Faith, Not Fear

by Mark Mallett of The Now Word

 

ONE of the great joys for us as Contributors to Countdown to the Kingdom is to read letters from priests, monks, Mother Superiors, and countless laymen from around the world testifying to the fruits of the Holy Spirit being born out of reading Heaven’s (alleged) Messages here. We truly rejoice with you, with the conversions happening in your hearts, your families and parishes. Some of them are quite dramatic! And yes, these fruits are important. 

The late Bishop Stanley Ott of Baton Rouge, LA once asked St. John Paul II:

“Holy Father, what do you think of Medjugorje?” The Holy Father kept eating his soup and responded: “Medjugorje? Medjugorje? Medjugorje? Only good things are happening at Medjugorje.  People are praying there.  People are going to Confession. People are adoring the Eucharist, and people are turning to God.  And, only good things seem to be happening at Medjugorje.” —related by Archbishop Harry J. Flynn, medjugorje.ws

Jesus taught:

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. (Matthew 7:18)

Now, I’ve heard skeptics and surprisingly even some career apologists say, “Ah, but Satan can produce good fruit too!” They’re basing this on St. Paul’s admonition:

…such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, who masquerade as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light. So it is not strange that his ministers also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (2 Cor 11:13-15)

In fact, St. Paul is contradicting their argument for he actually says you will know them by their fruit: “Their end will correspond to their deeds.” Yes, Satan can work lying “signs and wonders” to be certain. But good fruits? No. The worms will eventually come out.

In fact, Jesus himself points to the fruits of His mission as evidence of His authenticity:

Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me. (Luke 7:22-23)

Why would Jesus give us this litmus test of fruits if we cannot depend upon them? On the contrary, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith refutes this errant notion that, when it comes to judging prophetic revelations, the fruits are irrelevant. Rather, it specifically refers to the importance that such a phenomenon… 

…bear fruits by which the Church herself might later discern the true nature of the facts… — “Norms Regarding the Manner of Proceeding in the Discernment of Presumed Apparitions or Revelations” n. 2, vatican.va
 

…But there’s also fear

All this said, we are also aware of some people who are frightened by what they’ve read from some seers here. Other people are very focused on the sensational. For example, one priest told me that he knows of a person who is buying land in order to build a “refuge” there. Others are worried how much food they should be storing up (at least three seers here, Gisella Cardia of Italy, Fr. Michel Rodrigue of Canada, and Jennifer of America have allegedly been given messages encouraging the faithful to store up some food, water and supplies). And finally, others are pre-occupied with the spectre of war, the “Warning” and so-called “Three Days of Darkness”, etc. 
 
I am going to briefly address some of this in a moment because it’s crucial that the faithful keep a healthy perspective. Certainly, the body of messages provide this balance already but we realize that some people respond to only hearsay, gossip, or do not carefully take in the entire body of a seer’s messages and, therefore, the greater context. 
 
The problem is that there is a vacuum of wisdom when it comes to helping the faithful discern. One of the many crises in the Church today is a lack of guidance and help from the shepherds regarding prophecy—which St. Paul lists as one of the top gifts in the Church next only to the Apostles.[1]1 Cor 12:27-31 Why, then, is there not only a lack of teaching on this gift but even a certain disdain for it (1 Thess 5:19) among some clergy? There are many reasons why, some of which I address in Rationalism, and the Death of MysterySo, let’s consider again the words of the Catechism on this subject, which explains that, while God has revealed all that is needed for our salvation, He has not necessarily revealed all that is required for our sanctification. 

Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries. Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium (“sense of the faithful”) knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 66-67

There you have it in a nutshell: God still speaks; He gives prophecy to help us live by Christ’s Revelation; and (hopefully) guided by the Magisterium, we can discern what is authentic and what is not. Put another way:

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. (1 Thess 5:19-21)

The central point in all of this is to acquire the tools in order to know “what to do” with the more dramatic prophecies. As Contributors to this website, it is not our role to edit out the “scary stuff”, to muzzle God because it offends the sensibilities of some. But articles such as this one are here to support you. For…

The prophet is someone who tells the truth on the strength of his contact with God—the truth for today, which also, naturally, sheds light on the future. —Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), Christian Prophecy, The Post-Biblical Tradition, Niels Christian Hvidt, Foreword, p. vii

At the same time, we must recognize that God-who-is-love does not warn His children in order to terrorize them but precisely to call them to conversion. 

