In the Gospel read round the world in Catholic Churches today (Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014), Jesus comes to His disciples walking amidst the waves of the wind-tossed sea. He invited Peter to walk out to Him, and so Peter did. As long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he was fine, but when he was distracted by the violence of the roiling waves, he began to sink. (Matthew 14:22-33)
The first reading is one of my favorites, from I Kings 19. It is the passage where Elijah is sent to stand outside on the mountainside, to wait upon the appearance of God. As he waited, the violent winds of a great storm rose up, but God was not there. Then a great earthquake struck, but God was not there. Then a fire rose up, but God was not there. Finally there was a little whisper – and Elijah hid his face in his cloak, for here, at last, was God.
I am frequently contacted by people, both those close to me and those I have just met, who are shaken by some new evidence of the ongoing complete collapse of civilization. Some are generalized, such as those astounded by the savagery of Jihadists who are on the march to a Caliphate – the latest being the systematic beheading of children with their heads being displayed on pikes in parks in parts of the Middle East. Others are more specific: financiers who have uncovered something that suggests the whole global monetary system is smoke and mirrors; military people stunned by moves by Russia and China with the quiet but systematic dismantling of the American command structure; earnest politicians shocked by some new discovery of unrecoverable systemic failure. I get at least four or five of these on a light day. Of late, my most common reply is simply that “…these things must come.”
Because of this, many presume that I am withholding many details. That is not entirely untrue, but more to the point, my interest in the details of the collapse of civilization, which I began accurately describing to my priests some 20 years ago, is very limited. When Peter stepped out of the boat to walk on the sea towards Jesus, he was fine until he began to note the size of the waves, the violence of the winds, and the fury of the Storm. Then he began to sink. I knew a Storm was coming, the most violent and comprehensive in human history. I have had the benefit of more time than most of you to get past the shock of it and to focus on what matters. And what matters to our salvation is not to know with detailed accuracy what happens next, but to keep our eyes on Jesus by being a sign of hope to those around us whatever happens next. Lose yourself in measuring the speed of the winds, the size of the waves, determining the direction from whence it proceeds and all your erudition will accomplish is to send you to a watery grave.
The early Apostles were beset with the criticisms of what St. Paul called “super-apostles.” These super-apostles ripped into the actual Apostles for not being rigorous enough, not demanding enough, and just not doing right. This was supposedly to perfect righteousness, but it actually sowed seeds of doubt, spread contention, and drew people away from the safety of the Church. In the 11th Chapter of II Corinthians, St. Paul firmly denounces these super-apostles for the dangerous, nagging frauds they were.
For most of my life, I refused to read any non-Biblical prophecy at all unless I was directed to study it by my angel or, later, my priests. I am still reticent about it. As I began to speak more frequently and publicly about my visitations and visions, I have been bemused by the vehemence and bitterness with which otherwise pious people will defend fine points of their own interpretation of a piece of private revelation. Sometimes I am amused by the distraction and at others mildly irritated by the wounded vanity of someone who has been contradicted on some little point. I am firmly convinced that truth will stand the test of examination so I generally let it rage around me without taking my eyes off Christ, staying focused on being a sign of hope as the Storm roars ever louder. But last week I had occasion to immerse myself deeply in the fever swamps of Fatima conspiracy theories and realized I have been wrong. This contention is not a search for truth, but a darkly brilliant attack on the faith and the faithful.
Most of what I know about the apparitions at Fatima and their meaning was taught me by my angel. My temporal study of it merely confirmed and elaborated on what he had already told me. The disputes over the meaning of the visitations, like all the most effective deceptions, are layered around a kernel of truth. Some critics say the consecration of Russia was never properly done. While I take the word of St. John Paul the Great, Pope Emeritus Benedict and Sr. Lucia (one of the actual Fatima visionaries) that it was, I certainly agree it would have been better had it been done earlier. But that is neither here nor there. Salvation history is one of cantankerous people who frequently slip into apostasy, yet our blindly stumbling nature does not stop God from ultimately accomplishing His will – nor His gently calling us back to His sheepfold. Our errors will not thwart the Almighty’s plan of salvation any more now than they did in older times.
