“Come, Lord Jesus” (Apoc.22:20)
“Brethren, if you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God: mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth” (Col.3:2,1). These words from St. Paul to the Colossians remind us that there is a division in mankind. There are those who seek the things that are above, and there are those who are content to seek what is below. In fact, today the supernatural realm is often simply denied by many, or explained away in terms of the natural. There is only the “below” of this world. The conciliar church, the “church” of Vatican II, seems unable to recognize, or deliberately obscures the distinction between the natural and the supernatural. All men are good and on their way to eternal life. Just lead a normal good life and you have it made. This is modern Pelagianism at work – the “do it yourself” way to heaven. Virtually everyone is saved. Why bother with sanctifying grace?
But where the natural alone is at work and God’s grace is denied, authentic faith, love and peace are impossible. We are aware that some are sincerely seeking the truth, and have not yet heard the Gospel message, but St. Paul makes it clear that sin rules in the world: “…through one man sin entered into the world,” he says, “and through sin death, and thus death has passed unto all men because all have sinned…” The only escape is to believe in the Gospel. St. Paul testifies to the power of grace in those who believe: “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh” (Rom.8:1).
St. Augustine in his City of God spoke of two loves by which men were divided – the love of God to the contempt of self, and the love of self to the contempt of God. But a “civilization of love,” according to John Paul II, is now considered possible if only “believers” of all religions decide to live together in peace and harmony. While it is true that human beings are capable of love at the natural level, the natural virtue of love cannot overcome the power of Original Sin. Any “civilization of love” must be based upon the Christian virtue of love, or charity, which is one of the three theological virtues received with sanctifying grace at baptism. There will be no “civilization of love” until the Church gets serious about preaching the Gospel, and the world is ready to acknowledge the Kingship of Jesus Christ and His authority over all nations and peoples.
What we say about the natural virtue of love is true of all the natural virtues. They are not capable of overcoming the effects of Original Sin. A man must begin to live at the level of the supernatural through sanctifying grace, practicing the infused Christian virtues, before he is capable of gaining merit and entering into the kingdom of heaven. The difference between the ordinary good man and the Christian is that the former is incapable of overcoming the effects of Original Sin and meriting eternal life, whereas the Christian lives at the supernatural level and merits, if he perseveres in grace, the reward of eternal life.
The conciliar church, furthermore, does not recognize these days the distinction between human “faith” or belief and the supernatural gift of faith. Those of all religions are “believers”. John Paul II wrote:
“Many religions proclaim that peace is a gift from God. We saw this again at the recent Meeting at Assisi. May all the world’s believers join their efforts to build a more just and fraternal humanity; may they work tirelessly to ensure that religious convictions may never be the cause of division and hatred, but only and always a source of brotherhood, harmony, love.”
But it is precisely religious conviction that divides us from the rest of humanity, making us true brothers in the New Covenant sealed by the Blood of Christ. It is the very purpose of the New Covenant to form a new humanity, the head of which is Jesus Christ, the New Adam. Outside of this Covenant, among the descendants of the first Adam, true brotherhood, harmony and love are impossible. Without Jesus Christ human beings are essentially strangers. They may love for a time on this earth, but they are always at war, and their destiny is eternal alienation – unless they find Jesus Christ and seek Baptism.
It is the mission of the Church to preach the Gospel of Salvation to the nations. If the Gospel proves to be a source of division, Jesus Himself forewarned us: “Do not think that I have come to send peace upon the earth; I have come to bring a sword, not peace. For I have come to set a man at variance with his father, and a daughter with her mother, and a daughter-in-law with her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household” (Mt.10:34-36). This kind of division is necessary, because it separates the wheat from the chaff, those who are being saved from those who refuse to believe. “These (things) are written,” says St. John at the end of today’s Gospel, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name” (Jn.20:31).
How then can we hope for peace if the Gospel itself creates division? Again we must make the distinction between the natural and the supernatural. God gives the “peace that passes understanding” to those who believe. The “peace that the world gives” must be imposed through force of arms. U.N. “peace keeping forces” are not for keeping peace, but for advancing the power of the U.N.
As long as the authority of Christ the King is not acknowledged sin will continue to reign in the world. There will be “wars and rumors of wars” until Christ comes again.
“For the mystery of iniquity is already at work,” says St. Paul, “provided only that he who is at present restraining it, does still restrain, until he is gotten out of the way. And then the wicked one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of his mouth and will destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2Thess.2:7,8).
There is already peace for “men of good will” (Lk.2:14). In the meantime, our faith is in Jesus Christ, the only hope of the world, the Prince of Peace, Who will utterly destroy the workers of iniquity when He comes. We read in the last verses of the Bible:
“‘It is true, I come quickly!’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Apoc.22:20).