He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth…Isaiah 53:7
Silence of the Lambs
In Part 1: “5781 (2020 AD) A Year to Widen Your Mouth in Silence, we discussed how the prophetic meaning and what we can expect from this next Hebrew year is wrapped up nicely as a media-metaphor in the critically acclaimed Scorsese film “Silence”, a sort of picture-type for the meaning behind the Hebrew year 5781. Drawing from what we learned about the Hebrew letter “aleph”, which is the symbol for this coming year, we can continue to unfold its meaning.
Jesuit priest and author James Martin continues to give us some insight into “Aleph in Pey” or Silence in the Mouth, our key phrase for the year ahead, by offering us a comparison of the supposed contradiction in Christ asking the Jesuit priests to apostatize in the film with Christ’s own agony the night before his crucifixion:
“In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus struggles mightily to understand G-d’s will, and says, “Father if you are willing, remove this cup from me.” He does not wish to die. But then he says, “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Jesus does something that everyone in his circle opposes and misunderstands. Even Peter doesn’t want Jesus to suffer: “G-d forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you!” (Mt. 16:22).The apostles do not want Jesus to suffer, much less to embrace the cross. It makes no sense to them.
Yet Jesus accepts his fate because this is what the Father asks. His actions make no sense outside of his relationship to the Father.”
From a Messianic point of view, Aleph also represents Yeshua the Mashiach as our Intercessor and Kohen Gadol. Recall how the letter aleph itself is formed by two “yods”, one facing upward, the other down, and is separated by a “vav” stroke between. Jewish scholars reveal the “aleph” as a picture of the separation between waters, Heaven above, Earth below, both connected by the stroke of Torah. If we were to translate “aleph” in light of the New Testament then, the two Yods also would represent outstretched arms or hands reaching both to mankind and to G-d. The diagonal Vav represents the sacrifice of Yeshua on our behalf, the Lamb who was slain in silence. And since Yeshua is the Aleph and the Tav, the letter represents His divinity, His humility in silence as He opened not His mouth when He was unjustly accused, and so on. Jesus is the Vav which connects earth to heaven (the two yods) and makes known to us the Silence of the Father through the body of the G-d-Man. He is the Aleph-Tav, the beginning of wisdom and the end-point of all understanding, as we discovered in the previous article.
When we place Aleph in the context of the decade we are in, which we recall is symbolized to us by the Hebrew Letter Pey (a picture symbol of a mouth), then we can see this next year 5781 (September 2020 thru August 2021) has a great deal to do with connecting the dots, which makes no sense outside of Jesus and his relationship to the Father. If we have any hope of navigating the Times ahead, we will need to go where Jesus goes in relationship to the Father. We will need to widen our mouth in prayer.
Jesus is our great Intercessor, he is what connects us to Heaven, therefor we must follow Jesus into the Silence (into the Father) in the context of our own Gethsemane (our own agony); into prayer with the Father. And, discern the Father’s Will.
Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.John 5:19
This year, many will hear a greater call to prayer, to repentance toward deeper humility, and to trust in the Alpha and the Omega who is one in the Aleph-Tav. Before there was the Word, there was the Silence of the Father. Jesus is inviting us to not only meet the Father face-to-face in prayer, in the silence of our hearts, but to know His thoughts for us. Aleph in Pey is the words of our Intercessor, Yeshua, in our mouths, speaking the meaning of love. By this the world will know we are His sons and daughters. Let our prayer be His prayers. His peace, our peace.
Jesus, I Trust in You
I desire to be regarded as a useless fool for Christ, who before me was regarded as such.Saint Ignatius of Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises
There is a midrash (fable) that asks why Aleph was not selected to be the first letter of the Torah. In the story, all of the letters come before the LORD giving reasons why they should be the first letter – all, that is, except for the letter Aleph. When the LORD asked why, Aleph explained that since he was silent, he had nothing to say. But the LORD honored Aleph’s humility and declared him to be the first of all the letters — and to be honored as the letter of the first word of the Ten Commandments.
