A Spiritual War Primer

Originally published in The Catholic Faith magazine, July-August 1996
Originally published in The Catholic Faith magazine, Mar-Apr 1998

The sudden decline of Catholic influence on public life during the past half century has led some to conclude that the Church will succumb to the modern liberal worldview. In fact, Holy Mother Church is going through a healing process and will emerge brighter and more beautiful than she has ever been.

Rabbi Yeshua’s public revelation is the deposit of faith that He and His apostles personally taught; we must accept all of it to be saved. Private revelation is not part of the deposit of faith and does not improve or complete Rabbi Yeshua’s public revelation. We do not have to accept any particular private revelation, or even any at all, to be saved. However, private revelations approved by the Church help us to live more fully Christ’s public revelation. As we watch the signs of the times, private revelations of angels and Marian apparitions illuminate a vast battlefield largely hidden from our sight.

Reveille

Every Catholic needs to understand this: We are part of God’s forces in an epic war against Satan’s forces. Rabbi Yeshua said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” Mt 10:34. We entered the war zone when we were conceived, and will leave it when our immortal soul departs for its eternal home.

Baptism as a Catholic signs us up in Christ’s army. Many, however, are summer soldiers. Satan entices some Catholics to go through the motions and get their ticket punched — Mass once a week, Penance once in a while, routine prayer every night — without actually seeking a true and deeply personal relationship with Rabbi Yeshua. These Catholics may be stunned when they meet their Maker:

“Not every one who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name,’ and do many mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers’” Mt 7:21-23.

True soldiers volunteer for the front lines where the battle ribbons and the glory are. Rabbi Yeshua. calls his covenant family to total commitment: “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me” Mt 10:37. We earn our front-line assignments by asking Rabbi Yeshua to put us where He has prepared us to serve, and by firmly resolving to follow him anywhere.

Angels

“Angel” comes from the Latin angelus, “messenger.” God created the angels at the beginning of time. Rabbi Yeshua is the center of the angelic world; they are his angels. He told us, “In heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” Mt 18:10. Angels have the beatific vision – they see God as He really is.

Angels are above man. God is uncreated; He had no beginning and always has been present, and He is pure spirit. Angels are creatures – they were created – but they are still pure spirit. Man is a hybrid creature, with an immortal soul that is pure spirit and a mortal body that is flesh. Animals are lower still; they have mortal bodies but no immortal souls.

Rabbi Yeshua said at Gethsemane, “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and He will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” Mt 26:53 Holy Scripture describes many instances of angels’ appearance and activity. Catholic theologians whose private revelations have been accepted at the highest Church levels over the passing centuries have added a great deal of color and perspective. Scripture identifies nine choirs of angels: seraphim Is 6:2, cherubim Gen 3:24, thrones Col 1:16, dominions, virtues Eph 1:21, powers, principalities Rom 8:38, archangels Jude 1:9, and angels Mt 28:2.

Sometimes, angel is used to describe all of the angelic choirs Ps 148:2. Dionysius, in The Celestial Hierarchy, taught that these three great ranks of angels are the supreme hierarchy, which consists of the seraphs, cherubs, and thrones, the middle hierarchy which consists of the dominions, virtues, and powers, and the lower hierarchy, which consists of the principalities, archangels, and angels.

Angels are real spiritual persons. Far more alert, aware, and intelligent than we are, at a single glance they apprehend the whole field open to their perception. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that angels are finite beings, and so cannot perform miracles. A miracle is something done by God outside the order of all created nature. God of course can work miracles through angels. However, angels’ natural power and swiftness can accomplish what looks like miracles to us.

Angels, being pure spirit, are ordinarily invisible to us. If we could see them, angels might appear as radiant beings of subtle ethereal light. When they want us to see them, angels can appear to us in human form. If you have ever met a person who was transcendently gentle, helpful, and always seemed to understand more than anyone ever could, there is some chance that may have been an angel appearing as a human.

God created the angels to know, love, and serve him. Since the angels were to love God, it was essential that he give them free will. We see that love is possible only as a free and voluntary act when we reflect that love imposed by force is impossible. As God tests each of us during our lifetime, so he tested the angels. Many Catholics believe that God told the angels that he would empty himself of the open manifestation of his divinity and become incarnate on earth, and that he would crown his earthly mother Mary Queen of Heaven, over all the angels and saints.

War in Heaven

Many Catholics hold also that Lucifer was a cherub whose name means “light-bearer,” so closely focused on God that he had more preternatural knowledge and power than any other angel. When Lucifer heard that Jesus would live among men for a time and seat a humble woman above the highest angels, his defiant cry, Non Serviam! (”I will not serve!”) rang through heaven. “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world — he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him” Rev 12:7-9.

