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Category Archives: Words of Wisdom

“I CHOOSE THE LITTLE ONES AND THE WEAK”

“I CHOOSE THE LITTLE ONES AND THE WEAK”

THE APPARITION OF PELLEVOISIN, 1876

Estelle Faguette, lady’s maid to the Countess Arthur de La Rouchefoucauld, became very ill in Paris in May, 1875. She was admitted to hospital there, and the doctors diagnosed her illness as an advanced case of consumption. She was also suffering from a tumour which she had had for ten years. The doctors said there was no hope for her. Estelle was thirty-two years old at the time.

THE DOCTORS SAID THERE WAS NO HOPE FOR HER

A short time later,  she was moved to a house owned by her employers in Pellevoisin in the diocese of Bourges.

In September, 1875, Estelle wrote a letter to the Blessed Virgin. A new shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes had been erected near Pellevoisin. She asked a friend to take her letter to the shrine and hide it in the stones at the feet of the Virgin’s statue.

For a long time she could not resign herself to the thought of dying. “It’s not fair,” she said to herself. “God can’t take me now. I’m the only support of my mother and father and little orphan niece. How would they get along without me?”

AFTER A LONG STRUGGLE WITH HERSELF, SHE WAS ABLE TO MAKE AN ACT OF COMPLETE RESIGNATION 

After a long struggle with herself, she was able to make an act of complete resignation. “My God,” she prayed, “in expiation of my sins, let me suffer. Behold, I am ready; strike as it shall please You; only give me courage, patience, and resignation to Your holy will. If groans escape from my lips, receive them as prayers from my heart to Yours.”

On February 10, 1876, the doctor said she had only a few hours to live. When told that she could keep nothing in her stomach, he said, “It is useless to torture her for the short time she has to live.”

SHE SEEMED TO BE IN HER LAST AGONY

She was still alive on Tuesday, February 15, although she was expected to die momentarily. That morning she told the priest that the Blessed Virgin had appeared to her during the night and that she would be either dead or cured by the following Saturday. The next day she told the priest that she had seen the Virgin again and that she would be cured Saturday. On Thursday morning she emphatically repeated the statement to the priest and to several other people.

On Friday night she seemed to be in her last agony. The priest wished to hear her confession, but she said she would wait until the next day when she would be well. He was very uneasy about this, but he left without hearing her confession.

“YOU HAVE EDIFIED US BY YOUR COURAGE AND RESIGNATION”

On Saturday morning she told the priest that she felt as if she had been cured but that she could not move her right arm. She had lost the use of it four or five days earlier. The priest gave her Holy Communion.

“MAKE THE SIGN OF THE CROSS WITH YOUR RIGHT HAND”

Then he said to her: “My poor Estelle, you have edified us by your courage and resignation. Be full of confidence now, and to prove to us that what you have said is not an illusion, make the Sign of the Cross with your right hand.”

Estelle raised the hand, and the seven or eight people present saw her make the Sign of the Cross without the least difficulty.

Later that day she got up, dressed herself, ate a meal, and talked happily with her friends. The consumption was gone. The tumour, which had grown larger during her illness, had disappeared completely. The doctors who had been attending her said the cure could not have come from natural causes.

Estelle lived for many years after that and never had a relapse. In fact, her health remained better than it had been before her illness.

“DO YOU NOT SEE THAT SHE WEARS MY LIVERY?”

The next day Estelle wrote her account of the five apparitions. On the night of the 14th, she says, she was trying to get some rest “when suddenly the demon appeared at the foot of my bed. He was horrible and at once began to make grimaces at me. Scarcely had I seen him when our Blessed Lady appeared on the other side at the corner of my bed. She wore a pure white woolen veil, which fell in three folds. I can never describe how beautiful she was. Her features were regular, her colour white and rose tint, rather pale. Her large gentle eyes reassured me somewhat but not completely.

“The demon, perceiving the Blessed Virgin, drew back, dragging the curtain and the iron rod of my bed. This increased my terror which became unendurable. I crouched down in bed. He did not speak but turned his back to me.

“The Blessed Virgin said to him sharply: ‘What brings you here? Do you not see that she wears my livery, and that of my Son?’ He disappeared gesticulating. Then she turned to me and said gently, ‘Fear nothing; you are my daughter.’ Then I remembered that from the age of fourteen I have been a child of Mary. I now felt less fear.

“HAVE COURAGE”

She said to me gently: ‘Have courage; be patient; my Son will allow himself to be prevailed upon. You will suffer five days longer in honour of the five wounds of my Son. On Saturday, you will be either dead or cured. If my Son restores you to life, I wish you to publish my glory.'”

Our Lady told Estelle the next night that she was to be cured on Saturday. “If my Son has allowed Himself to be prevailed upon, it is because of your resignation and your patience.” Then our Lady reproved Estelle for the faults she had committed during her past life. They had seemed to be very small faults when she committed them, but now she saw that any sin is big in the eyes of God.

“I would have longed to cry out for pardon, but could not; my grief overcame me… Oh, how sad I felt.”

The next night our Lady reassured Estelle. “By your resignation you have expiated your faults… I am all merciful… Your good works and fervent prayers have touched my mother’s heart. Among others that little letter you wrote to me in September. What moved me were the words: ‘See the sorrow of my parents. If I fail them they are on the eve of begging bread. Remember, then, what you suffered when your Son Jesus was stretched out upon the Cross.'”

The fourth appearance was very much like the first three.

Estelle asked our Lady on the fifth if she should change her state in life. “One can be saved in every state,” was the answer. “Where you are, you can do a great deal of good, and you can publish my glory. What afflicts me most is the want of respect shown by some people to my divine Son in Holy Communion and the attitude taken for prayer, when at the same time the mind continues occupied with other things. I say this for people who pretend to be pious.”

After our Lady disappeared that night, Estelle was cured.

WHAT BEAUTY! WHAT SWEETNESS! 

On July 1, Estelle was kneeling in front of the fireplace when our Lady appeared for a sixth time. “What beauty! What sweetness! The ends of her cincture nearly reached the hem of her dress. She was all in white and remained standing… When I first saw her, she had her arms stretched out and from her hands there fell drops like rain. She looked at something fixedly, then taking one of the tassels of her cincture, she raised it to her breast on which she crossed her hands. She smiled, and, looking at me, said: ‘Be calm, my child; have patience; you will have sorrows, but I will be with you.'”

The following night, our Lady said that the Heart of her Son bears so much love for her “that He cannot refuse me any requests.” She also said, “I have come especially for the conversion of sinners.”

On July 3, our Lady returned, but her visit was short. She did not come again until September 9. “For a long time, the treasures of my Son have been open,” she said. “Let them pray.” Here Estelle said she was given to understand that Jesus had shown, through St Margaret Mary, the glory and the power of the devotion of His Most Sacred Heart.

The Blessed Mother raised a small piece of woolen cloth which she wore on her breast. Estelle saw a red heart on it.

(to be continued)

From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

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FATIMA: REVELATIONS TO LUCIA, 1925 – 1929

FATIMA: REVELATIONS TO LUCIA, 1925 – 1929

THE HEART ENCIRCLED WITH THORNS

“You must remain longer here below,” our Lady said to Lucia. “Jesus will use you to make me better known and better loved.”

So Lucia had remained on this earth long after her two cousins had been taken.

In January, 1918, the Holy See re-established the diocese of Leiria, after a lapse of sixty years. Fatima is part of this diocese. The Reverend Joseph Correia da Silva was named Bishop and took possession of his diocese August 5, 1920.

The new Bishop considered it one of his most important duties to investigate the complete story of the Fatima apparitions. He interviewed Lucia on June 13, 1921. He told her that he thought it would be best if she entered a convent school. The purpose of this was to take Lucia away from the devout people and curiosity seekers who were constantly around her and to give her a chance to forget the apparitions should they prove to be imaginary. The Bishop also wished to determine whether the many cures and conversions which were taking place at the Cova were induced by hysteria caused by her presence there. He wished to see whether the cures and conversions would continue to take place in her absence.

THE SISTERS OF ST DOROTHY 

“You must not tell anyone when or where you are going,” the Bishop said.

“Yes, Bishop.”

“You must not tell a soul at school who you are.”

“Yes, Bishop.”

“And you must not utter a word about Fatima.”

“Yes, Bishop.” Lucia would do whatever she was commanded.

It was not easy to leave her home and her mother, but she offered the sacrifice to save souls from hell. She entered a school conducted by the Sisters of St Dorothy. She was given a new name, Maria das Dores, and only the superior knew who she was.

When she completed the course of studies, she asked whether she might be admitted to the order. She entered the convent in 1925, became a novice on November 2, 1926, and two years later made her vows as a lay Sister. On October 3, 1934, she made her perpetual vows. She was known in the order as Sister Dores. This word means sorrows and is not a proper name in English. The nearest thing to it is Dolores.

THE FIRST SATURDAYS

On December 10, 1925, our Lady came back, as she had said she would, to request Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. Lucia was praying in her cell at the convent when our Lady appeared, together with the Child Jesus elevated on a cloud of light. Our Lady rested one hand on Lucia’s shoulder. In the other, she held a heart surrounded with sharp thorns. The Child Jesus spoke first:

“Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother. It is covered with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation.”

