For you this week:
Saturday December 5, 2020
No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see him, while from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears, saying: "This is the way; walk in it," so you know when to turn to the right or to the left. (From Saturday's first reading)
Reflection for Saturday:
Fight fear because holy boldness is needed now
In Saturday's Gospel reading, Jesus tells his disciples to "ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest". And then he sent them out to do the work before waiting for this prayer to be answered. That's how important the mission is!
What sign from God are you waiting for before you take action on something that you think possibly he has called you to do? No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see him, while from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears, saying: "This is the way; walk in it," so you know when to turn to the right or to the left. (See Saturday's first reading.)
Last week I wrote a controversial reflection for the Saturday scriptures. (You can still see it at gnm.org/insiders-view/?date=2020-11-26.) In it I reached out to those who have eyes to see and challenged everyone else to humbly ask for the Holy Spirit to give them eyes that can see the spiritual battle and the dangerous precipice that we're living through right now.
Jesus reminds us all, this Saturday, that when we have eyes that can see him (in our calling to ministry, in his activities in society and politics, in what he's doing to expose evil and corruption, or anything else that you're concerned about), we will also have ears that hear him give us directions in our daily decisions.
Often we stand still because we're waiting for signs or answered prayer before taking action on something that we think Jesus might have called us to do. To be holy followers of Christ, we need to ask more fervently for the Holy Spirit to give us eyes to see Jesus leading us and hear Jesus guiding us.
And while we're at it, we also need to ask for holy boldness. This has been my own prayer over these past few months. It's not easy and it's certainly not pleasant to be misjudged and disbelieved, especially when so much is at stake and the Lord is calling everyone to join the battle. My preference is to focus only on what is easy to share and stay off the battlefield. And in fact God does not want us to forget about the crop fields that are ready for harvesting. (To read about some exciting new developments, don't miss "Inside the Ministry" below.) But we sin if we say "no" to following Jesus onto the battlefield of spiritual warfare. We sin if we ignore that we are called and authorized to defeat evil anywhere it shows up.
We are called to resist evil, protest evil, and stand up firmly against evil, with determination (this is found in scriptures and in the teachings of the Church) but this does not mean with violence. Yes, we do violence to the spirits of darkness, but not to the human victims of darkness, though they might do violence to us. The first Christians and countless others since then were persecuted and martyred because they stood up firmly and spoke up clearly against evil. We must be willing to do the same.
Take courage! Jesus says:
"The world is not as powerful as it seems to be; its strength is strictly limited. Know, My daughter, that if your soul is filled with the fire of My pure love, then all difficulties dissipate like fog before the sun's rays and dare not touch the soul. All adversaries are afraid to start a quarrel with such a soul, because they sense that it is stronger than the whole world.” (Saint Faustina, Divine Mercy in my soul #1643)
The vast majority of responses I received from last week's article emboldened me because they revealed that many realize that we are in this battle together. Here is a sampling:
Carol Jones wrote: "Thank you thank you thank you for standing up for the truth. God bless you for your boldness so needed in these times. I see so many good Christians so anxious and frightened because we are not hearing the truth from the pulpit and not being led in prayer. We used to pray the Rosary before every Mass; now that's not allowed. Our people (especially the older ones) are so very afraid. I can't wait to forward this and print it off for those without computers. God bless you for your special ministry and for opening up eyes to the truth."
Konrad and Elaine wrote: "Excellent, well done Terry.... It's what I have been hearing from other sources as well."
Mary Beth Butterfield wrote: "Wow Terry - I just read this and want to complement you on such a powerful message!!! You have given us the blueprint to move forward in the continued battle. We have been praying the Rosary every day via Zoom with a group we call the Rosary Rebels. This message is serious and I will pass it on to many."
Fred Noonan wrote: "This is great. I hope you don't mind but I am making some copies and will hand it out. God Bless, keep up the good work. Onward CHRISTIAN SOLDIER!" (This gets a little scary for me because Fred belongs to the parish I used to call home, where many people know me, and a copy of my reflection might end up in the pastor's hands. The spirit of fear whispers: "Oh now you're in trouble! They're all going to condemn you." So I choose to snub that spirit by trusting the Lord who protects me when I do what he tells me to do and for whom I'm willing to be persecuted. And btw, please realize I'm not saying that I actually need protection from my old parish and pastor. The spirit of fear is a big liar.)
"And of what should we be afraid? Our captain on this battlefield is Christ Jesus. We have discovered what we have to do. Christ has bound our enemies for us and weakened them that they cannot overcome us unless we so choose to let them. So we must fight courageously and mark ourselves with the sign of the most Holy Cross." (St. Catherine of Siena)
Meanwhile, what is the Lord asking me to boldly share this week? The truth about "cheap grace".
I first heard the term "cheap grace" from a couple of priests who use holy boldness. After mentioning this to my husband Ralph, he showed me a quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident and martyr (1906-1945). When asked in 1943 how it was possible for the Church to sit back and let Hitler seize absolute power, Bonhoeffer firmly replied: "It was the teaching of cheap grace."
"Cheap grace," Bonhoeffer explained, "is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ."
