When Satan realized Christ's true identity and the ramifications of what he (Satan) had just done, he more or less went ballistic. For it was he, ultimately, who paved the way for the salvation of souls.
In his rage, Satan went after Christians with a vengeance, inspiring Jews and assorted rulers to inflict some of the most heinous crimes against them—often ending in their death.
The Jews stoned St. Stephen, (1) the first martyr in recorded history, to death. From there, the Roman government took the lead, murdering Christians en masse in some of the most horrific ways imaginable.
Ancient historian, Eusebius, (2) addresses these persecutions in his writings, "The Greek Ecclesiastical Historians of the First Six Centuries of the Christian Era." In Book II, Eusebius speaks of the cruelty of Licinius, (3) a Roman emperor between A.D. 304 to 308:
At first, indeed, though breathing fury and threatening against God, like some savage beast of prey, or some closely coiled and crafty serpent, he dared not, from fear of Constantine, openly level his attacks against the Churches of God subject to his dominion; but dissembled the virulence of his malice, and endeavoured by secret measures, limited in the sphere of their operation, to compass the death of the bishops, the most eminent of whom he found means to remove, through charges laid against them by the governors of the several provinces. And the manner in which they suffered had in it something strange, and hitherto unheard of. At all events, the barbarities perpetrated at Amasia of Poiitus, surpassed every known excess of cruelty. (3)
Satan began to realize, however, that 300 years of savage mutilation and murder was doing nothing more than biting off his nose to spite his face. For, instead of eliminating them, persecutions inspired Christians to emulate the powerful signs of faith of the martyrs who preceded them.
Realizing the need to go back to the drawing board, Satan chose, 1300 years later, to use the "good cop" method—much like he did in the Garden of Eden. The name of that method was "charity."
WHERE CHARITY AND LOVE PREVAIL
Vatican II was all about charity, throwing the First Commandment into the back seat and giving the Second Commandment shotgun. Bishops discarded their collars and spiritual obligations and suddenly became social workers. Humanism became the order of the day, replacing the Church established by Christ with one centered on the human race. The most blatant illustration of this is the turning of the priest's back on the crucified Christ in order to address the people.
Catholics everywhere became intimidated by the threat of being tagged a "judger," much like present day liberals and progressives. This is nothing more than an ugly tool used to slowly desensitize Catholics to the reality of sin. Case in point is the pope's recent statement that we shouldn't "focus" so much on homosexuality and abortion. This was not an off-the-cuff comment but, rather, the culmination of a carefully-planned agenda, which began more than 50 years ago.
SO WHAT'S THE DIFF?
Judgment, in the spiritual sense, is a product of pride. Sadly, it is deeply entrenched in the most conservative of religions. Traditional Catholics are no exception. (Oh, I'm going to take a big hit on that one!) Those filled with pride (who generally perceive themselves as humble), consider themselves to be holier than others, elevating themselves to a sanctified level, grasping tightly in their hands, their one-way ticket to a seat at the right hand of God.
“But these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollo, for your sakes; that in us you may learn, that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written” (1 Cor 4:6).
Discern: “To perceive (something obscure or concealed); detect; to perceive the distinctions.” (4)
There is a difference between judging and discerning. “Judging” is for God; “discerning” is for us. God demands discernment from us according to the Ten Commandments—His guidelines that, along with the Holy Ghost, enable us to recognize that difference.
“Brethren, and if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Gal 6:1).
IS IT GETTING CHILLY IN HERE?
We are not expected to be Joan of Arc. These Times, in fact, are times of stillness and contemplation rather than battles on trusty steeds with swords in hand. Yet, in some ways, they are tougher.
St. Louis de Montfort, in his "True Devotion to Mary," stated that the saints of the latter days "will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs."
He goes on to say:
These great souls filled with grace and zeal will be chosen to oppose the enemies of God who are raging on all sides. They will be exceptionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Illumined by her light, strengthened by her food, guided by her spirit, supported by her arm, sheltered under protection, they will fight with one hand and build with the other. With one hand they will give battle, overthrowing and crushing heretics and their heresies, schismatics and their schisms, idolaters and their idolatries, sinners and their wickedness. With the other hand they will build the temple of the true Solomon and the mystical city of God, namely, the Blessed Virgin, who is called by the Fathers of the Church, the Temple of Solomon and the City of God. By word and example they will draw all men to a true devotion to her and though this will make many enemies, it will also bring about many victories and much glory to God alone.
Take careful note of the phrase, "by word and example."
This means that, for example, when one's child decides to "hook up" with someone, that the parent make it plain to the child that that he or she is committing mortal sin. The ramifications of such a stand these days are often the rejection of the parent and accusations of self-righteousness—not only by the child, himself, but by all the cowards who choose to go along with the program.
These are invisible wounds that cut far more deeply than a sword—the blood that is shed is internal and deadly. Souls will be mocked and ostracized, often finding themselves completely alone and abandoned. There will be no medals of honor in this world, no glory or sense of victory—only gut-wrenching pain.
Ever focused on Our Blessed Mother and the rosary as battle shields, today's warriors will not ride into battle; it will find them. Victory comes not in advancing against the enemy, but rather, in refusing to retreat.
"But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth" (Rev. 3:16).
(1) Catholic Culture.Org, "Christmas: December 26, Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr," http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?d....
(2) Wikipedia, "Church History-Eusebius," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_History_%28Eusebius%29.
(3) Eusebius Pamphilus, "The Greek Ecclesiastical Historians of the First Six Centuries of the Christian Era," Book II, London:Samuel Baster and Sons, trans. 1840, p53.
(4) Wikipedia, "Licinius," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Licinius.
(5) The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (New College Edition). (1976), Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, p 375.