(1Jn 2:15-18) Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh and the concupiscence of the eyes and the pride of life, which is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world passeth away and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God abideth for ever. Little children, it is the last hour: and as you have heard that Antichrist cometh, even now there are become many Antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last hour.
FR. DWIGHT LONGENECKER: First we overlook evil. Then we permit evil. Then we legalize evil. Then we promote evil. Then we celebrate evil. Then we persecute those who still call it evil.
A holy Franciscan priest I knew once said about the Church in our day: “The world is too much with us.” The Church is meant to stand apart from the world and announce the jarring news that God has transformed the world through His Son’s Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection.
The Church does not come hat-in-hand to the world. The Church judges the world in order to call men to repentance. The natural order in our fallen world finds it fulfillment only when enlivened by God’s supernatural gift of grace. Creation awaits its ongoing incorporation into the supernatural order of redemption.
The salvation of souls is the mission of the Church. The natural order must be conformed to Christ in order to help us more readily embrace the mystery of Christ, and live in this world in such a way as to attain the life of the world to come.
Sursum corda! Lift up your hearts! the Church cries. The invisible world has been revealed in Christ, and we now turn towards Him and away from our own faulty and corrupted ideas about the meaning of reality.
Catholic sacred art and music are perfect examples of how the Church has drawn man away from pagan self-worship expressed in idolatrous images and Dionysian irrational indulgence. Eternal life, not merely temporal contingencies, and certainly not pagan errors, must be the focus of the Church’s life.
Schneider decries the worldly emphasis of much of Church life today: “In the last years, the activity of the Holy See and of many bishops’ conferences has even turned predominantly to temporal affairs, which leads ultimately to naturalism, which is the essence of the “heresy of action.”
Schneider defines this heresy as “frenzied activism.” He writes that “the ‘heresy of action’ was already condemned by Pope Leo XIII in his Apostolic Letter Testem Benevolentiae. . . .Pope Leo XIII refuted the error of those clergy who, on the practical level, gave primacy to the active virtues and to temporal and natural realities to the detriment of supernatural realities, i.e., grace, prayer, penance. . .the ‘heresy of action’ substitutes (practically speaking) “the primacy of man and his actions for the primacy of God’s action.”
The result is: “The ‘heresy of action’ with its spirit of naturalism causes a void in the souls of ecclesiastics and especially of bishops. . . .these men attempt to fill this void with continuous meetings, assemblies, and synods on different hierarchical levels and geographical regions. All of these meetings produce a document, usually an excessively long document. It seems there is a direct proportion between the spiritual void and the length of the documents produced. These lengthy documents contain much impressive rhetoric and beautiful theories, but little sound theology and practical usefulness.”
A noteworthy event may have happened in October, two days after that strange ritual in the Vatican Gardens. According to an unverified report, Sr. Agnes Sasagawa of Akita, who received that message above, allegedly received another on the 6th (I spoke with a friend who knows a priest close to the circle of Sr. Agnes, and he confirms this is what he has also heard, though he too is awaiting more direct confirmation). The same angel who spoke to her in the 1970’s allegedly appeared again with a simple message for “everyone”:
Put on ashes and pray for a repentant rosary every day.—source EWTN affiliate WQPH Radio; wqphradio.org; the translation here seems awkward and might possibly be translated, “pray a rosary for repentance every day” or “pray a penanace rosary every day”.
An accompanying note from the “messenger” referred to Jonah’s prophecy (3:1-10), which was also the Mass reading on October 8th, 2019 (that day, the Gospel was about Martha putting other things before God!). In that chapter, Jonah is instructed to cover himself in ashes and warn Nineveh: “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Is this a warning for the Church that we have, at last, put the branch to God’s nose?
As Christians, we are not helpless. Through prayer and fasting, we can cast out the demonic from our lives and even suspend the laws of nature. I think it’s time that we took the call to pray the Rosary seriously, which was one of the remedies specifically given at Fatima to avert “the annihilation of nations.” Whether this recent message from Akita is authentic or not, it’s the right one for this hour.
3. A friend of stillness is a courageous and decisive thought which keeps constant vigil at the doors of the heart, and kills or repels the thoughts that come. He who practises silence with perception of heart will understand this last remark; but he who is yet a child is unaware and ignorant of it.