January 13, 2006

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Predicting the future, heeding advice

On an ominously dark day one summer in my early childhood, neighborhood friends and I watched two couples playing badminton in the yard next door. We wondered how they could be having such fun on the very day the world would end.

How did we know this? Because one boy’s parents heard a radio announcement declaring “the end” was imminent, and the word spread. Although my parents did not seem very concerned, I was frightened.

As the years pass, end-of-the-world and other disastrous pronouncements periodically surface. One could say such predictions are predictable. Remember the worldwide reports declaring computer systems worldwide would crash at the coming of the new millennium in 2000?

Recently, I found a Web site announcing both the “great blessings and great suffering for the Catholic Church and the world.” The webmaster, Ronald L. Conte Jr., author of many books, including The Bible and the Future of the World, predicts these good and bad events will even affect the current generations. Conte, who edits the Internet’s CatholicPlanet Catholic magazine (www.catholicplanet.com), calls himself “a devout Catholic.”

Conte writes theology books, booklets and articles. He is currently translating the Bible from Latin to English. As for his prophecies, he claims to “know certain things about the future from interpreting the Bible” but has “never received any private revelation.”

This is the second week of the first month of 2006—and this column is being released in the Friday the 13th issue of The Criterion—a seemingly perfect time to introduce Conte’s Web site since I am not superstitious. Readers can discern Conte’s credibility themselves via the Internet or by writing to him at P.O. Box 881238, Port St. Lucie, FL 34986.

My point in sharing this information is this: None of us knows exactly what the next moment, day, week, month, year, decade or century will bring. Only God knows. Yet, God gives us the intelligence to try to make sense of our lives, keeping our existence on earth as meaningful, healthy, happy and safe as possible. (Certain life situations, of course, are predictable, i.e., if we practice gluttony—or starve our bodies—our health will suffer. So, too, if we neglect our spiritual life, our immortal souls will suffer. This is common sense.)

Still, as I write this column, the media is blitzing the public with cautionary advice about predicted natural (storms, earthquakes, etc.) and unnatural (terroristic, war-related) disasters. Of course, since 9-11, I take this seriously, just as I did prior to the predicted but non-appearing computer crash. (I even had my old manual and electric typewriters repaired.)

This time, however, much more practical, informative advice for disasters can be found at this Web site: www.ready.com.

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)


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