Monday, August 10, 2015

The Church of Laodicea: An Ancient Description of the Church Today?



The Message to the Church In Laodicea 
And to the angel of the church of Laodicea, write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, who is the beginning of the creation of God: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest: I am rich, and made wealthy, and have need of nothing: and knowest not, that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I counsel thee to buy of me gold fire tried, that thou mayest be made rich; and mayest be clothed in white garments, and that the shame of thy nakedness may not appear; and anoint thy eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Such as I love, I rebuke and chastise. Be zealous therefore, and do penance. Behold, I stand at the gate, and knock. If any man shall hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with me in my throne:as I also have overcome, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

The Message to the Church at Laodicea, Revelation 3:14-22.

The Book of The Revelation of St. John begins with messages for seven churches on a mail route in what is modern-day Turkey. They are not normal letters of the period, and many have suspected these are not just a random collection of messages to churches in a particular region. The message to Laodicea is the last one.

Note: The Bear could expand this article by many times its length were he to consider numerous private revelations that support the idea of a chastisement of the Church in our time. Separating the wheat from the chaff is no trivial undertaking, though. For an example, here is an article by Kelly Bowring (Medjugorje and Pedro Regis booster). The Bear cannot recommend Bowring, but you can make up your own mind, and see if the credible and suspicious seemed mixed. For now, the Bear hopes you will stay with him, and click later.

So the Bear is going stick to scripture, at least for now.


Can a Bear Be a Prophet?

God enabled the false prophet Balaam's ass to speak. (Numbers 22:28). God even used bears to teach a lesson to a mob of youths threatening the prophet Elisha. (2 Kings 2:23-24). (They didn't talk; they didn't need to.) Then there is this authority, which would certainly not exclude a talking Bear. Here is a description of who who may speak prophetically.

Benedict XIV (Heroic Virtue, III,144,150) says: "The recipients of prophecy may be angels, devils, men, women, children, heathens, or gentiles; nor is it necessary that a man should be gifted with any particular disposition in order to receive the light of prophecy provided his intellect and senses be adapted for making manifest the things which God reveals to him. Though moral goodness is most profitable to a prophet, yet it is not necessary in order to obtain the gift of prophecy." (Devine, Arthur. Transcribed by Marie Jutras. Prophecy. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XII. Published 1911. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York). 

You don't have to be holy; you don't even have to be Catholic (although one should probably think twice about a non-Catholic modern prophet).

You may be relieved that the Bear is not claiming to be a prophet. He will, however, be speaking "prophetically," that is, from a non-worldly perspective, about the present and the future. He will be watching and reporting. (That's what most Catholic bloggers do, although the Bear sometimes throws rocks, too.)

"For thus hath the Lord said to me: Go, and set a watchman: and whatsoever he shall see, let him tell." Isaiah 21:6.


The Message to the Church in Laodicea

The idea that the messages to the seven churches in Revelation may apply to different periods in history is not original to the Bear. However it seems plausible to him that these words deal with the Catholic Church in our day.

First is the point-by-point match-up between the message to the church at Laodicea and our current Church. It is not conclusive (since interpretation is involved) but the Bear finds it compelling.

Second, the Bear believes that we're seeing events unfold before our eyes that were predicted by numerous private revelations, some of which you may be familiar with.

Third, the Church and the culture have linked arm in arm. Or in the more colorful language of the Douay Rheims Bible, the Church, like a wild ass of the wilderness, is sniffing after the world like it were a jenny in heat. "A wild ass accustomed to the wilderness in the desire of his heart, snuffed up the wind of his love: none shall turn her away: all that seek her shall not fail." (Jeremiah 2:24).

We have been running for 2000 years and some of us sense there's just not that much room left to run. There may be something to "The End of History" after all, because it doesn't seem things can get much worse in the Church.

Even if the message to the church in Laodicea has nothing to do with the Church today, it is still a good illustration. Let's list the main points by way of orientation, then speak briefly about the Church.

  • you are neither cold nor hot
  • because you are lukewarm, I (Jesus) will vomit you out of My mouth
  • you think you are rich and need nothing
  • but you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked
  • you should buy fire-tried gold from Me that you may be rich indeed
  • you should put on white garments to cover your nakedness
  • you should put salve on your eyes so you can see
  • I (Jesus) chastise those whom I love (implying a chastisement)
  • be zealous and do penance
  • I (Jesus) stand at the door and knock, waiting to be invited in by any person for a meal

How do these points apply to the Roman Catholic Church?

Wealth. The Church is a globe-spanning, rich and influential body in a worldly way. It is literally "wealthy." According to an article in the Economist, we're talking an annual budget of $170 billion. And that's just America. It's anybody's guess what the complete picture looks like, but there's no doubt Pope Francis' "Church of the poor" is filthy rich. Now there's nothing wrong with wealth per se, unless it fosters worldliness. "No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24). The devil doesn't care if you're watching it on someone else's behalf (e.g. the Poor) as long as your eyes are fixed on Mammon.

Lukewarm. It is a busy Church. There's the Curia, whose various bodies sponsor lots of programs like "Welcoming Circus and Traveling Show People -- From Diversity to a Friendly Coexistence," and any number of ecumenical love-ins with pagans and heretics. One wonders what the Pontifical Council on Evangelization does during these. (Actually, one doesn't.) Then there are tireless efforts to ban guns, interfere in immigration issues, and "save" a planet created and sustained by God Himself. (Megalomania  much?) The national bishops' conferences do the same, nor are the individual dioceses sitting on their hands. They're worried about everything, in short, except getting as many people into Heaven as possible.

