I have heard from an astonishing number of people this past month or so about the end of all things. People sharing dreams with me. Books I’ve read. People sharing with me things they’ve read. Stuff they’ve heard in prayer.
A saint that I’ve become personally fascinated by for about the last two years is Sister Lucia. She was one of the three children who received the visions of Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. I don’t want to take time to dive down into all the details of the visions and secrets of Fatima, but I encourage you to read up on the matter.
Here, I just want to share two things that Sister Lucia shared about the Church-approved apparitions and visions she received:
1) In the end times, you will have cardinals fighting cardinals and bishops fighting bishops
2) The final battle will be over marriage and the family
Today we have cardinals fighting cardinals and bishops fighting bishops, and not over the wording of the Creed (although that is important too) but today we have Cardinals fighting cardinals over seemingly EVERYthing
Also, with regards to her second statement, we see a battle inside the Church and outside the Church in our own country as well, about what marriage is and it is, seemingly daily, looking more and more like a battle
So, I would like to propose to you something: we are in a war. In fact, it isn’t my proposal. We read it in Scripture in the book of Revelation (12:17) – “And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children--all who keep God's commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus.”
And so I would like to issue a call to battle – and I want to use all three readings to do so
Moses said “would that we all the people of the Lord were prophets!” There is a meeting for all of the prophets in the camp and a couple of people not at the meeting start prophesying too, and they all tell Moses “hey tell them to stop prophesying” and Moses said “are you kidding me, I wish everyone was a prophet. You can not be a prophet without speaking. Would anyone know which side you are on by listening to you speak? Part of being in this battle, part of being a prophet is that you must SPEAK. And we have a DRASTIC need for people to speak. “That stuff over there is wrong” You might not like me, you might be mad at me, but it is wrong. And that stuff over there is good, and it leads to human flourishing. SPEAK!
Soldiers deny themselves stuff – they are fighting. “You have stored up treasure for the last days and You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.” Give what you have to the poor, and give radically. This will sound like bragging, but I share it to say it has led me to great freedom – I gave away 80% of my pay last year, and it brought me great freedom. I am here to fight, I am passing through this world to the next. It is a beautiful world, and it is good, but it is not home, and I have seen it more as my mission (and yours too) to not wallow in luxury but to become soldiers for Christ
A quick comment about celibacy. Many people have asked in this crisis about why, if it isn’t required by Scripture, why does the Catholic Church ask, as a discipline of its priests, to not marry. Again, it isn’t dogma, just a discipline. Some priests are married. Here I would just share that marriage, to me, is awesome, beautiful, hard, wonderful…and awesome. The natural part of me would love that. But my celibacy, then, is giving up something so that I may fight. Soldiers in earthly wars often deny themselves many things. In the Scriptures as well, soldiers would deny themselves while fighting. That is how I think of priestly celibacy and I hope you see it that way. A sacrifice of something on this side of Heaven so that I can fight for God in a complete and total way through a 100% commitment to my role in God’s army as a priest.
Finally, in the Gospel – we see this war against the demonic, the driving of the Devil back through the power of Christ and we see Christ desires this. Pope Francis announced, just today, that he desires everyone to pray the rosary every day in the month of October that our Lady may intercede against the Evil one. The Holy Father said that he also desires everyone to pray the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel for the same intention
J.R.R. Tolkien has a line that I can’t help but feel applies to us today as well as Catholics – he said the board is set, the pieces are now in motion. At last we come to it. The great battle of our time.” Is it the final battle? Is it just the battle of our time? I don’t know.
Perhaps you are afraid to fight? Perhaps you understandably feel a temptation to wash your fear away through a million ways to medicate yourself and numb yourself to what is really important. Perhaps you are just afraid in general. I leave you with this quote, then, from St. Catherine of Sienna. “And of what should we be afraid? Our captain on this battle field is Christ Jesus!”
I invite you to join in