We are roughly two weeks away from the debut of one of the greatest events modern Christendom has ever witnessed. Many are assimilating Mel Gibson's masterpiece inspiration as that "Divine Intervention" trigger that could approximate the dreaded, but necessary "Warning" before the "Miracle" purportedly promised by the Mother of God in Garabandal, Spain in 1961. We will not dwell on unapproved apparitions here, for we have Guadalupe, Quito in Ecuador, Rue du Bac, La Salette, Lourdes and Fatima to give us enough of an indication of the power of Heaven and the course God wants us to follow. Suffice it to say: We have been warned.
Now we are being reminded of the lengths one Man - Jesus Christ the God-Man - went to for the sake of every one of His creatures from the first man Adam to the last man He has created but will not make manifest until that person is conceived, formed in the womb and brought forth into life in a time that only the Father knows. It could be tomorrow, it could be next year, it could be in a thousand years, it could be millenniums away. The fact is we do not know just as Christ warned in Matthew 24: 36, "But of that day and hour no one knoweth, no not the Angels of Heaven, but the Father alone." .
For that reason we should take heed of the Gospel in the Mass Dilexisti justitiam in honor of today's Double Feast of Saint Scholastica where we must take measures to emulate the five wise virgins and stoke our lamps with righteousness so that our lamps will stay bright in grace as Christ alerts us to "Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour." (Matthew 25: 13).
It is interesting that in this parable of the Kingdom of Heaven, Our Lord speaks of the five foolish virgins who, not taking precautions or responsibility for their actions, turned at the last moment to the five wise ones so that they could have the equal benefits without working for it. According to the Social Doctrine of Vatican II they should be given it without any question. After all, we must provide for the poor by making them equally wealth-wise. Can you say socialism? Can you say communism? But Jesus was not a socialist or a communist or a fascist, but a radical capitalist who encouraged every one to build up a balance of riches in grace. Yes, He averred His disciples to share that grace, but never, ever to compromise. He taught forgiveness, but only if the sinner was repentant. Why is it so many who preach tolerance forget the last part of John 8: 11, "go, and sin no more"?
The five wise virgins prudently and charitably counseled the five foolish ones to make themselves right with God by repenting of their sins so their lamps would be as bright as their own. For the wise ones to deplete their grace, well, that's not the way God's bank works. Rather, it takes hard work and conviction of the heart to turn away from sin, not to wait but to seek repentance now. The five foolish ones tarried and missed the bus, if you will, to the Heavenly portals. It is an excellent composite of what so many are doing today, thinking they can just get by and that in the end, well, God surely won't condemn them. After all, He is a God of love. And since hell is most probably a figment of medieval manipulation created as a deterrent to help the Church of the middle ages and Trent, well, where else do we go after we die but Heaven? Purgatory has been quietly purged by the church of the New Order since it offends Protestant sensibilities and we can't have that! Forget the Communion of Saints, we are now the 'People of God!'
Nearly two-thousand years after Christ's death, another man has gone to great lengths to convey the visual images of that Holy Sacrifice to the masses - to the 'People of God' in all nations. Unlike the rich man of the Gospel who could not give up his earthly treasures for a far greater one and walked away from Our Lord, this man has used his riches in the manner Lazarus did in providing for the temporal needs of Christ, His Apostles and Disciples. This man, as we all know, is the very unorthodox Hollywood Box Office star who is very orthodox in his Faith - Mel Gibson. Mel was willing to sacrifice everything to follow God's will. Like Abraham who was willing to sacrifice his own son Isaac, Mel has placed his future and his family's future in God's hands. He knows the priceless, inestimable value of the Lamb of God, and like the humble centurion, follows his Agnus Dei with a Domine non sum dignus - "Lord, I am not worthy to receive thee under my roof, say but the word and my soul shall be healed." Such faith as this should be shouted from the rooftops!
