Feast of the Assumption – Ann Barnhardt Explains Using History, Tradition, Science and Even a Little Scripture

Today, August 15th, is a very important feast day among Catholics and Orthodox faiths, and even though we are not a strictly Catholic or Orthodox blog, Ann Barnhardt wrote up such an interesting explanation of the dogma of the Assumption, that I thought it would be appropriate to reproduce it here, since we have the same blanket permission to do so that she has given everyone.  Not all Christians (nor all of the community here) believe in the Assumption of Mary, and, in particular, it is one of the beliefs that divides Protestants and the Catholic/Orthodox.  Protestants generally hold to the concept of Sola Scriptura, which requires that all important truth be derivable more or less directly from Holy Scripture, and so, most Protestant denominations hold the dogma of the Assumption to be unscriptural – an accusation that is fairly understandable, given Sola Scriptura.  Catholics and Orthodox do not, however, hold to Sola Scriptura but believe that truth is derived from four principal sources(if memory serves): Holy Scripture, Holy Tradition (the practice of the Mass, for example), the Magisterium (writings of the Church Fathers and the apostolic leadership of the church hierarchy) and personal revelation (activity of the Holy Spirit in one’s life, miraculous intervention, etc.).  Ann, as you can tell, writes from the Catholic perspective.

THE SCIENCE UNDERPINNING THE ASSUMPTION
by Ann Barnhardt

What a delightful play on words that title is.

The Assumption is the Dogma that the Blessed Virgin Mary was assumed BODY and SOUL into heaven at the end of her life. The archaeological record is one of the most compelling confirmations of this truth. The veneration of burial places, tombs and relics of dead saints is universal and consistent in the early Church and has carried right through to this day. Everyone knows where St. Peter is buried, and the relics of St. Paul and the other apostles and saints, even recent saints like St. Bernadette are venerated and in some cases spread all over the earth. Almost every Catholic Church contains the relics of multiple saints.

But one saint has NEVER had any location venerated as her burial place, nor have there ever been any relics purported to be part of her body. Never. Who is this person whom everyone has always agreed has no earthly tomb and for whom there are no earthly relics? Only the second-most-important person to ever walk the earth, and THE most important person who was NOT God Incarnate: The Blessed Virgin Mary.

The reason why she has no tomb and no relics is because at the end of her life (the Church is not sure whether or not she actually died, and so that question is intentionally left open) Our Lord immediately granted to her the promise made to all Christians of the resurrection and heaven, BODY AND SOUL. So, there are two physical human bodies in heaven right now: Our Lord and His Mother. We don’t know exactly how to explain this, but I suspect that it has something to do with temporal or dimensional phase shifting, as Our Lord walked through walls, doors and other solid objects after the Resurrection (John 20:19). As Einstein discovered, mass and energy are equivalent, and thus can phase back and forth. We also know from the Mass itself that while we experience time in a linear continuum, God is in no way constrained by linear time, and can manipulate, bend and intersect points in time. How? Oh, no clue. There is so much about physics that we don’t understand. But hey, that’s all part of the fun of the mystery, right?

Only after the Second Coming and the Judgment will the rest of the Church be reunited to their resurrected (for those who have died) or glorified (for those who are alive at the Second Coming and Judgment) bodies, to be united to the Trinity, dwelling inside the Beatific Vision forever. But Mary is already there. She has already been ASSUMED into heaven, and is the proof of God’s promise of what lies in store for those who die in the Church, in friendship with Christ. And today, August 15th, is the Feast of the Assumption. This is a Holy Day of Obligation, which means that all Christians are required to attend Mass just as if it was a Sunday. So, what better time to talk about and explain the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, and the science that underpins both dogmas.

First, the Immaculate Conception. This doctrine and non-negotiable tenet of Christianity teaches that Mary was, by the grace of God, prevented from carrying the stain of Original Sin from the moment of her conception. This is a deal-breaker. If you do not believe this, then you are not a Christian, because the logical consequences of denying the Immaculate Conception inevitably leads to denying the Incarnation and Divinity of Jesus Christ Himself. If you deny the Incarnation and the Divinity of Christ by denying the logical antecedent of the Immaculate Conception, you are NOT Christian. You are a quasi-Christian neo-pagan. Welcome to the New Evangelization. No more boot-licking of Protestant-pagan heresies and calling it “ecumenism”.

