|Devotion to Our Lady||
What is a Mirage?
In cartoons, a mirage is often depicted as a peaceful, lush oasis lying in the shade of swaying palm trees. These mirages spring up suddenly in the hot desert. Under a baking sun, a weary traveler trudges across a seemingly never-ending expanse of desert. Looking up, he suddenly spots something in the distance: a sparkling lake. He rubs his eyes. It’s still there. Picking up the pace in glee he strides ahead… only for the water to melt into thin air.
This sort of cartoon illusion is complete fiction, of course, but mirages do really exist, and they can make you see water where there isn't any. In cartoons they are overelaborated into being a five-star oasis, but in reality it is much more likely to look like a pool of water.
You might think the traveler was hallucinating, but mirages are a naturally-occurring optical illusion and not a hallucination. The illusion results from the way in which light is refracted (bent) through air at different temperatures. Cold air is denser than warm air, and therefore has a greater refractive index. This means that as light passes down from cool to hot air, it gets bent upwards towards the denser air and away from the ground. To your eyes, these distorted rays seem to be coming from the ground, so you perceive a refracted image of the sky on the ground. This looks just like a reflection on the surface of a pool of water, which can easily cause confusion.
We need light in order to live, grow and see where we are going and what we are doing. “And God said: ‘Be light made!’ And light was made. And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness … And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: to shine in the firmament of heaven, and to give light upon the earth. And it was so done. And God made two great lights: a greater light to rule the day; and a lesser light to rule the night: and the stars. And he set them in the firmament of heaven to shine upon the earth. And to rule the day and the night, and to divide the light and the darkness. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:1-18).
Similarly, in our moral and spiritual lives, we also need a kind of light—the moral light of right moral principles and the light of Faith for our spiritual lives. “Send forth Thy light and Thy truth: they have conducted me” (Psalm 42:3). “The declaration of thy words giveth light: and giveth understanding to little ones” (Psalm 118:130).
Without the Faith, without moral principles (Faith and Morals are what the Church teaches), we live life in a mirage—where we fool ourselves into thinking that our pursuit of worldly happiness is a good thing, but it merely an illusion, a delusion or a mirage, where the world “bends” the truth to make it disappear and bends what is fake or a mirage, and makes it appear good and real and true. Sadly, we fail to see the mirage until we get closer and then we see the real truth:
“We have erred from the way of truth, and the light of justice hath not shined unto us, and the sun of understanding hath not risen upon us. We wearied ourselves in the way of iniquity and destruction, and have walked through hard ways, but the way of the Lord we have not known. What hath pride profited us? or what advantage hath the boasting of riches brought us? All those things are passed away like a shadow!” (Wisdom 5:6-9).
A Mirage of a Church
When is the Catholic Church merely a mirage of the Catholic Church? Better let Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich explain that one! In her visions she says that at some future time she saw the building of a new church, that seemed and claimed to be the Catholic Church, but it was not—it was a mirage of the Church, a false church, a church of darkness and not of light, a church in which there was nothing holy. Here are the relevant excerpts from her visions:
“I had another vision of the great tribulation. It seems to me that a concession was demanded from the clergy which could not be granted. I saw many older priests, especially one, who wept bitterly. A few younger ones were also weeping. But others, and the lukewarm among them, readily did what was demanded. It was as if people were splitting into two camps … I saw also the relationship between the two popes ...
"I saw how harmful would be the consequences of this false church. I saw it increase in size; heretics of every kind came into the city (of Rome). The local clergy grew lukewarm, and I saw a great darkness … Then I saw darkness spreading around and people no longer seeking the true Church … I saw the secret sect relentlessly undermining the great Church … I saw the wreckers enter the Church with the Beast ... I saw a strange church being built against every rule … No angels were supervising the building operations. In that church, nothing came from high above…There was only division and chaos. It is probably a church of human creation, following the latest fashion …
“I see that the false Church of darkness is making progress and I see the dreadful influence it has on the people … I saw again the strange big church that was being built there (in Rome). There was nothing holy in it. I saw this just as I saw a movement led by Ecclesiastics to which contributed angels, saints and other Christians. But there (in the strange big church) all the work was being done mechanically. Everything was being done, according to human reason. I saw all sorts of people, things, doctrines, and opinions. There was something proud, presumptuous, and violent about it, and they seemed to be very successful. I did not see a single Angel nor a single saint helping in the work …
"They were building a great, strange, and extravagant Church. Everyone was to be admitted in it in order to be united and have equal rights: Evangelicals, Catholics sects of every description. Such was to be the new Church … But God had other designs … I have been told to pray much for the Church and the Pope … The people must pray earnestly for the extirpation (rooting out) of the dark church”
“All sorts of abominations were perpetrated there. Priests allowed everything and said Mass with much irreverence. I saw that few of them were still godly, and only a few had sound views on things ... In those days Faith will fall very low and it will be preserved in some places only … Religion is there so skillfully undermined and stifled that there are scarcely 100 faithful priests. I cannot say how it is, but I see fog and darkness increasing … The Church is completely isolated and as if completely deserted. It seems that everyone is running away. Everywhere I see great misery, hatred, treason, rancor, confusion and utter blindness.
“All must be rebuilt soon; for everyone, even ecclesiastics, are laboring to destroy and ruin is at hand … I saw before me the Heavenly Spouse, and He spoke to me for a long time…He said, among other things, that this translation of the Church from one place to another meant that she would seem to be in complete decline. But she would rise again; even if there remained but one Catholic, the Church would conquer again because she does not rest on human counsels and intelligence. It was shown to me that there were almost no Christians left in the old acceptation of the word.”
