Begin at the beginning

NOTE: I have corrected an error about the book by Father Stehlin. The link now is to Loreto Publications where the book is available for $11.95.  

We will not save our souls in this time of crisis if we spurn the means Our Lord Himself has given us, which is the Immaculate Heart of Mary, His most Blessed Mother. This essential devotion is not some syrupy sentimental devotion, it is a thoroughly practical devotion which teaches us the virtues necessary for our salvation. It does this through the Rosary above all. To begin to understand this, we begin at the beginning, which is the Joyful Mysteries. Any other practical means we use to help ourselves or to help others, will be utterly fruitless without understanding and making use of, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary through her Rosary.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, you conceived the Word of God in your heart before you conceived Him in your womb, pray for us.

In the Litany to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, we give voice to a profound and significant truth, one that I confess I had not fully considered until reading, and re-reading Father Stehlin’s beautiful treatise on Our Lady, “Who Are You, O Immaculata?” For me, that book has been a pivotal point  and I hope that you will all read it.

A reader who has followed our posts for some  time has requested assistance with sharing the Message of Fatima with those who reject or are indifferent to Our Lady of Fatima,  To answer her question, we find once again that the answer is the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the key to unlock the mystery is found in the prayer above.

In her Rosary, Our Lady shares this beautiful mystery with us. Let’s return to her at the Annunciation, when the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Our Lady was rapt in adoration of God. Her soul, unencumbered by any slightest sin, joyfully accepted His will, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord! Be it done unto me according to thy word. And the Word was made flesh.

By accepting God’s will, Mary began her task with a full nine months of the most intimate closeness with the Word, treasuring Him in her Immaculate Heart for nine months. These two pure and Sacred Hearts, both totally devoted to doing the will of the Father, spent nine months in loving concourse, sharing the thought of their heart, one heart really, beating in the two human persons closest to the Heavenly Father, the Creator. As Adam gave Eve his rib, from which she was made, the new Eve, Mary, gave Jesus her Heart. These Hearts are inseparable, that is why I say one heart.

And so, we think on this in the beautiful First Joyful Mystery. In the Second Mystery, we see these two hearts working together, to baptise John the Prophet, chosen to prepare the way of the Lord.  Thus, Jesus worked His first miracle from within the very womb of Mary. See how Our Lord illustrates His deepest messages with such clear scenes of His actions; actions which cannot be twisted and misconstrued, but viewed clearly show that Jesus chose Mary, first as His Mother, and then as His mediatrix, casting satan from John, and consecrating him to the service of Jesus Christ, as we all must be consecrated to Him through Mary.

In the Third Mystery, we see, literally see this Divine Child, the long-awaited Savior of the world, born not in  the glory and pomp of this passing world, which was still in thrall to satan, but in the serene and humble stable of Bethlehem. Note that we do not see this until the time was ripe for it. First, the Immaculata conceived the Word in her pure heart, then He was made flesh within her flesh, and the two hearts grew as one. Only then at the time designated by Our Father, did He come to dwell among us. And then, even then, not to all but to those who were prepared to receive Him.

In the Fourth Mystery, we see Mary, led by Joseph – this is important – bring the Son of God, this Divine Infant, to the Temple of God to fulfill the Law. At this time, the Holy Family made the customary offering of the poor.  This humility, this obedience, this poverty – this is an essential lesson for us. Think on it. Without these virtues, we are not in any way serving God. Never underestimate the importance of this Mystery. Now, this fourth Joyful Mystery has in it the bitter seed of the Passion and Death of Our Lord, for it is at this time that these two purest and most innocent hearts shared the first searing pain, the sacrifice required of every male of the Chosen People, an inexplicable pain suffered by the Son and shared by the Mother, whose sweet heart was always united to her Son’s Sacred Heart. As Simeon gently, sadly returned  the sobbing Infant to His Mother, he saw her silent tears, and sensed the tremendous weight these two would bear. He quickly looked away and caught a glimpse, there, in the shadows, an enormous Cross looming in the dark corner; there …  Ah, was it but a trick of the light?  One could not be sure, he thought … these tired old eyes…

In the last Joyful Mystery, we see Mary and Joseph searching for Our Lord. Many much wiser see deeper messages in this Mystery. Mine is simple. In this Mystery, we see Mary and Joseph (this is why St. Joseph is shown to us in the last vision at Fatima) Mary and Joseph are here in this Mystery to process through the City of God, which is now in darkness and ruins, to gather us and lead us. We too join the procession. Together, we find Him again. And wonder of wonders, we find Him in His Church! For while we have been searching, following Mary and Joseph, we are being prepared to perceive Him with the clear and perfect vision of children of Mary, the clear vision of her Immaculate Heart. And so we return, full circle, (as in St. John Bosco’s vision) and the Word is made flesh and dwells among us. In our hearts, united to the Heart of our most pure and loving Mother.

