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Have you ever noticed how, during Holy Week, the sky seems particularly sullen (at times -- such as Holy Thursday night)? At least: it seems so some years; and did last week (in Florida, 4/5/12; we remember too times in New York).

When it comes to clouds, many wonder if they're becoming strange no matter what time of year.

Might they reflect a spiritual dimension? Can they too be "signs of the times"? At minimum, are some related to the gyrations in climate?

We live in a time of so many juxtapositions: quakes, tremors, tornadoes, droughts, fireballs.

"In June of 2006, I saw these very strange clouds over Cedar Rapids, Iowa," says viewer Alina McIntyre. "They looked to me like rolling ocean waves. As I drove through Cedar Rapids and Marion that day, I remember remarking to a friend that the clouds seemed like an omen of something to come, like a sign in the sky. I did not have a camera with me, but there were several news stories about the clouds that included pictures [see here]. Then in 2008, Cedar Rapids experienced a major flood. They called it 'Iowa's Katrina.' The flood covered over ten square miles of downtown Cedar Rapids, and flooded neighborhoods that no one ever dreamed could flood. I believe that Cedar Rapids was forewarned. That city is still trying to recover from the flood."

"Here is an interesting photo [left] I took on a trip to Medjugorje," wrote Deacon Victor St. Croix from Canada. "I was out in the back courtyard with my wife during Mass as it was too crowded to find seating in the church. During the offertory I noticed a strange cloud forming in the sky so I took a picture of it. You will notice it almost looks like two hands in the lower right hand corner making an offering to God. I happened to catch the crucified Christ in the bottom as well. This photo has not been retouched and was used as our screen saver during Lent."

"This is not photo-shopped!" claimed another, Lisa M. Chadek of Portland, Oregon. "My mother (I believe she was 85 at the time) took this photo of the spinning sun while visiting Medjugorje. We were shocked when we had her photos developed. I was so amazed that I had the photo copyrighted [right]. We started seeing similar pictures and came to realize that maybe mother wasn’t the only one who was blessed with this photo. She also took two silver rosaries (identical) and the one she had in her pocket turned a copper color. I still have both of them."

It is interesting -- as far as similar phenomena -- that the same seems true with illuminations. For example, says Loci B Lenar, of photo to the left: "Since 2005 a cross with an outline of a shield has appeared annually on my property in Mine Hill, New Jersey. Once again on March 27, 2011, rays of light from the sun is creating an image of a cross. This image has been showing up every morning since last week. The image appears at the top of the fence and slowly descends until it touches the ground. It then changes into a circle and disappears. The cross can be seen for about thirty minutes."

Now, compare that with photos sent by Megan Elliot [right, above and below].

"Today I saw a photo on your website of a cross of light surrounded by a diamond shape," she mentioned. "I have also witnessed this very same image on July 7, 2005. This was the day before my birthday and during the summer in which I had a very deep and almost painful conversion of heart. The image showed up at dawn when I lived in Ottawa, Ontario. I was twenty years old at the time. I will attach these pictures. I have contacted Loci Lenar regarding his own experience with this miracle! I have thought about this miracle almost daily for seven years."

Is it all hokum? Is it all coincidence? Is it all "fringe"?

Getting back to clouds, said a recent report, about the weather:

"It's been so warm in the United States this year, especially in March, that national records weren't just broken, they were deep-fried.

"Temperatures in the lower 48 states were 8.6 degrees above normal for March and 6 degrees higher than average for the first three months of the year, according to calculations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That far exceeds the old records.

"The magnitude of how unusual the year has been in the U.S. has alarmed some meteorologists who have warned about global warming. One climate scientist said it's the weather equivalent of a baseball player on steroids, with old records obliterated.

"'Everybody has this uneasy feeling. This is weird. This is not good,' said Jerry Meehl, a climate scientist who specializes in extreme weather at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. 'It's a guilty pleasure. You're out enjoying this nice March weather, but you know it's not a good thing.'"

For our discernment.

Scripture says: there will be "great signs from Heaven" (Luke 21:11) and "then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30).

When we go to the other side, we may be surprised at what was "foolish" and what was not.

[see also: Video: signs and more signs?]

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