Sunday, 17 March 2013

St. Patrick's Prophecy of the Great Apostasy





There is an obscure prophecy attributed to St. Patrick which appears to foretell the previously unthinkable - a time when Ireland would lose its faith in Christ. Sadly, this prophecy pretty much describes the current state of our beautiful island, which to a large extent, is now shunning the Roman Catholic faith.  What was once before a inextricable part of Irish national identity, is now subject to the calumny of the growing anti-clericalism in the Irish media, which has now filtered out into wider society. The prophecy appears in chapter CLXXV of the vita by the Cistercian hagiographer Jocelyn of Furness (fl. 1175-1214):


The different States of Hibernia are in a Heavenly Vision
shown unto the Saint.

 
 
And the man of God anxiously desired and earnestly prayed that he might be certified of the present and the future state of Hibernia, to the end that he might be assured of the faith, or of the value that his labors bore in the sight of God. Then the Lord heard the desire of his heart, and manifested the same unto him by an evident revelation; for while he was engaged in prayer, and the heart of his mind was opened, he beheld the whole island as it were a flaming fire ascending unto heaven; and he heard the angel of God saying unto him: "Such at this time is Hibernia in the sight of the Lord." And after a little space he beheld in all parts of the island even as mountains of fire stretching unto the skies. And again after a little space he beheld as it were candles burning, and after a while darkness intervened; and then he beheld fainter lights, and at length he beheld coals lying hidden here and there, as reduced unto ashes, yet still burning. And the angel added: "What thou seest here shown, such shall be the people of Hibernia." Then the saint, exceedingly weeping, often repeated the words of the Psalmist, saying: "Whether will God turn himself away for ever, and will he be no more entreated? Shall his mercy come to an end from generation to generation? Shall God forget to be merciful, and shut up his mercy in his displeasure?" And the angel said, "Look toward the northern side, and on the right hand of a height shalt thou behold the darkness dispersed from the face of the light which thenceforth will arise." Then the saint raised his eyes, and behold, he at first saw a small light arising in Ulydia, the which a long time contended with the darkness, and at length dispersed it, and illumined with its rays the whole island. Nor ceased the light to increase and to prevail, even until it had restored to its former fiery state all Hibernia. Then was the heart of the saint filled with joy, and his heart with exultation, giving thanks for all these things which had been shown unto him: and he understood in the greatness of this fiery ardor of the Christian faith the devotion and the zeal of religion, wherewith those islanders burned. By the fiery mountains he understood the men who would be holy in their miracles and their virtues, eminent in their preachings and their examples; by the lessening of the light, the decrease of holiness; by the darkness that covered the land, the infidelity which would prevail therein; by the intervals of delay, the distances of the succeeding times. But the people think the period of darkness was that in which Gurmundus and Turgesius, heathen princes of Norwegia, conquered and ruled in Hibernia; and in those days, the saints, like coals covered with ashes, lay hidden in caves and dens from the face of the wicked, who pursued them like sheep unto the slaughter. Whence it happened that differing rites and new sacraments, which were contrary to the ecclesiastical institutes, were introduced into the church by many prelates who were ignorant of the divine law. But the light first arising from the north, and after long conflict exterminating the darkness, those people assert to be Saint Malachy, who presided first in Dunum, afterward in Ardmachia, and reduced the island unto the Christian law. On the other hand, the people of Britain ascribe this light to their coming, for that then the church seemed under their rule to be advanced unto a better state; and that then religion seemed to be planted and propagated, and the sacraments of the church and the institutes of the Christian law to be observed with more regular observance. But I propose not the end of this contention, neither do I prevent it, thinking that the discussion and the decision thereof should be left unto the divine judgment.
(See here for the full vita of St. Patrick by Jocelyn of Furness)


It is uncertain whether this prophecy was actually made by St. Patrick himself, since it does not appear in the earlier works on the saints life. The other more well-known prophecy of St. Patrick (which foretold that Ireland would suffer from a terrible deluge seven years before the end of the world to spare the Irish from the reign of the Antichrist) is of far greater provenance. (See the earlier post St. Patrick and the End-Time Flood of Ireland). But it certainly interesting, given the current state of affairs in Ireland.
Jocelyn attempts to make sense out of the prophecy by linking it to the appearance of the Viking invaders, who ravaged the coasts of Ireland in the early Middle Ages. The light in "Ulydia" (an archaic name for Ulster) which brings about the reversal of the apostasy is rightly connected by Jocelyn to St. Malachy, who was the abbot of Bangor Abbey in the north of Ireland, just outside of Belfast (unfortunately, nothing of the original building remains of Bangor Abbey today, other than a stump of a wall in the grounds of the modern Anglican abbey). St. Malachy had ensured unity of the Church in Ireland with the Roman Catholic Church by travelling to Rome to obtain pallia for the sees of Armagh and Cashel. And in his famous account of the saint's life, St. Bernard of Clairvaux tells how St. Malachy had helped to restore the Church in Ireland, which had fallen into a terrible state of decay.

