By Sophia Garcia
COME, LORD JESUS. While it is a very fitting theme during the Advent Season when the liturgy bids us look to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, it is nevertheless a short, powerful prayer we can often say in our daily lives.
COME, LORD JESUS. We say this in times of trials when we ask for the Lord’s help. We say this in times of quarrels and strifes when we beg the Lord to step in and put love and harmony in our lives. It is a most appropriate prayer before the Mass and especially, before we receive the Eucharist in Holy Communion.
Nevertheless, in this article, as a matter of fact in the subsequent issues of this newsletter, the plea “Come, Lord Jesus” is meant as a theme focusing on the Second Coming of the Lord. You must remember the old text of the Memorial Acclamation during the Mass: Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. Many will say that we are fools for dedicating articles to this theme. However, what we wish to point out is that there are just too many seers or visionaries already who have said that the Second Coming of Jesus is near – that it could come in our lifetime! Rather than sneer or scoff, isn’t it more Christian to read about these seers and pray for guidance. When Jesus walked the earth, during His first coming, majority sneered and scoffed. Let us not fall into the same mistake and lend credence to the saying, “History repeats itself”.
Here’s an overview.
Way back in the 1600s, St. Margaret Mary, the apostle of the Sacred Heart, said that the devotion to the Sacred Heart is meant for the last times when the hearts of men would have grown cold.
This devotion to the Sacred Heart is a last effort of His love which wishes to favor men in these last times with this loving redemption, in order to withdraw them from the empire of Satan, which He intends to destroy, and in order to put us under the sweet empire of His love.
During the 20th century there has been a rapid growth of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Almost every parish observes the First Friday devotion – there are prayers to the Sacred Heart, usually a Holy Hour, and attendance in the Mass noticeably increases. Does this therefore mean that the last times have come?
The testimony of St. Faustina, apostle of the Divine Mercy, cannot be brushed aside. Her Diary narrates that the Lord Jesus gave St. Faustina the devotion to the Divine Mercy as a preparation for the end times.
Speak to the world about My mercy…It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the Day of Justice (Diary, 848). You will prepare the world for My final coming (429). Tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice is near (965).
Here are Our Lady’s words to St. Faustina:
You have to speak to the world about His great mercy and prepare the world for the Second Coming of Him who will come, not as a merciful Savior, but as a just Judge. Oh how terrible is that day! Determined is the day of justice, the day of divine wrath. The angels tremble before it. Speak to souls about this great mercy while it is still the time for granting mercy (635).
Why is it important to ask for mercy now? Because on the day of justice, the day of judgment, we can no longer ask for mercy or forgiveness. On that day, we will already be judged. Now is the time for reconciliation, for gaining merit, for saving our souls.
It is important to note that St. Faustina lived from 1905 to 1938, was canonized in the year 2000, and the devotion to the Divine Mercy propagated throughout the world. When will the preparation time – the days of mercy – end? Counting from the year of her death, the Lord has given us 76 years of His patience – and mercy!
We come closer in time to the end of the 20th century. A former Ambassador to the Vatican, Howard Dee, in 1993 wrote a book, “Mankind’s Final Destiny” in which he writes that “we may live these days with hope, in joyful waiting for the coming of our Lord and Savior.” In 1977, one year before his death, Pope Paul VI said “I sometimes read the Gospel passage of the end times and I attest that, at this time, some signs of this end are emerging.” This is cited by Ambassador Dee in the same book and originally found in “The Secret Paul VI” by Jean Guitton, pages 152 and 153.
Ambassador Dee further writes:
These consistent references to the biblical passages in Revelation made by Pope Paul VI, Radio Vatican, Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) since 1977 leave no doubt as to the intention of the teaching Magisterium: to make us aware that we are indeed living in Apocalyptic times which will determine decisively the future course of man and his civilization.
In central Africa, in the tiny country of Rwanda, the Blessed Mother appeared to seven African youngsters – six girls and a boy. The apparitions happened during the years 1981 to 1989 in Kibeho, a poor village. Our Lady called herself “Our Lady of Sorrows” and spoke of “suffering that redeems”. She invited all to join in Christ’s suffering to save the world.
