Oh Florida: Cover Yourself With Prayer And Spread Salt As Storm Season Nears
By Michael H. Brown
A priest I know believes that Florida has special heavenly protection and one can only hope so. There are many fine people in the state, and it has escaped cataclysmic hurricane damage for years -- "unbelievably spared," were the words one expert, Dr. William M. Gray, at the University of Colorado, once used when we spoke about the threat to this beautiful but vulnerable state.
It sits there in warm waters like a hitchhiking thumb but it is a state that has been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, has passed vouchers for Catholic students (stymied however by the courts), and allows license plates that say "Choose Life."
That counts for something. It is a state where it is not unusual to see a sign saying "God bless you" in a public office, or a business like Faith Beauty Salon, or a billboard with a huge photo of an unborn child. It is a state that shot down embryonic stem-cell research and also voted down a more liberal means of abortion for teenagers and has just made "In God We Trust" its state motto. This week we spotted a barbershop with a sign that said, "We specialize in flat-tops and praising God."
And so one can point to such things as a reason it has been "unbelievably spared" -- as our nation as a whole has been unbelievably spared -- and yet one must know that there are events in store for each region, and in Florida, that means hurricanes.
But it is one thing to expect it and another to see it unfold and now Florida and everywhere else needs special protection. I have felt called in the past couple years to speak in the state, and started in the nation's oldest city, St. Augustine, where I have held three retreats. I did another in Fort Myers in the southwestern part and now God-willing am conducting one on spiritual preparation in the Fort Lauderdale area.
That has taken us from one end of the state to the other and I'm not sure where will be next. I know only that it pertains to the whole nation and to our own private circumstances (we really must spiritually prepare) and that storms are signs of the times however and wherever they come (and whether or not we see much in this way this year; this year, the signs may be elsewhere).
While Dr. Gray is a marvelous researcher, and often uncannily accurate, with his computer models and projections that take into account everything from wind currents to salinity, he is not the final word. Only God has that. We can't take any scientific prognostications as etched in stone.
Last year Dr. Gray predicted 13 named storms and seven hurricanes in the Atlantic basin.
As it happens, there were a record 27 named storms and of those, 15 became hurricanes -- more than twice what he foresaw.
Will it happen this year?
There are mixed signals. It is a very dry year with wildfires and the last time there were many wildfires there were few hurricanes. On the other hand, a somewhat dry period -- not too bad, and not enough to erupt into flames, but dry enough -- preceded the 2004 season.
Dr. Gray believes this year will be like last, though not quite as bad, with 17 named storms and nine hurricanes.
But that's still an extremely intense season, and not everyone agrees. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center projects that there will be less of a threat than in 2005 because a wind system in the Pacific called La Nina (which can propel and steer such storms in a threatening fashion) has fizzled. While Dr. Gray calls the ocean anomalously warm, the Goddard Center describes it as "a little bit warm, but nothing like last year."
Whom to believe? Invoking the Spirit of Truth is the best place to start.
We'll look for our scientific data, sure, but also the intuition from the Holy Spirit. That tells us that Florida needs protection along both of its coasts, and we urge those who live there to organize an effort whereby sacramental salt is spread from one end of the state to the other. Get large containers of salt and ask a priest to bless it. Organize church efforts. There is a special need from Bradenton to Tampa. Do this too in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas, as well as Virginia and other prone areas. At the seminar, we will discuss such matters and how we can protect ourselves at a personal level.
I only know that no matter where we live, it is a time to encircle your home, your neighborhood, and your community with Blessed Salt, and to create the habit of daily use of Holy Water.
There is much spiritual activity, and that can be more damaging than a storm. Meantime, the rest of the nation should know that while they are watching storms, they should watch what may approach from behind in their own towns.
But Florida is certainly where lightning strikes [see below]. I have numerous accounts of tremendous effects from acts of spiritual protection -- including against the largest storms. Is there a spiritual component?
They can be signs of the times. They are metaphors. As I have pointed out before, "hurricane" is a derivative of the Mayan word "huracan," which is what Dr. Gray still uses as the pronunciation. Hoor-a-can. It means "evil spirit."
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