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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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YOU HAVE HERE NO LASTING HOME

YOU HAVE HERE NO LASTING HOME

YOU ARE A STRANGER AND A PILGRIM WHEREVER YOU MAY BE

You have here no lasting home. You are a stranger and a pilgrim wherever you may be, and you shall have no rest until you are wholly united with Christ.

Why do you look about here when this is not the place of your repose? Dwell rather upon heaven and give but a passing glance to all earthly things. They all pass away, and you together with them. Take care, then, that you do not cling to them lest you be entrapped and perish. Fix your mind on the Most High, and pray unceasingly to Christ.

GIVE BUT A PASSING GLANCE TO EARTHLY THINGS

If you do not know how to meditate on heavenly things, direct your thoughts to Christ’s passion and willingly behold His sacred wounds. If you turn devoutly to the wounds and precious stigmata of Christ, you will find great comfort in suffering, you will mind but little the scorn of men, and you will easily bear their slanderous talk.

CHRIST WAS LEFT BY FRIENDS, HE HAD ENEMIES AND DEFAMERS 

When Christ was in the world, He was despised by men; in the hour of need He was forsaken by acquaintances and left by friends in the depths of scorn. He was willing to suffer and to be despised; do you dare to complain of anything? He had enemies and defamers; do you want everyone to be your friend, your benefactor? How can your patience be rewarded if no adversity test it? How can you be a friend of Christ if you are not willing to suffer any hardship? Suffer with Christ and for Christ if you wish to reign with Him.

SPIRITUAL PEACE

Had you but once entered into perfect communion with Jesus or tasted a little of His ardent love, you would care nothing at all for your own comfort or discomfort but would rejoice in the reproach you suffer; for love of Him makes a man despise himself.

A man who is a lover of Jesus and of truth, a truly interior man who is free from uncontrolled affections, can turn to God at will and rise above himself to enjoy spiritual peace.

– From: Thomas a Kempis; The Imitation of Christ (15th century)

 

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FAITHFUL THROUGH CENTURIES OF PERSECUTIONS

FAITHFUL THROUGH CENTURIES OF PERSECUTIONS

OUR LADY OF KNOCK (1879) CAME TO A COUNTRY WHICH HAD REMAINED FAITHFUL THROUGH CENTURIES OF PERSECUTIONS

Mary came to a country which had remained faithful through centuries of trials and persecutions. Ireland was poverty stricken, with most of its people living in almost unbelievable squalor. The Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 had officially ended three centuries of persecution of the Church. During that time thousands of persons had been put to death for their religion.

THE PERSECUTION HAD TAKEN A MORE INSIDIOUS FORM

After 1829, the persecution simply took a more insidious form. Catholics were no longer slaughtered, but they were offered bribes of food and money to abandon their religion and to send their children to non-Catholic schools. It must have been difficult for a man to refuse such a bribe in the famine years when he saw the thin emaciated faces of his wife and children, but the vast majority of people preferred starvation to renouncing their faith.

THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE PREFERRED STARVATION TO RENOUNCING THE FAITH 

The year 1847 was one of the worst in Ireland’s history. That was the year of the dread potato famine, when thousands died of starvation and thousands of others were forced to leave the country. When it was over, the population of Ireland was half of what it had been, and even today it is much smaller than it was before 1847. There were failures of the potato crop again in 1877, 1878, and 1879.

Typhus fever struck down many of those who escaped death by starvation. At the Cross graveyard in the north of Mayo there were from five to fifteen funerals a day. Because the people were so poor and because so many died, most of them had to be buried without coffins.

Famine, fever, abject poverty, cruel persecution – surely a nation could bear no more. It seemed that the Irish race was destined to be wiped out. Just when conditions were at their worst, Mary appeared at Knock.

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

 

 

 

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THOSE WHO ARE WITH US TODAY MAY BE AGAINST US TOMORROW

THOSE WHO ARE WITH US TODAY MAY BE AGAINST US TOMORROW

“The kingdom of God is within you,” says the Lord.

Turn, then, to God with all your heart. Forsake this wretched world and your soul shall find rest. Learn to despise external things, to devote yourself to those that are within, and you will see the kingdom of God come unto you, that kingdom which is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, gifts not given to the impious.

