The Coming Times
Italy Flourishes
    And I am at a roundabout.  I seem to be in a major European city
    Perhaps Rome, I do not know

    And there is a wave of people surging up from the south
    And an equally large wave of people surging in from the east
    And there are traffic officers on the roundabout
    But are overwhelmed by the sheer force of the numbers
    And can do nothing to establish order

    And yes I see the Pope come out onto his balcony in his white vestments
    And immediately a shout arises from ALL of the people
    No matter where they are from

    El Papa!  El Papa!  El Papa!

    And he greets them in their own tongues
    He welcomes them
    He hopes they find safe harbor and refuge
    While their homes are inhospitable
    Until their homes are restored

    He greets them
    He welcomes them
    He blesses them

    In each of their languages he does so
    And there are so many languages to do so in!

    And the people cry out in gratitude; they cry in gratitude

    El Papa!  El Papa!  El Papa!

    And they have renewed hope

    Yes they are welcome
    Yes they are here recognized as humans
    Yes they are even spoken to in their own language

    The relief they feel is overwhelming, and many break down in tears
    In convulsive sobs and tears for truly they were tired
    Truly they were feeling without hope
    And now it is as though a ray of sunshine has beamed down upon them
    And the people are given renewed hope
    And the Pope reenters his office
    And now there is more order in the boulevard
    The people are now walking about at a calmer pace following the rules of the road
    They have hope now
    They have hope now
    They have hope now

    And I see the Italians welcoming the people
    Sharing their food with them
    Yes, even accepting them into their homes
    And the people are so grateful
    The tears stream down their faces as they tell their story to their hosts
    Their almost unbelievable story
    The story of Nature seeming to have turned its fury on the humans upon her land
    Either withholding water from them altogether
    Or dumping it on them with a fury; with a vengeance
    Either way; she has chased them off
    And yes, she has won; for there was nothing they could do
    Nothing!

    And the Italians sit listening fascinated
    And some of them wonder what these people have done to earn such fury from
    Nature

    Is it the endless wars that they have been waging on their continents
    Is it the corruption of their governments
    Is it the extreme wealth of the few and the dire poverty of the most

    Or is it simply Nature being Nature

    And they sit and listen to the stories in utter fascination
    They contemplate the stories
    They marvel at them

    What does it mean
    For Mother Nature to suddenly turn against the humans on a continent
    And chase them all away
    Either they fled or they died
    The choice was as stark as that

    And the thought occurs to them
    That if Mother Nature could do so to these two continents
    The great land mass of Africa
    And the whole of southern Asia
    Then could it be possible that Nature would do the same to their home
    And they look around their home with new and appreciative eyes

    Yes how they love Rome
    How they love their city; their countryside; their streets and boulevards
    Yes, how much they love their home

    Why they had taken it for granted
    It was a given
    Of course they had a home!
    Everyone had a home!

    And they had always had a special fondness
    For their home above all others
    For after all it was an expression of themselves
    But now they find themselves looking around them with new eyes
    With appreciative eyes
    And yes with protective eyes
    We must be careful that the same thing does not happen to us

    And the Italians gather together and discuss and discuss and discuss
    They sit in their beloved cafes and restaurants
    And among them they share the stories the refugees have told them
    And among them they share what they are interpreting these stories to mean
    And their interpretations are not cast in stone
    Yes, they are willing to listen to their neighbor
    Each is willing to listen to the other
    For truly such had never happened before
    Not in their history
    Not in the history of the past 3,000 years at least!

    What do such things mean?
    And more importantly, how do we respond
    What must we do to assure that it does not happen here

    And yes a general consensus forms
    The 2nd step and the 3rd step are unclear

    But the 1st step is clear; it is obvious; it leaves no room for discussion

    And so the Italians pray
    They flood their churches and their cathedrals and they pray
    They kneel in their own homes and they pray
    They pray and they pray and they pray
    They pray for these poor refugees
    They pray that God has mercy and compassion on them
    And may they find safe haven in Europe
    And please God restore their land to them
    And then they even more earnestly pray for themselves
    Tell us God; tell us
    What must we do to avert such catastrophes upon our heads
    Tell us God; tell us and we will do
    And the people pray
    They even kneel down in the town squares and are on their kneels
    Praying the Rosary
    Out loud and in concert praying the Rosary
    Beseeching the Virgin to protect their land
    Beseeching the Virgin to protect their beloved home
    Beseeching the Virgin to bestow mercy upon them
    And the Italians pray and they pray and they pray
    And the more they pray, the calmer they become
    The more Peace reigns down upon them
    And they arise steadily; calmly; at Peace
    Yes they are at Peace
    Their Faith is in God
    They will do as God tells them to do
    And what God tells them to do is so clear
    For the message has been the same for the past few thousand years
    Yes the message has not changed
    It is clear what they must do
    And so the Italians pray to God
    And so the Italians in calmness and in gratitude go about their daily lives
    And so the Italians gently and generously receive the refugees
    As they pass by on to the more northern cities of Europe
    And God looks down and notices the Italians and their response
    And he is pleased with them
    And so God sends them sunshine and gentle rain in equal proportions
    In measure to what their land needs
    And with each new sunny day; the Italians open their windows
    And turn their faces to the sun and give joyful thanks to God
    And with each new rainy day; the Italians open their windows
    And turn their faces to the gentle rain and give joyful thanks to God
    And the Italians understand that their prayers have been answered
    They understand that their prayers have been understood

