Part 1 Countdown to the Warning Father Joseph M. Esper  <>
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Rev. Joseph M. Esper
During the past year and a half the Catholic Church in America has been rocked by revelations of widespread clerical sexual misconduct with minors, made worse by various attempted coverups by ecclesiastical authorities. Many instances of abused trust and lost innocence have come to light, resulting in grave harm to the Church’s overall reputation and credibility. Catholics are being forced to confront some painful questions and realities. Victims wonder if they can remain in a Church so slow to hear their cries for justice, while perpetrators hope for forgiveness and a way to atone for their sins; lay persons wonder if they can trust their priests and bishops, while innocent clergy live with a sense of bewilderment and the fear of false accusation. Parishes who’ve had pastors removed due to misconduct struggle with a sense of shock and loss, potential converts to Catholicism experience new doubts and hesitations, and bishops second-guess their handling of some admittedly very painful and difficult situations. This agonizing process of honest reassessment, which is both necessary and overdue, has the potential to make the Church stronger and holier—and because it forces so many of us as Catholics to confront some painful truths, we might say that in a certain sense, it’s a foreshadowing of the Warning.
The Warning
The Warning, of course, refers to a prophesied worldwide spiritual event, in which every person on earth will simultaneously see the state of his or her soul; this "spiritual x-ray" will tell us whether we are on the path to damnation, or salvation. God will cause this unprecedented event to occur so that vast numbers of sinners will repent. The Warning, or the "Illumination of Conscience," was foretold to St. Catherine Laboure in 1830, to the 19th century stigmatist Marie-Julie Jahenny, to St. Faustina Kowalska in the 1930s, and to the four young seers of Garabandal, to whom Our Lady allegedly appeared a number of times from 1961-1965. Other visionaries have since spoken of the Warning, and there’s general agreement that, as a result of this happening, millions of sinners will repent and be restored to grace; many others, however, will reject this offer of Divine Mercy and become even more hardened in sin—and with the battle lines between good and evil drawn more clearly than ever before, the already-overwhelming pace of events will accelerate as we approach, not the end of the world, but the end of this age.
According to the seers of Garabandal, within a year of the Warning, a great Miracle will occur in the skies over Garabandal, involving something that can be seen, televised, but not touched (perhaps a giant luminous Cross), accompanied by the simultaneous healing of all ill and infirm persons in and near the town. If these two events do not bring about sufficient repentance on the part of humanity, then a great Chastisement or punishment will occur (presumably the Three Days of Darkness foretold by many past and contemporary visionaries); this chastisement will cleanse the world of sin and usher in a promised Era of Peace, in which God’s love and truth will reign in the hearts of everyone still on earth. This most glorious age of human history will be a time of religious unity, prosperity, and perfect harmony, and will last anywhere from twenty-five to a hundred years or more. These events have long been expected, but their timing is unknown. One of the Garabandal visionaries, Mari Loli, is said to know the year of the Warning, and another, Conchita, knows the date of the Miracle (a Thursday in March, April, or May, on or between the 8th and 16th of the month); moreover, Conchita is to announce the Miracle eight days before it occurs (giving time for pilgrims and the ill to gather in Garabandal, and allowing for it to be televised, thereby increasing its impact).
While the Warning will be a terrifying ordeal for everyone in a state of mortal sin, it will nonetheless be a great act of mercy on God’s part; as Conchita once said, "I think that those who do not despair will experience great good from it for their sanctification." This experience, which is expected to be very intense but of short duration (15 minutes or less—though it will seem much longer), presumably ties-in with the secrets allegedly given by Our Lady to the visionaries of Medjugorje. Mirjana, one of the seers, said that her first secret does not involve a worldwide event, but is something that will "shake us up" (possibly a catastrophic happening or crisis involving war or terrorism, or a gigantic natural disaster). There’s speculation that Mirjana’s second and third secrets correspond to the Warning and the Miracle.
We don’t know when the Warning will occur, but — to those attuned to the "signs of the times" — it seems undeniable that a series of smaller warnings are already happening all around us. The most obvious example, of course, is the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Every climactic event in contemporary history has its defining images: the ruined warships belching black smoke into the sky over Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima in World War II, the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after the dropping of the atomic bomb, the open-topped limousine in Dallas carrying President and Mrs. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, and so on. Images such as these have a way of searing themselves into our collective memory. This will undoubtedly prove true of one of the horrible pictures taken shortly after the terrorist attacks: the image of the devil’s face in the smoke billowing forth from the World Trade Center. This was surely more than a coincidence, for the events of that day certainly had a satanically-inspired element to them; deliberately causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people, as the terrorists did, is an unspeakably evil act. Heaven grieved with us on that day—but even so, the events of September 11 can, with hindsight, be seen as part of God’s ongoing warning to America.
