November 2018- Retire In Silence
In the Breviary at Prime on ferial days after Epiphany and Pentecost the Little Chapter is inspired by Zacharias 8:19: “Love ye peace and truth says the Lord Almighty.” Thus the clergy and religious are reminded of this important concept throughout the year. Notice that in the Breviary peace comes before truth. In Zacharias, the order is truth and peace. The church in her wisdom has put peace first, because we cannot understand and take the truth to heart, until peace reigns within our hearts.
The prophet Osee (2:14) tells us: “Therefore, behold I will allure her, and will lead her into the wilderness: and I will speak to her heart.” The Latin word used here and in Apocalypse 12:6 is solitudinem. God leads us to solitude and then He can speak to our heart.
We also think of the wilderness with Saint John the Baptist: “As it was written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” (Luke 4:3) “The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God.” (Isaias 40:3) The words desert and solitude are used interchangeable in Sacred Scripture in both the Latin and the English.
Saint John the Baptist retired to the solitude of the desert in order to preach penance. If people wished to follow his lead, they also had to retire to the solitude of the desert and hear his preaching. He did not preach in the cities, where there is noise and chaos, which distracts us from considering in the heart. (Jeremias 12:11)
We also need to retire from the world as much as duty will allow, so that God can speak to our hearts.
Many today are unable to sort out the confusion of our times, because they seek to do so amongst the noise of the world, rather than walking away from the confusion so that God can speak to their hearts.
Apocalypse 12 is considered a picture of the Church at the time of Antichrist. Let us consider several passages. “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, that there they should feed her a thousand two hundred sixty days.” (Apocalypse 12:6) Notice that the Church flees to the wilderness. Later on we read: “And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the desert unto her place, where she is nourished for a time and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” (Apocalypse 12:14) Some authors consider the desert here to be the same as the wilderness above. The Latin word is desertum, which means: “forsaken, abandoned, deserted”. Saint Paul tells the Thessalonians (II Thessalonians 2) that there will come a revolt, when people will forsake, abandon and desert the Church, then Antichrist will come. Later on in that chapter he advises the Thessalonians to love truth, which is what we have been considering here.
In Apocalypse 13:10 we read: “Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” In the next chapter (14:12) we read: “Here is the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Notice we are urged to patience in both passages. And patience comes before faith both times, indicating that at the time of Antichrist we will especially need patience to guard our faith. We are also reminded to observe the Commandments of God.
Many today are searching prophecy trying to sort things out. However, we should rather be searching Scriptures for advice on how to live our lives. And we will find much good, even amongst the holy Prophets as we have been considering. Let us not allow ourselves to become agitated and thus lose our peace. “Now of the fig tree learn ye a parable. When the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves are come forth, you know that summer is very near.” (Mark 13:28) Yes, the fig tree is losing its leaves, and thus winter is nigh. However, this is no reason to lose our peace, for we must maintain our peace in order to prepare for whatever lies ahead.
Let us heed the advice: “Love ye peace and truth says the Lord Almighty.”
Link for Jeremias 12: http://www.drbo.org/cgi-bin/d?b=drb&bk=28&ch=12&l=11#x
Jeremias 12:  Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot: they have changed my delightful portion into a desolate wilderness.  They have laid it waste, and it hath mourned for me. With desolation is all the land made desolate; because there is none that considereth in the heart.  The spoilers are come upon all the ways of the wilderness, for the sword of the Lord shall devour from one end of the land to the other end thereof: there is no peace for all flesh.  They have sown wheat, and reaped thorns: they have received an inheritance, and it shall not profit them: you shall be ashamed of your fruits, because of the fierce wrath of the Lord.