From the Franciscan Minims
Mexico • Vergel ------ July • August 2002 ------ No. 7–8
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The Martyrdom of St. Stephen (Acts 7, 58)
which thou hast suffered."
Imitation of Christ, Book 3, Ch. 49
The Martyrdom of St. Stephen (Acts 7, 58)
Our Cover: Imitation,Book 3, Ch. 49
The Desire of Eternal Life
SON, when thou perceivest a longing after eternal bliss to be in-fused into thee from above, and thou desirest to go out of the dwelling of this body, that thou mayst contemplate My brightness, without any shadow of change (James 1, 17) enlarge thy heart, and with all thy affections embrace this holy inspiration.
Return very great thanks to the divine bounty, which deals so favorably with thee, which mercifully visits thee, ardently incites thee, and powerfully raises thee up, lest by thy own weight thou fall down to the things of the earth.
For it is not by thy own thought or endeavor that thou attainest to this: but only by the favor of heavenly grace and the divine visit: that so thou mayst advance in virtue and greater humility, and prepare thyself for future conflicts, and labor with the whole affection of thy heart to keep close to Me, and serve Me with a fervent will.
Son, the fire often burns, but the flame ascends not without smoke. So also some people's desires are on fire after heavenly things, and yet they are not free from the temptation of carnal affection. And therefore it is not altogether purely for God's honor that they act when they so earnestly petition Him. Such also is oftentimes thy desire, which thou hast signified to be so strong. For that is not pure and perfect, which is infected with self-interest.
Ask not what is delightful and convenient for thee, but what is pleasing and honorable to Me; for if thou judgest rightly, thou oughtst to follow My appointment rather than thy own desire, and prefer it before all that thou desirest. (Continued on p. 8).
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The Coming of the Antipope• "All those who yield themselves to My way of the cross and suffering, will be blessed for all eternity! And I have chosen you (Paul VI) for this great gift. When you have given to Me your life, I will permit an anti-pope to be introduced; but it will be during this time that I shall come and shame and denounce him, to destroy him with the breath of My mouth."
ON April 23, 1969, Our Lord said to the Portavoz that after the death of Paul VI, there would be an antipope. So that you may understand this message well, we present here some principles about revelations in general, taken from the writings of St. John of the Cross, who was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI in 1926.
Wherein is expounded and proved how, although visions and locutions which come from God are true, we may be deceived about them. This is proved by quotations from Divine Scripture.
For two reasons we have said that, although visions and locutions which come from God are true, and in themselves are always certain, they are not always so with respect to ourselves. One reason is the defective way in which we understand them; and the other, the variety of their causes. In the first place, it is clear that they are not always as they seem, nor do they turn out as they appear to our manner of thinking. The reason for this is that, since God is vast and boundless, He is wont, in His prophecies, locutions and revelations, to employ ways, concepts and methods of seeing things which differ greatly from such purpose and method as can normally be understood by ourselves; and these are the truer and the more certain, the less they seem so to us. This we constantly see in the Scriptures. To many of the ancients many prophecies and locutions of God came not to pass as they expected, because they understood them after their own manner, in the wrong way, and quite literally. This will be clearly seen in these passages.
In Genesis, God said to Abraham, when He had brought him to the land of the Chanaanites: Tibi dabo terram hanc. Which signifies: "I will give thee this land." (Gen. 15, 7). And when He had said it to him many times, and Abraham was by now very old, and He had never given it to him, though He had said this to him, Abraham answered God once again and said: "Lord, whereby or by what sign am I to know that I am to possess it?" Then God revealed to him that he was not to possess it in person, but that his sons would do so after 400 years; and Abraham then understood the promise, which in itself was most true; for, in giving it to his sons for love of him, God was giving it to himself. And thus Abraham was deceived by the way in which he himself had under-stood the prophecy. If he had then acted according to his own understanding of it, those that saw him die without its having been given to him might have erred greatly; for they were not to see the time of its fulfillment. And, as they had heard him say that God would give it to him, they would have been con-founded, and would have believed it to have been false.
Likewise to his grandson Jacob, when Joseph his son brought him to Egypt because of the famine in Chanaan, and when he was on the road, God appeared and said: "Jacob, fear not; go down into Egypt, and I will go down there with thee; and, when thou goest forth thence again, I will bring thee out and guide thee." This promise, as it would seem according to our own manner of understanding, was not fulfilled, for, as we know, the good old man Jacob died in Egypt, and never left it alive. The word of God was to be fulfilled in his children, whom He brought out thence after many years, being Himself their guide upon the way. It is clear that anyone who had known of this promise made by God to Jacob would have considered it certain that Jacob, even as he had gone to Egypt alive, in his own person, by the command and favor of God, would of a certainty leave it, alive and in his own person, in the same form and manner as he went there, since God had promised him a favorable return; and such a one would have been deceived, and would have marveled greatly, when he saw him die in Egypt, and the promise, in the sense in which he understood it, remain unfulfilled. And thus, while the words of God are in themselves most true, it is possible to be greatly mistaken with regard to them.
In the Judges, again, we read that, when all the tribes of Israel had come together to make war against the tribe of Benjamin, in order to punish a certain evil to which that tribe had been consenting, they were so certain of victory because God had appointed them a captain for the war, that, when 22,000 of their men were conquered and slain, they marveled very greatly; and, going into the presence of God, they wept all that day, knowing not the cause of the fall, since they had understood that the victory was to be theirs. And, when they enquired of God if they should give battle again or no, He answered that they should go and fight against them. This time they considered victory to be theirs already, and went out with great boldness, and were conquered again the second time, with the loss of 18,000 of their men. Thereat they were greatly confused, and knew not what to do, seeing that God had commanded them to fight, and yet each time they were vanquished, though they were superior to their enemies in number and strength, for the men of Benjamin were no more than 25,700, and they were 400,000. And in this way they were mistaken in their manner of understanding the words of God. His words were not deceptive, for He had not told them that they would conquer, but that they should fight; for by these defeats God wished to chastise a certain neglect and presumption of theirs, and thus to humble them. But, when in the end He answered that they would conquer, it was so, although they conquered only after the greatest stratagem and toil.