Jesus called this "lukewarm" faith in Revelations 3:16. "Because you are lukewarm -- neither hot nor cold -- I am about to vomit you out of My mouth."
We need to deal with the unhappy truth that we now live in a time and culture that not only teaches cheap grace but praises it. This includes inside the Church, and this reality is a soul-destroying tragedy that has made God very angry. I suspect we will live to see his wrath challenge all within the Church to repent.
Those who embrace moral relativism need to repent from the cheap grace they're relying on. However, we who live by real grace, as taught by the Bible and traditional Church teachings, should not think we're safe from God's anger. Probably all of us need to repent of not speaking up with holy boldness enough and to more people.
Holy boldness is a gift of the Holy Spirit. It's also a virtue that requires frequent repentance for cowardice and compromise. And it grows stronger with practice. We live in a time when we get lots of practice! We are going to be persecuted more (I think) by those who live by cheap grace than those who totally reject the Christian faith.
In Good News Ministries, we are committed to using holy boldness, as the Holy Spirit leads, regardless of persecutions. And we are here to help you stand strong in the same commitment. Let's join hands on the battlefield!
If you understand why this is important, we need your support to stay strong -- now more than ever. By speaking the uneasy truth, we are losing members who don't want to have eyes to see. Please show your support in our end-of-year fundraiser (gnm.org/donate). If this is not possible, then we need your commitment to extra prayer support (please fill out the commitment form @ gnm.org/support-by-prayers).
Inside the Ministry: New opportunities
If you've been following US news about "Big Tech" (Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube, etc.) you know that Christians are being persecuted and the problem is getting worse. You know that Christians who post anything about politics, the pandemic, and other hot issues are being censored unless our posts conform to the ultra-liberal, leftist, socialist agendas that are being pushed forward by Big Tech.
Google has been making Christian sites rank lower. Many of us have experienced "Facebook jail" where we are not allowed to post anything at all for several days, and afterward, if we continue to post what the Facebook team doesn't like, our Facebook page is taken down. There is no recourse for self-defense.
So I've been watching to see where people are going that allows free speech without censorship and where Christians are not persecuted for our moral beliefs. The trend to make the switch has begun! And so we are going with them. I hope you will join me and Good News Ministries on the following social sites:
Join our Smart Catholics community!
SmartCatholics is like a holy, safe alternative to Facebook but with an emphasis on learning. Join the Network today! It's free!
After you open your account, look for “Groups” in your sidebar menu to find Good News Ministries.
By joining SmartCatholics, you'll have direct access to me as we journey together through whatever this crazy 2020 year is leading up to. You'll make new friends. You can see Good News posts of the daily reflections, the saint of the day, prayers, and more.
You will also have access to wonderful online conferences and workshops by Good News Ministries and other great Catholic speakers. Many videos are free. Premium content costs only $10/month. Or you can buy the premium content of any one conference for just $25. And whenever Good News Ministries holds an event, a portion of the fees comes back to us.
This is an exciting development in the expansion of GNM's outreach. I first learned of SmartCatholics when I was invited to give a 15-minute presentation for the November 28-29 conference called God Is Mercy. You can watch "How to Find God’s Mercy in Your Sufferings" @ https://watch.smartcatholics.com/programs/terry-modica-find-gods-mercy-in-suffering.
Very impressed with SmartCatholics, I met with the founder Dominic de Souza and we are now collaborating. In addition to creating the GNM community, we are planning a Lenten course and much more. Dominic and I are in the early stages of planning an "academy" where I and other speakers will mentor students of the Faith through important documents of the Church. Which of the following would interest you the most? In your answer, please tell me if you are a young adult or middle-age or older.
SmartCatholics is the best place for those who want to learn more about our Faith while being part of an interactive community. There is no other online Catholic conference site that does this. And it is so very easy to use.
I tested it with a GNM member who lives in Uganda. He was able to join but he could not install the app on his phone. The app is not necessary. Anyone with an internet connection can access the website.
Join here: https://members.smartcatholics.com/share/rlIZFQeaHaolEKXA and then click "Members" in the sidebar, search for "Terry Modica", and say hello.
Footsteps to Heaven podcast
Note: While I'm writing the book 30 Days to the Father's Heart, I'm taking a hiatus from recording new podcasts. To be notified as soon as a new one is published, sign up at footstepstoheaven.com. Meanwhile, here is an episode from earlier this year (June) that is perfect to revisit now.
Be Not Afraid
Do you need to hear Jesus say to you today: “Be not afraid”? In this episode, I share the story of how I overcame the fear of damaging my reputation in a difficult situation. I also help you conquer your fears. You'll learn how to drive out fear by its roots. At the end of this episode, I pray for your healing and victory over fear.
It's time to be bold! Jesus needs you to be a courageous Christian!
Listen to this podcast @ gnm.org/footsteps76.
Or watch the video @ gnm-media.org/be-not-afraid.
God bless you!
Thank you for reading this newsletter.
Your servant in Christ,
Terry Modica, Executive Director
Good News Ministries
Keep your eyes on Jesus!
And when you have to look at others, see them through his eyes.