A Jesuit spiritual tradition may also be helpful here. In the Spiritual Exercises St. Ignatius speaks of three levels, or “degrees,” of humility. The first level is when one does nothing morally wrong. In other words, one leads a good life. The second level is when a person who, when presented with the choice of riches or poverty, honor or disgrace, is free of the need for either. In other words, the person is free to accept whatever G-d desires, not being “attached” to one state or the other.
The third level of humility, the highest, is when a person is able to choose something dishonorable because it brings him or her closer to Christ. “I desire to be regarded as a useless fool for Christ, who before me was regarded as such,” in the words of the Spiritual Exercises. A person accepts being misunderstood, perhaps by everyone, just as Christ was.
In each case, silence, although seemingly adverse or even contradictory to their cause, is a virtue. Humility is the key.
Notice how the Scriptures do not tell us if G-d the Father speaks to his Son in Gethsemane. In the midst of the Son’s agony, it would appear that G-d is Silent. In fact, some Christians even go so far as to say the Father abandoned the Son entirely, even unto the cross.
In the film “Silence,” we see that Father Rodrigues does not experience G-d’s presence in his prayer, and he feels G-d’s absence in the lack of clarity over whether he should apostatize. Second, he feels that G-d is silent in not helping those being tortured and killed. The scene of the two Jesuits watching from afar as the Japanese Christians are crucified in the ocean depicts this torment. They long for something to be “done” to prevent their deaths.
There are numerous examples of devout Christians feeling distant from G-d. The best known contemporary example is St. Teresa of Calcutta, who experienced a long “dark night” of silence for many decades, until the end of her life. Shusako Endo’s book, the basis for the movie, was written before the knowledge of Mother Teresa’s silence was made public, but he was aware of other saints who have experienced silence, for example, St. John of the Cross and St. Faustina of the Divine Mercy. Like St. Teresa of Calcutta, Rodrigues does not hear G-d’s voice in his prayer as he once did. This is painful, but not rare. Which begs the question, Why is G-d silent?
This is perhaps the most difficult theological question. And the pressing question for our days too.
Why must I suffer trials and tribulations?
In the case of our movie metaphor (our case, as well, should we find ourselves amidst such a trial or suffering in the days ahead), the question is really two-fold. We wonder like the priests, Why don’t I feel G-d’s presence? and also, Why does He permit such suffering?
St. Faustina, who suffered physically from a terminal illness, and experienced the Passion of our Lord in her body, received an answer from Jesus. She writes in her diary:
“Today the Lord said to me, “I have need of your sufferings to rescue souls.” O my Jesus, do with me as You please. I did not have the courage to ask the Lord Jesus for greater sufferings, because I had suffered so much the night before that I would not have been able to bear a drop more than what Jesus Himself gave me.” (Diary 1612)
She suffered spiritually when she went through the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’. She suffered emotionally because often the sisters she lived with didn’t believe she was sick and thought she was avoiding work. She suffered mentally because she was experiencing extraordinary spiritual phenomena, such as visions of Jesus, Our Lady and certain saints. Jesus was instructing her to spread the devotion to Divine Mercy throughout the world, but she had no idea how she could do this. She doubted herself as to whether she had gone mad or was she really experiencing all the great spiritual mysteries over a three year period. So she had a lot of suffering in her life, which as we know now, is one of the hallmarks of saints.
“Though these are frightening things, the soul should not be too fearful, because G-d will never test us beyond what we are able to bear. On the other hand, He may never send us such sufferings, but I write this because, if it pleases the Lord to let a soul pass through such sufferings, it should not be afraid but, insofar as this depends on the soul itself, it should remain faithful to G-d. G-d will do a soul no harm, because He is Love itself, and in this unfathomable love has called it into being. However, when I was so tormented, I myself did not understand this.” (Diary 106)
At the end of the film, Father Rodrigues has come to a similar answer, recalling how G-d was in “everything.” (The Jesuit way of saying this is “finding G-d in all things” or as Father Michael Himes would say, “Everything is sacramental.”) “It was in the silence that I heard Your voice,” he says. Besides hearing the voice of Christ asking him to trample on the fumi-e, he recognizes that G-d was all around him, even if not speaking directly to him in his prayer. G-d may not have been speaking to him interiorly, he realizes, but exteriorly.
