October 20, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – It’s been said that the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. In a similar vein, the greatest trick the anti-Christ will pull will be to convince men he is the savior of the world instead of its destroyer, according to a powerful radio sermon given by Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in 1947 that was dug up out of a digital archive and published on YouTube last week.
Like the devil, whose trademark signature is to twist the truth to sell sin, so the anti-Christ, according to Sheen, will twist the minds of men to make them believe he is the “Great Humanitarian” who will “talk peace, prosperity and plenty.”
While Sheen’s description of the anti-Christ was given almost 70 years ago, his words may be more pertinent in our own times than they were in his. His prophetic message is absolutely crucial for every sincere Christian who seeks to be faithful to Christ to the end. He states:
The anti-Christ will not be so called, otherwise he would have no followers. He will wear no red tights, nor vomit sulphur, nor carry a spear nor wave an arrowed tail as Mephistopheles in Faust.
Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first “red.” Rather is he described as a fallen angel, and as “the Prince of this world” whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, there is no sin; if there is no sin, there is no judge, and if there is no judgement then evil is good and good is evil.
But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that He will be so much like Himself, that he would deceive even the elect – and certainly no devil we have ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion?
[Signs of the anti-Christ:]
- He will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity, and plenty, not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves.
- He will write books on the new idea of God to suit the way people live.
- [He will] induce faith in astrology so as to make not the will but the stars responsible for our sins.
- He will explain guilt away psychologically as repressed sex, make men shrink in shame if their fellowmen say they are not broadminded and liberal.
- He will identify tolerance with indifference to right and wrong.
- He will foster more divorces under the disguise that another partner is “vital.”
- He will increase love for love and decrease love for persons.
- He will invoke religion to destroy religion.
- He will even speak of Christ and say that he was the greatest man who ever lived.
- His mission, he will say, will be to liberate men from the servitudes of superstition and Fascism, which he will never define.
- In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret which he will tell to no one; he will not believe in God. And because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect.
- He will set up a counter-Church, which will be the ape of the Church because, he the devil, is the ape of God. It will be the mystical body of the anti-Christ that will in all externals resemble the Church as the mystical body of Christ. In desperate need for God, he will induce modern man, in his loneliness and frustration, to hunger more and more for membership in his community that will give man enlargement of purpose, without any need of personal amendment and without the admission of personal guilt. These are days in which the devil has been given a particularly long rope.
Sheen states that he raises his concerns about the anti-Christ, not because he fears for the survival of the Catholic Church, but because of the devastation the anti-Christ will bring upon those who have no faith.
“It is not infallibility we are worried about, but the world’s lapse into fallibility; we tremble not that God may be dethroned, but that barbarism may reign; it is not Transubstantiation that may perish, but the home; not the sacraments that may fade away, but the moral law.”
Sheen has confidence that since the Church has survived other great crises in her centuries of existence, “she will live to sing a requiem over the evils of the present.”
“The Church may have its Good Fridays but these are only preludes to its Easter Sundays, for the Divine Promise shall never be made void: ‘. . . and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.’ (Matthew 28:20) ‘Whosoever shall fall upon that stones shall be bruised.’ (Luke 20:18).”
“Never before in history has there been such a strong argument for the need of Christianity, for men are now discovering that their misery and their woes, their wars and their revolutions increase in direct ratio and proportion to the neglect of Christianity. Evil is self defeating; good alone is self-preserving,” he stated.
Sheen urged his hearers to take concrete action against the evils of the day by tapping into the spiritual resources given by God for battle.
As Christians we must realize that a moment of crisis is not a time of despair, but of opportunity. We were born in crisis, in defeat – the Crucifixion. Once we recognize we are under Divine Wrath, we become eligible for Divine Mercy. The very disciplines of God create hope. The thief on the right came to God by a crucifixion.
[What Catholics must do to survive the evil day:]
- Catholics ought to stir up their faith, hang a crucifix in their homes to remind them that they have a cross to carry.
- Gather the family together every night to recite the rosary.
- Go to daily Mass.
- Make the Holy Hour daily, in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord, particularly in parishes where pastors are conscious of the world’s need, and therefore conducts services of reparation. […]
- Those who have the faith had better keep in the state of grace and those who have neither had better begin to find out what they mean, for in the coming age there will be only one way to stop your trembling knees, and that will be to get down on them and pray. […]
- Pray to St. Michael, [saying to him]: O Michael, Prince of the Morning, who conquered Lucifer who would make himself a god. When the world once cracked because of a sneer in heaven, you rose up and dragged down from the seven heavens the Pride that would look down on the Most High. [So now marshal the world and purge of rot and riot. Rule through the world till all the world would be quiet. Only establish when the world is broken what is unbroken, is the Word.]
- Pray to Our Lady, saying to her: It was to you as the Woman that was given the power to crush the head of the serpent who lied to men that they would be like unto gods. May you who did find Christ when He was lost for three days, find Him again, for our world has lost Him. Give to the senile incontinence of our verbiage the Word. And, as you did form the Word [made flesh] in your womb, form Him in our hearts. Lady of the Blue of Heaven, in these dark days light our lamps. Give back to us the light of the world, that a light may shine, even in these days of darkness.
View an expanded version of Sheen’s sermon here.