THERE has been a danger in the past to see the “thousand year” reign described by St. John in Revelation as a literal reign on earth—where Christ dwells physically in person in a world-wide political kingdom, or even that the saints take global power. On this matter, the Church has been unequivocal:
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
We have seen forms of this “secular messianism” in the ideologies of Marxism and Communism, for example, where dictators have attempted to create a society where all are equal: equally wealthy, equally privileged, and sadly as it always turns out, equally enslaved to the government. Likewise, we see on the other side of the coin what Pope Francis calls a “new tyranny” whereby Capitalism is presenenting “a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose.” cf. Evangelii Gaudium, n. 56, 55 (Once again, I wish to raise my voice in warning in the clearest possible terms: we are headed once again toward an “intrinsically perverse” geo-political-economic “beast”—this time, globally.)
The subject of this writing is of a genuine coming “reign” or “era” of peace and justice, also understood by some as a “temporal kingdom” on earth. I want to explain even more clearly why this is not another modified form of the heresy Millenarianism so that the reader can feel free to embrace what I believe to be a vision of great hope anticipated by several pontiffs.
May there dawn for everyone the time of peace and freedom, the time of truth, of justice and of hope. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Radio message during the Ceremony of Veneration, Thanksgiving and Entrustment to the Virgin Mary Theotokos in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major: Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II, IV, Vatican City, 1981, 1246
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus—speaking this time without parable—makes the nature of the Kingdom of God plain.
The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you… is close at hand. (Luke 17:20-21; Mark 1:15)
Clearly, the Kingdom of God is spiritual in nature. St. Paul expresses that it is not a matter of carnal banquets and feasting in this temporal world:
For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17)
Neither is the Kingdom of God a political ideology:
For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. (1 Cor 4:20; cf. Jn 6:15)
It is “among you,” Jesus said. It is to be found in the union of His believers—a union in faith, hope, and charity that is a foretaste of the eternal Kingdom.
The Church “is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery.” —CCC, n. 763
A NEW PENTECOST
This union is made possible through the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the coming of the Kingdom is with the coming of the Holy Spirit who unites all believers into a communion with the Holy Trinity, even though it is not the coming of the “fullness” of the Kingdom. Hence, the coming Era of Peace is really the Second Pentecost prayed for and anticipated by several pontiffs.
…let us implore from God the grace of a new Pentecost… May tongues of fire, combining burning love of God and neighbor with zeal for the spread of Christ’s Kingdom, descend on all present! —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Homily, New York City, April 19th, 2008
Be open to Christ, welcome the Spirit, so that a new Pentecost may take place in every community! A new humanity, a joyful one, will arise from your midst; you will experience again the saving power of the Lord. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, in Latin America, 1992
The Kingdom… would be the work of the Holy Spirit; it would belong to the poor according to the Spirit… —CCC, 709
THE SACRED HEART
This spiritual unity of Christians flows into and from its source: the Holy Eucharist. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the elements of bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Through the reception of the Holy Eucharist the Church is made one Body in Christ (1 Cor 10:17). Thus, one could say that the Kingdom of God is contained in, and flows from the Holy Eucharist, albeit not in its fullest expression of power, glory, and eternal dimensions. Jesus prophesies that this unity of believers is what will at last bend the world’s knees in understanding, worship, and acknowledgment that He is Lord:
…may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. (John 17:21)
Thus, the Era of Peace will be also be the universal reign of the Eucharist, that is, the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. His Eucharistic Heart will be established as the throne of grace and mercy which will transform the world as the nations come to worship Him, receive His teaching through the Catholic Faith, and live it in their lands:
When the struggle is ended, the ruin complete, and they have done with trampling the land, a throne shall be set up in mercy… The warrior’s bow shall be banished, and he shall proclaim peace to the nations. His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 16:4-5; Zech 9:10)
The Era of Peace will transform society to such a degree, according to some pontiffs and 20th century mystics, that this period of justice and peace will rightly be called a “temporal kingdom” since, for a time, all will live by the rule of the Gospel.
“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
TRIUMPH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART
At last, the prayer of Christ for unity, and the prayer He taught us to address to our Father will reach its fulfillment within the boundaries of time: “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” That is, with Satan bound in chains (Rev 20:2-3), and wickedness cleansed from the earth (Psalm 37:10; Amos 9:8-11; Rev 19:20-21), and the saints extending the priesthood of Christ to the ends of the earth (Rev 20:6; Matt 24:24), the fiat of the Woman-Mary will reach its climax in the fiat of the Woman-Church. This is the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: to bring to birth the People of God—both Jew and Gentile—under the banner of the Cross so as to live the perfect will of the Father in a period of unparalleled sanctity.
Yes, we adore you, Lord, lifted up upon the Cross between heaven and earth, the sole Mediator of our salvation. Your Cross is the banner of our victory! We adore you, Son of the Most Holy Virgin who stands unbowed beside your Cross, courageously sharing in your redeeming sacrifice. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Way of the Cross at the Colosseum, Good Friday, 29 March 2002
Towards the end of the world… Almighty God and His Holy Mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs. —St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, Article 47
This birthing, this new era, will be brought forth out of the labor pains of the Church’s own Passion, her own “way of the Cross.”
Today I would like to entrust the Lenten journey of the whole Church to the Blessed Virgin. I would particularly like to entrust the efforts of young people to her, so that they will always be ready to welcome the Cross of Christ. The sign of our salvation and the banner of final victory… —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Angelus, March 14th, 1999
This final victory which ushers in the Day of the Lord will also release a new song, The Magnificat of the Woman-Church, a wedding song that will herald the return of Jesus in glory, and the definitive coming of the eternal Kingdom of God.
At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. —CCC, n. 1060
If before that final end there is to be a period, more or less prolonged, of triumphant sanctity, such a result will be brought about not by the apparition of the person of Christ in Majesty but by the operation of those powers of sanctification which are now at work, the Holy Ghost and the Sacraments of the Church. —The Teaching of the Catholic Church: A Summary of Catholic Doctrine (London:Burns Oates & Washbourne), p. 1140
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. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, General Audience, November 6th, 2002, Zenit