There is so much we can learn from considering Saint Francisco’s short life, consumed as it was with love for our Eucharistic Lord and the desire to console His Sacred Heart. Francisco’s devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus has proven to be a secure way to counter tepidity in our devotions to Our Lord. From the time of the last apparition in October, 1917 until he was taken to heaven was just 18 months, but in that time, what a whirlwind of spiritual energy and grace. Today we will review a few instances that show his beautiful soul’s love for Our Lord.
In an interesting passage in Volume I, Frère Michel describes Francisco’s excitement as he looked forward to the October apparition.
Francisco was filled with joy because Our Lady had said that on October 13 Our Lord would also come:
“Oh, how good He is! I’ve only seen Him twice, and I love Him so much!” From time to time, he asked: “Are there many days left till the 13th? I’m longing for that day to come, so that I can see Our Lord again.” Then he thought for a moment, and added: “But listen! Will He still be so sad? I am so sorry to see Him sad like that! I offer Him all the sacrifices I can think of. Sometimes, I don’t even run away from all those people, just in order to make sacrifices!”
In footnote 499 of Volume I, Frère Michel explains,
“Here Francisco is undoubtedly alluding to the apparitions of June 13 and July 13: when Our Lady directed towards them the reflections of the Divine Light which shone from Her hands, the three seers felt as though they were absorbed in God; and then, in a mysterious vision, it was also given to them to contemplate Our Lord and His immense sadness because of the sins of the world.”
It is this sadness of Our Lord at our sins that was to set our little shepherd saint on the road to such heroic sanctity that within 18 months his soul would fly to the waiting arms of the “Hidden Jesus” he loved so much.
For today, let’s take a look at the accounts of Francisco given in The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volumes I and II .
“The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you.”
Today, we consider Francisco and Jacinta, the two youngest saints of Fatima. As we discussed in our earlier post, “The Promise”,
Francisco saw the Blessed Virgin perfectly, but did not hear Her words. He only understood the questions of Lúcia. As for Jacinta, who saw and heard everything, she never brought herself to speak to the apparition. Thus Lúcia was the only one to have the privilege of speaking with Her.” … “Young and quite small, the Queen of Heaven also came very close to (the) three children. For a pedestal She had chosen a little holm oak, about a metre high. ‘We were so close’, writes Lúcia , ‘that we found ourselves in the light surrounding Her, or rather emanating from Her, about a metre and a half away, more or less.’ (from Sister Lucia’s Fourth Memoir)
In 1916, St. Michael the Archangel, the Angel of Fatima had told the children, “The Hearts of Jesus and Mary have designs of mercy on you”, but it was not until Our Lady began to appear that they perceived the true meaning of “designs of mercy”. By the time of Our Lady’s third visit, July 13, 1917, it was becoming clearer, and by then, Francisco could say emphatically, “What I want is to go to Heaven!” This eagerness for Heaven recalls St. Bernadette of Lourdes, who said of Our Lady, “She was so beautiful that after seeing Her once one would be willing to die to see Her again!”
That Great Light Which Is God
Although Francisco was never able to hear the words of Our Lady, he was very astute in recognising many essential aspects of the apparitions:
“He was very impressed by the reflection of light… At the time, he did not seem to understand what was happening, perhaps because it was not given to him to hear the accompanying words of Our Lady. For this reason, he asked later: ‘Why did Our Lady have a heart in Her hand, spreading out all over the world that great light which is God?’
“Sometimes he said: ‘These people are so happy just because you told them that Our Lady wants the Rosary said, and that you are to learn to read! How would they feel if they only knew what She showed to us in God, in Her Immaculate Heart, in that great light.’ ” (Lúcia per Frère Michel, The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol I)
And so we know that Francisco understood that the great light which the Blessed Virgin poured forth on them was the Light of God, that is, was God, as Francisco expressed it. This alone should give us great comfort for by this we understand that our Eternal Father has granted to the Blessed Virgin to bring us also to this Light in time of darkness.
Fatima is above all the presage of victory: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
How shall that be?
Our Lady tells us herself by the title she chooses. On her sixth visit, Our Lady identified herself as Our Lady of the Rosary. As we know, everything she says is significant. In this case, by claiming the title of Our Lady of the Rosary, her title “Our Lady of Victory” was implied. For history is replete with her victories through her most Holy Rosary. (Here and here).
