From The Mailbag: Readers Weigh In On Experiences at Three A.M.
It is intriguing, this notion that three a.m. bears special spiritual significance.
We've been reporting about it for years. It spans nations, religions, and the cultural milieu -- with even secular movies working it into their themes.
Most recent was The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which has many of the chilling events happening at this switching (or should would say "witching") hour?
Our review of the movie led to a deluge of e-mail from those who claim their own experiences.
Is it a time when the "veil" is especially thin? Is it an evil hour? Or a combination?
"I got goose bumps when you mentioned three a.m.," wrote John O'Brien of Lake St. Louis, Missouri. "I can't tell you how many times -- hundreds -- I have awakened at precisely three a.m. I have always assumed someone needed prayers. I had no idea it was a common thing."
Common indeed. In devotional circles, rampant. Does Jesus, does the Blessed Mother, rally forces at this time that is also an active hour for witches (the end of their midnight-to-three ceremonies)?
"On one occasion, just recently, I was dreaming that I was being followed by something evil, there was chaos and destruction all around," reports another reader, Caroline Jarzabek of Toronto. "I was trying to get away but I had that dreaded feeling that this entity was getting closer and closer, a deep fear crept in. Just then in the distance I could hear a group of people (maybe angels), praying the Rosary. I immediately joined in and there was instant peace. I woke up and you guessed it -- it was three a.m."
Want to get a bit chilled? "My friend George Lutz -- of the highly documented Amityville Horror demonic persecution -- woke up each night at 3:15 -- which was thought to be the time a young man murdered his family of six in that same house 13 months earlier," notes a viewer from the West Coast.
During apparitions of the Blessed Mother at Kibeho, Rwanda, points out yet another viewer, it was claimed that three a.m. was the hour that Peter denied Jesus for the third time. Others point out that three a.m. is the reverse of three p.m. (the hour of Jesus's death, and now the hour of mercy), or that it may have been the moment of Resurrection.
We're not sure of that, but at Rwanda, which has Church sanction, one seer claimed he was told that "those who sin at that hour cause both the Eternal Father and Jesus Christ such deep suffering due to numerous sins being committed at this hour that the Eternal Father feels He could destroy the world but because of His great love for us will not do so."
For your discernment!
Is it also the hour to pray for souls in purgatory?
According to Patty O'Neil of Phoenix, she and her family began waking up at three a.m. after speaking with an American seer, who they visited after their dad died (in 1989, saying his Rosary).
"In the period after his death, we visited with Estela Ruiz, family friend and visionary in South Phoenix, Arizona," says Patty. "She had a message for us that when our dad died, that Our Blessed Mother was there with him. We all began waking up at three a.m. shortly after. Once we started talking about and realized this was happening, we then learned of the significance of that holy hour. Our spiritual lives have increased and grown steadily so that now it no longer surprises us but we will start praying because we believe someone needs prayer. We've been visited by souls who passed on, been attacked, and one sister received a phone call at three a.m. exactly with no one there. Her caller ID read 'Unknown.'"
As we said: for your interpretation. "One three a.m. experience was a week before St. Gennaro's in 2002 or 2003," relates a viewed named Donna Maria from Calabria, Italy. "I fell a sleep on the couch which I usually don't do. I woke up and looked out the window and across the street from my house is a lemon tree and I saw what at first I thought was the guy across the street put a huge statue of the Madonna in front of the lemon tree. As I focused closer it was not a statue, and I don't need glasses. It was flowing but not solid like statue. It was a little more defined than the silhouette photos of the Madonna of Medjugore. Then she raised her arm pointing to the northeast and disappeared. I looked at the clock and it was three a.m."
There seems to be a spiritual battle, with representations from both side. From the dark side, notes one viewer, comes the smell of sulfur (noted in many locales these days).
"I am often awakened at three a.m. and take it as a time to pray for what Jesus wants me to pray for, so I pray the Rosary and most often pray in tongues, my prayer language, as that is what I feel the Holy Spirit wants me to pray for at that time," relates a woman named Francesca from Dayton, Ohio. "Perhaps I sense for someone in trouble, danger, ill or whatever. I pray till I fall asleep again. It is also a good time to pray the Mercy Chaplet as it may be for a person dying, or just pray it for Mercy to be shed upon the world in our time of dire circumstances."
If not three a.m., it seems to be precisely 3:33 a.m.
But the stroke of three is by far the most widely reported -- hundreds have done so to us over the years.
Michael is often involved, as is the Blessed Mother. Some felt under attack until they began praying more, or fasting.
"I wake up many nights, or should I say mornings, at three a.m.," says Janice M. Stolle of San Antonio. " When I do, I pray to St. Michael the Archangel to protect us all from evil and harm. During Katrina, it was almost every night, but now it is more sporadic.
"Three a.m.!" writes a viewer named Rene M. Schneider of Willow Springs, Illinois. "Many times I find myself awake with my rosary saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet! I am awakened and 'told' to pray! It feels like many curses come this time."
Often it gets back to the concept of Mercy.
Notes yet one last one, Janice Stravinskas of Saugus, Massachusetts: "I have been awakened suddenly at this hour, many times, with promptings to immediately begin praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet, to ask for mercy on the world. I have read Sister Faustina's Diary, cover to cover, and after that began a serious devotion to the chaplet. Since then, I have had these experiences of being suddenly awakened, at this hour, mostly between 3:00 am and 3:30. After I pray, I return to a nice peaceful, restful sleep."
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