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"Here and there on the internet" (from the recent mailbag) there are a number of issues about which viewers write.

Let's start with Blessed Salt.

In our times, that sacramental seems especially potent against the enemy. It is certainly a legitimate Catholic instrument.


Notes a website: "According to Strong's Concordance, there are forty-one matches in thirty five verses which reference salt in the English translation of the King James Bible, the earliest being the valley of Siddim which is the Salt Sea followed by the story of Lot's wife, who was turned into a pillar of salt when she disobediently looked back at the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the New Testament, Matthew 15:3, Jesus speaking to his disciples: 'You are the salt of the earth.' It is commonly believed that He was telling them how valuable they were. Their real value lay within them, as spirit or soul. He was reminding them not to pay too much attention to the physical body, but give higher regard to their spiritual essence. Interestingly, what remains when a human body is cremated is nothing but a pile of salt. Salt has a long history of use in rituals of purification, magical protection, and blessing. Salt has been used throughout the ages as a ward against negative energies or evil spirits. It has even been used to seal covenants! In Germany, salt was put into the corners of the home where newlyweds were to reside to dispel any 'bad' or negative energy."

Added a viewer: "Father Alphonseus Joseph-Mary August Montague Summers explained: 'Salt never appeared at the witches' table and Jean Bodin [a sixteenth-century Catholic scholar] apparently gave the reason:  it is an emblem of eternity'. Philip Ludwig Elich emphatically drew attention to the absence of salt at these infernal banquets. At these meals, remarked Henri Boguet [another renowned Catholic of the same period], 'salt never appears'... [Sister] Madeleine de la Palud [de Demandolx at Aixen-Provence] declared that she had never seen salt, olives, or oil at the devil's feasts.' (The History of Witchcraft, p. 145, Barnes and Noble Books)."

Thus: have we finally solved that mystery?

Against the enemy, there is also -- powerfully -- the Blessed Sacrament. (Urge your parish to institute it.) To the left, can you see an image in one monstrance at St. Peter of Alcantara in Port Washington New York.

These seem to be signals to us and as far as "signs":  too many times we look for spectacular, overt ones instead of the small things that console us, affirm something, or prompt us in one direction or another. Are there -- as signs -- even "good accidents"?

Margaret Dixon of Norwell, Massachusetts recounts that:

"The other day a co-worker Michael, went to the copier machine to put his document in to be copied. It did not copy! Out of the copier came the prayers Prayer to the Blessed Virgin and Prayer O’ Most Holy Apostle St. Jude! He kept trying to print his document but it would not copy; the only copies coming out of the copier were the prayers.

"We looked at the 'copies' indicator on the machine and it said '1.'  So, he kept giving out the prayers to the people in the unit. Then I went and told some folks and they came over and they tried to copy his document. But they could not adjust the number of copies of the prayers that came out. We even cleared the machine and it did print his document. 'It’s a sign for me to have these, I guess,' Michael said. 'I have to give them out.' Next day, he even told a couple of managers what happened."

"Big" signs might include the photograph at the top of this article, which was taken from Apparition Hill at Medjugorje when a daughter was snapping a photo of her mother and noted nothing unusual until they developed the picture and instead of people posing next to the Cross, in the afternoon sun, reputedly saw a darkened landscape and the letters C-H-R-I-S-T in the sky. (For our discernment; we did look into this years ago, and it seemed credible, though incredible.)

Big signs, little signs. "A friend of my brother's former father-in-law committed suicide," writes another viewer, whom we will keep anonymous. "He had drug and mental issues. So when I found out, the first things I thought was to pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy for him and have a Mass offered for his soul. Later on that day I decided to browse Spirit Daily, and saw a link [in the announcements] for 'Divine Mercy for suicide victims.' This struck me and confirmed to me what I had done. God is good."

There are, as Dede Laugesen, editor of Angels Magazine reminds us, signs in nature. "Last night I was reading from my copy of Lives of the Saints," she noted. "About Saint John: The editor remarks that the Feast of Saint John the Baptizer used to be more fervently celebrated. It was celebrated beginning on the eve of the Feast, on June 23, with the lighting of 'St John's fires.' The book then quotes Dom. P.L.P. Gueranger: St. John's fires were lighted on the hills and mountains in many countries as they are still lighted in some places. 'Scarce had the last rays of the setting sun died away, when all the world over, immense columns of flame arose from every mountain top, and in an instant every town and village and hamlet was lighted up.' Yesterday morning, June 23, we were walking through a local farmer's market when we saw a small plume of smoke rise up over Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. The fire is large and growing. As of one a.m., Manitou Springs, a significant area of Colorado Springs right near Garden of the Gods, was evacuated..."

This followed strange mammatus cloud formations a few weeks back and then an incredible hail storm [left].

