Padre Pio, Man of Hope, by Renzo Allegri, an intimate, professional biography of this truly unusual and historic saint, a new book by a prize-winning journalist who focuses on the hope that St. Pio gave -- how even in the most difficult trials he held faith and looked to the future with a spirit of optimism -- an optimism we could all use in our personal lives and the world at large! His trials, his tribulations -- his mysterious events. CLICK HERE


For your rumination:


The idea of chastisement should cause no one eager anticipation.

While we often think of it in exciting, Hollywood-like, apocalyptic terms, it can be something slow and grinding and as unexciting as it is devastating.

How many of us want to suffer a new flu or other contagious disease that springs up, won't go away, spreads everywhere -- and gradually ends up deadly? How many want to see their children or grandchildren afflicted by it?

Some believe we are in a time of "signs" or "pre-warnings" (before secrets with larger warnings, and then chastisements) -- while others view that period as having started already. Different folks even have different interpretations of "tribulation."

One woman who had a famous near-death experience (and says she now receives indications about the future, as well as visions of the Virgin), asserts that we have entered a "great Tribulation," which, she says, will precede an Armageddon.

How do we define "Armageddon"?

"The word 'Armageddon' literally means 'God's War,'" she believes. "It is not brought about by mankind, and it is not nuclear. During God's war the earth will not be destroyed, but the world will be. One of the words translated for 'world' [in correct Greek and Hebrew] is from 'cosmos,' which is where we get the word 'cosmetics' [or surface]. God made the planet earth as a beautiful and treasured Creation, but the surface arrangement of how things are done will be absolutely changed, and this shift is called Armageddon.

As major events get closer, claims  this woman, "the cycle speeds up, and the time of catching one's breath will be less and less.

"This means, for example, that the economy will get better but the time of it being so will not last long; then it will fall back down again, rise back up for even a shorter time, then crash back down."

"During Armageddon, everything will continue to change very quickly, and what seems to be a safe plan now may not be in five minutes.

"There will be earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, severe storms, rampant illness, and disease, and out of control people looking to perpetrate harm on us.

"But God has a plan of His own, with myriads of holy angels and all Divine information to lead us safely through the mine field. Our path is not to rely upon our own understanding, but to follow through on what God says, without delay. 'As the arrow leaves the bow for your destruction, you will be told to move right, or to move left, and you must do so without hesitation.' This is inspired information."

Whether it is inspired, of course, is for your discernment. She predicts that in this time will be "great anger" -- a pervading unreasonableness as people realize that effect of all our transgressions.

"All signs show we are at the brink of many different catastrophes, and something needs to be done quickly."

There are those who recognize the signs and remember that life is supposed to be about unconditional love -- the core quality of God.

"Their discernment will sharpen between what is of love and what is not; and therefore what is of God or not," she further predicts. "They will shake off any negative choices of panic, anger, or apathy and replace them with hope, faith, and peace. Many of these connected people will be gifted a strength beyond themselves to be Divine instruments blessed by God to be His Hands and Mouth for incredible transformations and miracles of all forms. These miracles are another opportunity to help people have less distress during the great shift of Armageddon. For as the dark gets darker, the light gets brighter."

When does "Armageddon" (by this definition) occur?

"Not in 2012," says this resident of California. "Why? Because God will not choose what the world thinks it knows as the Mind of God. The day and hour is unknown to all but Him."

Let us offer this -- about chastisement, and how to view it -- from Father Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure and Father St. Claude de la Columbiere, who penned it in a classic called The Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence:

"We ought to conform to God's Will in all public calamities such as war, famine, and pestilence, and reverence and adore His judgments with deep humility in the firm belief that, however severe they may seem, the God of infinite goodness would not send such disasters unless some great good were to result from them. Consider how many souls may be saved through tribulation which would otherwise be lost, how many persons through affliction are converted to God and die with sincere repentance for their sins. What may appear a scourge and punishment is often a sign of great grace and mercy. 

"As far as we are personally concerned, let us meditate well on this truth of our faith that the very hairs on our head are numbered and not one of them will fall except by the Will of God. In other words, we cannot suffer the least harm unless He wills and orders it. Relying on this truth we can easily understand why we have nothing more or less to fear in times of public calamity than at any other time. God can just as easily protect us in the midst of general ruin or despair as He can deliver us from evil when all around is Peace and content. The only thing we need to be concerned about is to gain His favor, and this is the inevitable effect of conforming our will to His. 

"Let us therefore hasten to accept from His Hand all that He sends us, and as a result of our trustful surrender He will either cause us to gain the greatest advantages from our misfortune or else spare us from them altogether."

[resources: Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence]

[Also: Retreat in Phoenix: spiritual protection]

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