A new miniseries on EWTN takes us through the End Times — what is leading up to it and how are we to meet it.Are We Approaching the End Times? New EWTN Series Takes a Closer Look| National Catholic Register
Wars. Rumors of wars. Crime rising. Catholic churches desecrated. Society showing big cracks. Morality being abandoned. Threat of nuclear weapons.
No wonder people are increasingly asking about the End Times.
Fear not. Father Chris Alar of the Marian Fathers at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy, and host of EWTN’s Living Divine Mercy series, just began a very timely three-part look at the End Times.
The Traditional Signs to Precede Christ’s Triumphant Return
Father Alar and theologian Daniel O’Connor began the series with an overview of the five signs that must happen before the Christ’s Second Coming:
- The Great Apostasy. False religions and teachings “regarding our faith” could come even “from bishops, religious, priests or nuns — even Catholic politicians especially, or even our own family, unfortunately — but especially from the secular world,” Father Alar explains. “They will teach incorrect doctrine and cause much confusion. This will lead to heresy and a massive falling away from Catholicism. And again, unfortunately, we are seeing this today more than ever.”
- The Gospel will be preached to the whole world. With internet and livestreaming after the pandemic, “we’re getting close to this,” says Father Alar.
- Universal conversion of the Jews to Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (674) says, “The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by ‘all Israel,’ for ‘a hardening has come upon part of Israel’ in their ‘unbelief’ toward Jesus.”
- The Tribulation. “Before Christ’s second coming,” says the Catechism (675), “the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.”
- Revelation of the Antichrist. The Catechism (675) continues, “The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.”
The show reminds us that each of these five signs are biblical, pointing to passages in the Book of Exodus, the Gospel of Matthew (especially Chapter 24) and the Book of Revelation.
This is not a fear-fest. Father Alar and O’Connor, who is also a philosophy professor, shed all the light on much that you need to see and understand and then on how you should react. If you know these signs, do your part and hope in God, they assure us there is nothing to fear.
“If you look at the last couple of years and you relate them to prophecy, both public prophecy and Scripture and private revelation,” says O’Connor, “you see the beginnings of the fulfillment of what has been foretold. … Jesus said, ‘Watch.’”
Possible Insights from Private Revelation
“The Catholic view of End Times comes from Scripture … but also [from] prophecy and the tradition of the saints,” says Father Alar.
He and O’Connor explain how topics that often come up in Catholic discussions of the End Times, such as “the chastisements … the warning … the ‘illumination of conscience’ … the Antichrist … the three days of darkness … the era of peace or the triumph of the Immaculate Heart,” might be explained in the light of Scripture and Tradition.
Father Alar calls these “big areas” because the Marians “keep getting a lot of letters on them.”
As these come mostly from private revelations that are not part of the deposit of faith, both Father Alar and O’Connor make a case why they might be worthy of belief and why we have good reasons to heed them. As one example, Father Alar points to St. Faustina, who wrote in the Diary (No. 83) that Jesus told her, “Write this: ‘Before the day of justice arrives, there will be given to people a sign in the heavens of this sort: All light in the heavens will be extinguished, and there will be great darkness over the whole earth. This will take place shortly before the last day.’”
Father Alar emphasizes that the most important thing “is to remain in a state of grace.” For those not in the state of grace, these events will be terrible. He stresses the importance of going to Mass and praying the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. In the end, no matter how death comes for us, “only God’s grace and mercy saves us.”
O’Connor likewise assures us that God is “completely in charge. His plan is perfect. We just need to trust him. … Trust in the Divine Mercy.”
How to Watch
Here is the schedule for the remaining episodes (all times Eastern) of this three-part series:
- Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 6:30pm — “The End Times, Part 2: Three Days of Darkness” (repeated Nov. 13 at 2am)
- Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 6:30pm — “The End Times, Part 3: The Triumph”
Part 1 of the series has already aired and can be seen here: