So yesterday during my Hour of Adoration I read the first part of the Book of Revelation. The vicious dragon and his minions; the horsemen of war and plague and famine; the Beast coming up from the sea... In the light of the newspaper headlines, this mystifying book seemed less symbolic and more realistic than ever before. No wonder it was considered a book of consolation for the (then as now) struggling Christian communities in the Middle East! John the visionary takes us back and forth between the unceasing praise and peace surrounding the throne and the violence still playing out on the earth. The saints and angels already participate in the victory of the Lamb, already won, already in effect: and so do we, especially at Mass (which is its own kind of apocalypse, or "unveiling," of that present but hidden reality: pay attention to the prayer that leads into our "Holy! Holy! Holy!"--a prayer that comes to us in part from the Book of Revelation).
|"Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order,|
and everything becomes chaos."
Technically, we Christians should be doing all we can to not "provoke" but "invoke" the Second Coming. We pray for it three times a day in the liturgy: "Thy Kingdom come!" We'll insistently beg for it during the fast-approaching season of Advent: "Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!"
It struck me this morning, praying my Rosary in the brisk (okay, really cold) autumn air. I usually add the Fatima prayer between decades: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy." You don't need to be too theologically subtle to suspect that about now "those in most need" of that Divine Mercy are the bloodthirsty ideologues who delight in sowing chaos where it is least expected to erupt. May the Lord grant us the grace to actually pray for them.
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In addition to the Atlantic piece, here are a couple of other insightful articles. I can't say I agree with every word (I don't really know enough about Islam or world history to begin to weigh in), but they offer some perspectives that are often missing in the mainstream media:
- 4 Ways ISIS Grounds Its Action in Religion--and Why That Matters
- Where Does It Hurt, O City of Light?
- Spreading the Blame: the West's Exporting of Jihad This post dates back to January and reflects a philosopher's critique. To his credit, the writer is equally challenging to positions of right-wing and left-wing, though in this article it may be those on the right who feel the sting a bit more.