When Lucifer was defeated and fell in flames, God changed his name to Satan, which comes from the Hebrew satan, adversary, one who plots against or accuses another. Rabbi Yeshua said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” Lk 10:18.

Rabbi Yeshua referred to Satan as “the ruler of this world” Jn 12:31. Satan continued his rebellion on earth by trying to destroy us all: “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus” Rev 12:17. Western civilization, with its emphasis on tolerance, does not prepare us for these fallen angels’ dark smoldering hatred. Satan and his demons, fallen angels, presumably of all choirs, live among us, prowling the world, hungry for souls. The person who says, “Look, I just want to be an ordinary Catholic, go to church every Sunday, leave my kids at the day care center, and not cause trouble,” thinks Satan will accept, “Live and let live.” Konrad Adenauer was closer to the truth: “An infallible method of conciliating a tiger is to allow oneself to be devoured.” Kefa wrote, “Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” 1 Pet 5:8. Satan and his demons daily lure unsuspecting men and women to their spiritual death.

The Woman

Who is this woman that so angered Satan? We met her when God punished Adam and Eve for their disobedience. God told Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and hers” Gen 3:15. The ancient rabbis believed this woman would give birth to the Messiah. Rabbi Yeshua announced her identity during the wedding feast at Cana, when He told His Blessed Mother, “O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come” Jn 2:4. He again identified His Blessed Mother from the cross: “Woman, behold your son” Jn 19:26. Now look again at the Revelation: “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus” Rev 12:17. The beginning and end of Holy Scripture both tell of a woman so extraordinary that she need only be referred to as the woman, who with her offspring will be at war with Satan until the end of time.

The Pope and the Church Militant

Rabbi Yeshua is the head of the Catholic Church. Rabbi Yeshua, the “good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep,” Jn 10:11, made Kefa his vicar with the words, “Feed my sheep” Jn 21:17. Rabbi Yeshua instructed that this authority be passed from the apostles to their successors, and so on in a continuing apostolic succession, when He said, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth …” Jn 16:12-13. He commanded that his Church speak to all the world with one voice, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations …” Mt 28:19. The Holy Spirit, after descending on the apostles, performed a miracle to highlight the Church’s worldwide mission. Kefa and the other apostles spoke in their own language to the devout Jews of Jerusalem who had come from every nation under heaven, yet each Jew heard in his own native language. “And they were amazed and wondered, saying, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?” Acts 2:7-8. The Church called itself in Greek, kata (according to) holos (the whole), Catholic, the Church of the whole truth, the Church that speaks with one voice to the whole world. Rabbi Yeshua told His apostles, and by extension their successors, “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me” Mt 10:40.

Each pope is Rabbi Kefa’s successor, Rabbi Yeshua’s vicar on earth. Each pope was ordained by a bishop who was ordained by a bishop who was ordained by a bishop who was personally ordained by Rabbi Yeshua during the Last Supper. The pope, when teaching on faith and morals, is directly guided by Rabbi Yeshua through the Holy Spirit. The powerful evidence is that we have had 266 popes over the past two thousand years; not one has ever reversed a predecessor on faith and morals.

The pope, head of the Church Militant, passes what he receives to Holy Mother Church, which through her Magisterium distributes Rabbi Yeshua’s teachings worldwide. Rabbi Yeshua promised to protect the truth taught by His Church, “I am with you always, to the close of the age” Mt 28:20.

We participate in Rabbi Yeshua’s protection only by complete obedience to the Magisterium. Satan’s intellect is far superior to ours; he can easily deceive us, as he did our first parents. The Church exists to shepherd us in this life through the hailstorm of temptations that daily try our souls, all the way to the cross and salvation.

The Age of Fátima

Our Divine Shepherd told us, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only” Mt 24:36. He did tell us what to look for. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray” Mt 24:9.

We are living in an extraordinary time. The sudden disappearance of Christianity from public life, and its replacement by leviathan government, is a dramatic sign. In the old urban neighborhoods everywhere in the United States stand magnificent old churches, glorifying God in heaven with their vast height, built to last a thousand years by the hands of people who did not have two nickels to rub together. We have reversed their priorities; now Catholics in the United States give about 2 percent of their income to the Church and 40 percent to government.

