In much the same way, we too are free. We are free to succeed and to fail. But whereas we have the freedom of speech, we are not free to go into a crowded theatre and cry "fire!" Our freedom is tempered with laws, rules. True and total freedom is another word for anarchy. Yes, they would be totally free, but their freedom would also mean homes that are fortresses, with iron bars on the windows. We accept these laws, these restraints, these limits of freedom, for the sake of freedom.
Today, we hear many speak of their right to do as they please, that they are free to live and act any way they choose. In the Church, this is translated as living by their conscience, and that conscience is formed by their own personal experiences; that the Church has no right to restrict what they are to do or what they are not to do; that the Ten Commandments are more like the Ten Suggestions.
From such groups as Call To Action, Dignity, WomanChurch, and FutureChurch, to name a few, we hear how they promise 'freedom,' free to 'choose', free to live according to their wants and desires, free to be who they are.
The Apostle Saint Peter says, "These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved. For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire"(2 Peter 2:17-22).
Where once they 'knew' the truth, they have rejected it for what they 'prefer' to be the truth; killing an 'informed' conscience, to create one more to their liking. "All those who refuse to do penance and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are blind, because they cannot see the true light, our Lord Jesus Christ. They indulge their vices and sins, and follow their evil longings and desires, without a thought for the promises they made (at their baptism, confirmation, etc.). In body they are slaves of the world and of the desires of their own lower nature….in spirit they are slaves of the devil. They have been led astray by him and have made themselves his children, dedicated to doing his work (to confound and confuse the faithful and lead them away from the truth and God). (St. Francis of Assisi; Letter to all the Faithful)
"In like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones. But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you.' But these men revile whatever they do not understand, and by those things that they know by instinct as irrational animals do, they are destroyed. Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, and abandon themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error,…. These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own passions, loud-mouthed boasters, flattering people to gain advantage" (Jude 1: 8-11).
"But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, 'In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.' It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (Jude 8-11;17-21).
So we see that freedom doesn't necessarily mean what many think. Christ came to free us from sin, from the bonds, the chains, of sin. Yet many prefer these chains to the 'chains' of Christ. "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).
Christ is calling on us to 'bind' ourselves to Him., to be His servants. "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. ….For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:1; 13-24).
Imagine the world 'enslaved' by Christ and His Church. We would be free from being used for any reason. Each person, every life, would be loved and cherished as a gift of God. No one would use another for gain or personal gratification. STD's would cease to exist. Poverty would end, wars would be no more.
But the world is enslaved to other things. So we become enslaved to money, power, pleasure, etc. We see and read how those who are 'worldly' are elevated. Laws are created to empower them, etc. Yet those who follow Christ, have taken His yoke upon them, are ridiculed, mocked, and laws are passed to restrict them, hamper them, silence them.
A saying goes, "Better to rule in hell than serve in Heaven." It appears our society now lives by that dictum. A new definition of 'freedom' has allowed the gates of hell to spill out over the land. Corporations get richer while their workers get poorer, sexual permissiveness has opened the flood gates of sexual diseases, children killed in their mothers wombs (some just three inches from birth), etc.
If we truly wish to be free, look to Christ, bound hand and foot to the cross. "Then Jesus told His disciples, 'If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?'" (Matthew 16:24-26).
11. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - 389
12. Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. - 381
13. Blessed Josemaria Escriva - 372
14. Scott Hahn - 336
15. Pope John XXIII - 305
16. Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap.-277
17. St. Edith Stein - 274
18. Cardinal John J. O'Connor - 255
19. Karl Keating - 241
20. Fr. Jozo Zovko, OFM - 210
21. Wayne Weibel - 203
22. Visionaries of Medjugorje - 194
23. Dorothy Day - 193
24. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz - 189
25. Fr. Michael Scanlon - 182
26. Pope Leo XIII - 172
27. Cardinal Francis George, OMI - 166
28. Visionaries of Fatima - 162
29. Ralph Martin - 159
30. Cyndi Cain - the Hidden Flower - 152
31. Pope Benedict XV - 144
32. Bud MacFarlane, Jr. - 137
33. Saint Maria Goretti - 135
34. Cardinal Francis Arinze - 129
35. Fr. Benedict Groeschel - 119
36. Cardinal James Francis Stafford - 109
37. Malachi Martin - 101
38. Joey Lomangino - 83
39. Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua - 81
40. Fr. Patrick Peyton - Rosary Priest - 56
41. John Leary - 54
42. Tom Monaghan - 53
43. Ida Perdemann - 44
44. Sister Nirmala - 42
45. Pope Pius XI - 39 -
46. Josyp Terelya 40
47. Fr. Frank Pavone - 29
48. Audrey Santo - 28
49. Blessed Andre Bessette - 27
50. Ron O'Brien - 26
But how my Immaculate Heart is wounded because you cast off my Divine Son and replace Him with works and acts of darkness. O! You end one year in darkness and enter a new year with this darkness about you.
