A Look Back: Realization Of Prophecies From Africa May Point To Future Events
By Michael H. Brown
A symposium on inter-religious dialogue and reconciliation was held recently in Rome, reflecting back on the tragic civil war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives in Rwanda, that largely Catholic country in Central Africa.
The commemoration -- coming on the tenth anniversary of the conflict -- brought to mind another major event in that nation: the appearance, starting November 28, 1981, of the Blessed Mother to several seers at a place there called Kibeho.
The Church has approved those appearances as authentic, at least to three girls (in all, seven young people claimed visions). That approval came three years ago this July. And it resurrected thoughts on the Virgin's prophecies.
We recall that at Medjugorje the Virgin came as the "Queen of Peace," warning that peace was in a state of "crisis." She said we didn't understand how hideous things could get.
This seemed odd because, at the time, Bosnia-Hercegovina, where Medjugorje is located, was part of Yugoslavia, and Yugoslavia looked like it was going to make the easiest transition from Communism to capitalism and democracy.
But as we all know now, the Virgin saw something none of the rest of us could: that the tranquility in Bosnia was superficial. It soon descended into the most hideous conflict on European soil since World War II.
The Blessed Mother allegedly made similar and even more graphic prognostications at Kibeho -- and this is what we find worthy of recollection. "Tell them not to spoil their future by the wrong way of living, which can weigh heavily on their future," said the Virgin, alluding to sexual promiscuity and other sins in Rwanda -- in this part of Africa from which was to rise the devastation of AIDS. "Pray, pray, pray... We are now living in a time of recall. We must always be pure in our souls."
Although Mary specifically warned about sexual misconduct, the admonishment was hardly heeded and Rwanda began to experience a horrible episode of AIDS that devastated entire villages. This was fascinating because one of the seers had been given a prophetic vision of abandoned, desolated villages.
In another vision the seers saw additional terrifying pictures. Crying and screaming. Total upheaval. People killing each other. Abandoned corpses, with no one to bury them. Bodies without their heads. A river of blood.
The river was specifically mentioned.
Remember, this was 13 years before the war. In retrospect, we see the clear connection -- and now know that the prophecy pertained to war and Rwanda in particular. Newsmagazines have reported that the number of dead was nearly beyond count, and that with no one to bury the corpses, many were simply dumped into the Kagera River ("river of blood"). At least 10,000 floated into Lake Victoria.
In one Rwandan church, blood literally flowed down the aisles after five priests and 12 women were slaughtered inside. In many cases men were decapitated with machetes ("bodies without their heads") and children sliced in half. Hutu death squads, called the interahamwe, killed so many that those bodies not dumped into the rivers had to be bulldozed into mass graves.
In reflecting back, we note that the prophecy was very localized and that while it was horrible -- in many ways, apocalyptic -- it was on a regional scale. This is a lesson for those who perhaps too quickly assume that all prophetic visions pertain to the entire world. More often than not, such prophecies are localized and the seer is granted a glimpse but not the whole picture and not all the specifics.
However, it may be a warning of events coming to other regions. If Rwanda experienced apparitions of the Virgin Mary just before its tragedy, and if the same happened in Bosnia, what does this portend for those nations where Mary has also allegedly appeared in recent years? Or where statues weep -- as in the U.S. and Canada and Australia? The view from here is that such phenomena are a prelude to graduated events. In places where there are fires, watch for a heightening. In places where there is drought, watch for record dryness. In places where there are storms, expect those storms to intensify. As far as the apocalyptic element, this is for everyone to discern. At Kibeho, one of the approved seers, Alphonsine Murmureka, claimed that Our Lady was coming "to warn us and prepare us" for the coming in some form of Jesus.
[Bookstore resources: The Day Will Come, The Final Hour, and Kibeho: A Prophecy Fulfilled, published by the Marian Spring Centre, Surrey, England]
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