I wrote this article right after I felt an earthquake during my morning reflection. I didn’t receive the usual emergency alert from my phone, but I was able to confirm the quake’s magnitude through social media.
Perhaps nothing reminds us more about our frailty like an earthquake does. Within a few seconds, we feel as though everything we have ever built could suddenly collapse upon us. Money doesn’t matter anymore. Luxurious cars are of no use.
An earthquake arrives like death, terrible and unannounced.
What made a more significant impact on me was that I was reading the following prophetic verses shortly before I felt the earthquake:
“Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the Lord is coming, it is near—
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness spread upon the mountains
a great and powerful army comes;
their like has never been from of old,
nor will be again after them
in ages to come.”
Joel 2:1-2 (NRSVCE)
Are Earthquakes and Other Calamities Becoming More Frequent?
I don’t know if it’s just our technological advancements that make us more alert about them, but I feel that earthquakes these days are more frequent than when I was much younger.
Is it just a consequence of the destruction of our environment? Or could they be signs of a deeper destruction going on in the spiritual realm?
In the Bible, we had been warned about the end times. And earthquakes are one of the obvious signs of its coming.
“There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.” – Luke 21:11 (NABRE)
And it’s not only about earthquakes. Volcanoes erupt. Vast forests burn with wildfire. Hail the size of tennis balls suddenly fall from the sky. Lives and properties are destroyed as hurricanes and floods become more frequent.
As our environment suffers from ruin, perhaps there will be even more terrible signs in the future.
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” – Luke 21:25-26 (NABRE)
We don’t have to look very far to see the calamities happening in our world. Just because science can explain them doesn’t mean they have no spiritual significance.
Could it be that we are living in the end times but we’re just not aware of it?
How Can It Be the End Times without Us Noticing the Signs?
With all of these signs happening around us, however, how can it be that we’d also fail to notice them? Even the Bible speaks about times when a sudden disaster will fall upon us similar to the days of Noah.
“For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In [those] days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be [also] at the coming of the Son of Man.” – Matthew 24:37-39 (NABRE)
Fulton Sheen may help us realize our folly when it comes to the signs God is giving us.
“Why is it that so few realize the seriousness of our present crisis? Partly because men do not want to believe their own times are wicked, partly because it involves too much self-accusation and principally because they have no standards outside of themselves to measure their times. Only those who live by faith really know what is happening in the world. Well may Our Savior say to us what He said to the Sadducees and Pharisees in His time: ‘When it is evening, you say: It will be fair weather, for the sky is red. And in the morning: Today there will be a storm, for the sky is red and lowering. You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the times?’”.
Being Vigilant and Reading the Signs of the Times
It isn’t enough to become aware of the natural calamities happening around us. The most astonishing signs can come up in great numbers, but without us being willing to see beyond their scientific explanations, how could we read the signs of the times?
It takes spiritual insight, humility and deep reflection to stay vigilant and steadfast in one’s faith. We need to be close to God in prayer as well as in His sacraments so that we may not fall away when darkness covers the earth.
While it is not yet too late, why not turn away from useless amusements and arguments? God is merciful and He is not too quick to punish us if we sincerely repent from our wicked ways.
But if we let the pleasures of this world distract us, the most obvious signs of the end could come and we’d still wallow in foolishness. We’d be so drunk in madness that we’d no longer see that day before whom even the angels tremble and dread.
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”- Luke 21:34-36 (NABRE)
“As Christians we must realize that a moment of crisis is not a time of despair, but of opportunity. The more we can anticipate the doom, the more we can avoid it. Once we recognize we are under Divine Wrath, we become eligible for Divine Mercy.” – Fulton Sheen
Jocelyn Soriano is the author of the book Defending My Catholic Faith. In this book, you can also read the author’s special chapter titled “A Personal Analysis of What the End of Days Will Be Like.”
“Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” – 1 Peter 3:15 (NABRE)
You may also want to read “Where Is God When Disasters Happen?”