In 1776 our nation declared its independence from Great Britain. As it happens, in that same year an historian in Europe named Alexander Fraser Tyler offered a warning that has become highly relevant to America’s future. In researching his book The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Empire, Tyler discovered a pattern or cycle in the rise and fall of societies and nations. The cycle is as follows: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from great courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; and from dependency back again to bondage.
Tyler discovered from his study of history that the average length of time for this cycle to unfold was approximately 200 years. America has so far exceeded this time frame by almost four decades—but, as should be obvious to any knowledgeable observer, the United States is nearing the end of this cycle. Examples of the steadily growing numbers of Americans dependent on government subsidies and handouts, and of the increasing threats to our political and religious freedoms, are too numerous to mention here; suffice it to say that the Founding Fathers would be appalled at many of the conditions in today’s society that we’ve come to take for granted. For most of her history, America was indeed a “shining light on a hill,” inspiring millions of poor and oppressed persons throughout the world to leave their homelands and come here to hope and work for a better life for themselves and their families. God’s blessing was indeed upon our country, resulting in unprecedented freedom, security, and prosperity. For the last half-century or so, however, we’ve been squandering our patrimony, rejecting our national heritage, and racing toward moral bankruptcy—and the day of reckoning is fast approaching.
Historical Dates and Coincidences
There are many interesting “coincidences” in history; these involve significant dates and patterns which become apparent only in retrospect. For instance, in 1689 Jesus instructed St. Margaret Mary Alacoque to ask King Louis XIV of France to dedicate his kingdom His Sacred Heart. Our Lord promised that this act would ensure peace and prosperity for the kingdom, but warned that a failure to obey would lead to calamity. The king ignored this message, and exactly one century later the violent and disastrous French Revolution broke out, resulting in the overthrow of the monarchy, the persecution of the Church in France, and great hardships for most of the French people. (Continuing this 100 year cycle, 1889 saw the birth of Adolf Hitler, one of history’s most murderous and destructive tyrants; 1989, however, marked the peaceful disintegration of Soviet rule in Eastern Europe and the liberation of millions of persons—a demonstration of God’s power to intervene decisively in human history on behalf of His people.)
Further examples of historical coincidences can be found in the many important dates in World War II that occurred on Marian feast days: for instance, the British defeated the German aerial assault known as the Battle of Britain on September 15, 1940—the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows; the United States declared on Japan on December 8, 1941 (one day after the Pearl Harbor attack)—the Feast of the Immaculate Conception; the atomic bomb was tested in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945—the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel; and after their cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were destroyed by atomic bombs, the Japanese agreed to surrender on August 15, 1945—the feast of Our Lady’s Assumption.
More ominously, an “unholy” or diabolical historical pattern can be found in these three years: 1517, 1717, and 1917—each of which represents a major assault on the unity and authority of the Catholic Church. 1517 marked the beginning of the so-called Protestant “Reformation,” which tragically divided Western Christianity even to this day. In 1717 the secret society commonly known as Freemasonry was officially established—an organization that, in conjunction with the Illuminati, has consistently denigrated, opposed, and worked to infiltrate and undermine Catholicism. (Most members of Masonry see only the fraternal and charitable activities it uses to disguise its true nature, and are unaware of its diabolical origin and purpose. The Church, however, has never been deceived in this regard; the popes have officially condemned Freemasonry over 200 times, and Catholics are still forbidden to join the Masons.)
1917, of course, was the year of horrific Russian Revolution, which overthrew the tsarist government and imposed the world’s first communist regime upon the long-suffering Russian people. Shortly before this event, Our Lady warned at Fatima that Russia would “spread her errors” throughout the world—a prophecy that was tragically fulfilled. The rise of communism, and the spread of abortion (first legalized on a widespread scale in the former Soviet Union) helped make the 20th century the bloodiest in world history; religious believers in particular were imprisoned, tortured, and murdered by the millions—and even after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, communism continues to enslave and oppress untold numbers throughout the world.
A Tragic 40th Anniversary
As even a cursory examination shows, there are important numerical patterns to be discovered in history—and that raises an obvious question: are there any historical patterns or cycles with the potential to affect us here in the United States in the immediate future? One obvious example immediately comes to mind: the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. On January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court in effect invalidated all federal and state laws protecting unborn children from abortion—resulting in the slaughter of (so far) over 57 million innocent and defenseless human beings in their mothers’ wombs.
As it happens, forty is a highly-significant biblical number. At the time of the Great Flood, for example, it rained for forty days and forty nights. The patriarch Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah. For forty years the Israelites ate manna in the desert. Moses spent forty days and forty nights in the presence of God on Mount Sinai. King David reigned for forty years; the prophet Elijah walked for forty days and nights when summoned by God to Mount Horeb. Jonah warned the Ninevites that their city would be destroyed in forty days unless they repented. Finally, Jesus fasted in the desert for forty days and nights before His public ministry, and after His Resurrection, appeared to the apostles and taught them over the course of forty days before ascending to Heaven.
Thus, we see that the number forty can represent not only a time of grace and divine favor, but also a period of testing and preparation; this biblical number can also stand for both an opportunity for repentance, and—if necessary—a time of punishment, chastisement, and cleansing. Can any faithful Catholic seriously doubt that our country is about to experience divine judgment for its many sins against human life and dignity? Will the cries of over 55 million martyrs in the womb be unheard by God, or go unavenged? In regard to abortion, our nation has been rebelliously wandering in the wilderness of sin and abomination for more than four decades now. The Lord said of the Israelites in the desert, “Forty years I loathed that generation. . . . Therefore I swore in My anger: They shall not enter into My rest” (Ps. 95:10-11). Our sins of murder in the womb, along with other forms of violence, sexual immorality, arrogance, greed, and idolatry, are far greater than the transgressions of ancient Israel. Can we honestly expect that America will somehow be exempt from divine judgment and justice?
In several contemporary alleged private revelations, Jesus and Mary warn that unless our nation soon repents and ceases its war on the unborn, Our Lord Himself will directly intervene to bring an end to abortion in our country. (Some revelations suggest this will occur through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe.) Can we reasonably hope, in light of our national willingness to flout divine law, that such an intervention will involve a minimum of pain and disruption? Will the horrible and corrosive effects of over forty years of legalized murder in the womb be overcome quickly and easily? Rather than celebrating the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (as many Americans did), this ominous and malignant milestone should have prompted all Americans to reflect on the words of Thomas Jefferson, who warned, “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just [and] that His justice cannot sleep forever. . . .”
Scripture tells us that “The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but the dwelling of the just He blesses; when He is dealing with the arrogant, He is stern, but to the humble He shows kindness” (Prv. 3:34). On this basis, America is certainly at risk of imminent divine judgment. Many alleged messages and private revelations warn of various coming chastisements, and one of these possible punishments, if and when it occurs, is rooted in an event that occurred over 100 years ago.
Legislation establishing the Federal Reserve was signed into law on December 23, 1913. Several years before this, a select group of important government officials, wealthy industrialists, and influential financiers met in the greatest secrecy at Jekyll Island in Georgia to lay the groundwork for a central bank—an act clearly contrary to the wishes and advice of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other Founding Fathers. Indeed, the Constitution, in Article I, Section 8, reserves to Congress the power to coin money and regulate its value—but a stated purpose of the Federal Reserve System is to regulate economic cycles by expanding or contracting the quantity of money and credit. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, the Federal Reserve is not a branch of the U.S. government, but an independent (i.e., privately owned) bank operating without accountability to the American people and their representatives. All recent legislative efforts to provide for an audit of the Fed, as it’s called, have been quashed; as one commentator noted, we know more about the structure and operation of the CIA (the highly secretive Central Intelligence Agency) than we do about the Federal Reserve.
