Should We Pray for the Gift of Prophecy?

It depends on whether St. Paul’s exhortation is still valid:

Pursue love, but strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, above all that you may prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1).

He was responding to reports that members of the Church in Corinth had elevated the spiritual charism of speaking in tongues at the expense of prophecy. He goes on to explain that speaking in tongues edifies the individual but prophecy is more important because it edifies the body of Christ:

Continue reading “Should We Pray for the Gift of Prophecy?”

St. Hildegard: Two Clues for Identifying the End Times

Hildegard’s Scivias (abbreviated form of the Latin for “Know the Ways of God”) records of a series of 26 visions encompassing history from creation to the final judgment. The Doctor of the Church reveals two important clues to help us recognize when the last days are unfolding.

“Fleeting Times”

Hildegard receiving and recording her visions.

When she gets to the last days, specifically the time leading up to the Antichrist she comments on the increasingly rapid nature of the passage of time:

All things that are on Earth hasten to their end, and the world droops toward its end (Book III, Vision 11, chap. 1).†

Hildegard’s world was static. In her lifetime (1098-1179) she would see no major technological developments, changing forms of governance, or social customs, etc. Yet she reveals that rapid historical development will be indicative of the last days: Continue reading “St. Hildegard: Two Clues for Identifying the End Times”

Now’s the Time to Reevaluate Catholic Prophetic Literature

A poll taken in the U.K. showed that more people believe in ghosts and UFOs than in God. While there’s a natural curiosity in the possibility of the existence of the supernatural, hence the popularity of movies like The Exorcist, it doesn’t necessarily lead people to God. St. Paul explains this curious phenomenon:

Now the natural person does not accept what pertains to the Spirit of God, for to him it is foolishness, and he cannot understand it, because it is judged spiritually. The spiritual person, however, can judge everything… (1 Cor. 2:12-15).

Continue reading “Now’s the Time to Reevaluate Catholic Prophetic Literature”

‘Office of the Angelic Order’: St. Hildegard’s Ode to Priests

The Choirs of the Blessed, Rupertsberg Manuscript

In Book III, Vision 13 from Hildegard’s Scivias (hard ‘c’, and is an abbreviation for Sci vias domini, “Know the Ways of God”), she describes a vision of heavenly choirs, “I heard the praises of the joyous citizens of Heaven”. There is a song for angels, martyrs, Mary, etc. She wrote down the words to the songs and called them the “Symphony of the Blessed”. The following is a hymn to confessors:

O ye who succeed and serve the mighty Lion,
And rule between the temple and the altar,
The angels sing praises and stand to help the peoples,
And so do you in the Lamb’s service careful.

O ye who imitate the Most Exalted,
In His most precious and glorious Sacrament!
How great is your glory, in which the power is given
To loose and bind the indolent and the straying,
to beautify white and black, and lift their burdens.
Yours too is the office of the Angelic order,
And yours is the task of knowing the firm foundations
And where to lay them, and therefore great is your honor.†

This is one of the rare places in the book where Hildegard has something nice to say about priests. By the middle of the twelfth-century the priesthood had been corrupted and was in deep need of reform. Historians generally agree that at the time most priests disregarded celibacy and were either married or supporting a concubine. They also would regard their church and attendant properties as their own personal real estate, using the land to accumulate wealth.

Hildegard would later be authorized by Pope Eugenius III as well as his successors to conduct speaking tours primarily to groups of priests, harshly condemning their behavior. From her correspondence we know that these speeches had a powerful influence and included prophesying, as her reputation as a genuine seer had spread throughout Latin Christendom.

…rjt

†Quotations taken from Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias, translated by Columba Hart and Jane Bishop. The Abbey of Regina Laudis: Benedictine Congregation Regina Laudis of the Strict Observance, Inc. Paulist Press, 1990.

St. Hildegard and The Convergence of Feast Days in 2038

A number of Catholic prophecies identify a year in which will mark the reversal of a period of persecution the Church will undergo just prior to the time of the Antichrist. The prophecies suggest that at that time the persecution will have reached an apex, and through divine intervention, the Church will be ultimately liberated. The year isn’t named but will be characterized by the following:

“When the Feast of St. Mark (April 25) shall fall on Easter, the Feast of St. Anthony (June 13) on Pentecost, and that of St. John (June 24th) on Corpus Christi, the whole world shall cry, Woe!” (Ven. Magdalene Porzat, ca. 1850).

This confluence occurred in 1943 and will occur again in 2038, and then not until 2190. What makes this prophecy intriguing is that 2038 will likely be during St. Hildegard’s era of the Grey Wolf, the conclusion of which is represented by the sudden ending of a period of persecution and a glorious new beginning for the Church.

Orval Abbey, founded 1132 AD. Destroyed during the French Revolution, later rebuilt.

A related prophecy appears in a sixteenth-century document known as the Prophecy of Orval. This is not a person but the name of a Cistercian monastery in Belgium which still exists today. A fragment of the anonymous prophecy, discovered in its archives in the mid-nineteenth century, describes the exact length of a period of God’s chastisement of His people which occurs near the time of the Antichrist: Continue reading “St. Hildegard and The Convergence of Feast Days in 2038”

Montfort on Mary’s Role in the Last Days

Statue of Montfort, St. Peter’s Basilica. Satan is holding a copy of the Treatise.

