Why am I writing?
A friend declared that together with some of her home schooled children, they were going to do NaNoWriMo this year and write Fiction. My son is good at Fiction too. But alas dreaming up stories and writing them down isn't my forte. Non Fiction is. So I am going to keep them company during November.
What am I writing about?
Well that's a long story. Do you believe that God communicates with people, and directs them in their daily individual and corporate lives? I do. However telling what is truly from God, what is only human wishful thinking, what is a mishmash of both and what is malicious requires greater levels of the gift of discernment than I currently have. But when a great number of these messages from disparate sources have common themes – it is worth paying attention. That said, it is possible to be collectively wrong big-time, and that (thank you for explaining this St John of Avila) is a punishment from God. It is very easy to be deceived, especially when 90% of good is mixed up with 10% of bad.
In some sort of a nutshell, if the prophecies of our day are to be believed, then we are at a turning point in world history: a turning point that will see the greatest mass evangelisation that the world has ever seen. If this is true, then since it didn't observably happen at the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in February, nor at the 100th anniversary of the first apparition of the Mother of Jesus at Fatima in May, nor at Pentecost in June, nor at the 100th anniversary of the great miracle at Fatima in October, nor on the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant reformation, then we might start seeing the promised tsunami of grace in November, and if so, it would be worthwhile chronicling it. So in some respects it is an act of faith, and the risk is that these 30 days of November will be filled with disappointment and misery as each day brings nothing out of the ordinary.
One of the mini threads of prophecy is that some will be doing lots of writing under a special anointing from God, and that writing will also help depth the movement of the Holy Spirit in and with us and give greater clarity and understanding as things 'accelerate'.
I have already been journalling a bit during October, but not every day, and most of it contains the rantings of a heart disappointed yet again that nothing of this promised massive move of the Holy Spirit happened that day.
Will I / we recognise it when it comes?
This is a question I have been wrestling with. On the one hand there are threads of prophecy saying that things will change suddenly and massively, a la breakthrough, as swiftly as Joseph was taken from prison and made prime minister of Egypt. On the other hand there is a smaller thread saying that the most massive moves of God start tiny and almost imperceptibly, like the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem and like the small mustard seed that grows into a huge shrub.
There is a strand of prophecy from Catholic sources that is rarely referenced in non-Catholic sources, and that is persecution and days of darkness. Maybe that's because by and large Catholics are more familiar with persecution than the rest of our Christian brethren. Maybe that's because Catholics have a fuller grasp of the moral abyss our world is hurtling towards as the culture of death gets welcomed into government legislation and the culture of life gets outlawed. How sad it is that we only start fighting for truth and peace when they are severely threatened. Church history is littered with moments of great truth revelation and deeper clarity in response to heresy. When what we believe comes under threat it is like giving spinach to Popeye the sailor man, and we grow stronger in what we believe. 'The blood of the martyrs is the seed of faith' is the truism Catholics live by. Or if you prefer an Old Testament example, each time the Israelites came under further levels of persecution by the Egyptians of Moses' day, they increased in number and power – the opposite of what the Egyptian rulers wanted to see happen.
A further strand of prophecy is about new open doors and God given assignments to bring about the reign of His kingdom in both secular and religious society. As someone for whom the search for an open door has been long, painful and fruitless, this matters. I have no confidence that if it came and hit me on the head and started blinking in neon lights whether I would recognise it. Although it would have to be that obvious, and far more, for me to take the risk of bashing myself into yet another locked door. St Vincent de Paul endears me to him because he would wait and wait until it was truly obvious that God wanted him to do something, and then it was full speed ahead. I need that God given certainty, without it all our efforts are as dust and ashes, with it any mountain can be scaled and moved.
At the same time there is a strand of prophecy that speaks of looking out for the unusual and not expecting God to work as He has in seasons and eras past. Nothing we can manufacture will make any difference, only God's plans, strategies and momentum will. This strand echoes two thoughts from speakers which have bounced around my head for months. The first is that the spiritual weapons that we used yesterday cannot win the battles that we face today, each battle needs its own specific weaponry. The second is that people, and specifically generations are different. What worked in bringing young people to relationship with God 10 years ago is no longer working, because they are a different generation of young people with different values and experiences and challenges than their older cousins. We need to trust God that He knows the precise strategies that will work.
Over all these strands of prophecy stands perhaps the most important one – a call to deeper intimacy of relationship with God. Any big building needs a deep foundation. There are spiritual laws that must be obeyed, and one of them is that the greater charisms cannot be given without some corresponding effort on our part. As a wise man said, 'They don't fall from heaven like apples'. However they do come to those who choose to take God more seriously in his or her life, and who take the necessary steps to make that happen. We have to ask, and we have to persevere in asking for them, as the Gospels tell us. Ten minutes of prayer a day over a month is going to yield very different results to thirty minutes of prayer over 5 months.
Today is the feast day of All Saints, of every person who has walked through the pearly gates of heaven and has been permitted to stay. The Book of Hebrews tells us that these cloud of witnesses are praying for us. Likewise the Book of Revelation speaks of the prayers of the saints rising like incense before God, begging Him to bring the fullness of His kingdom into reality. At some point the prayers of all those happy, holy inhabitants of heaven have to outweigh the wickedness and godlessness on earth and begin the reclamation of the kingdoms of the earth for God.
May it be so.
May it be now.
May we see it happen.