Are We Living In The End Times?

from Fr. George W. Rutler’s ‘Weekly Column’

These days I am frequently asked if we are living in the “End Times.” As the grace of Holy Orders does not make me a seer, I defer, as is prudent, to the King of Universe: “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). So the answer simply is that we do not know, but as the Coast Guard’s “Semper Paratus” motto exhorts, we must constantly be prepared. That vigilance is contingent on everyone’s immediate obligation to be recollect for the end of one’s own life. For the Christian, this is a stimulus to faith rather than neurosis. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).  

   The prophets were not like the boy who cried “Wolf!” They were inspired by God to tell what he wants his people to know about spiritual readiness, so that his kingly rule is that of a shepherd guiding his flock through the variables of human experience. In the film The Lion in Winter, Katharine Hepburn as Henry II’s queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, remarks with regal resignation about her dysfunctional family: “What family doesn’t have its ups and downs?” Christ’s family the Church has always had its ups and downs, often big time, and many times it has been the lamentable case that the Shepherd King is tasked with herding cats rather than sheep.  

   The Church began with a crucifixion when no one expected a resurrection. That sequence of death and life is repeated time and again. There were the persecutions under so many Caesars, heresies with volatile schisms in consequence, sieges, desecrations, destructions, corruptions and civilly institutionalized blasphemies. But each of these crucifixions was followed by a resurrection. This is to be remembered when distress in the Church is accompanied by a confluence of unrest and fear in politics and pandemics. Through it all, the Carthusian motto grows ever more stolid and incontestable: “Stat Crux dum volvitur orbis”—the Cross stands steady while the world revolves. This is most vivid when the revolving world seems to be whirling out of control.  

   On November 5, the ninety-year-old Cardinal Tumi of Cameroon was briefly kidnapped by separatists who demanded that he endorse their propaganda. He told his captors that he must preach only what is true: “Nobody has the right to tell me to preach the contrary because I was called by God.” In every cultural crisis, this is the kind of witness that transcends any attempt to speculate about the end of the world, for it takes its strength from the assurance that Christ Crucified in Jerusalem is also Christ the King of the Universe. 

                             His dominion is an everlasting dominion  
                           that shall not be taken away,
                           his kingship shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:14) 

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5 Responses to Are We Living In The End Times?

  1. Alex Antunes says:

    I believe that we are at the end of times. But I have heard one priest say that there is a difference between the end of times and the end of the world; that the end of times has begun since the Resurrection of Christ.
    I am not a theologian and I don’t know if this distinction is right, but when we hear the expression of the times, we understand that the coming of Christ is near. Of course we cannot know the date, according to Christ’s own words, but Christ himself said that there would be several signs that his return would be near: like wars, calamities, etc. But I think the strongest is the lack of faith. We live in a world where even Christians live as if they have no faith.
    Moreover, the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, also has to go through her passion to rise again.


  2. Alex Antunes says:

    Other signs that Christ’s coming is near are the appearance of the Antichrist and the abomination of desolation, which is the cessation or prohibition of the Eucharist.
    Regarding the Antichrist, a while ago I found a very good text about who the Antichrist is. The text is not by any famous author, but it was very illuminating. Unfortunately I lost the link. Could anyone find this text? I’m not sure but I think the title of the text was 666 and the site was something like catholic-roman, but I’m not sure.


  3. Alex Antunes says:

    There is a 19th century French author, Father Arminjon (1824-1885), who talks about the end of the world in the book “End of the present world and mysteries of future life”. This book was a reading that marked the life of St. Therese of Lisieux.
    If you want to read more about this author, there are interesting texts about him in the Catholic blog A Aparição de La Salette e suas Profecias in Portuguese.

    About the end of the world, Fr. Arminjon tells us the following:

    He [the end of the world] escapes all our predictions until the time of its fulfillment, but in order to protect us from carelessness and false security, he never fails to remind men,

    in the first place that the end of the world is certain;

    second, that it is relatively near;

    thirdly, that it will not happen before they have been produced, not common and general signs as it has been done in all times, but specific and special signs that he has clearly indicated to us .

    These signs are not only calamities and revolutions in the stars, but events of a public character, relative to both the religious and social order, and about which humanity cannot be deceived.


  4. Alex Antunes says:

    Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, I have found the text about the Antichrist. See!


    “There have been many Antichrists who have come throughout history and by their actions have opposed Christ. But toward the end of time there will be a man who, by deception, shall lead astray almost the entire world. (Mark 13:6;21-23)”.


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