The Prophetic Pulse: Lourdes Offered Lesson On Apparitions And 'Secrets'
It says in Scripture not to despise prophecy, but to test it, take from it what is good, and leave the rest. It also says that all prophesying, save that from Christ, is imperfect. (1 Corinthians 13:9) At the same time, the New Testament names prophecy as a gift we should both seek and practice (14:1), even more than some other gifts. It is due to this admonition, and because it is given so little truck elsewhere, that we present it here. These are two crucial strictures at a time when, at one extreme, all prophecy is tossed out as hokum (not "scientific" enough), while at another extreme, there is belief in just about anything.
We can only pray to the Holy Spirit and request the proper perspective.
When caution is urged, it is because we have seen many things behind the scenes -- and are also mindful of history.
For example, during the apparitions at Lourdes -- the first of which occurred on February 11 in 1858 -- there were at least 51 "seers" in addition to St. Bernadette (above, left). Their uproar and flooding into the grotto nearly eclipsed the authentic visitations of the Blessed Mother. All but one of them (a woman named Marie Courrech) were later condemned by the bishop.
Then there is the matter of a "secret" that was given to Bernadette. The text of this has been spread via mail and the internet.
Is there any truth to that?
While the saint did indeed receive at least three secrets (as at Fatima), she said they were just that, secrets, not even for the Pope, and took them to her grave -- all of them, contrary to claims that one has been revealed and pertains to the apocalypse and genetic manipulation. (That rumor was started by a supermarket tabloid that is known to actually fabricate stories.)
Many speak about the secrets of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina, which as yet has not been rejected or accepted by Rome. A national committee of bishops, led by the Cardinal of Sarajevo, is currently gathering evidence, and his spokesman told us a decision on authenticity will not be rendered until the apparitions are complete, although there is certainly opposition, including by the local bishop.
At Medjugorje -- which has also been all but eclipsed by a flurry of other visionaries, and where there are predictions -- it has been asserted that the seer Mirjana Soldo will allow a priest named Father Petar Ljubicic to learn of the first secret she has been given ten days before it is to occur. It is said to be a warning to the world. "Then I will fast and pray for seven days," this priest once said. "Three days before it happens, I will be able to tell everybody what will happen: where, at what time, hour and minute, and how long it will last."
Protestants also have their prophecies. One making waves is a minister named Elton Williamson. "The harshness of the times shall increase as the ways of nation after nation step ever increasingly onto the pathway of man," Christ is quoted as telling Williamson. "It is a pathway that leads downward; it is a pathway that leads into a place of defeat and spiritual ruin. I shall break apart that which mocks Me and I shall smite that which flaunts evil before Me. I am a jealous God and I seek those that will stand up in a land awash in the pleasures of man, declaring to all that I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
"There is a price to pay for turning from Me and there is a price that many nations shall find unbearable as they seek to separate Me from their lands. The days of grace are being shortened and the time of repentance is at hand. This is a time of cleansing and a time for returning to the steadfastness that you once knew in Me. That steadfastness must be returned in the land. It is a time to tear down and a time to build up. Turn under those things that are not of Me. Cry out against those that have led your lands on a pathway of compromise, seeking to satisfy every evil thing that has been released into your midst. You shall find My blessing and My abundance in the same measure that I find your faithfulness and your heartfelt repentance as a people.
"I am flowing over the Earth looking for a people that will stand against the onslaught of the enemy, those that know and surrender to Me in these days. There shall be increasing peril and the land shall groan from the stress of evil. Those in high places that continue to shake a fist at Me and those that continue to practice their evil ways shall be cut off, they shall be left to their paths of destruction and they shall be set apart from a place of grace and mercy. The time has come for an accounting of all that has been mercifully given to you. I shall seek an answer to the grace that I have given to many nations and the cost for many shall be called forth.
"Be ready to go forth in My Name in coming days for there shall be many that seek to know Me in times of trouble. It is the time for an accounting of all that is righteous in your lands and a cry against that which is not of Me."
This of course sounds much like recent Catholic prophecies. At present, there are many with promptings from the Spirit. Many are those who feel they are seeing signs in the sky or having relevant dreams. From time to time, we have presented them and will continue to do so at this time when they have no other avenue for display. In photo above is bronze "corpus" that is exuding a mysterious substance at Medjugorje. Is it an indication that things have ratcheted up?
It certainly seems -- as prophesied -- that events are intensifying, are "graduating" upward -- as we can know by simply realizing that even back in 2003, 254 million people were affected by natural hazards, a three-fold jump from 1990, when there occurred what we have called the "1990 prophecy" (claiming events would occur on a regional scale, leading to a manifestation). That was before the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.
For judgments against cities, look at Jeremiah. For graduated, regional events, see Leviticus. For plagues, see Revelation.
And for the Holy Spirit to give us our own guidance -- to receive our own inklings, instead of relying too much on others -- perhaps we too can fast for an extended period. Lent is an excellent time to fast!
Or have we tossed out Scripture?
''I think it's the same reason why some people were so gullible to believe what's in The Da Vinci Code,'' said one skeptical priest about current prophecies. ''People like conspiracy. They like the idea of hidden prophecies. They don't like to trust completely in God, that the future is in His hands.''
We beg to differ. Yes, the future is in His Hands -- but He has the mercy to forewarn us and if we look back at Scripture (something too few do), He always has.
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