Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Thief In the Night

I Thessalonians 5:1-6:

But of the times and moments, brethren, you need not, that we should write to you; For yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord shall so come, as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, peace and security; then shall sudden destruction come upon them, as the pains upon her that is with child, and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. For all you are the children of light, and children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do; but let us watch, and be sober.

As the Liturgical Year draws to a close, the readings for Mass as well as for the Divine Office take a very serious turn toward the end of days and the idea that the Lord will return in Glory and that all of humanity will be made to give an account before God of our individual doings in this life. In the above reading, St. Paul reminds us that the coming of the Lord will occur so suddenly that it will catch us off guard. Christ himself alludes to the reality that when He returns, we will be going about life as usual, and many will make the mistake of believing that because nothing dramatic seems to be happening, the Lord does not draw nigh.

The truth of the matter, of course, is that Catholics as a whole are uncomfortable speaking about the End Times or eschatology. Some act as though the notion that Christ will return and that there will be an end of the world as we know it is foreign to Catholic thought or theology, or that it is not Catholic doctrine. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Church does not embrace the idea that we as a people are going to be "raptured" away from tribulation, even the final tribulation. In 2,000 years, the Lord has not sealed the Church from being persecuted-largely because persecution is the greatest test of the purity of one's faith. In the early days of the Church, believers were often said to be genuine after having endured great persecutions and either lived to tell the tale or were martyred as witnesses to their faith. Those who broke under persecution were literally run through the gambit before being accepted back into the fold, because buckling to the enemies of the Church could put the Church in great danger. The false doctrine of the Rapture is a crutch for those believers who do not believe they can endure tribulation, so they place their hope in the notion that they will not be here to endure it.

No one knows the day or the hour of the Lord's return, but we do know that when that return occurs, we shall all stand before God to give an account of our life. One of the reasons that our bishops are so troubled by the outcome of the presidential election is that this country has elected a candidate whose social positions are not only opposite the Church, but whose very mentality about those issues places him at enmity with the Church herself. There is little doubt that Mr. Obama's election is the greatest singular evil that has ever befallen this country-but the die is cast.

All sin is forgivable, save blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and even the sin (and it is a sin) of voting for someone-regardless of political party-who believes it ought to be legal to murder unborn children. However, the worst judgment will fall on those who proclaim themselves believers but by their vote and actions encourage evil without repentance or regret. For just as it is a great mistake to proclaim a moral or ethical issue when there is not one, it is a far worse crime against both God and humanity to fail to confront moral and ethical issues in the public sphere when these issues do actually arise.

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At Monday, November 17, 2008 7:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At Monday, November 17, 2008 7:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At Monday, November 17, 2008 7:53:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The seven principles of Catholic Social Teaching as described by U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops(link)

At Monday, November 17, 2008 12:06:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're putting the cart before the horse with respect to why some Christians hold to the belief of/in the "rapture." You should do a study of Pre-Mil Despensational Theology before you go off like that.
Evangilical Christians DO NOT believe in the "Rapture" because they fear not being able to suffer presecution, altho I will readily admit that MANY do see it as an escape hatch, as it were. However, that is as result of thier beleif in the rapture. Their belief in the Rapture is not the result of a desire to escape persecution.
Additionally, presecution and the Tribulation are two seperate things. Becareful not to conflate the two. Also, the definition of the term "Tribulation" has to be determined; the Catholic definition IS NOT the Evangelical (Pre-Mil)definition. They are very different. Applying the wrong definition to the wrong faith tradition can cause a multitude of errors. The primary error of which is not really knowing WTF you're talking about, because you're actually talking about something very different than what you think you're talking about.
Early on in my Christian walk I studied all this and came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to figure it out, that anyone who claimed to have done so was probably wrong and that it doesn't really matter since no matter what happens, when it happens, where it happens, or even how it happens, God wins! It is the VICTOROUS CHRIST that I place my trust, not the various and sundry silly (tho fun and interesting at times) points of theology and theological debate.


At Tuesday, November 18, 2008 9:17:00 AM, Blogger Sean Braisted said...

Barack Obama, worse than slavery, Jim Crow, Japanese internment, and the Civil War all wrapped in one.

Why? Because he voted present on a meaningless bill that was made irrelevant by the Federal Government?

Ooogity Booogity.

Quick question, is the Obama logo the mark of the beast? Should I get it tattooed on me to ensure my place in Hell?

At Thursday, March 18, 2010 11:11:00 AM, Blogger job said...



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