We know Our Lady has already given us the keys to victory – her Rosary and devotion to her Immaculate Heart. The ancient enemy that is now within the heart of our Church can only be defeated by Our Lady of the Rosary, Victorious in Battle.
“It was a dark night. Men could no longer tell which way to take in order to return to their homes. Suddenly there appeared in the heavens a very bright light that illuminated the steps of the travelers as though it were mid-day. At that moment there was seen a host of men and women, of young and old, of nuns, monks and priests with the Holy Father at the head. They were going out from the Vatican and were arranging themselves in line for a procession. “Then there came a furious storm which clouded that light somewhat and made it appear that light and darkness were engaged in battle. In the meantime, they arrived at a little square covered with dead and wounded, some of whom cried aloud and asked for help.
“Very many were dropping out of the line of procession. After having walked for a time that would correspond to two hundred risings of the sun (200 days) they all realized that they were no longer in Rome. Struck with fear they all ran to the Holy Father to defend him personally and to attend his wants. Instantly two angels were seen carrying a banner, going they presented it to the Holy Father and said: ‘Receive the banner of He Who fights and scatters the strongest armies of the world. Your enemies are dispersed. Your children with tears and sighs beg you to return.’ “Looking at the banner one could see written on one side, ‘Queen conceived without sin,’ and on the other side, ‘Help of Christians.’
This tells us that while the Church is in darkness, Heaven wins the battle and brings the banner of that Victory to the Holy Father. Now what do we note about this banner? It is the banner of Christ the King! “He who fights and scatters the strongest armies in the world”. The angels tell him, “Your enemies are dispersed.” You see, these visions are for those who will pray and offer penance, not for those who want to be secular activists. There will always be plenty who flock to a battle, be it political or military, (and they may or may not save their souls) but the visions are to help us, Mary’s children, understand that for the activists to be effective, there must be a good ground prepared for their victory, by those committed to waging spiritual war. Without this strong spiritual preparation, all other means fail.
Now the second thing we note is that this victory banner of Christ the King has a title on each side; one side represents devotion to the Immaculate Conception, that is, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in which she promised us she would triumph. And the second side was devotion to Our Lady of Victory, that is to say, Our Lady who conquers all heresies in all the world through her Rosary! In this, as in his prophecy of the Two Pillars, St. John Bosco affirms that Christ the King prefers to conquer through means of His Most Blessed Mother. So, here we see that this Queen will vanquish the muslim heretics for the final time as well as all the modernist heresies which have thrown the Church into such darkness and disarray. She has promised us, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”
One way we can contribute to Our Lady’s Victory is to pray the Rosary Novena to her as Our Lady of Victory.
Many of you already participate in the Society’s Crusade of Rosary and Reparation. For you, just adding the Rosary Novena Prayer or the Victory Novena Prayer, (both are below) that is a suggestion. But for the many readers just becoming acquainted with the practices we discuss here at Return to Fatima, we urge you to begin the Irresistible Rosary Novena as soon as possible. In fact, if you are not willing to expend the time and effort required for this program of prayer, penance and fasting in reparation, you waste your time here. The purpose of this article and most every other that we publish is to call Catholics to return to the true message of Fatima. Set aside all else and focus on the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and them alone.
The following Novena prayer is for a Novena of Rosaries, that is usually prayed as 54 days of the 5 decade Rosary, which breaks down to 27 days of petition followed by 27 days of thanksgiving. This is actually a concession. A Novena is nine days, and originally the Novena was nine days of the full Rosary, that is 15 decades a day for nine days of petition followed by nine days of 15 decade rosaries for thanksgiving.
But because many people felt that they could only commit to a five decade Rosary each day, the Novena became 54 days. You will know what is best for you. My own practice is an on-going Rosary Novena of the 15 decades each day, but I am in an ideal situation, and have been allowed the time for prayer.
This 54 day Rosary Novena has become popular as the Irresistible Rosary Novena for the remarkable blessing that come from it and I urge readers to pray for the Pope and hierarchy in this time before October 13. I too, am repelled by this pope and our poor pathetic hierarchy, but that should only provide more impetus for us to pray more earnestly for God to turn their hearts. Remember, our prayers are never wasted! God sees that we pray obediently and will reward the Church in His own way and in His own time. And so we pray with joyful trust! Continue reading “Fatima at 100: Presage of Victory”→
Today, we follow up on our earlier post about the words of Our Lady of Fatima. In that post, “Words, just words“, we noted that,
On her second visit (June 13, 1917), Our Lady told the little shepherds,
“Jesus wishes to make use of you to make me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.” … “I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the path that leads you to God.” … Our Lady extended her right hand and in front of her palm was a heart encircled by thorns which pierced it. In Lúcia’s words, “We understood that this was the Immaculate Heart of Mary outraged by the sins of humanity and seeking reparation.”
