Magdalen in the Passion of the Church

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Mary Magdalen, model for pentients.

Of Mary Magdalen, Lacordaire  said,

“Mary Magdalene touches both sides of our life: the Sinner anoints us with her tears, the Saint with her tenderness, the one soothes our wounds at the feet of Christ, the other tries to exalt us to the ravishment of her ascension.”

“Many sins are forgiven her because she hath loved much.”

We often see Magdalen at the feet of Christ.  Luke tells us that Mary sat at the feet of Christ, listening to Him, while Martha complained.  When Jesus returned to Bethany to raise Mary’s brother, Lazarus, she ran to Him and  cast herself at His feet. Before His Passion, she knelt at His feet and anointed them.  At the Crucifixion, she stood at His feet, beside Our Lord’s most Blessed Mother, comforting Mary and adoring her Master.  Each time, Our Lord defended her. “Mary has chosen the better part.” After the anointing, “Let her alone. That which she has done will be told in memory of her.”  But note this change: on that glorious Easter Sunday, when she discovered her Risen Lord, she threw herself at His feet once again, but this time Our Lord pointed her to their heavenly Father, “I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.”  Thus, we see Our Lord urging Mary to aspire to a higher union, dying with Christ in contemplation to rise with Him in eternal glory.

Penitent to Contemplative

Father Alban Butler’s Life of Mary Magdalen tells us that the Magdalen is the first in a  “new order of souls”, which he describes as a school of love by the martyrdom of the heart which by learning to die to the world and to inordinate self-love, lives to God and His pure love. This happiness we attain to, by being united in spirit to Jesus crucified, as Magdalen was at the foot of His cross. She suffered by love what He suffered in His body by the hands of the Jews. The same cross crucified Jesus and Magdalen in Him and with Him. … so that she could say in a twofold sense; “My love is crucified.”

She spent the last thirty years of her life in contemplation of her Beloved, in the wilderness of Provence, where legend has it that she was elevated from her grotto to the peak of the mountain seven times each day until she died. What saw she from her celestial heights?

In Sacred Scripture, of all the figures which surrounded  Our Lord Jesus Christ, it appears as though Mary Magdalen has chosen the surest path to His heart.  Why did Our Lord choose such a notorious sinner as Mary Magdalen? Was it not to show us His favoritism towards repentant sinners?  Some may read this and think that they at least have never been such a reprobate as Mary Magdalen. Well, perhaps we each of us should rather say,

“My Jesus, mercy, for I have never repented of my sins so completely, so fervently as Magdalen. My faith has been lukewarm at best!”

And perhaps now is a good time to ask Mary Magdalen, patroness of penitents, to intercede for us that God grant us a generous and sacrificial heart like hers. May her generous heart embrace our small and cautious  hearts and free us of that most pernicious disorder of these times, indifference to the sufferings of Christ in the Passion of His Church.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins and save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy.

†  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.

†  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!
†  Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
†  St. Joseph, protect us, protect our families, protect our priests.
†  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Please pray for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary!

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

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The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, July 17, 1794

We honor today:
THE SIXTEEN CARMELITE MARTYRS OF COMPIEGNE
The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

The French Revolution reveals the titanic struggle between good and evil. During the terror, over 40,000 Frenchmen were executed just for holding fast to the Catholic Faith and objecting to the worst excesses of the Committee of Public Safety. The blood lost in the years of 1792-1794 staggers the imagination even in the retelling and the campaign against the Church was as diabolical as it was cruel.

Contemplative religious communities had been among the first targets of the fury of the French Revolution against the Catholic Church. Less than a year from May 1789 when the Revolution began with the meeting of the Estates-General, these communities had been required by law to disband. But many of them continued, although in hiding. Among these were the community of the Carmelite nuns of Compiegne, in northeastern France not far from Paris — the fifty-third convent in France of the Carmelite sisters who followed the reform of St. Teresa of Avila, founded in 1641, noted throughout its history for fidelity and fervor. Their convent was raided in August 1790, all the property of the sisters was seized by the government, and they were forced to discard their habits and leave their house. They divided into four groups which found lodging in four different houses all near the same church in Compiegne, and for several years they were to a large extent able to continue their religious life in secret. But the intensified surveillance and searches of the “Great Terror” revealed their secret, and in June 1794 most of them were arrested and imprisoned.

“Follow the Lamb”

They had expected this; indeed, they had prayed for it. At some time during the summer of 1792, very likely just after the events of August 10 of that year that marked the descent into the true deeps of the Revolution, their prioress, Madeleine Lidoine, whose name in religion was Teresa of St. Augustine. Teresa in honor of the founder of their order, had foreseen much of what was to come. At Easter of 1792, she told her community that, while looking through the archives she had found the account of a dream a Carmelite had in 1693. In that dream, the nun, Sister Elisabeth Baptiste,  saw the whole Community, with the exception of 2 or 3 Sisters, in glory and called to follow the Lamb. In the mind of the Prioress, this meant martyrdom and might well be a prophetic announcement of their fate.

Mother Teresa had said to her sisters: “Having meditated much on this subject, I have thought of making an act of consecration by which the Community would offer itself as a sacrifice to appease the anger of God, so that the divine peace of His Dear Son would be brought into the world, returned to the Church and the state.” The sisters discussed her proposal and when the news of the September massacres came, mingling glorious martyrdom with apostasy, the community made their offering. In July, 1794 it was to be accepted.

