Our Lady Speaks From Medjugorje, by Andrew Jerome Yeung, a comprehensive swift-flowing package of the Blessed Mother's messages at the famous apparition site of Medjugorje, arranged by subject for easy access and repeated reference -- the type of book that is re-read and re-visited for many years -- great too as a little gift of introduction to those who have not been to the famous shrine, where Mary has been appearing with messages on holiness, prayer, peace, love, and warning! CLICK HERE
MARK OF THE BEAST? SWARM OF TECHNOLOGY HAS CAUSED ALARM ABOUT CONTROL, PRIVACY
It's funny how unrelentingly things creep up on us.
Take the whole microchip, "big-brother" issue, as today's example.
Just a few years ago, worries that government or an elite faction of international moguls were orchestrating efforts to control the populace (through regulations and technology) was relegated to the dustbin of paranoia.
Now, we see it materializing, in real time, and with determination, around us -- though with enough of a gradual aspect to remain largely under the public radar.
It's so much a single cabal meeting in Brussels, or on St. Simons Island, as a spirit of artificial omniscience.
First it was the government's capability of tapping phones. That goes back decades. There were codes. Then it was its ability to listen in on conversations at a distance. It was a long time ago that we first heard that spy satellites could read a car license plate. After 9/11, a president who was ostensibly against big government expanded government as never before, installing a new agency with the Sovietesque title of "Homeland Security" -- which besides scanning up and down streets with radiation detectors and x-rays soon enough was looking right through the clothes of boarding airline passengers and is now ready to ID passengers with iris scanners (the eye is like a fingerprint). Computer data bases expanded across the government and commercial landscape.
At the same time, local governments began installing traffic cameras with fervor.
There is a beneficial aspect, for sure, to red-light cameras. But sometimes it seems to get a bit too heavy (when one sees cameras perched over an interstate, for example). Everywhere one goes these days are security cameras; the average person is photographed a number of times each day -- sometimes dozens of times. Like a slow drip, a cashless society has been introduced. This makes tracking all the easier. We have transitioned to that -- with debit cards, with paying at the pump, with internet banking -- in a way that has been just about seamless (and unnoticeable) as the security measures. Preoccupied with TV, cell phones, cars, and Facebook, the public has proven indifferent as its privacy has been increasingly compromised. Many thought it was a hoax when there were reports that a cable company wanted to install tiny cameras in its channel converter boxes so it could observe the reactions of people watching shows in their living rooms. They also thought it was far-fetched that intelligence agencies could commandeer a cell phone in such a way as to listen in on a conversation taking place when someone wasn't even on the phone. It was not. We threw up our arms in surrender when asked if we would mind a GPS tracking our whereabouts through the phone we carried. We have observed without complaint as microchips have become a mainstay in pets and are being introduced into humans for medical reasons -- though these too can be equipped with satellite tracking methods -- and although the technology is being developed to give folks a chip that can store personal information (including bank accounts and medical records) by simply taking a pill or receiving a small tattoo with the microchip in it, there is little alarm in the general, somnolent culture.
There are microchips in our passports, our licenses. At the supermarkets, we will soon be paying with our fingerprints. The government has admitted of late that it basically tracks every single financial transaction and can log all the calls we make and every place we surf on the internet -- every keystroke in our computers, if it so desires. Private companies are in on the act. Microsoft can put any updates it wants into computers that run its software; it can even turn a computer off (or on). Malware, spyware, and computer viruses remain rampant.
The list goes on.
It is a spirit, a mood, more than anything -- made possible by all the cascading technological "advances." News comes just this week (1/16/14) that the National Security Agency has the ability to install a tiny circuit board or USB card with which it can control a computer via radiowaves, even when the computer is offline. Sources say that it has already done this worldwide with at least 100,000 computers (no doubt mostly in embassies, where methods of spying always start).
It has gone way, way too far when private companies dive headlong into digital control of our lives. (If you want more on this, see Father Joseph M. Esper's book, Spiritual Dangers of the 21st Century.)
There is Microsoft and Apple and Amazon (which has a $600 million contract with the C.I.A.) but also -- most notably -- Google.
Already, this young but gargantuan and pervasive company has access to some of the most private information about us via its Google search engines, its Google accounts, its Chrome browser, its cell phone operating systems (see Android), its G-Mail, its Google Earth, which sees from miles above us. The same is true of other companies and browsers. Look at banks. Famously, Google has sent technology-laden vehicles up and down just about every American street taking pictures of each home, such that at the end of a GPS track the photograph of the destination pops up on a cell screen.
The company, which has certainly not shown an affinity for Christianity (its seach page, which has a daily motif, doesn't acknowledge Christmas) looks now to control or have a part in controlling what's throughout our homes. Said a report just yesterday: "Google is knocking at your front door. It wants to come inside, make itself at home, and quietly turn all of your boring home devices into 'smart' connected gadgets that learn about your patterns and preferences, talk to each other, collect data about your habits and make life easier by assisting with daily tasks. On Monday, Google announced it was buying smart-device company Nest Labs for $3.2 billion in cash. This is Google's first major foray into connected homes, and news of the deal ignited a flurry of speculation about what the Silicon Valley giant really wants from Nest, as well as some privacy concerns.
"All of your devices will communicate with each other.
"Where one drops off another will pick up.
"Your self-driving car will share push notifications from your smartphone, turn it over to your Google Glass when you park and start walking, and then a smart home can take over when you walk through your front door. (Thanks to GPS on your phone and car, the house knew exactly when you were arriving and turned on your favorite TV show.) Streams of data from all these devices will be collected in one place where a company like Google will analyze it and learn about you over time, programming hardware and software to meet your unique needs."
There will be centralized information on all of us. So quickly is coming the time when we will be asked to wear or ingest a chip. It is already available in eyeglasses. And it is nearly to the point where an agency or agencies with private entities could keep track of everything we do, thus controlling us, and not necessarily in a way that is Christian. Some point out that passage in Revelation (13:16-17): "And he requires everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark: the beast’s name or the number of his name..."
[resources: Spiritual Dangers of the 21st Century and Fear of Fire; also Michael Brown retreat, Florida: afterlife, healing, prophecy and San Antonio, Corpus Christi]
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