Catholics Approaching Apocalypse: A Week Spent in Revelation

Paul Keggington

June 24, 2011

Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity welcome guest blogger Regina Lehnerz who reflects on Fr. Jean-Pierre Ruiz’s course “Approaching The  Apocalypse: The Book of Revelation” from the First Century to the Twenty-First at Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, June 17-24, 2011. Read more about Fr. Jean-Pierre Ruiz, S.T.D..

Fr. Jean-Pierre Ruiz, S.T.D., teaches “Approaching The Apocalypse: The Book of Revelation from the First Century to the Twenty-First” June 17-24, 2011 at Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.

If you’ve ever scratched your head after reading even a verse from the Book of Revelation or wondered why people continue to predict the end of the world in spite of the countless “dooms days” that have come and gone without even a blink from Heaven, you’re in good company. Scholars have devoted their lives– and we, the last week –to the study of the Apocalypse of John, and still we can’t be certain of who or what the number of the beast stands for or which horns on which goat refer to which whatever.

In attempt to cut through the fog in which any apocalyptical reader is almost certainly left in, Fr. Jean-Pierre Ruiz, S.T.D., professor and scripture scholar from St. John’s University in New York, has spent the week with us, unraveling the mystery of “How to Read” the final book of the Canon instead of picking apart the seemingly endless symbolism. We’ve learned the book of Revelation, as any book, can and should be read as a window into the history in which the text was scribbled down, i.e. 96 AD. It can also be examined as a canvas onto which John painted a peculiar and, at times, terrifying dream. And finally, we may also find parts of the book useful for self-examination, as we would a mirror.

This three-fold technique for studying the Apocalypse has given us the go-ahead to accept that the words and warnings within it aren’t a prediction of the future as much as they are an interpretation of space and time and our place within them. Perhaps the book is an interpretation of John’s time and space, or maybe our time or a time in the future. However the book is read and interpreted, we, as Catholics, are blessed to be constantly exposed to the rituals of Revelation in the Divine Office and in our participation in the Holy Mass. What we’ve learned from  these rituals, and what the book says for sure, is this: God is without time, and there is no time without God. He is the Alpha and the Omega, beginning and end, and Holy, Holy, Holy is He.