A word that has given me strength for many years now came from Our Lady in the famed apparitions of Medjugorje. Mirroring the urging of Vatican II and the contemporary popes, she also called us to look at the “signs of the times”, as she implored in 2006:
My children, do you not recognize the signs of the times? Do you not speak of them? —April 2nd, 2006, quoted in My Heart Will Triumph by Mirjana Soldo, p. 299
It was in this same year that the Lord called me in a powerful experience to begin speaking of the signs of the times. see Words and Warnings I was terrified because, at that time, I was being awakened to the possibility that the Church was entering the “end times”—not the end of the world, but that period that would eventually usher in the final things. To speak of the “end times”, though, immediately opens one to rejection, misunderstanding, and ridicule. However, the Lord was asking me to be nailed to this cross.
Only with total interior renunciation will you recognize God’s love and the signs of the time in which you live. You will be witnesses of these signs and will begin to speak about them. —March 18th, 2006, Ibid.
I said a moment ago that Our Lady was echoing the popes’ call to vigilance. Indeed, John Paul II said to us a few years earlier:
Dear young people, it is up to you to be the 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)
And several years later, Pope Benedict repeated this call to announce a coming new era:
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
Yes, I was afraid. But I did not want to be one of those Catholics that Pius X had described at the canonization of that heroic saint, Joan of Arc:
In our time more than ever before the greatest asset of the evilly disposed is the cowardice and weakness of good men, and all the vigor of Satan’s reign is due to the easygoing weakness of Catholics. O, if I might ask the divine redeemer, as the prophet Zachary did in spirit, ‘What are these wounds in your hands?’ the answer would not be doubtful. ‘With these I was wounded in the house of those who loved me. I was wounded by my friends who did nothing to defend me and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of my adversaries.’ This reproach can be leveled at the weak and timid Catholics of all countries. —Publication of the Decree of the Heroic Virtues of St. Joan of Arc, etc., December 13th, 1908; vatican.va
THE UNMISTAKABLE TRUMPETS
It was clear that these popes were not ignoring the signs of the times either. cf. Why Aren’t the Popes Shouting? My fears began to fade as I saw that the pontiffs were speaking clearly about the times we are living in.
I sometimes read the Gospel passage of the end times and I attest that, at this time, some signs of this end are emerging. —POPE PAUL VI, The Secret Paul VI, Jean Guitton, p. 152-153, Reference (7), p. ix.
Indeed, in the century before him, Pope Leo XIII stated:
…he who resists the truth through malice and turns away from it, sins most grievously against the Holy Ghost. In our days this sin has become so frequent that those dark times seem to have come which were foretold by St. Paul, in which men, blinded by the just judgment of God, should take falsehood for truth, and should believe in “the prince of this world,” who is a liar and the father thereof, as a teacher of truth… —Encyclical Divinum Illud Munus, n. 10
Thirteen years later, St. Pius X repeated the same notion: that we were living in the times foretold by St. Paul that spoke of lawlessness and the coming “lawless one”.
Who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is—apostasy from God… When all this is considered there is good reason to fear lest this great perversity may be as it were a foretaste, and perhaps the beginning of those evils which are reserved for the last days; and that 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
Speaking directly of the “signs of the times”, Benedict XV would write a few years later:
Certainly those days would seem to have come upon us of which Christ Our Lord foretold: “You shall hear of wars and rumours of wars—for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matt 24:6-7). —Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, November 1, 1914; www.vatican.va
Pius XI, quoting words from Our Lord’s description of the “end times”, wrote:
And thus, even against our will, the thought rises in the mind that now those days draw near of which Our Lord prophesied: “And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold” (Matt. 24:12). —POPE PIUS XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor, Encyclical on Reparation to the Sacred Heart, n. 17
On and on the popes went, pulling no punches. John Paul II, while still a cardinal, would famously say…
We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel, between Christ and the Antichrist. —Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (JOHN PAUL II ), at the Eucharistic Congress, Philadelphia, PA; August 13, 1976; some citations of this passage include the words “Christ and the Antichrist” as above. Deacon Keith Fournier, an attendee at the Congress, reports it as above; cf. Catholic Online
He directly compared the “culture of life” versus the “culture of death” to Revelation 12 and the battle between the dragon and the “woman clothed in the sun.” cf. Living the Book of Revelation And of course, as you read above, he called the youth to be watchmen of the “coming” of Jesus.