Then our Lady said:

“My daughter, look at my heart encircled with the thorns with which ungrateful men pierce at it every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. Do you at least try to console me and announce in my name that I promise to assist at the hour of death with the graces necessary for salvation all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, recite the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation.”

The request for the First Saturday devotion was repeated 1926 and 1927.

In 1927 our Lord spoke to Lucia from the tabernacle, while she was praying in the convent chapel in Tuy, Spain. He gave her permission to reveal two parts of the July apparition which had been kept secret until that time. These were the vision of hell and the long message beginning, “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish throughout the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart…” This was the message which said that if people did not stop offending God another worse war would begin in the reign of Pius XI. It was also the message in which our Lady said, “If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If not, she shall spread her errors throughout the world, promoting wars and persecutions of the Church…”

“WORTHY OF BELIEF” 

For some reason, the authorities did not allow this message to be known to the world until 1942.

The third part of the July message has not yet been revealed. Acting on instructions from heaven, Lucia has written it down and the Bishop of Leiria has placed it in his archives.

In 1929, our Lady came to ask the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart. In the July apparition she had said she would come back to make this request. She asked that the consecration be made by the Holy Father in unison with all the bishops of the world.

Three years passed and nothing was done. Lucia again wrote to the Bishop. She quoted our Lord as saying, “The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, but it will be late.”

On October 13, 1930, the thirteenth anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun, the Bishop of Leiria published a pastoral letter in which he said that the apparitions of Fatima were worthy of belief. The investigation had been under way since 1922.

From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

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ST JACINTA MARTO, “THE LITTLE SAINT”

ST JACINTA MARTO, “THE LITTLE SAINT”

HER ILLNESS BEGAN WITH THE INFLUENZA EPIDEMIC THAT SWEPT THE WORLD IN 1918

“I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon,” our Lady had said to Lucia on June 13. The final illness of the two children began with the influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918. [“Spanish ‘flu epidemic”]. They were both stricken. Complications set in, and neither recovered, although Jacinta lingered on longer than her brother.

“FOR THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS” 

One day when Lucia came to visit her sick cousins, Jacinta had great news for her.

“Lucia,” she cried, “our Lady came to see us and said she was coming soon for Francisco. She asked me whether I wanted to convert more sinners. I said yes. Our Lady wants me to go to two hospitals, but it is not to cure me. It is to suffer more for the love of God, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She told me that you would not be with me. My mother will take me there, and afterward I am to be left there alone.

Jacinta was happy to undergo any sacrifice for the conversion of sinners. Francisco, too, underwent great suffering without the least complaint. His desire was to console our Lord and our Lady. It seemed to him that they were very sorrowful.

FRANCISCO’S FIRST COMMUNION 

In April, Francisco asked to be allowed to make his First Communion. His request was granted. It was also his last Communion. He died April 4, 1919. He was not yet ten years old.

DON’T BE AFRAID. I’LL PRAY A LOT FOR YOU IN HEAVEN

Jacinta missed her brother very much even though she knew he was happy in heaven. “I think of Francisco and how I’d love to see him,” she told Lucia. “But I also think of the war that is going to come. So many people will die, and so many will go to he’ll. Many cities will be burned to the ground, and many priests will be killed. Look, Lucia, I am going to heaven. But when you see that night illumined by the strange light, you also run away to heaven.”

Lucia said that would be impossible, and Jacinta agreed. “But don’t be afraid. I’ll pray a lot for you in heaven, and for the Holy Father also, and for Portugal, for the war not to come here and for all the priests.”

Her influenza grew worse and an abscess formed on her chest. Her suffering was great, but she was glad she could offer it for the conversion of sinners. She was taken to a hospital at Ourem, but the doctors there could do nothing for her. After two months she was returned to her home.

“I WONDERED WHETHER OUR LADY HAD MADE THE SAME PROMISE TO JACINTA”

A priest who visited her at her home said: “She was all bones. It was a shock to see how thin her arms were. She was running fever all the time. Pneumonia, then tuberculosis and pleurisy, ate away her strength. I remembered as I saw her, that our Lady had promised Bernadette of Lourdes that she would not be happy in this world but in the next. I wondered whether our Lady had made the same promise to Jacinta.”

We know now that the Lady had made the same promise, in slightly different words. She had said, “You will have much to suffer.” She had also promised that Jacinta would go to heaven.

Despite her illness she made several painful trips to the Cova, and she also went to Mass.

“Don’t try to come to Mass,” Lucia said one day. “It’s too much for you. Besides, it isn’t Sunday.”

“That doesn’t matter. I want to go in place of the sinners who don’t go even on Sundays.”

“TELL EVERYONE THAT OUR LORD GRANTS US ALL GRACES THROUGH THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY” 

These words from the lips of a favoured child of Mary remind us that the desecration of the Sabbath was one of the sins against which our Lady had protested at La Salette.

“Look, Lucia,” Jacinta continued, “our Lord is so sad and our Lady told us that He must not be offended any more. He is already offended very much, and no one pays any attention to it. They keep committing the same sins.”

This also recalls Mary’s words at La Salette: “And as for you, you take no heed of it.”

Another time Jacinta said to Lucia:

“Soon I shall go to heaven. You are to stay here to reveal that the Lord wants to establish throughout the world the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you start to reveal this, don’t hesitate. Tell everyone that our Lord grants us all graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that all must make their petitions to her; that the Sacred Heart of Jesus desires that the Immaculate Heart of Mary be venerated at the same time. Tell them that they should all ask for peace from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as God has placed it in her hands. Oh, if I could only put in the heart of everyone in the world the fire that is burning in me and makes me love so much the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary.”

FINALLY, SHE WAS GIVEN A ROOM IN AN ORPHANAGE 

The Blessed Virgin appeared to Jacinta again and told her that she would die in a hospital in Lisbon. Soon after that a specialist told her parents that she should be taken to a hospital in Lisbon. They protested that there was no point in making such a trip if the Blessed Virgin had told her that she was going to die. The doctor replied that the only way they could be sure the Blessed Virgin wanted to take the girl was to go to all lengths to save her. This argument convinced them, and so they took her to Lisbon.

The hospital had no vacant room, and no one wanted to take such a sick girl into a private home. Finally, she was given a room in an orphanage. A chapel adjoined the orphanage and Jacinta was happy to be under the same roof with the Blessed Sacrament. The superior, Mother Godinho, was very kind to the girl. Our Lady appeared to Jacinta several times during her stay at the orphanage.

Jacinta made statements that were far beyond the ordinary girl of her years. Mother Godinho kept a record of them. She asked Jacinta where she learned these things and was told that our Lady taught her some of them and that others she had thought out for herself. “I like to think very much.”

“IF PEOPLE ONLY KNEW WHAT ETERNITY IS, THEY WOULD DO EVERYTHING TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES” 

“Wars are only punishments for the sins of the world,” she said one time. “Our Lady cannot stay the arm of her beloved Son upon the world any more. It is necessary to do penance. If the people amend themselves, our Lord shall still come to the aid of the world. If they do not amend themselves, punishment shall come.”

Again one is struck by the similarity between Jacinta’s words and the words of Our Lady of La Salette. “If my people will not submit, I shall be forced to let go the hand of my Son.”

“If men do not amend their lives,” said Jacinta on another occasion, “Almighty God will send the world, beginning with Spain, a punishment such as never has been seen.” She spoke of “great world events” that were to take place around 1940. She cried when she thought of the catastrophe that was coming and when she thought of the way men were offending Jesus and Mary.

“My dear Mother,” she said at another time, “the sins that bring most souls to hell are the sins of the flesh. Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend our Lord very much. Those who serve God should not follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions… If people only knew what eternity is, they would do everything to change their lives. People lose their souls because they do not think about the death of our Lord and do not do penance.

“Many marriages are not good; they do not please our Lord and are not of God.

“IF GOVERNMENTS LEFT THE CHURCH IN PEACE… THEY WOULD BE BLESSED BY GOD”

“Pray a great deal for governments. Pity those governments which persecute the religion of our Lord. If the governments left the Church in peace and gave liberty to the Holy Religion, they would be blessed by God.

“Do not give yourself to immodest clothes. Run away from riches. Love holy poverty and silence. Be very charitable, even with those who are unkind. Never criticise others and avoid those who do. Be very patient, for patience brings us to heaven. Mortifications and sacrifices please our Lord a great deal.

“The Mother of God wants a large number of virgin souls to bind themselves to her by the vow of chastity. I would enter a convent with great joy, but my joy is greater because I am going to heaven. To be a religious one has to be pure in soul and in body.”

“Do you know what it means to be pure?” Mother Godinho asked.

“Yes, I do. To be pure in body means to preserve chastity. To be pure in soul means to avoid sin, not to look at what is sinful, not to steal, never lie and always tell the truth even when it is hard. Whoever does not fulfil promises made to our Lady will not be blessed in life.”

“PITY DOCTORS. THEY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT AWAITS THEM”

On February 2, 1920, Jacinta was admitted to the hospital. She was examined by many doctors. Most of these were concerned only with science and medicine and had no thought of God. Jacinta knew this and the thought saddened her. “Pity doctors. They have no idea what awaits them. Doctors do not know how to treat their patients with success because they have no love of God.”