This unconstitutional state of affairs might be more tolerable if the Fed were indeed successfully protecting the value of our currency and aiding the growth and expansion of the national economy—but the opposite is the case, as witnessed by the fact that since the Federal Reserve was established in 1913, the U.S. dollar has lost roughly 95% of its purchasing power. In light of the huge government “bailouts” of the banking industry and other private companies, the wasteful “stimulus” spending and pork-barrel projects, an unimaginably gigantic and ever-growing national debt (one far too large ever to be repaid), the financial “time-bomb” of growing unfunded future liabilities in the Social Security and Medicare programs, out-of-control government spending resulting in annual deficits of more than $1 trillion, increasing difficulty in finding purchasers for government debt instruments (needed for the 40 cents of every dollar of government spending provided by borrowing), and the likely imminent loss of the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency (causing a major rise in prices for all foreign-made products purchased by American consumers), this trend of an ever-weakening dollar can only continue—and will likely accelerate. Furthermore, in 1971—a bit over 40 years ago—the United States went off the gold standard, making the dollar a fiat (paper) currency with no intrinsic value. This fact is highly ominous and significant because there is no case in history of an unbacked, or paper, currency retaining its value over the long run.
Today an increasing number of financial commentators and experts are warning of the very real danger of hyperinflation—a sudden and unstoppable downward spiral in the value of the dollar, in which the savings of a lifetime can be rendered worthless literally overnight. This phenomenon occurred in post-World War I Germany (where a wheelbarrow-full of money was eventually needed just to purchase a loaf of bread), and led to vast social disruption and widespread economic impoverishment (while helping set the stage for the rise of Hitler’s Nazi party). If and when hyperinflation comes to the United States, all dollar-denominated financial instruments (including bank accounts, pensions, annuities, IRAs, insurance policies, stock market portfolios and similar investments, and other paper assets) will rapidly lose their value, leaving the majority of Americans who lack hard assets (gold, silver, stockpiles of food and water, and various other items or skills suitable for bartering) in an untenable economic condition.
In such a crisis, the government will likely continue issuing Social Security checks and other welfare payments, technically fulfilling its obligations—but these will lose all monetary value. With roughly half our nation’s citizens currently receiving or dependent on some form of government assistance, and many other Americans living paycheck to paycheck, state and local social agencies and private or religious charitable organizations will quickly be overwhelmed. As the economy collapses, widespread rioting, looting, and other forms of crime and violence can be expected. Martial law may be imposed—but it’s also possible that a federal government unable to pay its debts will no longer be able to maintain a large and effective military force, leaving us vulnerable to our enemies.
Due in no small measure to the creation of the Federal Reserve just over 100 years ago, the way of life to which most Americans have become accustomed may very likely soon be ending. A coming economic collapse and its probable consequences—including societal disintegration, a breakdown in morality and normal standards of behavior, a degraded ability on the part of society to care for the poor and the victims of natural disasters, growing vulnerability to foreign enemies and domestic terrorists, and the imposition of martial law with its accompanying loss of political and civic liberty—may in fact be part of the chastisement God imposes upon a sinful and rebellious nation. Our Heavenly Father is concerned not with our well-being and comfort in this life, but with our eternal salvation—and if chastisements of this sort are the only way millions of people will turn back to Him, we as a nation leave Him little choice but to impose or allow them. The Lord does not necessarily have to inflict punishment upon us; He need only withdraw His protection from America (as several alleged messages suggest He has already done)—and then the already-planted seeds of destruction will bear their poisonous fruit.
Approaching the 100th Anniversary of Fatima
While one hundred is not necessarily a biblical number to the same degree that forty is, this number nevertheless has a certain significance. Civilizations and historians often measure the passage of time in terms of centuries, and a one hundred-year period can represent an important stage in the unfolding of God’s plan (as in the example mentioned above, in which Louis XVI of France was overthrown and later executed exactly one century after his great-grandfather Louis XIV ignored a message from Heaven). In this light, we might look upon 2017—the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions—as something of a milestone, or deadline, for humanity and for the Church.
The famous mystical experience of Pope Leo XIII—in which, during a trance, he heard Jesus—in response to Satan’s boast that within a hundred years he could destroy the Church—grant the devil a century of increased power to unleash his assault—occurred on October 13, 1884. (It was immediately after this revelation—in which Our Lord also promised that the Church would emerge from this trial more glorious than ever—that Pope Leo composed the famous Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel.) In retrospect, it’s obvious this “century of peril” didn’t actually begin immediately (perhaps because Leo’s successor, Pope St. Pius X, won a delay, or breathing space, for the Church due to his vigorous opposition to the heresy of Modernism). A number of expert commentators suggest the century of increased satanic power began immediately after the last of Our Lady’s apparitions at Fatima—and in fact, Our Lady’s final appearance there occurred on October 13, 1917—exactly 33 years after Pope Leo’s vision (with 33, of course, representing the number of years of Our Lord’s earthly life).
