What's my own personal witness of God's intervention in my life?
Certainly it isn't and in fact *shouldn't* be the case for Catholics in general, but for myself, heightened awareness of God seems to have come through the subject of the "End Times".
Briefly, IT'S NOT THE "END OF THE WORLD" THAT (I believe) WE ARE APPROACHING, IT IS "THE END OF TIME" - the end of this era. It does not in any way mean the end of mankind, but to the ending of an old "style" of life. The "end of time" doesn't mean the end of existence.
Simply put [and coming from me that means it's as well as I understand it], "the end of times" is the end of the "Marian Age" which will usher in Christ's peace in the world through the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart You might even say that every moment marks "the end of an era". For example, the era that began July 19, 1456 A.D. at 7:38 P.M. and ending on April 22, 2000 at 1:05 P.M. ends right now.........mark.
But of course myself and MANY others feel that tremendous changes are pending - spiritual and physical. More thoughts at................."Inspirational Speculation", http://catholic-corner.com/.
Now, I do not profess to be any kind of prophet, but I *do*believe that Divine Intervention of a sort compelled me to expound on this topic, which in turn has increased my awareness in many areas of the Catholic Faith:
On the first Saturday of September, 1995, I joined a pilgrimmage group to an alleged Marian apparition site (Estela Ruiz) in Phoenix, Arizona (8 hours by bus from where I lived at the time - with my parents during a period of separation from my wife - with whom I was later re-united through what I consider to be Divine Intervention).
Mostly out of curiosty, I read one of the foremost books concerning Marian Visions/End Times, "The Thunder of Justice", during the bus ride.
We arrived at the Ruiz home on Saturday evening, 9/3/95. One advantage of being in a wheelchair is that they let me sit in the frontroom where Estela was, during the 7 PM apparition (a few feet behind her). I feel guilty to say I didn't feel anything special. But maybe it had an effect on me, because that Monday when we got back I began an on-line dialogue which has been pretty much continuous for 4-1/2 years now. Prior to that, I didn't discuss religious matters to a great degree.
1) It is not recommended for anyone to dwell SOLELY on such matters (Marian Visions/End Times). Rather, the apparitions and any associated speculation should ENRICH one's spirituality.
2) PLEASE understand that this subject is NOT meant to be "frightening"but, rather, *informative*. Any predicted events are Biblically based and in no way intended to create "worry". As we are *reminded* of the possible imminence of such events, the key is *preparedness*.
3) And PLEASE don't consider that what I have speculated on *will definitely* happen. It is simply hypothesis based on available evidence; an extrapolation of clues.
4) Allow me to emphasize that I am IN NO WAY a prophet (or anything close to one) myself. I'm far (VERY FAR) from being infallible.
5) Although manifestations of the past and present seemingly (CLEARLY, to me) indicate that End Time issues are rapidly approaching, *I could be wrong* - in these interpretations.
6) Not that they're *my* interpretations so much as they are those based on private revelation received through, Catholic for the most part, visionaries and other cited sources. I deem the information to be reliable, but that is my viewpoint.
7) Although I believe that the described events will undoubtedly take place in time, I'm not forcing these views on anyone. They may or may not come to pass in the near future.
8) Please be assured that I claim no degree of pious-ity nor to be on a deeper spiritual level than anyone else. I am simply reporting on matters I have studied, and reiterating information obtainable from the Bible, the Religious community, and visionaries in contact with Heavenly Intercessors.
9) Not that I'm comparing myself to him AT ALL, but I could end up going the way of Jonah. Come to think of it, I think I'll go plant a few gourd seeds right now. Maybe even get a little insecticide to keep the worms off.
10) These disclaimers are not meant to protect *me* so much as they are meant to prevent anyone *else* from being led astray by "undue"expectations.
Should anyone care to, they are free to reprint anything I have posted. The material is not Coppi-righted. (It's a good thing the Bible isn't copyrighted, and that Matthew/Mark/Luke/John, et al, didn't complain of infringemet). Not that I'm comparing myself in ANY WAY to the writers of the Gospel..............