In these three sentences ten-year-old Jacinta protested against the materialism of our times. She saw that men were putting their entire trust in science and ignoring God. But she was not angry with them; she pitied them.

ALL OF JACINTA’S WORDS ARE WORTH GREAT CONSIDERATION 

All of Jacinta’s words are worth great consideration. We are not bound to believe private revelations, and some of Jacinta’s remarks were not even private revelations. The Blessed Virgin told her some things, and others she “thought out” for herself. We do know, however, that Jacinta was very saintly and that she had been promised by our Lady that she would go to heaven. Her words are not to be dismissed lightly. And her prediction of a great punishment being visited on the world, beginning with Spain, came only too true!

So when Jacinta tells us that “the sins that bring most souls to hell are the sins of the flesh” her words carry great weight. And there seems little reason to doubt them, when we behold the Sixth Commandment held up to ridicule in Broadway plays, in magazine fiction and in best-selling novels; when in some parts of the United States one marriage in three ends in a divorce, a flagrant disregard of God’s laws.

“Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend our Lord very much” seems meant for our own day. Was Jacinta thinking of us when she uttered those words back in 1920?

“Wars are only punishments for the sins of the world” is a sentence that should be broadcast to the world. Our day-to-day actions are more important to the keeping of the peace than all the maneuverings of the world’s diplomats.

THE PRIEST HEARD HER CONFESSION AND SAID HE WOULD BRING HER COMMUNION IN THE MORNING 

On February 10, two of Jacinta’s ribs were removed. Because of her weakness, she could not be given a general anaesthetic, and the local one did not take away her pain. “It is for love of You, my Jesus,” she murmured. “Now You can convert many sinners, for I suffer much.”

For six days the agonising pain lasted. Then on the night of February 16, our Lady appeared to her and told her that her suffering was at an end. The pain stopped. On February 20, she asked for the Last Sacraments. The priest heard her confession and said he would bring her Communion in the morning. She asked him to bring it at once because she was going to die soon. She died before her wish was fulfilled. A young nurse, Aurora Gomes, was the only person present when Jacinta quietly breathed her last.

“THE LITTLE SAINT”

Crowds flocked to the undertaking parlour where Jacinta was laid out in her white First Communion dress with a blue sash, our Lady’s colours. The people were sure that Jacinta was already in heaven with our Lord and our Lady, and they wanted to see “the little saint.”

Although her body had been filled with poison, she was beautiful in death. Her lips were red, her cheeks rosy and a pleasant aroma came from her body. “I have seen many bodies, in my business, young and old,” the undertaker said later. “Never did a thing of this sort happen to me before or since.”

Jacinta’s body was placed at first in a vault at Ourem. In 1935 the Bishop of Leiria requested that it be taken to Fatima and buried in the church yard beside the body of Francisco. Her casket was opened at that time and the body was found to be whole and incorrupt.

In April, 1951, the remains of Francisco and Jacinta were moved to the basilica which had risen above the Cova da Iria. Jacinta’s body was examined again. It was found to be partly corrupted but still in a remarkable state of preservation.

From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2020 in Words of Wisdom

 

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THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS IN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF PERSECUTION

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IS IN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF PERSECUTION

“FRANCE WILL SUFFER”

“I can no longer restrain my Son!” Our Lady had declared sadly to Estelle Faguette at Pellevoisin in 1876. The world continued to ignore its Mother’s warnings and to bring ever closer the great punishment that was to befall it.

THE DEVIL IS “EVERY DAY REDOUBLING HIS EFFORTS” 

Two years after the apparitions at Pellevoisin, the frail sixty-eight-year-old Cardinal Pecci became the new Pontiff, Pope Leo XIII. “It is not the tiara you are giving me, but death,” the Pope said to the Cardinals who elected him. It is true that the papal tiara has been a heavy burden in these days when the devil is “every day redoubling his efforts.” Nevertheless, Pope Leo XIII reigned for twenty-five years, until 1903. He thus became the first Pontiff of our twentieth century.

Pope Leo XIII earned the title “Pope of the Workingman” because of his great encyclical Rerum Novarum. Like Karl Marx, the Pontiff recognised the great abuse that had been brought about by the Industrial Revolution. But his solution, based on the teachings of Christ, was vastly different from the class warfare advocated by Marx. Employers who were making large profits were slow to follow the Pope’s plan of granting justice to the workingman. Some even denounced him as a socialist. Had Pope Leo XIII been heeded, Communism would not be the threat that it now is.

ITALY’S SECULAR GOVERNMENT’S SEIZURE OF THE VATICAN

As a protest against Italy’s unjust seizure of the Vatican, Pope Leo XIII followed the example of his predecessor and did not leave the Vatican during his entire reign. Relations improved slightly with some countries, but only slightly. Germany, under Chancellor Bismarck, engaged in a persecution of the Church. France, now in the firm grip of the anti-clericals, passed law after law to hamstring the Church.