It is well known that Mel has invested at least $30 million dollars of his own money into his passion to do 'The Passion of The Christ'. This is money he earned over several decades of exemplary acting and directing with a few embarrassing 'bumps in the road' during his 'learning' years when the body took on more importance than the soul in Mel's life. But then we have all been there. Is it not true that saints are nothing but sinners striving to be holy? And that is what Mel is striving for today. While the scribes and Pharisees of Hollywood ignored and rebuked him, shutting him out, Mel never gave up hope. One who places their hope in God never does lose hope. Hope springs eternal. That is not just a time-worn idiom. It is fact. And it is Mel's fondest hope and prayer that his film will soften hardened hearts and minds, warm cold hearts and icy, prejudiced intellects. He is truly putting his money where his mouth is!
In Mel's own way, this is a payback to make amends for his seedy role in 'Payback' and other films he cannot be proud of for moral reason, even if artistically he shined. By his own admission he has quite expected never to work again because of this project. That has not deterred him in this mission that has been gnawing at his soul for over a decade. He knew he would not be alone for Christ would be with him every step of the way. So also Mel realized he must be with Christ every step of the way - all the way to the summit of Golgotha - to relay to the world the closest approximation of the events that day, including the reality of the brutality visited upon this innocent Son of a Jewish carpenter.
I have said here before in these pages, and countless saints and sinners well before me and far smarter, more holy than I have asserted that in dark times God raises great lights. This is the pattern in the Old Testament when great prophets came on the scene. When? When things had sunk into moral decay. Not physical decay, but moral decay! So also throughout the 2000-year history of the True Church Jesus founded.
During the Arian Heresy God gave us Saints Athanasius, Basil the Great, Ambrose, Jerome and, of course, Saint Augustine, not to forget yesterday's Doctor of the Church Saint Cyril of Alexandria who so fervently defended the Mother of God.
When Rome seemed doomed, God provided a Saint Leo the Great and then Saint Gregory the Great. During the time when the Muslims sought to destroy Christendom (sound familiar, Europe? You especially, France!) the Almighty raised up such stalwarts as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who literally walked the depths and breadths of Western Europe preaching the Crusades. In the midst of this turmoil - the dark ages - God raised up some of the brightest lights ever in saints like Saints Francis of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, Albert the Great, Bonaventure, and, lest we forget, the greatest theologian and philosopher ever - the Angelic Doctor Saint Thomas Aquinas, dubbed by his classmates as the 'Dumb Ox.' Oh, to be so stupid!
At a time when usury, secular suppression of Papal Primacy and other vices threatened to forever taint the Mystical Bride of Christ, God gave us Saint Catharine of Siena - a simple woman who had the ear of Popes in convincing them to return from exile and re-establish Holy Mother the Church as the bastion of holiness.
The Protestant Reformation, brought on by the neglect of moral values within the Papacy itself - personified in the lecherous Pope Alexander VI and the weak and greedy predecessors and immediate successors who were left with a bankrupt Church - left all wondering what would be the fate of the once great beacon of Christendom. Despite the fact the heretics rationalized they could still call themselves 'Christian' even though they had rejected the fullness of Christ's teachings, the Church was split asunder. To the rescue God sent His Mother not to the high and the mighty, but to an uneducated Aztec peasant on a hill outside Mexico City. That peasant Juan Diego proceeded to pass on the message that was so powerful that over seven million converted to the True Faith in a very short time. God allows withdrawals; He effects deposits. One of those deposits, as we all know, was the counter-reformation brought to fruition with the infallible, dogmatic decrees of the Council of Trent. From the ashes of the Reformation a great renewal and re-enforcement of faithful Catholics arose led by such luminnaries as Saint Teresa of Avila, Robert Bellarmine, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales , and Saint Alphonsus Liguori rose up. Many saints countered the heresies and from their fruits hundreds of religious orders were founded. The Faith flourished again.
Throughout the history of the Church it has been a roller-coaster ride. There have been ups with the golden ages, and downs with the heresies and schisms. Just as Christ has promised that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16: 18), so also we will come out of these dark times we find ourselves in today where the Church of Christ is hardly recognizable. The Body of Christ has been so mangled by Ecumenism, Universalism, Humanism and every other ism compressed in the ism of all isms - Modernism - as Pope St. Pius X warned and condemned.