The above prophecy is based on the story of the St. Patrick lighting the Paschal Fire on the Hill of Slane in 433AD, in opposition to the pagan festival of Beltane practised by Laoghaire, the High King of Tara. This defiant action was an instrumental moment in the conversion of Ireland.
This prophecy attributed to St. Patrick also appears to be associated with the Great Apostasy foretold in Scripture, which speaks of a general falling away of Christians from the faith towards the end of the world. It is interesting then that the reversal of the apostasy in Ireland is associated with St. Malachy - whose famous prophetic mottoes "Glory of the Olive" and "Peter the Roman" seem to connect the Angelic Pope to the Two Witnesses of Rev 11. Could this be once again pointing us towards the importance of the Worthy Shepherd in renewing the faith worldwide?
To see the work of St. Patrick being reversed in such a terrible fashion is something cruel to behold for any true Irish person. But through the intercession of St. Patrick, the once fiery zeal of the Irish faithful will one day return to the shores of our beloved land, and the religion which our ancestors strived and died to protect will once again reflourish on the verdant pastures of the Emerald Isle.



Hail, Glorious St. Patrick


Hail, glorious Saint Patrick, dear saint of our Isle,
On us thy poor children bestow a sweet smile;
And now thou art high in the mansions above,
On Erin's green valleys look down in thy love.

Hail, glorious Saint Patrick, thy words were once strong
Against Satan's wiles and an infidel throng;
Not less is thy might where in heaven thou art;
O, come to our aid, in our battle take part.

In the war against sin, in the fight for the faith,
Dear saint, may thy children resist unto death;
May their strength be in meekness, in penance, their prayer,
Their banner the cross which they glory to bear.

 
Thy people, now exiles on many a shore,
Shall love and revere thee till time be no more;
And the fire thou hast kindled shall ever burn bright,
Its warmth undiminished, undying its light.



18 comments:

Sr. Lorraine said...

Happy St Patrick's Day to Emmett and all!

This is a really interesting prophecy. I had never heard of it. God willing the light of faith will burn bright again in Ireland.
When Pope John Paul visited there in 1979, he gave an inspired talk to the seminarians, about the fidelity of St. Patrick and how it affected generations after him. Here are some hightlights:

As you pursue your vocation—a vocation so intimately related to the word of God—I wish to recall to you one simple but important lesson taken from the life of Saint Patrick ; and it is this : In the history of evangelization, the destiny of an entire people—your people—was radically affected for time and eternity because of the fidelity with which Saint Patrick embraced and proclaimed the word of God, and by reason of the fidelity with which Saint Patrick pursued his call to the end.

What I really want you to realize is this : that God counts on you that he makes his plans, in a way, depend on your free collaboration, on the oblation of your lives, and on the generosity with which you follow the inspirations of the Holy Spirit in the depths of your hearts.

The Catholic faith of Ireland today was linked, in God's plan, to the fidelity of Saint Patrick. And tomorrow? Yes, tomorrow some part of God's plan will be linked to your fidelity—to the fervour with which you say yes to God's word in your lives.

Today Jesus Christ is making this appeal to you through me: the appeal for fidelity. In prayer you will see more and more every day what I mean and what the implications of this call are. By God's grace you will understand more and more every day how God requires and accepts your fidelity as a condition for the supernatural effectiveness of all your activity. The supreme expression of fidelity will come with your irrevocable and total self-giving in union with Jesus Christ to his Father. And may our Blessed Mother Mary help you to make this gift acceptable.

Remember Saint Patrick. Remember what the fidelity of just one man has meant for Ireland and the world. Yes, dear sons and brothers, fidelity to Jesus Christ and to his word makes all the difference in the world. Let us therefore look up to Jesus, who is for all time the Faithful Witness of the Father.



http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/1979/october/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19791001_maynooth-ireland_en.html

Sr. Lorraine said...

Also, when Pope Francis was elected, our TV station here had commentary from Cardinal Egan, the retired bishop of NY. He said that Cardinal Bergoglio was the very first to offer him some help in dealing with the crisis on 9/11. It was the ironic twist of fate that 9/11 led to Bergoglio's emergence as a leader in the worldwide Church.

Today I'm thinking too that roughly 1000 of the 3000 victims on 9/11 were of Irish descent.
http://irishamerica.com/2011/10/ten-years-afer-911/

Robin said...

