Even as ecclesial leaders are dismayed before the storm of an increasingly angry secularism, there is also an increase in saints, apparitions and locutions. On every continent of the world, Jesus, Mary, St. Michael and other good Angels and saints have been addressing us with ever greater urgency. Each message, in one way or another, consistently calls us back to basics: personal conversion, daily prayer, reading the Scriptures, praying the rosary, frequent confession and, if possible, daily mass. While not all have been judged by the Church, we should measure what they ask us to do against the Scriptures and Tradition, and when we see good fruits, it is important to ask the Holy Spirit how we should respond.
While there are some nuance differences, whether we consider Lourdes, or La Salette, or Fatima or even contemporary phenomena the consistent theme is that we have entered a time of impending judgment with difficult hardships and terrible challenges that can be averted or decreased by our own return to the Lord. This is a biblical message that echoes throughout the whole of Salvation History. That story is our story and faith in Jesus Christ, not secularism, helps us find our place in the unfolding drama. Any other message from heaven is only as helpful as it helps us find Him, believe in the Gospel and cling fast to our faith in our own times.
These messages help us remember, if we put them to practice, that the medical and social catastrophes we face are not defined by their human causes, but by divine purpose and how we respond is subject to divine judgement. Divine Judgement is not something that Christians fear, but rather the substance of our hope. Despite all the disorder and injustice in the world, God has taken our side and is ready to right the wrong, to dry every tear, to lift up the lowly and fill the hungry with good things.
These messages help us realize that it is time to repent of our lack faith, to renew our efforts in compassion and to renounce our pre-occupation with self-preservation. Even in a society where we self-indulgently mutilate our children in fits of identity disorder and nihilistic rage against life, not only Divine Justice, but Divine Mercy is being unleashed. When God visits us with chastisement, purification and doom, chastisement merely limits on the power of evil, purification heals the wounds that have robbed too many of their dignity and freedom, and the doom of earthly kingdoms (even the merely commercial) serve as a sign of indomitable love from above. The order of world events is subject to the order of heaven, and it is better to entrust ourselves to the hands of God rather than the hands of men.
These messages remind us that world powers whether political or cultural or military cannot make an absolute claim over human affairs. In the face of social schemes to gain more control over populations by stirring anxiety through catastrophes and the exploitation of tragic circumstances, we must choose to act against a spirit of fearful self-preservation. We must act against the vain hope that things are going to return as they were before - as if that were a good thing.
Instead, the Lord, Mary and the hosts of heaven remind us that we must choose to love, to fill this present moment with all the love that we can. This is never easy, but by God's grace it is always possible, no matter the circumstance. We must love God and neighbor, starting with those in our own families - we must not allow those we live with to remain strangers or enemies. We must work and hope for reconciliation, even when it seems impossible. Under the power of God, no earthly power can hinder prayer, empathy and our solidarity with one another in Christ. Indeed, prayer and fasting can change not only our own hearts, but the whole world around us.