From the Franciscan Minims
Mexico • Vergel ---- March • April 2004 ----- No. 3–4
The Crucifix of Our Lord of the Poison
THE almost life-size figure of the crucified Savior which was enshrined above an altar in the Dominican church named Porta Coeli was customarily visited by a holy priest whose name has been lost to us. After praying before the 17th century image, the priest always finished his devotions by reverently kissing the feet of the Crucified.
One day, while an enemy of Christianity prowled about the church, he saw the priest devoutly kissing the feet of the image of Our Lord. After learning that it was the custom of the holy priest to visit the crucifix each day and kiss it, the scoundrel devised a sacrilegious plan. When the church was empty, the enemy stole inside and approached the crucifix. Taking from his clothing a bottle and a small cloth, he carefully poured a liquid onto the cloth and then rubbed the cloth on the feet of the Crucified. The liquid was a deadly poison whose effects had been proven to be almost instantaneous.
When the cleric next visited his beloved Crucifix he prayed, as was his custom, and then approached the feet for the usual kiss. But, as he prepared to kiss the image, the Crucified, always a flesh color, turned immediately to jet black. Horror-stricken at the sudden change, the priest stood motionless while the witnesses, thoroughly terrified at what they had seen, rushed outside to notify the people in the street.
When word of the miracle reached the ears of the would-be-assassin, he hurried to the church in disbelief. Upon seeing the image he fell to his knees beside the priest, and with tears of repentance told the priest of his actions. He asked forgiveness, received absolution, and thereafter led a virtuous and holy life.
As a result of the miracle, the people had an even greater devotion to the image. (Continued on p. 26).
The Little Ones
The foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise, and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong.... that no flesh should glory in his sight. – 1 Cor. 1, 27
"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 to the human way of thinking." –Words of Our Lord to the Portavoz: Apr. 5, 1970
IN the 19th century, in 1895, Christ spoke to a mystic and told her: "Unite yourselves with the poor, weak women." To what group of women was he referring? Perhaps he was referring to all the devout women in the church in general, widows, virgins and holy married women. When we read these words, we thought of the Franciscan Minim Sisters... they are truly a group of small, little women, unknown to the world, living in silence and retirement.
St. Louis de Montfort wrote that God could humiliate and defeat Satan directly, if he so desired. But God is more glorified, if he defeats Satan by means of a mere creature, and especially by means of a woman, considered weaker than men.
In the times of the Old Testament, the greatest humiliation for a man was to be defeated by a woman. The general Holofernes boasted of his strength and courage: if he had died in battle, it would have been considered an honor. But he did not die fighting. He died in his tent, by the hands of a woman, Judith. After she obtained her victory, the high priest praised her and said: "Thou hast done manfully." Judith acted like a man and was courageous. Holofernes acted like a wimp.
During the lifetime of Christ, the ultimate humiliation for Satan was to be defeated by the Son of God and by his Mother, a mere woman. We think of Mary as being great, and in comparison to all of us, she is: she is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints in Paradise. But in comparison to the infinite being of God, even Mary is small, she was made out of nothing, like other creatures. The greatest humiliation for a proud being is to be defeated by a small creature.
Now Mary is in heaven, but upon earth there are holy women who continue doing what she did: they even wear the same colors she wore: red tunics and blue veils. And they practice the same virtues: humility, simplicity, charity, obedience. Obedience obtains victory, as it is written: "The obedient man shall speak of victory." Mary crushed the head of Satan during her lifetime, and in our times we will see his head crushed... by a group of little women. The weak things of the world has God chosen, to confound the strong and mighty of this world.
The times are nearing their end, and so many prophecies will be fulfilled. The days of the reign of Satan are coming to an end. God will again triumph, but not directly: he will use instruments for his triumph: weak, little souls. That is why he wants us all united, and not divided: the more united we are, the stronger we are to fight his battles, spiritual battles of prayer, obedience, suffering, silence and patience.
God wants unity. Being united is the only way we can win this battle. Division is from Satan: Unity is from God. "That they all may be one, as Christ and the Father are one." (Jn. 17, 21)
We are living in the most exciting times in history, and those who are united will behold the triumph. Mary said that her Heart would triumph, and most fortunate are those who will live to see her victory.
May it be for the glory of God
The Vergel of the Immaculate Virgin of Guadalupe
Feb. 25, 2004 • Feast of St. Mathias, Apostle
mmm n n n mmm
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"All those who yield themselves to My way of the cross and suffering, will be blessed for all eternity." --April 23, 1969
Hope For Sinners. -- "If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow; and if they be red as crimson, they shall be made white as wool." (Is. 1, 18).
"For I have come to call sinners..." (Matt. 9, 13).