In this way, and in many other ways, souls are often times deceived with respect to locutions and revelations that come from God, because they interpret them according to their apparent sense and literally; whereas, as has already been explained, the principal intention of God in giving these things is to express and convey the spirit that is contained in them, which is difficult to understand. And the spirit is much more pregnant in meaning than the letter, and is very extraordinary, and goes far beyond its limits. And thus, he that clings to the letter, or to a locution or to the form or figure of a vision, which can be apprehended, will not fail to go far astray, and will forthwith fall into great confusion and error, because he has guided himself by sense according to these visions, and not allowed the spirit to work in detachment from sense. St. Paul says: "The letter killeth and the spirit giveth life." (2 Cor. 3, 6). Wherefore in this matter of sense the letter must be set aside, and the soul must remain in darkness, in faith, which is the spirit, and this cannot be comprehended by sense. ..... And thus, in interpreting prophecy, we have not to consider our own sense and language, knowing that the language of God is very different from ours, and that it is spiritual language, very far removed from our understanding and exceedingly difficult. -- (Taken from The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book 2, Ch. 19, by St. John of the Cross).
From this quotation is can be seen how difficult it is to understand prophecies and revelations, in many cases, it is not possible to understand them well until they have been fulfilled. God promised the Jews, by means of many revelations and prophecies, that He would send them a Savior; yet when the promised Savior came, the majority of them failed to recognize or receive Him, because they had not understood the prophecies in the correct sense. Therefore it should not surprise anyone if Our Lord continues to grant revelations that are difficult to understand.
On April 23, 1969, Our Lord gave the Portavoz a message addressed to Pope Paul VI: "When you (Paul VI) have given to Me your life, I will permit an anti-pope to be introduced." (Vol. 1, p. 47). On June 25, 1977, He also said: "At his death, the evil-doers who are now martyring him (Paul VI) will elevate to the papal throne one who is very unworthy and perverse." (Vol. VI, p. 148). The conduct of John Paul II cannot be considered as unworthy or perverse; therefore the signs of the antipope that Our Lord gave in this message do not fit him, and he is not the person referred to. If this is so, then the antipope is someone who will be elected in the future, and we must regard this prophecy as yet unfulfilled. Since Christ gave no dates nor mentioned any periods of time, it is logical that there could be a period of time between the death of Paul VI and the election of an antipope.
Masons in the Vatican. For these reasons, we may treat this revelation as a prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled. It is probable that it will be fulfilled in the near future, because most of the Cardinals who work in the Vatican are high-raking Masons (that is a fact that can be proved), and it could easily happen that this group of Cardinals, after the death of John Paul II (or even while he is still living) could arrange an election in which one of their own number would be elected; he would then be the unworthy and perverse person that Our Lord predicted in the message of June 25, 1977.
One of God's purposes in giving us these revelations is to warn us of the dangers that exist in the Church, so that we may not be deceived or misled by false pastors. Under ordinary circumstance, all Catholics should respect and obey their legitimate ecclesiastical superiors. The fact of someone's spreading these revelations is simply an act of obedience to Christ's command to propagate the messages (see message of Aug. 13, 1974), so that the faithful may be alerted to the very real evils and abuses that now exist in the Church. In the Gospel Our Lord himself said that we should beware of false teachers, who come to us in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Mt. 7, 15).
One proof of the authenticity of a prophecy or revelation is its fulfillment. The Lord said to the prophet Ezechiel: "And when that which was foretold shall come to pass (for, behold, it is coming) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them." (Ez. 33, 33). On April 5, 1970, Our Lord said to the Portavoz: "They will see the fulfillment of all that has been announced through you." (Vol. 1, p. 96). When the prophecies about the antipope and other events foretold by Our Lord, really come to pass, then it will be evident that those persons who believed in them were guided by spiritual wisdom. On Nov. 5, 1973, Our Lord said: "I am honored and served by those who believe."
Note:This editorial is a reprint of one that was written several years ago. We decided to reprint it now, because we are living in times in which Christ's prediction may soon be fulfilled.
May it be for the glory of God
The Vergel of the Immaculate Virgin of Guadalupe
June 5, 2002 -- Saint Boniface
Apostasy in the Church
We print here a commentary of part of chapter 9 of the Apocalypse, that speaks of the apostasy of bishops, a subject that is relevant to what is now happening in the Church.
The Fifth trumpet. The first woe. Vision of the Locusts. (Apoc. 9).
Verse 1. At the sound of the fifth trumpet, a scene somewhat similar to, yet essentially different in nature from that of ch. 8, 10, comes to view. The star in the 8th chapter is in the act of falling from heaven, while here it is already fallen to the earth when the curtain is lifted. This star, as the other one, is some apostate bishop or priest. He does not light up the earth where he has fallen. His falling forebodes calamity and woe to the earth, for in prophetic symbolism, falling stars are harbingers of grief and disaster. It is the first woe predicted by the eagle.
A key was given the fallen star. This key alludes to other keys. Our Lord promised Peter: "I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." Those keys, promised Peter for his fearless profession of faith in the divinity of Christ, were the emblem of supreme power and authority over the Church. They would convey possession of the whole of divine revelation and of the perpetual privilege of being divinely guided to make unwavering and infallible decisions in matters of faith. The mind of God would be in him always, as it was at the time when he made this declaration of faith. It entailed humility, because it required submission of the intellect and will to Christ. And the promise guaranteed purity of morals through the ratification of all his decisions and decrees.
In the significance of the key given the fallen star, we have the antithesis of what was promised Peter. The star is an apostate bishop or priest. The key to the shaft of the abyss is an emblem of rebellion, as the keys promised Peter are an emblem of submission to Christ; and it leagues the star with the rebellious angels. This key to the pit is then also an emblem of error, as Peter's keys are an emblem of truth. As God revealed the truth to Peter, enabling him to make a clear declaration of it before Christ and the Apostles, the mind of God being in him; so the "king of the bottomless abyss" (v. 11) infused his errors into the mind of this fallen star, inspiring him to teach and spread error and immorality over the world. The mind of the "angel of the bottomless abyss" filled the fallen star with pride and hatred and concupiscence. The keys of Peter conveyed to him supreme authority over the Church of Christ and the power to bring down the light of Heaven upon earth; The key of the fallen star afforded him the power to open the abyss and envelope the earth in darkness.
The apostate priest has his key from God. That is to say, that powers of the priesthood perverted by the rebellion of the will, enable him to open the pit. Were he a layman, he would not have this power. The priesthood is vested with the power to suppress and subject the satanic forces, but when abused it serves to foster and propagate evil. Peter used the power of the keys for the liberation and salvation of the world; while this star used it for the seduction, enslavement and damnation of vast numbers.
