Lift up your head and search your heart

Lift up your head and search your heart

+Mary ChristMass and a blessed New Year!+

Introduction

This ChristMass will be one that American Catholics will not soon forget. Communist and third-world countries have long seen the unrest we are now experiencing but never in this country have we seen such chaos and confusion. In these times we must lift up our heads and search the heavens, imploring God to grant us the graces we need to save our souls. We have already seen the brightness of the Star of Bethlehem there, reminding us, perhaps, that we could soon see the cross of redemption fixed in the sky, telling us that Christ is on His way to visit the earth. Many now, both those calling themselves Catholic and non-Catholics alike, are speaking of the imminent arrival of Antichrist. But as explained many times in this blog and in website articles, the Man of Sin proper has already come and gone. All that remains is for those now continuing his system to open their final act on the world stage and complete the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Antichrist’s diabolical system is definitely in play here, as explained below in Daniel’s vision of the latter days. We have seen the land and sea beasts of Apocalypse, Chapter 13. But Daniel details for us the nature of the fourth beast or kingdom, as he calls it, from which these beasts issue, and that is the New World Order system we now see in action.

Daniel’s Visions (Chap. 7, vs. 15-28)

“My spirit trembled, I Daniel was affrighted at these things, and the visions of my head troubled me. I went near to one of them that stood by and asked the truth of him concerning all these things, and he told me the interpretation of the words, and instructed me: These four great beasts are four kingdoms, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most high God shall take the kingdom: and they shall possess the kingdom for ever and ever.

“After this I would diligently learn concerning the fourth beast. which was very different from all and exceeding terrible: his teeth and claws were of iron: he devoured and broke in pieces, and the rest he stamped upon with his feet: And concerning the ten horns that he had on his head: and concerning the other that came up, before which three horns fell: and of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things, and was greater than the rest. I beheld, and lo, that horn made war against the saints, and prevailed over them till the Ancient of days came and gave judgment to the saints of the most High, and the time came, and the saints obtained the kingdom.

“And thus he said: The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be greater than all the kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns of the same kingdom, shall be ten kings: and another shall rise up after them, and he shall be mightier than the former, and he shall bring down three kings.  And he shall speak words against the High One and shall crush the saints of the most High: and he shall think himself able to change times and laws, and they shall be delivered into his hand until a time, and times, and half a time.  And judgment shall sit, that his power may be taken away, and be broken in pieces, and perish even to the end. And that the kingdom, and power, and the greatness of the kingdom, under the whole heaven, may be given to the people of the saints of the most High: whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all kings shall serve him, and shall obey him.

“Hitherto is the end of the word. I Daniel was much troubled with my thoughts, and my countenance was changed in me: but I kept the word in my heart.”

Babylon in history

The history of God’s chosen people, taken as a whole, teaches some very straightforward and important lessons. Holy Writ provides the basic summary of the machinations of God’s enemies throughout history, from the earliest days of the Israelites up to our own day. While Satan wishes all things to appear new, there is very little variation on his original scheme to deprive man of eternal happiness with his Maker.

The book of Genesis records the history of Satan’s assault on man, and Ven. Mary of Agreda, in her “Mystical City of God,” portrayed him as the eternal protagonist from the very beginning. Satan’s primary failing, she explained, was envy of the Son whom God the Father announced would redeem the world. Until this announcement came, Satan himself had presumed primogeniture in Heaven. That another would assume flesh, outstrip his gifts of grace and usurp his favor with the Almighty enraged him. On realizing the intentions of God, he revealed the true extent of his envy and hatred of the Word. He expressed this by issuing his fateful boast to make the persecution and destruction of the Divine Word his eternal mission, citing the defilement of Mary Most Holy as the means to attain this end.

Addressing this blasphemy, the Father solemnly proclaimed the final victory would belong to the Immaculate Conception, who would crush Satan’s proud head. He then flung him and the followers he had recruited deep into the center of the earth, where the Evil One and his demons have never ceased to issue forth and persecute men.

The next confrontation came in Eden. There Satan, in the guise of a serpent, first unveiled his system of Gnosis (knowledge of things forbidden by God), telling Adam and Eve that knowledge of both good and evil would make them God’s equal. Again the Creator reminded Satan of his destruction by the Woman. For our first parents, who left us the ignoble legacy of original sin, the price of pride and disobedience was the loss of Paradise. But for those who followed the serpent, the wages of Gnosis were eternal death in Hell.

