A good friend of mine sent me the following email on February 15, 2021:
Dear Rev. Joe,
Always great for those of us from the old BCF fellowship to receive an update on your ministry in Italy. And I did talk with Bill Riley last evening. That was when he asked me to send the email prayer request you received today. Also, I had a couple of questions, in relation to events of 1975!
Our daughter Rebecca asks me to write an essay each week, with the recent topic being about my recollections of getting married in 1975. You were there, and have an excellent memory for events from long ago. I’m wondering if you might be able to answer a question that came up while writing the essay about our wedding.
I handed someone at the Hollywood Presbyterian Church chapel a primitive cassette recorder to save an audio track of the ceremony. The person who handled this sat on the right “groom’s side” in a pew near the front of the church. I don’t suppose you handled the recording, or recall who did?
Well, enough of probing distant memories. But, I do sincerely thank you for any response and deeply respect your many years of devotion to the Church.
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Thank you for your email.
Unfortunately I do not recall too much about the wedding. It is much easier to make an audio recording today with digital!
I have often thought about sending an email to “the old BCF fellowship”; I even started to write several emails to you and the BCF fellowship, but I never sent them. But may I be very open and honest and transparent with you John???
All of you share among each other your faith journey, which is a precious gift to yourselves from God as well as to others. Since leaving UCLA God has led me on a real profound life-changing faith journey that only now can I look back and begin to understand only a little of the significance of this gift from God. They say here in Italy “Chi non va’ avanti, va’ indietro”, “Those who do not go forward, go backwards”. Thus God has led me forward much faster and more profoundly than just about all my Catholic and Christian friends. What I am trying to say is that being led toward the fullness of the Truth, with much suffering, I discover that I have less and less in common with just about all of my former Catholic and Christian friends who did not go forward in their faith, and thus slid backwards ever more into subjectivism and relativism, which basically means that they no longer struggled every day to discover God’s holy will and God’s holy truth according to God, but rather they began to more and more seek the truth from themselves, not from God, according to the way they wanted the truth to be. This is what the world around us instills in us whether we realize it or not. Thus where can we begin a conversation or a dialogue about religion or about God or about Jesus Christ or about Truth, if we have ended up with very little in common regarding these most fundamental things???
A person who has allowed himself to slide into subjectivism and relativism does not realize he has slid into subjectivism and relativism and no longer seeks the objective truth from what God has revealed throughout the ages, which is generally called Divine Revelation. We all know how often the Israelites strayed from God, and how God, through suffering, brought back those willing to obey God instead of themselves. But how does God continue this same renewal in the New Testament after the coming of Christ?
You made reference in your email about your wedding ceremony with Annette who I knew equally well as you in 1971; how many ping pong games we played together at Hedrick Hall? But John, can I be totally open and honest and transparent with you, even at the risk of offending you??? Do you really realize that if a person loves a human being more than God, this love for a human being ends up being very shallow love and even false love, as Jesus clearly indicates in the Gospels (Mt 10:37; Lk 14:26)? In 1975 why did you not love Annette enough to help her love God more than you??? So that her love for you would be much more profound and rich, not only for God but also for you? Why did you not help Annette do a true and thorough discernment about abandoning her Catholic faith and embracing your faith so as to marry you? As you know, in Korea the majority of Christians are Catholic.
“He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…” (Mt 10:37). “If any one come to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple” (Lk 14:26).
Do you take God, Jesus, as a wishy washy person? Do you really believe one of the fundamental lies of the “father of lies” (Jn 8:44) that all Christian religions are basically the same, syncretism? Are we more concerned with human respect than what God wants? Are we so accustomed to interpreting passages from the Bible according to our own head without making any reference to all of Divine Revelation, and believing that my interpretation is OK?
To believe that one Christian religion is as good as another is a very grave offense against God! There are fundamental differences and contradictions between different Christian religions. Jesus is the unchanging eternal truth (Jn 14:6). There are more than 30,000 independent Christian groups in the USA alone, often interpreting important passages of Sacred Scripture in contradictory ways. I have often wondered how a Christian can read chapter 6 of the Gospel of John and still insist that Jesus was only talking about a symbol!