"Her sins, many as they are, shall be forgiven her, because she has loved much." (Luke 7, 47).
"Him who comes to Me, I will not cast out." (John 6, 37).
The Singular Travels of Jonah
THE people that the Lord would favor, if they would only let Him, were prosperous again, and greedy eyes were on them. From beyond the frontiers they were being watched, but they were too lost in pleasure to feel their danger. The glow of excitement that brightened those days was like the flush of a lethal fever. Both the old Israel and the old Judah, once the united kingdom of David and Solomon, were getting ready to die.
But no one could make the separated tribesmen believe the portents. It was a happy and deceptive time when King Jehoash died, and his son Jeroboam II ascended the throne. By conquest and loot the new prosperity came; the new king won back to Israel the rich region of Transjordania, with Moab and Ammon subdued. Simply from the control of the resources of those uplands, business flourished as never before, and Israelite wealth accumulated. Under the forty-one-year reign of Jeroboam the younger, fourth and last king of the line of Jehu, a "golden age" of Israel seemed to return—at least for certain privileged classes.
Flush with money, and indulging more and more in luxuries and lax living, new millionaires built fine town and country homes, decked with silken upholsteries and ivory-inlaid divans. Those who could afford it, and they were many, arrayed themselves in the finest of clothes—stuffs brought by caravan from all parts of the world. Jeweled headdresses became popular, and rings, bracelets, collars, and necklaces of precious stones, so that Isaiah, a prophet, was soon to be heard, deriding this coxcomb way of life:
Moreover the Lord saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.
In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon,
The chains and the bracelets, and the mufflers,
The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings,
The rings, and nose jewels,
The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles and the wimples, and the crisping pins,
The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods and the veils.
And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness, and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty.
Food was abundant, too, in those days—meats and every variety of grain, wines, and oil. Feasts and carousing filled the homes, until in its tastes and vices Samaria resembled a little Babylon. The idle rich surfeited themselves with licentiousness and entertainment, while the masses were poor and without rights, and could even be sold into slavery for small debts or lost legal disputes.
The old religion of the one true God remained ostentatiously the religion of the state, but actually the golden calves, permitted by the first Jeroboam, were still being worshiped at the sanctuaries of Bethel and Dan; the bloody reformation of Jehu, which had been supposed to stamp it out, was already forgotten. As if all this corruption and backsliding were not enough, some of the Israelite leaders began to give themselves international airs. Bloated with a belief in their own importance, incredible as it sounds, they began to dream of world empire.
After all, were they not the Lord’s people? So they argued. In their conceit they wholly discounted not only their own neglect of that Lord, but also the completely visible fact that nearby Assyria was already a menacing shadow to the peace of any other country, a shadow growing bigger and blacker as its own internal dissentions lessened. Much more realistic and less conceited enemies were already contemplating moves of conquest.
It was in these days that the prophet Jonah lived. Jonah was the son of Amittai, "the truthful one." Though Israel in this, its worst era of fleshpots and immorality, seemed to need someone to hold up the mirror of truth to its face, the only prophet of the moment was sent on another errand. The word of the Lord came to Jonah that he was to go to Nineveh, to the capital in Assyria, and there denounce its wickedness and call for repentance.
The very thought of such an undertaking terrified Jonah. He knew that Nineveh was a city of imposing grandeur and had 120,000 inhabitants, "who could not discern between their left and their right hand." Fourteen miles long was Nineveh, and forty-six miles all around its circumference, with a wall a hundred feet high and thick enough on the top for a race between three chariots running abreast.
The Voice that had been heard in Eden spoke to Jonah, with instructions. Jonah was to enlighten the ignorance of Nineveh, be a missionary to these far–off and despised heathen, which was something unheard of among the tribes of Israel. Typical of the insular Hebrew of his time, Jonah felt he must have misunderstood the meaning of the Voice. He simply could not bring himself to undertake the task. Boarding a Phoenician ship, riding at anchor off Joppa, Jonah set sail, not for any port near the Assyrians, but for the harbor of Tarshish.
Thus he disobeyed God and went in a contrary direction. But after all, he reasoned, why should he imagine that the Lord would bother with heathen? Why would He dispatch Jonah to save the Assyrians from perdition to which all outlanders well belonged, anyway? These were natural questions of a man of that time.
Hardly was the ship at sea before out of a clear sky a tremendous gale blew up. In the midst of the stormy uproar Jonah lay asleep, untroubled by conscience, he alone of those aboard unconscious of the danger. The billowing, surging sea was terrifying to behold; the crew were expecting the vessel to founder any moment.
"Let us cast lots," the sailors said, "that we may discover who causes this evil."