Other signs abound. During most of the past two thousand years, the Blessed Virgin Mary’s messages, all of which are private revelation, addressed the particular community in which she appeared. Then, in the dawn of the nineteenth century, when intellectuals increasingly confined their thoughts to the world of space and time, our Blessed Mother began to address the entire world. In 1830, she appeared to St. Catherine Labouré at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Paris. She told Catherine, “The times are evil. Misfortunes will fall upon France. The throne will be overturned. The entire world will be overcome by evil of all kinds.”

Sixteen years later, at La Salette, France, our Blessed Mother appeared to Mélanie Mathieu, age 14, and Maximin Giraud, age 11. She had much to tell them, including this: “All of the civil governments will have one and the same plan, which will be to abolish and do away with every religious principle, to make way for materialism, atheism, occultism, and vice of all kinds.” Our Blessed Mother told Mélanie, “In the year 1864, Lucifer, together with a large number of demons, will be unloosed from hell. They will put an end to faith little by little … Evil books will be abundant on earth and the spirits of darkness will spread everywhere a universal slackening in all that concerns the service of God. They will have great power over nature; there will be churches built to serve these spirits.”

In 1858 the false religion of Spiritualism, in which mediums communicate through séances with the dead, was widespread. Our Blessed Mother appeared at Lourdes, France, to a young girl named Bernadette Soubirous. Our Blessed Mother identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, a doctrine that had not yet become well known, so that her confessor would realize that this untutored young girl could not possibly have made up her story. Our Blessed Mother urged, “Penitence! Pray for sinners.” Her message at Lourdes was not the spoken word but a miraculous spring of healing water that reminds all mankind of the living water that her Son offers to us all. Today, despite the Church’s extremely rigorous standards for proof of miracles, there are 69 proven cases of miraculous healing available for analysis at the Lourdes Permanent Medical Bureau.

On October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII experienced a terrifying private revelation. Consulting with his cardinals after Mass in a Vatican chapel, Pope Leo XIII paused at the foot at the altar. Suddenly he became pale and catatonic. After a short interval, however, he resumed normal behavior and said, “Oh, what a horrible picture I was permitted to see! The pope told his cardinals that he had seen demons and heard Satan’s guttural voice boasting to God that he could destroy the Church and drag the world to hell if he were given sufficient time and power. Satan had asked God for a century of enhanced influence and it was granted. The pope further understood that if Satan did not destroy the Church during the twentieth century he would suffer a crushing defeat. The pope hurried to his office and wrote this prayer:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and the other evil spirits who prowl about the world for the ruin of souls.
Pope Leo XIII ordered that this prayer follow every Mass, worldwide. After Vatican II the St. Michael Prayer was no longer required, but it is still appropriate. Devout Catholics may encourage their priests to once again offer the St. Michael Prayer after every Mass. In any case, every Catholic in the world should offer it with all his heart every single day for the rest of his life.

As Satan continued to plunge the world into darkness, our Blessed Mother on May 13, 1917, made the first of six appearances to Lucia dos Santos, age 10 and to Francisco and Jacinta Marto, aged 9 and 7, at the Cova da Iria near Fátima, Portugal. “If what I say is done,” she told the children, “Many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father.”

During the last of the Fátima apparitions, the Blessed Virgin gave us another sign. All that night and much of the morning there had been a torrential downpour of rain; everything was soaking wet; even the umbrellas that the people carried offered little protection. The Blessed Virgin told the three children to look up at the heavens. As they did, everyone else looked up, too. The rain clouds were gone, the sky was blue and clear, the sun shone brightly, and everything was dry. The sun began to spin and zigzag in the sky, and then it fell swiftly toward the earth. All of the people in and around the Cova da Iria became terrified and fell to their knees in prayer, convinced that they would die within minutes. When they did, the sun returned to its normal place in the sky. Even the Portuguese newspapers reported the miracles with awe.

The miracle of the sun foreshadowed the day when the Lord will call us to account. The sun did not stop plunging toward the earth until all of the people fell to their knees in prayer! So will our heavenly Father’s wrath be. Most devout Catholics anticipate that He will continue to prune us, cutting away evil until all mankind falls to its knees in prayer.

On the night of January 25-26, 1938, the Blessed Virgin gave us yet another sign. The sky over most of the earth was aglow with crimson light from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am. Many recalled her warning, “When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes …” In March 1938, Nazi soldiers marched into Austria to begin the Anschluss.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 675, says: “Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.” It continues at § 676, “The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment.” Then, at § 677, “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.”

Approaching the Climax

St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter, Tertio Millennio Adveniente, November 14, 1994, sets forth Holy Mother Church’s plan to approach the jubilee that will introduce the third millennium of Christ’s reign. In 1997 we reflected on Christ, in 1998 we meditate on the Holy Spirit, in 1999 on our heavenly Father, and in 2000 on the Blessed Trinity. The great jubilee will be celebrated simultaneously in the Holy Land, in Rome, and in local churches throughout the world to give glory to the Blessed Trinity.

