Prophecy From a Catholic Perspective (21) – The Clock has read “The Last Hour” for Some Time Now

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

669 As Lord, Christ is also head of the Church, which is his Body. Taken up to heaven and glorified after he had thus fully accomplished his mission, Christ dwells on earth in his Church. The redemption is the source of the authority that Christ, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, exercises over the Church. “The kingdom of Christ (is) already present in mystery”, “on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom”.

We previously discussed the fact that the Kingdom is already present, though not in perfection and not in isolation from the “weeds” of evil. This is a reinforcement of that.

670 Since the Ascension God’s plan has entered into its fulfillment. We are already at “the last hour”. “Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect.” Christ’s kingdom already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation by the Church.

The Last Hour started with Christ’s crucifixion. All that has occurred since then is an offshoot of that: to not only bring salvation to the world through the His salvific act on the cross, but to spread the Good News of salvation until the fullness of time. The prophecies in the Bible are often read as if they relate only to a very specific time preceding the end of the world or age. It is true that there are specifics that can be properly viewed as relating to those final events, but more often these are messages for the entire post-Ascension age up to the final end of the age.

671 Though already present in his Church, Christ’s reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled “with power and great glory” by the King’s return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ’s Passover. Until everything is subject to him, “until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.” That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ’s return by saying to him: Maranatha! “Our Lord, come!”

672 Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace. According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by “distress” and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching.

The Catechism invokes wonderful imagery of the Church as a living member of Creation. Because of the “mark of this world” which is sin, all living creatures bear the burdens of this world. There is suffering, there is persecution, and there is death. On a spiritual level, there is temptation and sin. Christians fall short of the glory of God in this world by succumbing to sin. If one looks at the history of the Church, the same can be said of that institution. The fact that there have been actions of certain members of the church that are regrettable does not negate what it is. At the base of it all are the teachings that are protected by the Holy Spirit, whatever perilous path that has been taken along the way.

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