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10 Things to Know About the Warning (Illumination of Conscience)

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Mystics across the ages have predicted an event known as the Warning. Read on to discover its significance.

Mystics across the ages have predicted an event known as the Warning. Read on to discover its significance.

What Is the Warning?

Imagine entering a movie theatre and taking a seat. As the film starts rolling, you feel intense unease: the featured film is nothing other than your entire life in review; specifically, all the sins you have committed. It's impossible to budge or even close your eyes. The film keeps rolling straight to the end. However, the most unendurable part of the experience is your keen understanding that God is at your side watching the film with you. You feel exactly what He feels. No one else is in the theatre.

Before proceeding, let it be known that I'm generally cautious when it comes to private revelation, particularly in the realm of prophecy. However, I'm willing to take a closer look if the revelations: 1) do not contravene Scripture or Church teaching, 2) harmonize with each other and 3) have supernatural occurrences to corroborate the message.

With truly remarkable concordance, then, mystics foretell a future event by which everyone on Earth will simultaneously experience an "illumination of conscience." Each person will see themselves in the light of Truth. In particular, persons will see their sins as God sees them. Time will freeze, and all motion will stop. It is collectively known as "the Warning."

The purpose of this article is not to generate fear but simply to inform. After all, if the Warning does occur in our times, a person without foreknowledge may wonder if he or she is going crazy: "Why am I seeing my life in review?" Therefore, this article hopes to unravel several questions surrounding this experience:

  1. Why will God send the Warning?
  2. Who has predicted this phenomenon?
  3. How do the messages from Garabandal describe this event?
  4. Has anyone experienced it already?
  5. Are there any benefits to receiving this illumination?
  6. Will this event take place in our times?
  7. What specific signs precede this event?
  8. Will persons survive this experience?
  9. What dispositions will help a person survive the Warning?
  10. What are ways to prepare for this event?

1. Why Will God Send the Warning?

According to various mystics, the Warning is a type of wake-up call God will send to all humanity. It is an act of mercy but also a chastisement. It will be painful for virtually everyone.

According to these mystics, the Earth will be enveloped in darkness, such as in the days of the Great Flood. Sin, often denigrated as of little consequence, is the cause of this darkness. Hence, God sends the Warning to illumine the dark caverns of the human conscience. People will understand the nature of sin and its ramifications. Atheists will know it is from God.

As mentioned, time and motion will freeze during the Warning. Airplanes, for example, will pause in midair. According to predictions, this event will be of relatively short duration, perhaps 10-15 minutes, yet it will be quite traumatic for most people. It will feel like unendurable death for persons who are steeped in sin.

Blessed Anna-Maria Taigi (1769-1837): "A great purification will come upon the world preceded by an Illumination of Conscience in which everyone will see themselves as God sees them."

Blessed Anna-Maria Taigi (1769-1837): "A great purification will come upon the world preceded by an Illumination of Conscience in which everyone will see themselves as God sees them."

2. Who Has Predicted This Phenomenon?

Throughout history, God has sent prophets to foretell momentous events. It is reasonable, therefore, that He should provide witnesses for such a phenomenon as the Warning. The first historical mention of this event comes from the English martyr St. Edmund Campion (1540-1581). He foresaw a day when God will "reveal all men's consciences and try every man of each kind of religion. This is the day of change ..."

Blessed Anna-Maria Taigi (1769-1837) was a humble housewife and mother who lived in Rome. She was also one of the greatest mystics of all time. Queens, popes, and common folk constantly sought her advice. She predicted many events that later occurred. Regarding the Warning, she says, "A great purification will come upon the world preceded by an Illumination of Conscience in which everyone will see themselves as God sees them."

Blessed Pope Pius IX (1792-1878) speaks of the Warning as "a great wonder which will fill the world with astonishment." Another Pope, St. Paul VI (1897-1978), says: "Humanity has performed so many evil deeds that its conscience is now darkened by sin. We will need a terrible warning, and many will refuse to listen ... Many have lived using their freedom for every kind of pleasure and they are under the direct gaze of our God. Still, this judgment will be direct—at the same time, with his tenderness—and they will be forced to recognize their sin ... This time, the sins of the world will be revealed."

