A passionate and concerned woman wrote me a long e-mail. I admire her desire to understand and do what God wants and to do – her desire to bring her family into the Church. She was listening to a lot of noise on YouTube, websites, and podcasts and she sounded a bit frazzled and frantic.
You are not privy to her email, but you can probably read between the lines to grasp the content of her request for advice. Here was my advice to her about the false prophets claiming to have a word from God, which Mass to attend, how to discern which YouTube channels to watch, which candles are the most effective, etc. Here was my advice.
My first advice is to take a deep breath, relax and take another deep breath. I sure appreciate your passion and fervent searching, but the Catholic faith is as much about “resting in the Lord” as it is in the intense search for information and the latest news about how to please God.
Second, continue to love and respect your husband and family and always make them number one. There is no competition between God and family. By loving the family you are loving God since that is what he designed us to do. Love your husband into the Church.
Read my article Six Rules: https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/six-rules-for-dealing-with-non-catholic-family-and-friends It will help you navigate with family and friends who are not yet Catholic.
Third, pay little heed to the many false prophets and hysterical people claiming this or that. Jesus said there would be many of them (Matt 24:11, 24). I ignore them. Stay with what you KNOW is the Word of God — Scripture, the daily readings, the Divine Office of the Church, spiritual readings proven by time, saints and Doctors of the Church, books, blogs and podcasts by true and tested sources. Limit your time on such things. Don’t ignore the family and practice the presence of God in your daily life doing the menial tasks of life. Do everything as unto the Lord (1 Cor 10:31).
Candles are great. Beeswax candles are nice. I use them to add a warm glow to the room or as a reminder to myself and God of prayers made as I light them. They remind me of Jesus who is the light of the world. But keep life simple. Beeswax candles are just candles and have no magical powers. Three Days of Darkness? There have been predictions of doom and darkness and judgment every generation. If you spend your time chasing these apocalyptic predictions you will fail to live your daily life in peace.
“Let nothing disturb thee; let nothing dismay thee; all things pass:
God never changes. Patience attains all that it strives for.
He who has God lacks for nothing: God alone suffices.” St. Teresa of Avila
Fourth, stay off YouTube unless you know you are watching orthodox and godly things. YouTube is a rat’s nest of chaos and contention. Too many people have too much time on their hands and too much to say. Let others waste their time listening and watching a host of people rant and rave 24 hours a day.
Remember that Private Revelation is not the same as the teaching of the Church. Most “private revelation” is nonsense, untested, false and harmful to your soul.
Catechism 67 “Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.”
“Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations.
Much of the “prophecy” today about the end of world, the flooding of the East Coast, darkness to cover the earth, a Rapture where we will all be left behind, etc. is nonsense. The more things change the more they stay the same. There has been a steady stream of dire warnings, prophecies of doom and gloom and fear-mongering since the beginning of time.
Fifth, read Scripture, do the daily readings of the Church (https://morningoffering.com/). This is what my wife uses every morning. There are many good websites and apps like this. They are edifying, full of Scripture, following the mind of the Church and her traditions. These will make you calm and secure, comforted and informed — and avoiding a life of fear and anxiety. They will keep you on the right path and not waste your time floundering along rabbit trails through the swamp.
Lastly, the Latin Mass is fine. It is a beautiful and elegant Mass. However, as horrifying as this may sound to some ears, my wife and I prefer the Novus Ordo Mass reverently celebrated. I understand English, not Latin so I prefer a language I understand. Either Mass is the Mass of the Church. There are also marvelous liturgies in the Byzantine and Eastern rites of the Catholic Church. I agree on this matter with George Weigel.
You say you want to celebrate like the early Fathers — then you have to celebrate Mass in Aramaic as the first Christians did, or in Greek. The Fathers for the first centuries celebrated in the Greek language as do many of the Eastern Churches of today.
Don’t stress over this. Find a traditional-type parish with a priest who is a believer, loves the Lord and the Church and who celebrates a good and reverent Novus Ordo Mass. Visit the Latin if desired, but don’t be agitated over it.
If you make Catholicism too stressful and frantic you will eventually burn out and your husband will never want to join you. Be calm, trust the Lord, be a great wife and mother; keep things simple and clean.
That is my advice. God bless you!