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VATICAN CITY – When black smoke billowed from the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel around 7:41 p.m. Tuesday, many among the thousands who had poured into St. Peter's Square awaiting word from the papal conclave greeted the news with groans and disappointed shouts.
But not the barefoot pilgrim in the hooded burlap robe I was chatting with as the gigantic video screen nearby showed the obvious results of the conclave's first ballot: No pope yet. My new, unusually attired friend shrugged and returned to his prayers, kneeling on a sewer grate in the middle of the square, even as most of the crowd that packed the cold, wet piazza outside St. Peter's Basilica disappeared almost as quickly as it gathered.
"Now times are very difficult for the church," said Massimo Coppo, who for more than 30 years has devoted his life to prayer and penitence for the church, following the example, he said, of St. Francis of Assisi. Coppo arrived in Rome early Tuesday on the train from Assisi, where he is part of a community dedicated to St. Francis – and reforming the church. He's become something of a fixture at St. Peter's, but usually takes the train back to Assisi at night, where he sleeps under the porticos of the basilica.
When I asked the question that is nearly ubiquitous in Rome at the moment – who would he like to see elected pope – Coppo skipped names and went straight to description. "To me, I hope it will be a pope who is poor or who understands the poor. Many people are poor and becoming poor," he said. "A pope that speaks of eternity – of paradise – and even of hell in a world that doesn't like it.
I want to urge you that instead of taking pictures of me, to please realize the difficult times we are living in, very difficult indeed. The new pope will have a very difficult job and we have to pray and prepare ourselves for suffering...much suffering is coming to the Church, The Vatican and us as individuals. We are nearing the endtimes, so instead of looking at me, look at the endtimes that we are fast approaching.
If we humble ourselves before God, he will provide for everything, it is especially important to pray together and ask Jesus to have mercy on us in these times where so many people are suffering and don't know how they will make it through...and the church has so much to give! It is more than a human institution but sometimes people get confused. This is more than an election of a head of State, more than political matters, it is spiritual and we need to ask the holy spirit for a good pope. The next pope will have to suffer greatly because severe times await the church, particularly the Vatican.
But the day will come - and it's close, in which the whole world - a world that globally has closed heaven to the face of God and his Christ - will beat its breast, but it will be too late: Those instead that have persevered in recognizing themselves as sinners amending, will raise the arms toward that Jesus who is coming, so much awaited because so much loved; and it is written – The first letter of St.Paul to the Thessalonians, Chapter 4 - they will take off in flight to meet Him in the sky.
It 's our world: far from God, and an economic collapse that will make return hunger even in our western countries. "Why do you say: Peace, freedom and well-being, when these things are not here and will not be?" - Is written in the second prophecy on Rome ("To the Pleasure seeking City") received years ago by Marcello Ciai - "War, oppression and hunger, I will send then upon your nations." The drama of many people who have lost their jobs, and many families who don’t arrive at the end of the month, is growing at an impressive rate: described in detail and in its tragic consequences in one of the other prophecies of Marcello Ciai (Prophesy!), this unstoppable economic collapse will put one against the other.
Francis signed himself with the "Tau", last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. St. Bonaventura so writes in his biography of St. Francis: "The Saint had great reverence and affection for the sign of the Tau: he often recommended it in his words and wrote it by his own hand in the letters he sent, as if his mission consisted, according to the prophet’s saying, in marking the Tau on the foreheads of those who moan and weep, earnestly converting themselves to Christ " (see Franciscan Sources, 1079). The biblical "prophet" from which Francis took this sign is Ezekiel, where one reads that with the "Tau" were marked those who should escape from the extermination hanging over the idolatrous and rebellious city of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 9.4).
Yes, because also on this idolatrous world of ours, rebellious to God and his Christ, the extermination hangs over. Jesus spoke about it clearly, in the Gospel: “For in those days there will be suffering, such as not has been since the beginning of the creation that God created until now, no, and never will be. And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, ha has cut short those days”. (Mark 13:19-20) And from this extermination all those who have the Tau in their heart will escape. All those who "moan and cry" for their sins and all those who do not get accustomed to the evil that they see around them.