THE “culture of death”, that Great Culling and The Great Poisoning, are not the final word. The havoc wreaked upon the planet by man is not the final say on human affairs. For neither the New nor the Old Testament speak of the end of the world after the influence and reign of the “beast.” Rather, they speak of a divine renovation of the earth where true peace and justice will reign for a time as the “knowledge of the Lord” spreads from sea to sea (cf. Is 11:4-9; Jer 31:1-6; Ezek 36:10-11; Mic 4:1-7; Zech 9:10; Matt 24:14; Rev 20:4).
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD; all the families of nations will bow low before him. (Ps 22:28)
The new era to come, according to the Scriptures, approved mystics like Servants of God Luisa Piccarreta, Marthe Robin, and Venerable Conchita—and the popes themselves—will be one of profound love and holiness that will subdue the nations (see The Popes and the Dawning Era). But what about the physical dimensions of that era, especially given that, according to Scripture, the earth will have undergone great convulsions and destruction?
Do we dare hope for such an Era of Peace?
After the coming of the beast—the Antichrist, cf. Antichrist in Our Times and The Hour of Lawlessness St. John spoke of a “thousand year” reign of Christ in His saints. This is what the Early Church Fathers (called such because of their proximity to the times of the Apostles and the budding of Sacred Tradition) referred to as the “day of the Lord.”
Behold, the Day of the Lord shall be a thousand years. —Letter of Barnabas, The Fathers of the Church, Ch. 15
As St. Justin Martyr said, “we understand that a period of one thousand years is indicated in symbolic language,” not necessarily a literal one thousand years. Rather,
…this day of ours, which is bounded by the rising and the setting of the sun, is a representation of that great day to which the circuit of a thousand years affixes its limits. —Lactantius, Fathers of the Church: The Divine Institutes, Book VII, Chapter 14, Catholic Encyclopedia; www.newadvent.org
The Church Fathers elaborated on this period of peace—the Day of the Lord—as one that is primarily a spiritual renewal or “Sabbath rest” for the people of God precluded by a judgment: see The Last Judgments and How the Era was Lost
Those who on the strength of this passage [Rev 20:1-6], have suspected that the first resurrection is future and bodily, have been moved, among other things, specially by the number of a thousand years, as if it were a fit thing that the saints should thus enjoy a kind of Sabbath-rest during that period, a holy leisure after the labors of six thousand years since man was created… (and) there should follow on the completion of six thousand years, as of six days, a kind of seventh-day Sabbath in the succeeding thousand years… And this opinion would not be objectionable, if it were believed that the joys of the saints, in that Sabbath, shall be spiritual, and consequent on the presence of God… —St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.; Church Doctor), De Civitate Dei, Bk. XX, Ch. 7, Catholic University of America Press
It is important to note that the Church very quickly rejected a heresy known as “millenarianism” in which some began to interpret St. John’s vision as Christ returning to physically reign on earth amidst carnal banquets and festivities. However, to this day, the Church rejects such notions as false: see Millenarianism—What it is and is Not
The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism. —Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), n.676
What the Church has not rejected is the building up of a “civilization of love” that extends to the ends of the earth, sustained and nurtured by the Sacramental Presence of Jesus:
A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty. A new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy, and self-absorption which deaden our souls and poison our relationships. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Homily, World Youth Day, Sydney, Australia, July 20th, 2008
To bring about such an age is, in fact, your and my prophetic mission:
By constantly evangelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them “to infuse the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which [they] live.” The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church. Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies. —CCC, 2105, (cf. John 13:34; Matt 28:19-20)
In essence, our mission is to cooperate in establishing the spiritual reign of Christ and His kingdom throughout the world “until He comes again.” cf. Matt 24:14 Pope Benedict thus adds:
Dear young friends, the Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age… —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Homily, World Youth Day, Sydney, Australia, July 20th, 2008
But will such an Era of Peace be entirely spiritual in dimension, or will it bear fruits in nature itself?
GOD’S REDEMPTION INCLUDES CREATION
Presumably, God could have created Adam and Eve without the rest of creation. I mean, they could have existed as free spirits simply dwelling in the “space” of love. However, in His infinite wisdom, God wished to communicate and express something of His goodness, beauty, and love through creation.
