FROM THE ARCHIVES:
Comet May Not Hit, But Does It Bring A Message In Name That Means Watchman?
Prophecy? You've come to the right place. Discernment? You'll excuse a measure of skepticism.
Right now the rage is comets.
The internet is abuzz with those who believe, based on one prediction, that a comet known as Schwassmann-Wachmann, which has broken into pieces, will send one of its pieces into the ocean, causing a tsunami.
This has reached fever pitch and was even in a major U.S. newspaper, The Houston Chronicle, which reported that "Eric Julien, former military air traffic controller, twin engine jet pilot and former instructor at astronaut Patrick Baudry's Space Camp -- Discovery Shuttle flight -- has written four articles covering the high probability of a giant tsunami in the Atlantic Ocean caused by the impact of a comet fragment near or on May 25."
"Responding to NASA's press release stating the innocuousness of the fragmented comet 73P-SW3 with regards to the Earth, the French author of The Science of the Extraterrestrials indicates that numerous scientific data attest to a real danger as was laid out starting with his first article of early April, namely that a small-sized fragment, still unobservable and distant from the principal fragments, could hit the Atlantic Ocean, bringing about the awakening of the volcanoes of the mid-Atlantic ridge, with these being the origin of a possible tsunami with waves two hundred meters high," added the article.
We are certainly not ones to discount warnings but urge extreme caution when events are presented with such specificity and pegged to dates, along with an unlikely chain of events.
In this case, we see upon further inquiry that Eric Julien is obsessed with "extraterrestrials" and says that his information arrived "psychically," in large part.
That's enough for us to discount it. Then there's the science of it.
The closest pass of one fragment has already come and gone. We are talking about chunks millions of miles from earth.
The excitement exploded because Schwassmann-Wachmann, or Comet 73P, was photographed splitting apart and could be seen in the night sky. But the chunks would not hit earth, NASA assured the public last month, nor will it spawn killer tsunamis and mass extinctions -- quashing claims that a fragment would slam into our planet before Memorial Day, indeed on or about May 25, which of course is this week.
The prediction nonetheless sparked fervid interest in the website of a former nightclub owner, Ned Dougherty, who returned from a Catholic near-death episode with alleged messages about the future and whose website is now inundated with those who believe that he has confirmed the prediction of a tsunami.
"In the past six days, my website has been experiencing an average of 30,000 hits per day and I have been overwhelmed with e-mail requests primarily from Europe and Canada requesting that I respond to warnings that have been emanating from several websites and media sources in Europe predicting that a U.S. East Coast tsunami may occur specifically from May 18 to May 25, 2006," he wrote last week. "In addition to posting these warnings for this specific time period, these websites have made reference to my books in English and French respectively, Fast Lane to Heaven and Voie Express pour le Paradis. Inferences have been made that I have concurred with the prediction of this potential event in May 2006.
"First of all, I have not made any predictions that such an event may or may not happen during this specific time period, nor have I been disseminating such information. Secondly, there is no basis for me in my experiences to assume that I may be given actual times or dates that specific geophysical or geopolitical events will definitely occur or that I do have, in fact, the ability to predict future dates. Finally, I have not received any information from any source that indicates to me that I should post a warning for this specific time period."
Dougherty is singled out as a point of interest because he appeared to foretell the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. and had visions of a massive tsunami that one day might affect the coast from New York City to Florida. His own speculation is that such could occur from the collapse of a volcano -- which may be why it was tied to the Julien prognostication.
Wild territory this is. And there is the matter of dates. While some secrets at apparition sites may have dates for future events, such have not been publicly released in the history of mystical theology. At Fatima, Portugal, the Blessed Mother foresaw an incredible display of the aurora borealis, but she did not give an exact day or even a precise year. She did mention the specific date of October 13, in 1917, for a great miracle, but that was not a natural calamity.
Predictions are usually overly specific when they come from the brain or from a deceiving spirit instead of the Holy Spirit. But that's not to discount some peculiar aspects of the comet.
First the name Wachmann means "watchman" Schassmann means "silent or voiceless" in that regard. We are certainly in a time of vigilance. Moreover, the closest fragment to earth was one that was curiously heart-shaped; the comet itself was discovered in 1930, on the eve of the Divine Mercy revelations.
As a friend of ours notes: "It is fragmenting just as it prepares for its closest encounter with the earth on May 25th. It is not a coincidence the comet is disintegrating as it closes on its encounter with earth. It is green in color which is unusual for comets and the color of St. Michael. Thirdly, it is exiting from the Ring Nebula, M57, also known as the "Eye of God" [left].
We consider such things. We are interested in coincidence -- all kinds of them. We are especially interested in the concept of "watchmen." In all the hullabaloo, perhaps this is what we can take from it all: that whatever the merits of particular "words," we are all called to the tower of Jezreel. It is a time for vigilance.
As for comets and asteroids: sure. There are so many and there is so little knowledge that anything could happen. There is a major belt of asteroids between us and Mars and even asteroids between our planet and the sun. Much farther out, from Neptune beyond Pluto, are countless millions -- one of which might one day wing our way. The most likely scenario for disaster, NASA experts told us, was that a long-term comet would suddenly appear undetected from behind the sun.
But it is often hundreds of thousands of years between the major strikes of asteroids.
NASA is concerned about an asteroid that could strike in 2036 on April 13 -- which would be Easter. The odds of a collision are 1 in 6,250. While that's a long shot at the racetrack, notes one newspaper, the stakes are too high for astronomers to ignore.
What to make of other predictions? Across Christianity, from Catholics to Evangelicals, is a heightened sense of expectation and increasingly bold projections of major events, especially ones that will affect America. There is a sense that we are approaching a catastrophic turn. Without becoming immersed in detail, we search for the truth of such a prophetic pulse.
"Judgment shall begin to fall upon the unholy in high places," says a major non-Catholic one that is representative of many others. "My Hand of mercy shall be lifted in many lands and yes, even in many places that call Me 'Lord.' My truth was once planted into the heart and spirit of My people but many have entwined it with the ways of man. You cannot separate Me from your land and expect to reap the reward of My blessings forever. Calamity shall come across unexpected places and many shall know sorrow that has not touched them before."
Notes another on a website that even uses "alarm" in its name: "I am aware-- right now-- our God, the Holy Father, is garmenting Himself in a cloak of vengeance and zeal. He is about to judge a nation. We stand on the very edge of a holy act of God."
"I have previously prophesied that we will see a great calamity in 2006," says yet another. "This countdown from 2001 to 2006 is just another confirmation of that prophecy. How many more prophetic words does anyone need to hear? But the Lord is good to confirm things over and over again," claims one more, pointing out that a friend who gets prophetic words had called this "The Year of The Watchman."
If he didn't know about Schwassmann-Wachmann, we find that another curious coincidence. Perhaps we can look at the general prophetic pulse and if nothing else see a great agitation of spirits, which are an element of a period of purification (as in the Middle Ages).
We certainly don't think any cataclysms will occur this week, but we are on the lookout always as everyone is watching the beauty of the way God purifies at the same time that we warn of errant and even occult predictions.
It is a struggle for all of us at a time when prophecy has been relegated to the dustbin of religion.
The end of the world? No.
The end of an era? Yes.
There are those who believe they can see the notation of "EZ 3" as if referring to Ezekiel Chapter Three in the Shroud of Turin and at the least let us note that this passage which comes to us at the same time as the alleged prophecies contains the words, "Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me."
We are called to be watchmen. That message we will accept.
Fire from the sky? There will be one day before the end of our era be fear of fire from the sky. That's our prognostication.
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