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For our discernment:


How far to go with prophecy? What can we say about popular and highly dramatic notions such as the "three days of darkness"?

Often, it is so difficult to know; in a recent book, well-known author Wayne Weible touches on a subject that fascinates many: the reputed "secrets" of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina (currently under Vatican study).

The book chiefly recounts the background of the apparitions, focusing on various events and messages through the years, as well as Church stance on the apparitions. But towards the conclusion, Wayne, who has visited Medjugorje 111 times (as of his book's publication), and has spread the messages to millions, delves into secrets as claimed particularly by the seer Mirjana Soldo, whose monthly apparitions have become the single biggest event in the village.

As Weible, author of The Last Apparition, explains, it was just days after the apparitions began that the six visionaries first disclosed to parish priests that the Madonna was giving them confidential information concerning the future.

The only thing they divulged was that a permanent sign would one day appear on the Hill of Apparitions at the very spot of Mary's first reputed manifestation. (One wonders if it will be anything like strange rays of inexplicable light that shone on the Cross on the holy mountain there as well as the church far below one night, as recounted in the book.)

While Mirjana gave her spiritual director a general outline of what she was told, and other seers have likewise provided generalized information about their prophecies, it's remarkable how tight-lipped the six visionaries have been for now more than three decades (and so young for much of the time, often exhibiting a nearly supernatural gift for eluding probing questions about the secrets).

In actuality, while we know they share several secrets in common, no one knows how many secrets are the same, and thus no one -- including the seers (who are not allowed to discuss their confidential messages even among themselves) -- know how many, in total, there are among them.

Weible, whose landmark newsletter about the events introduced Medjugorje to millions in the 1980s, believes that the first secret given to at least one seer is a "warning" that pertains to an "upheaval" in a region of the world. Military, religious, otherwise? He also conjectures that the "permanent sign" might turn out to be rays of supernatural light in some form. (As he reminds us, the seers have said this sign will be seen and photographed by many who go there but will not be touched, with no clue as to why people won't be able to touch it.)

"The first three secrets are worldwide warnings given to prove that the apparitions are truly from God," writes Weible. "Once all three of them occur, no one will be able to deny the existence of God or that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for the salvation of the world. The final opportunity to convert will occur during a brief time after all three have happened. Nothing is publicly known about the fourth, fifth, and sixth secrets. Possibly, they relate personally to the visionaries, the Church, or the village of Medjugorje. Perhaps there are different secrets for the individual visionaries with these three. However, it has been made clear that the last four secrets are chastisements that will occur -- and will unconditionally change it."

Weible speculates that while the seventh secret given to one seer was eliminated due to prayer, and that chastisements in a couple other secrets may also be reduced (if mankind prays and converts to an adequate extent), a massive event contained in the tenth secret cannot be changed -- has to occur -- and will greatly simplify the world. Weible believes that just a third or quarter of the population will remain on a landscape much closer to nature.

He also speculates that the second secret given to at least one seer may be the same as a "warning" prophesied at an earlier Spanish apparition and might also be called an "illumination" because it will cause humans to see their souls as God sees them. (The seers themselves have never publicly mentioned an "illumination" in that term.)

"What happens following the Illumination is up to each individual," he asserts (for our discernment). "Those who believe in God will experience great good from it, while those without belief will suffer with the pain of the undeniable truth that God is real. Some will die from the shock of seeing themselves as God sees them."

As for the tenth secret, Weible speculates that it involves what others call the "three days of darkness" -- a controversial notion that a supernatural darkness will be imposed on all the earth for three frightful days, during which evil spirits will be in full force and seek to draw people from their homes. Protection will be afforded, according to this prophecy (which dates back at least to 18th-century mystics) by the burning of blessed candles. "Terrifying apparitions will take place," he believes. "Many will die from sheer fright. Fire will rain forth from the sky; all large cities will be destroyed and poisonous gases will fill the air. Cries and lamentations will be heard everywhere." While several seers from Medjugorje itself have said their secrets do not include the "three days of darkness" scenario, and have even voiced skepticism, careful to dismiss end-times speculation (but never denying major looming events), no one can say what is in other alleged secrets and Weible believes it may play into coming events and will start on a "bitterly cold night."

"When all seems lost and hopeless, in the twinkling of an eye the ordeal will be over. The final secret will have run its course."

[resources: The Last Apparition]

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