Mary was saved from sin by her Son, like all of the other faithful, it is just that the timing of her salvation was different from everyone else. This is why Mary, sinless though she is, still calls God “my Savior” in her Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55. Instead of letting Mary fall in the mud puddle of sin like the rest of us, God stuck out His Arm back through time from the Cross and kept her from falling in the mud puddle – but if it wasn’t for God’s positive action of reaching out across time from the Cross and holding her from falling, she would have fallen. This is called “grace”, and is what the Angel Gabriel was referring to when he greeted Mary at the Annunciation with the words, “Hail! Full of grace! The LORD is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.” Luke 1:28 Full of grace means FULL. OF. GRACE. How full is full? Full is totally full. To the brim. Full does not mean half-full or mostly-full. Full means full. Mary was FULL OF GRACE.

And because Mary was FULL of grace, there was absolutely no room for sin. Mary didn’t sin because God her Savior had filled her with grace and therefore she just COULDN’T sin. Most of us reading this have a tiny taste of what this is like. For example, I’m guessing that everyone reading this would be incapable of killing a baby. We just COULDN’T do it. No matter what threat was made against us, no matter what the adverse consequences to our own lives might be, we would take any adverse consequence before killing a baby. We are simply incapable of performing that act. Why? What is that internal force of energy that prevents us from committing acts of evil even when under intense duress and threat? It is grace. Pure and simple.

Sadly, most of us have a little grace, but are not in any way FULL of grace. I am personally much closer to being full of crap than of grace (which many of you have already pointed out to me – thank you very much), hence the daily, persistent, repeated sinning on my part. And I suspect it is a similar situation with you, dear reader, with the grace-to-crap ratio being much higher for you than for me. I really am quite full of crap. With Mary there was no crap because God her Savior had FILLED her with grace, and thus there was no room for crap, and thus there was no sin. It’s really just 2nd grade math if you think about it. But WHY? Why was it essential for Mary to be sinless and sinless from the moment of her conception? That’s where the science comes in.

There are two phases to Mary’s existence. The first phase was from the moment of her conception until the Annunciation, which is when Jesus was conceived in her womb. The second phase was from that moment of Jesus’ conception forward for all eternity. Each phase has its own physiological delight attached to it which required Mary to be a sinless vessel for Our Lord.

First, the pre-Annunciation period. As it has been discovered just within the last few decades, all baby girls have all of the eggs that are ever going to be in their ovaries fully formed not just at birth, but fairly early in their fetal development phase. Unlike men who are continuously producing new sperm, a woman’s eggs aren’t created and formed with each menstrual cycle. All that is happening during a cycle is that an egg, which has been fully formed in a woman’s body since she was a pre-born fetus, is released into the reproductive tract. What this means theologically is that the egg containing the 23 chromosomes that God would miraculously fertilize with 23 chromosomes that He miraculously supplied (including a Y chromosome) to become the Word Made Flesh, Jesus Christ, was physically present inside Mary’s body from the time that Mary was inside of her mother’s womb. That egg, and those chromosomes, that physical constituent of Our Blessed Lord was present inside of Mary’s body, waiting to be . . . if I may use the word . . . consecrated. The word consecrate, when broken into its Latin components means:

Con: With
Secr: Holy
Ate: Territory of a Ruler

And so, Mary was, from the time she was inside St. Anne’s womb, already carrying a portion of Our Lord’s physicality, namely 23 of His chromosomes. And thus Mary was, from her very beginning, already a proto-tabernacle, already the Ark of the New Covenant, carrying within her what would be consecrated into The Law Incarnate, The High Priest, and The Bread of Life – just like the Old Ark, except perfected and fully fulfilled as God Incarnate. And as we know from the book of Exodus, the Old Ark had to be “perfect”. And thus, the Ark of the New Covenant was TRULY perfect, except this perfection was a perfection that only God Himself could accomplish: the perfection of Mary, full of grace and thus saved from all sin.

The second phase is actually broken into two sub-phases. The first sub-phase is when Mary was pregnant with Jesus and His entire body was inside of hers.

The second phase is that phase from the time of Jesus’ birth forward into all eternity. Jesus is STILL physically inside of Mary in a unique way. It was discovered just a few short years ago that immune cells pass from a pre-born child to the mother across the placenta. Not only do these immune cells, which are the child’s and thus carry the exclusive and complete DNA of the child, pass across the placenta, but they persist in the mother’s body for the rest of her life. A woman who has carried a son has immune cells with Y-chromosomes in her bloodstream that can now be filtered out of her blood and observed. Female children also pass cells to their mothers.

