“The gates of hell shall not prevail!” I have heard this affirmation many times in the last year. There seems to be a certainty that we will prevail as a church even as our country spirals into chaos and confusion pours out of the Vatican. Is the church’s success something that we can take for granted in our country and in our time?
I’d like to make one point about the Gates of Hell not prevailing. It HAS prevailed in local and historical situations currently and in the past. Take Turkey as an example, though there are many others I could point to.
Turkey is where Christianity grew up. If it was born in Judea, but it grew up in Turkey (Asia Minor in New Testament times). St. Paul was born there. Peter and Paul preached there, Mary lived there for a while, John the Apostle was a bishop there and died there in Ephesus.
The Hagia Sophia Church in Constantinople was the largest church in the world for one thousand years.
Now Turkey is 99.99% Muslim. There are only 60,000 Christians among 85 million Turks. The Seven Churches of Revelation have had their “lampstand removed” (Rev 2:5).
We need to be faithful, do the deeds required by Christ, stay faithful, suffer when necessary, defend the faith — or we too could have our lampstand removed and watch other forces take over our country.
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I was lying in bed unable to sleep thinking about the state of things, the church confusion, particularly Popes latest comments, and I was wondering, "I thought the gates could not prevail…..they seem to be prevailing alright …." It's been bothering me, wondering if one should just walk away from the church ……if it was not for the Eucharist, I would not be part of what seems to be a mockery. Then I got up to read and your blog post was exactly the words weighing on my on my mind ….will the gates prevail. Not sure if I'm comforted or more worried ??
STEVE RAY HERE: Debora, I would suggest you should be encouraged. What I wrote was to encourage people to get involved, speak out, do what they can to promote justice and holiness, pro life and love for our country. That’s why I am voting for Trump all the way!
We have to remember that it is Jesus who is building his Church. There have been good popes and bad popes, problems in our country with civil wars and all kinds of other chaos. But we have always survived. I have 18 grandchildren so I have a big investment in the church and in this country. I’m doing everything I can to encourage and challenge and fight for what is right.
Remember that 100 years ago people didn’t even know what was going on in Rome. They just loved being Catholic in their own parish and their local Catholic Church. Too many of us get worried about what’s going on in Rome and we lose sleep over it. But there’s not a thing we can do about that and all the worry you won’t change a thing. Just love being Catholic love being American and do all you can and then, trust the Lord! We’re in this together and God bless you!
I am convinced that the best thing that Catholics can do is to be proud of their faith and to let others know that they are proud. But that pride needs to be supported with why’s. Our Church has let apologetics fall to the side. Apologetics are needed more than ever. Unless you know why, you have no basis for discussion. God bless people like Steve and Janet Ray, all the Catholic Answers crew and the brave clergy that speak to our faith.
Put not your trust in Princes, but in the goodness of God. Immerse in his Divine Mercy. And live your life appropriately, be the light. That is not easy– never has been. The reason we are called “practicing Catholics” is we won’t know if we got it right until our final meeting. The Jesuits won’t be there, the woke politicians won’t be there, Fauci won’t be there. It’s just him and me, and my basket of good works and bad decisions. I pray there is more of the first.
Like you I’ve heard the “gates of hell shall not prevail, etc.” until the cows come home in recent years. I think this verse is misunderstood slightly by you and entirely by most.
In my view, and I am no scholar to be sure, a gate is a portal designed to permit ingress and egress. It is, in itself, inert. It stays where one locks it into place. It neither attacks nor retreats, it just sits there doing its job of holding people or animals in or holding people or animals out. When it works successfully it holds or “PREVAILS”.
The message this verse conveys to me is that the gates of hell will not hold or prevail against Jesus’ attacking Church.
The problem we’ve got, and have had, is that our Church is not assailing the gates of hell. It’s in a miasma of feel good social justice mumbo jumbo and, quite frankly, has lost complete sight of it’s basic mission which is to get souls to heaven and prevail against hell.
The result is that an individual can use the sacraments of the Church in a grace filled manner but in practical faith formation and life style pretty much has to build up his own small group community because it’s sure as hell not coming from the majority of the hierarchy.
Keep up the good fight!
My concern is that there has been a great loss of Biblical definitions of what constitutes sin. The idea of sins like scarlet (Isaiah 1:18) and Jesus being born so that “he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21) is largely lost. In fact, in our society sins have been reversed as Isaiah 5:20 says: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” Christianity, and especially the Catholic Church, is under attack for this very reason. We are now called “haters” and other names if we oppose the abortion, LGBTQ+ and gender identity movements. They do not want sin to define their lifestyle and are going to do everything they can to eliminate anyone or any organization that does this. Most of the main line protestant denominations have already succumbed to their pressure, and the pressure is going to increase, with liberal politicians and courts ruling against churches and individuals who hold to Biblical definitions of sin. I frankly do not see this turning around, and it will play a big part in destroying what used to be a national consensus of what is sin and what is not, what is moral and what is immoral. Without a powerful visit from the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sins to lead us to repent, I am afraid that our nation is already lost. God will abandoned nations that have forgotten Him and leave them to their own devices, and it is already happening among a significant number our population. God told the Israelites, as they were about to claim the land He was giving them, to destroy those peoples who practiced child sacrifice. Considering that we also practice child sacrifice with over 62 million babies before they were born, God must, if He is going to be true to Himself, bring judgment upon the USA (as well as other nations). He cannot remain silent in the face our history of legalized abortion and the growing number of other sins we are not just committing, but celebrating.
STEVE RAY HERE: Ann brother! Couldn’t agree more!