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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Meditations from The Mystical City of God

  • A thought for each Hail Mary, taken from the “Mystical City of God,” by Sister Mary of Jesus of Agreda.

The Annunciation.

  • The first day: God makes the most holy Mary a participant of his wisdom.
  • The second day: He makes her a participant of the divine omnipotence.
  • The third day: He manifests to her the desire of his divine love to come to the aid of men.
  • The fourth day: He manifests to her the new law of grace.
  • The fifth day: the Princess is instructed in the great mysteries regarding the number of the predestined and the reprobate.
  • The sixth day: The Most High manifests to Mary, our Mistress, additional mysteries and shows her the works of the sixth day of creation.
  • The Most High celebrates a new espousal with the Princess of Heaven, in order to inaugurate the nuptials of the Incarnation.
  • The great Queen pleads for the hastening of the Incarnation.
  • The Most High manifests to her the fabric of the universe, and makes her Sovereign and Queen of all.
  • Mary listens to the message of the holy angel; the mystery of the Incarnation is enacted by the conception of the eternal Word in her womb.

The Visitation.

  • Mary and Joseph journey to Juda: “The Lord be with you, my dearest cousin.”
  • The Redeemer justifies the soul of John; Mary says: “May God save thee, my dearest cousin, and may his divine light communicate to thee grace and life.”
  • Elizabeth and John see the Word made man, and extol Him and his Mother.
  • Elizabeth and Mary, like two seraphim, discourse on these mysteries.
  • A sweet competition arises between the two cousins.
  • The heavenly Princess converses with her angels.
  • Our Queen obtains pardon and remedy for a servant of the house, and the love of chastity for a woman living in the neighborhood.
  • The Queen receives in her arms the new-born Precursor.
  • St. Elizabeth secures the good counsel and instruction of the Mother of wisdom.
  • Most holy Mary commands the dumbness of Zacharias to leave him.

The Nativity.

  • The ten thousand angels accompany Mary and Joseph, composing new songs in honor of the Lord.
  • The heavenly Lady exercises heroic virtues in return for the in-hospitality of mortals.
  • The Virgin Mother beholds the Godhead itself for over an hour.
  • At the end of the rapture, the most exalted Lady gave to the world the Onlybegotten of the Father.
  • She received her Son in her arms from the hands of the holy an-gels and said: “My sweetest love and light of my eyes, Thou hast arrived in good hour into this world as the Sun of justice, in order to disperse the darkness of sin and death! True God of the true God, save thy servants, and let all flesh see him, who shall draw upon it salvation.”
  • The shepherds come to adore the Lord.
  • The most holy name of Jesus is brought from heaven by two cohorts of angels.
  • The divine Infant is circumcised and receives the name Jesus.
  • There is an interchange of caresses between the Infant and His Mother.
  • The three kings of the Orient come to adore the Word made man in Bethlehem.

The Presentation

  • The Holy Family journeys to Jerusalem, accompanied by many angels in visible human forms.
  • Simeon and Anne are enlightened and send the chief procurator to receive the holy Travelers.
  • The great Princess passes the night in divine colloquies.
  • Upon entering the temple, the most blessed Mother is immersed in an intellectual vision of the most holy Trinity.
  • Simeon offers the Infant Jesus up to the Eternal Father and ad-dresses himself to the most holy Mother.
  • The heavenly Lady begins a novena in the temple, and on the fifth day the Divinity reveals itself to her.
  • The angel of the Lord appears to St. Joseph.
  • The ten thousand heavenly courtiers accompany Jesus, Mary and Joseph as they set forth from the portals of the city.
  • An angel proceeds to inform the fortunate and blessed Elizabeth of all these events.
  • Most Holy Mary entertains the poor in Gaza, and interchanges canticles of praise in honor of the infinite essence of God.

The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple.

  • The Lord tries the most holy Mary for thirty days.
  • The sweetest Jesus, most pure Mary, and Joseph go up together to the feasts of the unleavened breads, accompanied by ten thousand angels.
  • Jesus and Mary perform heroic works of charity for the benefit of mortals.
  • The afflicted Mother returns to Jerusalem, questioning the ten thousand angels.
  • She searches the byways and hospital of Jerusalem.
  • The most holy Mother and St. Joseph arrive at the temple and she approaches her most loving Son and speaks to him the words recorded by St. Luke.
  • At some distance from Jerusalem, the most prudent Lady kneels before her Son and his soul is revealed to her.
  • Upon arriving at Nazareth, the great Lady responds to the obedience and subjection of her most holy Son by heroic works.
  • The great Queen has a vision of the Divinity, in which she perceives that the holy Trinity decrees that she is to receive the New Testament.
  • The Lord enlightens the most blessed Mother by giving her a knowledge of the whole militant Church, the Sacraments, the doctrines, and all the Scriptures.

The Agony in the Garden.

  • The Lord washes the feet of the disciples.
  • The Lord celebrates the sacramental supper.
  • The Lord’s prayer in the garden, and His sorrow at the reprobation of so many.
  • The Eternal Father sends the Archangel Michael.
  • Christ returns to visit the Apostles and weeps over their sloth and negligence.
  • Christ is delivered into the hands of his enemies by the treason of Judas.
  • The Lord spoke to the soldiers: “I am He,” and they all fell back-wards to the ground.
  • The apostles flee, and most holy Mary from her retreat sees them and prays for them.
  • Jesus the Savior is dragged to the house of Annas, where the wicked servant strikes Him in the face.
  • Christ is dragged to the house of Caiphas, and proclaims that He is the Son of God.

The Scourging at the Pillar.

  • Frightful insults were heaped upon the Redeemer, during which He established the beatitudes, which He had promised and proposed some time before.
  • The Savior is locked in a dungeon and the ministers of wicked-ness insult Him again.
  • The council convenes and condemns Christ to death.
  • The executioners bring Christ to the house of Pilate; the Blessed Virgin goes forth to meet Him, and prostrates herself before His sovereign Person.
  • Christ is sent to Herod and mocked.
  • Herod sends the Lord back to Pilate, during which the multitudes trod Him underfoot and kicked Him.
  • Christ is stripped and bound to one of the columns.
  • The first pair of executioners scourged the innocent Savior with thick cords, full of rough knots.
  • The second pair continued the scourging with hardened leather thongs.
  • The third pair of scourgers beat the Lord cruelly with extremely tough rawhides, and they also beat Him in the face and in the feet and hands, leaving unwounded not a single spot.

The Crowning with Thorns.

  • Jesus is clothed in a purple mantle.
  • A cap of woven thorns is placed on His head.
  • A contemptible reed is placed in His hand.
  • A violet-colored mantle is placed over His shoulders.
  • The soldiers bent their knees and buffeted Him.
  • Then they snatched the cane from His hands and struck Him.
  • They ejected their disgusting spittle.
  • Pilate showed Him to the people and said: “Ecce homo!” Mary fell upon her knees and openly adored Him as the true God-man. The same was also done by saint John and the holy women.
  • Pilate decrees the sentence of death against the author of life.
  • The Redeemer addressed the Cross with a countenance full of extreme joy.

