(I felt much better this morning. Though I sounded like a frog for much of the day, my throat felt much better. I took this last day of quiet to get myself back on track. It was a nasty bug that ripped through me this week.
Daniel O’Connor is a budding young theologian who I have come to admire. I got to visit with him all too briefly while I was in Albany, New York this summer. This piece he wrote is something we need to contemplate deeply. One of the things that often worries me is how many people of piety somewhat smugly think that chastisement is something “they” have earned, not something that “we” have earned. -CJ)
By Daniel O’Connor
Remnant Faithful: We Need the Chastisements Also
(Apologies for another post so soon, but a brief important update: As I am now freely and openly disseminating the PDF of my book, I no longer want it to be listed on Amazon for a price as well. Amazon, however, is refusing to let me change it to be a free Ebook on their site. Therefore I have removed The Crown and Completion of All Sanctity from Amazon. If you’ve linked to that page or distributed the link to it, I just ask that you update the link to simply refer to the PDF posted here, or even post the PDF directly if you like. Additionally, I have received word that two of Luisa’s works, namely, The Blessed Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will, and The Hours of the Passion, have had the moratorium entirely lifted and may now be freely disseminated. Please do not quote me on that as I have not yet been able to confirm this, but if I can, I will post them here!
In another note — to willingly risk sounding like a broken record — please remember that our calling in these days is to live in the Divine Will and proclaim the Divine Mercy. We can still do so much good. I will say that DWMoM is going great. But in particular, this simple little pin makes amazing things happen if I choose to be so bold as to actually wear it when I am out and about after Mass; at the store, out to eat, or wherever. I bid you consider doing likewise, and living the spirit of a DWMoM even if you do not feel called to be an actual missionary.
Now, since I have pestered you with a new post anyway, feel free to read the following if you are so inclined!)
How easy it is to say, regarding what is coming upon the world, “Good. It is needed. I do not want anyone to suffer, but I know that the vast majority of the world has become so sinful that the Chastisements will really be a blessing in disguise for them.”
There is certainly truth in that, but it also misses something enormous:
We, the “remnant faithful,” the devout Catholics, followers of Our Lady’s messages, daily Mass-goers and daily reciters of the Rosary, etc. etc. etc….
We need the chastisements for our own good also.
“And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12)
There are clearly two distinct references being made here, and while I would wager the first is a reference to the rampant grave sin and error in this age of the Great Apostasy, I am afraid that the second part of Our Lord’s prophecy there can — at least in part — be taken to refer to us.
I wrote much of this post a year ago (so forgive me if it’s a bit of a patchwork) after attending a certain Marian conference (described below). I decided against posting it then because I was afraid it might have been too harsh. But two recent considerations have made me decide to post it now: 1) The likelihood that the Chastisements are right around the corner, and 2) The behavior of some in the Divine Will movement. Suffice it to say that, in response to my writing the book (even distributing it for free), certain “veteran” individuals and groups promoting Luisa’s revelations treat me like trash– like some kind of imposter, apparently thinking that they and they alone should have control of what is said, and to whom, regarding Luisa’s writings. (This all despite the fact that they have not been able to point out one single error in the book.) I will not be giving any names, but I do just want to say that I am not referring to Fr. Iannuzzi with this; my admiration for him remains strong.
I do not mean to complain: I am, in fact, very glad that I am finding this journey of promoting Divine Will spirituality to not be mere sunshine and roses. If it were, I would know I was not walking in Christ’s footsteps; for His path is the Way of the Cross, and it is narrow and fraught with difficulties. So please trust me that I do not write this post to complain or to rant; rather, I write it to encourage my dear friends of the remnant faithful to react as they ought to the time when the Chastisements hit them as well, when (cf Matthew 5:45) the rain falls on them just like on the unjust: with gratitude.