Not one to waste time, Satan soon found accomplices among Adam’s descendants willing to imitate his example and accept his occult knowledge. The heavenly image of Satan’s fall from favor was mirrored in Cain’s murder of his innocent, well-intentioned brother Abel. Abel, a shepherd, prefigured Christ, the Good Shepherd, offering the sacrifice of his first fruits. Cain, envious of his brother’s goodness and eager for material gain, offered God only what he felt he could afford to spare – an offering deemed unacceptable in God’s eyes. When God informed Cain of his shortcomings, he followed in Satan’s footsteps.  While Satan had assailed the Word spiritually, Cain physically assaulted and murdered his brother, then denied his deed to God. Satan has been a liar and a murderer from the beginning, as Holy Scripture attests.

Branded and sent into exile as punishment for his sins, Cain did not have an equal in sinfulness until the days of Noe. Adding lewdness to the long list of Satan’s deceits, Cham or Ham, the son of Noe, sinned by laughing at his father’s nakedness after Noe unintentionally became drunk from the fruits of his first vineyard. Noe cursed Cham for his immodesty and the taint of this curse apparently filtered down to Cham’s grandson, Nemrod, ruler of Babylon.

As Babylon’s ruler, Nemrod denounced God, wishing to receive the honor and glory his subjects offered to God for himself. He authored secular humanism by teaching them that they could ascribe all these physical and intellectual gifts to themselves. Styling himself as the strongest and craftiest ruler of his day, Nemrod then became the first to demonstrate that might makes right, tyrannizing his people for his own ends. According to Hebrew and Oriental traditions given some credence by the Church, he founded the Sabaean religion, archetype of pagan belief. In it was encapsulated all pagan belief, from Babylonian times to the present. He taught the people of Babylon that the sky was a crystal ceiling, the patriarchs that had died and gone to heaven being the very planets in the sky. Deity became synonymous with nature and the force that accounted for the heavens and earth. Unable to spiritualize this creative force, the early apostates worshipped the reproductive forces in man and nature. (This is the true origin of the legends that atheists claim prove Scripture to be nothing more than one possible explanation of actual events.)

Now the Sabaeans believed that meteors and certain stones were pieces of these supposed patriarch-planets fallen to earth, and they began worshiping the stones as gods. In the early stages of their disbelief, before they were recognized as having completely apostatized from the One God, they would secretly use these stones to build their altars of sacrifice, unbeknownst to their fellow worshippers who offered sacrifice to the true God. As the convert, Rabbi Drach, explains: “Our fathers, sons of Sem, preserved in the sanctuary of the Temple of Jerusalem the Beth-el Stone of Jacob (Jacob’s ‘stone pillow’), and in this stone they worshipped the Messiah. This cult was imitated by our neighbors of Phoenicia, sons of Cham, who had a common language,” (“Trail of the Serpent,” by Inquire Within). Later, the stones worshipped by these early idolaters were chiseled into phallic and other shameful shapes and hidden from view, accounting early on for the secrecy inherent in the mystery religions. Remnants of this worship can be seen today in “worry” stones and “pet rocks.”

Before the apostasy fostered during Nemrod’s reign, God made known His intention to separate the various tribes of peoples, sending them into different lands so that His designs for populating the entire earth might be accomplished. Nemrod and his subjects set themselves against this plan by building the Tower of Babel, claiming, the ancient traditions related, that as punishment God would renege on His promise never again to destroy the earth by flood. They sought to unite as many of their people as possible to preserve the one language they feared to lose in separation.

Nemrod boasted his tower would reach the planet-gods of heaven. Like Satan, his father, he feared God would deprive him of his kingdom. He was desperately attempting to attract as many adherents to his new religious-politico empire as he possibly could. The infidelity occasioned by worshiping men as gods (the father-patriarchs and themselves) had resulted in the degradation of women, immorality and depravity. Before the tower was completed and Nemrod’s scheme could succeed, God changed the tongues of the various families so they could no longer understand one another and were forced to separate. Thus was the first attempt at one-world government and religion foiled by Divine intervention. But Nemrod’s people, the sons of Sem, continued to live between the Tigris and Euphrates. And from this continuation of the Babylonian empire arose the Egyptian and other pagan mystery religions.

