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Posted March 28, 2010
In his introduction, Fr. Richard Veras offers an overview of the book of Revelation as "apocalyptic literature" characterized by the heavy use of symbolism. "Indeed, the relentless use of strange symbolism in the book of Revelation is what makes it daunting to many," he writes. He defends the use of symbolism in general, stating that it expresses reality "more truly than literal descriptions of what the eye can see and the ear can hear." Further, he notes, the book of Revelation has something to say about the life of Christians here and now. To bring out that connection, Veras uses frequent references to modern culture from movies to addresses by Pope Benedict XVI.
In a discussion on suffering in Revelation 3:19, Veras writes of Tom Brokow's "greatest generation" as an example of bad things leading to greatness. He also uses examples from the movies Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In Body Snatchers, people are deprived of emotion, and in Sunshine their painful memories are deleted. Veras describes those scenarios as horrifying and creepy, suggesting that obliterating suffering is to take away something that makes us human. "By removing sacrifice and suffering, our culture reduces the greatness to which we are called," he writes.
Veras does a good job of making the book of Revelation less "daunting," applying it to modern life, and addressing the popular notion that it is a blueprint for the end of the world.