The Popes throughout the centuries have retired to Castel Gandolfo in order to get away from the heat of Rome. We are retiring in a certain respect from now until after Thanksgiving in order to rest and prepare to return to the work of the Lord. And when We return We will be doing things much differently.
Saint Paul warns us: “Know also this, that, in the last days, shall come dangerous times. … Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid.” 1 It is possible to appear holy to the world, and yet be unholy. Jesus warns: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” 2 Of the Jansenists it was said that they were pure an angels, but proud as devils. In other words they put on the outward appearances of piety and morality, but inwardly they were full of the vice of pride.
Vice often puts on the clothing of virtue in order to deceive. We can fool others as did the Pharisee. “The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican. I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess.” 3 The pharisee appeared pious and may have even fooled himself with his empty piety. Deep down, though, the pharisee was impious and we can be impious as well.
There are many problems in the world today. It is easy to become Pharisaical and to focus on the great evils surrounding us, which we readily reject. We do not participate in abortions or birth control, whereas many around us do. We reject homosexuality and do not consider it an alternative lifestyle, while many around us do. Virtue does not consist just in rejecting and even fighting against sin. Virtue consists in positively living a life in total conformity with the will of God.
Saint Paul also warns us: “Know also this, that, in the last days, shall come dangerous times. … lovers of pleasures more than of God:” 4 We all have our pet sins, but do we attempt to overcome them and plant the opposite virtues in our lives? Today it is easy to appear virtuous in comparison with the rest of the world, but God does not judge us against the rest of the world. God has laid down a simple set of rules for us to follow, and it is a pass or fail proposition. We can all pass, but will we put forth the effort? Salvation has always taken effort.
Saint Paul tells us: “And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.” 5 It is obvious we should not conform ourselves to the immorality surrounding us today. However, consider these words applied just as much in the Ages of Faith, when the world was Catholic and the grosser vices were not acceptable even to the worldly. And yet, the saints have always condemned worldly thinking, especially when they found it among the outwardly pious. Outward piety is worthless, if our heart is in the wrong place.
In Psalms we read: “Save me, O Lord, for there is now no saint: truths are decayed from among the children of men. They have spoken vain things every one to his neighbor: with deceitful lips and with a double heart have they spoken. May the Lord destroy all deceitful lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things. Who have said: we will magnify our tongue: our lips are our own. Who is Lord over us?” 6 This sounds like a description of our own times. And so, where are the saints? Some say the greatest saints will live in the Great Apostasy. We are living in the Great Apostasy, praying and working for it to end.
Friends, all of us are called to be great saints. Mediocrity has always been rewarded by eternal misery. This is no time for mediocrity. This is a time for heroism. All are called to be true heroes. Jesus tells us: “he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.” 7 This is a time, which calls for heroic virtue and self-denial. We may not be called to the heroic penances of the saints of old. We are not called to eat only one meal a day on fast days as Christians did in the Ages of Faith. The penances of today are simpler. We must be ready to go against the tide of the world. Saint Augustine says: “wrong is wrong, even when everyone is doing it and right is right, even if no one is doing it.” We must be ready to be on the side of right and the truth, even if we are all alone. Saint Augustine also tells us that at times the Church was reduced to a single faithful person in Old Testament times. Just as it was once Athanasius contra mundum, 8 we must be ready to have the whole world against us.
Jesus tells us: “And you shall be hated by all men for my name’ s sake. But he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved.” 9 Yes we must be ready to be hated by all, including those who are most dear to us. “And a man’ s enemies shall be they of his own household.” 10 The battle is tough and after spending decades in the battle it is time for Us to regroup.
Saint Bernard wrote to a former inferior, who became Pope (Eugene III): “ What then is a hard heart? It is a heart which is not torn by remorse, nor softened by affection, nor moved by entreaties; which does not yield to threats, but is hardened by scourges. It is ungrateful for kindnesses, faithless in counsel, cruel in judgment, shameless in disgrace, without sense of fear in the midst of danger, inhuman in things human, heedless in things divine; it forgets the past, neglects the present, does not look on to the future. It is a heart emptied of all the past except wrongs it has suffered, which lets slip all the present, which has no forecast of the future, no preparation to meet it, unless perchance it be with a view to gratifying its malice. And, that I may briefly sum up the mischief of this dreadful plague, it is a heart which neither fears God nor respects man.” 11
This is a terrible form of heart disease, one that has destroyed many souls over the centuries and is destroying billions today. Saint Bernard had just given Pope Eugene the following sobering warning: “No one ever got his heard heart cured unless God haply took pity on him, and, according to the prophet, removed his heart of stone and gave him a heart of flesh. (Ezechial 36:26: ‘And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh.’)” Hard heartedness is incurable without the intervention of Almighty God.