Liberal Catholicism is a Mirage of Catholicsim
The following excerpts are from Fr. Salvany’s classic book Liberalism Is A Sin:
“The Liberal Catholic calls himself a Catholic because he firmly believes Catholicity to be the veritable revelation of the Son of God; he calls himself a Liberal Catholic because he believes that no one can impose upon him any belief which his individual judgement does not measure as perfectly rational. What is not rational he rejects. He is intellectually free to accept or reject. What appears good he assents to, but he is intellectually bound to no one. Thus unwittingly he falls an easy victim to the snare set by the Devil for the intellectually proud. He has substituted the naturalistic principle of free examination for the supernatural principle of Faith.
“As a consequence he is really not Christian, but pagan [Hence a mirage of a Christian]. He has no real supernatural Faith, but only a simple human conviction. In the acceptance of the principle that the individual reason is thus free to believe or not to believe, Liberal Catholics are deluded into the notion that incredulity is a virtue rather than a vice. They fail to see in it an infirmity of the understanding, a voluntary blindness of the heart, and a consequent weakness of will. On the other hand they look upon the skeptical attitude as a legitimate condition wherein intellectual freedom is preserved, the skeptic remaining master of himself to believe or deny.
They have a horror of any coercive element in matters of Faith; any chastisement of error shocks their tender susceptibilities, and they detest any Catholic legislation in the direction of what they are pleased to call “intolerance”.
Close upon this squeamishness in regard to the pronouncement of Catholic doctrine, follows an abhorrence to antagonize the convictions of others, no matter how directly opposed these others are to revealed truth, for with Liberal Catholics the most erroneous are as sacred as the truest convictions, being equally founded upon the principle of intellectual liberty. Thus they erect into a dogma what is called “the principle of toleration”. The differences of belief are, after all, they complacently argue, due to differences of temperament, education, etc.; we will not exactly approve them, but we should at least condone them.
The first conception of Faith being naturalistic, in the development and application of that conception either to the individual or to society, the same naturalistic element evolves itself. Hence it follows that the Liberal Catholic's appreciation of the Church has no foundation in its supernatural character. The Church does not address herself to his sympathies as a supernatural society whose first and supernatural end is the glory of God and the salvation of souls. It is on her social and human side that he regards her with affection. It is as the great civilizing, and humanizing power which has lifted so many people from a state of barbarism, the guardian of the ancient arts and letters, the promoter of learning that she wins his applause and approbation.
Liberal Mirage of False Happiness
Under the glamour of an advance towards the mirage of a false happiness in the desert of this life, our Liberal Catholics are proclaiming the shadow while rejecting the substance. True progress, which can only be through an advance to God, can never be effected save through that agency divinely appointed to lead us to God. This the Church of Jesus Christ alone can do, for she, under His institution, is as He Himself, the way, the truth, and the life.
Forgetting the divine and supernatural character of the Church, and she is nothing if not divine and supernatural, Liberal Catholics talk and write about her as a simple human development, accepting in the blindness of their false conception the naturalistic definition of Faith. They thus eviscerate the Church, making her the mere husk of what she really is.
Piety itself does not escape the action of this pernicious naturalistic principle; it converts it into pietism that is to say, into a parody of true piety, as is painfully seen in the pious practices of so many people who seek in their devotions only the sentimental emotions of which they themselves are able to be the source. They are devout over themselves, worshiping their own little sentiments and offering incense to idols graven after their own image. This is simply spiritual sensualism, and nothing else. Thus we see in our day in so many souls the degeneration of Christian asceticism, which is the purification of the heart by the repression of the appetites, and the falsification of Christian mysticism, which is neither emotion, nor interior consolation, nor any other foible of human sentiment, but union with God through a supernatural love for Him and through absolute submission to His holy will.
Therefore is it that the Catholicity of a great number of people in our times is a Liberal Catholicity, or, rather, a false Catholicity [a mirage]. It is really not Catholicity, but mere naturalism, a pure rationalism; it is in a word paganism disguised in Catholic forms and using Catholic language."
What is a Desert?
Before looking at the possibility of a spiritual desert, it does no harm to look at a physical desert. The desert is a foreboding thing! It looks harmless enough on a TV screen—even quite attractive to some—but, like life in general, it is full of dangers. Survival in the desert depends upon your ability to use the available survival equipment, and your special skills to apply them to cope with the hazards you face as well as your will to survive. But most importantly your ability to improvise, because every survival situation is different, so think and improvise by taking advantage of what you have available to you. In a desert area there are many environmental factors that you must consider. Let us look at the chief physical dangers of the desert and then try draw spiritual analogies from them to see if we are currently in a spiritual desert or not. The chief dangers are:
1. Dangerous desert wildlife.
2. Low rainfall.
3. Intense sunlight and heat.
4. Wide and Fast temperature range.
5. Sparse vegetation.
6. High mineral content.
9. Need for water to avoid dehydration and heat stroke.
1. Dangerous Desert Wildlife
North American deserts are abundantly populated with wildlife, including a fair share of poisonous animals—such as snakes, scorpions, lizards and spiders. All the venomous desert dwellers are masters of camouflaging themselves perfectly with the native terrain, making them difficult to spot. Bushes, scrub, tall grass, ground debris, rocks and dark, cool crevices are some of their favorite hiding places.
