“If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! ” Matthew 6:23
We live in a world that resulted from the ideas of the Enlightenment, a period in history when the philosophies of Illuminism dominated most of the intellectual landscape of the West.
The Enlightenment, French Siècle des Lumières (literally “century of the Enlightened”), German Aufklärung, [was] a European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature, and humanity were synthesized into a worldview that gained wide assent in the West and that instigated revolutionary developments in art, philosophy, and politics. Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and celebration of reason, the power by which humans understand the universe and improve their own condition. The goals of rational humanity were considered to be knowledge, freedom, and happiness.(Quoted from the Encyclopaedia Britannica)
The French Revolution of 1789 was the result of those ideas. Looking back, we can see in Revolutionary France, a kind of scale model showing what to expect of all future application of the ideologies born of Illuminism. By 1793 the French Revolution had delivered The Reign of Terror, thousands were brutally executed and many more perished in a bloody civil war that extended for years.
That awful record did not stop the spread of the revolutionaries ideals. Many nations around the world became acquainted with the term ‘revolution’ and the sufferings associated with it. The ‘Century of Lights’ eventually gave birth to the 20th century, a period with a historic record of civil violence, insurrection, wars, and disorder that continues unabated to this day well into the 21st century. Looking at 200 years of Enlightenment, it rather looks like the forces of darkness were unleashed on humanity. No one knows for certain how many lives were lost to those deadly ideals but the tally runs into the hundreds of millions. Material losses are incalculable, revolutions have resulted in poverty and misery for millions upon millions of human beings.
Liberalism is the political daughter of the Enlightenment. ‘Liberating’ the masses from ‘the shackles’ of Catholic doctrine was the main objective of European Liberal ideologies. Liberal Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, and a number of other ‘isms.’ All of them are in reality some form of Liberalism. In the end, all of them propose a world with neither God nor Church. That is why the Catholic Church is enemy number one for those espousing the ideologies born of Illuminism.
The Enlightenment: darkness and death
It does not take a genius to notice that the present global civilization is the result of the Enlightenment, the same one that Pope John Paul II called ‘the civilization of death’ with just cause. The very word ‘Illuminism’ is a lie since it has not lead mankind to light, life, and peace but to a long age of unmerciful, unmitigated darkness, suffering, and death.
The main mission of the Catholic Church is to make Jesus Christ known to all mankind. From Catholic doctrine we learn that Jesus Christ is the Logos, the Divine Agent of Life, the Light of Mankind, the living Word of God. His merciful purpose is to restore mankind to truth, light, and life. To achieve that purpose, the Logos Himself was incarnated and died for us on the Cross. He did not ask others to go die in interminable wars to establish His Kingdom. His was the only necessary death to redeem mankind forever and not for a brief period of peace in between incessant wars.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-4)
Do not walk in darkness
Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light. ” (John 12:35-36)
It is in the nature of a civilization of death to die. This murderous global mess, if it can be called a civilization, will come soon to its ignominious end. Day after day we watch the news and learn about political crisis, social unrest, economic instability, environmental disasters, among other distressing news. Darkness is falling upon this world. Even unbelievers sense that we have passed a threshold of sorts. They wonder if the whole world is careening out of control. The end of civilization is not a fantastic possibility, we are seeing countries (Hong Kong, Chile, Venezuela, France) tottering at the edge of social anarchy. We know there are powerful and well financed terrorist organizations working all over the world. One has to be blind not to see the kind of dangerous times we are living in. Corruption, crime, and rampant sexual immorality add to the already explosive mix. Was that the kind of world that the revolutionaries wanted? Didn’t they want a world were they could make their own laws and live according to their own morals?
“Ah God, what has man done to man? What have the leaders of men been doing to their fellow men? They have reduced them to less than humanness; and now there can be no fellowship any more! It is just a nightmare.” ― D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
Well, this is the world of Illuminism. the light turned out to be darkness, the dream turned out to be a nightmare and it is high time to wake up before darkness overcomes the planet.
“Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” (Roman 13:11-14)
The dawn of truth
The good news is: the darker it gets the closer we are to the break of dawn. In 1917, as the world was about to dive into this darkness, the Virgin Mary appeared in Fatima, Portugal to give us a message of hope from God: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” We have been divinely assured of the triumph of light.
The victory of the forces of light over the present darkness will begin with a sign. The very light of Jesus Christ will appear to all mankind. Total darkness comes first. The faint light that the currently confused Catholic Church provides will be snuffed. Even physical light will disappear. At that time, Divine Light Himself will come to the rescue:
“Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matthew 24:29-31)
In my opinion, the world is ready to experience a real, profound, certainly divine illumination. The scam of the Enlightenment is failing but it won’t succeed in delivering death and final darkness to all of mankind because the redemption of the world will come in spite of many obstacles and troubles.
The immaculate Heart of Mary will triumph as promised. We extol Christ when we sing in the Laudes Regiae: ” Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat” that is Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands.” May we soon see the sunrise of His grace. Amen.