The late Father John Hardon, a Jesuit theologian whose cause for canonization has been introduced in Rome, stated that families are under attack. It is true; families are under pressure from superhuman forces of evil. Those pressures are beyond human power alone to resist and overcome. Only heroic families will survive. Only heroic souls will survive this great spiritual battle of our generation.
Make no mistake, this battle will be about marriage, family and its sanctity. Great persecution and tribulation are coming to the Catholic Church. If you stand for true, natural and sacramental marriage, you will be opposed in every way because this is a decisive battle. Persecution will be over the issues of marriage and human sexuality. It will be centered upon the attempt to redefine 6,000 years of human history’s recorded definition of marriage. You don’t have to be a prophet to see this coming. A new type of marriage definition will be forced upon the churches.
Marriage is a sacred covenant. A communion of life and love between one man and one-woman, collaborating with God to bring human life into the world. The covenant is sacred because human life is sacred, made in the image and likeness of God, the creator. God brings every human, and every human soul into this world with an eternal destiny. There is no moral equivalency between sodomy and matrimony. That which is against God and nature will certainly fail. Compromise on such sacred issues leads to confusion, which leads to corruption, which leads to collapse.
Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman once said that he felt fortunate to be living a time when the enemies of the Church were on the outside looking in. He said the day will come when the enemies of the Church will be on the inside looking out. We must, however, remember the words of Sister Lucia:
Fear not, for our lady has already crushed the serpent’s head.” Her immaculate heart will triumph in the end. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.
A Personal Experience: The Virgin Mary
Midway through my life’s journey, while resisting the bellows of my passions, I collapsed. Heartbroken and fatigued, I felt lonely on a narrow road the Lord had set for me. When I arose from my malaise, I clearly heard a voice so mellow, so tender and so feminine, calling my name.
Wondering whether my faculties had gone asunder, I beheld a young woman, whose face I could not see, but whose loving presence I could not deny nor resist, emanating the atmosphere with a sweet aroma of blooming roses. Her voice resounded, as if a million violins, perfectly tuned in synchrony, unison, and harmony, orchestrated. No justice could be done in describing the beauty of this woman, or the perfect humility that composed the very fiber of her being. I was truly in awe as I was given infused knowledge of her omnipotence, only by grace, because of the omnipotence of her son, by his nature.
As if she knew my very thoughts, she answered them with the simplest of gestures. With both hands, gently, she placed a wooden rosary around my neck, as she echoed the glorious words of, “pray for final perseverance.” Upon hearing that declaration, this vision ended, but the rosary remained around my neck. Clasping onto them, and with no delay in time, I was back in the desert, back on the thorny narrow path, back in the unrelenting struggle of life; I was back on earth.
Frantic, I looked behind me and I saw a wide precipice opened to the very center of the earth. Within this precipice, I witnessed millions of souls, blaspheming God, all blind-folded, with the words, “do what thou wilt” inscribed on the fabric. It was a macabre procession of specters, all plunging into an abode of fire and destruction. The dereliction of spirit witnessed in these cavernous realms was enough to make me weep. Suddenly, I fell into a deep mystical contemplation on the very nature of the world and the essence of my being. This is my journey, this is my experience, this is a vale of tears we all dwell among.
Behind me lies another fallen soul, lost in forever, swimming in a lake of inconceivable turpitude. I ask myself, could that have been me? Most certainly it could have, however, this faith is a gift bestowed on me by the Lord of Hosts. With this faith, I have the knowledge that I must persevere in a state of sanctifying grace while I exist in this very temporal existence. Often, I am asked, “but did not the Lord die for all our sins? Did not the Lord save mankind from all distress and duress? Why dost thou persevere in vain?” Though this question, posed upon me causes me much sorrow, I am sated and enamored with the beautiful words of Saint Thomas Kempis from the Imitation of Christ,
If thou see any man sin openly or do grievous sins, thou oughtest not deem thyself better; for thou knowest not how long though mayest abide in good.
Pride and Death
How often do we cast stones on our fellow brethren without plucking out the plank from our own eyes? How often do we sweep the front doors of the house of others before sweeping our own first? Who is the man without sin? Who can persist sinless, even throughout the day? We, due to original sin, are vessels of sin, separated by unbelievers, only by the gift of the graces bestowed upon us by Jesus Christ, to be intimately aware of our sins and our sinful nature. These graces unveil our shortcomings, both mortal and venial. Such shortcomings are only remedied through frequent visitations and usage of the sacraments and sacramentals. If we could but know how envious the fallen angels are of what we have, and what we could obtain upon dying in a state of sanctifying grace, we would truly be in awe.
This pending death, a death we must all face will arrive on a mysterious day. Nothing is more certain than death, and nothing is more uncertain than the hour of our death. What state will you be in on this great day? The Merriam Webster dictionary defines time as a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through the present to future. What it fails to state is that time must stop for all of us, and oh dear soul, will you be ready for your own day of judgment? When this day does arrive, will your soul greet its maker and hear the sacred words, well done good and faithful servant, or will your soul hear the words, “depart from me for I never knew you”? This risk is much too great to chance. Heaven can never be purchased at too dear of a price and before one can enter the Church Triumphant, we must battle alongside the Church Militant all while praying for the Church Penitent.
A Culture of Death
Today, the world is building a civilization without God, and now have a culture of death in its place. In this supreme moment of need in the Church, the ones who should speak in this decisive battle must not fall silent because with silence, many will fall into mortal sin and perish.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children (Hosea 4:6).
However, where sin abounds, grace abounds even more. There is a lot we can do. To drawback in a time of adversity is the certain diminishing of love. Prayer, fasting, penance, holy rosary, eucharistic adoration, praying of chaplet of divine mercy often and with great fervor. Husbands become, Men. Wives, love, nurture, protect and cherish your homes. Frequent mass often with your children and teach them the truth, the very narrow truth that is found in the beautiful Catholic faith. The Lord was Baptized, not to be cleansed Himself, but to cleanse the waters, so that those waters, cleansed by the Body of Christ which knew no sin, might have the power of Baptism. The Holy Spirit dwells when you exist in a state of sanctifying grace. Remember, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are, Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Piety, Fortitude and the Fear of the Lord. Amen.