Dear friends, we are living in uncharted times. I mean jokes are trending on social media about WW3. And yes, the climate is changing (as Our Lady of All Nations warned, referring to changes in nature). Has communism come again (c.f., seers of Garabandal) signifying the immediacy of the warning or illumination of conscience? Is the Pope going to flee Rome? Who is the Pope? Many things come to mind thinking of the times in which we are living — but is there any certainty we are entering the end times?
Let us ask this question in another way: Do we have reason to think that the day of the Lord is upon us? Yes — because the great apostasy we are experiencing is that which St Paul warned of as being the sign of its coming. He says about “the day of the Lord” that it “will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed” (2 Thessalonians 2:2–3). And here we are in the age of rebellion and lawlessness, even within the Church.
To my mind, the real sign of the times is the Apostasy in the Church. Cardinal Müller warned last year about “the last trial of the Church …[leading to] religious delusion …apostasy …[and] the fraud of Antichrist. We all know Fatima, La Salette, Akita etc. and we all know how the Church hierarchy has ignored the Mother of God. So yes, I believe that the Church has compromised its faith and has apostatised, therefore it is my belief that the seals of the scroll in the book of Revelation (chapters 5–8) are ‘being opened.’ NB: For me, the apostasy is associated with the opening of the seals upon the earth, as they were opened in heaven (herein is the weakness in my argument).
In this case we are about to experience the full ‘unfolding’ of the Lord’s victory — with the breaking of the seals — within the members of the Church as it happened to the Lord Himself, i.e. the Passion of the Church is to follow the Passion of the Christ. In this way the Church will be purified and reborn.
St Victorinus once wrote that “after the Lord ascended into heaven and opened all things, He sent the Holy Spirit, whose words the preachers sent forth as arrows reaching to the human heart, that they might overcome unbelief.” Can you see that as the seals have been opened in heaven they are also to be opened on earth, to manifest the Lord’s victory?
Again, as the Lord celebrates victory (over death, sin, and the devil) in heaven, this victory is meaningless unless it is for the Church that is to “reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:10). The Lord wills His Body to share in His victory and has taught her to pray for it asking that the Lord’s “kingdom come …on earth as it is in heaven.”
Let’s look at the 1st horseman. The symbolism is not of ‘the Christ’, but of ‘the Christian.’ And the Christian has the bow of victory because all Christians are anointed by the Spirit! What is a reality in heaven undertaken by the Church that is called to freely participate in the Redemption won by Our Lord.
The 1st horseman is the Church that shares in Christ’s victory “to exact vengeance upon the nations, to impose punishment on the peoples …to carry out the sentence that has been passed” (Psalm 149) on those who refuse the coming kingdom of Christ. The kingdom is at hand as the Christian Church manifest Christ’s victory over that of the kingdom of this world. In this way the members of Christ’s Body become judgement upon those who refuse God’s anointed. Instead of Jesus, we now become a stumbling stone (Matthew 21:44) to them.
The 2nd horseman with sword and who “takes peace from the earth,” naturally follows. Why? Because after judgement, separation and division follows. Jesus himself said “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). This isn’t to be taken literally. The reason for the conflict is because “the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh” (Galatians 5:17). However, as the Lord alludes, the sword will come by those of the flesh who, having refused God, will wage war against the godly.
The 3rd horseman is with scales and cries “a ration of wheat for a day’s wages.” We see this symbolic injustice in the rorting in Venezuela. Because of this their economic system is in collapse. At 10 000 000% inflation “a ration of wheat costs [more than] a day’s pay” whilst the elite lack no luxury. Economic chaos and famine are coming with the breaking of the third seal: justice and the rule of law will not be tolerated. Most recently, Chile is experiencing the breaking of the 3rd seal.
The 4th seal leads to massive deaths by the “sword, famine, and plague.” War, famine, abortion, euthanasia, super-bugs resistant to antibiotics …sword, famine, and plague are going to come upon us like never before. The sense is that death comes with the unbridled or “the final unleashing of evil” (Catechism, 677).
I think these 4 seals are the foundation of ‘the opposition.’ This opposition isn’t between footy teams rather the Spirit-filled Church manifesting Christ’s victory versus the ungodly. There’s judgement, division, war, and death. What’s next? World-wide revolution.
The 5th seal is born of this revolt. The fifth seal is persecution. Why? Darkness hates the light. Pretty simple but it is happening. In Australia the Word of God is now hate speech, the seal of confessional must be broken in certain circumstances and this is mandated by law, those who pray outside abortion clinics are the ‘criminals’ in the eyes of the nation etc. Last week my niece told me that priests are leaving Santiago because of persecution — and she knows because she lives there. This persecution is just emerging. Pray God that an open persecution of the Church does not happen, but Scripture indicates that it will.
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained” (Revelation 6:9)
When the Church seems to be destroyed the opening of the 6th seal will bring about the warning –the illumination of souls– which I believe is to prepare us for the Great Day of retribution for “who can face it” otherwise (c.f., Revelation 6:17)?
Regarding this warning Our Lady gave us a message via Fr. Stefano Gobbi. Our Lady says, “The Holy Spirit will come to establish the glorious reign of Christ…With His divine love, He will open the doors of hearts and illuminate all consciences. Every person will see himself in the burning fire of divine truth. It will be like a judgement in miniature. And then Jesus Christ will bring His glorious reign in the world” (May 1988). Hence, the warning will be as a second Pentecost or second birth for the Church, in preparation for the Church’s final purification.
The 7th seal refers to this purification as “fire from the altar is hurled down onto the earth.” More than this we don’t know; we can only guess and be open to the Spirit. The Catechism says that the “Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection” (Catechism 677). This is scary stuff referring to the coming of the antichrist and the Church’s ultimate trial.
It seems that the end times are ahead of us. Don’t be afraid, be faithful. As Pope Benedict XVI always said, “the Lord wins in the end!” What I will urge you is that you belong to the Holy Mother of God and point out that the key to our preparedness is our conversion, not knowing dates. Let Mary guide you to her Son, and in fact, lead you to His Holy Cross whatever form it may take in your life.
My final suggestion is that you read and pray about St John Bosco’s dream that indicates how our Holy Mother Church will prevail by securing itself to the two great pillars: Eucharist and Mary. And below is some of what the Church teaches about the great trial to come.
God have mercy on us poor sinners!
From the Catechism: The Church’s ultimate trial
675 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. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.
676 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.
677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.