When Pope Paul VI issued his prophetic encyclical, “HUMANAE VITAE” (1968), there was an incredible negative reaction not only on the part of the laity who wanted to enjoy the pleasures of sexual relationships without any responsibility or openness to life by using artificial birth control, but even on the part of a great number of priests and bishops, even entire Episcopal conferences (e.g., the ‘Winnipeg Statement’ of the Canadian Bishops)! BEFORE 1930 ALL MAINLINE PROTESTANT DENOMINATIONS WERE IN ACCORD WITH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH that the use of artificial birth control was a grave evil and a serious sin. When the Anglican Church changed its stance in 1930 (Lambeth Conference) the other protestants churches quickly followed suit while Pope Pius XI reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s constant teaching on this grave evil in his encyclical Casti Cannubii (1930). Do we believe that we can make it to heaven without imitating Christ crucified to overcome our egoism and to learn to truly love, without being generous to life (“be fruitful and multiply”; Gen 1:28; 9:1,7; 26:24; 38:8-10; Ps 8:6-9; 127:3-5; Sir 17:2-4; Ex 1:7; Wis 9:2; 10:2; etc.)? More than ever before, a great number of Christians today want and embrace a Christianity without the cross! “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it” (Lk 9:23-24; Mt 16:24-25).
In an important document of the Catholic Church, “Dignitatis Humanae”, the Catholic Church teaches against indifferentism and against subjectivism: “All men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and his Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know it. The sacred Council likewise proclaims that these obligations bind man’s conscience. … So while the religious freedom which men demand in fulfilling their obligation to worship God has to do with freedom from coercion in civil society, it leaves intact the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies towards the true religion and the one Church of Christ” (DH 1; The Declaration of Religious Liberty; http://schis-trad.blogspot.it/2008/03/religious-liberty-of-vcii.html; http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651207_dignitatis-humanae_en.html).
Even though Jesus always offered mercy to sinners, He never offered any compromise with the will of His Father, or with the Truth of God, or with the law of God. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mk 31:31). “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished” (Mt 5:17-18; 24,35). There are many fundamental differences between Christian religions. Do we believe we can play with the Truth, Who is Jesus (Jn 14:6), and just say that Christian religions are basically the same? Is this not worse than insulting Christ?
John, this period of time is the most deceptive time in the history of the world and of Christianity!
“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Mt 24:24).
“Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2Thess 2:11-12).
“I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the issue of these things?” He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall purify themselves, and make themselves white, and be refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand; but those who are wise shall understand.” (Dan 12:8-10).
Do we have so little humility so as to believe that this deception could never happen to us!?! If you would have helped Annette to put God before John Jackson, Annette could have ended up offering you greater gifts than you can possibly imagine! Are we afraid to go forward in daily seeking the truth with the risk of having to change our lives and even great suffering and humiliations? At the end of the life of Jesus, He was totally humiliated and crucified. Are we truly followers of Christ? Do we follow only Christ risen, but not Christ crucified?
Perhaps now you can understand a little of why I hesitated and did not write an email for quite a while. We do not have the same common foundation of the deposit of truth, or even the need to seek the truth every day not from our own heads and intelligence but from outside of our heads from creation and from Divine Revelation. This takes true humility. I find it rather interesting that Jesus only told us once in the four Gospels to learn from Him! “Learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Mt 11:29-30). The saints tell us that without humility, there is no virtue. Saint Augustine puts it this way: “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues. The soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance. There is something in humility that strangely exalts the heart. This is the very perfection of man, to find out about his own imperfections. You must be emptied of that which you are full that you may be filled with that which you are empty. The greater the building is to be, the deeper you dig the foundation. For once your foundation is set, the height to which you can build has been determined. You want a tower that will pierce the clouds, lay first the foundation of humility. Humility must accompany all of our actions. For as soon as we glory in our good works, they are of no further value for our advancement in virtue.”
