Eric Bermingham's article, "We Live in Interesting Times"

We Live in Interesting Times

To hear many Evangelical pastors speak, you would think that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is imminent. Many of them also seem to be wrapped around the idea that there will soon be a “Rapture” when all faithful Christians will be taken up to Heaven with God in order to avoid the punishment that is about to befall the world. Some additionally expect a 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth before the Final Judgment. These ideas all stem from false interpretations of certain passages of Scripture, but what is the Catholic teaching regarding those ideas?

It should be obvious that life on earth will someday come to an end. Even secular scientists realize that the material world is continually deteriorating and the sun will eventually burn out, if something else does not happen first. However, many Christians understand that the time frame for the return of Jesus Christ at the end of the world is much shorter than millions of years. Some would say, what does it matter to me since I’ll surely die before that happens. Perhaps, but none of us know when we will die. It is said, “To be forewarned is to be forearmed,” and it certainly is possible that some people living today will see the return of Christ. Either way, you should be ready for your own Particular Judgment at any time.

There are many Catholic prophecies that speak about the End Times, in addition to what is said in the Bible. Saint Paul said that “the time is short” (1 Corinthians 7:29), but that was about 2,000 years ago. Saint Vincent Ferrer preached a crusade against the sins of his day and claimed to be the Angel of the Apocalypse (cf. Apocalypse 14:6-7), but that was in the late 1300’s. So far, everyone who has predicted the date for the end of the world has been wrong. Jesus said that only the Father knows the day and hour (Matthew 24:36). But how would you know if we are close?

In the Gospels, Jesus indicated signs by which one we might know the end is near. In particular, these are found in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Our Lord even said: “So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Luke 21:31) So Our Lord wanted us to be prepared when the time came: “Wherefore be you also ready, because at what hour you know not the Son of man will come.” (Matthew 24:44) Those signs given to us to know the end is near include false messiahs and antichrists, wars, earthquakes, pestilences, famines, signs in the heavens, and persecution of Christians. Saint Paul also speaks of a mass apostasy before the time of the Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4).

You could argue that all of those things (except the Antichrist) have happened at some point during the last 2,000 years in one form or another. However, it is fairly clear from those prophecies, and others given to various visionaries, that things will become more intense as we near the end. Some even point to a “Minor Chastisement” and a “Major Chastisement.” History tends to run in cycles, since every generation must learn from experience. The Major Chastisement will occur during the final cycle of history – during the three-and-one-half-year reign of Antichrist – and the Minor Chastisement comes during the cycle before that. It appears from a reading of the prophecies that we are currently in the middle of the Minor Chastisement.

For many people, the church lockdowns during the COVID-19 crisis brought to mind the warnings of the abomination of desolation in the book of Daniel: “… and shall take away the continual sacrifice [of the Mass], and they shall place there the abomination unto desolation.” (Daniel 11:31) The Pachamama idolatry that took place in the Vatican immediately preceded the lockdowns. It was as though this idol worship compelled God to place an interdict on most of the world. From the perspective of faith, this line of thinking is certainly understandable.

Additionally, the “mark of the beast” spoken about in the Apocalypse, without which “no man might buy or sell,” sounds disturbingly similar to the COVID vaccination – and soon to be followed by vaccination passports – being foisted on most of the world. This seems to be a pretty good dress rehearsal for the reign of Antichrist.

The German visionary Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (d. 1824) had several visions which appear to correlate to the times we are in now:

May 13, 1820:

“I saw in all places Catholics oppressed, annoyed, restricted, and deprived of liberty; churches were closed; and great misery prevailed everywhere with war and bloodshed. I saw rude, ignorant people offering violent resistance, but this state of things lasted not long. Again, I saw in vision St. Peter’s undermined according to a plan devised by the secret sect while, at the same time, it was damaged by storms; but it was delivered at the moment of greatest distress. Again, I saw the Blessed Virgin extending Her mantle over it.”

August 25, 1822:

“She [Our Lady] said that great tribulations were at hand; that the people must pray earnestly with extended arms, if only for the length of three Our Fathers, for it was thus that Her Son had prayed for them upon the Cross; that they should rise at midnight to pray thus; that they should continue to come to Her church which they would always find open; and that they should, above all, pray for the extirpation of the dark church.”

The end of the current cycle of history and the peak of the Minor Chastisement appears to occur during the Three Days of Darkness. Various visionaries have spoken about that event. It is said to occur at the peak of a crisis. French visionary and stigmatist Marie-Julie Jahenny (d. 1941) had extensive revelations about it. She said at the peak of the crisis: “… there will not remain any vestige of the Holy Sacrifice, no apparent trace of faith. Confusion will be everywhere.”

Marie-Julie Jahenny said that there would be a period of two days of darkness, 37 days before the Three Days of Darkness. There would also be one day of darkness and a partial day of darkness before that. So, we will have some warning. Additionally, she said that the Three Days of Darkness would occur on a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. 

These prophecies are, of course, not infallible. With every prophecy there is also the problem of proper interpretation. However, following our maxim from above – forewarned is forearmed – it can be very helpful for more people to be aware of these warnings. After all, such days will not only be times of terrible chastisements, but also times when great graces will be available. Thus, these terrible days may be opportune times of conversion for those who have been made aware of these prophecies beforehand. 

A period of 100 years figures prominently in several apparitions, visions and scriptural events.[1] Through St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, Our Lord requested the French King to consecrate France to His Sacred Heart. It was never publicly done and the French monarchy fell 100 years later. Pope Leo XIII had a vision in which satan was given 100 years to destroy the Church. Melanie of La Salette wrote that certain events were said by Our Lady to occur within a 100-year period: “That time is not far away, twice 50 years will not go by.”

A prophecy of Melanie published in 1879 stated: “And then Jesus Christ, in an act of His justice and His great mercy, will command His Angels to have all His enemies put to death. Suddenly, the persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all those given over to sin will perish and the earth will become desert-like. And then peace will be made, and man will be reconciled with God.” That sounds a lot like the Three Days of Darkness followed by the Era of Peace.

The Consecration of Russia was requested by Our Lady of Fatima on June 13, 1929.  One hundred years after that is June 13, 2029. That is only eight years away; 2912 days to be precise. It is interesting that June 13 occurs on a Wednesday in both 1917, the year of the Fatima apparitions, and in 2029. That means the following three days are a Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the weekdays that the Three Days of Darkness are said to occur. Coincidence? Time will tell.

Blessed Elizabeth Canori Mora (d. 1825) also had visions of a crisis in the Church. At the peak of the crisis she said there would be two popes. The true Pope would be forced to leave Rome and would be murdered in exile, leaving the Church without a head. Shortly after that time, the chastisement – likely the Three Days of Darkness – would be sent to eliminate the enemies of God. The minority of mankind who were left would then be led by a pope, born near Rome, appointed by St. Peter himself, and known as “Peter the Roman.” That is also the phrase given to the last pope to reign before the end of the world in the prophecy of St. Malachy.

If the prophecies are correct, there seem to be no more “normal” times left in the history of the world. Rather, we will be living in “interesting” times from here on out.

[1] For more on this concept of one hundred years, we invite you to read the article “Fatima and the One-Hundred Year Time Limit” by Marianna Bartold, in the most recent Fatima Crusader (Issue 127, Summer 2021).