The Rapture and the Latin Vulgate

The predicted “rapture” didn’t happen. Surprise!
My sister was married yesterday evening (Deo gratias), and the constant joke at the reception last night was that it was a good thing that that the “rapture” didn’t happen. Or alternatively: “Wouldn’t it be funny if the rapture happened during the wedding, and only the minister were left behind!”
One lady at the reception remarked that if the “rapture” did happen, then at least she’d be on the dance floor when it happened.” And since some people recognize me as being “religious,” they wanted to know my take on the “rapture” prediction: “Do you think it’s true? Is it soon?”
Of course, the standard Catholic response is: “We Catholics don’t believe in the rapture.” The “rapture” is a term created by 19th century Protestant dispensationalists who held that God would ‘rapture’ all faithful Christians from the earth before the tribulation period of the Antichrist.

See the distasteful film Left Behind starring Kirk Cameron for more details.

If I’m feeling cheeky, my provocative response is: “Yeah, I believe in the rapture. It happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, and only one person was raptured: the Immaculate Mary Mother of God was technically ‘raptured’ when she was assumed body and soul into Heaven.” Evangelical replies to this response vary…
Now it must be stated that we Catholics don’t believe in a secret “rapture” of the faithful before the beginning of the Antichrist’s Great Tribulation. In fact, saints and mystics have prophesied that the greatest saints and martyrs of the Catholic Church will be those who persevere under the terrible reign of the Antichrist. Their faithfulness to Christ and their martyrdoms will be even greater than the Maccabees, greater than the Apostles, and greater than the great Roman martyrs. 
It will be an era of glory for the Church as these great witnesses stand faithful against the Antichrist and his Satanic kingdom. There is no “eject” button for the faithful. We stay down here and fight the spiritual battle unto the greater glory of God.
I apologize for the rambling post, but I want to quickly address the word “rapture,” since it is now being used in America as a synonym for end times, eschaton, last days, and/or apocalypse. For most Americans, the term “rapture” has become the word for denoting the apocalypse.
I think that we Catholics can use this as an opportunity to remind others about the true nature of the apocalypse as taught in the Bible. Christ told us to take up our cross, and this also applies to the last days. We won’t be raptured before of the tribulation. The Bible doesn’t teach this anywhere.
We won’t leave the battlefield before the battle begins. We have to be prepared. We have to be faithful to the Apostolic Faith. Many will abandon the true Faith. Many will follow false version of the true Faith. We must have a profound and living relationship with Christ, and appeal to the strength of His Blood. We must remain fast to the Holy Eucharist and revere our priests. Frequent confession is essential. We must pray the Holy Rosary daily and meditate on the mysteries of the life, passion, and glories of Christ and His Blessed Mother. We must read the lives of the saints and ask for their intercessions with Christ the King. It will be the greatest spiritual war since the fall of the Lucifer and the apostate angels. We must invoke the grace of our Confirmation to stand firm against spiritual adversity. 
Now then, regarding the word “rapture.” It’s best to avoid the word altogether, because it carries so much dispensationalist baggage. But if you must, know that there is a very small bit of truth to it. After Jesus Christ vanquishes the Antichrist and the last day comes, Saint Paul writes that we will be lifted up into the air to meet Christ the King coming with all His saints and angels. Here is what Saint Paul teaches:
“For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment and with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God: and the dead who are in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left (i.e. those who were not martyred by the Antichrist), shall be taken up together with them {simul rapiemur cum illis} in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air: and so shall we be always with the Lord. ” (1 Thessalonians 4:15–16, D-R)
Here the Latin Vulgate describes the exaltation and assumption of the Catholic Church on the Last Day with the verb rapiemur. Rapiemur is the first person plural future passive form of rapere, meaning to “carry off, seize, or drag away.” It’s perfect passive form is raptus from which we derive the English word “rapture.” To be “raptured” is to be taken up. It can be positive, as with Christ exalting His Church. It can be negative, like an eagle seizing a fish from the sea.
All this would be difficult to explain at a wedding reception or over a martini at cocktail party. So, if you feel confident, go with it. Otherwise, stick to the traditional Catholic language of “apocalypse” or “last days.”
All Holy Martyrs, pray for us!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