As anyone who has experienced profound suffering knows, even the devout believer, there is no satisfying answer to this question.
Some will still ask, Where was G-d when the Japanese Christians were being tortured and crucified? Where was G-d when this pandemic took my job, my house, and everything I knew away? Where was G-d when my loved one died alone in the hospital? I would suggest, as Fr. Martin does, the answer is always: With us, close to us, beside us and watching with us, in as much anguish as Fathers Rodrigues and Garupe did as they watched their friends being crucified in the ocean. That same agony G-d knows intimately, having shared in it with His Son on the cross.
It is the same conclusion Father Rodrigues comes to also when he asks Christ the same question: Where were you when they suffered? He hears Jesus speak, “suffering with you.”
Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age to come.Matthew 28:20
This year, it will appear to many that G-d is being silent amidst the tribulations, persecutions, suffering, chaos and confusion; but do not fear, G-d has not abandoned us, when G-d chooses to be silent, His silence is Holy and purposed with Love. We can take consolation that He is always with us – especially unto the End of the Age. He has promised.
Countdown to the Kingdom
And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven.Revelation 8:1 ESV
Yeshua is our Aleph, the One who took on flesh and blood to mediate G-d’s presence to us: with Him we are made real; we come alive; we are born from above (1 John 5:12). As above, so below.
Isaac Luria (16th Century, Safed) taught that on the second day of creation when all was “water in water” the spirit of G-d hovered over the surface of the deep and stretched the firmament between the the upper and the lower waters (just like the two yods in the Aleph symbol).
The primary purpose of both “waters” is the sense of the Divine—this is the essence of Divine Service. The perspective of the upper waters is the exaltation of the Divine in the oneness of all in the Divine being, and the perspective of the lower: the exaltation of G-d experienced in the reality of the separation and lowliness of human kind from G-d.
Luria taught that the place of meeting (the vav) is the place of pure truth—in that place rests the Divine power to bear two opposites simultaneously.
That pure Truth is a Person. Jesus. Yeshua. The second Person of the Trinity and the Messiah to come, who has come, and will come again. In other words, the Aleph symbol is a prophetic picture of what happened at the dawn of Creation when the waters were separated. Jesus is, was and will be always what connects creation in pure Truth. I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6 ESV).
Aleph also is a picture of three-in-one, or hashilush hakadosh. Just as there are three parts to Aleph, but Aleph is One (echad), so there are three Persons to the G-dhead, yet G-d is absolutely One. The gematria of the word Aleph (אָלֶף) is 111 (Aleph=1, Lamed=30, and Pey=80).
Just as there are three parts to the written Aleph, there are three meanings also. One is אלוף, aluf, which means a master or a chief. The second is אולפנה, ulfana,a school of learning or teacher. The third meaning is reached by reading the letters of the word backwards—פלא, pela (pronounced peleh)—wondrous.
Aluf’s definition is “master.” This lets the world know that there is a Creator; that G‑d is the Master of the universe, and that there is an Eye that sees, and an Ear that hears. The universe did not simply emerge by itself; there is an omnipotent Force that actually forged the firmaments ex nihilo, from nothing to something. Thus G‑d is the Aluf, the Master of the universe.
Ulfana means “school” or “teacher.” Not only do we introduce G‑d as the Creator of the universe, but also as the Teacher of all mankind. G‑d’s role as teacher is revealed with His introduction of Torah to the Jewish people. The Torah, with its 613 mitzvos or laws, teaches us what we should do, and what we shouldn’t do. Through the Divine wisdom of His book, G‑d establishes Himself in the world on the level of the ultimate Teacher. That Word became flesh, suffered death, descended into the lowest parts of Aleph, and on the third day, rose from the dead and ascended into Above. He sits now at the right hand of the Father, waiting to come again.
