The Secret Place:
The Gift of Godliness and the Beatitude of Meekness
Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.” (Mt. 11: 28-29).
We have come to understand that the first Gift of the Holy Spirit, Fear of the Lord, is a singular grace of God by which the soul turns away from self and comes to rest in Christ and His saving Truth. Jesus says:
“Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.” (Mt 11:28-30).
Having taken upon itself the yoke (Fear of the Lord) of God, the soul begins to learn of God. Moreover, it begins to learn Who God is. Its first lesson is astonishing. God’s nature, and the depths of the “Spirit of Godliness” which is the second Gift of the Holy Spirit, is meekness; and the soul comes to live a life of godliness to the extent that it learns this lesson of meekness.
If we seriously meditate on the life of Christ as given to us in the Gospels, this certainly makes complete sense. The Cross is meekness incarnate. Jesus Christ, Infinite God, suffers infinite pain, subjection, and humiliation in obedience to His Father and in love for sinners. Such love is indeed infinite, incomprehensible meekness. Certainly the most profound description of this meekness and self-abnegation of Our Lord is to be found in Isaias 53, in that passage which is commonly referred to as the prophesy concerning the Suffering Servant:
“Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed.
“All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath lain on him the iniquity of us all.
“He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth,” (Isaias 53:3-7).
If this passage offers us a deeply moving description of Our Lord’s meekness during His Passion, it also encapsulates its opposite in one penetrating and horrifying phrase: “every one hath turned aside into his own way.” There are, therefore, two ways offered to every man. The first, the Way of Christ, is the path of singleness of will, and meek surrender to God and self-sacrificing love for others. The second, always offered to us by Satan and by our own fallen nature, is the way of the world which seeks to grasp onto the gifts of God (and all creation is His “gifts”) and “turn them aside into one’s own way.” Choice of this second path, even if made by one who is a member of Christ’s Church and possesses the integrity of the Catholic Faith, makes such a person an enemy of God: “You ask and receive not; because you ask amiss: that you may consume it on your concupiscences….Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, becometh an enemy of God.” (James 4:3-4).
The most terrifying power man possesses is his freedom and inclination to consume every single gift of God in his own lusts (concupiscences), not even excluding God’s gift of Himself. The reader has most likely had the experience of viewing a preacher or speaker loudly and vehemently heralding his faith in Jesus Christ, and feeling intuitively that there is something phony and deeply un-Christ-like in that proclamation. Man, in other words, possesses the power to turn even God aside “into his own way” – that “way” which is the way of the world and the path to spiritual death. The reasons for such concupiscence and self-deceit may be many: fame, money, spiritual and intellectual conceit and false security, lust. In all such cases, the result is the same: the “pocketing” of God and His gifts, and the failure to surrender and learn of Christ Who is meek and humble of heart. The most common sin and deadly peril of Christians is this turning of God aside into the desires and conceits of one’s own heart and mind. The only escape and remedy for this sin is to take Christ’s yoke upon us, and learn from Him how we may acquire this virtue of meekness. God has provided for us a “secret place” – as it were, a “school of the heart” – wherein we may truly learn and imbibe this meekness of Christ.
The Secret Place
When I converted, the priest asked what Old Testament reading I would like to have read at the Mass. I picked Psalm 26: 4-8 (Douay):
“One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple. For he hath hidden me in his tabernacle; in the day of evils, he hath protected me in the secret place of his tabernacle. He hath exalted me upon a rock: and now he hath lifted up my head above my enemies.
“I have gone around, and have offered up in his tabernacle a sacrifice of jubilation: I will sing, and recite a psalm to the Lord. Hear, O lord, my voice, with which I have cried to thee: have mercy on me and hear me. My heart hath said to thee: My face hath sought thee: thy face, O Lord, will I still seek.”
This psalm is now more lightsome than ever. In light of the current crisis, almost every word seems redolent with renewed meaning. And praying the Rosary, according to the method suggested in the article The Rosary: The Way of Perfection, has become for me the key which unlocks the secret place of his tabernacle – the Way into the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which is our Refuge in these days of evil. It is here where we must “come to” Jesus in these times of deprivation and persecution.
And what is it that we find when we come to Jesus? Again, Our Lord could not have been more specific in His answer:
“Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.” (Mt. 11: 28-29).
As explained in the above mentioned article, it is within Mary’s Immaculate Heart that we may receive Jesus in Spiritual Communion with the recitation of every single Hail Mary. It is here where we may come to possess that humility and meekness which will prevent us from embracing any of the extremes which now tempt us in this time of crisis. It is here where we may come to understand that humility which will prevent us from departing from the Heart of Jesus by sinning against the Holy Spirit through either presumption or despair.
First, in regard to despair:
In this time of spiritual deprivation and persecution, it is a tragic delusion to despair in any way. It would be especially tragic to despair over not being able to receive Jesus sacramentally in Holy Communion.
In the Summa Theologica, Pt. III, Q.3 St. Thomas asks the question: “Whether the Eucharist is necessary for salvation?” His answer is clear: the sacrament itself is not necessary for salvation, but the reality it contains (the unity of the Mystical Body) is absolutely essential for salvation. He simply states: “the reality of the sacrament [the Eucharist] is the unity of the mystical body without which there can be no salvation. (III Q.3, A.3).” He quotes St. Paul’s words, “For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread “(I Cor. 10:17), and he further comments, “from this it is clear that the Eucharist is the sacrament of the Church’s unity (A.2).” The logical consequence of all this is beautifully delineated in the following passage:
“As St. Augustine says [commenting upon John 6:54, wherein Jesus declares, “Except you eat of the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.”], ‘This food and this drink, namely, of His flesh and blood, He would have us understand the fellowship of His body and members, which is the Church in His predestinated and called, and justified, and glorified, His holy and believing ones.’ Hence, as he says in his epistle to Boniface: ‘No one should entertain the slightest doubt, that then every one of the faithful becomes a partaker of the body and blood of Christ, when in Baptism he is made a member of Christ’s body, nor is he deprived of his share in that body and chalice even though he depart from this world in the unity of Christ’s body, before he eats that bread and drinks of that chalice’.”