Thus, a woman truly does carry her children around inside of her, with their DNA coursing through her heart, for the rest of her life. That isn’t just a sentiment – it is a physiological fact.

Thus, Mary continued and continues to this day to be a perpetual, living physical tabernacle of her Son, as she carries cells with His DNA in her bloodstream. And so now we see why Mary was and had to be filled with grace and thus saved from the stain of sin from the moment of her conception eternally forward – because she was and is a perpetual Ark of the New Covenant.

This also explains why Mary’s body was assumed into heaven immediately at the end of her earthly life, because her body literally contained living cells of Our Lord and thus her body could not remain on earth in physical death to decay in any way.

She simply was afforded the same physical resurrection that all of the faithful will receive, albeit instantaneously for her, given her very special state, both spiritually and physically. This is what is doctrinally referred to as “The Assumption”.

Finally, if you are a quasi-Christian Protestant-pagan reading this and it has made you the least bit angry, you need to sit down and ask yourself one excruciatingly simple question: WHY?

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

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About GruntOfMonteCristo

Fearless and Devout Catholic Christian First, Loving Husband and Father Second, Pissed-Off Patriot Third, Rocket Engineer Dork Last.
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32 Responses to Feast of the Assumption – Ann Barnhardt Explains Using History, Tradition, Science and Even a Little Scripture

  1. ZurichMike says:

    I was raised Catholic, but, since my trips to Romania, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, and George, have become more of an Orthodox Christian in belief. From what I have read at home in Orthodox literature and online at Orthodox sites, here is the Orthodox view on this subject:

    Orthodox Christians have a different concept of original sin, namely, that we as humans share the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin (expulsion from paradise), not the guilt of the sin itself (disobedience to God). The results of being expelled from paradise for their sin was becoming mortal. Accordingly, Mary, being human, could not be born “without sin” (i.e., immortal). And it it makes rational and spiritual sense for Christ’s dual human-divine being that he had one human and one divine parent. Accordingly, Orthodox Christians do not celebrate the immaculate conception, as the Mother could not be superior to the Son who underwent death.

    However, the Orthodox venerate Mary as the Theotokos — the God-bearer. Orthodox believe that she died a natural death, her soul was received by Christ, and then her body was resurrected from her death (sleep) on the third day and taken to heaven. This is why the feast is called the “Feast of the Dormition” (the sleeping). Catholics used to believe that she was assumed to heaven as soon as she drew her last breath (and hence never died); however, Pope John Paul II stated that she had to die a natural death.

    There is a Basilica of the Dormition in Jerusalem built on the spot where she is said to have died.

    In addition to the angel’s greeting of Mary “Hail, full of grace!” — Orthodox believe that Mary is accorded a station in heaven higher than all the angels, even the seraphim.

    ZurichMike is very devoted to the Blessed Mother, who has provided protection to my own mother in a time of grave despair, and to me when I doubted the most. As a tribute, ZurichMike has a gorgeous lithograph of Our Lady of Guadalupe in his bedroom and a small icon of her in the house altar beneath a terracotta crucifix copied from the one belonging to St. Meinrad, who founded the abbey in Einsiedeln, Switzerland.

    Lastly here is a very moving chant “O Virgin Pure” (Agni Parthene). It is so beautiful it makes me weep every time I listen to it:

    • Shalini says:

      Orthodox Christians have a different concept of original sin, namely, that we as humans share the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin (expulsion from paradise), not the guilt of the sin itself (disobedience to God). The results of being expelled from paradise for their sin was becoming mortal. Accordingly, Mary, being human, could not be born “without sin” (i.e., immortal). And it it makes rational and spiritual sense for Christ’s dual human-divine being that he had one human and one divine parent. Accordingly, Orthodox Christians do not celebrate the immaculate conception, as the Mother could not be superior to the Son who underwent death.