But stick with the new super-apostles and things get malignant very quickly – and more sinister at every step. Some argue that the text of the 3rd Secret, which St. John Paul ordered published for the first time in 2000, is either incomplete or false. Now to believe that the consecration of Russia was never properly done you need only believe that St. John Paul, Sr. Lucia and Pope Emeritus Benedict were mistaken, deceived. However unlikely, this is possible without doing violence to faith and morals. The greatest of saints can be mistaken on points – and the holiest of popes mistaken on those matters to which infallibility has not been attached. But to believe the published text is incomplete or a fraud, one must believe that St. John Paul, Sr. Lucia and Pope Emeritus Benedict are liars: not that they are deceived, but that they are deceivers – a whole different matter.
Some arguments are merely absurd. A few super-apostles argue that St. John Paul and Sr. Lucia dissembled because they had been threatened. Ninety-seven years ago today, as a child, Sr. Lucia was being held by Portuguese police and told to recant or be boiled alive in oil. She refused. Pope John Paul entered a secret seminary in Poland during the Nazi occupation – and the penalty for being caught as a seminarian was summary execution. Can anyone believe that these two, who stared death in the face for their faith and did not blink, were suddenly going to tremble in fear that some folks might talk ugly about them? Absurd.
Other arguments are bizarre. One says that the real Sr. Lucia was murdered some time earlier and replaced with a phony Sr. Lucia, specifically to spread errors about Fatima. One could call that the “Manchurian Visionary” scenario, I suppose.
At the end of it all is naked apostasy. The worst of the super-apostles claim that the “real” 3rd Secret reveals the coming apostasy of the hierarchy, when the Church will become the seat of apostasy. If this were true, it would mean that the gates of hell would prevail over the Church, which would mean that Jesus lied when He said those gates would assault, but NEVER prevail. If Jesus lied, your faith is a vain illusion. Jesus did NOT lie, your faith is not in vain, and the Church – whatever the shortfallings of the human Bishops and Priests who lead it, will never become the seat of apostasy. The author of the lie that it will be the seat of apostasy is satan, himself, draping himself in the robes of super-piety,.
I value vigorous debate in the search for truth. So this forum will continue to welcome those who have honest, even painful disagreements with me and even with the Church on some matters as we reason together. But I will not make it a haven for those who would seduce people away from the safety of the faith into apostasy. Any discussion of the 3rd Secret – or any other matter – which does not acknowledge the authority of the Church and the goodwill of its acknowledged saints will not be suffered.
Those who are desperate to argue over the nature of the Warning or how the Illumination will come will not automatically be shut down, but I would advise you to follow Mary’s lead after the prophecies of Anna and Simeon at the Presentation: ponder these things in your heart, rather than extolling your sublime brilliance at having penetrated the one, true, interpretation of God’s mind.
What the Lord calls us to is the humble little whisper of being a sign of hope to those around us and taking the next, right step, according to our circumstances. I am told that a little more than three years from now, after suffering through the worst, deepest crisis in human history, Our Lady will be sent to rescue us miraculously. If, when she comes, you have squandered the Storm chasing after the winds of contention and the earthquakes of dispute, even if you got the details right, you are still sunk. God does not command you to figure out what will happen next, but to be an unrelenting sign of hope to those around you whatever happens next.
In July of 2000, Gabriel came to instruct me on certain matters. Though he had told me three years earlier to quit asking, I still pleaded with him that the Storm might pass over. In the only time he ever frightened me, his eyes blazed with fury, he seemed to grow to fill the room and he said, “You must tell them true – and they must choose or perish.” Though he immediately went back to his kind self I, like Job, put my hand over my mouth and just took instruction from him that day.
I have now told you true and lived my duty on this matter. Now you must choose what you will.