------------->> It seems to be a "good" Catholic and follow my leader, I need not listen to the apparitions and read my Bible, just listen to him and be more optimistic.
<<---------------- This IS the solution - no one will tell you that you must follow apparitions, just the teachings of the Pope and the Church (and this already *DOES* include reading the Bible and most things mentioned in messages).
Not-yet-approved apparitions and associated speculation is analagous to jumping from first-grade arithmetic to calculus.
I'm certainly not
claiming ANY kind of above-average intelligece by delving into these matters,
but the majority of Catholics, especially new converts, need to focus on
the basics, I believe optimism should be based on trust in God's Mercy,
mitigation through prayer, and the foresight that, in the end, things will
come out for the better.
------------->> What do you say to a Christian friend who knows the times we are living in and still can't seem to get it all together?
<<------------ My response:
I'm sitting here with a sore rear-end from sitting, but I have to have faith. Faith that I'll be healed? Maybe. But faith, hope & trust nonethless.
I too, admittedly, have a hard time behaving appropriately despite end-time beliefs. I mean, theoretically you'd think I'd fast all the time, pray 8 hours a day, never get frustrated, go to church everyday, etc.
But I'm dang weak - like 99.9% of the people in the world.
So I try to pray a *little* more Read the Bible a *little* more Go to confession A LOT more (this still scares me - I getembarrased repeating the same things that I try to see a different priest each time!)
Then I hope I'm doing enough, and that hopefully someONE will have A LOT of Mercy on me - whether it be in a 'general' end-time scenario, or at my personal end-time (death).
Somebody once asked the following question (to which I attempted to reply).......
you have someone you love passionately who neither has embraced the love
of God nor is prepared for any chastisement or death? If the answer
to that question is yes, do you believe that he/she/they will come around
in time? ...Have you come across any reassurances in your studies?
<<------------- My main source of reassurance is the WARNING. Maybe I shouldn't
*rely* on this to cause someone to "come around", but in the case of some personal acquaintances, I see no other way.
I feel the Warning will cause such people to be better "prepared"and more*aware* (things we could certainly ALL use). This is my own selfish reason for hope in the Warning (and I'm certainly not saying *I*don't need some degree of "awakening" myself). But even if I or anyone has a "selfish" reason, the Warning will be an enlightenment to ALL mankind.
I believe it will be the event that "revives" people - it will hopefully cause them to "embrace" God. True, some will turn away from even *this* enlightenment, but if they are properly briefed on what has happened (I've drafted a file, based on an explanatory writeup by a priest in this regards), people will turn *towards* God.
Our Lady said to Fr. Gobbi in 1992:
"...live in peace of heart and in confidence."
Just as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 offers hope to the Faithful who have "fallen asleep", many of us can "console one another" with hope of the Miracle of Garabandal.
It need not be a hope upon which to base one's Faith, but a hope in the sense of an expected event that *may* come to pass, and joyous anticipation thereof.
To reiterate, the Warning is nothing to be frightened of (so long as we are in a state of Grace). "Warning" might not even be the best term. One can think of it as a "Notification" or "Enlightenment". Certainly it will be a frightening matter for those who are unprepared or unsuspecting.
As Catholics, we should be prepared for it (as we should always be prepared to face God at any given moment). Also as Catholics, we should also be prepared to render assistance to those returning to the Church after the Warning. We cannot say we love our neighbor, as Jesus says we must, if we see him in danger of eternal damnation and do nothing.
MANY positive things will come about as a result of the Warning and the Miracle. I'm speaking, of course, of a general (global) awakening (to God). Mary says: "The entire world will have the chance to change..."
Presumably, those of us who *are* aware of the truth can or should devote considerable effort to avoiding Purgatory altogether or at least minimizing our "stay" there (I'm certainly not saying that I've been successful in this matter!).
As for those who never convert, die nonetheless, but have led a halfway decent life, they may possibly face a sentence in Purgatory (not necessarily more or less than myself or other Catholics!). This is why the concept of Purgatory is so easily acceptable: God will not doom someone to Hell because of ignorance on their part, but they are going to have to be appropriately purified before entering Heaven.