SECULAR FRANCE PASSED LAW AFTER LAW TO HAMSTRING THE CHURCH 

When Estelle Faguette had an audience with Pope Leo XIII in 1900, she said, “Holy Father, the Blessed Virgin said that France will have to suffer.”

“Yes,” said the Pontiff sadly, “France will have to suffer.”

Fourteen years later, World War I broke out, and most of the battles were fought on French soil. This war was even more devastating than the one of 1870-1871 had been.

Cardinal Sarto was elected to succeed Pope Leo XIII. “Since I must suffer I will take the name of those who have suffered,” he said, “I will be called Pius.”

France caused Pope Pius X great anguish, as it had his predecessors. In 1904, the government declared that the concordat which had been in effect with the Holy See for a century was at an end. The Law of Separation was passed the following year. By this law, the government confiscated all possessions of the clergy as well as of charitable institutions. Religious congregations were disbanded. Many of the religious were forced to leave the country. Nuns were driven from their work in schools and hospitals. Churches were looted.

Many of the French people protested. The men sent to despoil the churches were often attacked by the infuriated peasants, and many of them had to have guards to protect them. Nevertheless, the sacrilegious work went on. “And France,” our Lady had said at Pellevoisin, “what have I not done for her? How many warnings and yet she refused to listen!

The misnamed liberalism which was scourging France spread to Spain and – this is interesting in the light of later developments – to Portugal. The king and his son were murdered. The next king was forced to abdicate. A republic was established. A Law of Separation, based on the one in France, was passed, and the Church was in for a long period of persecution.

“THE CHURCH WAS IN FOR A LONG PERIOD OF PERSECUTION”

In the dark days in which we are now living, the most encouraging signs we behold are increased devotion to Mary and increased devotion to her Son in the Eucharist. It is largely to Pope Pius X, “Pope of the Eucharist”, that we owe the latter. It was he who urged frequent Communion and permitted children to receive Communion as soon as they reached the age of reason.

In 1916, two years after the death of Pius X, an angel appeared to three children near Fatima in Portugal. They were aged nine, eight, and six. The angel placed a Host on the tongue of Lucia, the oldest. To Francisco and Jacinta, who had not made their first Communion, he presented a chalice, and they drank from it. The angel said: “Take the body and blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” He seemed to be expressing at the same time displeasure with the state of the world and approval of the early Communion advocated by Pius X.

It was to these same three children that our Lady was later to appear.

MEN WERE ABOUT TO REAP THE TERRIBLE PUNISHMENT THAT WAS DUE TO THEM

The war clouds were gathering in the last part of the reign of Pope Pius X. Men were about to reap the terrible punishment that was due to them for having “horribly outraged” their God.

THE POPE TRIED TO AVERT THE LOOMING WORLD WAR

The Pontiff tried in every way possible to avert the war, but he saw that he was doomed to fail. He told his Secretary of State that a war would break out in 1914. Early in May, 1914, he said to a South American who was returning home, “How fortunate you are that you will not be here when war breaks out in a very short time.

When he heard that Archduke Ferdinand of Austria had been assassinated, he knew that the conflict had begun. “Oh, my poor children!” he cried. “This is the last affliction which the Lord is sending me! Willingly would I sacrifice my life to ward off this terrible scourge!”

Twice the Austrian ambassador asked Pope Pius to bless the armies of that country. He was told, “I bless peace.”

Austria declared war on Serbia. Russia joined the conflict on the side of Serbia. Germany came to the aid of Austria.

Pope Pius was stricken by what the physicians thought to be a minor illness, but he died on August 10, 1914. Those about him knew that he died of a broken heart.

Pope Pius was declared a Saint. He was beatified June 3, 1951, and was canonised May 29, 1954.

THE POPE WAS FORBIDDEN TO TAKE PART IN THE PEACE NEGOTIATIONS 

The new Pontiff, Benedict XV, strove valiantly to bring an end to the war. The leaders on both sides were convinced that they could win, however, and they were in no mood to stop fighting when victory seemed within their grasp. Never before had there been such destruction. This was the first war in which airplanes were used, and death rained from the skies. Ships were sunk; cities levelled. Women and children were victims along with the fighting men.

The Pope tried to arrange a truce on Christmas Day. Great Britain, Germany and Belgium seemed sympathetic, but France and Russia said no. Cannons continued to roar, and blood continued to flow on the birthday of the Prince of Peace.

When Italy entered the war, she made the Allies promise that the Pope would not be allowed to take part in the peace negotiations. She was afraid the matter of the Papal States might be brought up.

