In the days of the Great Hosanna / Open letter to Donald J. Trump

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Since March 2020, humankind as a whole has entered an unprecedented situation in history, in which a handful of powerful men intend to decide the future of thousands of millions, a future in which —judging by all the signs they have given for many decades now— there could be no place for a loving reverence towards the Lord Jesus Christ. In the midst of such situation, during last year, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò addressed two very timely letters to President Donald Trump. It is to them that I refer mainly here, in this open letter to the aforementioned American leader.


 

Buenos Aires, May 18th, 2021

Dear Donald J. Trump,

Mr. President,

I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and invoke his favor upon you and yours.

My name is Mariano Franco and I am an anonymous Argentine born in Buenos Aires, a city in which I have always lived until today. I am also a writer and researcher on biblical issues without affiliation to any religious branch or denomination whatsoever and a servant of Jesus Christ, whom I seek to serve in all good conscience. By virtue of the latter, since December 2018 I publish my website from which I now address you these lines.

Mr. President, I would like to begin by recalling here some words of Jesus with which on May 9th, 1988 —that is, thirty-three years ago— Pope John Paul II opened the homily that, as part of a massive mass, he offered in the Uruguayan city of Salto, on the banks of the Uruguay River. These words are none other than those with which the Lord began his public ministry in the synagogue of Nazareth, on which occasion he read these words in the book of the prophet Isaiah:

The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the afflicted… (Luke 4:18)

Today, these words of the Lord suddenly acquire a seriousness and an urgency that —I dare say it— have never had before in all the nations of the world that have always recognized themselves as Christian and, very especially, in those nations that make up today the downcast Western world.

What do I mean when I speak here of seriousness and urgency? Neither more nor less than the situation that has loomed over the whole world since March 2020 and which Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò has so forcefully defined in his two letters addressed to you —that is, respectively, in the first days of June and in the last days of October of the same year—, in which he describes this situation that, to a greater or lesser extent, today afflicts us all. For my part, I will tell you that with the exception of some concepts typical of Catholic theology which I do not agree with, both letters from Monsignor Viganò reflect my own appreciation of the current situation in all nations, especially with regard to its human background, that is, not so much to the existence of a worldwide virus —which, in principle, amounts to a perfectly reasonable situation— as to the handling of such situation, the way it has been managed from the centers of world power. In fact, it has been, in no small measure, these appropriate lines addressed to you by the aforementioned prelate that have encouraged me today to do the same from here.

In this last sense, it is not at all fortuitous that I began these lines evoking an event like the one presided over by John Paul II in 1988 on the Uruguayan shores. Indeed, in the first of the letters that Viganò addressed to you, dated June 7th, 2020, he makes a special mention of the attack that you were the object of on the occasion of your then very recent visit —together with your wife— to the National Shrine of the capital of your nation, which bears, precisely, the name of the remembered Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church.

Of course, as Monsignor Viganò said to you in that letter, all that attack was nothing more than an operation orchestrated by the media against everything that you represented and still represent for so many people in your nation and abroad, most especially for those who aspire to continue living freely according to their faith. And you, for your part, have not failed to demonstrate, in this last sense, your dedication to the defense of all religious freedom inside and outside the borders of the United States by signing, just a few hours after that visit of yours to the National Shrine, an executive order entitled, precisely, Advancing International Religious Freedom.

Now, Mr. President, before continuing I would like to confess here, without further delay, that for some time during your presidency some of your acts have not, so to speak, been among those of my highest esteem. However, after so many attacks by your external and internal enemies, which have had as a corollary the more than irregular process that began on the day of the presidential election in your nation —a process whose results and derivations are now known to all—, I have come to sincerely appreciate your figure. And on the other hand, who are those that by their accusations have turned you —as the legendary Erich von Stroheim was a century ago— into the man you love to hate of the twenty-first century? The most conspicuous of your current enemies practice without restriction, sheltered in the shadows and in the dark whom they love so much, everything, absolutely everything that they accuse you of and even more! Now, it so happens that the Lord doesn’t bear partiality in judgment nor the hypocrisy that necessarily follows after it. And actually, what else does hypocrisy feeds of if not a horrendous and permanent partiality towards people in self favor by individuals who caress and feed their own injustice and impiety while condemning in the harshest and most unappealable terms the injustice and wickedness of others? Know, in any case, Mr. President, that the Lord —who as our Creator knows us even better than we could ever know ourselves— completely despises and mocks the so-called “political correctness” of your most bitter accusers, who in turn, on the other hand, as it has become notorious in recent times, also despise Him...