Considering we have not had an American hero who upheld true Catholic teaching since Bishop Fulton J. Sheen we should be elated and overjoyed that God has sent us Gibson in these times of total spiritual and moral decay. We can see the barren fruit which the rot coiling out of Vatican II has spawned. Now, with prayer and the grace of God, we will visually be able to see the rich fruits that can be realized in conversions of hearts all brought about by a man who has rightfully rejected the bad tree of Vatican II. Why? Because Mel knows what happens to bad trees. They wither and rot and are thrown into the furnace; whereas good trees bear an abundance of fruit basking in grace. You have the one Tree whose roots go 2000 years into the rich soil of Faith and then you have the artificial tree, formed out of the withered branches that had broken from the True Tree over the years. Those who have fallen from the vine: well, their goal is to justify their severed existence, to fabricate fruits when there are none possible.
While the True Tree in this day and age cannot get the full supply of water as it once enjoyed, it is able to rely on the nourishing moistured soil of the Truths and Traditions that sustain the roots and keep the True Tree growing despite the pesticides of pan-religious humanism that threatens to willingly allow the mighty Tree to be cut down so that all can be branches with none more important than the other.
But thanks to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - the Mass of All Ages - the Mass which has been called and truly is the "Greatest Thing this side of Heaven" - the Holy Mass Pope Saint Pius V codified and set in stone must be said in perpetuity - as in forever - it keeps the Tree alive and growing even if it is under cover of a shroud that hides its beautiful bark and sheltering boughs from most of the world. Such is the effluvium of ecumenism. Yet though many do not recognize it, the True Tree still stands despite the fact another tree has sprouted up and against it facing out horizontally towards the 'People of God' rather than upward towards God the Father. Incense and sacrifices cannot ascend going sideways.
Mel realizes this and in keeping with the whole purpose of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass of "doing this in commemoration of Me" he has virtually created a re-enactment of Calvary with one thing missing - the True Presence of Christ, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity for that is only possible in the Canon of the Holy Mass when the priest, acting in the person of Christ Himself - in persona Christi or alter Christus - another Christ, offers the bread and wine separately by pronouncing the infallible, infrangible words of the Consecration which Pius V and the Council of Trent decreed could NEVER be changed or it would invalidate the Holy Mass. A true transubstantiation would not take place. Though the faithful might think Christ is present, in reality He is in the hearts and minds, but without a valid consecration the bread and wine cannot be confected into the Body and Blood. Mel knows this and believes it. Every Catholic should.
It is Mel's fondest prayer and wish that every Christian and non-Christian will recognize this irrefutable truth and flock to the altars. Note, I did not say 'eucharistic tables' which comprise the 'altars' of the New Order. They called the tables of profanity 'altars' as well in 1 Machabees, too. But we know Divine Revelation exposed them for what they were: pedestals for the proliferation of the "abomination of desolation" (cf. Daniel 12: 11, Matthew 24: 15) and indeed that is tragically what we have today, true to Daniel the Prophet's words, "...when the continual sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination unto desolation shall be set up..." Mel recognizes the real continual sacrifice has been taken away. In it's place they have set up the abomination unto desolation. It is called the New Order Mass or Novus Ordo. It became the 'new' law April 3, 1969 - the feast of Passover. How ironic.
Yet it is the supposed very adherents of Passover and other Jewish feasts who have raised the biggest ruckus about the film. Why? Because, just like the VaticantwoArians, they are afraid their house of cards will collapse when the Truth is made manifest not just in the churches, but the new catacombs of 2004: the movie theaters where more hearts and souls will be touched than all the Novus Ordo 'churches' of the world combined. Yes, indeed, God does work in strange and wondrous ways. Alleluia!
You see Mel is part St. Leo the Great going out from the gates of Rome to defend the True Church against the barbarians who storm the gate when those who sit on the throne of Peter are too weak to resist the Revolution. Mel is part St. Athanasius defending Tradition and part St. Jerome in being true to the Holy Scriptures. He is part St. Francis who eschews worldly riches to carry out a mission no matter the consequences. With great humility he ventures forth. Like the 'Dumb Ox,' this very human soul, who has struggled with a mild form of bi-polar manic depression, has overcome his disabilities to shine forth for Mel comes equipped with a thorough knowledge of his Faith so that he can stand against those who would rebuke him. He is ready, having always the reminder of Our Lord's words in Matthew 10: 16, "Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore as wise as serpents, and simple as doves."
