Every so often I run up against unreasoning fear, and not just the fear that my kid will get locked in a parked car. It’s that gut-clenching fear of supernatural powers that will leave humanity helpless. Remember that when growing up, I was regularly exposed to end-of-the-worlders who had a bunker out in the mountains, where I was taught to fire a gun and where I was supposed to hide with them after the UN took over the United States.
I came across a brief description of the life of Blessed Anna-Maria Taigi, whom I immediately liked for several reasons. But apparently she’s most famous for a prediction of “the three days’ darkness,” which I’d rather not recount in great detail except to say that if they happen, it’ll be because God is truly angry with the world, and it’ll be like bad-bad-bad-bad.
She had a life full of greatness, but whatever I found about her online focused mostly on that prediction, and having the willpower of a magpie in a confetti factory, I started reading all this scary stuff. Some of these writers take her (and other mystics’) prediction and spin it out into this horrifying scenario.
Don’t get me wrong: the possibility of a wrathful God should strike us with horror. But the writers go off the deep end. It’s not just “stock up on food and water” or “make sure you have candles.” One website actually said that if the darkness falls, don’t open your door for anyone. Even if you hear your own children crying, don’t open to let them in because it’s Satan trying to trick you.
First off, if Satan wants to get into my house, we have a chimney and there are vents in the attic. (One site said to have plastic on hand to seal your windows. So you survive the darkness in order to suffocate.) Plus, I’ve never heard that angels or demons are deterred by doors.
But more than that, if surviving the wrath of God requires me to leave my children to die on my doorstep, I don’t want to survive. Life isn’t such an overall good that I need to sacrifice my humanity at the altar of living one day longer. Period. If Satan wants to get me, he can come to my door crying like my children. I’ll open the door. I’d open it for a stranger too.
Why? Because if you posit the idea that God is doing this to punish bad people, then I’m not so awesome myself. But if I’m willing to let other people die, that really ain’t cool. If God is doing this, then God would be in control, no? If it’s really a worldwide cataclysm no one can escape, then I’ll just have to trust that God will look out for me.
Maybe that’s naive. But when that old childhood terror started creeping up, I realized how distorted it is to focus on surviving the end of the world if it means becoming the kind of person who doesn’t deserve to survive.