For your discernment:
Death Of Famous Mystic Raises Question About Prophecies Pertaining To Year 2004
By Michael H. Brown
The passing of famed mystic Maria Esperanza de Bianchini has left a gaping question: did one of her more famous prophecies -- which had to do with the year 2004 -- pertain to the world or to her personally?
The question is raised because of the mystic's repeated assertion that 2004 would be a momentous year, a "new awakening," with "rivers of light."
That description fits what some believe will be a future "illuminating" global event, while others might argue it describes the kind of light that comes with entrance into eternity.
For the Venezuelan seer -- long recognized by her local bishops as a legitimate visionary -- it was indeed to be the most momentous year since her birth, and she has no doubt encountered what so many who glimpse the afterlife describe: rivers of God's brilliance, the incomparable light of Heaven discussed by those who have near-death experiences. The most pertinent fact remains that she died the year that she cited as one that would involve a major happening.
She saw one particular event happening after the mid-point of the year and entered the hospital the first week of July, which was just past the sixth and middle month of 2004, never again to regain consciousness, at least in this world. As we said two years ago, we were "not sure what she has told others," but knew what she had told us: that 2004 will be the beginning of a "new light" from Heaven. "What that implies," we noted, "is anyone's guess, perhaps even Maria's."
At times speaking in a way that implied events for the world and at other times in a way that could be viewed as foretelling her death, she had foreseen a renewal, a coming together of God's people, and events that she said would pave the way to what she mysteriously described as "a new dawn of Jesus."
On Saturday, in announcing her death, husband Geo described it as "a new dawn."
Soon after her prophecy about rivers of light in 2004, Pope John Paul II announced a "Eucharistic year" beginning in 2004 (after the mid-point) and incredibly enough even mentioned "rivers of light" -- fueling speculation that the prophecy had to do with the Church.
Because Maria often intermixed general, long-term prophecies with specific ones and set no specific time table -- saying only that the "light" would come from Heaven and that 2004 would be only the beginning of it -- it was always unclear not only what but how much would occur in a 12-month period. In the long term, she held the hope of a new world that would reflect the things of Heaven. Was she being metaphoric?
"It will start from the year 2004 on," she said. "It will be the beginning. Rivers of supernatural light are awaiting us -- surprises, beautiful surprises. Each one of us will encounter ourselves, and beautiful ideas."
But when? And how? Esperanza never associated the prophecy with predictions of a major "warning" or "illumination" to mankind, although others have understandably lent it that association. At times it seemed clear that her own interpretation was that what she saw pertained to everyone, not just herself. "When the light arrives it comes with supernatural light and God will allow us to feel His Presence deep in our hearts -- the Divine spark that will awaken our conscience, to help us realize that God is everything and we are nothing without Him," she said in The Bridge To Heaven. "When we get this light we will be able to feel God in our hearts again. We will feel Him all the time with us."
One can argue that the constant Presence of God implies the afterlife while others could say that the message clearly looks toward an event in the physical world.
Esperanza said the new light was to or is to have both physical and supernatural elements. But she said it would only begin in 2004 -- as rays from Heaven, which she did not further describe and did not say if they would actually be visible. "It's something that can not be avoided," she said. "It cannot be stopped. It is the beginning of something." She felt it would be the beginning of a new spiritual state. That was her own interpretation.
Did it relate solely to her own state?
While we are only too well aware that major mystics are human, and that there have been many controversies even about the revelations from canonized saints (which Esperanza may well one day be), we take the time to examine this because of how highly bishops thought of her spirituality and how seriously a number of them took the phenomena that surrounded her. Although her private visions and speculations did not have Church sanction, the apparition site with which she was associated, along with a Eucharistic miracle, did.
In many cases of mysticism prophecies are related to a seer personally or to a local situation (rather than global or national events). It remains unclear what had been indicated to Esperanza about 2004 -- and what she herself knew or didn't know about it.
God's mysteries are mysteries to everyone -- especially when expressed in visions. But in Esperanza's case there were some startling "hits." In 1991 Maria foresaw a major event as coming on December 8 at the apparition site of Betania near Caracas, and in fact on that day a Eucharistic Host bled while the priest was consecrating it -- a miracle declared as authentic by the local diocese. She also predicted the dates the Blessed Mother would first appear at the apparition site of Betania in 1976 and again in 1984 during the Church-approved appearances of Mary. In 1995 she saw Jesus as coming that year -- sparking a flurry of apocalyptic speculation of a major global event. It turned out to be an accurate prediction -- but at a local level. On the prescribed February day, more than two dozen people testified to an apparition of a figure they took to be Jesus at Betania.
Her last trip out of New Jersey -- where she had been staying since last Christmastime -- was to New York City, where she sat in a car and prayed as it circled the Mother Cabrini Shrine, St. Ignatius Loyola Church, and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Barely able to talk, she explained her actions to no one.
Virtually no mystic in history has been 100 percent, including famous saints, who at times even prophetically disagreed with each other. But Esperanza was specially heeded because she appeared to have foreseen the attacks on the World Trade Center -- and even ended up in New York on September 11. Months before, starting in December of 1999, she said enemies were ready to attack the U.S. on its own territory. Days after the attack, when "Bin Laden" was still a largely unknown name, she said that a "roaring lion" was behind the attacks. It turned out that "osama" means "roaring lion."
Still others see prophetic significance in Maria's sufferings, which she offered up for John Paul II and which uncannily resembled the pontiff's. As her own mysterious, undiagnosed, but Parkinson's-like suffering increased, the Pope seemed to improve.
So another question: If there was a link, what will happen now?
In one of her last interviews Esperanza speculated that major events linked to the secrets of Medjugorje, which she believed was authentic, would occur by 2020.
As we so often repeat, we offer this all up for your discernment. The phenomena around Maria were often so incredible that even believers have trouble fathoming it. Like the early Church, we take prophecy seriously (Scripture says not to despise it), but realize that it is often imperfect and must be cautiously discerned. Will her death be a sign? Will it be followed by the major events -- good and bad -- that she saw coming -- including a "lash" in store for her beloved U.S.? Would a purification be followed by a glorious new time, a time of unity, of renewal? Will it begin at some level this year, or did the allusion to 2004 turn out to be a prophecy of her own death?
In the end, God's plan ends up just that: His plan, not yet plain to anyone.
That many of the witnesses at Betania have been professionals (even an army general saw phenomena at Betania, and a prominent, Harvard-educated doctor, Dr. Vinicio Arrieta, was cured there of "incurable" cancer) lend the situation moment, as does the testimony of doctors present with Maria when she has suffered the stigmata.
Meanwhile, her death in August came precisely fifty years to the month from a momentous event that occurred in August of 1954. At that time Maria was praying with a group of friends when there was a loud noise and a light allegedly streamed in from the ceiling, striking Maria in the chest and causing her to lose consciousness. After a couple of days in bed the Venezuelan seer recovered. According to The Bridge To Heaven (page 159), "what struck her heart appeared days later, materialized in the form of an object like the point of an arrow or sword, a very strange metal. It came out of her chest. On the sharp object was something written. It said, 'Heaven, earth, new life.'"
[resources: The Bridge To Heaven]
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