March 4th 2013, 07:40 PM #1
What should Apocalypse Reveal about Church History?
What should Apocalypse Reveal about Church History?
The Age of pagan Rome should not have any specificity within it in apocalypse, since any temporal data in pagan Rome does not matter.
For example, it took Roman soldiers five months to fight against Jews and tear down the temple. Those five months are clearly arbitrary, in and of themselves. Would salvaiton history be drastically altered if that time had been FOUR months? Or THREE? Or THIRTEEN? No matter. The nature of what happened remains the same. (first portion of Apocalypse 9)
Same for Roman Emperor delineations. (Apocalypse 17, starting at verse 9) So what if five roman emperors died before St John wrote, and that perhaps two followed in that first century? Does it really matter how many Roman Emperors reigned in any given period of time in pagan Rome? Is not what matters simply the general spiritual condition of pagan Rome: the Empire does not understand Christianity, and so persecutes it horribly. The roman emperors claim deity and force Christians to blasphemously worship him or suffer torture and death. That was the spiritual condition of most of the Emperors till Constantine. But what does it profit anyone how many of them reigned in the first, second, or third centuries? doesn't matter.
Same for the Parthians (the kings of the East). Christ has already said, "Nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against Kingdom, but the end is not yet."
Think of it this way, what would be the use of the Church defining a dogma:
The fall of Jerusalem as chastisement on our elder brethren took five months, De Fide.
These are the five Roman Emperors that reigned before the Apostle penned the Apocalypse, ...., DE FIDE.
How would this help the faith?
On the other hand, if there were five definitive stages of OT history that were theologically necessary to adequately prepare the world for coming of Incarnate One, that WOULD be useful, if the Church were to define it.
Let us move on: What about the rest of Church history thus far?
What might be in apocalyspe for that?
I tell you, surely not the Battle of Lepanto, not Albigensianism, not Charlemagne, not the French Revolution. But Islam, the Great Schism, Protestantism, Enlightenment, that is different. How?
Because the Lepanto is too specific. The problem with Lepanto is Islam in general. But what any individual Muslim nations or empires happen to do in a temporal sense is not the subject of Divine Revelation. HOWEVER, the GENERAL appearance of Islam COULD be in Apoclaypse, if only because, Islam relates very deeply to a great set of Catholic dogma, namley, the Trinitarian and Christological Dogmas. Recall, for first three hundred years after Constantine, the major brunt of heresies the Church deals with attack, in one way or another, either the Trinity, and/or Jesus as Incarnate, as man and God.
Islam, as it were, more or less was the APEX of attack on the Triune and Incarnate Nature of God, in this way: that it utterly denied Trinity, utterly denied Incarnation, AND, suggested a SURPASSING Revelation to the Christ, while yet retaining the shell of the Gospel: One God, Messengers, heaven and hell, moral law, moral responsiblity.
Albigensianism? Clearly too specific, but The Great Schism? THAT could be in apocalypse, since Rome defines schism as a veritable doctrine: When one or more Bishops or SEes of Apostles leave Peter but still intend to hand on Apostolic Succession, and retain the orthodox understanding of Real Presence in the Eucharist, their lineage continues, their priests are valid, their sacraments are valid, and they still retain Tradition. This is a doctrinal reality.
Same of Protestantism: That nature of heresy in the Body of Christ is dogma: heretical communities cut themselves off from true Apostolic Succession, and the Protestant sects all have this common: their rejection of Tradition and trusting only Scripture. This is a doctrinal deficienncy, a spiritual reality delineated by dogma: heretics have only Baptism in validity, and then marriage too. They lose the five sacraments that require Bishops. They reject Tradition and retain only Scripture.
This is a theological reality and it Protestantism has had devastating consequences for faith in the world. It COULD be in Apocalypse.