The Carrying of the Cross.

  • The sorrowful Mother feels in soul and body the same torments as her Son.
  • The heavenly Mother hinders Lucifer and his companions.
  • She meets her Son face to face.
  • The sorrow of the most sincere Dove and Virgin Mother was be-yond all human thought while She witnessed with her own eyes her Son carrying the Cross.
  • The sweetest Jesus speaks to the women.
  • Simon of Cyrene carries the Cross.
  • The invincible Mother prays on Mt. Calvary and offers her Son to the Eternal Father as a sacrifice for the redemption of man.
  • The Savior is stripped of the seamless tunic.
  • With inhuman cruelty He is nailed to the Cross.
  • His bones are dislocated.

The Crucifixion.

  • When the Queen of the angels perceived the insults heaped upon her Son, she was inflamed with a new zeal. By virtue of her prayer, all the elements were changed during the cruci-fixion and the hearts of the bystanders were enlightened.
  • Christ our Lord makes His testament in His prayer to the eternal Father, bestowing on the elect their inheritance, and disinheriting the reprobate.
  • “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
  • “Woman, behold thy son!” “Behold thy Mother!”
  • The side of Christ is opened with a lance.
  • The body of the Lord was taken down from the Cross and placed in the arms of most holy Mary.
  • The sacred body was embalmed with the aromatic ointments, and placed on a bier. The heavenly Queen, accompanied by many angels and by some of the faithful, proceeded to the sepulchre, and therein placed the sacred body of Jesus.
  • She passed the night in the deep consideration of these mysteries.
  • She consoles the Apostles.
  • She contemplates the soul of her Son descend into limbo.

The Resurrection.

  • The Savior arose from the grave, and in the presence of the saints and Patriarchs He promised universal resurrection to all men. The great Queen was aware of this and participated in it from her retreat in the Cenacle.
  • Accompanied by the saints and Patriarchs, our Savior appeared to the most blessed Mary, and she enjoyed briefly the beatific vision.
  • Still remaining in her exalted state, the great Lady turned to the holy Patriarchs and all the just, and spoke to each in succession.
  • The Lord appeared to Mary Magdalen and the holy women. Then they sought the Queen of Heaven to tell Her of the events.
  • The Lord appeared to Cleophas and St. Luke on the road to Emmaus.
  • The Lord appeared to the Apostles and later to St. Thomas. They immediately sought most holy Mary in order to relate to Her what had happened.
  • The Lord appeared at the sea of Tiberias to St. Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, the sons of Zebedee and two other disciples. Most holy Mary had a full intelligence of these mysteries and preserved them within her most prudent and chaste heart.
  • The great Lady persevered in her retirement for the forty days after the Resurrection and there enjoyed the sight of her divine Son and of the angels and saints.
  • Amid all the delights and jubilations of her retreat, the kindest Mother did not forget the misery of the children of Eve, and like a true Mother of mercy, offered for all of them her most fervent prayers.
  • The Eternal Father and the Holy Ghost appeared in the Cenacle upon a throne of ineffable splendor, surrounded by the choirs of angels and saints there present, and they entrusted Mary with the care of the Church and the new law of grace.

The Ascension.

  • On the day of the Ascension, while the Lord was at the table with the eleven Apostles, other disciples and pious women gathered at the Cenacle, and the Lord bade them not to leave Jerusalem until He should send the Holy Spirit.
  • With this little flock Jesus left the Cenacle and conducted them all through the streets of Jerusalem to mount Olivet.
  • Jesus, His countenance beaming forth peace and majesty, joined his hands and, by his own power, began to raise Himself from the earth, drawing after Him also the celestial choirs of the angels and the holy Patriarchs. The most blessed Lady was raised up with her divine Son and placed at his right hand.
  • The entire divine procession arrived at the supreme regions of the empyrean, and the angels repeated the words of David: “Open, ye princes, open your gates eternal; let them be raised and opened up, and receive into his dwelling the great King of glory, the Lord of virtues, the Powerful in battle, the Strong and Invincible, who comes triumphant and victorious over all His enemies.”
  • The Eternal Father placed upon the throne of his Divinity at his right hand, the incarnate Word, and in such glory and majesty, that He filled with new admiration and reverential fear all the inhabitants of heaven.
  • The great Queen hovered at the footstool of the royal throne, and prostrate she adored the Father and broke out in new canticles of praise for the glory communicated to His Son.
  • The Redeemer sent down two angels in white and resplendent garments, who appeared to all the disciples to console and encourage them.
  • After having remained in heaven for three days, enjoying in body and soul the glory of the right hand of her Son and true God, the most holy Mary departed with the benediction of the blessed Trinity from the highest empyrean and returned to the earth. She was enveloped in a cloud or globe of most resplendent light, and was borne downward by the seraphim, amid great splendor.
  • The three days in which the great Lady enjoyed the after-effects of glory and while the redundance of its splendors gradually lessened, She spent in most ardent and divine sentiments of love, gratitude and ineffable humility.
  • She began to converse with the faithful, offering prayers for all who in future ages were to receive the grace of the holy Catholic faith.

The Descent of the Holy Ghost.

  • A few days later she spent five hours with the Incarnate Word, enjoying His presence.
  • She instructed and prepared the Apostles and disciples for the advent of the Holy Ghost.
  • Prostrate in the form of a cross, she saw the petition of the Savior to send the Holy Ghost.
  • The Holy Ghost is sent, and the Blessed Virgin enjoys briefly the beatific vision.
  • The Apostles preach, and three thousand are converted.
  • The Blessed Mother speaks words of consolation to the new converts.
  • The catechumens are baptized; St. Peter celebrates the first Mass.
  • From her retirement the great Lady by especial vision saw the martyrdom of saint Stephen and his entrance into heaven.
  • She fasted for forty days, in preparation for the formulation of the Creed.
  • She prayed for the conversion of St. Paul, and witnessed it by an especial vision.

The Assumption.

  • The most blessed Mary takes leave of the holy places and of the Holy Church; she makes her will.
  • Three days before, St. Peter arrives; he speaks to the assembly.
  • The Blessed Virgin kneels before St. Peter and St. John, and takes leave of the entire assembly.
  • The Incarnate Word descends from heaven; the angels sing the canticles.
  • Surrounded by the Apostles, the most blessed Mother dies of love.
  • The assembly sings hymns and psalms; great miracles occur.
  • The Apostles bear her body in procession to the valley of Josaphat and place it in a sepulchre.
  • The soul of Mary is received into glory and placed upon the throne of the most Holy Trinity.
  • Christ descends from heaven, accompanied by many angels and saints; Mary’s soul resuscitates her body.
  • The saints and angels formed a solemn procession and ascended into heaven; the most blessed Mary arrived at the throne of the most blessed Trinity and was received by the three divine Persons with an embrace eternally indissoluble.

The Coronation.

