At the retreat this weekend in Dallas, we’ll be discussing the prophetic implications of what has been occurring in the world and not just in the way of war and weather and natural disasters.
There is also this matter of alleged manifestations. For example, in Dallas, there were reports of a Host that turned to “flesh.” Across the state, various folks have seen various images (including in a Host at a Blessed Sacrament chapel).
This has occurred elsewhere. Could they be pointing to a “high-point” event — or has mass media (particularly the internet) brought us to a place where there are unwarranted frenzies (and imaginations)?
It’s fashionable for those discounting manifestations of the “supernatural” to point at what they see as definitive proof of silliness — the many cases in which folks believe they have encountered miraculous portrayals of Mary or Jesus (or both) in all kinds of everyday circumstances and objects, some that, on the surface, seem less than dignified. The now-beaten-to-death example of this was the image on a grilled-cheese sandwich that resembled an etching a woman (who then was automatically taken to be the Blessed Mother).
Those familiar with the paranormal literature are not quite so prone to consider every claim outright ludicrous, knowing, as they do, that images from the other side have been pronounced since the very onset of photography. And whatever the case with certain such assertions, there are many instances that should grant skeptics pause. One is to the right — a photograph of a nuclear-bomb test by the French in 1969 over the Pacific island of Mururoa. It was first published in the U.S. by Newsweek and it’s not hard to see hidden “images” and ponder their significance: In the stem of the “mushroom” (where it meets the umbrella-like top) is what looks like Jesus on the Cross, while in the left umbrella part of the cloud is a formation in unusual and almost luminous white that bears a striking resemblance to the Blessed Mother — looking at the Cross, with even the veil distinguished.
That Jesus and Mary would have concerns about nuclear bombs is an easy conclusion. More difficult to fathom is the one of another nuclear explosion, with a “face” that could be taken from one angle as that of an evil force and from another perspective as Jesus (and from a third perspective, of course, as simple fortuity).
Many are the images formed by clouds — and skeptics — including those associated with an atheistic-humanist organization, the Skeptical Observer, that long has rejected any claims of the supernatural (and unfortunately is used as a source even by some Catholics) point out that some people also see cartoon characters in clouds, for the eye interprets formations in a way that is most familiar to the brain (such that the devout would tend to see Jesus and Mary).
Others look at this explanation and answer that it is those with eyes of faith who are privy to heavenly messages (“eyes to see”) to begin with.
Such was the case a few years back at Saints Peter and Paul Church in New Braunfels, Texas, where men attending a retreat claimed to see and even photograph images of Jesus. “Some saw more than others,” said the pastor there, Father Tony Pesik. “But these are good, level-headed, solid Christian people. I don’t think they’re being caught in deception or some sort of hysteria. I just see less in the way of images than they do. But I think for the men it was very profound.” Father Pesik said the case was brought to the chancellor of the diocese, who described it as a “private revelation,” with no further comment and no plans to investigate. “Is it miraculous?” asked Father Pesik. “It’s hard to tell. It’s more than tears coming out of a statue.”
The most famous manifestation was on a glass building in Clearwater, Florida — an image that fit Guadalupe in precise proportion — and was not on just one pane of glass but spanned nine (with no interruption). This the skeptics have not yet been able to address. A question here: when does condescension speak of other than healthy logic?
Here, at left, is a recent image from Louisiana. It was taken on March 5, the day an F-2 tornado hit Rayne, killing a young mother who was protecting her one-year-old son. “As you say, please use discernment, but people are in awe of what they see here. Personally, I see Christ holding out a chalice or something,” wrote Gracie Guillotte of Franklin, who didn’t take it but sent it in. “Whatever this is, it’s touching a lot of people.”
There is the key word: touched.
Such images often touch people who first experience or go to see them in a way that seems to argue for a manifestation (as opposed to pareidola). The precedents for the occurrence of miraculous images include, of course, the famous Shroud of Turin and the original Guadalupe image on a tilma in Mexico City.