Attacks Foretold
A number of seers allegedly received forewarnings of the attack, beginning with a 1990 prophecy to an anonymous visionary which stated that within twelve years the pride of New York would be broken, and that within four years an unprecedented new evil would be introduced—with our response to this evil determining the length and severity of the coming chastisements. (It was in 1994, of course, that President Clinton—based on a recommendation by the National Institute of Health—announced that the federal government would allow, but not yet fund, human embryo research). In 1998 the visionary Patricia Mundorf (now deceased) warned the FBI that the World Trade Center and the White House or Pentagon would be attacked, and on September 11, 1999—exactly two years before the attack—the Irish mystic Christina Gallagher, while visiting the United States, gestured toward the Twin Towers and declared, "If Americans don’t turn back to God, all of this will be destroyed!" Maria Esperanza, the visionary associated with the Church-approved apparitions of Our Lady at Betania, Venezuala, stated early in 2001 that something terrible would happen along the Eastern seaboard as a result of human cloning, and on August 25 2001—based on a message she received from St. Peter—she warned, "A great event will be happening in three weeks or three months."
September 11th – 33rd Day
The terrorist attack, of course, happened in the third week after Maria Esperanza’s ominous warning. September 11 also happened to be the 33rd day after President Bush announced the beginning of very limited federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Even though the President honestly tried to limit the impact of this decision, a fateful line had been crossed: for the first time it was now legal to try to improve some human lives at the expense of other human lives. Several visionaries have said that following this decision, Our Lady’s mantle of protection was withdrawn from our country. On December 6, 2001, an alleged visionary named Judith (known to me personally) received this message from Mary: "Did you not know that in thinking you could create life, you have lost your soul? . . . Your nation, once strong and powerful (because she once trusted in God), has now been warned many, many times—yet she still is wayward. . . . You are a foolish and stubborn people. And by your actions, you have caused your own destruction. You put your foot upon the wrong path and your path has led to perdition. . . . And so I say to you now: Turn to my Son and ask for forgiveness, for there is one small grain of sand left in the hourglass of time. . . . Use this one small grain with wisdom and it will last a long time. Throw this small grain of sand away, and your time is limited. Be careful, my children, how you choose."
America and the world are being warned by Heaven, but unfortunately there’s no reason to believe the message is being taken seriously or even being heard—and the consequences could be disastrous. The war against terrorism, necessary as it may be, carries with it the grave danger of escalation—possibly involving the use of chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons. Tensions in the Middle East have rarely been higher, and because of that region’s religious, strategic,
and historical importance, a war between Israel and its enemies could quickly involve other nations. Here in our own country church attendance increased considerably after the World Trade Center disaster, but has since returned to pre-September 11 levels. There’s little evidence of national repentance or spiritual renewal. For instance, genetic research and experimentation continues unabated, the abortion industry conducts business as usual, corporate executives take advantage of stockholders and investors, and athletes and entertainers demonstrate new levels of greed and self-centeredness. America seems unable or unwilling to learn from the past. One glaring example is provided by the homosexual movement. For a time, the reality of AIDS imposed some limitations on gay sexual behavior, but now, according to some news reports, promiscuity and unprotected sex are once again becoming widespread among homosexuals.
According to some visionaries and locutionists, in addition to human cloning, the two sins today which offend Heaven the most are abortion and homosexuality. In regard to the latter, the above-mentioned visionary Judith was told by Our Lady, "Nations fell that lived this kind of life and . . . your United States will be no different. Once great and strong and protected by my mother’s love for her children, she is now weak and unprotected. If she continues to live this perverted life, she will be destroyed."
Jesus calls His followers to be a light shining in the darkness, and with the morally disastrous state of society today, the witness of Catholicism is more important than ever—but the Church in America has herself become a source of scandal. This terrible state of corruption was foretold long ago; the prophecy of St. Nilus, given in 1651, states that toward the middle of the 20th century, "Christian pastors, bishops, and priests will become vile men, completely failing to distinguish the right-hand way from the left. . . . Lust, adultery, homosexuality, secret deeds, and murder will rule in society." More recently, a cloistered nun in Ohio, Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil (who died in 2000), was warned by Our Lord of the coming scandals.

