Mr WordPress on Hello world! Unknown on Un Manoscritto Sul Purgat… John Anthony Marie on Rebuttal to Schismatic Traditi…
Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!
Please see below for all the other articles.
Vedete sotto per tutti gli altri articoli.
- – – – – – -
Do most Americans want GOD to BUTT OUT?
As Christians (myself as a Catholic), what is important in the upcoming elections? What are the priorities involved? Both candidates say they are Christian. Both candidates say they promote a “Culture of Life”! Obviously no candidate has ever been perfect. The only perfect man who ever walked the face of the earth was crucified by all of us sinners 2000 years ago. So how can we discern properly in this complicated, confusing and critical point, in the history of our country?
One of the presidential candidates and his followers say they promote a culture of life by helping the poor which will help, as they say, to diminish abortions. At the same time their presidential candidate says that before all other problems to tackle: "The first thing I’d do as president is sign the “Freedom of Choice Act”. That’s the first thing that I’d do." – Senator Barack Obama, speaking to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, July 17, 2007 (http://www.nrlc.org/foca/index.html).
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council explains: "If FOCA were to become law it would overturn hundreds of state laws that have put limits on abortion.". Perkins points to a new research paper written by FRC Vice President of Government Affairs, Tom McClusky, and he said Planned Parenthood, NARAL and other pro-abortion groups agree with this assessment. The ACLU has said, "This [FOCA] bill prohibits such restrictions as parental notification and consent, as well as the requirement that all abortions be performed in a hospital, spousal consent, waiting periods, etc" (http://www.lifenews.com/nat4070.html).
What is really going on here? They say that by allowing abortion, without any restrictions, we will help the poor so that the number of abortions will decrease!?*!? I do not quite understand the logic here! Is this the way to help the poorest of the poor who do not have any way to defend themselves? Does not Sacred Scripture tell us that the strong should use their strength to help the weak? Does the taking of innocent lives justify helping other people to overcome poverty? Is this the way God would do it or want it? “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40)!
The Catholic Church has always taught that the “ends” do not justify the “means”. In other words, one cannot justify or rationalize committing a sin in order to arrive at a “good end” or a “greater good”. This would be the same as telling God to BUTT OUT while we commit a horrendous crime so that we can achieve a greater good, according to our “wise” human criteria and judgment, as if God is not able to bring about good without our sin! “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes” (Mt 11:25).
The other candidate is certainly not perfect. I too am very saddened and appalled at the greater and greater apathy and disregard by the better-off citizens of the richer countries of the world toward the poor and those most in need of our help and assistance. I too am against the war in Iraq with all of its consequences. I too was in total agreement with Pope John Paul II when he urged and pleaded with President Bush to not begin the war in Iraq several years ago. But now that the war is already going on, would it be prudent to pull out the US troops before the Iraqi people can defend themselves considering the volatile state of the region with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda in the neighborhood? Pope Benedict XVI as a Cardinal was a staunch critic of the U.S. led invasion of Iraq. On one occasion before the war, he was asked whether it would be just. "Certainly not," he said, and explained that the situation led him to conclude that "the damage would be greater than the values one hopes to save." (http://www.cjd.org/paper/benedict.html; see also: http://catholicism.about.com/od/thechurchintheworld/f/popes_on_iraq.htm). At the present time, with the invasion already decided (since March 18, 2003), the soldiers in Iraq are trying to protect and defend innocent lives; abortion is directly taking the lives of innocent, defenseless, helpless unborn human beings!
“The Church has always taught that a "hierarchy of values" exists, which means not all political issues are of equal value”, said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn. His remarks drew on the U.S. bishops’ 2007 document, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility." (http://www.americancatholic.org/news/newsreport.aspx?id=62).
Before the 2004 US elections, then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote to the US bishops to remind them that "While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia." (See Exodus 20:23, 21:14, Luke 3:14, 7:1-10, 23:39-43, and Romans 13:4, and Catechism of The Catholic Church 2265 and 2267.)
Someone wrote to me and told me that “the effects of the church’s narrow anti-abortion efforts” are hurting the pro-life cause and that “I happen to believe we need to come to people in love not with threats.” This person referred me to an article by the National Catholic Reporter: “Bishops narrow anti-abortion effort hurts pro-life cause”!!! But the 40 to 50 million babies that we have slaughtered in the USA since 1973, do we come to them “IN LOVE”??? Do the ends justify the means as the above article indicates??? Are there no "hierarchy of values"??? Has “ABORTION” become only something “political” or something without any reference to what abortion actually is? Have we become so callused and cold in spirit and estranged from reality and LIFE that it is OK to kill millions of babies for the “pro-life cause”!?*!? What kind of “strong delusion” is this so that they “believe what is false” (2Thess 2:11)?
Do we want to hear only what we want to hear, and what we decide to hear and believe, without any reference to the whole of Scripture and to our guide to interpret Scripture properly, the Church that Christ left us with the “Rock” as the head? The words of Jesus in the Gospels are very strong if we read them as they are written without picking and choosing only the verses that we like and that are comfortable to us! Do we want only a God who is all loving and merciful without considering His Infinite Justice? Do we want love for ourselves and our loved ones while forgetting the weakest in our society that are more than ever, in our modern affluent society, considered a “burden” to avoid or to eliminate, instead of considering them as a GIFT, a REAL PRESENCE of Jesus Himself? We say God is merciful but do we even go to confession to ask for His mercy? “Ask and you shall receive”, but if we do not ask…? God is totally, and eternally, respectful of our fundamental God-given gift of our free will; we were created in His image (Gen 1:26)! If we do not ask for mercy, we will not receive mercy! And without mercy, there is no way to arrive to heaven for all eternity! Have we forgotten that all that we have, including our very existence, friends, family, intelligence, capability to have relationships, a beautiful day, even a good thought … all come from a God who loves each of us immensely to the point of sending His only Son to die on the cross for our manifold and blind and presumptuous egoism? Imagine how much pain and sorrow there would be if a person that you loved deeply and to whom you did everything possible for, and then this person decided to totally ignore and disregard you and even despise you! Do we think that we are able to fathom how much Jesus suffered on the cross, crucified and forsakened and infinitely sensitive, due to the indifference of innumerable men and women, in all times and places, who do (and did) not want anything to do with their Creator who loves each of them immensely! The great majority of Americans do not take even one hour, among the 168 hours each week, to go to church and thank God for His innumerable benefits! In Italy, less than 10% of the baptized Catholics go to the Holy Mass each Sunday to thank Him in the Holy Eucharist. Hopefully our own pain and grief caused by the insensitivity of others toward ourselves helps us a very tiny bit to grasp what sin is, which we do not seem to understand at all any more. Modern man is auto sufficient and does not need God, a superfluous Being who pretends to tell US to follow ALL of His inconvenient commandments! The meaning of “Michael”, in the great battle with “the dragon and his angels” in heaven, is “Who is like God?” (Rev 12:7; Dan 12:1)! Without humility there is NO VIRTUE! God is totally irrelevant in the lives of the great majority of modern men today who no longer want to “deny [themselves] and take up [their] cross daily” and follow Christ crucified (Lk 9:23).
As a Catholic, I hold to the words of Jesus Christ referring to all the living Popes of the Church that He founded, the Catholic Church: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). If any supposedly “Catholic” publication (or “Catholic” University) does not submit to the Pope and the magisterium of the Catholic Church, what is the real reason they wish to continue to use the title of “Catholic”? At least twenty five percent of the voters in the USA are Catholic. Have some of the so-called “Catholic” publishers and writers (and Universities) put themselves above the Church that Christ left us with the Pope as the head? Do they feel that they are above everyone and are more “wise” than anyone else on the face of the earth and do not need to submit to anyone or to any Church, even to the Church that they proclaim to represent? Christ knew how much confusion there would be in the world even in regards to interpreting Sacred Scripture; is this not why He left us the “ROCK”? (See also “Catholics Keeping Catholics in the Dark” (http://catholicexchange.com/2008/10/04/114056/).)
Another important issue for the elections of 2008, which would take up too much space for this article to go into detail, is that of helping and supporting the most precious and fundamental cells of every human society, THE FAMILIES! Which candidate recognizes marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman as God intended? Which candidate is in favor (or against) Proposition 8 in California? Or which candidate has been trying to skirt the issue and hide his real convictions and intentions so as not to loose votes? (see http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/01/BA8J11I4S1.DTL&tsp=1). Does not every baby have a right to a father and to a mother as God the Creator intended? What will be the overall and lasting effects and results of abandoning the definition of the family as God intended from all eternity? What does the Sacred Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church tell us about the family and about homosexuality?
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “America will not reject racism until America sees racism.” Today we say, “America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion”, Fr. Frank A. Pavone. National Director, Priests for Life and Missionaries of the Gospel of Life. (http://www.get2know.info/6901.html?*session*id*key*=*session*id*val*; http://wordpress.com/tag/images-of-abortion/). It is interesting that every time I try to access the website “http://www.priestsforlife.org”, I get the message: “Internet Explorer: impossible to visualize the page”. Do you get the same message that I do when trying to access this website?
Pope John Paul II pleaded with European leaders to not discard and abandon Europe’s Christian heritage as they refused to even put the word “GOD” or religion in the preamble of the constitution of the European Union.
I am afraid that God will give America what America has been asking for for the last 40 years…for GOD to BUTT OUT of our lives and out of our country as the European Union has already done. But I do not think that Americans have any idea of what it means for God to remove His hand which has kept major disasters from befalling us until now!
God has been patient. He gave us a bloodless fall of communism in Russia and Eastern Europe. Did Russia and Eastern Europe repent after its freedom? No, mostly they remained in atheism and agnosticism as they head more and more toward materialism. Did the West repent of its relativistic hedonistic materialism which has led to not only a Godless society but also to a disregard for the poor and the needy? No. Has either the East or the West cleaned up its near total religious indifference or denial, its revelling in immorality, disrespect of parents and authority, widespread acceptance of fornication, artificial birth control, abortion, divorce and remarriage? Filth on TV and films? No. There is only so much God can do before we WHIP OUR OWN BUTTS!
Regarding America’s acceptance of abortion, the late Catholic apologist Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen said, "If we don’t stop the destruction of life, we’ll come to midnight. That is nuclear war, in which there will be a total disregard for life."
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 4:17). “Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high” (CCC 1989).
May God help America, and the world!
Rev. Joseph Dwight
- – – – – – -
P.s. See “Election 2008 Pro-Life Voter’s Guide From LifeNews.com” at http://www.lifenews.com/2008prolifevotersguide.html.
Please see below for all the other articles.
Vedete sotto per tutti gli altri articoli.
- – – – – – -
Vedete gli articoli in inglese:
Please see below for all the other articles.
Vedete sotto per tutti gli altri articoli.
- – – – – – -
(Go to http://markbeast.blogspot.com to read the other articles.)
The Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
There Is Much Biblical Prophesy
More than one forth of the Bible is dedicated to prophesy. There is prophesy relating to the first coming of Christ and prophesy relating to the second coming of Christ. The vast majority of these prophesies are dedicated to the second coming of Christ and the period preceding His coming after which He will come "in the clouds with great power and glory" (Mt 24:30; Mk 13:26; Lk 21:27). There are more than 1800 verses in the Bible that speak about the second coming of Christ and over 10,000 verses that are surrounding texts to this event. It is not by chance that there are so many prophetic verses in the Bible; these verses are for us to read! "Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand" (Rev 1:3; 2Tim 4:8); this verse proves that the book of Revelation is not some deep, mysterious and confusing book.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Pope John Paul II spoke often of the second coming of Christ in his numerous talks. One also finds references to Christ’s second coming, as well as to the period of his second coming, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 840: "The coming (or the return) of the Messiah"; 2816: "The kingdom of God is just ahead of us; in Christ we shall reign"; 2818: "Thy kingdom come" (in the "Our Father") refers primarily to the final coming of the reign of God through Christ’s return"; 2817 (also see 671, 2853): "The petition "Marana tha" is the cry of the spirit and the Bride: "O come Lord Jesus", indeed come as soon as possible"; 349: "The eighth day begins the new creation (the 7th day is the 1000-year reign of Christ (Rev 20:4)); 1042: "The universe itself will be renewed" (not recreated); 1047: "The visible universe itself is destined to be transformed and restored to its original state"; 674: “The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by “all Israel,” for “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” in their “unbelief” toward Jesus” (Rom 11:20-26; cf. Mt 23:39).
Father Desmond A. Birch, a leading Catholic scholar and author who wrote the book, "Trial, Tribulation and Triumph", asks the following: "Is eschatology (or the study of things to come) still important in the 20th century? There are those Catholics who would tell you that to study doctrine concerning the Antichrist or the latter end times is either a waste of time or unimportant. That opinion is even held by some orthodox Catholic scholars. There are also those who say that we must not abandon ourselves to terror or to anxiety about the imminent end. However, if eschatology is a waste of time or something frightening, then why is it treated with such importance in Scripture, in Tradition and the Magisterium or the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church?"
It is unfortunate that there are many people and cults today, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons, that misuse prophesy for there own interests and attention; this misuse of prophesy causes many to reject all prophetical studies.
The "Last Days"?
Are we, as many Christians believe, living in the last days? We read in the book of Daniel: "And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, “Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end"” (Dan 12:8-9). Certainly the many signs of our times, that were not present years ago, as well as recent revelations of God, help us to open up these sealed prophetic verses. See “Signs of the Times” below.
But according to the teachings of the Catholic Church, the "last days" refers not only to the "end of time," but to the last two thousand years. Scripture teaches that the Incarnation ushered in "the last days." According to Hebrews 1:1-2, "God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world." At Pentecost, Peter preached that "the last days" had arrived, in fulfilment of the words of the prophet Joel (Acts 2:15-17; cf. Joel 2:28-32).
"The last days" or "the end times," properly understood, refers to the time of the New Covenant, the gathering together of God’s people in the Church, which is "on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom" (CCC 567, 669; Lumen Gentium).
This understanding of the "last days" differs from that of those who believe in premillennialism or the Rapture. Catholics agree that there will definitely be an "end of time" and that history as we know it will one day be complete. But we also recognize that each of us will face the end of our time on earth, and that this should, in many ways, concern us more than the end of the world (see CCC 1007).
The Church Interprets the Word of God
As Catholics, we believe that “all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God” (CCC 119).
This does not mean that the Catholic Church has definitively interpreted every single passage of Scripture or that individual Catholics cannot study Scripture for themselves. On the contrary, the Church has definitively interpreted less than a dozen passages, while encouraging Catholics to read the Bible in light of the "living Tradition of the whole Church" (CCC 113).
Often the puzzling and sometimes shocking images of Revelation are interpreted in clever, bizarre, and often laughable ways. Most Catholics who encounter such misinterpretations usually steer clear of the biblical books that deal with apocalyptic themes, Daniel and Revelation. They are content to let their non-Catholic friends battle over these confusing matters.
This is unfortunate for a couple of reasons. First, Catholics should study all of Scripture, including difficult books such as Daniel and Revelation, because God gave it to the Church for that purpose. Second, the Catholic Church offers two thousand years of reflection and study of Scripture, resulting in a rich, balanced, and nuanced understanding of the whole Bible. If the Catholic Church has the authority that Catholics believe she possesses, then they need to take seriously her understanding of Scripture. At the very least, doing so will help them avoid the serious misunderstandings of some other Christians and will equip Catholics to discuss these misunderstandings with them.
Many non-Catholic Christians believe in a theological system known as dispensationalism. The core of dispensationalism is incompatible with Catholic doctrine, although there are some secondary issues compatible. Dispensationalism is a Christian theological view of history and Biblical interpretation that became popular during the 1800s and early 1900s and is held today by many conservative Protestants. Dispensationalism refers to the belief that God works in history through a series of different epochs, or dispensations. In each of these periods, God tests man in a certain way. Man fails the test, and then God judges man. On this view, man now lives during the "Church Age," which is so full of apostasy and error that only a remnant of "true believers" remains.
Dispensationalism advocates a form of premillennialism in which it sees the past, present, and future as a number of successive administrations, or "dispensations" (Eph 3:2, KJV), each of which emphasizes aspects of the covenants between God and various peoples at various times. Consequently, it places a heavy emphasis on prophecy and eschatology, the study of the "end times."
According to dispensationalism, God is pursuing two purposes in history: one involving an earthly people (Israel) and the other, a heavenly people (the Church). Dispensationalists believe that when Jesus Christ came, He offered the earthly people, Israel, a physical, earthly kingdom, but that they rejected Him as their Messiah. Consequently, Jesus formed a heavenly people, the Church, who are not meant to reign here on earth, but will reign with Him in heaven.
However, God will still fulfil the many Old Testament promises to Israel, His earthly people, because, dispensationalists insist, those promises were unconditional. When Christ founded the Church, all of those promises were "put on hold" until the heavenly people were removed from the earth in the Rapture. Since Israel has now been re-established as a nation, most dispensationalists believe that the removal of the Church via the Rapture can occur at any moment.
The Rapture will be a secret "snatching up" of all true believers in Christ to heaven; it will be immediately followed — according to most dispensationalists — by seven years of Tribulation and the reign of the Antichrist. At the end of the Tribulation, Christ will come again to establish an earthly, thousand-year reign, based in Jerusalem, where a new temple (complete with animal sacrifices) will exist.
None of the Church Fathers believed in a secret removal of true believers prior to the Tribulation. On the contrary, they taught that the Church would undergo a period of intense tribulation prior to the Second Coming. Christians are called to follow Christ crucified in order to share also in His resurrection! It seems to me that the Rapture is too easy! The Rapture theory is a novelty; this idea only began with John Nelson Darby in the 1830s.
The Church and Israel
Eschatology, the study of the last things, flows directly from ecclesiology, the doctrine of the Church. This explains some of the significant differences between what Catholics and many Fundamentalists believe about the end of time. While most dispensationalists teach that God has two people, the Church and Israel, the Catholic Church asserts that God has always had only one people, or family, throughout history. According to the Catechism, "This ‘family of God’ is gradually formed and takes shape during the stages of human history, in keeping with the Father’s plan. In fact, ‘already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church was prepared in marvellous fashion in the history of the people of Israel … Established in this last age of the world and made manifest in the outpouring of the Spirit, it will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time" (CCC 759).
Therefore, the Catholic Church has always understood herself as being the New Israel (Gal. 6:16; Eph. 2:11-12) and the new People of God (1 Pet. 2:9-10), the recipients of the New Covenant given through Christ (Heb. 8:8-13). The Old Covenant was not rejected by Christ, but fulfilled and taken up into the New Covenant; it concluded with the New Covenant and is included in it. This difference between dispensationalism and Catholic doctrine is the basis for other disagreements, including those involving the Rapture and the nature of the millennium.
Another issue is the fate of Israel. What will happen to Israel in the end? According to the Catechism, "The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until His recognition by ‘all Israel’, for ‘a hardening has come upon part of Israel’ in their ‘unbelief’ toward Jesus" (CCC 674). The Church, reflecting upon Romans 9-11, believes that Israel will somehow come to recognize Christ for who He is. The Church has not indicated how this will precisely occur.
The Kingdom of God
Catholic doctrine also teaches that the Church is intimately related to the Kingdom of God. The Church is "ultimately one, holy, catholic, and apostolic in her deepest and ultimate identity, because it is in her that ‘the Kingdom of heaven,’ the ‘Reign of God,’ already exists and will be fulfilled at the end of time" (CCC 865). The Kingdom is not yet complete, but began with the Incarnation and will be fully realized at the end of time: "The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. ‘This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ.’ The Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom. Its keys are entrusted to Peter" (CCC 567). In its fullness, the Kingdom is not an earthly reign, but the final triumph of Christ over the power of sin and Satan, culminating in an eternity spent in communion with the Triune God: "The kingdom has come in the person of Christ and grows mysteriously in the hearts of those incorporated into him, until its full eschatological manifestation" (CCC 865).
In contrast, dispensationalists believe that the Kingdom will be a thousand-year, earthly reign of Christ, known as the Millennium (from the Latin word for "thousand years"). Belief in a literal thousand-year earthly reign is called millenarianism or millennialism. It has been explicitly rejected by the Catholic Church. In 1944, the Holy Office warned against ". . . the system of mitigated Millenarianism, which teaches . . . that Christ the Lord before the final judgment, whether or not preceded by the resurrection of the many just, will come visibly to rule over this world. . . . The system of mitigated Millenarianism cannot be taught safely" (CCC 676).
The reign of Christ and the thousand-year period found in Revelation 20 is popularly called the millennium. The millennium is a forerunner of the end of the world, and Revelation 20 is interpreted in three ways by conservative Protestants. The three schools of thought are called postmillennialism, amillennialism, and premillennialism.
Postmillennialism is that view of last things which holds that the kingdom of God is now being extended in the world through the preaching of the gospel and the saving work of the Holy Spirit, that the world eventually is to be Christianized, and that the return of Christ will occur at the close of a long period of righteousness and peace, commonly called the millennium.
This view was popular with nineteenth-century Protestants, when progress was expected even in religion and before twentieth-century horrors were tasted. Today few hold to it, except such groups as Christian Reconstructionists, an outgrowth of the conservative Presbyterian movement.
The amillennial view interprets Revelation 20 symbolically and sees the millennium not as an earthly golden age in which the world will be totally Christianized, but as the present period of Christ’s rule in heaven and on the earth through his Church.
Amillennialists also believe in the coexistence of good and evil on earth until the end. The tension that exists on earth between the righteous and the wicked will be resolved only by Christ’s return at the end of time. The golden age of the millennium is instead the heavenly reign of Christ with the saints, in which the Church on earth participates to some degree, though not in the glorious way will it participate in at the Second Coming.
Amillennialists point out that the thrones of the saints who reign with Christ during the millennium appear to be set in heaven (Rev 20:4; cf. 4:4, 11:16) and that the text nowhere states that Christ is on earth during this reign with the saints.
They explain that, although the world will never be fully Christianized until the Second Coming, the millennium does have effects on earth in that Satan is bound in such a way that he cannot deceive the nations by hindering the preaching of the gospel (Rev 20:3). They point out that Jesus spoke of the necessity of "binding the strong man" (Satan) in order to plunder his house by rescuing people from his grip (Mt 12:29). When the disciples returned from a tour of preaching the gospel, rejoicing at how demons were subject to them, Jesus declared, "I saw Satan fall like lightning" (Lk 10:18). Thus for the gospel to move forward at all in the world, it is necessary for Satan to be bound in one sense, even if he may still be active in attacking individuals (1 Pet. 5:8).
Premillennialism is currently the most popular among Fundamentalists and Evangelicals (though a century ago amillennialism was). Most of the books written about the End Times, such as Hal Lindsey’s ‘Late Great Planet Earth’, are written from a premillennial perspective.
Like postmillennialists, premillennialists believe that the thousand years is an earthly golden age during which the world will be thoroughly Christianized. Unlike postmillennialists, they believe that it will occur after the Second Coming rather than before, so that Christ reigns physically on earth during the millennium. They believe that the Final Judgment will occur only after the millennium is over (which many interpret to be an exactly one thousand year period).
But Scripture does not support the idea of a thousand year span between the Second Coming and the Final Judgment. Christ declares, "For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done" (Mt 16:27), and "when the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats … And they [the goats] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Mt 25:31-32,46).
Most of the mainstream Protestants fall into the amillennial camp. Fundamentalists and evangelicals use to be amillennialist, but in more recent times most commonly fall into the premillennial camp. The Catholic position, the position of the Reformation fathers, and the position of historic Christianity, is in the amillennial camp.
The Period of Tribulation
The Church also says relatively little about the time of trial or tribulation in the final days. The Church will go through the great trial, but we do not know how long it will last. The Catechism declares, "Before Christ’s Second Coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth" (CCC 675; also see CCC 2642).
This time of trial will be at the start of the "last days" in the sense of the end of history: "According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by ‘distress’ and the time of evil which does not spare the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching" (CCC 672).
Interpreting the Book of Revelation
The Catholic Church has not officially interpreted the difficult passages in Revelation. There are four main approaches to the book of Revelation: futurist, preterist, historicist and idealist. Futurists believe that most or all of the book of Revelation has yet to be fulfilled; preterists say that most or all of it was fulfilled in the first century; historicists claim that events described in Revelation have been transpiring for the last two thousand years; and idealists believe that the book of Revelation is allegorical and has little or nothing to do with historical events.
The Catholic Church allows a wide range of interpretive possibilities, including forms of futurism, preterism, historicism and idealism. For example, a Catholic may believe the book of Revelation describes the conflict of good and evil as experienced by individual Christians or the Church (idealism), and makes prophetic utterances about events still to occur (futurism), and also refers to events that have already occurred, either in the early Church or later Church history (preterism and historicism). Catholic flexibility here is based on the fact that Scripture, inspired by God, often has different, yet complementary, meanings.
From early times, the Church, following the examples of Christ and the Apostles (i.e., Lk 24:25-27; 1 Cor 10:1-4), understood Scripture to have different senses, a literal and a spiritual sense (CCC 115). As the Catechism explains, the spiritual sense is always rooted in the literal sense: "The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: ‘All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal’" (CCC 116).
A common misconception is that Catholics interpret Scripture, especially the book of Revelation, "symbolically," while Evangelicals interpret it "literally." This has often been used to explain why the Catholic Church rejects an earthly, thousand-year reign of Christ. Yet few "literalists" bother to interpret literally other images in Revelation, such as the Beast, the dragon, the locusts, and the four horsemen.
Parameters of the Catholic Church
The Catholic Church says relatively little about future events leading up to Christ’s Second Coming. Many of her teachings are rejections (either implicit or explicit), not affirmations, of particular beliefs such as the dispensational dichotomy between the Church and Israel, the "secret" Rapture, and the earthly millennial kingdom. What she does teach is quite clear, as well as succinct: there will be a Second Coming, a time of trial which the Church must endure, an Antichrist, a conversion of Israel to Christ, a definitive judgment of all people, and the fulfilment of the Kingdom that has already begun in the Church. Within those parameters, Catholics may freely roam, search the Scriptures, and seek to better understand the Word of God.
- – – – – – -
The following, up to the appendix, while staying within the parameters given to us by the Catholic Church, is my own personal speculation based on my findings and study. In studying prophesy one must have much humility because it is always easier to understand prophesy after the events have taken place.
"Even At the Doors"
It is true that we do not know "the day and the hour" of the second coming of the Lord, but we can "know that it is near, even at the doors" (Mt 24:33,36). God’s Word admonishes the Christian to be wise (Mt 10:16) and watchful (Mt 24:42; 2Tim 4:8; Tit 2:13), especially as the day of Christ’s return approaches (Heb 10:25).
Let Us Trust God
God wants us, especially in times of great tribulation, to put our trust and confidence in Him (Ps 23:4; 1Pet 3:14) as well as not to fall prey to the powerful snares of the devil. If we know before hand about the types of traps of the devil, we will less likely fall into Satan’s eternal pitfalls in this coming crucial period of the world.
The Super Rich
If one knows even a little about the history of the world, the powerful have never been satisfied with the power that they have or had acquired. They always wanted more. Many of the super powerful and past dictators of the world even arrived to the point of wanting to be adored as GOD (Heil Hitler!)! I do not think that anything has changed. The powerful people of the world who control the economy and petroleum of the world and embezzle from everyone in many ways, including by way of the Federal Reserve Board and similar entities in each country of the world (which are not controlled or owned or operated by the respective governments), are not content to control and steal from all of us to become very rich and powerful. They want to become absolute dictators of the world, just like the dictators of the past.
It is very interesting the recent comments of Henry Kissinger’s about the "New World Order"! We have known about this for a long time but the real surprising thing is that these super powerful of the world are now so bold, after the election of Obama, that for the first time ever they are coming out publicly with their intentions! A perfect world! Without GOD!?!?
Kissinger on Obama: "The Reception of him is so extraordinary around the world … a New World Order can be created"; January 5, 2009 (http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/jan/09010704.html).
See quotes about the New World Order to help wake you up; July 28, 2005; http://xiaodongpeople.blogspot.com/2005/07/quotes-about-new-world-order-to-help.html.
Less than a hundred years ago these super-rich succeeded in deceiving each government in the world to turn over to them (i.e., the Federal Reserve Board, etc.) the power to print money or insert into our economic systems as much money as they decided without any governmental control; before this trickery, inflation did not exist. Who is profiting by this insertion of money into the economic system??? Only a few years ago the dollar was stronger than the Euro. What is the real cause of this rapid change???
These powerful and very rich people, in their pride, believe that they are the ones to be the saviors of the world from all its problems. They meet regularly in groups such as the Bildeburgers, the Tri- Latteral Commission, the Council on Foreign Affairs, the Freemasons, the Illuminati, to increase their wealth and power. Probably some of the members of these groups are of good will and do not see how they are being used and manipulated in an overall plan to slowly take over the world. But the great majority of these super-rich are blind in their pride and do not realize that they, in fact, are the puppets of Satan. Most likely these very rich international bankers also use some of our stolen money to fund international terrorists groups so that, when they are ready, they will step forward to offer the solution to the world as our saviors but without God. Our Lady of Fatima told us that wars are caused by the sins of everyone (not just the heads of state). The more we sin and the less we pray and do God’s holy will, the more the followers of Satan have power. The more we pray and do God’s will and avoid sin, the less power these prideful powerful of the world have.
The “Mark of the Beast”, 666
– – – – – – –
To read the rest of the article, please go to http://markbeast.blogspot.com.
Please see below for the other articles. Vedete sotto per gli altri articoli.
Let Us Love Our Spouse!
No one likes to suffer. Just about all my life I have run from or tried to avoid suffering. But when I look back at these times it seems that the suffering or problem that I tried to avoid kept coming back. During my life I have often asked myself what is the meaning of suffering.
Obviously there are many types of suffering and sorrows. We all react differently to different types of suffering. Having been raised in a family with a strong, domineering father, I tend to react perhaps more strongly than others when I find myself is a similar situation. When I found myself living or working with domineering persons, I have tried my best to at least shield myself from this irritating and often humiliating situation. A few years ago I even fell into depression while living with an authoritarian person who criticized and judged me continually and from whom I was not able to run from or to avoid. When I had to work more closely with this person, he never was interested in my opinion or ideas and he never put the cards on the table to allow me to have enough information so as to enter into the decision making. I tended to harshly judge this person and I was not able to see any good in him. To get things done, this person always resorted to force or manipulation, taking advantage of the structure of the organization, instead of drawing others freely to his idea or plan. If it were not for the obligatory structure of the organization, I wonder who would ever freely follow the ideas or programs of such a person? Sometimes when he harshly criticized me I would defend myself by revealing to him his rather great lack of human maturity; of course this infuriated him all the more. In the end, when I made a minor mistake, he quickly denounced me before our boss and I ended up loosing my position and the fruits of my work that I had become very attached to.
After having the chance to separate myself from this person as well as being able to take some time off to try to cure the resulting depression, I began to read the Gospels as well as good spiritual books. During this time, though, I often could not help myself from going back over and over again in my mind the painful experiences with this person and my great lose which caused me to be very angry all over again; when I saw him coming along my path my stomach would go up into my throat and I would quickly take another route.
Slowly but surely, while praying regularly, especially the Rosary, as well as going to Mass as often as I could, I began to understand better the words of Jesus in the Gospels. I began to realize that the strong words of Jesus were not just for the “Saints” as I had relegated these words in the past. I began to realize that I had to live all the words of Jesus without waiting for the one treating me badly to change: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34). My eyes began to be opened to see that I was a hypocrite every time I said the words of the Our Father, “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” For the first time I began to understand more deeply the meaning of some of the pertinent parables and words of Jesus especially regarding the absolute need to forgive others totally from the heart. I began to also see that when I was not able to forgive and love this person as he was, I was not hurting or getting even with him but rather I was only hurting myself creating all kinds of interior tensions and sleepless nights. Revenge is like a poison that you want to give to the offender but you end up swallowing it yourself.
The parable of the unjust servant finally came alive to me (Mt 18:23-35). The unjust servant owed an incredible sum of ten thousand talents to the king (a talent was more than fifteen years’ wages of a laborer). The king forgave him the debt. But the unjust servant did not forgive his fellow servant who owed him only a hundred denarii (the denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer). When I finally began to realize that my sins were so great that Jesus would have come down to earth and suffered and died on the cross to atone for my sins alone, I was more able to forgive the one who often humiliated me and criticized me and drove me into depression. I realized that this person has by nature a strong character like a bulldozer just as his father. I began to find real excuses for his behavior; he is a hard and generous worker; he gets a lot done. A person with this type of character very often does not realize how much he causes others to suffer. I could finally understand, what a good friend once told me, that I tended to analyze to much the difficult situations instead of seeing with the eyes of faith to believe that every situation that I found myself in came from a God who loves me immensely. I began to see that I had run from and tried to avoid the sufferings and crosses that Jesus had precisely given to me for my sanctification. With the help of the writings of the saints and especially holy people alive today, I began to recognize Jesus crucified specifically in this particular suffering and humiliation. Thus in a real sense I acted just like Saint Peter when he denied Jesus three times. I too went to Mary, as Peter did, which helped me to finally come back and pick up the crosses that I had abandoned so often in the past. I felt like St. Francis of Assisi who was able to overcome his aversion for the lepers. From the writings of the saints I am convinced that if we do not totally forgive those who have offended us, even very acutely, we run a very grave risk of loosing eternal life. I have now begun sending nice greetings to this person by email as well as being the first to say, with a smile on my face, hello to him when I see him. To take this step I also needed a lot more humility because by treating this person in a nice way, it seemed to me that I was admitting to him that he was right and I was wrong; I had held a type of grudge or vengeance in my heart (Mt 18:22; Rm 12:19). But after taking this step, Jesus gave me a new found peace which was accompanied by a greater interior freedom since I did not feel anymore the great need to avoid this person or others with a similar dictatorial or uncharitable character. If I do not love the disagreeable persons, what am I really offering up to God? (Mt 5:44-48) Perhaps God has given me more grace and thus expects more holiness of life from me (Lk 12:48)! When I die, I do not think that I would like to be judged as I had judged many people in the past who had caused me to suffer a great deal (Mt 7:1-2).
But beyond this particular example, I began to discover that all the crosses that I had avoided or abandoned in the past were actually the greatest gifts that Jesus had given me. I began to not only recognize Jesus crucified and abandoned on the cross in each and every suffering and sorrow but, with the grace of God, I began to be able to embrace and to even love these precious gifts that Jesus sends to me. “For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Heb 12:6). With the help of the charism of unity of Chiara Lubich it was revealed to me that Jesus crucified and abandoned on the cross, in person, hides himself behind every suffering and sorrow. Thus I gradually began to recognize, embrace and love Jesus crucified precisely in these difficult moments and situations and persons. I see better now that Christ crucified is the center of the universe, and how each of us react and deal with Christ crucified in our lives in the form of every kind of suffering and sorrow will determine where we will spend eternity, either in heaven or in hell. We are not computers in which one can change the program quickly and easily. It took me years of perseverance, with a lot of good will, to arrive at this conviction and understanding in the most fundamental truths of our faith; it took me even more time to live and put into practice what I had learned. The longest journey in the world is not the 25,000 miles around the earth but rather the 15 or so inches from the brain to the heart!
A good example of this discovery can be found in all of the saints, but I would like to very briefly give a striking example of how St. Teresa of the Child Jesus dealt with her sufferings. One morning St. Teresa woke up to discover that blood had come out of her mouth due to the tuberculosis that eventually lead to her death. St. Teresa did not say I had a mouth full of blood. Instead she said: “My Spouse has arrived.” She recognized Jesus precisely in her effusion of blood.
I have found a new freedom that I never had before. I understand much better now the writings and especially the example of so many saints regarding suffering in general. Not only St. Francis of Assisi or St. Padre Pio but all the saints. St. Rose of Lime wrote: “Would that mortal men might know how wonderful is divine grace, how beautiful, how precious; what riches are hidden therein, what treasures, what joys, what delights. If they but knew, surely they would direct their energy with all care and diligence to procuring sufferings and afflictions for themselves. Instead of good fortune all men everywhere would seek out troubles, illness and suffering that they might obtain the inestimable treasure of grace. This is the final profit to be gained from patient endurance. No one would complain about the cross or about hardships coming seemingly by chance upon him, if he realized in what balance they are weighed before being distributed to men.” These words are not just for “saints” as I once thought. They are words for everyone who loves Love Himself. It is not by chance that our all-knowing God chose the cross as the primary means of our salvation. If more people of good will would discover this profound truth, I believe there would be sold and consumed much less Prozac and Zyprexa as well as much less dependence on psychiatrists who are not able to even fathom these spiritual truths!
As my prayer life deepens and my walk with the Lord progresses, I can now thank God from the bottom of my heart for my difficult experiences because I have come to realize and believe that my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, “and him crucified” (1Cor 2:2), is the real eternal value, not a prestigious position or title or career or great projects, even Godly projects, as I once thought. These painful experiences helped me to detach myself from those things that end with this life, and to discover, appreciate and seek those things that last for eternity. I realize now that before these excruciating loses, God was not first in my life. More and more I am learning from Jesus and the saints to not wait for Jesus crucified to find me as I relax in my comfortable habitat, but to seek Him in the unpleasant persons, the sick and elderly, the AIDS victims, the drug addicts, the ones that the world has rejected or eliminated just as they rejected and tried to eliminate Jesus on the cross 2000 years ago. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta sought out and recognized her Spouse precisely in these outcasts and dying people on the streets of Calcutta and around the world.
With a renewed energy, I feel like I have only just begun. We have only one life which is so very short and eternity is so infinitely long! We have so little time here on earth to arrive at a greater intensity of love of Jesus who is Love and loves each of us immensely even to the point of dying on the cross for each one of us personally! As St. Francis once cried out even in the midst of tremendous suffering due to the stigmata: “Love is not loved!”
As St. Francis of Assisi also wrote, “When we give, we receive” (Lk 6:38) So encourage and give to others by sharing your spiritual gifts and experiences of living the Gospel with others, especially the concrete experiences of coming to recognize, to embrace and to love your Spouse. Alleluia!!!
Please go to: http://josephdwight.blogspot.com to view all the articles of Joseph Dwight
Please see below for all the other articles.
Vedete sotto per tutti gli altri articoli.
* * * * * * *
A Life’s Journey
I have spent my life persevering in seeking to discover the truth, often in the midst of subtle but deep-seated contradictions. Although born and raised a Catholic, it took me years to dig out of the non-constructive, critical traditionalist mentality of my parents. After finishing a BA in mathematics at UCLA (1974), I followed my parents into a cult based on a false private apparition at Necedah, Wisconsin (1980-1983). Only by the grace of God, after about two and a half years in this cultic type environment, I began to see the real situation into which my family and I had fallen into (see http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com and http://priv-rev.blogspot.com). Although my parents and my sister and her husband, who she met in the cult, left Necedah, Wisconsin, they never overcame the sectarian and elitist, schismatic traditionalist mentality which is most often permeated by Jansenism as well as a strong critical spirit toward the living authority of the Catholic Church. While I went on to learn and study about the beauty and wisdom of the documents of Vatican II as a religious seminarian (see http://josephdwight.blogspot.com), as well as getting to know the profound spirituality and life of the Focolare Movement, my parents, sister and brother-in-law were reading only extreme traditionalist books like “The Devil’s Final Battle” by Father Paul Kramer which ultimately led my sister and her husband and seven children to loose the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church along with the gifts that the Holy Spirit constantly gives to his bride, the Church. I wrote an article trying to convince them to come back to the Catholic Church but to no avail (see http://schis-trad.blogspot.com). I believe in the words of Jesus Christ for each living Pope until the end of time: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this Rock I will build my Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18).
The Church on earth, the “Church Militant”, is made up of saints and sinners and everything else in between. The only “perfect” groups on earth are the cults and the sects!?!? But if one discovers that one’s cult is not “perfect”, one seeks another “perfect” sect. If one does not submit to the Church that Jesus Christ founded and to the living “Rock” that Jesus promised to guide until the end of time, to whom does one submit? To himself? To the “perfect” group that agrees with him? To a charismatic leader? Where is our anchor, our “Rock”? Did Jesus abandon us and leave us without an infallible guide 500 years ago with the protestant reformation, or 50 years ago with VCII? The saints tell us very clearly that without humility there is no virtue! Jesus admonished his disciples: “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy!” (Lk 12:1)
After suffering a lot with groups and people in the Church with the pre-Vatican Triumphalistic, Clericalistic or Juridicalistic attitudes and behavior (see http://trueevangelization.blogspot.com), I finally have been able to forgive these people totally from my heart and thus I have found the peace that only Jesus, “the way, the TRUTH and the life”, can give. I have slowly come to realize that these humiliations and sufferings and sorrows are masked treasures from a God who loves me immensely (see http://spir-food.blogspot.com). I try ever more to love Jesus in each person that I encounter in each present moment while praying, especially the Rosary, as much as I can before the Most Blessed Sacrament and reading daily, good spiritual writings. I have learned from the writings of the saints, including our saints of today, especially Chiara Lubich, that true love is inseparably related to recognizing, embracing and loving Jesus crucified personally in each and every suffering and sorrow; this is the source of TRUE FREEDOM which only God can give. “A Manuscript On Purgatory” (see http://purgatory-manu.blogspot.com) really brings home the reality of how short life is and how long eternity is as well as how much Jesus loves each of us! We have so little time here on earth to arrive at a greater intensity of love of Jesus who loves each of us immensely even to the point of suffering and dying on the cross for each one of us personally!
The world is in pretty tough shape (http://god-politics.blogspot.com/) but God is always in charge even if He often takes the back seat and allows Satan to have a lot of freedom, in particular in the last hundred years or so. For many years I have been interested in studying prophesy; recently I translated into English an article in Italian based on a private revelation to Margaret of Jesus entitled “The Microchip is the “Sign” of the Beast of the Book of Revelation” (http://markbeast.blogspot.com). God likes to crush the pride of the devil using His true and humble followers who trust totally in Him; “Jesus, I trust in you” (St. Faustina)! “In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph” (Fatima)! Alleluia!
Rev. Joseph Dwight
* * * * * * *
THE OTHER ARTICLES by the SAME AUTHOR:
“A Simple, Common Sense Rebuttal to SSPX, SSPV and CMRI”; “Ecclesiology of the Catholic Church”; “The Declaration of Religious Liberty (VCII)”; “A Psychological Analysis of a Cult at Necedah, Wisconsin”; “The Impact and Interpretation of ‘Subsists In’ (Vatican II)” (http://schis-trad.blogspot.com)
“The Hope of the World!”; “Evangelization VS the trinity of Devils in the Church: Triumphalism, Clericalism and Juridicalism” (http://trueevangelization.blogspot.com).
“My Personal Reasons Why I Left the Shrine at Necedah, Wisconsin”; “A Psychological Analysis of a Cult at Necedah, Wisconsin” (http://necedah-cult.blogspot.com).
“Behold Thy Mother – (Motherhood)” (http://true-motherhood.blogspot.com).
“A Manuscript On Purgatory” (http://purgatory-manu.blogspot.com).
“The Holy Catholic Church and Private Revelation” (http://priv-rev.blogspot.com)
* * * * * * *
GLI ALTRI ARTICOLI dallo STESSO AUTORE:
“La Speranza per il Mondo!”; “L’Evangelizzazione in opposizione ai Tre Diavoli nella Chiesa: Trionfalismo, Clericalismo e Giuridicismo” (http://evang-fondam.blogspot.com).
“Un Manoscritto Sul Purgatorio” (http://purgatorio-mano.blogspot.com).