From the Franciscan Minims
Mexico • Vergel ---- March • April 2003 ---- No. 3–4
Solitude and Silence: "In silence and quiet
the devout soul goes forward."
Imitation of Christ, Bk. 1, Ch. 20
Our Cover: Imitation, Bk. 1, Ch. 20
The Love of Solitude and Silence
SEEK a proper time to retire into thyself, and often think of the benefits of God. Let curiosities alone. Read such matters as may rather move thee to compunction than give thee occupation.
If thou wilt withdraw thyself from superfluous talk and idle visits, as also from giving ear to news and to reports, thou wilt find time sufficient and proper to employ thyself in good meditations. The greatest saints avoided the company of men as much as they could, and chose to live to God in secret.
"As often as I have been among men" said a philosopher, "I have returned less a man;" this we often experience when we talk long.
It is easier to be altogether silent, than not to exceed in words. It is easier to keep retired at home, than to be able to be sufficiently upon one's guard abroad. Whosoever, therefore, aims at arriving at interior and spiritual things, must, with Jesus go aside from the crowd. (Jn. 5, 13). No man is secure in appearing abroad, but he who would willingly lie hid at home.
No man securely speaks, but he who loves to hold his peace. No man securely governs, but he who would willingly live in subjection. No man securely commands, but he who has learned well to obey.
No man securely rejoices, unless he has within him the testimony of a good conscience (2 Cor. 1, 12). Yet the security of the saints was always full of the fear of God. Neither were they less careful or humble in themselves, because they were shining with great virtues and graces. But the security of the wicked arises from pride and presumption; and will end in deceiving themselves. Never promise thyself security in this life, though thou seem to be a good religious man, or a devout hermit.
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The Blood of the Covenant
• "The price of our redemption is full of unfathomable mysteries. We cannot hope to understand them all. That single divine law, that without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin, is beyond our grasp." -- Father William Faber, The Precious Blood
ONE of the great themes of Sacred Scripture is: God makes a covenant, and seals it with blood. God made a covenant with the patriarch Abraham: "My covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. And I will make thee increase exceedingly: and I will make nations of thee; and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and between thy seed after thee in their generations, by a perpetual covenant: to be a God to thee, and to thy seed after thee."
The covenant was to be ratified by the shedding of blood: "This is my covenant that you shall observe, between me and you, and thy seed after thee: All the male kind of you shall be circumcised. You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin: that it may be for a sign of the covenant between me and you. And my covenant shall be in your flesh, for a perpetual covenant.
"And Abraham took Ismael his son, and all that were born in his house, and he circumcised the flesh of their foreskin forthwith, the very same day, as God had commanded him. Abraham was 99 years old, when he circumcised the flesh of his foreskin. And Ismael his son was full 13 years old at the time of his circumcision. The selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ismael his son." (Genesis, Ch. 17)
Four hundred years after Abraham, his descendants had grown into a large nation. At that time they were led out of Egypt with many signs and wonders, as related in the book of Exodus. When they were in the wilderness of Sinai, God made a covenant with them, and it was ratified by the blood of animal sacrifices.
"So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice: we will do all the words of the Lord, which he hath spoken. And Moses wrote all the words of the Lord: and rising in the morning, he built an altar at the foot of the mount, and twelve titles according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel: and they offered holocausts, and sacrificed pacific victims of calves to the Lord. The Moses took half of the blood, and put it into bowls: and the rest he poured upon the altar. And he took the blood and sprinkled it upon the people, and he said:
"This is the blood of the covenant,
which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words."
(Exodus 24, 8, Hebrews 9, 20)
"The tabernacle also and all the vessels of the ministry, in like manner, he sprinkled with blood, and almost all things, according to the law, are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission."
(Hebrews 9, 21-22).
In the time of the prophet Jeremias, the people had made void the covenant by their many sins, and God promised that he would made a new testament, (covenant) with them: "For finding fault with them, he saith: Behold, the days shall come, saith the Lord: and I will perfect, unto the house of Israel and unto the house of Juda, a new testament; not according to the testament which I made to their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my testament; and I regarded them not, saith the Lord." (Jeremias 31, Hebrews 8, 8)
Christ used the word covenant (testament) only once in his life, at the most solemn moment in the Cenacle, when he established his everlasting kingdom, and made an everlasting covenant, sealed with his own blood.
This is the chalice of my blood, of the new and eternal testament, which shall be shed for you and for many, unto the remission of sins.
He called it the blood of the new testament, because the former covenants were intended by God only for a certain time. And he called it the eternal testament, because his covenant was to begin in the Church he established, and was to be perfected for all eternity in the heavenly Jerusalem, where the angels and saints see him in unending joy for ever.
The blood of a human being or an animal has of itself no power to remit sin, no power to save or sanctify. But in the times before Christ, God was pleased to look upon the blood of Abraham, shed in the circumcision, and the blood of the other just of the Old Testament, and the blood of the animal sacrifices of the Mosaic law, for (according to our human manner of understanding) their blood reminded him of the sacrifice that his own Son was one day to make upon the cross, the sacrifice of redemptive blood, that would perfect for all eternity the saints in the heavenly Jerusalem.
We often think that if we could make a pilgrimage to a holy place, where Mary appeared, or where Christ himself lived and died, that such an action would be a privilege. It is true that if we prayed in such places, perhaps we would pray with more fervor, because of the holiness of the spot itself, and because of the miracles God has worked there.
It is no accident that Bethlehem is only a few miles from Jerusalem. Christ began to shed his blood in Bethlehem, and only a short distance away he ended his life, shedding the blood that saves us, and that will form our joy for all eternity. It would indeed be a privilege to be able to travel to Bethlehem and pray on the very spot where he was born, and where he began to save us, when the knife of the circumciser opened his wound. It would truly be a privilege to go to Jerusalem and visit the Cenacle, where he established his new and everlasting covenant. Then we would walk along the Via Dolorosa, consecrated with his cross and with his blood. At the end we would enter into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and inside would behold the very spot where his cross stood, where he wrought the salvation of all the elect with his blood. Then we would walk a short distance inside the church and see the Holy Sepulchre itself, glorious and empty, like the tombs of the just on the last day. We would remember his glorious resurrection, and that we ourselves will come out of our tombs on the last day (if we are among the elect) with our bodies like his, glorious, agile and beautiful.