Countdown to the Warning/Fr. Joseph M. Esper/Part 2
   More recently, a cloistered nun in Ohio, Sister Mildred Mary Neuzil (who died in 2000) was warned by Our Lord of the coming scandals. In 1981 Jesus said to her, "Many unnatural acts are being committed in the name of love.  This evil is being disguised and tolerated as an intrinsic right like any other. Even some of My priests and consecrated virgins are being caught up in this web of evil -- not realizing the terrible consequences."  Another contemporary prophet was given a vision of Churches being closed because of a lack of priests; the Lord explained to her, "When I am through purifying the Church, there will be very few priests left to lead My children. When I am through, what will be left will be the ones who remain close to My Mother."
     America has lost her way, and the Church is failing--in spite of the best efforts of thousands of dedicated priests and bishops and millions of committed Christians--to bring about a moral renewal in our society. Therefore creation itself is seemingly protesting our rising level of immorality; the widespread droughts and destructive fires experienced throughout much of the country earlier this year are only the most recent examples of a long series of unprecedented natural disasters coinciding with American  society's fall from grace. Seven of the ten worst disasters in U.S. history have occurred in the last thirteen years. As Michael Brown demonstrates extensively in his book Sent To Earth, this is no coincidence; throughout history societal wickedness and perversion have triggered climatic upheavals. God's creation is good and orderly, and we cannot rebel against it without eventually provoking an unpleasant  and even disastrous response. Numerous signs of this harsh but inescapable truth are being given. For instance, twelve days after the September 11 attacks, an Aurora Borealis over Finland formed the amazing image of what looked like an enormous angel in red, holding a sword. The sword and the color red, of course, are traditional images of war (cf. Rev. 6:3-4), and this event is reminiscent of the 1938 Aurora Borealis which cast a reddish glow in the night sky over Europe--the "unknown light" Our Lady predicted at Fatima as a sign of imminent war. Furthermore, a great Aurora Borealis covered most of the continental United States on the evening of March 30, 2001; observers from across the country reported green and red lights flashing throughout the night sky.
     The color red also figures in unconfirmed reports of a newly-discovered tenth planet (Planet X), a dark star whose eccentric orbit (along with its mass, magnetism, and density) will have increasingly deleterious effects on earth's weather and volcanic and seismic activity. As it draws closer, Planet X,  viewed through earth's atmosphere, is expected to take on the appearance of a flaming red cross. Experts believe Planet X may seriously affect our weather if it passes close by earth. (It should be noted that so far it has disrupted the surface of every planet it's orbited for seven years preceding its passage--and since 1996, weather patterns here on earth have been changing, while instances of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have set new records.)
Though Planed X will not actually collide with earth, its magnetic effect is upsetting the normal gravitational balance between the earth and the sun; when it reaches its strongest magnetic pull on the earth, our planet is expected to cease its rotation for two or three days--a situation which could give rise to the  prophesied Three Days of Darkness. (It's said that NASA and officials of other governments are deliberately downplaying the existence of Planet X so as to avoid panicking the world's population.) Many traditional prophecies have spoken of a comet as an instrument of divine justice--and a revelation given to the earlier-mentioned visionary named Judith is instructive in this regard. Referring to a vision granted in 1998, God the Father said to her, "Did you not see Michael the Archangel and I, your Lord God, playing with a ball of fire? Did I not say to you at that time I will throw and toss the ball to Michael twice? And, my daughter, when I  toss this ball the third time, your world will be destroyed...That ball of fire was an asteroid. Twice it has come close enough to your earth to do terrible destruction. This destruction was explained away by your scientists, and you believed in them rather than in your God."
This prophecy seems to have been partially fulfilled. On June 14, 2000 an asteroid the size of a soccer field missed hitting the earth by a mere 75,000 miles; if it had struck the earth, millions of people could have been killed. On March 8, 2002 a sizable asteroid came within 288,000 miles of earth; especially frightening was the fact that, since it came from the direction of the sun (an astronomical blind spot), scientists did not observe it until four days after its passing.
