Spirit Daily

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Of North Korea, Global Government, And A Nun's Old Prophecy

 

By Michael H. Brown

The current crises involving al Qaeda and Iraq may never fit the bill as apocalyptic  events, but it's what they will lead to that's important. In this regard, there's the good chance that they will be seen one day as having nudged the world toward a new order. Already, Iraq has caused a split between the U.S. and some of its major allies, has damaged NATO, and portends to have some kind of a major effect on the United Nations.

If the U.S. overrides the U.N. and successfully conducts a war with Iraq, this will weaken the U.N. But there is an equal chance that the situation will further solidify the U.N. and the European Union, bringing us closer to what many have prophesied: a global government. Further terrorism will only enhance the momentum as smaller nations seek security away from an American sphere. "It is quite clear that the way in which we resolve this problem will determine not just the future of Iraq," said Igor S. Ivanov, Russia's foreign minister, referring to U.N.

Already, the U.S. Congress, set far in the background during the current debate, is beginning to resemble a state legislature. These days, the "federal" government is global. Votes for U.S. action are gathered not from Florida, North Dakota, or California, but from Mexico, Spain, and Bulgaria.

Events are unwinding slowly but powerfully, and the top issues of the day are really just bit players in what is shaping up as a much larger global confrontation. Where will North Korea fit in? This is the most serious situation: the rise of nations that have the backing of major players like China and have an actual nuclear program that could lob missiles at Japan and elsewhere. Is it at all related to the prophecy from a Japanese nun, Sister Agnes Sasagawa? We bring her up because she is only a few hundred miles from North Korea at a convent in Akita. It was one of the most mysterious events of the 1970s: In a faraway, hidden cloister, a humble nun, totally deaf, began to hear the Blessed Mother. The voice seemed to issue from a statue -- a statue that inexplicably shed tears on at least 101 occasions. Carved from wood, the Virgin stood on a globe with a cross behind her. On occasion a brilliant light would surround her, and blood flowed from one of the statue's hands inexplicably.

The local bishop, John Shojiro Ito of Niigata, clearly believed the events. He saw the flow of tears on four occasions -- even tasted them.  "I was able myself to witness four lachrymations," Ito later recounted. "About 500 persons have also been eyewitnesses." The bishop, citing a study at a medical school which proved the liquid was human tears, concluded that "it is beyond human powers to produce water where there is none, and I believe that to do this the intervention of a nonhuman force is necessary." When Bishop Ito retired, he was replaced by the Most Reverend Francis Assisi Keiichi Sato, who is allowing the devotion to continue but appears cooler to the supernaturality of what Sister Sasagawa experienced.

But back to the message. Here we get to the crux of it. Bishop Ito even quoted it: On October 13, 1973, Sister Sasagawa, who belongs to the Institute of the Handmaids of the Eucharist, heard a voice say that, "if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all of humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the Deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead."

See below for the full message, but first note the date of her message, October 13, the anniversary of Fatima's famous sun miracle half a century before. Keep in mind too that the third secret from Fatima involved the image of an angel ready to torch the world (but halted by the Virgin Mary). Recent displays of the aurora borealis have images that look strikingly like both fire and angels, and they bring us back once again to Fatima: According to the sole surviving seer, Sister Lucia dos Santos, the "great sign" prophesied at that site occurred in 1938 in the way of an extraordinary aurora that prefaced Hitler's march into Austria and the onset of world war.

Fast-forward to the present: Just after September 11, extraordinary auroras were seen around the world, from Denmark to San Diego. They have continued.

Lights. Flames. We first think of nuclear conflict. Does North Korea fit into this? Probably Sister Sasagawa was referring to the tensions with Russia back in the 1970s and 1980s. Indeed, according to Sister Lucia, a nuclear war nearly occurred in 1985 but was prevented by the Pope's 1984 consecration of Russia. As we noted yesterday, prophecies seem to involve scenarios of what would happen if the world continued in the state it was in at the moment of the prophecy.

But we don't know that for sure. What we do know is that North Korea has been test-firing missiles into the Sea of Japan when it isn't threatening to "torch" U.S. cities (such as New York and Los Angeles). Is this axis the one to which another seer, Maria Esperanza of Venezuela, was alluding when she warned that a small nation and a larger one would try to provoke us?

While North Korea itself is a ways from being quite that threat, bear in mind that China lurks somewhere in the shadows.

[Message of July 6, 1973: "My daughter, my novice, you have obeyed Me well in abandoning all to follow Me. Is the infirmity of your ears painful? Your deafness will be healed, be sure. Be patient. It is the last trial. Does the wound of your hand cause you to suffer? Pray in reparation for the sins of men. Each person in this community is my irreplaceable daughter. Do you say well the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist? Then, let us pray it together: "Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Your Heart being sacrificed at every instant on all the altars of the world and giving praise to the Father, pleading for the coming of His Kingdom. Please receive this humble offering of myself. Use me as You will for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls...

