A few items from Youtube. You discern.
First, if you’ll recall, on September 11 many saw what seemed like demonic faces in the flames and smoke from the World Trade Center.
Now we wonder (and only wonder): was the same true April 15, when the spectacular fire erupted at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris?
Perhaps it’s in the eye of the beholder (pareidolia). Or is pareidolia (the theory that we see what we want to see in various patterns), a scientific notion of no little pareidolia itself?
Science thinks — often wrongly — that it can explain everything. (Does not science frequently see what it wants to see?)
In the flames, some also claimed they could spot Jesus. One such report was on Fox News.
Or might Mary also have been in there (depending on perspective)?
Is Notre Dame another omen? There are those who saw the fire as a symbol of problems or division in the Church.
It almost certainly goes beyond that — to problems and divisions at all levels of society (particularly to do with irreligion and particularly there in France, which is in the midst of uprisings).
When it comes to harbingers, and outright prophecy, few clips on Youtube are quite as dramatic as that of a fellow named John Gravino [bottom, in video], who trekked to Medjugorje nearly twenty years ago and reports an encounter that was extraordinary even by the standards of that extraordinary apparition site (which now has partial Church approval — with the initial apparitions authenticated by a four-year-long Vatican investigation, March 2010 to January 2014, and now also by an apostolic visitor, Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Poland, who, though at first quite questioning, says after fifteen months there that the site is “no longer suspect” but instead stands as the “Confessional of the world” and the “spiritual lungs of Europe” — which so desperately, considering all that smoke, needs fresh air).
God willing, we will be leading a pilgrimage there in October. (Is there a face on ‘weeping’ knee of bronze Risen Christ statue at Medjugorje, right?)
Recalls Gravino, who seems like a sober professional type, and now lives in North Carolina: “I had a very profound experience on the Hill of Apparitions. My wife and I got confused and thought we were supposed to meet at St. James Church with our tour group before going to the Hill of Apparitions. We realized there was something wrong, so we trudged back to where we were staying.”
Gravino states that when they got there, people they met told them there was still time to catch up to the group at the hill itself, which the Gravinos did.
“There were a bunch of pilgrims [at the base of Apparition Hill], but we couldn’t find the American group, so we’re in a group, I believe it was a Croatian group, and we could tell they’re praying the Rosary,” John said.
“We decided to try and do our best by praying along with the group.
“While I’m doing this, I see a guy next to me, praying the Rosary. I’m from Los Angeles. I look at this guy and I just shake my head. This was in 2000 and everyone had short hair and here’s this guy with long flowing hair. Here I am in Medjugorje, and I’m walking up Apparition Hill praying the Rosary, and here’s this guy with a beard and long hair next to me! Inside, I’m laughing hysterically. I’m thinking, ‘You can’t get away from it. Crazy fans. Here’s a guy who thinks He’s Jesus.’ It reminded me perfectly at what I’d seen growing up in L.A. with people dressed up as Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker at movie premieres.
“Now I’m in Medjugorje, and here’s some guy dressed up as Jesus! I’m just laughing to myself, looking at this guy, saying ‘I can’t believe it.’ I’m looking at this guy’s scraggly beard and thinking, ‘You call that a beard?’
“And the guy just very slowly turns and looks right at me and now for the first time I have a full-on — I can see the guy’s entire face. I’m looking at this face and I’m thinking, ‘You gotta be kidding me. Wow, this is really authentic. This guy actually looks like Jesus! This is a really good costume. This guy’s amazing!’
“So finally we get to the top of the hill and I’m not thinking of it too much. The Jesus-looking guy was praying the Rosary along with the Croatians. At the end of each decade they sing the Ave Maria. Mr. Jesus-lookalike is standing right behind me now and he’s singing along and what I heard come out of his mouth stopped me dead in my tracks.”
Here Gravino gets choked-up.