After their lodgings were invaded again in June, their devotional objects shattered and their tabernacle trampled underfoot by a Revolutionary who told them that their place of worship should be transformed into a dog kennel, the Carmelite sisters were taken to the Conciergerie prison, where so many of the leading victims of the guillotine had been held during their last days on earth. There they composed a canticle for their martyrdom, to be sung to the familiar tune of the Marseillaise. The original still exists, written in pencil and given to one of their fellow prisoners, a lay woman who survived.

A Holocaust to appease the Justice of God

“Give over our hearts to joy, the day of glory has arrived,
Far from us all weakness, seeing the standard come;
We prepare for the victory, we all march to the true conquest,
Under the flag of the dying God we run, we all seek the glory;
Rekindle our ardor, our bodies are the Lord’s,
We climb, we climb the scaffold and give ourselves back to the Victor.

O happiness ever desired for Catholics of France, To follow the wondrous road
Already marked out so often by the martyrs toward their suffering,
After Jesus with the King, we show our faith to Christians,
We adore a God of justice; as the fervent priest, the constant faithful,
Seal, seal with all their blood faith in the dying God….

Holy Virgin, our model, August queen of martyrs, deign to strengthen our zeal
And purify our desires, protect France even yet, help; us mount to Heaven,
Make us feel even in these places, the effects of your power. Sustain your children,
Submissive, obedient, dying, dying with Jesus and in our King believing.”

Guilty as charged!

On July 17 the sixteen sisters were brought before the Prosecutor, Fouquier-Tinville. All cases were now being disposed of within twenty-four hours as Robespierre had wished; theirs was no exception. They were charged with having received arms for the emigres; their prioress, Mother Teresa, answered by holding up a crucifix. “Here are the only arms that we have ever had in our house.” They were charged with possessing an altar-cloth with designs honoring the old monarchy (perhaps the fleur-de-lis) and were asked to deny any attachment to the royal family. Mother Teresa responded: “If that is a crime, we are all guilty of it; you can never tear out of our hearts the attachment for Louis XVI and his family.” They were charged with corresponding with priests forced to leave the country because they would not take the constitutional oath; they freely admitted this. Finally they were charged with the catchall indictment by which any true Catholic in France could be guillotined during the Terror: “fanaticism.” Sister Henriette, who had been Gabrielle de Croissy, challenged Fouquier-Tinville to define what he meant by the word ‘fanatic.'” “I mean,” snapped the Public Prosecutor of the Terror, “your attachment to your childish beliefs and your silly religious practices.” “Let us rejoice, my dear Mother and Sisters, in the joy of the Lord,” said Sister Henriette, “that we shall die for our holy religion, our faith, our confidence in the Holy Roman Catholic Church.” By his explanation, the Public Prosecutor confirmed formally that the Carmelites of Compiegne are truly martyrs for the faith.

Continue reading “The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, July 17, 1794”

July 13, 1917, Part II

Part II

Previously, in The Third Visit, Part I, we discussed that the Message of Our Lady at Fatima on her third visit,  July 13, 1917 was a watershed moment. The previous apparitions, including the Angel’s visits, prepared for this one and this apparition is essential for understanding the subsequent ones. For it was on this day, as Lúcia relates, that ‘Our Lady deigned to reveal to us the Secret’. (“The Whole Secret of Fatima, Vol. 1, available free from www.archive.org.) The following are excerpts with commentary from that volume.

“So true is this that the message of July 13 appears to us very clearly divided into two parts:
First, there are the words which were divulged immediately,
Second, the long text of the secret which the seers carefully kept hidden. However, what is important is that the two parts of the message are very closely connected.”

In today’s post we will look at the text, or meaning, behind the bare words themselves.

From Frère Michel de la Trinité:

THE OBSESSIVE FEAR FOR THE SALVATION OF SOULS, which is the other key of the secret, with its terrible first part, the gripping vision of hell, was clearly manifested at the very moment of the apparition, inscribed on the faces of the seers. All the witnesses in fact noticed the great sorrow which suddenly overwhelmed them. Those who were very near were very much moved by the sudden cry which fell from the lips of Lúcia. ‘At this moment’, says Ti Marto, ‘Lúcia took a deep breath, went as pale as death, and we heard her cry out in terror to Our Lady, calling Her by name.’

“I have the happiness of suffering more for the love of You, O my God, and for the conversion of sinners.’

Is it not this same fright, distorting their faces, which is still visible on the photograph of the three seers taken by Mario Godinho, a few minutes after the apparition?

It was also on July 13 that Our Lady revealed the only two prayers She taught the children, the one just before the secret, to invite them to sacrifice, and the other right after, to complete each decade of the Rosary. These are two very brief formulas, which show once again the humility and also the great pedagogy of the Virgin Mary. They are almost ejaculatory prayers which can easily come unceasingly to our lips. They are two precious pearls which, in a few words, synthesize the whole essence of Her message…

AN URGENT SUPPLICATION FOR THE SALVATION OF SOULS.

Right after the end of the secret, Our Lady continued: ‘When you say the Rosary, say after each mystery:

‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need.’

O MY JESUS.

The two prayers taught by Our Lady are addressed to Her Son, to Jesus Christ our Savior. This alone suffices to destroy the calumnies of the reformists opposed to Fatima under the fallacious pretext that Her message is not Christocentric enough! What an error! At Fatima, Our Lady willed to add to the Rosary, the great prayer in Her honour this short invocation addressed to Jesus the Savior. Inserted between the Gloria Patri to the Holy Trinity, the Our Fathers and the Aves, which supplicate God our Father and our Blessed Mother in Heaven, this little prayer enlarges the divine horizon of our Rosary.

