Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Countdown to the Warning/By Fr. Esper/Part 3

These and other similar prophecies are both timely and terrifying--but we always have reason for hope. God is best understood not as an angry Judge, but as a loving Father;  because He desires our eternal salvation. He desires our eternal salvation. He allows us to suffer the consequences of our sins if He has no other way to get our attention, and even then He is happy to restore us if we call out to Him in genuine sorrow. In a revelation given in 1879, a French nun said,  "Does not God Himself sometimes seem to change the order of His plans? For example, it may happen that God wishes to chastise a kingdom, a province, or a person. That is the intention He seems to manifest. But by prayers or other means taken by that country, province or person to disarm God's anger, He may grant full forgiveness or a partial remission of His designs according to His infinite wisdom. Often He also allows events to be foretold, or He gives knowledge of them to some souls so that they may warn others and appease His vengeance. His mercy is so great that He only punishes in the very last extremity."


   Why hasn't the Warning already occurred? How long will the Lord wait? How much worse can things get?
      It's in this context that we should understand the Warning. It's ultimately not an act of judgment, but of mercy; the Lord desires that as many sinners repent and be saved as possible. A possible question or objection might be raised: Why are we apparently on the verge of an unprecedented act by God--a divine intervention of mercy not granted to any other age? The answer is one parents might easily understand. If a family has five children, and four of them are more-or-less well-behaved, but the fifth is always getting into trouble and crying out for attention and seeking reassurance, which one will receive the most time and effort and love? Obviously the fifth child--the one who challenges and worries and upsets the parents the most. Loving parents will bend over backwards to help their troubled children; the intensity of true love's response depends in part on how desperately it's needed. That, I believe, is how God is responding to our generation; we are more urgently in need of His mercy and grace than any other age in human history, and so He will perform a spiritual miracle for us of a type and on a scale never before seen.

This being the case, still another question or objection can be raised: Why hasn't the Warning already occurred? How long will the Lord wait? How much worse can things get? There's good reason to believe that the Warning and other prophesied events were already to have taken place, but were delayed by sufficient prayer and penance (in line with the above-quoted revelation given to the French nun). I'd also like to suggest three other possible reasons (which somewhat overlap) why the Warning hasn't yet happened. First of all, God is infinitely more patient than we are. The 2nd Letter of Peter says, "The Lord does not delay His promise, as some regard 'delay,' but He is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (3:9). Peter was writing of the Second Coming of Jesus, but his words may also apply in  a secondary manner to the timing of the Warning; God is patiently delaying it until the moment when it will do the most good. Secondly, God sees the big picture, unlike us. We read the headlines about all the violence and evil in the world, but He looks into human hearts and finds the hidden goodness that we don't see or hear about or suspect--and perhaps there's been enough of this goodness so far to delay or mitigate the events to come.

     Thirdly, God may very well be saving the Warning for the point when human immorality has peaked, when literally nothing further can be done by the Church to convert sinners. The Lord prefers to work through us as much as possible--so if the world hasn't yet reached the point where He must intervene directly by means of the Warning, this means we still have time to help convert sinners by means of our prayers, good example, and acts of penance. In this regard, we should be like the faithful servants whom the Master finds busy on His return (Lk 12:36-38); the fact that we know the Warning is coming doesn't mean we can give up our own efforts on behalf of sinners.

     No one knows the exact course of future events, but a number of scenarios (based on private revelations and informed speculation) have been suggested.
These include in no particular order~~

*  stock market crash and/or the collapse of the economy,
*  social unrest, increasing acts of terrorism and ever-widening warfare,
*  a loss of civil liberties and individual privacy,
*  a schism in the Church and a possible religious persecution,
*  widespread epidemics and the arrival of new and unknown diseases,
*  increasingly frightening and unpredictable weather patterns,
*  numerous and ever-more destructive natural disasters.

     All of these tragedies are unnecessary, and can be mitigated or prevented by sufficient repentance, prayer and acts of penance. The Warning  (and also the Miracle), however is certain to take place, and could occur at any point in the above sequence. What little we know about its timing suggests that it will somehow be associated with the letter A (an asteroid?) and linked to a solar prodigy, with a Cross visible in the sky throughout the world. One alleged visionary states that three days before the Warning, there will be another Aurora Borealis in the sky; the day before the Warning, all animals will fall silent; and moments before the Warning occurs, everyone will see his or her guardian angel as a form of spiritual strengthening and preparation.

     When might this happen? No one knows for sure. the Warning could presumably occur any time now--and in light of the state of today's world, it's hard to envision it being delayed beyond another year or two at most.
 [Part 4 tomorrow]