     On July 25, 2002 Christina Gallagher received a message from Our Lady, which said in part, "You will be put to the test to choose between the evil one and God. Storms will affect many in the world--storms such as the world has not seen...Do not blame the evil one for what is your own weakness and your own desires....Coming to the world are many calamities to purify the stench of sin and evil." This message has a special relevance for the United States, for on an earlier occasion Christina had told a group of Americans, "God will never visit war upon your land because American people have been so generous--but because of your sins, your country will be punished by the elements and defeated by natural disasters." These words echo the earlier prophecy of the famous German stigmatist Therese Neumann, who stated in 1946 that the United States would never be invaded or conquered, but would be economically ruined by a series of natural disasters around the turn of the century

Countdown to the Warning/By Fr. Esper/Part 3
These and other similar prophecies are both timely and terrifying--but we always have reason for hope. God is best understood not as an angry Judge, but as a loving Father;  because He desires our eternal salvation. He desires our eternal salvation. He allows us to suffer the consequences of our sins if He has no other way to get our attention, and even then He is happy to restore us if we call out to Him in genuine sorrow. In a revelation given in 1879, a French nun said,  "Does not God Himself sometimes seem to change the order of His plans? For example, it may happen that God wishes to chastise a kingdom, a province, or a person. That is the intention He seems to manifest. But by prayers or other means taken by that country, province or person to disarm God's anger, He may grant full forgiveness or a partial remission of His designs according to His infinite wisdom. Often He also allows events to be foretold, or He gives knowledge of them to some souls so that they may warn others and appease His vengeance. His mercy is so great that He only punishes in the very last extremity."
   Why hasn't the Warning already occurred? How long will the Lord wait? How much worse can things get?
      It's in this context that we should understand the Warning. It's ultimately not an act of judgment, but of mercy; the Lord desires that as many sinners repent and be saved as possible. A possible question or objection might be raised: Why are we apparently on the verge of an unprecedented act by God--a divine intervention of mercy not granted to any other age? The answer is one parents might easily understand. If a family has five children, and four of them are more-or-less well-behaved, but the fifth is always getting into trouble and crying out for attention and seeking reassurance, which one will receive the most time and effort and love? Obviously the fifth child--the one who challenges and worries and upsets the parents the most. Loving parents will bend over backwards to help their troubled children; the intensity of true love's response depends in part on how desperately it's needed. That, I believe, is how God is responding to our generation; we are more urgently in need of His mercy and grace than any other age in human history, and so He will perform a spiritual miracle for us of a type and on a scale never before seen.
     This being the case, still another question or objection can be raised: Why hasn't the Warning already occurred? How long will the Lord wait? How much worse can things get? There's good reason to believe that the Warning and other prophesied events were already to have taken place, but were delayed by sufficient prayer and penance (in line with the above-quoted revelation given to the French nun). I'd also like to suggest three other possible reasons (which somewhat overlap) why the Warning hasn't yet happened. First of all, God is infinitely more patient than we are. The 2nd Letter of Peter says, "The Lord does not delay His promise, as some regard 'delay,' but He is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (3:9). Peter was writing of the Second Coming of Jesus, but his words may also apply in  a secondary manner to the timing of the Warning; God is patiently delaying it until the moment when it will do the most good. Secondly, God sees the big picture, unlike us. We read the headlines about all the violence and evil in the world, but He looks into human hearts and finds the hidden goodness that we don't see or hear about or suspect--and perhaps there's been enough of this goodness so far to delay or mitigate the events to come.
     Thirdly, God may very well be saving the Warning for the point when human immorality has peaked, when literally nothing further can be done by the Church to convert sinners. The Lord prefers to work through us as much as possible--so if the world hasn't yet reached the point where He must intervene directly by means of the Warning, this means we still have time to help convert sinners by means of our prayers, good example, and acts of penance. In this regard, we should be like the faithful servants whom the Master finds busy on His return (Lk 12:36-38); the fact that we know the Warning is coming doesn't mean we can give up our own efforts on behalf of sinners.
     No one knows the exact course of future events, but a number of scenarios (based on private revelations and informed speculation) have been suggested.
These include in no particular order~~
*  stock market crash and/or the collapse of the economy,
*  social unrest, increasing acts of terrorism and ever-widening warfare,
*  a loss of civil liberties and individual privacy,
*  a schism in the Church and a possible religious persecution,
*  widespread epidemics and the arrival of new and unknown diseases,
*  increasingly frightening and unpredictable weather patterns,
*  numerous and ever-more destructive natural disasters.
     All of these tragedies are unnecessary, and can be mitigated or prevented by sufficient repentance, prayer and acts of penance. The Warning  (and also the Miracle), however is certain to take place, and could occur at any point in the above sequence. What little we know about its timing suggests that it will somehow be associated with the letter A (an asteroid?) and linked to a solar prodigy, with a Cross visible in the sky throughout the world. One alleged visionary states that three days before the Warning, there will be another Aurora Borealis in the sky; the day before the Warning, all animals will fall silent; and moments before the Warning occurs, everyone will see his or her guardian angel as a form of spiritual strengthening and preparation.
