Continuing the path throught the Catechism as it relates to prophecy, I thought I’d pull out this passage:
269 The Holy Scriptures repeatedly confess the universal power of God. He is called the “Mighty One of Jacob”, the “LORD of hosts”, the “strong and mighty” one. If God is almighty “in heaven and on earth”, it is because he made them. Nothing is impossible with God, who disposes his works according to his will. He is the Lord of the universe, whose order he established and which remains wholly subject to him and at his disposal. He is master of history, governing hearts and events in keeping with his will: “It is always in your power to show great strength, and who can withstand the strength of your arm?
274 “Nothing is more apt to confirm our faith and hope than holding it fixed in our minds that nothing is impossible with God. Once our reason has grasped the idea of God’s almighty power, it will easily and without any hesitation admit everything that [the Creed] will afterwards propose for us to believe – even if they be great and marvelous things, far above the ordinary laws of nature.”
If you are a person of faith, this isn’t anything new. But how often do we really subject our own thinking to this reality? In the face of miracles, we tend to be very skeptical. This isn’t in itself a bad thing – the Church herself is skeptical. But the nature of skepticism needs to be grounded in a question of discernment rather than doubt in God’s ability to work such a miracle. We should be open to things to the extent that we have an acceptance of God’s ultimate Power over everything. If He wants to intervene, even to the point of suspending physical realities as we know them, He can do it. Believing this doesn’t mean we automatically believe every word we read in private revelation. It does, however, mean that we don’t dismiss this things because they are too fantastic in one way or another to believe – as if it could never possibly happen.
This is an important thing to remember even as we read public revelation. Do we accept that God sent the plagues to Egypt? Do we accept that He can just as well send chastisements our way? And do we believe that He can and will transmit messages to people of His choosing in one way or another? We are not bound to believe private revelation. But we need to be careful of our reasons for dismissing it, as well.
272 Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus “the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Many of the prophecies we see and hear about have something to do with chastisements. These involve suffering. There is no guarantee that good and holy people will not suffer, as well. Often times we see such prophecies put in terms of “God’s wrath” or “vengeance.” These are human terms to try and put meaning to God’s actions. But God is a Spirit. He does not react to things with an emotional response. There is a reason – and a perfect one at that – as to why He does what He does. This suffering purifies the individual as well as the community. It is an administration of perfect Justice. It is also, often, His Mercy in action because the suffering will bring multitudes back to Him, who otherwise would have been lost.
The fact that such hardship is unpleasant, and seemingly unfair for certain individuals, should not shake our faith. We should, in our mind, understand that this suffering can be a testament of our faith and lead others to Christ. We can prayerfully join our sufferings to Christ. We can offer it up for other good. Even if our hearts want to wail out, first and foremost we simply cannot let our sufferings weaken our faith.
293 Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: “The world was made for the glory of God.”
294 The ultimate purpose of creation is that God “who is the creator of all things may at last become “all in all”, thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude.”
When the human race universally turns away from its Creator and gives glory to self, it usurps the entire purpose of the reason for Creation. Therefore, God has a couple choices: (1) let things go and allow His Creation to be a mockery of Him, (2) intervene to shake things up so that once again Creation glorifies Him, while being patient and allowing more people to turn to Him, or (3) end things.
301 With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end.
So, God simply wouldn’t let the first choice occur. Which means He chooses to chastise us for our own good. It has happened throughout history. And at some point, He will end it.
We do know from Scripture that the end will come some day. We don’t know when, but it will. From private revelation, there seems to be an indication that we will yet go through at least one more major chastisement before the final end times period. We’ll get to that someday. But all these items from the Catechism just help to clarify the reasons why these things must occur.
302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe was created “in a state of journeying” (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call “divine providence” the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection
310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better. But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” towards its ultimate perfection. In God’s plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection.
311 Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it
Believe it or not, we are being guided towards an ultimate perfection. And this is why, when things seem to be godless and out of control, something is coming. Again, I am not to know when or how, except that God has blessed us with some mystics and seers that the Church has recognized. But in the end, we’ll all get a clue:
314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God “face to face”, will we fully know the ways by which – even through the dramas of evil and sin – God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest for which he created heaven and earth.
I’m looking forward to that…