The charismatic movement has a phrase that has significant theological importance for us. The phrase is "the Now Word". Essentially, it refers to God speaking to us in the here and now through His Word in the Scriptures, especially in the Holy Mass.
It is too easy to become indifferent to the Sunday Mass readings if we view the Mass merely as an historical ritual that we merely attend and watch as spectators. Like Venerable Fulton Sheen would say, "We don't get anything out of the Mass only when we bring nothing to the Mass." Moreover, when we don't realize that the Mass truly makes present the mysteries of Redemption in the here and now, it is too easy to clock in and clock out of our Catholic Sunday "obligation."
But the readings of the Mass are the "Now Word" for the Church on a daily basis and if we are looking to what God is saying to us "right now," just look to the Mass readings, especially the Sunday Mass readings. After all, the Scriptures are the "Word of God" to us.
Listening to the "Now Word" with an ear to hearing God's will for you can change not only your life, but an entire nation . . . and even the world. Case in point #1, St. Anthony of the Desert. It was listening to the Gospel at Mass that led him to abandon everything and leave a collapsing Roman empire and become a hermit in the desert. The witness he left and the wisdom he attained by this heroic dedication to living the Gospel became the foundation of monasticism in the east and an inspiration for monasticism in the west.
St. Francis listened to the same Gospel everyone else did when he was inspired to a radical Gospel-based rule of life that would eventually lead to a humble order of Friars Minor that would impact the entire globe! By Francis' nothingness and his humility, God was able to use him as one of the most powerful instruments of building up a Church that was crumbling -- much like the Church today. His followers over the centuries would include some of the greatest saints the world ever knew -- St. Anthony of Padua, St. Bonaventure, St. Joseph Cupertino, St. (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina and my favorite, St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe.
So, where am I going with this? Today's Now Word for Sunday, January 24, was meant for all the Church to hear. It was the story of Nineveh -- a story with which we are all very familiar. But it is God's Word speaking to us right now. America is in a transitional moment of either utter ruin or being prepared for a renaissance of something it has never experienced -- a rediscovery of its Catholic roots and its mission to be a light of freedom and faith to the nations.
This is our Nineveh moment. And we better listen to God's Word which never goes back to Him void. And St. Paul's words, added to those of the Prophet Jonah couldn't be more clear:
I tell you, brothers and sisters, the time is running out.
From now on, let those having wives act as not having them,
those weeping as not weeping,
those rejoicing as not rejoicing,
those buying as not owning,
those using the world as not using it fully.
For the world in its present form is passing away. (1 Cor 7:29-31)
And then the Gospel:
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel. . . .”
Jesus said to them (Simon and Andrew), “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:14-20)
This is America's Nineveh moment . . . its call to whole-hearted repentance. It must respond like the Ninevites who heard and listened to the "Now Word" of God through the prophet Jonah and repented. And God had mercy on them and spared them total destruction.
If there is to be a renaissance in this nation, there must be a radical repentance and conversion to the Gospel. Nothing is impossible with God if we but turn to Him with all our heart.
Simon Andrew heard Jesus' call to follow Him and rather than providing excuses of affairs they needed to finish work-wise and family-wise, they "abandoned their nets and followed Him." Whatever is going on in our lives, we are being called right now, to drop to our knees and take up penance and recommit our lives to Jesus Christ like never before. If we think God is bluffing with His many prophetic warnings of the modern age to repent -- especially those of His Blessed Mother at La Salette (1846), Lourdes (1858) , Fatima (1917) and Akita Japan (1973) -- we will experience Biblical justice in real time like never before.
Our Blessed Lord told Sr. Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy:
“(My daughter) Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them.” Diary, 848
“You will prepare the world for My final coming.” Diary, 429
“Write this: before I come as the Just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy.” Diary, 83
“Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice…” Diary, 1146
“Secretary of My mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near.” Diary, 965
Let us heed this merciful call and lead our nation back to God right now by responding like the Ninevites who repented and the first Apostles who dropped everything to become disciples of Jesus Christ . . . and eventually the first instruments to bring the entire world back to God. Look at whom God chose. The simple, the humble and those with courage to hear God's call and follow it wherever it leads.
To respond to this call to repentance, I strongly recommend what Our Lady has recommended at all the places I just listed above that are approved by the Church:
Fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays
Make an unbroken hour of prayer daily in reparation for all the evil that is in the world (Venerable Fulton Sheen did this through a daily holy hour before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament). Prayerfully read and meditate on Sacred Scripture and apply it to your life.
Go through a metanoia experience by going through my free course: "The Final Hour: Fulton Sheen's Plan to Save America . . . and the World." The formation you will receive in its dynamic 4 modules will equip you to face with confidence and power what St. John Paul II called "the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through."
Let's use these next 40 days to take up true penance for our nation and implore God's mercy to transform and save us because God's "Now Word" for us at this critical moment in American and world history is: "Time is running out . . . the world in its present form is passing away . . . and this is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
I WILL BE REPENTING WITH YOU!
One way you can be a Jonah to others is by forwarding this blog post to everyone you know. It's certainly an easy way to reach others and I'm glad to help!
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE COURSE. IT WILL CHALLENGE YOU AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE.