In the storm of confusion and misinformation which has greeted the question of a papal definition of the dogma of Mary Coredemptix, Mediatrix, and Advocate, St. Maximilian Kolbe’s well known question regarding the Mother of God, “Who are you, O Immaculata?” takes on new poignancy and urgency.
Those who undertake the building of an ideal planetary society will find that it is a great deal less easy to accomplish than they anticipated. That will be their moment of testing. In the best-case scenario, they might come to admit that genuine diversity and a broad spectrum of independent sovereignties is, after all, a healthier system of governing the people of the world—imperfect as always, but the best means of maintaining freedom. Or, driven by a pride that approaches the level of satanic, they may push onward, imposing the new order regardless of the opposition, dismissing whatever valid arguments the resistance may put forward. And if the resistance is strong, a very big stick will be needed. There will be imprisonment for those who resist (or even dissent from) the perceived “common good.” The new rulers will justify the loss of freedoms by promoting everywhere the illusion that the successful realization of the dream is the highest good, worth any sacrifice. (“It is better that one man should die than the entire nation be destroyed,” said Caiaphas) Translated into modern terms: “It is better that nations should die, and some of their peoples die, than our window of opportunity for global control be lost.” Formed by and living by the deformed ethic of “the end justifies the means”, they will consider themselves to be the true visionaries, the saviours of the world. In a phrase, this is secular messianism. (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 676)
The following “documents” present scenarios for the Church as it might become a hundred years from now. The author wishes to point out to the reader that, given the complexity of factors in the present world, many other situations could develop. But the following suggest three which are not beyond the realm of possibility.
The first: The Church is undergoing a world-wide persecution, during which the strengths of the Body of Christ are in full flower under conditions of extreme suffering.
The second: A worst-case scenario, in which the Church, especially in North America and Europe, has been largely compromised, has grown lukewarm and made a false peace with the spiritus mundi.
The third: After a delay of a century, a grace period brought about by the “New Evangelization” of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, the Church has succeeded in bringing the Gospel to the entire world.
Vast numbers of modern men have come to believe the lie that God is dead and that death is triumphing. As a result of the disintegration of their world, they move about creation hardly knowing how to live. Rootless, wounded and terribly lonely. Despairing, they turn to the drug of materialism and pleasure, or the stimulant of violence, in a desperate flight from an intolerable vision of life. So many people no longer believe in a good God, and have amassed an enormous indictment against him, a case compounded by the crimes of the this past century.
In this anthology you will find many such stories, written by men and women who have sought to live the fullness of our Catholic faith, often against great odds, with courage and with love. There is a self-honesty here, a constant humility heard between the lines, which points to the widespread awareness that we have been to some extent deprived of our sacramental “birthright”, if you will, and that nothing less than Truth can heal and restore us. “The Truth spoken in Love” was the constant guidepost for our writers and editorial choices. Thus, the authors you will meet through these pages are people who, like you, know that much is at stake, primarily the spiritual health of our children and the strengthening of our marriages. Moreover, that we live in what John Paul II called a “culture of death” has escaped no one’s notice, for anyone who strives for openness to life, to live according to Natural Law and illumined by sanctifying grace, cannot fail to enter a world of struggle. It is also, it should be noted, a world of great and unexpected joys—joys that are united to the path of sacrifice and trust exemplified by the Holy Family of Nazareth. In short, the “ordinary” life of faithful Catholic marriage and family is one that leads to the Cross—and thus, it is also one of Resurrection.
Time moves with incredible speed as one gets older. It accelerates especially as one’s children advance into adolescence and begin to move off into the world, carrying with them whatever strengths and weaknesses we have imparted. A few years ago our eldest son left for a minor seminary. He fought hard to be allowed to go, and he had an amazing array of arguments to support his desire. The only thing my wife and I had against it was his age. Fourteen is a short number of years to have lived. Is it enough time to outfit a boy to meet the modern world? Has he been sufficiently formed in the hurly-burly of family life to believe in the truths which we are called by God to live, and to know that we shall sometimes fail in the attempt? Has he learned mercy as well as justice? Truth as well as compassion? I stayed up many nights talking the matter over with my wife, praying, thinking — and worrying, as fathers are prone to do in these times.
But they have a curious way of being forgotten until you wake in the middle of the night with a throbbing, swollen finger, infected and useless. Just a tiny thing, but it can ruin a whole night and the following day into the bargain.
I live in Canada, which for half of the year is a cold country. For most of our thirty years of marriage my wife and I have had a large image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in a central place in our home, and her face has been a constant source of warmth and consolation to us. It is a mystery to me how her face seems to change from day to day. Some days she is smiling, on other days there is a gentle grief in her eyes, on still others we feel a wave of quiet, steady love coming from her. Nothing dramatic, but always there. We see her as the Mother of our family. We know she is also the Mother of the Americas. She is also the mother of all peoples, the mother of all mankind, and at Guadalupe she is revealed as the Woman of Revelation, the one who will crush the serpent with her heel.
When she appeared in the very epicenter of the Aztec cult of death, the new world’s heart of darkness, she identified herself in these words: “I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things, who is master of heaven and earth. . . . I am your merciful Mother, the mother of all who live united in this land, of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who have confidence in me.”