DO WE SEE THE SILVER LINING? As we as Church, the body of Christ, are going through
such turmoil and suffering, do we see the silver lining?
Billy Graham once said, the Catholic Church is a sleeping giant, but it is about to wake up. And, is this not what is happening in our times?
If we think back when Jesus suffered and died; He went to Calvary for love of us; He was crucified, for love of us. And, now it is Christ’s body, the Church, which is going through its Calvary. Mother Church is going through her purification; a cleansing of anything that is not holy and pure, and set on seeking God’s divine and holy Will.
Wolves in Shepherd’s Clothing
How could it be any other way?… Just as we see in the story of Job… We must be tested; our love for God must be tested… The “dross” of the silver and gold must be purged out. Jesus tells us:
“Be ye hot or cold. Be ye lukewarm and I will spew you out of my mouth” (Rev 3:15-16)..
“I will vomit you out of my mouth,” He tells us!… And is this not what is needing to take place in our times? Are they’re not many who are lukewarm in the Catholic faith? And as well, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and in particular, wolves in shepherds clothing; who need to be recognized, confronted, and driven out.
But may we as Catholics not lose hope, and lose heart, because this must happen. We have been prepared for this for many years. The question is, have we had ears to hear, and to recognize what the Holy Spirit has been saying in our times. For those of us who have, what is taking place is not surprising, but rather, consoling. Because what is happening is the cleansing and purifying that must take place, in order for us to move forward into this new and glorious era of the “New Springtime,” of which Pope St. John Paul II has spoken.
Our Response?… Stepping Stone?
But, I ask… where are our hearts right now? Are we finding ourselves falling on our knees all the more… crying out to God for His mercy and grace?… Or, Are we finding ourselves discouraged? or disillusioned?… Are we finding ourselves distracted by pointing the finger at others… belittling them and attacking them?… For this is what the evil one would want us to focus on (this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t confront and reprimand through right avenues)….
The evil one and his minions want us to be distracted from the silver lining… the stepping stone…the CROSS TRIUMPHANT. They want us to see this difficulty in the Church as a stumbling block rather than a stepping stone to something greater for us as Catholics. They want us to to remain on the natural realm, caught up in our own opinions, our human wills, our self-centered inclinations.
God is about a mighty work in our world today, and in particular our Church. Do we have ears to hear? Do we have hearts that are docile and receptive? Are we turning to Mary, Mother of the Church, Spotless Bride, as the first Apostles and disciples did? For it is here in her bosom that we find our hope… that we find the grace and the light… that we find the formation to become the other Christs that we were created to be. As, Jesus tells us:
“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 18:2-4); and, “Behold your Mother!” (Jn 19:27)
How do we find ourselves personally responding to this crisis in the Church? Are we disposed as “children” of God? Are we surrendered as children of God? Are we seeking only the heart and mind of God?
Calling Forth an Army
I’m calling forth all of my beloved brothers and sisters whom I love… My fellow Catholics… Let us STEP UP ON THIS STONE together; let us step up and continue moving forward in our Calvaries as the Body of Christ, the Church. Let us be one with Christ in carrying our crosses, in persevering in our sufferings, in trusting that our Father is in control.
There is a reason why Jesus appeared to St. Faustina in our times and asked her to have the words,
“Jesus I Trust in You!”
inscribed at the bottom of the Divine Mercy image. And, it is because He knows our need for GREAT TRUST in these times that are so dark, so evil; and yet so bright with so much grace coming forth.
There is a reason why God sent Mary in a special way in these times; even if we just look at the approved apparitions… there is a reason. There is a message God has been giving us; BUT, the question is, HAVE WE HAD EARS TO HEAR? … Have we had fertile ground of the heart, to listen, to be receptive? To receive only the word of God? Or have we been choked off by everything else?
My brothers and sisters we are being called forth! God is calling forth a faithful army — who will counter the words of the prince of darkness who says, “non-servium!” — and will say:
“I WILL SERVE THE LORD! “(Josh 24:15)… “NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS BE DONE” (Lk 22:42)… “I AM THE HANDMAID OF THE LORD, be it done unto me ACCORDING TO YOUR WORD!” (Lk 1:38)
Is this, my brothers and sisters, our dispostion before God?… Are we surrendered to God and His holy will and plan, and grace and love, and mercy, in our own hearts and lives? For God is calling us forth. These are glorious times, despite the sufferings and despite the darkness. I believe the holy angels and saints would envy us in a holy way, for what God is calling us to in these times… something so great. As, even St. Louis Marie de Montfort prophesied in the 1700’s that in our times would be the greatest saints:
“I said that this will happen especially towards the end of the world, and indeed soon, because Almighty God and his holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs … These great souls filled with grace and zeal will be chosen to oppose the enemies of God who are raging on all sides. They will be exceptionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Illumined by her light, strengthened by her food, guided by her spirit, supported by her arm, sheltered under her protection, they will fight with one hand and build with the other. With one hand they will give battle, overthrowing and crushing heretics and their heresies, schismatics and their schisms, idolaters and their idolatries, sinners and their wickedness. With the other hand they will build the temple of the true Solomon and the mystical city of God, namely, the Blessed Virgin, who is called by the Fathers of the Church the Temple of Solomon and the City of God . By word and example they will draw all men to a true devotion to her and though this will make many enemies, it will also bring about many victories and much glory to God alone. This is what God revealed to St. Vincent Ferrer, that outstanding apostle of his day, as he has amply shown in one of his works.” -Saint Louis Marie de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, #47-48
Marching Orders; Program to Follow:
And, I will tell you the key… the general’s guidelines for us as we march forward:
Our Heavenly Mother is the Leader, the Queen of this army, and she has inspired Pope St. John Paul II, our Totus Tuus Pope, in our times, to set forth a program for us; to guide us into this New Millennium, toward the “New Springtime” graces.
