Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Great Battle Has Begun (Part One)

The following is the first of a three part series on the Kelly Bowring book The Great Battle Has Begun.

When I was a teenager in the 1970s I worked for a home security company. The workers who installed the systems were always in and out of the office for a variety of reasons. One worker in particular scared the daylights out of me.

He was a Christian (denomination not important) and he was always talking about Jesus coming back. Although I was a baptized Catholic, mostly I was immersed in the Jewish faith and hadn’t yet made the connection about Jesus being a Jew and knowing that him coming back was a good thing.

So, this big, boisterous guy would come into the office and my stomach would rumble and my heart would jump all over inside my chest. After a minute of two of him talking I would lose my appetite for the day and sit motionless waiting for the skies to open up and my life to be over. I simply didn’t know what to make of all of his proclamations about Jesus and repentance and judgment and heaven and eternal damnation.

It all scared the hell out of me.

That was then.

This is now…and now I get it.

Every day I look to the skies with eager anticipation of Christ’s return. To some, I might be as crazy as that guy. Thirty years later I get his excitement about the prospect of the second coming. I don’t think I’m crazy but, then again, to others I may very well seem that way.

So it was no surprise that the latest title of Kelly Bowring caught my attention. The Great Battle Has Begun says it all: the great battle is underway. Put on your armor, grab your gear, get your life in order. Buckle up because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Bowring’s book relies heavily on the private revelations of Maria Divine Mercy which are excerpted throughout. I admit that prior to reading Bowring’s book, I had never heard of this person (I believe she is a woman although she remains anonymous). In fact, I haven’t been much of a private revelation enthusiast until about a year ago when I was doing some research for a book I was writing. My interest was Fatima. In retrospect, that research laid the groundwork for me to begin to understand private revelation and Church teachings on it.

This past year I’ve also read up on Catholic prophecies as part of that research. I’ve read the prophecies of Brother Louis Rocco and Marie de la Faudai—both from the 19th century. Another set of prophecies that I’ve read include those of Jeanne le Royer who was born in the early 1700s.

As I read Bowing’s book, I couldn’t help but see the connection between what was in it and the words of those Catholic prophets that had been part of my research. With my interest piqued I started to investigate Maria Divine Mercy. No matter where I looked, no matter whose columns and editorials I came across, I found that her revelations were being vehemently dismissed—along with the Catholics who may have been giving them credibility. The private revelations of Maria Divine Mercy have been ridiculed, dismissed, and discounted by countless Catholic personalities from Jimmy Aiken to Mark Miravalle.

This caused me to contact the author Kelly Bowring immediately and ask him dozens of different questions. While I continued to read the book, I needed to understand why Bowring would be so intent on sharing the words of a woman whose role in private revelation was being swiftly and thoroughly attacked throughout the Catholic world.

The Great Battle Has Begun puts us squarely in the beginning of The Great Tribulation. It approaches end-times in a way that many people desire to understand. It offers insights into false prophets, the anti-Christ, the seven seals and our role in our personal salvation as well as our obligation to others through our prayers and fasting. Bowring has weaved into the private revelations of Maria Divine Mercy excerpts from the Book of Revelation as well as various Scripture excerpts.

Every Advent we prepare for Christ’s second coming; The Great Battle Has Begun affirms the need for that preparation. Like right now. It makes it real and not just a warm and fuzzy season we celebrate as Catholics.

The controversy surrounding Maria Divine Mercy adds an unexpected dimension to the book and is why I think it is important to share Bowring’s responses to my questions which are in parts two and three of the series.

part two is here
part three is here

Cheryl Dickow

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Why We Still Love Lucy

I’ve always watched I Love Lucy. Lately, though, I notice that there is something about it that speaks to me in a very personal way. It sort of tugs at me. I can’t say that the show takes me back to anything in particular because it isn’t from a time in my personal life; but, rather, it seems to address a desire for simplicity that lives at the center of my heart.

Despite the fact that in real life the marriage of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz did not survive, I have found in talking with friends that the show really taps into something that exists at the core of many women.

We love the quaint Ricardo apartment. There isn’t a lot of furniture or tons of space. It is as neat as a pin and we can totally imagine living in that space. When Lucy and Ricky host a card game they need to move the couch out of the way to bring in the folding table and chairs. And yet the card games are always fun despite the tight space. The sparse kitchen is behind a swinging door and, upon close inspection, we see it has very little cupboard or countertop space and yet Lucy and Ethel were able to make hundreds of jars of homemade salad dressing in the confines of that small area. We just knew they managed!

Over and over again we watch the antics taking place in the Ricardo apartment and there is a little spot inside of us that desires that easier, simpler life. The small sofa and the easy way Ricky lounges while he reads the paper just seem so inviting. We want to be right there. Even if we aren’t a “keeping up with the Jones’” type of person, there is still a simplicity in all the scenes that draws us to Lucy’s life.

The gang’s move to the country was no exception. The place was a bit larger but still the simplicity of life emanated from the wood panels and the view of the yard. Consider when they began raising chickens or growing tulips. We can see ourselves trying to do those exact same things and can feel the satisfaction—even when none of it works out—for our efforts. Simplicity in life does that—it brings a sweetness that settles our chaotic mind and restless spirit.

I’ve read numerous articles on how Lucille Ball’s follow-up shows were never quite as successful as I Love Lucy. No one seems to be able to put a finger on it and they say such things as “viewers no longer wanted to watch her antics” but I think they have sorely missed the point. I know why none of her following shows ever achieved the success and endurance of I Love Lucy: they didn’t capture the essence of what pervaded that original show—and why we still love Lucy, maybe now more than ever.

I Love Lucy, with Lucy doing housework in a dress and heels, touches our hearts because we all long for a simpler time. Maybe that time never existed in the “real” world but that doesn’t remove the desire we all have for it in our daily lives. I see it as placed there by God. We don’t quite understand—we cannot grasp or maybe we just don’t want to believe—that simplicity can be so rewarding. But there it is, sitting deep down inside each of us—that longing for a simpler life—and it is why we still love Lucy.

Cheryl Dickow