Babylon is the code word used by early Christians to identify Rome. In the Apocalypse we find reference to the whore of Babylon and Babylon the Great, which is destined to fall; repaganized Rome and her earthly satellites. Chapter 13 of Apocalypse identifies three separate beasts that will manifest themselves during Antichrist’s reign. The sea beast is generally interpreted by Catholic commentators as Antichrist proper and the land beast as the false prophet, although some reverse these two roles. Then there is the third beast which is also the fourth kingdom, spoken of by Daniel the prophet. It also is referred to in Apoc. 17 as the whore of Babylon, across whose forehead is written “mystery.”

This kingdom is symbolized by a woman who rides the Antichrist beast, or in other words is carried along with him (the horns receive a kingdom WITH the beast, Apoc. 17:12). One specific king in particular will side with Antichrist and his system. Babylon the great is pagan Rome allied with Freemasonry, Socialism and Communism. This alliance began during the reigns of Roncalli and Montini and continues in our own day with Antichrist’s system. The false prophet (Angelo Roncalli, known as John 23) first prepared the way for Giovanni Montini (Paul 6) by making him a cardinal then announcing the calling of the false Vatican 2 council. Paul 6 was unmistakably identified in many ways with the number six, and this has been demonstrated in the writings of various authors, myself included, for decades. Scripture clearly tells us who Antichrist proper is, for this beast, Paul 6, usurped the papacy then abolished the Latin Mass when he who withholdeth was taken out of the way (Pope Pius XII).  Antichrist has come, but the ultimate material reign of the system he established is about to be revealed. If it is represented by a particular political figure, so be it, but he must not be confused with Antichrist proper, who in every sense can be only a spiritual figure.

Two trends in Scripture commentary

Commentators seem to be caught up in two different excesses in predicting Antichrist’s reign. Some deny anything that would seem to support the Protestant contention that Antichrist could in any way be identified with the papacy. They enter into long and drawn-out explanations as to why these Protestant teachings on the pope as Antichrist are heretical and not a true fulfillment of the prophecies. This is true and perhaps it was necessary to some extent, but it should not eclipse the actual situation today, but they do not explain that it could have an entirely Catholic interpretation. No one is saying a true pope is or could ever become Antichrist. We are saying that a man who is only posing as a true pope became Antichrist, one who was never validly elected and could never, therefore, have continued the papal succession. None of the commentators even considered this with the exception of Rev. E. S. Berry, who believed the false prophet would “probably set himself up in Rome as a sort of antipope during the vacancy of the papal throne [mentioned in Apoc., Ch. 12]. Of course this is true, for it is exactly what Roncalli did. What Berry misses is that the Antichrist himself will also be a false pope.

The other excess is related to the above but varies from it somewhat. These commentators hold that the papacy can never cease to exist, despite what Henry Cardinal Manning and others (including Fr. Berry) teach regarding he who withholdeth. Some teach a pope could actually become a heretic and still remain pope (material-formal); others believe that some bishop of Novus Ordo origin could “turn’ and be elected a true pope without ever possessing apostolic succession, contrary to all Church law and teaching. The first excess group fears to finger Montini as Antichrist because they believe it comes too close to the papal antichrist theory, a heresy, even though Pope Paul IV tells us exactly how such a thing could happen in his Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. The second excess group isn’t worried about heresy; they long ago compromised themselves by accepting men as their “clerics” who had no valid claim to either apostolic succession or a mission granted by the Church. They are a new non-Catholic religion with new minsters who parody Mass and Sacraments but can transmit nothing. They secretly realize their lack of jurisdiction for their clergy poses a valid threat to their membership, so they must have a pope to make it appear they can function validly and “prove” the Church still exists.