To say it all, I believe that the Lord has assigned you a very particular role in our day. I will not refer here to the comparison that many evangelicals of your nation and some religious men from Judaism made of you with the figure of Cyrus, the Persian king of the 5th century BC whom God anointed to restore the temple of Jerusalem in the days after his conquest of Babylon, which was, at that time, the capital city of the neo-Chaldean empire. I will not, I say, because I am neither a flatterer nor do I want to appear like one. Still, nevertheless, I am not going to ignore the own words of Monsignor Viganò, who in the same sense has pointed to you as an “instrument of Divine Providence”.

But it is precisely by virtue of the latter that I have asked myself two questions lately. The first of them implies to some extent an unsolved mystery and is the following: what could be the purpose of God in having appointed you as a defender of religious freedom and Christianity in our day and in having prevented you, at the same time, to take effective possession of a second term in office as president of your nation, from which until just a few months ago you had been advancing at a firm pace in pursuit of said defense?

Now, on the other hand, if it is true that the answer to this first question implies neither more nor less than the elucidation of a mystery of God, it is no less true than the other question at stake —which came to my mind as soon as I learned of your intention to run again as a candidate for the presidency of the United States in the year 2024— carries, in my opinion, a much simpler answer. This other question could be formulated in the following way: how would it be even possible that those same enemies of yours who with all their power and influence have prevented you from assuming a second term as president of your nation, forcing you to consider a future electoral alternative, how would it be possible, I say, that they themselves were to leave the same way paved for you that during these days they themselves closed to you? And note that all this would come to materialize, moreover, after an unrestricted exercise of power by your enemies during the three years that still lie ahead for a new electoral instance for the presidency of your country. To my humble understanding, there is no logical way to support this possibility; not, at least, from a merely human perspective. And it is so, Mr. President, that I would like to speak to you here from the only perspective that I can speak of with some knowledge, that is, the perspective of Heaven...

It is, in fact, the Lord and only the Lord who has in His hands the absolute sovereignty in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He is the one who puts rulers in their position, who removes them from it, and also —eventually, if that is His purpose— who puts them back in their position, adding to them even greater greatness than the former (Daniel 4). He is also the one who makes people die and who makes them live, who makes men descend —both literally and figuratively— to the region of the dead and who brings them back from there; and He is also thr one who impoverishes and enriches, humiliates and exalts men (1 Samuel 2:6,7). And as for the dire situation that your nation and the rest of the world are experiencing today, here is what the very spirit of the Lord tells us through the prophet Isaiah in relation to it:

I am the Lord and there is no other who shapes light and creates darkness, who makes good and creates calamity! I, the Lord, am the one who does all these things! (Isaiah 45:6,7)

It is, therefore, ultimately, the Lord Himself who has brought this calamity to the nations of the world, who has impoverished them and brought them down to Sheol, to the region of the dead, while, even for a season, has enriched the agents who have taken care of the necessary human details to produce all this evil. And don't think, Mr. President, that all this excludes the goodness of the One who gave his precious blood on the cross to redeem all mankind. Quite the contrary: all this excludes nothing, but rather includes everything in accordance with his own sovereign plan for humanity itself...

As I have told you above, Mr. President, the two letters opportunely addressed to you by Monsignor Viganò have encouraged these lines that I am writing to you from here today. And it is that, despite the invaluable initiative that these letters represent, the aforementioned prelate has said nothing to you in them about all this that I share with you now, all of which, of course, far from being exceptional words —and much further even from being a mere fabrication of mine out of thin air—, they are extensively and overwhelmingly documented throughout all of the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments. And, on the other hand, as the Lord said in his day to some who falsely accused him: “The Scripture cannot be dismissed ...” (John 10:35) In other words, it is not possible to set aside any testimony of Scripture when aspiring to the full truth of God.

Mr. President, please know that this day that I am writing these words to you is very special for me. Today, in fact, it is exactly twenty-five years since I was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, placing all my trust in his precious blood for the forgiveness of my sins. Of course, in our day, in this world of flesh and metal in which we have all come to live, the talk of sin must sound to many ears completely irrelevant, if not ridiculous. And yet even someone like Jim Morrison —the remembered frontman of The Doors, whom no one, by the way, would had ever thought to label a self-righteous person—, even he sang in one of his popular songs: Hear me talk of sin and you know this is it...