We might therefore conjecture that this time of deprivation in which we cannot assist at Holy Mass and receive Jesus in sacramental communion is a Gift of God’s Providence designed for the deeper penetration of Jesus into our hearts and souls. If such a statement at first sounds absurd, we ask the reader to meditate on the following:
Each of us, if we are in the state of grace and friendship with God, receives the fullness of Christ when we receive sacramental communion. A Saint does not receive more of Jesus than a comparably very worldly person who is much more immersed in indifference and venial sins (but who is not in mortal sin, and therefore still possesses sanctifying grace). The difference between two such persons does not consist in how much of Jesus they receive, but in the extent to which they allow Jesus to penetrate into the depths of their hearts and minds. And the extent to which Jesus is able to penetrate into our hearts is especially dependent upon our desire for Him. Jesus said, “I come to cast fire on the earth: and what will I, but that it be kindled?” (Luke 12: 49). He declared, “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away.” (Mt. 11: 12). And finally, Our Lord spoke the following to His apostles before the first Eucharist: “With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you, before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15). The degree of unity and love effected between Christ and the human heart is the fruit of the passion of desire exchanged between God and man. The Passion of Christ’s love is always infinite, while the passion of man is almost infinitely variable in its “mixture of impurity” with the world. And just as Christ’s Passion was made perfect in suffering, man’s love and passion for Christ is often only reawakened and purified through intense suffering. Such may indeed be seen as God’s love expressed through our present chastisement:
“But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are made partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons.”
“Now all chastisement for the present indeed seemeth not to bring with it joy, but sorrow: but afterwards it will yield, to them that are exercised by it, the most peaceable fruit of justice. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and made straight steps with your feet: that no one halting, may go out of the way; but rather be healed.” (Hebrews 12: 8, 11-13).
To be “exercised” by chastisement is to learn where we have gone wrong. In this, the second Beatitude, Jesus invites us to “learn” through His meekness. We therefore need to explore the Gospels to understand the nature of this meekness.
The Anatomy of Meekness
What does Christ mean when He states that He is meek and humble of heart? We should first make clear what He did not mean. Such meekness and humility certainly cannot be identified with any kind of weakness or timidity – physical, mental, or spiritual. Christ fasted for forty days. He endured all the agonies of His Passion in loving obedience to His Father. He was fearless in confronting demons, including the intellectual and spiritual conceits of Satan himself. He boldly and with great mental authority demonstrated the truths of the Gospel to His enemies. He drove the money-changers out of the Temple. He was vehement, authoritative and assertive in everything that had to do with defending and teaching the ways and truths of God.
So wherein was Christ meek? In everything that had to do with His own human will: “He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth.” (Isaias 53:7). Everything involving His own personal humanity on this earth was turned into an oblation, a sacrifice in love for the Father and in love of man: “there is no beauty in him nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him.” At the supreme moment of the Passion of Christ, His love knew no return. Mankind, for whom He suffered, was not desirous of either His suffering or His love. There was no immediate reward, no “turning aside into one’s own way.” There was no other way than the will of God.
There are two forms of meekness which Christ practiced, and which we are therefore to imitate: meekness towards God, and meekness towards man. Certainly the clearest scriptural account of the first occurred during His Agony in the Garden when He said, “Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou will.” (Mt 26:39). Jesus’ human nature and will, suffering total repulsion at the thought and foreknowledge of the agony which He was to endure on the Cross, yet humbled Himself in total meekness and submission to the Will of the Father.
There are many passages in the Gospel which teach us to imitate this meekness towards God. Possibly the most penetrating is to be found among those parables which deal with what it means to be a true servant of God:
“And the apostles said to the Lord: Increase our faith. And the Lord said: If you had faith like to a mustard seed, you might say to this mulberry tree, Be thou rooted up, and be thou transplanted into the sea: and it would obey you.
“But which of you having a servant ploughing, or feeding cattle, will say to him, when he is come from the field: Immediately go, sit down to meat: And will not rather say to him: Make ready my supper, and gird thyself, and serve me, whilst I eat and drink, and afterwards thou shalt eat and drink?
“Doth he thank that servant, for doing the things which he commanded him? I think not. So you also, when you shall have done all things that are commanded you, say: We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which we ought to do.” (Luke 17:5-10).
The above passage begins with a request addressed from the apostles to Our Lord: “Increase our faith.” Our Lord’s reply may be summed up as follows: If you wish to increase your faith, increase your work for God without seeking any reward. Such will increase your faith and expand your piety because it will deepen the willful sacrifice of yourself to God and His Ways. It is this meekness, neither expecting nor demanding any return for one’s love, which both prevents the mind and heart from “consuming” God, and establishes the soul in the true rest and peace of Jesus Christ.
The second form of meekness which Christ practiced was that which was exercised towards man. The Passion is, of course, the supreme example of this form of meekness. Christ was kissed by His betrayer, judged, struck repeatedly, mockingly crowned with thorns, scourged, spat upon, crucified – all at the hands of those towards whom He had shown Infinite Love. He did all this in meekness, silence, prayer, resignation, and without calling upon the legions of angels which were instantly available for His defense.
The Gospel contains many passages in which Jesus gives specific instructions for the living of this virtue of meekness among our fellow men. However, we need look no further than the very same chapter of the Gospel which contains the Beatitudes:
“You have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you not to resist evil: but if one strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him also the other: And if a man will contend with thee in judgment, and take away thy coat, let go thy cloak also unto him. And whosoever will force thee one mile, go with him other two. Give to him that asketh of thee and from him that would borrow of thee turn not away. You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thy enemy. But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you.” (Mt 5:38-44).
In these lines we are again faced with words of Our Lord which are often quoted, but rarely taken literally and with the seriousness which Jesus seems to intend. They are nothing more or less than precise descriptions of actions and attitudes which Christ demands of us, and which are duplications of His own self-immolations during His Passion. Let us look at the above passage line by line: Christ did not resist evil; when given blows upon His face He did not resist, and simply turned the other cheek; He allowed them to strip Him of His garments; He allowed them to force Him on the interminable walk to Golgotha while carrying His cross; and finally, He prayed to his Father for forgiveness for those who had subjected Him to this suffering and death.
If we believe that Christ demands anything less of us than His own self-sacrificing meekness, we are sorely mistaken; for this same Chapter 5 of St. Matthew’s Gospel ends with Christ’s command to us: “Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:48).
It may at first seem strange to us that the reward offered to those who live the Beatitude of Meekness is that “they shall possess the land”: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land” (Mt. 5: 4). For the Israelites, this word “land” was redolent with meaning. It immediately called forth God’s original command given to Abraham:
“Go forth out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and out of thy father’s house, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and magnify thy name, and thou shalt be blessed. I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee, and in Thee shall all the kindred of the earth be blessed.” (Gen 12:1-3).
