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What If Catholics Are Right?September 16, 2017
Not yet half way through the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, the universal Church continues to invite the faithful to focus on the need to ask for Divine Mercy and to be reconciled with the Father of Mercy. Repentance and conversion are central to the call to become ambassadors of the Father’s mercy for others. Acknowledging the deep need for Divine Mercy and cultivating a merciful heart is more challenging than it appears.
St. John Paul II’s 1980 encyclical, Dives in Misericordia (Rich in Mercy), taught, “The present day mentality, more perhaps than that of people of the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy”(No. 2).
God’s mercy cannot be presumed, nor does it mean the absence of accountability, justice, or fraternal correction. The scriptures are replete with merciful acts of God combined with the exhortation to change, “Go, and sin no more” (Jn 8:11). Jesus forgives but also corrects, exhorts, and warns because His nature is love and His greatest attribute is mercy. Merciful love can do no less.
Prophecies in the Diary of St. Faustina
God warns. The Prophet of Mercy dictated several warnings to Sr. Faustina. Her writings, scrutinized and approved by the Holy See are additional (optional) supports to biblical prophecy and Church teaching in the Catechism regarding an ultimate trial that is coming. Approved prophecies are helpful reminders of the last four things: death, judgment, heaven and hell. In other words, they can help us to keep our eyes on the prize: eternal beatitude.
First, we’ll look at a sampling of prophecies from the Diary and then the Catechism’s teaching about the Church’s ultimate trial. Why do so? Perhaps the Lord’s words to St. Faustina are the best reason: “I will not delude you with the prospects of peace and consolation; on the contrary, prepare for great battles. Know that you are now on a great stage where all heaven and earth are watching you. Fight like a knight, so that I can reward you. Do not be unduly fearful, because you are not alone” (No. 1767.) Jesus taught and warned St. Faustina so that in turn we are taught and warned now.
“Speak to the world about My mercy…It is a sign for the end times. After it will come the Day of Justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fountain of My mercy.” (848)
“Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near.” (965)
“I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of sinners. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation.” (1160)
“He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice.” (1146)
Biblical Prophecy: Matthew 24: 29-30
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; them will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory…”
Prophecy in the Catechism: The Church’s Ultimate Trial
Before Christ second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah comes in the flesh.
The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. This kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.
The Jubilee of Mercy: A Gift & Warning to “Keep Watch”
Jesus told St. Faustina, “The pale ray stands for the Water which makes souls righteous; the red ray stands for the Blood which is the life of souls. Fortunate is the one who will dwell in their shelter, for the just hand of God shall not lay hold of him.”
Our Lord said, “Keep watch, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man.”
The Pope in the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, extends a great opportunity, a gift of grace, and a prophetic sign consistent with his predecessors, biblical prophecy, the Catechism and the writings of a Saint. What is our response to the Jubilee?
Crossing the threshold of a Holy Door is pure grace worth every effort. Reconciling with God and others is a powerful step forward. What is the more that awaits us the next six months of the Jubilee? Passivity will gain nothing. Wisdom would have us seizing the opportunity for Jubilee indulgences, availing ourselves of many timely opportunities to be converted, grow in holiness, and engage in the spiritual battle all around us.
Divine Mercy is the greatest love story. God is reaching for us, His fallen creatures, offering a hand up from the polluted atmosphere of sin and evil into the sublime atmosphere of sanctity. He wants us to breathe the air of holiness. For all the beauty that He offers sinners, it’s sometimes difficult to leave the ugliness behind. Some feel unable to escape from the prison of sin and evil. Like the Prodigal Son, sometimes we have to hit rock bottom before we turn back to the Father’s house. The Father is already looking to meet us with open arms.
Despite the challenges of daily life with the knots, twists, turns and chaotic daily news, a life lived with Christ will never lose sight of the prize of eternal life in Paradise. Prophecies are not meant to cause servile fear, but to inspire virtue, especially, fear of the Lord. It is an infused gift of the Holy Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to deepen this gift in others and us.
In light of credible prophecy Christ’s words to St. Faustina offer solace, “Let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. …While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them” (276). As Mother Mary proclaimed, “His mercy is on those who fear him from generation unto generation”(Luke 1:50).
Virgin Mary, Mother of Mercy, pray for your poor children who have recourse to you; that we may be established in the gift of fear of the Lord; and profit everything from the Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus, your beloved Son, our Lord and Savior. Help us to receive the fullness of grace available in this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy—all for the glory of God. Amen.
Author’s note: Some of this article paraphrases an “Inside the Vatican” piece written by the ITV staff, published in the March 2016 Magazine.