All around us, the signs are there. The ship is going down. Institutions of all stripes are corrupted at all levels, and almost all of these institutions are polarizing themselves against any burning embers left over from Christendom. For centuries, scheming men in their sects have secretly and ritualistically crushed the papal tiara and the royal crown, and now their darkest designs are becoming realized. Whether it’s government, the universities, our own jesters, or even the affairs of the Vatican, evil is nourished like never before, while goodness and justice are starved.
Contrary to the naysayers, it has not always been like this. In a real sense, faithful Catholics are alone. No one is going to come rescue us. Here, in the world of men, the faithful remnant have no political structure to protect them or fight for their interests. True, Catholics have the reigning hierarchy of the Catholic Church. However, a look at the news from week to week shows that the old power structure of the Catholic Church has abdicated its former duties, and in many cases, the Vatican is actually working against the Church’s own followers.
But these are merely societal problems. The ship of mankind may be sinking here in Church Militant, the Land of the Living. Yet the faithful Catholic realizes that we are to transcend all of this. We are to teach ourselves and our children not to be materialistic. In fact, we must even transcend time and look beyond the present. We are to rejoice in the future.
God asks us to play the Long Game. That, my friends, is what we should invest in. God’s Long Game is the stock that will rise and pay dividends beyond imagination. Do not be depressed. Many things have been taken away from us, but not the Holy Spirit.
Consider the Options of These Places:
Consider Hell. Those people are going nowhere. They live in a state of terror and madness. Transformed by despair, they hate everyone and everything around them. They hate the past, the present, and the future, and at this point in their existence, they are filled with spite and malice against everything, including God, Who created them. There is no hope for them. And as a diversion for their emotional unending anguish, they are allowed to divert their attention with pain – for the torments of Hell are actually a merciful distraction from their eternal madness. We, in this life, do not have it this bad.
Now consider Purgatory. Church Penitent, it’s called. There, in fires shared by Hell, the poor souls of the dead are painfully purged of their impurities, and they suffer greatly. They wait for us to pray for them, that they may pass on to Heaven more swiftly. Sometimes the demons are allowed to torment them, as a payoff for what they have done in their lives on Earth. Yet these people are filled with peace and joy. They know that Heaven is their ultimate end.
The poor souls of Purgatory are limited in what they can do. They have no career plans, no life plans, no ability to really evangelize, and they can’t pray for themselves. They’re in a painful waiting room. They are purging their souls of this world’s baggage, as is related in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15. Yet they have more joy and peace than most of the living.
We, on the other hand, have many more options in this life. We have some positive paths we can take. We can aim to get to Heaven. We can try to bring other people into Heaven through evangelization. We can also procreate here – something you cannot do in the other places. We can have children and try to raise them to be good followers of Christ who might get to Heaven. Also, we have the option to strengthen one another in this life’s struggles – we are not isolated, as we could be in Purgatory and Hell. We also have the ability to pray for our fellow Catholic teammates in Purgatory so they may be allowed into Heaven faster. Plus, unlike in Hell, our prayers will be heard by God, and our petitions may be heard by Christ, His mother, and the saints.
The Holy Spirit Is Still with Us
The fringe benefits of this world don’t end with better “career options.” Life on Earth has other amenities. The most notable benefit is that the Holy Spirit dwells here, and this Holy Ghost continues to give us gifts that confound our enemies. Yes, it is true that there are cabals and oodles of corrupt, evil people trying to destroy everything Christendom wrought. Yet what they do not realize is the special gifts the faithful have – gifts that give us the stamina and energy necessary to weather the gauntlet of persecution they throw our way.
The Holy Spirit has two classes of gifts to give us. The first class is for everyone who chooses to follow Christ, a series of power-ups that allow us to sanctify and strengthen our stats for the battles ahead. Specifically, we are given special wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of God. These are things that the darkest principalities and powers just blow off and scoff at. Our dark overlords are too engorged on their lusts and power to notice the importance of these gifts from God. They are simply confused by them.
We have the power to detach ourselves from this world, looking beyond it, and relishing Heaven – even though we have not yet been there. We can grasp the truth of our Faith in a way that non-believers cannot. The presence of the Holy Spirit guides us, helping us make prudent decisions to choose the right path. We are given special courage to overcome obstacles, even if it’s Satan himself inspiring evil methods to block our worship of God. For us, our path is opened, and we are able to discern dangers. The Holy Spirit gives us confidence to follow Jesus Christ’s teachings. Our pursuit for salvation gives us joy. Finally, we learn to tremble with respect at the thought of God, like an ant becoming aware of the man standing over him. This last quality is certainly absent from our most strident enemies.
The second class of gifts from the Holy Spirit is called the charismata, and it is usually found in Christian history. These gifts include healings, miracles, prophecies, the gift of tongues, bilocation, and all of those wonderful mystical Catholic things that we read about in the saints’ lives. This second class of gifts is rare, and it is bestowed by the Holy Spirit at God’s discretion. Though these miracles are not commonly found until years later, after they’ve happened, they help validate us and affirm that God is on our side, that He transcends the horrible society of this world, and that He wants us to do the same with our souls. Looking back at incidents of the charismata greatly strengthens the faith of many Catholics. This is something the faithless men in our world do not have.
In the 21st century, we have many challenges. We see the world being torn down, just as it was when Rome was falling. We sigh with frustration, and we say to ourselves, “We’re going to have to clean this up when our adversaries are done and gone.” In a way, we are like janitors cleaning up after a New Year’s Eve party. But unlike the party-goers, we janitors have a sort of spiritual “health insurance, 401k plan, life insurance policy, local gym membership, and an open door policy with our friendly manager.” We have a purpose. It will yield a reward when all is said and done. Yes, we will have to build from the ground up when this period of the world’s madness is over – but we know this fact. Much of the rest of the world thinks the Earth is dying. Yet even if the world is ending, Christ’s followers know that the game is not over with this world.
We look beyond. We transcend. The Holy Spirit gives us gifts, and by cooperating with this Third Person of the Trinity, we yield fruits even in this life. We experience joy, peace, patience, and faith, and we endure hardship if we have to. We can exercise goodness and mildness that our adversaries cannot accomplish. We have no problems adhering to a modest life, and it is possible for us – even in the most toxic environments – to exercise chastity. Faithful Catholics are super-people. Faithful Catholics are the salt of the Earth.
Our enemies may have a “long game” of their own, but it does not go beyond this mortal coil. It may be true that different groups and powers have strategies for the centuries, but not even the patience of these insidious workers of evil is enough to extend into the Great Beyond. Certainly, their spiritual stats are not dynamic enough to endure what faithful Catholics endure. Without the Holy Spirit, these people are weak and break easily. We are fortified. We are the ones with the best options. We Catholics are the ones who will win in the end. After Judgment Day, the followers of God’s Logos will be the ones to join Him in His City, offering glory and honor to the One Who has been in control this entire time. Our foes, meanwhile, will inherit nothing but vicious demon companions, sulfur, and darkness.
Image: Jan Sobieski, Catholic hero of Vienna.