The Bridge To Heaven (revised and updated), by Michael H. Brown (with Drew Mariani), the book of interviews with famed seer and stigmatist Maria Esperanza  -- the extraordinary visionary associated with the Church-approved site of Betania and widely regarded as perhaps the greatest Catholic mystic since St. Padre Pio -- her life, her prophecies, her views on world affairs, her healings, and her spiritual advice. CLICK HERE



Let's call this "notes from all over" because it is precisely that: a catching up with mail and assorted other items. Start with "signs." It is typical for us to hear warnings from the pulpit against seeking signs instead of seeking faith. It's certainly good advice: to seek faith -- and not go overboard with signs. In fact, during the Church-approved apparitions at Kibeho in Rwanda, a seer quoted Jesus as saying the people were constantly asking for signs and that He could give signs, all right, including what followed -- which was a sudden darkening of the night sky (the stars and moon blotted out, such that there was total darkness for hours). The same seer warned that "the world is too easily distracted by wonders and marvels and is not listening to the Word of Jesus." It reminds us of Scripture telling us that a generation that seeks too many signs risks the "sign of Jonah" (Matthew 12:39). (We all know Jonah's warning to Nineveh, which by the way is in the stricken area of Mosul in Iraq.) "A sign is only important in what it signifies for us, inasmuch as it helps us to better understand the meaning of the message and its authenticity," noted a priest who penned a book on Kibeho);

But what about the other extreme -- when we disregard little miracles that God sends as a kiss or a spark or an affirmation and yes a sign from Heaven?

Surely, the Lord doesn't waste a thing. He does send signs in our lives -- and we are wise to heed their occurrences as long as we don't operate our entire lives in search of them. At Kibeho it was likewise noted that signs are given "for man to believe... "

There are photographs: Once in a while, folks seem to get unusual blurs in their photos -- blurs that experts may explain away as light "bleeds." Still, they can seem full of enough meaning when they occur at poignant moments. We see the sun streaming down at a poignant time in the life of a Catholic bookstore owner [bottom of this article] and it seemed interesting years ago when a soft, cottony light curled around famed mystic Maria Esperanza as she prayed [right; and a great prayer she was!]. More recently, there is a photograph of Father Mark Bozada, who celebrated the Mass at our retreat in St. Louis, where he administers three parishes. It's a pretty interesting photo (below, left; Father at the center, obscured by the same kind of light we note with Esperanza, and in fact Father Bozada also has the ability to see into the spirit world. He has described a lifetime of experiencing angels, demons, and souls of the deceased, and has a prophetic bent; he is the priest who said he received a "word" saying that New Mexico would serve in the future as some kind of refuge).

As for potential signs in nature, there are those who report strange "rumblings" (see the 1990 prophecy and What's shaking the Southeast?). There has been lava oozing from the earth in India. There are strange aerial lights around the world (some associated with such booms -- always, however, raising caution of New Age connections, especially when they involve "UFOs"). Here's a report from Essex in U.K. on January 22:

"A market town was shaken by a huge explosion after an 'unexplained' occurrence left terrified residents believing that a meteorite had crashed to earth. Locals in Saffron Walden, Essex, called 999 at 8 p.m. on Sunday to report an earthquake after homes shook, furniture moved, and windows rattled.

"Two loud bangs resounded through the medieval town, prompting suggestions that there had been a plane crash or a meteorite landing nearby. Noises were heard as far as six miles away in Thaxted and residents of Haverhill, Cambs, thirteen miles away reported thuds, moving furniture and shaking houses.