In his Treatise on True Devotion to Mary, Saint Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort included a chapter on Mary’s role in the last days which stressed the necessity of appealing to Her intercession in order to combat the forces of Satan. He wrote the work in 1712, four years before his death at 43. Curiously, it remained hidden away until 1842 when it was discovered by accident in a home for priests of the “Company of Mary” in France.

Montfort explains that in the days leading to the Antichrist, a powerful group will emerge from among the clergy which, through their devotion to Mary, will be granted special powers to fight Satan:

“But what will they be like, these servants, these slaves, these children of Mary? They will be ministers of the Lord who, like a flaming fire, will enkindle everywhere the fires of divine love. They will become, in Mary’s powerful hands, like sharp arrows, with which she will transfix her enemies” (56).

“They will be true apostles of the latter times to whom the Lord of Hosts will give eloquence and strength to work wonders and carry off glorious spoils from his enemies” (58).

“…[T]hey will be true disciples of Jesus Christ, imitating his poverty, his humility, his contempt of the world and his love. They will point out the narrow way to God in pure truth according to the holy Gospel, and not according to the maxims of the world” (59).

It is through these men that there will be major conversions to the faith: Continue reading “Montfort on Mary’s Role in the Last Days”

St. Hildegard’s ‘Five Beasts’ in a Nutshell

In 1150 St. Hildegard completed her first major work, Scivias (“Know the Ways of God”), a description of 26 highly symbolized visions that manifest the history of salvation. Soon after her death, inexplicably, Scivias and Hildegard fell into obscurity. It wasn’t until the late 20th-century that the work was rediscovered by Latin scholars looking for material for their students. The first complete English translation appeared in the 1990s.

In Book Three, Vision 11, Hildegard describes five symbolic animals as the forerunners of the Antichrist: a Fiery-Red Dog, Yellow Lion, Pale Horse, Black Pig, and Grey Wolf. She explains that each one represents individual and brief historical periods that follow each other in succession. She also reveals how each animal symbolizes a particular evil that afflicts society during the corresponding period.

In my book The Five Beasts of St. Hildegard: Prophetic Symbols of Modern Society, I start with an examination the 20th-century with the intention of seeing how historians divided it up and then how they characterized the individual eras that the divisions would unveil. It turned out that there is general agreement among them; certain years marked major social and geopolitical changes in Western society: 1914, 1945, and 1991. Continue reading “St. Hildegard’s ‘Five Beasts’ in a Nutshell”

The Celestial Phenomenon on Sept. 23 and Revelation 12

Stellarium screen shot, 9/23/2017

The following will occur in the daytime sky on Sept. 23rd:

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And being with child, she cried travailing in birth, and was in pain to be delivered” (Revelation 12:1-2).

As the sun envelopes the constellation Virgo (a virgin maiden in Greek mythology) the moon will cross beneath her feet. At the same time twelve stars will congregate just above her head, nine from the constellation Leo plus three visiting planets: Mercury, Venus, and Mars.* The planet Jupiter (mythological king), which had entered Virgo’s torso back on Dec. 1, 2016, will have just exited between her legs on Sept. 12th, 9 1/2 months later. (Recall that Jupiter’s entry into the constellation Leo represented the birth of a prince in Babylonian astrology and inspired the journey of the Magi). Continue reading “The Celestial Phenomenon on Sept. 23 and Revelation 12”

St. Hildegard’s Unsettling Vision of the Bride of Christ

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Bride of Christ, Scivias, Book III, vision 11, chapter 13

It is generally agreed that the illuminations which accompany Hildegard’s Scivias (Rupertsberg Manuscript) were either sketched and painted by her, or produced under her supervision. The image of the Church as a Bride appears periodically throughout her visionary work. In Book III, Vision 11, chap. 13, which immediately follows her description of the era of the Grey Wolf, she describes the vision that corresponds to the illumination here:

“And I saw again the figure of a woman whom I had previously seen in front of the alter that stands before the eyes of God, …but now I saw her from the waist down. And from her waist to the place that denotes the female, she had various scaly blemishes, and in that latter place was a black and monstrous head.”

The Bride who appeared in an earlier vision only from the waist up is now seen fully complete, which reflects that the last days have arrived. Importantly, Hildegard adds that by this time the Church will be “…replete with the full number of her children” (Chap. 13); it will have completed her mission of evangelization. Continue reading “St. Hildegard’s Unsettling Vision of the Bride of Christ”

Charles Johnston’s Hanging it Up

I was asked by a CNS reporter last summer in private email correspondence what I thought of Charles Johnston, the seer from Denver who has made predictions of immanent civil unrest and social collapse. Unfamiliar with him, I listened to an interview the reporter provided a link to and gave the following response (additional commentary is in brackets):

“Thanks for the link and I listened to the interview. What he said was a little vague so I looked at his site [link]. He predicts a worldwide economic collapse followed by civil wars followed by a confrontation with Islam. This is also what Hildegard predicts for the era of the grey wolf; but that’s where the similarity ends. Charlie adds that there will be a major miracle followed by a prolonged period of peace. And this is all supposed to take place in the next year and a half. [He claimed that his Guardian Angel had told him these things]. The era of the grey wolf as Hildegard described it hasn’t started yet.

Continue reading “Charles Johnston’s Hanging it Up”