All the promises of God scattered over the pages and prophecies of the Old Testament, and deeply imbedded in the suffering hearts of the Jewish people: that God would be a Father to His people; that He would come to dwell with them and in them; that He would right all wrongs and end all sufferings; that He would reign with them in an everlasting kingdom – all these and more were contained in the Jewish concept of the Promised Land. And when Christ the Messiah did come and showed them that this Land – this “nation” – was something ultimately to be attained by meekness rather than aggressions, plowshare rather than sword, mercy rather than pharisaical righteousness, they killed Him. They simply refused to understand that the Land promised by this, the second Beatitude, is not the earthly nation of Israel, but rather the kingdom of God which is to be found within the human heart truly united with God: “For lo, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17: 21).
It is the human heart which is the “land” wherein Jesus Christ takes up residence in the truth and power of the Holy Spirit. As such, this “dwelling of God with man” also places us in direct inheritance of the very Heart of Jesus Christ and His merciful love of all human souls. To possess the Land is therefore to enter into a whole new world of community with all men. It shatters competition, aggression, and self-seeking. It has the effect of creating an intense desire for the salvation of souls, a longing founded upon a vision of man which now sees both intense suffering and hope where before it only found fault. Though the soul under the influence of such a gift may indeed experience increased sorrow and pain in love of God and sorrow for sin, it at the same time finds rest simply because it now rests in God’s love rather than in its own self-seeking. There is no greater sweetness than this: to have surrendered one’s soul in meekness to Christ: “For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.”
For the soul that has set its heart upon God above all things, there remains only one true pleasure left upon this earth: love of the brethren and the thirst for souls. Among the early converts to Christianity this love and this passion simply dissolved all competitiveness, all desire for individual accumulation:
“And all they that believed, were together, and had all things in common Their possessions and goods they sold, and divided them to all, according as every one had need. And continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they took their meat with gladness and simplicity of heart; Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord increased daily together such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:44-47).
“And the Lord increased daily together such as should be saved.” The massive conversions of early peoples to the Christian Faith were largely due to the love and meekness which these people witnessed in Christians living in community with one another. In what is called His priestly prayer at the First Eucharist, Christ prayed:
“And not for them (the Apostles) only do I pray, but for them also who through their word shall believe in me; That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” (John 17:20-21)
The primary reason why the rest of the world has not converted to Christ and to His Catholic Church is that His supernatural meekness and love are not visible in His Body the Church. Catholics are, and have been for a long time, living in ways which far more represent the conceits, ambitions, greed and competitiveness of the world rather than the meekness and single-minded love of Christ. Even as early as the third century (250 A.D.), St. Cyprian could write:
“But amongst us, that unity of mind has weakened in proportion as the generosity of our charity has crumbled away. In those days [the very early days of the Church], they would sell their houses and estates and lay up to themselves treasure in heaven by giving the money to the Apostles for distribution to those in need. But now, we do not even give tithes on our patrimony, and whereas Our Lord tells us to sell, we buy instead and accumulate. To such an extent have our people lost their old steadfastness in belief. That is why Our Lord says in His Gospel, with an eye on our times: ‘The Son of man, when He cometh, shall He find, think you, faith on earth?’”
There is a very deep and extraordinary relationship between charity and meekness. True charity is a surrender, in meekness, of one’s very substance. For the soul that has surrendered to God in perfect charity and abnegation of self, there remains only one true pleasure left upon this earth: love of the brethren and the thirst for souls. Among the early converts to Christianity this love and this passion simply dissolved all competitiveness, all desire for individual accumulation:
What, after all, did the early Christians surrender when they sold their land and possessions, “and divided them to all?” They surrendered much of what we treasure as our individuality and independence; they surrendered any security for themselves and, possibly even more difficult for us to accept, for their children – except that security which was derived from their trust in Christ and in His Mystical Body the Church. Do we see how such meekness, trust, and singular love enabled 12 men to convert whole nations to Christ? In contrast to pagan society, Christian community shown forth as a heaven on earth.
There is a principle of the spiritual life which has been validated repeatedly in the history of peoples and nations: that the failures of Catholics are the seeds of heresy. The particular heresy which well might be seen to be the bitter fruit of Catholic failure to live the Beatitude of Meekness is Communism (and its continued thinly-veiled continuance and dominance now under the guises of globalism, socialism, and messianic democracy). Ironically, the passage which we have quoted from the Book of Acts is often touted by Communists as an example of an early form of communistic living. In reality, it is the very opposite. The community of early Christians founded their unity and trust upon God. Atheistic Communism, socialism, or secularism claims the death of God, and a unity founded solely upon human pride and invention. Christians voluntarily offered themselves and their properties to the Church; Communism confiscates private property for the State, and denies freedom to the individual person. At the same time, however, Communism’s errors do point an accusing finger at Catholics.
The triumphs of Marxism and secularism were the fruit of the death of true Christian community, and the continued growth of economic and political systems based on unbridled competition, aggression, and exploitation. Communism is the spiritual descendent of the Renaissance (including the prostitution of Catholics to its ideals and practices) and its liberation of economics, and especially finance, from the demands of the spirit and the teaching of the Church. Millions have been seduced and oppressed by Communism because of their desire to be free of such sophisticated savagery as is modern capitalism. Communism murdered (outside of war) approximately 150 million people in the 20th century. Nor is it by any means to be considered dead. And even if it were, the same deadly and murderous hunger will only reappear under another name, another philosophy, until Christians are able to show the world what it means to be in communion with Christ and one another.
Unquestionably, when we consider the formation of true Christian community, we are now faced with what might seem insurmountable obstacles. The early Christians came and laid their money and properties at the feet of the apostles. This was not some sort of democratic commune, but rather the gift of themselves, their families, and their possessions to Christ through His Church. We might well doubt at the present moment in history whether we could find bishops willing, reliable, and orthodox enough to exercise such authority and paternity. On the other hand, if we harken back to the principle taught by St. Gregory the Great that “Divine justice provides shepherds according to the just deserts of the faithful”, we might also conjecture that God is waiting for us to bring our desires and aspirations into accord with the Gospel so that he might then justly provide these needed shepherds. Nor are we sure exactly how this early Church actually fulfilled this community living. The Book of Acts speaks of them as “breaking bread from house to house”, which surely means that families had their own dwellings and necessary privacy. What is essential in the whole thing is the spirit of generosity and charity which truly “held all things in common” in Christ’s Mystical Body the Church. We must not misuse the fact that the vow of poverty is a voluntary act taken by religious, and that this evangelical counsel is not at all necessary for salvation. The command of the Gospel is that all persons are called to give themselves entirely to Christ, and that poverty of spirit and meekness is necessary for all.
