“Two Deaths”, by Michael D. O’Brien
IN a response to my article Fear, Fire, and a “Rescue”?, Charlie Johnston wrote At Sea with his perspective on future events, thereby sharing with readers more of the private dialogues we’ve had in the past. This provides, I think, a crucial opportunity to underscore some of the most important aspects of my own mission and calling that newer readers may not be aware of.
I did not wake up one morning and say, “Ah, this would be a good day to scuttle my music career and reputation.” For among the topics I have been compelled to address, namely, the “signs of the times” in the context of the “end times”, they do not win one popularity contests. In fact, they have earned me many adversaries. And to be honest, this contention has always puzzled me since eschatology (the study of the “last things”) is a central aspect of Sacred Tradition. Why we avoid it like a leprous colony is an interesting topic in itself. For the New Testament writings of the early Church were often set in the context of the anticipated return of Jesus and the signs that would precede it; that is, they lived with the constant expectation of Christ’s return. Why do we, then, not “watch and pray” as they did and as the Lord commanded, especially when these signs are emerging all around us without precedence? I suspect it is precisely because, as Pope Benedict put it…
…the disciples’ sleepiness is not a problem of that one moment, rather of the whole of history, ‘the sleepiness’ is ours, of those of us who do not want to see the full force of evil and do not want to enter into his Passion. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Vatican City, Apr 20, 2011, General Audience, Catholic News Agency
Sometimes people use the excuse that we are called to live in the “present moment”, so that they may avoid having to “look up” and confront the tide of evil that is sweeping over the earth. Conversely, some also allow the signs of the times to carry them away from the duty of the moment and abandonment to God. There is a middle ground; for the one who ignores the encroaching evil will suddenly be overtaken by a “present moment” void of freedom; and the one who acts in fear will only multiply fear, instead of becoming a light in the darkness. My dear friend and mentor, Michael D. O’Brien, put it this way:
The widespread reluctance on the part of many Catholic thinkers to enter into a profound examination of the apocalyptic elements of contemporary life is, I believe, part of the very problem which they seek to avoid. If apocalyptic thinking is left largely to those who have been subjectivized or who have fallen prey to the vertigo of cosmic terror, then the Christian community, indeed the whole human community, is radically impoverished. And that can be measured in terms of lost human souls. –Author, Michael D. O’Brien, Are We Living In Apocalyptic Times?
Yes, that is what this apostolate is all about: saving human souls. And thus, the Lord “interrupted” my television and music career to draw me into this writing apostolate so as to prepare readers for “the Passion of the Church.” This ministry is just one sliver in the big scheme. I mean, I am addressing a fraction of the English-speaking world, who are a fraction of the seven billion inhabitants of the earth. I am just one tiny helper among many assisting Our Lord and Our Lady. Moreover, the Lord warned me from the very beginning that many would not welcome the message. So I am speaking to a true remnant of the remnant.
Still, I want to be as faithful as I can to the Lord’s invitation, which began in 2002 when Pope John Paul II called us youth to become “protagonists of the new times” POPE JOHN PAUL II, Welcome Ceremony, International Airport of Madrid-Baraja, May 3rd, 2003; www.fjp2.com and…
…watchmen of the morning who announce the coming of the sun who is the Risen Christ! —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Message of the Holy Father to the Youth of the World, XVII World Youth Day, n. 3; (cf. Is 21:11-12)
This indeed has required a “radical choice of faith and life” for this “stupendous task”, POPE JOHN PAUL II, Novo Millennio Inuente, n.9 as he called it. For St. John Paul II was asking us to prepare the Church for the return of Jesus, which is a series of events leading to His eventual appearance in the flesh at the very end of time. Alleluia! (see Dear Holy Father… He is Coming!). It was a call to be “analysts” and watchmen now, not decades from now (as Charlie speculated). And that is because the final events foretold in Scripture are unfolding and about to unfold over the years and decades ahead. As Jesus said to St. Faustina,
You will prepare the world for My final coming. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 429
But Pope Benedict makes the important point:
If one took this statement in a chronological sense, as an injunction to get ready, as it were, immediately for the Second Coming, it would be false. —Light of the World, A Conversation with Peter Seewald, p. 180-181
One “word” that came to my heart at the beginning was that the Lord was “unveiling” the nature of the “end times.” For as He told the prophet Daniel, these things were to be “kept secret and sealed until the end time.” Dan 12:9 They are being unveiled, as the apparitions of Our Lady and mystical revelations of the likes of Venerable Conchita, St. Faustina, and Servants of God Luisa Piccarreta and Martha Robin and others come to light. They are adding nothing new to the Church’s Public Revelation, but rather, helping us to live now more fully by it.