Fr. Stefano Gobbi (1930-2011) was an Italian priest who received hundreds of interior locutions (messages) from the Virgin Mary between 1973-1997. The messages were meant primarily for priests. Among these communications, five dealt with the Warning. Mary reputedly said to him, "What will come to pass is something so very great that it will exceed anything that has taken place since the beginning of the world. It will be like a judgment in miniature, and each one will see his own life and all he has done in the very light of God."

Among other notable prophets of this event are St. Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938), who herself experienced this "mini-judgment." Jesus also gave a lengthy message concerning the Warning to the German mystic Grete Ganseforth (1926-1996): "The Earth will tremble and will suffer. It will be terrible, a Mini-Judgment ..."

The four visionaries of Garabandal, Spain, during an ecstasy. They were impervious to outside stimuli such as pinpricks or spotlights while receiving messages from the Virgin.

The four visionaries of Garabandal, Spain, during an ecstasy. They were impervious to outside stimuli such as pinpricks or spotlights while receiving messages from the Virgin.

3. What Do the Messages From Garabandal Say Regarding This Event?

While the Catholic Church has given a neutral judgment (non-constat) to the supposed apparitions and messages of Garabandal, Spain, it is well worth studying the events there. Significantly, the messages harmonize perfectly with what has been revealed about the Warning from other sources.

Between 1961 and 1965, four girls in a remote mountain village in Spain received hundreds of visits and messages from the Virgin Mary. The girls generally received these messages while kneeling in an ecstatic trance. Meanwhile, bystanders, such as doctors, pricked them with pins or burned them with matches. Nothing disturbed the girl's ecstasy—not even spotlights shone into their open eyelids.

One of the girls, Conchita Gonzalez, says this regarding the Warning:

It will last for only a short time. The Warning comes directly from God. It will be visible in every part of the world, no matter where we live. It will be like an interior realization of our sins. Believers as well as unbelievers, wherever they are at the time, will see it and feel it. Oh! Yes, the Warning will be very formidable! A thousand times worse than earthquakes. It will be like fire; it will not burn our flesh but we will feel it corporally and interiorly. All nations and every person on Earth will feel it. No one shall escape it.

While scores of other messages from Garabandal address this event, all the girls indicate that it will occur "when conditions are at their worse." According to their testimony, this will be when the world is dominated by Communism, and religion will be "very hard to practice."

Worldwide Communism? Be that as it may, it is interesting that the Warning will precede a stupendous miracle in Garabandal. Conchita, mentioned above, will announce the miracle eight days before it occurs. She is seventy-three years old at the time of this writing.

A Communist Party rally on Manezhnaya Square, Moscow, 18 December 2011

A Communist Party rally on Manezhnaya Square, Moscow, 18 December 2011

4. Has Any Living Person Experienced the Illumination of Conscience?

Several persons have experienced this phenomenon in advance. They compare it to a type of movie but more alive. The experience generates feelings of shock, sorrow, and repentance. Here are only two samples among many:

Fr. Rick Wendell was wealthy and morally free-wheeling until the day he saw his life as God sees it:

I saw all the sinful events of my life up through the present moment. It was an illumination of conscience, an experience more intimate and vivid than a movie, more realistic than a 3-D image; and I had the sense that God was there, somewhere behind me, watching everything. I was aghast to learn the implications of my sin, how my actions or inactions were so much bigger than one single event and had a ripple effect on others across time and eternity.

More of Fr. Rick's story may be found here.

Christopher Winters, a photojournalist from Pennsylvania, says,

The process was terrible to endure—truly horrific—and I am quite certain that it would kill many, not because of condemnation, ridicule, or accusation on His part, but due to simply seeing the terror of the truth. Through the eyes of the Lord, I perceived for the first time how much I had offended Him, even in the tiniest way ... I didn't like what I witnessed and began to cry with heartfelt sorrow. 'My Lord, I am sorry.' I sobbed and I meant it.

More of Christopher's story may be found here.