  • The most blessed Mary was assigned to the supreme position and state on the throne of the most blessed Trinity.
  • The eternal Father spoke to the angels and saints and said: “Our daughter Mary was chosen according to Our pleasure from among all creatures. We recognize Her dominion by crowning Her as the legitimate and peerless Lady and Sovereign.”
  • The Incarnate Word said: “Of all things over which I am King, She too shall be the legitimate and supreme Queen.”
  • The Holy Ghost said: “Since She is called my beloved and chosen Spouse, She deserves to be crowned as Queen for all eternity.”
  • The three divine Persons then placed upon the head of the most blessed Mary a crown of such new splendor and value, that the like has been seen neither before nor after by any mere creature.
  • At the same time a voice sounded from the throne saying: “My Beloved, chosen among the creatures, our kingdom is Thine; Thou shalt be the Lady and the Sovereign of the seraphim, of all the ministering spirits, the angels and of the entire universe of creatures. Receive now the supreme dignity deserved by Thee and the dominion over all creatures.”
  • The Almighty commanded all the courtiers of heaven, angels and men, to recognize Her as their Queen and Lady, and all rendered homage to her, especially saints Joseph, Joachim and Anne, and the thousand angels of her guard.
  • Within her body, over her heart, was visible a small globe or monstrance of singular beauty, in testimony of her having received holy Communion so worthily and holily.
  • St. Peter calls the Apostles and disciples, and decides to remove the stone from the sepulchre; he takes out the tunic and mantle and they sing psalms and hymns in honor of Mary.
  • An angel of the Lord descends from heaven to console the Apostles, and from her throne Mary takes care of them and protects them in their wanderings and at the hour of their martyrdom.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Rosary, “A Most Powerful Warlike Weapon”

The Rosary, “A Most Powerful Warlike Weapon”

After the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Divine Office, the most effective prayer is the Most Holy Rosary. For 800 years it has been the cause of innumerable miracles, conversions, and victories. The rosary brings peace; not a false peace, illegitimately gotten through compromise, but a true peace, won honestly by directly opposing evil with good. The rosary, when prayed with humility and a simple confidence in the good God Who lavishes his wonders on his children, saves nations from annihilation. It is a sure vehicle of salvation, to save us from that ultimate annihilation, the only one that really matters in the end–hell.
The enemies of Christ hate the rosary. These pawns of Lucifer have contempt for it. Their malice is a wonderful testimony to the irresistible power arrayed against them. Christians, though, love the rosary; not just for what it accomplishes–that it dispels the darkness of heresy, appeases the wrath of God, and drives away those that hate Christ. They love it simply because of who it leads them to. The 20th century saint, Padre Pio, said, “The rosary is the weapon.” Who is behind it? Who gives it its power? Indeed, “Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in array?” That person is Mary.
It’s tremendous power comes from the exalted position of the Ever-Virgin Mother of God. Pope Leo XIII explains, “The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fulfills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace; being by worthiness and by merit most acceptable to Him, and therefore, surpassing in power all the angels and saints in heaven” (Iucunda Semper Expectatione). “The power thus put into her hands is all but unlimited…. Among her many other titles, we find her hailed as ‘our Lady, our Mediatrix,’ ‘the Reparatrix of the whole world,’ ‘the dispenser of all heavenly gifts’” (Adiutricem).
It was Our Lady herself who gave us the rosary eight centuries ago. She called it “her psalter,” indicating the 150 Hail Marys that followed the pattern of the 150 Psalms in the Church’s psalter. She gave it to St. Dominic for the express purpose of finally crushing the depraved Albigensians. “Guided, in fact, by divine inspiration and grace, he foresaw that this devotion, like a most powerful warlike weapon, would be the means of putting the enemy to flight, and of confounding their audacity and mad impiety” (Pope Leo XIII, Supremi Apostolatus Officio).
In our own age, at Fatima, Portugal, Mary–the “Lady of the Rosary,” as she identified herself–urged us to take up the rosary with renewed confidence. Our Queen and Mother told us to rely on the power of her rosary to save souls otherwise bound for hell, to dispel the diabolical confusion that afflicts her Son’s Holy Church, and to protect ourselves from the apostasy and perversion of our own anti-Catholic civilization, infected as it is with rank materialism, Marxism, and rebellion against Jesus Christ, True God and True Man. The rosary then is a prayer that carries special significance for our times. Sister Lucia Santos, the soul chosen by Mary at Fatima to carry Her message, said,
The Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Holy Rosary. She has given this efficacy to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.
When we pray the Holy Rosary, we enter, mind, body, and soul into a rich storehouse of spiritual treasure. It is made up of 150 Hail Marys, a number which significantly corresponds to the 150 Psalms; 15 mysteries of the life of Jesus and Mary, divided organically into 3 cycles; the Our Father, which introduces each mystery; and the Doxology, which concludes them. These different parts make up such a harmonious, inter-related, indivisible, and integral whole that Pope Pius XII called the Rosary, the “compendium of the entire gospel.” It is simple enough for the most unlearned yet inexhaustible in mystical and theological depth. It can be recited at any time by anybody. Moreover, it is one of the richest sources of plenary and partial indulgences.
With so many benefits, the only sensible thing to do is to hear and follow the words of Pope Pius XI: “The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin…. If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors.” Follow that advice, and you have the assurance of St. Louis de Montfort: “If you say the Rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins, you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory.”

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Necessity of an Ordered Prayer Life for Every Catholic Soul

The Necessity of an Ordered Prayer Life for Every Catholic Soul

The Ecstasy of St. Teresa
(St. Teresa's Feast Day was October 15th)
"Prayer…is so useful and necessary that without it we could not come to any good,
seeing that by means of prayer we are shown how to perform all our actions well."

(St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church)