And then, the following month, after showing them the the vision of Hell, Our Lady said:
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. If people do what I request, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end. But if people do not stop offending God, another and worse war will break out in the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that it is the great sign that God gives you, that He is going to punish the world for its crimes by means of war, famine, and persecutions against the Church and of the Holy Father.
To prevent this I shall come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays.
If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace. If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecution of the Church; the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, she will be converted, and some time of peace will be given to the world.”
“On December 10, 1925, the Most Holy Virgin appeared to her, and by Her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was the Child Jesus. The Most Holy Virgin rested Her hand on her shoulder, and as She did so, She showed her a heart encircled by thorns, which She was holding in Her other hand.
At the same time, the Child said: “Have compassion on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce It at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.”
Then the Most Holy Virgin said: “Look My daughter, at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console Me and announce in My name that I promise to assist at the moment of death, with all the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep Me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to Me.”
In this revelation, Our Lady of the Rosary as Mediatrix of Graces, promises the supremely valuable gift of God’s grace, that is, the gift of final perseverance, without which other gifts are worthless, “For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?” (Matt 16, 26).
Frère Michel continues, “the first fruit of the Communion of Reparation is the salvation of the one practicing it. Let us place no limits on the divine mercy, but keep to the letter of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s promise: whoever fulfills all the conditions set down can be sure of obtaining at the moment of death at least – and this even after miserable lapses back into a state of grave sin – the graces necessary to obtain the pardon of God, and to be preserved from eternal chastisement.”
The devotion of First Saturdays was not at all new, but was given a new emphasis by the Blessed Virgin. Previously, there had existed the practice of devoting Saturdays to Mary. For instance, “The Fifteen Saturdays in honor of the Most Holy Rosary”, a popular devotion of the Rosary Confraternities to receive the Sacraments and perform pious works on each of fifteen consecutive Saturdays in honor of the Fifteen Mysteries of Our Lady’s Rosary. Pope Leo XIII enriched this devotion with generous plenary indulgences.
[NOTE: As of 8:00 am, This post has been updated with material inadvertently omitted in the previous version.]
Flesh and Blood, truly risen, Alleluia!
In today’s Gospel, we read of “Doubting Thomas”. When Jesus rose from the tomb, He passed through the great stone which had been placed before it. Only afterward was the stone rolled back by the Angel in order that His followers might see the truth – that the Lord is truly risen! That evening, Jesus passed through the doors of the Upper Room and appeared in the midst of the Apostles. demonstrating to them that He was truly risen in living flesh, showing them His hands and feet.
Now Thomas was not present at this remarkable event and doubted very much. “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And so here we are, eight days later, in the same Upper Room, doors again closed “for fear of the Jews”, but this time, Thomas is with them.
Again, Jesus passed through the closed doors and appeared in their midst. After bidding them “Peace”, Our Lord generously said to the Doubter, “Put in thy finger hither, and see My hands, and bring hither thy hand and put it into My side, and be not faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus replied, “Because thou hast seen Me, Thomas, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.”
Thus, we celebrate today the Octave of the Resurrection, the fact of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ in living flesh and blood. This fact of the living flesh of Jesus Christ is a stumbling block to the Modernists who now occupy the Church. To these usurpers of the faith and those who blindly stumble after them, we offer the following words of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque regarding devotion to the fact of the Resurrected Body and Blood of Christ, that is devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
“The Cross is suffering viewed in the supernatural light of faith as an instrument of salvation and sanctification, and therefore, as an instrument of love.”
Today, Friday in Passion Week, April 7, 2017, we commemorate the Seven Sorrows of Mary, which she suffered in union with the Passion of her divine Son.
“Now there stood by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother.” St. John, 19, 35
Father Gabriel reminds us that although Mary’s grief was immeasurable, it was surpassed by her love, “a love so great that it could encompass that vast sea of sorrow.” (Divine Intimacy).
