You can make any number of things out of the message — the words spoken by the Blessed Virgin Mary last week on the fortieth anniversary of her appearances in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Hercegovina.
No “alleged” needed here, at least not for the first days in June of 1981 upon which the commemoration is based — for a Vatican Commission, after years-long, painstaking investigation, determined that the first seven days at least were indeed authentic visitation by the Mother of Jesus.
Back in those early days, the Virgin warned that “darkness reigns over the whole world,” “a great struggle is about to unfold, a struggle between my Son and Satan,” “this is the hour of the power of darkness,” and “the hour has come when the demon is authorized to act with all his force and power.”
She emphasized that with God, there is no fear. That we should go forward with all confidence in the Lord, that especially with prayer and fasting, we win. But she also added:
“Satan is strong and is waiting to test each one of you.”
That was four decades ago and now on June 25, 2021 came a monthly message of similar gravity:
“Dear children!” she said Friday, as thousands returned to the apparition site. “My heart is joyful because through these years I see your love and openness to my call. Today I am calling all of you: pray with me for peace and freedom, because Satan is strong and by his deception, wants to lead away all the more hearts from my motherly heart. That is why decide for God so that it may be good for you on the earth which God gave you. Thank you for having responded to my call.”
There it was again: “Satan is strong” — a precise iteration of what she said in 1981.
What did she mean by “the earth which God gave you”? Was she again alluding to preservation of His Creation, of nature, of the environment?
In 1991 was a very similar message. “Satan is strong and desires to destroy not only human life, but also nature and the planet on which you live.”
Said the seer Vicka Ivankovic years ago, in an interview, “Satan is actively trying to destroy this planet, the environment, and even nature. These actions of Satan bring great suffering and hardship. Only through prayer and fasting can he be stopped.”
On March 25, 1990, the Blessed Mother had also said, “God wants to save you and sends you messages through men, nature, and so many things which can only help you to understand that you must change the direction of your life.”
There was that word “nature” again, but in this instance, as a means of signs.
Indeed, since 1981, year after year, week after week, we have witnessed the intensification of portents, too many to summarize.
In the current moment, there is heat, Oregon and the state of Washington recording the hottest temperatures ever there, up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. On a Soviet slice of the Arctic, meanwhile, a “ground temperature” of more than 110 degrees was registered (actual air temperature in the eighties). Precisely one year ago, on June 20, 2020, the same region of Siberia recorded the first 100 degree air temperature — another record. The water in Lake Mead in Nevada is diminishing precipitously — heralding what many climatologists increasingly believe is a historic mega-drought (much larger and longer, if so, than the Dust Bowl a century ago).
Tornadoes are ripping through European villages unaccustomed to such winds.
There is heavy hail in Munich.
The heatwave in the U.S. West is competing with one on the East Coast as summer unfolds — and sizzles.
Some are even wondering if the collapse of the 12-story condo building in the Miami area might be at least in part from the erosion of seawater intrusion as fresh groundwater is depleted and oceans rise.
We know we are in a different time — not only by the weather, but the bizarre way folks on all sides are comporting themselves: the anger, the divisiveness, the moral disorientation. And so Satan is strong, when we let him be strong, and “signs of the times” continue to unfold.
Reported Blooomberg last week: “Unstoppable drought is rolling over California and the Western U.S. once again, as it has with little interruption since the new century began. Nearly 98% of land across 11 Western states is abnormally dry, and more than 90% is covered by some category of drought—the worst levels in the U.S. Drought Monitor’s 21-year history. Reservoirs have drained to their bottoms, leaving bath-tub rings on their shorelines. Rivers reduced to trickles are setting off conflicts for dwindling water rights. Millions of acres of trees and shrubs have turned from shade to fuel for the out-of-control blazes everyone predicts will come.
“As far as drought goes, this is the big one, especially if we are talking about the broader drought across the whole Southwest,” says Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California Los Angeles. “By a lot of metrics, it is the most severe drought on record.”
(And comets? “A comet unlike any other in recorded history is on a trajectory to zip through the inner solar system in less than a decade, but like most space rocks that make the news, it isn’t anything to lose sleep over,” reports Accuweather. “Comet 2014 UN271 was observed during a mission called the Dark Energy Survey back in 2014, but skywatchers didn’t realize that the data gathered was showing a comet until mid-June of this year. It is estimated to be between 60 and 230 miles wide, which could make it the largest comet ever discovered, EarthSky said.”)
[Footnote: Message for the World Day of Peace, Pope Saint John Paul II, “Peace with God the Creator, Peace with all of creation” (1990): “In our day, there is a growing awareness that world peace is threatened not only by the arms race, regional conflicts and continued injustices among peoples and nations, but also by a lack of due respect for nature, by the plundering of natural resources and by a progressive decline in the quality of life. (…) Faced with the widespread destruction of the environment, people everywhere are coming to understand that we cannot continue to use the goods of the earth as we have in the past. (…) The gradual depletion of the ozone layer and the related “greenhouse effect” [global warming] has now reached crisis proportions as a consequence of industrial growth, massive urban concentrations and vastly increased energy needs. Industrial waste, the burning of fossil fuels, unrestricted deforestation, the use of certain types of herbicides, coolants and propellants: all of these are known to harm the atmosphere and environment. The resulting meteorological and atmospheric changes range from damage to health to the possible future submersion of low-lying lands. (…) The ecological crisis reveals the urgent moral need for a new solidarity, especially in relations between the developing nations and those that are highly industrialized. (…) When the ecological crisis is set within the broader context of the search for peace within society, we can understand better the importance of giving attention to what the earth and its atmosphere are telling us: namely, that there is an order in the universe which must be respected, and that the human person, endowed with the capability of choosing freely, has a grave responsibility to preserve this order for the well-being of future generations. I wish to repeat that the ecological crisis is a moral issue. (…)”]