Therefore, my mission at this time is not a matter of reading the signs of the times and subjectively applying the Scriptures. Rather, it has involved thousands of hours of diligent attention to the Church’s Public Revelation, its development in the Church Fathers, and the sifting of good theology from the bad in our disoriented, relativistic, modernist times. It has also involved an attention to the popes of the past century who have indicated in clear, fascinating language that we appear to be, or are entering into the “end times” (see Why Aren’t the Popes Shouting?).
Charlie mentioned Revelation 12 and how he feels his work pertains to it. I’m glad he brought that up, because Revelation 12 is absolutely central to this apostolate as well and to the core of my book, The Final Confrontation, which is a synthesi
s of my writings here.
There is a temptation to view the “end times” entirely as a future event. But when we step back, we can see, as the Catechism teaches, that they were “ushered in by the Son’s redeeming Incarnation.” cf. CCC, n. 686 I mean, we did not arrive overnight at a culture that has redefined marriage, aborts its future, euthanizes its vulnerable, drugs its teens, objectifies its women, changes its gender… and threatens with prosecution anyone who opposes these things. In my book, I describe in detail what John Paul II calls “the greatest historical confrontation” man has gone through. After two schisms cultivated the soil for discontent, the Enlightenment period was birthed by the “father of lies”, which has led to the gradual separation of Church and State to the point where the State itself has become a new religion. John Paul II linked this progression directly to Revelation 12:
This struggle parallels the apocalyptic combat described in (Rev 11:19 – 12:1-6). Death battles against Life: a “culture of death” seeks to impose itself on our desire to live, and live to the full… Vast sectors of society are confused about what is right and what is wrong, and are at the mercy of those with the power to “create” opinion and impose it on others… The “dragon” (Rev 12:3), the “ruler of this world” (Jn 12:31) and the “father of lies” (Jn 8:44), relentlessly tries to eradicate from human hearts the sense of gratitude and respect for the original extraordinary and fundamental gift of God: human life itself. Today that struggle has become increasingly direct. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Cherry Creek State Park Homily, Denver, Colorado, 1993
And thus, he said, we have arrived at a decisive hour:
We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the Gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. This confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore in God’s Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously… —Eucharistic Congress, for the bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, PA, 1976; some citations of this passage include the words “Christ and the antichrist”. Deacon Keith Fournier, an attendee, reports it as above; cf. Catholic Online
Revelation 12 speaks about an intervention of “a woman clothed in the sun” who battles against a dragon (the woman being a symbol of both Mary and the People of God). It speaks about a breaking of Satan’s power, but not a chaining (that comes later; see Ch. 20). The chapter then ends with Satan poised to centralize his remaining power into a “beast.” That is to say that Chapter Twelve of Revelation has everything to do with what John Paul II said: a direct prelude to a confrontation with an antichrist. And as must be repeated again, it is this defeat of the “beast and false prophet” that the Church Fathers, several contemporary theologians, and the “prophetic consensus” of contemporary mystics have said, leads to an “era of peace.” Summarizing the Church Fathers and vast body of mystical revelations, theologian Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi stated:
From this viewpoint, the appearance of Antichrist before the Era of Peace becomes a matter of Tradition. —Antichrist and the End Times, n. 26
He also points out, as have I, that after the Era, there is a last satanic surge as Satan is unchained from the abyss and gathers the pagan nations against the “camp of saints” before the return of Jesus in glory. This final Antichrist, Gog and Magog, is also consistent with St. John’s teaching that there are “many antichrists.” cf. 1 John 2:18 Again, this clear, undiluted chronology of an antichrist before and after the Era of Peace has been conflated by many contemporary analysts into one event, often based on an impoverished understanding and overreaction to the heresy of millenarianism (see Millenarianism – What it is and is Not and How the Era was Lost). They essentially hold that we are facing a “minor tribulation” followed by a peaceful reprieve that brings the world to a “major tribulation” when the Antichrist appears shortly before the very end of all things.
