Home > Archives > 03 - 2011 > “... and he went away, to go from victory to victory” (Revelation 6, 2)
from issue no. 03 - 2011

“... and he went away, to go from victory to victory” (Revelation 6, 2)

by Lorenzo Cappelletti

To quote oneself is always embarrassing. To write an introduction to oneself even more so. But, putting aside the embarrassment, because it doesn’t have to do with a personal motive, let’s come straight to the point: why are we reproposing this article, originally occasioned by the publication, close in time to some tragic moments of conflict, of a book on the crypt of Anagni Cathedral? Because, apart from that contingency, it can also help us interpret the present moment precisely because it faithfully follows of one of the finest pictorial depictions of the verses of the Revelation to John on the opening of the seals (excluding the seventh, significantly). Which is after all the actual reason why, especially during the first Christian millennium, use was made of the Revelation to John as a key to reading the time between the Resurrection of Our Lord and His return. Therefore of the time that is also ours.

So, what does the Johannine text accompanied by that fine and poetic pictorial material tell us today?

Many things, but first of all that the events of history, mysteriously and yet in actual fact, have no other leading thread than the reaction to the inexorable victory of Jesus Christ (who won and still wins) over the fratricidal war of men, over hell and over death. In addition to proceeding legitimately in search of the numerous causes and effects of historical facts, one must also take into account that a struggle is always reflected in them that has to do with the rebellion and acceptance of Christ’s victory. A struggle so profound and universal that it cannot be stated or understood completely in prose, but in the form of the overcharged images of the Revelation to John.

Paradoxically, the reason for the reaction to that inexorable victory of Christ is that it reveals Him, it does not reveal a mystery of death, but one of salvation, it does not cause fear, but puts an end to fear, it is inexorable but it is merciful, it is definitive but it is patient. That’s why “Jesus invites us not to allow ourselves to be afraid”, wrote Cardinal Martini on Sunday 27 March on the front page of Corriere della Sera.

It is interesting, from this point of view that, according to the letter of the text of  the Revelation to John, at the opening of the sixth seal that signifies the imminence of the end (cf. Rev 6, 12-17), the end does not occur but instead the order is given to the four angels at the four corners of the world to hold back the winds of destruction so that they do not devastate the land or the sea or vegetation until God’s seal has been set on the foreheads of His servants (cf. Rev 7, 1-3). May the Lord, Who is patient and merciful, grant us peace. Good reading.

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