August 2017-How Should We Act in a Time of Confution?
Yes I know I misspelled confusion. There is much confusion today, and many have the wrong attitude. So let us go into Sacred Scripture for some advice. Many believe that Matthew 24; Mark 13; and Luke 21 apply to our times, so we will spend our time mainly here.
And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold. (Matthew 24:12)
No, this does not give us a license to allow our charity to grow cold. Instead we should take this as a warning to make sure we are being charitable. It is strongly recommended to read the thirteenth chapter of first Corinthians. Saint Alphonsus also wrote on this, and this is in print as Charity: A Commentary on 1 Corinthians 13.
In these time some become agitated and lose charity. How many are calling each other heretics and schismatics? Is this charitable. A century ago things were clear, but today the waters have been muddied by The Enemy, Satan. Agitation is not from God, peace is. And so let us consider that everyone is making an honest attempt to do God's will.
Also some wish to get into debates over these matters. This is not a time for debate, but for prayer.
We should be ready to answer honest inquiries and explain why we have done what we have done. Almost three and a half decades ago I did just this. I had reached a conclusion and thought I should inform my friends. I explained the decision I had reached and why I had reached it and asked for their input.
Note the letter is published here: http://pope-michael.com/pope-michael/biography/1983-letter/
Having seen some of these debates, one wonders is debating is from the devil.
Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. (Matthew 24:23-24)
And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; lo, he is here: do not believe. For there will rise up false Christs and false prophets, and they shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce (if it were possible) even the elect. (Mark 13:21-22)
Consider what type of confusion would have to be introduced that even the elect could be deceived. Is this not what we see today?
Let us consider the following verses:
For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened. (Matthew 24:21-22)
For in those days shall be such tribulations, as were not from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, neither shall be. And unless the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect which he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. (Mark 13:19-20)
What Jesus is telling us is that this is the worst time ever. Let us consider another time of confusion, the Western Schism, which is in some ways a precedent case for our own times. It began with the Cardinals departing from the man they had elected as Pope and proceeding to declare the election null and electing another man as Pope. Suddenly two men claimed to be Pope and the Bishops started taking sides. After thirty years many became disgusted with the confusion. The Cardinals from both Popes left their man and called a Council at Pisa to attempt to end the Western Schism. Instead they simply added to the confusion with the election of a third man. Now we have three men claiming to be Pope. Finally the Council of Constance was convened and the Western Schism was ended.
The important point is that although technically a half to two thirds of the Church was in schism for following a false claimant to the Papacy, no one was truly considered to a schismatic. The reason is simple, all Catholics wanted to follow the Vicar of Christ. Their problem is figuring out who that was.
Saint Antoninus reports of that time: “Although it is necessary to believe that there is but one supreme head of the Church, nevertheless, if it happens that two Popes are created at the same time, it is not necessary for the people to believe that this one or that one is the legitimate Pontiff; they must believe that he alone is the true Pope who has been regularly elected, and they are not bound to discern who that one is; as to that point, they may be guided by the conduct and opinion of their particular pastor.”
Should we not be equally as indulgent in this time of even greater confusion?
When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand.
And when you shall see the abomination of desolation, standing where it ought not: he that readeth let him understand: (Mark 13:14)
Let us not try and figure out the abomination of desolation. Rather let us read and understand those things that will lead us to be true Christians. Sacred Scripture should have a prominent place, which is why we are searching the Scriptures today. (John 5:37; John 7:52)
And Jesus answering, said to them: Take heed that no man seduce you: For many will come in my name saying, I am Christ: and they will seduce many. (Matthew 24:4-5)
And Jesus answering, began to say to them, Take heed lest any man deceive you. (Mark 13:5)
Who said: Take heed you be not seduced; for many will come in my name, saying, I am he; and the time is at hand: go ye not therefore after them. (Luke 21:8)
This is why we take and read. We especially study the Catechism along side Sacred Scripture. We should fortify ourselves with the truths of the Faith. Our main focus should be to become saints. Unfortunately some spend much of their time in either trying to sort things out or what is worse, trying to convince the world that they are right. If we all aim at sanctifying ourselves, God will intervene and He will straighten things out. We cannot do it without Him.
Watch ye therefore, because ye know not what hour your Lord will come. (Matthew 24:42)
Watch ye therefore, (for you know not when the lord of the house cometh: at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning,) Lest coming on a sudden, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch. (Mark 13:35-7)
Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:36)
We should always be watching, because we do not know the day nor the hour.
Someday we will die and have to make an accounting of our lives. Let us then live so as to be always ready to die and go straight to heaven. Yes, we are ALL called to be saints. And this is the most important point.
And take heed to yourselves, lest perhaps your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly. For as a snare shall it come upon all that sit upon the face of the whole earth. (Luke 21:34-35)
Surfeiting means to be over filled, such as by gluttony. And how many of us are gluttons? How many of us are overzealous about the care of our life that we forget the cares of our soul. “The days of our years in them are threescore and ten years.” (Psalms 89:10) And yet, we devote most of these seventy or so years to the cares of our life, when our soul will last for eternity.
In your patience you shall possess your souls. (Luke 21:19)
Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Apocalypse 13:10)
Here is the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven, saying to me: Write: Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord. From henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; for their works follow them. (Apocalypse 14:12-13)
Patience is a most necessary virtue in these days.
Wait on God with patience: join thyself to God, and endure, that thy life may be increased in the latter end.(Ecclesiasticus 2:3)
These are times that try our patience, but let us ask God to help us remain patient in this adversity.
And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold. But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13)
We need to persevere in charity to the end.
God is charity: and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him. (I John 4:16)
This is a good time to read the thirteenth chapter of first Corinthians and take these words to hear.
These are troubling times. Let us not get distracted like Martha did, but choose the best part like Mary did. (Luke 10:38-42)
And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10)