the Apocalypse foretold by Old and New Testament prophets and by Christ must not be viewed as a purely symbolic mega-drama enacted as high theatre sometime in the safely distant future. When the foretold events actually occur, they will be experienced at ground level by all kinds of people, in a variety of subjective ways. If our times prove to be the ones prophesied, we too will experience it in our particular personal ways. The book asks, “Am I awake? Am I spiritually ready?” Continue reading →
The question is a volatile one and leaves plenty of room for a vast amount of commentary and interpretation. Indeed, our times seem to be rife with wildly differing interpretations of the meaning of the book of Revelation. In addressing our topic tonight, I hope to make a contribution to what should always be a sober discussion, yet is so often otherwise. Even so, I suppose that everything I am about to say on the matter this evening could be summed up in a single word: Yes.
Yes, we are living in apocalyptic times. But this needs qualification. The Church, the sacred scriptures, the saints, the approved mystical apparitions, all speak about the end times within the context I would like to lay before you.
See the young people scattered throughout this crowd tonight. They are genuine heroes and heroines. They are the Church, they are the future,and we must feed them good food. They are the Body of Christ coming alive again in this dead zone, and if we neglect to nurture them we will be accountable for it on Judgment Day. We choose now. Not to choose is a choice. The kind of Church we will soon have in this country depends very much on how we choose. Unless we begin to see the nature of the problem accurately,and truly repent of our part in it, the Church is finished here. Unless there is an extraordinary change of heart, it is over. Throughout its long history the Church has died out in many regions of the world. Think of North Africa, which was once the glory of Christendom, think of other particular churches—they are gone! Why do we suppose that Our Lord has a huge investment in preserving a culture such as ours, in making this deathly civilization last a bit longer? He may do so, if there are “ten just men” still among us. And he may do so, if there is a widespread return to his holy will. Or he may not. It is not our task to weigh this matter, which is comprehensible only to God alone. Our task is to be faithful.
My Catholic faith is my life. Any artist, if he is to be faithful to how he perceives the world and to the nature of his creative gifts, cannot divorce the two. To create is to love. To love is to create. This is true for all of us, regardless of our vocation, in whatever forms the human person seeks to give life; either in the private life of “Nazareth” — where most people live — or the public life of a more visible role in the shaping of society. Love cannot long survive without truth. Nor is truth really truth unless it is integrated with love.
During the 30 years I have been a painter and writer, I have noted a distinct pattern in myself: Whenever my prayer and sacramental life grow lax, the work suffers. It may continue to be clever and even dazzling to the eye, yet it becomes more and more shallow. Here is the vine and the branches that Jesus speaks of with a certain urgency. If creators of Christian culture hope to produce work that will bear good fruit, we must draw our life from the true source — our living Savior. He is real. He is present. But all too often we reduce him to an abstraction, giving him intellectual assent, but not our hearts.
“It is a complex situation and a volatile one,” O’Brien said. “Pope Benedict has said very clearly that what is needed in the Middle East is a just solution for the three major parties, Israel, Lebanon and the Palestinian people.”
“This will take much prayer and sacrifice because the spirit of hatred and murder is at work,” he said.
O’Brien rejects either/or solutions that resemble choices between the devil and the deep blue sea. He said there is a third, God-given alternative that must be sought.
“Hezbollah are clearly the bad guys in the present situation,” he said, but Israel and Western nations must be extremely careful about resorting to a lesser evil to stamp out a bigger evil.