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By Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Jan 23, 2009)
Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in February 2008.

The topic of this column is one that causes faithful Catholics increasing worry and dismay. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that over the last decade the enemies of Christianity have steadily increased their hold on international institutions (the U.N., the E.U., and soon, perhaps, the U.S. government); on the mainstream media; on the academic establishment; and even on some of the churches (such as the Anglican Communion and the World Council of Churches).

In Great Britain, an orthodox Anglican bishop and his diocesan staff was recently ordered by the courts to undergo "equal opportunities re-education" because they refused to hire a practicing homosexual to a church position. In Canada, "Human Rights Tribunals" have taken the country's leading conservative columnist to court for stating in an editorial that Islam is a threat to western civilization. In the same country, the Knights of Columbus were heavily fined for refusing to allow a lesbian couple to rent their Knights Hall for their "wedding" reception.

In Europe, church properties have just been made subject to taxation throughout the E.U. for the first time in history, and any Pro-Life politician who is nominated for a leading E.U. position is met with a chorus of protests. Meanwhile, Neo-Tsarist Russia and Still-Communist China continue to grow in economic power and military cooperation, and the threat from Radical Islam in the Middle East, continues, awaiting the opportunity to fill the power-vacuum that would ensue from a U.S. retreat from the region.

Is it any wonder that faithful Catholics are now asking whether we could be nearing the time of the great tribulation predicted by the Bible, in preparation for the final coming of our Savior?

We tend to forget, however, that not all of the signs of the end prophesied in Scripture are negative, "doom and gloom" stuff: trials and tribulations for the faithful, the coming of the Anti-Christ, etc.

One of our readers, named Tina, assessing the more positive signs of the times, asked me the following question:

I have heard Fr. Seraphim Michalenko and other Divine Mercy authorities link Jesus' revelations to St. Faustina with His Second Coming. With the World Mercy Congress soon to be upon us, do you think the Second Coming is nigh? I know: no one knows the hour or the day (Mk 13:32), but if the Congress succeeds the way the planners hope, and St. Faustina's mission to spread word of God's mercy to the whole world is fulfilled, would that give us a strong clue about the end times?

My thinking, Tina, is completely in line with yours. Yes, I think this would be a good sign that we are headed down "the home stretch."

First of all, your question alludes to an important prophecy from Jesus Himself, when He told us that one of the clear preconditions for His Second Coming would be "The good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world as a witness to all the nations. Only after that the end will come" (Mt 24:14). There are still large sections of the world where that has not happened to any great degree yet: China and parts of India in particular, the world's two most populous nations, have been "closed" to some extent to Christian missions for several generations. Moreover, we know for a fact that the Divine Mercy message and devotion has proven to be an especially effective means of presenting the gospel message to the crumbling, post-modern world.

Remember that Our Lady and our Lord Himself told St. Faustina that her revelations and mission would have a special role in preparing the way for Christ's final coming. Consider the following passages from the Diary of St. Faustina:

Secretary of My mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice is near (965).

Then I saw the Mother of God, who said to me ... "I gave the Savior to the world; as for you, you have to speak to the world about His great mercy and prepare the world for the Second Coming..." (635).

Write down these words, my daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy ... (848).

Write: before I come as just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy (1146).

Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy (1588).

Clearly, the spread of the message of Divine Mercy throughout the world, in the form given to St. Faustina, is meant to be an important part of the global outreach of our Savior's merciful love, in preparation for His Second Coming. I can even visualize a scenario of how this may play itself out on the stage of history. The upcoming World Apostolic Congress on Mercy ignites an earnest effort on the part of faithful Catholics everywhere to renew their faith and spread the gospel of Divine Mercy to the ends of the earth. India, China, and parts of the Middle East and Europe, relatively closed to Catholic missionary activity in recent generations, through rising prosperity increasingly open their doors to business contacts and internet contacts with the rest of the globe (it is happening already). As a result, the message of mercy begins to find its way into these corners of the globe more than ever before, and even much of Israel and the global Jewish community will be converted to the Faith (see Rom 11).

At the same time, the allies of the coming Anti-Christ will solidify their consolidation of global power in preparation for his appearance on the scene. The stage will be set for the final persecution and Passover of the Church: We will be prepared for it by the mercy message and ultimately purified by suffering. Then, the Bridegroom will come down from heaven and bring about the final triumph of His Divine Mercy, and the final reckoning with His unrepentant enemies. On all this, please read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 673-677. I do not think that the scenario I have spelled out here is a fanciful one, Tina, and it fits with your intuition that maybe it is the "positive" sign of the spread of Divine Mercy that is as much a clue to the coming of the End Times as the "negative" signs that we so often focus on.

Of course, I do not know for sure how all this will play out: Call it a prayerful and educated "guesstimate." I would just remind our readers not to worry too much about it, not to retreat into an intellectual, spiritual "bunker mentality" as if everything is going wrong. It's not. He's still "got the whole world in His hands," as the song goes. Moreover, as St. Louis De Montfort and other saints prophesied, the deeper the darkness grows, the brighter the saints will shine in response. Besides, these mounting signs of the end are not meant to cause us depair, but to bring us hope: "When these things begin to happen, stand erect and hold your head high, for your deliverance is near at hand" (Lk 21:28)!

Robert Stackpole, STD, is director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, based in Stockbridge, Mass. His latest book is Divine Mercy: A Guide from Genesis to Benedict XVI (Marian Press). Got a question? E-mail him at [email protected].

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Be a part of the discussion. Add a comment now!