The Necessity of an Ordered Prayer Life for Every Catholic Soul In this treacherous and Godless world we live in, we may well wonder how it is possible to maintain a prayer life and to seek to live in unity with Christ, while corruption and immorality run rampant in all corners. We see pictures and hear stories of long ago when priests were recognizable in their cassocks, nuns in full habit were aiding souls in hospitals and schools, confession lines were long and satisfied by the presence of good, holy priests thirsting to bring countless souls to God.
It seems now, though, that we are left alone to work out our salvation in fear and trembling. We can search far and wide for spiritual direction, yet scarcely find one priest who still holds the true Faith. Rather, the world is saturated with liberalism and modernism. The only thing that seems to be intolerable in this world is traditional Catholicism. It seems, also, that we are left to books and a sort of “do it yourself” program to developing a prayer life.
Be of good cheer, though, my friends! Did not our precious Lord and Savior Himself promise that He would be with us until the end of the world? Our faith will be tried and tested over and over again, but we must always remember that Our Lord, Jesus Christ is always with us. The more we are able to empty ourselves of the world and its vanities and false securities, the more room we have leave in our souls to be occupied by this Divine Guest. We must equip ourselves, then, for combat. This we are able to do by prayer. As Our Lord bade Peter, James and John in the Garden of Gethsemane, we must watch and pray, lest we become prey to the enemy.
Though prayer can sometimes be difficult and extremely trying, truly nothing is simpler than prayer itself. God, who is all knowing, is well aware of the struggles a soul undergoes in striving towards union with Him. He knows the soul’s disposition, and He knows the frailty of human nature. He does not require that our prayer be perfect and that we never have distractions; rather, it is our will that He asks be turned over to Him, and this is where a true life of prayer begins. “The principal petition which we ought to make to God is that of union of our wills with His, and the final cause of prayer lies in desiring only God. Union with God consists in conforming our will to His.” (St. Francis de Sales)
St. Francis de Sales tells us that there are three things necessary to praying well: to be little by humility, to have great hope, and to be conformed to Jesus Christ crucified. First, in order to pray well, we must acknowledge that we are very poor, and we must humble ourselves greatly, becoming fully aware of our nothingness. David admonishes us that the lower we plunge ourselves into the contemplation of our nothingness, the more easily will our prayer rise up to heaven. (Cf. Ps. 130:1-2, Sir. 35:21)
Hope is also a necessary condition to praying well. Hope is pleasant, since it promises that we shall one day possess what we long for. It is also bitter, because we are not now enjoying what we love. It is necessary, then, that hope be placed upon charity, lest it become no longer hope but, rather, presumption. If we want our prayer to reach heaven, it must be founded upon love.
Finally, in order to pray well, we must conform ourselves to Christ crucified. While hanging from the Cross, our Savior offered His prayers to the Father for us. We must, then, remain at the foot of the Cross and never depart from there, so that we may be saturated with the Blood which flows from it. We should, at the very minimum, be bathed in this Blood at our first prayer in the morning, placing ourselves at the foot of the Cross and offering our every thought, word, and action to our crucified Savior. We must ask Him to aid us in keeping before our minds the awareness of His Passion, and that we carry our Cross each day next to Him, that we may be conformed to His likeness.

Frances De Sales
St. Frances De Sales Teaches there are Three Types of Prayer:
1. Vital Prayer 2. Vocal Prayer 3. Mental Prayer
Having satisfied these necessary conditions, there are three types of prayer which St. Francis de Sales teaches: vital prayer, vocal prayer, and mental prayer. Each and every action performed by those who live in the holy fear of God is a continual prayer. This is called vital prayer. Vital prayer comes simply in the form of performing the daily duties of our state in life for the greater honor and glory of God. He is pleased to accept them all, even our shortcomings and infirmities. We need only offer them up to Him when first we wake in the morning, and then throughout the day. Those who perform the corporal works of mercy such as visiting the sick, giving to the poor, and praying for the conversion of sinners and the souls in purgatory, are praying, and these actions do not go unnoticed by our Heavenly Father. Vocal prayer is, simply put, speaking to God. We ought to have a daily routine of vocal prayer consisting of, at minimum, morning prayers and evening prayers said kneeling before the Crucifix. Ought we not on bended knee to make Our Lord the object of both our first and our last thoughts of the day? In the morning, we should offer all we are to do and to endure in the day to Him. Likewise, at night, we ought to thank Him for the graces given to us throughout the day, recite the Confiteor for our failings, and ask His refuge and protection through the night. Each day, as we begin anew in His service, we must remember to ask for the graces never to offend him and to accept whatever crosses may be sent our way. Our Lord’s first thoughts in the stable at Bethlehem were of His love for mankind whom He desired to redeem, and His final thoughts on Calvary were also of His great love for us. His life was a continual offering of Love for us. Should we not offer love for Love?
We can also approach our Lord through mental prayer. Although sometimes difficult and filled with distractions, we are all quite capable of it. Once we have offered our distractions to God and have resolved to persevere through even the worst of distractions, we can be assured that our prayers will be accepted by Him with even more value than if they had come quite easily with no distractions at all!
St. Ignatius of Loyola has provided a great method of meditation that even beginners may successfully implement into their spiritual lives. We need only take a mystery, for example Our Lord’s Agony. Having pictured Our Lord thus, we then consider His virtues such as His total resignation to the will of God, His concern for His Holy Mother and for His Apostles, His gentleness, His humility, His patience, etc. Having considered all of this, it should follow that our sentiments are moved to a desire to imitate Him and to ask our Heavenly Father to conform us to His likeness. This same exercise can be performed with a spiritual book, a holy picture, or any other means which may serve to keep the desired image in our mind.

mental prayer
Mental Prayer
Finally, when we find ourselves unsuccessful in vocal or mental prayer, or the duties of our state in life limit our time for prayer, we can proceed to another type of mental prayer, which is made by way of ejaculations. There is not a person in the world who can be excused from this, as it can be made simultaneously with performing any of our daily duties, regardless of time and place. All we must do is recommend ourselves to God the first thing in the morning, tell Him that we desire never to offend Him, and then go about our daily duties resolved to continuously raise our spirits to God mentally, even amidst others. No one or nothing can prevent us from making these simple aspirations within our hearts, with the exception of ourselves. Finally, it is important to note that all of this is of little use if we are not trying to live virtuous lives and to avoid the occasions of sin. We must do more than simply pray for those virtues necessary to our salvation. If we are to expect God to provide us with graces we ask and need, we must do our own part. If we have bad companions, we must rid ourselves of them. While it is true that we must love the sinner and hate the sin, St. Teresa of Avila admonishes us that there are few things more dangerous to a soul than bad companions. It is quite presumptuous and tempting God to remain in the company of these companions, thinking that we are strong enough to avoid falling into sin. We must, rather, surround ourselves with virtuous friends and companions. No friends at all are better than sinful ones.
Television and music are great weapons of the enemy, as they are vehicles for the spread of impurity and immorality. Moreover, noise is a great distraction and obstacle to prayer and contemplation. We cannot possibly reach a state of contemplation, nor can we meditate with their noise and distractions. Many will say that they are not tempted by the content from television and radio. How presumptuous this is! It is this very presumption that often causes man to fall. We must keep in mind that Our Lord is with us, and we subject Him to the very things that we watch and listen to! We would do well to rid ourselves completely of these temptations. However, for those who cannot do without them, great caution should be exercised in their use.
We must also continuously struggle against our passions and vices through prayer and mortification. This must not be put off until tomorrow, as we know not the day or the hour when we will be called to judgment. Each day, we must equip ourselves to do combat against ourselves and against the enemy. We must not cease to fight until our pilgrimage in this life is over. Since it is true that the devil preys easily on the passions of those who are idle, we should develop an horarium that will fit with our state in life, and we should hold ourselves accountable for adhering to it as best we can. Remember well that we will be required to make an account for every second of our life when we are called to judgment.
Finally, and extremely crucial to the spiritual life, is a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother of God. She is the mediatrix of all graces, a fountain of mercy, and our greatest Advocate before Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Those who have remained close to Our Lady, dating back to the Apostles, have persevered in faith. In the end times, it will be She Who will lead Christ’s army to wage battle against the enemy. We should consecrate ourselves to Her and willingly become Her slaves. She has asked that we recite the Rosary daily and has made great promises to those who do so faithfully. How simple it is to do this very little that She requests! Likewise, there are great promises attached to the five First Saturdays of Our Lady, and this is a great weapon for the spiritual life!
In this treacherous world we live in, the enemy has but one mission and that is the damnation of souls. It seems, when we look around, that there is little hope. However, we need only look at the Crucifix to see that there is great hope for those who love and fear God. We need only to persevere in faith and to carry our Cross next to that of Christ. Our greatest weapon in this battle is prayer. We must never cease to pray, and we must continually place all of our hope and trust in God, that we may one day be united to Him for all eternity.
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Monday, April 19, 2010

The Four Teresas

These women lived out one particular aspect of the command to love God with heart, mind, and soul and neighbor as self. 