FORGIVE US!

The thought of our sin, this sin so profoundly rooted in us and which threatens to cause our ruin, is present everywhere in the message of Fatima. There is not one of the nine apparitions of the Angel and the most Blessed Virgin which does not make some allusion to sin. Each of the four prayers taught to us, brief as they are, all make some mention of it. This prayer, which is no exception, echoes the litany of Paters and Aves: Forgive us our trespasses (from the Our Father), and pray for us sinners (from the Hail Mary).

DELIVER US FROM THE FIRE OF HELL!

Continue reading “July 13, 1917, Part II”

July 13, 1917

Part I

It was in the torrid month of July, the month of the Precious Blood of Jesus, one hundred years ago today, that Our Lady of Fatima visited the little shepherds for the third time. The immense importance of this visit cannot be overestimated, for at this time, the Blessed Virgin revealed her Message for the World. We take the following account from “The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volume I”, by Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité. This volume is available to download free from www.archive.org.

At the Cova da Iria on July 13, 1917, a crowd estimated at between one and two thousand were gathered. Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta knelt before the scrubby little holm oak where Our Lady appeared. In her account, Lúcia relates that in answer to her question, “What does Your Grace want of me?”, Our Lady replied,

“I want you to come here on the 13th of next month, and to continue praying the Rosary every day in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war, because only She can help you.”

When Lúcia asked her to perform a miracle so that all would believe, Our Lady responded,

“Continue to come here every month. In October, I will tell you who I am and what I want, and I will perform a miracle for all to see and believe.”

Our Lady continued,

“Sacrifice yourselves for sinners, and say many times, especially when you make some sacrifice: ‘O Jesus, it is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary’ “.

From Lúcia’s account,

Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go... Pray for them ...
Hell, where the souls of poor sinners go…
Pray for them …

“As Our Lady spoke these last words, She opened Her hands once more, as She had done during the two previous months. The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me.) The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals.”

Here, in her Third Memoir, Sister Lúcia added: “This vision only lasted a moment, thanks to our good Mother in Heaven who, in the first apparition, had promised to take us to Heaven. Were it not for that, I believe we would have died out of fright and fear.”

Terrified and as if to plead for succour, we looked up at Our Lady, who said to us, so kindly and so sadly:

“You have seen hell, where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart.”

“If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end, but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI.

“When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine and persecutions against the Church and 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 persecutions against 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, and she will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world.

“In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc. [This marks the third part of the secret, not yet not revealed] Do not tell this to anybody. Francisco, yes, you may tell him.

“When you say the Rosary, say after each mystery: ‘O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fire of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.’ “

While this was going on, Ti Marto relates, the crowd was so silent that you could have heard a pin drop. And, like Maria Carreira and some other witnesses, Mr. Marto, who was very near the seers, perceived an unintelligible murmur: “then I began to hear a sound, a little buzzing rather like a mosquito in an empty bottle. But I couldn’t hear any words!” This mysterious murmur was heard by only a few witnesses.

However, two other unusual phenomena were noticed by a much greater number: The luminosity of the sky noticeably decreased, as during an eclipse, the whole time the ecstasy of the children lasted. At the same time, the temperature, which was very hot, went down noticeably, and the tint of the light was modified. The atmosphere became yellow as gold.

In addition, a whitish cloud, rather pleasant to look at, formed around the seers. Here is the testimony of Mr. Marto:

Continue reading “July 13, 1917”

The Seraphic Virgin and the Diabolical Prelates

I have been sickened and disheartened over the stench from the Vatican, but even more so because of the Catholic response to it. For respite, I turned to St. Catherine of Siena and in her beautiful Dialogue we find the following.

In her Dialogue, St. Catherine of Siena tells us that The Eternal Truth complained to her of His consecrated ministers who were so ungrateful that, “They repay Me in this way by continually persecuting Me with such diverse and terrible sins that thy tongue could not narrate, and thou wouldest faint at hearing them. Certain things, however, I will tell thee of them besides that which I have already said, in order to give thee matter for weeping and compassion.”

The Lord God charged His unfaithful ministers as being “like men blinded and without the light of reason, (who) have become animals through their sins, and live lasciviously in word and deed.” Of them He says, “What purity is this that he brings, who rises in the morning with his mind defiled, and his body corrupted with impure mortal sin, and proceeds to celebrate?”

In Chapter 124 of St. Catherine’s Dialogue, the Lord God discourses on how among His ministers reigns unnatural sin.

I say this to thee in order that thou mayest see how great a purity I require from you and from them in this Sacrament, and particularly from them. But they act in a contrary way, for they come full of impurity to this mystery. … committing that accursed

” offer before Me the incense of continual prayer for these poor wretches who are in so miserable a state.”

sin against nature, and as blind and fools with the light of their intellect darkened, they do not know the stench and misery in which they are. It is not only that this sin stinks before Me, Who am the Supreme and Eternal Truth, it does indeed displease Me so much and I hold it in such abomination that for it alone I buried five cities by a Divine judgment, My Divine justice being no longer able to endure it.

