by Fr Richard Heilman | October 14, 2017 9:12 pm
This is the story of four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. Consequently, it wound up that Nobody told Anybody, so Everybody blamed Somebody.
In Sunday’s Gospel (HERE), Jesus shocks everyone with a parable, meant to draw a comparison to the Kingdom of God, that has the king annihilating those who rebuff an invitation to a wedding feast, even though they had noble reasons for declining the invitation. Then he kicks a guy out for simply not having the appropriate attire.
Flannery O’Connor once said, “In a land of the deaf, you have to shout.” Meaning, in a very secularized society, people have lost a sense of God. You have to shake them into awareness with a shocking story.
But, as shocking as this parable may be, there are spiritual truths present. And, the question is raised, “Why this level of rage for these particular offenses?”
The Book of Revelations reads,
“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth.” (Revelations 3:15,16)
Notice the level of offense and rage, again, in the words, “I will *vomit* you out of mouth.” Obviously, those on fire for the Lord (HOT), and go above and beyond in their loving service to the Lord, are not anything with which God would have a problem. Even those who stand opposed to God (COLD) are not the greater threat against God’s kingdom. Why? Because we see them as great sinners and, for most of us, we know not to follow their ways. In other words, they are not very effective in winning more souls for Satan.
Satan’s most powerful force; his “Elite Fighting Force” are the indifferent, the dispassionate, the halfhearted … it is the lukewarm. These are Satan’s “Special Forces” because they are the most effective in winning over a multitude of souls for the devil. Why? Because many are easily swayed by their “version of lukewarm religion.” One that sets every other thing, noble or not, ahead of participating in building the kingdom of God. And, lukewarm church-goers are the elite among the elite in Satan’s fighting force, because they “set a powerful trend” of this empty religiosity, with no urgency to go much beyond church attendance. This is VERY contagious!!
Pope St. Pius X wrote, “All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easygoing weakness of Catholics.”
Pope St. Pius V put it in even stronger terms, “All the evils of the world are due to lukewarm Catholics.”
What?!?!? Not rapists or murderers or terrorists, but “lukewarm Catholics”? Why? Because “THE” army God wants to use becomes immobilized and ineffective in impacting other souls to join the ranks of God’s army. Besides going to church, they look no different from the rest of the world. And many – MANY – find it very attractive to count themselves as team members with “no effort required.”
In his letter to Timothy, St. Paul warns of these times:
But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
We have just passed through October 13, the 100th Anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima, Portugal. Some speculated that God may choose this anniversary to bring some kind of chastisement to “shake us up.” The speculation of this date comes from Pope Leo XIII’s October 13, 1884 (exactly 33 years, to the day prior to October 13, 1917) vision in which Satan asked for 75-100 years and a “greater power,” and that the ticking clock began with the Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 1917.
Yet, all over the world, on October 13, 2017, millions came together to pray the rosary and call upon the mercy of God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While Satan is the prosecuting attorney, Mary is our advocate before God.
But, I believe even more was at work here. Let me explain …
In the vision of Pope Leo XIII, Satan requested a greater power. Like most people, I always assumed that meant Satan increased in strength. But, it dawned on me that it could very well mean that Satan did not grow in power, but we decreased or lost our power … the only power to defeat Satan … God’s supernatural grace.
Yes, millions prayed the rosary this past October 13, but any priest around my age can attest that, when we were in seminary, if we were seen with the rosary, we would need extra spiritual direction or psychological counseling or were just simply asked to leave seminary, because we were seen as “too fanatical.” That’s right … it was that bad. Of course the rosary was only symbolic of a deeper concern … we “actually” believed in the supernatural power of God. This was seen as antiquated and odd. I believe this was a kind of rock-bottom our Church had hit, after years of being exposed to the “errors of Russia” … an atheistic denial of God and His Power.
A year ago, I posed the question, “Are we heading for a chastisement?” (Read HERE). In that article, I presented Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s prophesy that a “False Church” would rise, “emptied of Divine content.” Also, I presented Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s amazing insights into “Why the Nones are Leaving.”
People are leaving religion in droves because it’s not religion anymore.
It’s become a charity with meetings on Sundays, and the problem is modernism. Modernism is the idea that the supernatural is out of date and unbelievable. The “de-mythologizers” tried to weed out all the miracles and supernatural elements from the gospels. For the last hundred years their influence has gained in seminaries and pulpits across the world.
Tales of the supernatural had to be removed. They didn’t fit with the modern world. Doctrines about devils and angels, heaven and hell had to be quietly excised from the faith because they were primitive and medieval and incredible to modern folk. Transubstantiation? A pious medieval philosophical explanation of what we all know is really symbolic. Supernatural revelation? No. Religion is all man made. Miracles? We know they don’t really happen. (You can read the rest HERE)
Fr. Longenecker hit the nail on the head. And, for 100 years, we removed our spiritual armor and dropped our spiritual weapons and we left ourselves exposed; naked on the battlefield. For 100 years, Satan had a greater power as we relied on the power of man instead of the power of God.
I would like to posit a possible theory as to why God may have relented in bringing a chastisement on October 13. Could it be that, after our Jonah – The Blessed Mother – had spent the last 150 years warning us, we may have shown many great signs of humble submission to the power of God? More priests and bishops are promoting the Rosary and many other devotions, while many priests and bishops are advocating more reverent and sacred liturgies, as many more Traditional Latin Masses are springing up. And, everyone knows that our seminarians and young priests are wonderfully devout.
On October 13, in my parish, we had a record crowd for diocesan TLMs as we celebrated a Pontifical Mass at the Throne with our Bishop Robert Morlino. WOW!! And to think I couldn’t be seen with a rosary, when I was a seminarian.
Things are improving. Could it be that the scales are now tipping in favor Christ as Lord and Savior, rather than man as his own lord and savior?
I think we have a long way to go, but maybe … just maybe … God likes the direction it is heading.
Like the Prodigal Son, we make a move toward God and He runs to us and receives us, and we are powerful in Him again!
Maybe God’s Elite Fighting Force has just now, as of October 13, reclaimed the surrender ground of the supernatural and rose to a “greater power” than Satan’s “lukewarm army.”
I want this passage from the Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesian’s on my funeral Mass card …
“Draw your strength from the Lord and his mighty power. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil. Our battle is not against human forces but against the principalities and powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, the evil spirits in regions above. You must put on the armor of God if you are to resist on the evil day; do all that your duty requires, and hold your ground” (Eph 6:10-12)
Go to Confession frequently. Adore often. Rosary daily. Serve extravagantly. And you will have a “greater power” than Satan.
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