IT “APPEARS TO US AS THE SUICIDE OF CIVILISED EUROPE” 

The Pope’s efforts for peace went on constantly. On March 6, he said to his Vicar-General, Cardinal Pompili: “A father whose sons are engaged in a violent conflict is not at liberty to cease his pleadings for peace, even though they disregard his tears and exhortation… Therefore, we must again raise our voice against this war which appears to us as the suicide of civilised Europe.”

Far from diminishing, the war, like a giant conflagration, was spreading throughout the world. Portugal was engulfed in 1916, the United States in April, 1917. By this time almost every country in the world was involved.

EVENTS OF SINISTER IMPORTANCE 

In Russia, events of sinister and far-reaching importance were taking place. The war was going badly for that country which had been misruled for so many years by the czars. A revolution broke out in March 1917, and Czar Nicholas II abdicated.

An unstable provisional government was set up in Russia. It was not to last for long. Conditions were in a state of chaos, and the followers of Karl Marx thrive on that sort of thing. On April 16, Nicolai Lenin and Leon Trotsky, leaders of the Communists, arrived in Petrograd to make their plans for taking over the country.

In May, 1917, the month of our Lady, the world situation seemed hopeless. The war had been going on for almost three years, and no end was in sight… On May 5, 1917, when everything appeared darkest, Pope Benedict XV addressed a letter to his Cardinal Secretary of State in which he recounted his unsuccessful efforts to bring about peace. Then he said:

“Because all graces… are dispensed by the hands of the most holy Virgin, we wish the petitions of her most afflicted children to be directed with lively confidence, more than ever in this awful hour, to the great Mother of God.

“We charge you, then, Lord Cardinal, to communicate to all the bishops of the world our ardent desire that recourse be made to the Heart of Jesus, Throne of grace, and that to the Throne recourse be made through Mary… To Mary, then, who is the Mother of Mercy, and omnipotent by grace, let loving and devout appeal go up from every corner of the earth… Let it bear to her the anguished cry of mothers and wives, the wailing of little ones, the sighs of every generous heart, that her most tender and benign solicitude may be moved and the peace we ask be obtained for our agitated world.”

The Pope also directed that “Queen of Peace” be added to Mary’s titles in the Litany of Loreto.

Eight days later – as if in direct answer to the Pope’s appeal – the Mother of God appeared to the three shepherd children of Fatima.

(Next chapter – Fatima)

From: “The Woman Shall Conquer” by Don Sharkey, Prow Books/Franciscan Marytown Press, Libertyville, IL, 1954

 

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2020 in Words of Wisdom

 

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THE ICE SAINTS (11th TO 15th OF MAY)

THE ICE SAINTS (11th TO 15th OF MAY)

The Ice Saints, known in the colder regions of Europe, are: St Mammertus, St Pancras and St Servatius. They are so named because their feast days fall on 11th, 12th and 13th of May (a period also traditionally known as “blackthorn winter”). Some areas add St Boniface of Tarsus and St Sophia (feast days on 14th and 15th of May respectively).

Because of ground frost and frost, already flowering plants can be severely damaged, and large-scale planting is undertaken once the Ice Saints have passed. “Avant Saint Servais, point ete; apres Saint Servais, plus de gelee” – “Before the feast of Saint Servais, no summer; after Saint Servais, no frost.”

 

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“DO NOT LET YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED…”

“DO NOT LET YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED…”

HOMILY OF ST AUGUSTINE, BISHOP, ON JOHN 14:1-6

A greater attention to God, brethren, must be aroused in us, that we may take in with our minds the words of the holy Gospel which have just now sounded in our ears. For the Lord Jesus said: “Do not let your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.” Lest they should fear death, as men, and so be troubled, he consoles them, testifying that he also is God. “You believe,” he says, “in God, believe also in me. For it follows that if you believe in God, you should also believe in me,” which would not follow if Christ were not God.

YOU BELIEVE IN GOD, BELIEVE ALSO IN HIM WITH WHOM IT IS NATURAL TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD

You believe in God, believe also in him with whom it is natural, not by robbery, to be equal with God; for he emptied himself, not however relinquishing the form of God, but taking the form of a servant. You fear death for this form of a servant. Let not your heart be troubled; the form of God will raise it up.

IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE THERE ARE MANY MANSIONS 

But what is the meaning of this that follows: “In my Father’s house there are many mansions,” unless it was that they also feared for themselves? Therefore, they might have heard: “Let not your heart be troubled.” For which of them would not fear, when it was said to Peter, the readiest and most confident of them all: “The cock shall not crow before you deny me three times?” At the thought that they might fall away from him, they were justly troubled; but when they heard: “In my Father’s house there are many mansions; were it not so, I should have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you,” they were relieved of their anxiety, being certain and confident that after the danger of temptation they would remain in the presence of God with Christ. For although one is stronger than another, one wiser than another, one more righteous than another, one holier than another, “in my Father’s house there are many mansions.” Not one of them shall be estranged from that house, where each will receive a mansion according to his merits.

