Signs and wonders and a Great Sign
Every Holy Week for at least the past twenty-five years (that we've been watching it), have been assertions to the effect that a great "sign" or miracle from Heaven will occur, usually determined, based on certain calculations from an apparition site that mentioned specific feast days and a Thursday (although April is usually the indicated month). Obviously, the expectations hitherto have been in error or premature. Will it be the case this Holy Week as well (there are some such expectations)?
Almost certainly, it will not occur: events rarely happen according to strict calculation. God does not usually do exactly what everyone expects, including those in the scientific world. He is a God of surprise, and He has His own time-frame whereby the past, present, and future are the same. It cannot be anticipated in human numerals.
Does that mean we won't see a great sign some day?
As a word of knowledge we subscribe to (thus far) put it, "In this time, expect the error of premature expectation, but not error in the truth of the expectation itself."
There are signs all around us, most of them in societal events like the terror bombings in Brussels and the weather, perhaps in an occasionally passing comet, and in the general trend of disturbance, hinting at eventual -- unanticipated -- denouement. If we don't convert, chaos.
Take the current cycle of climate warmth: While there is little doubt such is occurring, and that humans contribute to some degree (witness the pollutants that reach our West Coast from China, the hazes that can be seen from space, or the L.A. smog that has affected visibility in the Grand Canyon), it is inaccurate to attribute this all or even most on humans; in speaking the other day with a seer from Australia (more on her soon), one tends to agree that scientists don't have the explanation for what is transpiring in the climate and weather; the climate swerve, she says, is another sign from God.
There are many. There are signs all over.
Is it right to seek one?
Scripture has that famous passage (from Our Lord) on how it is an "adulterous generation" that seeks after a sign -- that the sign they get, therefore, will be the "sign of Jonah" (Matthew 16:1). That means disasters -- natural and otherwise.
But signs occur constantly in nature, society, and (most germanely) our own lives -- signs that we are called, in the same Bible, by the same Lord, to heed. ("Can you not read the signs of the times?")
We hear Mary from the approved site of Kibeho in Rwanda ask:
"Why do you insist on miracles? There are miracles every day, but you do not believe in them.
"Rather, ask for the light because you are blind. Learn to interpret the signs, wherever they are written, because signs are given to you every day. Happy is he who believes without waiting for miracles, since those who wait for miracles will have difficulty in believing when miracles no longer take place. Their faith will disappear."
As a Christian scholar named J. D. King says, "When considered in context, one sees that the aforementioned passage [Matthew 16:1] isn't an indictment against signs and wonders. Jesus isn't saying that it's wicked to desire healing, deliverance or a display of His power. He rebuked the religious because they ignored those very things; asking for something greater."
And what He said they would be given as a sign would be the "sign of Jonah," so we know that chastisements themselves will be signs.
As for visionaries, alleged and otherwise, no one has the entire picture. They too will find surprise -- albeit less than the rest of us. They see things in snippets. If a visionary has been "shown" a volcano, but not told, explicitly, that's it's a volcanic eruption, he or she might interpret what they see not as a fiery volcanic eruption but as a nuclear blast, fire from a falling comet, a great wildfire, the earth splitting, or plain old brimstone. Often, there is the temptation, among those offered such glimpses, to determine what they saw, when in effect any such notions are their interpretations.
Thus we read of visionaries with many different scenarios (though if we can expect anything, it's that there will be various scenarios, over the course of the next several decades). Fear? It has no place. Fear itself is a sign -- indicating lack of faith. Run not for the hills but for the Precious Blood; for the Cross; for the Adoration chapel. It is if too many are headed for hell that the unleashing of chastisement will arrive like a thief in the night.