Mel is part St. Catherine of Siena for he has made the truths known to the Pope as well and, like Catherine, they have not always followed the counsel of true Catholicism. Just as the Church was in exile during the Avignon Popes, so also She is in exile today during the time of the Vatican II Popes. Through the first woman Doctor of the Church the Pope finally listened to reason. We can only hope and pray that through a 'Doctor' of Cinema a Pope will also finally listen to reason. From all evidence thus far, including a denial of a doctrinally-correct utterance of faith - 'it is as it was' we cannot expect John Paul II to be that Pope. But hope springs eternal. Yes, we do use that phrase often these days to buoy us up on the troubled seas where the Barque of Peter has been tossed to and fro so.
Mel is part Juan Diego in the fact he is not a great scholar of the Church, not a member of the hierarchy but a simple Catholic who has struggled with the world in raising a large family, going against the grain just as his parents did in their efforts to preserve the Faith of their forefathers without compromise in the same manner Saint Therese of Lisieux's parents raised her to love the Lord and do the little things in a big way. Through this simple layman, gifted with the talents of a Michelangelo on celluloid, there is the possibility Mel's 'little project' is going to be bigger than anyone has predicted: that millions upon millions could very well turn from their pagan ways, abandon the human sacrifice of abortion and embrace the True Faith.
He is part St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Alphonsus Liguori in resisting the Pope's advances for Ecumenism and Humanism and abandoning Tradition. Mel will not compromise. He cannot. His Faith will not allow it. And Mel is part St. John of the Cross, undergoing his very own 'Dark Night of the Soul' more often than he cares to remember. But Gibson realizes there is no shame in falling, only in failing to get back up. Mel has fallen many times just as you and I have. Every time he has bounced back up and continued on that rocky path. For him it is much like two other holy men Saint Thomas Becket and Saint Thomas More who both stood up against their king in favor of the King of kings. Mel stands virtually alone in Hollywood against the kings of the film industry and has defied the odds. Mel is willing to forfeit everything to get this film out, everything but his integrity and his Faith.
And that is what is being attacked so vigorously today. Yes, the evil one is clever and desperate. So desperate he has only been able to solicit only a few lost souls to rail against Gibson and the New Testament. Most notable is Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League which has taken on the self-serving and self-appointed position of judge, jury and executioner. The more Foxman and his mouthpieces at the Times both in New York and LA protest, the more the straw is exposed. Men of Foxman's same persuasion have been melted when they have seen the film with their eyes and hearts. Many rabbis have contradicted Foxman, yet he forges on. Hell hath no fury like a man who is wrong and is found out.
There are few who are a tougher sell than the crusty Jack Valenti former head of Warner-Brothers and President of the Film Institute. But this mighty mogul turned to tears after he had viewed Mel's portrayal of the Passion.
Mel realizes every man has a free will. He can choose between good and evil. Not everyone will be saved. But it is Mel's deepest wish that many more will be, especially those who have been asleep at the switch and allowed the spiritual and moral decay of our land. Mel is making amends for his sins of the past, which he openly admits and goes so far as to take the role of one of the Roman soldiers who pounded the iron nails into the sweet flesh of Christ. Could there be a greater mea culpa by one man?