     When might this happen? No one knows for sure. the Warning could presumably occur any time now--and in light of the state of today's world, it's hard to envision it being delayed beyond another year or two at most.
Countdown to the Warning/ Fr. Esper/ Part 4/end of article


What preparations can we make for the Warning? First of all, we must be
personally ready. This means in or being restored to a state of
grace---something we should already be doing. If we're aware of serous sin, or
if it's been a while since our last Confession, now is the time to receive the
Sacrament; this will make our experience of the Warning much easier. We might
specially pray to be ready and open to God's personal message to us during the
Warning, so as to see our faults and to understand and remember exactly what we
need to do to overcome them. If we use it as such, the Warning can be a major
boost or assist in our own personal quest for holiness.

We should also make plans to assist our family members, relatives and
friends, and fellow parishioners once the Warning has occurred. Many people will
be in a state of "spiritual shock," trying to make sense of a very frightening
and spiritually upsetting experience. They'll need our assistance and
support--so now is the time to begin stockpiling useful or necessary items to
distribute: religious books, simple written descriptions of the Warning and
reassurances of God's mercy, video and audio cassettes on religious themes,
holy cards, rosaries, scapulars, medals, catechisms, prayer books, and other
such materials and resources. (Some of these things might be ordered through
this magazine, Signs & Wonders- -- or obtained from Tan Books &
Publishers, the Mary Foundation, or available at your local religious goods

A locutionist in Connecticut received a message in 1996 stating that when
the Warning occurs, Mary's children will recover quickly from their shock, and
must then go to their parishes to assist their pastors minister to the large
crowds of people who, in their confusion and fear, will be seeking help from the
Church. Therefore, when the time comes, immediately head for your church and
begin ministering to people in whatever way you can. (It will probably be
impossible to reach anyone at you parish office by phone immediately after the
Warning--so simply go there directly and, if you get the chance, ask how you
can help; if there's no one in authority to ask, let the Holy Spirit guide you.)
You might distribute the religious items and materials you've acquired in
advance, or offer words of greeting to those coming to the church, or express
words of reassurance to those waiting in line for Confession'; you might also
direct those who've just received the Sacrament to a sign-in sheet, for having a
list of everyone who comes to church (especially all the inactive Catholics, and
those who've never registered in the parish) will facilitate follow-up efforts
in the weeks and months to come. Many people may fall back into their religious
indifference unless the parish conducts some sort of outreach; this can involve
study groups, adult catechism classes, sacramental preparation programs for
children, prayer meetings, and other similar events. Start thinking now about
how you might be involved in these efforts, and begin gathering the necessary
resources; if possible, work together with a few friends or fellow parishioners
who share your beliefs on this subject. Your pastor will be extremely busy after
the Warning, and chances are he'll welcome your offer to help in whatever way
you can--especially if you've done some advance planning and preparation.


In addition to preparing for the Warning, there are also things we should be
doing for our own spiritual growth and protection, and in response to Heaven's
many messages calling for prayer and penance. We should consecrate our families
and homes to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, pray the Rosary every day, go to
Confession regularly, attend Mass and receive Communion a least once a week (and
more often than that, if possible); foster a devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary
and other saints; fast or perform some other act of penance at least once a
week, for the conversion of sinners, for the salvation of the dying, and for the
safety and well being of the Holy Father and of all members of the Church.
Prayer changes things, and we may still have time to lessen or delay some of the
minor chastisements expected before the Warning occurs.

A final note: Because we are God's children, we needn't fear anything; as
St. Paul reminds us, nothing can separate us from Christ's love (cf. Rom.
8:38-39) Therefore, we are able to look to the future in a trusting spirit.
Through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord announced, "I know well the plans I have
in mind for you, says the Lord, for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you
a future full of hope" (29:11). According to St. Paul, "hope will not leave
us disappointed, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts
through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us" (Rom. 5:5). Our openness to
the Holy Spirit's guidance and protection will make all the difference--whether
it's in regard to the scandals and difficulties the Church is experiencing., the
shock of the Warning and other prophesied events, or our own daily struggles and
disappointments. All things work for the good of those who love God (cf. Rom.
8:28) --and so we know that all the events now unfolding can ultimately lead us
to an everlasting experience of love and peace and joy.