The Seven Sorrows of Mary
Prophecy of SimeonAnd after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried Him to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him… And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother: Behold this Child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign which shall be contradicted; And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. (Luke 2, 25-35)
From the moment she heard Simeon’s words, she would never again lift the Child’s hands without seeing a shadow of nails on them; every sunset would be a blood-red image of His Passion. Simeon was throwing away the sheath that hid the future from human eyes, and letting the blade of the world’s sorrow flash in front of her eyes. Every pulse that she would feel in the tiny wrist would be like an echo of an oncoming hammer. If He was dedicated to salvation through suffering, so was she. No sooner was this young life launched than Simeon, like an old mariner, talked of shipwreck. No cup of the Father’s bitterness had yet come to the lips of the Babe, and yet a sword was shown to His mother. (Abp. Fulton Sheen, “Life of Christ”, Kindle Edition)
The Flight Into Egypt
…behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph, saying: Arise, and take the Child and His mother, and fly into Egypt: and be there until I shall tell thee. For it will come to pass that Herod will seek the Child to destroy Him. Who arose, and took the Child and His mother by night, and retired into Egypt: and he was there until the death of Herod: That it might be fulfilled which the Lord spoke by the prophet, saying: Out of Egypt have I called My Son. (Matt. 2, 13-15)
Mary and Joseph, following the Angel’s command, fled in the night taking their Divine Child into a strange and evil land, the historic enemy of their people. In this severe trial, trudging in the dark towards an unknown and threatening future, they foreshadow our own strivings to live amidst strangers who despise Our Lord, who only use His name to blaspheme and curse. The Holy Family, through the Providence of the Eternal Father, found safe haven in the most dangerous land of their time, and so also we trust in our Father’s providence and await His will in our exile here. Continue reading “The Seven Sorrows of Mary Immaculate”→
Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, in which Our Lord introduces to us His Mother, and shows us her loveliness, her excellent virtues and her unique stature before the Holy Trinity. Thus, He shows us the model for our lives; “Here is My Mother”, He says, “see, we shall have the same Mother. She will teach you the virtues necessary to advance toward union with Me, so that we may rejoice together in heaven.”
Nestled within the feast of the Annunciation is the feast of the Incarnation of our Savior. The Annunciation carries within it the humility and obedience of Jesus and Mary, Who are our models for perfect, loving obedience, even unto death. And this obedience begins with the humble obedience of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word.”
In the Gospel of St Luke, the Holy Spirit reveals the unique importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary in God’s plan of Salvation for us. Let’s see what He tells us:
Luke, Chapter 1, 26-35. “And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of His kingdom there shall be no end.” And Mary said to the angel: “How shall this be done, because I know not man?” And the angel answering, said to her: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
In this Gospel, God Himself is introducing to us the delightful creature He loves above all others, this Mary whom He chose from all time to be the most pure and holy Mother of His Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. God used as His messenger the Angel Gabriel whose name means Power of God. By this name He emphasizes that all of this, the Annunciation, the Incarnation which began our salvation, all of this is by and through the power of God.
And what does God tell us about Mary? Gabriel salutes Mary most respectfully, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women”. You can search the Bible cover to cover and never find a more respectful message from any angelic messenger. This is because, as the Gospel tells us, Mary is truly filled with grace, exempt from even original sin, and full of God’s sanctifying grace.
Note that the very first words of Mary, recorded in this Gospel are, “How shall this be done, because I know not man?”Why these words? Could it be that God wishes to emphasize to us the importance of Mary’s generous sacrifice to live her life in the utmost chastity and purity, foregoing the honors and pleasures of children? At that time, Jewish women were honored to be mothers of many children and to forego children was a tremendous sacrifice. Unlike today, in those times to be a “barren woman” was a reproach. Thus we know that Mary’s generous and sacrificial heart was most pleasing to Our Father. Her words also exemplify her great prudence. Today, prudence is a virtue held in low esteem by most Catholic leaders, who feel compelled to burst forth with every banal thought that crosses their minds. This Blessed Virgin, in contrast, first assured that Gabriel understood that she was and always will be, a virgin consecrated to God alone.
Whereas Eve, the first “Woman”, withdrew herself from her Creator in order to seek what she perceived to be her own good, Mary, the “Woman” of the New Testament, yielded herself totally to God, allowing Him to fill her with His life, thus she is “full of grace”. The virtues shown by these simple verses illustrate Mary’s perfect love of God, her total consecration to Him, her purity and her perseverance in keeping her vow.
