Reading the Signs of the Times
Do you feel discouraged by what evil-doers have been accomplishing? Then don’t keep looking at them. Learn how to correctly interpret the signs of the times and you will see the victory of Christ. Don’t look at the battles that have been won by the enemy. The war is not over. Jesus Christ is always the victor. He is breaking the neck of the Devil, and the Blessed Mother is crushing its head. And we can see this if we know how to identify God’s plan at work.
The way it looks right now in US politics, the two parties — the two sides of the battle — are so diametrically opposed to each other that the US is split in half. But a nation divided against itself cannot stand. At the time I’m writing this (November 9, 2020) the US is on the brink of disaster. We are in a battle between good and evil, between Christian morals and the extreme progression of moral relativism. On one side, they’re doing everything possible to hang onto and increase abortion “rights” while the other side is pushing to protect unborn children. (This is just one of the issues, albeit very important, that’s dividing the country.)
The US is in a battle between democracy and socialism on its way to a Communist takeover. For anyone who has eyes to see, there’s a lot of well-documented evidence about this. What we’re witnessing today are the results of something Communists have been deliberately working toward since the 1920s. Did you read about the plot by Communists to demoralize the U.S. and pervert the Catholic Church since the 1920s? Read the story at lifesitenews.com.
Many of us who know about the evil plan that’s been unfolding are now wondering: Is God doing anything about it? Yes of course he is, but to see what he’s doing we have to be able to read the signs of the time.
We are all living on the battlefield of major spiritual warfare. The Devil is using today’s opportunities to suppress Christianity in his naive hope to destroy it. Modern day Christian prophets have been warning about what’s to come if we don’t repent, pray, put on the armor of God and fight in his Divine Army. Saints and mystics and the Blessed Mother have been warning us about this for many decades.
Fr. Richard Heilman calls it “the battle for the soul of the nation”. Listen to his inspiring homily for the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time at St. Mary of Pine Bluff Catholic Church in Madison, Wisconsin.
How to read the signs of the times
We all naturally try to interpret whatever is troubling us about our world, our Church, our families and anything confusing. The thing is: How do we know if we’re interpreting the signs of the times correctly? That’s a good question. Many of us have been infected by the moral relativism that has been increasingly infecting our societal standards, and this taints our interpretations.
To recognize the signs of the times and interpret them according to the mind of Christ, we need to have the Holy Spirit activated in us fully. That means that we need to have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, which includes being active in at least some of the supernatural charisms that are exampled in the book of Acts.
Unfortunately a lot of people (especially in advanced technological countries) who desire to be good, and might even desire to be saints, have never been taught how to have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit. They have never been taught how normal the supernatural charisms are supposed to be in Christian living. They read the Bible but don’t understand that Jesus was serious and literal in his message of John 14:12 (“Whoever believes in Me will do the same works I have been doing, and they will do even greater works….”).
And so we have vast numbers of good people who are easily misled by the moral relativism and propaganda of the “left”, the liberals who have become ultra liberal. Without the Holy Spirit supernaturally guiding us in understanding the signs of the times, we might be easily tricked into thinking that the Devil is not actively involved in politics, for example, and that therefore Christians (like me) should not be mixing politics with religion, i.e., with the works of our Christian ministries.
But the Christian faith is supposed to permeate all areas of life! We cannot and must not be silent about politics when it’s one of the battlefields where the Devil wants to gain a world-changing victory.
The process of good discernment
There is a process of discernment that needs to go into reading the signs of the times. Discernment is one of the charisms of the Holy Spirit.
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16 NIV)
Jesus said that we must discern what is evil and what is holy. We cannot look at what we like and what we dislike about a political candidate’s personality (for example) or a priest’s or bishop’s or pope’s words. We have to ask, “What are the fruits of this person’s activities?”
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. (Matthew 7:15-20 NIV)
Many of us, however, do not want to practice good discernment. They prefer to cling to their own limited understanding. They wear blinders so that they can see only what they want to see. For example, despite the clear teachings of the Catholic Church, we have many Catholics (including priests and bishops) who voted for the presidential candidate who is “Catholic” in name but not in moral values. When it’s pointed out to them that he should be excommunicated for his gravely sinful beliefs about abortion, they can’t see why this matters. They refuse to understand how this would add to the Devil’s plan to destroy the US. Well okay, they refuse to understand that the Devil is even involved.
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14 NIV)
Evil is hiding behind rhetoric and idealism and fear (such as the fear of utterly disastrous global warming and fear of the coronavirus without discerning how it’s been exaggerated). This why — right now — the gift of discernment is extremely important.
“On the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty, “they will be my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as a father has compassion and spares his son who serves him. And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.” (Malachi 3:17-18 NIV)
Because of the extreme progression of moral relativism, it’s become easier to recognize the differences between Christian morality and worldliness. It’s now possible for a Spirit-filled Christian to spot those who are filled with the Holy Spirit and those who barely know the Holy Spirit’s influence. And thus we are able to more carefully choose whom we hang out with: Which ones will increase our faith? Which ones are good allies for growing in holiness?