Many years ago We read this from the Prophet Jeremias: “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 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.” 12 The land is made desolate, because there are none who consider in their hearts. We realized this applied to the form of prayer called mental prayer, which the Saints tell us is essential to salvation. In fact, years after first making this connection, We read that Saint Alphonsus had made the exact same connection, applying this verse to the necessity of mental prayer.
Three weeks ago We wrote a piece, describing the manner of men God is calling to the priesthood. These men are out there, but are they answering the call? In this piece, We also described the virtues required of the ordinary Christian. These virtues are a minimum for salvation in Our opinion. How many have taken these words to heart? One major obstacle to the salvation of souls today is that of indifference. Indifference has permeated everyone’s thinking. But let us look at where indifference has gotten us? Evil triumphs when good men do nothing, and evil is triumphing.
Also today, many get distracted fighting the tentacles of the octopus rather than going to the root of the problem. The problems of today will not be cured by Rosary rallies or protests in front of abortion clinics. No, we must go to the root of the problem, indifference which leads to hard heartedness. The saying is that charity begins at home, and this is where our work must begin, in our own hearts.
On the Feasts of Saints Felicitas and Perpetua, Dom Gueranger writes: “You and countless other martyrs have won victory for the faith; and that faith is now ours; we are Christians. But there is a second paganism, which has taken deep root among us. It is the source of that corruption which now pervades every rank of society, and its own two sources are indifference, which chills the heart, and sensuality, which induces cowardice. Holy martyrs pray for us that we may profit by the example of your virtues, and that the thought of your heroic devotedness may urge us to be courageous in the sacrifices which God claims at our hands.” 13
About the same time Henry Edward Cardinal Manning warned: “The first sign or mark of this coming persecution is an indifference to truth. Just as there is dead calm before a whirlwind, and as the waters over a great fall run like glass, so before an outbreak there is a time of tranquillity. The first sign is indifference. The sign that portends more surely than any other the outbreak of a future persecution is a sort of scornful indifference to truth or falsehood.” 14
Cardinal Manning quoted Saint Hippolytus, describing the time that is just now ending: “The Churches shall lament with a great lamentation, for there shall be offered no more oblation, nor incense, nor worship acceptable to God. The sacred buildings of the churches shall be as hovels; and the precious body and blood of Christ shall not be manifest in those days; the Liturgy shall be extinct; the chanting of psalms shall cease; the reading of Holy Scripture shall be heard no more. But there shall be upon men darkness, and mourning upon mourning, and woe upon woe. Then, the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible, hidden in catacombs, in dens, in mountains, in lurking-places; for a time it shall be swept, as it were, from the face of the earth.” 15
Much more can be said about the current crisis, but this is not Our purpose here. Rather Our purpose here is to inspire people to take the remedy against spiritual heart disease. In fact, We are retiring for this very purpose Our own self. Hardness of heart is far more common than people would believe. We are surrounded by the two problems Dom Gueranger warns about, indifference and sensuality. We recommend all join with Us in a serious examination of conscience.
We recently read that the Little Flower, Therese of Liseiux never refused God anything from the age of three. Let us ask ourselves what God is asking of us. Are we refusing Him or not?
And there is one thing all of us need to do now, and that is improve our prayer life. In Mary in Her Scapular Promise (page 194) we read that Saint Therese of Lisieux says: “Is not the apostolate of prayer higher, as one might say, than that of preaching? How beautiful is our vocation! It is for us, it is for Carmel to preserve the ‘salt of the earth.’ … The Creator of the universe awaits the prayer of one poor little soul to save a multitude of others, redeemed like her at the price of His Blood.” We need to be these little souls. This is Our plan in the foundation We are working on. We wish to build a powerhouse of prayer, which will petition God to shower the world with graces which will move us toward the universal conversion. And we can all pray from where we are at.
“And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me? Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak.” 16 Yes, our flesh is weak. “But the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise; and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong.” 17 We ask all to spend an hour a day in serious prayer. It may be a sacrifice, but consider the benefits. Is an hour too much to ask? There is a book of sermons written for laymen that recommends giving ten percent of our time to prayer. This would be a kind of tithe. That would be two hours and twenty-four minutes a day. There are some, who have this much time free. Those with large responsibilities, though, do not have this kind of time.
Today is the feast of the Transfiguration, when Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John. Let us transform our own lives. Let us become the great saints God is calling each and every person reading this to be.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, end the Great Apostasy.
August 6, 2014
1 I Timothy 3:1,5
2 Matthew 7:13
3 Luke 18:11-12
4 I Timothy 3:1,4
5 Romans 12:2
6 Psalms 11:1-5
7 Matthew 10:22
8 Athanasius against the world.
9 Mark 13:3. “And you shall be hated by all men for my name’ s sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.” Matthew 10:22
10 Matthew 10:36
11 De Consideratione page 17
12 Jeremias 12:1-12
13 The Liturgical Year Volume IV, pages 322-3
14 The Present Crisis of the Holy See, page 44
15 Ibid. page 50
16 Matthew 26:40-41
17 I Corinthians 1:27