Benedict XVI likewise employed apocalyptic language, comparing the present oppressive world systems to “Babylon” cf. Mystery Bablyon and making comparisons to Soloviev’s ‘Short Story of the Antichrist’. Pope Francis also compared our times to a novel on the antichrist called Lord of the World by Fr. Robert Hugh Benson. He decried the “unseen empires” cf. Address to European Parliament, Strasbourg, France, Nov. 25th, 2014, Zenit that seek to coerce and manipulate nations into a singular paradigm, a “sole thought”—the aim of the “beast” of Revelation.
It is not the beautiful globalization of unity of all Nations, each one with their own customs, instead it is the globalization of hegemonic uniformity, it is the single thought. And this sole thought is the fruit of worldliness. —POPE FRANCIS, Homily, November 18th, 2013; Zenit
It… made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast. (Rev 13:12)
Evoking St. Paul again, Francis called this “negotiation” with the “spirit of worldliness” the “root of all evil.”
This… is called apostasy, which… is a form of “adultery” which takes place when we negotiate the essence of our being: loyalty to the Lord. —POPE FRANCIS from a homily, Vatican Radio, November 18th, 2013
This, of course, is the warning the Catechism sounds when it speaks of the seductions of those “end times”:
The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in the place of God and his Messiah who has come in the flesh. 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 that 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, n. 675-676
Speaker and author, Michael D. O’Brien—who has been warning for decades of the totalitarianism we now see rapidly unfolding around us—made this commentary:
Gazing about at the contemporary world, even our “democratic” world, could we not say that we are living in the midst of precisely this spirit of secular messianism? And is this spirit not manifested especially in its political form, which the Catechism calls in the strongest language, “intrinsically perverse”? How many people in our times now believe that the triumph of good over evil in the world will be achieved through social revolution or social evolution? How many have succumbed to the belief that man will save himself when sufficient knowledge and energy are applied to the human condition? I would suggest that this intrinsic perversity now dominates the entire Western world. —talk at St. Patrick’s basilica in Ottawa, Canada, September 20th, 2005; studiobrien.com
This is perhaps no clearer now as we stand on the eve of a U.S. election where a humanism devoid of God is the only vision on display before the world…
IN THIS VIGIL
In the most recent message from Medjugorje, Our Lady allegedly said:
My children, it is a time of vigilance. In this vigil I am calling you to prayer, love and trust. As my Son will be looking in your hearts, my motherly heart desires for Him to see unconditional trust and love in them. The united love of my apostles will live, will conquer and will expose evil. —Our Lady to Mirjana, November 2nd, 2016
The “vigil” of what? In Catholicism, vigils are nearly as important as the day that follows them, since the vigil is accompanied by watching and praying and anticipating the new day. Saturday evening Mass, for example, is the vigil of the “day of the Lord”, which is commemorated each Sunday.
Turning again to John Paul II, he frequently employed this language of watching for a new “dawn”, what he called…
…a new dawn of hope, brotherhood and peace. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Address to the Guanelli Youth Movement, April 20th, 2002, www.vatican.va
Again, not the end of the world, but the beginning of a new era. Indeed, Jesus taught:
The Son of Man is his day will be like the lightning that flashes from one end of the sky to the other. First, however, he must suffer much and be rejected by the present age (Luke 17:24).
O’Brien notes the significance of this language “for it implies that there are ages to come after his life on earth.” cf. talk at St. Patrick’s basilica in Ottawa, Canada, September 20th, 2005; studiobrien.com Indeed, John Paul II foresaw that this final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, the Woman and the Dragon, of Christ versus the Antichrist, would not culminate in the end, but would give birth to a new springtime. In this regard, he viewed Mary and the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart as a precursor and preparation for the “coming of the Risen Christ” in a new way into the world. In a word, she is…
Mary, the shining star that announces the Sun. —POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, Meeting with Young People at Air Base of Cuatro Vientos, Madrid, Spain; May 3rd, 2003; www.vatican.va
Taking into account all that the popes have said, all that Our Lord and Lady are saying in approved and credible apparitions and locutions throughout the world at this hour, and of course “the signs of the times”, we appear to be on the threshold of the “day of the Lord” which St. Paul said would be preceded by “apostasy” and the “lawless one” whom Jesus “will kill with the breath of his mouth.” cf. 2 Thess 2:8 The early Church Fathers also taught that Christ’s kingdom would be established in the saints in a new modality after the Fall of Babylon and the Beast. They did not see the “day of the Lord” as the last “24 hour” day, but a period within the “end times” in which the Gospel would shine before all the nations.