Message of  August 3, 1973: "My daughter, my novice, do you love the Lord? If you love the Lord listen to what I have to say to you. It is very important. You will convey it to your superior. Many men in this world afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ingrates. In order that the world might know His anger, the Heavenly Father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind. With my Son, I have intervened so many times to appease the wrath of the Father. I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering Him the sufferings of the Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood, and beloved souls who console Him and form a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices can soften the Father's anger. I desire this also from your community, that it love poverty, that it sanctify itself and pray in reparation for the ingratitude and outrages of so many men. Recite the prayer of the Handmaids of the Eucharist with awareness of its meaning: put it into practice: offer (whatever God may send) in reparation for sins. Let each one endeavor, according to capacity and position, to offer herself entirely to the Lord. Even in a secular institute prayer is necessary. Already souls who wish to pray are on the way to being gathered. Without attaching too much attention to the form, be faithful and fervent in prayer to console the Master."

Third message October 13: ". . . if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and the priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres (other priests). Churches and altars will be sacked. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will be especially implacable against the souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will be no longer pardon for them. . . . Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved."

  CURRENT BISHOP'S STATEMENT (received by Spirit Daily May 28, 2002):                

  POSITION OF THE DIOCESAN ORDINARY REGARDING

 VENERATION OF THE STATUE OF OUR LADY IN AKITA                       

     I believe that the mysterious events related to the statue of Our Lady at Yuzawadai, Soekawa, Akita are known to you.

     In 1984 the former ordinary of the Niigata Diocese, Bishop Ito, announced in a pastoral letter, "For the Diocese of Niigata, I do not forbid veneration to be shown to the statue of Our Lady in Akita."  From the time I succeeded him as ordinary of Niigata until now I have not made a single change in that announcement.

     Many opinions have been received about this, ranging from demands ("Why don't you forbid devotions like this?") to protests ("Why doesn't the Church recognize the events as supernatural?").  What follows is also a response to those views.

 1. To those who ask for a new investigation of the mysterious events:

     For the following reason I will not carry out a new investigation.

     A special investigation commission, convened by Archbishop Shirayanagi of the Tokyo Archdiocese at the request of Bishop Ito, came to the conclusion in 1980 that, "The supernatural nature of the events can not be proven."  In response to this, Bishop Ito convened a new investigation commission, which carried out a second study.  At the end of that study Bishop Ito announced in 1984 his permission for "veneration of Our Lady's statue in Akita".

     However, that permission was not granted because the newly convened commission had been able to prove the supernatural character of the events.  In his pastoral letter Bishop Ito writes, "Based on the investigations made up to this point, it is not possible to make a denial, saying that there is no supernaturality in the mysterious phenomena related to the Eucharistic Handmaidsí statue of Our Lady  in Yuzawadai, Soekawa, Akita City."  In other words, the second commission also was not able to prove the supernatural nature of the events.  However, it is also not possible to deny and say that there is no supernaturality.  On that account he gave his permission.

     Both the first and the second commission could not prove supernaturality, and therefore, unless new circumstances arise, I have no intention of conducting a new investigation.

 2. To those who ask why the devotion is not forbidden:

     I can not see any reason why it should be forbidden.  On the contrary, I would like to stress that the devotion has been legitimately permitted by Church authorities.

     It is the practice of the Church to watch over without hindrance acts of veneration like this which begin naturally on the part of the laity, provided there are no doctrinal errors, mistaken mysticism or abuses.  Bishop Ito stated as one of the reasons for his permission that "nothing has been found contrary to faith and morals," the traditional approach of the Church.  I did not change my predecessor's permission in any way for the same reason: because nothing could be found contrary to faith and morals.

     It is not unusual for talk of the mysterious to be associated with pilgrimage sites.  If a prohibition were called for due to such talk, almost all places of pilgrimage would have to be closed.  What is important is not so much whether or not one believes in the mysterious events, but that it be a place where people visit and pray, receive graces and consolation, experience conversion and make good resolutions, offer thanksgiving and praise.

 3. Regarding the future of veneration to Our Lady's statue of Akita:

     The permission granted by Bishop Ito is still valid.  In the future also, Our Lady's statue will be enshrined in a new chapel, and anyone will be free to visit and pray before it.  I wish to continue to preserve the atmosphere of prayer surrounding the Eucharistic Handmaids' statue of Our Lady in Akita.

     Although we speak of "veneration to Our Lady's statue in Akita", it is veneration to Mary, mother of our Savior Jesus Christ, and to no one else.  If veneration of the Akita statue of Our Lady serves to deepen prayer to Mary, love for her son Jesus, and trust in God our Father, there could be no greater honor for the Diocese of Niigata.

     At the close of his pastoral letter Bishop Ito adds a warning: "Even if the Holy See should give a positive judgment about the events of Akita, they would be private revelations, and not something that brings an obligation to believe."  This is an important point.  To believe or not to believe depends on the individual person.  Disbelief is not a matter that can be criticized.

 May 1, 2002

Francis Keiichi Sato, O.F.M.

Bishop of Niigata

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