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There is always much to say about prophecy and this is why we are addressing the issue at retreats and other means. So much is asserted. Is Ohio a refuge for the coming time? There are those who believe that, based on alleged prophecy. What is Florida's future? Located where it is, many see future disaster, while others say that the state, consecrated to both the Immaculate and Sacred Hearts, and with unusual pockets of the devout, is specially protected. What about Nevada? We'll be there too; we all know what goes on in Las Vegas. Few realize how many devout Catholics are there.

Issues and more issues. Is prophecy, in our time, real? What about those who are not self-proclaimed or official "seers" but who feel they are getting indications about the future?

Every day, we hear from people who say they are having unusual experiences -- visions, dreams. Even among those who have not followed the "prophetic pulse," there is the feeling of a great shift -- some sort of watershed event (or events) -- coming. Images and signs and other hints are perceived everywhere in many things and many ways.

It was Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (once known as Edith Stein) who -- in speaking about the supernatural -- warned that "God's self-communication is more appropriately given to the spirit than to the senses, and the soul finds greater security and makes greater progress, for through what is received by the senses, as a rule, great danger of deception exists...

"The devil can easily practice his arts in this quarter because he has influence on bodily senses," the saint added. "And even when the images come from God, they are the less conducive to good for the spirit the more exterior these forms and objects are."

We must always keep that in mind: the highest form of mysticism is simple, prayerful infusion.

But there are signs sent by God (acknowledged this same saint), and we know from Scripture that God does nothing without first informing His servants the prophets. Are there numerous "prophets" in our own time -- at home, at the office, during Adoration, "receiving" as normal everyday folks without acclaim (as in Joel) as seers?

Allegedly, yes. There is no denying the urgency with which many such common people view coming events -- an urgency shared in the prophetic-like church in Alaska attended by the current Republican nominee for vice president.

What to believe? What to take as signs? Dreams? What we see in the sky? None of the above?

Such urgency has been asserted for years, thus far with no mega-global event, although there is no denying a year-to-year increase of regional events (such as 9/11/01) that could well portend such an event or events.

We hear from people like Judy Dobson, a nurse from Danville, Pennsylvania, who wrote: "Here's an unusual thing that happened to me this morning. A very loud 'alarm' sounded right above my head on the pillow while I was sleeping. However, I have no alarm clock there -- so loud, no one could have continued to sleep.

"I distinctly heard (in my mind and heart, which is difficult to explain how): 'Time to pray'...with a sense of urgency. It was very early in the morning when this happened. But this is the first for me. I always dream about not being prepared for school exams, or not finding my way out of the big hospital I used to work in, or being in a house with many many rooms. This didn't feel like a dream. It was real, just invisible! I said the Chaplet of Mercy."

From Texas a woman wrote us about a dream in which great turbulent waters were between Galveston and Houston.

"I am a regular reader of your website," adds Tony Delville of Stoney Creek, Ontario. " I thought of you immediately today when I saw something very strange.  Unfortunately, I did not have a camera to take a photo.

"I was traveling eastbound on a major highway forty miles east of Toronto. In this area, we have the Niagara escarpment, which sits approximately a hundred feet above the main city on the shore of Lake Ontario.

"As I looked into the sky, filled with clouds, I saw one that was perfectly formed in the shape of an nuclear blast. It had a full, thick stem that seemed to 'grow' from the top of the escarpment and an almost perfect plume, or mushroom top, at the top. 

"I was stunned by how accurately it resembled a nuclear blast. I teach politics and I show to my students a PBS video entitled, Race for the Super, a documentary detailing the race between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. to develop the hydrogen bomb, a thermonuclear device with virtually unlimited explosive capacity. I have therefore seen, over and over again, many nuclear explosions. What does it all mean? Simple coincidence? I don't know. But maybe somebody is trying to tell us something."

Only in prayer can we discern. With prayer, we are protected.

"This will need some meditation," said another viewer. "About a year ago, during Adoration, Our Lord said to me, 'You are in the eleventh hour.' Having no idea what that meant, I asked a good friend of ours who has great discernment. He told me that the eleventh hour means an attack will come in a short time -- usually around three a.m. as many are sleeping and the guards are not paying attention and it comes upon you without warning.

"It all started months ago when my son began seeing 11:11 everywhere, and then without looking for it, we also started seeing it. Incredibly, yesterday I opened a book of messages given to [alleged Dutch seer] Ida Peerdeman and this is part of what I read: 'Then a haze came over all this and I heard call three times, "Nineveh, Nineveh, Nineveh!" Heaven closed and the whole image disappeared from my view. Next a large, white, round disc appeared in front of me; it was divided by black lines and looked like a clock. A big hand pointed to the last part as if it were five to twelve [the eleventh hour].' It takes a lot of meditation to put it all together, but I believe we are in the eleventh hour, the time of a great trial and attack on the Holy Catholic Church, the time of the fulfillment of St. John Bosco's dream, and the reason so many people are seeing 11:11."

Perhaps. We leave it for your prayerful judgment. With prayer, we will be guided to safety, when and if events occur, wherever they may happen.

"I wonder if this Jubilee Year of St. Paul will bring with it the 'illumination of consciences,'" ponders Patti Castaldo, of San Rafael, California, just north of San Francisco. "I question this only because this is the first time in Church history that we have dedicated an entire Jubilee Year to a particular saint. St. Paul had a conversion on the road to Damascus and turned from persecuting Christians and became one of the early Church's leading evangelizers before his martyrdom in Rome. Can this be a coincidence or  maybe, just maybe, will this set in motion the coming 'illumination' prophesied to convert many 'Sauls' into 'St. Pauls'"?

Your guess is as good as ours, Patti. We say only despise not the prophetic. Test the spirits. Take from it what is good and leave the rest.

Dramatic? Overly so? Or spot on?

Let us together discern asking for the Holy Spirit at this time when we recall a regional event seven years ago that was also foreseen by a number of people in prophetic images -- including in dreams and clouds -- and was part of the current intensification.

[resources: The Day Will Come, Tower of Light; and Michael Brown retreats: Florida, Ohio, and Nevada]

[see also: Earthquake trends, Does '11' figure into judgment?, Clouds and September 11, and Hurricanes and the power of prayer]

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