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FOCUS ON DISMISSING 'END-TIMES' TALK CONFUSES IDEA OF CHASTISEMENT WITH FINAL APOCALYPSE

It is clockwork how, each year, around this time, when Mass readings turn toward the Second Coming, and the world's end, homilies tend to focus, in some circles, on the theme that modern-day prophecies to do with coming events should be kept at arm's length (because no one knows the day or hour and because such predictions have been inaccurate in the past). In fact, the end of the world has been expected since the early centuries of the Church, and many of us can recall times in grammar school when rumors spread that the "end" would come at noon on a certain day (never of course to materialize). There is certainly good cause to quell any similar current expectations.

But, incorrectly, such homilies often lump "the end of the world" with the idea of "chastisement." The concept as foreseen at so many prominent apparitions has been confused with the Apocalypse. What has been discussed is a purification, a breakdown of evils in our culture, and perhaps our societies themselves, not the Final Judgment. History -- and the Bible -- are filled with examples.

Chastisement does not equal the final times (although it doesn't preclude it, either). It is a point priests perhaps need to consider at greater length; chastisements were foreseen at places like Fatima, LaSalette, and during the Miraculous Medal apparitions, which we celebrate this week. The chastisement mentioned at Fatima included a world war -- and the possibility of larger disaster. In our time, the most dramatic prophecies have been offered at the newly-approved apparitions in Kibeho, Rwanda. Currently, we see tensions in places like Korea (which has been singled out by some seers) and note the Mass reading today about the angel with a sickle (as the sickle is on a flag in South Asia).

As Father Mark Bozada of St. Louis recently wrote: "'See that you are not deceivedů' is the admonition given in the Gospel this week. The question was posed to Jesus, when will the end of time occur? Jesus tells His Disciples signs will take place before the 'end of time.' This is not to be confused with the end of the world, or the end of all time. Jesus states, 'there will be wars and rumors of wars, and many nations will be at odds with each other.' A false Messiah will appear on the scene saying that he is the one the nations have longed for. Earthquakes, famines, plaques, and awesome sights will take place. It will be a time of great turmoil. Christians will be hated, jailed, and persecuted all on behalf of the Holy Name. 'Do not be afraid, Jesus, tells us, for the Holy Spirit will speak through us at that time.' All of this must take place in order for the reign of peace to occur. So we are not to be depressed or sad when these things happen. Stand up straight and look toward the Heavens for the Lord. He has conquered sin and death."

We are in exciting times but should not yearn anxiously for major disasters. Our prayers should be directed at less painfully tearing down the falsity of current societies, the artifices of which tend to evil. Are there special places to pray? What about prophecies of a place where a Cross stands near the water (as posited in the so-called, alleged 1990 prophecy)? Many have come up with different spots -- from Florida to California, from Texas to Illinois. "New Mexico I have ordained as a beacon of light," it says, "and also the place near the water where the cross stands."

Have we forgotten, though, the Cross at the Vatican -- which is the symbol of our Church and stands near the River Tiber ("water")? Too, let us remember the power of Adoration -- and the Light, the beacon, that comes with that -- turning every church and especially every chapel of Adoration into a place of discernment and refuge.

[See also: the 1990 prophecies, China growing too fast, and Make sure not to imitate Pharisees]

[resources Tower of Light and Sent To Earth]

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