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The Three Days of Darkness
Question from Joe Solomon on 2/8/2002:

Where in the book of Revelations does it read about the three days of darkness and the end of time?

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 2/18/2002:

The prophecy of three days of darkness is not in the Book of Revelation but in the revelations of the end times provided by Catholic prophets St. Caspar del Bufulo, Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, Blessed Elizabeth Canori-Mora and Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified. These holy Catholics of the 19th century, the last two of whom Pope John Paul II beatified, speak of a Minor Tribulation of the world (minor compared to the Great Tribulation of the Antichrist at the end of the world), as a time of purification leading into an age of peace. This "era of peace" is presumably that prophesized to the children of Fatima, and which St. John Eudes, St. Louis de Monfort, and others, have spoken of variously as a Marian age, or an Eucharistic age, or a Social Reign of Jesus Christ. It is not, in Catholic prophecy, a physical reign of Jesus on the earth, such as the Protestants expect, since that is the heresy of millenarianism. Rather, it is a time in which the Church will flourish, the Gospel will be spread to the far corners of the earth, but which will eventually devolve into the time of the Antichrist, whom Christ will slay with the breath of His Coming. THAT will be the end.

As for the three days of darkness, when it is said all light will be extinguished and hell loosed upon the earth, it is said to be the culminating event of the Minor Tribulation, and follows upon what man has reaped by his own self-will: war, violence, natural calamities and disease. Is it to be taken literally or figuratively? I don't know. Regarding the Third Secret of Fatima the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote that the prophecies of authentic private revelation, like those of Scripture, are symbolic. So, perhaps it refers to the times in which we live, in which hell does seem to be loosed. But symbolic prophecies can have exact historical fulfillments, as the shooting of the Pope did in connection with the Fatima secret. So, perhaps it will have some more literal fulfillment in an event of evident divine punishment. Even the Third Secret threatens that, in the angel's sword poised to strike the earth unless man repents. Finally, since prophecy is intended to change our behavior to conform to the will of God, it could be that these prophecies, from reliable and holy sources, could or have been mitigated (lessened in intensity, or even changed to a different event). Like the prophecies fortelling the coming of Christ, it is entirely possible that only after the events will Catholics be able to look back and identify their exact fulfillment.

For a thorough summary of the biblical, patristic and Catholic prophetic tradition regarding the end times, read Desmond Birch's Trial, Tribulation and Triumph (Santa Barbara, CA., Queenship Publishing).

See also my FAQ Endtimes/Millenium/Rapture



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