Nor does God have to work now in the same manner as He did in the early Church. Times and circumstance change, but Christ is always present and active to provide a way to His Heart through the deceits and evils of this world, no matter how dense and overwhelming such evils may seem. As the Psalmist declares, “He will guide the meek in judgment: he will teach the meek his ways”. (Ps. 24: 9 –Douay).
We can see, for instance, things growing out of our own home-schooling communities which, imperfect though they may be, truly express the demands of Christian community, and extending beyond the immediate family. Young people who have graduated from high school can actually be seen working together in trades, and are establishing their own families while cooperating with one another in many of the various aspects of daily life which we have mentioned. No Christian who knows the circumstances of Christ’s birth should have to be told that God can begin great things in very unlikely places and under very unusual circumstances. The pre-requisite for true Christian community is not necessarily any particular exterior form, but the interior disposition of soul which truly does seek God in holy simplicity, meekness, and poverty of spirit. What is most important is that we become like the prophet Daniel who is repeatedly called a “man of desires” by God, and who from the depths of his exile in Babylon, prayed:
“For we, O Lord, are diminished more than any nation, and are brought low in all the earth this day for our sins…. And now we follow thee with all our heart, and we fear thee, and seek thy face. Put us not to confusion, but deal with us according to thy meekness, and according to the multitude of thy mercies.” (Dan 3:33, 41-42).
Please Pray every Rosary for the Purification of the Church.
“Seek, and Ye Shall Find:
Knock and It Shall Be Opened to You.”
They have taken away Our Lord!
We are forbidden Mass. Our Churches are shuttered. We are denied Adoration, Confirmations, Marriages, and Funerals; Baptisms and Confession are being postponed. Access of priests to the sick is being prohibited, and even the Sacrament of Extreme Unction is being denied.
St. James writes, “Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration. (James 1:17). We are now being led to believe just the opposite: that the primary sources of our health and salvation from the coronavirus virus lie in medicine, the action of governments, and even the peace of mind and heart induced by access to liquor stores and pot shops now being touted as “essential services”.
Any submission or acceptance of this denial of the vertical and supernatural dimension of our lives as being necessary and essential to both our physical and spiritual well-being, is bound to increase the denial of Christ present within our hearts and minds. It is bound to increase what St. Thomas calls that “impurity of mixture” of our Catholic Faith with the “spirit of this world” which will finally usher in the reign of Antichrist and the “Final Conflagration”.
We have no choice, therefore, if we wish to survive as Catholics, it is imperative that we ask, seek, and knock incessantly: “Ask and it shall be given you: seek and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you.”
We are asking Catholic to “knock” with their prayers night and day at their local churches. It is a “seeking” to be done with a truly Catholic heart, which cannot rest as long as it is being denied the presence of her Lord.
We are therefore asking Catholics, while respecting the requisites of sanitization and social- distancing, to stand or walk (or even sit) around their local churches praying the Rosary in the same spirit in which Mary and Joseph sought Jesus in the Fifth Joyful Mystery – in that spirit so aptly expressed in the words of Our Lady to Mary of Agreda:
“I desire that thou imitate me in this mystery and seek Him with such earnestness, as to be consumed with a continual longing, without ever in this life coming to rest until thou holdest Him and canst lose Him no more.”
We recommend that this be done all hours of the day and night, in the same spirit of Adoration as we have sought Jesus in our Perpetual Adoration Chapels. At the empty Tomb, Mary Magdalen wept because she knew not “where they had laid Him”. We, however, are not ignorant of where He now resides within our locked churches. Our churches are simply larger Tabernacles, containing within their walls our Hidden Lord. Let us not abandon Jesus. Let us not abandon ourselves.
In a country (the U.S., and elsewhere) completely in the black with no public Masses, we implore all faithful Catholics to make a spiritual Communion with every Hail Mary they pray. All that is necessary is that, either orally or silently, we pray “Come into my heart” at every mention of the Name of Jesus. Please read our article The Rosary: The Way of Perfection for inspiration in regard to this practice. And please include the intention for your own personal purification, and the purification of the whole Church.
Below is Part III of our series on the Gift of Fear of the Lord and the Beatitude of Poverty of Spirit, titled The Abandoned Sacraments. It is an article which we think is enormously important for understanding the present loss of the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church, especially in regard to its response to the coronavirus epidemic. The other parts of this series are linked at the bottom of the left sidebar menu.
The Abandoned Sacraments
“In the days of peace that are to come after the desolation of revolutions and wars before the end of the world – Christians will become so lax in their religion that they will refuse the sacrament of Confirmation, saying that it is unnecessary. And when the false prophet, the precursor of Antichrist, comes, all who are confirmed will stand fast in their faith, and only a few will renounce Christ.” (St. Vincent Ferrer).
“And strength was given him against the continual sacrifice, because of sins: and truth shall be cast down on the ground….” (Daniel 8:12).
In consideration of St. Vincent Ferrer’s prophecy quoted above, it might seem to be of great significance that the devaluation and abandonment of the sacrament of Confirmation would come “in the days of peace” before the end of the world. This clearly speaks of a peace that is not of Christ, but rather a peace established between Christians and the world. Our Lord declared: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you.” (John 14: 27). The peace that the world offers to Christians, on the other hand, is completely rejected by Our Lord:
“Do not think that I came to send peace upon this earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household.” (Mt. 10: 34-36)).
The peace of Christ – the peace which is of God – is at war with the peace of this world. When we speak of the “world”, we are of course speaking of all that is opposed to God. This world of false peace exists both within and without. And if we should propose a peace with either one, or both, of these “worlds”, we are at the same time betraying Christ.
The “world” that exists within us consists of all the tendencies and temptations which are the malevolent fruits of original sin: the threefold concupiscence so aptly delineated by St. John – “the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world”. It consists of all that is rooted in, and springs from, that self-love which draws us “away from” standing upright before God in the radiance and purity of His Truth, and with the full acknowledgment that all we possess is a Gift from Him. Peace with this world entails spiritual death.
But there also exists in each one of our lives an enormously seductive call to peace from a world outside of us, of which Satan is the “prince” and “god” ( John 12:31, 14: 30, 2 Cor. 4:4). This entails not only all the allurements of the flesh with which the world attempts to entice and enslave us, but also of that constant siren-like call which ever tempts us to pull “away from” the fullness and radiance of the Truths of Christ through denial, compromise, and silence. This is this world which we explored in Part I of this series, using specifically the issue of Pro-Life, and it is this world that has been deeply inculterated into the depths of our minds and hearts through participation in the political and social life of pluralistic and relativistic democracies.