Now, I hope my readers will understand at this point why I would bother to point out the importance of this distinction. If Christians are being told that the Antichrist is perhaps centuries away, could souls not be caught by surprise, “like a thief in the night”? If Jesus said “even the elect” could fall away, then it would seem to me that we should be alert to the signs of the times, particularly when these present times of lawlessness point alarmingly toward the coming of a “lawless one”. Indeed, Pope Paul VI said “Apostasy, the loss of the faith, is spreading throughout the world.” Address on the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Fatima Apparitions, October 13, 1977 And over a hundred years ago, St. Pius X thought…
…there may be already in the world the “Son of Perdition” of whom the Apostle speaks. —POPE ST. PIUS X, E Supremi, Encyclical On the Restoration of All Things in Christ, n. 3, 5; October 4th, 1903
These watchmen were sitting on much higher ramparts than me—and did not hesitate to warn the faithful.
My point here is not to be argumentative. Rather, it is to be faithful to my own mission, which I submit to the Church’s discernment. And part of that mission is to wake up and warn that the “signs of the times”, the unfolding Global Revolution, the massive apostasy and lawlessness spreading everywhere, and the unprecedented apparitions of the “woman clothed in the sun” are strong indicators of the possibility that the Antichrist, who comes before the Era of Peace, could appear in our times (see Antichrist in Our Times). And, looking back now, I see the warnings that I have felt compelled to give in this regard have been in five stages—with several hundred writings in between to strengthen, encourage, and build your faith. If you click on the titles, you can read the details:
I. Dream of the Lawless One (a dream that only now makes sense)
II. The Lifting of the Restrainer (a “word” I received regarding the “lawless one” and these times)
III. The Coming Counterfeit (Satan’s ruse to counter Divine Mercy)
IV. The Spiritual Tsunami (a wave of spiritual deception spreading throughout the world)
As for timing, I will not speculate. The main point is this: we are called by Jesus to “watch and pray”. As a watchman, I have merely reported what I see from my post through the lens of Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium—no, I have shouted, rather, out of a moral obligation to do so. I’d rather be wrong than silent. Whether or not there are heavenly interventions between now and the appearance of an antichrist before the Era, well, that’s Heaven’s business. I certainly do believe we will see miraculous things in this “time of mercy” before the “time of justice”. But my role, in part, is to make known the chronology of these times, the “big picture” according to Tradition that ultimately prepares us for the coming of the Kingdom.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)
And I do think it is important, otherwise Our Lord would never have spoken of these things in the first place, much less given St. Paul and St. John pertinent revelations and specific signs to watch for. What I think is a waste of time is calculating timelines.
It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. (Acts 1:6-7)
Several years ago while praying before the Blessed Sacrament in my spiritual director’s chapel, I sensed the Lord speak clearly in my heart, “I am giving you the ministry of John the Baptist.” John’s ministry was to announce the coming of the “Lamb of God.”
Indeed, Come Lord Jesus! Maranatha! Thy Kingdom Come!
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:
The end result was hope and joy! …a clear guide & explanation for the times we are in and the ones we are rapidly heading towards.
—John LaBriola, Onward Catholic Solder
…a remarkable book.
—Joan Tardif, Catholic Insight
The Final Confrontation is a gift of grace to the Church.
—Michael D. O’Brien, author of Father Elijah
Mark Mallett has written a must-read book, an indispensable vademecum for the decisive times ahead, and a well-researched survival guide to the challenges looming over the Church, our nation, and the world… The Final Confrontation will prepare the reader, as no other work I have read, to face the times before us with courage, light, and grace confident that the battle and especially this ultimate battle belongs to the Lord.
—the late Fr. Joseph Langford, MC, Co-founder, Missionaries of Charity Fathers, Author of Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady, and Mother Teresa’s Secret Fire
In these days of tumult and treachery, Christ’s reminder to be watchful reverberates powerfully in the hearts of those who love Him… This important new book by Mark Mallett can help you watch and pray ever more intently as unsettling events unfold. It is a potent reminder that, however dark and difficult things may get, “He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
—Patrick Madrid, author of Search and Rescue and Pope Fiction
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|1.||↑||POPE JOHN PAUL II, Welcome Ceremony, International Airport of Madrid-Baraja, May 3rd, 2003; www.fjp2.com|
|2.||↑||POPE JOHN PAUL II, Novo Millennio Inuente, n.9|
|4.||↑||cf. CCC, n. 686|
|5.||↑||cf. 1 John 2:18|
|6.||↑||Address on the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Fatima Apparitions, October 13, 1977|