It can be expected that, at the onset, nobody believed the first seer, Alphonsine. Little by little, as Our Lady appeared to the other children, and healings and inexplicable phenomena began to occur, the events gained credibility. One highlight of the apparition was a vision given to the seers on 15 August 1982 (Feast of the Assumption). The seers saw a river of blood, people killing one another, decapitated heads….so much violence that they cried and trembled.
Twelve years later, the visions of suffering and violence came to be understood as civil war broke out in Rwanda. It was called a genocide by the Western world as the Hutus wiped out from 500,000 to a million of the minority Tutsi population.
The apparitions in Rwanda were recognized as authentic by Msgr. Augustin Misago, Bishop of Gikongro (the diocese to which Kibeho belonged) on June 29, 2001.
Do the apparitions of Our Lady in Rwanda bear a message only for Africans? If you look deeper into the story, you’d discover a startling message. Let us again turn to Mankind’s Final Destiny by Ambassador Dee. The book quotes two seers as saying that the Lord Jesus is coming soon. Emmanuel Segatashya, then 15 years old, narrates:
The Lord taught me the value of suffering, united with his pain to suffer for the salvation of the world. Jesus said we must change our lives, renounce sin, praying to prepare for our own death and for the end of the world. We must prepare while there is still time…There is not much time left and Jesus will come.
His words are echoed by the first visionary, Alphonsine, who said:
Mary asks us to pray the Rosary and to learn to love her and to return to her Son through prayer and penance…She said to pray hard – we must prepare now for the return of her Son Jesus.
Far from just being a warning to Rwandans about the forthcoming civil war and the terrible violence forthcoming, the apparitions gain universal importance because of the revelations from Heaven that we must prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus.
Vassula Ryden of Switzerland
Vassula Ryden is an Orthodox mystic who lives in Switzerland. She is married, a mother of two children, a national tennis champion of Bangladesh, a painter, and previously a model. Unlikely as a seer? Well, we cannot question God’s choices What is unique in Vassula Ryden is that the Lord Jesus holds her hand when He gives her messages and what you see and read is handwritten text. When Vassula asks questions, you see her own smaller handwriting and the Lord’s response comes in handwriting which is large and elegant. Born in Egypt of Greek parents in 1942, the Lord’s revelations to Vassula started in 1986.
Although the seer is not a Catholic, she has gained much credibility among Catholics. The volumes have “A Note to the Reader” by Lucy Rooney, SND and Robert Faricy, SJ and an “Introduction” by Fr. Rene Laurentin, the renowned Mariologist.
Sr. Lucy and Fr. Faricy write:
It becomes clear from the multiplicity of apparitions and revelations in our times, and it is perfectly in accord with the Gospels, that the end of times is near. There is a battle on, before Satan loses his power. There is no indication of the end of the world, but of a time of tribulation, followed, for those who endure, by a new era of love and of peace. We are in training for those dark days. Meanwhile we are living in a time not of judgment, but of Mercy.
Reading the revelations to Vassula, it did not take long for me to believe in its authenticity. The language is so elegant and dignified that it radiates with Divine Majesty. Ponder the following, dictated to Vassula on 10 October 1988 wherein the Lord Jesus speaks of His return:
…pray together with Me this prayer, a prayer for My Return:
Come Lord! Return to us, hear our sorrowful cries from this wilderness, feel our thirst, and have Mercy upon us, return to us, come and blot out all wickedness, replacing it by love, Amen.
And to this prayer, you will hear Me answer you that I, who am Love, will return to you as Love. Be patient My beloved ones, just for a little while longer and I will return to you. Be watchful and on your guard because My return will be sudden, so be prepared, repent, face Me your Lord with a pure heart and the shadows on earth will not frighten you, nor will the hour of darkness terrify you. You will feel neither distress nor anguish in this hour of deadly silence; so listen to Me, listen to My words and they will be a consolation to you when this hour of obscurity descends upon My entire creation.
