Akita: Mother of God as Co-Redemptrix, Modern Miracles of the Holy Eucharist, by Francis Mutsuo Fukushima. In light of the recent disasters, a fascinating look back at the seer behind the famed Akita revelations and the mysterious life she led -- sufferings as well as phenomena, with spiritual reflections and even medical testimonies that attest to the miraculous (and grant hints)! click here 



In the mystical realm, it's always a challenge: balancing openness with a healthy as opposed to a cynical or a negativistic skepticism. The Bible has invaluable advice. Take what is good, and leave the rest, it tells us, and as Jesus states in Matthew 7, "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits." Thus, Scripture -- Jesus -- lays it out: We judge not so much by technical legalities as by the results. Before anything else, one must ask: what were the effects? It is important also to take what is good -- and not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Our standard: whatever the Church rules. Until then: the fruits and guarded openness. It's tough whether it's reported apparitions, locutions, visions, dreams, books, healers, stigmatics (Padre Pio was accused of  being a fraud by his archbishop), or photographs.

How many photographs!

We had an article the other day from the University of Southern California about a well-wrought study of an alleged seer in that part of the country. Those studying her marveled at how what some saw as a special message, or manifestation -- a supernatural luminosity during the purported apparitions, for instance, images on their cameras -- while a photographer (one of the study's authors) saw it instead as more likely under or over-exposure or camera flare; lights can also be distortion from moisture on a lens.

But as they pointed out: it is how you view things; the story behind it; and the feeling attendant. The same with books: hardly any Catholic book can not be torn apart, if one is in the business of demolition (as opposed to a look at the fruits). Our guidance in such matters comes not so much from intellect as the heart -- for we all have a dearth of  intellectual sufficiency when it comes to the supernatural.

Truth can only come after honest, humbled prayer. Clarity often arrives with fasting.

We do think God speaks to us through "natural" effects (though in the large scheme, everything is actually supernatural, since it all originates from Him). But this is very subjective. For example: is the Blessed Mother to the left of the light in this photograph? You discern. "I sent you this photo a few years ago," said a viewer named Pam who hails from Plymouth, Connecticut. And as she explained: "It was taken on December 18th, 1997 during prayer. My friend took this picture while she was praying for me to have a safe delivery of my third child. As was her habit, she pointed her camera towards the sky and this image which I believe to be miraculous, appeared. Can you see a figure to the left of what may be the sun? For each of my babies I had prayed for the gift of one of them to be born on one of Mary's feast days, as I have a devotion to her. December 18th is not a feast day of the church. But, I later and joyfully found out this date had been celebrated in the church at one time and was known as the 'Expectation of Mary.' I think that this is a beautiful and miraculous image of the expectant Mother of God."

Again: we'll leave it up to your intuition [there is a larger version at the bottom].

Recently there has been an internet buzz about a light that appeared for several days in late January (2015) above Alqōsh in northern Iraq. Now, you could take it as an atmospheric refraction, perhaps a play of ground light in an inversion or low cover of clouds. There are explanations you can arrive at. You see these left and closer to the right. But it was the feeling it spread -- thousands saw it and were spiritually taken by it and reassured; and the city of Alqōsh had been consecrated to the Blessed Mother. It is the last Christian Assyrian city that ISIS did not reach after it devastated Christians in Mosul. It means more, with the story behind it.

There have also been photographs of various Popes that have shown what seemed like little indicators.

John Paul II's silhouette was once "seen" in a bonfire in Poland at a poignant moment in history [below, right]. Light has often gleamed in striking ways off the Eucharist, when a Pontiff is consecrating, or in Adoration. An "orb" of light, and a "halo," have recently been seen in photographs of Pope Francis.

Is the Pope in a fire?

Is Mary? At left is a photograph taken of a fire that engulfed  a structure used for the treatment of men battling drug and alcohol addiction. It's called the Maria House Project. The story? As a fellow named Joe Tarquinio explained, "On April 19th 2007, the men were returning to the lodge (the orientation house) after the last session of 'Life in the Spirit.' As they drove up the driveway, they noticed smoke coming from the office trailer adjacent the lodge. One of the men ran to the trailer and told the others to get the fire extinguishers. As he broke the lock, the door swung open and knocked him to the ground. Smoke poured out of the door and flames escaped from the broken window. While some of the men used fire extinguishers on the outside of the trailer, one of the other men called the fire department and me.  He said, 'Joe, the trailer is on fire and I am afraid the lodge is going to catch fire too. All of the men are outside and the fire company is on its way.'

"As I drove to the lodge, I envisioned the lodge being burnt to the ground and Mary House Project's program being changed forever. When I drove up the driveway, I saw the fire trucks and firemen. The trailer was seriously damaged but the lodge was not disturbed. The Fire Chief told me that the resident, who had been pushed to the ground, could have sustained serious injury or death had he inhaled the hot smoke. He also said we would have lost the lodge if the fire department would have arrived five minutes later or if there would have been any kind of breeze.  He remarked, 'You guys are really lucky.' The next day, I told Father [James] Peterson what the fireman had said. Father smiled and said, 'We have always been under Mary’s protection.' A week later a group of residents showed me pictures that one of the residents had taken during the fire. They wanted to see my reaction to the picture. It was obvious to me and many others that the color picture of the flame is the side view of Mary with her arms extended."

For your discernment.

Smirk if you'd like.

We would not dare.

[resources: Spirit Daily's New Bookstore and What You Take To Heaven]

[See also: Spirit Daily announces pilgrimage to Fatima, Avila, Lourdes]

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