THE Age of Ministries is ending… but something more beautiful is going to arise. It will be a new beginning, a restored Church in a new era. In fact, it was this present pope who hinted at this very thing while he was still a cardinal:
The Church will be reduced in its dimensions, it will be necessary to start again. However, from this test a Church would emerge that will have been strengthened by the process of simplification it experienced, by its renewed capacity to look within itself… the Church will be numerically reduced. —Cardinal Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), God and the World, 2001; interview with Peter Seewald
He was echoing, perhaps, Pope Paul VI, who made the startling admission that, because of the growing apostasy in the Church, there will likely be left a mere remnant of the faithful:
There is a great uneasiness, at this time, in the world and in the Church, and that which is in question is the faith… I sometimes read the Gospel passage of the end times and I attest that, at this time, some signs of this end are emerging… What strikes me, when I think of the Catholic world, is that within Catholicism, there seems sometimes to pre-dominate a non-Catholic way of thinking, and it can happen that tomorrow this non-Catholic thought within Catholicism, will tomorrow become the stronger. But it will never represent the thought of the Church. It is necessary that a small flock subsist, no matter how small it might be. —POPE PAUL VI, The Secret Paul VI, Jean Guitton, p. 152-153, Reference (7), p. ix.
It is the divine protection of this little flock in times to come that concerns this present writing…
A Purified Flock
The Church must follow Jesus into her own Passion. It is through the Cross that she is purified. Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it cannot bear fruit, He said.1 Although the Church experiences this crucifixion continually, each minute of each day in her individual members, the time must come when, corporately, she will face a "final confrontation":
Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers… The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, 675, 677
This corporate purification involves, as it did for Jesus, a Great Persecution that is already here and coming.2 But the Lord will not abandon us. All those who remain faithful to Him will be protected in the Refuge of His Mercy. But there will also be for some—who are not called to martyrdom—physical refuges: geographical places where God will protect His people, lest the Church be entirely extinguished.3
Because you have kept my message of endurance, I will keep you safe in the time of trial that is going to come to the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. (Rev 3:10)
The Parallel Communities
After the Illumination, the world will be reeling from the fulfillment of the Seven Seals of Revolution… those hurricane winds of change4 that are already beginning to blow and that will bring about a whirlwind of mass chaos and confusion:
When they sow the wind, they shall reap the whirlwind… (Hos 8:7)
In September of 2006, I wrote about a "word" the Lord has never ceased repeating in my heart, that there are soon going to be "exiles" all over the world:
New Orleans was a microcosm of what is to come… you are now in the calm before the storm.
When Hurricane Katrina struck, many residents found themselves in exile. It did not matter if you were rich or poor, white or black, clergy or layman5 —if you were in its path, you had to move now. There is a global "shake up" coming, and it will produce in certain regions exiles. —from Trumpets of Warning – Part IV
These "winds" will also bring about that great moment of mercy—The Eye of the Storm—when souls will see themselves the way that God sees them in a moment. Thus, two things will emerge from the Illumination: many people searching for God—and many continuing to search for food and shelter.
Around that same time in 2006, I gathered with a small group of missionaries in the upper room of a small chapel in the mountains of Western Canada. There, before the Blessed Sacrament, we consecrated ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In the powerful silence of that moment, I received a rare, flowing, and lucid interior "vision" that I want to share here again for your discernment and prayer:
I saw that, in the midst of the virtual collapse of society due to cataclysmic events, a "world leader" would present an impeccable solution to the economic chaos. This solution would seemingly cure at the same time economic strains, as well as the deep social need of society, that is, the need for community. [I immediately perceived that technology and the rapid pace of life have created an environment of isolation and loneliness—perfect soil for a new concept of community to emerge.] In essence, I saw what would be "parallel communities" to the Christian communities. The Christian communities would already have been established through "the illumination" or "warning" or perhaps sooner [they would be cemented by the supernatural graces of the Holy Spirit, and protected beneath the mantle of the Blessed Mother.]
The "parallel communities," on the other hand, would reflect many of the values of the Christian communities—fair sharing of resources, a form of spirituality and prayer, like-mindedness, and social interaction made possible (or forced into being) by the preceding purifications, which would compel people to draw together. The difference would be this: the parallel communities would be based on a new religious idealism, built on the footings of moral relativism and structured by New Age and Gnostic philosophies. AND, these communities would also have food and the means for comfortable survival.
The temptation for Christians to cross-over will be so great, that we will see families split, fathers turned against sons, daughters against mothers, families against families (cf. Mark 13:12). Many will be deceived because the new communities will contain many of the ideals of Christian community (cf. Acts 2:44-45), and yet, they will be empty, godless structures, shining in a false light, held together by fear more than by love, and fortified with easy access to the necessities of life. People will be seduced by the ideal—but swallowed by the falsehood. [Such wlll be the tactic of Satan, to mirror true Christian communities, and in this sense, create an anti-church].
As hunger and incrimination escalate, people will face a choice: they can continue to live in insecurity (humanly speaking) trusting in the Lord alone, or they can choose to eat well in a welcoming and seemingly secure community. [Perhaps a certain "mark" will be required to belong to these communities—an obvious but plausible speculation (cf. Rev 13:16-17)].
Those who refuse these parallel communities will be deemed not only outcasts, but obstacles to what many will be deceived into believing is the "enlightenment" of human existence— the solution to a humanity in crisis and gone astray. [And here again, terrorism is another key element of the enemy’s present plan. These new communities will appease the terrorists through this new world religion thereby bringing about a false "peace and security", and hence, Christian’s will become the "new terrorists" because they oppose the "peace" established by the world leader.]