This is the answer.  Do this, live this, every day. When you are this, those who are His, will come to Him, through Mary. Not through  what you do on your own but through His grace, mediated by Mary, His Mother. She depends on us, but we, much more so, on her. When we allow ourselves to be her instruments, led by her, miracles happen. But it is not us, not ever us. We go to Jesus through Mary.

Pray the Rosary with confidence and joy!

†  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!

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

Life Under the Banner of Love

 

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with (Mary), not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”

Soon, we will reach the date for our Consecration (or reconsecration) to the Immaculata on 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  Today, we make use of two wonderful books. From Loreto Publications, we have Father Karl Stehlin’s “Who are You, O Immaculata?” and from Angelus Press, we have St. Maximilian Kolbe’s little gem of a book, “Let Yourself be Led by the Immaculate”. Both are available in paperback or e-book/kindle.

The Immaculata, an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.
The Immaculata, an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.

 

Total Consecration to the Immaculata

By original sin, each of us is separated from God and it is our life’s work to strive to return to God. The first step toward reunion with God, that is, the first rung on the ladder to God, is to make a firm decision of the will toward Mary. This setting out on the way to God is total consecration to Mary. We give ourselves completely to Mary as our Mother and our Queen, as our way to the final destination which is our Lord Jesus Christ. Devotion to Mary is an essential component to the imitation of Christ.

Now, consecration is not simply a pious sentiment made on a whim, it is an agreement, a vow, to make the total gift of oneself. Living this vow requires that one dispossess oneself and no longer act as proprietor and master but rather as a willing slave, conforming to our Lady’s wishes in all things. To understand, let’s look at our model, the Immaculate Mother herself.

The Immaculate Conception

St. Maximilian Kolbe tells us that when Mary said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”, she is confirming that she no longer possesses her being for herself, but is “pure relation to God’, that is, being-for-God. Inasmuch as she is completely united with the Holy Ghost, her spouse, she is utterly, completely consecrated to Him in her inmost being. In just this way, we must divest ourselves, down to the depths of our being; the Immaculata must take our whole life in her hands and thus give us to God.

In the words of St. Maximilian, “Only if we uproot from ourselves everything that comes from self and allow the Immaculata to lead us fully and completely, will we reflect her completely in ourselves.” And so we choose to be as much her own as she is God’s own. And she belongs to God to such an extent that she became His own mother. Father Stehlin adds, “We will voluntarily allow no room to any thought, wish, desire or idea that the Immaculata would not consent to. Such an attitude can become a habit only if we renew this act of self-giving again and again and keep it in mind.”

Our Constant Focus: the Immaculata

In her Immaculate Conception, Mary, our Model, began the return of creation to God, and as her children, we return with her.  St. Maximilian tells us,

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with her, not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”

Fr. Stehlin notes, “The true foundation of the spiritual life consists precisely of this: entirely from God, entirely in God, and entirely to God! Now the Immaculata can convey this foundation to her children. In the words of St. Maximilian: “When God spoke about Himself, He said to Moses, ‘I am Who am.’ That is, it belongs to My essence that I always have My being from Myself, without beginning. In contrast, the Immaculate Virgin has her beginning in God, is a creation, is a conception. Nevertheless, she is the Immaculate Conception.”

Thus, to the extent that we devote ourselves to her, she forms in us that magnificent foundation that God formed in her, for we are her children, after all. Fr. Stehlin refers to her work in us as “an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.” Now, as we proceed along this path with Our Immaculate Mother as guide, she calls to our attention how greatly we have allowed the toxins of the secular world, and even the poisons of the modernist church to affect us, how often we have been guided in our actions by our wounded human nature, and the traces of self-love in our thoughts, words and deeds.  We are then faced with the bitter, frustrating but very necessary battle over principles.