      I, obviously being Catholic, believe in the Catholic dogma of Immaculate conception and Assumption. My catechism of Catholic dogma actually came from my parents even though I went to a Catholic school and attended Sunday school early on. (IMO, those Patrician brothers and Bon Secours Nuns weren’t that enlightening in their teachings.) I have always been taught that Mary did die, as you say because the Mother cannot be superior to the Son, but was taken up to Heaven body and soul, immediately after her death. Raising His handmade from the dead anytime wouldn’t be that troublesome to Him. But her death doesn’t nullify the dogma of Immaculate Conception. If you look into the punishment God meted out to all the parties involved in the Garden of Eden, you’d see that to the woman He mentioned the pain of childbirth. That is what Mary didn’t have to go through (Physically) because of her immaculate conception. Her labour came later, of course. Christ’s passion was her labour. And death after Christ’s salvation isn’t exactly what it used to be before He came down to save us. It isn’t the doom that it was before. Now it’s just a passage from this earthly life to Christ’s gift of eternal life, if we believe in Him.

      Christ IS fully divine and fully human. Mary’s immaculate conception does not make her not human just like Christ’s divinity did not underwhelm His humanity. As Mary herself says, she is the handmade of the Lord. She was specifically created for the express purpose of being the Mother of the Savior. He created her full of grace and He created her perfectly. God designed our salvation from the very beginning and He mentions how He’s going to do it immediately after the serpent tempted our first parents into sinning against God.

      And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. – Genesis 3:15

      Our Lady and her role in the salvation had already been conceived in God’s mind. And this woman clearly had to born without sin. She is the Ark of the New covenant and nothing but the perfection would do. This woman and her role is salvation is also mentioned in the book of Revelation (The Woman and the Dragon).

      There is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time, The Poem of Man-God. I’ve read few chapters here and there but I’ve never managed to find the time to read all the 5 published volumes. But my mother has read all the 5 volumes and she used to discuss it with me. These books detail the visions shown to Maria Valtorta, chronicling from right before Mary’s birth to right after Mary’s assumption. A lot of people might be skeptical, which is fine, but I personally choose to believe. Added bonus to me is that Mother Mary herself allegedly recommends us to read this book in her apparitions in Medjugorje. Why I mention this book is that when you read it you’ll know that though it does details incidents which are not mentioned in the Bible, there are actually clues in the Bible for few of those mentioned. For instance, the birth of Mary. In Maria Valtorta’s visions, she sees that when Anna was going through the labour of childbirth, there was heavy rain with thunder and lightening and when Mary was born there was a huge lightening which struck a nearby tree which led a neighbour to remark to Joachim that something must have happened to make Satan very angry.

      And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. – Revelation 11:19

      This passage is followed by the passage about the passage of “The Woman and the Dragon”. I just had to connect the dots.

      Sometimes the rational mind might find it hard to accept these teachings but it all comes down to the fact that though God doesn’t condemn reason, there’s a reason some of these teachings are the mysteries of faith. There are things beyond human understanding and as a friend of mine jokingly said, “If we can understand God completely what kind of God would be?”. Just like the Holy Eucharist is quite hard for some people to digest (no pun intended!!), the simple reality is that there is nothing God cannot do. He being not just our Saviour but also the Architect of that salvation, it isn’t too hard to believe how perfectly He designed that salvation.

      In the end, I know it always comes down Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant interpretation. So I am not really trying to convince anyone here and as my parents would say that the Bible isn’t really for debate. These are just my understandings and beliefs based on what I have been taught and what I have personally experienced in seeking to know Christ. I am just another person who finds great comfort in our Blessed Mother and thankful to God for giving her to us.

      • barnslayer says:

        I will preface by stating I am a Protestant (Baptist). I acknowledge the variations of interpretation/versions of the Bible. (We will have to agree to disagree on the above. We can debate but it would only show how we disagree. It will not prove either correct.) Likewise there exists a wide variety of Christians. My question is… as long as all Christians believe the Holy Trinity and that the Bible is God’s word (and thus the truth) isn’t that enough?