Finally, we have the third meaning of aleph: peleh, means “wondrous.” Peleh represents the esoteric or mystical level of Torah—Kabbalah and the teachings of Chassidic thought. Known as the “teachings of Mashiach,” these secrets of Torah comprise its greatest level. In Christianity, these “wonders” are the “mysteries” made known to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Who proceeds from the Father and the Son…Who has spoken through the prophets.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his G-d and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.Revelation 1:6
This year, we will see the manifestation of the G-d-head in a particularly wonderful way. A greater revelation of the Trinity will be illumined in the hearts of all men, Gentile and Jew, believer and non-believers, as in Him, there is no distinction. A greater understanding of the Scriptures is about to pour forth from the Body of Christ as it listens to what the Spirit is revealing to the churches. Many houses of worship will be transformed at the pulpit overnight. Like the experience of the Jesuit priests in “Silence”, the preaching of the Gospel will reach a new understanding that will usher in a reformation of faith for many, not just a reformation but a deeper rooting. The eyes of many will be un-blinded to see the full gospel. Out of this Illumination of Conscience many conversions will occur, including among the Jews, and the Lord will renew His wonders throughout the earth!
Lord, Renew Your Wonders: Marriage, Mission, and the Era of Peace
Marriage means mission. Two are better than one (Eccl. 4:9-12). But, as anyone who is married already knows, learning to carry out that mission together can be challenging to say the least. And, it comes with a great deal of silence holding one’s tongue.
Many Saints and mystics have described having experiences with G-d which are not dissimilar with the union in marriage between man and woman. This “mystical union” is a foreshadow of the Beatific Vision promised to the Sons of G-d on the Last Day, which is experienced now by the Angels.
This, Last Day, is the subject of many theological debates. Is it a literal last day or could it be symbolic of an era to come? In the Aleph, we find a clue.
Yeshua is called the Aleph and the Tav, and the letter Aleph itself has overtones of the acharit hayamim, or “end of days” spoken of in prophecy. The idea that there are 6,000 years of the Olam Hazeh (the present age before the arrival of the Messiah to set up His kingdom) comes from the fact that there are 6 alephs in the first verse of the Tanakh, and each represents 1,000.
According to Rabbinacle Mysticism, the Baal Shem Tov once entered Mashiach’s heavenly chamber and asked, “Mashiach, when are you going to come?” Mashiach responded, “When the wellsprings of your teachings spread forth throughout the entire world.” Thus, only when the level of peleh—this level of wondrous esoteric thought—has permeated the world, will the arrival of Mashiach be imminent.
This can also be connected to a fundamental concept in the Talmud. The Talmud tells us that G‑d created the world to exist for 6,000 years. The first two thousand years are called Tohu, or chaos. This is followed by two thousand years of Torah. And the final two thousand are the days of Mashiach.
What does this mean? Rashi explains that the first two thousand years began with the first man, Adam. This corresponds to the first meaning of the letter alef: aluf—master—for the Midrash states that Adam caused all the animals and beasts to bow down to G‑d, thus acknowledging Him as Master and Creator of the universe. However, that era was qualified as chaos, because the Torah was not yet revealed.
The second two thousand years, Rashi continues, began with Abraham. Abraham introduced the Torah. As the Talmud states, Abraham both learned and fulfilled the entire Torah long before it was physically given to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. His embracing of G‑d’s word inaugurated the era of Torah—and thus the second meaning of the word alef—ulfana, or teaching. In Christianity, this second era actually belongs to Christ who is called Teacher twice in the New Testament, once when the blind man outside Jericho recognizes him as “the Son of David” in Mark 10:51 and again in John 20:16 when Mary of Magdalene is the first to see him risen from the dead. And who Jesus himself, having revealed himself as “I Am” in verse 24 says of himself later in John 8:48-49, “Before Abraham was, I Am.”
The final two-thousand-year period is considered the days of Mashiach; the concept of peleh. This wondrous era has the potential to usher in peace and tranquility throughout the entire world. Here, at this final level of aleph, a teaching of the Baal Shem Tov illuminates an interesting point. The Alter Rebbe suggests that the difference between the words גולה—golah (exile) and גאולה—geulah (redemption), is the presence of the aleph. If one inserts an aleph into the word גולה (golah/exile), exile is empowered and transformed into גאולה (geulah/redemption). Thus the final two thousand years of Creation, the era of Mashiach, is represented by the aleph. Having been given the aleph, the Jewish people are empowered to move from exile to redemption. The stages of G‑d as Master of the universe and as Teacher blossom into the days of Mashiach, when G‑d will be revealed on a wondrous level. All of this is contained in the letter aleph.