--------------->> I was recently asked by a young lady if there is anything she can do to assure the salvation of her parents and close friend during these times.
It's a question which has come up frequently since we all d ones whose souls we are deeply concerned about.
All we can do is pray and remain strong in our faith, making sure that our own "armor" is not pierced by an evil which, spreading like rust, could decay that which preserves us for eternal life.
We must lead those we care about to Christ by *example* - by demonstrating our own peace through faith. We must all continue to pray, attend church, read the Scriptures, be charitable to those less fortunate and love our neighbor as Jesus loves us.
When our loved ones are finally confronted with tribulation events that threaten their mortal existence, we must *be the calm eye of the hurricane* which guides them straight up *above* the "storm" to safety and salvation through Christ.
If you have ever traveled by airline, you may recall the cabin attendant discussing safety procedures which involved placing an oxygen mask over your face should the cabin suddenly depressurize. They always say to make sure that your own mask is securely in place before placing a mask over the face of an accompanying child passenger. This is good advice since you can not save the child if you yourself are not saved first.
We should carry this
message over to our own salvation in Christ - be certain that *we* are
secure in our salvation so that we may then have an opportunity to save
the eternal lives of those whom we love.
<<---------------------- The most sound "advice" though comes not from me, but in focusing on the Refuge and Hope of Jesus and Mary.
As quoted from Blessed
Padre Pio, the key is to "PRAY, HOPE, AND DON'T WORRY".
A BRIEF HISTORY OF [MY] TIME GENERAL BACKGROUND
Born on a mountaintop in Tenn...no, sorry - that was a well known historical figure. As for myself, my past has been somewhat less than noteable. Nevertheless, I'll try to note a few highlights which someone (although I can't imagine who would) may find of interest...........
8 years Catholic
4 years public high school
4 years college - B.S., Aerospace Engineering
8 years working with Martin Marietta/Lockheed/NASA/Space Shuttle program.
Pilgrimmages to Fatima, Lourdes, various U.S. apparitions (Conyers, Phoenix, St. Joseph's Hill of Hope).
30 years studying/attending Apparitions off and on.
Last 5 years on disability (see below) - More intense Marian research plus various secular (humorous) writing.
Birthday on Feastday of St. Benedict (7-11-60).
"Cured" of severe asthma as a child by a saintly priest (Fr.Aloysius).
"Spoken to", as a child, through a "visionary/locutionist/channel"by St.Bernard.
NO illusion intended that I was or am worthy of any "special attention", especially on the last 2 points above:
Not too far from where I lived as a kid, there was a place called "St.Joseph's Hill of Hope". There was a gal there named "Fran Clue"who was alledgedly a "channel"/locutionist - different Saints spoke through her.
I don't remember if it was "scheduled" or the circumstances, but when I was about 10, my mom took me to see her. All I remember is that St.Bernard gave a 5-15 minute message.
And I can't even recall what the message was about! I don't know if this was due to my age, sheer stupidity on my part, or my skepticism at the time. I know my mom doesn't remember either, but I doubt if it was anything grandiose.
As for the mentioned cure, at about the same timeframe, I was having breathing problems which doctors couldn't seem to correct.Finally my parents took me to see the named priest, who told me to drink a little sea water, which my dad made me do the next time we were at the beach.
Soon thereafter, I guess, my respiratory problems improved, with no asthma since then. For a long time I just credited this to "having outgrown it", and it wasn't until more recently that I realized it was most likely due to the priest's [he is now probably on "the list" to be made a Saint - because of multitudinous devout acts] intercession.
So again, I make NO "extraordinary" claims. Heck, I even have trouble interpreting the simplest of Biblical passages:
++++++++++ (Lev 19:19)
"Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals.
Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material."
++++++++++ Now I
don't know quite what to make of that last statement from Leviticus.
What of my 65% cotton, 35% polyester underwear? Is the "Fruit of the Loom" trademark akin to the Mark of the Beast?