“Because what I heard, that was not the voice of a man. When I heard that voice, I almost bolted. Something inside of me said no. Something inside of me said, ‘Just stay and listen.’ I couldn’t do anything. The camera fell out of my hands and crashed on the rocks. I was having this ‘moment.’ He was behind me but I could not turn around. The voice I heard was the most unbelievable thing you have ever heard. You have never heard what I heard. I didn’t know a human voice could be that deep. I didn’t think a human voice could be that deep before in my life — that deep and powerful. I don’t think it’s humanly possible. And at the same time be as beautiful. That was the most unbelievable thing. It stopped me dead in my tracks. And I knew this was not some bozo in a Luke Skywalker costume. After that voice, I couldn’t look at Him again. I just couldn’t turn around. This was a very, very powerful experience in my life.”
Many have experienced similarly powerful things there.
He brings up his experience, says Gravino, because later he began seeing who he takes to be Jesus “every day, and one day, He shows up and gives me a message that something terrible is going to happen [in the world] and He gives me the date. He doesn’t get into the details. What I learn is lots of death, horrible catastrophe, and I’m given a date. I thought He was talking about the ‘big one,’ an earthquake in Los Angeles. So I was extremely concerned.”
Instead, it was 9/11.
“When this happened — the day arrives — and [being in Los Angeles] I basically told my wife to stay near doorways — they say the strongest places are near a doorway, in case there are rumblings,” he says.
“Guess what happened? There is no earthquake. Not only did nothing happened where we were, but nothing happened anywhere on planet earth on the date He gave me. It was probably the most peaceful day on planet earth. Nothing happened! Talk about disappointment and confusion. I was extremely disappointed and confused. What does all this mean? I wondered if maybe I was hallucinating. Is this a bunch of baloney or what?
“My wife had given me a really nice digital watch. Pretty quickly, what happened was that the watch stopped functioning. Guess what wasn’t working? The date. On its own, it was constantly resetting itself. Every day I had to reset the date. I got sick of it and I forgot about [trying to fix] the watch and calendar that doesn’t work. This is 2001. You know what is coming…
“We arrive at the fateful day of 9/11 and I’m on a vacation and I get a call from my dad and he says, ‘John, you got to turn on the television.’ I turned on CNN and if I remember correctly, I turned on the news after the first tower was hit. I knew in my heart of hearts that this was what Jesus was talking about. But 9/11 wasn’t the date that He gave me. That wasn’t the date. But guess what I remembered? At that moment when I’m sitting there watching CNN, watching the second plane hit the second tower, it dawns on me: my watch. The calendar on my watch keeps resetting and going to a different date.
“So I clicked on the mode setting on it and I look at the date on the calendar and what does it say? It’s the date that was given to me by Jesus Christ. I was completely stunned. There it was. I didn’t understand the date until I looked at the digital date. It was a bizarre moment for me. I’ve never talked about it before.”
In other words, instead of the day the event was to occur, it served as a “confirmation.” Was that what occurred? Or: had the date for the terrorist attack been changed? Or…what? And why when he saw “Jesus” did Gravino want to “bolt”? Was the reaction of fear or whatever a normal one?
We think here of the fear at Medjugorje itself when two girls first spotted the Madonna, and likewise how apparitions through history have caused similar initial intimidation or fright (Juan Diego at Guadalupe tried to avoid the Virgin.)
He says he received another message that something bad would happen on April 16 in 2016. “Huge loss of life. Same thing.”
As it turned out, on April 16 there was an earthquake in Ecuador of magnitude-7.8. “I think 670 people died and 28,000 injuries,” he notes.
He now feels called to prophesy — claiming that on subsequent “visits” from “the Lord,” he was led to know that 9/11 was “just an hors d’oevre of what you can expect in the future. That was Our Lord’s message to me. And furthermore, He wanted me to warn the world about this, about our future.” He’s upbeat in general. So is Our Blessed Mother. She comes at Medjugorje and elsewhere with joy.
But he says this part of the message was “dismal.”
And the future? On a blogpost, Gravino posted words from the Bible, taken from Nahum and Ezekiel. Perhaps we can all read those parts of the Bible and prophesy ourselves. Read the Bible. That has always been a chief message from Medjugorje. Read Scripture every day.