Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for them that love him.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book of the week (or month)

I am reading "The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life" by Fr. Charles Arminjon. This book was originally published in 1881 and reading it was considered by St. Therese to be "one of the greatest graces of my life."

As I read through it, I will post things that really strike me.

For instance, in the forward, Fr. Arminjon writes:

"It has seemed to us that one of the saddest fruits of rationalism, the fatal error and great plague of our century, the pestilential source from which our revolutions and social disasters arise, is the absence of the sense of the supernatural and the profound neglect of the great truths of the future life. The earth is afflicted with a dreadful desolation, because the majority of men, fascinated by the lure of fleeting pleasures, and absorbed in their worldly interests and the care of their material affairs, no longer fix their thoughts on the principal considerations of the Faith, and stubbornly refuse to recollect within themselves...

"The two causes of this terrifying indifference and profound universal lethargy are, obviously, ignorance and the unrestrained love of sensual pleasures that, by darkening the interior eye of the human soul, bring all its aspirations down to the narrow level of the present life...

***This was published in 1881---wow.

In the first chapter, titled, "The Necessity of Judgment" he writes:

"The materialistic, atheistic science of our century...persists in regarding the order and perfection of the universe merely as the result of chance. According to this false science, the present universe will always subsist, or, if it becomes progressively better, this will be solely through the effect of man's genius.

"...man, with the aid of science, will one day attain the pinnacle of his sovereignty. He will conquer time and space, make himself wings in order to propel himself toward the stars, and explore the wonders of the constellations... Nature, completely subdued by his genius, will then open like the horn of plenty upon a new humanity, pouring forth the fullness of desirable goods.

***emphasis mine. Humanity has now done this...

Fr. believes such a worldview is folly. He thinks that, "Just as the world had its youth, so there will come a time when the world will have its twilight, when it will hasten toward its evening and decline."

As Christians, we believe that when the world ends there will be a "new heavens and a new earth." While Scripture does not tell us the day or hour, it does provide some clues--"signs".

Some of the signs are vague and have been occurring to a greater or lesser degree throughout history, like earthquakes, flooding, large storms, large fires, etc.

However, there are some distinctive signs which are to precede the end of the world.

"The first of the events foreshadowing the end of time is the one to which the Savior refers in Matthew 24:14, when He says, "This good news of the Kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world as a witness to all the nations. Only after that will the end come." The second of these signs will be the appearance of the man of sin, the Antichrist. The third: the conversion of the Jewish people, who will adore the Lord Jesus and recognize Him as the promised Messiah. Until then, says St. Paul, "Let no man deceive you my any means...as if the day of the lord were at hand."

The book then goes into these signs, judgment, and eschatology (last things).

Looking at these signs, I realize that technology has now made the first two possible. Technology has also made possible some of the foretold acts of the Antichrist--like some sort of implanted "mark" that will be required to buy or sell goods.

So, what do we do? There was a time when I was younger that I would be filled with dread after reading these passages. Now I simply pray that I play the role God has given me to the best of my ability with the help of His grace. If we trust Him when He promised in Isaiah that "All things work to good for those who love the Lord," than we have nothing to fear.

Jesus compared the "end of the world" to labor pains. They come on slowly, build up to a hard and fast (and painful) labor, and end in new life.