Florida Joins California, New York Becoming a Great Spiritual 'Battlefield'
By Michael H. Brown
Last week I finally had the opportunity to visit the 'miraculous' silhouette or reflection of the Blessed Mother on the side of a glass building in Clearwater, Florida, and I stared at it from all angles. Is it real?
I had trouble explaining it. It's not an actual image in the way that one can see a face and it certainly isn't an apparition, but its contours -- in living color -- conform dramatically with those of the Guadalupe Virgin and I couldn't figure out how those contours could continue from one pane of glass to the next across at least nine separate large panes without interruption if it's something like random mineralization [see previous article].
Even if that could be explained, the resemblance to Guadalupe is amazing.
By the good graces of those who serve as the custodians, I entered the building and went to the very room behind the famous second-floor windows on which the strange coloration forms what looks like Mary's robed head. I touched the glass, saw the colored etching from the other side, viewed the surroundings from precisely where the "eyes" of this Virgin would perceive the surroundings.
What does Mary see? Why would the Blessed Mother manifest right on congested U.S. 19 (the crossroads of the booming Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area)? Why Florida?
In my opinion it's because this is now a key state (perhaps the key state) and she is marshaling her troops here.
Florida is filled with good, praying Christians of all kinds and let me testify that they are waging battle heroically. There are religious shows on the radio stations. There are healing centers. There are ministries dedicated solely to deliverance. There are Bible billboards, Bible warehouses. There are huge Christian assembly halls. There are TV shows. When hurricanes threaten, Catholics head for the shores and pray the storms away. Did they not do this with Hurricane Floyd -- which could have been the worst hurricane in history (but instead veered north)?
And like any large state, they are also standing against a storm of evil. By dint of its phenomenal growth, Florida has now joined California and New York as a key spiritual battlefield. It was in Florida that the nation's first city -- St. Augustine -- was founded on the nativity of Mary (September 8, 1565) and now maybe it will be Florida that will largely determine America's future.
Was it not here that the battle over the last presidential election reached its peak -- a battle between the forces of pro-life and abortion, a battle won through the intercession of Guadalupe -- and was it not here that the first bishop resigned in the abuse crisis and where there have been controversies over a bishop (in fact, right in Tampa) who has disallowed Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament?
Go also to Naples, to West Palm Beach, to Jupiter: Nowhere in the country has more spots of extraordinary wealth and when there is such a concentration of population there is always the high octane of sex, lust, drugs, and all forms of hedonism.
This state of so many terrifically spiritual people faces terrific challenges. It is the state where Clonaid announced the first alleged human clone, where much pornography is filmed, where there are struggles with Santeria and the New Age and where the first microchip was implanted into a human.
It is at the center of both spiritual and meteorological storms.
More on the storms in a second, but contemplate all of what is transpiring in the Sunshine State (a state especially dear to us) and it is both fascinating and daunting. It is not just a dynamic state. It is not just a new socio-economic force. It is also where God has planted an incredible army of prayer warriors. Consider for a moment all the good Christians of retirement age in this state and how, as retirees, they now have the time for intercession!
I have never seen so many devout Christians congregated in a single place and set in such contrast to the evil around them. Tampa? A great place. A beautiful, spiritual place. But like any big city, it has its underside. When I was there I picked up a local entertainment guide called the Weekly Planet that boasted of the tattoo parlors and cosmetic surgeons and New Age shops and piercing places and x-rated cinemas and breast-implant centers and abortion clinics and gay brothels and strip joints (there are one hundred of these) and birth-control research institutes within range, within observation, of the Clearwater vision.
Yes: this is what the Blessed Mother of Clearwater stares out onto. This is where she beckons.
Still, in more measure than the evil are the prayer groups, the cenacles, the Rosary organizations, the devout priests, the good retired nuns, the charismatics, the folks who spend time in Adoration: very intense here. From a major Catholic healing center in Jacksonville to general Christian centers for spiritual warfare, nowhere has more good spiritual energy. Nowhere has more active Christians.
It is where, if Clearwater is any example, the Blessed Mother is marshaling her forces.
Was it not right there at the beginning of huge storms that started in the 1990s with Hurricane Andrew and now seem permanently with us? Is it Tampa that has so many wonderful parishes and is it not Orlando that has a lovely shrine dedicated to the Blessed Mother? Is it not Miami that is a hotspot for Marian devotees? Is it not here that so many so openly profess Jesus?
Go get them, Florida. We're behind you. We will be behind you even more in the future. Go get them! We know that in the end you'll win -- and stave off an otherwise looming disaster.
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