The Imitation of Mary, by Abbe Alexander de Rouville. No sooner had the incomparable Imitation of Christ appeared than the faithful began to spontaneously wish for an imitation of Our Lady, and finally, in 1768, a monk pulled together a little powerhouse of meditation on the different mysteries and circumstances of her life, from the Immaculate Conception to her Assumption into Heaven! Click here
AT AFRICAN APPARITION WAS A QUANDARY: WHAT TO DO WITH APOCALYPTIC INDICATIONS?
By Michael H. Brown
To use the cliche, there's an elephant in the room -- an unspoken aspect -- when it comes to the apparitions at Kibeho in Rwanda; actually, two elephants.
The first is the fact that of the seven key seers -- the ones widely known to have experienced Mary in the first few months of the events, which began on November 28, 1981 -- only three visionaries (Alphonsine Mumureke, Anathalie Mukamazimpaka, and Marie-Clare Mukangango) were included in the official Church approval of this fascinating apparition.
Four were not approved (although neither were they condemned). That's one aspect.
The second elephant:
Tremendous events were foreseen by at least two of the four unofficial seers -- and at least one of the approved seers. It becomes a big challenge in discernment. Is it really possible that the circumstances -- apocalyptic circumstances -- laid out at this apparition might loom on the horizon?
Lately, we have written much about a splendid book called Our Lady of Kibeho, which details the apparitions (and some of the prophecies). There was another book, by Father Gabriel Maindron, called Kibeho, Rwanda: A Prophecy Fulfilled. It came out in 1996 and contained more of the prophetic indications, as well as repeated warnings about the kind of materialism we are now seeing melt down around us.
"Man is so foolish -- he runs furiously after worldly goods -- yet knowing full well that a day will come when he will have to relinquish these," the Lord allegedly said to Emmanuel Segastashya, one of those who was not among the officially recognized and claimed to have encountered Jesus. "He is chasing the wind. The possessions of this world are only ashes, while the only real riches are the riches of the heart."
To another unofficial seer -- Anges Kamagaju -- the Lord supposedly said that "so many evils are caused by money. Far too many place their trust in earthly goods." As a result of the idolatry of money, illicit sex, and other transgressions, the seers were told, Rwanda -- and the rest of the world -- faced chastisement.
The current time, it was said, was the "time of visitation."
"She reminds us," said Father Maindron, "that money and its obsessive influence over so much of our lives is often the root cause of these problems today. We have allowed it to dominate our lives, and have become enslaved in its service when we should be serving only God. We have let money become our idol."
In Kibeho, money was not the problem -- in fact it was chosen as a place of apparition precisely for its simplicity and poverty, Mary told the approved seers. But there was tribal hatred and sexual sin and Rwanda received its punishment in the form of a brutal civil war that followed the apparitions.
Both the "approved" and "unapproved" seers agreed on the idea of purification. No problem there. The same was said at Medjugorje, which began just months before the first Kibeho visions.
But how apocalyptic might events be?
Might the messages have pertained to how the world was about to end in the way of the massive military killings for hundreds of thousands, right there in Rwanda, and right there in Kibeho, including three seers, as Hutus savagely battled Tutsis in the 1990s? Or were the messages geared to global events that remain in the future?
It's that second elephant. "It is the one who does evil who will be met with fire," Emmanuel (who died in the civil war) further quoted Jesus as saying. "Hurry to do good, for Satan will one day disappear from this world, and then you will never be tempted again. But hurry, for there is little time left.
"Today this world is full of hatred, and you will know that the time of My return is near, that I am on My way, when you hear of and see the wars of religion. Know then that I come, for nothing will be able to stop these wars. Know, too, that it will not be easy to recognize Me, but here are the signs that will help you to know Me:
"I will come as a traveler, but if I walk past a deaf man, he will hear. If I walk past a blind man, he will open his eyes and see; if I walk past a mother, she will be full of joy. The one who loves Me I will find, even if he is under a bridge. Even if you are under a hill, I will find you. Tell all men that there is not much time left. I will return soon."
A pagan at the time of the apparitions, Emmanuel claimed to have encountered a stranger he took to be Christ dressed in a tunic on July 2, 1982 (while returning on a path from picking beans).
Some of the language that flowed from Kibeho was bracing, if not startling. And it did not come from the unofficial seers alone. One of those approved, Alphonsine Mumureke -- the first to see Mary (in November of 1981) and known as the "keeper of secrets" -- was quoted in the Maindron book as saying that "the world is coming to an end. Jesus's return is very close at hand."
Did Alphonsine -- now a nun -- really say that? And if so, what does the bishop think of that aspect? Other prophecies have spoken of major events -- and perhaps even a manifestation of Jesus -- but not the end. The assertions would be easy to dismiss if they weren't connected -- albeit unofficially -- to an apparition that is the most strongly approved one in years, sanctioned by a pastoral letter that was issuedat the Vatican itself (after it passed muster with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the time headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger).
"She asks you to pack up your belongings, for the time remaining is short," Father Maindron paraphrased another alleged and unapproved seer, Vestine Salima, as saying. "When God calls you, you will not have time to gather anything you may have left behind."
"Travelers!" Mary was further quoted as saying. "Why look back? What have you left behind? Take your luggage now because the remaining road is short. Look forward because happiness is in front of you."
And then this mysterious line -- in an apparition that had a number of things to say about destruction by flames (and even mentioned a volcano):
"If you don't take refuge in God, where will you go," Mary supposed told Vestine, "when fire will spread everywhere?"
[resources: Our Lady of Kibeho and The Final Hour]
[see also: Official declaration]
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