February 6, 2012

Want to learn more?

"Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; 
do not treat prophecies with contempt. 
Test everything. Hold on to the good. 
Avoid every kind of evil." 
1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

I recently attended a Michael H. Brown retreat which I highly recommend for anyone who hopes to learn more about the subjects of this website: Miracles in our time; prophecies for our time. 

Michael is a Pulitzer prize nominated journalist who has since become a prolific Catholic author and founder of the must-read website called Spirit Daily. I got to know him and his lovely family on a recent trip to Medjugorje and it was great to see them, working together, at the retreat in Miami.

Though he is light years ahead of me, Michael is one of those people I can identify with, in that he does what he believes he is called to do, even when it is uncomfortable. On that subject, I liked his story regarding how he reluctantly decided to title his most successful book, The Final Hour. 

Nearing completion of the book, Michael heard a voice: "You will call it The Final Hour." Immediately he responded, "I will NOT call it The Final Hour." After all, he had a journalistic career to worry about and he did not want to become stereotyped as one of those crazy guys carrying a sign that reads, "The end is neer!" 

The voice persisted, however, saying, "You will call it The Final Hour." But he was adamant. "No, I will not!" 

So, perhaps trying to change the subject in his head, he left for mass. (Michael tries to be a daily communicant and pray three rosaries a day). There, he encountered a third confirmation. The daily reading was from 1 John 2:18: "Dear children, it is the final hour..." 

What else could he say? "Okay. I surrender."

The day-long retreat includes a variety of prayers, including ones directed at spiritual warfare, and a priest even blessed water and salt for the participants. But the presentation is mostly in lecture format.  

Drawing from a wealth of research and personal investigations, Michael discusses one spiritual topic after another. Early on, he covers a wide range of Near Death Experiences, pointing out the consistencies of many of these reports and how they fit neatly into Catholic theology. He talks about our earthly bondages and how they apply to our concept of Purgatory. He also gives insights into hell, though that is intentionally not the focus of his talks. 

One particularly moving story was about Dr. Howard Storm's alarming brush with death. Anyone who has an interest in Near Death Experiences should read his amazing account, that can be found HERE. 

Michael also talked about the subjects of some of his books and investigations, including apparition sites, like Kibeho, La Salette and Medjugorje, and visionaries, like Maria Esperanza.   

Perhaps no one has more thoroughly and broadly investigated so many alleged miracle and apparition sites around the world. Though he is a man of faith and Catholic, through and through, he approaches each investigation as a journalist, attempting to be reasoned and rational with subject matter that too often is discussed with blind faith or ignorant cynicism. He rightly respects the investigations and conclusions of the Magisterium of the Church, though I suspect that some Catholics have given him a hard time for investigating anything that makes them uncomfortable or does not pass their purity test.

In short, I offer my prayers and best wishes for his continuing work and look forward to reading whatever he writes. 

You should too.

"In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy."
Acts 2:17-18

"These are rebellious people, deceitful children,
children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction.
They say to the seers, “See no more visions!”
and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right!
Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.
Leave this way, get off this path,
and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”
Isaiah 30:9-11