Lately there have been several "rumors" going around the country, on e-mail, fax etc. about preparations - such as storing up water and food for a dire time of disaster such as nuclear war. There has been many so-called private revelation messages that belie what God is truly trying to convey for these messages have placed too much emphasis on physical survival and not enough on spiritual survival. All through Our Lady's visits from Rue de Bac to La Salette and throughout this century, the Blessed Mother, as well as her Divine Son Jesus, have emphasized the importance of having our spiritual houses in order and not to worry about our physical houses. These recent messages sound too much like the Protestant refrain of the "Rapture" in which the "saved" will not have to face any of the "tribulation" but be preserved and "lifted away" without any suffering. Many "born agains" profess this, but it isn't biblical for Our Lord specifically says in Matthew 10: 38, "And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me, is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it." What Jesus is saying is that the only life that is important is our eternal life...and the only way to reach that goal is through Him. The syllogism then follows that the only way "through" Him is by taking up our God-given crosses, by sharing in the suffering for the reparation of not only our own sins but those of countless souls.
We also have to remember Christ's words in Luke 21, 8-19, "Take care not to be led astray. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is at hand.' Do not, therefore, go after them. But when you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; these things must first come to pass, but the end will not be at once...Nations will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will be great earthquakes in various places, and pestilences and famines, and there will be terrors and great signs from Heaven...Resolve therefore in your hearts not to meditate beforehand how you are to make your defense. For I Myself will give you utterance and wisdom, which all your adversaries will not be able to resist or gainsay. But you will be delivered up by your parents and brothers and relatives and friends; and some of you they will put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake; yet not a hair of your head shall perish. By your patience you will win your souls."
Though that last scriptural quote is long, it says volumes. Most important are Jesus' final words there - "by your patience." Therein is the grace of Holy Mother Church and something we all need to practice. It reminds us of the line, "God, grant me patience and I want it right now!" God doesn't work that way and neither does His Vicar on earth. We can remember nearly ten years ago so many were wondering aloud why the Holy Father was allowing these dissident theologians to spew all the heresies being bandied about, why he was permitting all these abuses in the liturgies, why he was not speaking out vociferously against the growing power and abuse of the national bishops' conferences. The answer, as we can see today, was very simple - he was giving them enough rope to either pull themselves up from the depths of disobedience into the safety of total loyalty and unity with Rome or enough rope to hang themselves! As we mentioned in our last editorial about the harvest and weeding out the bad seeds, the Pope has been quite patient, but purposeful in separating the wheat from the chaff. Jesus Himself has said it will not all happen at once and it will happen when we least expect it.
And that is one of the keys to all this talk about cataclysmic events to come and our preparation. First of all, we've been looking in the wrong direction. We've been looking into the future expecting to see signs that will warn us in time. It's not going to be that way. We need to look to the past and to the present to know the Will of God. By the past, study Sacred Scripture and the messages of Our Lady from Rue de Bac, LaSalette, Lourdes, Garabandal and Medjugorje. The answers are all there. We just haven't been able to see the common sense forest through the trees of sensationalism. Too many are looking for the explosion of mankind and have missed the implosion of mankind. What do we mean by that? Look at what has happened over the last thirty to forty years. The implosion of moral decay and spiritual values crept up on us when we least expected it both in society and in our Church. As we have referred to so often in this column, think back to 1960 or earlier - the age of innocence it was called. The Catholic Church was undeniably identifiable as were the tenets of the Church, her liturgy and her officers in the persons of bishops, priests, nuns and lay leaders who taught what the Church intended instead of their own agenda. Compare the liturgy and Catholic education today with the curriculum and quality of the late fifties and one can see how the implosion has truly taken full effect. Look at the fruits of vocations today and we can see that they have been strangled by the choking vines of complaceny, modernism and/or material goals. But the Church is only a microcosm of the culture of the entire globe over these past several decades. Education standards have been lowered so much that we wonder if there are that many who would truly know how to survive if all technology were taken away and they had to work by the sweat of their brow. Work is a key ingredient that back in Genesis God designated as an integral part of our salvation for all generations. But we so often are willing to throw it all away for the easy way out, the quick buck. Growing up, our parents struggled to keep a roof over our heads, but their first priority was giving us a good Catholic education for as important as our physical well-being was, our spiritual well-being was more important. Sadly, too often, that's not the case today. While the economy skyrockets, souls plummet. People are no longer shocked by nudity on the beach, on the movie screen, on television. Where once the television industry respected the sanctity of marriage and the sacredness of sex, today anything goes - no limits. Where once we looked upon the homosexual lifestyle as just what it is - an aversion to everything God intended, today we are accused of something the spinmeisters call homophobia if we speak out for God's Laws. Didn't Jesus say we would be persecuted? Where once we looked up to the President of the United States as embodying all that is right and true in the leader of our land, today we have a man who is admittedly immoral and feels no compunction to lie, steal, cheat. In other words, the Seven Deadly Sins have no meaning to this man. Where once we had generations who grew up respecting their elders and all lawful authority, today it is the "in" thing as promoted by the media and Hollywood to show disrespect and disdain for anything that is good and wholesome. Do you see now how the implosion has rendered us so vulnerable to the wiles of satan? Jesus says as much in Matthew 16: 26, "For what does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul?" Do you see now how it has happened when we least expected it? Do you see now how storing up water and food won't do a bit of good in God's eyes? For by doing so we are showing we do not trust Him. Remember what Christ says in Matthew 10: 26-31 about His concern for us in his analogy to the sparrow, "But as for you, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows."
Yes, it all comes down to a matter of trust. When we strive to go out on our own without the guidance of the Word of God, when we worry about our physical welfare at the expense of our spiritual welfare, then we are only adding to the on-going implosion by playing right into satan's hands. If we continue in hell's direction it will surely happen when we least expect it. So don't look for the explosion any time soon. Rather, buckle up for the implosion. Over these past forty years it's been a rocky ride but it promises to get rougher both physically and spiritually. So, if you're going to store up on water, make it Holy Water!