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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Why DOES the sun go on shining? Don't they know...?

So, I just read a couple of articles this evening about Pope Benedict XVI being really sick and the Cardinals in Rome beginning the proceedings to elect a new pope. In fact, 22 new church clergymen have been admitted into the circle of Cardinals, including Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan of NYC (formerly of St. Louis). Dolan, and the other 125 Cardinals under the age of 80, are all qualified to become the next pope. However, would any man want this positions, as it is seemingly etched in blood (whose I'm not sure). Why is this so interesting to a Jew, like myself? Well, I have read and have been told about the idea that the pope after the current one will be the 'anti-Christ' and usher in an age of terror and darkness. Supposedly, under this next pope, and THE LAST, the Vatican will fall and Catholicism will be doomed.*


-The Vatican/Rome will fall ('the town of seven hills will be destroyed')
-a man referred to as 'Peter the Roman' will lead this 'final persecution'
-Peter the Roman will usher in 'the end of days'..boom!

I also have been reading about the supposed Bible Code and Prophecies of St. Malachy lining up with every single Pope dating back all the way to the 10th century or so. The prediction called The Prophecies of St. Malachy, were written by a priest and Kabbalist from medieval times. While visiting Pope Innocent II in Rome during the year 1129, Malachy had a vision where he saw the succession of popes until the LAST ONE. Each pope has a 'nickname' of sorts that has to do with his origins, coat of arms, name, etc. Some of the coincidences are more than that, though some connections are a bit of a stretch.

Some examples: Pope Urban VIII was called 'Lillium et Rosa'. He was from Florence, whose arms have a fleur-de-lis. Also, there were bees on Urban's own coat of arms which connects to flowers as well, I guess. Or, take Pope Paul VI, whose coat of arms had three lilies; his nickname in the prophecy is 'Flos Florum'. Then, John Paul II, whose nickname was 'De laboris solis'; he was born during a solar eclipse. Coincidence?? You can even check out this list of names for St. Malachy's prophecy on Wikipedia!*


Now enough about popes and Catholicism! I'm a Jew; so what should it matter about all this business? Well, I find it fascinating that this news of Benedict XVI being sick comes at a time where our culture is obsessed with the apocalypse. We have countless books, movies, and television shows on the very subject. Even the History Channel seems to be jam packed with episodes on Bible Code/prophecy and how humans will be obliterated: earthquake, flood, disease, etc.

Obviously, this is also a big year, 2012. We all know about the theory of the Mayan calender that predicts that the world will end on December 21/22 2012 (the winter solstice). Now, I have to be honest that I do not buy into the world ending. Part of it is hoax and part of it is our culture of fear. If we are afraid, then we are more likely to act in ways that are self-serving and materialistic. I mean, the world might end but how do we know when? None of us knows the answer to that.

So, I say live your life everyday like it's the last. There is too much negativity and evil in the world nowadays. I mean, you could act upon urges of greed, lust, ego, hate but I really don't see a point. With the end of the world aside, we're all human and must die at some point. So, why not try to do as many good deeds and what my religion calls, mitzvot, in order to best serve the world. Do random acts of kindness and help people when they least expect it.

This should especially be true in today's society where many people don't have jobs, are down on their luck, are homeless, and/or dig through the garbage for tomorrow's meal. We need to help one another now more than ever. I don't want to get preachy though. However, my religion espouses the idea of tikkun olam, literally healing/fixing the world. Personally, I want to add to the greater good of humanity (and not because I believe it will get me into heaven or get me wealth and fame).

It is a scary thought to think that we may be on the brink of extinction. However, we cannot control what will happen. The only thing we CAN control is our own actions and words. I truly believe that with Hashem's (G-d's) help, we take our destiny in our hands and can either help shape a better tomorrow for all or just for ourselves.

Yes, in a way, these times do seem very imminent of some sort of major shift. There are books, movies, and tv shows that describe environmental catastrophe, alien invasion, major world war, lack of resources and overpopulation, or super strength plague. Some of these describe a zombie plague being our demise: shows like 'The Walking Dead' and movies like 28 Days Later, but also books like World War Z or Zone One. Our culture has become zombie obsessed. However, we also have books like The Road by Cormac McCarthy where people end up eating each other, as there's a shortage of food and resources. There's also 'The Day After Tomorrow', '2012', 'War of the Worlds', 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers', 'Donnie Darko', even 'Independence Day', and the still popular book and tv movieThe Stand.

Despite how Hollywood or over-the-top some of these shows/books/movies might be, anything is possible. One cannot deny the major environmental shifts that our world is going through now. While some places freeze, others have major drought or monsoon rain (where there was previously another weather pattern for centuries). Our world is already at a staggering 7 billion people. Resources are becoming more scarce and diseases are getting more widespread. And, it's all connected. The more people, the more consumption. The change of weather patterns alters how crops grow and can cause people to become environmental refugees. Wars and unrest are springing up in many cultures and countries. You tune into the news, and it just seems to be too much.

So, return to my previous thought. Why worry? We can only control what we each do in this world. So why not do as much good as you can. Yes, we might be headed for a population purge of sorts. You can spend your time worrying about it or you can act. By choosing to act, you hopefully choose to promote peace, healing, positivity, and general comfort. I may sound hippie dippy, but it's either be a light in the darkness or go blind and get lost in the darkness. I choose the former. And you?

Until tomorrow,


1 comment:

Denise said...

The first part of this post is really fascinating; I've always found the prophecy and mystery that swirls around Catholicism quite interesting.

The second part really got me thinking. Obviously we have no control over the weather, natural disasters - things of that nature. Any human-controlled things, however - if we all took the approach of being kind and altruistic and not so panicked and worried about everthing, I think we would really slow down any shot we have at destroying ourselves by our own hands. Famine, disease outbreaks, war - these are things that our attitudes and actions can directly effect.

Interesting though, that we do have an obsession with fear - and doom, and end times - which seems to be going global. I'm sure we could really dig into what it says about society - and the fact that it definitely does help drive consumerism.