St. Therese of Lisieux, The Little Flower 

Therese Martin was born in Alencon France in 1873, the youngest of nine children. Her father, Louis,  was a successful watchmaker and jeweler. Her mother Zelie Guerin,  built a cottage industry in lace making, beginning in the village of Alencon, which is known for its delicate lace. Four of Therese's siblings died at a young age; the remaining five girls eventually all entered the convent, so deep was their call to sanctity. Four became contemplative Carmelite Nuns at the Lisieux Carmel, and one became a Visitation sister.
Therese wasn't always a nun nor was she always a saint. She was a very regular little girl, who was rather sensitive.  In fact, she seemed like a spoiled little girl, who would stomp her feet and have a temper tantrum if she did not get her own way.   After the death of her mother, while Therese was only 4, her father, who referred to her as "my little queen" would give her anything she wanted to keep her happy.  Louis Martin was protective of his daughters.  He wouldn't allow them to read the newspapers, fearful that it would make them too worldly. But the mischievous girls would steal away with the newspaper while papa napped and carefully return it before he awoke.
At a young age, this precocious child wanted everything.  She would get more than she bargained for.  Sick physically and emotionally, she was healed by Our Lady of the Smile at the age of 11.  She experienced a profound conversion on Christmas eve, 1886, at the age of 13.  She felt a call to enter Carmel as a contemplative Nun, so that she could give herself totally to Jesus.  But she was too young.  Appeals to the Mother Superior and Priest Chaplain yielded: "when you are old enough -16".  Not content, Therese and her father appealed to the Bishop.  Not getting the response she wanted, she appealed directly and personally to the Pope while on a parish pilgrimage to Rome.  Therese had always said: "I want everything" - and she usually got it.
Persistence paid off.  Therese was allowed to enter the Lisieux Carmel at the age of 15 - her father lived to see her professed a Carmelite Nun.  She took the religious name of Sister Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.  God's spirit worked powerfully in Therese, so open was she to Divine Love.  Still dreaming of taking on the world as a priest and missionary, she wrestled with her vocation and place in the Church.  Finally she came to realize that her "vocation is love" - the love of God was the energy source for the Church - and fulfillment of the human heart and longing.

Despite her desire for the dramatic and expansive, Therese developed a simple spirituality, based on childlike trust and confidence in God. The spirituality of her "little way" was not about extraordinary things - but rather about doing simple things of life well and with extraordinary love.  She believed and taught that "everything is grace" - God's face and presence could be experienced in every person and situation of our lives, if we just attend with love and expectancy.  Her struggle, like ours, is to be where God places us in the real life situations of our lives.  Therese's is a hands-on, challenging and focused spirituality.  This is what made Therese shine, and why she has been declared a Doctor of the Church.  Her spirituality is simple, childlike, profound and human - it is refreshing in our confusing and complicated age.

Experiencing the dark night of the senses and spirit refined the power and energy of this young, precocious Carmelite.  Her poems and plays reflect her struggle to give all to God.  Her love became surrender, as she slowly died of tuberculosis.  Her superior asked her to write down her reflections, which became her autobiography, "Story of a Soul."  She died at the age of 24, believing that her life was really just beginning for God, promising to spend her heaven doing good on earth.  Her promised "shower of roses" began and have become a torrent in the Church ever since.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Coronation of the Lady of All Nations

In May of 1862 St. John Bosco had a prophetic dream about the Church in these times: the battle and the victory. On October 30, 1976, Ida Peerdeman, also, had similar prophetic messages in a dream followed by two subsequent visions. Both visions occurred at the Consecration of the holy Sacrifice of the mass in 1976 and 1979 on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8. 

St. John Bosco had a great affection for Our Lady. His whole life was spent working for the glory of God and the salvation of souls with the aid of the Blessed Mother, whom he addressed as Mary Help of Christians. He had an unusual charism of the Holy Spirit and that was the gift of prophetic dreams. The following is the prophetic dream of May, 1862 taken from a book, entitled Forty Dreams of St. John Bosco, compiled by Fr. J. Bacchiarello, S. D. B. 

St. John Bosco Describes His Dream.

"Imagine yourselves to be with me on the seashore, or better, on an isolated rock and not to see any patch of land other than what is under your feet. On the whole of that vast sheet of water you see an innumerable fleet of ships in battle array. The prows of the ships are formed into sharp, spearlike points so that wherever they are thrust they pierce and completely destroy. These ships are armed with cannons, with lots of rifles, with incendiary materials, with other arms of all kinds, and also with books, and they advance against a ship very much bigger and higher than themselves and try to dash against it with the prows or to burn it or in some way to do it every possible harm.

"As escorts to that majestic fully equipped ship (the Church), there are many smaller ships,which receive commands by signal from it and carry out movements to defend themselves from the opposing fleet.

"In the midst of the immense expanse of sea, two mighty columns of great height arise a little distance the one from the other. On the top of one, there is the statue of the Immaculate Virgin, from whose feet hangs a large placard with this inscription: Auxilium Christianorum - 'Help of Christians'; on the other, which is much higher and bigger, stands a Host of great size proportionate to the column and beneath is another placard with the words: Salus Credentium - 'Salvation of the Faithful.'

"The supreme commander on the big ship is the Sovereign Pontiff. He, on seeing the fury of the enemies and the evils among which his faithful find themselves, determines to summon around himself the captains of the smaller ships to hold a council and decide on what is to be done.

"All the captains come aboard and gather around the Pope. They hold a meeting, but meanwhile the wind and the waves gather in storm, so they are sent back to control their own ships. There comes a short lull; for a second time the Pope gathers the captains together around him, while the flag-ship goes on its course. But the frightful storm returns. The Pope stands at the helm and all his energies are directed to steering the ship towards those two columns, from the top of which and from every side of which are hanging numerous anchors and big hooks, fastened to chains.

"All the enemy ships move to attack it, and they try in every way to stop it and to sink it: some with writings or books or inflammable materials, of which they are full; others with guns, with rifles and with rams. The battle rages ever more relentlessly. The enemy prows thrust violently, but their efforts and impact prove useless. They make attempts in vain and waste all their labor and ammunition; the big ship goes safely and smoothly on its way. Sometimes it happens that, struck by formidable blows, it gets large, deep gaps in its sides; but no sooner is he harm done than a gentle breeze blows from the two columns and the cracks close up and the gaps are stopped immediately.

