AFTER Mass this morning, my heart was burdened again with the grief of the Lord.
MY LOST SHEEP!
Speaking about the shepherds of the Church last week, the Lord began to impress words on my heart, this time, about the sheep.
To those who complain about the shepherds, hear this: I have undertaken to feed the sheep myself.
The Lord has left no stone unturned in order to find the lost sheep of his flock. Who can say that God has abandoned them who still has the breath of life in his lungs?
The Lord, in His mercy, has reached out to us where we are at. Every night, He paints the evening in colors which defy even the most skilled artist’s brush. He dots the night skies with a universe so grand, so vast, that our minds cannot comprehend it. To this modern man, he has given the knowledge to penetrate the universe with technology which opens our eyes to the miracles of the universe, the playfulness of the Creator, the power of the living God.
This is how the Lord has attempted to reach His sheep. When the pulpits fell silent in our churches, the Lord stirred His word in His prophets and evangelists, and words poured out upon paper, and printing presses poured a deluge of graces upon book shelves.
But your hearts continued to rebel.
Thus, through television and radio, the Holy Spirit inspired programs, speaking also through those not in communion with Rome.
Yet your hearts continued to stray…
And so the Lord inspired in mankind the ability for every person to access all the knowledge of the world through the Internet. Does God really care that we can see a picture of Honolulu? Is the Lord concerned that we can shop instantly?
Those with spiritual eyes will understand that the revolution of technology the past forty years is not a triumph of man, but the strategy of God making all things work to the good.
Every question, every article of faith, every moment of history in which God has revealed Himself and intervened in mankind is readily available to every heart through a computer. Does your heart doubt? A click of the mouse, and the most wonderful of miracles can be retold. Is there a God? The most profound wisdom and reasoning is at your fingertips. What of the saints? With a quick search, one can discover the supernatural lives of those who reflected beauty, defied worldy ways, and yet conquered nations. What of the spiritual realm? Many are the visions of heaven and hell, angels and demons, after-life and in-life experiences of the supernatural. (I recently befriended a former Pentecostal man who was clinically dead for 6 hours. He was revived by the Virgin Mary, and now receives the stigmata. Believe!)
Dramatic miracles, incorruptable saints, Eucharistic miracles, divine apparitions, unexplainable phenomena, the appearance of angels, and the supreme gift of God’s Mother appearing in various places on the earth (those approved by bishops or awaiting the Church’s judgment): all have been given to this generation as signs and testimonies to truth.
And yet, you have eyes to see, but refuse to look. You have ears to hear, but have not listened.
And so, I have spoken to you in the innermost part of your being. I have whispered my love to you in the spring air, I have saturated you with mercy in the rain, I have beamed my unfailing love to you in the warmth of the sun. But you have turned your heart against me, you stubborn people!
All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people. (Rom 10:21)
And so the Lord is now permitting the "dark proofs": proof of God by the existence of evil.
I have permitted a deluge of sin to flood the earth. If you will not believe in Me, then perhaps you will believe there is an adversary… enabling you to recognize the light, by seeking in the shadows, as your rebellious hearts insist.
Thus genocide, terrorism, enviromental damage, corporate greed, violent crime, family division, divorce, disease, and impurity have become your bedfellows. Rich foods, alchohol, drugs, pornography, and every self-indulgence are your lovers. Like a child let loose in a candy store, you will have your fill until the sweet tooth has decayed, and the sugar of sin is like bile in your mouth.
Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Rom 1:24-25)
But lest you think I am not merciful, that I would go back on my covenant, I have ordained from the beginning of time this hour of Mercy. The skies will open, and you will see Him for whom you long. Many in a state of mortal sin will die in grief. Those who have strayed will immediately recognize their true home. And those who have loved me will be strengthened and purified.
Then will begin the end.
On this "sign in the sky", St. Faustina spoke:
Before I come as a just judge, I am coming first as "King of Mercy"! Let all men now approach the throne of my mercy with absolute confidence! Some time before the last days of final justice arrive, there will be given to mankind a great sign in the heavens of this sort: all the light of the heavens will be totally extinguished. There will be a great darkness over the whole earth. Then a great sign of the cross will appear in the sky. From the openings from where the hands and feet of the savior were nailed will come forth great lights—which will light up the earth for a period of time. This will happen before the very final days. It is the sign for the end of the world. After it will come the days of justice! Let souls have recourse to the fount of my mercy while there is still time! Woe to him who does not recognize the time of my visitation. —Diary of St. Faustina, 83
The fount of Mercy is bubbling, overflowing, gushing toward you right now… running, streaming, flowing to sinners, in every state, in every darkness, in the worst and gravest of chains. What Love is this that leaves even the angels of justice weeping?