Ditto, the Enlightenment. This condition is a veritable theological reality that relates to Catholic dogma. Catholicism has two great dogmas that implicitly condemn Deism and Rationalism:
Without sanctifying grace, no one is saved, DE FIDE
No normal adult person, can, of his own natural will, avoid mortal sin for an extended period of time apart from grace, DE FIDE
There are some things that God desires man to know that man could never know unless God revealed them to Him, De FIDE
The deists deny the first two dogmas, the rationalists, the second.
This is grave, for the Christ says, "apart from Me, you can do nothing," and again,
"[to be saved], with MAN this is impossible, but with GOD, all things are possible"
Again, "there is no one Good but God"
Again the futility of mere natural virtue and wisdom to please and find God:
"Lord, even with 200 days wages, we could not give all these people even a LITTLE food"
Too, apart from grace and Revelation, which proceeds ultimately from Christ, no man could ever satiate his thirst for righteousness, nor could any creature, if it labored naturally to be good and thought with its unaided intellect for 200 thousand thousand years, would it ever merit, much less get, grace, nor find any nugget of truth to inspire him beyond his mere mortal intellect.
But the deists are saying, no, God is supernaturally involved with our world. The world is like a watch, God wound it up, it runs on its own now. We are on our own, we must keep the moral law by our stoic wills. There is not grace, no salvation. It is not needed. The human person can be suffiently good on His own power. He needs neither grace nor miracle.
And the rationalist likewise per the intellect: See these myriads of religious hypocrites who kill one another and divide over their countless renditions of what the Supreme Being wished to tell us! Enough. We can find what we need to know of God merely from Reason, we need no Revelation.
This is a stage that relates to dogma, a deadly stage of supernatural death in the world, retaining only a mere natural goodness, which is no longer salvific, unlike the Islamics, who believe God needed to send us Messengers, and so can have an implicit Desire for Baptism, much less that the Orthodox have the vast majority of Divine Revelation, and all of grace, the seven Sacraments, and also the Protestants, who still have the minimal source of Divine Revelation, Scripture, and two sources of supernatural life: Baptism and Marriage.
But again, the deists and rationalists are SUPERNATURALLY dead to God, they consider no need of His assistance, or of His Revelation.
Indeed, the so called Enlightenment is but the big step that bridges the age of the great heretical rebellion, Protestantism, with the modern secular apostasy, which has now cast aside even the natural light and goodness that persisted in Enlightenment.
For now, so many either deny God altogether, as in atheism, or who deny an objective truth in religion and morals, and hence reduce each person to be their own God, that God and morality can be whatever they want it to be, whatever fits their agenda or lifestyle, as opposed the former stage, where the Deist and Rationalist still admits that Reason testifies to a Creator and a natural law. Indeed, though they disputed the full implications of these questions in similar chaos that Protestants disputed Scripture, they still held that there was an objective reality about relitgion, even if it wasn't fully clear, and tried to decipher it, if even with only Reason.
All these are veritable historical realities, ages with spiritual classifications that relate directly to Catholic dogma.
Hence, they COULD be in apocalypse, since they get at the root of what matters in history.
As for a chastisement, again, temporal specifics are of no avail. That is, asking what the geographic permutations of WWIII will be, or where earthquakes will strike, is like asking, where will all the debris land after the tornado has come through? Does that really matter. For what really is the source of the chastisement? Is it not that man has turned aside from God utterly, and so must be abandoned to the consequences of his blasphemous selfishness, which is war and death, inflicted by men upon themselves?
And if man repents and comes back to God, and, dare even think, Christians are reunited, how could that NOT be in Apocalypse? For Christian unity is a central mystery of history. Indeed, some of the deepest words ever spoken by Our Savior are poetically written in the Eucharistic Prayer of St. John:
Father, I pray that they may be One, even as you and I are one, in order that the world may believe that you sent Me.
That they may be BROUGHT TO PERFECTION AS ONE....
In conclusion, we simply have this: If any specificity of Church history is in Apocalypse, it should relate to issues of Catholic doctrine, not nations, and kings, and specific wars, or specificities of temporal disasters.O, Blessed Kateri, pray for us!
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