Continue reading “Life Under the Banner of Love”

Life Under the Banner of Love, 2016

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with (Mary), not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”

Soon, we will reach the date for our Consecration (or reconsecration) to the Immaculata on 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  Today, we make use of two wonderful books. From Loreto Publications, we have Father Karl Stehlin’s “Who are You, O Immaculata?” and from Angelus Press, we have St. Maximilian Kolbe’s little gem of a book, “Let Yourself be Led by the Immaculate”. Both are available in paperback or e-book/kindle.

Total Consecration to the Immaculata
The Immaculata, an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.

By original sin, each of us is separated from God and it is our life’s work to strive to return to God. The first step toward reunion with God, that is, the first rung on the ladder to God, is to make a firm decision of the will toward Mary. This setting out on the way to God is total consecration to Mary. We give ourselves completely to Mary as our Mother and our Queen, as our way to the final destination which is our Lord Jesus Christ. Devotion to Mary is an essential component to the imitation of Christ.

Now, consecration is not simply a pious sentiment made on a whim, it is an agreement, a vow, to make the total gift of oneself. Living this vow requires that one dispossess oneself and no longer act as proprietor and master but rather as a willing slave, conforming to our Lady’s wishes in all things. To understand, let’s look at our model, the Immaculate Mother herself.

The Immaculate Conception
St. Maximilian Kolbe tells us that when Mary said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”, she is confirming that she no longer possesses her being for herself, but is “pure relation to God’, that is, being-for-God. Inasmuch as she is completely united with the Holy Ghost, her spouse, she is utterly, completely consecrated to Him in her inmost being. In just this way, we must divest ourselves, down to the depths of our being; the Immaculata must take our whole life in her hands and thus give us to God.

In the words of St. Maximilian, “Only if we uproot from ourselves everything that comes from self and allow the Immaculata to lead us fully and completely, will we reflect her completely in ourselves.” And so we choose to be as much her own as she is God’s own. And she belongs to God to such an extent that she became His own mother. Father Stehlin adds, “We will voluntarily allow no room to any thought, wish, desire or idea that the Immaculata would not consent to. Such an attitude can become a habit only if we renew this act of self-giving again and again and keep it in mind.”

Our Constant Focus: the Immaculata

In her Immaculate Conception, Mary, our Model, began the return of creation to God, and as her children, we return with her.  St. Maximilian tells us,

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with her, not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”

Fr. Stehlin notes, “The true foundation of the spiritual life consists precisely of this: entirely from God, entirely in God, and entirely to God! Now the Immaculata can convey this foundation to her children. In the words of St. Maximilian: “When God spoke about Himself, He said to Moses, ‘I am Who am.’ That is, it belongs to My essence that I always have My being from Myself, without beginning. In contrast, the Immaculate Virgin has her beginning in God, is a creation, is a conception. Nevertheless, she is the Immaculate Conception.”

Thus, to the extent that we devote ourselves to her, she forms in us that magnificent foundation that God formed in her, for we are her children, after all. Fr. Stehlin refers to her work in us as “an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.” Now, as we proceed along this path with Our Immaculate Mother as guide, she calls to our attention how greatly we have allowed the toxins of the secular world, and even the poisons of the modernist church to affect us, how often we have been guided in our actions by our wounded human nature, and the traces of self-love in our thoughts, words and deeds.  We are then faced with the bitter, frustrating but very necessary battle over principles.

Continue reading “Life Under the Banner of Love, 2016”

Joel and Jorge

The Bishop of Rome will meet with Lutherans in Sweden soon, to continue his “Reformation” working to achieve the results from within the Church that Luther achieved from the outside. For fifty years now, the modernists have been eroding the dogma and practice of the faith; and now as death beckons the Danneels/Bergoglio/Kasper triumvirate,  there is an urgency to complete their task. Luther will be honored even as Christ the King is shunted aside in His own Church.

Each day, readers tell me of the distress and confusion they feel. “When will God help us?” “How far will this go?”  Let’s take a few moments and see what our first Pope told us about these times. We shall see that St. Peter himself found it necessary to return to an even earlier prophesy in order to prepare us for just this time.

"And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that the ship was filled. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, sleeping upon a pillow; and they awake Him, and say to Him: Master, doth it not concern Thee that we perish?"
“And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that the ship was filled. And He was in the hinder part of the ship, sleeping upon a pillow; and they awake Him, and say to Him: Master, doth it not concern Thee that we perish?”

