(This is a reprint of a post I put up on my Facebook Page a year ago in June. It references both the Warning and Garabandal – two things I believe to be authentic, but which I sometimes think people have imposed their own interpretation on as the only possible interpretation).
When I was a teenager it struck me once, after listening to about a dozen people speak of what the Holy Spirit had ‘told’ them, that either the Holy Spirit was the author of confusion or many were deceiving themselves, for many of these sol…emn proclamations were mutually contradictory. We all have a desire to appeal to authority – and what better authority to appeal to than God, Himself? Yet when we attribute to God what we merely want to believe ourselves, it is the worst form of bearing false witness – bearing false witness against God, which is a form of blasphemy.
When I was just a little tyke and first became aware of how odd my locutions and visitations were, it was a lot of fun. My angel would tell me something that was going to happen and happen it would. How cool is that? But he warned me that this would involve a lifetime of training. Soon enough he began telling me things that would happen – and when I looked back I would see the words were precisely accurate, but it was not at all what I had expected. At one point, in tearful anger I demanded to know why my angel bothered to tell me anything if I wasn’t going to understand it until after it had already happened. He let me sweat for many months before he explained that the primary purpose of these things was not to share in God’s secret plan, but so I would see the heavenly reality behind certain earthly events…they were a kind of milestone alerting me to pay attention. I learned very early to make a clear distinction to the substance of a message and my interpretation of it, particularly when the language or imagery involved was enigmatic.
Even the best, most pious people err on this, because our minds are so limited and short-sighted. We so love a show that we are always looking for God in the thunder when He most often appears in a little whisper. Even Jesus’ disciples asked how He could be the Messiah when it was written that Elijah must come again first as the Messiah’s harbinger. (Matt. 17:10) The Jews of the time were expecting Elijah to appear in the sky, fiery chariot and all, then point to the Messiah and say, “This is the Guy!” What they were not expecting was that a prophet would rise in the form of Elijah, unyielding in his courage, integrity, and boldness in service to the truth – and that John the Baptist was the fulfillment of this prophecy. The Jews of the time, knowing that the Messiah would establish the Kingdom, expected a political and military man, who would overthrow the Romans and re-establish Israel as a great kingdom. Even the Baptist had this expectation, which is why he sent from prison to ask Jesus, “Are you he is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matt 11:3 – if you read this, make sure to read Jesus’ beautiful reply, which I know gave John much comfort in his last days).
Now sometimes we actually do get the show. At the final apparition of Fatima, everyone there; Christian, atheist, secular reporters, everyone, saw the miraculous dance of the sun. Healings at Lourdes have often been spectacular and immediate. When the French naturalist, Emile Zola, took a young woman whose face was ravaged by lupus, he did it with the intent to discredit Lourdes. When she was healed, Zola was enraged and proclaimed that no matter what he saw, he would never believe in a miracle (though his writings for the rest of his life were haunted by his unexplainable encounter with the divine at Lourdes). But God has His purposes for HOW He does all things – and one of His purposes is to ever remind us that we are not the titans – that only He is creator.
Some very pious Catholics, profoundly deep in their faith, believe things cannot go completely south until we have had “The Warning.” This is a prophecy from some mystics out of Garabandal, Spain, who say that before the storm comes, God will put a great sign in the sky which will show us the state of our souls and offer us a chance to amend our consciences. Though the Church has not confirmed Garabandal (nor condemned it), I personally believe it to be entirely authentic. I am familiar with such vivid, apocalyptic imagery in some of my own visions, particularly the biggest ones that give the greatest detail. But Jesus taught us that God likes to speak to us in parables, to tell us a story to illustrate a great truth. It may very well be that the Warning will come as a fiery sign in the sky just as the sun visibly danced in the sky at Fatima. But I think of what its effects are to be – that the state of our souls will be laid bare to us. Then I think of things like Philadelphia’s abortion doctor, Gosnell, who routinely murdered live babies and saved parts of their bodies as souvenirs – or the Texas abortion doctor who is even more grisly, gleefully twisting the heads off living babies who survive abortion. I see these things and think that people may hold to their pro-abortion mentality, but when they stand before God, they won’t be able to say they didn’t know what they are doing. I see how diversity and hate crimes laws are being visibly used as a spear point against Christians and Jews today. Anti-discrimination laws are now the most effective means of discriminating against any sort of moral conscience. People can continue the assault on faith, but when they stand before God, they won’t be able to say they did not know what they were doing. In so many events of the last decade has come an unmasking, the hideous, aggressive reality behind a mask of benign-sounding words and policies. This unmasking reveals to all the state of their souls. When I think of that, I wonder if some of us, like the pious ancient Jews, are going to be so busy looking for the fiery chariot in the sky that we miss the significance of the peculiar, homely prophet baptizing people in the desert.
It has always struck me how absurdly delighted my angel is when talking about the things we have gotten right. It is striking because his delight is so endearing – and because it is so rare. A few examples…when I first understood how unusual my experiences were at the age of seven or eight, I told him that I would continue with the training, but the moment he told me to harm anyone I would confess all to a doctor and the jig would be up. I expected him to be mad at the way I was speaking to him, but he was utterly delighted, exclaiming what a marvelous student I was. I halfway expected him to take me out for some ice cream. On Christmas Eve of 1997, he showed up to celebrate midnight Mass with me, and was absolutely vibrating with excitement. He told me with great enthusiasm that the random date we chose to celebrate Christ’s birth actually is the right date – but that it happened three years earlier than our calendars show, so that night was actually the 2,000th anniversary of the Lord’s birth. He chatted about a bunch of things that night, including that our fears over Y2K were all a bunch of nonsense. In the most incredible experience of my life, he once took me on a tour of all creation. We talked during the prelude to it and he told me, with the pride of a man talking about his son’s Little League home run, that our scientists had gotten it fundamentally right on the Big Bang theory, though it happened much quicker than we understood (and by quicker, he made clear he meant about a third of the time we estimate).
The sum of all the training has been to fill me with great confidence in what God says, both in Scripture and in my personal encounters. But I ever question my interpretation of what it means, for unless it is given in very plain, unmistakable terms, it usually turns out different than I expected. I have always been careful with my priests to carefully separate what is what I am told from what I merely interpret it to mean. All this is part of why I insist that the key, for myself as for everyone else, is, acknowledging God, to just take the next right step and be a sign of hope to those around you. For God is always startling, fresh and new – and whenever I start to think I know His mind, He wastes no time in correcting me, sometimes embarrassingly so. Trust me, He will be glad to do you the same favor if you think you know His mind.