The steps for reading the signs of the times correctly
The process of discernment requires first of all having the humility to admit that we might be wrong in our understanding of whatever situation we’re observing. It requires putting ourselves into a state of grace by going to the Sacrament of Confession regularly, especially when discernment is critically important.
Next we need to desire with all of our hearts, minds, and souls to be holy. We loath the idea of making compromises with the world. We want to understand what scripture teaches us and what the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church tell us. We want to get on our knees before Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and commit our entire lives and activities to Divine Will.
And then we pray with an openness to being corrected by the Holy Spirit and to being inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Finally we need to test what we think the Holy Spirit is telling us by seeking out others who are strong in their relationships with the Holy Spirit and who have an all-in desire to be holy. We also need to look at what the prophets of the Lord are saying. We’re living in a time when God is providing an abundance of Spirit-filled prophets. And they are speaking the same messages at the same time. They are easy to find on YouTube.
Here’s my prophecy
Having said all that, I would like to now share with you what I believe the Holy Spirit has been telling me. My discernment process about this has taken place over several days because I want to be sure it’s not just my own imagination. Admittedly I still might not be 100% right on this, but I believe that the Lord wants me to share with you a bigger picture than what we see on our TV screens and other sources of news.
The bigger picture looks like this: Jesus Christ is leading us across the battlefield towards victory.
I think we would all prefer that Jesus hurry up and arrive in his Second Coming and swipe all evil from the face of the earth. He’s not doing this (yet), so what is the Holy Spirit trying to teach us?
We have been influenced by our cultures to see ourselves as independent. As Christians, we depend on God for the answer to our prayers. But are we forgetting that God designed us to be part of his family. We are all in this together. We are not only dependent on God but on God working through others. God is a community of Three Persons, the Holy Trinity. So of course he designed us to work best and most effectively within community.
He wants us involved in the battle as much as he is in it. And so he has timed the victory according to the increase of our prayers and our unity in praying together.
Do you see how God has been pulling us together over the past several months? Because we have generally been such individualists, he let us experience the extreme of individualism, i.e., isolation due to the pandemic’s lock-down. We have even been made to fear giving someone a hug. Fear is not of God, but he has chosen to allow the devil to separate us from each other and from our loved ones and from our churches in order to increase in us a longing to become more active in Christian community.
How exciting that now we are praying together more then ever! Protestants and Catholics are equally praying for evil to be driven out of the US presidential election and its aftermath. Those who have eyes to see have recognized the need — the very dire need — to protect the US through prayer.
A nation divided against itself cannot stand. Much, much more is at stake now than in any previous presidential election. This is not a battle between two men who want to be president. Nor is this a battle between two political parties. The US is on the brink of collapsing under the weight of socialism/communism’s false promises and the chaotic violence of those who are playing into the Devil’s hands.
God is calling upon all of us to join him in the battle. Christ is leading the way but how many of us have yet to become actively involved? There are now more people involved than there used to be, praise the Lord! But I suspect that the battlefield is going to get uglier and scarier until God finishes raising up his army.
He could get rid of all evil with a snap of his finger, but he chooses to collaborate with us. Someday, when today’s battles are behind us, we will emerge as a Church that is very different than we were a year ago. We will be much more interested in gathering with fellow believers, as a community, to pray. We will be much more interested in lifetime faith formation. We will be much more interested in what our children are being taught.
This will happen, I believe, because we will have learned the hard way how important it is to work together to recognize and then defeat evil.
After the battle of the ballots of the US presidential election has been won, the battle will move to the inner workings of the Church itself. Everything that we’ve been going through because of the coronavirus and because of the ugly politics of the presidential race will turn out to be a blessing because it’s a preparation for what comes next. It all ties together.
God is working a huge plan. And if we look at the particular battle that is in front of our eyes, we will miss the big picture. We will easily feel discouraged and even lose faith. Our faith, our hope and even joy comes from recognizing and interpreting correctly the signs of the times, which are all pieces of a puzzle that will look amazing when it’s finished.
Next: See more WordBytes on Victory in Spiritual Warfare >>
You might also be interested in WordBytes about the Church Crisis >>
P.S. There are always people who don’t like what I say when I boldly share what they don’t want to hear. My natural tendency is to pull back and be quiet. But that would be a sin. Yes, a sin! I am called to be a prophet, as are you if what I’m writing about is resonating with the Holy Spirit within you. I have given God my “yes” to continue adding more WordBytes on the theme of victory over evil. What “yes” are you giving to God?
© 2020 by Terry A. Modica
Please share this with others by using the social sharing icons at the bottom of this page. Or request a printable copy that's licensed for distribution here, unless it is indicated above that it is already available from Catholic Digital Resources.