In the heavenly Jerusalem the saints and angels contemplate in ecstatic joy the precious blood of their King, who forms their glory for the endless ages of eternity. We do not have to ascend to heaven to share in their privileges. We possess what they possess. We do not have to travel to Jerusalem, to enjoy the fruits of the Precious Blood.
We only have to go to the foot of the altar. There, in hidden splendor, is the chalice of the new and everlasting testament, containing within it the blood that inebriates the saints and that forms their joy for all eternity, the chalice of his blood, the blood of the everlasting covenant, the blood he shed in Bethlehem and upon Calvary. To possess his blood, is almost like being in Paradise: to receive him, is like possessing a heaven upon earth.
May it be for the glory of God
The Vergel of the Immaculate Virgin of Guadalupe
Feb. 27, 2003 • St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin
rrr ttt rrr ttt rrr ttt
A Magazine for the Latter Times
Thanking you for sending Reflections to me; it is a great magazine. Yours sincerely,
--Mr. P.R., Co. Longford, Ireland
I've been enjoying you article on the Miraculous Medal. With Satanic activity running so high in today's world, this is no time to compromise with truth. To compromise with apostasy, leads to one's inability to discern good from evil, and truth from untruth. Some call it mind rot. Have a wonderful Christmas, and please continue to help the poor crucified Bride of Christ to hold fast to the true Catholic faith.
Sincerely, Miss V.P., California, USA
The Trial on Mount Carmel
IN a brief war that had been fought, King Ahab found that the Lord seemed to be on his side. Some nameless, wayside mystic had sworn that it would prove so. While Ben-Hadad and his fellow kings were drinking themselves into sottishness in the vine-grown Syrian land, the Israelites took them by surprise. Eventually the enemy leader put on sackcloth and draped ropes on his head, in token of sorrow and submission. Ahab, always willing to appease, proclaimed an amnesty and now, relishing peace with great relief, Ahab and Ben-Hadad called each other brother.
Who could frighten Ahab now? The victory of the king's armies had been due to God's help and purpose of the Israelite people, but King Ahab took the credit to himself. A very heady Ahab now sat on the throne, and when another anonymous mystic of the streets foretold his death because of his easy attitude toward Israel's enemies, Ahab brushed aside the warning. He was Ahab, the king who won the war; he could say what he liked and do what he pleased.
But not altogether. There were still a few laws in Israel that even a military hero must respect, and presently that necessity made trouble.
Ahab was coveting another man's vineyard, an estate on land of remarkable favor, its grapes full of juice and succulence, which Ahab coveted to make a garden of that plot and there grow flowers for Jezebel, the gorgeously colored, brief-lived blossoms of that thirsty land—roses of Sharon, hyacinths, tulips, anemones, and the sword lilies, as well as stranger blossoms from other lands. These he would plant and seed to brighten the eyes and widen the nostrils of Jezebel, who made a great show of having the exotic tastes proper to a queen. But something stood in the way of making and growing Jezebel's garden. The land belonged to a stubborn citizen who loved his vineyard and did not care to part with it. The ground belonged to Naboth, the Jezreelite, and he declined to sell his inheritance from his forefathers. By the laws of Israel, his right to it was inviolate; not even the king could gainsay that. So Ahab retired into his palace and sulked like a child.
"Why is your spirit so sad?" inquired the ever-watchful Jezebel, and when her husband explained, she laughed.
"Who governs Israel?" she wanted to know. "Be merry. I will give you that vineyard of Naboth's, never fear."
That same day the doting Jezebel wrote letters to pious old elders and nobles, still firm in the true faith of Israel, complaining that their neighbor, Naboth, had blasphemed both God and king. A strange complaint from one who worshiped Melkart. Next Jezebel suborned two false witnesses to swear to her own lies. Such accusations were most serious, because the penalty was death; and although Naboth was entirely innocent of any wrong, he was dragged outside the city walls and stoned.
Then Jezebel smiled at her husband.
"Now, arise. Take possession of the vineyard! For Naboth is no longer alive."
Glad in his greed, Ahab strode through the palace gate to possess the vineyard he had coveted. What a strong-minded queen his Jezebel was! But suddenly his gloating thoughts stopped; that same unbearable old man, that ragged prophet, was barring his way.
"Have you found me, O mine enemy?" gasped Ahab. It was indeed Elijah, stalking through Naboth's vineyard, directly toward him.
"In the palace where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth, shall dogs lick your blood! Even thine," cried Elijah, repeating the word of the Lord, as the Voice had just given it to him. "And the dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel."
Ahab tore his kingly clothes, put on sackcloth, and fasted in deepest fear. As was his wont, having delivered the divine message, Elijah disappeared.
Like so many leaders of the Israelites before him, Ahab did not mend his ways, even though he had been thoroughly frightened; he could not bring himself to drive the evil out of his soul. Although he had an easy treaty with Syria and it has lasted three years, peace taught him nothing. Ahab longed to possess, not merely a vineyard next, but the city of Ramoth-Gilead, east of the Jordan, a valuable trade post and a defense bastion, never relinquished by the wily Syrians. By his own self-serving logic Ahab convinced himself that the harbor city should be his, and before long he determined to get it at all costs.
And surprisingly it was to the two separated tribes that he turned for allies: to the long-hostile Benjamin and Judah in the south—the other part of Solomon's kingdom, unhealed scar of civil war. With smiling effrontery King Ahab asked King Jehoshaphat of Judah to join him in his greedy purpose, to steal the maritime city of a neighbor nation.
Here Ahab met another kind of king.
Jehoshaphat was a pious man, unaggressive, a deep believer in the Lord God. Even though his weaker kingdom had much to fear from Ahab in the north, Jehoshaphat suggested that first the Lord God be consulted about going against Ramoth. And Ahab, always all things to all men, assented.
So it was that some four hundred prophets of the upper kingdom were convoked into a general session at Ahab's palace. (To be continued)
Following His Footsteps
by Anselmo del Álamo
Chapter 7. Mortification, Suffering
26. I do not understand well those who support their tribulation, lamenting and complaining always, because paternal chastisement and my correction proceed from a great love and are truly sweet and benign, in such a way that he should be considered happy from whom affliction is never absent, this his affliction does not proceed from my severity, but rather from the most tender and benign love I feel for him, and I want this to be understood about any cross and tribulation, whether sought spontaneously, or whether it comes from somewhere else, against the will of him who suffers it, for in this case one makes a virtue of necessity, Let him who bears this cross not flee from it against my disposition: let him direct his suffering to my eternal praise, with resignation and humble patience; and the more suffering is accompanied by greater love and a prompt will, so much the more is it noble and to me more agreeable. --- Our Lord to Blessed Henry Suso
27. As the ring is a sign of betrothal, thus adversity, both bodily and spiritual, supported patiently for the love of God, is the most secure pledge of divine election, and a kind of nuptials of the soul with God. -- St. Gertrude
28. I made an effort to smile at suffering, so that the good God, as if deceived by the expression of my face, did not even know I was suffering. -- St. Therese of Lisieux
29. If you have not yet suffered anything for God, neither have you begun to be his servant. The Apostle says clearly that "all those who wish to live piously in Christ will suffer persecution."
