OK, so there wasn’t a Rapture of Good Souls that Left Behind Rotten Souls like me. Or if there was, very few people were Good Enough to go. Does this really mean anything?
Every day that I tend a death, I see a Rapture. I always tell the family that I am sure that their loved one is in a better place, and they will meet again some day. Most of the time, I actually believe it. I’m not sure if the thought comforts them.
How many people are supposed to have been taken? 150,000 people die world-wide each day. A little over 56 million people, counting military and civilians, died in World War II. Don’t those count as Rapture? To think of some sort of horrific event that kills millions of people at once sounds like a Holocaust to me. How awful.
The whole concept is a little bit anathema to a Catholic. Sure, John foresaw wholesale destruction. He also saw a woman giving birth in the sky, an aeronautical trick if there ever was one. It’s allegory, and a lesson, but not necessarily flat truth. Sure, prophets predicted a Messiah, but that didn’t turn out according to the literal truth everyone thought it would, did it? I was taught that I should try to keep myself in a state of Grace because I never could know when I would die. No one ever talked about a mass murder. I guess keeping to a state of Grace would provide in that event as well.
Each and every soul faces his or her own End Time, and I can tell you that few of the ones I’ve seen die were ready for it. I recently dealt with a 94 year old who refused to talk about her dying, or to make a will. “Not gonna happen” she said. I still don’t know if she meant the will or
It seems so smug to me to say that “At a certain time, our selected few members will be taken to God and you horrible sinners will be left here, neener neener neener!”. And yet I can’t bring myself to laugh at those who are so disappointed, and where I live, there are quite a few. What do you say to these people?
“Dang, are you still here?"
“I’m sorry you didn’t die?”
“I’m sorry it turned out that you have to live out the time allotted to you?”
“I’m sorry you’re not Good Enough to be Taken?”
“I’m sorry you’re stuck here with the horrible Devil’s-Fodder Catholics like me?”
And of course, the big question in my mind is: The promised Rapture has apparently stood us up. Does this mean that the accompanying End Of The World scheduled for October 21 is off?
I can understand the appeal of skipping over all that pesky change that comes with aging and dying and what not. Given the chance, I'd happily skip past the sucky parts of life. But this--and many similar eschatological doctrines--strike me as being more about schadenfreude than anything else. Maybe I'd think differently if it was really happening, but, being "taken up" while every other living thing is "left behind" to suffer? I'm pretty sure I'd rather stay behind.
OK, so you said in one paragraph what I was trying to say. And said it well.
I agree: if given the choice, I'd rather stay and help where I could. It's kinda my job, you know? And another thing, this short-cut thingy sounds like cheating.
Ever notice how similar "eschatological" and "scatological" are?
No, I didn't! I mean, I didn't think I did. But that's what your post got me thinking about. But it does seem a little, um, pretentious to prepare to be Raptured (enrapturized?) doesn't it? And then the fact that it means life for everyone and everything else is going to be miserable makes it seem downright selfish and greedy and cruel. And I had the impression Jesus was opposed to those things. I mean, I'm neither religious nor an expert, but I thought Jesus was the one who stayed behind to suffer for others? And said something about "what you do to the least of these, you do to me"? And refused to condone vengeance, much less passing judgement?
And the cheating thing! I was just thinking about that, too. What possible reason would anyone have to believe that the rules of the game suddenly change, and for the first time in history, instead of hard work and discipline, there's a Get Out Of Apocalypse Free card? I don't know, I think you're right, and there are a lot of people who just hate the world, and want out, and everyone else be damned (literally). Maybe that's really how things work, but it sounds horrible, and I don't want to be part of that. And if people like you are getting left behind, well, that's all the more reason for me to as well. :)
Jeebus but I ramble sometimes. Clearly, this is your fault. ;)