This fallen star is clearly some great leader of revolt against the Church. He is the father or shepherd of apostates from or of rebels against the Church, as Peter is the father or shepherd of Christ's followers. As the followers of Peter accept his doctrines, so the followers of the fallen star will accept his. The latter will extol him as a great leader, as the followers of Peter give him due submission in virtue of his appointment and hail him the Rock of the Church. The possessor of the key of the pit is then the head of Satan's church, as Peter is the head of Christ's Church. But since the key of the pit symbolizes unbelief and rebellion, while the keys of Peter symbolize faith, submission and obedience, the followers of the star will go their own ways and repudiate any authority he may want to exercise over them. — (taken from The Book of Destiny, by Bernard F. Leonard.)
Imitation of Christ (continued).(Bk. 3, Ch. 49).
I know thy desire, and I have often heard thy sighs. (Ps. 37, 10). Thou wouldst be glad to be at present in the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Rom. 5, 2). Thou wouldst be pleased to be now at thy eternal home, and in thy heavenly country abounding with joy; but that hour is not yet come: for this is yet another time, a time of war, a time of labor and trial. Thou wishest to be replenished with the sovereign good, but thou canst not at present attain to it. I am that sovereign good; expect me, saith the Lord. (Soph. 3, 8), till the kingdom of God come (Lk. 22, 18).
Thou must yet be tried upon earth and exercised in many things. Consolation shall sometimes be given thee; but to be fully satisfied shall not be granted thee. Take courage (Josue 1, 6), therefore, and be valiant as well in doing as in suffering things repugnant to thy nature. Thou must put on the new man (Eph. 4, 24), and be changed into another man. Thou must oftentimes do that which is against thy inclination, and forego that to which thou art inclined. That which is pleasing to others shall go forward; that which thou wouldst have shall not succeed. That which others say shall be hearkened unto, what thou sayst shall not be regarded. Others shall ask and shall receive, thou shalt ask and not obtain.
Others shall be great in the esteem of men; but of thee no notice shall be taken. To others this or that shall be committed; but thou shalt be accounted fit for nothing. At this nature will sometimes repine, and it will be no small matter if thou bear it with silence. In these and many such like things, the faithful servant of the Lord is wont to be tried, how far he can renounce himself, and break himself in all things.
There is scarcely any one thing in which thou standest so much in need of mortifying thyself as in seeing and suffering the things which are repugnant to thy will, and especially when that is commanded which seems to thee incongruous and to little purpose. And because being under authority thou darest not resist the higher power, therefore thou art apt to think it hard to walk at the beck of another, and wholly to give up thy own sentiment.
But consider, son, the fruit of these labors, how quickly they will end, and their exceeding great reward, and thou wilt not be troubled at them, but strongly comforted in thy suffering. (Heb. 6, 18). For, in regard to that little of thy will which thou now willingly forsakest, thou shalt forever have thy will in heaven. For there thou shalt find all that thou willest, all thou canst desire. There thou shalt enjoy all good without fear of ever losing it. There thy will being always one with Mine, shall desire nothing foreign or private. There no one shall resist thee, no man shall complain of thee, none shall hinder thee, nothing shall stand in thy way; but all that thou desirest shall be there together present, and shall replenish thy whole affection and satiate it to the full.
There I will give thee glory for the affronts which thou hast suffered; a garment of praise for thy sorrow (Is. 61, 3), and for thy having been seated here in the lowest place, a royal throne for all eternity. There will the fruit of obedience appear, there will the labor of penance rejoice, and humble subjection shall be gloriously crowned.
Bow down thyself then humbly at present under the hands of all, and heed not who it was that has said or commanded this. But let it be thy great care that whether thy superior, inferior, or equal, desire anything of thee, or hint at anything, thou take all in good part and labor with a sincere will to perform it. Let one man seek this, another that; let this man glory in this thing, another in that, and by praised a thousand times; but thou, for thy part, rejoice neither in this, nor in that, but in the contempt of thyself, and in my good pleasure and honor alone. This is what thou oughtst to wish, that whether in life or death, God may be always glorified in thee. (Phil. 1, 20).
The Glory of Israel
FEEBLE in mind as well as body, Solomon came to the end of his reign—a sad ending for such a great man. In the beginning his rule was full of peace and the pursuit not only of great projects but of wisdom. The foreign alliances which Solomon contracted, his shrewd treaties with Egypt and Phoenicia, his friendship with Hiram, king of Tyre, had kept safe in their kennel the dogs of war during the large part of the tenth century before Christ. But as he grew older a change had come over the wisest of men. He grew more and more despotic. He was to blame for the alienation of the north from the south which was to lead to the rebellion, and ultimately the separation, the uprising led by Jeroboam. Strange that a man could have spoken so wisely, and then behaved with such foolishness and stubbornness in his old age.
We do not know how Solomon died. We do know that his passing came at a perilous time, and that when Prince Rehoboam, son of Solomon, took the throne of Israel, to rule in the succession, the whole kingdom was in danger.
The Trial on Mount Carmel
ANOTHER hundred years had to pass before there arose among the vacillating children of the chosen tribes a man to whom the mysterious Voice would speak. And in that century—between the time that Solomon slept with his fathers, entombed in the City of David, and the appearance of a vagrant new prophet with a flaming destiny—the kingdom of the Jews fell apart. For the strong monarchs had passed away, and witling sons who tried to take the throne and rule made a sorry mess of things.
It began when Solomon's son Rehoboam of the black curls and pale, graceful hands claimed the succession. Crowds of Israelites, waiting for him at Shechem, were willing to crown him king there, and hoping only that he would be wise and kind and lessen their miseries, which were many, thanks to the extravagances of his gorgeous father.
But Rehoboam was young for his years. His thoughts were of gold and purple robes, jewel-tipped boots, rainbow plumes, scepter and crown and power, and a court redolent with alluring ladies. He had no concept of a monarch's responsibilities to his people, nor his need for mercy and understanding and compassion. He was not even suspicious that politics might rise to plague him at his coronation.
As black-curled Rehoboam, in gleaming finery, stood on a hill, with the floods of people restless in great tides in the broad valley at his feet, he heard no shouts, hosannas, or psalms of welcome. Instead, mutterings were coming from ten thousand throats, stopping only when a ragged spokesman trudged up to face the king.
The people, the stranger said, wanted certain wrongs made right before the new reign became official. The taxes were too high. His spend-thrift father had laid a yoke on their necks to pay for his squandering. Now they must have relief; the burden was unbearable; nobody had enough to eat any more.