Scorpions and poisonous spiders such as black widows are very small and hard to see. They move quickly and sting when disturbed. They’re nocturnal hunters that prefer cool, damp, dark areas. A bite from a scorpion may cause swelling, pain, nausea, fever, and even speech and breathing difficulties. Fatalities from scorpion stings are rare, but do occur with children, the elderly, and ill persons.
Rattlesnakes strike when threatened, cornered or accidentally stepped upon. They don’t have to be coiled to strike and deliver a dangerous bite, and many species don’t give a warning rattle.
Most lizards are not of the venomous variety—except a couple of them. Others, though, can leave you great pain with fairly nasty bites.
Humans, as a source of water and food, attract lice, mites, wasps and flies as a result. They are extremely unpleasant and may carry diseases.
2. Low Rainfall Dangers
No or low rainfall is the most obvious environmental factor in an arid area. Some desert areas receive less than 4 inches of rain annually, and this rain comes in brief torrents that quickly run off the ground surface. You cannot survive long without water in high desert temperatures. In a desert survival situation, you must first consider the amount of water you have and other water sources.
3. Intense Sunlight and Heat Dangers
Intense sunlight and heat are present in all arid areas. Air temperature can rise as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Heat gain results from direct sunlight, hot blowing sand-laden winds, reflective heat (the sun's rays bouncing off the sand), and conductive heat from direct contact with the desert sand and rock.
Intense sunlight and heat increase the body's need for water. To conserve your body fluids and energy, you will need a shelter to reduce your exposure to the heat of the day. Travel at night to lessen your use of water.
4. Wide and Fast Temperature Range Dangers
Temperatures in arid areas may get as high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. The drop in temperature at night occurs rapidly and will chill a person who lacks warm clothing and is unable to move about. The cool evenings and nights are the best times to work or travel. If your plan is to rest at night, you will find a wool sweater, long underwear, and a wool stocking cap extremely helpful.
5. Sparse Vegetation Dangers
Vegetation is sparse in arid areas. You will therefore have trouble finding shelter. Use the shadows cast from brush, rocks, or outcroppings. The temperature in shaded areas will be anywhere from 50 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the air temperature.
6. High Mineral Soil Content
All arid regions have areas where the surface soil has a high mineral content (borax, salt, alkali, and lime). Material in contact with this soil wears out quickly, and water in these areas is extremely hard and undrinkable. Wetting your uniform in such water to cool off may cause a skin rash. The Great Salt Lake area in Utah is an example of this type of mineral-laden water and soil. There is little or no plant life; therefore, shelter is hard to find. Avoid these areas if possible.
7. Sandstorms Dangers
Sandstorms (sand-laden winds) occur frequently in most deserts. The Seistan desert wind in Iran and Afghanistan blows constantly for up to 120 days. Within Saudi Arabia, winds typically range from 2 to 3 miles per hour and can reach 65 to 80 mph in early afternoon. Expect major sandstorms and dust storms at least once a week. The greatest danger is getting lost in a swirling wall of sand. Wear goggles and cover your mouth and nose with cloth. If natural shelter is unavailable, mark your direction of travel, lie down, and sit out the storm.
8. Dangers of Mirages
Mirages are optical phenomena caused by the refraction of light through heated air rising from a sandy or stony surface. They occur in the interior of the desert about 6 miles from the coast. They make objects that are 1 mile or more away appear to move. This mirage effect makes it difficult for you to identify an object from a distance. It also blurs distant range contours so much that you feel surrounded by a sheet of water from which elevations stand out as "islands."
The mirage effect makes it hard for a person to identify targets, estimate range, and see objects clearly. However, if you can get to high ground 10 feet or more above the desert floor, you can get above the superheated air close to the ground and overcome the mirage effect. Mirages make land navigation difficult because they obscure natural features. You can survey the area at dawn, dusk, or by moonlight when there is little likelihood of mirage.
9. Lack of Water Dangers
A key factor in desert survival is understanding the relationship between physical activity, air temperature, and water consumption. The body requires a certain amount of water for a certain level of activity at a certain temperature. For example, a person performing hard work in the sun at 109 degrees Fahrenheit requires 5 gallons of water daily. Lack of the required amount of water causes a rapid decline in an individual's ability to make decisions and to perform tasks efficiently.
(a) Heat Cramps Risks
The loss of salt due to excessive sweating causes heat cramps. Symptoms are moderate to severe muscle cramps in legs, arms, or abdomen. These symptoms may start as a mild muscular discomfort. You should now stop all activity, get in the shade, and drink water. If you fail to recognize the early symptoms and continue your physical activity, you will have severe muscle cramps and pain. Treat as for heat exhaustion, below.
(b) Heat Exhaustion Dangers
A large loss of body water and salt causes heat exhaustion. Symptoms are headache, mental confusion, irritability, excessive sweating, weakness, dizziness, cramps, and pale, moist, cold (clammy) skin. Immediately get the patient under shade. Make him lie on a stretcher or similar item about 18 inches off the ground. Loosen his clothing. Sprinkle him with water and fan him. Have him drink small amounts of water every 3 minutes. Ensure he stays quiet and rests.
(c) Heat Stroke Causes and Dangers
An extreme loss of water and salt and your body's inability to cool itself can cause heat stroke. The patient may die if not cooled immediately. Symptoms are the lack of sweat, hot and dry skin, headache, dizziness, fast pulse, nausea and vomiting, and mental confusion leading to unconsciousness. Immediately get the person to shade. Lay him on a stretcher or similar item about 18 inches off the ground. Loosen his clothing. Pour water on him (it does not matter if the water is polluted or brackish) and fan him. Massage his arms, legs, and body. If he regains consciousness, let him drink small amounts of water every 3 minutes.
