Tuesday, February 24, 2009

No Lasting City

Tolkien said that, as a Catholic, he did not regard history as anything other than the story of a long defeat; C.S. Lewis in the last of his Narnian novels depicted the same.  There shall be no lasting triumph of the Church, the lowly Bride of Christ, over her enemies, but rather the opposite, she being defamed and abused and abased, excoriated as the Whore of Babylon, to the confusion of the faithful, before at last the Lord's Return in glory to set all to right for ever - as even the Catechism of the Catholic Church confesses:
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. [Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12.] The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth [cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20] 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. [Cf. 2 Th 2:4-12; I Th 5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; I Jn 2:1 8, 22.]

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, [cf. DS 3839] especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. [Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, condemning the "false mysticism" of this "counterfeit of the redemption of the lowly"; cf. GS 20-21.]

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. [Cf. Rev 19:1-9.] 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. [Cf Rev 13:8; 20:7-10; 21:2-4.] 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. [Cf. Rev 20:12 2 Pt 3:12-13.]
Yes, even now as in the days of St John the Evangelist, many Antichrists have already appeared, luring the faithful away, repossessing the weak and making them worse than they were at first, as dogs return to their vomit, and sows do wallow in the mud.  Yes, to-day as ever since Christ's Resurrection, men are lured away by a secular messianism, once manifest as Jewish revolts against pagan Rome, now as anti-Roman deviations from Catholicism: in both cases, as in all heresies, man glorifies himself, makes himself his god, as Satan fell like lightning from heaven.

As a commenter rightly advised, we must repent of our sins, beg the Lord for aid - as by praying Psalm 67 - and invoke the intercession of the Holy Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, she who has crushed every heresy, every strike of the ancient serpent.  She is the peerless, faultless archetype of the Church, and to her we look for succour from out this calamitous sea: God made her His masterwork of creation, and as He sent His Eternal Word to take our nature upon Him in her, that He might die to save us all, so He is pleased to attend to her supplications for us sinners, that He would spare us and, hearkening unto the Blood of His Son, grant us His peace, even though, like her, we be called to stand beneath the Cross in wordless sorrow, yet confident all the while in the Resurrection.

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