I solemnly tell you that this hour is not far from you now, I who am love will draw near Me all those who love Me and I will diminish their fear, I will veil them with My love, console them with My Heart and they shall find their shelter in Me. Alas! For those who are not ready and never loved me! They will die from their own wickedness and l lie in the dust suffocated by the weight of their sins! For they have defiled My Holy Name with the help of the second dragon, the dragon which wears the black cloaks, the dragon which is opposite to light. O creation! Creation with senseless minds! How I pity you; give Me one kind look and I will free you, since the day of your birth I knew you to be godless, still I am willing to forget and talk things over with you….
The language is sheer poetry. The Lord’s lament wrenches the heart. There is so much intimacy between the Lord Jesus and Vassula since it is an exchange – at times Vassula asks a question and Jesus answers. How close to the Heart of Jesus must be His work through Vassula, the seer. And what is wonderful is that when you read His handwriting in the notebooks, you are asked to substitute the name of Vassula with your name so that you feel it is Jesus addressing you.
To Nigeria: Barnabas Nwoye
From Europe, we go to Nigeria. In Olo, Enugu State, Our Lord in July 1995, specifically during the hour of Divine Mercy (3pm), started to appear to Barnabas Nwoye, 17 years old at that time. Since then, messages have been streaming not just from the Lord but also from the Blessed Mother and some angels and saints like St. Joseph and St. Michael the Archangel. What differentiates Barnabas from the other seers is that it is to him that the Lord Jesus gave a set of prayers comprising the Devotion to the Precious Blood.
When you see the prayers to the Precious Blood, you will realize it is not for beginners in the spiritual life. It assumes you are already a devotee of the Blessed Mother’s Rosary and you have the capacity and aptitude for praying much. The minimum prayers to be said daily consist of the Consecration, the Litany, the Chaplet, and the Mystical Prayers. Excluding the Rosary, these prayers take around 45 minutes. In addition, devotees are encouraged to practice the Gethsemane Hour which recalls the Lord’s Agony in the Garden. For devotees, Gethsemane Hour is from 11pm Thursday to 3am Friday or any hour within that time frame.
The Prayer Manual of the Precious Blood says it is the greatest devotion of all time and that it is a daily call to holiness It is undoubtedly for those wishing to advance in spiritual perfection and for those who have a vocation to be prayer warriors for the Lord.
But what is relevant to this article is the background against which this devotion is given. Its followers believe that we have entered the “much-awaited hours of darkness foretold by many Catholic prophets”. It is given as a weapon for us in the end times when we struggle for victory against the forces of darkness. It is the ultimate weapon against Satan and his army of evil.
On July 20, 1998, the Lord Jesus said to Barnabas:
My children, I am in Gethsemane for you and all My people in the whole world. I am in Gethsemane always because of the hour that is coming, that horrible hour, so fearful and terrifying. My children, how many will survive? For the love I have for you and for all men, I am here in Gethsemane calling you to come and watch with me. Remain in Gethsemane with Me so that you will not give up when the hour comes.
The Lord Jesus gave Barnabas some short Mystical Prayers which He said were His petitions to the Heavenly Father during His Passion. There is a prayer for the Reign of Glory on Earth. The Lord says,
…My children, through this prayer the AntiChrist and the Red Dragon and his agents will have (only) a short hour of reign on earth. The more you pray, the shorter the hour of their reign on earth.
Part of the prayer to the Heavenly Father goes:
We offer You all the agonies, tortures, pains, and the Precious Blood of Your Son Jesus Christ for the defeat of all the enemies of the Holy Cross of Salvation, the Antichrist and the Red Dragon who are fighting against the truth now and in the end of the age. May they, through the Precious Blood of our Redeemer and His last breath on earth, disappear like foam exposed under the sun, so that Your Kingdom may quickly come on earth. Amen. Precious Blood of Jesus Christ – Thy Kingdom come. Amen.
History reveals that God sends us the saints and devotions we need to meet the needs of our times. It is clear that, for these critical end times, God gives us the devotion to the Divine Mercy to prepare us for the Day of Justice and the devotion to the Precious Blood to counter the last fierce onslaught of the army of evil.