Seeking peace with this “world”, both within and without, is therefore the penultimate expression of that “impurity of mixture” of Christians with the world which we analyzed in the Introduction to this series of articles, and which St. Thomas identified with that tepidity and lukewarmness towards God which will necessitate the Final Conflagration which precedes the Final Judgment.
The sacrament of Confirmation was instituted by God to impart the fullness of power necessary to live the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in combat with the spirit of this world.
St. Thomas teaches that Confirmation is a twofold sacrament, possessing both an interior and also an exterior action: it is the sacrament of interior sanctification (holiness), and also the sacrament of exterior spiritual combat (III, Q.72, A.4, ad.3). It is therefore the sacrament through which we receive the grace which establishes us in “the peace of Christ, which is not of this world” (interior holiness), while at the same time empowering us as the Church Militant in combat with the world. Any falsification of the dispositions necessary to receive Confirmation therefore necessarily results, not only in nullifying the process of our own spiritual growth, but also of surrendering us to the spirit of Antichrist always seeking our prostitution to this world.
Confirmation is the Sacrament of Christian perfection. St. Thomas states that Baptism and Confirmation “can nowise be separated save by death intervening (III, Q.72, a.12, ad1).” Just as conception and birth are the bearers of simple human life, while maturity of growth brings this physical life to perfection – so Baptism establishes us in spiritual regeneration, while Confirmation is meant to bring the spiritual life to perfection (III, Q.2m A.1). It is the sacrament through which the human heart is given totally over to Christ and His action through the Holy Spirit. We are seriously wrong therefore if we think that Confirmation is a sacrament which is somehow inferior to Baptism. Baptism without the subsequent spiritual maturity and perfection which are the intended fruits of the Sacrament of Confirmation can be compared in the physical order to the child that is born but never develops into maturity. The latter is a sort of physical tragedy; the former is a tragic miscarriage of the whole spiritual life.
If we were to stand in the figurative shoes of Satan (God forbid), then we might be able to comprehend what a wonderful thing (from the standpoint of Hell) it is for the Sacrament of Confirmation to be devalued. The denial of baptism to a child would of course be a very desired thing; but how much more desirable would be the accomplishment of sanctifying grace once received through baptism, but now deformed and defiled? We can therefore well understand that, along with actual Eucharistic sacrilege, the abandonment of Confirmation (either through rejection of its reception, or through distortion of its meaning and application) might be a premier goal of Satan.
This is precisely what happened in the wake of Vatican Council II.
The Sacrament of Confirmation Prostituted to the World
As we have seen, Confirmation is the sacrament of maturity in living the power and life which is received through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is this power which protects the Church from invasion by the spirit of Antichrist. It protects her doctrine, sacraments, catechesis, the integrity and purity of her priesthood and the life of religious, the Catholic integrity of the laity, and her entire spiritual health. Exteriorly, it is the source of the power and grace that has to do with the evangelization of the world and conversion of souls to Christ and His saving Truth. Any honest evaluation of each and every one of these areas of contemporary Catholic life leads to the obvious conclusion that this power has now been profoundly diminished, or even destroyed.
As we have seen in the previous articles in this series, the absolute foundation of all the other Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and therefore of all the power necessary to combat Satan in his work to destroy the Church, is established upon the First of these Gifts: Fear of the Lord. It is this Gift which establishes us in that fundamental posture before God of submitting to the radiant Truth that “every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, now shadow of alteration.” (James 1:17). And this in turn establishes us in that two-fold wholesome fear, absolutely necessary to each one of us in our fallen state: fear of God and His justice, and fear of the depths of duplicity and treachery within each of our own souls.
It is this “Fear of the Lord” which was totally eliminated from the Rite of Confirmation in the wake of Vatican II. If we may take the metaphor of “foundation” to its logical conclusion, all the crumbling down of traditional Catholic belief and practice in the wake of Vatican II may be seen as the abandoning, and “taking out of the way”, and stripping from Catholic consciousness, of the concept of “Fear of the Lord”.
In the Traditional Rite, the Bishop extends his hands over the heads of the confirmands, and prays for them to receive the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, naming each one in turn. The last one of these assumed the formula: “Fill them with the spirit of fear of the Lord.”
The Revised Rite of Confirmation was approved by Pope Paul VI in 1971, and imposed upon all the faithful as being obligatory by January 1, 1973. The above formula was changed to: “fill them with the spirit of awe and wonder in your presence.”
It should be obvious from what we have written above, and also in our previous articles on this subject, that Fear of the Lord can in no way be equated with the phrase “awe and wonder in your presence”. We may feel awe and wonder in the presence of a sunset, a magnificently performed symphony, or a newborn baby; but none of these approaches any of the depths contained within the concept of fear of the Lord. All we have to do to see the falsification involved here is to substitute the word “fear” for the words “awe” or “reverence”. We do not feel fear in the presence of a sunset, a symphony, or a baby. In having equated fear of the Lord with any such notions of wonder and reverence, those who are responsible for such an absurdity are guilty of a profound distortion of the Catholic Faith.
But in order to understand the extent of the damage done to the collective minds and hearts of virtually all Catholics (and not just confirmands), we need to realize that this falsification of the most fundamentally necessary Gift of the Holy Spirit penetrated everywhere – into virtually all catechisms, the prayers distributed in churches for Church renewal, every form of religious publications, and media of all sorts. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, for instance, passes this bastardized version on to all the faithful in its teaching and explanation of the Rite of Confirmation (#1299): “Fill them with the spirit of awe and wonder in your presence.”
In 2016, as a result of the work of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), the Vatican finally approved a change back to the traditional form of this prayer: “Fill them with the spirit of fear of the Lord”. By this time (over a period of 43 years), however, the devastation was complete. The “bowels” of virtually all Catholics had been stripped of the depths of meaning to be found in the concept of “fear of the Lord”. The overall effect would therefore be to simply identify such “fear” with friendly feelings of awe and wonder. A perfect example of such “identification” is The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, published by the US Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB). On page 233, during its discussion on the sacrament of Confirmation, it explicitly equates “fear of the Lord” with “awe and reverence in His presence”.
