Thursday, September 4, 2014

Unveiling the Apocalypse: Prophecy in the Catholic Tradition

Unveiling the Apocalypse by Irish theologian Emmett O'Regan is a worthy addition to any library of eschatology. Readers of Tea at Trianon have been introduced to Mr. O'Regan's fascinating blog, which acts as a supplement to his book. The book displays a profound understanding of the use of language and symbols in Scripture as well as the interconnection of everything in the Bible. It is meticulously referenced with an impressive bibliography. The author studies the prophecies of the Apocalypse in the light of the writings of popes and saints, private revelation, science, history and modern technology. It is not necessary to agree with  every theory presented in order to enjoy the book. Most of all, it enriches one's understanding and love of the Word of God.

Mr. O'Regan examines the structure of the Apocalypse, which he says cannot be understood as happening in chronological order. To quote:
 As E.S. Fiorenza suggests, the structure of the Apocalypse is best conceived  pictorially as a conical spiral – a twisting recapitulary configuration, which while driving the narrative forward, also reveals new insights into previously revealed information. So by holding thematically related portions of Revelation in juxtaposition, different passages that were initially thought to be independent can in fact complement each other. (p. 5)
There is also the concept of prophetic layering. According to the author:
Another consideration that will impact our interpretation of Revelation is the  presence of prophetic 'layering'. This concept takes into consideration the fact that some segments of the book have several different strata of meaning. If we look at the cycle concerning the Woman adorned with the Sun in Rev 12 for example, we can see there is an element of this story which reflects the nativity of Jesus. In an attempt to secure his own destiny, the Devil pursues the pregnant Woman and attempts to kill the Christ-child before his rise to power. But the Woman makes her escape from her oppressor and God provides her with a place of refuge in the desert. The parallels between this passage with Herod's slaughter of the innocents and the Holy Family's flight into Egypt are quite evident. Yet while there is obviously an element of this prophecy which remains rooted in past historical events, the author clearly feels that this story will have a renewed significance in the future. (p. 5)
Once the Apocalypse is understood as a divine drama, in which there are several scenes being played out simultaneously, one can better plumb its depths through prayer and reflection. I would highly recommend the book to those interested in Apocalyptic literature and I encourage them to ponder Mr. O'Regan's blog as well Share

1 comment:

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Does he take up a booklet at least attributed to Mélanie Calvat (of blessed memory) which says "Rome will be the seat of the Antichrist"?

I will look at his blog too of course.