THE DANGERS OF THE SPIRITUAL DESERT
A Spiritual and Moral Desert
What is a desert? The English word “desert” and the Italian and Portuguese “deserto”, French “desert” and Spanish “desierto”, all come from the ecclesiastical Latin dēsertum (originally “an abandoned place”), a participle of dēserere, meaning "to abandon." This has come to refer to a vast sandy area without vegetation, or any empty, lifeless expanse. A classic definition of the noun “desert” will give you something akin to the following: (1) A region so arid, because of little rainfall, that it supports only sparse and widely spaced vegetation, or no vegetation at all. (2) Any area in which few forms of life can exist because of lack of water, permanent frost, or absence of soil. (3) Any place lacking in something. Some synonyms, of the word “desert”, are “waste”, “wasteland”, “barren wilderness”.
So we could say that spiritual desert is a setting or a place where spirituality cannot grow, or where spirituality has been abandoned. A place that is devoid of spirituality, or has been emptied of spirituality. Just as a desert occurs in part due to a lack of rainfall—a spiritual desert occurs because of a lack of heavenly ‘rainfall’, namely, the grace of God.
A moral desert, very similarly, can be said to be a setting or place where morality is hard to practice, or where morality has been abandoned. A place devoid of morality, or emptied of morality. Just as deserts are partially formed by a lack of rainfall, a moral desert is formed by a lack of moral teaching and moral principles.
A little lighthearted and also not so lighthearted comparison of the physical sandy desert to the spiritual sinful desert of the world and the soul. The main point is to show how we can learn spiritually from the physicality of the world that surround us. This is how the "bookless" Desert Fathers would meditate and learn about God, by reflecting on God's creation that surrounded them. Everything ultimately teaches us something about God and is a signpost that points to God. We just need to open our eyes, look carefully and think deeply.
What are the Dangers of a Spiritual Desert?
Just as you need a certain amount of knowledge to have a fair chance of surviving in the physical desert, likewise, you need a certain amount of knowledge to be able to successfully cross the spiritual desert that the modern world has created.
A desert is basically an absence of water and moisture that would help things to grow. A spiritual desert is an absence of grace (and the Author of Grace, God) that helps us grow spiritually.
The world has basically "dried-up" of grace. It no longer cares about grace. It has created an artificial, purely human, naturalistic, materialistic environment, which seeks to replace grace by materialism, Heaven with consumerism and wealth.
1. Dangerous desert wildlife—Worldly and Evil People
2. Low rainfall—Low Amounts of Grace
3. Intense sunlight and heat—Glitz and Pressure of the World
4. Wide and Fast temperature range—Inconstancy, blowing hot and cold
5. Sparse vegetation—Lack of Sacraments in Our Life
6. High mineral soil content—Toxicity of the what the world offers
7. Sandstorms—Materialism and Consumerism in your face
8. Mirages—Fake Promises and Fake Goods and Fake Happiness
9. Need for water to avoid dehydration and heat stroke—Using Sources of Grace
1. Dangerous desert wildlife—Worldly & Evil People
Here we can see the vast variety of worldly people, who are all too ready, willing and able to derail your spiritual journey through the desert of life. The desert wildlife has no interest in Heaven, they are firmly entrenched in the desert of this world and are liking it. These people, must like the desert wildlife, can be venomous and some fatally venomous—leading you into mortal sin. Others, once they ‘bite’, just make life miserable for you.
2. Low rainfall—Low Amounts of Grace
Since water has been always analogous with grace in the teaching of the Church, a low rainfall can be seen to be a shortage of grace coming from Heaven. This, in turn, could be said to indicate a shortage of prayer—for prayer is one of the chief sources of grace. Prayer has truly fallen, more and more, into disuse, abuse and misuse in our modern times. Our Lady of La Salette speaks of the “chiefs and leaders of the people neglecting prayer and penance”—while at Fatima and Akita she asks for a lot more prayer! Why ask for more if it is at a sufficient level? You only ask for more, or a lot, if there is a void, an emptiness or insufficiency.
3. Intense sunlight and heat—Glitz and Pressure of World
This can be said to be tremendous glitz and dazzle of the world and what is has to offer, together with the ‘heat’ or pressure to conform to the world.
4. Wide & Fast temperature range—Spiritually Hot & Cold
This could be seen as being the inconstancy and lukewarmness of Catholics with regard to the Faith and the spiritual life—always changing between hot and cold, fervent and indifferent, wholehearted and halfhearted.
5. Sparse vegetation—Lack of Sacraments in Our Life
This can be said to be the sparse use of the Sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Wilted vegetation can be said to be a lukewarm, wishy-washy, halfhearted attendance at Mass.
6. High mineral soil content--Toxicity of World Offerings
All that glitters is not gold—and not all the glitter of the world is good. It looks good, it sounds good, it feels good, it promises good—but it delivers disappointment, not only in this life, but even more so in the next life.
7. Sandstorms--Materialism & Consumerism in Your Face
Could we say that this is materialism and consumerism—the world gets up a storm of never-ending advertisement that blows in our face thousands of different items that eventually block out our view of heavenly things. All these sand grains of materialism prevent us from seeing clearly into the distance, where Heaven beckons and awaits. We lose sight of the straight and narrow path and start our own “40 years in the Desert” going round and round in materialistic circles, effectively “spinning our wheels” with regard to our supposed journey to Heaven.
