I often find myself reading the visions of Bl. Catherine Ann Emmerich. As I was reading the book again some of the phrases sort of jumped to my attention along with some associated thoughts. I will try to recall all of them but first I have to give you some personal impressions about the present state of ecclesial affairs in this year 2021 as I approach the 20th anniversary of my accepting the Catholic teachings of the Apostolic Magisterium.
In fact, my social experience could be condensed in one word: rejection. Although I have made some friends among the clergy and the members of the flock, I had a sense of isolation ever since the beginning, since the day of my baptism. The years that followed I made a few good friends but the enemies seem to come out of the woodwork all the time. The capacity for detraction, defamation, envy, avarice, and jealousy among the “flock” never seems to find a limit. Of course, I am not better than them in many ways. I always despised mediocrity and cowardice. The despising is mutual. I have a long way to go before I can act like Christ acted in those cases.
So, we have arrived to this hour. I care not for Bishops, Cardinals et al. Perhaps I will when they start acting like true pastors of Christ’s flock. So I won’t make any comment about what the Pope said or the other Pope did. But two popes we have and the age of those two popes is the time that Blessed Catherine saw. She described it as follows. Tell me if this is not like reading the news. Note: I numbered the paragraphs that I selected from a much longer text.
- “I saw also the relationship between the two popes. . . I saw how baleful would be the consequences of this false church. I saw it increase in size; heretics of every kind came into the city. The local clergy grew lukewarm, and I saw a great darkness… Then the vision seemed to extend on every side. Whole Catholic communities were being oppressed, harassed, confined, and deprived of their freedom. I saw many churches closed down, great miseries everywhere, wars and bloodshed. A wild and ignorant mob took violent action. But it did not last long… Once more I saw that the Church of Peter was undermined by a plan evolved by the secret sect, while storms were damaging it. But I saw also that help was coming when distress had reached its peak. I saw again the Blessed Virgin ascend on the Church and spread her mantle.”
- “When the Church had been for the most part destroyed, and when only the sanctuary and altar were still standing, I saw the wreckers enter the Church with the Beast. There they met a Woman of noble carriage who seemed to be with child because she walked slowly. At this sight, the enemies were terrorized, and the Beast could not take but another step forward. It projected its neck towards the Woman as if to devour her, but the Woman turned about and bowed down, her head touching the ground. Thereupon, I saw the Beast taking to flight towards the sea again, and the enemies were fleeing in the greatest confusion…. Then, I saw in the great distance a great legion approaching. In the foreground I saw a man on a white horse. Prisoners were set free and joined them. All enemies were pursued. Then, I saw that the Church was being promptly rebuilt, and she was more magnificent than ever before….”
- “Then I saw an apparition of the Mother of God, and she said that the tribulation would be very great. She added that people must pray fervently with outstretched arms, be it only long enough to say three Our Fathers. This was the way her Son prayed for them on the Cross. They must rise at twelve at night, and pray in this manner; and they must keep coming to the Church. They must pray above all for the Church of Darkness to leave Rome…”
- “She said a great many others things that it pains me to relate: she said that if only one priest could offer the bloodless sacrifice as worthily and with the same disposition as the Apostles, he could avert all the disasters (that are to come). To my knowledge the people in the Church did not see the apparition, but they must have been stirred by something supernatural, because as soon as the Holy Virgin had said that they must pray God with outstretched arms, they all raised their arms. These were all good and devout people, and they did not know where help and guidance should be sought. There were no traitors and enemies among them, yet they were afraid of one another. Once can judge thereby what the situation was like.”
- “I see that when the Second Coming of Christ approaches, a bad priest will do much harm to the Church. When the time of the reign of Antichrist is near, a false religion will appear which will be opposed to the unity of God and His Church. This will cause the greatest schism the world has ever known. The nearer the time of the end, the more the darkness of Satan will spread on earth, the greater will be the number of the children of corruption, and the number of the just will correspondingly diminish… They built a large, singular, extravagant church which was to embrace all creeds with equal rights: Evangelicals, Catholics, and all denominations, a true communion of the unholy with one shepherd and one flock. There was to be a Pope, a salaried Pope, without possessions. All was made ready, many things finished; but, in place of an altar, were only abomination and desolation. Such was the new church to be, and it was for it that he had set fire to the old one; but God designed otherwise…. Again I saw in the midst of these disasters the twelve new Apostles laboring in different countries, unknown to one another, each receiving streams of living water from on high. They all did the same work. They know not whence they received their tasks; but as soon as one was finished, another was ready for them… The Jews shall return to Palestine, and become Christians toward the end of the world.”
Let us highlight a few points here (1) a heretical invasion of Rome takes place. The clergy is ineffective and cowardly. The faithful are oppressed by the lowest kind of mob. But Our Lady takes motherly precautions and prepares to intervene. The Church is for the most part destroyed as the enemy advances from the periphery towards the center destroying everything on sight. (2) When only the Altar and the Sanctuary remain, Our Lady makes her entrance walking very slowly like a woman at an advanced point in her pregnancy. Notice that she is not giving birth yet. The baby is the Kingdom of God about to be born into the world. The vision represents a time immediately before the advent of the Kingdom.
Here we can compare with the birth of Christ. We know Jesus was born at a moment when the whole world was at peace. It was the age of the Pax Romana. Providentially, God disposed things in the world so that the birth of the Prince of Peace would occur at a time of relative calm. We know that Christ will return in a similar manner. (Acts 2:11) Those who believe that there is a brief Marian Age of Peace preceding the arrival of the Kingdom may find a strong argument in this vision. The Kingdom is not yet arrived but Our Mother is there and she seems to preside over a glorious reconstruction of the Church as the enemies flee in disarray.
I cannot imagine how is this going to happen but I can understand the need to pray intensely for the end of the dark church, the one under the control of the beast. (3) Outstretched arms are a way to symbolize both prayer and sacrifice. (4)
Blessed Catherine mentions a bad priest that will cause great harm to the Church. I have one in mind. No need to name names. His work will be destructive but in vain. While he applies himself to destroy the Church, the faithful Apostles of the End Times will be laboring in secret to preserve the integrity of the faith, feeding the flock until Christ returns. (5) One of their great accomplishments will be the conversion of the Jews.