I might also add that if you do not understand the greatest gifts and powers that Christ left us here on earth, you cannot understand the main targets of Satan in this period of the “great tribulation” (Mt 24:21) when even the elect might be lead astray, if possible (Mt 24:24). If we do not understand the main targets of our mortal enemy, who is extremely intelligent, how can we understand what is the “great apostasy” (2Thess 2:3-4) before the manifestation of the Antichrist, or the “Abomination of desolation” for 1290 days (Mt 24:15) when “the continual burnt offering is taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” (Dan 12:11; 9:27; 11:31)!
John, let us not worry about “an audio track of the ceremony”, but rather open our eyes to the greatest deception and dangers to our eternal souls in the history of the world and of the Church! If you read some of my articles you will find why I believe that the “great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Mt 24:21) will begin this year and last 1290 days.
I am also convinced from various studies, that the prophecy of Zechariah is for our times: `An oracle of the Lord: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be completely scattered; and then I will turn my hand against the little ones. `An oracle of the Lord: In all the land, two thirds of them will be cut off and perish; and one third shall be left. `I will pass this third through fire; I will refine it as silver is refined, test it as gold is tested. `It will call upon my Name, and I will hear it; I will say:”This is my people.” And it will say: “The Lord is my God.” ‘ (cf. Zec 13:7-9)”
You can find further explanation of this passage in my article: “Do Not Abandon the Church” (http://spir-food.blogspot.it/2017/12/do-not-abandon-church.html).
John, true love does not worry about offending a friend if it means helping this person to put first things first, maintain the proper priorities. Eternity is more important than this short life. How easily we fall into a religious attitude, as has so many Catholic priests and lay people around me, that the devil, hell and sin do not exist since God loves us and offers us his mercy, so I can continue to live as I see fit without taking the risk of trying to discover if what I am doing is really the holy will of God.
I wrote in one of my articles to more than 150 of my fellow priests in my diocese here in Perugia, Italy: “Jesus said that “the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:32). But Jesus was talking about the Truth of God, not of the world. We are living in a world more full of falsehoods than ever before – beautiful deadly lies from “the father of lies” (Jn 8:44), presented as if they were the truth, hidden destructive deceptions – such as the devil, hell and sin no longer exist!!! Why did Jesus refer to hell in the four Gospels about 70 times? Why did Our Lady of Fatima show the three children hell, and the many souls which go to hell every day, in July 1917? God does not send anyone to hell; many people do not want to spend eternity with God because they decide the truth for their lives, not God. In heaven there is room for only one God, not two! “The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God” (CCC 1035). The great majority of the pastors today “are all DUMB DOGS, they cannot bark” (Is 56:10; Pope St. Gregory the Great, Office of Readings, Sunday and Saturday, Week 27 of OT; Sermon of St. Augustine on the Shepherds, Office of Readings, Weeks 24-25, OT), and thus do not warn the sheep of the very sly wolf, Satan, and his very numerous collaborators! These poor pastors, who seek to please men who want a false Christianity without the cross of Christ, who seek glory before men (Jn 5:44; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18; Gal 1:10), offer misguided compassion and half truths (which are worse than lies!), especially to speak only about mercy without “GO AND SIN NO MORE” (Jn 8:11; 5:14)! Why are families today falling apart more than ever before? Why do we close our eyes to the true causes and to our great responsibility, as pastors, for this great tragedy and the great damage to the children deprived of a father and a mother? How many people, and in particular, how many pastors have embraced the easier way of “IGNORANCE IS BLISS”? Are we good shepherds, ready to lay down our lives for the sheep, and lose human esteem, in order to protect the sheep, or are we hirelings (Jn 10:11-13). Our Lady continually asks us to pray for priests and bishops!”
In this article you will get some idea of how hard Satan has worked, in a hidden and subtle way, to change the true faith not only for a great number of Catholic priests and bishops, but also for a great number of Christians. Visit: “Dear Fellow Priests – Holy Christmas 2020” (https://spir-food.blogspot.com/2020/12/dear-fellow-priests-holy-christmas-2020.html)
Dear John, heaven is not automatic as Satan promotes. Let us pray for each other so as to seek the uncomfortable Truth of God every day, and follow Jesus all the way to Calvary so as to maintain the true hope of eternal salvation.
Your true friend,
Index of my more important articles: