THE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUE OF HOPE
The Anchor of Hope is the great Mast of the Cross that will save us from being devoured by satan's denizens of the deep
Several years ago in a message to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart, the Mother of God gave an interior vision by which all might better understand how vital it is to have Hope. In this interior vision, the world was represented as an endless expanse of water upon which floated innumberable rafts composed of three planks only. These three planks represented the Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As the vision expanded, it became very clear that upon this clear, glassy-surfaced water most of the rafts were not moving, but rather stagnating in one place, because their mast had been removed and there was therefore, no sail. Only a few, very few, of these rafts, maintained the mast with its sail and these few were headed toward the distant shore.
Beneath the glassy surface of this endless body of water, the interior vision allowed the Hidden Flower to see the great serpent, the evil one himself, the dragon, who lay just beneath the surface. As the individuals, who resided upon these rafts, cast their nets into the water they brought up endless amounts of earthly treasures, spewed forth by the dragon; not only wealth of every conceivable kind, but also every conceivable amount of human pleasure. Every amount of pleasure. Every form of entertainment was represented, spewing forth copiously from the mounth of the great serpent, and the people on the rafts could not get enough. Sex, lust, idleness, laziness, creature-comforts all were there, and these people on their mast-less rafts were not about to move, because they had found their comfort zone, and the mast, which once had stood tall and straight were cast overboard and were now caught inextricably in the serpentís enormous body, so ensnared that, even if these people had desired to move forward, they could not. They were caught, and they were blinded by the mirror-like clear surface of the water and did not see that which lay beneath it.
Then those few, very few rafts, which maintained their masts became more visible, and it was revealed that the mast was truly in the form of the Cross. Upon the outstretched arms of our Divine Savior, there were sails, which represented Faith, and the breeze which constantly moved the sails and directed the boat were filled with Prayer - prayer from the heart. The vertical beam of the Mast was HOPE, upon which Love surrendered itself. It was given to the Hidden Flower to understand from the Holy Spirit that Supernatural Hope is like a ladder which reached from Heaven to Earth, upon which one might climb easily into the Eternal Realm of our true home. For this ladder of Hope to be effective, it must be grasped by our strong faith, and our Love propels us upward. The greater our Hope, the more swiftly does our Love take wings, and the ascent of the Ladder becomes a true flight into the Embrace of Almighty God, Who so loves us as to give us His continual Mercy upon those who truly seek Him and call upon Him.
In so many of our Ladyís messages, she continually holds out Hope to us, as a true grace and gift. She begs us to accept it, to hold fast to it, and to use it by the total surrender of our wills, allowing our HOPE to accept in place of our will the Divine Will of the Triune Divinity.
Mary is the diamond in the crown of God's creation, the creature unstained by sin, who chose to remain sinless in a sin-filled world, whose purity was so great that she received the privilege of bearing in her Immaculate womb the Christ Child, the savior of the World. She has repeatedly said in her messages to the Hidden Flower: "Why are you afraid? Am I not your mother who has come to tell you God exists? Do not be afraid, for when you hope in God with all your heart, you have nothing to fear."
Hope does not exclude one of us from our continual work of offering our very lives for the fullness of redemption to take place, and to bring about the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart and the Reign of the Sacred Heart-the Age of the Divine Will.
No, we cannot grasp these eternal concepts. But we hope in them, and go forward valiantly, our lives shining examples of the joy, which comes from loving and serving Jesus, even unto death. For Our Lady has said that not one nation, not one person on the face of the earth will escape the persecution of these end times. But over and over she pleads and asks: "Why do you fear? Of what are you afraid?" Fear is of satan. Hope destroys fear, and allows God to fill us with His Will, and with His Peace, and even in the face of the worst persecution we continue to hold fast to our mast, and our prayers, sacrifices, penances and life-offering which move our raft home-to God.
As we approach the season of Lent less than a month away, it is important to realize this is a blessed, holy time for each one of us to re-examine where we stand in our relationship with God, and with the world. Have we truly detached ourselves from the world? Or are we still clinging to it in any small way? Have we the courage - hope - to let go of everything; even to surrendering our cherished ones and placing them with hope into the hands of Our Immaculate Mother? Or do we cling to mere human love, which is tarnished and far from the imitation of the Holy Family, which we should have? Do we cling to our possessions, having for ourselves excesses, be it in clothing, food, shelter, or entertainment? Do we truly understand why the Blessed Mother asks us to turn off the TV, radio, and stereos? Do we truly comprehend why she, the Mother of God, wants us to put aside the newspapers, magazines and all the proliferation of secular printed material which comes across our path daily? All of these things are not of God, because satan, the Prince of Darkness rules them. And every time we succumb through our human weakness and allow ourselves to be lulled by the need for relaxation and entertainment, we are at great risk in tearing down that Holy Mast, which is the Cross, and losing our hope of reaching the heavenly shore.
It is time for us to give something more of ourselves to Almighty God as proof to Him of our sincere commitment, and to offer to Him our true "Fast". For over the past 18 years and counting at Medjugorje, the Mother of God has asked each of us to fast on bread and water, particularly on Wednesdays and Fridays. For those who have been given the grace to do this, Praise God. For those who are struggling to do this and for those who haven't achieved this at all, keep praying and asking for the grace to do it. But for each one of us, now we have the golden opportunity to put HOPE into practice and give up that which still keeps us from knowing and loving God. We can examine every aspect of our lives and decide where spiritual remedy is needed. Do we eat too much? Then let us begin to eat less! Do we entertain ourselves idly watching television? We often do even when we realize in our conscious mind that what we're watching is offensive to God. Yet, too often, we just leave the program on, and think we're safe from satan's snares, not consciously taking note how offensive the programs are. We all need to get down on our knees and realize that every time that TV, radio or stereo goes on, we're inviting in the evil one, and how insidiously he works to make us become so blaze to the messages of these programs, that sooner or later, we have lost faith, hope and love, and are anchored in satan's trap.
This is the time for us to believe and to HOPE in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and to accept the Cross as the only way of salvation. This coming Lent should and can be for each one of us, a real conversion of heart whereby we realize and accept with supernatural joy the road of Calvary, and recognize that the world has nearly reached the summit of Calvary, and the Passion we must go through is upon us already, and will culminate in the fulfillment of Scripture.
Lent is the time to grow in strength. If our faith is as strong as an anchor, then our Hope is the metal of which the anchor is made, and our love of Jesus nails us to the Cross with Him, begging of the Father to bring His Justice swiftly by allowing His Mother's Immaculate Heart to Triumph now, thus mitigating the time of Justice, and saving countless souls.
Hope, therefore, in the Cross, and embrace it willingly. Hope in God and be unafraid! Hope and fear nothing that the world can throw at us or say against us, for God alone hears and sees the cries of our hearts, and He sustains the Hope and grants to us all that we need to keep our raft moving forward, for Heaven is in sight!
It is our fervent prayer that this upcoming season of Lent will be a holy, blessed time for each one of us, and if our anchor of faith is not yet firm, then let's practice the art of the blacksmith who works unceasingly through the fire of love to mold that anchor in Hope that "sees" with the eyes of the soul the Heavenly Homeland, where God awaits us with outstretched arms. As Our Lady has said over and over, "Pray! Pray! Pray!" Part of that prayer is putting the wind to our sails of faith, and resolving to make this upcoming Lent one of growth in Hope, which cannot be shaken or destroyed by the poisonous breath of the dragon which has coiled itself around the entire globe, squeezing morality, goodness and decency out of its inhabitants. The great mast of Hope will help break the evil one's hold and herald a new era of Peace - the Reign of the Sacred Heart in the new millennium.
Next Installment: The Theological Virtue of Love
I wish for all of my children to know that in every land apostasy reigns. On the face of the earth the evil one's scepter has been grasped by many of my beloved children. Yes, even many cardinals, bishops and priests, as well as consecrated souls have been seduced by the prince of lies. Every moment apostasy and schism increase. Every moment brings the full schism closer.
O! How I weep. Little children, do you not yet understand that I call you "little" because littleness is the key to my Divine Son's Heart. He, my Divine Son, came among you. He assumed your flesh and suffered all for the sake of all to show you Perfect Love in Perfect Obedience.