The jubilee comes to us from the dawn of creation. Our Father in heaven rested on the seventh day as a sign to all mankind that, even in our fallen nature, we are still His image and likeness. The sabbath candles that have lit every Jewish home since Old Testament days, that Mary lit for her Son Jesus and her husband Joseph, that are lit in every Jewish home today, light the covenant we share as the Father’s own children. Our Father commanded Moses: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy” Ex 20:8. All the world was to rest on the sabbath day. God commanded Moses: “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your ass may have rest, and the son of your bondmaid, and the alien may be refreshed” Ex 23:12. Even the earth itself was to have its time of rest. God commanded Moses: “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruits; but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord” Lev 25:3-4. There was also to be a jubilee, a great sabbath of sabbaths, every seven times seven years. God commanded Moses: “You shall count seven weeks of years [49 years] … On the day of atonement you shall send abroad the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants; it shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his family” Lev 25:8-10.

By God’s command, the jubilee was the most holy time in a man’s life, a time of atonement and renewal. It foreshadowed Rabbi Yeshua’s atonement and renewal, His death and resurrection. In this great storm of the spiritual war, when mighty winds are shaking the world, we seek our Passover in a great jubilee, a great atonement and renewal, not just an inner joy but a jubilation manifested outwardly, for the coming of God is also an outward, visible, audible and tangible event. Every sign of joy at this coming will have its own outward expression to show that the church rejoices in salvation. Holy Mother Church invites everyone to rejoice, and she tries to create conditions to ensure that the power of salvation may be shared by all. In the year 2000 we will celebrate the Great Jubilee to strengthen the faith and the witness of Christians.

All jubilees refer to Christ’s messianic mission. He was sent by the Father and anointed by the Holy Spirit to tell the good news to the poor, bring liberty to those deprived of it, free the oppressed and give sight to the blind. In this way he brought “a year of the Lord’s favor” Is 61:2; Lk 4:19, proclaimed through His actions. The jubilee “year of the Lord’s favor” is much more than an anniversary. It reflects all that Rabbi Yeshua did. Since Rabbi Yeshua is the only way to the Father, the year 2000 will be intensely Eucharistic. Rabbi Yeshua continues to offer Himself to humanity as the source of divine life. To highlight His living and saving presence an International Eucharistic Congress will take place in Rome during the Great Jubilee.

Resurrection Time

We, the Blessed Virgin’s battalions, see the abundant signs of hope that the Holy Spirit has given us. Rabbi Yeshua “owns” the Catholic Church; it is his Church. We remember the storm, when the apostles’ boat was being swamped by the waves. Jesus slept peacefully through it all until the apostles woke Him, crying, “Save, Lord; we are perishing” Mt 8:25. It must have been a terrible storm to frighten seasoned fishermen like Peter, Andrew, James, and John, yet Rabbi Yeshua asked them, “Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?” Mt 8:26 Rabbi Yeshua knew, absolutely knew, that our heavenly Father would not allow his Son to be drowned when His mission was to die on the Cross. We know, absolutely know, that Rabbi Yeshua, who promised to be with His Church until the end of the age Mt 28:20, will keep his promise.

Rabbi Yeshua did a remarkable thing. He named Judas an apostle, knowing full well that Judas would betray Him. He used Judas’ betrayal to save the world. The heretics will one day realize that God is using their rebellion to purify Holy Mother Church. The heretics have driven St. John Paul II to produce an unprecedented collection of magnificent encyclicals and other teachings that will illuminate the faithful for centuries to come.

God sent Noah with a small ark for the faithful few and destroyed the rest of the world. This time, q is our ark as fire consumes the parched earth. After a forest fire, the woods are charred and burned out. But, in God’s time, nature returns. One plant takes root, then another. Small animals come back, and after a few decades the forest is restored. So it will be with Holy Mother Church. The successors of the faithful Apostles are ordaining many faithful young priests, while the aging successors of Judas are ordaining virtually none. The parched dioceses may lack priests and sound doctrine for a time, but the Holy Spirit will lead those overflowing with living water to send missionaries. As it did two thousand years ago, the Word will go forth over the desolate hills.

The phrase Catholic Church was first used in St. Ignatius of Antioch’s Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, chapter 8, about AD 107. “Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” In St. Ignatius’ original Greek, kata (according to) holos (the whole), combined as katholikos, the Church of the whole truth that speaks with one voice to the whole world.