This understanding of the days of Creation corresponding to and culminating in the millennial reign of Christ, as understood by the Fathers of Judaism, is also expressed in the writings of the Early Church Fathers. The writers at CountdownToTheKingdom.com have done a superb job of organizing the writings of Scriptures, the magisterial teachings of the popes, the approved apparitions at Fatima, and supplemental words from the “prophetic consensus” of various reputable seers throughout the world to help explain. The following is just one overview of a greater Timeline they have compiled to help explain the mysterious wonders of the Seals of Revelation and the Era of Mashiach. For the sake of understanding the year ahead, we will focus only on one section of the Timeline called The Day of the Lord:
I saw the Lord Jesus, like a king in great majesty, looking down upon our earth with great severity; but because of His Mother’s intercession, He prolonged the time of His mercy… I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice, I am sending the Day of Mercy… I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]. But woe to them if they do not recognize this time of My visitation… Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 126I, 1588, 1160
In the context of the “end times”, the Day of Justice is the same as what Tradition calls “the day of the Lord.” This is understood as the “day” when Jesus comes to “judge the living and the dead”, as we recite in our Creed. While most Evangelical Christians speak of this as a twenty-four day—literally, the last day on earth—the Early Church Fathers taught something entirely different based on the oral and written Tradition passed onto them:
Behold, the Day of the Lord shall be a thousand years. —Letter of Barnabas, The Fathers of the Church, Ch. 15
…this day of ours, which is bounded by the rising and the setting of the sun, is a representation of that great day to which the circuit of a thousand years affixes its limits.—Lactantius, Fathers of the Church: The Divine Institutes, Book VII, Chapter 14, Catholic Encyclopedia; newadvent.org
The “thousand years” they are referring to is in Chapter 20 of the Book of Revelation and also spoken of by St. Peter in his discourse on the day of judgment:
…with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. (2 Pet 3:8)
Essentially, the “thousand years” symbolizes an extended “period of peace” or what the Church Fathers called a “sabbath rest.” They saw the first four thousand years of human history before Christ, and then the two thousand years after, leading up to the present day, as paralleling the “six days” of creation. On the seventh day, G-d rested. Thus, drawing upon St. Peter’s analogy, the Fathers saw…
…as if it were a fit thing that the saints should thus enjoy a kind of Sabbath-rest during that period, a holy leisure after the labors of six thousand years since man was created… (and) there should follow on the completion of six thousand years, as of six days, a kind of seventh-day Sabbath in the succeeding thousand years… And this opinion would not be objectionable, if it were believed that the joys of the saints, in that Sabbath, shall be spiritual, and consequent on the presence of G-d… —St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.; Church Doctor), De Civitate Dei, Bk. XX, Ch. 7, Catholic University of America Press
And that is precisely what G-d has in store for the Church [in this next Era]: a “spiritual” gift consequent upon a new outpouring [a Great Revival or Renewal] of the Spirit to “renew the face of the earth.” It is the “gift of Living in the Divine Will.” However, this rest will be impossible unless the world is first purified. As Jesus conveyed to Servant of G-d Luisa Piccarreta:
…the chastisements are necessary; this will serve to prepare the ground so that the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat [the Divine Will] may form in the midst of the human family. So, many lives, which will be an obstacle to the triumph of my Kingdom, will disappear from the face of the earth… —Diary, September 12th, 1926; The Crown of Sanctity On the Revelations of Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta, Daniel O’Connor, p. 459
First, Christ must come to put to an end to the ungodly global system of control and governance that is quickly corralling the entire world into its power (see The Great Corralling). This system is what St. John called “the beast.” Just as Our Lady, the “woman clothed in the sun and crowned with twelve stars” is a personification of the Church, the “beast” will find its personification in the “son of perdition” or “Antichrist.” It is this “new world order” and “lawless one” whom Christ must destroy in order to inaugurate an “era of peace.”
