IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
In the old covenant, God the Father directly spoke from a voice in heaven to patriarchs such as Noah, and Abraham. The book of Exodus records the presence of God in a burning bush without burning its parts (Exodus 3: 1-21).
Prophets received messages from a voice that they can clearly recognized coming from God. Messages for the people and commandments to remind and guide the people of what is pleasing to the Almighty.
Like the prophet Jonah, God warned that the Ninevites would be punished if they did not turn to God. Driven by his human weakness, it was only natural for the prophet to be afraid and not follow immediately out of fear and self-doubt. However, when the prophet acted on the message, the Ninevites believed and obeyed. Thus, the punishment that was looming did not take place (Jonah 1: 2).
On the other hand, God may appear to other prophets with heavenly beings in majestic glory. Like what happened to prophet Ezekiel who revealed and made known the destiny of Israel in the future.
I heard the sound of their wings, like the roaring sound of the sea, as they moved. It was like the voice of God Almighty, a roaring sound like a noisy army. When the living creatures stopped, they lowered their wings. Now above the dome there was something that looked like a throne. It looked like a sapphire gem. And on the throne was a shape like a human. Then I noticed that from the waist up the shape looked like glowing metal with fire inside. From the waist down it looked like fire, and a bright light was all around. The surrounding glow looked like the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day. It seemed to look like the glory of the LORD. So, when I saw it, I bowed facedown on the ground and heard a voice speaking.
Ezekiel 6: 24-28.
Dreams is a way that is definitely mysterious in the spiritual life. In the old testament, God gave holy people the gift to receive and understand dreams. Joseph the son of the patriarch Jacob recorded in the book of Genesis was endowed with the ability to interpret dreams. Even in the new testament God’s plan for the Holy Family were conveyed many times in a dream to another Joseph, St. Joseph the carpenter by an angel.
In many instances, heavenly beings like angels also show up and live with man. They are seen not as a spirit but with human flesh. God allowed these in order to put His plans into place.
As in Sodom and Gomorrah, the patriarch Abraham negotiated with God that if he saw at least ten good people in the city, the place would be spared from punishment. God sent two angels to see the condition of the place. They went to Lot, Abraham’s nephew. But the angels in disguised was seen and desired by the locals. They were rowdy and demanded to surrender his guest to them. The angelic guests came to his rescue and blinded them. They revealed their mission to Lot and it was time to escape. And we already know the story after that, a rain of fire punished Sodom and Gomorrah.
One of the seven archangels St. Raphael also appeared to Tobias. The archangel also disguised as a traveler and paced their journey. He went fishing and even helped cure Tobias’ blind father on their return. In the book of Tobit 12:15 he revealed to be “one of the seven holy angels [archangels] who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One.”
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
The book of Luke had the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah, father of St. John the Baptist, “The angel replied,‘ I am Gabriel, who stands in God’s presence, and I have been sent to speak to you and bring you this good news. ” Luke 1:19, And the archangel returned again to send greetings from God to the Blessed Virgin, Luke 1: 26-38, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favor! The Lord is with you.’ “
Before the passion of Christ in the garden of Gethsemany the Lord prayed, and here the three apostles St. Peter, St. John and St. James saw the Transfiguration of the Lord. This incident was very important because it is a miracle confirming that Christ is the bridge between heaven and earth. Showing the glory of Christ, and as God the Father said on that occasion, “And a voice came from the cloud saying, ‘This is my Son, the Chosen One. Listen to him.’, Luke 9:35.
ON THE COMING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
After the resurrection and the ascension of Christ, God the Holy Spirit descended. Its spirit and power came to the Apostles in the form of a tongue of fire. Filled their hearts and minds to be more enlightened to the truth and prepared to testify of Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit are evident in the fervent love of saints in the history of the Catholic Church. Their great contributions, writings, miracles and great charity they have shown to those in need.
Visions are supernatural events, usually these are private revelations and experiences recorded by the saint or the visionary. In an extraordinary way the mysteries and messages revealed to him are spoken to or shown to the visionary. Similar to the visions of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich in the life of the Blessed Virgin and Jesus Christ.
Apparitions are supernatural appearances usually of the Virgin Mary, they usually give a message of significant for those times or may also be warnings of the future.
For the last 500 years, God has continued to make us feel His love by bringing the Blessed Virgin, her mother, to apparitions here on earth.
While Martin Luther committed heresy in Europe that led to the apostasy of so many Catholics in the 16th century, the Blessed Virgin appeared in Guadalupe, Mexico in 1531 to Juan Diego. The apparitions led to many miracles and left an imprint of an image of Our Lady. According to historians, in just ten years there were nine million converts to Catholicism.
The apparitions of the Virgin Mary are a sign of God’s continuous generosity with mankind to attain the sanctifying grace it needs.
In 1830 she appeared in France, as Our Lady of Graces and left the Miraculous Medal. At La Salette in also France in 1846 the importance of the day of worship was reminded. In Lourdes, France again in 1858 he introduced himself as the Immaculate Conception. Leaving a spring that until now brings miracles to the needy and the sick. In Ireland the apparition of Our Lady of Knock, Mary with angels, Jesus, St. Joseph and St. John. In Fatima, Portugal in 1917 the Virgin of the Rosary appeared and miraculously witnessed the miracle of the sun by nearly 70,000 people. Here the Blessed Virgin left so many messages and warnings for these times.
Now that there is a pandemic these messages may have been missed. If not, ignored and forgotten, but human’s strength is never material. It is therefore wise to remember that in the course of tragedies in history there is a God who is willing to help His people.
God’s love never ends. That is why one should only listen and receive His messages.
God says in Matthew 28:20 “I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.”