Deciphering the Book of Revelation
beginning to understand it. It was at this point that he mustered the strength to utter, “I understand, now.” It reminded me of the last words of St. Thomas Aquinas, “All I’ve written is straw.” The next morning he was in God’s arms. He was 54 when he died. I was deeply saddened not only at the loss of someone who had become my brother but also by the fact that our mutual project had not been completed.
On the drive to the funeral, I said to the family that we could be comforted that Steve’s “works will accompany him” as it says in the Apocalypse. My children herein referred to as “Friends” and the principal recipients of the letters, served on the altar and performed the scripture readings at the funeral. One of the readings selected by the presiding priest (who was unaware of Steve’s work in this regard) was from the Apocalypse Chapter 14 verses 12 and 13: “Here is what sustains the holy ones who keep God’s commandments and their faith in Jesus. I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ said the Spirit, ‘let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them.’”
After the funeral, we went to his house, and there, in the typewriter, a manual typewriter, was another page. I had no idea how many pages he may have finished that he hadn’t sent. When his wife sent me six more pages that got me most of the way through Chapter 13, I again thought that the project was over. Then, a month later, my wife sent me a message at work. “Guess what showed up in the mail today?” I had no idea. She answered, “a package from Steve’s wife…68 pages of his notes.” They weren’t just notes. He had written out the entire commentary prior to sitting at that manual typewriter day after day. His wife had copied it and was fixing the places where the copier had cut off parts of words. I was filled with such joy that all I could think of was typing the whole thing into the computer so that it could be shared.
The book will cover the time from the late first century when St. John wrote the Apocalypse to a time as yet unknown in the future, and show how some predicted events affecting God’s people have come to pass, such as the Arian Heresy, the Barbarian Invasions, the rise of Islam, the Greek Schism, Martin Luther and Protestantism. Each of these events then sets the table so to speak for the climactic events of the second and third woes. The book was written beginning in 1997 and Steve finished the letters in 2000. He did not live to see the attack on the World Trade Center, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, the sex abuse scandal in the Church, the death of Pope John Paul II and election of Pope Benedict XVI. Other events that would have piqued his interest include the accelerated de-Christianization of Europe and unregulated Islamic immigration, the recent riots in France, and the pronouncements concerning entry to the priesthood from the Vatican. As you read the book, it should become clear how they all fit with what he wrote.
Steve once related to my wife that when he was sick as a young soldier, he was walking along a beach in Viet Nam and spotted a lone seagull circling overhead. At that moment he says he was infused with the certainty that “everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be.”
What follows is the result of a life’s work. It is Steve’s Apocalypse, Letter by Letter.
Yours in Christ,
A Friend of the Lord
November 20, 1998
Dear Friends of the Lord,
The third part of the commentary has been completed. Since the number of its pages is estimated at 130 [260 in typical paperback], the number of weeks to type them at the two-fingered rate is, according to rule of thumb, estimated at four weeks, should vision prove durable for that duration. The assiduity of two forefingers in concert could induce double vision or the sensation of a bicephalous condition; however, a copious supply of coffee and Boston Crèmes, as experience has proved, will undoubtedly sustain single-mindedness throughout.
Notwithstanding this answer to the process goes beforehand, the aftermath of it certainly comes into question. In this case, worry would be an otiose emotion; for anticipation, not seldom, is a false prophet antagonistic toward true advice, “Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.”
Thus, it stands within the prospect of belief that the commentary’s third part will depart for your house before December 20, 1998. On second thought, the relativity of double vision can be an advantage or disadvantage. Once upon a late autumn afternoon, a broom handle of a woman came walking along the street, sweeping the leaves with her feet; and, well….
So thin she was [I speak not in derision], One had to knock one’s head, to double ...
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