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We're at that time of year when we anticipate the "coming" of the Lord at Bethlehem.

In thinking of the first coming, we sometimes wonder what the Second Coming will be like.

Of course, one has to be careful with expectations that are apocalyptic: the Second Coming has been expected in every century since the first A.D.

Still, it makes for interesting rumination.

Call it Second Coming conjecture.

In this vein -- 19 years ago this month -- was the "1990 prophecy" that claimed to foresee a major manifestation.

"I will come not as a man of flesh, but like My mother, who already nurses Me and holds Me in her arms, as a light and power," the Lord supposedly said in that alleged revelation. "I will manifest Myself in a series of supernatural events similar to the apparitions but much more powerful. In other words, My second coming will be different than My first, and like My first, it will be spectacular to many but also unknown initially to many, or disbelieved. Yet truly I tell you, the arrogance of the world will have been broken, and so many more than normal will believe."

In certain ways, that prophecy, granted as an anonymous dream-locution (some of which has materialized, which is why we still quote it), bears similarities to what the great Maria Esperanza of Venezuela believed.

As Maria once said, "There are things that only the Church should touch, and I respect the Church so much. But I am going to tell you something. He is coming -- not the end of the world, but the end of this century's agony.

"This century is purifying, and after will come peace and love. That's why our mother has come to reconcile us. With reconciliation will come peace.

"We have to be more united than ever, because Jesus is coming. His coming is near. Perhaps I will not live to see this, but the Lord is coming. Little time will pass. You may ask, 'How do you know this?' And I'm going to tell you: Times have changed. Most of the people -- not all, but many -- are losing their faith. We think we know everything but we know nothing. We need to re-establish this faith as soon as possible."

Perhaps like the 1990 prophecy, she saw manifestations -- a series of events.

"It is very different than what people think," she told us for the revised version of her biography, The Bridge to Heaven. "He's going to come in silence, because otherwise He would be killed again. People will realize He is among us little by little. He will disappear for some days and appear again. He will multiply Himself, to assist everyone. He will come and knock on every door."

Of course, we take some of it figuratively. Maria added cryptically that "He will let Himself be seen for a little while and then will disappear until God decrees what has to be done. And then people will understand what is happening and begin preparing themselves. There is not much time for that. I will say from ten to twenty years."

That was said in 2003. Indeed, Maria will not live to see it -- not in the physical world -- for she died shortly after uttering those words; her cause for canonization is set to open this January in New Jersey (where she spent so much time, and where she died). Does disappearing and reappearing imply a series of apparitions?

Fascinating that would be: reports that the Lord was coming as a corporeal apparition to some remote place, and then another report, and then another.

The only thing of which we can be sure: that no one knows the exact way -- or time -- that He will come (or manifest; a manifestation versus the Final Coming).

At any rate, something luminous seems to be on the horizon. Surprises are in store, we guess, for everyone.

"I will come in towering light," claimed the 1990 locution. "My mother held me in her arms at Medjugorje, as an infant.

"I will come as she has come, in light."

[adapted from The Bridge to Heaven and Tower of Light]

[Michael Brown retreat, Mass,  San Antonio: prophecy, spiritual protection and Announcing San Francisco retreat]


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