The immediate effect of this stripping away of the concept of fear of the Lord was the emasculation of all that constitutes Catholic faith and life.. No longer was the Catholic Faith seen as being something which required militancy and a spirit of combat. No longer was the fundamental mission of the Christian to be seen as “bringing into captivity [beginning with ourselves] every understanding unto the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10: 5). This emasculation permeated everywhere, and severely undermined all areas of Catholic faith and practice. It produced a kind of universal ecumenism, the poisonous vapors of which have sapped virtually all courage and manliness out of the Church. As examined in our article The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden, it is this loss of courage and fortitude in defense of Christ which reduced the vast majority of priests and bishops to silence in the pulpit in regard to all those sins and infidelities which have almost surely rendered at least 80% of the receptions of Holy Communions in this country to be acts of objective sacrilege.
It is also this loss of courage and fortitude – ironically rooted in a loss of fear of the Lord, and the bold trust in the ways and grace of God which such fear engenders in the human soul – which has now led to the spectacle of Pope, Cardinals, and Bishops responding to the coronavirus pandemic by cancelling Masses, closing Churches, and hiding behind both spiritual and physical walls built with the mortar of their own prostitutions to the secular world.
When faced with all the terrors (including pestilences) which are to come upon us from this world towards the End, the Gospel of Luke offers us two radically opposed responses from which we may choose. The first of these is to “look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21:28).” This is the response of all those who stand upright in holy fear of the Lord, and in the firm knowledge and expectation that “every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.” (James 1:17). The only appropriate responses to something like the coronavirus pandemic are increased Masses, increased Eucharistic Adoration, increased Processions, and increased prayer and unity in prayer. This is what the Polish bishops have called for to protect the people of their nation, and they are virtually alone in their united effort.
At the opposite pole are those who, having turned away from the power and grace of God, turn to the ways of man; and having betrayed their trust in God, are met with despair and a very different sort of fear:
“Then they shall begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills Cover us.” (Luke 23:30).
And they shall go into the holes of rocks, and into the caves of the earth from the face of the fear of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty, when he shall rise up to strike the earth.” (Is. 2: 21).
This emasculation of the Catholic Faith through denial of the Gift of Fear of the Lord was, of course, in need of a theological justification which completely inverted the Catholic Faith. This justification was very recently put on display for us in a very explicit and succinct manner by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The Complete Inversion of the Catholic Faith
In October of 2015, Benedict XVI participated in a discussion and interview with Fr. Jacques Servais concerning the Catholic concepts of Faith and Justification. It provides an invaluable source for enlightening us as to the deepest source of that “New Theology” which is the root cause of the attempt to eliminate the concept of “fear of the Lord” from Catholic consciousness, which we have examined above. It also establishes a union of hearts between Benedict and the thinking and policies of Francis in regard to an agenda which seeks to transform the traditional Catholic concept of Justification into a pastoral program of universal mercy and inclusiveness.
The heart of this transformation lies, according to Pope Benedict, in a rethinking of the Catholic concept of “justification by faith”. The passages which are most expressive of this “rethinking” are to be found in a dramatic exchange between Pope Benedict and Jacques Servais which occurs approximately in the middle of the Interview:
Benedict XVI: It seems to me that in the theme of divine mercy is expressed in a new way what is meant by justification by faith. Starting from the mercy of God, which everyone is looking for, it is possible even today to interpret anew the fundamental nucleus of the doctrine of justification, and have it appear again in all its relevance.
Servais: When Anselm says that Christ had to die on the cross to repair the infinite offense that had been made to God, and in this way to restore the shattered order, he uses a language which is difficult for modern man to accept (cfr. Gs 215.ss iv). Expressing oneself in this way, one risks likely to project onto God an image of a God of wrath, relentless toward the sin of man, with feelings of violence and aggression comparable with what we can experience ourselves. How is it possible to speak of God’s justice without potentially undermining the certainty, deeply established among the faithful, that the God of the Christians is a God “rich in mercy”? (Ephesians 2:4).
We need to note here that St. Anselm of Canterbury’s (1033-1109) view of Justification has been adopted by the Church, especially in the doctrine defined by the Council of Trent. It establishes that Christ’s infinite sacrifice was a totally gratuitous act of a loving God, offered not only to satisfy God’s justice in respect of the punishment due to man’s original sin, but also in satisfaction for the offense offered by man against the infinite Majesty, Glory and Goodness of God. The key notion to be considered here is the absolute gratuitousness of God’s action. There was no necessity or obligation on God’s part whatsoever. Man’s act of rebellion against an infinitely good God was fully worthy of eternal abandonment and punishment.
Benedict XVI: The conceptuality of St. Anselm has now become for us incomprehensible. It is our job to try again to understand the truth that lies behind this mode of expression. For my part I offer three points of view on this point.
Before moving on to further examination of these “three points of view, it is absolutely necessary to understand what has already been accomplished by Benedict’s new way of conceptualization in regard to justification by faith. The concept of a God demanding Justice has been eliminated. At least four times in the course of this interview Benedict specifically identifies such a view with believing in a cruel God. In his entire interview he in fact never mentions God’s justice without identifying it with cruelty. Thus:
“Only where there is mercy does cruelty end, only with mercy do evil and violence end. Pope Francis is totally in agreement with this line. His pastoral practice is expressed in the fact that he continually speaks to us of God’s mercy. It is mercy that moves us toward God, while justice frightens us before Him.”
There is here, in Benedict’s view no value in the concept of God’s Justice as leading us towards Him, or towards His Mercy. Justice and Mercy are diametrically opposed. This of course necessitates the elimination of “fear of the Lord” as being integral and necessary to the “beginning of wisdom” and therefore the foundation of the entire Catholic spiritual life. We must also note, as evidenced in this passage, the deep union of hearts between the theology of Benedict and the pastoral work of Francis.
When we now come to examine Benedict’s first point necessary for “overcoming” the conceptuality of Anselm, we encounter the second and third instances of Benedict identifying cruelty with the notion of God’s Justice:
“The contrast between the Father, who insists in an absolute way on justice, and the Son who obeys the Father and, obedient, accepts the cruel demands of justice, is not only incomprehensible today, but, from the point of view of Trinitarian theology, is in itself all wrong.”
“The Father and the Son are one and therefore their will is intrinsically one. When the Son in the Garden of Olives struggles with the will of the Father, it is not a matter of accepting for himself a cruel disposition of God, but rather of attracting humanity into the very will of God. We will have to come back again, later, to the relationship of the two wills of the Father and of the Son.”