The beast that rises up is the epitome of evil and falsehood, so that the full force of apostasy which it embodies can be cast into the fiery furnace. —St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Church Father (140–202 A.D.); Adversus Haereses, 5, 29
If the Day of the Lord begins in the vigil of darkness, this destruction of Antichrist inaugurates the dawn of the “seventh day” (to be followed later by the “eighth” and eternal day, which is the end of the world).
…His Son will come and destroy the time of the lawless one and judge the godless, and change the sun and the moon and the stars—then He shall indeed rest on the seventh day… after giving rest to all things, I will make the beginning of the eighth day, that is, the beginning of another world. —Letter of Barnabas (70-79 A.D.), written by a second century Apostolic Father
Let us understand then what both the presence of Our Lady and the call of her “watchmen” constitutes:
Dear young people, it is up to you to be the watchmen of the morning who announce the coming of the sun who is the Risen Christ! —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Message of the Holy Father to the Youth of the World, XVII World Youth Day, n. 3; (cf. Is 21:11-12)
It is Mary’s prerogative to be the Morning Star, which heralds in the sun… When she appears in the darkness, we know that He is close at hand. He is Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Behold He comes quickly, and His reward is with Him, to render to everyone according to his works. “Surely I come quickly. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” —St. Cardinal John Henry Newman, Letter to the Rev. E. B. Pusey; “Difficulties of Anglicans”, Volume II *Many Theologians both Jewish and Christian agree that Lucifer was the Morning Star, but since his and many fallen angels have left their positions vacant, it is the honor of the chosen saints to fill them. Just as the stars portended the birth of the Savior, they will once again portend His appearing in the clouds and His final Second Coming.
Thus, the judgment of the Antichrist and those who take his “mark” compromises the judgment “of the living”, described as follows:
And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
Yes, with a puff of His lips and the brightness of the dawn of His justice, Jesus will put an end to the arrogance of the world’s billionaires, banksters, and bosses who are unreservedly refashioning creation in their own image, “in the midst of the gods He holds judgement” Psalm 82 (See Part 3):
Fear G-d and give him glory, for his time has come to sit in judgment [upon]… Babylon the great [and]… anyone who worships the beast or its image, or accepts its mark on forehead or hand… Then I saw the heavens opened, and there was a white horse; its rider was called “Faithful and True.” He judges and wages war in righteousness… The beast was caught and with it the false prophet… The rest were killed by the sword that came out of the mouth of the one riding the horse… (Rev 14:7-10, 19:11, 20-21)
This was also prophesied by Isaiah who likewise foretold, in strikingly parallel language, a coming judgment followed by a period of peace.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb… the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea…. On that day, The Lord shall again take it in hand to reclaim the remnant of his people that is left… When your judgment dawns upon the earth, the world’s inhabitants learn justice.(Isaiah 11:4-11; 26:9)
This effectively ushers in, not the end of the world nor the “Second Coming” at the very end of the world, but the dawn of the Day of the Lord when Christ will reign in His saints after Satan is chained in the abyss for the rest of the Day or “thousand years” (cf. Rev 20:1-6 and The Resurrection of the Church).
St. Thomas and St. John Chrysostom explain the words quem Dominus Jesus destruet illustratione adventus sui(“whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the brightness of His coming”) in the sense that Christ will strike the Antichrist by dazzling him with a brightness that will be like an omen and sign of His Second Coming… The most authoritative view, and the one that appears to be most in harmony with Holy Scripture, is that, after the fall of the Antichrist, the Catholic Church will once again enter upon a period of prosperity and triumph. —Fr. Charles Arminjon (1824-1885), The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life, p. 56-57; Sophia Institute Press
It would be incorrect to reduce the Day of the Lord to mere chastisement; it is far, far more! It is also a day of vindication of G-d’s Word. Indeed, Our Lady’s tears are not only sorrow for the unrepentant, but joy for the “triumph” that is coming.