8. Mirages—Fake Promises & Fake Happiness
Things are not always what they seem—and the world is only too ready to create mirages, or use the trickery of “smoke and mirrors” to fool us into thinking that what the world offers is wonderful, desirable, affordable, and absolutely necessary for our happiness.
9. Need for water to avoid dehydration and heat stroke--Using Sources of Grace
Without the ‘water’ of grace, our passions ‘heat-up’ and increase the danger of ‘heat-stroke’ or falling into sin through one overheated passion or another.
(a) Heat Cramps Risks
The loss of salt due to excessive sweating can be compared to loss of mortification "the salt of the earth" and causes heat (spiritual) cramps. Symptoms are moderate to severe muscle cramps in legs, arms, or abdomen. These symptoms may start as a mild muscular discomfort. You should now stop all worldly activities, get into the shade of the Faith, the Sacraments, the Church and drink the water of grace.
(b) Heat Exhaustion Dangers
A large loss of body water and salt causes heat exhaustion or spiritual exhaustion, where you feel you can no longer persevere with your spiritual exercises. Symptoms are headache, mental confusion, irritability, excessive swearing, weakness, dizziness, prayer cramps, etc. Immediately get the patient out of the worldly activities and under the shade and protection of spiritual things. You cannot serve God and mammon at the same time. You cannot be spiritual and worldly at the same time. One of them has to be sacrificed and given up. Sprinkle him with the water of your prayers and fan him with good spiritual advice. Have him drink small amounts of the water of grace every few minutes by reciting some brief prayer or other. Ensure he stays quiet and rests from his worldly activities.
(c) Heat Stroke Causes and Dangers
An extreme loss of the water of grace and the salt of mortification and your soul's inability to cool its passions can cause heat stroke (Mortal Sin). The patient may die if not cooled immediately in the shade of the confessional. Immediately get the person to shade of the confessional. Pour the water of grace on him by frequent prayers for him and fan him with spiritual correction and advice. Massage this into his mind. Encourage him to pray a little as often as possible.
Desert Father Prophecy for Our Times
St. Anthony of the Desert made this prediction in the 4th century: “Men will surrender to the spirit of the age. They will say that if they had lived in our day, Faith would be simple and easy. But in their day, they will say, things are complex; the Church must be brought up to date and made meaningful to the day’s problems. When the Church and the world are one, then those days are at hand because our Divine Master placed a barrier between His things and the things of the world.”
Heaven Prophesies a Desert for Modern Man
Among the many prophecies concerning our day, there is this interesting one by Father Constant Louis-Marie Pel (1876–1966) is not a name well-known among the souls gifted by God with a knowledge of how God is going to set today’s world straight, but, for those who knew him, he was a priest very close to God. Doctor in theology, seminary professor, founder of a convent for women and of a seminary for men, with a great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, he was a personal friend of Padre Pio, who said of him to some French pilgrims in San Giovanni Rotondo, “Why do you come to see me when you have so great a saint in France?”
Fr. Pel would spend nights on his feet in church with his forehead leaning against the Tabernacle, conversing with God in a permanent ecstasy. He died in a car accident just after Vatican II, but not before a seminarian, one of his spiritual sons, had been able to note down a prophecy of his, dating from 1945, concerning the chastisement which will strike France in particular. Here it is, quoted or abbreviated:
“My son,” said Fr. Pel, “know that with the sins of the world increasing in horror as this age wears on, great punishments from God will come down on the world and no continent will be spared by the Wrath of God. France being guilty of apostasy and denying its vocation will be severely chastised. East of a line stretching from Bordeaux in the south-west to Lille in the north-east, everything will be laid waste and set on fire by peoples invading from the east, and also by great flaming meteorites falling in a rain of fire upon all the Earth and upon these regions especially. Revolution, war, epidemics, plagues, chemical poison gases, violent earthquakes and the re-awakening of France’s extinct volcanoes will destroy everything ...
“France to the west of that line will be less affected ... because of the Faith rooted in the Vendée and in Brittany ... but any of God’s worst enemies, seeking refuge there from the worldwide cataclysm, will be found out, wherever they hide, and put to death by devils, because the wrath of the Lord is just and holy. Thick darkness caused by the war, gigantic fires and fragments of burning stars falling for three days and nights will cause the sun to disappear, and only candles blessed on Candlemas Day (February 2nd) will give light in the hands of believers, but the godless will not see this miraculous light, because they have darkness in their souls.
“In this way, my son, three quarters of mankind will be destroyed, and in certain parts of France survivors will have to go 60 miles to find another live human being ... Several nations will disappear off the face of the map ... A France thus purified will become the renewed “Eldest Daughter of the Church,” because all the Cains and Judases will have disappeared in this ‘Judgment upon the Nations.’” This Judgment is not yet the end of times, but so great is the punishment, due to the sins of the nations, that Our Lord told Fr. Pel that the desolation at world’s end will be lesser.
Our Lord Foretells Desolation and Commands We Flee
Even prior to these “Three Days of Darkness”, many souls will have fled from Christian persecution and found refuge in ‘desert-like’ environments. Our Lord Himself, speaking of the “End Times”, says: “Nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and famines. These things are the beginning of sorrows. But look to yourselves. For they shall deliver you up to councils, and in the synagogues you shall be beaten, and you shall stand before governors and kings for My sake … And the brother shall betray his brother unto death, and the father his son; and children shall rise up against the parents, and shall work their death. And you shall be hated by all men for My Name’s sake. But he that shall endure unto the end, he shall be saved. And when you shall see the abomination of desolation, standing where it ought not―he that readeth let him understand―then let them that are in Judea, flee unto the mountains; and let him that is on the housetop, not go down into the house, nor enter therein to take anything out of the house; and let him that shall be in the field, not turn back to take up his garment. And woe to them that are with child, and that give suck in those days.
