by Br Alexis Bugnolo
I recently shared an article on the importance of turning to Our Lady in the times of darkness, because Her example of Faith and Charity are a light for all the faithful when all other lights go out.
But today, I want to point out another great truth, that cannot be left unsaid, but which has been left unsaid for much too long.
That Our Lady is our most powerful example of Hope.
You see, those addicted to sin and all the workers of evil cannot preach about Hope in the world to come, because they have already despaired. For as the Saints teach, one cannot turn irrevocably over to evil, to the dark side, without the terrible sin of despair, which is always mortal.
The danger of despair is more prevalent than we think. It is one of the chief errors spread by both Islam and Marxism. Both systems of thought are fatalistic, because neither knows the path to God.
For Christians, Hope began long before the salvation of each of us, and we hope precisely because God created a Path to Heaven, When He descended to Heaven. That path is Mary. This is the teaching of Saints Louis Marie Montfort and St Maximilian Mary and all the great devotees of Our Lady who are saints.
Yes, Jesus is our Hope, because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. But because sin separates us from God and the experience of this separation is what the Devil uses to inspire souls to spiritual sloth, which is the mother of despair, the crucial medicine against Despair is Our Blessed Mother, whom on account of being our Spiritual Mother in Heaven is a path back to God in a way God can never be, because God the Son, as God, was never alienated from God the Father or God the Holy Ghost.
OUR BLESSED MOTHER is also a great example of Hope against despair, because She never lost hope even when it appeared that evil had completely triumphed over Her Son and His work. Even when Her own people persecuted the Church She prayed more fervently for the conversion of sinners, and, as the Saint say, obtained the conversion of Saint Paul, the Great Apostle to the Gentiles.
Without such hope, man tastes a bitter alienation, because his sins separate him from God and the life in God.
And man from the beginning has known this alienation. Yet, as the Fathers teach, just as man became alienated from God in the beginning THROUGH A WOMAN, so did God in the end times provide that man, who is alienated, come back to Him THROUGH A WOMAN.
This is why,
All the Devil needs to purchase your soul, is Despair
Despair is the price of souls, who are damned, just as Hope is the price of souls to be redeemed.
This is because no sin paralyses a soul completely but despair. Without despair, a soul knows there is a possibility of salvation for it IF IT JUST collaborate with grace enough to be moved CLOSE ENOUGH TO GOD to be saved.
Despair prevents the following good works which are necessary for salvation of the individual soul:
- Prayer for the grace to repent.
- Works of penance for sin.
- Avoidance of sin, for souls in the state of mortal sin.
- Asking God, Saints and fellow men for help to over come sin and bad habits.
- Confessing one’s sins.
- Encouraging others in the life of virtue.
- Worthy reception of the Sacraments.
- Good works necessary to save sinners.
For this reason, the agents of darkness know well that the worst thing they can do is to preach against Despair. They work to spread despair by announcing all their evil triumphs. They promote despair by doing nothing against them. This is the sign of every false Apostle. Sound familiar?
But the worse despair is that which despairs even of seeking the help of Mary, who is our great example in every virtue and who is especially quick to heed the cries of Her children in every need!
Despair, thus, by its very nature cuts the soul off from all hope for redemption, salvation, improvement. This is why…
Despair is like a snake, it does not jump upon you, it slithers into your soul
by means of spiritual neglect. This neglect is called sloath. First you omit one good work, then another, then this or that prayer, then another. Then you stop frequenting Church, you leave off reading Catholic books, or the writings of the Saints. Or if you do you read only prophecies of doom and destruction.
And the next thing you know, you are preaching despair to those around you, because it is the best excuse for doing nothing and allowing the world to go to Hell.
And without realizing it, you have just become an Apostle of Damnation and a card-holding member of the underworld on Earth.
The Danger of Despair is too great
Unfortunately, on Social Media there are an abundance of such false Apostles. That is the chief reason I refuse to publish comments, when they are laced with despair. There is nothing more against the virtues of Faith and Charity and Hope than to preach that nothing can be done, evil cannot be opposed, the conquest of the wicked is inevitable.
And the really wicked trolls attempt to attack Catholics on social media precisely on this point.
Despair has a more wicked Twin Sister
Despair, I like to say, has an evil Twin Sister: Presumption. Presumption is the habit of thinking God will give something when you do not merit it. Satan attempted to introduce Presumption twice into the Church. The first time he was crushed by the disciples of Saint Augustine, when he tried to get men to believe that salvation was in their power, they did not need Christ. That was the heresy of Pelagian.