Charlie - Nov 6, 2018

We will know when the second coming is at hand or near. When this happens. Please read the diary of ST. FAUSTINA DIARY NUMBER 83 ALL PEOPLES OF THE WHOLE EARTH WILL KNOW WHO THE REAL SAVIOR IS OUR BLESSED LORD JESUS CHRIST CRUCIFIED!

Ian - Oct 31, 2018

I'd also like to add that the "End of Times" is the end of an era, and not the End of the world.
We havent yet got to the bit where satan is chained up for 1000 years.
Its simply the end of our rebellious times. You can read Christ's message about the End of Times in True Life in God.

Robbie - Mar 5, 2013

Good morning. I thoughth I should draw your readers attention to the messages from heaven given to Anne a lay apostle. In particulatr, The Volumes. Most especially volume 5, which was recently published with the permission of Anne's bishop.

Eddie - Oct 20, 2012

Jesus I trust in you!
At 3 pm those are the words that I say to Jesus!
I pray for the conversion of many.

Bert - Dec 23, 2011

I recieved the message of the Divine Mercy last feburary when my mother was dying in the hospital. She hadn't gone to mass since my father died 8 yrs earlier. I came across a pamphlet on the Divine Mercy and began to say the chaplet in the hope that Jesus would save her. I prayed with many tears for several weeks then one night as I prayed the chaplet and stared at a picture of Our Lady of Lourdes I heard in my head a voice. It was the voice of Mary and she said to me "Your prayer has been answered." The next day my mom died in peace her last words were "I forgive you all, and I love you." Oh miracle of Divine Mercy I believe. Since that day I have said the chaplet and three oclock prayer every day and my life has been showered with miracle after miracle both great and small. Pray the chaplet He wants you to ask him for everything you need, He will not deny you what you ask unless its bad for you and even then He will explain why. Ask my friends,ask and you will recieve this is how He is turning those of us with doubts into firm believers before the end comes. Please ask for what you need and the you will see the power of His Mercy.

Gods Child - Aug 7, 2011

God message of mercy through Sister Faustina reveals his wonderous love for his children. Study the diary, it is loaded with beautiful truths!..I look to the future with anticipation, knowing that we belong to Him, never to be abandoned. TRUST IN HIM!!!!!!!!!!

Helen Jolie - Aug 7, 2011

I say let it all happen. I"M not afriad. Because all you say that I read is all true.I WILL HOLD MY HANDS UP TO THE LORD WHEN THE TIME COMES WHEN EVER.

Souls in Hell - Dec 20, 2009

I'm overwhelmed by the thought of souls falling into hell like snowflakes. I often have anxiety attacks thinking about these poor souls, once someones baby in this life. Imagining the suffering is too much to bare, but I can't stop this from coming to me.

I love them!

Preach to all the world - Jun 2, 2009

Scripture states that the gospel was already preached to the whole "known" world in the Apostles' lifetimes.

Romans 1:8, Romans 16:25-27, Romans 1:5, Acts 2:5, 1 Timothy 3:16,

Amy - Jan. 2009 - Jan 28, 2009

I helped spread and teach the Divine Mercy prayers, novenas, and explain simply the messages in my prayer group, and they are listening!
Jesus, I trust in you.

Steven C - Mar 11, 2008

I hate to be the one to want to put off the arival but I could still use a lil saving as could some of my family. I pray Jesus comes soon, but also pray for the souls' of ours who aren't quite there yet. I pray He saves every person with even the slightest bit of faith first..

Robert Allard, Director, Apostles of Divine Mercy - Mar 8, 2008

Hi Robert,

It is a wonderful thing that our Lord Jesus is coming soon. We can't forget also that John Paul II died on the vigil of Mercy Sunday, which to me, is a great sign. Jesus did say that the Feast of Mercy would be the "last hope of salvation". (Diary 965, 998)
We have to do everything that we can to help Jesus to save souls, especially the Easter-only Catholics that come into our churches on Easter and dare to receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin.

Come Lord Jesus!!

Jeff Johnson, Collegeville - Mar 1, 2008

Christ said He was coming back, and I feel in my heart that this is soon. Even if we are off by a thousand years, we are still right.

But when I think of St. Faustina, and the more recent prophecies from Medjugorje and Garabandal Spain, I am filled with anticipation. Evil has become widespread...how much more can The Father stand before he sends His Son to transfigure everything in His Kingdom?

How grateful I am for this website. I never forget to pray the Chaplet, but I do forget to visit here, and I shall more often.

donna .e. - Feb 28, 2008

I pray for my Jewish friends who refuse to listen to me in any way about the true saviour, that he's not only ours but theirs just as much! They tell me he was a prophet but not the messiah and I say, NO!!! YOUR MESSIAH HAS COME AND HE WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE! But no they wont, they just wont believe and it breaks my heart when I ponder there fate on the last day. Please Lord I claim them all for you, I pray that you get through to them before its too late, they are good people. They no not what they do. These are the last days and like a thief in the night, in the twinkle of an eye life as we know it will end, and he will reign-thank God. I am grateful for this good news but for those who dont know and love him? I am saddend and melancholy. God bless us one and all. Come Lord Jesus.

A.V. - Feb 28, 2008

Does not St.Faustina mention that we humans were created , to take up the place left by the fallen angels ?

And one promise of the Divine Mercy Novena is conversion of souls .

May we be be awake and waiting , with faith and the deeds that come with it !

Franciscan Steubie Mom - Feb 27, 2008

Come Lord Jesus Come ..YES !!!! Divine Mercy Congress Can Hardly Wait!! ..Thanks for this answer !!!