What a deaf ear! We are in a living Church, with a living Tradition!
To amble through your Christian life and pay no attention to the clear words of our Lord as they come down from Heaven--it strikes me as though such people only want to listen to the nice parts of the story. They only will hear what they want to hear, and nothing more.
Desmond A. Birch, in his book, Trial, Tribulation & Triumph: Before, During, and After Antichrist, explores the relevance of prophecy for our modern lives. More specifically, in Chapter Two, Birch goes to great lengths to explore the doubters, the nay-sayers, and those who just don't have the time for all that silly prophecy stuff. This voluminous work is so in-depth on the subject of prophecy, one walks away wondering if Birch left any stone unturned.
Doubters and skeptics of God-sent prophecy are quite numerous in the Church. It even seems as if most clergy disregard the mountain of prophecy that points to our time. Yet, prophecy is an ingrained part of our very religion. It is a central thread that cannot be removed from Christianity.
When it comes to these cynics, will they listen to the Bible? Consider St. Paul, who told the Corinthians:
"Aim at charity, yet strive after the spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophecy."
"He who prophesies speaks to men for edification and encouragement and consolation."
"Now I should like you all to speak in tongues but still more to prophesy. For he who prophecies is greater than he who speaks in tongues."And to the Thessalonians, he said not to "extinguish the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. But test all things; hold fast that which is good."
Desmond Birch demonstrates how the entire Judeo-Christian religion is rooted with prophecy.
For example, the Lord promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have descendants more numerous than the sands of the sea. That prophecy right there is where the entire Jewish faith began. Judaism began with God revealing Himself to a ninety nine-year old man and telling him his future.
When it came time for Christ to arrive on Earth, the details of His coming were spelled out. We were told His birthplace, the miracles he would do, his race, tribe, where his ministry would be held, and even the manner of his death. Everyone, including Pharisees and Roman authorities, knew of the prophetic coming of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, King Herod would not have committed the Slaughter of the Innocents.
Even after the events ot he Bible, prophecy was still trusted by the early Christians. In the winter of 68 AD, as the Christians of Jerusalem witnessed the Zealot Jews prepare for war with Rome, they fled the city. They remembered Christ telling them:
"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies [by an earthenwork wall]; then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; and those who are inside the city depart; and let not those who are out in the country, enter into it."Relying on prophecy, the Christians escaped to Pella, leaving the remaining Jews to be starved and slaughtered by Titus. This is all thanks to the prudent attention towards legitimate Christian prophecy.
Even today, when we wear the Brown or Green Scapular, the Miraculous Medal, devote ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus or the Immaculate Heart of Mary--even when we are praying the Rosary--we are assenting to approved private revelations.
Again, Desmond A. Birch touches upon all of this and more.
Saint Thomas Aquinas states that prophecy divinely instructs us about what to do. Prophecy is there for our good, and prophecy exists for the direction of human acts. "Wherefore at all times men were divinely instructed about what they were to do, according as it was expedient for the spiritual welfare of the elect."We live in a terrifying time, as the headlines will attest. However, the events are spelled out for us, thanks to prophets such as St. Francis of Assisi, Blessed Catherine Anne Emmerich, and Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres. In fact, the time we are living in is so perilous and so important, that there are countless approved prophecies for exactly this moment in the Church's history.
We are approaching the 100th anniversary of God's warning to Mankind in the Fatima warning. This is the eleventh hour. Yet, we have a Church hierarchy who scoffs at prophecy and neglects to follow the instructions sent to them directly from Heaven. This very spirit--this glib dismissal of prophecy--it is all contrary to how a Catholic should orient their faith.
St. Theresa of Avila is also put off by this uncharitable deafness towards prophecy. She, herself, was gifted with foretelling of the future. She remarked:
"Some individuals, seem to be frightened at the very mention of visions or revelations. I do not know why they think a soul being lead in this way by God is on a dangerous path, nor what is the source of this alarm."Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758) stated that we very well ought to be giving prophecy serious consideration. In the quotation below, emphasis is mine:
"In keeping with laws of prudence, one must give them the assent of human belief [assensus fidei humanae], in that such revelations are probably and piously credible. Consequently it is possible to refuse to accept such revelations and to turn from them, as long as one does so with proper modesty, for good reasons, and without the intention of setting himself up as superior.