Jonah, rudely awakened, was forced into the lottery with the others, and his number proved to be the guilty cast. As far as the frightened sailors were concerned, it was Jonah who had brought the terrible storm upon them.
"Why have you done this?" the sailors asked him. "Why have you angered the Lord—and how?"
Jonah, suddenly remembering and stricken with guilt, confessed how he had, indeed, disobeyed the precise instructions of the Lord God.
"Then what shall we do to you, that the sea may be calm?"
"Cast me forth," pleaded Jonah, now full of self-condemnation and wretchedness. But the seamen were opposed; they wanted no murder on their souls. Turning back to their sails and ropes, they tried to steer the ship toward harbor. But it was too late in those raging seas; their efforts hopeless. Then it was—with a prayer not to be held responsible for their desperate act—the crew tossed the praying, conscience-stricken passenger over the rail.
As Jonah plunged into the water, it was as if magic prevailed. The tempest was stilled; as the body of Jonah disappeared beneath the water, so vanished the storm, as if he had sucked it all under with him.
What had happened?
The adventure of Jonah is one of the most exciting tales ever told in the world, in spite of the fact that many people refuse to believe that it ever could have happened. But the Scriptures do tell us that a great fish was lurking under the stormy waves, and as Jonah splashed into the water he was promptly swallowed by the great fish, or leviathan of those waters, some colossal beast of the sea. In the roomy belly of the green behemoth he remained, terrified and shaken with every turn and dive, for three days and three nights. Sincerely contrite, and begging the mercy of the Lord for his stubborn disobedience, Jonah was finally vomited safely upon the shore.
Safe on the shore himself, Jonah still had his job to do.
"Arise, go unto Nineveh," came the Voice of the Lord again into the mind of Jonah.
Forthwith, the chastened prophet decided to obey. (To be continued)
Following His Footsteps
by Anselmo del Álamo
Chapter 8. Crosses
By means of the cross, we have been rescued. Divine balance! Christ paid the debt, putting on one plate of the balance the weight of his blood. What a weight and what a price! Do not fear: the difference of the specific weight is infinite. At the present time, Jesus shares his victory by means of the pieces of his Holy Cross, that he grants to us. There has to be some contact, in order to inject spiritual vitamins and to regenerate our infected blood. – This contact is named: sorrow. Sorrow must lavish its "splinters," its precious relics, to chosen souls. Do not complain, if you receive more than you hoped for, because you are not even worthy of desiring what is given to you. Believe in love, receive the impact of Jesus, who in this way wants to communicate himself to you, until he can present you to the heavenly Father, as a genuine image of himself, like the holy shroud of the sepulchre, like the veil of Veronica.
1. Tribulations are not a punishment to condemn us, but rather a medicine to heal us. --- St. Augustine
2. Afflictions, desolation, abandonment and other persecutions that you suffer from the demon or from creatures, are a magnificent "broom" that casts out of our soul the dust and mud of imperfections, and prepares us to fly quickly to holy perfection and union with God. --- St. Paul of the Cross
3. The cross is the way of life, the way of glory, and the way of the kingdom. --- St. Bernard
4. The battles of the demon, the anguish of creatures and the desolation of the spirit, are loving trials that the heavenly Spouse performs for the soul, to make us holy. --- St. Paul of the Cross
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The Revelations of Saint Gertrude
Written by Herself
"You have licked the dust with My enemies
and you have sucked honey amidst thorns.
But return now to Me.
I will receive you,
and inebriate you
with the torrent of My celestial delights."
-- Words of Christ to Saint Gertrude
"The more unworthy they are to whom I condescend,
the more I merit to be glorified for it by all creatures."
--Words of Christ to Saint Gertrude
Part 2. Chapter 12.
With how much goodness God bears our faults.
I render Thee thanks also for another revelation, which was no less advantageous and acceptable to me, by which I was shown with what benign patience Thou dost bear our defects, that, by correcting us thus, Thou mightest insure our happiness. For one evening, having allowed myself to give way to anger, and on the following morning, before break of day, finding myself disposed to pray, Thou didst present Thyself to me under so strange a form, that it seemed to me on beholding Thee that Thou wert not only deprived of all kind of good, but even of strength. Then, my conscience being touched for my past fault, I began to reflect with grief how improper a thing it had been for me to trouble the Supreme Author of peace and purity by my ill-regulated passion. I thought it would have been better that Thou shouldst have been absent from me when I failed to repel Thine enemy, while he solicited me to do that which was so contrary to Thy will.
Thou didst apply this to me: "Even as a poor invalid who has been brought out to enjoy the sunshine by the assistance of others, with much difficulty, when he sees a storm coming on, has no other consolation than the hope of soon seeing fine weather again, --thus, under the influence of your love, I prefer dwelling with you in all the tempests of vice, hoping to behold the calm of your amendment, and to see you enter the port of humility."
