|"By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them." (Matt 7:16)|
"For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare to the battle?" (1 Cor 14:16)
It is said if there were to be one other 5-letter word most closely depicting Satan, it would be "chaos." The state of chaos is the fruit of Satan's works and the environment in which he functions most effectively. It is in chaos where "even the elect" shall be deceived. Confusion is an essential component of chaos and unfortunately the Church today, even to its highest office, has been a direct source of confusion in the decades since Vatican II. This cannot be denied in that the empirical record exists for all to examine. Too often is found declaration, advocacy and promulgation in apparent conflict with sacred Tradition. As long as this chaos is allowed to reign, the Church will continue to decline and many will lose the Faith. Woe to those in the Church who are its perpetuators!
Stir into this lamentable confusion the factor of studied falsehood known as "Modernism" 1 and you have chaos of staggering proportions. Being accomplished liars (of necessity in furthering their ideology) all modernists will vehemently deny being modernists. However, there is a mark of Cain that is quite visible with every modernist. That mark or trait, if you will, is their militant devotion to ceaseless change. Modernism is a state of having a pseudo truth deriving from "experience" (the world) rather than from God (unchanging).2 As such, the modernist is without truth. Truth (so-called) without immutability is not the truth at all but an entity without substance, worthless as foundation as well as trust. Being an inveterate liar the modernist is spiritually sterile.
You, therefore, will know the modernist churchmen by their committal to the creed of change (evolution), which in turn proclaims their centering on man (the world), not God. For this reason sacred Tradition (the second pillar of the Magisterial trilogy) is outwardly disdained by these persons for it stands unchanging which is the hallmark of truth and a contradiction to the world.
All of the conflicting above is asserting itself into the Church scene even as we speak. Our days are now taken up with the ill-advised "pastoral" approach to Church governance, which assigns discipline as uncharitable. Lawlessness thus fills the void. Heresy shares the same pulpit with legitimacy and does so with demonstrated impunity from the hierarchy
Chaos? Ah, but it does not end there. Enter escalating emotions! The inaction of the Church in reassessing and addressing authoritatively the calamitous upheavals that are inflicting carnage on its unity has totally sapped the patience of many of the Churches finest (its knowledgeable faithful). It should not be surprising that tempers fueled by three decades of frustration concerning these matters are coming to the fore with a vengeance. Charges and counter-charges are evermore erupting, calling into question everyone from the Holy Father on down. This agitated milieu feeds upon itself and there is no trusted authority3 in place to abate its escalation.
Any wonder that Catholics are losing their faith and leaving the Church? We would point out that modernists do not beget modernists; they beget nonbelievers. With the above picture before us, reason would seem to instruct that it would be only the extraordinary that could manage to ferret their way through the current ecclesial (church) thicket while holding their faith intact.
That is not the case, however, and addressing this subject is the real purpose of our composition.
All of the above does exist and it does accurately portray a state of chaos. We, however, have come to be so immersed in the immediacy of the men and pyrotechnics being exhibited in the Church in our time that we overlook the reality of Christ's presence, whose Church it is to begin with. Anarchy is abroad in much of His Church, true, but Christ is fully aware. This condition is being allowed to run its course for the reasons that only God's omniscience (all knowing) can apprehend. We do know that God, as Creator, cannot be uncaring and that He does allow evil at times in order that He may bring good from it. One thing that can be observed, however, is that the corrupt are being thrust into the light so that these men shall be known to all as to where their hearts are positioned.
Christ, then, is our sure and impregnable armor in this deadly assault on the Catholic faith in our time. Furthermore, He has given us the covenants and instruction that are indispensable to leading us through our present dissembling. Words that are not passing but eternal. And above all, know that He is not speaking from afar or from another age. He is wholly present here and now, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.
With this in mind it is time to step back from the fray for a short time and replenish our quiver with the formidable arrows of truth; separating the wheat from the chaff, as it were. The deplorable spectacle of conscientious Catholics doing battle with one another (fueled no less by frustration) serves no entity other than Satan and his minions. Moreover, knowing without question that our holy Church is truly inviolable in the substance of Christ, whose Bride it is, will serve remarkably in clearing ones vision amidst all the turmoil of the conflict at hand.
We need to begin with some pertinent and irrefutable truths of Christ. He is omniscient (all knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful). Therefore, any form of error or weakness is an impossibility with God, whom Christ is. His compassion and mercy are boundless but His justice (punishments) is just as all encompassing. No entity or power, then, can prevail over Christ's' rule and laws when all is said and done. He is omnipresent (everywhere present) with mankind, as man is created by God in His likeness, and willed by God to be with Him in eternity. Man, however, has been given a free will to reject that which God has desired for him. This, then, is a micro portrayal of Christ whose visible presence on earth is His Catholic Church.
Now keeping in mind the divine properties shown above, should we not reflect on how God might employ these powers. Certainly the ways of God are infinitely beyond the abilities of man to comprehend but God will never confound reasoning seeking truth for this would be working against Himself. It is forever a wonder why common sense is so uncommonly employed in the meditation on God's objectives, which in the matter of man, is His love and works directed toward man being returned to Him in happiness for eternity. No man is spared his necessary trials, but God does not allow stones or barriers that will thwart or deny those who sincerely seek Him.