What about an article we recently had alleging that a Georgia man, James Wilbur Chauncey -- a Baptist -- encountered a mysterious woman named Mary who massaged him one night while he was in a hospital as a boy suffering from near-fatal meningitis, apparently leading to his ability to walk the next day? It seemed odd, the Virgin touching someone, like a nurse. Was it the Blessed Mother?...

"My name is Elizabeth Rodgers and I now live in Houston Texas," commented a viewer. "When I was four in Scotland I had polio which left me paralyzed. My first memories, thus, are of being completely paralyzed. I could see but I could not move at all. As I was taken from my family I was so frightened that I left my body. I know this because I saw myself being put into an ambulance of the very old type.

"One night a woman in white, dressed in the clothing of the time of Jesus, came to my bedside. She put a Miraculous Medal on a chain on my neck. The next day I got up and was fine except for my right arm which is still paralyzed. This is my experience as a child in 1958. I was not touched [physically]. I was healed through the power of God and the Immaculate Conception."

Mr. Chauncey, author of Eyewitness To Heaven, also says, during his brush with death, that he was granted prophecies about future global disasters.

Should such prophecies lead to fear?

Do they cause you trepidation?

Said Joyce Yusi of Sherborn, Massachusetts, "Instead of causing fear, reading what Mr. Chauncey had to say about the horrors that awaited us, if we didn't turn away from evil, I was filled with gratitude for our Blessed Mother's coming to Medjugorje. I also felt a greater appreciation of what she was trying to do there and what she was trying to save us from. I feel more motivated than ever to cleanse my heart of selfish inclinations, and to pray, especially more than five decades of the Rosary every day, and to pray deeply, from the heart. Chauncey received his visions of the future before Medjugorje and  the papacy of Pope John Paul II. Because of Medjugorje, many have turned back to confession and away from evil; many holy priests received their vocations there.  Pope John Paul II helped bring down the Iron Curtain and was a great spiritual leader who also influenced many to turn away from evil. And didn't Mary say at Medjugorje that one of the secrets [involving a disaster] has been lessened?"

It was John Paul II who (to the befuddlement of many) described Medjugorje as a continuation of Fatima -- where Russia was mentioned and indicated more than anything else (including the possibility, as perhaps symbolized in the third secret, which was released twelve years ago this week, of nuclear war).

Speaking of geopolitics: what about anti-christs (plural) in history? We had an article recently on a book by Father Joseph Esper called Defiance! that addresses this precise issue. Noted viewer Kenneth Heck of Carlisle, Iowa:

"One big problem understanding the anti-christ involves the word itself. We don't find the word or the concept in the Old Testament. We do find the four beasts of Daniel -- leading many to believe they are the basis for the anti-christ concept. The truth is that the beasts of Daniel are summarized and combined together by the ten-horned, seven-headed beast of the Apocalypse. The idea of the anti-christ can only originate from the two-horned beast which arises later. John describes him as a false prophet because the final anti-christ isn't found in his book.

"But the true anti-christ is destroyed by Christ at his coming to judge the nations (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

"This figure of the final anti-christ is perhaps the most mysterious person in the Bible. All we can say now is that he seemingly works miracles, is not really interested in military domination, and is highly seductive in his words. He really exists as a  temptation to draw away everyone from the true  Christ, especially the Jews, who have a first-born position in the Kingdom of God. For Moses there was Balaam; at the time of Christ's first coming, there was Simon Magus; so shall the final anti-christ live at the time of Christ's Second Coming. He may be associated with Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12-20. The serpent in the Garden of Eden was anti-God at a time when the concept of a Christ or anti-christ  was not yet revealed."

Back to signs. In that regard, noted a viewer named Claire Gellman of Plumsted, New Jersey, recalling a night-time happening, "This was my dream.  I was in my childhood home at the time, which was a split level. I was on the bottom floor and looked out the window to the West. There in the sky hung a perfect Crucifix made of white clouds! I called and called and called to everyone to come see! And you have to figure our home was quite busy at that age of my life. But no one ever came. I was so frustrated!  It was an amazing sight…finally my mother came over and joined me. But no one else…ever. I was so saddened to think they had all missed the miraculous!

"Since then I have actually seen very specific cloud formations in the western sky, while awake and usually driving. The face of the Sacred Heart once and, just a few months ago (seen also by my children), an angel fighting a dragon with three perfectly shaped hearts underneath. I once sat my girls down and shared my Faith Story and all the many wonderful experiences, miracles and bits of encouragement that God gave me over all my years! I was astounded the more I shared with them the more I realized how much we are each loved by Him specifically! Signs are things that point us to the Heart of Jesus."

[resources: The God of Miracles, Defiance! , and Eyewitness To Heaven]

[See also: Medjugorje seer says Mary spoke to her of fifth secret at annual apparition]

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