Since my tongue is too feeble to explain the abundance of the graces which thou didst pour forth on me during the three entire days in which this apparition lasted, permit, O my God, that my heart may supply for its weakness, and teach me how to render a thanksgiving of gratitude for the depth of the humility to which Thy love then abased itself for this charity, so amazing and so tender, which Thou hast for us.
Part 2. --- Chapter 18.
How God bears with our defects.
-- Instruction on humility.
One day, after I had washed my hands, and was standing round the table with the community, perplexed in mind, considering the brightness of the sun, which was in its full strength, I said within myself: "If the Lord, who has created the sun, and whose beauty is said to be the admiration of the sun and moon, --if He, who is a consuming fire, is as truly in me as He shows Himself frequently before me, how is it possible that my heart continues like ice, and that I lead so evil a life?"
Then Thou, whose words, though always sweet, were now much sweeter, and therefore the more necessary for my heart in its state of agitation, --Thou, I say, didst reply thus to me: "In what should My omnipotence be extolled, if I could not contain Myself within Myself wherever I am, so that I am only felt or seen as is most suitable for the time, place, and person? For since the creation of heaven and earth I have worked for the redemption of all, more by the wisdom of My benignity than by the power of My majesty. And this benignity of wisdom shines most in My tolerance towards the imperfect, leading them, even by their own free will, into the way of perfection." Seeing also, on a certain feast-day, that many who had recommended themselves to my prayers were going to Communion, and that I was deprived of It by sickness --or rather, prevented on account of my unworthiness --and reflecting in my mind on the numerous benefits I had received from God, I began to fear the wind of vain-glory, which might dry up the waters of Divine grace; and I desired to have some reflection in my mind that might prevent its recurrence. Then Thy paternal goodness instructed me thus: that I should consider Thy affection towards me under the similitude of a father of a family, who, being delighted at seeing so many beautiful children receiving admiration from his neighbors and servants, had, among others, a little one who was not so beautiful as his companions, whom he, nevertheless, often took in his bosom, moved by paternal tenderness, and consoled him by gentle words and kind gifts; and Thou didst add, that if I had this humble esteem of myself, so as to believe myself the most imperfect of all, the torrents of Thy celestial sweetness would never cease to flow into my soul.
I give thanks to Thee, most loving God, Lover of men, by the merit of the reciprocal gratitude of the adorable Trinity, for this and for many other salutary instructions by which Thou hast instructed my ignorance so many times as the best of masters, --I offer my sighs to Thee through the bitter Passion of Jesus Christ Thy Son; I offer to thee His pains and tears and dolors, in expiation of all the negligences by which I have so often stifled the Spirit of God in my heart. I beseech Thee, in union with the efficacious prayer of this Thy beloved Son, and by the grace of the Holy Ghost, to amend my life, and to supply for my deficiencies. This I beseech Thee to grant by that love which arrested Thine anger when Thy only Son, the object of Thy complacence, was reputed a criminal.
How God is pleased to condescend to His creatures;
and what glory God derives thence from the blessed.
I give thanks to Thy loving mercy and to Thy merciful love, most loving Lord, for the revelation by which Thy goodness satisfied my weak and wavering soul, when I so ardently desired to be released from the chains of the flesh: not that I might suffer less, but that I might release Thy goodness from the debt which Thy exceeding love has undertaken for my salvation; although Thy Divine omnipotence and eternal wisdom were not obliged to grant me this favor, --but Thou didst bestow it on my unworthiness and ingratitude of Thy superabounding liberality.
When, therefore, I desired to be dissolved, Thou, my God, who art the honor and glory of heaven, didst appear to me, descending from the royal throne of Thy majesty, and approaching to sinners by a most obliging and favorable condescension; and then certain streams of precious liquor seemed to flow through heaven, before which all the saints prostrated themselves in thanksgiving; and having satisfied their thirst with joy in this torrent of delights, broke forth in canticles of praise for all Thy mercy toward sinners. While these things happened, I heard these words: "Consider how agreeable this concert of praise is, not only to My ears, but even to My most loving Heart; and beware for the future how you desire so importunately to be separated from the body, merely for the sake of being delivered from the flesh, in which I pour forth so freely the gifts of My grace; for the more unworthy they are to whom I condescend, the more I merit to be glorified for it by all creatures."
