As Sacred Scripture affirms, only the Father knows the time and date. He is not going to tell this prophet or that one. No one! "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of Heaven, but the Father only" (Matthew 24: 36). Why then do we waste precious time in guessing and speculating about coming events? We truly have only the moment at hand for which God blesses and provides His Graces. What will happen in the next moment, the next day, week, month or year is for God to know, and us to trust in His Mercy and Love to see us through.
With that said, dare we look ahead? Yes, because history has shown us the path where we're heading and the only sure path is to follow God's path. He has made it very clear through His laws, His Word, His Holy Church and His very own Mother Mary whom He has sent to guide us and lay out a map for us to follow more readily through her appearances and messages which always lead back to her Divine Son. By studying all these we have an inkling of what lies ahead because history repeats itself as we have seen in Sacred Scripture and world history.
Yesterday, Pat Ludwa, in his column, led off with the antiphon "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel; that lies in lonely exile here; until the Son of God appear; Rejoice, Rejoice, O Israel, to thee shall come Emmanuel." This comes from the prophet Isaiah in foretelling the coming of the Savior. As we all know, He came but Israel did not recognize one of their own. They still don't. And therein lies the problem that has visited the Jewish people for two millenniums. The Old Testament is full of numerous accounts of the Jews wandering from God's way and being punished, then returning to Him when they saw the light. Sadly, they have not seen the light over the past 2000 years and they are still wandering and wondering. The Babylon exile was a good example of this and when they realized the error of their ways and repented, God brought them back to the promised land. But He submitted them to Roman rule during the time when Christ was born. Their reward for rejecting Jesus as the Messiah, was the eventual destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans and Titus in 70 A.D. Since that time until 1948 they have wandered in the desert of ignorance and frustration, blaming everyone they can for their plight without taking the "bull by the horns" so to speak and realizing they have strayed from God in not recognizing the Messiah He sent - His Own Son.
Again, we reiterate for fear someone might consider us anti-Semitic that we are only following what the Word has reiterated and if anything, call us pro-Scriptural. Following through on the same passage of Matthew in which Our Lord is speaking on the Signs of the Last Days in 36: 37-39, "And as it was in the days of Noah, even so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away; even so will be the coming of the Son of Man." So also the Jews, in their blindness to accept Christ, have been eating and drinking and rejecting Christianity for lo these 20 centuries. The Holocaust was a tragic event in history, possibly the worst example of humanity in the annals of mankind. It not only paralleled the kind of persecution of the chosen people over the centuries before Christ's coming but magnified it. Rather than realizing this and returning to God, accepting His Son as the Savior of the world, the prophesied Messiah and not just a prophet, the majority of Judah sought to blame everyone else including a man who did all he could to help this beleaguered people -Pope Pius XII whom we feature as the worthy 9th selection of TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY this weekend. That is akin to blaming Moses because he struck the stone twice, forgetting all he had done for the Jews before that. Moses accepted his fate God chose to deliver on him for he was a wise and holy man, the same as Pius XII chose to accept the criticism for he too was a wise and holy man and we can only pray that the obstacles the Jewish factions are putting up to delay his beatification will be lessened and they will understand the truth.
Speaking of obstacles, we return to the mosque in Nazareth crisis we wrote about Tuesday. On Wednesday the highest ranking Islam official in Egypt came out strongly against the mosque being built. His reasons were surprisingly Christian in tone and intent and for that the Vatican and all of Christendom are extremely thankful for it could be the impetus needed to provide clearance for the Holy Father to visit the Church of the Basilica of the Annunciation in March, quite possibly and appropriately on the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25, 2000. This could be an even more landmark moment as we'll explain later. For now it is important to remember that Christianity is not the native religion of the Holy Land. Christians are the minority, yet the Holy Land is physically and spiritually the very heartbeat of Christianity. Here took place the Annunciation, Incarnation, and the whole of the New Testament. As it was 2000 years ago, so it is today...a tormented area where there is no peace, and never will be peaceful until that moment when the Jewish people recognize and accept as a whole Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Think about the parallel of time the Pope is expected in the Holy Land, specifically Jerusalem - in the Spring - the latter part of March, the same time of year that Our Lord triumphantly entered the Holy City to Hosannahs. We anticipate the hosannahs that will be accorded the Holy Father from the crowds, but who knows what will follow. Consider again the parallel of history. Then the Romans ruled over Jew and Gentile; today the Israeli government has supplanted the men of Caesar, ruling over Muslims and Christians. Just as the Romans tried to stir resentment between Jew and Gentile in the "divide and conquer" mentality, so also it would seem the Israeli government is doing the same today by fomenting friction between the Muslims and Christians over the mosque issue. But, to their surprise the Muslims are not taking the bait, nor is the Vatican backing down. To the surprise of many who don't understand the Islam faith, they are insulted that a mosque would be built so close to a Christian church primarily because they want an environment that is totally devoted to Allah. Therefore, anything right next door would be a distraction to their prayer life according to many Muslim leaders. That is a blessing in disguise for Christian interests which could be the saving factor in the whole mosque controversy.
