Conversion of St. Paul, artist unknown
THERE is a grace coming to the whole world in what may be the most singularly astonishing event since Pentecost.
THE ILLUMINATION IN PROPHETIC REVELATION
Mystic and stigmatist, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, who was revered by popes for the accuracy of her prophecies, referred to it as an “illumination of conscience.” St. Edmund Campion referred to it as “the day of change” when “the terrible Judge should reveal all men’s consciences.” Conchita, an alleged visionary in Garabandal, called it a “warning.” The late Fr. Gobbi called it a “judgment in miniature,” while Servant of God, Maria Esperanza, called it a “great day of light” when the consciences of all will be shaken”—the “hour of decision for mankind.” 
St. Faustina, who proclaimed to the world that we are living in a prolonged “time of mercy” based on revelations given to her directly by Jesus, may have witnessed in a vision the actual event:
Before I come as the just Judge, I am coming first as the King of Mercy. Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the heavens of this sort:
All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the cross will be seen in the sky, and from the openings where the hands and the feet of the Savior were nailed will come forth great lights which will light up the earth for a period of time. This will take place shortly before the last day. —Diary of Divine Mercy, n. 83
This vision is similar to what an American seer, who goes by the name of “Jennifer,” allegedly saw in a vision. She calls this event “the warning”:
The sky is dark and it seems as though it is night but my heart tells me it is sometime in the afternoon. I see the sky opening up and I can hear long, drawn out claps of thunder. When I look up I see Jesus bleeding on the cross and people are falling to their knees. Jesus then tells me, “They will see their soul as I see it.” I can see the wounds so clearly on Jesus and Jesus then says, “They will see each wound they have added to My Most Sacred Heart.” To the left I see the Blessed Mother weeping and then Jesus speaks to me again and says, “Prepare, prepare now for the time is soon approaching. My child, pray for the many souls who will perish because of their selfish and sinful ways.” As I look up I see the drops of blood falling from Jesus and hitting the earth. I see millions of people from nations from all lands. Many seemed confused as they were looking up toward the sky. Jesus says, “They are in search of light for it should not be a time of darkness, yet it is the darkness of sin that covers this earth and the only light will be that of which I come with, for mankind does not realize the awakening that is about to be bestowed upon him. This will be the greatest purification since the beginning of creation.“ —see www.wordsfromjesus.com, September 12, 2003
A REVELATION ON REVELATION?
While preparing to go to Mass in Paray-le-Monial, France in 2011—that little French village where Jesus revealed His Sacred Heart as a “last effort” to reach mankind—I had a “word” suddenly enter my mind like lightning out of the clear blue. It was impressed interiorly upon my heart that the first three chapters of Revelation are essentially an “illumination of conscience.” After Mass, I picked up my bible to begin reading the Apocalypse in that new light to see what was meant by that…
The book of Revelation (or “apocalypse”, which literally means “unveiling”) begins with St. John greeting seven churches and quoting the prophet Zechariah:
Behold, he is coming amid the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. All the peoples of the earth will lament him. Yes. Amen. (Rev 1:7)
John then describes the vision he had of Jesus appearing in the midst of these churches in a gleaming apparition where “his face shone like the sun at its brightest.”  John’s response was to fall down at His feet “as though dead.”  This scene invokes a similar illumination that St. Paul had. Before his conversion, he was persecuting Christians, having them put to death. Christ appeared to him in a bright light:
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? (Acts 9:4)
Suddenly, Saul (who took the name Paul) was “illumined” and realized that he was not as righteous as he thought. His eyes were covered over with “scales,” a symbol of his spiritual blindness. Thus, his sight was turned inward as he came face to face with the light of truth.
After St. John’s powerful vision of Christ, he hears the Lord say…
Do not be afraid… (Rev 1:17)
…and immediately Jesus begins to illumine the conscience of the seven churches, calling them to repentance, praising their good works, and pointing out their spiritual blindness.
I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth… Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. (Rev 3:15-16, 19)
Then John is taken up to Heaven where he now begins to view things from a divine perspective.
