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STRANGE UNEASE AND 'QUIET' SETTLE UPON US AS WE HEAR THIS: EXPECT EVENTS THAT ARE SUDDEN

The word we get is "sudden." There is this unusual calm out there. Is it a calm before a storm?

We say this, of course, at a time of financial unease, of doubts about our nation (and the world's future structure), and as actual storms are swirling out there (but not yet ashore).

There is that other word: unease.

People seem unsettled. They are pulling back. They are considering whether to batten the hatches. In short, they are waiting for the other shoe to drop.

We suggest that the Holy Spirit be sought to guide each person, for we will all have different needs in the future -- and only He knows what they will be. There is no set formula.

Odds are, it will drop when and in a way we least expect.

When we think of sudden, we can refer to that event of nine years ago called September 11. Recall how we all turned on the television or awoke to the first surprise: a plane (presumably, at first, a small plane) had "crashed" into the tower of the World Trade Center. We watched the unexpected smoke. We saw it grow unexpectedly. We learned that the plane was far larger than thought at first. Suddenly, there was a second plane. It was the same size. Suddenly, people were leaping from windows. With no warning, we learned that yet another plane hit the Pentagon, and another was over Pennsylvania. Most sudden of all: first one, and then the second tower, collapsed.

It was a day of the unexpected. And it arrived in a series of events. It should indicate to us that the next major event will be equally unpredictable -- and may have no visible build up.

It will just happen.

In history, we see how most mega-disasters occurred this way.

Look at the Great Labor Day storm (the most powerful ever to hit the mainland, in 1935). No warning.

Look at the Galveston Hurricane. No warning.

Look at the levies after Katrina: no real warning.

Look at the great California quakes.

In the 1800s -- not two hundred years ago -- the world woke up to the sudden explosion of a mountain in Indonesia called Tambora. The volcano blew smoke 28 miles high and killed 92,000. Some of them died from the fiery flow, but most succumbed to famine that set in as Tambora's ash ruined agriculture.

For months afterward untold others died as the ash from Tambora sailed into the stratosphere with gas and aerosols that reflected or absorbed solar radiation, causing the earth to cool by nearly two degrees and leading to what became known as "the year without summer." Who expected it? What forecaster saw it coming?

Indeed, what they usually expect as the "big one" usually fizzles out. We encounter instead the unexpected.

That was 1816, and it brought snow during June and frosts every month of the year in parts of the U.S. All across the Northeast, crops were repeatedly killed in what a farmer from Bennington, Vermont, termed "the most gloomy and extraordinary weather ever seen." On June 7 another observer, this one from Connecticut, reported that he needed a pair of mittens and that clothes his wife had set out on the ground had frozen stiff. From June 6 to 9, severe frost occurred every night from Canada to Virginia. Temperatures swung as much as forty degrees in less than 24 hours. Leaves withered and fell off the trees. Farmers watched in exasperation as their crops blackened or shorn sheep perished. Birds froze to death. Wind patterns changed, there was continual rain in Europe, and assaults by typhus and cholera began. "Taking account also of the famine of 1816-1817, this was one of the very great world disasters associated with climate, almost comparable with the events of 1315-50," wrote H. H. Lamb. "In a lighter vein, we may note that Mary Shelley is said to have been inspired to invent Frankenstein by the events of 1816."

The winters also inspired Charles Dickens.

In 1883 -- that same century -- the world woke up to the explosion of a mountain in Indonesia called Krakatau, which erupted with such force that it was heard 2,900 miles away and created a tidal wave that rose to the height of 120 feet and killed 36,000.

These are sudden unexpected events with great consequences and they can occur at a level that is a magnitude greater.

We can let the imagination run wild.

Quick. Sudden.

Do you feel it?

What do some seers see?

It is ironic that one claims to have been told by Mary (in Brazil): "Dear Sons and Daughters, I am your sorrowful mother. I come from heaven to bring you my message of peace and conversion. Don't cross your arms. Open your hearts and accept the will of God for your lives. You live in a time of great spiritual confusions and my adversary will act with great fury to take you away from the way of God. Seek strength in prayer. Don't go away from the truth. Happen what may, don't let the devil win. You belong to the Lord and will be victorious with Him. Pray. Humanity is going towards an abyss of destruction that men have prepared with their own hands. A sleeping giant will arise in IndonÚsia and my poor children will drink the bitter cup of pain. No greater tragedy existed. Be strong and firm in faith. I will always be with you. A great destruction will be seen in Japan. Pray. Pray. Pray. This is the message I transmit to you today in the name of the Most Holy Trinity. Thank you for permitting me to reunite you here once more. I bless you in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Be at peace."

And at peace we are.

Let us not fall into unease. Or malaise.

Is it just a last-of-summer lull?

Use not the stock market as an augur (it knows nothing; it will be the first to be surprised).

Seers? When they mention so many places (this one has mentioned dozens just in the past few weeks), it gives us pause.

But...

There is that element of surprise, which is the only thing we truly expect: to see events come and move rapidly.

Fear?

For this we look back at the blessing conferred by the Lord upon His faithful servant Noah. Perhaps that way we too can receive the "Noah blessing": "'Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.' Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him" (Genesis 7:1 and 7:5).

In prayer, he had listened, and with that had come protection.

[Our future times: Michael Brown retreat, Wisconsin and Retreat in Connecticut]

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