Intriguing it is how so many of the formations these days resemble the Guadalupe image. Intriguing too is how many of them occur in Texas.
Is that simply because Our Lady of Guadalupe is so basic and simple (and thus easy to project onto various stains); because she is so well-known (especially in America’s West and South); or because she is the patron of the U.S. — and comes to a country that sorely needs to regain contact with her and her Son Jesus?
There are images with striking detail and they are sent to us on a constant, sometimes daily basis, often from local secular news outlets. On occasion, we get opposition to those articles from those who believe it is “sensationalism” (or simple tomfoolery, undermining serious religion), and we appreciate their concerns, at the same time that we are committed to open consideration of the supernatural in all its potential forms and with all the potential implications. Call us “fools for Christ”: we’d rather look foolish than discount something that may end up having significance.
The Blessed Mother — and the Lord (see His apostles) — do not choose those who are “wise” in the eyes of the world but those who accept Him with an open heart.
That can take a step, or leap, of faith.
Are some outlandish? Yes. But we won’t point any fingers, because we may be wrong (as may be the skeptics). Might some or even many of them be another “sign” of our times — the Lord “visiting” in ways and places He usually does not, in a last-ditch attempt to draw our attention (again, through the secular media). Is there a message?
If one accepts that at least some and perhaps manyof the images may have a supernatural touch (reflections, inflections), the next question is “why?” Are they attempts to bolster faith in such a material, scientificized society? Are they a commentary on our wayward ways? And right to the point: might they be building up to what will be a much more striking manifestation of the Lord?
It is interesting to note that at a widely-known apparition the Blessed Mother once said if necessary, she would appear in “every home.”
To mystic Maria Esperanza (whose cause for sainthood is now moving forward) was given a prophecy that when He comes next time Jesus will be here, there, everywhere; visible at certain times and not the next. “He will multiply Himself,” she once told us, “to assist everyone, in their homes, because this will be a definite thing. He will come and knock on every door.”
It is precisely household objects on which manifestations — if they are true manifestations (and some are) — are frequently reported. Clouds. Trees. What about ones that seem less than dignified — pots, cakes, a shower stall, spills, tables? And what about images that can be taken as good or evil (like that second nuclear cloud) — or that contain an array of faces? “Whatever be the place I appear, and where my Son comes with me, Satan also comes,” Mary said at a credible apparition.
One day, perhaps Christ will return in a way very different than His first Coming — this time, in a series of apparitions. Are we building to anything like that? Or is the devil just having fun and games (mockery)?
Whatever the case with all the objects, events in the world and nature and in the realm of the supernormal (including occult) — as well as the simple unease folks feel — are building to a crescendo.
“I am attaching pictures [right] which were taken in the Most Merciful Heart of Jesus Perpetual Adoration Chapel of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary parish in Rochester, New Hampshire this month,” writes Sister Mary Rose Reddy, DMML, just yesterday (3/22/11, below, right]). “All were taken by the same man who is a professional photographer. It is important to note that the stained glassed windows in the chapel are just colored glass which have no images in them. We are parishioners of Holy Rosary and we staff St. Charles Children’s Home in Rochester. For us these images are also a confirmation of the power of the Sacred Heart of Jesus since two of our Sisters are also on the committee which is preparing the first Sacred Heart World Congress in Paray le Monial, France, from October 6 to 11, 2011.”
Who can reflexively dismiss such?
Without question, many of the forms are so vague you can interpret them in what manner you like. Others? In this framework, and to synopsize the breadth of reports, we have decided to make a list of some recent “sightings.” Discern for yourself. Keep what is good; leave the rest.