After this I had a vision of an open door to heaven, and I heard the trumpet-like voice that had spoken to me before, saying, “Come up here and I will show you what must happen afterwards.” (Rev 4:1)
That is to say that the illumination that John just witnessed will now be placed in the context of not just the universal Church (symbolized by the “seven churches” where the number “7” denotes fullness or completeness), but of the entire world as it approaches the end of the age, and eventually, the end of time. Another way to put it is that the illumination of the Church culminates in a global illumination.
For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, how will it end for those who fail to obey the gospel of God? (1 Pet 4:17)
THE ILLUMINATION OF THE CHURCH…
Could we not say that the illumination of the Church has indeed already begun? Haven’t the forty years since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (the “charismatic renewal”)  and release of the documents of Vatican II led the Church through a profound season of pruning, purification, and trial leading up to 2008, “the year of the unfolding“,  forty years later? Hasn’t there been a prophetic awakening, led chiefly by the Mother of God, as to the threshold that we now stand upon?
Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)
For a long time we had been preparing ourselves for this examination of conscience, aware that the Church, embracing sinners in her bosom, “is at once holy and always in need of being purified”… This “purification of memory” has strengthened our steps for the journey towards the future… —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Novo Millenio Inuente, n. 6
And are we not seeing come to light before us the once hidden and grave scandals that have taken the form of sexual abuse among clergy?  Are not the religious orders that have abandoned the true faith now dying out in their apostasy? Have we not been sent many prophets and seers to call us back to true life in God?  Is the Church not clearly being given the very warning that St. John penned in his apocalyptic scroll?
The judgment announced by the Lord Jesus [in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 21] refers above all to the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70. Yet the threat of judgment also concerns us, the Church in Europe, Europe and the West in general. With this Gospel, the Lord is also crying out to our ears the words that in the Book of Revelation he addresses to the Church of Ephesus: “If you do not repent I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Light can also be taken away from us and we do well to let this warning ring out with its full seriousness in our hearts, while crying to the Lord: “Help us to repent! Give all of us the grace of true renewal! Do not allow your light in our midst to blow out! Strengthen our faith, our hope and our love, so that we can bear good fruit!” —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Opening Homily, Synod of Bishops, October 2nd, 2005, Rome.
So too, at the end of the Israelite’s forty years in the desert, a profound illumination came upon them that led them into a spirit of repentance, thereby ending their exile from the promised land.
…read aloud in the house of the LORD this scroll that we send you:
…We have sinned in the Lord’s sight and disobeyed him. We have not listened to the voice of the LORD, our God, so as to follow the precepts the Lord set before us… For we did not listen to the voice of the Lord, our God, in all the words of the prophets he sent us, but each of us has followed the inclinations of our wicked hearts, served other gods, and done evil in the sight of the Lord, our God. (cf. Baruch 1:14-22)
Just the same, the illumination that is here and coming is to prepare the Church to enter into the “promised land” of an era of peace. So too, the letters to the seven churches were written upon a scroll, publicly revealing their shortcomings. 
Study congresses helped us to identify those aspects in which, during the course of the first two millennia, the Gospel spirit did not always shine forth. How could we forget the moving Liturgy of 12 March 2000 in Saint Peter’s Basilica, at which, looking upon our Crucified Lord, I asked forgiveness in the name of the Church for the sins of all her children? —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Novo Millenio Inuente, n. 6
And now, Pope Francis, in stunning fashion, has brought the seven letters of Revelation into a new prophetic light (see The Five Corrections).
“Afterwards,” St. John sees the Lamb of God take a scroll in His hands to begin unsealing the judgment of the nations. This includes a global illumination in the sixth seal.
….THE ILLUMINATION OF THE WORLD
I sensed in my heart a mysterious word in the autumn of 2007: 
The seals are about to be broken.
