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The recent quakes in Haiti, Chile, and now at the southern U.S. border remind us that it never hurts to be prepared -- especially in rollicking times -- for possible eventualities.

Having a supply of food (meals-ready-to-eat, canned goods, or freeze-dried food and milk) is never a bad idea, whether one lives in an earthquake or hurricane zone or one prone to floods or  blizzards or whatever.

Interestingly, the giant discount retailer Costco now offers "emergency kits," including beans and packets of food that can last twenty years. It is not imprudent to have in mind an alternate source of water, which may entail keeping jugs of it around and filters, purification tablets, or chlorine (as found in bleach) to make raw water safe, in the event that raw water has to be used. Is it unreasonable -- or paranoid -- to know how to plant seeds and start a fire (or at least have an extra tank of propane)?

Recently in Connecticut, many were without electricity in the swank parts of the state for nearly a week. Suddenly, there was no power to bring water, refrigerate food, heat homes, cook food, power radios, TVs, and computers, recharge cell phones, illuminate lights, and so forth. Many fled to hotels. That was Connecticut, where in some neighborhoods the entire landscape has been altered (with huge trees down). The next week, there was Rhode Island.

Said a news site in California after the quake Sunday night (near a place called Guadalupe Victoria): "There seems to have been an abundance of earthquakes of late. Which prompts experts to utter this warning: Three days. It doesn’t sound like very much time, but could you survive for three days without water, food or power?

"Add to that short list cell phones, communication, news, medical attention, shelter and a change of clothes. Three days. Could you do it? Are you prepared to live without any of the aforementioned items? Most of us aren’t. But that’s how long one might expect to go without the basics for survival and communication in the event of a major earthquake, says [quake expert] Jose Restrepo."

We would go longer than that -- at least several weeks, and perhaps up to three months, to be on the safe side.

It is interesting to note how many, in recent months, across socio-economic, political, and religious lines, have looked to buy small agricultural plots, or speak of drilling water wells. Others have invested in tents. Still others have stocked up on aspirin, medications, batteries, cash, and candles (doesn't hurt to have them blessed). It never hurts to have canned food around, nor Holy Water.

These are random after-Easter thoughts, and spurred too by a recent message from Medjugorje that may or may not be relevant.

Perhaps it was just the last week of Lent ("be ready") -- and pertained to the coming of Easter. Perhaps it was in the current rush of events -- from politics to the economy to the Church, and simply directing the faithful to remain firm. Perhaps it was only meant in the most general way (after all, we never know the hour -- of His Coming or our deaths).

But the words on Good Friday from Medjugorje (the major apparition in Bosnia-Hercegovina that is currently under huge Vatican study) were nonetheless interesting, in that Mirjana allegedly has been granted secrets pertaining to future troubles in the world.

"Today I bless you in a special way and I pray for you to return to the right way, to my Son -- your Savior, your Redeemer – to Him who gave you eternal life," said the message to seer Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo on April 2. "Reflect on everything human, on everything that does not permit you to set out after my Son – on transience, imperfection, and limitation -- and then think of my Son, of His Divine infiniteness. By your surrender and prayer ennoble your body and perfect your soul. Be ready, my children. Thank you."

The previous November, the monthly message to another seer, Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti, said, "Prepare yourselves with joy for the coming of Jesus." The monthly message a week later, on December 2, to Mirjana, quoted Mary as saying, "At this time of preparation and joyful expectation I, as a mother, desire to point you to what is the most important, to your soul. Can my Son be born in it? Is it cleansed by love from lies, arrogance, hatred and malice? Above all else does your soul love God as your Father and does it love your fellow brother in Christ?"

Those were a clear reference to the arrival of the Christmas season. Was the recent message simply the same, but this time related to the Paschal mysteries?

All we know for sure is that the dictionary defines "ready" this way:

As "completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use."

Or: "duly equipped, completed, adjusted, or arranged, as for an occasion or purpose."

It also means "prompt or quick in perceiving."

In several previous messages to Mirjana and Marija, the Blessed Mother has actually used the term "signs of the times" -- asking if we were noticing these "signs" and admonishing us to speak of them.

Spiritual readiness is something that the Church constantly instructs about -- holiness, prayer, contrition. Through that, we are ready for any eventuality. Everyone faces the end of the world (when he or she dies). And we should always be ready for that (treating each moment as if it is our last). Is temporal readiness also prudent?

The Holy Spirit will lead you as to what you may or may not need to do. For most, it does not hurt to have certain preparations in the closet or attic or basement in the event of natural disasters, economic denouement, or some other failure in our fragile infrastructure. Refuges?

We are often asked about places that would be "safe" or other measures that may be taken as the world continues to near what so many of us have long anticipated as purification. That is for personal discernment. There is no sign of imminence. The expectations have been proceeding for years now. But it never hurts to be "ready" in every fashion, including temporally. Major events will come.

And so: random thoughts for a time that is poignant in the fluidity of events (from Church crises to the rumbling of quakes).

Was what the Blessed Mother referring to solely pertinent to the spirit, which means prayer?

Pray, pray, pray, Prepare, prepare, prepare. Those messages have been constant since 1981. Pray without ceasing and without fear and love without condition. Pray to cleanse.

It is the ultimate readiness. And it trumps any other kind of preparation.

[resources: Emergency kits and Maryland-D.C.-Virginia retreat]

[see also: Ready for the big one?]

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