Skepticism is no more a success, and today the biting irony of the skeptic does not find an attentive audience, as it did in the past. The present times are hard and reality imposes itself — with its retinue of trials. Thus, many now think that we rush towards a chastisement of unparalleled proportions, the logical result of a slow process of decomposition.
We will not waste our time considering the attitude of the skeptic, as it is obvious that his mockery is no more than the avowal of his personal anxiety. However, this does not mean that we join the ranks of those who predict a chastisement for tomorrow. We do not reject its possibility, but we do refuse to project it into the future: it is already here.
Nonetheless, we do not affirm that the chastisement we endure is due to the innumerable crimes that man has committed for so long a time. We know that these crimes are particularly foul, that they are committed every day and that they cry to Heaven. But they are no more than the expression and consequence of a deeper revolt, of a still more hateful crime, a crime now commonplace by force of repetition, yet still as monstrous as ever.
What is this crime that surpasses in gravity the crimes of divorce, abortion, euthanasia - to mention only a few examples in the deadly gallery of modern vices - and which has merited us a divine chastisement? It is that cry loudly proclaimed two thousand years ago against the sovereign majesty of God: "We do not want this One to reign over us." Since then, this cry has unfortunately caught on. Only a handful of men pronounced it on that day, but now the whole world repeats it tirelessly.
This infamous cry is a crime of treason that sets up man and society against God Himself.
God answers this crime with His silence and becomes strangely absent. Hope - that indispensable but fragile light that guides our steps in the darkness of our human condition - is extinguished. Man is from now on alone, hopelessly alone, left to himself, at the mercy of other men! Thus, it is vain to expect a further chastisement, as the absence of God is the true and supreme punishment of our crime of treason.
God's Justice is exercised with just reason. As man in his mad arrogance has shown to God his will to do without Him, man's terrible punishment consists in being granted what he has asked for. Without God, man rapidly becomes the slave of his own pride and passions, a beast that lives only to satisfy his instincts. Personal satisfaction has become the goal of his existence. Numbed by unbridled sensuality, man sacrifices his eternity upon the altar of pleasure and a multitude of souls are lost amidst the general indifference.
This stupor prevents man from coming back to God. From now, on separated from God, man tastes here on earth the terrifying first fruits of eternal separation.
Punishment is a purely divine work by which God manifests His infinite justice. Thus, instead of rebelling against the apparent passivity of God in our troubled times, we must adore this mysterious divine action, and unite our will to His. Do we not know that, infinitely surpassing our miserable and narrow ideas, God's justice goes together with His mercy?
Divine mercy is always manifested in adversity, as the Cross erected on Calvary indisputably proves. Thus, in His incommensurable Love, God prepares a series of punishments not to allow the sinner to remain in his errors, but to receive the grace of realizing the state he is in and convert.
Man continues piling burning coals upon his head, gravely violating the divine law in a series of wretched lies, bitter fruits of his refusal of the divine kingship. Man's intelligence and will, numbed by the reckless pursuit of pleasure, will not awaken from their mortal torpor but under the sharp blows of adversity. Thus, divine punishments are left to complete the work of justice by mercifully re-establishing man in dependence on God.
That time is not too far away. It is not for us, though, to know their date, place or manner. These questions are not important and only turn us away from what is essential. We have enough clear signs to know that we have entered into the road that leads to Calvary. Our souls rejoice at the honor given to them. God wants to renew the Passion of His divine Son in the souls of His children; He invites us to participate in the work of His Love, in the Redemption. The quivering anxiety that seizes us in face of the future must be lived in union with the Agony of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though that anxiety is understandable, it must not stop us. It purifies us before we soar towards Him, joyous and confident, because God reserves to those He loves a participation in the bitterness of His chalice.
In our age of chastisement, we expect with a blessed hope the beginning of the hour of punishment, so that the work of Mercy may be united to the work of Justice. We even have the honor to prepare it and to prepare ourselves in this season of Lent, which demands the conversion of our hearts. God wants to exercise His mercy on us during these 40 holy days, inviting us to prayer and penance.
Our Lady of Hope, convert us!
In Christo Sacerdote et Maria,