The Circumcision of Christ
From the Mystical City of God,by Mary of Agreda
(Bk.3, Ch. 15.) Most Holy Mary Remains in the Portal of the Nativity until the Coming of the Magi Kings.
BY the infused knowledge of holy Scriptures and her high supernatural enlightenment, our great Queen knew that the Magi kings of the Orient would come to acknowledge and adore her most holy Son as their true God. She was aware of it also more particularly because an angel had been sent to them to announce the birth of the incarnate Word, as mentioned in chapter second, and the Virgin Mother was not ignorant of this message. Saint Joseph had no foreknowledge of these mysteries; because they had not been revealed to him, nor had his most prudent spouse informed him of this secret. In all things she was most wise and discreet, awaiting the sweet and timely dispositions of the divine providence (Wis. 8, 1). After the Circumcision, the holy spouse suggested to the Mistress of heaven that they leave their poor and forsaken habitation on account of the insufficient shelter which it afforded the divine infant and to her; for it would now be possible to find a lodging in Bethlehem, where they could remain until after presenting the Child in the temple of Jerusalem. This proposal of the most faithful spouse arose from his solicitude and anxiety, lest the Child and the Mother should want even that comfort and convenience which it was possible for their poverty to procure; but he left it all to the disposition of his heavenly Spouse.
Without revealing this mystery, the humble Queen answered: "My spouse and master, I resign myself to thy will, and wherever thou wishest to go, I will follow with great pleasure: arrange it as thou pleasest." The heavenly Lady had an affection for the cave on account of its humbleness and poverty, and because the incarnate Word had consecrated it by the mysteries of his Nativity and Circumcision, and was to hallow it by the mystery of the Magi's visit, although She did not know at what time that would happen. This was a most pious affection, full of devotion and reverence; yet she preferred to give an example of the highest perfection in all things. She considered it more important to resign and submit to saint Joseph, letting her spouse decide what was to be done. While they were thus conferring with each other, the Lord himself informed them through the two celestial princes Michael and Gabriel, who were attending in corporeal forms to the service of their Lord and God and of their great Queen. They spoke to Mary and Joseph, saying: "Divine providence has ordained that three kings of the earth, coming from the Orient in search of the King of heaven, should adore the divine Word in this very place (Ps. 71, 6). They are already ten days on the way; for at the hour of the birth of Jesus they were informed of it, and they immediately set out on their journey. Therefore they will shortly arrive, fulfilling all that the Prophets had from very ancient times foreknown and foretold."
By this announcement saint Joseph was instructed on his part concerning the will of the Lord, and Mary his most holy Spouse said to him: "My master, this place, chosen by the Most High for such magnificent mysteries, although it is poor and ill-furnished in the eyes of the world, in the sight of eternal Wisdom is rich, precious, the most estimable and preferable on this earth, since the Lord of heaven is satisfied with it, and has consecrated it by his presence. He who is the true land of promise can favor us with his vision in this place. And if it is his pleasure, He will afford us some protection and shelter against the inclemencies of the weather during the few days in which we are to stay here." Saint Joseph was much consoled and encouraged by these words of the most prudent queen. He answered her, that, since the divine Child was to fulfill the law, which required him to be presented in the temple, just as he had subjected himself to the law of Circumcision, they could remain in this sacred place until that day should arrive, without first undertaking the distant and wearisome journey to Nazareth during the inclement weather. If, perhaps, the severity of the season would compel them to seek shelter in the city, they could easily do so; since from Bethlehem to Jerusalem there was only a distance of two hours.
In all these matters the most holy Mary conformed herself to the will of her watchful spouse; for she knew his solicitude for the sacred tabernacle which was confided to his care, and which was more holy and venerable than the Holy of Holies in the temple. Awaiting the time when her Onlybegotten should be presented in the temple, she was unremitting in her care of him, lest she forget anything necessary to protect him against the cold and the roughness of the weather. She also prepared the cave for the arrival of the Kings, cleaning it once more and arranging it anew as far as the rudeness and destitution of the place allowed. But her greatest attention and care was always reserved for the Child itself, bearing It in her arms continually, unless absolute necessity demanded otherwise.
As to the order and manner in which the great Queen nourished her Child Jesus, it is to be remarked that she offered him her virginal milk three times a day, and always with such reverence that she asked his permission beforehand and his pardon for the indignity, considering herself and acknowledging herself unworthy of such a privilege. Many times, while holding him in her arms, she was on her knees adoring him; and if at any time it was necessary to seat herself she always asked his permission. With the same tokens of reverence she handed him to saint Joseph and received him from his arms, as I have said above. Many times she kissed his feet, and when she wished to kiss his face, she interiorly asked his benevolent consent. The sweetest Child returned these caresses of his Mother not only by the expression of pleasure in his countenance, which was at the same time full of majesty, but also by other actions usual in children. In Him, however, they were accompanied by a serene deliberation. The most ordinary token of his love was to recline sweetly upon the breast of the most pure Mother, or upon her shoulder, encircling her neck with his divine arms. These caresses the Empress Mary met with so much attention and discretion that she neither petulantly sought them as other mothers, nor too timidly withdrew from them. In all these things she behaved most perfectly and prudently, without defect or excess of any kind: the more openly and affectionate her most holy Son manifested his love toward her, so much the more deeply did she humiliate herself, and so much the greater was her reverence; in the same manner she gauged also the tokens of her affection and lent new glory to her magnanimity.
So powerful were the effects of this delightful communication with her Son and true God, that she was more and more spiritualized and made godlike. Many times in these flights of her soul, the force of her burning love would have torn asunder the ligaments of her members and destroyed the union of her soul and body, if she had not been miraculously comforted and preserved. She spoke to her most holy Son secret words so exalted and full of weight that they cannot come within the range of our expression. All that I can reproduce can never be anything more than a mere shadow of that which was manifested to me. She said to Him: "O my Love, sweet Life of my soul, who art Thou, and who am I? What dost Thou wishest to make of me by thus becoming man of man, lowering thy greatness and magnificence in favor of such useless dust? O what shall thy slave do to pay the debt of love which she owes to Thee? What return shall I make for the great things which thou hast done to me (Ps. 115, 12)? My being, my life, my faculties, my feelings, my desires and longings, all is for Thee. Comfort thy servant and thy Mother, in order that She may not fail in thy service at the sight of her own insignificance, and in order that she may not die for love of Thee. O how limited is the power of man! How circumscribed his capacity! How insufficient is human affection, as it cannot sufficiently render a just return for thy love! But the victory of mercy and magnificence must always be thine, and to Thee belong the triumphal songs of love; while we must on the contrary always consider ourselves overcome and vanquished by thy power. Let us be humiliated, while thy greatness is magnified and exalted in all the eternities."
The heavenly Lady, partaking of the knowledge of her most holy Son, sometimes beheld the souls which in the course of the new law of grace were to distinguish themselves in divine love, the works which they were to perform, the martyrdom which they were to suffer in imitation of the Lord; in this knowledge she became so inflamed with love that her longings of love caused in her a greater martyrdom than those actually suffered by the saints. To her happened what the Spouse in the Canticles mentions (Cant. 8, 6), that the emulations of love are strong as death and hard as hell. To these agonies of the loving Mother, caused by the mortal wounds of divine affection, her most holy Son answered in the words there used: "Place me as a sign or seal in thy heart, and upon thy arm," causing in her at the same time the full understanding of these words, as well as their actual fulfillment. By this divine suffering most holy Mary was a Martyr above all other martyrs. Among such beds of lilies the meekest Lamb, Jesus, wandered, while the day of grace began to break, and the shades of the ancient Law receded.
The divine Child ate nothing during the time in which he was nourished at the virginal breast of his most holy Mother, for this milk was his only sustenance. This was most sweet and substantial, since it originated in a body so pure, perfect and refined, and one built up in exquisite harmony without any disorder or inequality. No other body was equal to it in healthfulness; and the sacred milk, even if it would have been preserved a long time, would have remained free from corruption; by an especial privilege it never changed or soured, though the milk of other women immediately degenerates and becomes corrupt, as experience teaches.
The most fortunate Joseph not only witnessed the favors and caresses which passed between the Child and its Mother; but he himself shared in others, which Jesus deigned to confer upon him. Many times his heavenly spouse placed him in his arms. This happened whenever she had to do some work during which she could not hold him herself; as for instance, when she prepared the meals, or arranged the clothes of the Infant or cleaned the house. On these occasions saint Joseph held him in his arms, and he always felt divine effects in his soul. The Child Jesus showed exterior signs of affection by his pleased looks, by reclining upon his breast, and by other tokens of affection usual with children in regard to their fathers, but in Him these tokens were always tempered with kingly majesty. Yet all this was not so frequent in his dealings with saint Joseph, nor with such endearment, as with his true Virgin Mother.
Whenever she left Jesus in his care, she received from saint Joseph the relic of the Circumcision, which the latter ordinarily bore about with him for his consolation. Thus both the two Spouses were continually enriched; she by holding her most holy Son, he by his sacred blood and deified flesh. They preserved it in a crystal vase, which saint Joseph had purchased with the money sent to them by saint Elisabeth. In this they had enclosed the particle of flesh and the sacred blood shed at the Circumcision, which had been caught up in pieces of linen. The opening of the vase was encased in silver, which the mighty queen, in order to preserve the sacred relics more securely, had sealed by her mere command. Thus the silver opening was more firmly sealed, than if it had been soldered by the artisan, who had made the vessel. In this vase the prudent mother treasured the relics during her whole life, and afterwards she entrusted it to the Apostles, leaving it as an inheritance to the holy Church. In this immense sea of mysteries I find myself so annihilated and dumbfounded by my ignorance as a woman, and so narrowed in my powers of expression, that I must leave much of it to be fathomed by the faith and piety of the Christians.
Instruction which the most holy Queen Mary Gave Me
My daughter, in the foregoing chapter, thou hast been instructed not to seek information from the Lord by supernatural means, neither in order to relieve any suffering, nor in order to satisfy a natural hankering of curiosity.. .....
The shortened version of the Mystical City of God is available on-line at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/7194 --The complete set of four volumes of the Mystical City of God is available from: Ave María Institute, Washington, New Jersey 07882. Write for more details.
A Letter We Received
To Whom It May Concern:
I am requesting picture cards of the "Young Virgin" by Francisco de Zurbaran, because of a miracle that happened to me.
On December 16, 2000, while I was meditating over my life because I was feeling so alone and I was crying, I smelled the fragrance of flowers. With my surprise, the fragrance was coming from a picture card of the "Young Virgin." I didn't know where I got the picture card, or who gave it to me. Then on the night of December 21, 2000, while reading Messages from Heaven to the Portavoz of Jesus in Mexico, Vol. 1, I found the same picture of the "Young Virgin" in the book, and again I smelled the fragrance of flowers from this picture. The fragrance from this picture lasted about one month.
In the book, I read that Jesus requests that this picture be distributed to school-age children. I am interested in purchasing several copies of this picture, so I can give them to my grandchildren.
Sincerely, Mrs. P.C., Maryland, USA
The message to which this letter refers, was given by Our Lord on Sunday, April 5, 1970, Octave of Easter. Part of this message is as follows:
"My daughter, tell My people that they must repent and stop persecuting the children of My Church. Let them change their minds and submit to My new law, the law of My gospel, which is that which I have given to My holy Church, because outside of My Church there is no salvation."
Immediately afterwards, our Lord said to me once more. "Open the book to plate 45."
I opened the book and there was a colored image or painting of the Blessed Virgin when she was a child. In this picture Mary is sweetly sitting on the floor, with some kind of manual work on her knees. Her little hands are joined in an attitude of prayer; her eyes, raised to the heights, and nine little angels are crowning her, that is, only their faces. All of this is observed as though it were through a curtain. On one side, she has several sewing instruments and a book; on the floor there are a basket and a pitcher, but with a flower vase containing roses and lilies. The title of the picture reads thus: The Blessed Virgin as a Child, by Francisco Zurbaran. It is from the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York.
Jesus repeated to me some words which He told me not long ago: "My Mother always lived in a state of constant adoration."
But now He told me: "This picture has earned for its author eternal salvation, and that of many other souls. Try to reproduce it and to spread it among others, and to teach how little girls ought to live: in imitation of my Mother, in adoration and recollection. Even while engaged in work, my Mother used to be in prayer always. There is a need for pious, modest and holy women, so that there be a chaste generation, my daughter. Tell it thus to the entire world; above all, this message is directly intended for the schools."
Here again, I questioned my Jesus and He answered me: "Lord, what relation have Exodus and Deuteronomy, which you have made me read, with the situation of the world? What have you wanted to tell me, or to indicate, by making me read them now?"
This was His reply: "I have used and continue using patience in bearing with human beings. And I will continue to do so; but tell all of them that they must strive to give up the life of vice and sin. Let them read the Holy Bible; above all, Exodus, until the death of my great prophet, Moses, through whom I gave them my very first commandments, which have not been derogated, but rather confirmed, by my gospel. The precepts of the Old Testament which I gave through Moses, I came down to perfect them with my law of grace and love.
"Yet, My children continue to provoke me to anger, and this wrath shall fall upon them soon. And such will befall those who are stubborn and who do not amend their lives. And it will fall upon my race, if they do not detest their sins and their incredulity; and if they do not humble themselves and become once more my people, I will detest them forever.
"Remember, My daughter, that I have always taught you that, on the final day of the periods of time, My justice shall be exalted and glorified as much with the just man who will be saved, as with the reprobated one who will be condemned forever into everlasting fire with the fallen angels. (Mt. 25, 41). Now, let all of you be alert, because great signs of my power and holy vengeance will take place very soon. Just as in former times, now and forever I am the Almighty; and I will punish the stubbornness of My evil children, because I will not tolerate them forever. And with this, it is enough!" The Jesus kept silent.
Later, Jesus dictated the following: "Let everyone understand how much they are provoking my justice, so as to let my wrath fall against the obstinate, especially upon those who are undermining my holy Catholic Church, and causing such great suffering to my beloved vicar, Pope Paul VI."
"Now, My daughter, dedicate your time to publishing all the words that I have entrusted to you from the beginning, because afterwards, I desire to give you a little time which you may devote to your own soul and to your community.
"Do not feel sad if you are not raised from the state in which you are, in the company of your sisters. The little and upright of heart are pleasing in my sight, not the great ones according to the world and the human way of thinking.
"At an opportune time I will bring to My work the souls who are pleasing to me and suitable for consecrating themselves with me, victims before my justice. As for all the rest, My daughter, it is worth nothing. Such things are grandeurs of the earth, not of heaven. Love me, and tell all of those who surround you in this work, to give me all of their love, to give themselves over to my cross, and that, as for the rest, I will do it all with my power and my glory.
"To you, I will come many more times yet, but I will not give you one single message more for the world or for My Church. However, they will see the fulfillment of all that has been announced through you.
"Adore Me! Love Me! And continue in peace!"
Then, during these moments as at other times, I felt the caressing touch of the hand of Jesus on my forehead.
From that moment until the present, during which time I am writing these notes, an hour has passed by. It is now 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon.
May it be for the glory of God -- The poor Portavoz of Jesus
Promise and Fulfillment
Many years have passed since Our Lord spoke these words. Some of the events that he spoke of have not yet been fulfilled. Such long delays might cause us sadness, but we know that in the end everything that he has promised will be fulfilled. In the above message he said: "They will see the fulfillment of all that has been announced through you."
When the events happen that will bring about the fulfillment of the prophecies, they will be so manifest that it will be impossible to hide them: they will affect all of humanity, both those who die, when swift destruction will fall upon them, and those who will survive, those who humbled themselves and believed and changed. Now God's decrees and actions are hidden: they happen in private lives, in hidden graces, in secret inspirations, and even in miracles. The lady who wrote the above letter was a witness to a hidden miracle: a fragrance came forth from the picture of Mary, a testimony that these words of Christ are as fresh now as when they were first given in 1970. God has not abandoned us, and in due time, all his promises will be fulfilled. What happiness this will be for those who believed, and who carried their cross with patience and with hope. Then they will see the fruit of their patience and their hope, and they will be so happy when they see all these promises fulfilled, those promises made for "the little and upright of heart," mentioned in the above message.
St. Paul wrote: "Be not deceived: God is not mocked. For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that sows in his flesh of the flesh shall reap corruption. But he that sows in the spirit of the spirit shall reap life everlasting." (Gal. 6).
We are living in times when we shall see the fulfillment of these verses and decrees. Those who do not pay attention and continue obstinate, will reap the fruit of their actions: corruption and destruction. Those who pay attention and who obey and change their lives, will reap life everlasting and in some cases intense joy. Christ said that his disciples would have sorrow and tribulation in this world, but that their sorrow would be turned into joy. We may have to wait, as long as God wants us to wait, but in the end we will see the fulfillment of that verse and so many others. To obey God may sometimes cause sorrow: to carry one's cross may not be easy, but there will come a moment when the sorrow will be turned into joy.
Mercy Shall Come for Your Delight
"Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear: and prepare thy soul for temptation. Humble thy heart, and endure: incline thy ear, and receive the words of understanding: and make not haste in the time of clouds.
"Wait on God with patience: join thyself to God and endure, that thy life may be increased in the latter end. Take all that shall be brought upon thee: and in thy sorrow endure, and in thy humiliation keep patience. For gold and silver are tried in the fire, but acceptable men in the furnace of humiliation.
"Believe God, and he will recover thee and direct thy way: and trust in him. Keep his fear, and grow old therein. Ye that fear the Lord, wait for his mercy: and go not aside from him, lest ye fall. Ye that fear the Lord, believe him: and your reward shall not be made void.
"Ye that fear the Lord, hope in him: and mercy shall come to you for your delight.
"Ye that fear the Lord, love him: and your hearts shall be enlightened. My children, behold the generations of men: and know ye that no one hath hoped in the Lord, and hath been confounded. For God is compassionate and merciful, and will forgive sins in the day of tribulation: and he is a protector to all that seek him in truth.
"Woe to them that are fainthearted, and who believe not God. And therefore they shall not be protected by him.
"Woe to them that have lost patience, and that have forsaken the right ways, and have gone aside into crooked ways. And what will they do, when the Lord shall begin to examine?
"They that fear the Lord will prepare their hearts: and in his sight will sanctify their souls." -- (Ecclesiasticus, ch. 2).
False Miraculous Medals
An Inquiry made by Mr. Victor Lefevre,
Vice-President of the Domain of the Immaculate Conception,
Continued from previous issue
Note: These articles are reprints from the Franciscan Minims' newsletter of 1981. Victor Lefebvre and Fr. Matthieu are no longer living.
As for the Medal, it was already too late: genuine and false medals were already circulated, all mixed together, throughout the whole world. Now, to see more clearly through the whole thing, we had to search for the origin of the two horizontal bars. And we were not going to be disappointed by our almost unbelievable and terrifying discoveries.
I was quite concerned with one thing in particular. My secretary, Amicie de Fontaines, had given me an amber rosary, that she received from her grandmother, made in 1843, the anniversary of Alphonse Ratisbonne's conversion. Now the Miraculous Medal that adorned it carried the two bars under the M. In previous articles we have seen that the silversmith, Mr. Vachette, had been the "inventor" of those two bars. But at any cost we had to know whether those two bars had a meaning or not. I talked about it with Father Peyrat, who suggested for me to telephone Father Matthieu. No sooner said than done. And Father Peyrat took the extension line.
Our telephone conversation was quite informative and lasted 15 minutes. I called the attention of the renowned Capuchin-exorcist, who is known world-wide, to the fact that so many Miraculous Medals, manufactured by a large number of silversmiths and immediately after the apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Catherine Labouré, carried, most of them, the two famous horizontal bars. But he let me know that, actually, right from the start of the minting of the first medals, counterfeits had been circulated, and that he was quite well informed of the fact.
It was now my turn to share with him some important news, which, nevertheless, we had to verify for ourselves. One member of the little flock of our subscribers, Mr. Chancel, had just warned me about a fact that proved quite disturbing to him. On paying a visit to the cemetery of his own locality, he had been intrigued by an unusual tombstone. Throughout the whole length of the stone ran two black bars! As Mr. Chancel had taken part in our 20th national Rosary, at the Domain of the Immaculate Conception, in 1978, in the course of which I had revealed the affair of false Miraculous Medals, all of a sudden he remembered the existence of those two famous bars. Therefore he made his way to the marble dealer of the cemetery and asked him whether he knew anything that might explain the presence of two black bars on a certain tombstone. The marble dealer replied that his own curiosity had been aroused, and that he had asked the question to the lady-customer who had ordered that tombstone. Right away she replied: "Sir, I am an atheist, and I just buried my husband. For atheists those two bars mean: Without any further hope: Nothingness!"
I pray you believe me, dear friends, that Father Matthieu was overwhelmed, no doubt because from what I had just revealed to him, he had discovered the origin of the counterfeiting of the Miraculous Medal by the addition of bars which had remained totally unexplained up to that moment.
The Greatest Deliverance
SALVATION! What music is there in that word—music that never tires but is always new, that always rouses yet always rests us! It holds in itself all that our hearts would say. It is sweet vigor to us in the morning, and in the evening it is contented peace. It is a song that is always singing itself deep down in the delighted soul. Angelic ears are ravished by it up in heaven: and our Eternal Father himself listens to it with adorable complacency. It is sweet even to him out of whose mind is the music of a thousand worlds. To be saved! What is it to be saved? Who can tell? Eye has not seen, nor ear heard. It is a rescue, and from such a shipwreck. It is a rest, and in such an unimaginable home. It is to lie down forever in the bosom of God in an endless rapture of insatiable contentment.
"Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins." Who else but Jesus can do this, and what else even from him do we require but this? For in this lie all things which we can desire. Of all miseries the bondage of sin is the most miserable. It is worse than sorrow, worse than pain. It is such a ruin that no other ruin is like unto it. It troubles all the peace of life. It turns sunshine into darkness. It embitters all pleasant fountains, and poisons the very blessings of God which should have been for our healing. It doubles the burdens of life, which are heavy enough already. It makes death a terror and a torture, and the eternity beyond the grave an infinite and intolerable blackness. Alas! We have felt the weightiness of sin, and know that there is nothing like it. Life has brought many sorrows to us and many fears. Our hearts have ached a thousand times. Tears have flowed. Sleep has fled. Food has been nauseous to us, even when our weakness craved for it. But never have we felt anything like the dead weight of a mortal sin. What then must a life of such sins be? What must be a death in sin? What the irrevocable eternity of unretracted sin?
From all this horror whither shall we look for deliverance? Not to ourselves; for we know the practical infinity of our weakness, and the incorrigible vitality of our corruption. Not to any earthly power; for it has no jurisdiction here. Not to philosophy, literature, or science; for in this case they are but sorry and unhelpful matters. Not to any saint, however holy, nor to any angel, however mighty; for the least sin is a bigger mountain than they have faculties to move. Not to the crowned queen of God's creation, the glorious and the sinless Mary; for even her holiness cannot satisfy for sin, nor the whiteness of her purity take out its deadly stain. Neither may we look for deliverance direct from the patience and compassion of God himself; for in the abysses of his wisdom it has been decreed, that without shedding of blood, there shall be no remission of sin. It is from the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ alone, that our salvation comes. Out of the immensity of its merits, out of the inexhaustible treasures of its satisfactions, because of the resistless power of its beauty over the justice and the wrath of God, because of that dear combination of its priceless worth and its benignant prodigality, we miserable sinners are raised out of the depths of our wretchedness, and restored to the peace and favor of our heavenly Father.
Is hope sweet where despair had almost begun to reign? Is it a joy to be emancipated from a shameful slavery, or set free from a noxious dungeon? Is it gladness to be raised as if by miracle from a bed of feebleness and suffering, to sudden health and instantaneous vigor? Then what a gladness must salvation be! For, as there is no earthly misery like sin, so is there no deliverance like that with which Jesus makes us free. Words will not tell it. Thought only can think it, and it must be thought out of an enlightened mind and a burning heart, dwelt on for a long, long while. The first moment after death is a moment which must infallibly come to every one of us. Earth lies behind us, silently wheeling its obedient way through black-tinted space. The measureless spaces of eternity lie outstretched before us. The words of our sentence have scarcely floated away into silence. It is a sentence of salvation. The great risk has been run, and we are saved. God's power is holding our soul, lest it should die of gladness. It cannot take in the whole of its eternity. The least accidental joy is a world of beatitude in itself. The blaze of the vision is overwhelming. Then the truth that eternity is eternal—that is so hard to master. Yet all this is only what we mean, when we pronounce the word salvation. How hideous the difference of that first moment after death, if we had not been saved! It turns us cold to think of it. But oh, joy of joys! We have seen the face of Jesus; and the light in his eyes, and the smile upon his face, and the words upon his lips, were salvation. --Rev. W.F., London, 1860
Last Exhortation of a Saint
WHEN Saint Philibert retired from being the abbot of the monastery of Jumieges (France, 7th century) he resigned that abbacy to Saint Aichardus, whose nomination was accepted by the community in consequence of a vision granted to one of their number. There were then at Jumieges nine hundred monks, among whom he promoted monastic perfection by his example, and this manner of exhorting proved most effectual for some of them. But others were not so easily led, until their abbot had a dream of the approaching death and judgment of 442 of them: this had a great effect in heightening their observance.
When St. Aichardus' death approached, he was laid on ashes, and covered with sackcloth, and said to the monks:
"My dear children, never forget the last advice and testament of your most loving father. I implore you in the name of our divine Savior always to love one another, and never to suffer the least coldness toward any brother to be for a moment in your breasts, or anything by which perfect charity may suffer any harm in your souls. You have borne the yoke of penance and are grown old in the exercise of religious duties in vain, if you do not sincerely love one another. Without this, martyrdom itself cannot make you acceptable to God. Fraternal charity is the soul of a religious house."
Having spoken these words, he happily surrendered his soul into the hands of his Creator. (A.D. 687).
--Butler's Lives of the Saints, Sept. 15.
Comment by Franciscan Minims
The saint's exhortation is good advice, not only for religious men and women, but for the members of any group whatsoever, a family, a clan of relatives, an organization, club or parish. Fraternal kindness is the soul of any group. To think kind thoughts and speak kind words is essential: without that, all other qualities are of little value. Bearing with each other, being patient with each other, and forgiving each other, are essential. If the members of a group begin to think unkind thoughts about each other, and if they proceed to unkind words and actions, disaster is imminent. Christ said that a group divided against itself cannot stand. Division leads ultimately to destruction. Kindness in thoughts and actions is necessary not only for perfection, but for survival.
The Drama of Salvation
THE story of the Passion is naturally more or less the same in all the Gospels. Luke does not forget to name Our Lord's third and real enemy, Satan himself. Now is the favorable time for him (Lk. 4, 13) for which he was waiting ever since our Lord's temptations. These three foes, therefore, join together--namely, the high priests and the scribes, who had long since determined to remove Him, and Satan, together with Judas, one of the twelve, as Luke adds, so as to heighten the tragedy of what occurs. The joy of the high-priests and their complete unity of purpose with Judas is related here in much detail. When friends become traitors, the joy of the foes is at its highest.
The preparations made by Jesus for the paschal meal also involve a union of three friends. Jesus himself sends forward two of his disciples. It is made clear here that Our Lord himself initiated all the events now to follow. Luke alone gives the names of the two disciples. Over against the dark plans of Judas there should shine through history the names of those who as Jesus' friends helped in making the preparations for his great act of love. They are the first and most loved disciples among the twelve, and from then on their names are often united in history. Just as Judas is for ever branded as the traitor, so this joint work of love unites their names as the two disciples of love. The third who joins with them is the good man of the house, to whom they were sent. Our Lord makes a mystery of the whole matter, probably in order to leave Judas in ignorance, so that he could not upset the festival with his treason. But in any case it had to be so: the mystery of love had to be opposed to the dark mystery of treason.
Thus there are three foes and three friends who make preparation for this evening's work. The friends prepare the feast: the foes, treason and death. Our Lord, however, in his majesty will so ordain things, that both together make up a single mighty action which is his alone and only his, his great sacrifice for men. For this he has need of both, friends and foes, and both must do him service in this matter.
In Luke's gospel the account of the Last Supper reaches its complete perfection. From Luke's account we can see that Our Lord had in view no other fulfillment than that of the new food and the new cup which he was about to give them. For it is immediately clear that the body and blood of Our Lord constitute such a tremendous advance over the old paschal meal of the Jews, and involve such direct proximity of God himself and such a new and unique covenant of God with his people, that they alone in reality involve the actual coming of God's kingdom, and the fulfillment of what the paschal lamb of the Jews could only foreshadow. Our Lord's words that he will no more eat the paschal lamb, or drink the cup, are intended to confirm that in actual fact a new era has now begun. Not only will our Lord no more eat of it, neither will His disciples. The Jew's pasch is finished once for all, and that which is its fulfillment takes its place. This new food, which consists of his flesh and blood, points also to a yet more glorious future, that of the marriage feast in heaven.
He is himself the true and actual paschal lamb. His blood is in very deed the sign that brings men salvation, the real and new covenant in which God of his mercy binds himself to man. The new rite is in its entirely both meal and sacrifice, just as the Jewish paschal lamb was both. This is supported by the separation of "body " and blood," and also by the explanation which follows, in each case indicating that the one is "shed," the other "given." Neither of these actions is to be put in the future, both are mysteriously present: the body is given now, the blood is shed now.
This scene of hidden majesty contains within it mysteriously the whole coming Passion and sacrificial death of our Lord; in fact, it must be regarded as the actual offering of the sacrifice, the act which makes the Passion into a sacrifice: Sacrifice among men always involves a visible act of offering; a purely inward act is not sufficient. Similarly, Christ's death upon the cross could not be recognized as really constituting a sacrificial act, without this offering of His life, which preceded it. The fact that Christ during His Passion spoke not one single word, which unmistakably makes clear the sacrificial nature of His action, has deep reasons. The outward course of events is clearly the character of an execution, carried out according to legal forms, so it was not possible to read anything of the nature of a sacrifice into it. There remains only Christ's action in the upper room of the Last Supper; only by it and in it, did the death on the cross take on its character of being Christ's great and complete offering. Through this act at the Last Supper, the death on the cross became the sacrifice freely offered by Christ for men to the Father.
This sacrifice was made with exact foreknowledge of all the individual circumstances, and almost in the same breath, as the words about the cup--he mentions the traitor at the table.
This grave secret is mentioned by Christ with but brief and scanty words. He himself goes forward with full knowledge to his fate, according to God's foreordained plan, But on the man, through whose treason-humanly speaking--this became possible, fall the dreadful words of "woe" to come. How the same event can be God's predestined plan and will, and at the same time a human sin, involves a combination beyond our conception. It makes us realize how immeasurably higher are God's plans than our plans, God's thoughts than our thoughts. Christ says quite clearly that the same action can be both. This is one reason why our Lord's Passion is so mysterious, and beyond our comprehension. Complete and childlike faith finds many reasons why all this had to be so, and not otherwise. For in this dreadful mystery, the mystery of Our Lord's sacrificial death as atonement and price of redemption for sinful men, it was appropriate that humans should play such a decisive and terrible part, through the whole of these sacrificial actions, so as to be quite inseparable from them. It was with the treason of Judas that there began all that chain of sins, through which alone the Passion of our Lord became possible. With the presence of the traitor at this meal, it began at the very same moment as that in which our Lord on his side completes the essential act of sacrifice.
The Final Acts of the Sacrifice
If Luke's gospel has been called the most beautiful book in the world, then surely the last portion, covering the conclusion of Christ's life, is one of the main justifications for this verdict. Our Lord's death upon the cross is illuminated by rays of beauty from the sun of a love which has its source far above this world. It is unnecessary to make the point that this is not the only aspect of the cross presented to us: there is a more gloomy aspect, overshadowed by the powers of darkness which surround it. But we know that the Son of God died there: the light of eternity properly maintains its position over and above the shadows: this light it was which, according to Luke, shone upon our Lord's last hours.
Like the other Evangelists, Luke is obliged naturally to inform us that the crucifixion of Christ took place between two criminals. He is aware of the cutting scorn and mockery which accompanied this, just as are Matthew and Mark. All present joined in this. The rulers led the way: once more, just as they had done on a previous occasion "they derided him", this time, however, completely triumphant. They were now victorious in every point, finally justified in fullest measure. For that last miracle which perhaps a simple believer may have expected, did not occur: Christ did not come down from the cross. So it was all over with Him. He was not what he had claimed to be. They were confirmed and supported in the conviction of their success. No more could his words disturb them, none of his earlier miracles had any significance now. He was finished, completely and finally.
So far everything is just the same as it is narrated by the others, and there is nothing new. But a magnificent extra in Luke is his knowledge that someone who was present caught the words spoken by Jesus amid the raging of His enemies. The first words with which He introduces this final act of his earthly life were these: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Thus we are given a glimpse into his inmost heart, into the thought of his which accompanied all this mocking rage of his foes, with all its fill of hatred. From these words shines forth the purity of his love and goodness in a way which fulfills all for which we could possibly hope. He words show such a degree of magnanimity, such loftiness of spirit rising above all human wickedness, that in the midst of his enemies' triumph, the banner of victory is unfolded in all its heavenly splendor. They believed themselves victorious, and their victory consisted (for men cannot conceive of victory otherwise) in the annihilation of their enemy, in trampling upon him, in mocking him and in spitting upon him until he breathed his last. Our Lord's words, however, have their source in a completely different view of life. Here love wins the final victory over all evil: here love offers its very self to all the raging violence of evil until it is satisfied, and then from the midst of all this horror love only utters the prayer which calls for the ultimate and everlasting mercy of the Father upon this evil in its blindness.
Here, therefore, the cross reveals its first beauty: it is the means whereby the everlasting divine love is revealed. These words alone would have sufficed for Luke, as artist and painter, to justify for all time the making of the cross into the subject of the most elevated and most fervent art, simply because amid the most terrible human perversion it suddenly permits the highest beauty of all to gleam through the darkness. Even if anyone is offended by the idea that the cross, as instrument of the torment of the Son, shows up the justice of the Father in a strangely terrible form--although the strangeness exists only in the human mind--these words of Christ can give rise to no such feelings and no such objections. His words reveal a land of such golden, absolute and unique love, that all evil is forced to silence, simply because it is to its inmost center conquered and overcome, broken up and dissolved, till it exists no more. Stretched with its infinite vistas behind the cross, now at last opened up if not to men's bodily eyes, at least to the anticipation of their minds, lies the land of everlasting beauty, eternal goodness and eternal love. --from The Gospel of Saint Luke, by J. Dillersberger (condensed).
The Saints and the Precious Blood
THE whole history of the Church is a history of the devotion to the Precious Blood, for it is a history of the preaching of the Gospel, and of the administration of the Sacraments. It is the prominent devotion of dogmatic theology; for it is that upon which the doctrine of redemption lays the greatest stress. It certainly seems to have existed as such in the mind and heart of St. Paul, for in his epistles he writes so often of the Blood, which will form the delight of all the saints for ever. We may call him the doctor of the Precious Blood, and the author of the special devotion to it. His devotion is the natural fruit of the peculiar magnificence of his conversion and vocation. Among the Fathers we have St. Chrysostom in the East and St. Augustine in the West, who may be regarded as striking examples of a devotion to the Precious Blood. Among the saints, St. Gertrude's revelations are full of the sweetest and deepest things about the Precious Blood. It is St. Catherine of Siena, whom we may justly term the Prophetess of the Precious Blood. She has singled out this devotion with a more obvious predilection, and as a remedy needed for her times. We read of Osanna of Mantua, that, so vehement was her devotion to the Precious Blood, that she could never see any human blood without at once going into an ecstasy.
The lives of the saints are replete with instances of devotion to the Precious Blood. The Venerable María Francesca of the Five Wounds, an Alcantarine nun at Naples, was communicated by St. Raphael out of the chalice, the priest missing it at the time of Mass and observing a diminution in the Sacred Blood. In the Chronicles of the French Carmelites, we read of Frances of the Mother of God, that one day before Communion those words of the Apocalypse were deeply imprinted on her mind: "He hath loved us, and washed away our sins in his Blood." Presently our Lord said to her interiorly, "I have shed my Blood for your sins, and now I come in Holy Communion to wash away the stains that remain." When she had received our Lord, she saw her soul all covered with Blood. In the life of the Ven. Anne of Jesus, the companion of St. Teresa, we read that once in communicating she had her mouth sensibly filled with very sweet Blood, which flowed from the host, and another time she had a vision of the joy which an infinite number of blessed souls have in that Blood in heaven.
Follow after Christ and carry your cross for your salvation, as Christ carried His Cross for your salvation. -- St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231).
What Saint has ever won his crown without first contending for it? -- St. Jerome (342-420).
No one ought to consider himself a true servant of God who is not tried by many temptations and trials. -- St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226).
Our Lord who saved the world through the Cross, will only work for the good of souls through the Cross. -- St. Madeleine Sophie Barat (1779-1865).
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