Is it really credible that the day when all people will be united in this long-sought harmony will be the one when the heavens shall pass away with great violence—that the period when the Church Militant enters her fullness will coincide with that of the final catastrophe? Would Christ cause the Church to be born again, in all her glory and all the splendor of her beauty, only to dry up forthwith the springs of her youth and her inexhaustible fecundity?… The most authoritative view, and the one that appears to be most in harmony with Holy Scripture, is that, after the fall of the Antichrist, the Catholic Church will once again enter upon a period of prosperity and triumph. —Fr. Charles Arminjon, Ibid., p. 58, 57
Says the great Marian saint Louis de Montfort:
Is it not true that your will must be done on earth as it is in heaven? Is it not true that your kingdom must come? Did you not give to some souls, dear to you, a vision of the future renewal of the Church? —St. Louis de Montfort, Prayer for Missionaries, n. 5
To sum it all up:
What is coming is essentially the fulfillment of the Pater Noster, the “Our Father” that we pray each day: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The coming of Christ’s Kingdom is synonymous with His will being done “as it is in heaven.”
Two Thousand Years Later, the Greatest Prayer Will Not Go Unanswered!
Are you still with me?
You may be wondering, How does this all relate to what to expect in the coming year? Are we in the End Times? Why should we be silent about that?
To help answer these questions, lets return to our media metaphor and ask a new question: Why are we here?
As Fr. Martin explains, this was another common question among reviewers who faulted not simply the failure of Fathers Rodrigues and Garupe to apostatize quickly, but their very presence in Japan. Why were they there at all? Let us ask along side them, Why are we here too? What’s the point of missions?
The history of Christian missionaries—in Japan and elsewhere—is a complicated one. Remember that when speaking about “Christian missionaries” we are talking about a 2,000-year history that begins with St. Paul and took place in almost every country in the world. Add to that the variety of the originating countries of the missionaries, and you get an idea of the complexity of the history. Even if we consider simply the era in which the film is set, the 17th century, almost every European country, was sending Christian missionaries abroad. Also, we must take into account the wide variety of approaches among the many Catholic religious orders active in the missionary field: Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans and so on, not to mention the various evangelism efforts of Protestant missions. In some instances, missionary priests, brothers and sisters traveled with representatives of the colonial powers and were seen, rightly or wrongly, as adjuncts of these political actors.
But the missionaries came to these new lands to bring what they considered a gift of inestimable value to the people they would meet: the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Let us look at the case of Fathers Rodrigues and Garupe. Both have come to Japan to spread the Gospel. (We can reasonably presume their being sent from Portugal not simply to find Father Ferreira but later to remain in Japan.) They are bringing what they consider to be the most precious thing that they know to a new people: Jesus. Is it arrogant to say that they are bringing a gift? Others may think so, but not to my mind. Think of it as a physician wanting to bring medicine to someone he or she knows is in need. And doing so at peril to his or her own life.
In reality, Jesuit missionaries poured themselves out selflessly for the peoples among whom they ministered—enduring extraordinary physical hardships, mastering the local languages (even writing dictionaries for those languages, which are still in use), eating unfamiliar foods and working as hard as any of the people with whom they ministered. (Read the diaries of St. Jean de Brébeuf, one of the North American Martyrs, and his admonitions to his brother Jesuits that they needed to paddle their canoes as hard as the Hurons did, so as not to be seen as lazy. Even St. Junipero, whose statues are the focus of the current “cancel culture” movement, walked thousands of miles of California coastline in order to meet the needs of the local peoples.) This is called “inculturation,” a loving insertion of oneself into the local culture.
Jesuits both fictional and real did this out of love. Out of love for G-d and love for the peoples with whom they were ministering. If you doubt their motivation I would ask this: Would you leave behind all that you knew—your country, your language, your family, your friends, your food, your culture, your traditions—to travel across the globe at immense risk, in order to give a gift to a group of people whom you’d never met, a group of people whom many in your home country think are unworthy of being given that gift—knowing that you might be tortured and killed? Would you do it in your own country to people in need of the gift—people like your neighbors, even your own family—even when they look at you like you are the problem, with or without a mask? To me that is an immense act of love.
In the end, “Silence” is about love. Or maybe loves. Father Rodrigues’s and Father Garupe’s love for their old mentor, Father Ferreira. The three Jesuits’ love for the Japanese people. Father Rodrigues’s intense love for Jesus Christ.