Creation is the foundation of “all God’s saving plans,”… God envisaged the glory of the new creation in Christ. —CCC, 280
But creation did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. The universe is “in a state of journeying” toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained. CCC, 302 That’s where mankind comes in:
To human beings God even gives the power of freely sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of “subduing” the earth and having dominion over it. God thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbors. —CCC, 307
And so, the destiny of creation is inextricably linked to the destiny of man. Man’s freedom, and thus creation’s, was purchased on the Cross. Jesus became the “firstborn of creation,” Col 1:15 or one could say, the firstborn of a new or restored creation. The pattern of His death and resurrection has become the path for all creation to be reborn. This is why the Easter Vigil readings begin with the creation account.
…in the work of salvation, Christ sets creation free from sin and death to consecrate it anew and make it return to the Father, for his glory. —CCC, n. 2637
In the Risen Christ all creation rises to new life. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter Sunday, April 15th, 2001
But again, this hope has only been conceived through the Cross. It remains for mankind and the rest of creation to experience its full liberation, to be “born again.” I quote again Fr. Walter Ciszek:
Christ’s redemptive act did not of itself restore all things, it simply made the work of redemption possible, it began our redemption. Just as all men share in the disobedience of Adam, so all men must share in the obedience of Christ to the Father’s will. Redemption will be complete only when all men share his obedience. —He Leadeth Me, pg. 116-117; quoted in The Splendor of Creation, Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, pg. 259
Thus, it is precisely this “sharing” in the obedience of Christ, this living in the Divine Will that clothes and prepares the Bride of Christ cf. Toward Paradise and The Coming New and Divine Holiness for His eventual return, that the rest of creation is waiting for:
For creation awaits with eager expectation the revelation of the children of God; for creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it, in hope that creation itself would be set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now… (Rom 8:19-22)
In using the metaphor of “labor pains,” St. Paul ties the renewal of creation to the birthing of the “children of God.” St. John sees this coming birth of the “whole Christ”—Jew and Gentile, one flock under one Shepherd—in a vision of the “woman clothed with the sun” who is in hard labor, wailing as she gives birth to a “male child.” cf. Rev 12:1-2
This Woman represents Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer, but she represents at the same time the whole Church, the People of God of all times, the Church that at all times, with great pain, again gives birth to Christ. —CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 23, 2006; Zenit
Jesus also used this birthing analogy to describe the end of this age and the convulsions that would take place, not only spiritually, but physically:
…there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place. All these are the beginning of the labor pains. (Matt 24:6-8)
The birth of this “male child,” according to St. John, culminates in what he calls a “first resurrection” cf. Rev 20:4-5 after the destruction of the “beast.” That is, not the end of the world, but a period of peace:
I and every other orthodox Christian feel certain that there will be a resurrection of the flesh followed by a thousand years in a rebuilt, embellished, and enlarged city of Jerusalem, as was announced by the Prophets Ezekiel, Isaias and others… A man among us named John, one of Christ’s Apostles, received and foretold that the followers of Christ would dwell in Jerusalem for a thousand years, and that afterwards the universal and, in short, everlasting resurrection and judgment would take place. —St. Justin Martyr,Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. 81, The Fathers of the Church, Christian Heritage
If that is so, then wouldn’t creation also experience a resurrection of sorts?
