Note: There is currently an online effort to spread a fearful message about God's impending wrath. There are videos and websites devoted to pushing a coming Three Days of Darkness based on visions by several Catholic saints of centuries ago. I am not linking to those sites here because I am suspicious of the origins of such a campaign and don't want to give those sites more traffic or exposure. Ordinarily we don't include questions like this on our site, but since it seems to be spreading quickly online, I felt it was important to address here.
1. This is not a prophecy from the Bible. It is a prophecy based on visions of several Catholic saints from centuries ago. While the Bible mentions three days of darkness as one of the plagues that hit the Egyptians (in Exodus 22), that was about then, not now. There are certainly visions in the book of Revelation about the end of the world that are pretty horrible, but they don’t include three days of darkness, the need for special candles, etc.
2. The prophecies by the Catholic mystics are not new, so it's important to ask ourselves, "Why are they circulating now?" Since the visions center on a time when a pope is not faithful, it's tempting for those who don't like the current Pope to stir the pot with these old prophecies in the hopes of maybe frightening enough people to disregard his message and question his authority. Some Catholics today are upset with Pope Francis for taking a softer line on the role of women in the church, for encouraging the welcoming of refugees, and for moving the focus back toward caring for the poor. My guess is that the resurfacing of the prophecies online now have their origins somewhere in or around such a group.
3. The Holy See has not validated the prophecy.
I don’t think there is any cause for alarm. In Protestant circles, every so often a person pops up and claims that based on some kind of coded passage in the Bible or some ancient prophecy, the world is going to end on a given date. I’ve been through many end-of-the-world dates in my lifetime and we all still seem to be here. Meanwhile, the people pushing such messages get rich. I did notice that the sites pushing the Three Days of Darkness online also had links to buy the special candles that somehow would be the only things to give light during the three days. That sort of thing always makes me suspicious.
Of course there are any number of things that can make the power grid go out, especially in these days of a changing climate (which causes stronger storms) and more nations engaging in cyber attacks. If I were a rogue nation that wanted to freak out another country, it would sure be fun to push a prophecy about God’s wrath and three days of darkness to get people terrified right before I flipped a switch to take down their power grid! Make them think it’s divine wrath instead of bad actors in another country.
Jesus tells us to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). I think that applies here. Throughout history there have been those who seek to stoke the fears of others for their own ends, both in politics and in the particular politics of the Church. I think that’s what is happening here. I don’t doubt that the Saints associated with the prophecies had such visions, but interpreting visions are a tricky business and may or may not be divine in origin.
The Bible doesn’t mention a prophecy about three days of darkness, but the Bible is very clear that death and destruction do not and cannot have the last word. I’ll end with the stirring words of John’s Gospel in John 1:1-5.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
Human history is full of times of turmoil and despair, and it's true that often we bring those times upon ourselves by failing to live up to God's call to love our neighbors as ourselves and to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. But the message of the Bible is that there is always a light in our darkness. No special candles required.