How I long, my little ones, to bring all of you into the Refuge of my Divine Son's Sacred Heart. How vital this is. You have shed many tears this year in this the Year of Sorrow and Tears. But, O! My little ones, if you do not change your hearts I do solemnly tell you that the months ahead shall be known as the Time of Great Pain and Mourning!
O! Heed my words offered in all motherly love. The pain, the mourning will strike everywhere, and no one will escape. But much can yet be averted and mitigated if you will suffer in union with my Divine Son's Holy and Sacred Passion. O! My children, Almighty God sends me to ask for victim souls, so that oceans of Divine Mercy may be poured out upon all the world.
Time grows critically short, dear children. Pain mounts in your bodies and hearts. Tears flow from many eyes, because you "see" with the eyes of your soul the signs and warnings of Almighty God. O! Awaken your souls and resist all evil. Be steadfast and loving in every aspect of your life, for in this way I am able to help you.
I am the Mother of God, the Immaculate Conception, ever-Virgin. I am Queen of Peace, Queen of Mercy.
Pray much, dear children, for I wish to remain as a loving mother to guide you. But you must turn back to God, or it shall be too late.
Embrace your new year with renewed faith, hope and love and pray! Pray! Pray! Thank you for responding to my Call!
Dear little ones who are especially open to the Holy Spirit and daily strive to live the messages imparted by My Holy Mother, how much comfort and joy you give to Me. My Mercy and Peace I give to you in abundance.
To all of My children who do not yet seek Me, nor are they secure in the Refuge of My Sacred Heart, I, Jesus Christ, come especially to call you yet again. I assure you of My Infinite Love and Infinite Mercy, and to all the world I solemnly tell you, "Drink from the Font of Divine Mercy, and be at great peace."
Dear children, so very many of you welcome today a 'New Year.' You place human hope and trust that in some way a New Year will find you happier in a worldly way.
I solemnly tell you and solemnly invite you to make but one resolve.
You seek a `New Year' ; I ask you to seek a new heart.
You complain that you do not know how to do this; you begin and stop, convinced it is too hard and beyond reach.
No, my dear little ones. This is the priceless gift I desire to give to all mankind - in exchange for your concept of a New Year, I solemnly ask you to give Me your heart through an act of surrender of your entire being. I do solemnly tell you that I Myself shall replace your stone cold hearts, your proud, stubborn hearts with My own Sacred Heart.
Do you understand what this means, My children? I wish for you to have My Peace. To love as I love, to forgive as I forgive, to seek in total joyful obedience the Perfect Will of My Father.
Do you desire to follow Me? Do you desire for My enemy to be chained so that, according to Sacred Scripture you might bring sooner the Triumph of My Mother's Immaculate Heart?
O! Rejoice, My children that I Who Am claim you as My own and wish to exchange My Heart for your poor wounded hearts.
Will you do this, My children? If you heed My words then I solemnly tell you that even in the midst of tremendous events you shall fear nothing for I shall be with you. If you heed My words then the world shall also be awakened to a torrent of Divine Mercy by which countless souls shall be saved.
I ask you to go to Mass, daily if you can. Go to the Sacraments and give Me all respect in The Blessed Sacrament. Read Sacred Scripture daily and pray from and with your heart, for in these coming days the earth shall groan in pain, and mankind shall weep in deepest sorrow.
Look to the Heavens, My children. Be strong and persevere. I call to each of you by name. Hear Me, O My children.
I am God and I come again.