Nora Ilagan of the Philippines
Months ago, a friend gave me seven volumes of “God Speaks to a Filipina”. Nora Luna Ilagan is a resident of Makati City, a housewife, born in the province of Batangas on April 3, 1935. She is a pharmacist by profession, married, and with six children. Her interior locutions started 1994 and continue today. She receives messages from the Heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus, the Blessed Virgin, and other heavenly spirits. These have been compiled and printed in seven volumes. Volume 7 has a handwritten letter from the late Fr. James Reuter, S.J., her Spiritual Director then. The last paragraph goes: “The orthodoxy of the thought and the extreme consistency of the messages seem to me to prove that they really come from God.”
All of the volumes contain statements from the Lord Jesus, the Heavenly Father, and the Blessed Mother that the Second Coming of the Lord is near. There are just so many references to the Second Coming that it is difficult to choose but let me quote some:
11 December 1995
Lord Jesus: My child…My birthday is coming, near, very, very near. The Second Coming is near too. It will happen soon, very, very soon. What are you preparing, My children? What gifts are you preparing for Me? How are you preparing for My Second Coming?
…This is so important, the most important thing in your life. Nobody knows the exact time, but soon, very, very soon. All signs of My Second Coming are here. Prepare, prepare your souls, because so many things are going to happen. Are your souls ready, My children? Have you gone to General Confession lately? Be very, very prepared. Prepare your souls, prepare your souls.
24 November 2001
Blessed Virgin Mary: My child, read the last part of the Bible. Stop anything you are doing. Pray hard and read the Bible. Few pages are left in the Revelations. Prepare your souls. Prepare for the coming of the King of Kings.
09 January 2005
God the Father: My children I love. End time, end time, end time. How many listen? How many are preparing? No more time, no more time, no more time. Where will your souls go?
The messages are so emphatic and cannot be any clearer. All throughout the volumes, we are asked to prepare spiritually for the return of the Lord Jesus in a language which is simple and easily understood by the ordinary man-in-the-street.
Our Lady Speaks to Her Beloved Priests
In May 1972, in the Chapel of Apparitions in Fatima, Portugal, an Italian priest, Don Stefano Gobbi, prayed for priests who had given up their vocations and others who were attempting to form associations in rebellion against church authority. He was subsequently inspired by Our Lady to form the Marian Movement of Priests consisting of those priests who would consecrate themselves to her Immaculate Heart and let themselves be formed by her. Thus, started the interior locutions to Fr. Gobbi compiled into a blue book, “To the Priests: Our Lady’s Beloved Sons”.
When I first came across the book in the 1980’s, I was amazed at the graciousness of the language – such words could not emanate from a priest. As a student of literature, you learn that the words betray the being behind the words. I was so fascinated I could not doubt that the words I read came from the Blessed Mother herself.
To those not familiar with the messages of the Blessed Virgin in other apparitions like Fatima and Akita, the reason why she wanted a Marian Movement of Priests formed would be appalling. In her own words to Fr. Gobbi on July 16, 1973:
And when the time comes, the Movement will then go out into the open to fight openly that cohort which the devil, ever my Adversary, is now forming for himself from among the priests. Certain decisive hours are drawing close. For the present, allow yourselves to be formed by me; allow yourselves to be guided by me.
Priests led by Satan versus priests led by the Blessed Mother! But such a crisis in the church, though part of end-times scenario, is not the focus of this article. (This is for another issue.) Let me rather highlight portions wherein Our Lady talks of the end times. While this book started in the year 1973, Our Lady starts talking about the end times in 1978. Thereafter, many messages dwell on the Second Coming of the Lord and Our Lady addresses the priests (and the lay followers) as “apostles of the last times”. Here is one message from the Blessed Mother given December 31, 1992:
With docility, allow yourselves to be taught by me, beloved children. On this last night of the year, gather together in prayer and in listening to the word of your Heavenly Mother, the Prophetess of these last times.
