The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Thursday, June 16, 2016

when lightning strikes in ireland

The country lady greeted me pleasantly as I walked down Main Street.
Then she leaned close.
"Christine warned that the lightning would hang low in the sky," she said conspiratorially.
She was referring to an Irish woman called Christine Gallagher who claims to have visions from heaven.
Someone got struck by lightning in Ireland last week and the more suggestible of our citizenry are claiming Christine Gallagher predicted it.
I smiled.
"Any fake prophet or real prophet could say there'll be lightning strikes and they'll be right thousands of times a year," I opined. "Or they could predict earthquakes, or tsunamis, or tornados. They're never going to be wrong. These things call for discernment. I also think God may sometimes speak directly to us through holy people and that in doing so he may include warnings about future events. But caution, caution, caution. Question everything. Pray for guidance."
"You don't believe in Christine Gallagher?" she challenged.
"The only act of faith I attempt to make is in Jesus Christ and him crucified and him risen from the dead for the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of all human beings," I replied.
"Why don't you believe in Christina?" quoth she.
I sighed.
"The newspapers have tried to ruin her," I mused. "They've thrown a lot of mud. I don't think they found the smoking gun. But it looks bad."
"So why don't you believe in her?"
"She was claiming to have the stigmata, the marks of the crucifixion of Christ, a few years ago. That seems to have been let drop. The stigmata is not something people get for five minutes and then never mention again."
"She mentions it in her book."
"I'd like to see that book. But I don't understand why there is no public discussion of whether or not Christine Gallagher has the stigmata. She either has them or she hasn't. Which is it? Did she get them for a short period? Okay. Well let me hear her assert that. Let the experts investigate it."
"She doesn't want to build herself up by talking about the stigmata."
"It's a biggie. If she's got them, the church would want to investigate."
"You still haven't given me one good reason not to believe in her."
"We're to test the spirits. Some of you guys believe everything you're told. Listen. You will be meeting evil in your daily lives. The evil is not that important. The devil likes to appear more powerful than he is. But in cases of claimed apparitions or prophecies, I counsel spiritual caution at every level."
"One good reason James. Give me one."
"I saw her show marks on her head over a decade ago which, if I understood her correctly, she was implying were mystically transposed on her body by the grace of God in symbolic closeness to the sufferings of Jesus on the cross. It was a television interview. She was claiming to have the marks of Chris's crown of thorns. The marks in her forehead were a series of gashes which her hair covered until she drew it back. And the marks were just too regular. Regular depth. Regular shape. Regular spacing. They were like works of art. They were perfectly shaped. Yes. Perfectly spaced. I'd postulate that she and her accomplices produced the effect with some sort of specially made metal band which they could tighten around her scalp to produce the desired wounds. I'm no expert but the regularity of the markings looked man made. I've also seen photos of her with wounds in her feet which at the time were being touted as evidence she had been mystically accorded the marks of the nails that were driven through Christ's feet on the cross. Again her advocates, such as they are, were suggesting these marks came about through a closeness to God. These are not the sort of claims one can make for a few weeks in 1995 and then never mention again. I counsel extreme caution in any assessment of Christine Gallagher."


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