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We are in a period that seems like a lull and yet also a time of unease. There is quiet and  disquiet. There is a hum, a rumble, for now, distant. One man whom we have reported on, a former Midwestern radio host and political consultant, who says he has been granted apparitions and messages since youth, and who has spoken of a great coming "storm," sees and hears an actual rumble and his intuition tells him that "the calamity is as near to us as a cat stalking an inattentive sparrow -- and will strike just as suddenly."

We'll be reporting a bit more in coming weeks on folks like him, at the same time exercising caution as best we can, which means with difficulty; keeping in mind Jeremiah 14:14: "And the Lord said to me: 'The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds'" at the same time as we recall what Saint Paul said (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21): "Do not despise prophetic utterances."

Take what is good. Leave the rest. What is distant is in the background. The disquiet is in society, it is in our culture, it is (for certain) in politics, in economics, it is in the Church, all denominations, including Roman Catholicism, where a new Pope has caused tsunamis.

Where does he stand on the mystical?

On the one hand the new Pope has given a homily at Casa Santa Marta in which he (reportedly) warned against private revelations and other events that are "uncommon" and gather attention but do not lead to Jesus as he also warned about devotions that do the same (he is obviously a charismatic) yet more recently has related an experience in which he felt a message came to him from Saint Therese the Little Flower by way of a white rose and also how the day he was elected as the new Pope was in meditation when an unusual fleeting light illuminated his mind. He said last week (9/28/13), "I love mystics" -- he is after all named after Saint Francis! -- and that "a religion without mystics is a philosophy."

That dearth certainly has occurred in Catholicism. But of which form of mysticism does the Pope (it seems inappropriate to call such a down-to-earth man "pontiff") speak? There is abstract and esoteric infusive mysticism as practiced by some saints and the direct visionary type experienced by others. (For both, see Teresa of Avila as well as Saint Francis.) It is not yet known how this outspoken Pope feels about Medjugorje in Bosnia-Hercegovina.

We will abide by whatever the Vatican may determine.

Some claim the Pope is favorable, some that he is not. He hails from an archdiocese where an apparition was recently approved at San Nicolas (with dramatic prophecies about the future, including chastisements), and where a seer from Medjugorje was allowed to speak; yet, no one can know. There is certainly the chance that if it comes his feelings will be by way of an offhand remark during an interview, an audience, or daily homily. We will listen to that and certainly for any official proclamation. (Meanwhile, pay little heed to those who say they know what Francis believes about such situations. Theirs is speculation based on assumptions.)

A quiet disquiet.

We are all virtually living. At the center of our desks are computers, the window to a virtual reality. We gather noise and are less human. Technology is the theology. In the living room is a television, our version of a temple. The lifeblood is electricity. Holiness is simple. We are in need of simplification, which is what awaits us. When it comes to chastisements, we have long noted that something occurred during the Middle Ages that caused global effects: climate swerves, extreme weather, floods seen in ancient tree rings, strange geological chemical traces, and great societal effects, from upheaval to plague.

Global warming. Global cooling. Crop failures.

From 1000 to 1400, a series of events occurred that reoriented an errant world, as we have noted (see Sent To Earth).

What was the mystery event? There were many events, but also something, it seems, singular.

Something that affected the whole world.

Now, scientists believe they may have answered the mystery.

Says the science magazine Discover: "Mystery of Medieval Mega-Volcano: Solved!" We are especially interested due to the book we recently released, Fear of Fire (which addresses such issues).

"It was like an episode of Cold Case," reported the reputable publication. "With volcanoes, researchers relied on a combination of polar ice cores, tree-rings, geochemistry and a medieval chronicle little-known in the West to solve one of vulcanology’s most enduring mysteries: Which peak blew its top in the mid-13th century, causing a catastrophic eruption that ranks as one of the biggest in recorded history?

"As with any investigation, the team had to rule out other suspects as it followed a trail of clues — and even read palms, or at least palm leaves. The culprit of the massive 1257 AD eruption, researchers say, is Samalas volcano, on Lombok Island in Indonesia.

"For decades, scientists have been searching for the volcano responsible for the largest spike in sulfate deposits in the last 7,000 years, which were revealed in ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica. The spike indicated a massive eruption around 1257. The medieval eruption may have sent up to eight times more sulfate into the stratosphere than the 1883 eruption of Karaktau, often held up as an archetype of volcanoes behaving badly. Researchers say the 1257 mystery spew is comparable in scope to a second-century AD eruption in the Taupo Volcanic Zone of New Zealand, known as the most intense historic volcanic event.

"The 1257 eruption had global consequences: Tree-ring records, as well as historical and archeological sources, show that the Northern Hemisphere experienced catastrophic floods, crop failures, and unseasonable cold the following summer."

It was followed, we believe, by other events, especially in the 14th century (see too Tower of Light).

To say it begins to confirm our long-held stated suspicions is an understatement.

It was a time of societal corruption. It was a time of Church turmoil (there were two popes). It was a time of tremendous wanton materialism (and vanity: it is when the vanity mirror was invented).

And it became a time of enormous chastisement.

One mystery solved, perhaps. But other things occurred.

It's not the only thing that happened.

There were reports of asteroids or comets, perhaps in the Atlantic. There were mega-storms. There were famines, wars. There was disease.

Some things come slowly, gradually, in a grinding fashion; others like that cat that stalks a bird.

[resources: Fear of Fire and Sent To Earth]

[Retreat: Indiana]

[Print article]

[Said Mother Angelica about Sent To Earth: "If you didn't buy his book, you're missing it. It's not a scary book; it's a very good book. If you haven't bought it I would buy it. I think it's a great book, just terrific. I think it's important for my future and your future. I want you to read Sent To Earth. Why? It's logical, it's truthful, it's sensible, and it's God's way of saying, 'Let's be ready.'" ]

[Said the aforementioned seer, Charlie Johnston: ""I was shown Pope John Paul and was told that he knew what was coming and that he had completely devoted himself to preparing the Church for the storm to come. I saw him at his desk writing furiously and traveling far and wide, but that everything he was doing was to prepare the Church so that she would weather the storm. That was his mission. I was shown the storm would not break in its fullness until he had passed, that this was not a particular grace for him, but the reason was to allow him to completely fulfill his mission at which point he would then constantly intercede for the Church in Heaven."]


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