Part Twenty Four:

the countdown continues as the decade wanes

As we wind up the year 1996 and begin the pivotal year of 1997, there are many things on the minds and hearts of God's faithful, those who are genuinely concerned with preserving all the Holy Father John Paul II, as the Apostolic successor, teaches. Recall with prayerful discernment what Our Blessed Mother imparted to noted locutionist Father Don Stefano Gobbi over the years, specifically three messages. First, given to him late in 1987 on September 18th that the next ten years would be vital (1988 to 1998); second, the one given to him at Guadalupe early this year that Mary's Immaculate Heart would triumph before the year 2000; and finally the message conveyed on June 17, 1989 in Milan regarding the number of the beast 666. The latter we shall delve into in detail in this installment for the Mother of God gives a detailed explanation of the significance of the mark of the beast to all of us through Fr. Gobbi.

Our Lady said, "Lucifer, the ancient serpent, the devil or satan, the red dragon, becomes, in these last times, the antichrist. The Apostle John already affirmed that whoever denies Jesus Christ is God, that person is the antichrist. The statue or idol, built in honor of the beast to be adored by all men, is the antichrist.

"Calculate now its number 666, to understand how it indicates the name of man. The number, 333, indicates the divinity. Lucifer rebels against God through pride, because he wants to put himself above God. 333 is the number which indicates the mystery of God. He who wants to put himself above God bears the sign, 666, and consequently this number indicates the name of lucifer, satan, that is to say, of him who, sets himself against Christ, of the antichrist.

"333 indicated once, that is to say, for the first time, expresses the mystery of the unity of God. 333 indicated twice, that is to say, for the second time, indicates the two natures, that of the Divine Person of Jesus Christ. 333 indicated thrice, that is to say, for the third time, indicates the mystery of the Three Divine Persons, that is to say, it expresses they mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Thus the number, 333, expressed one, two and three times, expresses the principal mysteries of the Catholic faith, which are: (1) the Unity and the Trinity of God, (2) the incarnation, the passion and death, the resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

If 333 is the number which indicates the Divinity, he who wants to put himself above God himself is referred to by the number 666. 666 indicated once, that is to say, for the first time, expresses the year 666, six hundred and sixty-six. In this period of history, the antichrist manifested through the phenomenon of Islam, which denies the mystery of the Divine Trinity and the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Islamism, with its military force, breaks loose everywhere, destroying all the ancient Christian communities, and invades Europe and it is only through my extraordinary motherly intervention, begged for powerfully by the Holy Father, that it does not succeed in destroying Christianity completely.

"666 indicated twice, that is to say, for the second time, expresses the year 1332, thirteen hundred and thirty two in this period of history, the antichrist is manifested through a radical attack on the faith in the word (Parola) of God. Through the philosophers who begin to give exclusive value to science and then to reason, there is a gradual tendency to constitute human intelligence alone as the sole criterion of truth. There come to birth the great philosophical errors which continue through the centuries down to your days. The exaggerated importance given to reason, as an exclusive criterion of truth, necessarily leads to the destruction of faith in the Word (Parola) of God. Indeed, with the Protestant Reformation, Tradition is rejected as a source of Divine Revelation, and only Sacred Scripture accepted. But even this must be interpreted by means of the reason, and the authentic Magisterium of the herarchic Church, to which Christ has entrusted the guardianship of the deposit of faith, is obstinately rejected. Each one is free to read and to understand Sacred Scripture according to one's personal interpretation. In this way, faith in the Word (Parola) of God is destroyed. The work of the antichrist, in this period of history, is the division of the Church and the consequent formation of new and numerous Christian confessions which gradually become driven to a more and more extensive loss of the true faith in the Word (Parola) of God.

"666 indicated thrice, that is to say, for the third time, expresses the year 1998, nineteen hundred and ninety-eight. In this period of history, Freemasonry, assisted by its ecclesiastical form, will succeed in its great design; that of setting up an idol to put in the place of Christ and of His Church. A false christ and a false church. Consequently, the statue built in honor of the first beast, to be adored by all the inhabitants of the earth and which will seal with its mark all those who want to buy or sell, is that of the antichrist. You have thus arrived at the peak of the purification, of the great tribulation and of the apostasy. The apostasy will be, as of then, generalized because almost all will follow the false christ and false church. Then the door will be open for the appearance of the man or of the very person of the antichrist.