Both groups would necessarily need to style any man considered Antichrist as a political figure to satisfy their needs and prejudices as well as their illogical conclusions. But the Church does not deal in politics and the affairs of the secular world; She deals only in the spiritual realm. Antichrist proper can project a material manifestation but only if it is firmly held and understood by Catholics that his primary role is and must be spiritual since it is the spiritual realm that he so profoundly impacts. He ruled as an imposter stripping the Church of all that Christ established on earth. No political figure could ever hope to effectively deceive the elect and seduce the faithful by doing such a thing from outside the confines of the Church; he would be seen as the enemy. No; it would need to be done from within, with at least the appearance of authority, to fulfill Scripture prophecy completely. This is not to say that these prophecies will not and cannot have a secondary more literal fulfillment, but in actuality it is only an extension of the initial spiritual fulfillment.

What we may be seeing in the formation of the New World Order is the open and undeniable cooperation of Francis with the conspirators, for is he not also Antichrist by extension, being in his direct line of descent? Remember that the devil wishes to impersonate Christ perfectly; he too shall have his own satanic succession and each one of his “pontiffs” will be a mirror image of Antichrist with all the same power, just as St. Peter was. But this succession is the system of Antichrist, for only one of these men could be the actual Man of Sin according to the Church, and we know this man had to be Montini, in all likelihood. Holy Scripture gave us all the signs we needed to identify him, and the disappearance of the papacy cannot be explained unless we admit his existence. The whore of Babylon lent her power to the evil governments of the world when Roncalli/Montini embraced Freemasonry, Socialism and Communism. This is only the culmination of that alliance, with a formal acceptance now coming from Francis. But the betrayal of the Church began long ago, even before the death of Pope Pius XII. Francis’ role is to fulfill the Protestant claims that the Church was indeed Antichrist, alienating non-Catholics with sympathies toward Catholicism, in order to wipe out the Church’s salvific mission forever. Traditionalists will play the role of the true Church and deceive any remaining elect. Eventually the powers that be will tire of Rome’s affiliations and Apocalypse predicts they will destroy the city, a physical fulfillment of the longstanding spiritual reality. Then even the semblance of any religion will disappear and Satanism will fill the void.

When will Christ interrupt this chain of events? That is His carefully guarded secret. Below we will quote a Novus Ordo work which refers to the writings of St. Louis Grignon de Montfort, writings of this saint not otherwise available to us. The work is from Fr. Andrea D’Ascanio OFM Cap., at the Marianum Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Rome. It consists mainly in quotes from de Montfort, but certain comments on these writings, where they remain in keeping with the faith, have also been retained.

Abbreviations used to cite Montfort’s works:

LCM Letters to Members of the Company of Mary; LEW, The Love of Eternal Wisdom; L Letters; LFC, Letters to the Friends of the Cross; FP, Fiery Prayer; RM, Rule for the Missionary Priests of the Company of Mary; SR, The Secret of the Rosary; SM, The Secret of Mary; TD, Treatise on True Devotion to Mary and RHP, Rules for the Holy Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Saumur. Fr. D’Asconio’s text is below.

“Who will these servants, slaves and children of Mary be?” They are those the Spirit has chosen so that “his holy Mother may be known, honoured and loved as never before” in the last times, at the conclusion of the ancient battle between the woman and the serpent, between her offspring and the serpent’s offspring (Gen 3,15). At that time Mary’s power will be revealed, right when Satan will try to strike her “heel”, that is ‘ses humbles esclaves et ses pauvres enfants’ to whom she will convey her grace. They will be the great saints of the last times who, “in union with Mary, will crush the head of Satan with their heel, that is, their humility, and bring victory to Jesus Christ” (TD 54).

“Their main characteristic will be a profound inner life; following John’s example they “stay at home with their mother” (TD 196) devoted to prayer, following the example and in the company of she who has always loved meditation and prayer. Their main concern must be their own interior perfection, “compared to which all other work is mere child’s play,” (TD 196). They will live the first and only commandment of Love by seeking God with all their heart, with all their mind and with all their strength, like the first monks and hermits who abandoned the world in order to achieve complete unity with Him… They will go out into the world only to carry out the duties of their status following the will of God their Father and Mary their Mother.” (This is the connection to St. John the beloved disciple we have referred to in previous blogs. He and Our Lady are with us today — TSB)

“In one of his works of 1919, P. Lhomeau, commenting on the apostles of the last times according to Monfort, thus summarizes what the Church means by “last times”: Christian language refers to the “last times” as a period of indeterminate length which can involve years or centuries, in which any kind of catastrophes or events, especially the misfortunes of the Church, its downfalls and victories. In the end, everything will be extreme and, so to speak, terminal in character, and will prepare for the second coming of Christ (…). That is what we call parousia. This return of Christ is the object of our faith; and the Master Himself ordered us to watch and wait (…). Its date is in the secret of God.” There has been much talk on the meaning of Montfort’s expressions concerning the second and last coming of Jesus, which theologians have interpreted in different, and at times contrasting, ways. According to Montfort’s most profound commentator there are two deluges, a ‘fiery deluge of pure love’ which will convert all men and also a ‘divine fire of his anger’ which ‘will reduce the whole world to ashes.’

“The reign especially attributed to God the Father lasted until the Flood and ended in a deluge of water. The reign of Jesus Christ ended in a deluge of blood, but your reign, Spirit of the Father and the Son, is still unended and will come to a close with a deluge of fire, love and justice. When will it happen, this fiery deluge of pure love with which you are to set the whole world ablaze and which is to come, so gently yet so forcefully, that all nations, Moslems, idolaters and even Jews, will be caught up in its flames and be converted? None can shield himself from the heat it gives, so let its flames rise. Rather let this divine fire which Jesus Christ came to bring on earth be enkindled before the all-consuming fire of your anger comes down and reduces the whole world to ashes.” Is it possible that God won’t grant Mary’s heartbroken request for this prophet, in which she lives and fully identifies with? The time has not come yet. Before the altar of the Trinity, Mary will keep alive this fiery cry which her servant raises up in the name of the Church and of humanity and its effects will be seen in the most difficult moments of the last Church. (This is an echo, it seems, of the conditional Fatima promise. No one can be certain that the necessary conditions of this promise were ever fulfilled by a sufficient number of people praying OR by the consecration made by Pope Pius XII. — TSB)

“Saint Louis Mary pays the high price of a prophet who spiritually lives the dramatic final battle between good and evil; he has realized that in order to accomplish his salvific plan “Almighty God and his holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints”  (TD 47) and he asks for its fulfilment with all the strength of his being… Montfort understands that there is something mysterious in God’s plan which he can’t figure out: No one knows how and when this will come to pass, but we do know that God, whose thoughts are further from ours than heaven is from earth, will come at a time and in a manner least expected, even by the most scholarly of men and those most versed in Holy Scripture, which gives no clear guidance on this subject,” (SM 58).

Montfort [repeats] often that the final battle will take place above all in man’s inner soul In “heaven”, that is in the dimension of the spirit, the “sun” which is God will be darkened”: this is the result of a century of theoretical and practical atheism in which man has wanted to banish God, renewing on earth the non serviam which already resounded in heaven. It is the dreadful ‘silence of God’ dreaded by Israel. As a result, the moon shall not give her light: the Church, which reflects the light of the sun which is God, will enter into a profound crisis whose most visible sign will be the stars which will fall from heaven. In God’s heaven the ‘stars’ are the priests (“You are the light of the world…” Matt. 5:14). (Pre-V2 Scripture  commentators identify the stars as bishops or the hierarchy in general – TSB).

“From post Vatican II until today about 100,000 priests have abandoned their ministry, and this exodus doesn’t show signs of coming to an end. The powers of heaven shall be moved: The heavens are the souls of men who, having become orphans because they have lost their Father and Mother, will find themselves in a profound moral and spiritual chaos. This situation is already clear as well. ‘And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven. And then shall all tribes of the earth mourn’. The only sign of the Son of man is the Cross. This sign will appear impressed with fire in every soul. In suffering, all souls will comprehend their ingratitude and neglect for this crucified Love, they will mourn and they will be saved.” (This is the true value of being deprived of Mass and Sacraments and of the very Church Herself, this mourning. Many style it as the condemnation of stay-at-home Catholics, but instead it is the opportunity to work out our salvation — TSB.)