Shall I bring a mother to the point of birth, and yet not let her child be born? says the LORD; or shall I who allow her to conceive, yet close her womb? (Isaiah 66:9)
THE NEW PENTECOST
We pray as a Church:
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
V. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
R. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
If the era to come will be the Age of Love, cf. Coming Age of Love then it will come about through the outpouring of the third Person of the Holy Trinity whom Scripture identifies as “the love of God”: cf. Charismatic? Part VI
…hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Rom 5:5)
The time has come to exalt the Holy Spirit in the world… I desire that this last epoch be consecrated in a very special way to this Holy Spirit… It is His turn, it is His epoch, it is the triumph of love in My Church, in the whole universe. —Jesus to Venerable Conchita Cabrera de Armida, Conchita Marie Michel Philipon, p. 195-196
The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (the “woman clothed with the sun”) will usher in this “new Pentecost.” That is to say, the labor pains will also produce a “reborn” creation:
Creation, reborn and freed from bondage, will yield an abundance of food of all kind from the heaven’s dew and the fertility of the earth. —St. Irenaeus, Adversus Haereses
A NEW CREATION
The Book of Isaiah is a powerful prophecy that foretells the coming of a Messiah who will liberate His people. The prophet provides a vision that unfolds on several layers through several generations through several epochs, including eternity. Isaiah’s vision includes a coming time of peace, and in fact, a “new heavens and a new earth” within the boundaries of time.
Now keep in mind that the Old Testament writers used highly metaphorical words and allegorical descriptions at times, including their language to describe the Era of Peace. For instance, when God speaks of a “land flowing with milk and honey,” it indicated a land of prosperity, not literal streams of milk and honey. The Early Church Fathers also cited and continued the use of this figurative language, which is why some have accused them of millenarianism. But applying proper biblical hermeneutics, we can recognize that they are speaking allegorically of a period of spiritual prosperity.
They saw in Isaiah’s prophecy a coming Era of Peace, that “thousand year” reign of the saints in Revelation 20:
These are the words of Isaiah concerning the millennium: ‘For there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and the former will not be remembered nor come into their heart, but they will be glad and rejoice in these things, which I create… There shall no more be an infant of days there, nor an old man that shall not fill up his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old… For as the days of the tree of life, so shall be the days of My people, and the works of their hands shall be multiplied. My elect shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth children for a curse; for they shall be a righteous seed blessed by the Lord, and their posterity with them.’ —St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. 81, The Fathers of the Church, Christian Heritage; cf. Is 54:1 and chapters 65-66
The Church Fathers understood that the millennium would entail some kind of renewal of creation that would be a sign and anticipation of the New Heavens and New Earth to come after the Final Judgement (cf. Rev. 21:1).
The earth will open its fruitfulness and bring forth most abundant fruits of its own accord; the rocky mountains shall drip with honey; streams of wine shall run down, and rivers flow with milk; in short the world itself shall rejoice, and all nature exalt, being rescued and set free from the dominion of evil and impiety, and guilt and error. —Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius, The Divine Institutes
The earth, reeling from the destruction wrought by the “beast”, will be rejuvenated:
On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people, he will heal the bruises left by his blows. (Is 30:26)
It is fitting, therefore, that creation itself, being restored to its primeval condition, should without restraint be under the dominion of the righteous… And it is right that when creation is restored, all the animals should obey and be in subjection to man, and revert to the food originally given by God… that is, the productions of the earth… —St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Church Father (140–202 A.D.); Adversus Haereses, Irenaeus of Lyons, passim Bk. 32, Ch. 1; 33, 4, The Fathers of the Church, CIMA Publishing Co.
And yet, this temporal period will continue to be subject to the natural cycles within time, since the Church—and through her the world—will not be perfected until Christ’s glorious return at the end of time: cf. CCC, 769
As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. (Gen 8:22)
But that does not exclude the establishment of a temporal spiritual kingdom in the world nor extraordinary changes upon the planet, according to Scripture and Tradition:
On the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall, the light of the moon will be like that of the sun and the light of the sun will be seven times greater (like the light of seven days). (Is 30:25)
The sun will become seven times brighter than it is now. —Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius, The Divine Institutes
Was The Miracle of the Sun at Fatima a foreshadowing of some kind of change in the earth’s orbit or rotation, or some other cosmic event that would be both a chastisement and a means of purifying creation? cf. Fatima, and the Great Shaking
He stood and shook the earth; he looked and made the nations tremble. Ancient mountains were shattered, the age-old hills bowed low, age-old orbits collapsed. (Habb 3:11)
MAN AND CREATION, PURIFIED AND RENEWED
In his encyclical, E Supremi, Pope Pius X said, “the enormous and detestable wickedness so characteristic of our time [is] the substitution of man for God…” Indeed, in his pride, man is building another tower of Babel. He is reaching to the heavens for that power that belongs only to God: to change the very foundations of life—the genetic codes that unravel creation according to an order set forth by Wisdom. That, and greed, have made the groans of creation nearly unbearable. cf. The Great Poisoning
Ah, my daughter, the creature always races more into evil. How many machinations of ruin they are preparing! They will go so far as to exhaust themselves in evil. But while they occupy themselves in going their way, I will occupy Myself with the completion and fulfillment of My Fiat Voluntas Tua (“Thy will be done”) so that My Will reign on earth—but in an all-new manner. Ah yes, I want to confound man in Love! Therefore, be attentive. I want you with Me to prepare this Era of Celestial and divine Love… —Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta, Manuscripts, Feb 8th, 1921; excerpt from The Splendor of Creation, Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi, p.80, with the permission of the Archbishop of Trani, overseer of Piccarreta’s writings, which in 2010, received theological approval from Vatican theologians.