 

On Pentecost, when St. Peter, our first Pope, preached to the men of Jerusalem,

” … This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel:  And it shall come to pass, in the last days, (saith the Lord,) I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.  And upon My servants indeed, and upon My handmaids will I pour out in those days of My spirit, and they shall prophesy.  And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire, and vapor of smoke.  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and manifest day of the Lord come. (Acts 2, 16-20)

Now the passage from Joel to which St. Peter referred was from Chapter 2:

Blow ye the trumpet in Sion, sound an alarm in My holy mountain, let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: because the day of the Lord cometh, because it is nigh at hand,  A day of darkness, and of gloominess, a day of clouds and whirlwinds: a numerous and strong people as the morning spread upon the mountains: the like to it hath not been from the beginning,  …  At their presence the earth hath trembled, the heavens are moved: the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining. … for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible: and who can stand it?

Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. …  Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast … Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, … Between the porch and the altar the priests the Lord’s ministers shall weep, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare Thy people: and give not Thy inheritance to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them. … And the Lord answered and said to His people: … I will no more make you a reproach among the nations. And I will remove far off from you the northern enemy: and I will drive him into a land unpassable, and desert, … and his stench shall ascend, and his rottenness shall go up, because he hath done proudly.

Fear not, O land, be glad and rejoice: for the Lord hath done great things. … And you, O children of Sion, rejoice, and be joyful in the Lord your God: because He hath given you a teacher of justice, and He will make the early and the latter rain to come down to you as in the beginning. … And you shall eat in plenty, and shall be filled: and you shall praise the name of the Lord your God, … and My people shall not be confounded for ever.

And it shall come to pass after this, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Moreover upon my servants and handmaids in those days I will pour forth my spirit. And I will shew wonders in heaven; and in earth, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood: before the great and dreadful day of the Lord doth come. And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved: for in mount Sion, and in Jerusalem shall be salvation, as the Lord hath said, and in the residue (remnant) whom the Lord shall call.”

This passage from Joel foretells the time when the dreadful beast of the Apostasy shall bring about the culmination of the chastisement. It is also foretold in St. Hildegard’s vision which we discussed in our previous post, “The Figure of a Woman”. That is to say, it refers to the chastisement, when the Church shall be saved and the beast of the apostasy will be driven from the Church. This respite will be the period of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima.

Continue reading “Joel and Jorge”

What John saw and what Lucia saw

Today we will speak of beginnings and endings

A long, long time ago, John was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, as he tells us. And he heard a loud voice as of the sound of many waters, “I am the Alpha and the Omega …” . And John was given visions, the like of which no man has ever seen since until the night of June 13, 1929 in a small chapel.

Sister Lucia described the vision:

“Suddenly the whole chapel became bright with a supernatural light and above the altar appeared a luminous cross that extended to the ceiling. In an even brighter light appeared above the cross the face of a Man with His body down to the waist. In front of His chest was a Dove, also made entirely of light, and nailed to the cross was the Body of another Man. A little below His hips appeared a chalice floating in the air and a large host, upon which fell the drops of blood that streamed from the face of the Crucified, and from His wounded side. They flowed down upon the host, and from there they fell into the chalice.

Beneath the cross and to the right was Our Lady with her Immaculate Heart in her hand (it was Our Lady of Fatima with her Immaculate Heart, which she held in her left hand, without a sword or roses, but rather, surrounded with a crown of thorns and all aflame).

Beneath the cross on the left appeared large letters, as though made of crystal-clear water, that flowed from the hand of the Crucified down upon the altar and formed the following words, Grace and Mercy.

I understood that the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity was being shown to me, …”

The Blessed Virgin’s message was succinct:

“The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, and to order that in union with Him and at the same time, all the Bishops of the world make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, promising to convert it because of this day of prayer and worldwide reparation.”

This vision is so deep and rich in meaning; in it we see encapsulated the mysteries of the Immaculate Conception, the Most Blessed Trinity, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharist and so much more. It is the counterpart to John’s visions on Patmos and bears a similar warning and promise for us. Yet not one Pope has ever spoken of this vision. Not. one. A stunning indifference.

An insight from St. Maximilian Kolbe

In one of his last writings, the Apostle of the Immaculata, St. Maximilian, provides us with an excellent meditation on the meaning of the Immaculate Conception and its relation to the Most Holy Trinity. Let’s see how his brief meditation fits in with Lucia’s mystical vision.