As thou didst give this consolation at the moment when I approached Thy life-giving Sacrament, as soon as I had recollected myself and formed my intention, as I was bound to do, Thou didst make known to me further in what manner, and with what intention, each one should approach to unite themselves to Thy sacred Body and Blood; so that, even if this Sacrament served for our condemnation, were it possible, the love of Thy love and of Thy glory would cause us to think nothing of this, provided that thereby Thy mercy shone forth still more in not refusing to give Thyself to those who are so utterly unworthy. Then I inquired concerning those who, from a consciousness of their unworthiness, abstain from Communion, fearing to profane by a presumptuous irreverence the sanctity of this Sacrament; and I received this blessed answer from Thee: "He who communicates from a pure desire of My glory, as I have said, can never communicate with irreverence." For which may eternal praise and glory be given to Thee for endless ages!
A Loving Gaze toward the Crucifix
Promise: After touching a crucifix devoutly, St. Gertrude learned that "...if anyone only looks at the image of the Cross of Jesus Christ with a holy intention, God rewards him with such goodness and mercy that he receives in his soul, as in a spotless mirror, an image which is so agreeable, that the whole court of Heaven delights therein, and this serves to increase his eternal glory in the life to come, in proportion as he has practiced this act of devotion in this life."
Prayer to Obtain a Special Grace
through the Merits of Saint Gertrude
O most sweet Lord Jesus Christ, I praise and thank Thee for all the graces Thou didst lavish upon Thy beloved spouse, St. Gertrude. I thank Thee especially for the ineffable love wherewith Thou didst pre-elect her from all eternity, and draw her so sweetly to Thyself by the bonds of love. I thank Thee for the unutterable condescension with which Thou didst unite her so blissfully to Thyself, dwell with such delight in her heart, and crown her life with so blessed an end.
I recall to Thee now, O most compassionate Jesus, the promise Thou didst make to Thy beloved spouse, that Thou wouldst grant the prayers of all who come to Thee through her merits and intercession, in all matters concerning their salvation. I beseech Thee, by Thy most tender love, grant me the grace.... ..... which I confidently expect. Amen.
Note: Our Lord made several promises of spiritual benefits for those devoted to this saint. The above prayer is based on The Revelations of St. Gertrude, chap. 20.
The Life of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
From the Revelations of the Venerable
Anna Catharina Emmerick
as recorded in the Journals of Clemens Brentano
Arranged and edited by the Very Reverend Carl E. Schmoger, C.Ss.R. --- (continued)
At last the holy women concluded to set the spices on the stone before the tomb and to wait till some disciple would come who would open it for them. And so they went on toward the garden.
Outside the tomb the stone was rolled to the right, so that the doors, which were merely lying to, could now be easily opened. The linens in which the sacred body had been enveloped, were on the tomb in the following order: the large winding-sheet in which it had been wrapped lay undisturbed, only empty and fallen together, containing nothing but the aromatic herbs; the long bandage that had been wound around it was still lying twisted and at full length just as it had been drawn off, on the outer edge of the tomb; but the linen scarf with which Mary had enveloped Jesus' head lay to the right at the head of the tomb. It looked as if the head of Jesus was still in it, excepting that the covering for the face was raised.
When, as they approached, the holy women noticed the lanterns of the guard and the soldiers lying around, they became frightened, and went a short distance past the garden toward Golgotha. Magdalen however forgetful of danger, hurried into the garden. Salome followed her at some distance, and the other two waited outside.
Magdalen, seeing the guard, stepped back at first a few steps toward Salome, then both made their way together through the soldiers lying around and into the sepulchre. They found the stone rolled away, but the doors closed, probably by Cassius. Magdalen anxiously opened one of them, peered in at the tomb, and saw the linens lying empty and apart. The whole place was resplendent with light, and an angel was sitting at the right of the tomb. Magdalen was exceedingly troubled. She hurried out of the garden of the sepulchre, off through the gate belonging to Nicodemus, and back to the Apostles. Salome too who only now entered the sepulchre, ran at once after Magdalen, rushed in fright to the women waiting outside the garden, and told them of what had happened. Though amazed and rejoiced at what they heard from Salome, they could not resolve to enter the garden. It was not until Cassius told them in a few words what he had seen, and exhorted them to go see for themselves, that they took courage to enter. Cassius was hurrying into the city to acquaint Pilate of all that had taken place. He went through the gate of execution. When with beating heart the women entered the sepulchre and drew near the holy tomb, they beheld standing before them the two angels of the tomb in priestly robes, white and shining. The women pressed close to one another in terror and covering the face with their hands, bowed tremblingly almost to the ground. One of the angels addressed them. They must not fear, he said, nor must they look for the Crucified here. He was alive. He had arisen, He was no longer among the dead. Then the angel pointed out to them the empty tomb, and ordered them to tell the disciples what they had seen and heard, and that Jesus would go before them into Galilee. They should, continued the angel, remember what the Lord had said to them in Galilee; namely, "The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of sinners. He will be crucified and, on the third day, He will rise again." The holy women, shaking and trembling with fear, though still full of joy, tearfully gazed at the tomb and the linens, and departed, taking the road toward the gate of execution. They were still very much frightened. They did not hurry, but paused form time to time and looked around from the distance, to see whether they might not possibly behold the Lord, or whether Magdalen was returning.