"That is why, beloved children, I have wanted to enlighten you concerning the pages of the Apocalypse which refer to the times you are living through. This is to prepare you with me, for the most painful and decisive part of the great struggle which is on the point of being fought out between your Heavenly Mother and all the forces of evil have been let loose.

"Take courage! Be strong, my little children. To you befalls the duty, in these difficult years, of remaining faithful to Christ and to His Church, putting up with hostility, struggle and persecution. But you are a precious part of the little flock, which has the task of fighting against, and in the end of conquering, the powerful force of the antichrist. I am forming you all, defending you and blessing you."

We can see from this message and the countless other messages to Fr. Gobbi, at Medjugorje, Betania, Akita, and messengers/locutionists/visionaries on every continent on the globe that Our Lady is exhorting us to remain loyal to her Divine Son and to His Vicar on earth. We can do that only through the Sacraments and frequent attendance of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as well as obedience to the Commandments and the Magisterium of the Church, plus prayerful discernment of Sacred Scripture. These then are the foundation for the road to Heaven, the messages of private revelation are mere signposts on that road. We all do know these messages are important, primarily because of Who is imparting them which should be the emphasis rather than which individuals are the direct recipients. After all, every single visionary, locutionist and messenger is human and the human element will always be a part of anything they receive as God has deigned. We must remember these messages are only one of the many means to the end, not the end in itself and we must be careful that we don't interpret this message or that one, but rather pray for the gift of discernment that will help guide us all. Yet we cannot ignore them, for to do so would be to turn our back on what God is trying to tell all His children through His Blessed Mother.

That's why He has sent her in these days, because time is shorter than we realize. Do we have our lamps lit (cf. Matthew 25: 1-13)? It's important not to hide our talents and gifts God's given has given us under a bushel basket (cf. Matthew 5: 15, Mark 4: 21, and Luke 11: 33) but to emulate Saint John the Baptist in our own time and shout from the rooftops of cities from the desert to the mountain tops to the sea that Christ is coming again. "Prepare ye the Way of the Lord, make straight His paths" (Matthew 3:3).

The message on the next ten years Our Lady conferred on Fr. Gobbi, and which we referred to above, reveals that the decade between 1988 and 1998 is pivotal in the history of man for we "are entering into the final period of the second Advent, which will lead you to the triumph of my Immaculate Heart in the glorious coming of my Son Jesus." She also said, "there will come to completion that fullness of time which was pointed out to you by me, beginning with La Salette all the way to my most recent and present apparitions." Those words confirm that she truly is appearing, that her apocalyptic warnings to visionaries Melanie and Maximim on that remote mountain top in Southern France back in 1846 are coming to fulfillment and that she has been weaving a tableau of God's Will for all her children as we need to know and better understand, with every apparition, every message providing another piece of the puzzle until we can all clearly see the full picture. That ten year period which began in 1988 culminates in 1998. One year away! Do we have our priorities straight? Are we ready to panic or realize the opportunity to bring even more into the fold, to join the dwindling remnant and reinforce Our Lady's ranks by first living the messages daily in our own hearts, then within our families, and then sharing it with as many as we can through our example and word of mouth. So what if we're called fools, fanatics, whatever. Aren't we supposed to be "fools for Christ?" As "fools" are we ready to "rush in where angels fear to tread?" Are we ready, no matter the cost, to be counted among Mary's army - her Apostles of the End Times? Do we truly want Mary's Immaculate Heart to triumph and usher in the glorious Reign of her Divine Son's Sacred Heart?

These are questions each one of us must answer in our own hearts as the countdown continues. We still have time, but very little; we can't afford to wait! We can accomplish His Will only if we pray as Our Lady asks and remain totally loyal in all things to God and His chosen emissary here on earth: the successor of Peter - Pope John Paul the Great. As we close the book on 1996 and begin 1997 we must all examine our consciences, prepare for the Warning for it will come soon, and resolve in the New Year to recommit to doing all God asks through His Blessed Mother as Mary said in John 2: 5, "Do whatever He tells you." In the first installment of 1997, we issue a wake-up call to all Catholics and the shepherds to heed Jesus' words in Luke 11: 28, "Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it."