Now is the age of a godless world, for you have believed the lies, you have followed the liars who proclaim that each of you is Christ. O! Do not allow this to continue. It is blasphemy. When you receive my Divine Son it is God Who comes to transform you through the Spirit unto His very likeness. When the Host, truly consecrated, is given to you at communion, the priest says "This is the Body of Christ". From your lips must come a fervent "Amen". He is Christ. He comes to you to lift you out of your wretched humanity and purify you during your earthly exile. You belong, by Baptism, to the Mystical Body of Christ, but you are not Christ, for He is God and you are the created being...totally dependent on Him.
Therefore, I solemnly tell you that there are many souls headed for eternal perdition because they have made God common and have called Him by various names: Social Justice, Peace and Justice, Equality of Rights, Environmental Concerns.
Little children, where is your faith? In all things acknowledge God as the All, and see yourself in your wretchedness before Him Who is All. Only then will littleness become a joy, a pearl of great price, and He will make perfect all that is yet within you that is imperfect.
Thank you for responding to my Call.
Therefore, I call each of you to know and live your faith and to walk away from all who are speaking words contrary to the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ. Listen to him. Be obedient. He is the head, the Rock upon which my Divine Son's Church is built. And as the head his voice must reach out to all the world. How many tears I shed because his words are not accepted, distorted, often silenced so they do not reach your ears, nor penetrate your hearts.
Love my Divine Son in the Holy Eucharist. Show Him every reverence. Be reconciled with God and with your neighbor. Seek always the Divine Will, and desire to possess and be possessed by the Holy Spirit. Pray. Do penance. Make sacrifices. Now the great trial begins, and the spiritual battle is already waged, while you continually close your eyes to God's signs that His Justice swiftly approaches.
Little children, know and live your faith and you shall have God's protection. You will assist my Immaculate Heart to triumph. I ask you again: Heed my words. I have been among you a long time. Soon I will not be here with you. Be strong. Fight with the sword of Truth.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
Deaths of Saint Fructuosus, Bishop of Tarragona in Castile and the deacons Saint Augurius and Saint Eulogius at the hands of the Roman emperor Valerian.
Death of Saint Patroclus of Troyes, a rich Christian who provided provisions and housing for Christians throughout Troyes and, when discovered, was tortured and put to death for his faith.
Death of Saint Agnes, Virgin and Martyr. For more on her, see TODAY'S LITURGY.
Death of Saint Epiphanius, bishop of Pavia who rebuilt the city after the hordes of Odoacer ransacked Pavia. He sought long and hard to ransom all citizens who had been taken hostage and that is how he died, contracting the deadly fever while traveling to pay the ransom.
Death of Saint Meinrad, Benedictine hermit from Switzerland who turned his back on the world and sought refuge in the mountains, founding a hermitage. On this date in 861 he befriended two men who came to him for help. It was a ruse and they first tried to rob him, but seeing he was only a poor hermit, flew into a rage and clubbed Meinrad to death. Today the St. Meinrad's Seminary in Indiana is named after him.
Death of Pope Paschal II, 160th successor of Peter. His pontificate lasted nine years spanning the eleventh and twelfth centuries. This Ravenna-born Pope was forced into exile because of the investiture issue and struggle for supremacy between Paschal and Henry V who succeeded in having himself crowned, prolonging the emperor's right of investiture of bishops.
Birth of Saint Wulfstan, Anglo-Saxon bishop of Worcester, England who would defend the faith against Norman invasion and end Bristol's slave trade.
King Phillip II, Henry II and Richard the Lion-heartedteam up to set out on the Third Crusade.
Cardinal Pierre of Tarentaise, a close confidant of Saint Albert the Great and Saint Thomas Aquinas, is chosen the 185th successor of Peter, becoming Blessed Pope Innocent V. He would be responsible for bringing the faith to the far east, baptizing the three ambassadors sent to him by the great Khan. Innocent would die six months later on June 22, 1276.
Pope John Paul II touches down at Havana airport marking the historic occasion of his first visit ever to Cuba, one of the last bastions of Soviet communism. The fruits from this five-day visit would be plentiful as is evidenced today a year later.