“The last times are those of the greatest moral decay in which we are living and of which Montfort prophesies. This vision makes his great supplication to God the Almighty Father spring from his heart: Be mindful, Lord, of your Congregation, when you come to dispense your justice. (…) Will everything come to the same end as Sodom and Gomorrah? Is it not true that your will must be done on earth as it is in heaven? Is it not true that your kingdom must come? Did you not give to some souls, dear to you, a vision of the future renewal of the Church? Are not the Jews to be converted to the truth and is this not what the Church is waiting for? All the blessed in heaven cry out for justice to be done. And the faithful on earth join in with them and cry out: Amen come, Lord!”  (FP 5). (End of de Montfort book quotes.)

Conclusion

It may appear strange to speak of Christ’s Second Coming on the eve of His birth, but the Gospel for the first Sunday of Advent itself opens the season with this reminder. Nor should we lose sight of it during the ChristMass season, especially when the signs of its close approach are so frighteningly apparent. The above paragraphs, however, should give much comfort to those who must endure these terrible trials and tribulations, for perhaps, without even knowing it, we have followed de Montfort’s advice and hopefully classify as the lovers of Jesus and Mary he describes. May the love of the Christ Child live ever in your hearts and may we all pray for a safe and peaceful New Year.

 

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More on the Priesthood of the Laity, St. Anthony Mary Claret

More on the Priesthood of the Laity, St. Anthony Mary Claret

+Feast of the Immaculate Conception+

Now that we have entered the season of Advent and are preparing for the birth of Our Lord, I have been thinking about the feast of some 14,000 Holy Innocents, and how their martyrdom mirrors in many ways the situation in which we find ourselves today. On first read this may seem to be a strange remark. But Christ granted these infants admission to Heaven, even though they were unbaptized, because they were totally innocent, and they suffered and died for Him. Of course, they were baptized in their own blood, a sure ticket to Heaven, and we know well that “baptism” of blood and desire is sufficient to merit salvation according to the Church’s teaching on this matter. But it was a merciful act on God’s part because they died in the process of prophecy being fulfilled, God’s will on earth being done, regarding the Incarnation.

From all eternity, the times in which we live today were ordained to complete the course of the Church on earth. I say our own situation is analogous to the Holy Innocents because like them, we have been caught up in a storm of persecution against the Son of God and all He stood for.  And this precisely because God wills that the Scriptures be fulfilled, even though it may cost us dearly in way of our loss of all spiritual direction, Mass and Sacraments and any normal Catholic existence. In our last blog we explained how Christ is with us unto the consummation simply because we yet exist, profess His name and do our best to try to accept His holy will that Mass and Sacraments, indeed the Church Herself, be unavailable to us at this time. In the prophecy predicting the shepherd would be struck, (Zacharias 13:7), God says He will turn His hand to the little ones.

In Christ’s prediction of this same event, the first part of this prophecy is repeated again (see Matt. 26:31), but in this passage Christ says, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed.” Rev. Leo Haydock interprets the passage in Zacharias as follows: “Christ takes care of his little flock, and always is one with the Father.” In the Matt. 26:31 version, he notes that “I will strike” means that Christ’s death (and the vacancy of the Holy See) means that these trials and sufferings are “directed by God.” He quotes from Luke 12:32 which reads: “Fear not little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you a kingdom.” Citing St. Bede, Haydock writes on this verse: “In order to console us in our labors, he commands us to seek only the kingdom of Heaven and promises that the Father will bestow it as a reward upon us.” So in these difficult times, Christ grants us leeway if we but obey His law and seek not an earthly kingdom, but a heavenly one.

Another instance of Christ’s mercy to those caught up in the fulfillment of His mission to save souls is the miracle He worked in Gethsemane. When an apostle (most believe it was St. Peter) stepped up to defend Him as He was being accosted by the soldiers and the Jewish officials, slicing off the ear of the high priest’s servant, Jesus restored the man’s ear, objecting, “How can the Scriptures be fulfilled, that so it must be done?” It seems that Our Lord was unwilling that anyone who was an innocent bystander to the fulfillment of God’s will regarding His Passion (and that of His Church) should be harmed for His sake. We are not innocent as the holy babes of Bethlehem were nor even the high priest’s servant, who undoubtedly was acting only at Caiaphas’ behest. But we are haplessly caught up in this end times unraveling of prophecy and God well knows our plight. As the author of the little tract, They Have Taken Away My Lord, Fr. Demaris writes: “To love God and fear Him alone, such is the lot of a small number of the elect. It is this love and this fear that makes martyrs by detaching the Faithful from the world and attaching them to God and His Holy Law. To support this love and this fear, in your hearts, watch and prayGod needs nobody but Himself to save us when He so desires.”