If the Israeli government is looking for an out to the embarassing corner they have painted themselves into, this would be it. But there could also be another motive behind their chicanery for, without saying it, they do not want the Pope in the Holy Land. That is akin to acknowledging the possibility of revisiting the possibility that Christ was the Messiah all over again. They don't want that visited on the people, for like the Scribes and Pharisees, they want to dictate what the people believe without learning from the lessons of the Talmud. They could very well, as we alluded to in our last editorial, be trying to encourage a war between Christians and Muslims by feeding the frenzy of both sides, mushrooming into hatred in the name of religion. Sorry, but no war can be rationalized in the name of religion. It is always political using religion as an excuse. So also here. The Israeli government would like to divide (Christian vs. Muslim) and conquer (banishing them both from the Holy Land). This would enable the Israeli regime to stake their claim on the spoils: the entire Holy Land and defend this land against any and all would-be intruders. Then then would fit into the picture presented to us in Sacred Scripture. Christians against Muslim is not a war to be won, only to bring destruction to both peoples. The Crusades proved this. But during those terrible centuries of the Crusades the Jews did not rule the Holy Land. Today they do.
It would seem, on the surface, that the Israeli government is being very open-minded in permitting the Christians and Muslims then into their territory. Again, we must separate the religion of the Jews from their government for the latter has, as its goal, membership in the One World Order. The government presently has the power, the military power, to eradicate all other religions from the land without sacrificing their own people to such a cause. Their trained armies and special intelligence, highly trained Mossad would function not out of a deep religious conviction, as much as out of obedience to powerful leaders whose agenda is to recapture the Promised Land exclusively for the Jews, ousting any other religion and the practitioners of both Christianity or Islam from their soil. How to acomplish this? Did not Our Lord weep over Jerusalem, foretelling His Apostles the destruction of Jerusalem in their own time? Could it not, perhaps also, have been a foretelling of modern-day Jerusalem and its adjacent lands throughout Palestine and Jordan? There has never been peace in the Middle East. This is a historical fact. Do we really understand what the Israeli government is all about? We don't even understand what our own government is doing, and perhaps that is a blessing in disguise as well for we would all die of shock if we knew what things our government, military and special intelligence were doing in the name of democracy! The mind-set of the Israeli people is very much Old Testament thinking. Their minds are closed and, unfortunately will remain closed, until that moment when they recognize Jesus as the chosen Messiah.
With all the millennium and end-times talk, it wouldn't be too far-fetched for the Israeli government to concoct a "Messiah" for their own purposes since the people of Israel are so hungry for one. It would logically follow that the time would be ripe for such a charade carried out with one who, by some trickery, could produced miracles and astonishments that would dazzle the world causing many to be in awe of this man. After all Sacred Scripture tells us that is how the antichrist will come into prominence. We have heard of accounts from many visionaries, blesseds and saints that the antichrist is already here, just waiting for the time to go into action. From all history has shown us, the time could be ripe for this scenario. We pray it isn't, but we still must be prepared as Jesus warned us. "Behold I am sending you forth like sheep in the midst of wolves. Be therefore wise as serpents, and guileless as doves. But beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, for a witness to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious how or what you are to speak; for what you are to speak will be given you in that hour. For it is not you who are speaking, but the Spirit of your Father Who speaks through you. And brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and put them to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake; but he who has persevered to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to another. Amen I say to you, you will not have gone through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes" (Matthew 10: 16-24).
The Church collectively has not gone through all of the towns of Israel to date, nor will the Vicar of Christ when he visits the last part of March next year. Herein lies a new danger. If we would only look at history well and understand what it teaches. If only we would ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten us as we read Sacred Scripture, and see between the lines of the media which portrays Israel as the victim. We need to see beneath the surface to read between the lines of politically correct newspapers, magazines, television programs, films, etc. and be filled with the Sanctifier and Advocate constantly in order to realize the design of God's Will for all His people. The Holy Father is going into a boiling cauldron of hatred and resentment, in a land where Jesus sought to bring peace and love, there is conflict and hate. If any one in the history of mankind could pull off a mini-miracle and unite the people, this saintly present Sovereign Pontiff is the man to do so. But time is running out, both for him and for civilization to live and adhere to the laws God set down for all His children.