Perhaps this is a
"health" lesson - it would be best *healthwise*
to wear clothing made of a single material - sort of like Ezekial 4:9 gives us the recipe for the ultimate healthful bread (in fact I recently found, and started eating, a bread ["Food for Life" brand] called simply "Ezekial4:9" and now *do* consider this the most healthful bread available).
It's not going to
kill you to wear fabrics of more than one material, or to eat other brands
of bread, but following Biblical guidelines is the healthiest route.
Well, perhaps this passage is a reference to wool & cotton only - the two materials available at the time the Old Testament was written.Now, I hear that the King Jame's Version mentions "linen and wool"[although again, the more accurate Douay-Rheims refers to the more general "two sorts" of material]. I suppose that given modern washing/drying techniques, such a combination would tend to yield an undesirable itching garment that shrinks too much anyways.
Maybe *that's* causing the dang chaffing. Okay, only cotton briefs from now on.
At any rate, we know that the precepts of the New Testament override those of the Old Testament when similar subjects arise. I don't think any textile comments or bread recipes are brought-up in the New Testament, so perhaps it would be best to abide by these old precepts.
I'm not being theological here or 100% serious. Maybe I'll just stay away from polyester, and from ham sandwiches on Ezekial 4:9 bread.
Do I have a personal reason to hope for the Miracle of Garabandal?
Well yes - I have an inherited deterioration of the central nervous system (Friedreich's Ataxia: similar to Muscular Dystrophy).
I don't mind "offering up" my condition. I'm not in pain or danger of imminent death. And I'm certainly not complaining (okay, I'm trying not to) or soliciting sympathy, but there are many things (like walking) that I can't do. Everyone needs something to look forward to. I look forward to being cured at the Miracle of Garabandal.
I'm also eager to present personal testimony.
Another bit of selfishness is that my wife is in need of emotional and spiritual healing, which she'll certainly receive at the Miracle, as will all those in need of healing.
The unselfish part
is to note all of the positive things that will come about as a result
of the Warning and the Miracle. I'm speaking, of course, of a general
(global) awakening (to God). Mary says:
"The entire world will have the chance to change..."
I *do* have faith despite these prophesied events. I go to Mass at least on Sundays/Holy Days, say the Rosary daily, and try to go to confession once a month. And I really do wear a Brown Scapular weighted down with about 15 medals (sewn on)!
Of course, I also go to healing services, relic adorations, annointings, and all that jazz whenever possible, but I guess I'm "meant" to be in a wheelchair a little longer. Or maybe I just don't quite have enough faith to be healed by any of these means. So I'm waiting for a "guaranteed" cure at the Miracle of Garabandal!
Do I really need to go *there*?
It now *seems* likely that you will not have to physically be at Garabandal during the Miracle, in order to be cured of any physical ailment one may suffer from. Perhaps being united in spirit will suffice.
Afterall, we hear that it will be televised live (at least by EWTN), so it would *seem* that this would be "like being there". And I certainly hope this is the case, since not everone who wants to (myself possibly included) will be able to get to Garabandal.
But notice these are all "SEEMS". (There are also indications that the Miracle will simultaneously transpire at all "authentic"apparition sites).
Here's the bottom
Oops, that was a literal bottom line.
Okay, here's the optimum plan as I see it....We have to assume that, at least immediately following the Warning, we will be able to get a flight or get-in on a pilgrimmage.
as soon as the Warning comes, I plan to try to get tickets for me and my
wife to fly to Madrid around the end of March (hopefully before the major
crowds get there) and leave around the end of April. I do and will
recommend this to others urgently needing or wanting to go. I'll
take a borrowed laptop PC so I can do on-site modemization.
I'll have to take my wheelchair too, but I won't be bringing it back.
The bottom line,
Okay, the actual bottom line is that if at all possible (as I indicated, there is no telling what the "state of the world" will be like following the Warning), I will go to Garabandal. I'M NOT TAKING ANY CHANCES ON THIS "GUARANTEED" CURE. Afterall, you can only sit in a wheelchair so long - it gets to be a literal pain in the bottom.