After asking,  “Who are you, O Immaculate Conception?” St. Maximilian writes,

Not God, of course, because He has no beginning. Not an angel, created directly out of nothing. Not Adam, formed out of the dust of the earth (Gen. 2,7). Not Eve, molded from Adam’s rib (Gen. 2,21). Not the Incarnate Word, Who exists before all ages, and of Whom we should use the word “conceived” rather than “conception”. Humans do not exist before their conception, so we might call them created “conceptions.” But you, O Mary, are different from all other children of Eve. They are conceptions stained by original sin; whereas you are the unique, Immaculate Conception.

Everything which exists, outside of God Himself, since it is from God and depends on Him in every way, bears within itself some semblance to its Creator; there is nothing in any creature which does not betray this resemblance, because every created thing is an effect of the Primal cause.

Continue reading “What John saw and what Lucia saw”

Grace in the Reign of Francis

The Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary become even richer in meaning as we spend more time with them during Lent, and in this papacy all the more so! In the First Sorrowful Mystery, the Agony in the Garden we see Jesus confronting His persecutors who had been led to Him by Judas, the Patron for the current betrayers of Christ from their powerful positions within the hierarchy. As Jesus restored the ear of Malchus, He spoke to those who had come to destroy Him, “Are ye come out, as it were against a thief, with swords and clubs? When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against Me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Luke 22, 52-53)

“The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

We are now deep within this hour of darkness in the Passion of the Church, and so we shall find much to profit us in these Sorrowful Mysteries of Our Lady’s Rosary.

At the beginning of that first Passion, there was a terrible betrayal, and the Apostles fled, scandalized, into the darkness. Today, as the Pope and the whole corrupt edifice of the hierarchy  betray our Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother, Catholics are scattered. Some are indifferent to the scandal, some fall into sedevacantism, some simply fall away. Some few, however, watch and pray in the darkness, trusting in His promise.

Father Malachi Martin explained this situation in the Church in several interviews and in books, such as Windswept House and The Keys of His Blood. In one interview, transcribed into a small book called The Tempter’s Hour,” Fr. Martin explained that the crisis in the Church is a part of God’s plan for us. During Christ’s Passion, Our Blessed Mother did not rebel at God’s will in any way (contrary to what Pope Francis suggests), instead Mary willed it. Yes, she accepted God’s will most perfectly. In fact, Mary is our perfect model for the approach we must make to this time of the Passion of the Bride of Christ, His beloved and most holy Church.

Continue reading “Grace in the Reign of Francis”

The Eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

The Divine Word has for His Mother a love infinitely greater than that which He bears to all His other creatures. Mary’s honour is infinitely dear to Him, because she is His Mother.

Now, correlate that absolute truth with the reality of the past nearly 100 years. What honour has the institutional Church shown to the Mother of God, who came to show us the way to return to God? To repeat, what honour has the Church shown to Mary? What Pope has obeyed her?  We offer the following to prepare us for tomorrow’s feast. In this horrible chastisement which is building, the remedy is Mary Immaculate. If we spurn her, there is no other.

The post below is long, and contains much that you already know, and Dom Gueranger’s language is that of the “triumphalist” faithful so despised by our current humble Pope and his church leaders. Dom Gueranger belongs to the past. We have progressed so far beyond that now, haven’t we? The following is from Dom Prosper Gueranger, Vol. 1, The Liturgical Year, available from www.archive.org.

The Immaculate Conception - Because God hates sin!
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us now and at the hour of our death!
The Immaculate Conception of Mary

At length, on the distant horizon, rises, with a soft and radiant light, the aurora of the Sun which has been so long desired. The happy Mother of the Messias was to be born before the Messias Himself; and this is the day of the Conception of Mary. The earth already possesses a first pledge of the Divine mercy; the Son of Man is near at hand. Two true Israelites, Joachim and Anne, noble branches of the family of David, find their union, after a long barrenness, made fruitful by the Divine omnipotence. Glory be to God, Who has been mindful of His promises, and Who deigns to announce, from the high heavens, the end of the deluge of iniquity, by sending upon the earth the sweet white dove that bears the tidings of peace!

The Feast of the Blessed Virgin’s Immaculate Conception is the most solemn of all those which the Church celebrates during the holy time of Advent; and if the first part of the cycle had to offer us the commemoration of some one of the mysteries of Mary, there was none whose object could better harmonize with the spirit of the Church in this mystic season of expectation. Let us, then, celebrate this solemnity with joy; for the Conception of Mary tells us that the Birth of Jesus is not far off.

