Warning: This blog is under the influence of the Holy Spirit. (That's actually a blessing of course. I'm just trying to be fair to the skeptics.)

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Last Pope

“If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked?”

When I wrote about the Mayan apocalypse back in December, I didn’t think it would be so soon that we would be fretting over another. I figured it would be at least summer time.  By then, I thought, it would be warmer, there would be a drought (like every year,) and the global warming doomsday scenarios would parch us with their prognostications.

But, there’s still time for that.

Yet another end of days scenario is beginning to play out. Even though barely three months have passed since the Mayan wheel fell off, we are again, roiling, biting and chewing our lips eager to see if it comes true.
This latest apocalypse surrounds the election of a new Pope and a prophesy made about him over 400 years ago.

It was the late 1500’s when the prophesies of St. Malachy surfaced.  He envisioned a series of 112 Popes stretching from the time of his death in 1148 to the end of days. Pope Benedict the XVI was the 111th Pope in this Malachian line.

But, hold on a minute. Did anyone notice the math here? Notice that St. Malachy died in 1148. That is 850 some odd years ago, not 400 when the prophesy was published.

Turns out that the authenticity of this prophesy is seriously doubted. Not surprising, the descriptions that St. Malachy attributes to the Popes prior to the publication of the prophesy are fairly accurate. After that, they become murky.

And guess who else lived around the same time this prophesy was published. You guessed it, Nostradamus. This era was known for its prophesy “pop culture.” It was a time when seers would prognosticate in enigmatic terms. Such is the case with Papal descriptions from 1590 forward.  

Wait, there’s more!  The 112th Pope is supposed to be called Peter of Rome according to the Malachy prophesy. Yeah… Well all Popes are the Bishop of Rome, whose seat was once held by Simon Peter. He was this fisherman guy, you might remember, who Christ told “Come after me and I will make you a fisher of men.” (Mt 4:19 Mk 1:17)  And, whom Christ built his earthly church upon.

No Bishop of Rome, No Pope, can escape the Petrine handle. Comes with the job.

No Pope can be considered divorced from the name Peter, regardless their given name or taken name. Ergo, they are all Petrus Romanus in some sense.

Ok. What about this business of predicting “The Time.” Did not Christ tell us the “day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, - but the Father alone.” Mt 24:36

Seems pretty straight forward to me. What are we doing by trying to predict? Making ourselves God?

I find this eagerness over any apocalypse most bewildering in another way. It's good and bad news, right?  Good if you’re saved. Bad, terribly bad, if you’re not. What about those who fall in the latter group. You see what I mean - there’s way too much work yet to be done for us to yearn for it like that.

I would suggest that even for the saved, there could be great sorrow over those that are lost. How can the apocalypse not be a heartbreaking experience, or thought, or whatever we have when entering the Heavenly Kingdom.  

It’s just speculation on my part but perfected emotions are still emotions felt. If angels can weep, so can we in our perfected state.

I’m not suggesting that our heavenly existence will be morose. Not at all. I’m suggesting that all human beings have a shot at it. To say “the more the merrier” would be trite. It’s really more of an imperative when you think about it.

Oh yes, I know He also tells us to watch and pay attention as we should.  It’s not a bad idea to prepare. In fact, one better.

Still, I think it’s equally important to get to work, to spread the good news. There are too many people and organizations trying to make themselves God. The goal is to serve and fight for others.  That is where our attention, our work, should be focused - on the sacrifice.

When the time comes (and it will like a thief in the night) better to be unshaven and weary having many finished works and unfinished ones in progress than to have just one work (yourself) completed.

There is plenty of work to go around…and hopefully some time to do it in.

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