ON FAITH AND PROVIDENCE
“SHOULD we stockpile food? Will God lead us to a refuge? What should we do?” These are some of the questions people are asking right now. It’s really important, then, that Our Lady’s Little Rabble understand the answers…
In the approved messages to Elizabeth Kindelmann, Jesus says:
All are invited to join my special fighting force. The coming of my Kingdom must be your only purpose in life. My words will reach a multitude of souls. Trust! I will help all of you in a miraculous way. Do not love comfort. Do not be cowards. Do not wait. Confront the Storm to save souls. Give yourself to the work. If you do nothing, you abandon the earth to Satan and to sin. Open your eyes and see all the dangers that claim victims and threaten your own souls. —Jesus to Elizabeth Kindelmann, The Flame of Love, pg. 34, published by Children of the Father Foundation; Imprimatur Archbishop Charles Chaput
What powerful words! What more needs to be said? Hence, the question whether God is going to preserve you and your family in this Storm is the wrong question. The right question is:
“Lord, how can we give our lives for the sake of the Gospel?”
“Jesus, how can I help you save souls?”
Followed by a firm commitment:
“Here I am Lord. May all be done according to your will.”
If you have not read Our Lady’s Little Rabble, please do: it’s really the invitation to this “special fighting force.” It’s based on the story when God tells Gideon to reduce his army, which he does with these words:
“If anyone is afraid or fearful, let him leave! Let him depart from Mount Gilead!” Twenty-two thousand of the soldiers left… (Judges 7:3-7)
In the end, Gideon takes only three hundred soldiers with him to surround the armies of Midian. Moreover, they are instructed to leave behind their weapons and take only a torch, a jar, and a horn. In other words, we are to confront this Storm with essentially the flame of our faith, the earthen vessel of our weakness, and the horn of the Gospel. These are our provisions—and how Jesus wants it to be in these times:
A time of darkness is coming on the world, but a time of glory is coming for my Church, a time of glory is coming for my people. I will pour out on you all the gifts of my Spirit. I will prepare you for spiritual combat; I will prepare you for a time of evangelism that the world has never seen…. And when you have nothing but me, you will have everything… —prophecy given to Dr. Ralph Martin in St. Peter’s Square in the presence of Pope Paul VI; Pentecost Monday, May, 1975
It’s counter-intuitive, yes. We instinctively want to survive; we were created for life. But Jesus redefines what true “life” is:
Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. Whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it. (Mark 8:34-35)
In today’s Gospel, Jesus chastises the people because they are following Him—for food—not the Bread of salvation.
Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life which the Son of Man will give you… (Today’s Gospel; John 6:27)
In contrast, Stephen was persecuted because he put his very life at the service of the Gospel:
Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people… They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes, accosted him, seized him… All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel. (Today’s first reading; Acts 6:8-15)
That is the quintessential picture of a genuine disciple and Divine Providence in tandem: Stephen gives everything to God—and God gives everything that Stephen needs, when he needs it. That’s why his face was like an angel because, interiorly, Stephen had Everything, even though he was about to be stoned to death. The problem with many Christians today is we really don’t believe that the Father is going to provide. With one hand raised to the Lord, we ask Him for our “daily bread”, and with the other, we cling to our credit card—just in case. But even there, our focus is on the material, on our “stuff”, which is why Jesus tells us to “seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” (Matt 6:33).
But the spirit of rationalism is one of the great plagues of our time, especially in the Church. It’s a spirit that leaves no room for the supernatural, no room for God to bless His children and work His miracles. Unless we can analyze, predict, and control our environment, we turn to fear and manipulation rather than trust and surrender. Dear reader, examine your conscience and see if this is not true, if even we, the “baptized, confirmed, and consecrated” haven’t behaved with the same compulsive self-preservation as the rest of the world.
This, in fact, is why Jesus chastises the Church in the “end times”: lukewarmness—a loss of supernatural sense, worldly thinking, and no longer walking according to faith, but sight.
For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (Revelation 3:17)
Our Lady is calling us to an extraordinary trust at this hour. She is going to reveal your Mission to you, if not now, then when the time comes (and in the meantime, we can pray, fast, intercede, and grow in holiness so that we are fruitful right where we are). This first “hard labor pain” we are enduring is a mercy: it is calling us to prepare in faith (not fear) for the times that are now unfolding around the world.
But still, you ask, what about these practical questions?
When God created Adam in His image, it was because He gave him an intellect, will, and memory. Faith and reason are not opposed to another but are intended to be complementary. You could say the first gift God bestowed on Adam was the head between his shoulders.