        • Shalini says:

          It is. It is and should be enough. At the end of the day the main focus of Christianity is this:

          For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

          – John 3:16

        • Good question, Barn. My answer is that I don’t know whether it’s enough. Let me first say that I only posted Ann’s piece because it might help to explain some of the things that we disagree on. I’m uncomfortable with her “in your face” approach to evangelization. Some of the “You’re not a Christian unless…” troubles me, and probably insults you. I apologize for that. Converts can be a little intense, sometimes, I guess. Ol’ “Crazy Eyes Ann” probably wouldn’t disagree with that. 😉

          But I don’t think it’s a bad discussion to have, even if we agree to disagree. One thing I might ask you in return is whether those 2 things (Trinity and Bible) were sufficient for the early disciples? Christ’s early followers were Christians because they followed HIM, nothing more. There was no Bible then, and no firm concept of Trinity. They knew the Father, but they were still trying to get their heads around the concept of Jesus being One with the Father, and this whole Paraclete/Holy Spirit thing must have been confusing as well. But they had him. And after he was taken away, they had the Twelve. It’s my understanding from reading what those disciples in the first few hundred years wrote, that the Bishops and clergy, ordained in apostolic succession, led the church from that time forward, held councils at which the concepts like the Trinity and the collection of inspired scripture were judged and enshrined. It was only after that time that they even had the luxury of having scripture to rely upon. Even then, they needed a consensus in how to interpret it. After all, it doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that the written word is sufficient. In fact, it says otherwise, in 1 Timothy 3:15, where Paul says that our “pillar of truth” is “the church.” But how much must we depend on the church (however we define it) to be legitimately Christian? That, I don’t know. Personally, I don’t think it’s enough to rely on The Book alone. But that’s something we all have to figure out.

          • Shalini says:

            I didn’t think that Barn meant that ‘Sola Scriptura’ should be enough. I think he simply meant that believing the Bible is God’s word should be enough which doesn’t naturally follow ‘Sola Scriptura’. Believing in Christ’s divinity and the Salvation IS the most essential part of Christianity. If you rely on the Book it is isn’t difficult to understand the concept of Sacred Tradition and Magisterium, actually!

            • barnslayer says:

              Shalini, that’s right. The Bible is all that’s needed (in my opinion). I view all else as mans attempt to elaborate on the Bible. Coming from man, it may be accurate, wrong or anything in between. Even If one reads the same passage from different versions of the Bible itself you get many shades of meaning.

              • Oh, I agree with both of you that you can find all you need in the Bible to get you to where you know Christ and can be saved. But I resist the notion that we should reject everything else we have available to us. After all, somebody had to tell you that the Bible was inspired by God and that you should read it. Who was that? A friend? He was acting in the role of “church,” and that’s an essential role in salvation, right? A whole bunch of ordinary guys back in the day, from Turkey and North Africa and Greece and Italy and Palestine gathered together the known written accounts of the Apostles and the Hebrew Scriptures and decided, through prayer and discernment and discussion, which should be included in the “essential” canon of scripture and which should be left out. They certainly performed an essential church role. Those men did not intend, and you can verify this by reading their writings which still exist, for that scripture to be hermetically sealed and dropped on people’s doorsteps by storks. It was to be used in the context of a church with sacraments for conveying grace and rich traditions for aiding in understanding the mind of God so that we will not be confused when we encounter things, like stem cell research, which appears nowhere in the Bible.

                My point is that if you read Christian writings from before the canon was closed around the mid 4th century, they focus on other things being important, such as the sacrament of the Eucharist. Did men just make that up and “add to the Bible?” No, the Bible didn’t really exist yet. There are sacred traditions, establish by Christ and propagated by the apostles, that were in place before the written New Testament existed in one place or held any value. I think those should be considered as having value; that’s all.

              • barnslayer says:

                Until I get the Bible down pat there’s no sense in my looking for more to learn or understand.

          • barnslayer says:

            Grunt, no apologies needed. I accept that the different segments of Christianity have varied beliefs. I’m comfortable in what I believe.

      • Knight4GFC says:

        Very good Shalini! Like!!! 🙂
        “Sometimes the rational mind might find it hard to accept these teachings but it all comes down to the fact that though God doesn’t condemn reason, there’s a reason some of these teachings are the mysteries of faith. There are things beyond human understanding”… This is where faith comes in! There would be no faith if you knew everything.

    • Bob says:

      ZMike, thanks so much for posting that lovely chant. I had never heard that before. It is hauntingly beautiful.

      I was raised Evangelical Protestant, but throughout my childhood I suffered from a bad case of Catholic envy. I became an Anglican as an adult, as it seemed the best of the options available to me, largely because I didn’t have the courage to go full Catholic. But I have a special fondness for Eastern Orthodox sacred music; it has an ethereal beauty that stirs the spirit in a way that almost nothing else does.

