On The Paths Of Life Are Often Signs, And Some Seem To Come From Heaven
"Lord, bend the sky and descend," said Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday, quoting Saint Jerome's famous invocation and calling for God's intervention in a world that's still dominated by "impious ones who tell lies and swear falsehood."
During a general audience, the Pope referred to Psalm 143, which he called "a real representation, in the Semitic style, of idolatry, moral perversion, and the evil as opposed to God and His faithful."
The psalmist was referring to the fragility of both the body and human condition because man is nothing compared to the forces of evil, indicated the pontiff.
In further quotation, the Pope mentioned the volcanic eruptions and thunder bolts unleashed upon the wicked.
But let's stick to the sky for a moment. Lord, bend the sky and descend, said the Pope.
That's interesting because we live in a time when there are those who believe such is already happening -- that they have seen or even photographed such signs. If authentic, if true, if not the product of imagination, or legerdemain, might they forerun a manifestation?
For example: the photos in the upper left were taken by a highly credible and devout woman named Arlette Schweitzer of Rapid City, South Dakota, while driving on Route 16 near Rockerville (a small town near Rapid City and Mount Rushmore) in December after her husband had surgery (she isn't sure of the exact day). Arlette, whose photographs even made the local newspaper, had spotted a blue and pink sunset (it may well have been December 8), pulled over, took out a disposable camera, and snapped two quick photos.
After the images were developed, Schweitzer was shocked to see the highly defined and linear image of a pink cross in one of the photos. Is this a trick of development, of refraction? She said the cross was not in the sky when she took the photo. “I definitely think it’s a message," Schweitzer told the newspaper. “I feel like the world needs to see this.”
When we contacted her, she added that she often stops simply to take nature pictures and thank God for the beauty. "I didn't see it until it was developed. We were astounded. I felt like crying. I thought it was a real sign. It gave me the chills." A figure to the side of the cross seems to be praying. Mary?
It is one of many manifestations we are receiving and they seem to be intensifying.
"Lord, bend the sky and descend." Indeed!
We get e-mails from those who see signs that may relate to current world events and also those who believe that the Lord is speaking to them in personal crises.
Did He not do so in biblical times?
We have seen unusual photos of clouds that looked like angels, or like Christ Crucified, or like St. Padre Pio. We have seen countless manifestations of the sun. We have seen extraordinary solar pillars. We have seen the northern lights taking the form of celestial beings. We have seen even alleged letters in an inexplicably darkened sky (as left, spelling C-H--R-I-S-T) at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina -- where the previous photo snapped minutes before and showed nothing and was not dark because it was afternoon: daytime).
So, yes, it appears something is happening. There are mysteries. Has it always been like this? Have such phenomena always occurred, but just that they are now highlighted by better means of communication?
That's for you to discern. Some are personal. Some go back, as do the letters in the sky, to the time before digital cameras.
"On March 3, 1991, almost two months after the unexpected death of my parents, I was heading downtown to Mass at St. James Cathedral about 7:30 a.m. (since my church at the time didn’t have Saturday Mass)," said Pat Johnson of Apopka, Florida. "While driving due east I looked up into the sky and noticed how clear it was except for one large cloud. Something made me look again. It was in the form of a 'heralding angel' facing north. The wings looked like feathers. I don’t remember if there was anything in the hands but this angel was monstrous and reached about ten miles due south to the church. I almost lost control of the car. To this day it's imprinted on my mind. I was awestruck." A personal reinforcement? Others saw such angels or symbols in the sky just before September 11. Some believe there is a cross above the spot where the Trade Center stood in another photo (below).
A number are suspect, or outright contrived. Such is said to be the case for a widely circulated one showing "hands" in the sky. Or rocks forming a person praying sideways, with a reflection in waters. There is much that can be done with digital configurations! Others can be explained by contrails. And so caution is in order.
But there do seem to be signs, and we should be open to them.
"My Son is born," Mary said at Medjugorje two weeks ago, fore-echoing the Pope. "Your Savior is here with you. What prevents your hearts from receiving Him? What all is false within them? Purify them by fasting and prayer. Recognize and receive my Son. He alone gives you true peace and true love. The way to eternal life is He – my Son."
Added the Pope, in another translation of his remarks this very week: "Let us return to Origen. He says: 'You will not be able to save this misery, which is man, if you yourself do not carry him on your shoulders. 'Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down.' Your abandoned sheep will not be able to cure itself if you do not carry it on your shoulders. … These words are addressed to the Son: 'Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down.' … You have come down, you have bowed the heavens and you have stretched out your hand from on high, and you have deigned to carry the flesh of man on your shoulders, and many believed in you' (Origen-Jerome, "74 Omelie sul Libro dei Salmi," Milan, 1993, pp. 512-515). We give thanks to the Lord, as 'He has bowed his Heaven and come down,' has carried our flesh on his shoulders and leads us on the paths of our life."
Note: on 2/22/06 South Dakota became the first state to ban all abortions
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