Are you afraid, as this darkness again covers the earth? I am and, what’s more, I believe it would be delusional not to be.
When I hear the holy people admonish others not to be afraid since fear only indicates faith lacking, I think of those stricken with cancer right now, or unemployed, or just starting out in life, and I wonder what they would think of such virtue-signaling advice.
I think of a young mother looking down at her newborn, and whispering in the silence of the nursery: “God, what am I going to do? What’s going to happen to him? How do I protect him from what’s coming?” The Bible itself anticipates her fear: And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! (Matthew 24)
The young mother needs a bit more, I’m afraid, than just: “Put it to prayer, kid! Fear means you lack faith.” No, it doesn't and ... no, she doesn't!
Instead, maybe we should remind her that at the foot of the Cross, all the “tough guys” who’d bragged about how loyal they’d be, were missing in action. Apart from John, the only ones there were mothers and young women. They were afraid but they went to Calvary anyway, and that’s why we’re still telling their story to our children. Magdalene was still afraid Easter morning, even though she was first to arrive at Christ's empty tomb.
This is a sneak peek of The Remnant Newspaper's exclusive column: The Editor's Desk
Don't miss Michael Matt's biweekly articles! Subscribe Today
Heroes are not fearless. And, as I see it, Christian heroism was always just one step ahead of crippling fear.
Fear plays a significant role in Salvation history. When Mary and Joseph fled into Egypt, for example, there was fear in their hearts, else why would the inspired writer use the word “fled”? One doesn’t "take flight" from that of which he is unafraid.
When Mary lost track of the Child Jesus and rushed back to the temple to find him, there was anxiety in her heart. And she was the Mother of God!
The Apostles walked with Our Lord, talked to Him, ate with Him, witnessed His miracles. But when He was arrested, they all fled. And from what we read in Holy Scripture, they remained in fear until Pentecost—fifty days after the Resurrection.
The good shepherds of Bethlehem were afraid of Angels from heaven, for heaven’s sake. Fear is not evil. Without fear, what looks like heroism in the face of death could just as well be madness.
So, when they tell me not to be afraid at a time like this, I’m not entirely convinced they’re operating with strong Biblical precedent.
No persecution on earth is as torturous as life after apostasy, life after abandoning our mother in chains. It is out of love, not duty, that we stand with her now.
Fear of the Lord is one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost. St. Thomas Aquinas describes it as a “filial fear” of separating oneself from God, like that of a child afraid of offending his father. The fear of God prevents us from defying God’s law in the face of Satan’s, which is: Do as thou wilt shall become the whole of the law.
Fear of Hell is enough to save the immortal soul since imperfect Contrition suffices where the Sacrament of Confession is concerned.
In the last days, “even the elect will be deceived if it were possible”. At the very least, we should fear that!
No, if you fear the rise of a New World Order you are not alone; there are at least two of us in that boat. I have a nine-year-old son. What happens to him if the antichristians come for me? Even popes flee for fear of those wolves.
If Peter’s faith can fail him—and Christ prayed it would not (meaning it is possible)—then surely mine can fail me and yours can fail you.
Yes, I’m afraid! And I believe it is better to own the fear rather than pretend it doesn’t exist. So how do we proceed?
Here is where our courage finds its source, for ours is not a lost cause.
Just as a lack of fear in the face of death may indicate madness, so too might resistance in the face of a lost cause. And here is where our courage finds its source, for ours is not a lost cause. And because it is not a lost cause, we are still holding up as heroes the little children who 2000 years ago feared apostasy more than the prospect of becoming lion food.
Because ours is not a lost case, we witness the whole world rising up again against the One Who was crucified millennia ago. They still fear Him. Why? Because He rises from the dead again and again and again … and they know it.
And now the mob is screaming for Barabbas again. And now the Mystical Body of Christ stands scourged and crowned again. What will we do? Are we willing to die on the hill of Calvary if it comes to that?
How many followers of Christ must have witnessed His crucifixion from a safe distance in the shadows of Calvary? Hundreds? Thousands? The streets of Jerusalem had been teeming with Christians on Palm Sunday. Where were they on Good Friday?
They had heard Him speak. They had seen His miracles. They believed He was the Son of God. And when He hung from the Cross, some of them no doubt were saying to their friends: “You just wait. He’s going to call down His angels at any moment. He’ll not die this day!”