  2. Knight4GFC says:

    Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich was a mystic. Her visions offer great insight in this matter. Her’s supported the traditional teachings of the CC with a very good understanding of the mysticism that surrounded the Immaculate Conception etc…

    Those who read about her visions, which were fantastic, must remember that all may not be or may be as it was exactly in her visions. Her visions were allegorical. It does not matter one way or the other though. What God had given her to see and share, gives us (the reader) a great insight into “why” and how much love God has for His people.

  3. Aussie says:

    Anne did a really good job explaining the doctrine behind the Assumption, but I still think that something is missing, namely the historic reasons as to why this feast was declared in the first place.

    What most people who argue against the Assumption forget is that the doctrine is NOT about Mary, but is in fact about Our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Why then is this doctrine necessary? The usual reason for such a doctrine and declaration happens to be to squash some heresy that has become popular. One can look to the history of the Church to see how and when each doctrine has been declared.

    The Immaculate Conception is another of those doctrines, and again it is not about Mary, but about Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Why is it necessary to observe that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin? I think that there are responses above that answer the question adequately – it is because Mary is the “Ark of the Covenant”. Jesus is the New Covenant in His Blood. This is of course the doctrine of Theotokas which is not just Orthodox but is Catholic (a doctrine held by East and West) because Mary is the God-bearer.

    Like Shalini I have read Poem of the Man God, and quite frankly I think it is quite profound but if people want to reject such writing, then that is fine by me. I have read the 5 volumes almost twice (I am still on volume 5 – that is another story, like we moved!!). I learned a few things from that particular source, but I have also learned from Church theologians. There is in fact a reference to the Assumption in Scripture and it is in the Book of Revelation. Shalini almost mentioned the correct passage when she wrote about the thunder and lightning, but it is after that verse, where John describes the woman “Clothed with the sun and the stars around her head” (not the exact quote because my Bible is not in front of me).

    Mary was created by God as a thought back in time – in the Garden of Eden, when he promised the woman, whose seed would crush the head of the seed of Satan. (Genesis 3:14, I think). It was from that point in time that Mary was “saved” by God so that she was granted the gift of grace that was lost by Adam and Eve. It was grace that Adam and Eve lost when they disobeyed God, and it is that loss of grace that we inherited when we were born. However, it is through Baptism that we are washed from the stain of that original sin, and that we receive God’s grace. Grace is that gift that was given in abundance to Mary so that she was never tempted to sin. We, on the other hand continue to sin, despite the fact that we have been baptised.

    • Knight4GFC says:

      Very well said! I could’nt agree with you more.

    • Thanks for this, Aussie. I also love the reference from Revelations about the woman “clothed with the sun and the stars around her head.” I like the way she has identified herself in her apparitions, such as Our Lady of Guadalupe, where she is clearly the woman from Revelations. With the moon under her feet, and all that. I wonder sometimes if she and St. John haven’t already told us how Islam will be converted by this symbolism. The symbolism of Guadalupe chiefly spoke to the Aztecs, but the “moon under her feet” might also apply to the pagan moon god of the muslims. Since Allah is the name of the arab moon god in antiquity. Mary is also a figure that Muslims respect. Perhaps she’ll have a hand in their conversion before the end.

      • Knight4GFC says:

        THAT… would truly be a GREAT miracle!

      • Aussie says:

        I am not sure that is the actual meaning of the “woman clothed with the sun” because Islam did not exist and Allah is also a name for God that is used by Arabic Christians. I am not certain about the moon god reference to Allah.

        That being said, I am convinced that the end of the world is a long way off, because we have not reached the point of being able to convert these people from their Islamic heresy.

        In my view the Scripture should not be interpreted literally, especially where present day events are concerned. The Book of Revelation in my view is one that explained events in the time of St. John and is based on a certain writing style – hence the name Apocalypse. The book describes in detail the birth and death of Jesus, as well as the suffering undertaken by the early Christians under the pagan Roman emperors. St. John was in exil on Patmos Island at the time he wrote the Book of Revelation. It is meant to be a book of comfort. Does it have any relevance to what is happening now? Yes it does but not so much in the form of prophecy as interpreted by individuals in our present day.

        As it stands, things like the “Beast” etc. are in fact explained as events that occurred during the lifetime of St. John, including the destruction of Jerusalem. However, there is always the fact that history repeats itself and this is where such writings have some relevance when we look to them to draw something out of what is happening to us today.

