The Age Of Godlessness And Its Consequences
It is abundantly clear that we live in an age of unprecedented crisis of faith. If we compare our times with every past generation in Europe in the last many centuries and until very recently, we must admit that our forefathers would even struggle to agree that we live in Christian Countries. Our forefathers would, in fact, struggle to recognise as Catholics even many of those who unhesitantly define themselves as such (and then pick and choose their beliefs).
It is not only the sinfulness per se (I am pretty sure fornication and drunkenness have been popular sins in any age), it is the way people deal with their own sinfulness that is utterly scary. Once upon a time sinners were certainly easy to find, but the lines at the confessional were long, too. Abortion was a rare event. Fear of hell was much more widespread. A strong Church provided Catholics with a robust barque to safely sail through the weaknesses and the sinfulness of their life.
Today, many of your friends and colleagues are probably not even baptised and if they are, their children possibly aren't. The very basis of Christianity is crumbling under our eyes. Europe at least (and part of the US and Canada) are simply deChristianised, they have become frontier territory!
We, who live in this context, cannot kid ourselves that, for our generation, “everything will be fine”. If it is true that everything will be fine, then Francis is right. If an age of astonishing irreligiousness does not lead to an age of great reprobation, then there is no need to deal with any of that Catholic stuff.
The (earthly) Church herself is now being raped by Satan. If the desertion or evil doing of countless priests and almost all bishops and cardinals has no meaningful consequence, what is the use of the Church? Why pray for holy priests and bishops? Heck, why have them in the first place? If the sheep are saved anyway, why have shepherds at all?
It is obvious that, if Christianity is to make sense, the contrary must be true. We must live in an age of reprobation. Satan must be having a wonderful time. A generation rejecting Christ must perforce be rejected by Him.
If you live in Northern Europe, and have a feel for history, you can see history being made under your eyes. The English Countryside has hundreds, probably thousands, of beautiful churches now empty. Those who even define themselves Christian are merely a plurality. Many of them would be unrecognisable as Christian to every generation of their forefathers, Catholic or Protestant, until a very recent time. The Country has become largely heathenish or atheist, with merely a Christian presence. Habits previously considered typical of heathens have become commonplace or largely tolerated and even celebrated (tattoos, cohabitation, abortion, divorce, even sodomy). France and Italy are not much better, Germany and Spain might not be better at all, Belgium and the Netherlands are certainly worse, the Nordic Countries are just appalling.
If we look at it in the great numbers, we must recognise that loss of Christianity means reprobation in great numbers, or else the entire Christian Faith makes no sense. If we look at our own Catholic world we must recognise that an age of astonishingly lax, by now barely understood Catholicism must do great damage to souls even among Catholics.
This can only have one consequence: that many of us – and certainly yours truly – live, walk, work, breathe in the midst of reprobates like pretty much none of our ancestors for possibly forty or more generations. It is fair to say that whenever you find yourself in a crowded train, underground carriage, cinema or restaurant, you are surrounded by a great number, and very possibly a majority, of reprobates. Scary, I know. It goes to show what madness V II and the generalised loss of faith all over Western Europe and parts of North America was.
Yes, we can and should pray for our friends and beloved ones. But prayers are no enchantments, and we cannot force our friends – much less God – to do what they do not want to do.
“But wait! Are you saying that my friends are not going to be saved? They are such fun guys and gals! How could God not do me this favour? I am so prayerful, you know!”
Well, good for you. But unless you are one in the mould of Padre Pio it is unlikely that you will change the life of dozens, or that God will grant all your such wishes.
The brutal reality is that your prayers for your friends will, besides benefiting you, providentially give them a help, a prop; which, if they – again, as it is providentially decreed – do not take, will not profit them.
As I have written many times, God on the one hand decides and decrees infallibly what our destiny is, and on the other hand leaves us still wholly free to make the decisions that lead us in the one or other direction (search this blog for “physical premotion”, “providence” or “reprobation”). Decisive here is – besides God's will – the free will of the person, not the prayer of his friends.
So yes: with Western Europe rapidly dechristianising, Satan is scoring a small jackpot every day, and I am sorry to say that – unless you are another Padre Pio – God is not going to spare your friends because of you. It was given to you, to us, to live in the midst of heathens, very possibly with some of your beloved ones not even baptised. You know what will happen to them if they die in their error.
Naturally, the temptation is strong to think: “I know that I live in an age of reprobation. But God will listen to my prayers and allow me to, one day, enjoy Paradise with all the people I love”. The questions here are: why would He do it for you and not for everyone else, thus saving a couple of dozen for the prayers of one? (This means universal salvation merely for the prayers of 3 or 4 percent). Also: Why would He not respect the will of those who choose to behave in a way that will merit them hell?
We already have the answers to these questions: if it were so easy to be saved Christianity – and certainly orthodoxy and perseverance in faith – would be pretty useless, giving right to the Francises of the world that salvation is, basically, automatically built in in the Gospel; and, on the other hand, the fact that we know as a truth of faith that God respects the will of His creatures.
The Age of Godlessness will demand that a terrible price in souls be paid. Not as terrible as deserved by strict justice, but terrible nevertheless.
This does not mean that we need to pray less; it means that we need to pray more as we recognise a greater danger for our beloved ones than the one faced by our grand-grandfathers.
What we should not do is to think that things are easy, and that an age of apostasy will receive the same treatment as an age of devotion merely for the sake of the few devotees.