IN previous ice ages, the effects of global cooling were devastating on many regions. Shorter growing seasons led to failed crops, famine and starvation, and as a result, disease, poverty, civil unrest, revolution, and even war. As you just read in The Winter of Our Chastisement, both scientists and Our Lord are predicting what seems to be the onset of another “little ice age.” If so, it may shed a new light on why Jesus spoke of these particular signs at the end of an age (and they are virtually a summary of the Seven Seals of Revolution also spoken of by St. John):
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky… All these are the beginning of the labor pains. (Luke 21:10-11, Matt 24:7-8)
However, something beautiful is to follow when Jesus calms this present Storm—not the end of the world, but the vindication of the Gospel:
…the one who perseveres to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt 24:13-14)
Indeed, in today’s first Mass reading, the prophet Isaiah foresees a future time when “God will usher in a time for Zion when he will pardon every offense and heal every illness”Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1502 and that the Messiah will pacify all the nations as they stream toward “Jerusalem.” It is the beginning of an “era of peace” preceded by a “judgment” of the nations. In the New Testament, Zion is a symbol of the Church, the “New Jerusalem.”
In days to come, the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it… For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. (Isaiah 2:1-5)
Obviously, the latter part of this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled.
For the mysteries of Jesus are not yet completely perfected and fulfilled. They are complete, indeed, in the person of Jesus, but not in us, who are his members, nor in the Church, which is his mystical body. —St. John Eudes, treatise “On the Kingdom of Jesus”, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol IV, p 559
There is a “triumph” yet to come that will have consequences for the entire world. It is a coming “new and divine holiness” with which God will crown the Church in order to vindicate His word as a “witness to all nations” and prepare His Bride for the final coming of Jesus in glory. This, in fact, was the underlying purpose for the invocation of the Second Vatican Council:
The task of humble Pope John is to “prepare for the Lord a perfect people,” which is exactly like the task of the Baptist, who is his patron and from whom he takes his name. And it is not possible to imagine a higher and more precious perfection than that of the triumph of Christian peace, which is peace at heart, peace in the social order, in life, in wellbeing, in mutual respect, and in the brotherhood of nations. —POPE ST. JOHN XXIII, True Christian Peace, December 23rd, 1959; www.catholicculture.org
It is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s vision for an Era of Peace, according to the Magisterium:
…a hope in some mighty triumph of Christ here on earth before the final consummation of all things. Such an occurrence is not excluded, is not impossible, it is not all certain that there will not be a prolonged period of triumphant Christianity before the end. —The Teaching of the Catholic Church: A Summary of Catholic Doctrine, London Burns Oates & Washbourne, p. 1140
The Catholic Church, which is the kingdom of Christ on earth, [is] destined to be spread among all men and all nations… —POPE PIUS XI, Quas Primas, Encyclical, n. 12, Dec. 11th, 1925; cf. Matt 24:14
Isaiah sees the nations streaming toward a single “house”, that is, one Church from which they will draw from the undiluted Word of God preserved in Sacred Tradition.
“And they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.” May God… shortly bring to fulfillment His prophecy for transforming this consoling vision of the future into a present reality… It is God’s task to bring about this happy hour and to make it known to all… When it does arrive, it will turn out to be a solemn hour, one big with consequences not only for the restoration of the Kingdom of Christ, but for the pacification of… the world. We pray most fervently, and ask others likewise to pray for this much-desired pacification of society. —POPE PIUS XI, Ubi Arcani dei Consilioi “On the Peace of Christ in his Kingdom”, December 23, 1922
Taking into account everything heaven and earth has said in the past century, we appear to be entering the Judgment of the Living spoken of in Isaiah and the Book of Revelation and, in our times, by St. Faustina. This occurs directly before an Era of Peace (which is the “Day of the Lord“). And so, brothers and sisters, let us keep this consoling vision before us—which is nothing short of the expectation of the coming of the Kingdom of God in a new modality.
I said the “triumph” will draw closer… This is equivalent in meaning to our praying for the coming of God’s Kingdom. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Light of the World, p. 166, A Conversation With Peter Seewald (Ignatius Press)
It is also a Marian triumph since these mysteries were already accomplished in and through the Virgin Mary whom the Church calls the “Daughter of Zion.”
It is to her as Mother and Model that the Church must look in order to understand in its completeness the meaning of her own mission. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Redemptoris Mater, n. 37
The triumph of the “Woman clothed in the sun” begins now as we welcome her and open our hearts to receive Jesus, whom she calls the “flame” of her Immaculate Heart. Indeed, it is a flame no “ice age,” no Storm, no war or rumour of wars can extinguish. For it is the coming of the Kingdom of God within…
I will always be beside you in the Storm that is now brewing. I am your mother. I can help you and I want to! You will see everywhere the light of my Flame of Love sprouting out like a flash of lightning illuminating Heaven and earth, and with which I will inflame even the dark and languid souls… This Flame full of blessings springing from my Immaculate Heart, and that I am giving you, must go from heart to heart. It will be the Great Miracle of light blinding Satan… The torrential flood of blessings about to jolt the world must begin with the small number of the most humble souls. Each person getting this message should receive it as an invitation and no one should take offense nor ignore it… —approved messages from Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth Kindelmann; see www.flameoflove.org
The day of the Lord approaches. All must be prepared. Ready yourselves in body, mind, and soul. Purify yourselves. —St. Raphael to Barbara Rose Centilli, February 16th, 1998
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