Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Order of Events before the Last Judgment according to Saint Augustine

There are many ideas attempted to be articulated by various ideological and “religious” sects regarding the Second Coming of Christ. Of course, no one knows the day or the hour that the Son of Man will come on the clouds (Mt. 24:36), but, we are all excited and anticipate our Lord’s coming, because we know it will bring the “new Jerusalem” – the Church, “like a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:2). We know that all people of God whose souls have been adoring their God in Heaven since their earthly bodies went into the grave will be glorified just like their Savior’s. All men who have fought the good fight and helped build up the Kingdom of God while in their earthly bodies will now enter into eternal life, body and soul. The earth will be renewed, too, and we will finally have in the fullest sense, what “no eyes of seen, nor ear heard, nor heart imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9).

As we wait in anticipation of Christ’s adventus, or “coming”, it has been wondered and even taught as to how the “end time” events will occur. But, the Catholic Church is sent on a mission to help men become Holy, now, so there can be as many souls greeting Christ as possible when he comes again. It is really irrelevant as to the order of the end time events, because if your soul is not in a state of sanctifying grace, you won’t benefit from the end of the world, anyway. I think that people really wonder when Christ will return, because, I have wondered myself for this wrong reason: It is so that they can “be ready” not one minute too soon or too late. As if, that is the way to holiness. Ha ha. We can't worry about our "readiness" because it is known only to God by on our interior disposition for love of God and love of neighbor. We cannot judge ourselves. But we try to, so we also try to judge the signs around us. In the Catholic faith we just work to be "prepared".

There is a Doctor of the Church and Great Saint who wrote not about the “end times” and what the “signs” can tell about when Christ may come, again, but he wrote of what he believed about the “last judgment”. He saw through “the Word”: The Word made flesh and dwelt among us (cf Jn. 1:14), and how Christ came not to condemn the world but that all men may be saved and come to know the Truth (cf Jn. 3:17-18). Believing that Truth, and knowing interiorly the Divine Wisdom of God he wrote a great work to help us know Wisdom. Saint Augustine of Hippo came to know God through reason united with the grace of faith and gifted with the charism of sharing the knowledge of God as wisdom penned his Confessions and put the people of God at peace with the signs of their times, with his work, the City of God.

It is in the City of God that Catholics who are interested in the order or end-time events will be able to read what Saint Augustine believed would be the order of events before the last judgment. It is put forth, here, because the Eucharist is what matters. If any people of God cannot rest until they have a prediction they can live with, maybe, Augustine’s belief will help them rest. Because, any distractions that are keeping you from focusing on Christ, here now, present, real and substantially in the Blessed Sacrament, need to be quieted. Perhaps Augustine is the “still small voice” of God with a faithful teaching that will put your soul at peace.

Only God knows if Augustine got the order right, but, I trust this great Sanctus Augustinus who understood God and his wisdom and the Word more than anyone in our present time. How many great saints have even had the nerve to put to paper an order of events leading up to the last judgment? It seems Saint Augustine may have been given that task. We shall see. Here is what he writes in the City of God:

“In connection with the last judgment, therefore, we who believe can be sure of the following truths: Elias the Thesbite will return; the Jews will believe; Antichrist will persecute the Church; Christ will be the Judge; the dead will rise; the good will be separated from the wicked; the world will suffer from fire, but will be renewed. Of course, what we believe is the simple fact that all these things are to be; but how and in what sequence the events are to occur we must leave to future experience, which alone can teach these truths so much better than human intelligence can at present understand. My own view is that they will occur in the order I have just mentioned.”
Page 492, an Image Book, published by Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-02910-1.

I had to look up “Elias the Thesbite”. You will recognize him when you read this: http://saintlaurenceosb.org/documents/elias-propers-july20.pdf

Thank you for reading this. Theresa Marie.