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The Church shakes but will not fall

October 24, 2016

Dear brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ,

"The Church shakes but will not fall" were the words of Pope Benedict XVI, on the Sunday of Pentecost 2011. (La Chiesa scossa ma non cade).

One who does not read the history or take time to pray and listen to the Holy Spirit might be either at great risk or is becoming part of a great risk themselves.

Since that time, and after the Vatican led conference of October 2010 called: Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, I became aware that the Church is at the peril of the principalities of this world and beyond: times of great tribulation. Later on, nothing could have confirmed my concern in this regard more than the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI in February of 2012.

The Church must preach about love, while enduring hope for the sake of the confirmation and the propagation of the Faith in Christ. These words for me were always kept hidden until the persecution against Christians in the Middle East, in Africa and elsewhere became very apparent.

Moreover, until Pope Francis declared many times that the world has entered into the Third World War. While I am still attached to my church, I never could have foreseen more difficult and fearful times then the time we are in. In a small self-reflection, I tried to ask the question of: "Why is this happening? And how could God the Father allow this tribulation to take its toll on the faithful and on the earth?". Then I started analyzing the "status of question" and came to some conclusions that might help all those who have similar concerns understand.

First of all, I realized the division inside the Church became so existential to the point that today, Catholics can no longer seem to be part of the same and One Holy Church. Consequently, it became obvious to me, that both clergy and the faithful are in somewhat not in the "state of grace" and that the outcome of the refusal to repent is causing in the world more "pain and suffering caused by sin" instead of being "the labor pain of redemption in Christ".

More so, I realized that lots of people in many local parishes in America and throughout the world are  living in anger and not at peace. Anger with themselves, anger inside the families, anger in the parishes, and finally anger at God.

"Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth and Good hope to all people of good will". This is called the hymn of the angels. Yes the angels have chanted this hymn at the Birth of Christ, which soon we will begin entering into the season of announcing His Birth in the flesh from the Holy Spirit and from the Virgin Mary, as Christmas. This hymn in 1962, was capable of solving the world's nuclear danger, which burst between the United States and the Communist Soviet Union at the time. This hymn was the title of the encyclical of Pope Saint John XXIII, who sent his letter to both the Soviet and the American Nations who both were at the verge of launching nuclear weapons against one another. Consequently, had the Roman Pontiff not intervene with words, pen, and papers writing "Pacem in Terris" at the time, a great Apocalypse of evil could have consumed most if not the entire world.

At the time, the world listened, leaders converted wars into peace talks, and the earth survived. Simultaneously, the Vatican with the same pope, was leading the Church to enter into modern times in order to bring the same ancient Christ into the world of the modern times. The Church stayed forthree years (1962-1965), in meetings with over 3000 religious figures and world religious observers from all world's religions. This historical Event is known in history to be called: the Second Vatican Council. It concluded on December 5-7, 1965, with the beatification of a Lebanese Hermit, in whose beatification ceremony and for the first time in history all 3000 religious cardinals, patriarchs, bishops, priests, doctors of theology, orthodox and evangelical religious leaders, Muslim and Jewish observers, secular and atheist professors and thought leaders, presidents of world nations, and other people all shared at this unique event.

In my analysis, I realized that the faithful of the Catholic churches in the world, including most clergy have forgotten or were divided in how to read both the purpose and the application of the Second Vatican Council. Such a sad reality, has produced clerical and community divisions inside the Church. Vatican II has also produced post secularism values of religious freedom to touch even the choice of not choosing God. 

People became divided in color and race, in feminism and clericalism, in old and new Catholics, in conservative and liberals, in faith led church and a huge administrative bureaucratic church, in secularism and laicism, in atheism and scientism, in pro-choice and pro-life, all these movements, have led to a dominant culture of death which now is taking the world into a globalism of the death of conscience, the reign of money and the market of human trafficking. I thought it is ok to inform my people and all those who like to value these lines, in what has happened in my little analysis and what might occur soon. Yes you got it, while I believe that the Church is of joy and peace, I only see tears and bad news. I apologize not having any good news except for one: repent, confess, pray and hold on to your faith.

The only source of good new as I would share is when I meet one or few Christian people who are willing to live in holiness, who are willing to obey the Church, who are willing to follow Christ and carry his Cross, who are willing to stop all gossip and to live in peace and unity with one another, who are willing to awaken their conscience and don't be a split personality between what they know about Christianity versus what they will do or who they will follow in the world, leaders who preach death, who kill babies in the wombs even during the last period of pregnancy, leaders who preach openly about physician  assisted suicide, leaders who purchase oil and sell weapon with the blood of innocent and the persecution against Christians and the mockery about the Catholic Church. The Church today is called to be the true and visible sign of hope, faith and love in the world that is being swallowed by evil, and occupied by Satan and his army.

I will never be the bearer of bad news of course, even though I have a lot to share about this bad news, but remember, human behavior, if it turns to Christ, can stop all evil and turn all bad things into good news.

I do believe that these times of tribulation will end by the victory of Christ in the world over and by the proclamation of the God News of the Gospel in the entire universe. Burt until then, I thought to remind you that the weak faithful might be a risk of bringing in anger from God, sadness in the Holy Spirit and division in the body of Christ.

Short and sweet, the Church can no longer harbor sinners who refuse to repent, nor Pharisees who lead by hypocrisy yet with hearts made of stones, or faithful who follow all the masters of this world but still claim that they are Catholics or Christians in general. The Church will enter into the times of purification and renewal. The Church will have to stand to face all evil, but first the Church will have to know who the Church is? The only way to identify the Church is by: prayer, life in holiness, actions of mercy, active repentance from evil and sin, and at all times, by giving witness to Christ publicly and before the leaders of this world including sometimes, all the way to die for the sake of Christ.

Last week, we had with us the relics of Saint Anthony of Padua. We prayed with our bishop Elias for peace in our Nation, and for the martyrs of Christianity in the Middle East, and for all innocent people who are dying and are being insulated by evil powers of religious fanaticism and secular oppressors.

At the end of this month of October, Saint Rafka church, being a "Pilgrimage Church and a designated church with the door of Mercy, will celebrate the final ceremony to close the door of Mercy. As such, the church indicates the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis a year ago.

What will come next, is only up to your conscience and to your will to submit yourself totally to God in  Christ and his Holy Church. What will happen next can only be the outcome of our love for Christ or the love of the world. But Christ will no longer accept people who are timid, who are neither hot nor cold, he will vomit them out. The Church that is entering into the times of tribulation, will survive only in the splendor of humble sinners who repent, and people striving to proclaim Christ, and live in holiness until Christ comes again.

God bless you all, I pray the Holy Spirit opens the heart and minds of all. I pray that no one will be dammed except the child of damnation as the Lord told us. Pray to the Angels of the battle against evil.

Consecrate your homes and your children and do what is right: repent and come to Church.

 

Fr. Andre YS Mahanna
Pastor



 

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Reverend Father Andre Y Sebastian Mahanna, Special Patriarchal Delegate and Director of the Office of Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue for the Maronite Church, Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles.

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