HIS COMMUNION IS SWEET AND FULL OF CONSOLATION 

Christ will come to you offering His consolation, if you prepare a fit dwelling for Him in your heart, whose beauty and glory, wherein He takes delight, are all from within. His visits with the inward man are frequent, His communion sweet and full of consolation, His peace great, and His intimacy wonderful indeed.

PREPARE YOUR HEART FOR THE BRIDEGROOM 

Therefore, faithful soul, prepare your heart for this Bridegroom that He may come and dwell within you; He Himself says: “If any one love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make Our abode with him.”

GIVE PLACE TO CHRIST, BUT DENY ENTRANCE TO ALL OTHERS

Give place, then, to Christ, but deny entrance to all others, for when you have Christ you are rich and He is sufficient for you. He will provide for you. He will supply your every want, so that you need not trust in frail, changeable men. Christ remains forever, standing firmly with us to the end.

CHRIST REMAINS FOREVER 

Do not place too much confidence in weak sand mortal man, helpful and friendly though he be; and do not grieve too much if he sometimes opposes and contradicts you. Those who are with us today may be against us tomorrow, and vice versa, for men change with the wind. Place all your trust in God; let Him be your fear and your love. He will answer for you; he will do what is best for you.

– From: Thomas a Kempis; The Imitation of Christ

 

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TIME IS SHORT, ETERNITY IS LONG

TIME IS SHORT, ETERNITY IS LONG

Time is short, eternity is long. Put not from you what you have found; regard it not as mere matter of present controversy; set not out resolved to refute it, and looking about the best way of doing so; seduce not yourself with the imagination that it comes of disappointment, disgust, or restlessness, or wounded feeling, or undue sensibility, or other weakness. Wrap not yourself round in the associations of past years, nor determine that to be truth which you wish to be so, nor make an idol of cherished anticipations. Time is short, eternity is long.

These are the last words of “The Development of Doctrine’, written as Cardinal Newman entered what he called ‘the one fold of the Redeemer’. (Dev., 445)

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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DO NOT FORGET THAT LOST TIME NEVER RETURNS

DO NOT FORGET THAT LOST TIME NEVER RETURNS

ALL IN ALL

When a man reaches a point where he seeks no solace from any creature, then he begins to relish God perfectly. Then also he will be content no matter what may happen to him. He will neither rejoice over great things nor grieve over small ones, but will place himself entirely and confidently in the hands of God, Who for him is all in all, to Whom nothing ever perishes or dies, for Whom all things live, and Whom they serve as He desires.

ALWAYS REMEMBER YOUR END

Always remember your end and do not forget that lost time never returns. Without care and diligence you will never acquire virtue. When you begin to grow lukewarm, you are falling into the beginning of evil; but if you give yourself to fervour, you will find peace and will experience less hardship because of God’s grace and the love of virtue.

IT IS GREATER WORK TO RESIST VICES AND PASSIONS THAN TO SWEAT IN PHYSICAL TOIL

A fervent and diligent man is ready for all things. It is greater work to resist vices and passions than to sweat in physical toil. He who does not overcome small faults, shall fall little by little into greater ones.

WATCH OVER YOURSELF

If you have spent the day profitably, you will always be happy at eventide. Watch over yourself, arouse yourself, warn yourself, and regardless of what becomes of others, do not neglect yourself. The more violence you do to yourself [the more you work on yourself], the more progress you will make.

– From: Thomas a Kempis; The Imitation of Christ

 

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HELL – THE DAMNED HAVE NO REST OR CONSOLATION

HELL – THE DAMNED HAVE NO REST OR CONSOLATION

For a man will be more grievously punished in the things in which he has sinned. The lazy will be driven with burning prongs, and the gluttons tormented with unspeakable hunger and thirst; the wanton and lust-loving will be bathed in burning pitch and foul brimstone; the envious will howl in their grief like mad dogs.

EVERY VICE WILL HAVE ITS OWN PROPER PUNISHMENT 

Every vice will have its own proper punishment. The proud will be faced with every confusion and the avaricious pinched with the most abject want. One hour of suffering there will be more bitter than a hundred years of the most severe penance here. In this life men sometimes rest from work and enjoy the comfort of friends, but the damned have no rest or consolation.

