Prophecy From a Catholic Perspective (19) – Salvation is Prized Above All Else

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Continuing through the Catechism of the Catholic Church as it relates to prophecy:

601 The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of “the righteous one, my Servant” as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin. Citing a confession of faith that he himself had “received”, St. Paul professes that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.” In particular Jesus’ redemptive death fulfils Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering Servant. Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God’s suffering Servant. After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles.

602 Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation in this way: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers… with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.” Man’s sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death. By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

604 By giving up his own Son for our sins, God manifests that his plan for us is one of benevolent love, prior to any merit on our part: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.” God “shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”

These catechetical passages look back to reflect on the fulfillment of prophecy that took place with Christ’s death and resurrection. It is also a reflection of our own part in the Crucifixion – our own sins crucify Christ. But most importantly, it all shows the extremes that God takes to save us from ourselves. And it’s out of love.

Imagine, if God the Father is willing to send the Son to suffer in His humanity an extremely horrific and painful death because that is what needed to be done to offer salvation to us all, what will God be willing to ask us to endure to help accomplish the conversion of hearts so that this gift of salvation is embraced? Many prophetic messages are not comfortable. It is very easy to focus on them as scary harbingers of an angry God doling out punishment. But in reality, that’s not the point. Not until the final judgment is upon us will we be at a point in history where God is no longer trying to draw men to Himself. So, we need to look at the unfolding of negative events in the context of a God that prizes the salvation of souls above all else – including peace, comfort, and even our very temporal physical lives. And as Christians, we need to embrace the fact that God has a plan, and if we are asked to suffer then we have to pick up our cross and carry it. These are easy words to say, but more difficult to do.

This is really no different than the rest of our lives. We all deal with financial difficulties, health issues, the loss of loved ones, and any other number of trials and tribulations. We are asked to pick up those crosses every day. Prophecy is really just an extension of that, and tends to focus more on a wider-reaching response. We all have our individual crosses, but we also are offered regional or global crosses from time to time. It is not that God desires us to suffer, it’s that He desires our salvation more. If everything we hold dear that has come before God is taken away, then eventually many souls will finally turn to God. Those who do not did not embrace God with their blessings, nor did they turn to Him in their need. They will have been given every chance to accept the free gift of salvation.

Many consider turning to God in times of desperation a kind of weakness. In some respects, they are right, and it’s actually the point. They finally realize they cannot count on anything else, and God is willing to accept their response even as a last resort rather than having them wallow about in a fog of physical comfort but no hope of salvation. It may be an imperfect contrition, but this is better than no contrition. The angels rejoice in such weakness. If “strength” requires obstinacy of thought due to one’s trust in their own logic and reasoning, then I’ll take the weakness of humility and brokenness.

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