The second time, he succeeded in damning hundreds of millions of souls, through his servant, Luther, who taught that a man is holy, the more he presumes the grace of God. Luther called his vice of presumption, “Faith” to conceal its poison. But those who bought the lies of Luther quickly fell to despair because the system of Presumption, in not having recourse to all the Sacraments, to the Communion of Saints, to Penitence for Sin, most importantly, quickly leads one to realize it cannot achieve holiness except through pretense. This is why protestant churches are always splitting. It is their last attempt for hope. Except they never get rid of Despair’s Evil Twin Sister, and so Despair soon returns to their house.
Catholics need to slap themselves in the Face…
If you accept the presumption of Protestants, or the fatalism of Muslims, then pretty soon you will no longer believe that it is necessary for your own salvation that you do anything to protect others from evil. And with that error embraced by more and more Catholics, the Church would fail.
That is why the truest sign of a true Catholic is that they are dedicated both to prayer and to good works to save others! Because prayer without works is a vain exercise, which God will not answer. And works with out pray is presumption, that God is not or does not have to be in the equation.
And the worse kind of despair and presumption is found among those who believe the Church will be overcome by the wicked. The second, is that “I” personally do not need to do anything to achieve the victory, I can wait and watch for it to happen, as if the Book of the Apocalypse were a TV program or something!
No, the truth is, all those who stand around watching, are already part of the Mystical Body of Satan, because sloth is a mortal sin! Presumption of victory is a mortal sin! And Despair that you can do anything to contribute to the victory is a mortal sin!
Remember, Victory is only attained by those who fight for it
Somehow, I do not know how, but somehow a good number of Catholics got the crazy notion, that the Church in the end will triumph over Satan and the wicked, and that “I” will share in that victory, even if I do not fight.
The problem with this CRAZY IDEA of making salvation history into a sort of soccer or football game which I can watch and still participate in the victory of the winning team is this:
IN MATTERS OF SALVATION, THERE ARE NO ONE IN THE BLEACHERS OR ON THE BENCH.
Everyone is one the field. So if you are watching, you are already on the wrong side of the field, because you are in the League of the Devil. And despair is for losers….
Thus, You can only participate in the final victory, if you are playing on — not cheering for — the right team, NOW, TOMORROW AND FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
The Church of Rome alone is guaranteed the Victory
And if you want to be on the winning side, then you need the Office of Saint Peter, because of all the graces God gave for victory, there is ONLY ONE, the office of St Peter which He promised would never be overcome by the forces of Darkness.
This is why asserting the renunciation of Pope Benedict is valid is SO PURELY AND HELLISHLY DIABOLICAL.
It is diabolical because it leads inevitably to despair through presumption, as if the Church can exist with a heretical pope, or prevail against the Darkness with an Office of Peter which does not produce victory.
But others err in another direction. Namely, they believe that somehow the Anti-Christ will conquer the Church of Rome and that the papacy will cease.
If you have not noticed, Christ promised that His Church would never be overcome. And He gave to His Church the office of St Peter. And that office the Apostle Saint Peter left as an inheritance to the Church of Rome. Hence, the Church of Rome will endure until the end of time and share in the victory. But not every other local Church, for many will be overcome by darkness.
This is why all the Saints had confidence when they fought on behalf of the Pope or the Church of Rome. They knew the means for Victory were there, if they could just put them to use or put them back in working order.
This is what we Catholics who know that Benedict is still the Pope are doing. This is the great merit of being on the winning side and knowing how to achieve the Victory. This is why it is not presumption or foolishness to fight for the Faith at Rome. And this is why I write this Blog.
This is also why winning here, at Rome, for and with the true Pope, Benedict, is so essential for winning everywhere else in the world.
O IMMACULATE CONCEPTION,
OUR HEAVENLY MOTHER AND OUR GREAT SIGN OF HOPE
for when mankind was sunk in the depths of his sins,
God the Holy Spirit worked His greatest miracle of grace:
the creation of your soul!
O Mother of Our Redeemer and most beloved daughter of the Eternal Father,
look with all the tenderness of thy Maternal Love on me
a wretched sinner,
and vouchsafe to once again touch my soul with HOPE,
so that I might return to the zealous practice of the Faith
to which God imbued me in Baptism,
anointed me in Confirmation,
and wants to restore me in Holy Confession.
HELP ME TO REMEMBER ALWAYS
That this is not a battle in which I can remain on the bleachers. Because, you want me to be with you on the winning side, a victory I cannot share in unless I fight for it.
CREDITS: My photo of the Sepulchral Monument to Pope Leo XIII at Saint John Lateran, at Rome. When, with the Papal States ended, all spoke of the imminent disappearance of the Church of Rome, Pope Leo guided the Church in the greatest expansion of faith the world had ever seen, by sending missionaries to all corners of the world and increasing the total Catholic population by several fold.