Indeed, in The Coming Age of Love, creation will be renewed in part through a humility before God and the physical order.
The humility of God is heaven. And if we approach this humility, then we touch heaven. Then the earth too is made new... —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Christmas Message, December 26th, 2007
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matt 5:5; cf. Ps 37)
Love, expressed in obedience to God’s will, will help renew and heal creation in cooperation with the creative power of the Holy Spirit. The humility of the People of God in the coming era will imitate that of the Blessed Mother with a profound impact upon the world. This will be the fruit of the Triumph of her heart that she promised at Fatima: a “period of peace” that will resound throughout all of creation.
“This desolate land has been made into a garden of Eden,” they shall say. (Ezekiel 36:35)
Yes, a miracle was promised at Fatima, the greatest miracle in the history of the world, second only to the Resurrection. And that miracle will be an era of peace which has never really been granted before to the world. —Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi, papal theologian for Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II, October 9th, 1994; Family Catechism, (Sept. 9th, 1993); p. 35
For example, the Church Fathers taught that this peace will bear the fruit of longevity:
As the years of a tree, so the years of my people; and my chosen ones shall long enjoy the produce of their hands. They shall not toil in vain, nor beget children for sudden destruction; for a race blessed by the LORD are they and their offspring. (Is 65:22-23)
Also there shall not be any immature one, nor an old man who does not fulfill his time; for the youth shall be of a hundred years old… — St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Church Father (140–202 A.D.); Adversus Haereses, Bk. 34, Ch.4
They who shall be alive in their bodies shall not die, but during those thousand years shall produce an infinite multitude, and their offspring shall be holy and beloved by God.. —Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius, The Divine Institutes
I will settle crowds of men and beasts upon you, to multiply and be fruitful. I will repeople you as in the past, and be more generous to you than in the beginning; thus you shall know that I am the LORD. (Ez 36:11; cf. Zec 10:8)
After God cleansed the earth by flood in Noah’s time, a temporary consequence of original sin remained in nature as a result of the loss of man’s union in the Divine Will: a tension between man and beast.