I will get to that, but let me now present what I wrote last summer:
I recently attended a Marian Conference, and I came back greatly disheartened by what I saw. This was supposed to be the cream of the crop; part of that exceedingly small group of people left on this planet who are devoutly Catholic, who listen to the apparitions of Our Lady, who keep all of the Commandments, who, like righteous Lot, are vexed day in and day out by what they see happening. Instead, the behavior I witnessed at this Conference was no better than the world at large. Giddiness was the mood that dominated; even the concelebrants of the Mass – and certainly the congregation – were devoid of reverence and were instead ready at a whim to chuckle or comment on this or that… during Mass. After coming back to my seat after Communion and giving a brief thanksgiving after Mass I looked up for a moment and realized that all those in attendance — hundreds — were already gone. All had rushed out the moment Mass ended to try and get in line early for the food. The talk given before Mass amounted to 30 minutes of screaming ranting about how evil the world has become, how anti-religious our government has become, and how bad Obama is, and how we are not “standing up” enough against this all – the assertion being that what is really needed to resolve the present distress is more noisy rants. I left this event early… I doubt anyone noticed my coming or my going, because I was alone, and everyone was far too busy gabbing away with their comfortable cliques to bother reaching out to anyone who wasn’t in their group.
I came out of this event with one unavoidable conclusion in my mind and in my heart… we need the purification of the coming distress as well, not just the world and worldlings.
Now, that was only one event of so many experiences that Providence has given me, and I am sure has given you all, which teach the same lesson. Some of the most selfish, dictatorial, harsh bosses I’ve had have been Catholic ones in Catholic apostolates. Some of the most immoral people I’ve known have been moral theologians. (No obvious public mortal sins, of course… just a demeanor of utter disdain toward other people than is far worse than, say, contraception). Some of the rudest and least charitable people I’ve ever brushed up against have been priests. I take 5 minutes to click through the Catholic blogosphere and I find it permeated by snark, sarcasm, and venom (now, even directed — God help them — toward the Vicar of Christ). I have found Catholic circles to often be about as cliquey, closed-off, and judgmental as they come. Catholics are just as, if not more, divided than everyone else. I could go on, as I’m sure anyone reading this could as well.
If ”By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) is how the Catholic Church is supposed to grow, then it is no wonder that evangelization is such an utter failure today.
Pope Francis is trying to change that. He becomes very easy to understand as soon as you recognize one thing: dear fellow conservative, orthodox Catholics: the universe does not revolve around us. There are billions of souls — masterpieces of God’s creation for whom He shed His Blood and whom He loves more than you could possibly imagine — languishing for lack of knowledge, for lack of love, for lack of mercy. When was the last time we looked into their eyes and felt their pain? If we had done so, and if we had one small flicker of the love of God in our hearts, we would spend less time wringing our hands over Pope Francis’ every comment, and more time pouring ourselves out for their salvation; for mercy to be poured out upon their lives even now, and especially at the hour of their death.
That is what Francis is trying to do; please let him. What is coming soon upon this world will suffice to reveal to souls the hideousness of their sins, but the world is finally taking the Vicar of Christ seriously. Do not squander that. They need it. Do not believe their masquerading confidence, their venom and the torrent of errors coming from their lips. They are our patients, not our enemies. Fallen angels are our enemies. I do not argue with my five month old son. I care for him and I give him what he needs no matter how much he opposes my efforts, no matter how much he squirms, even if his flailing fist strikes me on the nose. We must do likewise with those in the world; they do not simply need more people condemning their sins with more vigor. They are already suffering beyond description. They need their wounds bound and the balm of the Divine Mercy applied.
It is not easy at first glance for the remnant to understand how Pope Francis’ pontificate fits into things. They ask, “Why, in this age of unprecedented evil in the world, do we need a Pope who is a friend of the world?” But when you realize that we ourselves are in great need of pruning, and you realize that what looms on the horizon will bring the whole world to its knees, it makes perfect sense. Jesus tells Luisa of a time when people will turn to the Pope for safe harbor after Chastisements. It seems clear to me that we are approaching such times — and for such a scenario to occur, people will need to like the Pope.
There is no greater hater of heresy than I; anyone who reads this blog knows that. I will remain staunchly such until death, even if it requires the shedding of my blood. But the magnificence of our orthodoxy is not what Judgment Day will focus upon; that is far too easy. On that day, what we will be judged by is our love.
But is our love where it must be?
We ourselves, dear friends in Christ: are we worthy of the Era of Peace as we are now? I know that I am not. The degree of my response to Our Lady’s call in her many apparitions is pathetic. Far too often, if not usually, my prayer is weak and merely external. Despite condemning worldliness, I know I succumb to it constantly. I am inundated by sloth and my failures are more frequent than my victories. I constantly fail to treat my neighbor with even reasonable charity, much less to love him as I do myself, as Our Lord commands. It is ridiculous how many times — over, and over, and over again — I have to confess the exact same thing. Though at this point I should be confronting temptation like a seasoned warrior, I rather confront it like a weakling novice. The list could go on for pages… volumes. (Please pray for me!) Perhaps some of you can relate.