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The Rapture and the Latin Vulgate

The predicted “rapture” didn’t happen. Surprise!
My sister was married yesterday evening (Deo gratias), and the constant joke at the reception last night was that it was a good thing that that the “rapture” didn’t happen. Or alternatively: “Wouldn’t it be funny if the rapture happened during the wedding, and only the minister were left behind!”
One lady at the reception remarked that if the “rapture” did happen, then at least she’d be on the dance floor when it happened.” And since some people recognize me as being “religious,” they wanted to know my take on the “rapture” prediction: “Do you think it’s true? Is it soon?”
Of course, the standard Catholic response is: “We Catholics don’t believe in the rapture.” The “rapture” is a term created by 19th century Protestant dispensationalists who held that God would ‘rapture’ all faithful Christians from the earth before the tribulation period of the Antichrist.

See the distasteful film Left Behind starring Kirk Cameron for more details.

If I’m feeling cheeky, my provocative response is: “Yeah, I believe in the rapture. It happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, and only one person was raptured: the Immaculate Mary Mother of God was technically ‘raptured’ when she was assumed body and soul into Heaven.” Evangelical replies to this response vary…
Now it must be stated that we Catholics don’t believe in a secret “rapture” of the faithful before the beginning of the Antichrist’s Great Tribulation. In fact, saints and mystics have prophesied that the greatest saints and martyrs of the Catholic Church will be those who persevere under the terrible reign of the Antichrist. Their faithfulness to Christ and their martyrdoms will be even greater than the Maccabees, greater than the Apostles, and greater than the great Roman martyrs. 
It will be an era of glory for the Church as these great witnesses stand faithful against the Antichrist and his Satanic kingdom. There is no “eject” button for the faithful. We stay down here and fight the spiritual battle unto the greater glory of God.
I apologize for the rambling post, but I want to quickly address the word “rapture,” since it is now being used in America as a synonym for end times, eschaton, last days, and/or apocalypse. For most Americans, the term “rapture” has become the word for denoting the apocalypse.
I think that we Catholics can use this as an opportunity to remind others about the true nature of the apocalypse as taught in the Bible. Christ told us to take up our cross, and this also applies to the last days. We won’t be raptured before of the tribulation. The Bible doesn’t teach this anywhere.
We won’t leave the battlefield before the battle begins. We have to be prepared. We have to be faithful to the Apostolic Faith. Many will abandon the true Faith. Many will follow false version of the true Faith. We must have a profound and living relationship with Christ, and appeal to the strength of His Blood. We must remain fast to the Holy Eucharist and revere our priests. Frequent confession is essential. We must pray the Holy Rosary daily and meditate on the mysteries of the life, passion, and glories of Christ and His Blessed Mother. We must read the lives of the saints and ask for their intercessions with Christ the King. It will be the greatest spiritual war since the fall of the Lucifer and the apostate angels. We must invoke the grace of our Confirmation to stand firm against spiritual adversity. 
Now then, regarding the word “rapture.” It’s best to avoid the word altogether, because it carries so much dispensationalist baggage. But if you must, know that there is a very small bit of truth to it. After Jesus Christ vanquishes the Antichrist and the last day comes, Saint Paul writes that we will be lifted up into the air to meet Christ the King coming with all His saints and angels. Here is what Saint Paul teaches:
“For the Lord himself shall come down from heaven with commandment and with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God: and the dead who are in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left (i.e. those who were not martyred by the Antichrist), shall be taken up together with them {simul rapiemur cum illis} in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air: and so shall we be always with the Lord. ” (1 Thessalonians 4:15–16, D-R)
Here the Latin Vulgate describes the exaltation and assumption of the Catholic Church on the Last Day with the verb rapiemur. Rapiemur is the first person plural future passive form of rapere, meaning to “carry off, seize, or drag away.” It’s perfect passive form is raptus from which we derive the English word “rapture.” To be “raptured” is to be taken up. It can be positive, as with Christ exalting His Church. It can be negative, like an eagle seizing a fish from the sea.
All this would be difficult to explain at a wedding reception or over a martini at cocktail party. So, if you feel confident, go with it. Otherwise, stick to the traditional Catholic language of “apocalypse” or “last days.”
All Holy Martyrs, pray for us!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!