5. Are There Any Benefits to Receiving This Illumination?

Masters of the spiritual life, such as St. Teresa of Avila, emphasize the need for self-knowledge in order to draw nearer to God. Self-knowledge enables people to understand the truth about themselves—warts and all—in the clearest possible light. It leads to self-abasement, which in turn, raises the soul to God.

Therefore, when St. Teresa spoke of herself as "so filthy and malodorous a dung heap," it was not just pious claptrap (Life, ch.10). She understood the reality of her condition before God, the All-Holy One.

However, God gives this knowledge to help liberate the soul, not to depress it. As Jesus says, "The truth will set you free" (John 8:32). This explains why the saints beg for self-knowledge. Knowledge of one's frailty and woundedness leads one to cling to God alone. The Warning, therefore, is the most intense experience of self-knowledge that a person can receive in this life. For humble persons who trust in God, it will be a boon— it may launch a soul into close union with Him.

To a friend who was petrified of the Warning, Conchita Gonzalez, one of the visionaries of Garabandal said, "Yes, but after the Warning, you will love God much more."


6. Will This Event Take Place in Our Times?

In the 1960s, Conchita said, "these events will take place when I'm an old woman." The Virgin Mary purportedly told her the date of a forthcoming and stupendous miracle. Conchita must indicate this miracle eight days in advance. According to her testimony, the Warning will precede the miracle. Interestingly, Conchita was born in 1949; hence, if what she says is true, these events may well occur in our times. Furthermore, according to the testimony from Garabandal, these phenomena will occur when "conditions are at their worse."

An additional indication of the imminence of the Warning comes from the Argentinian mystic and stigmatist Luz de Maria de Bonilla. She generally receives two messages a week from heaven regarding our times. St. Michael the Archangel reputedly told her on July 15, 2019, "This is the generation that will experience the great act of Divine Mercy: THE WARNING."

7. What Specific Signs Precede This Event?

There are three main indications of the proximity of the Warning.

First, there will be the worldwide domination of Communism. According to the visionaries of Garabandal, religion will be "very hard to practice," and it will appear that the Church is dead. Priests will not be able to say Mass in public and need to go into hiding. Mari Loli, one of the Garabandal visionaries, said that the Warning will take place when "Russia will suddenly and unexpectedly overrun a great part of the free world."

Secondly, several mystics speak of cosmic signs. In a message given to Luz de Maria de Bonilla, Jesus says, "Shadows will cease to be shadows, but instead become a most terrible darkness that will obscure the light until the vault of the sky is illuminated by two celestial bodies which will collide with one another, lighting up the whole earth." The Virgin Mary similarly said to Luz de Maria, "Beloved children, in an instant, two heavenly bodies will approach one another and collapse. This event will be seen in the sky by all."

Conchita says likewise, "It is like two stars clashing, making much noise and producing bright light but causing no material damage to people, yet being very frightening."

Finally, the Cross will appear in the sky. Jesus says in St. Matthew's Gospel, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven" (Mt 24:29-30).

Several mystics amplified this phenomenon; Jesus gave the following message to St. Faustina in 1934: "All light in the heavens will be extinguished and there will be great darkness over the whole earth. Then the sign of the Cross will be seen in the sky and from the holes where the hands and feet of the Savior were nailed will come forth a brilliant light."

Jesus said to Luz de Maria de Bonilla: "My Cross is Victory and it will shine in the firmament for seven days and nights. It will radiate light constantly. It will be a preliminary sign for which My people have waited."

The following video highlights various messages the Virgin Mary has conveyed regarding the Warning.

The Virgin Mary's Messages About The Warning

8. Will Persons Survive This Experience?

The experience of the Illumination of Conscience will vary with each individual according to their sins. For some people, the shock may be too much for their system to handle. A doctor once asked Conchita if the Warning would cause physical harm; she responded, "No, unless it is something that results from the shock, as, for example, a heart attack."