BUT if things don't
work out as I hope, that's the way it's meant to be.
At least my shoes never wear out.
Actually, my curiosity
about Marian apparitions grew long before my present physical condition
developed. I had studied the events of Garabandal since youth, but
became even more interested when this inherited condition began to become
apparent 19 years ago when I was about
Of course it is not recommended for anyone to dwell SOLELY on such matters. I seemingly spend a lot of time focused on this because I *do*have the time (while on disability from Aerospace Engineering) to spend, while also practicing traditonal matters of Faith and otherwise leading as "normal" a life as possible.
Growing up in Southern California of the 60's and 70's, I had a childhood rather typical of someone with post-adolescent-onset Friedreich's Ataxia-- fairly normal up until the age of about 18, with a marked ineptitude for sports and dread fear of "P.E. class" at school.
Around 1978 it became very apparent that my gait was abnormal and worsening. Various situations terrified me: the prospect of a flight of stairs with no handrail, someone on the other side of the room asking me to bring them a hot cup of coffee, navigating anywhere in the dark, going to the beach and trying to walk on the sand or wade in the water, seeing a stream to be crossed only by jumping from rock to rock, being called to the blackboard at school, going through a museum full of priceless, fragile vases, etc., etc.
There was no previous history in our known family of anyone displaying such symptoms [loss of coordination & lack of equilibrium], so I drifted amongst various specialists for a few years until being diagnosed at UCLA in 1980.
By then, it was evident that my one-year-younger sister had also inherited FA. I'm the eldest of 6 siblings. As it turns out, 3 of us have FA (another sister in addition to the one noted), and 3 don't. The*theoretical* odds of inheriting an autosomal recessive illness such as many forms of Ataxia, when both parents are carriers, is 25%.
If 2 carriers had 1000 offspring, one could expect about 1/4 to be affected. When smaller "populations" are considered, however, the ratio may seem skewed. This can be compared to tossing a coin. If you flipped it 5 times, you *might* get all "heads". But after tossing it5000 times, the percentage of "heads" to "tails" would be closer to 50/50.
So in my immediate family, it turns out that 1/2 of us have apparently inherited two recessive genes responsible for FA. Two other sisters and a brother are unaffected, but have each tested positive as carriers.
Continuing with my brief history, I remained fairly independent until about 1989 (being able to put the wheelchair in/out of the trunk, drive where necessary, take care of all personal needs). By this time, I had gotten married and transferred to Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
But as my condition
deteriorated, certain tasks became impossible to perform and by 1992 I
found it necessary to go on disability from work.
Three years later, my wife and I separated.
I had to move back-in with my parents in California since I was quite far from independence by then - I did and still do need help dressing, taking a shower and getting in/out of bed. I guess if I were a nude hermit who never slept I'd be fine.
I did a lot of reflecting
(I did so much reflecting that I was thinking of offering myself to NASA
as a replacement mirror for the Hubble Space Telescope) while me &
Kathleen were separated. So, through the intercession of a consortium
of Saints I had been praying to, we reconciled.
As I see it there can be no "complete" *medical* "cure" for Friedreich's Ataxia since this problem is embedded in the DNA. Thus, my ultimate hope lies in a Miracle in general, or the Miracle of Garabandal in particular.
COPING & PROPOSALS
As others with FA, I've long had problems with what is commonly termed "nerve deafness". To say that my hearing is less than perfect would be a slight understatement. It is not so much a matter of *volume* as being able to understand what someone's saying.
Blind persons have seeing-eye dogs. For those of us who are hard-of-hearing, yet fail to benefit from hearing aids (which only seem to "amplify" the problem by increasing *volume* - including background noises), I propose trained parrots that sit on your shoulder and repeat everything to you.
We could call these "hearing-ear birds". It'd be like having a personal translator with you wherever you went. There could even be bi-lingual parrots for travel abroad. And perhaps a bird on each shoulder for stereophonic parrot-translation.
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