Do not spend these hours noisily or in dissipation, but in silence, in recollection, and in contemplation. I have announced to you many times that the end of the times and the coming of Jesus in glory is very near. Now, I want to help you understand the signs described in the Holy Scriptures, which indicate that His glorious return is now close. These signs are clearly indicated in the Gospels, in the letters of St. Peter and St. Paul, and they are becoming a reality during these years.
What follows the above passage is an explanation from Our Lady of the signs of the times with Scripture as the reference.
Below is another message from the Blessed Mother, the John the Baptist of our times, given January 1, 1994 (the feast of Mary, Mother of God):
I am the dawn which precedes the great day of the Lord. I am the voice which becomes strong in these times, in order to spread my prophetic announcement in every part of the earth: prepare yourselves, one and all, to receive my Son Jesus, who is even now about to return among you, on the clouds of heaven, in the splendour of His divine glory.
This is one reason for her many apparitions during the past century! She has been calling us, with tears and blood, to convert and prepare – knowing little time is left.
The Fatima Apparitions
The Fatima apparitions of the Blessed Mother contain important messages from Heaven for the 20th and 21st centuries. While the messages principally dwell on Russia, the importance of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the vision of Hell, here is what Our Lady tells Fr. Gobbi regarding the miracle of the dancing sun seen by thousands:
The miracle of the sun, which took place at Fatima during my last apparition, is intended to point out to you that you are now entering into the times when these events will take place, events which will prepare for the return of Jesus in glory.
The preparatory events Our Lady refers to consist of extraordinary celestial phenomena, a sign of the end times.
The miracle of the dancing sun was announced ahead of time and seen by thousands. The frightening scenario of the sun plunging into the earth was deemed as a foreshadowing of things to come – a nuclear war or cosmic upheaval?
As a matter of fact, another sign of the end times, the crisis in the church, is supposedly also found in the third secret, which some quarters believe has not been divulged in its entirety.
The Fatima apparitions indeed loom large as a guidepost to humanity. As we celebrate the 100th anniversary in 2017, some Marian devotees are wondering if the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary or some important phenomenon will occur.
Maria Divine Mercy: The End Time Prophet
Fr. Stefano Gobbi died on June 29, 2011 and with his death then, one wonders what would happen to the messages. With the death of Fr. Gobbi, it meant that there would be no sequel, no more explanations from Our Lady regarding events. But how can this be – will Our Lady allow us not to be guided especially in such a critical period which she explained is the period prior to the return of the Lord Jesus in glory?
When I came across the “Book of Truth”, I immediately deemed it as a continuation of the messages to Fr. Gobbi. Fr. Gobbi died June 2011 and the messages to Maria Divine Mercy started November 8, 2010. The main difference in the messages is that, this time, it is the Lord Himself who speaks to the seer. (There are occasional messages from God, the Father Himself and the Blessed Virgin.) Not only that – while the messages of Our Lady to Fr.Gobbi are on many other important matters like the formation of priests, the Book of Truth focuses on the Second Coming.
It is important to note that while the writings or words of other seers mentioned above touched on the Second Coming of the Lord, it is only the Book of Truth which focuses on this event. Maria Divine Mercy (not her real name) is reportedly an Irish Catholic. She has been told that the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus is imminent and that she is the last messenger, the last prophet.
What amazed me when I discovered the Book of Truth is that the messages are available in the internet – (www.thewarningsecondcoming.com) – up to this day and it is therefore like Heaven opening up to mankind and God addressing His people worldwide in the fastest means possible.
Compare this with writings of other seers which are difficult to obtain. The main justification for such urgency and speed is that there is an event forthcoming which is of paramount significance. It is indeed the greatest event for all mankind: the coming of our Lord Jesus!
In the Book of Truth, the Lord Jesus explains in detail what His Second Coming means. In the message entitled “Confusion About What My Second Coming Will Mean” given May 20, 2011, the Lord Jesus says:
Much confusion exists in the world regarding this event. Many people believe that My Second Coming indicates that the end of the world has come. That is not the case, for instead, it will mean the end times when Satan and his followers, who create untold misery in the world, will be banished from Earth for 1,000 years.