        • Knight4GFC says:

          “That being said, I am convinced that the end of the world is a long way off, because we have not reached the point of being able to convert these people from their Islamic heresy.” I am not so sure about that. But then again, what is a “long way off”? 50 yrs? 100 yrs? 200 yrs? 400? I do know this from Matthew 24:6-8, “[6] And you shall hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that ye be not troubled. For these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. [7] For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in places: [8] Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows…”

          And then, Matthew 24:15-30, “[15] When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth let him understand.

          [16] Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains: [17] And he that is on the housetop, let him not come down to take any thing out of his house: [18] And he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat. [19] And woe to them that are with child, and that give suck in those days. [20] But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the sabbath.

          [21] For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. [22] And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened. [23] Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him. [24] For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. [25] Behold I have told it to you, beforehand.

          [26] If therefore they shall say to you: Behold he is in the desert, go ye not out: Behold he is in the closets, believe it not. [27] For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be. [28] Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together. [29] And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven shall be moved: [30] And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty”

          “When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place”. What exactly is this? What is the Holy Place? When this happens, then the end is at hand. I believe we are living IN the “end times”. Also, look at the accurate prophecies of St. Malachi, who, in my opinion, accurately prophesied the CC’s Popes up till now. How many are left? It would appear that we are near don’t you think?

        • Aussie, I agree with you that much of Revelations had to do with the past, with the “Beast” being Nero and so forth. Attempts to project St. John’s visions into the present day are perilous, and have often been used simply as a way to grind axes against enemies, such as the “Whore of Babylon” nonsense. I think you mistake my intent. I was not intending to predict the future. I was only observing that the Virgin has a way of using the Revelations imagery to show her hand in places, such as the conversion of the Aztec peoples, and that she may have provided a similar hint in the moon symbolism. That’s all. As for how much time we have, I must agree with Knight that we are almost certainly in the end times. Not because of Revelations, but because of other prophesy. We can never know the hour or the day, of course, but as Knight says, St. Malachi’s list of Popes is pretty scary-accurate, even with the reference to Pope Benedict XVI. And he lists only one more before the end. In any event, it doesn’t hurt to be ready, since it “could” be tomorrow. I admit that you have a good point about there appearing to be a lot that must surely happen yet, so it’s tempting to think that it must be a long way off. I just have a sense that in the real world, sweeping events have a way of happening in very little time, so one never knows. 😉

          • Aussie says:

            Eschatology is not something that many will face. In fact within the past year I was furious with my former Parish Priest because he actually omitted a Sunday reading because it allegedly covered the subject of eschatology.

            The “end times” can have multiple meanings. I am not a follower of St. Malachi or many of those other individuals because I have always taken the position that what was said in the past is open to the interpretation of others. Nostradamus is a clear example where his writings have been distorted and are out of all proportion to the reality of Nostradamus (France was at war with England when he was writing).

            Also, the word prophesy is a bit of a misnomer. The Biblical meaning of prophesy was not to predict the future but was an interpretation of current events, although future events were also within the writings. I point to the Book of Isaiah as an example in this regard, as well as the Book of Psalms. In these Books we can point to that which pertained to a future event – the coming of Jesus Christ. The question is: can there be other “prophesies”? I prefer to look to the Old Testament as a means of interpreting what is happening around us, in particular in the Middle East.

            I think that it is within Isaiah that one can look back on the past history of war within the Middle East and see it as setting up events as they are unfolding right now.

            Egypt was an enemy of Israel. The Egyptian king held the Hebrew as slaves in Goshan and refused to let them go. In Isaiah you will see the prophet advising against making an alliance with Egypt. Syria is clearly mentioned in the Bible since Damascus was also an enemy of the Hebrew – look to the Books of the Maccabees for a clue about Syria because Antiochus who was so malicious towards the Jews came from Syria. Iran is Persia – need I say more? As for Iraq, I think the answer lies with the stories surrounding Babylon and it was the Babylonians who took the people into captivity when Jerusalem was sacked.

            These were not Muslims – never were they Muslims until the 6th Century AD. They were the enemies of the Hebrew because of their paganism.

            The Palestinians were also not in existence at the time, at least not until the old kingdom of Israel was sacked and the people carried off to the Diaspora, with a new people sent to inhabit those same towns. In other words, the Palestinians have no clear claim to the region.

            We have no clear way of knowing when the End of the World will take place. It could be millions of years from now, or it could be a few hundred years. What we do know is that an end of an era is coming to a close.

            This has happened in the past. We saw the rise and fall of the Greek and Roman Empires, followed by a period where no set country has in fact dominated over the rest of the world.

            If Christianity is the work of God, then it will not be allowed to die, although it is possible that Christians might have to undergo more persecution at the hands of the enemy of God. However, just like in the past when Christianity triumphed against the pagans, and there were mass conversions to the Christian faith, this will almost certainly happen again.

            We are going through a tough time because Atheism has been on the rise. Atheism itself really does appear to be the work of the Evil One. One could say the same about Islam but I hesitate to make such statements because there are Muslims who really do try to find the One True God… BUT there are evil people such as the late Osama Bin Laden and Anwar al-Awlaki to consider (and they are the tip of the iceberg).

            Our western society has been in decay for a very long time. Some of that decay was also present within the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus Christ. (this is where I found Poem of the Man God to be very helpful in understanding the times in which Jesus lived). The decay I refer to is what we are witnessing with the attacks on the institution of marriage, as well as abortion on demand, euthanasia on demand etc. etc. Each new discovery seems to lead to something that is more evil than the last discovery. The pagan Romans not only indulged in homosexuality but also in the rape of young girls as well as orgies. We are in fact seeing a rise in orgies, the rape of young girls (have you read Ulsterman on 50 Shades of Grey – it is an eye opener).

            At the same time we have Iran being controlled by people who believe in their own version of Armageddon. I am not over-looking the possibility that this in itself is a very dangerous situation. Khamenei (I call him the Grand PoohBah) is an extremely evil individual, and Ahmahnut job is also extremely evil. Both believe that some boy who fell down a well hundreds of years ago is going to return. It is poppycock of course, but they are trying to hasten his return, hence their desire to cause Armageddon.

            These are dangerous times but does it really signify the end of the world is nigh? Or does it simply signify an end of an era where we have this madness that is Communism and Socialism surrounding us?

            • Knight4GFC says:

              One must simply ask: “What exactly is the end?” I think the the “end” is more like the end of an era as you say. Or the end of the “world” as we know it. The face of creation may change and this may constitute as the “end”. The “end” to what we know and how we know existence to be. Confusing! 🙂
              BUT, what we can take is the words of Christ from scripture. What I posted above on what Christ said about the “end” times is something we should all take as Truth. After all, Jesus did say He warned us before hand! “Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour”. As Grunt said above, it doesn’t hurt to be ready, since it could be tomorrow! “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”

              • Aussie says:

                Being ready means being in good standing with God. How can we do that? By doing all that we can to live good lives and be full of the grace that God has bestowed upon us. That is all that is necessary.

                We also need to be prepared to meet our maker because at some future time we will die, as in our time on this earth will come to an end. What we do not want is to also die a spiritual death.

              • Knight4GFC says:

                In reply to Aussie:

                Amen! What you say is true! 🙂

  4. Coyote says:

    I wished I understood everything that you all are talking about.
    I have the Ten Commandments understood, and I thought I got it.
    But this is beyond anything I got on Sundays.
    Maybe I should have stuck around for Bible Studies.

    You know when Sarge growls “Move Out!” and you are pretty certain, or at least hope you’ve packed everything in your ruck?

    Yeah, well…I feel like I have spiritually left or forgotten something out of mine for this “final” trip (when it happens) after reading all of this.

    • barnslayer says:

      Not to worry Coyote. Stick to the basics and you’ll be fine.

      • Right. I’m glad Barn piped in here, because that’s absolutely true. Didn’t Jesus say that there’s only 2 commandments that you have to worry about, and the 2nd is just like the first? I would say, learn enough to know just how much God loves you, and then love him back. Then everything else falls into place. If you find that you can’t love him yet, then keep at it, because that part’s really important.

        As for all the rest, Barn’s right. Don’t worry about what you don’t know. A lot has happened in the last 2000 years, and it’s good to eventually learn about it, but it’s not essential. Focus on what’s important. 😀

      • Knight4GFC says:

        Coyote, I have to agree with both Barn and Grunt. Stick to the basics. You can’t go wrong following Scripture no matter what denomination you come from. As long as you do this and are seeking to know and love Truth, all else will follow! 🙂

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