"Meanwhile, the guns of the assailants are blown up, the rifles and other arms and prows are broken; many ships are shattered and sink into the sea. Then, the frenzied enemies strive to fight hand to hand, with fists, with blows, with blasphemy and with curses.

"All at once the Pope falls gravely wounded. Immediately, those who are with him run to help him and they lift him up. A second time the Pope is struck, he falls again and dies. A shout of victory and of joy rings out amongst the enemies; from their ships an unspeakable mockery arises. ( Possibly refers to Pope John Paul I who was deeply devoted to Fatima and died under suspicious circumstances.)

"But hardly is the Pontiff dead than another Pope takes his place. The pilots, having met together, have elected the Pope so promptly that the news of the death of the Pope coincides with the news of the election of the successor. The adversaries begin to lose courage.

"The new Pope, [Pope John Paul II], putting the enemy to rout and overcoming every obstacle, guides the ship right up to the two columns and comes to rest between them; he makes it fast with a light chain that hangs from the bow to an anchor of the column on which stands the Host; and with another light chain which hangs from the stern, he fastens it at the opposite end to another anchor hanging form the column on which stands the Immaculate Virgin.

"Then a great convulsion takes place. All the ships that until then had fought against the Pope' s ship are scattered; they flee away, collide and break to pieces one against another. Some sink and try to sink others. Several small ships that had fought gallantly for the Pope race to be the first to bind themselves to those two columns.

"Many other ships, having retreated through fear of the battle, cautiously watch from far away; the wrecks of the broken ships having been scattered in the whirlpools of the sea, they in their turn sail in good earnest to those two columns, and, having reached them, they make themselves fast to the hooks hanging down from them and there they remain safe, together with the principal ship, on which is the Pope. Over the sea there reigns a great calm."

St. John Bosco explains his dream: "The enemy ships are persecutions. The most serious trials for the Church are near at hand...Her enemies are represented by the ships that tried to sink the ship if they could. Only two means are left to save her amidst so much confusion: DEVOTION TO MARY MOST HOLY and FREQUENT COMMUNION, making use of every means and doing our best to practice them and having them practiced everywhere and by everybody."

The Following is the Dream of Ida Peerdeman on October 30, 1976.

"This night I dreamt as follows. I was standing in the center of St. Peter's Square in Rome and I saw fishing-nets hanging all around. They hung on stakes in order to dry and were full of holes and gaps. Here and there in a hole a fish was still hanging, trying to get out.

"Where I was standing, there was a rock, and big, dark clouds were hanging over it. From there I heard the Voice complaining: 'Cephas, My Cephas, look what has happened.'

"I had to look at these nets and over each fishing-net I saw a mitre hovering, some bigger, some smaller. And I felt myself caught within all those nets. Again I heard the Voice complaining: 'Cephas, My Cephas, look at these holes and gaps. That is how it happened that so many fishes got lost.'

"Then a thread came down from the clouds; it looked like a golden thread. (The golden thread is the great graces from the proclamation of the final Marian dogma of the Lady of All Nations.) Meanwhile, a totally different large fishing-net was spread out before that rock. It had been completely repaired by that thread, and I saw no more holes and gaps in it. It filled up with wriggling fish and was firmly tied up by that golden thread. Now a staff came down from the clouds and struck three times against that rock. It sounded hard as steel.

"While this was happening, I saw that rock growing larger and higher until it was a gigantic pillar. The net with fish was hanging from its top."

Now listen to Ida's vision of December 8, 1976.

"During Holy Mass, at the Creed, while we were reciting: 'The Word was made flesh,' 'the Light' came from the four corners of the Chapel and spread over the altar, the priest and all those present. At the Consecration, 'the Light' shone over the altar and the priest only, and it was as if the people present were in the shade.

"On receiving Our Lord [in the Most Holy Eucharist] I had a heavenly vision. I was again standing in St. Peter's Square and I saw quite the same spectacle as in the dream I had in the night of October 29th to 30th, 1976. This time, however, there were no dark clouds above the Square, but a blue clear sky. The Voice called: 'You are standing now in the same Square, but watch what will happen.'

"All the torn nets disappeared and in their places came new, undamaged ones. Again, I stood near the high pillar and at its top I saw that fishing-net hanging full of live fish. The Voice spoke: 'Watch.'

"Suddenly, the net fell down near the foot of the rock. I had to look at it and thought inwardly: These fish are dead, they have lost life now.

"From the sky I heard the Voice calling: 'Cephas, My Cephas, you have been granted the power to make them alive again.'

"Then the net opened and instead of fish, people of different races and tribes came stepping out. They gathered around the rock and all looked up. The Voice continued: 'Give these people My Bread.'

"Then I saw, on high, beams of light radiating on both sides of the rock, and from them I saw baskets coming down at one side and bowls full of grapes at the other side. (Refers to the Most Holy Eucharist.) They were placed areound these people. 'Cephas, I have given you the power.'

"Thereafter a magnificent, glorious 'Light' began spreading over the rock and the whole Square. And I heard: 'My Spirit will support you. Watch well.'

"Now a beautiful, high Ivory Tower rose beside that rock (Refers to the Immaculate Virgin). It was more beautiful than the one I had seen before. Round about it twelve stars appeared one by one. But high in the midst I saw the most beautiful star, which changed alternately from a star into a Golden Rose.

"Meanwhile I heard the Voice say:

"'She was exalted above all tribes. She is 'the Lady of All Nations.' She will help you.'"

This is Ida's vision of December 8, 1979.

"During Holy Mass in our Chapel at the Consecration 'the Light' came over the altar and the priest and in 'that Light' a beautiful, radiant Crown appeared. It was more beautiful and radiant than ever before.

"After the Consecration, the Crown slowly disappeared from within 'the Light,' which then spread over all the people present and stayed till the end of Holy Mass. On receiving Our Lord [in the Most Holy Eucharist], I had a heavenly vision.

"I was standing on a beach and saw a wild, stormy sea before me. There was a terrible gale and the waves were running very high. In the distance a fishing boat loomed up. I got afraid, for I realised that this boat was unable to make headway against the storm. Gradually, the boat came nearer and I observed that it heeled to the left owing to the storm.

"As the boat drew still closer, I saw to my astonishment that it was a Dutch fishing boat where our Holy Father, the Pope was holding the helm and some Cardinals and Bishops were sitting. The storm was very violent and I saw that the Pope had a lot of trouble, because the boat was tossed about in all directions. 

"Black, heavy clouds were hanging over the boat. But, suddenly,a splendid beam of Light radiated down from the clouds and lighted the entire boat. I heard the Voice calling from the sky and it sounded like a command: 'Turn your helm to the right and hold it firmly.' The Voice paused for a moment and continued: 'Keep your course straight and you will safely reach the shore.'

"And really, I saw 'Our Pope' [Pope John Paul II] turning the helm to the right with all his strength and at once the storm died down and the sea was immediately quiet. Now I saw the fishing boat coming to the beach in a straight line. The Pope, the Cardinals and the Bishops disembarked and, to my astonishment, the beach had turned into St. Peer's Square and I clearly saw St. Peter's and the Vatican before me.

