Will He Find Faith...in the third millennium?
Editor’s Note: The following originated as an address given by Solange Hertz at The Remnant’s Christ the King Forum. It was a keynote address delivered after Mrs. Hertz had been presented with the St. Catherine of Siena Award for her outstanding contribution to the Cause. MJM
Reverend Fathers, Dear Friends and their Guardian Angels,
What can I say? I can accept so undeserved an honor only in the name of The Remnant staff itself, its writers, the Matt family and the faithful readers who all these years have fought for the faith in any way they could against the tidal wave of error launched against it. Even as I speak we are standing on the brink of the third Christian millennium, watching the rise of a global world government which takes its authority not from heaven above, but from man below. Its first visible manifestation was the United States of America, the first human government constituted autonomously under no God, but only by the authority of "We the people." Having by now legalized divorce, sodomy, abortion and the cannibalism of human embryos, it appears that these same People are disposed to submit to authority even lower than themselves, to that of hell itself.
Satan, who is incapable of creative originality and can only ape God in whatever he devises, is using democracy to put together a whole new order of social reality, which is nothing less than a reverse image of the Christian civilization which flourished for over a thousand years under Christ the King. In this new order, water, the primordial substance on which both natural and supernatural life depend, is being superseded by electricity. The unity once supplied by the Holy Ghost residing in the souls of men through their Baptism in Christ is now generated physically by a world network of electronic communication, whose new international language is no longer the Greek, Latin or Hebrew affixed to the Holy Cross, but universal English, the language of the United States.
Divinely created natural substances like wood, stone, fibers and leathers are giving way increasingly to artificially produced plastics of every description. A whole new science built on the errors of Galileo, Newton, Darwin and Einstein which ignores divine revelation on principle, has been developed for the express purpose of presenting a view of God’s creation which is radically removed from reality. Now generally accepted as the new source of truth, this false science is preparing to tamper with life itself, to modify man's very nature by manipulating his genes in the laboratory.
Let's make no mistake: This gigantic reversal is not against religion, for even now it is in the process of manufacturing one for itself, an ecumenical religion whose worship is directed to a vague, all-purpose "god" who so far remains rigorously undefined so as to be acceptable to all, even to the members of the One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. The rebellion is therefore not against religion or deity as such, but specifically against the God who told us exactly who He is -- the one almighty Blessed Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Who out of pure love, created us out of nothing and sent His beloved Son to redeem us and rule over us both here and hereafter as Christ the Universal King. Satan's intention is to supplant Him by his puppet the Antichrist, characterized by St. John as precisely the one "who denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22).
St. Paul predicted that this "man of sin" would appear after a widespread revolt, as one "who opposes and who is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sits in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God.... whose coming is according to the working of Satan in all power and signs and lying wonders." We know these lying wonders cannot be supernatural if they come from the hand of Satan, so there is good reason to expect them to be scientific marvels of all kinds, leading people without faith to believe that man is really his own god and that the Christian God was simply one of the fabrications of his outgrown evolutionary past. St. Paul tells us that God will punish them by sending them "the operation of error, to believe a lie, that all may be judged, who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity" (2 Thess. 2:4, 9-11).
Cardinal Pacelli, before he became Pope Pius XII, prophesied that "a day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God, that His Son is only a symbol and, in the churches, Christians will look in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them." Jean Vaquié, a great French post-conciliar fighter for tradition, declared in 1987 (not long before he died), that "the universal Republic is [now] set up, with the Church in no condition to hamper it in any way. But the devil's objectives have not yet been reached. The universal Republic must first be transformed into the Sacral Empire so that the Antichrist can assume the crown so long coveted, that of 'the King of the World.' Thus the Catholic religion must be replaced by the Universal Religion, whose pontiff will be the Antichrist and whose God will be Lucifer."
In order to achieve this goal, according to Prof. Vaquié, "speculative Masonry infiltrated the Church where it organized first a modernist network, and more recently a gnostic network. This double network, orchestrated by the same hand, corrupted the ecclesiastical hierarchy, which is now reduced to impotence. Masonry no longer has any reaction to fear on the part of the official conciliar Church. It has definitely enrolled her in its ranks and made her its auxiliary. Barring a miracle of resurrection, the situation is canonically irreversible, for no ecclesiastical procedure lies any longer outside Masonic control. The Council, the Synod, the Curia, the Conclave and the Apostolic See itself, all are in its hands."