Most of all, Jesus’s love for him, for his brother Jesuits, for the people of Japan and for all of humanity. Understand love and you will understand “Silence.” We are each being asked to walk in silence.
But G-d forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.Galatians 6:14
This year, many will be called to bear the burden of absolute silence. Just as Christ’s silent Passion glorified the Father, so too any suffering or persecution we may incur will be used to glorify the Cross of Christ with whom we are being crucified, together, the Bridegroom and the Bride on the marriage bed of the Lamb. In this our joy can be complete, because with the consummation of Blood and Water comes the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. Recall, it was necessary that Peter deny the Bride-Groom on the night of His Passion, just as it was necessary for Judas to betray Him, in order that everything be done as the Father showed Him, again our consolation is that Jesus not only knows what is to come but that He has prayed for us to pass the test. What is the test? As Rodrigue says in the film, We cannot doubt. That will be our death. We cannot do this mission without Jesus—two are better than one—let Him help us come into the Silence of His heart – the Will of Our Father – and He will renew His wonders!
Next up, Part 3: Widen Your Mouth to Silently Pray | Declare Thy Will Be Done!, which will include an in-depth look at the symbolism of Aleph in the Psalm of the Year 5781, in the tradition of the Jews, and a list of declarations you can make throughout this coming year during your time of prayer. Be sure to go back and read Part 1: The Year to Open Your Mouth in Silence | What to Expect if you missed it.
Want to Go Deeper?
I have written before on the effects of movie evangelism on culture and agree with popular theologians like Christopher West and Bishop Robert Barron who offer their critiques of art in music, books and movies, even secular ones, as a way of drawing closer to the Logos who became flesh. If I could suggest another movie that sums up the challenge of the year ahead it would be the movie “A Quiet Place.” Whether you have seen it already, want to see it or don’t, I recommend checking out this 8 minute review from Logos Made Flesh. Another visual metaphor might be the film “Silence of the Lambs”, wherein the effects of naivety can be quickly seen as a detriment to uncovering Truth when we are too trusting of the narcissism prevalent around us.
If you enjoy reading, below is a list of sources I used and other recommended reading.
And then, there’s pop-culture icon Madonna’s Quavo – Eurovision Song Contest 2019 music video inculturation which might suggest she is a bit more of a musical prophet than her name suggests. She begins with her hit song from the past “Like a Prayer” and combines it with the futuristic dance moves of the Quavo dancers who, ironically, are all wearing masks to create what people are calling a “Dark Ballet” as she sings repeatedly, Not everyone is coming to the future. Click the link above to watch and hear.
The signs of our times are all around us, in art, tv, books, music, movies and even politics, if we’ll only open our ears and see what the Spirit is saying – we too could see and hear what’s coming…and who.
❤️💙💛 Until the Day Dawns – Love the ones you’re with and keep Jesus close, in the silence of your heart. Remember, in the end silence is about Love.
For those of you who are like my husband and won’t read this post because #TLDR, this song just about sums it all up. His words, not mine. I kept silence on this issue. Enjoy!
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Resources and Recommended Reading
Letters of Light by Aaron L. Raskin
The Letter Aleph by Torah for Christians
The Warning: Testimonies and Prophecies of the Illumination of Conscience by Christine Watkins
Lord Renew Your Wonders: Spiritual Gifts for Today by Damian Stayne
My Heart will Triumph by Mirjana Soldo, visionary from Medjugorje
Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul by Sister Faustina Kowalska
33 Days to Merciful Love by Fr. Michael Gaitley
A Time to Advance: Understanding the Significance of the Hebrew Tribes and Months by Chuck Pierce and Robert & Linda Heidler
Deliverance Ministry by ICCRS Doctrinal Commission
Baptism in the Spirit by ICCRS Doctrinal Commission
Biblical Foundations for the Role of Healing in Evangelization by Matthias D. Thelen
The Spiritual Gifts Handbook: Using your gifts to build the Kingdom by Randy Clark & Mary Healy
Fulfillment of All Desire: Study Guide by Ralph Martin