A long time ago I started posting a series on prophecy – an interest of mine. It has been over three years since my last post.
Because of the time that has elapsed, let me briefly refresh memories on something of vital importance, and the reason for my very slow approach on the subject.
It is very easy to get caught up in the more spectacular details of private revelation. We tend to trust people to be honest. We tend to believe that if it is indeed authentic, that we can trust their transmission of messages or their memory of the vision. Plus, we tend to have a desire to want to know. We want answers.
Prophetic messages have always been a bit tricky. What is their purpose? How should we respond to them?
Well, if we are responding with a reaction of fear, of imprudence, or of fanciful imagination where we believe everything we see around us has been predicted in the Bible, then we are not reacting properly. If we believe messages that are contrary to doctrinal teachings, we need to check our pride and desires at the door and stop. To the extent that God may provide such messages, it needs to be edifying. It needs to lead us to stronger faith, it needs to give us hope rather than fear, and it may allow for some prudent preparation. Beyond that, we should be careful.
And so the first thing I decided to do was plow through the Catechism and provide an underlying base of context for anyone desiring to explore prohetic messages. The Catechism tells us Salvation’s story, and while it is not focused specifically on prophecy, there are important elements throughout its reading that prepares us for reading it in the proper context, and prepares us Spiritually to handle what we are reading in a mature and proper manner.
To revisit the last post on this subject, view: In that post, I also link to the previous posts.
The last entry from the catechism was 336. I pick it up from there.
346 In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakeable faithfulness of God’s covenant. For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation, and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it.
349 The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ’s Resurrection. the seventh day completes the first creation. the eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. the first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendour of which surpasses that of the first creation.
These passages are provided in the context of prophecy because it is one of the strong indications of the end of time that God’s Laws are under attack. The fact that people consider themselves wise enough to suggest that Church teachings should change with the times is not wisdom at all, but complete error. The second part above, though, gives an indication about what we mean by the “end of time.” In reality, the end began with Christ’s Resurrection. We have been in the end times since then, and this is very important to remember as we read Scripture, particularly the Apocalypse of John, as we try to make sense of the more general message given to us in that remarkable book of Revelation.
358 God created everything for man, but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him: What is it that is about to be created, that enjoys such honour? It is man that great and wonderful living creature, more precious in the eyes of God than all other creatures! For him the heavens and the earth, the sea and all the rest of creation exist. God attached so much importance to his salvation that he did not spare his own Son for the sake of man. Nor does he ever cease to work, trying every possible means, until he has raised man up to himself and made him sit at his right hand.
As we look at prophecy, it really all comes down to this. Ultimately, we owe everything to God, and He can take it all away as part of His “all possible means” of getting us to turn to Him. We are not just individuals, we are a community. Individuals can be called to suffer with the community of Man, if that is what is necessary for all of us to have the greatest opportunity to sit at His right hand. This was essentially the theme of my previous post.
366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God – it is not “produced” by the parents – and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.
367 Sometimes the soul is distinguished from the spirit: St. Paul for instance prays that God may sanctify his people “wholly”, with “spirit and soul and body” kept sound and blameless at the Lord’s coming. The Church teaches that this distinction does not introduce a duality into the soul.”Spirit” signifies that from creation man is ordered to a supernatural end and that his soul can gratuitously be raised beyond all it deserves to communion with God.
368 The spiritual tradition of the Church also emphasizes the heart, in the biblical sense of the depths of one’s being, where the person decides for or against God.
Our bodies perish, but our soul does not. This is a very important element in considering prophecy. Fear of future events comes from consideration of our physical nature: hardships, sufferings, and death. But we are immortal! However long things seem on earth in the context of our physical nature, it is not long. St. Paul exhorts us to be found blameless for the Lord’s coming – whether we meet Him in our natural death or at His Second coming, it makes no difference. Sufferings can purify us – so we are truly blameless in that time. Ultimately, we need to decide for or against God. It is imperative for us as Christians to understand that chastisement is our own doing (as a human community) and despite our own desires for peace and comfort, we must choose for God in those times and recognize that all human suffering is part of the plan for salvation of souls.