'Signs' Of Various Kinds Parallel Rise Of New, Dramatic Societal Transgressions
There is the nudity -- it's all over the place: on the magazine covers, on cable, across the internet, on fashion runways. There is the explicit language: family television is now like a locker-room. There are the bold insults to religion -- increasingly bold, startlingly bold, including obscene attacks on Christ. There is birth control in middle school -- dispensed by the nurse. There are the bestsellers by atheists. There is California, where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law making it mandatory for public schools to incorporate curricula that teaches homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality in a positive light. (California textbooks will no longer be able to use words like "mother and father" and "husband and wife" because they suggest that heterosexuality is the norm). It was also California where transvestites mocking the faith disrupted a recent Mass presided over by an archbishop.
Once, asked about the future, St. Padre Pio replied, "Can't you see the fire?"
And so too there are signs.
Let's stay with California for the moment: just a week after the new legislation, that state finds much of its southern turf an inferno. "Hell comes to California," said one headline. "Like Armageddon," said another. Others noted that some believe the Santa Ana winds propelling the fires were originally named after the devil -- known (from the Spanish word "satanas") as "the winds of Satan." A blaze near San Diego was dubbed by the media the "Witch Fire" because it was whipping along Witch Creek north of the city -- this fine Halloween season. Indeed, in one satellite photo of the fires the smoke curled into at least two unusually distinct and spooky faces. Then there was Malibu. Fire threatening the very neighborhoods of music moguls and Hollywood stars. We don't make this stuff up.
"We just returned from a heavenly pilgrimage to Medjugorje (my husband and I and three children) and live in the midst of the fires in Southern California," wrote Deirdre Eliot. "Last night, the fire and smoke turned the moon blood red. It was something out of the Bible. Interesting timing, given the anti-Christian and anti-family legislation just enacted (not to mention the horrific parade in Northern California recently.)"
Fire, fire, fire: last week it was flames that to many resembled John Paul II during a bonfire in Poland -- when his image seemed to famously sprout forth. It had happened, as it turns out, on the anniversary of his death. (A deception from the dark side or the "spark from Poland" alluded to by Saint Faustina?)
These are signs of the times and so are the rumblings.
At Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina -- where the Blessed Mother recently has been speaking of "God's signs," and admonishing her followers to speak of such -- a quake rattled the village at the very moment of daily apparition.
"Everyone was in the church as usual praying the Rosary waiting to get down on their knees for twenty to six [p.m.] apparition time," says Liam Driver. "As soon as it hit twenty to six there was an earthquake which frightened pilgrims in the church so that they started to run out of the building.
"The priests just completely acted normal and continued to pray the Rosary. For some reason they didn't tell us to get down on our knees for the apparition and just continued praying instead -- I think because they wanted to keep everyone calm. The strange thing was that the earthquake felt really quite strong but nothing got even knocked over."
Was it a sign for the
world -- a sign that events continue to escalate (as surely flames
have) -- or a message in particular to the hamlet of Medjugorje, which
also has recently experienced fires?
"If you look around Medjugojre, there are some bars which have stayed open till 5 a.m. and handed out free tequilas to my 16-year-old cousin. There are DVD shops with porn movies on. The shops stay open on Sundays: If you look at the directions on the earthquake report, Medjugorje was the epicenter, it happened exactly whilst Our Lady was appearing, and we think it is a warning to the parish of Medjugorje that God isn't playing about."
The exact epicenter: 43.24 N and 17.85E, or twelve kilometers south of Mostar. The exact time was 15:41:21.0 UTC on October 18.
In that same village, a huge bronze corpus of Christ Crucified that has been inexplicably exuding a watery substance now for years suddenly is exuding from a second spot.
"I just now was reading the story about the Medjugorje earthquake on Thursday," wrote viewer Lisa O'Brien. "Coincidentally (or was it), Thursday night at 1:30 am (EST) I was awakened by what I can only describe as a thunderous roar. Even though I was in a deep sleep I knew it wasn't the sound of thunder because it sounded as if something had hit deep into the earth. I actually thought maybe something from the sky had plummeted down. Needless to say it was a very scary and strange sound. The next day I learned that in the next town over, Littleton, Massachusetts (and actually part of our property -- our backyard, where I heard the sound coming from -- is in Littleton), there had been an earthquake and it registered a 2.5."
These are all explained events. Unexplained so far have been the reports that continue to at least some degree across the U.S. of mysterious rumblings (deemed so by city officials and cops who investigate).
Meanwhile, an exhibit on the apocalypse has arrived at the Vatican museums, and videos like this come our way (the Blessed Mother at an apparition site in the Middle East -- seeming to turn into a Cross of light).
Every year there are events. They grow a degree worse with each new cycle. Last year they thought it was a severe fire season. It was nothing compared to this one. It is not our timetable. It is God's timetable. There will be respites. But these will be fewer and farther between. Those who scoff at such need to recognize that graduation. In the midst of the mayhem, however - which is bound to get worse -- is always God's intervention.
"A friend of mine is in Medjugorje as we speak and he e-mailed home about the earthquake," said another correspondent named Patty. "It scared him, but then when he realized the time, he just said Hail Marys and didn't worry.
"He did, however, tell us an interesting story. His group went to see Fr. Jozo [a priest there at the onset of apparitions], who told them an interesting story: Apparently, a few months ago, there was a Korean family in Medjugorje. The parents, devout Buddhists, came in search of a cure for their five-year-old son who was born deaf and mute. They'd heard about this place and went there with high hopes.
"After a few weeks, the father went home to Korea, but the mother stayed on with her son. Every day, for four months, the mother climbed Mt. Krizevac and prayed at the cross. One day, she was up on the mountain praying when an earthquake struck. She got scared and came down the mountain. As she was coming back to the home she was staying in, feeling very down, suddenly she heard singing. When she arrived at the house, there was a group of Irish pilgrims singing the Ave Maria.....and in the middle of the group was her little boy, singing along. He reportedly hasn't stopped talking since."
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