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Numbers, numbers. Do they bear significance? That's all we see these days are numbers, too many of them -- especially with the gyrations of Wall Street (and before that oil).

We're all obsessed with numbers and know that they represent quantity -- but can they also carry a mysterious spiritual meaning?

The question seems close to superstitious -- or even the occult. After all, there is numerology --  what fortunetellers practice. They tally numbers and forecast the future (or discern a situation) based on the total (and arcane interpretations).

Since the Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.), numerology has been out of favor with the Church, assigned to the field of unapproved beliefs (along with astrology and other forms of divination and "magic").

But numbers have symbolism in Scripture (witness "666"), and it was St. Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354430 -- right after Nicaea) who wrote that "numbers are the universal language offered by the deity to humans as confirmation of the truth." Like the famous mathematician Pythagoras, St. Augustine believed that everything had numerical relationships, and it was up to the mind to seek and investigate the secrets of these relationships (or "have them revealed by Divine grace," in the words of an encyclopedia).

And so we try to figure it out, and of course will not be able to. Historically, "333" has been considered a "good number" symbolizing Christ. Three represents the Trinity. Jesus died at 33. There is also "777," often associated with God and the completion of goodness -- a finished plan. On Monday, the stock market (not exactly a Godly place) fell 777 points (upon failure of a $700-million bailout).

Some think "13" is unlucky. Others associate it with Fatima, Portugal (where from May through autumn 1917 the apparitions took place on the 13th of the month, including the famous October 13 sun  miracle).

We can have fun with this, but there are curiosities. As one blogger points out: "There were eleven apparitions (at Lourdes) in February (1858)  2 (second month) and 11,  2/11 is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. On the ninth apparition, St. Bernadette discovered the spring. It was on February 25. It is interesting that this event is reflective of the date:  [nine times 25 = 225  (2/25)]. Nine times any number always equals nine, when the result is added together. The number nine is indestructible in the function of multiplication. In March  (1858), the third month, there were five apparitions,  3=5. Saint Bernadette went to Heaven at the age of 35."

Seems like a bit of a stretch. It's like Bible "codes." God is usually very direct. He doesn't hide what He wants to say (and says it simply, as witnessed with Jesus).

But it does stump us why so very many are constantly reporting that they see the number "11," as if it has something to do with our current time, and perhaps even an "eleventh" hour. We note of course that the terrorist attacks occurred on 9/11. That's also the emergency phone number. And it's only the beginning. Others note that the ecliptic path of our solar system is expected to pass through the equator of the Milky Way -- unleashing what some believe will be unusual gravitational and other forces -- on December 21, 2012 (at 11:11 international time). 

A real issue or just imaginary lines?

We know that sunspot appearances have an 11-year cycle, which directly affect gamma ray radiation, which affect cloud cover, which affect global warming. Does that have any meaning? Or do we notice things when we focus on them?

Curious it was that the recent train disaster in California involved "Metrolink 111." One Bulgarian mystic who has been uncannily accurate was born on January 31, 1911, and died on August 11, 1996, and is said in 1989 to have predicted ("Horror, horror! The American brethren will fall after being attacked by the steel birds") September 11. Is it the stuff of psychics?

A typical note we get:

"I'm a devout Roman Catholic who has discerned that God wants her to enter a Franciscan order after college. I was introduced to certain religious-prophetic websites as a freshman in college (and I'm a junior now), and I came across your site 'accidentally.' I now read your website daily, as I can, and I'd like to share something with you. I don't know what you'll take from this, as I think that it's nothing special, but I feel a certain inclination to write it to you.
"In the past few months especially there's been a lot of talk of 11:11, as seen on digital clocks, and speculation as to what it might mean. At first I felt almost 'left out' because I never saw 11:11 when I looked at a clock. I guess I felt that there was something wrong with me, or I wasn't close enough to God. Well, now, I'm a little frightened to say that for the past few weeks (maybe a month or two now?) nearly every time I look at a digital clock I see either 11:11 or a time with 11 in it, say 2:11. I'm afraid about it, but I have to rely on God, knowing that even when I'm falling to despair for whatever reason (seeing 11:11 or not) I can have faith, hope, and love in Him."

She adds: "This isn't the only thing I feel I should tell you.  Ever since I was younger, like maybe even in middle school or grade school, I've felt something deep inside of me, something that told me that we are living in extraordinary times. If we (the USA) don't shape up pretty soon, we're going to be very sorry because there isn't much time."

Clocks. Time.

"The clock is ticking (no pun intended) and time almost seems to be, if not literally, speeding up. We must not forget God and what He asks of us: only to take one step at a time closer in our hearts to Holy Love. It makes me terribly sad to see what we are doing to ourselves. Our notions of love are so twisted that we are looking like a pagan society. Poor Jesus -- He looks at us with so much love, ready to welcome us back into His arms, and some of us don't even care. If we don't shape up we are going to see very soon that these 'terrible' economic times that we are living in are actually really great compared to what can and will be if we don't learn to love."

What about "666"?

Just Monday also, there was a story about how (in the words of Yahoo News): "Someone keeps stealing the metal signs at mile marker 66.6 along the heavily traveled toll roads, and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority is having a devil of a time keeping up with the thefts."

Notes another viewer: "Like Roman numerals, Hebrew letters are also numbers. The 6th letter of that alphabet is vav, the v. It also serves as the w. So, in Hebrew, www is 666.

"Now, Jewish people have objected, 'But that's not six hundred...' and I say, 'No matter. It's a startling visual. It suggests to me that the time of the antichrist is upon us. Wouldn't you use the internet if you wanted to talk to the whole world? Also, archaeology has uncovered a scroll that says 616 instead of 666. My reply would be the same. The letters www being 666 is a startling visual that suggests to me that we'd better be prepared to see the Lord Jesus face-to-face."

We need to think about that!

Back on June 6, 2006 (6/6/06), some thought an evil portent would occur but really no such thing materialized. Dates usually don't work that way. Let's focus on seeing "333" everywhere (or making the Sign of the Cross three times throughout the day)!

And let's go back to that sage college student in Wisconsin: "If people will just take a step back and look at their lives and the lives around them, they will realize very easily that we are living in hell right now. This isn't what God intended! It's not that difficult to be living in God's love, to live 'on earth as it is in heaven.' It is impossible for us, but not for God! He will give us every grace necessary, and that is pure joy-- pure love -- for Him.

"There are many more prophets today than people realize. Prophets don't need to have big names with us, as they do in the Bible. They are all around us, as friends, family, and those across the world, but always united in love. God speaks to our hearts. Our minds can be so deceived sometimes because of the false logic that our world feeds us, but we can always ground ourselves in the truth. If you ever have a question as to what God asks of us, and you are so confused and you don't even know what's in your heart (and I've been there, I know what it's like), just look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, and part of 8, 'Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.'

"Fear that makes us feel hopeless and abandoned is not of God. We have God, and we need to remember that if we try just a little to do what God wants us to do, we are still human, and He expects that and loves us no matter what. He's there for us, always watching us, keeping good guard over us.  When the time comes, He will not forsaken us. It is His promise, as Matthew 28: 19-20 tells us: 'Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.'"

Out of the mouth of babes!

[resources: Tower of Light and Sent To Earth]

[also: Michael Brown retreat, Nevada: spiritual protection in special times]

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