We must here add a bit of theological commentary. Catholic theology has always recognized the unity of Will between the Father and Son. The cruelty suffered by the Son in obedience to the Father, was at the hands of men, and was not seen as the Son subjecting himself to the cruelty of the Father. Rather, it was viewed as a true unity of wills between Father and Son necessary for the satisfaction of Justice in accord with the one divine nature of both Father and Son. What is unique here in the thought of Benedict is that this demand of Divine Justice has ceased to exist, and is replaced solely by an act of Divine Mercy which seeks to attract men. This attraction is, of course, an evolutionary process, devoid of any justification for judgment and condemnation.
This brings us to the second point which Benedict offers us in regard to a “new way” of understanding justification. At the beginning of the long paragraph in which he discusses this point, he simply begins by asking, “So why the cross and atonement?” After talking about the immense amount of cruelty and suffering present in the world, he offers the following answer:
“Above I quoted the theologian for whom God had to suffer for his sins in regard to the world [because of all the horrible things in the world and in the face of the misery of being human, all of which ultimately depends on Him]. Now, due to this reversal of perspective, the following truths emerge: God simply cannot leave ‘as is’ the mass of evil that comes from the freedom that he himself has granted. Only He, coming to share in the world’s suffering, can redeem the world.”
Here we arrive at the crux of Benedict’s solution. The “reversal of perspective” which he sees as absolutely essential to modern man and the survival of his faith is to cease viewing man as being under compulsion to satisfy God’s Justice, but rather to view God as under compulsion to show man mercy. As he says elsewhere in his interview, “…the man of today has in a very general way the sense that God cannot let most of humanity be damned. In this sense, the concern for the personal salvation of souls typical of past times has for the most part disappeared.”
The third point simply brings this compulsion of God towards mercy to a conclusion in what Benedict calls the “poverty of God”. The Father must share inwardly the sufferings of the Son. Benedict in fact quotes Henri de Lubac who attributes passion to God, and not only to God the Son in His Incarnation, but also to Christ previous to the incarnation, and to the Father Himself. In thus having the very nature of God immersed in the passion of creation, Benedict logically eliminates belief in a God who is ontologically distinct from His creation, and therefore in any position to demand justice. He concludes this point with the a passage in which he again identifies the concept of justice with a cruelty unworthy of God: “It is not a matter of a cruel justice, not a matter of the Father’s fanaticism, but rather of the truth and the reality of creation: the true intimate overcoming of evil that ultimately can be realized only in the suffering of love.” As we have seen in our analysis of the Benedict’s new conceptualization of the Catholic faith, it is in fact not a matter of justice at all, but rather of a compulsory mercy on the part of a God who is truly united in His deepest essence to all of creation.
We also cannot fail to mention that Benedict’s new concept of mercy not only frees man from fear of God’s Justice, but involves a “reversal of perspective” in respect to the act of faith itself. This is certainly logical. If the concepts of “justice” and “justification” are reversed, so also must the entire concept of “justifying faith” be reversed. This becomes abundantly clear when we contrast his views with the definition of the act of faith published by Vatican Council I in the year 1870:
“Man being wholly dependent upon God, as upon his Creator and Lord, and created reason being absolutely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound to yield to God, by faith in His revelation, the full obedience of our intelligence and will. And the Catholic Church teaches that this faith, which is the beginning of man’s salvation, is a supernatural virtue, whereby, inspired and assisted by the grace of God, we believe that the things which He has revealed are true; not because the intrinsic truth of the things is plainly perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, Who reveals them, and Who can neither be deceived nor deceive.”
This entire passage speaks of a necessary subjection on the part of every man to a God against whose Justice man can mortally sin through disbelief.
In direct opposition to this traditional doctrine, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, having made God Himself in a very real way “guilty” for having created a world in which immeasurable evil and cruelty are a reality, and having subjected God to a compulsive mercy and suffering passion in order to lift man outside of this state, has eliminated entirely the concept of a fully revealed, dogmatized faith to which man must submit his intellect and will as being necessary for salvation. If judgment, and the necessity of man justifying himself before a cruel God are eliminated, so also is any requirement of a “justifying faith”. A universal mercy, working through attractiveness, and not judgment, is what remains. And thus the Catholic Faith is completely inverted.
Pope Benedict XVI’s entire agenda in opposing God’s Mercy to His Justice is aptly refuted with a single sentence from Our Lady’s Magnificat: “And His mercy is from generation to generations to those who fear Him.” It is precisely through the Gift of Fear of the Lord, and the standing in justice before God which this Gift empowers, that we become open to receiving the living waters of God’s mercy.
We also need to repeat briefly here what we have analyzed extensively in other articles. Namely, that this complete inversion of the Catholic Faith has been deemed necessary because of the prostitution of Catholic theology to reductive science, and especially to evolutionary theory. We strongly recommend reading our article The Quintessential Evolutionist for incontestable proof of Joseph Ratzinger’s surrender of all things Catholic – especially the Catholic understanding of God’s Revelation – to evolutionary theory. And we even more strongly recommend our article The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns for equally incontestable proof of the embrace of Teilhardian Cosmic Evolutionary Theory by both Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
It is generally conceded that the Antichrist will arise out of chaos – the chaos generated by a scientific and technologically advanced world in which unity and peace are desperately necessary for survival, but which is descending into inevitable chaos because of all the conflicts between individuals, nations, ideologies, and religions. We are now in the midst of this descent. As a solution, the Antichrist will offer peace and unity through satanically empowered deception and tyranny. It will, of course, be a demonically-inspired peace and unity which he will impose.
There is only one force on this earth which possesses the power to counter this tyranny: the Catholic Church. But the Church itself, now having descended into its own particular form of chaos and impotency, can only come to live this power through unified purification. This is why the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church is not just an attempt to persuade individual Catholics to pray, but rather a call to all Catholics towards a united effort in praying the Rosary and seeking interior purification. Such historically-documented united efforts have merited divine interventions in stopping such things as killing plagues and droughts. The united effort in praying the Rosary and seeking interior purification, called for by Pope St. Pius V, saved Europe from destruction in the great sea battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. And in another, more recent, example: On May 13, 1955, due to massive Rosary Processions prayed for an end to Communist oppression, the Soviet Union voluntarily announced that they were abandoning their occupation of Austria. Such historical miracles provide convincing evidence of the power of the Rosary to liberate from evil. But it must be a united effort. And it must be an effort which seeks deliverance not only from exterior threats, but from sin, infidelity, and duplicity with each one of us..