    And they now understand what their 2nd step is
    And they follow it
    And with the same intensity that they had originally prayed
    For the flood of refugees keep arriving
    Reminding them daily of the precious gift that their home is
    With the same intensity that they had originally requested mercy
    So with that intensity do they now give prayers of thanks and praise to God
    They give thanks and praise to God for the mercy he is bestowing upon them
    For truly the weather
    Their climate had not been as ideal for their land in decades
    Just the right amount of rain – gentle rain
    Just the right amount of sun – gentle sun
    And their crops are blooming and abundant
    The soil is rich
    The air is fresh and clean
    And they breathe this air in deeply
    And they give thanks to God for sparing their home
    And the people are again on their knees in the town square
    Praying the Rosary
    Fervently thanking the Virgin for her intercession on their behalf
    Thanking her and praying for her continued intercession on their behalf

    And now there is the 3rd step
    For there is always a 3rd step
    And what is the 3rd step

    And as the people pray; they understand
    The understanding comes to them gradually
    But it comes
    For yes, they are growing tired of the refugees for their numbers do not diminish
    They keep coming and coming and coming
    They do not stop
    Who knew there were so many people in Africa and southern Asia
    Who knew
    The sheer numbers overwhelm
    But the Italians had not stopped praying
    The Italians have not stopped praying
    And they know what the 3rd step is
    And in humble gratitude to God
    In obedience to God
    And in request to God for his continued mercy upon them
    For they do understand that they must back up their prayers
    With their actions
    With their lives

    And so they follow the 3rd step
    And they continue receiving the refugees with the same welcome
    And the same warmth and the same generosity
    That they had received the original wave
    And they persist at this the Italians do
    And some of the refugees stay in Italy
    And are allowed to do so
    They are allowed to mainstream into Italian life
    They are allowed to help in the fields and in the farms
    Where the crops are growing more abundantly than they have in decades
    And yes additional help is actually needed
    And so the Italians have more food
    They have more food to share with the refugees
    The refugees are there to help them work the crops
    And it turns out to be a win-win situation as Italy flourishes

    Italy flourishes
    Italy flourishes
    Italy flourishes

    For as she gives; so does she receive
    As she gives; so does she receive
    As she gives; so does she receive

    And the Italians are no fools. They are able to connect the dots
    They know full well that their land has never been this fertile
    They know full well that it had never yielded such abundance
    Such rich abundance
    The soil itself is rich and fertile
    The Italian farmer holds the soil in his hands and tears stream down his face
    And yes, he gives thanks to his God
    And yes, he does connect the dots
    And since the Italians see the never-ending flow of refugees
    They do not forget the lesson they have learnt

    And so they continue to practice the 3 steps that have saved them
    The precious 3 steps are clear in everyone’s minds and hearts
    They know it experientially
    It is not the media that informs them of these 3 steps
    They themselves have figured out these 3 steps
    And with the continual flow of refugees with their stories of complete devastation
    In sharp contrast to the mercy that has been shown them
    The Italians are daily reminded of their 3 steps and daily, daily, daily
    They take the time and the time and the time
    To perform the 3 steps

    Yes each and every morning; they arise and face the new day in gratitude to God

    Yes each and every lunch hour; they get on their knees and pray the Rosary
    And continue to ask the Virgin to intercede on their behalf

    Yes and as each wave of refugees flood into their home
    The Italians do not grow weary
    On the contrary
    Their hearts continue to swell in compassion
    For these poor and exhausted citizens of the Earth
    And they treat their brothers and sisters as their brothers and sisters
    And show them gentleness; show them kindness
    Share their food and their home with them

    And ironically Italy is not depleted by her generosity
    But on the contrary; flourishes
    She flourishes; she flourishes; she flourishes

    And the land is rich with harvest

    And the people have become a people of Peace
    A people of gratitude
    A people of calm and humble Joy

    And Italy flourishes

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