“But pray ye, that these things happen not in winter. For in those days shall be such tribulations, as were not from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, neither shall be. And unless the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect which he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days. Take you heed therefore; behold I have foretold you all things. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. And the stars of heaven shall be falling down, and the powers that are in heaven, shall be moved!” (Mark 13:8-25).
The Abomination of Desolation
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich is given a vision of the future where she see the Church becoming desert-like: “The Church is completely isolated and as if completely deserted. It seems that everyone is running away. Everywhere I see great misery, hatred, treason, rancor, confusion, and an utter blindness.”
In relation, perhaps, to the so-called “abomination of desolation standing where it ought not”—Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich seems to indicate that it is a ‘new church’ and a ‘new liturgy’—as can be deduced from the visions granted to her. She says:
“I saw that many pastors allowed themselves to be taken up with ideas that were dangerous to the Church. They were building a great, strange, and extravagant Church. Everyone was to be admitted in it in order to be united and have equal rights: Evangelicals, Catholics sects of every description. Such was to be the new Church …
“I saw a strange church being built against every rule. . . No angels were supervising the building operations. In that church, nothing came from high above. . . There was only division and chaos. It is probably a church of human creation, following the latest fashion, as well as the new heterodox church of Rome, which seems of the same kind ... I saw again the strange big church that was being built there (in Rome). There was nothing holy in it. I saw this just as I saw a movement led by Ecclesiastics to which contributed angels, saints and other Christians. But there (in the strange big church) all the work was being done mechanically (i.e. according to set rules and formulae). Everything was being done according to human reason ... I saw all sorts of people, things, doctrines, and opinions. There was something proud, presumptuous, and violent about it, and they seemed to be very successful. I did not see a single Angel nor a single saint helping in the work.
“I saw the Church of St. Peter: it had been destroyed, but for the Sanctuary and the main Altar. St. Michael came down into the Church, clad in his suit of armor, and he paused, threatening with his sword a number of unworthy pastors who wanted to enter. That part of the Church which had been destroyed was promptly fenced in with light timber so that the Divine office might be celebrated as it should. Then, from all over the world came priests and laymen, and they rebuilt the stone walls, since the wreckers had been unable to move the heavy foundation stones.”
“When the Church had been for the most part destroyed (by the secret sect), and when only the sanctuary and altar were still standing, I saw the wreckers (of the secret sect) enter the Church with the Beast. There, they met a Woman of noble carriage who seemed to be with child because she walked slowly. At this sight, the enemies were terrorized, and the Beast could not take but another step forward. It projected its neck towards the Woman as if to devour her, but the Woman turned about and bowed down (towards the Altar), her head touching the ground. Thereupon, I saw the Beast taking to flight towards the sea again, and the enemies were fleeing in the greatest of confusion. Then, I saw in the distance great legions approaching. In the foreground I saw a man on a white horse. Prisoners were set free and joined them. All the enemies were pursued. Then, I saw that the Church was being promptly rebuilt, and she was more magnificent than ever before.”
Are We Witnessing the Abomination of Desolation?
Early in May of 2016, there were some more snippets of information revealed about the mysteriously shrouded and fanatically hidden "Third Secret of Fatima"―which Our Lady never wanted to be hidden, but to be revealed to all.
These new pieces in the jigsaw puzzle that the current Modernist Church does not want revealed, cut to the heart of the matter. Broadly speaking, one could say that they point to fires burning within the Church itself. If, as they say, the Roman Emperor “Nero fiddled, while Rome burned”, then we could also say that the “Popes fiddle while Rome burns” or the “Clergy fiddle while the Church burns”!
A respected website, earlier this month, published an article by Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., who begins by dealing with the topic of the “can of worms” that has been opened by Pope Francis with his recent (April) Apostol Exhortation, Amoris Laeititia. He then continues:
“This critical situation invites further reflection on the message of Our Lady of Fatima, as we begin this Friday (May 13th, 2016), the 100th year since her first appearance to the Portuguese shepherd children. Back in 1980, the one surviving visionary, Sister Lucia, wrote an important letter to Monsignor (now Cardinal) Carlo Caffarra. After Pope John Paul asked him to begin a new Pontifical Institute for studies on marriage and the family, Caffarra wrote to Sister Lucia, simply requesting her prayers for this venture. He has recently made known his surprise at receiving, as he says, “a very long letter with her signature. . . . In it we find written: ‘The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, for this is the decisive issue.’ And then she concluded: ‘however, Our Lady has already crushed its head.’”
“This reassurance is encouraging, because fifteen years after Sister Lucia wrote that letter, Cardinal Luigi Ciappi (1909-1996), personal theological adviser to five popes, made a stunning disclosure about that part of the Fatima secret that the Vatican has never released (and which is evidently referenced by the enigmatic word “etc.” in the published part of Our Lady’s message). His Eminence, one of the few persons who had seen the complete secret, wrote in a 1995 letter to Professor Baumgartner of Salzburg: “In the Third Secret it is predicted, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”
“Such a shocking prophecy would explain why Sister Lucia herself confessed to being traumatized by it, why Pope John XXIII decided not to publish it on schedule in 1960, and why Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani of the Holy Office, in answer to a reporter’s question, stated acidly that the Third Secret had been relegated “to the bottom of the Vatican archives – and that’s where it deserves to stay!”
