Did Esperanza foresee something like Zika?
Every once in a while a matter comes along that reminds us of something that the mystic Maria Esperanza, a stigmatic from Caracas, and a Servant of God (under study for sainthood), said.
Many years ago, in the early 1990s, she mysteriously indicated her homeland of Venezuela and said, "It will start here," referring to some kind of a future event (or events).
Might it be the political turmoil in her nation? The oppression of Christianity that has occurred in recent times? The severe economic woes and shortages?
When we read about the shortages in Caracas, the socialism, the antagonisms toward the Church, we think back at that and wonder: Will dictatorial socialism one day, in other nations, see a great resurgence?
"As Venezuela threatens to slip into chaos," notes a Catholic news site, "Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino of Caracas has issued an urgent call to his people to 'fight for the defense of life of all people, to promote the common good, leaving aisde personal interests or interests related to their party, and to work for the promotion of a better life, especially for the poorest.' The cardinal's message, released on the first Sunday of Lent, was addressed to the Catholic faithful and the entire community. He called upon political leaders to show enough 'wisdom, strength, and courage" to enforce the laws, bringing an end to rioting, vandalism, and gang violence. He noted that the country was suffering from 'crime without criminals'-- a reference to the acts of intimidation that have gone unpunished."
There has been societal chaos -- even a kidnapping, albeit, thank God, one quickly resolved, in Esperanza's own family.
Or might it be -- this "it" -- something in nature?
We'll focus on nature here.
When a great mudslide occurred in Venezuela, near her home city of Caracas, not too far from the approved apparition site of Betania, back in 1999, one wondered if that event -- tremendous deluges of rain -- was what was augured. Betania itself was soon swamped and damaged by storms. Was Maria perhaps indicating events like that?
And now one wonders about disease.
She felt that the future would see the rise of a new, uncontrollable ailment.
And so one's ears perk when there comes along epidemics of something like Zika, the nefarious virus that has caused many babies in Brazil to be born with deformed skulls.
Though it is not thought, at this point, to cause a severe threat in the United States (the Vatican, through Archbishop Bernardito Auza, its U.N. representative, says caution, but not panic, is in order), and is mainly disseminated, at this point, by mosquitoes, the fact the virus is carried in the urine, blood, and semen means that, once entrenched, it can spread swiftly. (As a precaution, the governor of Florida recently pronounced an emergency in four counties when cases showed up in that state, brought here from travelers abroad.)
Last week, news came that Venezuela was now in the bullsye of Zika. In her home city, at the Vargas de Caracas Hospital, says the Washington Post (2/15/16), "the Zika epidemic has struck as the socialist-ruled country is spiraling into economic chaos and the public health system has been stripped of many basic tools of modern medicine. Hospital patients get wheeled past closets overflowing with trash. Stray dogs wander the hospital grounds. Doctors perform surgery without sutures and gauze. 'Little by little, medical care is disappearing,' one doctor said."
Look for prophecy in precursors. Events in our times serve as glimmerings -- a faint glimpse or idea -- of what may occur, in a larger way, on a bigger scale, in the future.
More than two decades ago, Maria said (in Bridge To Heaven):
"Before AIDS appeared Our Lady told me, pray, pray, pray, because an illness is going to be discovered, and there won't be a cure at the beginning, but after they will find a way so that the virus will be contained, enclosed in a way that won't harm. It will be a terrible sickness, and it will come through sex."
Remember, this was said long before treatments controlled the outbreak.
"It," she said, "is because people are abusing passions. They have no control. And now [Mary] told me another sickness will come, that the person will only last for a month. How can you avoid this?
"There are rare sicknesses emerging that have not been seen before. Every day there is a new virus. The heavenly hurricane will come to help the weak ones, a battalian led by Saint Michael the Archangel, who will defend you because he will announce the decisive time, and he will be open to listen to the drums, flutes, and bells, able to stand quickly to fight with the prayer of the Magnificat."
For our reckoning!