What can the ordinary layman do in such a situation, when it appears that Holy Mother Church, in conformity with her divine Master, has now entered into her own Passion and is approaching her Crucifixion? Isn't he doomed to standing by helplessly as did the disciples who watched their Lord being led to Calvary after all His Apostles but one had fled? Even in the best of times the layman has no hand in governing the Church, much less in making judgments reserved to the Pope. Whatever authority he wields is strictly delegated. For the most part he can only obey, petition, pray and suffer, rooting his will in God’s and helping others to do likewise as best he can.
Scripture says that “all things have their season... a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted... a time to destroy and a time to build" (3:1-3). Believers, trapped in the spiritual turmoil unleashed upon them by this so-called New Order of the Ages, are surely not living in a time for building and planting, but a time for simply surviving what bodes to be the most violent storm in history, an unprecedented trial which our Lord called a “great tribulation such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved” (Matt. 24:21-2).
Certainly no political stratagems or other natural remedies are equal to the task at hand. Three hundred years ago our Lord offered to preserve Christendom's secular power, which rested on the French monarchy, if the King would consecrate the nation to His Sacred Heart, but the divine offer was disregarded. During His earthly life Our Lord had predicted that "whosoever... shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. (Matt. 10:33). In due time, therefore, Church and state parted company, and the whole world fell to godless modern democracy. At the beginning of the twentieth century, our Lady came to Fatima to request prayer, penance and the consecration of atheistic Russia to her Immaculate Heart by the Pope and Bishops, making it clear that only supernatural means would avail to turn the diabolic tide. Like our Lord’s, her requests likewise went unheeded, opening the way to the Second World War and atomic warfare.
The magnitude of such failures in obedience at the very summits of both secular and ecclesiastical authority are the measure of the disaster lying ahead in the time of which our Lord asked, “When the Son of man comes, shall he find . . . faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). The Mass and the Sacraments can be expected to disappear, at least for a time in many places, yet inasmuch as our Lord also said that “he that shall persevere unto the end ... shall be saved,” it will be possible to keep the faith, although He warned us that we must be prepared to "be hated by all men for my name's sake" (Matt. 10:22).
The Sacred Heart promised that He would reign despite His enemies, and our Lady said that inevitably her Immaculate Heart would triumph. Until this happens, the ordinary Catholic can only follow the instruction the glorified Christ of the Apocalypse gave to the church of Sardis, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die... Have in mind, therefore, in what manner thou hast received and heard; and observe, and do penance" (Apo 3:2-3).This is the time, in other words, to pick up the heavy weapons of prayer and suffering and learn to do without the fast disappearing visible helps of the Church.
In 1801, during the spiritual chaos following the French Revolution, many Catholics refused to avail themselves of the ministry of apostate priests who had taken the oath to the revolutionary regime. Finding themselves bereft of Mass and the Sacraments, a group of them wrote for spiritual direction to a Father Demaris, a Missionary of St. Joseph and a professor of theology in Lyon who had remained faithful to his Ordination. His reply has come down to us and is even more pertinent today than when it was first written. He tells his correspondents: "The Holy Eucharist had for you many joys and advantages when you were able to participate in this Sacrament of love, but now you are deprived of it for being defenders of truth and justice." He says they must not despair however, because, "We are obedient in going to Communion, but in holding ourselves from the Sacrifice we are immolating ourselves... We sacrifice our own life as much as it is in us to do" and the sacrifice is continuous, "renewing itself every day, every time that we adore with submission the hand of God that drives us away from His altars... It is to be advantageously deprived of the Eucharist, to raise the standard of the Cross for the cause of Christ and the glory of the Church... Yes, I have no fear in saying it. When the storm of the malice of men roars against truth and justice, it is more advantageous to the faithful to suffer for Christ than to participate in His Body by Communion. I seem to hear the Savior saying to us, 'Repair by this humiliating deprivation that glorifies Me, all the Communions which dishonor Me. ' "
Regarding the loss of sacramental Confession Fr. Demaris wrote, "Removed from the resources of the sanctuary and deprived of all exercise of the Priesthood, there remains no mediator for us save Jesus Christ. It is to Him we must go for our needs. Before His supreme Majesty we must bluntly tear the veil off our consciences and in search of the good and bad we have done, thank Him for His graces, confess our sins and ask pardon and to show us the direction of His Holy Will, having in our hearts the sincere desire to confess to His minister whenever we are able to do so. There, my children, is what I call confessing to God! In such a confession well made, God himself will absolve us.... Anything which attaches to God is holy. When we suffer for the truth, our sufferings are those of Jesus Christ, who honors us then with a special character of resemblance to Him with His Cross. This grace is the greatest happiness that could possibly happen to a mortal in this life.