Fire In The Church
In the same article, as mentioned above, Fr. Harrison then reveals a communication he had with Alice Von Hildebrand, a Catholic philosopher and theologian and a former professor, wife of the famous philosopher and theologian Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889–1977). She is still living and resides in New York. In an email to Fr. Brian Harrison, dated May 6th, 2016, she writes:
Dear Father [Harrison],
I think the following two conversations, which I recall very well from the 1960’s, are of particular interest now, in these deeply troubled times, half a century later. For they apparently corroborate Cardinal Ciappi’s testimony that part of Our Lady’s Fatima secret was the shocking prediction that the great apostasy in the Church would begin “at the top.”
The first conversation was In June 1965. We were in Florence ... My husband invited a priest named Msgr. Mario Boehm, one of the top editors of L’Osservatore Romano for many years. The topic of Fatima came up.
My husband raised the question, “Why was the third secret of Fatima not revealed?” For the Holy Virgin had said it should be shared with the faithful in 1960.
Msgr. Boehm: “It was not revealed because of its content.”
My husband: “What was so fearful about it?”
Msgr. Boehm (as a well-trained Italian) did not say that he had read it, but intimated that the content was fearful: “infiltration of the Church to the very top”. It shattered us, but confirmed my husband’s fear that the way Vatican II was interpreted, was going to expose the Church to terrible dangers. Alas, this fear was well founded.
Bella Dodd Brings Desolation to the Church
The second conversation is one with Dr. Bella Dodd, that I have already spoken about on previous occasions. She had been an ardent communist from her student days at Hunter College – a hotbed of communism. (That is why I was systematically persecuted there, as recounted in my book, Memoirs of a Happy Failure). Bella had sown the seeds of this diabolical philosophy at Hunter, but converted in 1952, under the guidance of Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Let me repeat the conversation between her and my husband:
Dietrich von Hildebrand: “I fear the Church has been infiltrated!”
Bella Dodd: “You fear it, dear Professor; I know it! When I was an ardent communist, I was working in close contact with four cardinals in the Vatican, working for us; and they are still very active today [in 1967].”
Dietrich von Hildebrand: “Who are they? My nephew Dieter Sattler is a German stationed at the Holy See.”
But Bella, who was under the spiritual guidance of Archbishop Sheen, declined to give him this information.
The only recourse we have now is prayer, and the firm conviction that the gates of Hell shall not prevail. St. Matthew chapter XXIV has warned us.
In union of ardent prayers.
I am, dear Father, respectfully yours in Christ,
Alice von Hildebrand
Even More Fuel On The Fire!
The same website, three days later (on May 15th, 2016), then published an account of Dr. Maike Hickson, who, on the feast of Pentecost (May 17th, 2016) spoke with a priest, who was a close friend and confidant of Pope Benedict XVI. Here is the account of the phone call in the words of Dr. Hickson:
Today, on the Feast of Pentecost (May 15th, 2016), I called Fr. Ingo Dollinger, a German priest and former professor of theology in Brazil, who is now quite elderly and physically weak. He has been a personal friend of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI for many years. Father Dollinger unexpectedly confirmed over the phone the following facts:
Not long after the June 2000 publication of the Third Secret of Fatima by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told Fr. Dollinger during an in-person conversation that there is still a part of the Third Secret that they have not published! “There is more than what we published,” Ratzinger said. He also told Dollinger that the published part of the Secret is authentic and that the unpublished part of the Secret speaks about “a bad council and a bad Mass” that was to come in the near future.
He publicly declared in 2010 in Fatima: “We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete.” He also added these words in an interview during his airplane flight to Fatima:
“As for the new things which we can find in this message today, there is also the fact that attacks on the Pope and the Church come not only from without, but the sufferings of the Church come precisely from within the Church, from the sin existing within the Church. This too is something that we have always known, but today we are seeing it in a really terrifying way: that the greatest persecution of the Church comes not from her enemies without, but arises from sin within the Church, and that the Church thus has a deep need to re-learn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness on the one hand, but also the need for justice.”
With this statement, Benedict XVI effectively contradicted his own earlier words of June, 2000, where he had stated: “First of all we must affirm with Cardinal Sodano: ‘… the events to which the third part of the ‘secret’ of Fatima refers now seem part of the past’. Insofar as individual events are described, they belong to the past. Those who expected exciting apocalyptic revelations about the end of the world or the future course of history are bound to be disappointed.” All these actions of Pope Benedict XVI show that he must have known, in his conscience, that he somehow had to correct certain injustices and confusing ambiguities of the recent past.
While we contemplate the gravity of the cumulative omissions and delays concerning the actual release of the full Third Secret, and when heaven had asked us to do it – namely, not later than 1960 – we are grateful to the Holy Ghost that He has seemingly made possible now this affirmative telephone conversation today on the Feast of Pentecost. May the true message of Fatima ― together with the recent revelations of Fr. Brian Harrison and Dr. Alice von Hildebrand about what it also contains ― spread far and wide and thereby help free all faithful Catholics from any bondage to half-truths and deficient loyalties. May we all freely and fully adhere to the full Truth of the Message of Mary’s Mercy ― which will surely, under grace, help to set us free!
Father Dollinger gave me permission to publish these facts on this High Feast of the Holy Ghost and he gave me his blessing.