As explained in our Original Proposal, the triumph of the Light of Christ within the Church, and over evil in this world, must begin with the purification of each and every one of our hearts, a task which Our Lord has entrusted to the mediation of Our Lady. As Simeon prophesied to Mary: “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.” Only Our Lady has been prophesied to possess the singular grace and power to accomplish this interior purification, and thereby crush the head of Satan.
The problem of course is that people will only engage in such united efforts when they see what is about to come upon them. Unless they are reduced to a state of “holy fear” and desperation which shakes them out of the blindness generated through their having compromised and “normalized” their relationships with the world and its evils, they seem destined to think and behave like the proverbial “deer in the headlights”. Our Lord said to the Pharisees and Sadducees: “You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the time?” There does indeed come a time when just “hunkering down” into our own personal faith and personal devotions, with family and like- minded friends and fellow-believers, is not enough; and that the failure to unite in militant effort for our own purification and that of the Church is reflective of that “blindness of heart” and “lukewarmness” condemned by Christ. And it is in such a time of failure that we live. It is therefore no wonder that the Holy Spirit appears no longer to be operative as the Soul of the Church. It is no wonder that now, in the face of a world-wide health epidemic, Catholics are now being forbidden to gather for prayer together in their churches, the public offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being suppressed, and Catholics of all stations and ranks are hiding in the caves of isolation from one another.
We have seen the world move in the past 45 years from the slaughter of the unborn, to acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual marriage, to the promotion of transgenderism, and now the outright denial that God created male and female. It is a world in which every form of perversity and transgression of God’s laws is promoted as an inalienable right. And we now see Christians becoming the number-one victims of prosecution by the State for so-called “hate crimes” if they stand up for the absolute values of the moral truths of Christ.
When we come to consider the progression of this spirit of Antichrist within the Church, we encounter the very present reality that we now have a Pope (and many other members of the hierarchy and laity) who promotes a false mercy and inclusiveness towards evil, while embracing silence towards the “hard truths” of Catholic dogma and morals; a Pope who obfuscates the clearly present existence of a homosexual network of power and corruption among the hierarchy, while promoting these persons to higher positions of power in the Church; and who wages a demeaning campaign against those who try to hold firmly to traditional Catholic faith and practice.
It should therefore be abundantly clear that the spirit of Antichrist is now moving at an exponential pace, and that none of our “usual efforts” – and this includes not only such things as political involvement, but also the normal apostolates of Catholic action (evangelization, apologetics, catechetics, etc.) – possess the grace or power to prevail against it.
It is clearly taught in Holy Scriptures and confirmed by the unanimous teaching of the early Church Fathers that the Antichrist at the apex of his power will prevail over and crush (Daniel 7:25) the Church, even to the point of the total suppression of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In Daniel 8: 12, we read:
“And strength was given him against the continual sacrifice, because of sins: and truth shall be cast down on the ground….”
In the latter part of the 19th century, Cardinal Henry Edward Manning gave a series of four lectures titled The Present Crisis of the Holy See: A Warning About Antichrist. Cardinal Manning, commenting on the above prophecy of Daniel, concludes:
“The holy Fathers who have written upon the subject of Antichrist, and of these prophecies of Daniel, without a single exception, as far as I know, and they are Fathers both of the East and of the West, the Greek and the Latin Church – all of them unanimously – say that in the latter end of the world, during the reign of Antichrist, the holy sacrifice of the altar will cease.”
In consideration of the present coronavirus epidemic, it is extraordinarily revealing that the first preventative measure proposed or ordered by secular authorities, and widely acquiesced to by Church hierarchy, has been the suspension of public Masses. In almost every case, this has preceded any closing of bars, restaurants, sports events, entertainment venues, schools, or any other sorts of large gatherings. And Catholic Italy, and especially Catholic Rome, have led the way.
We should consider what is happening as a kind of test – a trial-run of the spirit of Antichrist – a test which the Church has almost universally failed, and which will now pave the way for greater intrusion of the spirit of Antichrist within, and over, the Church.
We have now two options: of choosing to see and lift up our faces to God for the solution to what is now descending upon us; or of burying our minds and hearts in the caves of self-deceit which will eventually and inevitably lead us to despair and betrayal. We no longer have the option of going about our spiritual lives as a kind of “business as usual”.
It is precisely this seeing with our eyes and understanding with our heart Mt. (13:15) which has been the constant goal of the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church. It consists entirely in persuading Catholics that there is only one recourse available, and only one solution remains: a Nineveh-like united recourse to Our Lady in praying the Rosary for our interior purification. It is only here where we may come to that fullness of grace, power, and purification in the Holy Spirit necessary for the spiritual combat that is now upon us.
During the past two and one-half years we have proposed the Double Feast of the Purification and Presentation on February 2nd as singularly appropriate for such a united recourse. If this Feast were to come during the coming weeks, such a united public effort at prayer would, in a great many cities and states, be almost certainly illegal from the standpoint of civil policy and legislation, and forbidden by the Church itself.
Such an exile of Catholics from their churches, and barring them from receiving Christ sacramentally through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which should be offered within these churches, should call forth from our minds and hearts a grief and a yearning similar to that which was experienced by Mary, as examined in our article The Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple. In explaining why Jesus mysteriously absented Himself from the presence of Mary and Joseph, Our Lady said to Mary of Agreda:
“My daughter, all the works of My Most Holy Son and My own actions are full of mysterious instruction and doctrine for the mortals who contemplate them diligently and reverently. The Lord absented Himself from me in order that, seeking Him in sorrow and tears, I might find Him again in joy and with abundant fruits for my soul. I desire that thou imitate me in this mystery and seek Him with such earnestness, as to be consumed with a continual longing, without ever in this life coming to any rest until thou holdest Him and canst lose Him no more.”
Being consumed with a continual longing, without ever in this life coming to any rest until thou holdest Him and canst lose Him no more” must now be the constant and overriding passion of our minds and hearts. In accord with Our Lady’s words at Fatima, this is to be accomplished through taking refuge in Her Immaculate Heart and through a united praying of the Rosary for our own purification and deliverance from our enemies. If possible, this should be done through united prayers in our churches, processions, etc. If this way is blocked for us, then Our Lord will certainly be pleased with our united intentions offered in our homes or wherever possible. We strongly recommend the practice of making a spiritual communion during every Hail Mary according to the method recommended in our article The Rosary: The Way of Perfection. This would seem singularly appropriate for those who are now being denied participation in Mass and the reception of Holy Communion.
+Please read our Original Proposal