On this point, it should be kept in mind that prophecy in the biblical sense does not mean to predict the future but to explain the will of God for the present, and therefore show the right path to take for the future… they help us to understand the signs of the times and to respond to them rightly in faith. —Cardinal Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), “Message of Fatima”, Theological Commentary, www.vatican.va

So how should we respond “rightly in faith” to these prophecies that are worrying some folks?

 

Practical Questions

I confess, I am always a bit surprised when I hear Catholics indignant that visionaries and seers would “dare” to prophesy such things as calamities. Should we not, rather, be indignant that our world, far from repenting, is continuing to abort babies to the tune of 115,000 per day, is teaching children the “virtues” of sodomy and masturbation, is engaged in massive human trafficking and child porn, is attacking marriage and freedom of speech and religion, is endorsing Marxist tropes and plunging head first into global Communism? But no, it seems that prophecy about storing up a bit of food or Coming Refuges and Solitudes has some people in knots. So let’s address this rationally because, frankly, some people aren’t being prudent. 

 

On Refuges

What about refuges? According to Scripture, Church Fathers, and seers around the world, God is going to provide at some point places of refuge and protection (see The Refuge of Our Times). But tell me dear brother, where? Tell me, sister, when? We don’t know. So why some people are going out to purchase land and saying that this will be their “refuge” is puzzling if not presumptuous. If we are racing toward another global conflict and mass persecution of the Church, where is “safe”? Terry Law, an evangelical Christian once said, “The safest place to be is in God’s will.” Yes, amen to that. The Divine Will is our refuge. 

The refuge, first of all, is you. Before it is a place, it is a person, a person living with the Holy Spirit, in a state of grace. A refuge begins with the person who has committed her soul, her body, her being, her morality, according to the Word of the Lord, the teachings of the Church, and the law of the Ten Commandments. —Fr. Michel Rodrigue, Founder and Superior General of The Apostolic Fraternity of Saint Benedict Joseph Labre (founded in 2012); “The Time of the Refuges”

Beyond that, none of us knows anything else. God may call you home tonight. Or you may find yourself forced to migrate to another country with nothing but the shirt on your back. Or you might have to hide someday in a forest while the comfortable “refuge” you built for yourself is plundered. So yes, this is where that old stand-by homily our priests pull out for those apocalyptic Mass readings is still true: we should each prepare for our personal “end time” and not worry about the “end times.” 

But worrying about the “end times” is vastly different than actually doing what Jesus commanded us to: “watch and pray”.[2]Matt 26:41 Because even though we don’t know the day or hour of His final return at the very end of time, we can, will, and should know the “signs” of a great apostasy, the nearness of Antichrist, persecution, etc. 

Concerning times and seasons, brothers, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night. When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them, like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness, for that day to overtake you like a thief. For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. (1 Thess 5:1-5)

That said, if our attitude is one of trying to “escape” from the world and hiding, then we have forgotten our mission (see A Gospel for All). 

No one who lights a lamp hides it away or places it under a bushel basket, but on a lampstand so that those who enter might see the light…. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit… (Luke 11:33, Matthew 28:19).

So, let us walk in the light of truth, wisdom, understanding, and discernment… not the compulsion of fear and self-preservation nor the hubris and condescension that all too often prophecy is greeted with. That’s an offence to God—He does not speak to us or send His Mother in order for us to ignore or mock her. 

We urge you to listen with simplicity of heart and sincerity of mind to the salutary warnings of the Mother of God… The Roman Pontiffs… If they are instituted the guardians and interpreters of divine Revelation, contained in Holy Scripture and Tradition, they also take it as their duty to recommend to the attention of the faithful—when, after responsible examination, they judge it for the common good—the supernatural lights which it has pleased God to dispense freely to certain privileged souls, not for proposing new doctrines, but to guide us in our conduct. —POPE ST. JOHN XXIII, Papal Radio Message, February 18th, 1959; L’Osservatore Romano

All that said, there are some people who are called and who genuinely believe that their properties or homes are going to be refuges someday to shield the people of God. I mean, if there are going to be refuges, they are going to be somewhere. I don’t judge them, though I certainly urge them to be cautious and prudent and place themselves, if possible, under good spiritual direction.  