"Better promise to help them," the elders whispered to Rehoboam. "They speak only the truth."
"Let them know that you are king," cried the young man's hot-headed cronies, not one of whom had the slightest experience in government. "Show them that you cannot be browbeaten. Be master from the start."
With delicate hands Rehoboam shoved both groups aside, as if he were a wise and kingly fellow, and would make up his own mind. He took three whole days to meditate, and then, in warlike armor more magnificent than before, he stood on the hilltop, surrounded by spearmen, and bareheaded, eyes flashing with rage, he berated the whole multitude.
"My father made your yoke heavy, and I will add to your yoke: my father also chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions."
A scream of wrath came from the throngs at these despotic words. To the forefront there suddenly sprang a lithe young figure who might have been the young tyrant's twin; for both had black curls and flashing eyes—but this was Jeroboam, son of Nebat, a mighty man of valor and long an enemy of the government, a rebel for years. What was he doing here among these people? Rehoboam knew that this revolutionist had fled to Egypt for fear he would be killed as a pretender to the crown. But here he was back in Shechem, and with a howling mob of thousands of Israelites backing him up, and crying:
"What portion have we in David? Neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, O Israel: now see to your own house, David."
In that crazy moment the kingdom, so long in being welded together, was split in two with civil war.
The tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the south voted for Rehoboam to rule over them, with Jerusalem as their capital. But in the north the ten other tribes—like the dream of the prophet with the ten pieces of the prophet's gown—chose Jeroboam for their sovereign. That bitter rupture between the north and south was beyond all healing; the land was rent asunder, into two separate kingdoms, weak and tempting to fierce and predatory neighbors beyond their borders.
It ruined the chances of greatness gained with such effort and cost by David and Solomon.
Troubled years lay before the broken pieces of the kingdom. In that futile, debased, and suffering time, while one petty king followed another on two inconspicuous thrones, the people fell far away from their old faith and lived like hungry serfs, working, eating and sleeping with bad dreams.
(To be continued)
Following His Footsteps
by Anselmo del Álamo
Chapter 7. Mortification, Suffering
If Christ was the "man of sorrows" by whose blood we have been washed and regenerated, what does this imply? How will he make us participants of the fruit of his blood, except by his sorrows? What will be the reason of our similarity with him, if not the stigmas and wounds of his passion, marked upon ourselves?... for there are no more secure and authentic signs of our predestination. The apostle tells us, that by many tribulations we should enter the kingdom. And it was announced that Christ would not take any other path: Nonne oportébat Christum pati? "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory?" (Lk. 24, 26) If you do not attain to the understanding of this, your life will be an unsolved enigma, the life of Christ, madness, the life of God, a myth.
1. He who thinks that he suffers too much, is either lacking in humility, or in patience. St. Paul of the Cross
2. He who holds in little esteem bodily mortifications, with the excuse that the interior ones are more perfect, shows very clearly that he has neither interior or exterior mortification. St. Vincent de Paul
3. To suffer for God is to have in one's hands the purest and most precious gold, in order to purchase heaven: this is the portal by which one enters the temple of sanctity... if you do not enter this door, you will not attain it. St. Francis de Sales
4. To conquer oneself is better than raising the dead. St. Ignatius of Loyola
5. With the eyes of faith a faithful soul looks upon trials and sufferings, not as coming from creatures, but coming from the loving hands of the Lord. St. Paul of the Cross
6. To write books of piety, to compose the most sublime poetry, is not worth even the least act of renunciation. St. Therese of Lisieux
7. Interior pains and trials are files or crucibles, that penetrate the depths of the soul, in order to remove all stains. St. Joseph Calasanz
8. The trials and pains of the spirit are the first steps of that holy and exalted ladder, by which generous and magnanimous souls ascend to God. St. Paul of the Cross
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Mary of Agreda
Bilocates to America
DOCTOR Carlos E. Castaneda, illustrious Catholic historian, records that over a period of 11 years, from 1620 to 1631, Mary of Agreda made over 500 visits to America.
Mary of Agreda, also known as Venerable Mary of Jesus of Agreda, was born in Agreda, Spain, in 1602 and died there in 1665. She was one of eleven children of Francisco Coronel and Catalina de Arana. She had a desire for the religious life from early youth. In 1619 she became a Poor Clare Conceptionist at Agreda. Her mother and one of her sisters entered with her. Her father, although 60 years of age, took the Franciscan habit, and thus made her mother's admission possible.
Mary was made abbess at the age of 25 by papal dispensation. Shortly before her election she had experienced many ecstasies.
During one of these ecstasies, Sister Mary was shown on one occasion the whole earth, the different nations thereof, and the small number of souls who knew God, and the vast number who did not belong to the Catholic Church. God revealed to her that of all those living in darkness, the people of New Mexico and surrounding countries were the most disposed to seek His mercy. This caused Sister Mary to beg God for the conversion of these people. God answered that in His eternal decrees, the time was near at hand "when these American peoples would be instructed in the faith."
One day while wrapped in ecstasy, Mary was transported to America, and God commanded her to go among the Indians and teach the faith of Jesus Christ. She spoke in Spanish, yet they understood her as distinctly as if she spoke their native tongue. She understood them, and performed many miracles in proof of the doctrine she taught. When she came out of her ecstasy, she found herself in the same place and position in the convent in Agreda.
The Indians did not know who she was nor whence she came. They did not know her name, but because of the color of the mantle she wore, they called her "Lady in Blue."
Father Pandolphi transcribes from Bishop Samaniego's Biografia de Su Autora de la Mistica Ciudad de Dios, that Sister Mary related these wonderful events to her spiritual director with humble sincerity. "In consideration of the many proofs of her holiness which he had received, and the unlimited power of Divine Omnipotence, her confessor did not hesitate to believe that she had been miraculously transported to America, and this opinion was maintained by many other learned persons."
Let us now examine the testimonies of this unique event as recorded in the earliest chronologies of the history of the United States.
Fray Alonzo Benavides is Ordered to Find the Lady in Blue
FRAY Alonzo de Benavides of the order of St. Francis, Custodia of the missionaries of New Spain, of the territory of New Mexico (from Texas to the Pacific) and later auxiliary bishop of Goa, India, while superior of New Mexico from 1622 to 1630—was ordered by his Excellency, Don Francisco Manzo y Zúñiga, Archbishop elect of Mexico, to find this "Lady in Blue."