Since you are Irish, Emmett, I thought you might like to know about a new monastery in Co. Meath. not far from the Hill of Slane. The prior, Dom Mark Kirby, is a dear friend and one of the holiest men I have ever known. He believes that Our Lord brought him to Ireland to help restore the Church there. I would love for you and other faithful Catholics in Ireland to know about and support his mission. You can find the monastery's website at: http://cenacleosb.org/ Fr. Kirby also has a lovely blog, Vultus Christi, at: http://vultus.stblogs.org/

elena maria vidal said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all! I am always proud of my Irish ancestry because of all that they endured in order to keep the Faith.

Anonymous said...

popes confessor is a franciscan and from a village called citluk 2 miles from medjugorje Fr Berislav Ostojic

Emmett O'Regan said...

Pope John Paul II's visit to Ireland in 1979 is still very fondly remembered here. This journey was made at the very start of his incredibly popular papacy, and our humble island was one of the first ports of call. This was mostly thanks to the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Knock, which Bl. John Paul wished to honour by presenting the shrine with a golden rose.
I believe that the Knock apparitions presaged the vision of Pope Leo XIII, and announced that the Lamb was about to open the scroll sealed with seven seals:

http://unveilingtheapocalypse.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-prophetic-symbolism-of-our-lady-of.html

It is intriguing that the rise of Card. Bergoglio was owed largely to the events of 9/11 and the turn of the millennium - God works in very mysterious ways indeed...

Thanks for letting us know of Dom Kirby's good work Robin!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sr. Lorraine said...


Emmett, I’ve been thinking more about St Joseph, maybe because his feast is coming up. The narrative in Genesis seems to connect somehow with the Apocalypse too, but I’m still pondering it and wondering how it all fits together. These are some ideas anyway. Does this seem plausible to you?



“All the world came to Joseph to obtain rations of grain, for famine had gripped the whole world” (Gen 41:57)
Reminds me of the quote about famine not of bread but of the word of God; could this relate to the great apostasy?
"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land-- not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.” Amos 8:11

Could St Joseph play some role in bringing an end to the great apostasy?

The story in Genesis is about how his wise stewardship enabled the people to get food, especially Joseph’s brothers. Joseph told them,

Gen 45:7 “God, therefore, sent me on ahead of you to ensure for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance.”

Could this relate to St. Joseph taking care of chosen souls in the apostasy?

Then there’s the horseman opening the seal of famine; I’ve always thought of this as a literal famine, but now am wondering if it means a spiritual famine like the Great Apostasy:


When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine!” (Rev 6:5-6)

Oil and wine are used in the sacraments; could this mean that even during the apostasy the Church will continue to provide them to the faithful?


“Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do whatever he told them” Gen 41:55
Reminds me of Mary at Cana: do whatever he tells you, and Jesus multiplied the wine.

Sr. Lorraine said...

Forgive all these posts, but on the 9/11 connection, at lunch today we were talking about it. Two Catholic churches near the twin towers played an important role: St. Peter's Church and its associated St Joseph's mission. Peter and Joseph!

St. Peter's was where Fr Mychal Judge, the first officially recorded victim, was brought. He was a Franciscan.

St. Joseph's mission was turned into a command center to help with the rescue efforts.

http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Sep2003/feature2.asp#F4

Emmett O'Regan said...

Sr Lorraine,

I've been thinking about Joseph's interpretation of Pharaoh's dream in connection with this as well. My thoughts were that it might refer to the time of the era of peace, before the coming of the Antichrist. That there will be seven years of plenty to allows us to prepare and draw in the harvest, and then seven years of famine. I was thinking that the seven years of famine might relate to the time of the mark of the Beast - when no one can buy or sell without the mark. The seven years of plenty, as well as being the time of the Second Pentecost, might be a time when we have to figure out a way of coping financially through the seven years of famine, when all commerce will be conducted through the mark of the Beast.
The stars, along with the Sun, and Moon bowing down to Joseph is directly connected to the astronomical phenomena described in Rev 12 and the opening of the sixth seal in Rev 6 (i.e. a solar eclipse, lunar eclipse, meteor shower and earthquake). Part of the sixth seal is the sealing of the 144,000, representing the twelve tribes (bringing us back to Joseph's dream). The 144,000 are sealed in heaven to counteract the fulfilment of the prophecy of the mark of the Beast on earth.
I think any time St. Joseph is seen in visions (e.g. Fatima and the Knock apparitions), it is to remind us of Rev 12 and the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt. It is always Joseph who is warned by God in his dreams. And when the Holy Family are ready to come out of their refuge in the Egyptian wilderness (which in itself represents the time of the apostasy), they are told to do so through St. Joseph's dream:


"But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel."
(Matt 2:19-21)

"And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth.
(Rev 12:13-16)

So the "entering of the Promised Land" is brought about through St. Joseph - who also finds the boy Jesus in the Temple after the third sorrow of Mary. Perhaps the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima was pointing to this in some way?

