In a column from April 17, 2015 I was rereading by the late Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, I was struck again that it was no ordinary essay, but one that had a prophetic element to it worth taking notice by all Christians, no matter their profession. Here is part of the article.
It takes no moral courage to conform to government and social pressure. It takes a deep faith to “swim against the tide,” as Pope Francis recently encouraged young people to do at last summer’s World Youth Day.
Swimming against the tide means limiting one’s access to positions of prestige and power in society. It means that those who choose to live by the Catholic faith will not be welcomed as political candidates to national office, will not sit on editorial boards of major newspapers, will not be at home on most university faculties, will not have successful careers as actors and entertainers. Nor will their children, who will also be suspect. Since all public institutions, no matter who owns or operates them, will be agents of the government and conform their activities to the demands of the official religion, the practice of medicine and law will become more difficult for faithful Catholics. It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.
A reader of the tale of two churches, an outside observer, might note that American civil law has done much to weaken and destroy what is the basic unit of every human society, the family. With the weakening of the internal restraints that healthy family life teaches, the State will need to impose more and more external restraints on everyone’s activities. An outside observer might also note that the official religion’s imposing whatever its proponents currently desire on all citizens and even on the world at large inevitably generates resentment. An outside observer might point out that class plays a large role in determining the tenets of the official State religion. “Same-sex marriage,” as a case in point, is not an issue for the poor or those on the margins of society.
How does the tale end? We don’t know. The actual situation is, of course, far more complex than a story plot, and there are many actors and characters, even among the ruling class, who do not want their beloved country to transform itself into a fake church. It would be wrong to lose hope, since there are so many good and faithful people.
Catholics do know, with the certainty of faith, that, when Christ returns in glory to judge the living and the dead, the church, in some recognizable shape or form that is both Catholic and Apostolic, will be there to meet him. There is no such divine guarantee for any country, culture or society of this or any age.
I believe this is not a political statement. It is prophetic, and frankly, along the same lines as St. John Paul II’s speech just before he was elected Pope. I HIGHLY recommend this short article: http://www.catholicity.com/mccloskey/final-confrontation.html
Up to now, what he (the future John Paul II) predicted was nascent. But we have now fully entered what is more widely known in Catholic circles today as the Final Confrontation as he coined the term. It has begun.
That is what my book, “That Flame in Your Heart? Turn it into a Blowtorch!” is essentially laying the foundation for. So that people can find peace, serenity and joy no matter what is going on in their lives and around them. Now. In their present circumstances of life.
They are going to need it.
Now is the time of preparation. It is time to find that peace, serenity and joy in everyday life, in every circumstance of their life, no matter what is going on. And then spread that to every person they come in contact, in ways appropriate to their calling.
Waiting until they cry out in the turmoil is too late. Practice now what you need when the time comes as surely it will. No human is immune from suffering.
But there is only one Source of peace. Human attempts to achieve it by force or division or allurements or any human institutions will fail.
As usual, I may be running a little ahead of things, but in my strategic planning consulting, my business is future-casting. (I have never had a CEO tell me we got his company ready too soon.)
We have reached the proverbial ‘tipping point’.
From here forward, it will accelerate non-linearly, at a geometric rate. Those who prepare now, “and bring the extra oil (of peace) they need for their lamps, will not want when the groom appears”. (if I might paraphrase Mt. 25: 1-13) And those who do not will be locked out in the night.
The end result will be a victorious Church in splendor…….. But between where we are today and that victory is a great gulf of darkness which we are plunging into. Out of it will emerge a cleansed remnant Church, radiant in splendor as it reflects its King. And all those who have bought into the “anti-Church” and “anti-Gospel” will be swept away.
The good news is that each soul will have sufficient light given it to make a decision, as God always does, so eternity will not be a surprise, but rather, what was chosen and pursued by that soul with the free will He has given it.
I pray that everyone can come to know peace, serenity, and joy in their lives no matter what is going on. And that the flame of love for God in their hearts might be turned into a blowtorch!
May peace, serenity and joy be yours as Jesus turns that flame in your heart into a Blowtorch!