If this theory is correct—and it makes sense in light of the fact that just a few weeks after October 13, 1917, the calamitous Russian Revolution occurred (following Our Lady’s revelation to the three shepherd children that, if the world did not repent, Russia would be God’s chosen instrument to chastise sinful nations)—then the time of Satan’s power as the “prince of this world” (Jn. 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) is rapidly drawing to a close. This would, of course, be reason to celebrate—except for the fact that Russia has seemingly not yet been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the manner Our Lady requested at Fatima. This is an urgent matter because Our Lord revealed to Sr. Lucia, one of the Fatima visionaries, that, as a way of honoring His Mother’s Immaculate Heart, He would not bring about the promised era of peace until this had been done.
(The question of whether in fact the requested consecration has taken place is certainly a controversial one, with learned and sincere adherents on both sides of the issue. Rather than exploring it in depth, let us focus on two simple facts. First, Pope John Paul II’s consecration of March 25, 1984 did not mention Russia specifically, but instead referred to “those whose act of dedication you too await in a particular way”—a veiled reference to Russia, indicating the Holy Father’s awareness that Our Lady’s request was still to be fulfilled. Second, if that consecration did in fact meet Heaven’s conditions, then we should already be experiencing a “certain period of period” as promised by Our Lady at Fatima—and yet no one can credibly make such a claim. Following the miraculous imprint of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on St. Juan Diego’s tilma in 1531—a miracle involving only a few direct witnesses—some eight million Mexican Indians converted to Catholicism within the next decade. Isn’t it reasonable to assume that the far-more spectacular “Miracle of the Sun” witnessed by 70,000 persons as a validation of Our Lady’s Fatima messages would—once the requested consecration of Russia had been accomplished—bring about even greater results than occurred in 16th century Mexico?)
The part of the “Third Secret” of Fatima revealed in 2000 describes a vision of a “bishop dressed in white” (an unspecified future pope) being killed by a band of soldiers using bullets and arrows, along with the murder of many other bishops, priests, and lay persons. A reasonable interpretation is that this refers to Pope Francis, should he fail to perform the required consecration in time. (The act of consecration performed by the Holy Father earlier this month undoubtedly has great spiritual value, but once again, there was no specific mention of Russia, as the Blessed Mother requested.) What do we mean by “in time”? Very simply, the consecration must be performed before it becomes physically impossible to do so—perhaps because of widespread natural disasters, persecution of the Church, a schism (in which many bishops disobey the Pope), or even the sudden (though brief) resurgence and triumph of communism throughout much of the world. It’s reasonable to assume that 2017—the 100th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions and messages—represents a firm deadline in this regard, with horrendous results in store for the world, and the Church itself, should a century pass without obedience to Our Lady’s request.
Fortunately, Our Lady had predicted during her apparition of July 13, 1917 that “in the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” This good news does not automatically mean, however, that in the meantime all potential dangers will be averted. According to Sr. Lucia, in 1931 the Lord told her, “They [the Holy Father and his advisors] did not want to heed My request. Like the King of France [Louis XVI], they will repent and do so, but it will be late [emphasis added]. Russia will already have spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer!” A few years after the French Revolution broke out in 1789, Louis XVI attempted from his prison cell to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart, but the deadline had passed—and so this sincere but belated attempt did not spare him from the loss of first his throne and then his life. Likewise, if the Holy Father waits until after 2017 to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart, there may well be unnecessarily tragic consequences for the Church and for humanity as a whole.
What Can We Expect, and What Can We Do?