"It is thus in all painful situations that deprive us of the Sacraments. The carrying of the Cross like a Christian is the source of the remission of our sins, just as it was for the sins of the whole human race when it was once carried by Jesus Christ.... What the world does to drive us away from God only brings us closer... We are able now to repair those faults which came from too great a trust in absolution and not examining one's weaknesses thoroughly enough. Obliged to wail now before God, the faithful soul considers all its deformities... Let this confession to God be for you a short daily practice, but fervent... The first fruit that you will draw from it apart from the remission of your sins, will be to learn to know yourself and to know God, and the second will be to be ever ready to present yourself to a priest if you are able, enriched in character by the mercy of the Lord. "
As for being deprived of the Last Sacraments at the moment of death, Fr. Demaris wrote, "Console yourselves, my children, in the trust you have in God. This tender Father will pour on you His graces, His blessings and His mercies in these awful moments that you fear, in more abundance than if you were being assisted by His ministers, of whom you have been deprived only because you wouldn't abandon Him. The abandonment and forsakenness that we fear for ourselves resembles that of the Savior on the Cross when He said to His Father, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' ... Your pains and abandonment lead you to your glorious destiny in ending your life like Jesus ended His!"
Bearing all this in mind, there are many Catholic practices left to the laity which cannot be taken away from us:
+ First and foremost there is the daily recitation of the Rosary, the "layman's breviary," which is essentially a compendium of the Divine Office, the official prayer of the Church and on which, together with the Angelus we can structure our day.
+ We can pray the Chaplet of Mercy as a means of keeping us in union with the eternal Mass in heaven where the Son constantly offers Himself to the Father in the Blessed Trinity for our salvation. We can always make spiritual Communions.
+ There is an abundance of sacramentals to be used with faith. Beginning with the Scapular of Mt. Carmel, the holy habit by which the fervent Catholic is universally identified, there are the Miraculous Medal and the Saint Benedict Medal, besides many other scapulars and medals, not to mention relics of the saints.
+ Besides the Bible, in which for centuries God was pre-incarnate and in which He still resides in His Word, there are countless good Catholic books and lives of the saints. Collect them, read them, study them, lend them to others!
+ And let's not forget the dogged, daily practice of virtue, forgiving all offenses real or imagined, trying always to overcome evil with good, loving our enemies and doing good to those who hate us. There are the corporal and spiritual works of mercy to be performed, especially counseling the doubtful and teaching the ignorant of all ages in these dark days, helping one another both materially and spiritually, "teaching and admonishing one another" as St. Paul advised the early Christians (Col. 3:16).
Whatever means we make use of, we must pray without ceasing, whether saying the approved prayers of the Church, making the Stations of the Cross or meditating on the Gospels. Above all other practices we should cultivate the awareness of the divine Indwelling in our own souls as we would in church before a sanctuary lamp. St. Paul asks, "Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwells in you? ... For the temple of God is holy, which you are" (1 Cor. 3;16-17). Only unrepented mortal sin can remove God's presence from the souls of the baptized.
The spiritual master Fr. Edward Leen pointed out that, "The material temple of God does not worship the God in whose honor it is built," but "the spiritual temple can and does. It is its prerogative to do so.... It is to be noted that there is no question here of a merely metaphorical or figurative presence. It is one which is real and substantial." And then he goes on to say something which many of us may find surprising: "The Holy Ghost is present in the soul in grace in a manner which bears an analogy to, but is much superior to, that in which the Incarnate God is present under the sacred species.... It was to make this wonder possible for us that Jesus lived, labored, suffered and died... If the soul in grace cultivates a close attention to God within it and labors to draw ever closer to Him by perfecting its worship of love and service, it gradually undergoes a transforming process. It becomes more and more like to the God it loves, and becoming like Him, begins to have a foretaste of that bliss enjoyed by God himself and those to whom He stands revealed in the Beatific Vision." In other words, loss of the sacraments need not stand in the way of our becoming saints.
Nothing happens without the will of God, whose divine Son told us, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matt. 10:30), but Fr. Demaris nevertheless warned his charges, "Don't be surprised at the great number who quit! Truth wins, no matter how small the number of those who love and remain attached to God."
So I'll close with the same words with which he ended his long letter: "God watches over us, our hope is justified. It tells us that either the persecution stops or the persecution will be our crown. In the alternative of one or the other, I see the accomplishment of our destiny. Let God's will be done, since in whatever manner He delivers us, His eternal mercies pour into us."