With these perspectives in mind, let us reflect on some of Christ's' teaching which are very familiar to all of us:
"And stretching forth His hand towards His disciples, He said: Behold my mother and my brethren. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father that is in Heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother." Mat. 12: 49-50. Comment: My "...brother, sister and mother" are they who "do the will of my Father that is in Heaven." That seems reasonable, but what of those who do not know the "will of the Father"? Every man's soul is especially created by God and forever etched on that soul by God is the recognition of good and evil. There is placed in the heart the desire to know, worship and serve God. So, by that means every created soul is aware of the will of the Father independently of any act or power of his own. Every mans soul is meant to be destined to God even though we are informed by God that most will not attain that end. Every man possesses the Ten Commandments ontologically (as part of his being). It would seem, then, those genuinely striving to do God's will would surely stir His infinite mercy and would not be denied sanctifying grace because of unwitting affiliations. Would this not meet the criteria of common sense, mercy and justice?
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine, so neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine: you the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing." John 15: 4-5. Comment: "...for without me you can do nothing." Here we are informed quite emphatically that the world's ultimatum for individual autonomy (independence) from God has only failure (if not death) as its assured end. Only the truth (Christ) has the power to set you free. At the same time we are instructed that He is with us for we cannot "abide" in a divinity that is not there. Would not reason and common sense inform that Christ would not bow to his adversaries and have His presence and Grace made illusive or unattainable to His sheep?
"And I say to thee: that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Mat. 16: 18. "He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, abideth in Me, and I in him." John 6: 57. Comment: "And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (the Church). Here Christ acknowledges that the Church will be assaulted by its enemies (man and spirit) but He solemnly affirms that it will be a haven for the faithful until the end. The inviolability of His Church is an absolute for its "center and summit" is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ Himself brought forth in the Mass in the form of the holy Eucharist. The only sacred ritual in the universe allotted the powers of bringing the real Person of Christ present as "First Cause" who is the source of all graces. Without the Eucharist no man can "...eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood" in order to "abideth" in Him.
Reflecting on God's properties of mercy and love for those who seek Him, reason would seem to dictate that God would not allow the Mass to be universally invalidated. Even where it might be profaned, for such a development would in fact acknowledge that evil was allowed to "prevail against it" (the Church). The Good Shepherd assuredly would never allow Satan the powers to deny His Flesh and Blood to the worthy faithful on a Church wide scale.4
"If any man shall say, to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christ's and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive even the elect." Mat. 24: 23. Comment: "...insomuch as to deceive even the elect" (chosen). It is pointed out here that times will come, such as our own time, whereby conditions will be such that even the privileged (elect) will be deceived. If we ponder the perilous environment described in this Biblical passage we see pictured chaos and confusion. We thus come full circle to what we point to at the beginning of this writing. It is the milieu of chaos and confusion, which provides the seedbed for deception that can dislodge even good men from their proper reasoning
Confusion is as a tempest that can dislodge the anchors of certitude which truth provides. Truth is displaced by doubt! Doubt, in turn, clamors for action in seeking certitudes to which you can again find safe harbor. The Church in its healthy state5 quite effectively provides the certitudes necessary to stability in belief. When you observe considerable of the Catholic faithful, however, greatly exercised in venturing hither and yon seeking signs, apparitions, seers, movements, etc., it informs you that there exists a difficulty with their confidence and trust in what their local church is providing them. God motivates those with the Faith to the regular partaking from the fonts of sanctification.6 Those in doubt of their sources of sanctification will cast for assurances by seeking it elsewhere. Unfortunately, it is in such a state that the poorly advised become very vulnerable. Fortunate indeed are those families who have members who are both vigilant and knowledgeable in these perilous days.
So, now what? you say. Hold Fast! Look first to Christ and apply reasoning as it is informed by His teaching. Evil will not prevail against the Church but it is also true that the Church is in a time of grave tribulation. This turmoil has already inflicted grievous losses, and it can get worse, but from this evil Christ will bring about good. With reference to the Magisterium and the high authority in the Church, the final arbiter will be sacred Tradition, which is safeguarded by the Holy Spirit.
Many apparent contradictions of this Tradition being put forth today are represented as legitimate development of these doctrines. The Catholic Church alone (not individuals) has the authority to authenticate or disprove of all teaching proposed to Tradition just as it has the same authority in the interpretation of Scripture. Many seem to have forgotten this, and we now witness those of the best-intentioned proclaiming their own De Fide's on Tradition. Be assured the Holy Spirit will prevail in this arena.
It is with the consecrated churchmen that this battle will have to be resolved. This provided there are still sufficient of those with holiness to warrant the overcoming of the evil within. If not, then all is totally in God's hands and it will be resolved with God's fearful justice falling upon the world and mankind.
Do not think for a moment that this lets the rest of the faithful off the hook, however. These days of trial encompass the whole Church and every member of it. Moreover, with the omnipresence of Christ we know that He is just as observant of yours and my words and deeds (or lack thereof) as He is of the Holy Father and every bishop, priest and religious in the Church. This time for testing is for all and all are called to be aware and resist falsehood as it is given to their capabilities. One is reminded of the following very sage council offered on this subject:
1 The most predominant condemned heresy in the Catholic Church of our day.
2 James 1: 17 - Hebrews 13: 7-9
3 A condition brought on by the lack of governance (discipline). Ambiguities are now extensive in the Church from the Holy See on down.
4 Cf. Mat 7: 7-11
5 We would clarify that the Church itself, as the Bride of Christ, is and always will be, spotless and protected from error. Human error exercised by a blameworthy hierarchy in the Church, however, can bring great trial and difficulty to the Church and its membership.
6 The Sacraments.