Crossing Over the Sea of Mediocrity and Eternal Fire
Perhaps you were expecting a post along the lines of: “If you participate in Halloween,” you’re aiding and abetting evil. Well, depending on one’s intention, that may very well be the case. I look at the displays all over the yards here where my family lives and you can’t help but feel the evil influence lurking beneath seemingly “benign” and “innocent” depictions of scenes that are impressive (I must admit) but beyond creepy.
More than ghoulish depictions on our neighbor’s lawn, the zombie attitude of society, to evil in the world today, is the most disturbing reality of all. We are a society that has become all but numb to the darkest of darkness with the most evil of atrocities revealed by the uncovered demonic activities of Planned Parenthood. It wasn’t enough to know for decades that babies were being murdered in these clinics – over 58 MILLION babies in the United States alone – for there to be a revolution against this greatest of evils. Regardless of who actually said it, the world has unwittingly given assent to the popularized statement: “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” If this reality doesn’t haunt us today, then I fear nothing will. The greatest masquerades are hidden behind slogans, catch-phrases and co-opted biblical imagery such as rainbows to mislead those who don’t think for themselves. As Pope Benedict XVI accurately put it: We are living in a “dictatorship of relativism.”
As the zombie, moral and religious relativistic status quo is challenged we see that there is not a benign spirit behind it. It is Satanic and seeks the destruction of the very pillars of society: marriage and the family. Don’t believe me? Well, perhaps you will believe Servant of God Sr. Lucia dos Santos, the famous Fatima visionary, who revealed in a letter to Cardinal Carlo Caffara of Bologna:
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 operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. [And then she concluded]: however, Our Lady has already crushed its head. [source]
Do we not see that we are entering into this war in an unprecedented way? And the Church, as the family of God is also under attack from within as Satan attempts to redefine not only the natural family, but God’s own covenantal family, the Church. Here is what Our Lady at the approved private revelations of Akita, Japan, prophetically stated on 13 October 1973 in this regard:
The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. . . . . The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. . . . Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved. [source]
So, Satan’s attack is against the family at all levels because it is the family which is the building block of secular civilization and the spiritual kingdom of God’s family. Distort one and the other follows. As Pope St. John Paul the Great said: “As the family goes, so goes the nation and the world in which we live.”
Halloween (All Hallows Eve), therefore, which actually has Catholic roots (click here for a good summary of its history), could serve as a healthy redirection of our family education of the realization that there is a hell and that there are souls there. Considering its placement as the bridge into the month dedicated to All Saints and All Souls, it also reminds us of the reality than in the final analysis there are only two paths – the wider one that leads to eternal hell and the narrow one that leads to eternal paradise with God and the communion of all the saints. There is no eternal middle. Halloween should serve to remind us where mediocrity leads a soul, a family, a nation, the world.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mt 10:28)
We can now better understand the wisdom of Venerable Fulton Sheen who said: “Satan never gains so many cohorts as when, in his shrewdness, he spreads the rumor that he is long since dead.”
If you need something to help “scare the hell out of you,” I highly recommend that you watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose, based on the true story of Annaliese Michel, a young Catholic woman who became possessed by the devil and chose to offer up the sufferings of the possession for the conversion of souls (Here is a good review of the movie that you may find helpful). Renowned Roman exorcist Fr. Gabriel Amorth said this film is worth watching because of its sheer realism that he has experienced having performed thousands of exorcisms. And not to spoil the movie, there is a powerful part in it when Emily writes a letter describing an encounter she had with the Blessed Virgin while she was possessed (N.B. possession is only of the body, not of the soul). She could have been freed from the demons, but Emily chose to suffer knowing that ultimately good will triumph over evil. In this letter she wrote: “Through my experience people will know that demons are real. People say that God is dead. But how can they think that if I show them the devil?”
Let me say that this movie does show the devil quite well, as Fr. Amorth and other priests who are exorcists attest.
Let us, therefore, duly acknowledge that this day reminds us of the all damned in order that we may re-calibrate our efforts not just to avoid hell — the place where the lie of mediocrity finds its reward – but also to seek heaven with all of our mind, heart and strength. May this healthy reflection increase our desire not to see one soul, no matter how far they are from God, fall into that eternal abyss with unquenchable fire.
As October 31 quickly comes and goes, the Church quickly reminds us what God’s intended purpose is for us is, which is not hell – no matter how great our sins are. We were created for heaven the eternal home of God’s saints. But in order to make it there, we must cross over the sea of mediocrity that the devil puts in front of us, to the home where only heroic virtue gains access. A “saint” by definition is one who demonstrated heroic virtue unto death.
And considering the final confrontation over marriage and family in which we find ourselves engaged, let us not kid ourselves . . . only heroic Catholic families will survive and if we want to truly transform this world, which hinges on the family, we must not only learn to survive, but thrive!
I invite you to make this your priority for your family during November, this month of all saints. As St. John Paul II puts it simply: “It is necessary that the heroic becomes daily and that the daily becomes heroic.”
This subject is so important that I will be focusing future posts on Catholic spirituality as it pertains to the family and the heroic call of today’s Catholic family. I invite you, in the meantime, to visit HeroicFamilies.com and consider bringing this critical message to your parish or conference. There is nothing more important than fighting for the soul of the Catholic family!
Art: Camp Fire, MarcusObal, own work, July 2015, CCA-SA 3.0 Unported; Baby boy one month old, Nils Fretwurst, 2004, CC-SA; Modified detail Pope Benedict XVI during general audience, 2 May 2007, PD-Worldwide; The Madonna of the Rosary, Bartolomé Estéban Murillo, c.1670-80, PD-US; Pope John Paul II in Rome, derivative work by J J Georges of Fels_Papst.JPG: Nikolaus von Nathusius, 1980, PD-Worldwide; “El Infierno” [Hell], padre Hernando de la Cruz [Father Hernando de la Cruz], siglo XVII [17th century], PD; Sagrada Familia. Iglesia de San Miguel y San Julián, Valladolid. (Holy Family. Church of Saint Michael and Saint Julian, Valladolid [Spain]) by Gregorio Martínez y Espinosa (1547-1598), undated, Luis Fernández García, own work, 30 July 2015, CCA-SA; all Wikimedia Commons.