…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
Behold, the Day of the Lord shall be a thousand years. —Letter of Barnabas, The Fathers of the Church, Ch. 15
He seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan, and tied it up for a thousand years… so that it could no longer lead the nations astray until the thousand years are completed. After this, it is to be released for a short time… I also saw the souls of those who… came to life and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Rev 20:1-4)
And thus, Fr. Charles Arminjon, summarizing all of the above and Catholic Tradition wrote:
St. Thomas and St. John Chrysostom explain the words quem Dominus Jesus destruet illustratione adventus sui (“whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the brightness of His coming”) in the sense that Christ will strike the Antichrist by dazzling him with a brightness that will be like an omen and sign of His Second Coming… The most authoritative view, and the one that appears to be most in harmony with Holy Scripture, is that, after the fall of the Antichrist, the Catholic Church will once again enter upon a period of prosperity and triumph. —The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life, Fr. Charles Arminjon (1824-1885), p. 56-57; Sophia Institute Press
Afterward, comes the end, as described in Revelation 20:7-15.
WATCH AND PRAY
What I will add to all of this, brothers and sisters, is that we simply do not know the timeline of these mysteries. How long will it take for God’s plan to unfold? The Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, warns Sr. Lucia, is not an event, but a series of unfoldings.
Fatima is still in its Third Day. We are now in the post Consecration period. The First Day was the apparition period. The Second was the post apparition, pre-Consecration period. The Fatima Week has not yet ended… People expect things to happen immediately within their own time frame. But Fatima is still in its Third Day. The Triumph is an ongoing process. —Sr. Lucia in an interview with Cardinal Vidal, October 11th, 1993; God’s Final Effort, John Haffert, 101 Foundation, 1999, p. 2; quoted in Private Revelation: Discerning With the Church, Dr. Mark Miravalle, p.65
Medjugorje, Our Lady said, is the fulfillment of Fatima. John Paul II seemed to believe this too:
Look, Medjugorje is a continuation, an extension of Fatima. Our Lady is appearing in communist countries primarily because of problems that originate in Russia. —from an interview with Bishop Pavel Hnilica in the German Catholic monthly magazine PUR, cf. wap.medjugorje.ws
Thus, it is no surprise to hear one of the alleged seers in Medjugorje, Mirjana Soldo, echo in an auto-biography released just this summer a similar perspective of the Triumph. Mirjana compares our world to a house that is being turned upside down, but that Our Lady is coming to help “clean house.”
Our Lady told me many things that I cannot yet reveal. For now, I can only hint at what our future holds, but I do see indications that the events are already in motion. Things are slowly starting to develop. As Our Lady says, look at the signs of the times, and pray.—My Heart Will Triumph, p. 369; CatholicShop Publishing, 2016
However, Mirjana asks if we will be like ‘most children who stand back while Mom cleans, or will you not be afraid to get your hands dirty and help her?’ She then quotes Our Lady:
I desire that, through love, our hearts may triumph together. —Ibid.
The world has all the appearances of getting very, very messy. I believe there are many things to come in the years, if not decades to follow. But we are not watchmen of disaster, but of a new dawn. Furthermore, our watching must be a participation through prayer, fasting, and conversion, in the Triumph that will bring Christ’s Kingdom, that is, His Divine Will “on earth as it is in Heaven.”
…every day in the prayer of the Our Father we ask the Lord: “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10)…. we recognize that “heaven” is where the will of God is done, and that “earth” becomes “heaven”—i.e., the place of the presence of love, of goodness, of truth and of divine beauty—only if on earth the will of God is done. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, General Audience, February 1st, 2012, Vatican City
There, on that horizon of hope, should we fix our eyes—no matter whether these things culminate in our lifetime or not—and thus, we will always be prepared for the coming of Jesus.
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|↑1||see Words and Warnings|
|↑2||cf. Why Aren’t the Popes Shouting?|
|↑3||cf. Living the Book of Revelation|
|↑4||cf. Mystery Bablyon|
|↑5||cf. Address to European Parliament, Strasbourg, France, Nov. 25th, 2014, Zenit|
|↑6||cf. talk at St. Patrick’s basilica in Ottawa, Canada, September 20th, 2005; studiobrien.com|
|↑7||cf. 2 Thess 2:8|