Mary’s prudent question brought forth Gabriel’s reply, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which will be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Mary’s response was immediate, “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.” With these words, the Most Blessed Virgin shows us humility and obedience, the two virtues so essential to combat the vices passed on to us of Eve’s pride and disobedience. In another post, I described these virtues as the “working virtues” because they are so necessary in our everyday struggle to live our lives in constant union with the Holy Family.
Sister Lucia of Fatima assures us that Jesus is the very best of Sons, and loves her and those who honor her. Today is an excellent time to renew our Total Consecration to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary. By the way, do you know who made the first consecration to Mary? Was it St. Louis de Montfort? St. Dominic? No. Think harder.
It was our Lord Jesus Christ Himself Who chose Mary for His Mother. From this humble virgin of Nazareth He took the flesh and blood of His mortal life, the very body and blood with which He wrought our salvation. The body of Christ scourged for our sins, pierced for our transgressions, the precious blood poured out for us on Calvary’s cross, He took from Mary. To her He entrusted His earthly life, living within her virginal womb, beneath her immaculate heart. Through her, He consecrated St. John the Baptist; through her He performed His first miracle. And with His dying words, He entrusted us to her, commanding Her to be our Mother and us to be her children.
It is fitting that the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary begins with the beautiful Mystery of the Annunciation, for with it began our salvation. Mary’s generous “Yes!”, opened the portal through which Our Lord wrought our salvation. Thus, her obedience preceded His most perfect obedience.And so, the Annunciation and the Incarnation are inseparable, as are Jesus and Mary, those two hearts forever united!
We close with this lovely hymn:
Hymn at Matins
The Lord whom earth and sea and sky
With one adoring voice proclaim
Who rules them all in majesty
Enclosed Himself in Mary’s frame.
Lo! In a humble Virgin’s womb
O’ershadowed by almighty power
He whom the stars and sun and moon
Each serve in their appointed hour.
O Mother blest! To whom was given
Within your body to contain
The architect of earth and heaven
Whose hands the universe sustain.
To thee was sent an angel down,
In thee the Spirit was enshrined,
Of thee was born that mighty One,
The long desired of all mankind.
O Jesus! Born of Virgin bright
To Thee immortal glory be!
Praise to the Father Infinite,
And Holy Ghost eternally! Amen.
Please, don’t forget your Consecration! See in sidebar.
Pray the Rosary and confound the devil and all those who serve him!
~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies.
Then the soldiers of the governor taking Jesus into the hall, gathered together unto Him the whole band; And stripping Him, they put a scarlet cloak about him. And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand. And bowing the knee before Him, they mocked Him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews. And spitting upon Him, they took the reed, and struck His head. And bowing their knees, they adored Him.
Even the pagan soldiers knew that a King must be invested with the symbols of his royalty, that is, draped with a royal mantle, crowned, and finally, given a scepter as a sign of his power and rule. And so the soldiers obliged this strange King, who had said “but now My kingdom is not from hence”. And so, what royal insignia might they find fitting?
The soldiers soon found a discarded scarlet rag of large enough size and after first ripping off His outer garment, they draped His now freshly bleeding shoulders in this dirty mockery of a robe. As we think on the vivid symbolism in this scene compare it to our Pontiff’s words and actions – what homage does he offer to the King of Kings? A royal robe?
Now, the Roman soldiers clearly understood the necessity of the Crowning, for their gods were always crowned, Apollo with laurel, Bacchus with grape vines, Jupiter with gold. And so a crown fit for this King must be found.
And the Jews too, understood that their high priest wore a tiara when he offered the sacrifice. And did not their bridegroom according to their custom, wear a diadem at his wedding?
And we who watch this scene, we also recall that in those days a conqueror was often crowned to celebrate his victory; how much more so then, this King who by His death and resurrection will conquer sin and death!
What crown for this Son of Man, who told Pilate, “Thou sayest that I am a King.”
What crown for this Priest, who sacrifices His own Body and Blood for the salvation of those He loves.
What crown for this Divine Bridegroom, about to redeem His Bride with His own Blood, giving His life for her that she may live.
Father Groenings tells us that no other mantle was befitting for the Redeemer of the world. He was the picture of the world’s sins, which were red as scarlet, but through Him were to become white as snow. The mantle should be red as a sign that His kingdom, founded in blood, was to be spread by means of blood, that is, by the blood of the apostles and of the martyrs. It was ragged and torn in token that, in imitation of Christ, His ministers would redeem the souls of men and subject them to Christ, not by means of gold and silver, but through the hardships of poverty.