Look around the world today at the extreme weather events, economic instability and, of course, our vulnerability to something as microscopic as a virus. There are few places on earth that aren’t subject to tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, monsoons, extreme cold, etc. Why wouldn’t you have some provisions stored up in the event of an emergency? That’s just prudence.
But how much is enough? I’ve always said that families should probably tuck away several weeks of food, water, medicines, etc. for such emergencies, enough to provide for themselves and even others. Still, some families cannot afford that; others live in apartments and there simply isn’t enough room to store much. So here’s the point: do what you can, according to prudence, and trust God for the rest. Multiplying food is easy for Jesus; multiplying faith is the hard part because it depends on our response.
So how much is enough? Twenty days? Twenty-four days? 24.6 days? You get my point. Trust in the Lord; share what you have; and seek first the Kingdom of God—and souls.
If your first thought is how you can make it to the Era of Peace, and not on how you can give your life to the Lord for the sake of souls, then your priorities are not in order. I’m not suggesting anyone seek martyrdom. God sends the crosses we need; no one needs to go looking for them. But if you are sitting on your hands right now, waiting for God’s angels to carry you off to a refuge… don’t be surprised if the Lord knocks you off your chair!
Self-preservation is, in some ways, the antithesis of Christianity. We follow a God who gave His life for us and then said, “Do this in memory of me.”
Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me. (John 12:26)
The soldiers who abandoned Gideon were thinking about the wrong kind of refuge—survivalism. The soldiers who accompanied Gideon had nothing but the victory of the Lord at heart. What a seemingly reckless rabble! But what glorious victories awaited them.
I have already addressed the true Refuge in Our Times. But I could summarize it as such: wherever God is, there is a safe haven. When God dwells in me, and I in Him, I am in His refuge. Thus, whatever comes—consolation or desolation—I am “safe” because His will is always my food. This also means that He can physically protect me, and even those around me, if that is what is best. God will indeed provided physical refuge to many families in the times to come because they, in turn, will be the blossoms of a new springtime.
We also have to be very careful to avoid superstition. The Church has many sacramentals that promise a certain protection from evil: the Scapular, St. Benedict medal, Holy Water, etc. Some mystics in the Church have recommended hanging sacred images on our doors or putting blessed icons in our homes for protection against “chastisement.” None of these, however, are like talismans or charms that replace faith, the Great Commission, and the works God calls us to do. We already know what happened to the one who buried his talent in the ground out of fear… Moreover, what was physical refuge to Jesus?
Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head. (Matthew 8:20)
For St. Paul, the safest place was to be in the will of God—whether that was a ditch, a shipwreck, or a prison. Everything else he considered “rubbish.” All he could think about was preaching the Gospel to souls. This is the heart Our Lady is asking her Little Rabble to have.
We would do well to remember why this time of suffering and chastisement—this Storm—has now come upon the earth: it is God’s way of saving the greatest number of souls at a time when the greatest number can be lost. Even if that means losing everything from cathedrals to cities. There is even a greater good than the preservation of nature: it is the good of being with God in eternal life… a good so great, He died that every soul might attain it. And that’s where He needs us, the Rabble, to respond.
As I was in my usual state, my sweet Jesus carried me outside of myself, and showed me masses of peoples crying, homeless, prey to the greatest desolation; towns collapsed, streets deserted and uninhabitable. One could see nothing but heaps of stones and rubble. Only one point remained untouched by the scourge. My God, what pain, to see these things, and live! I looked at my sweet Jesus, but He did not deign to look at me; rather, He cried bitterly, and with a voice, broken by tears, told me: “My daughter, man has forgotten Heaven for the earth. It is justice that what is earth be taken away from him, and that he go wandering, unable to find shelter, so that he may remember that Heaven exists. Man has forgotten the soul for the body. So, everything is for the body: pleasures, comforts, sumptuousness, luxury and the like. The soul is starving, deprived of everything, and in many it is dead, as if they did not have it. Now, it is justice that their bodies be deprived, so that they may remember that they have a soul. But—oh, how hard man is! His hardness forces Me to strike him more—who knows whether he would soften under the blows.” —Jesus to Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, Volume 14, April 6th, 1922
On the other hand, the soul who lives abandoned in Me finds a refuge from her sufferings—a hiding place where she can go and no one can touch her. If anybody wants to touch her, I will know how to defend her, because to lay hands on a soul who loves Me is even worse than laying hands on Me! I hide her within Myself, and I confound those who want to strike anyone who loves Me. —Ibid. Volume 36, October 12, 1938
In closing, I want to recommend to all my readers that they pray with me the Novena of Abandonment for the intention of surrendering the future—our physical needs—to Jesus. And then let us cast worry behind us and seek first the Kingdom so that it may “reign on earth as it is in Heaven.”
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