"I heard the Voice say: 'Convey this. Tell him!'

"I thanked the Lord and then everything slowly disappeared from my sight."

It was on March 25, 1945, the feast of the Annunciation, that the Lady of All Nations began appearing to Ida Peerdeman. It was on May 31, 1959, the feast of the Visitation, that these apparitions formally ended. Overlapping this time period were sequential Eucharistic apparitions and experiences, which formally began on May 31, 1958 and ended on March 25, 1984! So what we have here is a simple but very powerful statement in the form of a pattern: the Annunciation is to the Visitation as the Visitation is to the Annunciation!

At the Annunciation the Angel Gabriel, as the messenger of God, asked Mary if She would consent to be the Mother of Our Savior. As we know, Mary humbly answered "yes" by proclaiming: "I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say" (Lk 1:38). In that one, magnificent moment, She, Our Mother, the Immaculate Conception, was "overshadowed by the power of the Most High," Her Spouse, the Most Holy Spirit. At that instant, the Word Incarnate dwelt among us in the womb of Mary. This gift of Our Lord's saving presence among us was highlighted when Mary, with great love and concern, travelled in haste to Her cousin, Elizabeth, in consideration of the fact that she in her old age, by the grace of God, had conceived a child, John the Baptist. "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leapt in her womb" by the grace of the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:41). And this is followed by the formal pronouncement of Elizabeth that Mary is "the Mother of My Lord." This visit of Mary to Her kinswoman is celebrated as the feast of the Visitation.

Now at the Annunciation, we know that Mary was fulfilling the will of God and embracing Her role in salvific history. She, who was created by God the Father as the Immaculate Conception, was selected as the Woman, "called Miriam or Mary [who was] destined, through the Will of the Father, to bring the Son of Man into the world, together with His Church and the Cross" (February 17, 1952). When Mary said "yes" to Her vocation, She became the Woman of Scripture who "bore the Son of Man through the Will of the Father and was thus necessarily allied with the Church and the Cross" (February 17, 1952). So now the Woman, the Lady Mary, Mother of All Nations, the Mother of the Church and the Hope of Our Salvation through the Cross, comes to announce to us the fulfillment of the Messianic times, that the "good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world as a witness to all nations," so that "all may be one...that the...unity [of His love and ours] may be complete." But, now, we must fulfill the will of God by following Our Mother's example and saying "yes." We must say "yes" to the Cross, to being true models of brotherly love as coredeemers, mediators and advocates. We must say "yes" as Catholics to God's will and proclaim Mary, the Mother or Lady of All Nations conjoined with the fifth and final Marian dogma of the Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate. We must say "yes" to this "One, Great Cause" of "introducing the Lady of All Nations to the world" and to saying Her Prayer invoking the Holy Spirit! This is our role in salvific history!

The Visitation is a particularly eloquent and striking scene. It is so touching and so dramatic in that, we see, Elizabeth, who carries John the Baptist in her womb, the last Messianic prophet of the Old Testament, coming together with Mary, who carries Her Son, Our Lord, the Messiah of the New Testament! In this very beautiful depiction, we see for the first time, through Mary's mediating role, the grace of the Holy Spirit poured forth to Elizabeth and her son, John the Baptist. In this one instance, we see the joining of the Old Testament to the New Testament - the bridging of Judaism to Catholicism through Mary's cooperation as the Ark of the New Covenant! It is a kind of a prefigurement of what will happen today when we truly recognize Our Mother, the Mother of Grace, as the Lady of All Nations and proclaim Her to the world. In a sense, we Catholics are a "stand in" for John the Baptist! Just as John the Baptist herald the coming of the One Who will baptize in the Holy Spirit and fire, so, too, are we to herald: "This is the time of the Spirit" (October 5, 1952)! Through our cooperation, in saying the Prayer, spreading the messages and asking for this final Marian dogma, "the Lady will come to Her apostles and all nations, in order to bring them the Holy Spirit anew" (May 31, 1954). Then we shall see the Victory of Her Immaculate Heart, and true peace and brotherly love! Then, just as we saw through Mary's cooperation the coming together of the Old and New Testament so we shall see flock of Our Lord Jesus Christ coming together in the one, true, universal Church - the Catholic Church!

Thus, the relevance of the feast days which open and close the messages of the Lady of All Nations can be regarded as highlighting the aspect of our role in salvific history through following Our Mother's example at the Annunciation and saying "yes" to His will - the path of the Cross. And, in reference to the feast of the Visitation, we herald in the reign of the Holy Spirit upon the world by our cooperation in proclaiming the dogma under the title of the Lady or Mother of All Nations.

When Ida was graced with mystical experiences and messages from Our Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist, these occurrences began conversely on the feast of the Visitation and ended in a chronological juxtaposition to the end of the messages of the Lady of All Nations, on the feast of the Annunciation. On May 31, 1958, the feast of the Visitation and the date of the first Eucharistic experience, the Lady of All Nations says: "He the Comforter and Helper will come." Then Ida sees "a large Sacred Host, irradiating light...Three shafts of rays emanated from the Sacred Host: in the centre a beam of magnificent colours; to the left and right, beams of wonderful, brilliant light. At the end of the right one, there was a Cross and at the end of the left one, a Dove..." On May 31, 1959, the date of the second Eucharistic experience, Ida sees a brilliant, dazzling Sacred Host. Then Ida says: "All at once there came from the Two, an indescribable light and in it I saw, breaking out from the centre...a Dove! It shot like an arrow down to the earth...What splendour, what magnificence - the soaring Figure, majestic, powerful, grand; and now the world all bathed in light from the radiant Dove! And a Voice rang out, 'He who eats and drinks Me receives life eternal and the Spirit of Truth!'"

These two Eucharistic visions, as do many of the messages of Our Lord in His True Presence during the period of 1958 to 1984, emphasize the importance of frequent reception of the Most Holy Eucharist by Catholics. As Our Lord said on March 23, 1978: "Let the Fire burn your hearts and let it shine all around again...My people open your mouth and your heart, so that your Lord may enter and animate you." And through returning to daily sacrifice we will have the visitation or indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the "knowledge [that] proceeds from...the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son."(May 31, 1973). This knowledge from the Spirit of Truth is that "it is through the Mother that Life comes" (March 25, 1973) and that She is "the Mother of Christ and Mother of humankind" (Lumen Gentium). "Hence, She must be brought back into...[the] churches (cf. Rev12:1-6, Gn 3:15,16, Mt 24:8) and among the nations and [we] will witness the revival" (March 25, 1973; cf. message of September 8, 1974 and Acts 2:17, Heb 8:8-12, Mt 24:14.) We will be given the grace of understanding that the Lady of All Nations "will lead the nations to Her Lord"; that "Mary leads the faithful to the Eucharist" (Pope John Paul II's encyclical, Redemptoris Mater). We will be animated with a lively spirit to do the Will of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and to annunciate to the whole world that Mary is the Lady of All Nations through whom the Savior comes. Then we shall see the visitation of the Holy Spirit "shot like an arrow down to the earth and the world...all bathed in light" and the era of peace! Hence, we see that from Our Lord's Visitation within us, through frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist, that His Presence will be "manifest in a new way through the Holy Spirit [Who] is the salvific 'hidden God' 'filling the universe' as love and gift" (Pope John Paul II: Dominum et Vivificantem). 