This sin not only displeases Me as I have said, but also the devils whom these wretches have made their masters. Not that the evil displeases them because they like anything good, but because their nature was originally angelic, and their angelic nature causes them to loathe the sight of the actual commission of this enormous sin. They truly enough hurl the arrow poisoned with the venom of concupiscence, but when their victim proceeds to the actual commission of the sin, they depart for the reason and in the manner that I have said.

Thou rememberest that I manifested to thee before the plague how displeasing this sin was to Me, and how deeply the world was corrupted by it; so I lifted thee with holy desire and elevation of mind above thyself, and showed thee the whole world and, as it were, the nations thereof, and thou sawest this terrible sin and the devils fleeing as I have told thee, and thou rememberest that so great was the pain that thou didst receive, and the stench of this sin, that thou didst seem to thyself to see no refuge on this side of death, in which thou and My other servants could hide so as not to be attacked by this leprosy.
Continue reading “The Seraphic Virgin and the Diabolical Prelates”

Designs of Mercy – Jacinta II

Part II

In our previous post on Saint Jacinta, Designs of Mercy – Jacinta, we spoke of Our Lady’s visit to Saints Francisco and Jacinta Marto  in January, 1919. In her Memoirs, Lúcia tells us,

“Our Lady came to see us”, Jacinta said. “She told us She would come to take Francisco to Heaven very soon, and She asked me if I still wanted to convert more sinners. I said I did. She told me I would be going to a hospital where I would suffer a great deal; and that I am to suffer for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for love of Jesus. I asked if you (Lúcia) would go with me. She said you wouldn’t, and that is what I find hardest. She said my mother would take me, and then I would have to stay there all alone!”

In Volume II, Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité speaks of Sister Lúcia’s impression of Jacinta:

Saint Jacinta Marto, pray for us, pray for the Pope.

“Jacinta was the one who received from Our Lady a greater abundance of grace, and a better knowledge of God and of virtue”

Although she was indeed the youngest of the three seers, it was she who appeared to enjoy the greatest intimacy with the Most Holy Virgin. When the cycle of the six great public apparitions was completed, Jacinta continued almost uninterruptedly to enjoy supernatural favors, right up until her death.

In our earlier post on Jacinta, we mentioned Frère Michel’s remark,

“It is indeed surprising to observe how much, after the apparition of July 13, the thought of the Holy Father kept constantly coming back to the minds of the three seers. This was one of their major preoccupations, along with solicitude for sinners, and the sight of the terrifying war to come. Why? Undoubtedly because the Pope plays a role of decisive importance in the great prophecy of the Secret: he is already named five times in the published part of the Secret; we may believe that he is mentioned again in the part which has not yet been published. Let us add that several supernatural communications Sister Lúcia was later favored with, concerning the role of the Holy Father in the great prophecy of the Secret, surely supply us with the context which sheds much light on the visions of Jacinta. “

In her memoirs, Lúcia recalled several prophetic visions given to little Jacinta.

“One day we spent our siesta down by my parents’ well. Jacinta sat on the stone slab on top of the well. Francisco and I climbed up a steep bank in search of wild honey among the brambles in a nearby thicket. After a little while, Jacinta called out to me: ‘Didn’t you see the Holy Father?’ ‘No.’

‘I don’t know how it was, but I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray much for him.’

“I have already told you how, one day, two priests recommended that we pray for the Holy Father, and explained to us who the Pope was. Afterwards, Jacinta asked me:  ‘Is he the one I saw weeping, the one Our Lady told us about in the Secret?’  ‘Yes, he is,’  I answered. (And Jacinta, with childlike candour, went on:) ‘The Lady must surely have shown him also to those priests. You see, I wasn’t mistaken. We need to pray a lot for him.’

Continue reading “Designs of Mercy – Jacinta II”

Of Dead Prophets and Unquenchable Fire, 2017

On this day, the Church in her wisdom commemorates the birth of St. John the Baptist. He is one of only three whose births the liturgy celebrates; the others are Jesus and Mary. And the reason we celebrate their births is that these three are the only ones since Adam and Eve’s transgression to be born free from original sin. All of us are born in sin, and few indeed preserve their baptismal purity. This  truth is one of many depicted in the life and death of St. John the Baptist; truths  which have become unwelcome in this new Bergoglian Church.

St. John the Baptist, who spoke the truth.
St. John the Baptist, who spoke the truth.

 

In recalling to us  St. John’s birth, the Church implicitly emphasises original sin and baptism.

  • John was freed from original sin in his mother’s womb by Jesus, before either were born, through the Blessed Virgin Mary. This was the first miracle worked by our Lord Jesus Christ and was performed through the mediation of His Immaculate Mother.
  • Scripture tells us that John baptised in penance, thus we are called to consider the necessity of repentance and the need for baptism to free each of us from original sin.

Regarding St. John’s life and death, in Matthew we read this description:

John had his garment of camels’ hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins: and his meat was locusts and wild honey. And his words: Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. …And seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them: “Ye brood of vipers, who hath shewed you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of penance …For now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that doth not yield good fruit, shall be cut down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you in the water unto penance, but He that shall come after me, is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear; He shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost and fire. Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His floor and gather His wheat into the barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Now what are we told of his end? Again, Matthew tells us:

“For Herod had apprehended John and bound him, and put him into prison, because of Herodias, his brother’ s wife. For John said to him: It is not lawful for thee to have her.  And having a mind to put him to death, he feared the people: because they esteemed him as a prophet. But on Herod’ s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist.  And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.  And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother.”

