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When one converts or reverts back to the faith -- has that strong rekindling of faith, what we mentioned as a "metanoia" -- confirmations include the new perceptions that arrive so suddenly as if to see the spiritual backstage and are strikingly consistent -- amazingly so -- with others who experience them in the Spirit independently.

In other words, folks who may never have met see the same things, experience the same aspects of healing, feel a similar prophetic pulse, and battle in the same spiritual warfare.

We share a common perception.

Another thing that is perceived in common is how alive the Bible comes and how it functions on many levels -- sometimes with a different meaning according to the junctures in our lives when we open this incredible Book. It "speaks" to us.

One passage of Scripture strikes us at this point in history and at this time of year as especially relevant: Exodus 20.

Here, there are two major issues we have discussed of late.

Note first Verse Five, where (referring to the sin of idolatry) it warns of God inflicting "punishment for their fathers' wickedness on the children of those who hate Me, down to the third and fourth generation, but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love Me and keep My commandments." This seems like a powerful affirmation of generational or family healing: that darkness can transmit down through lineages. (Also note, as Lent continues to move toward Divine Mercy Sunday, that the Lord is far more generous than punishing, extending mercy so vastly farther.)

The second point is the admonition, in Verse Seven, that "You shall not take the Name of the Lord, your God, in vain. For the Lord will not leave unpunished him who takes His Name in vain."

This is dramatic because when the Blessed Mother appeared in 1846 at LaSalette, France, warning of plague and famine (a failure of the potato crop), she said: "If my people do not wish to submit themselves, I am forced to let go off the Hand of my Son. It is so heavy and weighs me down so much I can no longer keep hold of it. I gave you six days to work, I kept the seventh for myself, and no one wishes to grant it to me. This is what weighs down the arm of my Son so much. Those who drive carts cannot speak without putting the name of my Son in the middle.

"These are the two things which weigh down the arm of my Son so much. If the harvest is spoiled, it is only because of the rest of you. I made you see this last year with the potatoes, you took little account of this. It was quite the opposite when you found bad potatoes, you swore oaths, and you included the name of my Son. They will continue to go bad, at Christmas there will be none left."

In December 1846 -- as one source notes -- "most of the popular crops were disease stricken, and in 1847 a famine hit Europe which resulted in the loss of approximately one million lives, including one hundred thousand in France alone. Cholera became prevalent in various parts of France and claimed the lives of many children." In Ireland there ensured the famous potato famine.

That such major punishment can come from simply using the Name of Jesus as a profanity or curse word or expression of exasperation should be sobering for many in our current world. It fulfills Verse Seven exactly. In the way of catechesis it also reminds us of the apparition in Champion, Wisconsin where (thirteen years after LaSalette, in 1859) Mary as "Our Lady of Good Help" warned that there would be a punishment if the Faith was not followed. That admonishment was followed a dozen years later by a horrifying wildfire that claimed hundreds of lives and torched an area larger in size than Rhode Island (all but the spot of apparition). Look at the similar language:

"I am the Queen of Heaven who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same. You received Holy Communion this morning and that is well. But you must do more. Make a general confession and offer Communion for the conversion of sinners. If they do not convert and do penance, my Son will be obliged to punish them."

The indication was that few were going to church and honoring the Sabbath.

Now we dovetail back to Exodus -- the same passage.

Verse Eight:

"Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, your God. No work may be done then either by you or your son or daughter, or your male and female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day day He rested. That is why the Lord has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy."

At a time when so many work on Sunday (some out of necessity; they are excused), while others ignore church in favor of entertainments like sports (often rooting -- and swearing -- by use of the Lord's Name), it is once again sobering.

Do we follow Heaven strictly? Do we now see that what seems so minor in our time is really major?

And can we fathom the consequences?

[resources Video: The Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help and Queen of Heaven]

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