Ed. comment: Today, I would add that the Lavender Mafia headed by Pope Francis has given a new meaning to the foul and ragged mantle with which the pagan soldiers humiliated our Lord Jesus Christ. For they have befouled His Church and humiliated this lovely Bride of Christ as never before in history. See here for a Lifesite News article on one example of Pope Francis’s choice of prelates. There are many others. Thus, the pope makes a mockery of the true King of Kings!
Among the many things to love about the rosary, is the way the various mysteries interconnect and thereby reinforce and enrich each other. In general, the Joyful Mysteries emphasize the virtue of obedience. This obedience is reinforced by the Sorrowful Mysteries. Mary’s “Be it done unto me according to thy word”, in the Annunciation is echoed by Christ’s, “Yet not My will, but Thine be done.” in the Agony in the Garden. And then the Glorious Mysteries reveal the joyful glory of our heavenly reward, which follows this obedience and is eternal!
St. Augustine tells us, “And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith” (Apology, Book II, Chapter XII).
Regarding obedience, St. John Bosco was given a horrible vision of Hell in which his guide told him that the most serious sin causing people to be damned in Hell is the sin of disobedience. He explained that while pride is the root of sin, its practical application is disobedience, in other words, prideful disobedience causes the most people to fall from grace and be doomed to Hell. And so between St. Augustine and St. John Bosco, we see that a key to disobedience is the refusal of faith. Had Eve accepted the virtue of faith offered to her, she would not have disobeyed. There is a lesson here for disobedient prelates, but I digress…
St. John tells us in his First Epistle, Chapter Two, “For all that is in the world, is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever.” Now, it has always been the teaching of the Church, from the earliest times that the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience counteract these sins.
Although these counsels are vowed by those in the consecrated life, we of the lay faithful are urged to practice them according to our state. The lust of the flesh can thereby be counteracted by modesty and faithfulness to one’s spouse, the lust of the eyes, that is greed and consumerism can be counteracted by moderation, humility and self-denial such as fasting and abstaining. But it is with our obedience, which defeats pride, that we progress the best, no matter our state in life. The very best teacher of obedience is Mary, Our Mother.
“My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” (Matt. 26, 39)
Today, we will look at Our Lord’s Prayer in the Garden of Olives on that sad and beautiful night which began His Passion and saving death for us. Our basis for this is Father Groenings’ classic, “The Passion of Jesus and Its Hidden Meaning”, from TAN Books. It is available in Kindle and paperback.
As He left the Upper Room, Jesus led His disciples in a Passover hymn, the only time the scriptures record that He sang. When they reached the Garden of Gethsemani, He cautioned the disciples to “Watch, lest ye enter into temptation”. Taking Peter, James and John, He went a bit further and told them, “My soul is sorrowful even unto death. Stay you here and watch.” Going forward, He fell on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”
Twice, Jesus interrupted this prayer to return to His apostles, and after each disappointment, returned to this same prayer, “not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” Luke then tells us, “And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony, He prayed the longer. And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.”
This passage of the Gospel is one of the richest troves of wisdom for meditation available to us, particularly for times of severest trial and at the hour of death. By working on this now, we prepare ourselves for these inevitable times to come. The first and most obvious thing we all notice is that Jesus is alone in His agony, His closest friends are sleeping, unaware of His great agony of spirit nor even noticing His precious blood being shed.
Think on this. Christ prayed while they slept, unaware of the danger. We too, arise at night and pray for our sleeping brethren, who close their eyes to the danger and sleep on, oblivious. But we who know, must arise and pray with Jesus, our Lord and God. Father Groenings tells us that, “in a family, a single member who knows how to pray well, is often the greatest blessing of the rest. But if those must pray who are among the sleeping, how much more those who are among the dead, i.e., among sinners.” Yes, exactly!
Finally, Christ prayed while His enemies were banding together to take Him prisoner and deliver Him to death on the Cross. In this instance, we are shown the wisdom of Christ, His lesson for us especially at this time. His enemies were uniting in one satanic focus, to destroy Him. His response was to pray! Thus, Our Lord Jesus Christ shows us by His eloquent example that prayer is the primary, the essential weapon when we are attacked or when the Church is attacked by the dark powers of this world. The attack came from within – Judas – and from without – the synagogue of satan. Just as today. Just as today. These things never change. And prayer is the weapon given to us by Our Savior Himself. Without prayer, our other actions cannot succeed.