Advent with Revelation (Ch. 17)
December 14, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Chapter 17 (Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent)

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgement of the great whore who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication the inhabitants of the earth have become drunk.’ So he carried me away in the spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornication; and on her forehead was written a name, a mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of whores and of earth’s abominations.’ And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the witnesses to Jesus.

When I saw her, I was greatly amazed. But the angel said to me, ‘Why are you so amazed? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the inhabitants of the earth, whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will be amazed when they see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

‘This calls for a mind that has wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; also, they are seven kings, of whom five have fallen, one is living, and the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain for only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are united in yielding their power and authority to the beast; they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.’

And he said to me, ‘The waters that you saw, where the whore is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the whore; they will make her desolate and naked; they will devour her flesh and burn her up with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by agreeing to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled. The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.’


According to the words of John, The waters are peoples.  And the groaning of giants under the waters means that whoso in this world has increased in degree of power, as though in a sort of massive size of body, feels the load of greater tribulation by so much the more as he has taken on himself the care of ruling peoples.... For the rivers overflow those whom the active business of this world confounds with perturbation of mind.  But he who is sustained in mind by the grace of the Holy Spirit passes through the waters, and yet is not overflowed by the rivers, because in the midst of crowds of peoples he so proceeds along his way as not to sink the head of his mind beneath the active business of the world. (Pope St. Gregory the Great)

And who drinks not, either little or much, from this golden chalice of the Babylonian woman of the Apocalypse? She seats herself on that great beast, that had seven heads and ten crowns, signifying that there is scarce anyone, whether high or low, saint or sinner, who comes not to drink of her wine, to some extent enslaving his heart thereby, for, as is said of her in that place, all the kings of the earth have become drunken with the wine of her prostitution. And she seizes upon all estates, even upon the highest and noblest estate — the service of the sanctuary and the Divine priesthood — setting her abominable cup, as Daniel says, in the holy place, and leaving scarcely a single strong person without making him to drink, either little or much, from the wine of this chalice, which is vain rejoicing. For this reason it is said that all the kings of the earth have become drunken with this wine, for very few will be found, however holy they may have been, that have not been to some extent stupefied and bewildered by this draught of the joy and pleasure of natural graces and beauty. (St. John of the Cross)

Just as the Lamb had to be killed to be raised upon the throne of glory, so the path to glory leads through suffering and the cross for everyone chosen to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb. All who want to be married to the Lamb must allow themselves to be fastened to the cross with him. Everyone marked by the blood of the Lamb is called to this, and that means all the baptized. But not everyone understands the call and follows it. There is a call to following more closely that resounds more urgently in the soul and demands a clear answer. (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

Musical Selections

Ecce nos, pro te Domine, bonum certamen
certavimus, cursum consummavimus, fidem
servavimus.  Redde ergo nobis, justus Judex, repositam nobis
a te coronam justitiae.

Behold, O Lord, for thy sake we have fought a
good fight, we have finished our course, we
have kept the faith. Give us, O righteous Judge, the crown of righteousness
that thou hast laid out for us. (Giacomo Carissimi)

Suscitavit Dominus super Babyloniam et super
habitatores ejus quasi ventum pestilentum, misit
ventilatores et ventilabunt et demolientur eam.

Fugite gentes, fugite populi, fugite de medio
Babylonis et salvet unusquisque animam suam.

Super muros ejus levate signum, augete custodiam,
praeparate insidias, acuite sagittas,
implete pharetram, quia ultio Domini est mors
ejus est ut perdat eam et ponat urbem fortem in

Fugite gentes, fugite populi, fugite de medio
Babylonis et salvet unusquisque animam suam.

Infelix Babylon quae habitas super aquas multas,
locuples in thesauris, venit finis ejus, venit in finibus
ejus, venit dies perditianis tuae, cassaverunt
fortes tui in proelio, habitaverunt in insidiis,
devoratum est robur earum, incensa sunt
tabernacula tua.

Fugite gentes, fugite populi, etc. (Giacomo Carissimi)

The Lord rose up against Babylon, and against them
that dwelt in her, a destroying wind; and he sent
fanners that they should fan her, and destroy her.
Flee, ye nations, flee, ye peoples, flee out of the
midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul.

Set up the standard upon her walls, make the
watch strong, prepare the ambushes, make bright
the arrows, gather the shields, for the vengeance
of the lord is her death, it is to destroy
her, and make of the defended city an heap.

Flee, ye nations, flee, ye peoples, flee out of the
midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul.

O unhappy Babylon, thou that dwellest upon many
waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come,
the day of thy calamity; thy mighty men have forborn
the fight, they remain in their snares: their
might hath failed, and thy tabernacles are burnt.

Flee, ye nations, flee, ye peoples, etc.

Who is on the Lord’s side?
Who will serve the King?
Who will be His helpers,
other lives to bring?
Who will leave the world’s side?
Who will face the foe?
Who is on the Lord’s side?
Who for Him will go?
By Thy call of mercy,
by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side
Savior, we are Thine!

Not for weight of glory,
not for crown and palm,
Enter we the army,
raise the warrior psalm;
But for love that claimeth lives
for whom He died:
He whom Jesus nameth
must be on His side.
By Thy call of mercy,
by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side
Savior, we are Thine!

Jesus, Thou hast bought us,
not with gold or gem,
But with Thine own life blood,
for Thy diadem;
With Thy blessing filling each
who comes to Thee,
Thou hast made us willing,
Thou hast made us free.
By Thy grand redemption,
by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side
Savior, we are Thine!

Fierce may be the conflict,
strong may be the foe,
But the King’s own army
none can overthrow;
Round His standard ranging,
victory is secure,
For His truth unchanging
makes the triumph sure.
Joyfully enlisting
by Thy grace divine,
We are on the Lord’s side
Savior, we are Thine!

Chosen to be soldiers, in an alien land,
Chosen, called, and faithful, for our Captain’s band;
In the service royal, let us not grow cold,
Let us be right loyal, noble, true and bold.
Master, wilt Thou keep us, by Thy grace divine,
Always on the Lord’s side—Savior, always Thine!

O God, who through your Only Begotten Son
have made us a new creation,
look kindly, we pray,
on the handiwork of your mercy,
and at your Son’s coming
cleanse us from every stain of the old way of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.