"But despite a full investigation by emergency services in the area, the bizarre event remains unexplained. It was believed that a fault at an electricity sub-station caused the event, but the authorities have ruled this out and are calling the explosions a 'mystery.' Caroline Mifsud, from Saffron Walden, said that the sleepy village was shocked by the strange quake. She said: 'My son heard an explosion and felt a shake and about ten minutes later there were police and fire engines everywhere. Everyone is talking about it on Facebook.' Resident Andrew Green was in his garden when he felt the mysterious rumble beneath his feet. He said: 'I just felt the ground tremble and there was a bang. It was really weird.' Inspector Kevin Wakefield, from Essex police, said that so far the authorities were at a loss to explain the strange event. He said: 'We had a lot of calls from residents who heard and felt something but no one has actually seen anything. At the moment it is currently unexplained and unaccounted for and we are actively encouraging anyone who saw anything that might help us solve the mystery to contact us.' A spokesman for the British Geological Survey, which records and measures earthquakes in the UK, said it had not recorded any activity in the area. He said: 'It could be a meteorite or just an unexplained natural phenomenon.'"

As for this business of many seeing the number "11:11": we are of course in the year when there will be 11/11/11, and there is an upcoming movie about the phenomenon -- alas, though, one based on the occult. Watch out here. Does the number really signify anything? Your guess is as good as anyone's.

Then there are "apparitions."

Starting back on March 25, 1945, a woman named Ida Peerleman in Amsterdam claimed to see the Blessed Mother in a "magnificent light" as "Mother of All Peoples" or "Our Lady of All Nations" (similar to her title in Betania, Venezuela). Admittedly, it was a perplexing set of apparitions -- 56, which lasted until 1959. There were some strange images and messages, and it was initially rejected by the local Church -- at the behest of Rome. But in 2002 the current bishop reversed the negative diocesan judgment, this time with no opposition from the Vatican, and so, at least for now, we can consider it.

As theologian Mark Miravalle of Franciscan University in Ohio points out (in a video), Ida had once said she was shown as map of divided Europe and told by Mary that she could "remove that line with one sweep of the hand" -- which one could say occurred with the fall of Communism. It certainly involved the Blessed Mother (see Fatima, as well as how Pope John Paul II and Lech Walesa invoked her). At any rate, in Holland, the apparitional woman also seemed to foresee the Korean war and a great war in the Balkans -- the latter materializing in the 1990s. She warned of a "degeneration" into moral depravity and requested a return to justice, truth, and love. In one vision, she saw war and waves engulfing Europe. She foresaw "corruption" of spirit and "economic wars," hearing the word "currencies." She saw that "nature will also change" and said to pay attention to meteors. Most interestingly, says Dr. Miravalle, Ida also was shown a new division in the world. "Suddenly I see Cairo very clearly and I feel very strangely about that," was the way she reportedly put it. "Then I see several Middle Eastern peoples -- Persians, Iranians, Arabs, others. In a wave, the world will be ripped in two."

We must be careful with such visions -- especially when there have been past rejections and so many visions (mentioning so many places and scenarios). But it is interesting in light of current events, and now even protests in Iran.

[resources: Tower of Light and The Final Hour]

[see also: Retreat in New Mexico, Retreat in Dallas, March 26: prophecy, spiritual warfare, healing family tree, and Spirit Daily pilgrimage to Medjugorje]

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[Further feedback from John Olenik, Ballston Spa, New York: "About a year ago, I too started to be drawn into this phenomenon, and could not help but notice the many times I would check the time without thinking, either in the morning or evening, and the time would be either 11:11, or 1:11.  Again I thought it was simply coincidence, but the occurrence of this has become more frequent, and of course, I have no explanation, but one cannot help but wonder !
"As a catechist in my church, I was preparing the class material for my 15-year-olds the other day, and we were to discuss the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, so I was doing bible research. I came across a passage which made me stop and take a breath.  In the Book of Acts Chapter 1 verses 1-11 (1:1-11), it refers to the promise of the Holy Spirit, and the  Ascension of Jesus.  The last line states, 'This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven' !
"Now we all know enough not to put faith in any specific dates when it comes to prophecy, but I sure have to give a fair amount of thought about November of this year (11-11), particularly in view of all the natural and man made events that have been occurring in recent times. Coincidence? Discernment? Keep up your good work. Hope to see one of your retreats in Albany some day!"]


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