scattered in the whirlpools of the sea, they in their turn sail in good earnest to those two columns, and having reached them, they make themselves fast to the hooks hanging down from them and their they remain safe, together with the principal ship, on which is the Pope. Over the sea their reigns a great calm. —St. John Bosco, cf. miraclerosarymission.org
Like the 300 men in Gideon’s army, there are those ships that are faithful, loyal, and brave, fighting at the side of the Holy Father. But then there are those ships who “retreated through fear”… but whom eventually make haste to the refuge of the Two Hearts.
Brothers and sisters, it’s time to decide whose ship you are going to be on: the Ship of Faith?  The Ship of Fear?  The ships of those who attack the Pope’s Barque? (read A Tale of Five Popes and a Great Ship).
The time is short. The time to choose is now. Our Lady is waiting for your “fiat”.
Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful “are to adhere to it with religious assent”… —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 892
- Who Said That? A comparison of Pope Benedict to Pope Francis
- Possible… or Not? A look at two prophecies, one that says that Francis is an “anti-pope”, another that says he is a special pope for our times.
- Is Pope Francis the “destroyer” in St. Francis’ prophecy? Read: The Prophecy of St. Francis
- Is the Pope leading us into a false church? Read The End of Ecumenism
- Can a Pope Become a Heretic? An examination of so-called “heretical” popes, by Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi
Have you read The Final Confrontation by Mark?
Tossing speculation aside, Mark lays out the the times we are living in according to the vision of the Church Fathers and the Popes in the context of the “greatest historical confrontation” mankind has gone through… and the last stages we are now entering before the Triumph of Christ and His Church.
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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:
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—the late Fr. Joseph Langford, MC, Co-founder, Missionaries of Charity Fathers, Author of Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady, and Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire
In these days of tumult and treachery, Christ’s reminder to be watchful reverberates powerfully in the hearts of those who love Him… This important new book by Mark Mallett can help you watch and pray ever more intently as unsettling events unfold. It is a potent reminder that, however dark and difficult things may get, “He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
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