Meanwhile Magdalen reached the Cenacle like one beside herself, and knocked violently at the door. Some of the disciples were still asleep on their couches around the walls, while several others had risen and were talking together. Peter and John opened the door. Magdalen without entering merely uttered the words: "They have taken the Lord from the tomb! We know not where" --and ran back in great haste to the garden of the sepulchre. Peter and John followed her, but John outstripped Peter.
Magdalen was quite wet with dew when she again reached the garden and ran to the tomb. Her mantle had slipped from her head down on her shoulders, and her long hair had fallen around loose. As she was alone, she was afraid to enter the sepulchre at once, so she waited out on the step at the entrance. She stooped down, trying to see through the low doors into the cave and even as far as the stone couch. Her long hair fell forward as she stooped, and she was trying to keep it back with her hands, when she saw the two angels in white, priestly garments, sitting at the head and the foot of the tomb, and heard the words: "Woman, why weepest thou?"
She cried out in her grief: "They have taken my Lord away! I know not where they have laid Him!" Saying this and seeing nothing but the linens, she tuned weeping, like one seeking something, and as if she must find Him. She had a dim presentiment that Jesus was near, and even the apparition of the angels could not turn her from her one idea. She did not appear conscious of the fact, that it was an angel that spoke to her. She thought only of Jesus; her only thought was: "Jesus is not here! Where is Jesus?" I saw her running a few steps from the sepulchre and then returning like one half-distracted and in quest of something. Her long hair fell on her shoulders. Once she drew the whole mass on the right shoulder through both hands, then flung it back and gazed around. About ten steps from the sepulchre and toward the east, where the garden rose in the direction of the city, she spied in the gray light of dawn standing among the bushes behind a palm tree, a figure clothed in a long, white garment. Rushing toward it, she heard once more the words; "Woman why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou?" She thought it was the gardener. I saw that he had a spade in his hand and on his head a flat hat, which had a piece of something like bark standing out in front, as a protection from the sun. I was just like that I had seen on the gardener in the parable which Jesus shortly before His Passion had related to the women in Bethany. The apparition was not resplendent. It looked like a person clad in long, white garments and seen at twilight. At the words: "Whom seekest thou?" Magdalen at once answered: "Sir, if thou hast taken Him hence, show me where thou hast laid Him! I will take Him away!" and she again glanced around, as if to see whether he had not laid Him some place near. Then Jesus, in His well-known voice, said: "Mary!" Recognizing the voice, and forgetting the crucifixion, death, and burial now that He was alive, she turned quickly and, as once before, exclaimed: "Rabboni!" (Master!). She fell on her knees before Him and stretched out her arms toward his feet. But Jesus raised his hand to keep her off, saying: "Do not touch Me, for I am not yet ascended to My Father. But go to My brethren, and say to them: I ascend to My Father and to your Father, to My God and to your God." At these words the Lord vanished. It was explained to me why Jesus said: "Do not touch Me," but I have only an indistinct remembrance of it. I think He said it because Magdalen was so impetuous. She seemed possessed of the idea that Jesus was alive just as He was before, and that everything was as it used to be. Upon Jesus' words, that He had not yet ascended to His Father, I was told, that He had not yet, since His resurrection, presented himself to His Heavenly Father, had not yet thanked Him for His victory over death and for Redemption. I understood by those words that the first fruits of joy belong to God. It was as if Jesus had said that Magdalen should recollect herself, and thank God for the mystery of Redemption just accomplished and His conquest over death. After the disappearance of the Lord, Magdalen rose up quickly and again, as if in a dream, ran to the tomb. She saw the two angels, she saw the empty linens, and hurried, now certain of the miracle, back to her companions.
It may have been about half-past three o'clock when Jesus appeared to Magdalen. Scarcely had she left the garden when John approached followed by Peter, John stood outside the entrance of the cave, and stooped down to look through the outer doors of the sepulchre, at the half-opened doors of the tomb, where he saw the linens lying. Then came Peter. He stepped down into the sepulchre and went to the tomb, in the centre of which he saw the winding-sheet lying. It was rolled together from both sides toward the middle, and the spices were wrapped in it. The bandages were folded around it, as women are accustomed to roll together such linens when putting them away. The linen that had covered the sacred face was lying to the right next to the wall. It too was folded. John now followed Peter to the tomb, saw the same things, and believed in the resurrection. All that the Lord had said, all that was written in the Scriptures, was now clear to them. They had had only an imperfect comprehension of it before. Peter took the linens with him under his mantle. Both again went back by the little gate belonging to Nicodemus, and John once more got ahead of Peter.