But I was hearing “six seals,” and yet in Revelation Ch. 6 there are seven. Here is the first:
I looked, and there was a white horse, and its rider had a bow. He was given a crown, and he rode forth victorious to further his victories. (6:2)
[The Rider] is Jesus Christ. The inspired evangelist [St. John] not only saw the devastation brought about by sin, war, hunger and death; he also saw, in the first place, the victory of Christ. —POPE PIUS XII, Address, November 15, 1946; footnote of The Navarre Bible, “Revelation”, p.70
That is, the first seal appears to be the beginning of the illumination of the Church that John foresaw at the beginning of Revelation.  This Rider upon the white horse  prepares the remnant to cross the threshold of hope into the “promised land,” an era of peace and justice that St. John later denotes symbolically as a “thousand year” rule with Christ.  Can we not describe the quiet and often hidden formation of this little army of God,  especially the laity,  as the furthering of Christ’s victory and triumph over evil? Indeed, we see later in Revelation that this Rider upon the white horse is now followed by an army.  This is all to say, the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary has already begun in the hearts of those who heed her messages.
The approach of a universal “illumination of conscience” is signaled by the hard labor pains that follow the first seal: peace is taken away from the world (second seal);  food shortages and rationing (third seal); pandemic and anarchy (fourth seal); and a minor persecution of the Church (fifth seal).  Then, in the midst of global chaos, as the sixth seal is broken, it seems the entire world experiences the vision of the “lamb of God”, the paschal sacrifice, the crucified Lamb (though clearly, this is not the Final Return of Christ in glory):
Then I watched while he broke open the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; the sun turned as black as dark sackcloth and the whole moon became like blood. The stars in the sky fell to the earth like unripe figs shaken loose from the tree in a strong wind. Then the sky was divided like a torn scroll curling up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place. The kings of the earth, the nobles, the military officers, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid themselves in caves and among mountain crags. They cried out to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come and who can withstand it?” (Rev 6:12-17)
Just as in the vision of Faustina and others, the sky is darkened and the ensuing vision of the Lamb announces that “the great day of their wrath has come.”  There is a “great shaking“, spiritually and even literally.  It is the hour of decision for the world to either choose the path of darkness or the path of light, which is Christ Jesus, before the earth is purified of wickedness.  Indeed, the seventh seal marks a period of silence—the calm in the storm—when the wheat is to be separated from the chaff after which the winds of judgment will begin to blow again.
The world at the approach of a new millennium, for which the whole Church is preparing, is like a field ready for the harvest. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, World Youth Day, homily, August 15th, 1993
For we read that those who choose to follow the Lamb are sealed upon the forehead.  But those who refuse this moment of grace, as we read later, are marked with the number of the beast, the Antichrist. 
The stage will then be set for the final confrontation between the last armies of this age…
First published October 21st, 2011
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- cf. references in Eye of the Storm
- Rev 1:16
- Rev 1:17
- cf. the series on the Charismatic Renewal: Charismatic?
- cf. The Great Revolution
- cf. http://www.sacredheart.edu/
- cf. The Scandal
- eg. The Prophecy at Rome
- Rev 1:11
- see The Breaking of the Seals
- cf. The Present and Coming Transfigurat ion
- ‘The colour white is symbolic of belonging to the heavenly sphere and of having won victory with God’s help. The crown he is given and the words “he went out conquering and to conquer” would refer to the victory of good over evil; and the bow indicates the connection between this horse and the other three: these latter will be as it were arrows loosed from distance to implement God’s plans. This first rider, who goes forth “conquering and to conquer”, refers to Christ’s victory in his passion and resurrection, as St. John has already mentioned: “Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seal.”‘ (Rev 5:5) —The Navarre Bible, “Revelation”, p.70; cf. Look to the East!
- cf. Rev 20:1-6
- cf. Our Lady’s Battle and The Battle Cry
- cf. The Hour of the Laity
- cf. Rev 19:14
- cf. The Hour of the Sword
- I say “minor” because the “major” persecution comes later under the reign of the “beast” [cf. Rev 13:7]
- cf. Faustina, and the Day of the Lord
- cf. Great Shaking, Great Awakening
- cf. Rev 19:20-21
- Rev 7:3
- Rev 13:16-18