Of course, none of the above means that any Catholic can grow lax in the practice of religion, believing God will somehow grant him leniency because of our present situation. We cannot abandon prayer and penance or believe we will somehow be forgiven for our sins outside the usual channels. But we have the right to believe that we have been assigned an important part in the Church’s existence because Holy Scripture and the Roman Pontiffs tell us so. We are described as a royal priesthood and living stones in 1 Peter 2, 4-10. The Apocalypse tells us that we are priests and kings (Apoc. 1:6; 5:10) and we are told that we shall reign on the earth (Apoc. 5:10). Commenting on these verses, Rev. Leo Haydock writes: “Every good Christian, in a less proper sense, may be called a priest inasmuch as he offers to God what… may be called sacrifices and oblations. Christians are a royal priesthood because they are invited by Christ to reign in his kingdom… All Christians may justly be styled kings and priests of God,” when they triumph over their passions and worldly temptations, also “by the continual offering they make on the altar of their hearts by means of the prayers they daily offer up to God.”

In a document we have quoted before, entered into the Acta Apostolica Sedis, (meaning it is binding on Catholics), Pope Pius XII tells us we not only can but must take up all the duties of the hierarchy in their absence. The pushback from certain accusers, despite this papal pronouncement, pretends what we advocate is akin to the NO’s elevation of the laity to clerical status, but they entirely miss the point here. We are not elevating ourselves to anything – we have been placed in a position that leaves us no choice but to either slink into the shadows and cower there indefinitely or obey the Roman Pontiff and behave as the Christians Pope St. Peter describes. If anyone would read the papal documents written on Catholic Action they would quickly see that the popes not only requested but commandedCatholics to engage in Catholic Action, to compensate for the shortage of priests and to reach out to the laity on their own level, not from a clerical level. This is nothing new.

In his little booklet, written to console French Catholics in the 1790s following the Constitutional church crisis in France, Father Demaris, a professor of theology and missionary of St. Joseph, wrote: Don’t be surprised if in our own time, we see what St. Cyprian saw in his: that most of the faithful succumbed. To love God and fear Him alone, such is the lot of a small number of the elect. It is this love and this fear that makes martyrs by detaching the Faithful from the world and attaching them to God and His Holy Law. To support this love and this fear, in your hearts, watch and pray… It is by Faith that the Faithful are united. In probing this truth, we find that the absence of the Body does not break this unity, since it does not break the ties of Faith, but rather augments it by depriving it of all feeling… The circumstances where these laws [regarding the reception of the Sacraments] do not oblige, are those where God’s Will manifests itself to obtain our salvation without the intermediary of Man… God needs nobody but Himself to save us when He so desires.” So Fr. Demaris believes that in such times it is not the Mass and Sacraments that unite the faithful, but faith alone. The liturgy being taken away does not break the bonds of faith itself!

St. Anthony Mary Claret was also a champion of lay autonomy regarding the promotion of the faith, in a day and age when this was not at all popular. He repeats in his writings what was said above: “The Christian is anointed as priest, prophet and king.” The sacrifice they offer should not be limited to the Mass, but “we must also offer ourselves as victims for the glory of God and in satisfaction for our failings.”  He even relied on the assistance of a woman religious to outline an ambitious plan to elevate the spiritual life of religious, the clergy and the laity. While the Novus Ordo authors who have written books on St. Claret’s life claim him as a forerunner of the “spiritual renewal’ of Vatican 2, it was never St. Claret’s intention to engage the laity in liturgical reform or the modernization of the Church. The title to his treatise to restore the Church to its pristine holiness indicates just the opposite: Notes for a Plan to Preserve the Beauty of the Church. St. Anthony preached a renewal “of ministerial action and exact fidelity to the Gospel,” not liturgical renewal.  The plan for this long overdue restoration stressed obedience to “the Holy Law of God,” clerical appreciation of a life of poverty and the urgent need for the spiritual renewal of both superiors and their charges in seminaries and religious communities. Had this been accomplished, Vatican 2 could have been avoided altogether.