Even though people will have by now heard the revelation in Scripture regarding the dangers of a coming world religion (cf. Rev 13:13-15), the deception will be so convincing that many will believe Catholicism to be that "evil" world religion instead. Putting to death Christians will become a justifiable "act of self-defence" in the name of "peace and security".
Confusion will be present; all will be tested; but the faithful remnant will prevail. —from The Trumpets of Warning – Part V
Since that "vision," the Lord seems to have confirmed many of its elements, such as Pope Benedict’s comments on the dark-side of technology6 and moral relativism;7 the Vatican’s release of a document on the new age and a coming world religion;8 and the collapsing of the economy that began in 2008.9 Most recently, the Holy Father has compared the collapse of our civilization to that of the Roman Empire, and stated that, ‘without the guidance of charity in truth’, the world risks ‘enslavement and manipulation’ to a ‘global force.’10
Essentially, the time of the refuges would be at a time of general lawlessness. If there are no longer moral absolutes, which seems already to be the case, have we not already entered into that period of lawlessness?11
Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard, the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Is 5:20). —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Evangelium Vitae, “The Gospel of Life”, n. 58
Early Church Father, Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius (250-317 A.D), foresaw with great precision what this future period would look like… when the faithful would eventually flee to sacred refuges:
That will be the time in which righteousness shall be cast out, and innocence be hated; in which the wicked shall prey upon the good as enemies; neither law, nor order, nor military discipline shall be preserved… all things shall be confounded and mixed together against right, and against the laws of nature . Thus the earth shall be laid waste, as though by one common robbery. When these things shall so happen, then the righteous and the followers of truth shall separate themselves from the wicked, and flee into solitudes. —Lactantius, The Divine Institutes, Book VII, Ch. 17
After the Illumination of Conscience, there will form two camps: those who accept the grace to repent, thus passing through the door of Mercy… and those who will harden their hearts in their sin, and thus, be destined to pass through the door of Justice.12 The latter will form that camp of the wicked who, for "forty-two months", will be "allowed to wage war against the holy ones and conquer them" (Rev 13:7). That is, persecute, but not destroy.13
WHERE ARE THESE REFUGES…?
"How will I get there?"
"How will I know where to go?"
"When will I know when to flee…?"
These are questions people have asked me on occasion. My answer is this…
In Psalm 119 it says,
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)
The Lord’s will for our lives is like a lamp that casts light a few feet ahead—not a high-beam headlight that lets one see way off into the distance. How, where, and when are turns in the road that perhaps neither you nor I can see ahead at this time. But if you are following God’s will for your life, moment by moment, along the path of the duty of the moment,14 one thing is for certain: the path will lead you to that crossroad. The light of wisdom will show you how, where, and when to go. You can’t miss the turn if you’re on the right path!
The key is that the lamp of your heart contains the Word, who is Jesus. That He is living and dwelling within you; that your heart is filled with the oil of faith; that you are listening to His voice, and obeying it. Then you will have the necessary light for the approaching time when the Sun of Truth will be completely obscured,15 and the only light will be that burning flame of Wisdom which is in your heart.16 Such a soul will be ready when, in the midst of the coming darkness, the midnight of Antichrist strikes, and the Master arrives to show the way that leads, ultimately, to the Wedding Feast of the Kingdom.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’… (Matt 25:1-9)
The wise will find refuge in the Lord, while the foolish will seek the false light of the parallel communities. To these who have ignored the mercy of God through the Illumination and a myriad of other signs of His love and presence in their lives, God will (with great sorrow) let them follow their chosen course: to fill their lamps with a false oil…17
…God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie, that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned. (2 Thess 2:11-12)
I will say it again, the safest place to be is in God’s will. So if God wants you in downtown Manhattan or the suburbs of Baghdad, then that’s the safest place to be. But there may come a time in this Great Storm when God calls you to leave everything and "Go." Will it be your guardian angel who wakes you? Will it be simple common sense? Or will the Blessed Mother or a saint speak to your heart?
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, [the magi] departed for their country by another way. When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. (Matt 2:12-14)
Rest on the Flight into Egypt, Luc Olivier Merson, French, 1846–1920
…the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where, far from the serpent, she was taken care of for a year, two years, and a half-year.(Rev 12:14)
The king sent messengers… to prohibit holocausts, sacrifices, and libations in the sanctuary, to profane the sabbaths and feast days, to desecrate the sanctuary and the sacred ministers, to build pagan altars and temples and shrines… Whoever refused to act according to the command of the king should be put to death… Many of the people, those who abandoned the law, joined them and committed evil in the land. Israel was driven into hiding, wherever places of refuge could be found.(1 Macc 1:44-53)
Bear the standard to Zion, seek refuge without delay! Evil I bring from the north, and great destruction. (Jeremiah 4:6)
So, yes, there are going to be physical refuges for God’s people. Some of these are already being prepared…
The True Refuges…
Yet, these are temporal places, that in and of themselves, cannot save the soul. The only refuge that is truly safe is the Heart of Jesus. What the Blessed Mother is doing today is leading souls to this Safe Harbour of Mercy by drawing them into Her own Immaculate Heart, and sailing them safely to her Son. Such souls who have come to abandon themselves to God in these days are the ones who carry that spark, that light which will bring hope to the world in new communities of light… true refuges that even now have their beginnings, and will continue into the Era of Peace to build a new civilization of love…
These communities are a sign of vitality within the Church, an instrument of formation and evangelization, and a solid starting point for a new society based on a ‘civilization of love’… They are thus cause for great hope for the life of the Church. —JOHN PAUL II, The Mission of the Redeemer, n. 51
Make yourselves builders of communities in which, after the example of the first community, the Word lives and acts —JOHN PAULl II, Address to Focolare Movement, Rome, May 3, 1986
Pray Psalm 91:
The Great Prayer of both Physical and Spiritual Refuge