When the world didn’t end in 2000, some people set their apocalyptic hopes on 2012. After those disappointments, perhaps we should finally acknowledge that it’s impossible to predict the day or the hour. But despite failing to come true again and again, apocalyptic claims generate hype wherever and whenever they arise—because in some sense they are true. It’s true that “the world and its enticements are passing away” (1 Jn 2:14). And it’s true, not only that material things come and go, but also that all of creation as we know it will pass away at some time “only the Father knows” (Mt 24:36).
Our knowledge that the story of the world has a real—if mysterious—conclusion clarifies our vision and instructs our desires. As the Catholic teaching on the apocalypse takes its rightful place in our minds, it sheds light upon our lives and inspires us to set our love on what is permanent. We begin to see that our sufferings of this present age, though they so often seem to pass into history unremarked and without meaning, even now share in the salvific purpose of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection on earth.
Inspired by this doctrine, the Summer 2018 issue of Dominicana focuses on the end of things, in particular, the end of the world in the apocalypse—etymologically, the “uncovering”—which will make clear the true meaning of reality. The articles in this issue offer reflections on hope and the Last Judgment, the ultimate triumph of love over death, twentieth-century apocalyptic novels, and a variety of other end-times topics. If you have a subscription to the print journal, you can read these articles for free online. If you don’t have a subscription, please enjoy two complimentary articles—“Dare We Hope for the Last Judgment?” and “The Virgin of the Apocalypse”—and, if you like these, consider subscribing.
We offer this issue as an encouragement to seek the things that last. We are pilgrims in this world. And as pilgrims strain their eyes towards the distant horizon where earth and heaven meet, we hope that our readers, in considering their end and the end of the world, will open their hearts more and more to God, who was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.
Image: Unknown Miniaturist, The Seventh Angel of the Apocalypse Proclaiming the Reign of the Lord