[signed] Dr. Maike Hickson
Fatima and Fire
There is one part of Our Lady of Fatima revelations that we tend to overlook quite easily. Here is what Sister Lucia wrote concerning the Third Secret:
“After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him, from her right hand. Pointing to the Earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance! Penance! Penance!’”
The angel with the flaming sword represents the judgment that would fall on the world were it not for the intercession of Mary―and, of course, the intercession of others, that stops the flaming sword.
Here we are reminded of Our Lady’s words at Akita in 1973: “I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering Him the sufferings of the Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood, and beloved souls who console Him forming a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices can soften the Father’s anger.”
For many years it was rumored that the third part of the secret involved the possibility of a nuclear war. If there is anything in the text that suggests this, it is the flames of the sword, which Sr. Lucia noted “looked as though they would set the world on fire.”
In Holy Scripture, fire can represent judgment or conflict in general. In his commentary on the angel’s flaming sword, however, Cardinal Ratzinger, having read the Third Secret, seems to allude to nuclear war: “Today the prospect that the world might be reduced to ashes by a sea of fire no longer seems pure fantasy: Man himself, with his inventions, has forged the flaming sword.”
Yet elsewhere, there is reference to a double-punishment for mankind—one coming from the hands of men themselves (so war and other atrocities can be part of this) and the other punishment coming directly from God. In the 1984 consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the second of Pope John Paul II’s specific petitions was: “From incalculable self-destruction, from every kind of war, deliver us.”
“Bad Council and Bad Masses”—An Abomination?
If we do some simple math, we come to a simple answer: BAD plus BAD equals TWO BAD or TOO BAD! If you mix bad with bad then things get bad and then they even worse. Our Lord had said “by their fruits you shall know them” and we can clearly see the fruits before us.
Applying Our Lord’s principle of--”Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit” (Matthew 7:17-18)—we can pretty much conclude that, when Cardinal Razinger (future Benedict XVI) told Fr. Dollinger that the unpublished part of the Third Secret of Fatima included speaks about “a bad council and a bad Mass” that was to come in the near future, and that this was to be revealed to the world by 1960, then the future has arrived—because it is not coincidental that we had a Church Council in the 1960’s and a New Mass imposed upon the Church in the 1960’s. Then, looking at the fruits of this Second Vatican Council and the fruits of the New Mass, we have to conclude that it is a “slipper—foot” or “hand—glove” fit with the prophecy of Our Lady.
Abominable Fruits of the “Bad Council” & “Bad Mass”
The Pope, Paul VI, who presided over the final sessions of the Second Vatican Council, and who was enthusiastic over the planting of this ‘good’ tree, later said: “The Church finds herself in a period of anxiety, of self-criticism, one could say of self-destruction. It is like an internal upheaval, serious and complex―as if the Church were flagellating herself” (December 7th, 1969).
The following year he added: “In many areas the Council has not so far given us peace but rather stirred up troubles and problems that in no way serve to strengthen the Kingdom of God within the Church or within its souls.”
Then, going on to raise a cry of alarm, in 1972, he said: “The smoke of Satan has entered by some crack into the temple of God [ no smoke without fire ]; doubt, uncertainty, problems, restlessness, dissatisfaction and confrontation have come to the surface… doubt has entered our consciences” … ”It was believed that after the council a sunny day in the Church’s history would dawn, but instead there came a day of clouds, storms and darkness.” (Pope Paul VI, 1972). Conclusion: Bad Council—Our Lady must have known what she was talking about!
Another pro-Council man was Fr. Louis Bouyer, yet he said: “Unless we are blind, we must even state bluntly that what we see looks less like the hoped-for regeneration of the Catholicism than its accelerated decomposition” (Fr. Louis Bouyer).
So who was Fr. Bouyer? What qualifies him to say something like that? Louis Bouyer was born into a Protestant family in 1913. He was ordained a Lutheran minister in 1936 and converted to Catholicism in 1944, later being ordained to the priesthood. He was a professor at the Catholic Institute of Paris until 1963 and then taught in England, Spain, and the United States.
In 1969 he wrote the book, The Decomposition of Catholicism, which presented what he saw as important liturgical and dogmatic problems in the Church. Twice appointed by the pope to the International Theological Commission, he was a consultant at the Second Vatican Council for the liturgy, the Congregation of Sacred Rites and Secretariat for Christian Unity. He died in 2004.
So he was part of the mainstream Church, a supporter of the Second Vatican Council, recruited as an expert during the Council, and of high rank in the Church after the Council—and he says, speaking of the Council: “Unless we are blind, we must even state bluntly that what we see looks less like the hoped-for regeneration of the Catholicism than its accelerated decomposition.” Conclusion: Bad Council—Our Lady’s prophecy comes true.
Coming to the shores of America for a Catholic politician’s view, we listen to Pat Buchanan: “Thirty-seven years after the end of the only Church Council of the 20th century, the jury has come in with its verdict: Vatican II appears to have been an unrelieved disaster for Roman Catholicism!” (Pat Buchanan, speaking in 2002).
His credentials? Pat Buchanan is a Catholic politician who is an American paleo-conservative political commentator, author, syndicated columnist, politician and broadcaster. Buchanan was a senior adviser to U.S. Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. He sought the Republican presidential nomination in 1992 and 1996. He ran on the Reform Party ticket in the 2000 presidential election. He is no theologian, but he does not buy into the idea that the Second Vatican Council bore good fruit.
So whether you take pope, priest or layman—the intelligent and honest answer is: “Bad Council”. Our Lady seems to have been right all along!