For fuller reference and prerequisite, see the essays before this one similarly titled this week, daily installations.
STUDENT: This, then, is the seventh night, right?
TEACHER: Yes, right. So now, our only options are, the end of the world, or another sunrise followed by an eighth darkness.
STUDENT: Yes, this is a crucial juncture. After all, Public Revelation speaks of an apostasy at the end, so, like, uh, what does that mean for us now? Is this it? Cuz, on the one hand, Europe and her children have this great darkness of apostasy and secular messianism. On the other hand, the Church doesn’t seem to be saying we are at the end. She is trying to have hope. Then, there are the Private Revelations, and I am not sure where they fit in either. So what do we do with this?
TEACHER: This is a crucial point in our discourse indeed. Here, EWTN rescues us with years of painstaking probing into the fully approved Private Revelations concerning the latter times of Church history. Here is what they have for us:
As Cardinal Ratzinger recently pointed out (in the context of the message of Fátima), we are not at the end of the world. In fact, the Second Coming (understood as the physical return of Christ) cannot occur until the full number of the Gentiles are converted, followed by "all Israel."
Approved Catholic mystics (Venerables, Blessed and Saints, approved apparitions) throw considerable light on this order, by prophesying a minor apostasy and tribulation toward the end of the world, after which will occur the reunion of Christians. Only later will the entire world fall away from Christ (the great apostasy) and the personal Antichrist arise and the Tribulation of the End occur.
Although this is not Catholic doctrine, arising as it does from private revelation, it conforms to what is occurring in our time, especially in light of Our Lady of Fátima's promise of an "Era of Peace." This "Triumph of the Immaculate Heart" (other saints have spoken of a social reign of Jesus Christ when Jesus will reign in the hearts of men) would seem to occur prior to the rise of the Antichrist. The optimism of the Pope for the "New Evangelization" and a "Civilization of Love" in the Third Millennium of Christianity fits here, as well. This would place us, therefore, in the period just before the events spoken of in the Catechism, that is, on the verge of the evangelization of the entire world. Other interpretations are possible, but none seem to fit the facts as well, especially when approved mystics are studied, instead of merely alleged ones.
There you have it. The majority of fully approved Private Revelations suggest, as the most likely scenario, an intermediate, minor apostasy toward the end, together with a conditional threat of a minor tribulation, after which occurs a glorious reunion of Christendom and a period of wonderful peace. All this must precede the final phase of human history, the great apostasy of public revelation and its associated Antichrist, great persecution, conversion of the Jews, and incomprehensible Tribulation, within which, at an unknown “hour”, the Christ returns to end human history, judge and raise all humanity, and form the New Creation that shall never end—all these final events, of course, being things we know from Public Revelation.
Private Revelation Fulfilled in the Scriptures: the Days of Creation and the Beast
STUDENT: Ok, but all this depends on Private Revelation, which no Catholic is required to believe. Plus, you mentioned that the chastisement is conditional. What does that mean, and is this age of Catholic peace also conditional?
TEACHER: Good questions. Firstly, admittedly, no portion of Private Revelation is ever necessary to be believed in. However, I would say, how could so many plain witnesses be wrong? Secondly, we will see that this Private Revelation scenario most fully agrees with the theology of the days of creation and beast kings and our yet to be explored Joyful mysteries. As for conditionality, that the chastisement is conditional means, if humanity preemptively repents of their godlessness in the minor apostasy, it will enter the age of spiritual peace without chastisement and through their inner conversion. On the other hand, if the world persists too long in resistance to God’s grace, the chastisement will come, and then they will repent and enter the age of peace. Yet, here is the wonderful thing: the age of peace, as it called, is NOT conditional. It comes infallibly, with or without preemptive conversion, with or without chastisement. It is the world that must choose whether to enter peace the easy way [preemptive conversion] or the hard way [the minor tribulation and then conversion].