Because the sands of time as we know it are sifting through the great hourglass, we conjecture what could occur on March 25th at the Church of the Basilica of the Annunciation. Let's say and pray that the mosque issue will be cleared up and the Holy Father will be allowed to visit unencumbered this historic shrine so important to Catholic belief. What better time or place for the Pope to proclaim the Fifth and Final Dogma of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. Many thought it would occur on the Feast of the Visitation which coincided with Pentecost last year, but for reasons still to be explained, the Pope passed on that opportunity, perhaps feeling the world was not yet ready or the political climate was such within the Church that he needed to wait. Dr. Mark Miravalle, S.T.D. (the 21st selection of the TOP 100 CATHOLICS OF THE CENTURY) feels the time is very near. It would seem logical a proclamation of Our Lady's role from the exact spot she first gave God her fiat would be the ideal place and time. While this is merely conjecture on our part, it makes perfect sense. If this is a possibilty, and we emphasize "if," we would suspect the Vatican will remain mum on this as long as they can for to awake the opposition or give them time for rebuttal as was done prior to Pentecost last year could possibly disrupt the Pope's plans again.
Let's look at worst-case scenario: say he isn't able to include Nazareth on the intinerary because the mosque issue couldn't be resolved; there's always Fatima on May 13, 2000. That is the day he will officially beatify the two Sarto children who died shortly after the Fatima apparitions in 1917 - Francisco and Jacinta. If plan A at Nazareth is not possible, then plan B at Fatima would be the next best thing for consider what the Dogma will open the door for: the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart which was promised at Fatima by Our Lady: "In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph."
While these are all possibilities, we want to reinforce in the reader's mind that these are mere conjectures on our part. To delve any further would be fruitless for then we are trying to pinpoint the exact time and place foretold by Sacred Scripture. We are just speaking out loud, applying history and the pattern God has worked throughout the history of mankind. Since God is unpredictable and man is predictable we leave it to prayer to fill in the answers in His time. We have been right before and we have been wrong before; such as the story we reported on last year regarding the purported messages to Saint Bernadette of Lourdes supposedly found in the basement archives of the Vatican by a priest researching information on Lourdes. Since the time is near or has passed for many of the points raised in the messages and since the Curator of Lourdes has denied them, we accede to the wisdom of Lourdes and bury the so-called prophecies of St. Bernadette Soubirous, declaring them a hoax. As we wrote way back then also, it was merely conjecture and in no way were we giving credence to it as authentic...just that if they were true, how wonderful the new era would be. It is left for us to do our part as Our Lady repeats over and over at Medjugorje: "Pray! Pray! Pray!" As for the points brought up in this editorial, it is something we leave to God for if any of this is to come about as we've conjectured today, it will be in God's time and only His time!
Most of us live very busy lives. It seems we are running as soon as our feet hit the floor in the morning (or evening, if one works a night shift). If we aren't busy making a living, we are busy doing for others or ourselves.
Americans are doers. Oh, sure, we need our lazy moments, and probably take a lot more of those than we really need. But we are, generally, very active people, sometimes so much so that we find it difficult to find time for prayer. Someone once said: "A person, who is too busy to pray, is too busy."
I think that is very true! As a matter of fact, our work really would go better, if we prayed first. Our Lady of Medjugorje said this very thing. "Pray first, then your work will go better."
Since I started praying three rosaries before beginning my office work, I find that, indeed, my work goes easier, better and I have more energy to do it. It's the honest truth! We've all heard the saying: "We always have time to do the things we really want to do!" That is also true!
It goes without saying that preparing for the birthday of Our Lord, Jesus, would warrant that we try to pray more during Advent. Let's not forget the TRUE meaning of Christmas! Christmas is important MOST OF ALL because we are celebrating the birthday of the Son of God, Our Savior and Redeemer. The giving and receiving of presents is VERY secondary.
But let's face it. We all struggle with distractions and sometimes with the ability to concentrate on our prayers, especially, if we leave our prayer until evening after a day full of all kinds of activities.
But one of the greatest aids to prayer and concentration in prayer is GOOD SPIRITUAL READING. One does not need to read a lot. Sometimes only a few sentences will do. To read from the Scriptures, autobiography of a saint or any other book that would be inspiring to us is a great help to lift our minds and hearts to God, which is a definition of prayer.
Do not feel that you must read very much to let good reading raise your mind and heart to God. Stop immediately, as soon as something you read moves you to adore God, praise Him, thank Him or tell Him you are sorry for your sins. (We're all guilty!)
If you only have a minute (literally), open a holy book and let it bring your heart to prayer.
I think sometimes people don't take the time to pray because they think that they must give a large allotment of time to it, which they don't feel they have.
I often eat lunch alone. I find that to be a good time to put a good book in front of me and read a bit while I munch.
God is pleased with whatever time we give Him. But we MUST give Him time.
Have a holy preparation for the birthday of Our Jesus! God bless you!
"Perhaps one reason why so many of our economic and political projects miscarry is because they are in the hands of men with eyes so tightly glued to what they are doing that they never stop to question whether it should be done at all. Merely keeping busy, merely getting paid can never satisfy man's need for creative work. "