Such a quaint idea would be dismissed by most prelates with a tight, condescending smile.

So, despite the feverish activity, the supernatural element is practically non-existent. This is a lukewarm Church. It is a Church that has amassed worldly wealth and influence to direct at social issues at the cost of abandoning holiness.

It only thinks it is wealthy. It is actually supernaturally impoverished. It is, on an institutional scale, the seed scattered on thorns. "And others there are who are sown among thorns: these are they that hear the word, And the cares of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts after other things entering in choke the word, and it is made fruitless." (Mark 4:18).

It is naked. Its constant haranguing about social issues does not clothe it with righteousness if it is not of God. It is naked because it is worldly. It is naked because its members are wicked, not excluding churchmen, who succumbed to or supported sodomy and rape and other evils. To show how naked churchmen are, we just heard an archbishop scolding those who are moved more by the dismemberment of unborn babies for profit than by social issues like unemployment or the death penalty.

It is blind. It can only see worldly social issues. It cannot see unsaved souls, or the difference between a Catholic in a state of grace and anybody else. It cannot see the supernatural at all, for it is blinded by the world. It imagines it can teach the world to save the planet, and does not care to save an immortal soul of far greater worth. "Proselytizing is solemn nonsense" -- attributed to Pope Francis without objection. As long as it can see the world, it refuses to apply eye salve, which are those ancient medicines that have been handed down through it. Conversion. Purgation. Illumination.

It is being chastised. Can you look at the Church and its leaders, its failure to teach the truth and eagerness to spread lies, its collapse in numbers and capitulation to the world, and doubt that we are being chastised? "And I will give children to be their princes, and the effeminate shall rule over them." (Isaiah 3:4).

Woe to you lukewarm, miserable, impoverished, blind and naked organization of worldlings that has become offensive to Our Lord -- that is our Roman Catholic Church today.


What Should We Do?

First, treat private revelation with care. The Bear is particularly suspicious of ongoing messages of the generic "My children, you must love one another, and know that I love you" variety. The more specific the prophecies, the more credible they are (you can tell if they come true or not). The Bear knows many are passionately devoted to their favorite seers, though, and is not condemning anyone in particular or picking an argument.

Second, be zealous and do penance. Sometimes God, in His wisdom, punishes a whole people. We have all contributed to lukewarmness, and are able to do something for the Church, and for ourselves.

Third, stay put. Bad clerics take themselves outside of the Church with their secret and public heresies. Where the faithful remnant remains, no matter how horrible the churchmen and their activities become, that's where the Church is. In the Bear's opinion, the worst we can do is run here and there looking for "the real Church" and divide up into a thousand groups. We know where the Church is. It's just not doing so well right now.

Fourth, beware. Most will be fooled. There is no reason you have to be one of them. No matter how high-ranking, no matter how popular or apparently saintly, do not follow anyone who departs from the deposit of the faith. We will be dealing with masters of deceit. Jesus is vomiting the lukewarm out of his mouth.

Fifth, the Bear finds this interesting: "Behold, I stand at the gate, and knock. If any man shall hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Clearly, Jesus has no plans of abandoning the faithful individual. The Bear leaves this mysterious and hopeful promise to the good judgment of the reader.

The Bear takes great comfort in the idea that God knew our day was coming and has already planned for our safety. The worse things get, you can bet the more we will be remembered, by Our Lady, too. We don't have to figure out a maze of revelations, or find "the real pope." If we dig in our heels and remain in our bombed out Church filed with gibbering mad men in miters, and each open the door to Christ, He will find His own.

5 comments:

  1. Bear,

    Your advice in "What should we do?" is good and sound advice in these times. I think that in these times Jesus is knocking on the door and if we can just "turn down the gain" of this world's noise, we'll hear His voice and he will come in to us. I think that I've been experiencing this through your advice of 'less Francis, more Jesus'. Your posts are valuable to this sheep who is trying to find her way to her Divine Master and not stumble into the ravine filled with thorns and rocks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Amen, brother Bear. Many of us have come to the place where we know we must focus on Our Lord and Our Lady and let heretical or worldly proclamations from high clergy roll on past us. We must live an intense sacramental and prayer life! We must pray our rosaries and console the Heart of Jesus in adoration of the most Blessed Sacrament. And we, I, must add more penance into my life. The world and the modern church as we know it, is passing away. All things pass but God is eternal and for the salvation of souls, the Son of God assumed a human nature and died a tortuous death. Yes, for the salvation of souls which seems to have been largely forgotten by many in miters.

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  3. You have it nailed Bear. Excellent job. Truly inspired. Who would have thought a bear could be a prophet? Well, God operates in mysterious ways.
    These are the times that try men's souls. Those of us who believe the Bear is on to something and feel the need to change our lives will be sorely tempted by the devil who doesn't want any old Bear interfering with his nefarious plans for the Church. So be on your guard, pray a lot, and keep tuned into the Bears latest utterings or growlings.

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  4. I think a bear that can throw rocks and writes to inspire doltish souls like me is a gift from God. Prayer for the bear to continue being a voice in the wilderness. I like that you "stick to scripture". Makes me learn more.

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  5. Huh. First thing I thought of was "timed" letters, with the last one being directed at these times.

    Didn't read your allusion to same, swearsies!

    ReplyDelete

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