October 2020- How To Prepare For A Time Of Persecution And Turmoil
In times of ease and comfort, we lose sight of the fact that times of unrest, turmoil and even persecution will come. During these times we cease to be the Church Militant here on earth and become rather the Church Comfortable. Instead of being men and women of faith, we become lax in our our Faith and the practice of that Faith through living the life of the Gospels and Sacred Scripture. We cease to be true penitents, but are rather looking to draw a line between mortal sin and venial sin and stay on the heaven side of that line. Prayer has become a few empty words we mutter occasionally, rather than a way of life that penetrates our heart and soul. We flirt with sin as if were a mere trifle, dismissing it as, only a venial sin, as if a little poison is not bad for you. We overindulge on Saturday night, only to go to another empty Confession on Sunday morning. We are Catholic in name only, not in the true Spirit of Catholicism. If Jesus were to return today, He would call us whited sepulchers. (Matthew 23:27)
If some missionary priest comes in for a mission, we may warm the pews a night or two, but ignore his sermon urging us to repentance. As far as we are concerned, we are not as the rest of men (Luke 18:11), and have no need of repentance. Oh, someday when we are old we will get a bit more serious about things, but today we have to put up with the world, so why shouldn't we enjoy a bit of it as compensation?
Unfortunately our pastors are not much better than we are. They have ceased to be men of prayer, but are happy with rushing through their Breviary and get about their profession. No longer is the priesthood a sublime calling, but another profession similar to doctor or lawyer. Oh yes, it is a high calling, but we should not work any harder than our counter parts in the world. It is enough to reign in vice enough to keep it from getting out of hand, but our poor people have it so hard.
Over the years We have read much from many kinds of priests and people prior to the upheaval of the 1960's. In a book, one priest said he no longer gave a sermon the Sunday before Ash Wednesday on the fast laws, because he figured the only ones truly bound were a few of the people in the pews and himself. He considered most of the people, because of the burden of every day life in the mid 20th century were not bound by the fast laws any longer. In the same era, one could go priest shopping for a confessor who would allow you to use birth control. (We will not go into the arguments they used to justify this action.) Those few who can remember, think back to these days. We call this '50's Catholicism.
Unfortunately Traditionalism in its early days, when it realized what was happening to the Catholic Church to revise it into a new sect at and in the spirit of Vatican II, wanted to restore the Church to an earlier age. They were a few comments, such as, "The Church needs a good inquisition" or "The Church needs a good persecution." However, there was not much talk of a reform, only a step back a decade or two to the 1950's. The were thinking, life was good and easy then. They longed for the garlic, onions and other food of Egypt, (Numbers 11:5) not realizing that at the time they were slaves, slaves to sin. True people became more serious about a few things, but they longed for a return of '50's Catholicism, not realizing that '50's Catholicism led to '60's apostasy.
In a time of ease, we need to prepare for a return to battle. We are only on leave from the battled field, it has not gone a way. "And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away." [Matthew 11:12] We are called the Church Militant for a reason, for our enemies surround us, the world, the flesh and the devil. In a time of ease, these are the only ones surrounding us, whereas in a time of persecution, the world is persecuting us. The choice is clear, the world or Catholicism. There is no middle ground of laxity, because the world is no longer tolerating us.
We should always be prepared that everything can be taken away from us. Not just material goods, more importantly spiritual goods. The church may be open this Sunday for Mass, but will it be next Sunday? How truly prepared are we for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? How truly prepared are we for Holy Communion?
Saint John Vianney tells us: "All the life of a Christian ought to be a preparation for that great action. (i.e. Holy Communion)" If we are truly living a life of preparation for Holy Communion, we will be zealous in our Faith. They may close our churches, but they cannot take away our Faith. We may be unable to pray with our fellow Catholics, but we can always pray to God in our exile.
Churches are just now reopening, but many think that not everyone will return. This is because we have not been prepared how to practice our Faith without all of the normal helps we find in the church building. We have not been built into solid men and women preparing for sainthood. Instead our lax way of life has been tolerated and after a couuple of months away from making any sacrifice to assist at Mass, we have learned how to live without it. It is only when something, especially something as important as the Mass is taken from you, that you begin to either really appreciate it or to consider that was a bother and waste of time. You either become serious about your Faith or you leave it entirely.
