“The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.” Revelation 12:15-16.
About four centuries ago, Our Lady of Good Success appeared in Ecuador to a Spanish nun. Our Lady left a number of prophecies, many of them have been fulfilled. One of those predictions is very important to us today because it seems to describe our times quite accurately.
“The devil will work to persecute the ministers of the Lord in every way, working with baneful cunning to destroy the spirit of their vocation and corrupting many. Those who will thus scandalize the Christian flock will bring upon all priests the hatred of bad Christians and the enemies of the One, Holy, Roman Catholic, and Apostolic Church. This apparent triumph of Satan will cause enormous suffering to the good pastors of the Church… and to the Supreme Pastor and Vicar of Christ on earth who, a prisoner in the Vatican, will shed secret and bitter tears in the presence of God Our Lord, asking for light, sanctity, and perfection for all the clergy of the world, to whom he is King and Father.”
That warning was not the only one. Unknown to the general public, there were already signs of trouble among the clergy during the mid 20th Century. Now we know, for example, that Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado –the founder of the Legionaries of Christ– had been living a double life since his ordination in the 1940’s. His sexual behavior went unnoticed to all but not to Our Blessed Mother, who had warned the faithful of corruption among the clergy. Those were the first trickles of a river of impurity that was on its way to flood the whole world. As predicted, the Church was not spared.
Today we wake up every day to hear new scandalous revelations in the secular press. Shame is being piled upon the Church by the very ones who were expected to care for the flock of Christ. In the last few weeks, certain crimes have been uncovered that simply boggle the mind. The disgusting, unnatural details of those actions are a sure sign of their satanic origin. Something more than mere “smoke of Satan” has entered our Church, something rather like the flood of impurity and sin described in Revelation 12.
The scope and scale of this flood is nearly unthinkable but it has happened before throughout history. The chosen people of God had to deal with similarly challenging problems in the days of King Ahab. Nearly everyone in Israel was sacrificing to Baal, including the king who was married to Jezebel, a foreign princess and a promoter of Baal herself.
Because of that widespread abandoning of the faith, God afflicted Israel with a prolonged drought. Years went by and, through the prophet Elijah, the God of Israel announced that the long dry season was coming to an end. In the meanwhile the responsible men of Israel had been busy protecting and feeding the persecuted faithful priests. That is a prophetic model representing the protectors and supporters of the true teaching of the Church in times like ours, when apostasy and indifference rule. In time Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal, the official religion so to speak, to meet with him at Mount Carmel, a mountain that has the shape of an altar when seen from afar.
The priests of the true God were hiding in a cave and fed bread and water. In contrast, Elijah specifically challenges the false priests of Baal “who eat at Queen Jezebel’s table.” The table of the Lord is and the table of demons are on opposite sides. Heresy and orthodoxy, impurity and purity are going to face off on the heights of Mount Carmel. Saint Paul would use that image many centuries later in 1 Corinthians 10:21 – “You cannot drink the chalice of the Lord, and the chalice of devils: you cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord, and of the table of devils.” After the challenge is over, Mount Carmel will be the altar of the True God or the altar of the false god Baal.
Elijah allows the priests of Baal to start and the priests try in vain to bring their god to burn the sacrifice. When Elijah’s turn comes up, he calls on the True God to consume his sacrifice. The answer of God is swift and intense. Fire from heaven descends consuming everything. Then the followers of Elijah pursue the fleeing false priests and hack them to pieces, leaving not one of them alive. In the hours that followed, the rain poured for the first time in seven years, the fiery judgment of God came upon Israel in the form of war and finally, the evil rule of the Baal worshipers came to an abrupt and violent end. They died in shame just like their false priests had perished on Mount Carmel.
And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look towards the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab: ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.’” And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain.
In the eschatological interpretation of those events, the small cloud appearing over the horizon was understood by the Fathers of the Church as a figure of Mary the Morning Star, rising over the sea, coming to prepare the world for Our Lord’s arrival. The rainstorm that ends the long period of drought also marks the end of the age of spiritual apostasy. We can easily detect many opposites here: true faith and apostasy, faithful and unfaithful men, purity and impurity, true priests and false priests. Jezebel appears as the pinnacle of impurity. She is sort of the opposite of Our Blessed Mother who is represented by that “little cloud” that brings plenty of rain, purifying and nourishing the land, ending apostasy, making the unfaithful perish, and restoring pure worship in the land.
The story we just considered contains many of the core elements of Christian Carmelite spirituality. Our heart must be pure, undivided, free from impurities, and ready to serve God. Mary Most Holy appears in history as a great model for us. Her heart is completely devoted to God, and to the dispensing of graces to those who serve God.
It seems to me quite interesting that the concept of the Immaculate Conception seems to be connected to Mount Carmel. Carmelites taught the Immaculate Conception long before the Church formally declared the dogma, and long before Mary revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception in Lourdes.
All acts of God are meant for a purpose; Pope Pius IX taught us that: “The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.” Notice that the perfect purity of Our Blessed Mother is a step to prepare the entrance of Our Lord and Savior into the world. In the same manner, our imitation of the Immaculata prepares us to bring God’s Kingdom into the world. As we fight the sin we naturally inherited, we work with God in perfecting ourselves to be citizens of Heaven by preparing a home for Jesus in our hearts. We are not born immaculate like Mary but by the grace dispensed through the Sacraments we can imitate Our Mother and hope to serve God perfectly one day.
Try to meditate and pray daily about these mysteries and about her Immaculate Heart. The tiny cloud over Mount Carmel that became a mighty storm is a figure of the many graces that will rain on us if we concentrate on obeying the commandment of Mary at Cana: “Do whatever he tells you.”
Now going back to the satanic river of impurity that seems to be flooding the entire world these days: if we want to survive and preserve our souls in these awful times, we must take the example of Elijah and the pious men of Israel. We have to feed as many souls as we can with the pure doctrine we have received from the Church through the ages. Remember the severe words of St. Paul: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should declare to you a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be accursed!” Our preaching must come from a heart modeled after the Immaculata. The Church may have to go through days as dark as Calvary. Many may stumble when our pastors’ weaknesses are revealed. Remember Mary’s peace before the Cross and take this Psalm to heart: “Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.” The flood of impurity may seem to drown the world but the purifying rain will come to renew everything just as it did in the days of Elijah.
 See 1 Kings chapters 17-22 for the complete account of those events.
 1 Kings 18:41-45.
 John 2:5.
 Galatians 1:8.
 Psalm 119:165.