At Kibeho in Rwanda an alleged seer once asserted that major events would come upon the world when it encounters unending "wars of religion." To wit:
"Today this world is full of hatred, and you will know that the time of My return is near, that I am on My way, when you hear of and see the wars of religion," this alleged visionary claimed he was told during an apparition of Jesus. "Know then that I come, for nothing will be able to stop these wars."
It is noteworthy because the seer, Emmanuel Segatashya, was a pagan boy who'd never heard of Jesus but became attached to a famous place of apparitions that achieved full Church approval back on June 29, 2001 (when Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro published a declaration concerning the "definitive judgment," announcing it from the Vatican).
It is also noteworthy at a time when we see the unending conflict in the Holy Land -- really a holy war -- as well as the persecution of Christians globally.
For our discernment: are all these religious conflicts cropping up the "start" of something bigger?
Segastashya -- who died in the 1994 Rwandan genocide (which was predicted, in 1982, at Kibeho) -- was one of seven main visionaries though not among the three officially deemed by the bishop as authentic (judgment has been withheld, for the time being, on the other four). His claims, to be sure, were radical -- and apocalyptic (in the true sense of that word).
But priests, theologians, and bishops alike found this young Rwandan -- in his sudden and deep understanding of the Catholic faith -- to be humble, sincere, and unexplainable. His experience allegedly began on July 2, 1982, when Emmanuel was checking on his father's bean fields and during a respite heard a Voice he said came from Jesus, Who appeared to him as a man in His thirties with a dark-skinned complexion but not nearly as dark as a Rwandan's. He was dressed in a traditional African tunic and the material, recounted his sister, "was glowing as though it had been sewn with thread of silver and gold" [see a previous article].
"Those forthcoming times, those times that are leading up to God, will be times of trials, times when each person will have to bear his own cross. Do not be afraid, but have faith!" Segatashya claimed Jesus said. "For the one who does good will come with Me to Heaven. It is the one who does evil who will be met by fire. Therefore, hurry to do good, for Satan will one day disappear from this world and then you will never be tempted again. But hurry, for there is little time left."
Indeed: dramatic. Quite a claim. Yet in our current time (whatever our belief in a particular message), we must acknowledge that we are indeed at a unique intersection of history -- particularly when it comes to violence in the name of religion.
There are spiritual battles that are precipitating into actual military ones -- the actual glare of rockets. This occurs currently in Gaza. (No one knows how it will end.)
There are battles between Hindus and Muslims in Pakistan; and Hindus and Christians in India; and especially Muslims and Christians -- the latter slain by Muslims on a regular basis from the Middle East and Africa to the Philippines. Between 2,000 and 8,000 Christians are martyred each year, depending on the source you use. These deaths have occurred in thirty-six countries. As Pope Francis recently pointed out, that's a higher number than during the time of Roman emperors.
Just last week a missile hit a monastery in Syria at the same time that Iraq militants -- who have all but erased Christianity from that country -- seized another monastery.
Is this what Jesus, if He appeared as reported, was alluding to?
Christians -- including priests and nuns -- are kidnapped or murdered and churches destroyed or damaged on a regular basis in Nigeria, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, and Pakistan while in the West there is the "white martyrdom" of oppression by modern governments that challenge Christian values on everything from birth-control mandates to gay marriage.
The Iraqi city of Mosul, under the domain of the Islamic State, "has uprooted the centuries-old Christian presence," said the Latin Rite Archbishop of Baghdad, Jean Benjamin Sleiman, recently. "The invasion of the Islamic State [Isis] cut the country into pieces and spread general panic, with killings, destruction, ethnic-confessional cleansing, and the imposition of the Sharia. However, this at times apocalyptic picture of the events in Iraq does not obscure the real actors, namely, the governments with influence in the Middle East area and big oil and gas companies.
There is the word: "apocalyptic."
"When a fire flares up, it is circumscribed immediately to control it, otherwise it can spread," he said. "For years I have felt that the powers often start the fire in the Middle East. It’s not said that they will always be able to control it. Therefore, the fire that flares up in the region can hit Europe and cause a World War."
It is interesting that there were also apparitions -- and apocalyptic warnings -- to a seer there in Mosul, which is near the ruins of ancient Nineveh. Just last week, the tomb of Jonah was destroyed by Muslims.
There is good in most major religions but there is also contamination. In the case of Islam, there is the belief in "jinni" spirits that sound like demigods. The constant violence, wherever this religion is planted, is not a good fruit. One is correct in asking: what is wrong with this religion? Why is violence associated with it no matter the country that harbors it? In India, the pagan gods seem to frown on those who follow the One God. In England (as elsewhere) Christians are attacked by "humanists" who believe in zero gods.
In Oklahoma City: a civic center says okay to a "black mass."
Are we seeing the glimmerings of yet greater religious conflict?
How can people kill each other in the Name of God?
"It is because they love without loving," Jesus allegedly told the Rwanda peasant boy. "They believe without believing."