But I think I can at least grant myself one thing: I recognize the fact that if I am brought to my knees in suffering, I will receive the grace to shed those vices like dirt is removed from the body under a waterfall. Therefore I do not lament the looming Chastisements; neither their coming upon the world, nor their coming upon myself. I bless God in anticipation of the graces I know He will give me through them, for what is worth desiring other than holiness?
I recognize I need them because my love is not a roaring fire like it should be; rather, it has grown cold, and I suppose it is that way for many other Catholics today. Who among us would fail to admit that, looking back at our lives, it is when we have suffered that we have grown closer to God?
“…every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2.
You hear much of “pruning,” but usually that word is directed at “them”– the heretics and those living in sin within the Church. What we forget is how much pruning we need.
So you will be very disappointed, very quickly, if you look toward what comes with a false, self-invented confidence that, because you are a good orthodox, devout, Catholic, you will be spared any trials. But if instead you look to what comes with the trust that comes from knowing that, despite your own misery, nothing but perfect love comes from His hands, and if He permits you to suffer, it is because that suffering is the greatest blessing He can imagine for you at that moment — then you will never be disappointed. You are invincible. You can say, with David, “[I] have no fear of evil news” (Psalm 112). To arrive at that point does not require a long and arduous ascent of the mountain of moral virtue. It just requires that, even in this very moment, you say with all of your heart “Jesus, I Trust in You.”
- So when your loved ones die, trust that God knew it was the perfect time for them to go home to Him, and that you will see them soon enough, when your own time comes; and give thanks to God that He has given you an opportunity to be detached from creatures so as to become more attached to your Creator, in Whom you will find more joy and peace than in a perfect relationship with a million friends and family members combined.
- When you lose your home and all of your possessions, give thanks to God that He has deemed you worthy of living that most blessed life of St. Francis’ — perfect reliance upon Providence with each moment — and that He has also given you the grace to live what He asked the wealthy young man to live without, a young man who nevertheless was not given the grace to follow through, for he “went away sad,” (Matthew 19:22)
- When you are thrown into a jail cell for a crime you did not commit, or for a good deed you did indeed do, which is falsely considered, in this twisted world, to be a crime — give thanks to God that He has given you the life of a monastic — the highest vocation–, and that you can dedicate yourself entirely to prayer.
- When you are beaten or tortured, whether literally by a malicious person or simply by circumstances that are extremely painful (whether hunger, exposure, fatigue, illness, or what have you), give thanks to God that He is permitting you to suffer for Him, in Him. Such occasions, when there is no means to avoid them without sinning, amount to God Himself serving as your spiritual director, deciding that you need mortifications. And the mortifications that Providence chooses are always better than our own, and they always yield great joy and build up enormous treasures both on Earth and in Heaven.
- When persecution in any form touches you, rejoice with unutterable joy because you have been deemed worthy — among the billions of Catholics who have not been– to be so dealt with. ”Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” — Acts 5:41. For the only Beatitude that Our Lord deemed so great that He needed to dwell upon it and reiterate it was the last, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Jesus told Luisa Piccarreta that it is quite easy to distinguish the reprobate from the elect: just as, on the last day, the Sign of the Son of Man (the cross) in the sky will cause terror in the former and ecstasy in the latter, so too now, the reaction to one’s crosses in life reveal one’s eternal destiny.
In all things say, with Job, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.”
The good thief and the bad thief found themselves in an identical situation. One praised God in the midst of it, and one cursed Him. Which will you be?
- I’m not saying, dear friends, that we are primarily to blame for what is coming, or anything of the sort. Please do not let this admonition I here present be a cause for you to fret and worry and be anxious. It is primarily the four sins that cry out to God for vengeance that are causing just that — God’s justice — to be about to fall upon the earth (especially the murder of billions of unborn children over the past 100 years). All I am saying is that we are very imperfect, and God’s plan is perfect — so it entails the perfection of each of us. If we are to suffer (and we are), then there is a reason for that. Let us acknowledge that reason and use it for His glory and our salvation and sanctification.
- Whether or not my own personal speculations regarding what is going to transpire in this world actually come to pass, this advice holds true. We will all face huge trials either way.