Dr. Castaneda reports that the action of the Archbishop stemmed from two reliable reports: one was that of Agreda's confessor, Fray Sebastian Marcilla, who asked his Excellency to investigate the conversion of the Indians of New Mexico by a white woman. This was prompted by Agreda's own confession. The second report was from the missionaries themselves whose apostolate was in New Mexico. They related how the Indians sought them out under the direction of the "Lady in Blue."
One day in the year 1629, while sitting in the cool shade of the old Isleta Mission, listening to a group of missionaries who had just arrived from Spain, he (Benavides) saw about 50 Indians approaching across the plains. He was soon aware that they were of the strange tribe that had been coming every year for many years, begging him for missionaries to come among them. This time his heart was not heavy, because he would not have to turn them away.
Father Benavides records in his two memorials: 1. To Pope Urban VIII and the other to King Philip IV of Spain—that he asked them whence they came and who had sent them. They replied that they had come a long journey from the southeast from a kingdom called Titlas or Texas which had not yet been visited by the white man. He invited them into the mission house and asked them how they knew where to find the friars. They answered: "A Lady in Blue taught us the religion of Jesus Christ, and told us to come here and ask you for missionaries to come among us." He showed them a picture of a Franciscan nun, Madre Luis de Carrion, who had done marvelous work among the Indians. They declared that her dress was the same, but not her face, "for she was young and beautiful."
In Father Peter Forrestal's translation of Father Benavides' Memorial to King Philip IV, we read that Father Benavides sent Fra Juan de Salas and Fra Diego Lopez back with the Indians. After the long and perilous journey, they were met by the whole tribe of Jumano Indians, carrying two large crosses. Fra Salas reported that he found they did not need catechizing, so well were they instructed in the truths of the faith by their "Lady in Blue." When Fra Salas asked them if they desired baptism, all of them from the chief down to the children raised their hands—the mothers held up the hands of their infants. Then he told how they brought their sick to be cured, and how he and Fra Lopez labored from three o'clock that afternoon all through the night until ten the next day. They cured some 200 of their sick.
Benavides Finds the Lady in Blue in Spain
"She convinced me absolutely"—Benavides
AFTER searching in vain for eight years, Fra Benavides found the "Lady in Blue" not in America, but in his native land of Spain. This was in the year 1630. When he arrived in Madrid he told the motive for his journey to the Superior General of the Order, Father Bernardine of Sienna. Fra Benavides learned that his superior knew that the "Lady in Blue" was Sister María de Jesus of the convent in Agreda. As Superior General he had already examined her cause some eight years ago, and had come to the conclusion that she was the chosen instrument of God in this amazing mission of mercy in America.
Father Bernardine desired to go with Father Benavides to question Sister Mary, but because of urgent official duties, he delegated him to command her "in virtue of holy obedience" to reveal her secret to him, knowing that the humble nun would otherwise wish to conceal it. Taking with him Fra Samaniego, who was then Provincial of Burgos, they went to the convent in the town of Agreda. There in the presence of her confessor, the reluctant Mary was constrained by obedience to tell all.
Like St. Paul, when he was taken up to the third heaven, Mary did not know whether she was taken to New Mexico "in the body or out of the body" to instruct the inhabitants of America. But after questioning her in regard to the various peculiarities of that province, the customs of the different tribes of Indians; the nature of the climate, "she convinced me absolutely by describing to me all the things in New Mexico as I have seen them myself, as well as by other details which I shall keep within my soul."
In a letter to the missionaries in America, Father Benavides said:
"I give infinite thanks to the Divine Majesty for having placed me, unworthy as I am, among the number enjoying the happy good fortune of your paternities, since you are so deserving of heavenly favor that the angels and our father, Saint Francis aid you. They personally, truly, and actually carry the blessed and blissful Mother María de Jesus, Discalced Franciscan of the Order of Conception, from the town of Agreda, which is in the limits of Castile, to help us with her presence and teaching, in all these provinces and barbarous nations.
"The first time she went to America was in 1620, making more than five hundred journeys (flights) until the year 1631, sometimes making as many as four visits in one day. I should indeed like to tell your paternities in this letter everything, that the venerable mother told me, but it is impossible. Nevertheless, I have written down a great deal of it in a book which I shall bring with me for your consideration.
"Once she took from here a chalice for consecration, and the friars used it for saying Mass and for carrying the Blessed Sacrament in procession. All of this will be found here, as well as many crosses and rosaries that she distributed. She was martyred, receiving many wounds, and her heavenly angels crowned her, wherefore she attained martyrdom from our Lord." (Sic)
Father Benavides asked Sister María to write a letter to the missionaries in America. In praise of this letter Father Benavides says: "I decided to commit it to the eternity of printing." This letter had great influence upon the conversions of the southwest of the United States. Fra Junipero Serra wrote to his biographer, Father Francisco Palou: "Agreda's prophecy is about to be fulfilled in California."
One line in this famous letter impresses itself upon the mind: "I can assure your paternities that I know with all exactness and light that the blessed ones envy you... If they could forsake their eternal bliss to accompany you in those conversions, they would do it."
Father Benavides continues: "My dear fathers and brothers, all that she told me is more to be retained in the heart than to be recorded. I call God to witness that my esteem for her holiness has been increased more by the noble qualities which I discern in her, than by all the miracles which she has wrought in America. I have also the very habit that she wore when she went there. The veil radiates such a fragrance that it is a comfort to the spirit."
That Agreda really and truly visited America many times is attested to in the logs of the Spanish Conquistadors, the French explorers, the identical accounts by different tribes of Indians a thousand miles apart. Every authentic history of the Southwest of the United States records this mystic phenomena unparalleled in the entire history of the world. As Father Benavides aptly put it: "We should consider ourselves fortunate in being protected by the blessed soul of Mary of Jesus."
The demon had exercised his tyranny over these Indian tribes since the flood of Noah's time. His power over them was so fantastic for so many centuries that they sacrificed children of their own flesh and blood to him. Is it not logical to assume that the crushing of his head among these heathen nations be even more fantastic? Otherwise God's first prophecy to Adam and Eve (Genesis 3, 15) would be in vain. Therefore, through the instrument of a woman who was given the greatest knowledge of The Woman, the serpent was crushed by her heel. Venerable Mary's conversions in America were no less spectacular than the conversion of Saul and the miracles of the apostles in the conversion of other nations.
