Saturday, April 06, 2019

Angel of the Apocalypse

St. Vincent Ferrer “the Angel of the Apocalypse, flying through the heavens to announce the day of the Last Judgment, to evangelize the inhabitants of the earth."

The saint was given that title by Pope Pius II.  It's rather astonishing when you think about it.  St. Vincent gives the signs of the end of the world in his writings and homilies centuries ago, and the Pope seemingly approved.  Kinda, sorta.

It's very interesting to me, because we live in times similar to what St. Vincent forecast.  Cardinals and bishops and mystics and ordinary people all seem to have an apocalyptic sense, even expectation in our day.  More so than I ever recall.  Growing up, priests and nuns would say things like, 'of course the end of the world will not happen in our lifetime - except for each of us facing the time of our inevitable demise'.  Similarly, they felt martyrdom extremely unlikely and remote for us in the United States - and yet in our times there are more martyrs than in the first centuries of Christendom.  

I was thinking of these things at morning prayer today, and I was consoled, thinking how Christ has graciously willed us to share in his Passion in these times - even to death.  It thrilled me, actually.  Wanting to know him and him crucified, as St. Paul said, to have a share - hopefully - in his Resurrection.  Christ is alive!  Christus vivit!

The stars falling.

When we read that in Scripture we sometimes think it referred to the fall of the angels, or the dissolution of the universe at the end, but there is the other meaning, and it is presented by St. Vincent as a sign of Antichrist which precedes the end.  From NCRegister:
Third, “Stars shall fall from heaven,” Christ said (Matthew 24:29). Looking to Daniel (12:3), Vincent proves that refers to the masters, doctors, and licentiates in theology, some of whom “will fall from heaven, that is from the heights of the Faith (Daniel 11:36). Christ also permits this “because of the scandalous and wicked lives and the many sins” of some. - NCReg
It seems to me, be it in the sense of the end, or simply in the sense of a 'purgative dark night of faith' for the Church, that the fall of so many bishops, cardinals, priests, as well as the desertion of so many vocations to religious life since the Council is indeed a sign of something catastrophic, at the least a chastisement.  

In the same way, in the time of Antichrist, the Sun of justice will be obscured by the interposition of temporal goods and the wealth which Antichrist will bestow on the world, inasmuch as the brightness of faith in Jesus Christ and the glow of good lives will no longer shine among Christians. For, lest they should lose their dominion, temporal rulers, kings and princes will range themselves on the side of Antichrist. In like manner, prelates for fear of losing their dignities, and religious and priests to gain honors and riches, will forsake the Faith of Christ and adhere to Antichrist. Now he will be a veritable man, but so proud that, not only will he desire to have universal dominion in the whole world, but will even demand to be called a god, and will insist on receiving divine worship. - NCReg

Maybe it's just an eclipse?

Our times seem to be obscured by "clouds of temporal goods” - materialism.  In this atmosphere, it seems to me we have all been seduced by the world's slow stain, as John of the Cross wrote:  "Where does this poisonous harm fail to reach? And who fails to drink little or much from the golden chalice of the Babylonian woman of the Apocalypse? ...There is hardly anyone of high rank or low, saint or sinner, who does not drink of her wine, subjecting his heart somewhat."  Thus we need to beware the worldly allure, knowing 'there are many antichrists' in the world, seeking to “seduce the nations” and “peoples, that is, with gold and silver and honors.”

Finally, St. Vincent exhorts us:  “If therefore you do not wish to be deceived, now with all your hearts contemn and despise all earthly goods, and long for those of heaven, considering that the goods of this world are transitory and empty, while heavenly and celestial goods are eternal. In this way you will be strong.”  [...]  “place the whole of your faith and confidence in the name of Jesus Christ., and refuse to acknowledge any miracle unless it is worked in that same name; and so you will be strong against seduction.” - NCReg

At one time some religious attempted to discourage me in my devotion to St. Vincent, telling me he was antisemitic and no longer relevant.   In truth, he converted many thousands of Moors and Jews to the faith.  He may be more relevant today than he ever was in history.

St. Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.


  1. Interesting . I had no idea of any of this. I like to star gaze and sometimes wonder if I will see the stars start falling.

  2. Terry, thanks for a wonderful post. Would you explain the beautiful photo in your blog header? I visited your other blog and enjoyed that, too.


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