1) “PUT OUT INTO THE DEEP”
FIRST, he tells us in his Apostolic Letter, At the Dawn of the New Millennium – Novo Millennio Ineunte (6 January 2001):
“DUC IN ALTUM” – “PUT OUT INTO THE DEEP.”
And, what he means by this is that each of us as Catholics are called to live our Baptismal Vows wholeheartedly. We are called to grow in human and spiritual integration (Eph 4:23-24), which he expounded on in his Theology of the Body audiences.
We are called, not to focus on others and their faults and failings; but, rather, to say,
“Lord, who are you calling me to be?… Where are you calling me to go deeper in my communion of life and love with you?… Where is my heart hardened?… What rooms in my heart are not open to you yet?… What areas in my life am I living outside of your Will, and seeking my own human will?… Where am I seeking to be in control in areas of my life rather than letting YOU be enthroned as Lord?”…
When we are Baptized, we receive the indwelling presence of the Most Holy Trinity, and They long for deep and profound communion of life with us; but They wait for us to dispose ourselves and invite Them into our deeper hearts and lives.
2) “CONTEMPLATE THE FACE OF CHRIST”
Secondly, in that same Apostolic Letter, Novo Millenno Inuente, St. John Paul II tells us to:
“Contemplate the Face of Christ.”
So we ask ourselves, Is Christ the center of our lives?… Are we loving Him with our whole “heart, mind and soul”? (Mat 22:37)… Are we encountering Him in prayer daily?… Are we walking on water, focused on Christ throughout our lives? Or, Are we being distracted by the mighty winds and waves, and always sinking?… or, maybe we haven’t even gotten out of the boat yet, to walk toward Him? (Mat 13:28-33)… Where do we find ourselves right now in our lives with Christ?… Is He truly at the center? Are we “ever mindful” of Him, as scripture encourages.
3) “With MARY”
Thirdly, St. John Paul II tells us in his Apostolic letter ROSARIUM VIRGINIS MARIAE, October, 2002 :
“…Contemplate the face of Christ in union with, and at the school of, his Most Holy Mother. To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ. “.
In This letter he shares much about praying the Rosary, entering the “school of Mary,” entering into relationship with Mary, speaking of how profound the Rosary is if we enter into it with contemplation. He quotes Pope Paul VI who “clearly pointed out”:
“Without contemplation, the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation runs the risk of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas.”
He ends this letter by calling us ALL:
“Dear brothers and sisters! A prayer so easy and yet so rich truly deserves to be rediscovered by the Christian community. Let us do so, …
I turn particularly to you, my dear Brother Bishops, priests and deacons, and to you, pastoral agents in your different ministries…
I also place my trust in you, theologians…
I count on you, consecrated men and women, called in a particular way to contemplate the face of Christ at the school of Mary…
I look to all of you, brothers and sisters of every state of life, to you, Christian families, to you, the sick and elderly, and to you, young people: confidently take up the Rosary once again. Rediscover the Rosary in the light of Scripture, in harmony with the Liturgy, and in the context of your daily lives.
May this appeal of mine not go unheard!”
Answer to the Third Secret
Someone once asked Pope John Paul II about the Third Secret of Fatima, and all he did was hold up his Rosary as if to say, “this is the answer.” Because, this is the weapon of our times; this is the frail, thin chain that will bind satan, who is so rampant.
And, along with praying the Rosary is CONSECRATION of our lives to MARY’S IMMACULATE HEART… living wholeheartedly our consecration to her to the THIRD DEGREE, of which St. Louis Marie de Montfort speaks. Hence, John Paul II’s motto… “Totus Tuus Mariae!”- I am totally yours Mary, and totally Jesus’ through your heart!
4) “Above All In the Living Sacrament of His Body and His Blood”
And, fourthly, Pope John Paul II lays out the FULL program in his Encyclical Letter, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, April, 2003 He says,
“To contemplate the face of Christ, and to contemplate it with Mary, is the “programme” which I have set before the Church at the dawn of the third millennium, summoning her to put out into the deep … To contemplate Christ… above all in the living sacrament of his body and his blood. The Church draws her life from Christ in the Eucharist…“
My beloved brothers and sisters, may we respond… may we be united in responding to this program which St. John Paul II has “set before the Church.” For this is truly our calling! Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is the “source and summit” of the whole Christian life. Our whole lives here on earth must revolve around Jesus present in the Holy Eucharist… For He is in our midst.
God is alive and in our midst, but so few are turning to His presence among us.
I do not share this primarily for us to go out and proclaim it to others… though that is important as well. But I share it for us to truly take it to heart and proclaim it to ourselves… to live it first ourselves wholeheartedly, and then allow the Holy Spirit to inspire us in our ministry, in our evangelical outreach of “put[ing] out into the deep” with others.
As Pope John Paul II says, we must be “Marian” before “Patristic.” We must “BE” before “DO”. We must be receptive Bride, before we are acting, in order that it be God who is acting in and through us. And, certainly this should begin with our Bishops and Priests.
As St. Paul tells us:
“It is no longer I, but Christ living in me” (Gal 2:20).
Beloved brothers and sisters, this is our great and high calling. This is the “sleeping giant” waking up… the body of Christ Himself, coming alive in and through us.
I now “prophesy” to the dry bones of Christ’s body, the Church, of our times:
“’O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. 6 I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’… ‘
“…And the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army” (Ez 37:4-6, 9-10).
PS. We encourage all to listen to the below powerful homily by Fr. Robert Altier, if you haven’t yet: