Prophecy has a bad rap.
When people think of prophecy, wild visions of predicted doom rush to mind. One cannot divorce prophecy from the prediction of future events, no sense in arguing that point. But in seeing only the obvious, many people lose sight of the purpose of this important gift of the Holy Spirit, to provide hope.
The Old Testament prophets did not primarily concern themselves with events in the future or portray the future as some abstract freight train of destiny filled with unstoppable momentum. Rather, God sent prophets to tell the people what they are doing wrong, to rebuke them for turning away from God and the commandments, and to cajole them with visions of a future of their own choosing. Turning our backs on God has consequences and the prophets knew this.
But the great prophets were always concerned with the present. Repent, and God will show you mercy. To those with ears to listen, the prophets were the voice of hope. It won’t always be this bad. God will see us through if we repent and turn back to him. In this there was always hope.
While the office of “prophet’ does not exist in the age of the Church, God does still speak through his saints to challenge us, rebuke us, and to give us hope. Hope is in short supply these days.
We live in very difficult times for the Church. The daily attacks and calumnies against our Church, our faith, and our Holy Father can be difficult to bear. It can be very difficult see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes it seems that there is just more tunnel. But this is not so. There is hope. This era of trial will end, and it will end in triumph. God has told us so, through his prophets.
In the age of the Church there is likely no greater prophet than Jesus’ mother, Mary. A century ago, Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima. While the story is well known in Catholic circles and even outside them, one important line of the prophecy is often overlooked. For sure the warnings of suffering are there if we do not heed her requests, but the end is not in doubt. “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
“In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph…peace will be granted to the world.” This era of attacks on the Pope and the Church, this era of martyrs, this era of schism and dissent will end. No ifs, ands, or buts. We have it on good authority.
An era of peace is promised and God keeps his promises.
Let me close by quoting from another who spoke about the end of this era several hundred years ago. A German priest, not unlike our Holy Father, tells us of a time when all the world will be upside down. In the 17th century, the Venerable Batholomew Holzhauser wrote this about a generation in the future and it sounds uncannily accurate.
They will ridicule Christian simplicity; they will call it folly and nonsense, but they will have the highest regard for advanced knowledge, and for the skill by which the axioms of the law, the precepts of morality, the Holy Canons and religious dogmas are clouded by senseless questions and elaborate arguments. As a result, no principle at all, however holy, authentic, ancient, and certain it may be, will remain free of censure, criticism, false interpretations, modification and delimitation by man.”
He said that at the end of this era that calamity would befall the Church. All would seem hopeless. But then, then…“But, by the Hand of God Almighty, there occurs so wondrous a change…that no one can humanly visualize it.”
So wondrous a change that no one can humanly visualize it. A triumph for God and his Church. Our Blessed Mother said “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
Count on it.