Sr. Lorraine said...

Thank you, Emmett, for these further thoughts. They're very enlightening and give me a lot to think about.
The note in my Bible says that when Pharaoh gave Joseph his signet ring, it meant that Joseph was the vizier of Egypt, who was known as “seal-bearer of the king of Lower Egypt.” So what you say about the sixth seal fits right in!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the holy family, I just read that Pope Francis will have the holy family represented on his papal coat of arms!

Catherine

joerusso777 said...

I just wanted to point out something else that I thought may be of importance as to the bishop dressed in white.
I was just reading how Francis doesn't wear the red shoes, he wears some Black ones that were given to him as a gift. He also wears his black pants that are visible to everyone while wearing white Cassock.
This to me explains even more so why the children couldn't understand whether it was the pope Or not but just assumed that it could be!

joerusso777 said...

http://themoynihanletters.com/from-the-desk-of/letter-51-mystical-experience

The above link shows the Popes new coat of Arms Catherine had mentioned and explains a mystical experience he had when he was 17.

Sr. Lorraine said...

Joe, thanks for that info on the pope!

Emmett, today I just happened to come across the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in my missal. The Gospel is the finding in the Temple. The opening prayer makes the connection that the Holy Spirit dwells in Mary, who thus is the temple of the Lord:

"O God, who prepared a fit dwelling place for the Holy Spirit
in the Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
graciously grant that through her intercession
we may be a worthy temple of your glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever."

It struck me because of what you have written about the 2000th anniversary of the Finding in the Temple, and the connection with Fatima and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Sr. Lorraine said...

Tonight I read up on this in the book "Jesus and His Mother" by Andre Feuillet. In the chapter on the Finding in the Temple, he makes some interesting points, such as:

1. Rene Laurentin has studied this in detail, but I don't have his book (Jesus au Temple).

2. This book compares it to John ch. 7, where Jesus is teaching in the Temple. Just as the 12 year old Jesus had astonished the doctors of the Law, now "The Jews were amazed and said, 'How does he know scripture without having studied?' Jesus...said 'My teaching is not my own but is from the one who sent me.'" So Jesus is from above, associated with Divine Wisdom.

F. says "The very Wisdom of God speaks through his mouth."

3. Jesus' words in Luke "Do you not know I must be in my Father's house?" are echoed in John, in relation to Jesus' return to the Father through his Passion, death and resurrection--a connection with the Passover. F. says "The Fourth Gospel consistently links the search for Jesus with his disappearance through his Passion."

4. He makes another parallel: "there exists a hidden but profound analogy between the Lucan scene where, having lost Jesus, Mary and Joseph, overwhelmed with mortal grief, keep searching for him, and the Johannine scene where after the Passion, Mary Magdalene, all in tears, searches for the body of Jesus (Jn 20:11-17)." Then he compares Jesus' two mysterious replies "Why were you looking for me..." to Mary and Joseph, and "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for? ..."

Anyway he goes on in this vein; I thought it might be of interest here because of these connections.

Anonymous said...

Emmett ,
So sorry to ask a question which probably belongs on an earlier post. However I'm curious what ,if any, thoughts you may have in regards to Bl. Elizabeth vision of St Peter " With his crosier he drew a great cross over the face of the earth, separating it into four quadrants. In each of these quadrants, he then brought forth a tree, sprouting with new life. Each tree was in the shape of a cross and enveloped in magnificent light. All the good laity and religious fled for protection underneath these trees and were spared from the tremendous chastisement." Has anyone pondered what these trees might be?
In St Louis de Montfort's prayer to Jesus that is prayed while preparing oneself for the total consecration to Mary it reads in the last paragraph,"... Plant in my soul the Tree of true Life, which is Mary; cultivate it and tend it so that it may grow and blossom and bring forth the fruit of life in abundance."
Also in Japan when the atomic bomb was dropped in Nagasaki remember the picture of the priest house and the priest? They were spared. It is said that they practiced the devotion of the five First Saturdays and Reparation to the Immaculate Heart.
With our last few popes having such a devotion to Our Lady ( even to putting a symbol of hers on their coat of arms) could there be a connection?
What are anyone's thoughts?

Emmett O'Regan said...

Anon.

I have the feeling that the four quadrants divided by St. Peter correspond to the Four Living Creatures of Rev 4. In turn, I think that this is also related to the liturgy - which is the entire focus of this part of Revelation, and will recur in key moments later.
It's something that I need to reflect on further, but I would guess that this refers to the different liturgies of the Church, and its full richness in both unity and diversity.

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting! Thank you for answering my question