Thursday, May 7, 2015

Then the Lord Now Spoke: "Boko Haram is Gone."

I think it's safe to say that even faithful traditionalist Christians and Catholics, the sorts of people that believe the miracles in the Bible actually happened (as opposed to the modernist tripe that the miracle descriptions are all mere allegories or whatever), often do not believe that "large-scale" miracles--pillars of fire, seas parting and so on--currently happen. Or rather, while there might be occasional cases--the "dancing sun" at Fatima, for instance--they appear to be in some sense disconnected from other historical events. The allies won the First World War not with a dancing sun but with guns and bullets. Or so it would seem.

Indeed, I think there's almost a distaste for desiring "large-scale" intervention, whether visible or not. You want God to help the "good-guys" gain a majority in Congress? How narrow of you. Doesn't God have better things to do? Why not ask for His grace to help you go a bit easier on your drinking or whatever. And wouldn't such an exercise of Divine power interfere with people's free will, to say nothing of letting us off the hook as God's committed soldiers down here on Earth?

I think these thoughts and worries have merit, but they do not express the entire truth. Post-biblical "large-scale" miracles do happen. The 16th century miraculously created image of Our Lady of Gaudalupe was said to have been responsible for converting 9 million native Americans to the Christian faith. The missionaries bravely and tirelessly carried out their tasks. Many of them died. But they had help.

Much of Christian Nigeria is currently under vicious and sustained assault by Boko Haram, a truly Satanic movement if there ever was one. Scarcely a day goes by without a report of another massacre, another village destroyed, with its men shot, hacked or burned to death and its women abducted into slavery. Evil seems to have, so to speak, the momentum.

But reports have recently come out of, well, a miracle. One hesitates to even state it, as if it would jinx it or something. Or perhaps, we have the fear that it's too good to be true. A hoax, perhaps.

The Catholic News Agency released a video of the testimony of a Nigerian bishop--Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme, head of the Diocese of Miduguri in Nigeria's Borno State--who claims to have had an apparition of Jesus. I recommend watching the short (2:32) interview, partly because the bishop's sincerity is obvious and his joy is infectious. But I have also transcribed it below.

I said, towards the end of last year, one evening I was praying in my chapel before the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Sacrament is for us twenty-four hours--perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. 
So, I was there before the Blessed Sacrament, praying the Rosary. And then suddenly, the Lord appeared and I saw him--Hallelu!--this is Jesus with a sword in His own hand! And I started trembling. I said, "Lord, what is this?" He didn't say anything. He just stretched out his arms with the sword in his hands towards me. And then I also stretched my hands and received the sword. As soon as I received the sword it turned into a Rosary. It turned into the Rosary. 
Then, the Lord now spoke: "Boko Haram is gone. Boko Haram is gone. Boko Haram is gone." Three times, He said that and then he disappeared. 
I didn't need any prophet to give me this explanation. It was clear. That with the Rosary we would be able to expel Boko Haram from our diocese. That, with the intervention of His own mother whom I so cherish whom I am so close to, and then if I encourage our own people to do the same thing, we will dislodge Boko Haram. 
And that is exactly what is happening. Most of this part of out diocese that was under Boko Haram have been reclaimed and our people have started coming back. 
So what does that prove? Does one need to know that, yes, the message the Lord brought is correct? And as I've said, it's not because I'm an extraordinary person, the very wonderful bishop. No, it has nothing to do with that. The Lord just brought His message to (unclear) someone who could do this--to his own people so that the people would be strengthened, especially at this trying moment in their own lives as a people, and then as a Church. 
And that's exactly what has happened. So, I want to thank my Blessed Mother Mary. I want to thank Jesus Christ Her Son. I want to thank the Trinity. I am nothing. I am nothing. Just a very very simple servant of the Lord.
Steve Skojec at OnePeterFive recently picked up on this story, following a report from Church Militant. But yesterday, Steve added a crucial piece to it: 
Fast-forward one month, and the position of Boko Haram in Nigeria appears to have all but collapsed (my emphasis). Gbenga Akingbule, reporting for the Wall Street Journal, describes the sudden and surprising turn of events: 
"Boko Haram has abandoned so many hundreds of kidnapped women and girls recently that Nigerian officials tasked with bringing them back into society on Sunday said they were looking to open a second rehabilitation camp, a nod to how fast the tide of abductions has reversed. In the past few weeks, as troops from Nigeria and surrounding countries have punched deep into Boko Haram territory, soldiers said they have rescued about 1,000 women and girls, hostages the Islamist insurgency left behind. They include about 275 that army pickup trucks brought into the city of Yola on Saturday night and 260 rescued on Sunday."
I think it's fair to say that the mood among faithful Catholics concerning the recent "successes" of ISIS, Boko Haram and Muslim aggression in general, is grim. The consensus seems to be that we are experiencing a new and heightened phase of Christian martyrdom, which will only get worse. God is on our side, as always of course, but first, great suffering seems to be part of the plan--a necessary chastisement or purification, perhaps.

There's no question that that's at least partly true. But maybe it's not the full story. Maybe, at least for some of the worst affected, there can be an end to it. Now. 
Boko Haram is gone. Boko Haram is gone. Boko Haram is gone.
One can hope. And pray.

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