As long as the sacred body lay in the tomb, the two angels sat one at the head, the other at the foot, and when Magdalen and the two Apostles came, they were still there. It seems to me that Peter did not see them. I heard John afterwards saying to the disciples of Emmaus that, on looking into the tomb, he saw one angel. Perhaps it was through humility that he forbore to mention it in his Gospel, that he might not appear to have seen more than Peter.
Meanwhile, Magdalen had reached the holy women and told them of the Lord's apparition. Then she hurried on to the city through the neighboring gate of the execution, but the others went again to the garden, outside of which Jesus appeared to them in a white flowing garment that concealed even His hands. He said: "All hail!" They trembled and fell at His feet. Jesus waved His hand in a certain direction while addressing to them some words, and vanished. The holy women then hastened through the Bethlehem gate on Sion, to tell the disciples in the Cenacle that they had seen the Lord and what He had said to them. But the disciples would not at first credit Magdalen's report and, until the return of Peter and John, they looked upon the whole affair as the effect of women's imagination.
John and Peter, whom amazement at what they had seen had rendered silent and thoughtful, met on their way back James the Less and Thaddeus, who had set out after them for the tomb. They too were very much agitated, for the Lord had appeared to them near the Cenacle. Once I saw Peter, as they went along, suddenly start and tremble, as if he had just got a glimpse of the risen Savior. --- (Taken from the Life of Christ, by Anne Catherine Emmerick).
The Life and Revelations of Saint Gertrude
Part 4, Chapter 47.
For the Feast of St. Mary Magdalen
Of true penance and good-will.
AT the first Vespers of the Feast of St. Mary Magdalen (July 22) this blessed lover of Jesus appeared to Gertrude, adorned with as many precious stones and rare flowers as she had formerly committed sins. The Saint understood that the flowers signified the sovereign goodness of God in pardoning her sins; and the precious stones, the penance by which the Divine grace had enabled her to expiate them.
At Matins, St. Gertrude besought this Saint to intercede for her and for all who were committed to her care. Then St. Mary Magdalen cast herself at the Feet of our Lord and kissed them tenderly, raising them gently from the ground, as if to invite all penitents to approach them. Gertrude then approached, and kissing them devoutly, said to Him: "I offer Thee now, O most loving Lord, the sorrows of all those who are under my care, and with them I water Thy blessed Feet with my tears." Our Lord replied: "I accept your offering for them, and tell them that they should wipe My Feet with their hair, kiss them, and pour perfumes upon them."
From this she understood three things: first, that they wiped our Lord's Feet with their hair, if they now endeavored to expose themselves to every kind of adversity, to efface any faults which they might have committed formerly by not bearing their sufferings patiently; secondly, that they kissed His Feet who confided fully in the goodness of God, who easily forgives all the sins for which we are truly penitent; thirdly, that we anoint them when we avoid carefully all that is displeasing to God.
Our Lord then said to her: "Pour forth this ointment on me with the same devotion as Magdalen opened the alabaster box, and poured it upon My Head, so that the odour perfumed the whole house. And know, that if you defend the truth, you will act thus; those who love and defend the truth, and for its sake lose friends or any other advantage, pour forth on My Head a box of precious ointment, the perfume of which fills My house; for he who corrects others, by giving good example, emits a sweet odour. And if he fails in any way in the manner of correcting or reprehending, either by negligence or by roughness, I will excuse him before God my Father and the whole court of heaven, even as I excused Magdalen."
To this Gertrude replied: "O Lord, since it is related of this loving penitent that she bought this ointment, can I not render Thee a similar service?" He answered: "Whosoever desires that My glory may be promoted in all things, in preference to his own advantage or convenience, purchases a most precious ointment for Me, although it may often happen that his good-will cannot be carried into effect."
Revelations given to Barbara Weigand
Are Being Fulfilled
Jesus Christ revealed to the Germany mystic, Barbara Weigand, (Dec. 1845 to March 1925) a century ago, that victory over socialism and other heresies will begin in Germany. On the other side, the Catholic Church will fall to a point of self-destruction. There will be more saints in the 20th century than there have ever been before.
Jesus prophesied in 1895 the present development in our Church when He said to Barbara: "The priests shall continue to preach, always, even if it were before empty pews. Something will always remain. O yes, My Church will be victorious, but only through the Cross, through the hidden love. As I told you in the past, socialism wants to destroy religion, the Most Holy Trinity, Christ’s Cross, Faith and Trust. But My Church will win. My servants shall win. I shall cover all the errors of My servants (priests) with My Mantle of Love, if they have faith and confidence and attach themselves firmly to the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, where I live among them, as I did during My time with My Apostles.