The intention of the Church in this Feast, is not only to celebrate the anniversary of the happy moment in which began, in the womb of the pious Anne, the life of the ever-glorious Virgin Mary; but also to honour the sublime privilege, by which Mary was preserved from the Original Stain, which, by a sovereign and universal decree, is contracted by all the children of Adam the very moment they are conceived in their mother’s womb.

The faith of the Catholic Church on the subject of the Conception of Mary is this: that at the very instant when God united the soul of Mary, which He had created, to the body which it was to animate, this ever-blessed soul did not only not contract the stain, which at that same instant defiles every human soul, but was filled with an immeasurable grace which rendered her, from that moment, the mirror of the sanctity of God Himself, as far as this is possible to a creature.

The Church with her infallible authority, declared by the lips of Pius IX, that this article of her faith had been revealed by God Himself. The Definition was received with enthusiasm by the whole of Christendom, and the eighth of December of the year 1854 was thus made one of the most memorable days of the Church’s history.

…  The close ties which were to unite the Son of God with Mary, and which would elicit from Him the tenderest love and the most filial reverence for her, had been present to the Divine thought from all eternity: and the conclusion forces itself upon us that therefore the Divine Word had for this His future Mother a love infinitely greater than that which He bore to all His other creatures. Mary’s honour was infinitely dear to Him, because she was to be His Mother, chosen to be so by His eternal and merciful decrees.

The Son’s love protected the Mother. She, indeed, in her sublime humility willingly submitted to whatever the rest of God’s creatures had brought on themselves, and obeyed every tittle of those laws which were never meant for her; but that humiliating barrier, which confronts every child of Adam at the first moment of his existence, and keeps him from light and grace until he shall have been regenerated by a new birth. Oh! this could not be permitted to stand in Mary’s way, her Son forbade it.

The eternal Father would not do less for the second Eve than He had done for the first, who was created, as was also the first Adam, in the state of original justice, which she afterwards forfeited by sin. The Son of God would not permit that the woman, from whom He was to take the nature of Man, should be deprived of that gift which He had given even to her who was the mother of sin. The Holy Ghost, Who was to overshadow Mary and produce Jesus within her by His Divine operation, would not permit that foul stain, in which we are all conceived, to rest, even for an instant, on this His Bride. 

Was it not this grand exemption which God Himself foretold, when the guilty pair, whose children we all are, appeared before Him in the garden of Eden? In the anathema which fell upon the serpent, there was included a promise of mercy to us. ‘I will put enmities,’ said the Lord, ‘between thee and the Woman, and thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head.’ (Gen. 3, 15) Thus was salvation promised the human race under the form of a victory over Satan; and this victory is to be gained by the Woman, and she will gain it for us also. … The human race is one day to be avenged not only by God made Man, but also by the Woman miraculously exempted from every stain of sin, in whom the primeval creation, which was in justice and holiness, (Eph. iv. 24) will thus reappear, just as though the Original Sin had never been committed. …

The second Eve is created; and from her own blood (which, with the exception of the element of sin, is the same as that which makes you to be the children of Adam), she is shortly to give you the God-Man, Who proceeds from her according to the flesh, as He proceeds from the Father according to the eternal generation.

And how can we do less than admire and love the incomparable purity of Mary in her Immaculate Conception, when we hear even God, Who thus prepared her to become His Mother, saying to her, in the Divine Canticle, these words of love: ‘Thou art all fair, O My love, and there is not a spot in thee! (Cant. 4, 7) It is the God of all holiness that here speaks; that eye, which sees all things, finds not a vestige, not a shadow of sin; therefore does He delight in her, and admire in her that gift of His Own condescending munificence. We cannot be surprised after this, that Gabriel, when he came down from Heaven to announce the Incarnation to her, should be full of admiration at the sight of that purity, whose beginning was so glorious and whose progress was immeasurable; and that this blessed spirit should bow down profoundly before this young Maid of Nazareth, and salute her with, ‘Hail, O full of grace!’ (Luke 1, 28) …

This truth of Mary’s Immaculate Conception, which was revealed to the Apostles by the Divine Son of Mary, inherited by the Church, taught by the holy fathers, believed by each generation of the Christian people with an ever increasing explicitness, was implied in the very notion of a Mother of God. To believe that Mary was Mother of God, was implicitly to believe that she, on whom this sublime dignity was conferred, had never been defiled with the slightest stain of sin, and that God had bestowed upon her an absolute exemption from sin. …