– St Augustine, Treatise 67 on John, from: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2020 in Words of Wisdom

 

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ST JOSEPH THE WORKER – PRAYER

ST JOSEPH THE WORKER – PRAYER

PRAYER TO ST JOSEPH FOR ALL WHO ARE DEVOTED TO LABOUR 

Glorious St Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labour, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my inclinations; to work with gratitude and joy, considering it an honour to employ and develop, by means of labour, the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation, and patience, without ever recoiling before weariness or difficulties; to work, above all, with purity of intention and with detachment from self, having always death before my eyes and the account which I must render of time lost, of talents wasted, of good omitted, of vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God. All for Jesus, all for Mary, all, after thy example, O Patriarch Joseph. Such shall be my watchword in life and death. Amen.

[300 days once a day. – Pius X, 23rd Nov. 1906]

– from: St Anthony’s Treasury

 

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JESUS LOVES US

JESUS LOVES US

Yes, the Sacred Heart of Jesus loves us. It loves us infinitely more than do all the angels and saints together, more than even we can love ourselves; it loves us to excess.

And indeed, what an excess of love, to love us from all eternity so that He has never been an instant without loving us, and has always loved us at the same time, and with the same love with which He has loved His Father in eternity.

Again, what an excess to love us to such an extent as to become man for us, to live for our sakes so laborious a life, and lastly to die for us on the arms of the cross; so that He has loved us more than His honour, more than His repose, more than His life!

Finally, what excess to remain for love of us in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, day and night; so that thirty-three years entirely devoted to our salvation did not suffice for the Heart of Jesus; He must remain with us in the tabernacle for nineteen centuries. What do I say? He takes the form of bread and wine, in order to be our food, and to contract the closest possible union with each one of us.

How many things are explained by these words: God can do all. “But”, says a holy man, “if you ask me how it can come to pass that God should love such a miserable creature as man, and love him to such a degree, I confess that I have no answer to give, and that it is a truth beyond my comprehension.”

– Laverty&Sons (eds), 1905

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2020 in Words of Wisdom

 

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THE GREATER LITANIES

THE GREATER LITANIES

APRIL 25, GREATER LITANIES; ST MARK THE EVANGELIST

(Second Class) The greater Litanies are assigned to April 25: but if either Easter Sunday or Easter Monday falls on that day, they are transferred to the following Tuesday.

There is nothing said in the Office pertaining to the greater Litanies, but according to conditions and customs of churches and places, of which matter the local Ordinary is the judge, a procession is held on this day in which the Litany of the Saints is said with its prayers (but the verses are not doubled). If, however, a procession is unable to be held, local Ordinaries shall prescribe special supplications in which the Litany of the Saints and other prayers accustomed to be said at the Procession are said.

All who are obliged to recite the Divine Office but who are not present at the Procession or the other special supplications mentioned above, are obliged on this day to say the Litany of the Saints with its prayers in Latin.

But if the Litany of the Saints with its prayers is said in the vernacular, together with the faithful, according to the customs of places, in the procession or in other special supplications, those who are obliged to recite the Divine Office, and who are properly present at these supplications are not held to repeat these prayers in Latin.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2020 in Words of Wisdom

 

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HOW COULD OUR LORD JESUS’ BODY BE A TRUE ONE, IF HE COULD WALK THROUGH CLOSED DOORS?

HOW COULD OUR LORD JESUS’ BODY BE A TRUE ONE, IF HE COULD WALK THROUGH CLOSED DOORS?

HOMILY OF ST GREGORY, POPE, ON JOHN 20:19-31

The first question that strikes the mind in this Gospel lesson is: how could the Lord’s body after the resurrection be a true one, if he could come in to his disciples when the doors were shut? But we must realise that if the ways of God can be understood by our reason, they are no longer wonderful, and there is no merit in faith where a proof can be given by human reason.

But those works of our Redeemer, which considered in themselves alone can never be understood, should be compared with other works of his: that wonderful things may be confirmed by the testimony of even greater wonders.

Thus the Lord’s body, which came in to his disciples when the doors were shut, was the same which, at his birth, had come forth to the eyes of men through the closed portals of the Virgin’s womb. What wonder, then, if he who was now to live forever, should enter in through closed doors, who, when he came among us to die, came forth without opening the Virgin’s womb.

– St Gregory, Pope, Homily 26 on the Gospels; An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2020 in Words of Wisdom

 

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