THE PROUD WILL BE STRUCK WITH FEAR

You must, therefore, take care and repent of your sins now so that on the day of judgement you may rest secure with the blessed. For on that day the just will stand firm against those who tortured and oppressed them, and he who now submits humbly to the judgment of men will arise to pass judgment upon them. The poor and humble will have great confidence, while the proud will be struck with fear. He who learned to be a fool in this world and to be scorned for Christ will then appear to have been wise.

– From: Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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IN ALL THINGS CONSIDER YOUR END

IN ALL THINGS CONSIDER YOUR END

In all things consider the end; how you shall stand before the strict Judge from Whom nothing is hidden and Who will pronounce judgment in all justice, accepting neither bribes nor excuses. And you, miserable and wretched sinner, who fear even the countenance of an angry man, what answer will you make to the God Who knows all your sins? Why do you not provide for yourself against the day of judgment when no man can be excused or defended by another because each will have enough to do to answer for himself? In this life your work is profitable, your tears acceptable, your sighs audible, your sorrow satisfying and purifying.

PRIORITIES

The patient man goes through a great and salutary purgatory when he grieves more over the malice of one who harms him than for his own injury; when he prays readily for his enemies and forgives offences from his heart; when he does not hesitate to ask pardon of others; when he is more easily moved to pity than to anger; when he does frequent violence to himself and tries to bring the body into complete subjection to the spirit.

It is better to atone for sin now and to cut away vices than to keep them for purgation in the hereafter. In truth, we deceive ourselves by our ill-advised love of the flesh. What will that fire feed upon but our sins? The more we spare ourselves now and the more we satisfy the flesh, the harder will the reckoning be and the more we keep for the burning.

– From: Thomas a Kempis; The Imitation of Christ

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2019 in Words of Wisdom

 

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GOD HAS CREATED ME TO DO HIM SOME DEFINITE SERVICE

GOD HAS CREATED ME TO DO HIM SOME DEFINITE SERVICE

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission – I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons.

He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling. Therefore, my God, I will put myself without reserve into Your hands. What have I in heaven, and apart from You what do I want upon earth? My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the God of my heart, and my portion for ever. Amen.
– Bl. John Henry Newman

 

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HOW CAN I BE GOOD?

HOW CAN I BE GOOD?

Dear little souls, God loves, you and your sufferings are not unknown to me; you who so ardently feel the happiness of devoting yourselves to others, but are unable to do so, because the occasions seem to fly from you; you who so often try to devote yourselves, but are suddenly held back by timidity and the fear of not being accepted – it is for you that I have collected these little occupations, which permit you to taste, without coming from under the shadow of silence and obscurity, the joys of a devotion known to God alone, of a benevolence all the sweeter to the heart of him who exercises it because no one thinks of thanking him.

THE SWEET OFFICE OF MEDIATOR

This little occupation consists in never suffering two hearts in a family or community to remain for any length of time at variance.

It seems a most natural thing to extend your hand to a friend who is offended, saying simply, with that friendly smile which brightens the whole countenamce: Let us love each other as we did before.

The wounded heart closes, retires, and shrinks back upon itself, exaggerating the injuries inflicted on it by a friend and its own wrongs, and it remains estranged; it desires to revive the old friendship, but it knows not how to commence.

Oh! if some advance were only made.

Make it, you who accept the sweet office of mediator. Go from one to the other; be the bearer of a simple good morning; tell him who is offended that you have seen his friend sad.

Is there a reparation to be made, a pardon to be asked? Take it upon yourself, arrange an interview, cause a smile, a tear. Do not become weary until you have re-established the union between these two hearts.

And then quietly resume your ordinary life, as if you had done nothing, and await some new occasion of being useful.

Oh! what account will not God take of your steps and your words.

– From: Golden Grains, A Collection of Counsels for the Sanctification And Happiness of Every-Day Life, M. H. Gill & Son, Dublin, 1889

MORE WAYS TO BE GOOD

The Repairer of Neglects

 

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