Fear and dread of you shall come upon all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon all the creatures that move about on the ground and all the fishes of the sea; into your power they are delivered. (Genesis 9:2)
But according to Isaiah, man and beast will know a temporary truce with another as the Gospel spreads to the ends of the earth:
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)
All the animals who use the products of the soil will be at peace and in harmony with one another, completely at man’s beck and call. — St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Church Father (140–202 A.D.); Adversus Haereses
Thus is the full action of the original plan of the Creator delineated: a creation in which God and man, man and woman, humanity and nature are in harmony, in dialogue, in communion. This plan, upset by sin, was taken up in a more wondrous way by Christ, Who is carrying it out mysteriously but effectively in the present reality, in the expectation of bringing it to fulfillment… —POPE JOHN PAUL II, General Audience, February 14, 2001
Infrastructures, simplified or destroyed before the Era of Peace, will leave man to turn again to agriculture as his main form of sustenance:
And they shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruits of them, and drink the wine… and the works of their hands shall be multiplied. My elect shall not labor in vain. —St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho (cf. Is 65:21-23, Am 9:14)
With Satan chained away in the abyss for the “thousand years,” cf. Rev 20:3 creation will “rest” for a time:
At the end of the six thousandth year, all wickedness must be abolished from the earth, and righteousness reign for a thousand years; and there must be tranquility and rest from the labors which the world now long has endured… Throughout this time, beasts shall not be nourished by blood, nor birds by prey; but all things shall be peaceful and tranquil. —Caecilius Firmianus Lactantius, The Divine Institutes
Therefore, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9)
TOWARD THE END OF THE ERA
This “tranquility and rest” will come in large part because wickedness will have been abolished through a chastisement and, again, the powers of evil chained away for the “thousand years” awaiting their release. cf. The Last Judgments Both Isaiah and St. John describe this:
On that day the LORD will punish the host of the heavens in the heavens, and the kings of the earth on the earth. They will be gathered together like prisoners into a pit; they will be shut up in a dungeon, and after many days they will be punished… He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan, and tied it up for a thousand years and threw it into the abyss, which he locked over it and sealed, so that it could no longer lead the nations astray until the thousand years are completed. (Isaiah 24:21-22; Rev 20:2-3)
And yet, during the Era, the will of men to freely choose good or evil will remain. Hence the continued need for the sacramental order. In fact, the Holy Eucharist will be the “source and summit” that sustains and nurtures the peace and harmony between nations in that period, the ultimate Vindication of Wisdom:
The temporal kingdom, therefore, will have at its core, in the hearts and souls of all its faithful, the glorious Person of Christ Jesus who will shine forth above all in the triumph of His Eucharistic Person. The Eucharist will become the summit of all humanity, extending its rays of light to all the nations. The Eucharistic heart of Jesus, dwelling in their midst, will thus cultivate in the faithful a spirit of intense adoration and worship never before seen. Freed from the deceptions of the contriver, who will be enchained for a time, the faithful will gather around all the tabernacles of the earth to render homage to God—their sustenance, their solace and their salvation. —Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, The Triumph of God’s Kingdom in the Millennium and End Times, p. 127
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.” —CCC, 671
The “revelation” for which all of creation will still be groaning, is the definitive resurrection at the end of time when, transformed in the twinkling of an eye, the sons and daughters of God will be clothed in an eternal body, freed from the powers of sin and death. Creation will still be groaning in part until then, because man will still be subject to sin and temptation while in this present world, still subject to the “mystery of iniquity.”
When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. They invaded the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city… (Rev 20:7-9)
And then, in a great conflagration, the entire cosmos will convulse one last time under the weight of that last rebellion. Fire will fall from heaven to destroy the enemies of the People of God. And with a trumpet blast, the dead shall be raised, and every single person will stand before the throne of God in the Last Judgement. This present order will be consumed by fire and a New Heavens and a New Earth will welcome the children of God, that purified Bride of Christ, who will dwell in its Heavenly City. The new and everlasting creation will be its crown and there will be no more death, no more tears, and no more pain. All of creation will at last be free for eternity..
…for the former things have passed away. (Rev 21:4)
This is our great hope and our invocation, ‘Your Kingdom come!’—a Kingdom of peace, justice and serenity, which will re-establish the original harmony of creation. —ST. POPE JOHN PAUL II, General Audience, November 6th, 2002, Zenit
First published October 9th, 2010.
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|1.||↑||cf. Antichrist in Our Times and The Hour of Lawlessness|
|2.||↑||see The Last Judgments and How the Era was Lost|
|3.||↑||see Millenarianism—What it is and is Not|
|4.||↑||cf. Matt 24:14|
|7.||↑||cf. Toward Paradise and The Coming New and Divine Holiness|
|8.||↑||cf. Rev 12:1-2|
|9.||↑||cf. Rev 20:4-5|
|10.||↑||cf. Coming Age of Love|
|11.||↑||cf. Charismatic? Part VI|
|12.||↑||cf. CCC, 769|
|13.||↑||cf. Fatima, and the Great Shaking|
|14.||↑||cf. The Great Poisoning|
|15.||↑||cf. Rev 20:3|
|16.||↑||cf. The Last Judgments|