Sunday, September 22, 2013

Review: Volume Eight, Direction for Our Times

“Old habits die hard.”  Actually, I think, old habits don’t necessarily die hard, but rather we don’t even think about changing our habits.  That’s why they’re called “habits.”  I guess perhaps if we thought seriously about our habits we might be able to see better, more useful, ways of doing or thinking about things.  Most often, however, we don’t stop to think.
This morning, out of habit, I reached for my cell phone before mass and changed its volume setting to “Vibrate Only.”  But then I paused, and thought: Why?  For years I had put the setting on Vibrate so that the phone would not ring and disturb others, while disturbing me: Perhaps an important call or text was coming, I assumed, or perhaps I was needed somewhere at that very moment.  But today I thought: And just who would, so importantly, need me at this moment?  With mom now in Jesus’ care, I realized that my old habit no longer had the same importance, and that by continuing it I was now saying: “Perhaps with the phone’s buzzing there is someone more important for me to focus on --- than on Jesus on the altar.
I thought about that, and then I changed the volume setting to “All Off.”
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Volume Eight of the series of books titled “Direction For Our Times, As given to Anne, a lay apostle” has as its focus “Resting in the Heart of The Savior.”  I read the short book last night, and I suspect that many who read it might not imagine that “Resting in the Heart of The Savior” is its focus.
In writing my thoughts about this book, let me give a quick caveat:  This book is about a private revelation, words said to be those of Jesus as spoken to an individual, which we do not as Catholics have to believe.  In short, however, I myself place a value (or not) on private revelations or visions based on two criteria:  1) Is whatever is said true to the teachings of the Church? And 2) What are the fruits of the event?  Regarding the first point, two bishops have attested that the words written in this book are not contrary to any Church teaching and the person involved, Anne, is loyal to the Magisterium of the Church.  Regarding the second, there are a couple of other books published on this topic which focus only on the words of hundreds of people who have said how much their lives have changed, their closeness to Jesus and His Church has grown as a result of the revelations to Anne.  With that, I viewed this book as worth my time to read.
The book has a major focus on Chastisements, which Jesus says definitively are coming, and soon.  So is this an “End Times” book?  No, definitely not.  The opening words/message of Jesus are a fitting summary of the book’s purpose:  My dear children, I will not leave you in darkness.  I seek to bring you to the Light.  … I am suffering at this time, so those who are close to Me will also suffer:  Far better, My friends, to suffer the pangs of the Savior, than to wander in darkness.  Come rest in My heart.
In the book, Jesus gives many examples of the things which pain Him.  As you might expect, abortion, sexualization of the media and public life, and homosexuality demand considerable attention, but there are a number of specific examples which focus in on the hearts of people; it is their hearts which cause Jesus sadness.  He expressed “deep disappointment at the sight of many of today’s mothers,” giving an example “of a mother who was heedless to the needs of her children and overly concerned with things of this world and of her appearance.  … This mother, who is representative of many, lacks love for her children and loves herself.”  Abortion and the ignoring of children are mentioned frequently.
Jesus also gives examples of those suffering for the faith, or those quietly accepting suffering in their lives.  On hearing His words, Anne speaks back to Him: “Jesus, how does this console you?  How can this possibly be good or helpful?”  Jesus explains that the violence to these sickens Him as it does Anne, but at the same time He sees love in the hearts of these individuals.  It is (the) servant’s response to the violence that creates the most enormous waves of tenderness and mercy in My heart.  He goes on to describe the suffering souls for Him as like bursts of light, shining towards heaven, and he described those who love Him that much as “beautiful.”  Those suffering may appear physically distressed, while others may appear physically beautiful, but Jesus says Souls must learn to look with My eyes and they will not put such value on physical beauty.
I liked one pronouncement of Jesus summarizing His feelings about this world:  I have sent many signs to mankind but they are ignored.  Never in the history of humanity was the slaughter of so many met with so little resistance.  … Do not view these scenes (to come) as punishment because I have no need to punish man in this way.  I do have a need to get man’s attention and when I allow man to reap what he has sown, calamities occur.  … I want changes in this world and changes will occur.  Be at peace because the good souls who lose their lives in these incidents are martyrs to the times.  Souls following darkness who are taken will have an opportunity to repent.  Consider your role in the coming of the Kingdom and trust that I will care for everything.
I guess Jesus is saying: Do Not Be Anxious.  (Where have I heard that before?)
Regarding the Chastisement to come, Volume Eight does not go into great depth, except to say that many will die, and “there will come a very difficult time for the remaining people. … They will work hard for their survival but will do so in joy. … Many of the conveniences we enjoy today will not be maintained, as in the speed with which modern man currently communicates.”  (I guess Apple and Microsoft might not be happy with those words.)  And Jesus goes on: “Man will not struggle with constant temptation to sin because of the media as it does today.”  “Much as been written about this time of darkness in the past, but He does not want to generate fear and that fear is neither necessary nor appropriate if you are following His path.”  And then, “After the abomination Jesus will end the darkness, the earth will be cleansed, and the time of the Great Disobedience will be at an end, giving way to a time of peace and obedience on earth which will last for a long time.”   This time is not described as “End Times” but really, almost the beginning of times, of “Good Times.”
I am sure many will read this book with fear and trepidation, but I found it comforting.  “He said that he wants people to accept difficult days quietly and humbly.”  Difficulties of this nature help people to understand that there is a force greater than man and that all they have built can be taken in a moment.  This is a good lesson for mankind.  I want people to help each other when difficult times occur. … Can you say this is a bad thing when it inspires people to serve each other and consider God?  Often it is through the deepest darkness that we are able to find the light.  Do you understand? … Souls will not be distraught when they lose possessions and that is what I want for My children.  I want detachment from the things of the world.
There were many inspiring words in this short book.  In a way, it was a huge reminder to think about our habits, and how we live these days.  What do we really value as important?  Jesus says that many of our habits will do little for us in the long run, and we need to change.  We need to turn the volume of the world to “All Off” and focus our attention, to form habits of focusing our attention, on our neighbor, and not ourselves.  And in all our suffering, today and to come, do not be anxious.

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