Take care not to succumb to the new world order |
Secularism can so easily permeate our prayer life if we are not on guard and heed what Holy Mother Church so wisely advises in the practice of piety.
"If other generations of Catholics have fought and lost, despite the stern warnings of the pre-Vatican II Popes, we also can lose. We can also slide down the slippery slope of underestimating the supernatural value of the Church’s teaching, rules and sacraments; we also can give priority to earthly means to solve the enormous social and human problems that we see all around us; we also can get so caught up with the material details of work, with family conflicts and problems, with fun and friends, as to put the practice of our Faith on a back burner. We also can, and often do, back down from the audacity of the Cross, stumbling-block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles."
Exactly 50 years ago Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre sent a Lenten instruction to his faithful in Dakar on the urgency of prayer, provoked by the explosive situation in the world which, as he quoted Pope Pius XII saying, "has been caused by the religious tepidity of so many, by the lowering of the moral standards both in private and in public life, by the deliberate and systematic poisoning of simple souls" (Pastoral Letters, p. 31). The politics have changed, as the freemasonic one world order, the Novus Ordo Seculorum, continually advances. But the root problem has not changed. If society today is in a much worse crisis than 50 years ago it is because the secularism that followed the first and second world wars has grown exponentially due to the third world war of Vatican II.
Secularism is to most people a nebulous and vague term without precise meaning. It is certainly true that secularism is a complex state of mind with many different manifestations, and that it frequently resorts to hazy ideas and equivocations to promote its agenda. However, it does have an agenda, and it was clearly defined by the bishops of Italy in a pastoral letter issued on the eve of Vatican II (March 25, 1960). They defined it as "a purely naturalistic conception of life which either formally rejects religious values or at least relegates them to consciences and the mystic dimness of churches, refusing them entrance to man’s public life (his philosophical, juridical, scientific, economic, social, political activity and so on) and denying their right to exercise an influence in these fields" (Ibid, p. 130). Furthermore, they pointed out that the most widespread, and hence the most dangerous, form is not atheism but the less radical form that admits God and religion "but refuses to see in the supernatural order a living reality, active in human history" and according to which "religious beliefs are an exclusively private affair."
Secularism is the apostasy of society from God which prompted Saint Pius X in his first encyclical to call for the restoration of all things in Christ. "For who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction?" (E supremi apostolatus, §3)
This secularism was also condemned by Pope Pius XI in his first encyclical Ubi Arcano, where he defined it as "a kind of moral, juridical and social modernism" and condemned it just as formally as dogmatic modernism. It was likewise because he saw so clearly that the manifold evils of the modern world came from the rejection of Christ and his holy law from daily life, that he instituted the feast of Christ the King and promulgated the encyclical Quas Primas, "for as long as individuals and States refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations."
Great is the tragedy to now witness such progress of this secular humanism as to see it daily promoted by the successor of these great Popes. This is how John Paul II began his January 24 discourse to 200 leaders of the world’s religions:
"We have come to Assisi on a pilgrimage of peace. We are here as representatives of different religions to examine ourselves before God concerning our commitment to peace, to ask him for this gift, to bear witness to our shared longing for a world of greater justice and solidarity."
This peace is not the supernatural peace of submission to the reign of Christ the King, but the humanistic peace of "solidarity", getting on together. Forgetting that if Saint Francis was an instrument of peace, it was only because he was such a lover of Christ crucified as to bear His stigmata, the pope dared suggest that Saint Francis shared the same humanist ideals as the representatives of these pagan religions:
"We are meeting in Assisi, where everything speaks of a singular prophet of peace known as Francis. He is loved not only by Christians, but by many other believers and by people who, though far removed from religion, identify with his ideals of justice, reconciliation and peace" (Ibid. §2).
What a shameful misrepresentation! The following day, at a luncheon celebration at the Vatican for all these infidels, he proclaimed that this desire for humanistic peace is what God expects of them:
"With all our differences, we sit at this table, united in our commitment to the cause of peace. That commitment, born of sincere religious sentiment, is surely what God expects of us. It is what the world seeks of religious men and women."
It is indeed what the world seeks, but it is utter nonsense to say that it is what God expects of these unbelievers in the divinity of Christ, let alone of the Vicar of Christ.
My message for Lent is that we must all fight against this secularism. If other generations of Catholics have fought and lost, despite the stern warnings of the pre-Vatican II Popes, we also can lose. We can also slide down the slippery slope of underestimating the supernatural value of the Church’s teaching, rules and sacraments; we also can give priority to earthly means to solve the enormous social and human problems that we see all around us; we also can get so caught up with the material details of work, with family conflicts and problems, with fun and friends, as to put the practice of our Faith on a back burner. We also can, and often do, back down from the audacity of the Cross, stumbling-block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.
If your Faith is to go beyond the "commitment" of "sincere religious sentiment", if you are not to be "conformed to this world; but (to) be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2), your prayers to Christ Crucified must penetrate your daily life. It is not enough to pray on Sunday, or occasionally, or alone. We must pray many times during the day, we must pray with our friends and acquaintances and especially our families, and we must pray with the recollection and devotion that enables our prayers to have a virtual influence on everything that we say and do. Our continual prayers through and with Christ crucified alone can give us the supernatural perspective to fight against secularism, that every breath of ours might echo the words of the great Saint Paul: "With Christ I am nailed to the cross. And I live, now not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:19-20)
This is what Archbishop Lefebvre had to say 50 years ago:
"In this age of mental blindness and hardness of heart, my dear brethren, we have a duty, a most solemn duty, and that is to pray, to put our hands together and beg Almighty God to save the world. More than ever the situation demands that we raise our hearts and minds to God, that we reawaken in ourselves the virtues of piety and devotion which were infused into us by the Blood of Christ at our Baptism." (Ibid. p. 32)
He continues to explain in the same letter how it is possible to pray always, in fulfillment of Our Lord’s command, in virtue of the constant influence that our prayers can have on our daily life:
"Let us not forget that our prayer must be the expression of the interior disposition of our soul, of an attitude of devotion and adoration which will render the obligation to pray easy and pleasant and enjoyable. That is why Our Lord tells us to pray at all times." (Ibid. p. 33)
I throw the same gauntlet out to you.
If our answer is negative on any of these counts, we will be no match for the endemic secularism that surrounds us. We will walk the path of least resistance, and fall into the trap of lukewarm indifference, as so many good Catholics have done before us.
- Are you regular in the recitation of your morning, night and before and after meal prayers?
- Do you pray the Holy Ghost for inspiration in your family and work difficulties?
- Do you renew your consecration to the Holy Mother of God every day?
- Do you stop to visit the Blessed Sacrament, or make a spiritual Communion, or assist at a weekday Mass when you can?
- Do you recite the Holy Rosary in family every day?
- Do you pray the Angelus three times a day?
- Have you kept up with your daily meditations, or have you given up because it is too difficult, which means that you do not love Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother enough?
- Have you consecrated your family to the Sacred Heart, and if not why not; and if you have, have you done your holy hour as a family on First Fridays and renewed your consecration?
- Have you removed from your family life the grave obstacles that will prevent recollection and stop you from praying always, such as worldly friends, television, internet, rock music, immodesty, indecent magazines?
May God grant us the grace to take up this challenge courageously, and to live a life of reparation, that is of true love, and may the Mother of Sorrows help us to understand the blessedness of those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Yours faithfully in the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts,
For previous articles regarding matters that affect the Ecclesia Dei commission, see Archived installments
Wednesday, March 20, 2002
volume 13, no. 53
Exspectans exspectavimus Ecclesia Dei