Continue reading “Of Dead Prophets and Unquenchable Fire, 2017”

June for the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today, we begin the month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with this repost of a popular article.

For love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we offer this essay of Solange Hertz, from her book (highly recommended!), The Thought of Their Heart, on Devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Holy Rosary”.

The Open Heart

by Solange Strong Hertz

“I will reveal My love to them more and more …”

The history of devotion to the Sacred Heart is in a very real sense a gradual revelation of the secret life of the Church. Its prologue, written in the heart of St. John as he reclined against the Lord’s breast at the Last Supper, broadcasts its first rhythms to the world, setting the tempo for the dramatic rending on Calvary. Veneration for the wound inflicted there seems to have been the initial form of the cult among the faithful. From this wound, the “door in the ark,” there gradually issued the proliferation of grace we now know as Sacred Heart devotion, ramifying and increasing through time, space and circumstance to fit all the needs and conditions of worshippers truly seeking intimacy with their Lord.

It elicited tears of repentance, prompted praise, encouraged confident petition and proffered earth’s reparation to heaven for its sins against Love. For centuries the movement developed quietly in the privacy of religious houses and the souls of gifted individuals until it permeated the whole Church in ranks both clerical and lay. In addition to the saints already mentioned, among its devotees must be numbered St. Anselm, St. Frances of Rome, St. Lawrence Justinian, St. Bernardine of Siena, St. Joan of Valois, St. Peter of Alcantara, St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, St. Antoninus, St. Peter Canisius, St. Francis de Sales— to list but a few of those canonized. Others who spread its benefits are legion. Carthusians, Franciscans, Benedictines, Dominicans, each produced its particular “school” of spirituality based on affection for the wounded Heart of the Savior. The wealth of art, literature, and liturgy both canonical and popular which has come down to us on the subject attests to its vigor and sanctifying power.

Not surprisingly, it was St. John Eudes, the apostle of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who was instrumental in directing modern piety towards the Heart of her Son. Called by Pope St. Pius X “initiator, teacher and apostle of the liturgical cult of the Sacred Heart,” he had begun by drawing heavily on the writings of the old Cologne Carthusians so as to establish the cult on solid theological ground. By 1672 he had succeeded in obtaining ecclesiastical approval for a Mass of the Sacred Heart to be celebrated in the communities of his own Order, the Congregation of Jesus and Mary.

The very next year, on the feast of St. John the Apostle, December 27, 1673, the torrents of private revelations converged explosively in the Visitation convent at Paray-le-Monial in France. It was there that our Lord, appearing to the humble young nun, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, chose to set the seal of divine approval on what had until then been a most salutary practice in the Church, but which nevertheless remained a private affair— a kind of “inside track” for fleeter spirits. Our Lord had once told St. Gertrude:

“Whenever you desire to obtain anything from Me, offer Me My Heart, which I have so often given you as a token of our mutual friendship, in union with the love which made Me become man for the salvation of men; and I give you this special mark of friendship, … “

After four great apparitions in Paray from 1673 to 1675, … devotion to the Sacred Heart was soon to be enjoined upon all. If we are to believe the words of St. John the Apostle and the ancient prophets concerning the Heart of God, we who are living three hundred years later must be about to witness nothing less than the last moments of the world. “In the latter days you shall understand these things,” promised Jeremiah. “The THOUGHTS of HIS HEART to all generations: to deliver their souls from death and feed them in famine” (Introit, Mass of the Sacred Heart).

Continue reading “June for the Sacred Heart of Jesus”

Essential Things, 2017

The following is an updated  repost of an earlier article. The issue it addresses continues to arise…

Today, we’ll take time out to answer some questions that come up frequently.  I’ve been taking quite a bit of time trying to answer these individually, but perhaps doing it as a blog entry will be more effective.

Let’s consider two versions of the question: One form: How can we know what we are to believe of the documents of the post-conciliar popes?

Put another way: What are we to do when a (Post- Vatican II) magisterial document contradicts other current or previous teachings and one does not have any more authoritative weight than the other?

When that question comes to me, the inquirer sometimes refers to an article from another blog to illustrate their perplexity. At times, the examples have been long, thoroughly researched and documented scholarly works citing numerous Canon laws, and quoting extensively from illustrious Church Fathers. Impressive. I am not in any way qualified to jump in on that level. I must add that neither are most of the current self-appointed “experts” qualified to pontificate as they do, but that fact does not even slow them down, does it?

Our Lady used me like a broom, and then she put me back.

 

But here’s something to think about, if you have the time and patience to stay with me a bit. Let’s consider a moment the greatest saints God gave us in the century or so prior to the time of Vatican II. For God is a loving Father and He provides for us according to our needs. Consider for a moment: St. Therese the Little Flower, St Padre Pio, St. Bernadette Soubirous, Saints Jacinta, Francisco and Lúcia of Fatima and St. Maximilian Kolbe.

God alone, God before all else, above all else, beyond all else. Nisi Solum Jesum.

What is God’s intention in giving us these glorious souls to emulate? Were they learned theologians? Respected professors? Great intellectual giants of their time? What was the one, overwhelming quality they all shared? I believe the quality they all exhibited is:  A simple, obedient faith, a generous, sacrificial heart. Those qualities are found together.

Each of these souls flew straight up to God in Heaven on the wings of a clear, simple faith. Each was totally consumed and driven by their single-minded desire: God alone, God before all else, above all else, beyond all else. Nisi Solum Jesum.