Yet, as it stands, the scenario above, once again, perfectly matches the analogies we have and will have, that is, the days of creation, the beast kings, and the forthcoming Joyful Mysteries analogy. It would behoove us, then, to simply show in the raw sense that this perfect correlation exists before delving into deeper reasons.
STUDENT: Sounds good. Go ahead and proceed.
TEACHER: Good, let us look at the first one, the days of creation. We already saw that the sixth night was pagan Rome, and that we are now, with the modern minor apostasy, in the seventh night. Well, the scenario lays out that the next great phase of history is a light, the age of peace, following a preemptive conversion in the world or a chastisement and conversion. Bingo! This is the seventh light! Note, too, it has the semblance of a Sabbath, like the seventh-day Sabbath of the Genesis allegory: the near whole of humanity will be voluntarily Catholic and living the Gospel in their hearts. The Church will, temporarily, cease having to labor against sin and heresy. She will rest. Again, this perfectly mirrors the seventh day of allegory which is a metaphorical Sabbath in the same days of creation.
Finally, the next phase, again by the scenario, is the great apostasy, where the world will grow lax and forget the lessons she learned. This is the night, the eighth night. And lo and behold, the remaining phase after this is nothing short of the end of time, the eternal light of the Second Coming and New Creation. This eighth light is an eternal, most perfect Sabbath, where the just shall forever behold God and one another in love and peace, never to suffer again. Too, remember, they shall rise at the Judgment, just as the Christ rose on the eighth day.
STUDENT: Awesome! You are right. it fits perfectly!
TEACHER: Yes! Moving on, similarly, the beast kings of Apocalypse 17 bear it. In fact, the beast kings are just our nights of the days of creation. And since the mystery of the kings suggests an eighth that arises again, all fits as well.
“And the beast you saw was, and is not, and will be again…. And the beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes into perdition.”
The connotation of the eighth bringing one back to the first is most appropriate: here, the comparison is between kings one and eight, and days one and eight.
Day one is like day eight. Day one is Noah’s day, where the whole world is wicked. Similarly, in day eight, the world is also nearly fully wicked, the great apostasy. Similarly, in day one, the world is destroyed by water and made anew, the beginning of the redemption of the world. In day eight, the world is destroyed by fire and utterly made new in the unending New Creation.
Similarly, the beast kings bear the sense: the eighth phase of sin brings with it the image of a former king. Here, common sense says, use the first king. This is does work best and is most profound, as follows; in the first king, the whole world is, again, wicked in Noah’s day. Effectively, we can argue that in this same beginning phase of history, the fall “was”, or “reigned” in human history. It is prevalent, since before the Flood, God has not yet exercised any substantial Redemptive action in history. Then, with the Flood, God slays this first king and ushers in the greater phase of humanity’s redemption. The beast “is not”. Subsequent nights of sin follow, but because God is redeeming humanity during the intermediate phases of sin, redemption still holds sway, that is, again, “the beast is not.”
However, when we reach king eight, the great apostasy, humanity’s culpability has reached its peak. How? Well, if the chastisement comes in our times, it will show the world the incomprehensible horrors that befall humanity when they do not listen to God and His Church. They will not be able to tell God they didn’t know these consequences. Moreover, God will have given them peace, faith and science reconciled, so that they will know that whereas science without faith spells doom, faith with science is the fullness of peace and love on earth.
For this reason, when humanity goes back to apostasy after the age of peace, they have no excuse. If they will not believe after all this, nothing will make them believe. That is, they cannot tell they did not know the consequences of rejection of God and His Church. Moreover, they cannot tell God they had not seen the true fruits of His religion when embraced with docility. Hence, since God can no longer draw a greater spiritual good for humanity (saving the Jews, who convert en-mass at this time), the Fall is back and once again “reigns,” casting out the Holy Spirit of Redemption—getting Augustine’s restrainer out the way. And that means, “the beast [is] again.” And so our theology is perfect.
STUDENT: I am amazed! You are absolutely right! Thank you so much for these wonderful insights.
(for full reference, see Theology of the Ages - The Joyful Mysteries as Image of the Whole of Salvation History)