Yet, look at the scene which has been the anger point for so many. Wait. So many? Would that be all? Hardly a pro multis vs. pro omnibus argument here although the essence of that change has altered the continual sacrifice which Mel, along with every Authentic Roman Catholic hopes and prays will be corrected soon so that it truly will be the Mysterium Fidei. No, the scene which Foxman and his cohorts keep chipping away at is one line in the Scriptures. A fact that cannot be denied, and yet, they have made so much about it that they have misinterpreted it to fit their agenda of anti-Semitism in anything Catholic. Hither to now, they have been able to get away with it under the guise of the ecumenical banner where Catholics were turning the other cheek and being told by this pope and his Modernist minions that it was progress. Mel sees through the facade. His film has no cosmetics, no Hollywoodizing , no pandering to special interest groups such as the Modernists in the Curias and Chanceries or the Freemasons and Zionists in the press rooms, provost chairs, presiding boardrooms, parlors, and parishes. The fact of the matter, which Abe Foxman shies away from at every turn, is, to a man, not one who claims he is a Jew today can trace his lineage back to the time of Christ or to the lineage of Abraham for that matter for around 750 years before Christ was born the Tribe of Israel was scattered to the four corners of the earth never again to be reunited. The old Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D. It had to be for there cannot be two Jerusalems. The New Jerusalem will never be destroyed for It, and It alone is the Heavenly City perpetuated in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ. He has promised that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Oh, yes, I've said that before haven't I? Well, it bears repeating again and again.
Now back to that one famous line that Foxman so abhors. Let us take the famous line that, as of this date, is still not known whether it is in or out. Mel knows our hope. Don't mess with the Word of God. Leave it in. It happened. It is truth. The "line" can be found in Matthew 27: 25:
"And all the people answering, said: 'His blood be upon us, and upon our children."
That's it. Where, folks, does it say His blood be upon the Jews and only the Jews? It doesn't. In fact in that entire chapter of Matthew the 'people' were not identified as Jews, but just the 'people.' Now since this was in Jerusalem and Christ was accused of being the 'King of the Jews' it reasons that the vast majority of the people being roused into a frenzy were Jews. But Matthew doesn't specifically identify them as 'just the Jews' nor do any of the other Evangelists. So who does then jump to the conclusion that the 'people' are only the Jews? Why Mr. Foxman and company, of course. And they base their arguments on the compromises that have been promulgated since Vatican II that Jew and Christian have a common cause and goal, and most recently on the heresy - and make that with a capital H - that the Jews' wait for the Messiah has not been in vain. Folks, it is a fact of Faith documented in the New Testament that the Jews of Christ's time rejected Him as the Son of God. Read Christ's Own words in Chapter Five of Saint John.
The accusations against Mel are no different than the accusations against the Nazarene. Just as He bore the brunt of harsh words and spitting and cursing vindictives, and the scourges that ravaged his flesh, Mel also is bearing the scores of unfair criticism and name-calling, and the whippings of slander and blasphemy that paints him as a 'schismatic' where nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, Mel is part St. Augustine for he asserts like the holy Archbishop of Hippo that "right is right even if no one is doing it, and wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it." Though the vast majority have embraced the church of Vatican II, it is wrong and they are the ones truly in schism.
Those who cling to the Faith handed down by Christ from Saint Peter through Pope Pius XII may be few, but they are right and Mel is on the side of right. We can only hope and pray that the mass numbers of evangelicals and Novus Ordinarians who are promoting the film and hoping to bring others to their way of thinking will realize what Mel is truly conveying on the screen and in the hearts of every viewer: The origins and essence of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass continued today in an unbloody manner only where the Traditional Latin Mass, with its structured liturgy which allows no innovation, re-enacts the very Sacrifice and Essence of Calvary.
Let us hope and pray that Mel's fruits will be manifested and we will see what Saint Paul so affirmed and encouraged in Ephesians 4: 11-32. Reading Paul's words, you will realize that is the love Mel Gibson is trying to convey in the film he has made. That is the love Mel is trying to live. Hey folks, he's just going by the book!
It has been in print for hundreds of years, preserved by the holy monks and passed down from Oral Tradition to Written Tradition. Now, for the first time ever, that is being translated onto film as it really was, not for violence sake but to show the depths of Divine Love God the Father had for us that He would send His only-begotten Son to die for us and the Divine Love Christ had for His Father and each one of us that He would undergo such torture, such cruel punishment. There is no political correctness when it comes to the Truth. They say a picture tells a thousand words. When that is multiplied milliseconds on celluloid, well then a film of this caliber is worth a million conversions and more!
Even if it cost over $30 million, many graces to this vaunted thespian and director for Mel has put his money where his heart is! A man of his word true to the Word!