The New Paradise I have promised will come about when Heaven and Earth merge to become one. This new life I bring to all My devoted followers is one of love and glory. You, My followers, will have to endure much suffering, however, while this transition takes place. To help prepare the world for this great event, I am bringing a great Gift of My Mercy beforehand. The Great Warning, which will give each and every one of you the chance to see your sins and how they offend Me, will enable you to see the Truth….
What is this Great Warning? This is a topic for another article considering how important and exhaustive it is.
What I would like to stress here is that the preparation the Lord asks of us is not simply our own individual spiritual preparation. In homilies of priests explaining end time gospels like the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids (Matthew: 25,1-13), most priests say that what we therefore should do is to prepare our souls every day of our lives so that we are prepared anytime to meet the Lord. In the Book of Truth, the Lord Jesus however adds another dimension. He not only wants us to prepare individually; more than this, He wants us to help Him save souls through prayer. The end product of the Book of Truth messages is a Crusade of Prayer booklet which is a compilation of all the prayers found in the messages. To date, there are 170 short prayers with varying intentions. What the Lord Jesus wants is that we form crusade prayer groups with the “sacred mission of saving souls.”
SAVING SOULS – this should be the primary mission of Book of Truth believers and followers. Prayer and much prayer by crusade prayer groups staying together to watch and pray for the Lord’s coming and help Him save the souls He dearly loves.
A Continuous Process of Prayer and Discernment
Does all these confuse and overwhelm you? Well, let this be a starting point for learning more about these wonderful seers to whom God gave a heavy load of responsibility. It is certainly only a stepping stone considering that just to digest fully the writings of a seer could take weeks and weeks of reading and research! And there are several of them. There are others I may have omitted. I have not even dwelt on some apparitions of the Blessed Mother (like Akita, Medjugorje, Garabandal and La Salette) which have inter-related messages on events prior to the Second Coming.
It is interesting to note that the styles vary. For example, Jesus in Vassula Ryden is majestic and elegant; in the Book of Truth, He is down-to-earth and contemporary; in Nora Ilagan, the sentences are short, crisp and adapted to the ordinary reader. It can only be deduced that the Lord adapts to the culture, the seer and the intentions for the revelations. However, beyond the language, you will observe that the divine messages given to the seers have threads of thought running through them. And one central message is that: the return of the Lord is near! They tell us to convert and prepare spiritually. The Book of Truth tells us to form crusade prayer groups so that with the prayers, the Lord Jesus can save the souls of billions (Crusade Prayer 79: For Two Billion Lost Souls).
Of the writings of these seers, the most difficult to accept is the Book of Truth given to Maria Divine Mercy. One needs to have read some messages of the visionaries and most of all, the apparitions and messages of Our Lady. With this background knowledge, you will perceive that everything seems to converge to the Book of Truth.
How do we react? Do we reject all these visionaries? Or remain indifferent? How can we be indifferent when they talk of the greatest event in human history after the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
For later, after that distress, the sun will grow dark, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall out of the skies, and the whole universe will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heaven: as all the nations of the earth beat their breasts, they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with divine power and the fullness of Glory. He will send his angels to sound the trumpet and gather the chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the earth to the other. (Matthew 24: 29-31)
And here’s a warning to all of us:
At the coming of the Son of Man it will be just as it was in the time of Noah. In those days before the Flood, people were eating and drinking, and marrying, until the day when Noah went into the ark. Yet they did not know what would happen until the flood came and swept them away. So will it be at the coming of the Son of Man. Of two men in the field, one will be taken and the other left. Of two women grinding wheat together at the mill, one will be taken and the other left. (Matthew 24:37-41)
Are we the hedonistic, indifferent people referred to in the Bible? In this newsletter we have started, “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!” it is our aim to focus on that staggering, mind-boggling event which can happen in our lifetime: the coming of our Lord Jesus. Let this be a continuing process of discernment and prayer.