These next few months and years will likely be among the most fateful ones in history not only for the United States of America, but also for the world, and for the Church. Many recent alleged prophecies and messages speak of important events that may very well be imminent. For instance, the visionaries of Medjugorje have each supposedly received ten secrets from Our Lady, many of which—in line with the overriding theme of an urgent need for repentance, prayer, and sacrifice—apparently foretell potential chastisements. Even more precisely, the alleged visionaries of Garabandal were told back in the early 1960s of a future, worldwide spiritual event called the Warning (in which each person on earth would simultaneously see the state of his or her soul, and know whether, if he or she were to die at that moment, heaven, hell, or purgatory would be merited), followed by another heaven-sent event called the Miracle (which would occur in Spain in the vicinity of Garabandal). Other alleged messages have also since spoken of these events, whose purpose will be to prompt vast numbers of conversions. Only if the majority of humanity refuses to repent will a great chastisement (commonly identified as the Three Days of Darkness) be necessary to cleanse the earth of sin and usher in the era of peace (that is, the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart).
Mari Loli, one of the Garabandal visionaries (who died in 2009), is said to have stated on several occasions that the Warning will occur in an even-numbered year. Jesus has allegedly revealed to visionary John Leary that the Warning will take place during the American football season, and Irish mystic Christina Gallagher claims to have been told by heaven that it will occur some year during the month of February (which, in fact, is when the football season ends with the Super Bowl). Moreover, the visionaries of Garabandal have stated quite explicitly that the Miracle will occur within one year of the Warning, and will take place on a Thursday in either March, April, or May (on the 8th through the 16th of the month). Additionally, it’s believed there will be much suffering, disruption, and turmoil throughout the world—presumably including financial difficulties, famines, natural disasters, epidemics, wars, a schism in the Church, religious persecution, and a sudden but temporary victory of communism—before the Warning occurs. While it’s probably impossible to construct an exact timeline, we might tentatively speculate that the Warning may occur in February 2016. The exact year would, of course, be based on the pace of events—for prayers, sacrifices, and acts of reparation (especially Masses of Reparation) can mitigate and delay coming chastisements, thereby potentially shortening the time of peril leading up the era of peace.
What should we do to prepare for such coming events? Five suggestions come to mind. First of all, stay (or become) informed about the signs of the times. The mainstream media (and even talk radio) will be of limited help in this regard (other than providing an occasional piece of the puzzle). Instead, read and subscribe to magazines such as Signs & Wonders and The Fatima Crusader (and share them with others), and use websites such as sign.org. Also, look for good Catholic and Christian books that can give you a better perspective on the times in which we live. (Several good examples would be The Thunder of Justice, by Ted and Maureen Flynn; Suddenly and Unexpectedly, by T. Michael Fahy; The Harbinger, by Jonathan Cahn; and my own Spiritual Dangers of the 21st Century and Defiance!)
Secondly, make prudent material preparations in case of an economic collapse. This especially means storing several months’ worth of food and water, along with other needed material items. However, this must be done in a spirit of trust, not fear. The Lord has promised in many alleged messages that as long as we’ve made some minimal preparations, and assuming we’re willing to share what we have with those in need, He will multiply our provisions, if necessary.
Thirdly, obtain sacramentals and other needed religious items, including Bibles, prayer books, holy water, blessed salt, St. Benedict medals, scapulars, religious pictures, and the like. These can be a source of reassurance and spiritual protection—but they may not be readily available in the future (especially if, as many alleged prophecies state, a schism in the Church and a religious persecution occur in the next few years).
Fourthly, network with other faithful Catholics who believe as you do. Form prayer groups; share ideas and discuss current events in the world and the Church; and, if possible, ask you pastor or another priest you know to offer Masses of Reparation for the sins of our nation. (Over 250 such Masses are offered for this intention throughout our country on the third Monday of each month at 7pm EST—though, of course, they can be held at any convenient time. According to some alleged private revelations, these Masses have already mitigated or delayed some chastisements and resulted in many conversions.)
Lastly, live the message of Fatima—by praying (especially the Rosary) for the conversion of sinners, by doing penance and offering sacrifices for the moral and spiritual renewal of our country, and by making acts of reparation to console the gravely-offended Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of His Mother. Prayer and penance of this sort are never wasted, are of great spiritual benefit to ourselves and our loved ones, and are a wonderful way of assuring ourselves that Our Lady will assist us and cover us with her mantle of protection. There are many indications that we are entering a crucial time in world history, and while we cannot predict exactly how future events will unfold, we can be sure that those who live out their faith in Jesus will be preserved from harm and, in the end, be given every reason to rejoice.