The Symbol of our faith has therefore received not a new truth, but a new light on a truth which was previously the object of the universal belief. On that great day of the definition, the infernal serpent was again crushed beneath the victorious foot of the Virgin Mother, and the Lord graciously gave us the strongest pledge of His mercy. He still loves this guilty earth, since He has deigned to enlighten it with one of the brightest rays of His Mother’s glory. How this earth of ours exulted! …”

Continue reading “The Eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception”

Life Under the Banner of Love

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with (Mary), not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”
Soon, we will reach the date for our Consecration (or reconsecration) to the Immaculate on 8 December. Although we got sidetracked a bit, several readers have shared their progress (and concerns!) and from now on we will try to focus more acutely on our preparations. Today, we make use of two wonderful books. From Loreto Publications, we have Father Karl Stehlin’s “Who are You, O Immaculata?” and from Angelus Press, we have St. Maximilian Kolbe’s little gem of a book, “Let Yourself be Led by the Immaculate”. Both are available in paperback or e-book/kindle.
The Immaculata, an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.
The Immaculata, an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.

Total Consecration to the Immaculata
By original sin, each of us is separated from God and it is our life’s work to strive to return to God. The quickest and surest way to reunion with God is to take the first step, the first rung on the ladder to God, that is, to make a firm decision of the will toward Mary. This setting out on the way to God is total consecration to Mary. We give ourselves completely to Mary as our Mother and our Queen, as our way to the final destination which is our Lord Jesus Christ. Devotion to Mary is an essential component to the imitation of Christ.

Now, consecration is not simply a pious sentiment made on a whim, it is an agreement, a vow, to make the total gift of oneself. Living this vow requires that one dispossess oneself and no longer act as proprietor and master but rather as a willing slave, conforming to our Lady’s wishes in all things. To understand, let’s look at our model, the Immaculate Mother herself.

The Immaculate Conception
St. Maximilian Kolbe tells us that when Mary said, “I am the Immaculate Conception”, she is confirming that she no longer possesses her being for herself, but is “pure relation to God’, that is, being-for-God. Inasmuch as she is completely united with the Holy Ghost, her spouse, she is utterly, completely consecrated to Him in her inmost being. In just this way, we must divest ourselves, down to the depths of our being; the Immaculata must take our whole life in her hands and thus give us to God.

In the words of St. Maximilian, “Only if we uproot from ourselves everything that comes from self and allow the Immaculata to lead us fully and completely, will we reflect her completely in ourselves.” And so we choose to be as much her own as she is God’s own. And she belongs to God to such an extent that she became His own mother. Father Stehlin adds, “We will voluntarily allow no room to any thought, wish, desire or idea that the Immaculata would not consent to. Such an attitude can become a habit only if we renew this act of self-giving again and again and keep it in mind.”

Our Constant Focus: the Immaculata
In her Immaculate Conception, Mary, our Model, began the return of creation to God, and as her children, we return with her.  St. Maximilian tells us,

“In the Holy Ghost’s union with her, not only does Love join these two beings, but the first of the two (the Holy Ghost) is the entire Love of the Holy Trinity, while the second (Mary) is the entire love of creation; and thus in this union of heaven with all of earth, all uncreated love with created love; it is the summit of love.”

Fr. Stehlin notes, “The true foundation of the spiritual life consists precisely of this: entirely from God, entirely in God, and entirely to God! Now the Immaculata can convey this foundation to her children. In the words of St. Maximilian: “When God spoke about Himself, He said to Moses, ‘I am Who am.’ That is, it belongs to My essence that I always have My being from Myself, without beginning. In contrast, the Immaculate Virgin has her beginning in God, is a creation, is a conception. Nevertheless, she is the Immaculate Conception.”

Thus, to the extent that we devote ourselves to her, she forms in us that magnificent foundation that God formed in her, for we are her children, after all. Fr. Stehlin refers to her work in us as “an unceasing declaration of war against the consequences of original sin.” Now, as we proceed along this path with Our Immaculate Mother as guide, she calls to our attention how greatly we have allowed the toxins of the secular world, and even the poisons of the modernist church to affect us, how often we have been guided in our actions by our wounded human nature, and the traces of self-love in our thoughts, words and deeds.  We are then faced with the bitter, frustrating but very necessary battle over principles.
Continue reading “Life Under the Banner of Love”

November 5, 2015

“Pride transforms virtues into sins. Humility transforms sins into virtues.”
St. Maximilian Kolbe.