Even St. Maximilian Kolbe, who was the most educated and used modern means of communication in order to advance Marian devotion, maintained a simple, childlike devotion to Our Lady and often advised his priests of the need to be Mary’s children, slaves of love to her, and cautioned against much questioning and analyzing.In several of his talks, he referred tenderly to Our Lady as “Mamusia”, that is, “Mama”. That tender love of a son for his Mother permeated and motivated every thought, word and action of his! Thus, his message was essentially the same as St. Therese or St. Pio, or for that matter, Sister Lúcia.

By their words and their example, these saints showed us the way through these confusing days, when intellects are darkened by sin and perversions of doctrine. Our culture makes us think we need to constantly surf for the latest “news” and we oftentimes get overwhelmed by the surfeit of information, much of which is contradictory or simply misleading.

How to simplify? I suggest two things.

  1. Bear in mind that nowhere is it indicated that you must be a theologian. Neither your state in life, nor the salvation of your soul hinges on parsing Pope Francis’ “Amoris laetitia”  or his other insults to the doctrine of the faith. The reason this is so is that the doctrine of the faith cannot change. The truths of the faith are not in dispute here. Anything this pope or that prelate says contrary to what the Church has always clearly taught is simply beside the point. That being the case, there is not really any pressing need to read them. You know your faith. It’s simple. Keep it simple. Keep it Catholic. Pray and trust the rest to God.
  2. The second is make all that you do, every day, every moment, be for the glory of God, the honor of Mary and the salvation of souls, first your own and then every single one entrusted to you. Before you go online, be sure of your goal, your task at hand. If your actions are not serving Jesus, you must ask yourself, are they perhaps feeding idle curiosity, or even worse, a taste for gossip? We do not have a moment to waste! Right here and now, we have to make use of our time to save every single soul we can.

Since it is impossible to explain anything in a way that cannot be disputed by another, I can hear the responses. “But, but, but, what if others ask me questions about the faith that I am unable to answer? Don’t I need to know these points of faith to be able to explain them, to defend it?” I then ask, who expects this of you? Does God have this unrealistic expectation that you should know how to defend and explain complex theological issues which are still being debated by qualified people today?

You ask me, “Well, how do you handle it?” My response: When Our Lord sends me someone seeking to return to the faith, I listen to them prayerfully and then offer what I have. I am very blessed in that people instinctively know not to expect great intelligence nor any sophistication at all from me. (Perhaps it is the bovine look of complacency on my plain face) But I try to help them spiritually with the rosary, scapular and helpful books and so on. If they are drawn by Our Lady, they will take it from there.

Sometimes, the person is not satisfied with anything I can offer, and at that point, I do not try to give them what is beyond my ability. I offer to put them in touch with a good, holy priest. Notice I said holy. That is so much more important than the so-called knowledge. And I can still pray and offer up for them.

Sometimes, however, the inquirer then turns from asking my advice to,  “But, if you took your own advice, you would not have a blog.”  My response is simply that we must all do the best we can with the task we are given, and that is all we can do. I do what is put before me as prayerfully as possible. Perhaps I fail at some or even all, but succeeding or failing is not my concern.

“There is only the fight to recover what has been lost.
And found and lost again and again: and now under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”
T.S.E., East Coker.

Dear readers, I have included this example of a common question/answer session in hopes it will

1) answer a frequently asked type of question and

2)  encourage you to ask questions if needed. As you can see, I only ever have one answer, and it is simply, Go to Jesus by way of Mary. I know nothing, but that’s a good thing, because she knows the way!

Since this was first written, one more thing needs to be noted. I believe that my primary duty is to offer prayer and reparation for all of us, those who seek to serve Our Lord and those who seek to serve the ancient enemy. For we are called right now, at this time above all other times, to pray and sacrifice for sinners. Maintaining this blog is a very small part of what I do.  My job is to love you, to sacrifice and pray for you all. If this blog is a hindrance to that, it is no longer essential.  If it does matter to you, please take the time to kneel and pray, begging Our Lady to show you how to help comfort Our Lord and save sinners.

For He suffers so greatly today at the hands of those who have the most reason to love Him, but will not. And you must know that sinners, – especially those who are most despicable! – those, most of all, need your prayers, need your reparation.

It is regrettable that my remarks on this little blog have been taken as spiritual direction by some readers. My intention was only to offer commentary on current events in the Church in the light of the Message of Fatima and other approved prophecies of the Church. I try to answer all questions submitted by email (or at times by phone and in person) to the best of my ability, but I am not in any way qualified to offer spiritual direction. In fact, it is very dangerous for your soul to seek spiritual direction from anyone but a solidly orthodox Catholic priest.

These times are so dark and evil, and the Faith is threatened by the very ones who should be proclaiming it clearly for all. At Return to Fatima, we try to aid Catholics to see this is all foretold and by staying close to the Blessed Virgin Mary, our true Mother, we will weather this storm and come to our safe haven with Jesus. It’s a simple message, not complex. I cannot – nor do I attempt to – analyze complex documents from the Magisterium, nor speak on matters above me. I can only point to our Queen and our Mother, she who crushes the head of satan and will defeat all heresies and restore the Faith. 

Please, pray the Rosary and confound the devil!

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.

  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come, Viva Cristo Rey!

  St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family, protect our families, protect our priests!

  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

© All Content Copyright 2013-2017  ReturntoFatima.org. All Rights Reserved.