"Though an assent of Catholic faith be not due to such revelations, they, however, deserve a human assent, according to the rules of prudence, by which they are probably, and piously credible, as the revelations of Blessed Hildegarde, St Bridget, and St Catherine of Sienna."How prudent is it to merely throw out the entire lot of prophecy directed towards our time on this Earth? So many things that were foretold hundreds of years ago have already taken place just last century. And yet, we continue to have wilfully blind people all around us who appear to set themselves up as superior to those zany prophecy followers. (Those zany prophecy followers happen to largely be Catholic Traditionalists, might I add.)
Birch lays out the fact that, in today's Catholic Church, there is a clear, modernist, anti-prophecy school. It portrays believers of prophecy as ridiculous for thinking that "someone by the power of God could know the future." Such believers are either credulous or uneducated. For the anti-prophecy school of thought, "prophecy" is just some creative way to express current events.
Time and again, I have witnessed a pattern, both online and in daily life, that takes place when prophecy is brought up in conversation with other Catholics. Take, for example, arguing the legitimacy of the Messianic prophecies foretelling Christ. In this kind of an argument, Desmond Birch delineates this pattern very nicely. The deniers will either change the subject, argue that the prophecy could apply to anyone, argue that the prophecy was written after the fact, or argue that the prophecy was never fulfilled. The pattern is predictable.
This strange spirit of disbelief in prophecy tends to puff people up into trying to know God outside of Himself. These people put on airs, adopting a false intellectualism. Catholics are supposed to believe in the charism of prophecy of future events. Yet, a great amount of the laity have transformed themselves into extreme high critics who, filled with unbelief, attempt to "demythologize" theology.
Such disbelievers fail to accept the Divine Mysteries as mysteries, and their very mode of thought helps to destroy their basic belief in the Gospel's historicity. Many pastors who ignore prophecy and build themselves up to be greater than such silly folklorists as the prophets--such men have become responsible for a great loss of faith, confusion, even denial of Catholic faith.
Indeed, our pastors have very much muddled the understanding of the laity, as they have exchanged some of the very basic foundations of Catholicism--prophecy--for, what can almost be described as, informed denial. Priest minds are closed off to prophecy as early as the seminary, as Birch describes below:
"There are flaws in the premises and logic of the 'Contemporary Theological Movement' every step of the way. A large number of those calling themselves 'Catholic theologians' (whom you will encounter today on North American or Western European campuses) were to a significant degree intellectually formed in the flawed premises and conclusions of the extreme higher critics."Thanks to this false intellectualism, the Church hierarchy is now responsible for some of the most questionable theology of our time. We live in a veritable age of "senseless questions and elaborate arguments," which, in and of itself, was also announced in prophecy. This very confusion, stemming from unbelief, was foretold multiple times in the past by humble saints.
The evidence is available to everyone now. And yet, there remain a vast amount of people who will not turn their ear for one moment towards prophecy--even if the 21st Century itself is being described in detail for us.
Such people will continue to parrot: "Belief in private revelation is not necessary for my salvation." And so, such people will continue to miss the forest from the trees when it comes to understanding our era's current crisis. However, prophecy is real. As Birch argues:
"The future Antichrist and Parousia are part and parcel of the Christian view of history. The Antichrist and the Parousia are as historically certain to a Christian as Christ's passion, death, and resurrection. Prophecy of future historic events is inseparable from Christianity."Like it or not, there is a false church being built. There is diabolical confusion among the Christians, and we do have a Church of "cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops." As prophesied, clergy have become unfaithful, and innocence has been destroyed.
Those who ridicule and disparage this valuable foreknowledge given to us by Heaven itself will be caught unaware by rude surprises--that is, if they do not first despair in confusion as to how things came to be the way that they are.
As for those who continue to accept God's ongoing messages with the eager zeal of a father's loving children, their hearts will be prepared. Such people will be able to stand fast in their complete faith in God, and they will appear stronger and unwrecked amidst their peers on the other side of cataclysm.
"Be not afraid, I go before you always. Come, follow me, and I will give you rest."