 

On Food Supplies

Regarding the storage of food, yes, some messages have urged this. Recently, Our Lady allegedly said to Gisella Cardia on August 18, 2020:

Dear children, thank you for having listened to my call in your hearts. I ask you to never abandon prayer: it will be the only weapon that will protect you. The Church is in conflict: Bishops against Bishops, Cardinals against Cardinals. Pray for America because there will be great conflicts with China. My children, I ask you to make reserves of food for at least three months. I had already told you that the freedom granted to you would be an illusion – you will be forced once again to stay in your homes, but this time it will be worse because civil war is near…
 
Fr. Michel Rodrigue said “three months” also, while Jesus says to Jennifer :

My child, this is a time of great preparation. You must not only prepare by cleansing your soul, but also by putting food and water aside, and My angels will lead you to your place of refuge. My child, many will deny that a Warning is coming. Many will mock you for your willingness to follow My ways and not the world’s way. These are the souls, My child, that need the most prayer. These are the souls that you must be willing to suffer for. —July 2nd, 2003; wordsfromjesus.com

Fellow Contributor here and theologian, Peter Bannister, notes:
 
…if the idea of storing foodstuffs in preparation for times of crisis is frowned upon by some, later in the book of Genesis we see how Joseph famously saves the nation of Egypt— and is reconciled with his own family—by doing precisely this. It is his prophetic gift, enabling him to interpret Pharaoh’s dream of seven good cows and seven lean cows as predicting a famine in Egypt, that leads him to store up “huge quantities” of grain (Gen. 41:49) throughout the country. This concern for material provision is furthermore not restricted to the Old Testament; in the Acts of the Apostles a similar prediction of famine in the Roman empire is given by the prophet Agabus, to which the disciples respond by providing help for the believers in Judea (Acts 11:27-30).Part 2 of a Response to Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi’s Article on Fr. Michel Rodrigue–On Refuges

Heaven is not promoting a survivalist mentality but one of simple prudence. Look what happened after the “first wave” of COVID-19: people could not find yeast, dough, toilet paper, etc. and even now, many stores and suppliers say that they still cannot properly stock their shelves while businesses continue to close and reports of food shortages are looming. It’s just prudence to prepare for what’s already evident in the headlines. Prepare, yes. Panic? Absolutely not. So if you only have room to store a week’s worth of food, then it is what it is. Then you say to Jesus, “Lord, here are my five loaves and two fish. I know that You can multiply them, if and when it is necessary. For my part, I put all my hope and trust in You.”[3]cf. Luke 12:22-34

 

On The “Warning”

Regarding the coming “Illumination of Conscience” or Warning prophesied or alluded to by alleged seers from all over the world, including those of Garabandal, Fr. Stefano Gobbi, Jennifer, Fr. Michel, Gisella Cardia, Luz de Maria, Vassula Ryden, Servant of God Maria Esperanza, St. Faustina, etc. and seemingly foretold in Revelation 6:12-17 (see The Great Day of Light)… there is no need to fear this event either—if you are in a “state of grace.” 

With His divine love, He will open the doors of hearts and illuminate all consciences. Every person will see himself in the burning fire of divine truth. It will be like a judgment in miniature. And then Jesus Christ will bring His glorious reign in the world. —Our Lady to Fr. Stefano Gobbi, To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons, May 22nd, 1988

It is necessary for the people of our King and Lord Jesus Christ to understand that this is a descisive moment… Remain alert, the sacrifice pleasing to God is the one that hurts the most. In the Warning, you will see yourselves as you are, therefore you should not wait, convert now! From the universe there comes a great unexpected threat to humanity: faith is indispensable.  —St. Michael the Archangel to Luz de María, April 30th, 2019

The sky is dark and it seems as though it is night but my heart tells me it is sometime in the afternoon. I see the sky opening up and I can hear long, drawn out claps of thunder. When I look up I see Jesus bleeding on the cross and people are falling to their knees. Jesus then tells me, “They will see their soul as I see it.” I can see the wounds so clearly on Jesus and Jesus then says, “They will see each wound they have added to My Most Sacred Heart.” cf. Jennifer — Vision of the Warning

Yes, some seers have said that those who are far from God may die in fright of seeing the condition of their souls. Others will weep in profound sorrow while others will find great solace and encouragement in their relationship with God. But why, asked a priest, would God give such a universal correction at this point in time? The answer is because, not since the Flood, has God prepared to once again purify the earth. The Warning is precisely that—a “last call” to that generation to return to the Father’s house. As Jesus told Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta:

…the chastisments are necessary; this will serve to prepare the ground so that the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat [the Divine Will] may form in the midst of the human family. So, many lives, which will be an obstacle to the triumph of my Kingdom, will disappear from the face of the earth… —Diary, September 12th, 1926; The Crown of Sanctity On the Revelations of Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta, Daniel O’Connor, p. 459

But if you are afraid because you feel you are a great sinner, then do something about it! We have to stop whining about how awful we are and surrender ourselves into the loving hands of Jesus. 