— Virgin Mary seen on Google maps (at an English construction site)
— Faithful believe image on wall is Virgin Mary (New Braunfels, Texas)
— Woman sees image of Jesus in MRI (Greer, South Carolina)
— Davidson man says he found Jesus — in a tree branch (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)
–Virgin Mary appears in window (Caqueta, Colombia)
— Stain behind altar resembles Virgin Mary (Spring Lake, North Carolina)
— Image of Jesus on duct tape inspires family (Peralta, New Mexico)
— Some see Jesus in a flag (Candia, New Hampshire)
— Woman from Thomasville see the image of Jesus in a tomato she picked (North Carolina)
— Miami couple sees image of Virgin Mary on dresser in garage (Florida)
— Texas woman sees image of Mary holding Jesus in rocks (Granbury)
— Angel image on tomb stone in Long County (Georgia)
— Man finds Jesus image in rocking chair (Mission Viejo, California)
— Holy Virgin appears on Bogota hospital floor (Colombia)
— Jesus image found in restaurant (Mission, Texas)
— Woman sees Virgin Mary on her door (Durham, North Carolina)
— Jesus found in a frying pan (Lancaster, England)
— Rector at Norfolk basilica spots image of Virgin Mary in a water stain (Virginia)
— Image of Virgin Mary, Baby Jesus appears on tortilla (LaGrulla, Texas)
— Virgin Mary image seen inside Socorro bakery (again, Texas)
— Mary seen on seashell (Central Florida)
— In a sonogram, is the Blessed Mother set to kiss a baby?
As for evil: one artist stopped drawing because nefarious images appeared in his work, without him knowing it.
[Further feedback from yesterday: from Monica Speyrer Bonura:
“This Devotional Prayer, Devotion to the Drops of Blood Lost by our Lord Jesus Christ on His Way to Calvary, was blessed by Pope Leo XIII in Rome April 5, 1890. It was stored in my dresser drawer and my Rosary beads (inside a vinyl pouch) was placed on top of the prayer page.
“The Rosary pouch (Rosary inside) was left unattended for about six weeks. After opening the drawer, I discovered the pouch partially stuck to the Devotional Prayer. Upon gently removing the Rosary pouch, I noticed that there was no damage done to the printing on the Devotional Prayer. There was however a slight difference in the print in the middle of the Prayer but not destroyed.
“Upon turning the Rosary Pouch over after gently removing it from the Devotional Prayer, I observed an unexplainable outline that was left from the printing on the Prayer page. If one looks at the drawing of Christ at the top of the Devotional Prayer page and compares it to the imprint on the back of the Rosary pouch; there seems to be an obscure outline that represents the image of Christ on Veronica’s Veil at the top of the Devotional Prayer page [but it is much different in size]. The name Veronica means true image.”
[And this from viewer Harry Frett:
“I have had many such experiences while I am praying before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I pretty much keep these experiences to myself except for sharing them with family members and documenting them in my spiritual journal. Along with seeing the face of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, many times I receive words explaining these visions. Here are some of what I have written in my journal:
December 8, 2010 Today, on the way home from work, I stopped in the adoration chapel for a visit with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. While I was there, I was praying for the continued conversion of myself and my entire family, in particular, those who have abandoned their faith and have stopped going to mass. I was asking our Lord if He would even go so far as to intervene in the lives of my children, if that’s what it would take to bring them back to Him.
“Immediately after asking this favor of our Lord, I saw a vision in the Communion Host of the face of Jesus. It is hard to describe in words the majesty of this vision, but afterwards Jesus gave me an understanding of this. The meaning of this particular vision is that our Lord was (is) ‘making His Presence known’ in the lives of my children. December 21, 2010: This morning again at daily Mass, when I received Jesus in Holy Communion, I saw His Face in the Host that I received. His eyes were closed in this vision. Later in the same day, I stopped by the adoration chapel for a visit with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. As soon as I entered the chapel, the Lord began to show me visions (in the Communion Host) of several people who were wearing hats as people did in past centuries ago. I asked the Lord who these people were, and the Lord gave me an understanding that these people were in purgatory. So, I decided to say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Rosary for these individuals. As I began to say these prayers, I saw the faces of those who were coming out of purgatory and also the face of Jesus. Upon completion of my prayers, I again saw these same people again and received these words, ‘Those whom you have helped.’ January 7, 2011: The Lord then spoke these words to me, ‘A treasure of graces await all those who ask for them.'”