The 'warning' or 'illumination': will it really happen?
by Michael H. Brown
Is an "illumination of conscience" coming? Is a gigantic event that will affect the world -- a "warning" -- in the making? Are we approaching an event that will convert millions?
These are crucial questions at a time when so many are turning prophetic. Across denominations is the expectation of something tremendous. For Protestants it's a "rapture." For many Catholics it's "the Warning." As the world continues to descend into confusing times, the possibility grows that events will begin to happen -- punctuated by an event, catastrophe, or miracle that many believe will cause an "illumination of conscience."
It has nothing to do with the year 2000 but it does have to do with an era like now when there is rampant evil. Some trace the idea of a global event back to a martyr, Saint Edmund Campion, who in the 16th century "pronounced a great day, not wherein any temporal potentate should minister, but wherein the Terrible Judge should reveal all men's consciences and try every man of each kind of religion."
The concept of a huge global event that would open the consciences of men -- what some have called a "miniature judgment" -- got further currency around the time of the French Revolution. From the end of the 1700s through much of the 1800s -- in the wake of severe Christian persecution -- seers began to repeat the prophecy of great coming events.
A seer named Elizabeth Canori-Mora had a vision in 1825 in which "a great light appeared upon the earth which was the 'sign of the reconciliation' of God with man." In 1836 Blessed Anna Maria Taigi had a similar vision in which she foresaw that "a great purification will come upon the world preceded by an 'illumination of conscience' in which everyone will see themselves as God sees them."
As pointed out by author Thomas Petrisko, the prophecy has been claimed by many. "I will give them a special light," seers in Heede, Germany, quoted the Lord as saying. "For some this light will be a blessing; for others, darkness. The light will come like the star that showed the way to wise men. Mankind will experience My love and My power."
These prophecies may tie in with signs seen by saints and popes. Saint Faustina envisioned a great luminous cross in the sky, and in the 19th century Pius IX saw something similar. "There will be a great prodigy which will fill the world with awe," he said.
In recent times the idea of something in the sky got a boost from claims at Garabandal, Spain, where alleged seers spoke about what they called "The Warning." When I was writing The Final Hour one of the visionaries, Mari-Loli Mazon, told me that she was given the prophecy of an event so powerful that it would seem like "the world is coming to a standstill." Others there spoke of an event that would sear the world. A seer named Conchita Gonzalez saw it as a cosmic event "like two stars... that crash and make a lot of noise, and a lot of light... but they don't fall. It's not going to hurt us but we're going to see it and, in that moment, we're going to see our consciences."
She said the Virgin announced the event "by a word beginning with `a'."
It would be visible throughout the world -- experienced by believers and non-believers alike -- a sort of catastrophe but also miraculous. "The warning is something that is just seen in the air, everywhere in the world, and immediately is transmitted into the interior of our souls," another Garabandal seer, Jacinta Gonzalez, had said. "It will last for a very little time, but it will seem a very long time because of its effects within us. It will be good for our souls, in order to see in ourselves our conscience -- the good that we have failed to do, and the bad we have done. Therefore, one should prepare for that day, but not await it with fear. God does not send things for the sake of fear but rather with justice and love."
I have to inform you that the Church has rejected the apparitions at Garabandal, and takes a dim view of several others that proclaim apocalyptic-like events, but the idea has grabbed the Catholic imagination and has been announced by major Catholic media outlets. "The most important thing about that day is that everyone in the whole world will see a sign, a grace, or a punishment within themselves," Conchita told an interviewer way back in 1973. "They will find themselves all alone in the world no matter where they are at the time, alone with their conscience before God. They will then see all their sins and what their sins have caused."
It will be "horrifying" but will not kill unless by sheer fright.
Conchita saw it as something that would be seen and felt but inexplicable to science. It would not physically burn but would sear the conscience. Everyone in the world would see "a sign, a grace, or a punishment within themselves," she said. "No one shall escape it and unbelievers will feel the fear of God."
It reminds us of the light people see during near-death experiences: a light that reveals one's entire life and the good and bad we have accomplished. Could it be that sometime in our lifetimes or in the lifetimes of our children the world will encounter something similar -- but this time on a massive scale?
Will, as another alleged mystic, Father Stefano Gobbi, predicted, every person see himself or herself "in the burning fire of divine truth"?
As always, we have to be careful with prophecies. Already there have been dozens that have been wrong. Each year we hear of a seer or locutionist who sets a new time-frame for some kind of great event -- only to discourage believers when it doesn't happen.
Moreover, our time is not the same as God's. He does things when He wills. Too many have overemphasized the year 2000.
But I do believe we approach a time in which many events will cause conversion.
At Medjugorje in former Yugoslavia seers have not spoken of any single global event, but they have mentioned a series of events that will occur on a regional level and serve as warnings (plural) to the world. According to seer Mirjana Dragicevic, three events will be given to the world, and after or as part of the third will come a "great sign" that will prove the supernatural nature of Medjugorje and convert those who do not believe -- although they warn that by the time this happens, it will be too late for many who still don't believe.
Most indications from Medjugorje are that God will speak through natural events. This is similar to Fatima, where a "great sign" ended up being an unprecedented display of the aurora borealis. I wouldn't be surprised if one day mankind gets a tremendous scare and it indeed has to do with something in the sky. But instead of anything overtly supernatural, it could be be a natural event.
In other words: I wonder if an illumination of conscience will come through fear of an asteroid or comet.
I was astonished to learn from the astronomers I interviewed for Sent To Earth of the many astronomical threats. There are between 700 and 2,000 potentially-hazardous asteroids, objects that could hit the earth, and thousands of others that are a bit farther out and could jump out of their orbits -- or that are as yet undiscovered. Just a couple months ago an asteroid passed 18 times the distance to the moon and wasn't even known until several days before it made its pass. I'll be writing more on this soon. In 1989 an asteroid missed earth by six hours. And then there was Hale-Bopp, a massive 40-mile-wide comet that was large enough to destroy all life on earth and wasn't known to science until amateur astronomers spotted it!
A high possibility exists, I was told by astrophysicist Dr. Brian Marsden of Harvard, "that in the next five to ten years, given the surveys going on, that we will discover a small object not too far away that in a matter of days is going to come into the atmosphere." Several asteroids are expected to make close passes by the mid-point of this century.
And we can imagine the tension of not knowing where such an object will hit -- never mind the tension if it isn't so small an object.
We can only imagine what it would be like if a large comet like Hale-Bopp suddenly appeared, and scientists weren't sure it was going to hit or miss.
It would fulfill prophecies of a great light and at the same time of an event that may not physically harm but would be like fire and would cause tremendous soul-searching.
That would certainly cause us to search our consciences -- and to return to God as has been so long prophesied.
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