Do not be absorbed in your misery—you are still too weak to speak of it—but, rather, gaze on My Heart filled with goodness, and be imbued with My sentiments.  —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1486

And here, again, is where private revelation should find its answer in the Public Revelation of Christ. Everything you truly need for your salvation is found in the Sacraments and Sacred Tradition. This must become your daily bread, so to speak. So the best way to “gaze” on the Heart of Jesus is to immerse yourself in His mercy in the confessional. Go weekly if you must, but go (always with a sincere heart to convert). 

Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy [in confession] restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God’s mercy! —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1448

“…those who go to Confession frequently, and do so with the desire to make progress” will notice the strides that they make in their spiritual lives. “It would be an illusion to seek after holiness, according to the vocation one has received from God, without partaking frequently of this sacrament of conversion and reconciliation.” —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Apostolic Penitentiary conference, March 27th, 2004; catholicculture.org

 

From Fear to Faith

In closing, dear brothers and sisters, it might help some of you to know that I am more critical and skeptical of private revelation, my own included, than people may think. I am a former news reporter after all. Skepticism was just part of the job. While I am listening to all the seers and prophets here, I am at the same time holding these words “loosely.” I am retaining what is good, especially those words of love and encouragement we all so desperately need in these days. As for the details, well, we wait and see—we “watch and pray.” 

In the meantime, hold fast to Jesus Christ by going to Mass as frequently as you can, going regularly to Confession, reading the Scriptures, praying the Rosary and spending time alone with God every single day in prayer. In this way, fear will give way to faith because God, who is Perfect Love, will cast out fear in the hearts of those where He is welcome. 

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18)

If you are having a hard time surrendering fear and anxiety to the Lord (don’t worry,  you’re not alone!), then I encourage you to pray the beautiful Novena of Abandonment or the Litany of Trust below. After all, after having given a diary of revelations to St. Faustina that Jesus said would prepare for His “final coming,”[4]Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 429 He essentially left us five words to rely on for these times: Jesus, I trust in You. 

And that is enough, for faith can move mountains.

 

LITANY OF TRUST

From the belief that I have to earn Your love
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear that I am unlovable
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the false security that I have what it takes
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear that trusting You will leave me more destitute
Deliver me, Jesus.
From all suspicion of Your words and promises
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the rebellion against childlike dependency on You
Deliver me, Jesus.
From refusals and reluctances in accepting Your will
Deliver me, Jesus.
From anxiety about the future
Deliver me, Jesus.
From resentment or excessive preoccupation with the past
Deliver me, Jesus.
From restless self-seeking in the present moment
Deliver me, Jesus.
From disbelief in Your love and presence
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being asked to give more than I have
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the belief that my life has no meaning or worth
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of what love demands
Deliver me, Jesus.
From discouragement
Deliver me, Jesus.

That You are continually holding me, sustaining me, loving me
Jesus, I trust in You.
That Your love goes deeper than my sins and failings and transforms me
Jesus, I trust in You.
That not knowing what tomorrow brings is an invitation to lean on You
Jesus, I trust in You.
That You are with me in my suffering
Jesus, I trust in You.
That my suffering, united to Your own, will bear fruit in this life and the next
Jesus, I trust in You.
That You will not leave me orphan, that You are present in Your Church
Jesus, I trust in You.
That Your plan is better than anything else
Jesus, I trust in You.
That You always hear me and in Your goodness always respond to me
Jesus, I trust in You.
That You give me the grace to accept forgiveness and to forgive others
Jesus, I trust in You.
That You give me all the strength I need for what is asked
Jesus, I trust in You.
That my life is a gift Jesus, I trust in You. That You will teach me to trust You
Jesus, I trust in You.
That You are my Lord and my God
Jesus, I trust in You.
That I am Your beloved one
Jesus, I trust in You.

by Sr. Faustina Maria Pia, SV

SISTERS OF LIFE
Annunciation Motherhouse
38 Montebello Road Suffern, NY 10901
845.357.3547

References   [ + ]

1. 1 Cor 12:27-31
2. Matt 26:41
3. cf. Luke 12:22-34
4. Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 429
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