Friday, December 30, 2011

Lord of the World

This book, which Fr. McCloskey reviews HERE, has been in my queu for a few months. I am really looking forward to reading it. I've actually been surprised by the many manifestations of the antichrist in the evolution of disordered thought. I find myself wondering at times if something I am hearing or seeing could be a new twist or if it us something I am just now discovering that has been there all along. I could use a brush up.

Lord of the World is a novel about the Antichrist, who will tempt Christians to apostasy before Christ’s Second Coming. It describes the final battle in the supernatural war for souls that has been fought continually both in heaven and on earth from the time of the Fall and will conclude with the general judgment; thereupon will follow the creation of a new heaven and a new earth

Earlier this week after sending The Kisses of the Enemy are Profuse to a correspondent, I had an epiphany when the response came back.

Hello Carol,

I am moved by your search for safety in the Faith. My heart aches for you and the pain you may have endured in this life. I hear in your piece a struggle with passion and a discipline and commitment to a virtuous life. You are a good person, a deeply caring person. That is quite admirable and attractive. I trust you because you are steadfast in your love of being and your respect for the Christ.

I am quite moved by this piece and by you.

I read his sincere reply, but truth be told, even after I read his response several times, it was still a brainteaser.

Safety in the Faith. He read my piece and his heart ached for pain I may have endured in this life? I am steadfast in my love of being? My respect for the Christ?

It's almost as if he sees life as a journey of steadfast love and masturbation of the self. Whatever floats your boat. Moved with pity for the people who meet boogeymen on the way to finding themselves and run to the safety of the delusion of religion, he sees the discipline and commitment to living a virtuous life, but doesn't have the faintest idea the purpose or Beneficiary of that commitment.

I thought to myself, "Where have I read this before?"

Oh's Homer's Odyssey!!

Seriously, when I'm puzzled by a comment on something I've written, I try to figure out a couple of things before I respond.

1. What the heck did I write? (and if it is syntax or error, correct it)
2. What's the source of the intellectual/spiritual poverty.

In previous conversations with this correspondent, he embraces divinity as the worship of human deeds, including sin. The Catholic Church just doesn't get the grand scheme of the Christ: Jumping your neighbor's bones on the way home from serving soup at the homeless shelter is loving your neighbor as yourself. Baiting your neighbor into satisfying to your own sinful desires is the fulfillment of Christ's maxims about love and therefore leads to salvation. The god he knows doesn't have a litmus test on good and evil, sin and virtue.

People who hold these convictions will quickly contradict themselves when you try to get clarification about why god doesn't have a litmus test on stealing,racial profiling, beating, rape, murder, waterboarding, war...but I digress!

Most of my readers are no doubt more sophisticated in seeing these things, but I really wanted to understand, because I have experienced it before and wanted to know how we respond as Catholic evangelists.

This gentleman has helped me to see something I never saw before. I finally see what's missing.
Real love.

Genuine love.

I doubt my answer really reflected the precious gift of Christ's love. There are no mortal words that could ever do it justice - but this was my reply:

It wouldn't be fair to the blessings God has brought to my life not to tell you that though I have had death, challenge and other storms through my life -- it has been actually, an extraordinarily happy one. My passion for Christ came totally from conversion - from rebellion to the truths of Christ Church to learning I had been hurting Christ and opening myself to the truth, the Sacraments, the Saints. I can't think of a time in my life that I would define as 'pain'. Maybe because "pain" is a word people use when they are trying to describe 'despair' - something I have have seldom - if ever - surrendered to.

My struggle to live a virtuous life is totally borne out of love. Like one would love a lover and not want to hurt them. Like one loves their children and devotes their whole being to not hurting them. So is my devotion to Christ - even more so - driven by deeply loving Him, wanting to offer Him my best.

As one would sacrifice personal things we want to give to our children because of love, this is what drives people who are living to purify themselves by staying away from sin. It is the highest fiat one can give to Christ - to reserve His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in an immortal soul that is pure and full of sanctifying grace.

Fr. McCloskey quote from Fr. Newman on the spirit of the antichrist says it much better than I:

An attempt to supersede Religion altogether, as far as it is external or objective, as far as it is displayed in ordinances, or can be expressed by written words — to confine it to our inward feelings, and thus, considering how variable, how evanescent our feelings are, an attempt, in fact, to destroy Religion? Surely, there is at this day a confederacy of evil, marshalling its hosts from all parts of the world, organizing itself, taking its measures, enclosing the Church of Christ as in a net, and preparing the way for a general Apostasy from it. Whether this very Apostasy is to give birth to Antichrist, or whether he is still to be delayed, as he has already been delayed so long, we cannot know; but at any rate this Apostasy, and all its tokens and instruments, are of the Evil One, and savior of death… He promises you illumination, he offers you knowledge, science, philosophy, enlargement of mind. He scoffs at times gone by; he scoffs at every institution that reveres them. He prompts you what to say, and then listens to you, and praises you, and encourages you. He bids you mount aloft. He shows you how to become as gods. Then he laughs and jokes with you, and gets intimate with you; he takes your hand, and gets his fingers between yours, and grasps them, and then you are his.

Yeah. That's what I'm talking about.

When you want it the most, there's no easy way out.
When you're ready to go and you're heart's left in doubt
Don't give up on your Faith,
Love comes to those who believe it
And that's the way it is.

Bonum Novum Annum tibi exopto et beatam solemnitatem Circumcisionis et
Mariae Dei Genetricis! (I wish you a Happy New Year and blessed feast
of the solemnity of the Circumcision and of Mary the Mother of God)
Tip of the hat to Jack O!


breathnach said...


Kudos for putting the "Lord of the World" at the top of your reading list. It's a magnificent and prescient novel.

Another "end times" piece that is worth reading is Graham Greene's short story "The Last Word". It is a disturbing (but necessary) imaginative reflection on the persecution that lies ahead for the Church.

Greene was a willful sort, who struggled with the Faith and was often on the cusp of heresy. Still his integrity never allowed him to water Faith down into a prop to justify his admitted sinfulness.

Greene had a fascination with stigmata and other extraordinary manifestations of the supernatural. When Greene heard about Padre Pio in the 40s , he went to observes him saying Mass at his monastery in Italy. However, he would not take the opportunity to meet personally with Padre Pio because he said, he knew he would have to change his life if he did. Upon his death he was still carrying the same picture of Padre Pio in his wallet from the 1940s.

I contrast this willfulness, which calls sin "sin" with the self justification and self satisfaction of so many catholic lite "catholycs" like your correspondent. I truly believe that self satisfied "faith" is a much greater obstruction to finding God than the willfulness of a Greene. The one admits there is something outside of the self, the other is lost within a phantasmagoria of the self.

Judy said...

First Big Clue that something is off: " THE Christ"
New Age

Carol said...

Breathnach - thanks for the recommendation. I'll get it on my list! I think it will all be too familiar - haha.

Judy, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on folks who speak about Christ with a THE in front of His Holy Name. I understand the syntax as it relates to theology but it has always struck me as weird when people can't talk about Him in the First person grammatically.

The Carol. :)

Judy said...

The Vatican website is The Resource on this topic: