At that time Michael the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise (Dan. 12:1).
As we approach the end of the liturgical year the Sacred Liturgy invites us to contemplate the mystery of the end of time. It is indeed a mystery, and the day as well as the hour remain the secret of God alone (Mk. 13:32). By this we are not to conclude that Our Lord does not know for He is true God. It simply means that it is not fitting or necessary for us to know. It is enough for us to know that our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself (Phil. 3:20-21).
What we know with certainty is that Our Lord will come again in glory. We also know that those who are prepared to receive Him will live with Him forever. It could be said that the future is decided in the present. Our worship always exhorts and guides us to consider not only this truth of Our Lord’s second coming, but all things, without exception, in light of eternity. At the heart of our Christian faith and hope is the certainty that everything is directed towards an end. This truth is found not only in Revelation but also in the Book of Nature or the natural order. There is nothing purposeless in nature. There is an order that governs creation, and not only creation. Our lives too are ordered and governed by a plan – God’s plan which has been revealed to us through Our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:9). While it may seem to us at times that life and human history especially, appear to be an unceasing struggle between good and evil, the certainty that God will reign gives us strength and hope and in this hope we were saved (Rom. 8:24).
It is in light of God’s ultimate victory that we understand the writings of the prophets and the evangelists about the end times. Their aim is to encourage us to remain steadfast in our faith and zealous in the observance of the Law of God in spite of external pressures, persecutions and the bad example of those who have fallen away. Writing to the early Christians in a time great uncertainty and persecution St. John declared: For whoever is born of God overcomes the world and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God (1 Jn. 5:4). Our faith is our victory. To believe that Jesus is the Son of God; that He was born of the Virgin Mary means that we worship and that we model our life in a God who is humble. This is the message of the whole of Divine Revelation: The humility of the Creator in becoming incarnate and the humility of the creature in welcoming Him. This is the scandal of the Incarnation, the scandal of Christianity; that we worship a God who became a baby, a God who got tired and thirsty a, God who died on a cross.
Why is this humility so important? Quite simply, because it is the virtue that all at once reveals whether we truly believe in God. The creature intent on glorifying itself resents the Creator who humbled Himself and will not worship Him. Lucifer himself and the devil’s pride are comprehensible in light of the Incarnation. He refused to obey a created will, the human will of Christ. Lucifer’s pride is directed against the humility of God in becoming man. The creature, whether an angel or man, who resents the humility of the Creator, will neither worship Him nor serve Him. This is the Antichrist. As St. John wrote to the Christians suffering persecution: Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son (1 Jn. 2:22).
History has seen many antichrists; some in the very bosom of the Church: those who have attempted either by force or by subtlety of speech to deny the humility of God. Arius comes to mind; as do all those who have attempted to glorify themselves in place of God. St. John Henry Newman offers us insight into the activity of the Antichrist in our times. Perhaps like no one else in his day St. John Henry truly understood the subtle errors of what is known as liberalism; the foolish assertion that one can be absolutely free of any strictures or restraints or laws. Satan may adopt the more alarming weapons of deceit – he may hide himself – he may attempt to seduce us in little things and so to move Christians, not all at once, but little by little from their true position. We know he has done much in this way in the course of the last centuries.
What is our true position? It is our belief that for our salvation the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity became man. This is why we kneel during the Creed and the et incarnatus est for it expresses the humility of the Creator in becoming incarnate and the humility of the creature in welcoming Him. Our true position can only be one of humility before the God who became man in the immaculate womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our true position takes His words of revelation at face value. Our true position acknowledges that His words of truth are incontrovertible; not subject to change or interpretation, as the modernists proudly assert. Let us imitate the humility of Daniel, the prophet of the end times; and with him, receive these words of encouragement: ‘Fear not, Daniel. From the first day you made up your mid to acquire understanding ad humble yourself before God, your prayer was heard (Dan. 10:12). Provided we continue along the path of devout humility, our prayers will also be heard and through the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady, God the Father will restore the Church, and give us brave shepherds after His own Heart who will lead us with knowledge and understanding (Jer. 3:15).
It is and undeniable fact that we are living through a concerted effort to impose a new world order, one that does not recognise the sovereignty of God and the sanctity of human life, even as the architects of this enterprise speak incessantly about human dignity The dystopian world now being fashioned through the great reset in which God is displaced by man; and the false church of man displaces the Church of God, has created countless victims who suffer physical, moral and spiritual wounds. Our task now is to come to the assistance of all who suffer through prayer, sacrifice and wise counsel.
Next Sunday we shall celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, and so even in the midst of this epochal battle, we claim as our own the victory of Our Lord and King. And with great confidence we look to Our Lady who is both Our Mother and Our Queen, and no less the destroyer of all heresies. May Michael, the great prince and protector of God’s people watch over us, protect us and defend us from all that would do us harm.⧾