In the 1960's and early 1970's the changes as a result of Vatican II and its spirit resulted in a loss of faith for many. Traditionalism was born in order to preserve the Faith in our souls. Then we awoke one day to find that not only were they taking away or Faith, they were had taken the Mass as well. Destroy the Faith and you will destroy the Mass. Some of us feared that the Antichrist might be on the horizon: "And he shall confirm the covenant with many, in one week: and in the half of the week the victim and the sacrifice shall fail: and there shall be in the temple the abomination of desolation: and the desolation shall continue even to the consummation, and to the end." [Daniel 9:27]
In the late 1960's and early 1970's it was possible to go months without assisting at Mass. Traditionalists soon realized that the Novus Ordo was not a true Mass pleasing to Almighty God. It was a natural result of the theology behind the sermons that were slowly driving us away from the churches that called themselves Catholic, "but do lie." (Apocalypse 3:9)
Today, you may not agree with Our assessment of the crisis. There is much discussion about that Soon the discussion will end, because the next persecution will be upon us. We are not here to encourage you to accept Our position, but to issue a warning, persecution is coming. It is time to prepare ourselves spiritually for it. What are you going to do, when they come to your door and ask you to give up your Faith or die? They may be along with guns to show they mean business. Of course, it may not happen this way. The temptation to abandon Jesus Christ will likely be more subtle. We need to be prepared for any manner of persecution.
First of all, '50's Catholicism must be recognized for what it is, a road to hell. We cannot compromise with the world in any way, but must draw the line where it belongs, between virtue and vice, not between lesser vice and more serious vice. A man who gets close to drunk every Saturday night, but confesses every Sunday morning, is not far from approving of his daughter's abortion. Relaxation in our war against sin is the road to mortal sin. "he that contemneth small things, shall fall by little and little." (Ecclesiasticus 19:1)
However, our focus should not be on sin, because this is wrong. After we truly repent of our sins and confess them, we should put them in the past and haul them out with the garbage. "And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind," (Romans 12:2) Notice we leave the world and renew our mind. It is time to brainwash ourselves. That is wash our brain clean of all wrong thinking. The way to do this is not to focus on our wrong thinking, but rather immerse ourselves in right thinking. If you fall into a cesspool, do you look back to the cesspool for clean water to wash with? Of course not, you look for a nice shower to wash away the grime.
The purpose of the Olive Tree and our other work here is to help you immerse yourselves in truth. This has become our way of life for the same reason it should become yours. We have been out in the world and through the grace of God have been led away. God will lead you too.
Christianity has always been a way of life, not a few practices we perform under some sort of obligation. We literally have to put our heart into Christianity. Scriptures are full of instructions on how to do this. Some may seem difficult, or even a bit hard to understand, especially at first. This is where we turn to the Fathers of the Church and the Saints, who have gone where we need to go. And let us always remember our goal is to become a Saint. No we do not expect our name to ever be exalted from the altars in canonization. Humility forbids us to even think of this. No, rather we want to become saints in a quiet out of the way manner. Our definition of a Saint is an ordinary person, who does ordinary things extraordinarily well. Saints are canonized as examples to us of some virtue.
True some Saints have had extraordinary things happen to them, such as visions and locutions. God has worked miracles through some, during their life. Sanctity does not consist in these extraordinary things. In fact, there are some who God has worked through, who may be burning in hell. Saint Teresa of Avila was shone the place in hell reserved for her, if she had continued to hold back from Jesus a request He had made to her. Visits from Jesus, Mary or the Saints is not a guarantee of heaven. Miracles are not a guarantee of salvation. The Saints knew this and shied away from such extraordinary events as much as they could. They knew the danger in these things.
Saint Therese of Lisieux with her little way knew that sanctity consists in being faithful in little things. "Good servant, because thou hast been faithful in a little, thou shalt have power over ten cities." [Luke 19:17] It is this faithful in little things we need to get with. If we are faithful in little things, if God sends us a big test, He will send us the grace we need to handle it.
The stories of the great fortitude of the martyrs are told to us to inspire us. However, let us consider that the whole life of a Christian is a life of martyrdom, where we die to ourselves and live for Jesus Christ. (Galatians 2:20)
Let us close with this thought from the holy Cure of Ars, not all of the Saints began well, but they all ended well.