The truth is that, to an immense extent, it is this very thing, sin —and, more specifically, the denial of the concrete effects of sin on our human life—, the key to understand the situation in which all the nations of the world find themselves today and, most especially, the Christian nations. And it is precisely to situations like this one —whose collective character today does nothing but aggravate things— that the apostle John alludes to when saying in his first letter:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful —and just— to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. My little children: I write these things to you so that you are not sinning. But if anyone is sinning, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins; and not only for our sins, but for those of the whole world. (1 John 1:9,10; 2:1,2)

Mr. President, it has given me great pleasure to perceive the current of understanding —I would even say of sympathy— that during the past year took place between two such disparate personalities as yours and Monsignor Viganò’s. And it is that I have seen in it the type of attitude that is pleasing to the Lord with respect to those who say they revere him, a type of attitude certainly opposed to the divisions that for centuries have been manifested among Christians in the form of sects and denominations that in our days already number in the tens of thousands and that the apostle Paul clearly deplored almost two thousand years ago (1 Corinthians 1:10-13 and 3:1-5). Most importantly, such an attitude is a small example of what, if achieved collectively —that is, among all those who love and revere the Lord Jesus Christ for who He really is— will undoubtedly bring a great relief to a world that, for all that was said above, is in a clearly terminal situation.

It is in this last sense that it occurs to me to bring to mind the most solemn occasion of the worship of the temple of Jerusalem in the days when it was still standing. I am referring, of course, to the Day of Atonement, designated by the Lord’s own instruction to have effect on the tenth day of the seventh Hebrew month. On that day, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies to atone for his own sins and for those of all the people, thus restoring harmony between him and his God. Hence, five days later —and for seven consecutive days— the Feast of Tabernacles was also celebrated, days during which the people rejoiced before the Lord after the completion of the annual harvest cycle. And yet the seventh day of that feast has come to be known later, within Judaism, as the Hoshanna Rabbah, which —as its Hebrew name implies— is a great day of supplication for that kind of liberation and prosperity that, being totally out of reach from mere and fragile human beings in certain special circumstances, could only come from God. In fact, this name has, I believe, its origin in those words of the psalm that are most associated with the festival in question, which say:

We beseech you, Lord: save us! We beseech you, Lord: prosper us! (Psalm 118:25)

Personally, I have no doubt that it was for an occasion like the one we are living in these days —that is, this extraordinary occasion in which an unprecedented threat, both due to its gravity and its enormous geographical scope, looms over humanity as a whole. and in which there is, at the same time, an enormous thirst for justice and lasting peace among the people of God— that the Lord Jesus Christ himself exclaimed, on the last and great day of the Feast of Tabernacles in which he participated in his days, the following words:

If anyone is thirsty, come to me and drink! Whoever believes in me —as the Scripture says— from within him will flow rivers of living water! (John 7: 37,38)

I conclude, Mr. President. With all these things on my mind, in the midst of the great anguish of these days —a feeling that I am sure I share with all my brothers in the faith and with the rest of the people of good will who inhabit the world— I happened to come to think that ours are none other than the days of the Great Hosanna, that is, of the great moment in which we must all together approach the Lord with true confidence and humbleness in order to cry out to Him, begging Him to forgive His people for their carelessness and levity and that He grant them an effective liberation and a lasting wellbeing.

It is precisely because of the latter that, put to thinking big, I have imagined a great call to a meeting of supplication and adoration:  a great convocation that could well be, somehow, pressed forward by you, Mr. President, an initiative to which, of course, Monsignor Viganò himself could join as well as a most worthy representative of European Christendom. And so that all corners of the vast American continent were included in said appeal —thus encompassing, in addition, the geography of the entire Western world to the last of its corners— it has also occurred to me that said convocation could have as a meeting place its Southern Cone and, more precisely, the very same city of Salto in which thirty-three years ago Pope John Paul II read those words of Jesus with which I began this letter. I am not ignorant and could not ignore, of course, the movement and assembly restrictions still imposed by many Western governments in relation to the current health situation. But, ultimately, as I have just told you, I have envisioned all this by thinking big, something that I know is to your personal liking and that, above all, my God and my Lord encourages me to do these days. And it is that, on the other hand, today there are indeed many billions of afflicted people who need, more than ever in all of human history, to receive good news from Heaven.

I greet you not only with all the respect that your position demands but also with all the personal affection that —even from a large distance and without mediating a personal knowledge— awakens towards you, in my soul, the spirit of the Lord that is always with me.

In His Name, which is thrice holy,

Mariano Franco

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