A Catholic reads the Bible, Week 52: Alpha and Omega

The tears surprised me.

My project was finally done.

I knew page 1394, the end of the book of Revelation, was coming, but man, I didn’t expect to cry over it.

I laughed at myself for being so emotional. I should have expected a project that changed my life would cause me to cry when it was done.

The last two years have taught me so much about my faith, and changed the way I practiced it.

But it’s like I saved the best for last. It was with trepidation that I embarked on reading the entirety of Revelation for this final post.

It was everything I expected and more — in the best way possible.

People had warned me that this book was going to be too much. Meaning: too hard. I constantly heard, “Wait until you get to Revelation…” as if I my head would explode at the gory details or the overwhelming story line.

But let me tell you this, if you can get through Numbers, the book of Revelation is so much more entertaining and so much more fun.

It was like I was having a strange dream with all the fundamental and ideals of faith from the Bible mixed into this bizarre stew.

“The Revelation to John” is also referred to as the “Apocalypse.” It is filled with multicolored horses and plagues. There are images of death and chaos. Plus, did I mention the colored horses? Obviously, that jumped out at me.

The whole Bible prepares you for this point. The book is a different form of Paul’s letters — it was going after the same new believers and capturing their attention with a big story. I totally got it.

I kept focusing on all the images of the Bible.

I studied the painting of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” by Victor Vasnetsov, in my art history class in college. The references to God being the “Alpha” and the “Omega” made me think about the altar at Christ the King Church in Burlington, Vermont. I thought about my grandmother’s statue in her bedroom with the crown and the orb along with the seven stars, which has a rather long explanation in Revelation.

This project has invited countless comments and encouragement from strangers on social media. I was sitting at a coffee shop one Saturday, reading and writing, when a woman and her daughter approached. She thought I was a minister. Nope!

But that conversation led to a new friendship and a new reader of this blog.

I started to see the Bible in my life in a whole new way. While I will never be able to quote directly from it (my brain doesn’t work that way), I see the text come alive everywhere.

When I was sitting in the musical “Come From Away,” a character quoted Philippians 4:6, I wanted to run to my Bible and read the whole passage immediately. When I waited in line to get my car inspected, I smiled when I saw the Bible wedged behind the rear window in the car in front of me.

It’s an awareness that I never had before. And I have said it before, and I will say it again here, I listen to the homily of every priest more intently and reflect upon it. These posts aren’t a traditional homily, but, they made me think and try to connect the message to me, and, ultimately to you, my readers, to whom I am forever grateful.

I will never be the same.

And while looking through my tears, I read the last words of the Bible: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all.”

That is all that I can wish for in this life.

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