Then there was his promotion of parish libraries run by the laity without the supervision of the clergy, who he felt needed to dedicate themselves to more important duties. He established a great many of these throughout Cuba and also ardently supported and promoted a Catholic press. St. Claret wrote that lay persons needed to be in charge of these libraries because “they have a greater opportunity to be involved among the people — the pastors and other priests are occupied with matters of their own ministry. It seems that in these last times God wishes laypersons to play an important role in the salvation of souls.” And in his addresses to the laity on Catholic Action, this was also the teaching of Pope Pius XII, the pontiff who elevated St. Anthony Mary Claret to sainthood.  Precisely because it is morally and physically impossible to have such libraries or any organization approved or directed by the hierarchy, according to Henry Cardinal Manning this relieves one of any obligation to seek such an approval. We also have the permission of Pope Pius XII, who said that to engage in such an apostolate, “…is perfectly justified even without a prior explicit ‘mission’ from the hierarchy,” (The Mission of the Catholic Woman, Sept. 29, 1957). As mentioned above, Pius XII directed the laity to assume all the duties of the hierarchy in their absence, but he cautioned that in doing this the laity could not undertake anything “against the explicit and implicit will of the Church, or contrary in any way to the rules of faith or morals or ecclesiastical discipline.”

St. Anthony also believed that we were fast approaching the end of the world, expressed in the title of another of his treatises: The Present Epoch Probably Considered the Last of the World. He was told by our Lord that he was the eagle announcing the woes in Apocalypse and he believed that the religious congregation he established was sent to prepare the world for the Second Coming. In his autobiography he explains how Jesus told him he would “fly throughout the world and speak of the great punishments that are approaching.” This was in reference to the passage of Apoc. 8: 13 and the eagle who would proclaim the woes: “Woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth because of the three great chastisements that are to come.” He was then given to understand that these were Protestantism, Communism; love of pleasure, money, independence of mind and of will and the great wars and their consequences. Thus is his prophecy now realized in what we are experiencing today. He also was made to understand on the feast of Our Lady of Mercy (Ransom) that his congregation was to spread the Gospel and devotion to the love of Jesus and Mary everywhere. Part of his preaching and that of his congregation, was, predictably, against the dangers of Communism and Socialism. It is ironic, then, that this Satanic system has reigned in Cuba for so many years.

It is interesting to read the principles of Socialism St. Claret condemns in his autobiography, as they are so applicable to what we see today. They are listed as follows:

  • Man should acknowledge no father or mother but the earth.
  • Kings and ministers of state are nothing but tyrants and have no right to tell others what to do. We are all equal.
  • Politics is nothing more but a game to get control of the land, honor, financial interests etc. of the people.
  • There is no law but the law of the strongest.
  • The earth belongs to no one; all things come from it, and all things are for everyone and belong to everyone.
  • The rich are scoundrels, thieves and loafers who do nothing but loaf, eat and lust… The workers must rise up and finish off these drones of society. (He gives quite a bit of space to their rants against the rich and the resentment workers have against those who employ them but have none of the niceties in life and do well to just barely survive.)
  • The rich have enjoyed the land. Now it is time for us to enjoy it and divide it among ourselves… [The rich] robbed the people of their property. It is only right to reclaim what is ours.

All this St. Anthony witnessed while yet living in his native Spain. He noted that the Socialists accomplished much in a short while by using persuasive arguments, lobbing insults and making threats. They steeped those who followed them in immorality and led many away from religion.

Sadly, we may be long past the time that anything could be done to successfully evangelize others, including the faithful. We have now reached a crossroads where it will either be one world rule or a rebirth of the Church, which, as we have stated before, would need to be effected by a miracle. It seems fitting today to post this article because St. Anthony was such a devoted client of the Blessed Virgin Mary, his congregation being that of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He also had great hopes for America, writing: “America is a great and fertile field, and in time more souls will enter Heaven from America than from Europe. [Europe] is like an old vine that bears little fruit, whereas America is a young vine.” One of the last things he told the members of his congregation before his death was to establish houses in America. It is said that when St. Brendan first glimpsed the shores of North America, he called it the land of the blessed. Let us all pray that, facing the fight of our lives, we will either win that battle and live to see better days or die defending God, family and country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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