Designs of Mercy – Jacinta

“Pray, pray much and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them!”

by evensong, May 27, 2017

Although Francisco, who was a contemplative soul, recognised that  his essential task was to console Our Lord in the most Blessed Sacrament, Jacinta knew that  she must above all else, sacrifice to save souls from the eternal damnation she had seen so graphically depicted. In her memoirs, Lúcia tells us,

“Some of the things revealed in the Secret made a very strong impression on Jacinta. … How is it that Jacinta, small as she was, let herself be possessed by such a spirit of penance and mortification, and understood it so well? I think the reason is this: firstly, God willed to bestow on her a special grace, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; and secondly, it was because she had looked upon hell, and had seen the ruin of souls who fall therein. … Jacinta  took this matter of making sacrifices for the conversion of sinners so much to heart, that she never let a single opportunity escape her.”

“Poor Holy Father! We must pray much for him!”

“We were playing one day at the well I have already mentioned. Close to it, there was a grape vine belonging to Jacinta’s mother. She cut a few clusters and brought them to us to eat. But Jacinta never forgot her sinners. ‘We won’t eat them,’ she said, ‘we’ll offer this sacrifice for sinners.’  Then she ran out with the grapes and gave them to the other children playing on the road. She returned radiant with joy, for she had found our poor children, and given them grapes. … Another time, my aunt called us to come and eat some figs which she had brought home, and indeed they would have given anybody an appetite. Jacinta sat down happily next to the basket, with the rest of us, and picked up the first fig. She was just about to eat it, when she suddenly remembered, and said:  ‘It’s true! Today we haven’t yet made a single sacrifice for sinners! We’ll have to make this one.’  She put the fig back in the basket, and made the offering; and we, too, left our figs in the basket for the conversion of sinners.

“I’m not going to dance any more!”

“Jacinta dearly loved dancing, and had a special aptitude for it. I remember how she was crying one day about one of her brothers who had gone to the war and was reported killed in action. To distract her, I arranged a little dance with two of her brothers. There was the poor child dancing away as she dried the tears that ran down her cheeks.  Her fondness for dancing was such that the sound of some shepherd playing his instrument was enough to set her dancing all by herself.  In spite of this, when St. John’s Day festivities or carnival time came around (in 1918), she announced: ‘I’m not going to dance any more.’ ‘And why not?’ ‘Because I want to offer this sacrifice to Our Lord.’ Since we were the ones who organized the games for the children, the dances which used to take place on these occasions stopped.”

“Occasionally, also, we were in the habit of offering to God the sacrifice of spending nine days or a month without taking a drink. Once, we made this sacrifice even in the month of August, when the heat was suffocating. On these occasions, Jacinta would say: ‘Our Lord must be pleased with our sacrifices, because I am so thirsty, so thirsty! Yet, I do not want to take a drink. I want to suffer for love of Him.”  Jacinta’s thirst for making sacrifices seemed insatiable.

Even at this early age, Jacinta very quickly assumed an habitual disposition of sacrifice for sinners and with each sacrifice, she repeated the prayer taught by Our Lady, thus conferring on the sacrifice offered its whole meritorious value as an act of love, both reparatory and missionary: Lúcia says of this, “Ever since the day Our Lady taught us to offer our sacrifices to Jesus, any time we had something to suffer or agreed to make a sacrifice, Jacinta asked: ‘Did you already tell Jesus it’s for love of Him?’  If I said I hadn’t, she answered: ‘Then I’ll tell Him’, and joining her hands, she raised her eyes to Heaven and said: ‘Oh Jesus, it is for love of You, and for the conversion of sinners.’

Lúcia says of Jacinta that she, ” … was the one who received from Our Lady a greater abundance of grace, and a better knowledge of God and of virtue.” Although she was indeed the youngest of the three seers, it was she who appeared to enjoy the greatest intimacy with the Most Holy Virgin. When the cycle of the six great public apparitions was completed, Jacinta continued in this deep intimacy with Our Lady until she died.

The parish priest, Father Ferreira, reported on the immediate events of Fatima in a memoir which he completed on August 6, 1918. In it he recounted that Our Lady had appeared to Jacinta three times after October 13. A most notable one occurred on Ascension Thursday, 1918 during Mass, when, as Jacinta told Father Ferreira, Our Lady taught her to say the Rosary. Since Jacinta was accustomed by that time, to frequently recite the Rosary with Lucia and Francisco, we may suppose that Our Lady gave Jacinta special lights to understand the mysteries. Today, many of us continue to be blessed by Saint Jacinta when we seek her help to pray our Rosary!

In addition to these visits from Our Lady, Jacinta was given several prophetic visions. which constituted portions of the great secret. In her Memoirs, Lúcia remembers,

“One day we spent our siesta down by my parents’ well. Jacinta sat on the stone slab on top of the well. Francisco and I climbed up a steep bank in search of wild honey among the brambles in a nearby thicket. After a little while, Jacinta called out to me: ‘Didn’t you see the Holy Father’  ‘No.’

“Jacinta responded, ‘I don’t know how it was, but I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray much for him.’

Frère Michel places this vision of Jacinta’s  after July 13, 1917, since it presupposes that the Secret was already revealed, and before October 1918, when the Marto children became ill with the influenza. Lúcia explains further,  “… one day, two priests recommended that we pray for the Holy Father, and explained to us who the Pope was. Afterwards, Jacinta asked me: ‘Is he the one I saw weeping, the one Our Lady told us about in the Secret?’ ‘Yes, he is,’ I answered. (And Jacinta, with childlike candour, went on:) ‘The Lady must surely have shown him also to those priests. You see, I wasn’t mistaken. We need to pray a lot for him.’