The experience will be difficult not only for hardened sinners but also for superficially religious persons who profess to be devout yet constantly ignore God's commandments. The following message elucidates this subject; it was purportedly given by St. Joseph on May 13, 1994, to the mystic and stigmatist Janie Garza of Austin, Texas:

St. Joseph: "Many people continue to live in sin and forget that the day is coming when they will be allowed to see the state of their souls. What a terrible time this will be for many, many souls. Many will die, for they will not be able to withstand knowing the truth about the condition of their souls."

Janie: "St. Joseph, could you explain why many people will die when they see their souls? I don't understand, please help me to understand."

St. Joseph: "My little one, the soul is where all truth resides and no one can see or know your soul except the Eternal One. He alone knows all souls and He alone will judge all souls ... For those who believe that they live in the light but continue to break every commandment given by God, to these souls, I, St. Joseph, say that these souls will not be able to see the state of their souls and live."

9. What Dispositions Will Help a Person Survive the Warning?

Three dispositions will enable a person to survive the Warning: humility, trust, and patience.

Humility: The Warning is a type of soul mirror whereby God shows a person what they were incapable of seeing previously. A humble person will acknowledge the truth and be sorry; a proud person may be inclined to resist the truth and rebel.

Trust: The need for trust in God during the Warning is so paramount that it cannot be emphasized enough. Unless a person believes that they are loved by God, despite the condition of their soul, a person may be driven to despair. Therefore, a person with a developed sense of trust will more likely survive.

Patience: The Illumination of Conscience will work its course from start to finish. As with any process, such as a surgical procedure, it simply will take time. Therefore, if a person understands that eventually, the storm will pass, there is ample reason to endure it with patience.

The Warning may be understood as the Day of Mercy, as explained by Jesus to St. Faustina.

The Warning may be understood as the Day of Mercy, as explained by Jesus to St. Faustina.

10. What Are Ways to Prepare for This Event?

The Illumination of Conscience is a type of particular judgment which every soul must endure at the moment of death: "It is appointed for mortals to die once and after that the judgment." (Hebrews 9:27)

In other words, our lives are reviewed by God at the moment of death. So, even if none of us experiences the Warning in our lives, it is nonetheless beneficial to prepare for what is inevitable for each soul. Let us consider a few ways to prepare for it in advance.

Self-knowledge: As mentioned, the saints begged for self-knowledge because it produces humility—the humble soul understands its extreme smallness before God. While this knowledge generates self-abasement, it also generates love for God. Self-abasement is the opposite of self-affirmation, which will be entirely useless in the light of God's judgment.

Knowledge of God: Trust grows in the soul through an understanding of God as Father, Savior, Spouse, Friend, and Brother. This knowledge comes through prayer, meditation, and the Sacraments. To know God is perhaps the best preparation for the Warning: a soul of trust can endure any storm like the house built on rock (Luke 6:46-49)

Purity of Conscience: The Warning may be compared to a spotlight shone into the soul. A clean conscience may be better achieved through a daily evaluation called an 'examination of conscience.'

Spiritual guides recommend that it be performed twice a day. The first examination concerns a particular area in one's life that needs improvement—either a moral struggle or a specific virtue that is lacking. The second examination takes place in the evening, whereby one reviews the day just lived and takes account of both graces and failures. These reflections require only a few minutes each.

The saints sought self-knowledge as a means of uniting more closely with God.

The saints sought self-knowledge as a means of uniting more closely with God.


"Come, let us set things right, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they may become white as snow" (Is 1:18). The Illumination of Conscience comes from a God who is infinitely just, wise, and merciful. Though painful, the Warning is an opportunity to 'set things right' and put our house in order with God's assistance.

Yes, the Warning will undoubtedly be a difficult event to endure, but "Everything works for good for those who love God" (Rom 8:28). Rather than await it with a knotted stomach, it's far better to view it as 'spring cleaning,' with God's help. Hence, let us await the day with perfect trust.


To The Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons, 17th Edition, published by The Marian Movement of Priests, 1996

The Diary of St. Faustina: Divine Mercy in my Soul

The Warning: Testimonies and Prophecies of the Illumination of Conscience by Christine Watkins, published by Queen of Peace Media, 2019

This video is a good introduction to the events at Garabandal

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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