But then He died. And they abandoned Him because they were scandalized by the Cross. How many of us will abandon the Church today for the same reason? Because here we are once again, hiding in the shadows of Calvary, afraid that if the Church is crucified well then maybe we've been had -- the classic whisperings of demons in the ears of the just.
Yes, Christ's Mystical Body hangs on the Cross again. And the very sincere question is this: What are we going to do? Abandon Him? Leave the Church?
But as darkness covers the earth again, let’s remember this: We have the luxury of a precedent of Biblical proportion. We know how this ends. We have no excuse to abandon Christ.
Here at The Remnant, we speak out day after day against the shepherds who have fled for fear of the wolves. We cry out to them, begging their return. We admonish them for their cowardice. But this is because we are the sheep, and we know the awful reality of being without shepherds.
Still, ours is not a call to leave the Church and it never can be, and it never will be. Our fathers in the Faith watched Christ die on the Cross, and then went on to build his Church ... not abandon it.
In the next few years, we may see something similarly awful where Mother Church is concerned. But as darkness covers the earth again, let’s remember this: We have the luxury of a precedent of Biblical proportion. We know how this ends. We have no excuse to abandon Christ.
Yes, Francis is denying Him, but so too did Peter 2000 years ago. Yes, the bishops are betraying Him, but so too did Bishop Judas. Yes, the bishops and priests are in hiding, but so too were the first bishops and priests then, when all but one of them took off for the tall grass.
We cannot abandon the Catholic Church because of one bad pope or one thousand bad bishops.
Where would we go? We may be scandalized by her now, but this was not always the case.
She is our mother, and she gave us everything we are and everything we’ll ever be. She has given us the chance to spend eternity with God.
It is out of love, not duty, that we stand with [the Church] now. It is out of love, not duty, that we resist Peter to his face. It is out of love, not duty, that we must recognize her defense as the greatest honor of our lives.
She has been our comfort a hundred thousand times over the course of our lives. And when her doors were closed to us last Easter, we discovered what it means to be abandoned by her, to become Catholic orphans, to be without Mother Church. That was the worst part of the nightmare, because we couldn't help but to ask: "What will happen to us now. What happens on our deathbeds if the Church is not there?"
We remembered how she'd dispensed salvific hope and blessing and forgiveness at the deathbeds of our parents. We know what she means to us in life and in death.
We remembered how she'd transformed our sons and daughters into children of God at the founts of holy Baptism.
The pandemic was nothing compared to the "social distancing" from Mother Church, who'd formed us, loved us, embraced us, and took us by the hand when we were children and led us into the Light. Isolation from her was intolerable, and so we took to the parking lots to be as close to her as possible.
And now that it is so clear to see that she has fallen into enemy hands, been thrown into prison, threatened with crucifixion -- will we leave her? Not on your life!
Surely, no persecution on earth could be more torturous to the men of Christendom than life after having abandoned our mother in chains. It is out of love, then -- not duty -- that we stand with her now, that we resist Peter to his face, that we recognize our small part in her defense as the greatest honor of our lives.
I know we’re afraid, friends, but we must fight for her! The enemies of everything we hold scared must be made to understand that we will never abandon the Church and that they will always have to contend with us, her loyal sons and daughters, the sinful yet faithful soldiers of Her son.
From his prison cell and awaiting execution by the Nazis, Franz Jägerstätter, who was beheaded in 1943 for refusing to swear an oath of fidelity to Adolf Hitler, put it this way: “If a person were to possess all of this world’s wisdom and be able to claim half of the earth as his own, he would still be less fortunate than a poor person who can claim nothing in this world as his own other than a deep Catholic faith. I would not exchange my small dirty cell for a king’s palace if I were required to give up even a small part of my Catholic faith.”
If we can earn the right to be called defenders of Holy Mother Church then it will be our blood that will water the flowers of Christianity that, in a few years, will bloom in the ashes of the New World Order.
Keep the Faith, friends, and let the fear of God transform you and your families into the army of God that will restore the world at the moment and the time when He sees fit.
Until then, we will never leave the Bride of Christ, we will never cut and run, we will be with her always, until we die or until the world itself is no more.