Reading the Apocalypse
SIR,-Vera Barclay's letter (March 25) on the Second Coming Of Our Lord broaches a matter vital to humanity. The human mind is made to seek truth ; the
true Christian mind seeks truth in Him Who is " the Way, the Truth and the Life." God aids the mind by giving a gift which infallibly finds Truth-the gift of Faith. " What sign shall be given of the corning," said the disciples to Our Lord (Malt, xxiv, 3). In this and the following chapter, Our Lord foretells the signs in language sometimes literal, sometimes symbolic. The signs are the warning, and as Vera Barclay says, there are many of them apparently being fulfilled in our day. When He comes, we shall find that the prophecies of the Old Testament will again be fulfilled, for there is nothing in the Old Testament which says they are to be restricted to His First Coming. As if to point this out. Our Lord Himself refers to Daniel (whose name means Judgment of God), chap. ix, 27. There will be nation against nation, wars and rumours of wars, unrest, plagues, famines. and persecutions of Christians (witness Russia and her satellites already), Charity (to God and man) will grow cold, etc., etc.
Let all who seek the truth of the Coming of the Son of Man read Matthew xxiv and xxv. There Our Lord points to the additional circum
stances (Matt. xxiv, 29-31). Note how the use and order of words foreshadow the chief features of the Apocalypse-the Book of His Second Coming-compare the order, " sun, moon, stars, from heaven " of Matt. xxiv, 29, with " sun, moon, stars, stars in heaven " of chap. xii Apoc. Or again, in Matthew xxiv, 31: " The coming of the Son of Man upon the clouds sending His angels (messengers) with a loud blast of the trumpet," with Apocalypse viii, 2 and 8. Also Matthew xxiv, 31, " the angels sent . . . to gather His elect from the four winds." and Apocalypse vii. I; " I saw four angels, standing at the world's four corners and holding back the four winds of the world, We must remember that the Apocalypse is a prophecy that St. John spoke of the (to him) future. jt should be clear then that Our Lord's prophecy of His Coming again and that of the Apocalypse will agree in details, as they both come from the same source, Christ Himself. For the Apocalypse is " a revelation of Jesus Christ • . . and He sent His angel to disclose the pattern to His servant John" (chap. i).
Our Lord (Matt. xxiv) has briefly given signs of His coming and then proceeds to speak in parables-the fig tree, the watchful servant, the ten virgins, the talents. All these are given to warn us of the dispositions and kind of life, necessary in those who wish to recognise Him when He comes. In the Parable of the Talents, Our Lord is Himself the Master Who went " to a far country " (the Ascension into Heaven), after giving the talents of Faith. Hope and Love. Those who have Faith and live by it. who are prepared to do as they feel bound by God. in conscience, to do, will have the courage to withstand the Wale which test their love of God, and will. in the end, recognise Him-for God will test their Faith even as He tested that of Abraham.
How many people realise that God has promised a blessing on all who read and keep the "words of this Prophecy," the Apocalypse (i, 3) ? It is a special book for Catholics. Yet we see non-Catholics reading, studying and preaching it in the streets, in this country, while Catholics hardly know it. Perhaps 't is because no Catholic publisher has yet provided separate copies of
the Apocalypse. Perhaps. too, the " Catholic Truth Society " will oblige, nay, may feel obliged to print it, since the present Pope not only grants a special indulgence to all who read it, but exhorts them to do so.
When Our Lord is here again, with His " new name," who is to say where and how the " hidden years" will he lived before he publicly begins to " make all things new "? Will His chosen people, since charity has grown cold, individually reject Him, be among His enemies (as sinners now are who are Catholics, who crucify Him by Sin ? " He came unto His own and His own received Him not."
Some Catholics may say that this view of His Second Coming cannot be true. Yet it might be true, since it does not conflict with revealed doctrine, and is not opposed to Scripture nor the tradition of the Apostles whose Creed says " sitteth at the right Hand of God the Father Almighty, from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead." How shall we know the truth ? Only if we have been " faithful and true" to the Gospel teaching of the great Commandments of Love and are faithful followers of Christ. God made us to know Him, to Love Him and to serve Him in this world. Who knows but that it may be possible for some still living to serve under the banner of Christ the King actually dwelling again with men.