The overall significance of the dates of March 25 and May 31 in both the messages of Our Lady and messages of Our Lord in the Eucharist can be summarized in this way. The Eucharistic experiences which began on May 31, the feast of the Visitation, reiterate the message of the Lady of All Nations conjoined with the importance of daily reception of the Eucharist among Catholics. Thus the focal point is the Eucharist and that through a return to the daily Miracle we will carry within us Our Lord, as a beacon of the True Light, to all the world, a "people that live in darkness" (Mt 4:16, Mk 16:15). Therefore, just as Mary brought Our Savior and the grace of the Holy Spirit to Elizabeth and John the Baptist, so shall we Catholics filled with His Love, in imitation of Our Mother and in union with Her, bring the Holy Spirit of Truth to the rest of the world! Finally, the messages of the Lady of All Nations began on March 25, the feast of the Annunciation,in order to add prominence to the momentous announcement of the key to the Victory of Our Mother's Immaculate Heart which is the fifth and last Marian dogma. So too the Eucharistic messages of Our Lord ended on the feast of the Annunciation purposely underscoring His Will that we Catholics announce to the world that Mary is the Mother of All Nations: Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate, thus procuring the Victory of Her Immaculate Heart! 

Our Lady chose May 31 as the day on which She will be crowned. As has already been noted, it is the feast of the Visitation. But, in addition to that, the feasts of Pentecost and Corpus Christi sometimes fall on that date. Corpus Christi is the liturgical feast honoring the Body and Blood of Our Lord truly present in the Most Holy Eucharist. This date had also, at one time, been set aside in recognition of Mary, as the Mother of Grace, under the title Mediatrix of All Graces. The feast of the Queenship of Mary was also celebrated on this date, until it was moved to the calendar date of August 22. The Queenship of Mary was a titled conferred upon Our Lady by Pope Pius XII in 1954 in order to celebrate Her role in the universal Kingdom of Christ. Eventually, when Our Lady is finally crowned on May 31 She will truly and most fittingly be recognized as the Queen of All God's Nations . As St. Catherine Laboure said: "Oh, how wonderful it will be to hear, Mary is Queen of the Universe!" And when that time comes, the time when all nations recognize and acclaim their Mother, She will be, in the words of St. Catherine Laboure, "carried as a banner and She will make the tour of the world!"

Now it is worth repeating the fact that the Lady of All Nations chose May 31. On May 31, 1954, She says: "I have chosen this day: on this day the Lady will be crowned." Of course, the Lady never does anything that is not the will of God. Still it is significant that She says "I have chosen this day..." Might this deliberate choice of the use of the personal pronoun 'I' be permitted by God to emphasize just Who the Lady Mary is and what entitles Her to make such a choice? Of course, Mary chose May 31 with the thought of pleasing Her Lord and Creator and to emphasize Her twofold desire to bring glory to Her Son in the Most Holy Eucharist and to bring the love of Her Spouse the Holy Spirit into the hearts of all nations. Thus, out of love, Mary appropriately chose the feast of the Visitation which exemplifies Her mission of love. However, it can not be overlooked that there is special significance in the emphasis that this date was chosen by Her. Perhaps if we call to mind certain events which highlight exactly Who Mary is, we will understand more clearly the authority with which She speaks. At the Annunciation the Angel Gabriel says: "Hail" to Mary! This is not an ordinary greeting but a royal salutation for the Angel Gabriel knew he was addressing the Queen! Never was such a royal tribute ever recorded for any other human being except for Mary. Furthermore, the Angel Gabriel goes on to accord Her even more recognition when he says "Hail, full of grace." Thus, the Angel Gabriel is at that very moment identifying Mary as the Immaculate Conception and illuminating to all the very unique and dignified position She held in God's salvific plan - that of ultimately bearing the Savior and being the Woman Who shall crush the serpent's head! And consider this, Mary's fiat to God through the Angel meant that She would also be the Lord's first follower and hence the first example or model for the rest of God's sheep. Therefore, She would not be ruled of this world but assume the posture of a true Queen by leading the flock to Her Lord and Master even to the point of suffering with Her Lord at the Cross by cooperating most perfectly spiritually and physically. As the prophet Simeon foretold Mary, Herself, would be pierced with a sword. But with that magnanimous sorrow and pain "the Lord Almighty has foiled them by the hand of a Woman" (Jth. 16:6). Hence, in the earthly life of Mary, we see through Her humble yet sublime cooperation, the embracing of God's powerful love, which enobled Her to act as the true Queen. God, having deposited that authority with Her through His Holy Spirit, once Mary assented to His Will, would only naturally and most perfectly defer to Her choice of the feast of the Visitation as Her Coronation Day! Our Lord's deference to Mary should make us realize the magnificence of Her Royal Stature in heaven and on earth! It is no wonder that the name of Mary in Hebrew means: unruled by this world; the perfect one; and pierced or bitter with sorrow. No other name is more perfect and no other human being was more perfectly created and suited for that name than Mary. For this most beautiful, most loving and most powerful creation one can only bow with deep love and gratification to God for having given us such a Mother! Hail to You, O Mother of All Nations!

"This day [May 31] will in due time, be the 'Coronation Day' of His Mother, 'the Lady of All Nations,' who once was Mary" (May 31, 1954). "Hold yourself in readiness for May 31st" (May 23, 1963). "The Holy Father will proclaim Her Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix, and Advocate" (May 31, 1979). "He has but to command and it will happen" (December 3, 1949). "First, however, let the Church and the nations invoke Mary under the new title and say Her prayer" (October 11, 1953). "...You will have to help him to achieve this [by signing the petition and saying the prayer]. Make no mistake about it" (May 31, 1954).

"I have chosen this day: on this day (May 31) the Lady will be crowned!" ("The Lady of All Nations: Coredemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate" on May 31, 1954.)

From the dreams and visions of St. John Bosco and Ida Peerdeman it is clear that the moment of victory for the Church over the opposing forces of evil will only come through TRUE DEVOTION TO MARY, OUR MOTHER, THE MOTHER OF ALL NATIONS and TRUE DEVOTION TO OUR LORD IN THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST!

This victory will come through Pope John Paul II who "guides 'the ship of the Church' through the storm of persecutors 'turning the helm to the right' by proclaiming Mary, the Lady of All Nations and thereby anchoring the Church to the Twin Pillars of Victory! "SHE will lead the nations to 'HER LORD!'" (August 15,1979)

"The Holy Father [Pope John Paul II] will proclaim Her Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate" (The voice of Our Lord on May 31, 1979)!

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