Today, we continue in earnest our preparation for Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and our reference is Father Stehlin’s book, “Who Are You, O Immaculata?”  and the works of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who is undoubtedly the Apostle of Mary Immaculate for these latter times.

St. Maximilian Kolbe, Apostle of the Immaculata

In order to prepare a sound foundation for our Consecration, we must consider carefully the roles played by pride and humility in all our efforts. St. Maximilian Kolbe reminds us that all that is of satan is inevitably characterized by a lack of humility. This is evident in the actions of the modernists controlling the Church at present, but here we are concerned with our own failings. When we are appalled by our own weaknesses, it is a sure sign that we are lacking in humility. Often, Satan tempts us to be discouraged at our shortcomings, when humility, if only we had it, would enable us to be grateful for not having fallen farther or more often.

St. Kolbe reminds us, “Humility is knowledge of oneself in accordance with the truth”. When we trust in God’s mercy, instead of relying on our own efforts, we have no reason for discouragement. With humility we understand at last, that we can do nothing at all without God’s help. The very fact that we pray, that we even so much as have a slight sentiment towards opening our hearts to God, is, of itself, a sign of God’s ineffable mercy towards us.

So, when we fail to reach our small daily goals, let’s use these occasions as an opportunity (for such they are – and so many!) to grow in the virtue of humility, which is simply to see ourselves as helpless and weak as we are before His Eternal Majesty. With Mary as our guide, we understand that humility does not consist in not recognizing the graces we receive, but in correctly attributing them to the infinite mercy of God, who generously grants us graces, even though we fall, even though we struggle.

Satan knows very well that our first step towards Our Blessed Mother is to recognize our sinfulness, to acknowledge our unworthiness in order that we can entrust ourselves to her. Therefore he exerts great efforts to obstruct us right from our initial steps. He tempts us in two primary ways, with discouragement and with unnecessary activities, distracting us with tasks that appeal to our foolish pride or which play on our scruples to urge us to inappropriate tasks.

Do not think that you must always be learning more in order to better serve Our Lady. Remember, at Fatima, she and the Angel taught the little shepherd children very simple prayers. Indeed, the Angel, returning to the children urged them, “Pray! Pray always!”  and, “Make of everything you can a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and in supplication for the conversion of sinners. You will thus draw down peace upon (your Church).”

And so we simply spend a bit of quiet time with the gracious Lady, our Queen and our Mother, and let the wicked world go on its merry way. Those who are hers will heed her softly spoken call. By our devotion to her, we open up our hearts, allowing her generous and pure heart to pour forth graces on our church and the world, so parched and desolate, so hungry for the grace and true mercy of God.

This is what is important. This is our task. The rest is dross…

There has never been a better time to  Pray the Rosary with confidence and joy!

  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 Message of Fatima for the post-synodal church

To understand what is expected of us in the post-synodal church, we must return to the true message of Fatima. Now, when the Church is being assaulted by those within its highest ranks. we look to Our Lady of Fatima, Star of the stormy sea.

On June 13, 1929, during her accustomed Holy Hour, Sister Lucia of Fatima received what was perhaps the most significant vision of the Most Holy Trinity and Blessed Virgin ever recorded in the history of the faith.

Last Vision of Fatima

Sister Lucia described the vision:

Suddenly the whole chapel became bright with a supernatural light and above the altar appeared a luminous cross that extended to the ceiling. In an even brighter light appeared above the cross the face of a Man with His body down to the waist. In front of His chest was a Dove, also made entirely of light, and nailed to the cross was the Body of another Man. A little below His hips appeared a chalice floating in the air and a large host, upon which fell the drops of blood that streamed from the face of the Crucified, and from His wounded side. They flowed down upon the host, and from there they fell into the chalice.

Beneath the cross and to the right was Our Lady with her Immaculate Heart in her hand (it was Our Lady of Fatima with her Immaculate Heart, which she held in her left hand, without a sword or roses, but rather, surrounded with a crown of thorns and all aflame).

Beneath the cross on the left appeared large letters, as though made of crystal-clear water, that flowed from the hand of the Crucified down upon the altar and formed the following words, Grace and Mercy.

I understood that the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity was being shown to me, …”

Continue reading “The Message of Fatima for the post-synodal church”