Prophecies I - My History
Holy Spirit, please guide my language.
When I was a child, I found a booklet in the back of my church. It was the story of Our Lady of Fatima as written by Sr. Lucia.
I was pretty young at this point. I had probably only just made my 1st Communion. However, I was blessed with a very fervent love of Our Lady from my earliest days, so when I saw this free booklet with such a pretty picture of her on the front, I couldn't wait to read it!
What's more, I learned that this was the story of the Blessed Mother coming down from Heaven to TALK to us! I don't think my little heart could have been more excited! I don't think I even knew that she did that sort of thing.
Anyway, this was probably the birth of my interest in visionaries. For many years, Fatima and Lourdes were the only two instances I knew of that Our Lady appeared. However, I could read about them / hear of them over and over again. The idea of the Blessed Mother coming down and speaking to her children filled me with so much joy, and it made perfect sense. Of COURSE she'd want to come down to give us little lessons of faith. Of COURSE she'd want to bequeath to us special graces in the form of "proofs" and healing waters.
It wasn't until I was in High School that I came to know Our Lady wasn't just keeping busy in Fatima and Lourdes. She was running all over the place!!!
One particular set of apparitions really drew me in - those of Garabandal. At first, I sort of rolled my eyes and poo-poohed the idea of the Blessed Mother being among us in this generation. It took me a long time of reading the revelations and learning the back stories of the visionaries before I finally said, "Okay... there may actually be something to this."
So I delved into the messages more and more. Considering I wasn't exactly a Catholic at this point, the messages and revelations were merely interesting suggestions for what the future might hold... fairy tales that were more interesting than the scientific theories only because Our Lady was the central character.
I didn't exactly "disbelieve" the revelations. I simply expected them to be in the far-off future. However, something always gnawed at me on that score. I felt an urgency that I wrote off as foolishness.
"Gina," I'd tell myself, "you're being ridiculous. Stop believing everything you read."
So I'd ignore the urgency and convince myself that the messages of repentance and prayer weren't really for me so much as for future generations. I mean, I could pray a thousand times a day and the effects wouldn't be for me so much as for my great-great-great-grandchildren, ya know?
All of that changed, however, just before my reversion.
The more I read, the more began to question my own understanding of Catholicism. The more I read, the more I realized that I couldn't escape the fact that Our Lady was trying to speak to ALL of her children and that we needed to start listening YESTERDAY.
In an effort to console myself, I began looking for discrediting information. Some of the messages seemed to conflict with one another, and the wording just seemed... off. However, I figured that the messages were important enough to warrant an open, honest heart, so I prayed a rosary for discernment (falling back on the lesson I learned in that Fatima booklet regarding the power of the Rosary to those who use it to call upon Mary's intercession).
That rosary became my Conversion Rosary.
With it, I felt a fire return to my soul. Our Lady heard my call for help and rushed to my aid. She also obtained from the Holy Spirit discernment for my disbelieving heart.
The next day, I learned that the Bayside prophecies were rejected by the Church. I fully believe that Veronica, the visionary, was granted great graces by Our Lady, but I also believe that those surrounding her (even another visionary!) began using their privileged place for their own purposes, thus sullying the reputation of ALL Bayside prophecies.
As a result of this, I ceased my research regarding Bayside (now content that there was too much contrary information to find the complete Truth). I then asked Our Lady to direct me somewhere to really hear her messages.
I knew at that point she wanted to teach me something. I just had no idea what it was. So, at a loss, I turned to both her and the Holy Spirit.
Up until my reversion, the Holy Spirit was always just "that Guy." Like an extra piece in a jig-saw puzzle, I knew He fit, I just weren't sure what I got wrong that made it seem that He didn't.
So I prayed. Discernment and wisdom were what I prayed for. I wasn't looking for a direct line to His vast stores of knowledge, but I knew that He'd be the one able to lead me to the information I was looking for.
Within 24 hours of that SOS to the Holy Spirit, I was given direction. It happened so quickly that I actually felt ashamed for not having spoken to Him sooner. I thought, "Wow... everyone's so wrapped up in speaking to God the Father or Jesus that You must get forgotten a lot. Yet here You are, so eager to help that You fall over Yourself to answer my tiny request. I'm coming to You for the big stuff from now one!"
Seriously, though, we would do well to remember that the Holy Spirit is the "Mighty One" spoken of in the Divine Mercy chaplet. He is the one who endows us with special gifts and graces. He is the one tasked with protecting and guiding us while we remain on earth.
Anyway, I was granted two websites of incredible value. The first was a list of saints and beati who were granted the grace of visions and locutions. The second was the online version of St. Faustina's Diary (which truly grounded and directed my blossoming faith).
To be continued in Prophecies II - The Warning