Agreda is Released from Ecstasies
IN 1631 Sister Mary of Agreda asked God to release her of the ecstasies which were causing her so much embarrassing publicity. God answered her prayer.
Of the two great landings in America in 1620—the Pilgrims in the north at Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Agreda in the south—the mystical one has, and will yet have, far greater influence upon the history of the world.
Mary of Agreda writes theMystical City of God, the Life of the Mother of God
IN 1627 Sister Mary of Jesus was chosen Abbess of the convent in Agreda. She was not yet 25 years old, therefore her superiors had to seek dispensation from Rome. She held the office of Abbess for the space of 35 years until her death, with the exception of one term of three years from 1632 to 1635.
She dreaded the responsibility of this office, and appealed to the Queen of Heaven and earth to have compassion on her and assist her. The Virgin Mary appeared to her and consoled her with these words:
"My most amiable daughter, be of good cheer. I myself, will be the Mother and Superior of your convent, whom you and your subjects will obey. In all your temptations and tribulations, call upon me; ask my advice, and it shall be granted to you immediately." (To be continued)
AND the sixth angel sounded the trumpet: and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before the eyes of God, saying to the sixth angel, who had the trumpet: Loose the four angels who are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, who were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year; for to kill the third part of men. -- Apocalypse 9: 13--15.
Commentary, by Rev. Bernard F. Leonard
Verse 13. At the sound of the sixth trumpet the Seer hears a single voice from the four horns of the golden altar. This reference to the four horns may signify the expectation by the Church of a more disastrous woe than the foregoing one. The golden altar represents the religious orders (See VIII.3). The voice from all four horns is the unanimous declaration of all religious, that the Church is now ready to meet the fiercest onslaught of the enemy in her whole history. So let the woe begin.
Verse 14. After the spread and establishment of Protestantism, the Council of Trent re-iterated the dogmas of the Church and crystallized them in clear language that left no doubt of what is true and what is false. Science, philosophy and theology received a new impetus and went out to explore new fields. The Four Horns of the golden altar include particularly, besides the older orders, the religious congregations, contemplative, missionary, charitable, teaching, etc., founded since the appearance of Protestantism. All religious organizations have done efficient work for the spread of faith as well as of charity and education. Through them the Church has actualized more fully her mission upon earth. She has been strengthened and been enabled to contend successfully with all the machinery that Satan has invented to destroy her. And she is speeding up the Christianization of savage and semi-savage peoples year after year. No matter what upheavals will occur in society, what wars or revolutions may scourge the earth, the Church is prepared to fulfill her mission, when God permits new calamities to afflict mankind.
The four angels are to be loosed. They are evil spirits, otherwise they would not be bound. They come from the region of the Euphrates, whence came the enemies of God's people. Since the order comes indirectly from God, it is consoling to know that they can do only what God permits. The number four forebodes a woe on the whole world, that will rouse hatreds and wars and deluge the world with blood. The second woe culminates in the reign of Antichrist. The release of these four evil sprits may precede a resurgence of Mohammedanism and may lead its religionists to unite with communists in a holy war against all nations who will not join them or submit to their domination.
Verse 15. The four evil spirits have waited a long time for the hour in which they might begin their depredations. The "hour" is mentioned first, then "day, month and year." They cannot begin their murderous work until the predetermined hour. This ascensive order denotes a definite hour set by Providence. They seem to have known a long time the work of vengeance allotted to them and may have done the same work before, in the days of Genghis Khan, and were then bound again. But they must now bide the time until the golden altar gives the word. Their bloody task is to kill a third of the human race, perhaps the good as well as the wicked.
The text gives no intimation about the interval of time between the first and second woe. It will be a time of wars, developing into a world-revolution, that will deluge the whole world with carnage and bloodshed as it has never experienced. The three-and-a-half years of the reign of the Beast will be its climax. The time of its beginning is wrapped in secrecy, and the duration of this time of slaughter is likewise a deep and dark secret. Verses 20 and 21 presage a time of peace between the first reign of terror in the second woe and the reign of Antichrist. It seems to be a mystery of the future to be brought on by the new menace, militaristic and atheistic communism.
Commentary of the Franciscan Minims. It is a characteristic of a vision or revelation, that the information that is transmitted and the happenings or events do not follow a logical order, in our concept of time. Therefore sometimes we do not interpret correctly what God gives us, by means of the Scriptures or private revelations.
In the book of the Apocalypse, that has been interpreted in so many different ways, some interpretations do not give the correct meaning. The Book of the Apocalypse, as revelation, does not follow a logical sequence.
These three verses in particular reveal something about recent history. The happenings and fulfillment do not have a logical order, according to our human way of thinking.
Dear readers, we all know the happenings and events of September 11, and the situation of war in the Near East, as the beginning of the Third World War, and in addition the situation of the moral crisis in the Church: priests have left the path of Christ, and many are following Satan.
But we should ask ourselves, how we should act as Christians, considering our salvation in Christ, faithful to the promises of our baptism, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Therefore, we can see this situation described accurately in this verse. This description of St. John is truly amazing, and it refers to current history and real events.
We plan to print extracts from this commentary (The Book of Destiny, by Leonard) in future issues.
We are praying for all of you, our subscribers, so that the Lord may give us perseverance in the hour of test and trial, that is approaching.
"The salvation of the just is from the Lord: and he is their protector in the time of trouble. And the Lord will help them and deliver them; and he will rescue them from the wicked, and save them, because they have hoped in him. — Psalm 36
Our Lady of the Rockies
By Pat Kearney
Continued from previous issue
LIFE finally started to settle down to normal for Bob O'Bill. His wife had been home from the hospital for a couple of weeks. She was getting stronger with each passing day. Bob had no idea where to begin his project. However he felt something had to be done soon, because his restless nights at home had to stop. As he drove to work on a chilly January day in 1980, he made up his mind that today he would ask Danny Ramirez his thoughts about building a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe on top of the East Ridge.
O'Bill worked as an electrical foreman in the massive Berkeley Pit, an open pit mine operated by the Anaconda Company. The Pit was started by Anaconda in 1956 as an easier way to extract the low grade copper ore found in and around Butte.
Butte, known as the Mining City, had been the largest copper mining camp in the world at one time. Over 80,000 people lived in the community in the 1910s. All the mining activity took place in underground mines with miles of tunnels. In 1980 around 3600 workers were employed by the Anaconda Company in their Montana operations at the Berkeley Pit in Butte.
As Bob drove inside the massive Berkeley Pit operations, he kept wondering over and over in his mind how in the world he would ask someone like Danny Ramirez about building a statue on top of a mountain. Ramirez, who was 44 years old, had worked for the Anaconda Company for 26 years. Danny spent seven years in the underground mines before coming to the surface and using his skills as an electrician. As an electrical boss, he worked with Bob O'Bill on a number of projects at the mining operations.
When lunch time came that day, O'Bill asked Danny to come sit with him in a corner, away from the rest of his fellow workers.
"Hey Bob, how in the world is Joyce doing now?" asked Ramirez.
O'Bill chuckled a little to break the ice, "Oh, she is doing just great, Danny. Boy, I'll tell you what, I never again thought I would see her healthy, but she seems to be coming along just fine, and gets stronger every day. Why, the doctors tell me she could be back to normal within a few more months."
"Oh, that's just great," said Danny. "Joyce sure has been a sick lady for quite a while. It will be nice to see her back on her feet. She had something similar to what my sister, Celia Brown, had a few years ago. Celia had cancer of the colon, and unfortunately died of complications following surgery. So I guess Joyce is a pretty lucky lady to be alive."
"That's for sure," replied O'Bill. "Hey Danny, there is something I've wanted to talk to you about ever since Joyce underwent that operation."
O'Bill looked down at his hands and started to fumble around with his sandwich. Danny could tell O'Bill was nervous about something. He had never seen his friend quite this way before.
"Danny, do you remember our conversation about Our Lady of Guadalupe awhile back, and how you prayed that some day your father could return to Mexico to find his family?" mumbled O'Bill.
"I sure do," countered back a puzzled Ramirez. Danny was confused, because O'Bill never brought up the subject of religion. Bob was not an overly religious person, but he had always been gracious enough to listen to Danny anytime Ramirez wanted to talk about the subject.
"You know Danny, I've been thinking, wouldn't it be great to build a small five-foot statue of Our Lady and put it on top of the East Ridge?" blurted out O'Bill in one quick sentence. "I recall somewhere in South America they built a statue of Christ overlooking one of those big towns in Brazil."
"They sure did," said an excited Ramirez. "They built the Christ of the Andes overlooking the city of Rio de Janeiro. It's an absolutely wonderful monument."
"Well, I think we could do the same type of thing here in Butte," explained O'Bill, who had put his sandwich down now and was staring straight into Ramirez' eyes.
"I think it would be the greatest thing this community could ever accomplish. It's a marvelous idea!" shouted back Ramirez. "Where in the world, though, did you think about something like building a statue of Our Lady on top of the mountain?"
O'Bill looked back down at his sandwich. He was happy that Danny liked the proposal, but he was a bit reluctant to tell him how his idea got started.
"Well, Danny, when I put Joyce in the hospital just before her surgery, I was really confused," explained O'Bill. "That night I went home and I wanted to say a prayer to help Joyce make it through the operation without any more problems. Yet, I never could get started on who I should pray to or what I should say. Finally, I remembered our conversation about Our Lady of Guadalupe. I remember you saying that she was the patron saint of the Americas, and anything asked for in her name she would grant. Well, I said a prayer for Joyce's good health, and if she got better, I made a promise to Our Lady that I would build a statue in her honor and the honor of women around the world. I thought about maybe building the statue and putting it in my backyard or perhaps at a city park, but this idea of placing it somewhere on the East Ridge continues to come back into my mind. So now that Joyce is getting better, I want to fulfill the promise I made."
Danny was stunned by the story as he thought to himself "Now here is a guy with real faith." "Hey, Bob, that's really touching," Danny said softly. "It's a really remarkable story, but have you ever thought about how you are going to build a statue up on the East Ridge?"
O'Bill looked up once again at Danny and said, "Well, I've thought a lot about what I could do, but you are the first person I have talked to about it. I firmly believe it can be done, but I have no idea where in the world to begin."
"Bob, first of all, where in the world up on the East Ridge do you intend to build the statue?" asked Ramirez.
"I was thinking the best spot would be on Saddle Rock, because that's about the midway point of the Ridge. It would look just grand up there," said an excited O'Bill.
"Hey, that's a good location, but before you do anything, you've got to figure out who in the world owns all that property up there," said Ramirez.
"Well, you could start with the Forest Service, because I would assume they have title to some of the property up in that neck of the woods," pointed out Ramirez." Then I am good friends with Jim Davis who works in the County Treasurer's Office. I am sure he would be willing to help us locate the property owners in the area."
"Hey, that's just great, Danny," said a relieved O'Bill. He was not surprised Danny would help with the project. Bob felt better that someone had finally thought his idea was worthwhile.
A few days later O'Bill drove to the headquarters of the Deer Lodge National Forest in Butte. He wanted to see Dean Reed, the district manager who handled about 100,000 acres of Forest Service property in his region. O'Bill knew Reed on a casual basis, admiring the man for his push to complete the Sheepshead Campground for handicapped people.
Reed was busy with some details on Sheepshead when O'Bill walked into his office.
"Dean, how's it going?" said O'Bill as he reached out to shake Reed's hand. The district ranger got up from his chair and shook O'Bill's extended hand. "Bob O'Bill, what brings you down here?" inquired Reed.
"Well Dean, there is a project I'm working on that I would like to talk to you about," explained O'Bill.
"Sit down Bob," said Reed. "I hope it's not as mind-boggling as my Sheepshead project."
"Well, I don't know about that," chuckled O'Bill. "Hey, how in the world is that project coming anyway?"
"You know Bob, I think we've finally found a way to get this darn thing done," beamed Reed. "I've been in contact with the Anaconda Job Corps, and I think they may be willing to help with the necessary masonry and road work required to get the campground finished."
Reed had worked on the Sheepshead project for 12 years. The campground was designed to allow handicapped people full access to the entire area. It was the first such project of its kind in the country. The campground was located about 12 miles north of Butte in an area known as Elk Park. He estimated it would take at least two million dollars to finish the project.
During his 12 years as district manager, Dean Reed had battled with five different Forest Supervisors trying to keep the project alive. Now, through the help of the Anaconda Job Corps, Reed's dream was starting to take shape. The project would be wrapped up in September, 1983, about two months before Reed retired from the Forest Service.
"All I need to complete the project is to find someone with about a million dollars," explained Reed. "So what type of project are you looking at? Something in that ballparks range?" (To be continued)
For more information about Our Lady of the Rockies, write to:
101 Foundation, P.O. Box 151, Asbury, New Jersey 08802-0151. Phone: 1-908-689-8792. www.101foundation.com Also see book Our Lady Builds a Statue, by Leroy Lee, in "Announcements" section, page 26.
Counsels and Exhortations of Padre Pio
You must speak to Jesus also with the heart, besides with the lips; indeed, in certain cases you must speak to Him only with the heart.
My daughter, may Jesus be always the only center of our aspirations, sustain us with His grace, enlighten our mind and warm our hearts always with new love for Him. Behold, this is the synthesis of all my desire which I place assiduously before Jesus for you and for me. May Jesus in his infinite goodness listen to them and grant them.
Do not worry over things that generate preoccupation, and anxiety. One thing only is necessary; to lift up your spirit and love God.
A pure soul is synonymous with a heart full of love of God.
The heart of our Divine Master has no more amiable law than that of sweetness, humility, charity. Often place your confidence in Divine Providence, and be assured that sooner heaven and earth shall pass away than that the Lord neglect to protect you.
Thank and sweetly kiss the hand of God that strikes you, because it is always the hand of a Father who strikes you, because He loves you.
My past, O Lord, to Your mercy; my present, to Your love; my future, to Your providence!
You must always have prudence and love. Prudence has the eyes, Love has the legs. Love which has the legs would like to run to God, but its impulse to rush towards Him is blind and at times might stumble, if it were not guided by prudence which has the eyes. When prudence sees that love could become unbridled, it loans its eyes to love. In this way, love restrains itself and, guided by prudence, acts as it should and not as it would like.
God loves man with an infinite love, and when He punishes, he does so with reverence, almost fearing to hurt.
Always live under the eyes of the Good Shepherd, and you will walk unharmed through evil pastures.
God can reject everything in a creature conceived in sin and which bears the indelible impression inherited from Adam. But He absolutely cannot reject the sincere desire to love Him.
The Sinner's Guide
By Venerable Louis of Granada
This is probably the most famous book of the favorite writer of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Vincent de Paul, etc. St. Teresa of Avila credited this book with having converted over a million people in her time. This is the most persuasive book we know to encourage people to abandon sin and embrace repentance and virtue. The logic is relentless and effective. For mastery of subject, command of Scripture and total impact on the reader, no book surpasses The Sinner's Guide. Available at:
TAN Books, P.O. Box 424, Rockford, IL 61105. 1-800-437-5876
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THERE ARE Catholic prisoners who need pen-pals to help them spiritually. For information, write to: Dr. Joseph Strada, 5120 Pheasant Ridge Road, Fairfax, VA 22030
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The book "Faith is Greater than Obedience," by Rev. A. Drexel, is now available in FRENCH. For more information, please contact: Johan Distler, 100 Summit Cr., Montréal, Québec, Canada H3Y 1L9 "La Foi est plus importante que L’Obéissance."
"Heaven's Last Call to Humanity," Vol. I and ii. $10.00 + 1.50 postage. The "United Hearts" of Jesus and Mary are calling us to enter this refuge of these last days. Send order (postage paid) to: J.K. Ogden, 82 E. Crafton Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15205-2902. Or phone: 1 (412) 921-6773.
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Apt. F, Nacogdoches, TX 75961
MARIAN UNION OF BEAURAING: Daily spiritual obligations: pray 3 Hail Marys with the invocation: "Our Lady of Beauraing, convert sinners. You have promised us." Members are united to the prayers said daily at the shrine of Beauraing. For enrollment, please contact: Miss Doris Poisson, 22 Second Av., Lowell, MA 01854–2808
Traditional Catholic Address Labels for sale to use on your envelopes. Various saints, pictures of Our Lady, Jesus, and also secular pictures (such as flowers, Christmas, etc.) are available. Some labels available in "medium" size only and not small. Please send $2.00 for small color catalog of some available labels. If you are looking for something, please ask. Please make U.S. funds to: Miss Julie Arreguin, 309 E. Starr Ave., Apt. F, Nacogdoches, TX 75961. Note: Reasonable prices too! Discount for first orders if you order catalog. Free listing of saints available with no pictures!
Help Save the Souls of Priests. Write for free leaflet, "A Rosary for Priests." Center of Mary, 715 Upper St., Turner, ME 04282
OUR LADY BUILDS A STATUE. Story of Our Lady of the Rockies. $10.00 + 2.00 p & h. Leroy Lee, 2845 Nettie,
Butte, MT 59701
Messages to the Portavoz
Nov. 14, 1973: "With respect to the life of perfection, it is just as you have grasped it this morning. Let people be guided by the book written by My very beloved son, Thomas a Kempis. He entitled his writings The Imitation of Christ, by an order that I gave him; because he wrote these marvelous pages by the light of My Spirit."
Message of January 10, 1974
"It is necessary to withdraw from the vice that has infected everyone at the present time: radio and television. They must have a moderate schedule for this diversion and not occupy themselves with immoral programs, as most of them are, and err by permitting children to lose their innocence through this wicked diversion."
"They must use vocal prayers, although they be little ones, but they will elevate the soul to its God. They would have to have a most intimate and filial relationship with My Blessed Mother. The holy family Rosary, communions and visits to My Eucharistic sacrament, even spiritually, at least, an this during the day and even at night."
I hear speak of nothing but perfection, but I see it practiced by just a few. Each pictures perfection in his own way. Some see it in simplicity of dress, some in austerity, some in almsgiving, some in the frequenting of the Sacraments, others see it in prayers, others in passive contemplation, and still others in those freely-given or gratuitous graces—but they all err, taking the effects for the cause and the means for the end. I, for my part, know of no other perfection than that of loving God with one's whole heart and one's neighbor as oneself. He who conceives any other type of perfection deceives himself, because the accumulation of all the other virtues without this love is nothing but the amassing of stones. And if we do not immediately and perfectly enjoy this treasure of holy love, it is our own fault, because we are too parsimonious and hesitant with God, and we do not give ourselves entirely to Him as did the Saints. --St. Francis de Sales.
If you really want to become perfect, you must firmly hold to the counsel of the Apostle: Attend to yourself, which implies two things. The first is not to look at the affairs of others nor at their defects. For the one who wishes to do his duty well and correct his own faults certainly has enough to do. The second is to strive for your own perfection and work incessantly for it, without worrying whether or not the others are doing so.
-- Abbot Pastore