Frère Michel  adds, “This vision must be kept in mind, for it helps us to better understand the corresponding words of the Secret, announcing “persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father”, who “will have much to suffer”.

In another vision given to Saint Jacinta, the shepherds had gone to pray at the cave they called Lapa do Cabeco, where Lúcia reported they prostrated themselves, reciting  the prayers taught by the Angel.  before long,  Jacinta arose and said,

“Can’t you see all those highways and roads full of people, who are crying with hunger and have nothing to eat? And the Holy Father in a church praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary? And so many people praying with him?”

This vision is a sign of the Second and Third portions of the Secret, and that War is not over yet, nor will it be, until we see the Holy Father kneel before Our Lady, repent and be converted, becoming her obedient servant once again. Today, the flock have nothing to eat and this will worsen as the famine increases under the soul-withering Church of False Mercy. For how can they believe, if the truth is not preached to them? And what Father gives his child a stone when he asks for bread?

Frère Michel  believes that the Pope of this vision, kneeling in prayer before the Immaculate Heart of Mary, will be the one who at last consecrates Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, freeing that country of the diabolical hindrance to her future destiny of greatness. And he explains that  “Sister Lúcia clarifies the point, for this second vision corresponds to an event prophesied in the Secret:

“Some days later, Jacinta asked me: ‘Can I say that I saw the Holy Father and all those people?’ ‘No. Don’t you see that that’s part of the Secret? If you do, they’ll find out right away!’ ‘All right! Then I’ll say nothing at all.’ “

The Second portion, about the continuing world war is the material chastisement while the Third portion is the spiritual chastisement. Both of these will continue until such time as sufficient reparation has been made.

Now, to return to the favors the Blessed Virgin deigned to show little Jacinta. From Sister Lúcia’s Memoirs and from Frère Michel we learn that the Immaculata blessed Jacinta with such a fullness of grace, such an intimate sharing in her message that Jacinta was soon led to the total oblation of her life with the utmost courage and generosity of soul. Indeed, Lúcia relates that Jacinta was so impressed with the severity of the punishment of hell and the eternal ruin of the souls which go there, and the utter devastation of the war, that these thoughts made her tremble with fear and dread. When Lúcia would find her staring pensively, and prodded her for her thoughts, Jacinta remarked that she was thinking of, “… the war which is coming, and all the people who are going to die and go to hell! How dreadful! If they would only stop offending God, then there wouldn’t be any war and they wouldn’t go to hell.”

“Poor Holy Father! We must pray very much for him!”

It was to Jacinta most of all in 1918, that Our Lady revealed  the Holy Father persecuted, mocked, abandoned by all, and in tears, This helped Jacinta to understand how much the Pope needed prayers.  Lúcia tells us,  “This gave Jacinta such love for the Holy Father that, every time she offered her sacrifices to Jesus, she added: “And for the Holy Father … At the end of the Rosary, she always said three Hail Marys for the Holy Father.”

Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité seems impressed by this emphasis,

“It is indeed surprising to observe how much, after the apparition of July 13, the thought of the Holy Father kept constantly coming back to the minds of the three seers. This was one of their major preoccupations, along with solicitude for sinners, and the sight of the terrifying war to come. Why? Undoubtedly because the Pope plays a role of decisive importance in the great prophecy of the Secret: he is already named five times in the published part of the Secret; we may believe that he is mentioned again in the part which has not yet been published. Let us add that several supernatural communications Sister Lúcia was later favored with, concerning the role of the Holy Father in the great prophecy of the Secret, surely supply us with the context which sheds much light on the visions of Jacinta. “

As we read these accounts of our Blessed Mother’s work in the souls of the little shepherd children, we see the path on which she leads them sorrowfully;  the way of reparation and compassion,  per crucem ad lucem; per  mortem ad vitam. It is for this that the Angel came, to begin their preparation for this great work, solidly based in Eucharistic adoration and reparation.

“Above all, accept and bear with submission the sufferings which the Lord will send you.” (The Angel of Fatima, St. Michael)

“Are you willing to offer yourselves to God, and bear all the sufferings He will send you, in reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners?”

“Yes, we are,” Lúcia had answered in the name of all three.

“Then you will have much to suffer, but the grace of God will be your comfort.” (Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima, May 13, 1917)

And so, in January, 1919, Our Lady came once more to the children:

“Our Lady came to see us”, Jacinta said. “She told us She would come to take Francisco to Heaven very soon, and She asked me if I still wanted to convert more sinners. I said I did. She told me I would be going to a hospital where I would suffer a great deal; and that I am to suffer for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for love of Jesus. I asked if you (Lúcia) would go with me. She said you wouldn’t, and that is what I find hardest. She said my mother would take me, and then I would have to stay there all alone!”

To be continued.

Among the sources for the above article are Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité’s  “The Whole Truth About Fatima, Volumes I (here) and  II (here)” and from Father Cirrincione’s  “Blessed Jacinta Marto of Fatima“.

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.

  Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy Kingdom come, Viva Cristo Rey!

  St. Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family, protect our families, protect our priests!

  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

~ by evensong for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

© All Content Copyright 2013-2017 ReturntoFatima.org. All Rights Reserved.