In the Old Covenant I sent prophets wielding thunderbolts to My people. Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant ot take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the
Day of Mercy. (Ibid., 1588)
TIME OF DECISION
There is no excuse. God has poured out every spiritual blessing upon us, and yet, we refuse to give Him our hearts! All of Heaven mourns for the days which are coming upon this humanity. Most grievous to the heart of God are the many who have walked with Him before, who are now beginning to harden their hearts.
The sifting is sweeping many souls from the pews.
The churches may be full, but hearts are not. Many have stopped going to church altogether and ceased thinking of God and the things of God, and have fallen into step with the march of the world.
It is easy, it comfortable. And it is deadly. It is a march which leads to eternal perdition! It leads to hell.
Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few. (Matt 7:14)
Those who find it are few! How can this word fail to stir into flame that gift of the Holy Spirit sealed in our Confirmation called "Fear of the Lord"?
Perhaps most grievous in the silence of the shepherds has been this ommission of the doctrine of hell. Christ speaks of hell several times in the Gospels, and many, He warns, choose it.
"Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven." (Matt 7:21)
Says Saint Augustine, whose memorial we celebrate today:
Therefore, few are saved in comparison to those who are damned.
And Saint Vincent Ferrer relays the story of an archdeacon in Lyons who died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him,
Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell. —From a sermon by St. Leonard of Port Maurice
Many are invited, but few are chosen. (Matt 22:14)
Let these words ring in your heart with their full force! To be a Catholic is not a guarantee of salvation. Only to be a follower of Jesus! Few are chosen because they have either refused to wear, or have shed the beautiful wedding garment of Baptism which can only be worn in faith evidenced in good works. Without this garment, one cannot be seated at the Heavenly Banquet. Don’t allow the soft-peddling of the Gospel by errant theologians to water-down this reality of hell which even the saints themselves contemplated with trembling.
There are many who arrive at the faith, but few who are led into the heavenly kingdom. —Pope St. Gregory the Great
And again, from a doctor of the Church:
I saw souls falling into hell like snowflakes. —St. Teresa of Avila
How many gain the world, and yet lose their souls! Yet, do not be discouraged by these words. Rather, let them fuel your heart, driving you to your knees in sorrow and sincere repentance. Christ the Redeemer did not expend His very blood to turn away from you now! He came for sinners, even the worst. And His Word tells us that He…
…wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:4)
Is it my will that a sinner should die, says the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways, and live? (Ezekiel 18:23)
Would Christ die for us, then create us, only to condemn us to the pits of hell if only "few are chosen"? Rather, Christ tells us He would leave the ninety-nine sheep to pursue us. And He does and has, each moment, as has already been said. But how many choose the empty promises of mortal sin through a myriad of excuses, rather than the narrow but rewarding road of life! Many church-goers choose their own path, the life of sin and passions of the flesh which are fleeting and shallow, rather than the deep and everlasting joys of the eternal kingdom. They condemn themselves.
Thy damnation comes from thee. —St. Leonard of Port Maurice
Indeed, these truths should cause us all to tremble. Your soul is a serious matter. So serious, that God entered time and history so as to be mutilated and violently executed by His own creation as a sacrifice to take away our sins. How lightly we take this sacrifice! How quickly we excuse our faults! How deceived we have become in this age of cynicism!
Is your heart burning within you? You would do well to stop everything now and let that fire consume you. You do not know, nor can you conceive what lies ahead for this generation. But neither do you know if the next minute belongs to you. One moment you stand pouring yourself a coffee—the next, you find yourself naked before the Creator with all truth: every thought, word, and action laid before you. Will the angels cover their eyes in trembling, or will they raise a shout as they lead you into the arms of the saints?
The answer lies in the path you choose now.
Time is short. Today is the day of salvation!
Is it Christ or an angel I hear shouting those words? Can you hear it?