"O, share my sorrow with Me, my daughter! Behold the humiliation done to Me by those servants of Mine to whom I give myself every day in Holy Mass. On their words I descend onto the Altar, and yet they do not believe in Me! How can My Grace be dispensed among My children by such priests, for they are the mediators of My Graces, they are the channels through which I irrigate, water, and cover in dew My children.
"It is of great merit to support priests, but it is a much greater deed when confessors teach priests, remind priests of their duties. I have given them My Power, the power over the hearts of people.
"Do not let people confuse you, but continue with your prayers. Turn your sights to My distressed children in Purgatory, for the honor stolen from Me on earth is being replaced by those who are already in the land of the living, and the greater your efforts the more you will gain. Do not be troubled by the others: time is short, and it will soon pass.
"But what you have done to the least of My brethren, you have done unto Me, and they all are My brothers and sisters. Therefore, go forward – like the calm sea. This is how I want to see your hearts."
Vigil of All Saints, 1895
Jesus: "A further reason for the misery of mankind is discontentment. Behold, My daughter, the saints, too, were human, as weak as you; they had to walk the same path; they had to fight the same battle. Take courage, therefore, what you cannot finish today, start again tomorrow. And thus passes the day, and thus passes the year. Do battle with courage; the crown will be yours. How happy would people be, if they all were content with their status. Look, the only large cross in the world is the one for which all the people make the cross-beam themselves.
"There will be more saints in the next century than there will ever have been before. Therefore, do not carry your head so high. Unite yourselves with the poor, weak women and walk hand and hand towards the great target that is given to you: to bring victory to the Church, to create saints more than in any century before, because the Church is in great danger as never before. This all had to happen, because I foretold it so.
"Good-bye, My daughter, and be happy with all My children of the Holy Catholic Church. Do not be sad! I shall be with you again next Thursday."
"You must tell My people that My arm of Justice is directed against the nations, and that this arm can be stopped through penance and the conversion of the individual souls; but this is only to be done, and must be achieved, by those souls whom I have drawn to Me by My Grace and Love.
"I have founded only one true Church, and that is the Catholic Church. I left her My Spirit, and this Spirit must be shown by each of My servants. They are to reveal My Mysteries to all of My children: do penance, you nations; do penance, for the Judgment is near! This must be proclaimed from all of the pulpits and from all confessionals, for I am a very good God. My children are My images, even if they distorted My image which they bear, by their sins and vices. Behold, My daughter, My Blood is sticking to each soul!
"But never has a people sunk so deeply since the creation of the world, that it has never felt the urge to search for a higher being than now. Now one wants to eliminate everything in the world, every thought of Me which could affect one’s conscience; one wants to send to sleep the people and state simply: ‘There is no God! Let us enjoy our life, and then we shall die like any foolish creature.’ Therefore, My servants, go out into the world and hurl My Words continuously at them: ‘Do penance! Do penance! For the Judgment is near!’ And the one who listens to you, My servants, is to be saved."
Message of 1965
On June 18, 1965, Our Lady said at Garabandal:
"Because My message of 18th October 1961, was neither adhered to nor made known to the world, I say to you that this is my last one.
"Before, the chalice was being filled, now it is overflowing. Many priests, bishops and cardinals are walking the road to perdition, and taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is given to the Holy Eucharist. By our efforts, we must escape God' anger. If we ask Him sincerely for forgiveness, He will forgive us."
Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust down to hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
A Cardinal Speaks from Purgatory
The late Cardinal Julius Doepfner, primate of Germany, confessed to a nun that he betrayed the Church as a Freemason and, secondly, as the president of Vatican II.
The name of the nun, a mystic, is kept confidential; she is also protected by her convent in Germany. Her late father also appeared several times to her, as well as the late Anneliese Michel.
Sept. 11, 1977
Dr. P.F., father of the nun, dictated to his daughter:
"My child, you also know what great mission I received from God through you, to give myself entirely to Pope and bishops. I accepted this mission in the knowledge of my lowliness and unworthiness. How much did I suffer, however, when I had to bear witness again and again to the wrong path on which the bishops were taking. I worked, and fought, with Pope Pius X, who, as a saint, was raised to the honors of the altars; he was, indeed, a very great blessing for the Church by his holiness and his battle for the Truth.
"Then came compromise after compromise with the powers of darkness. No wonder that darkness spread more and more in the Church until a Hitler came wanting to destroy the Vatican. As one agreed by way of a Concordat to submit to the laws of the antichrist, Hitler, the Vatican remained. Pope Pius XII was a first-rate diplomat. He understood, in a noble manner, to unite the world with the Church. The Jesuits were the taxmen. They also were the ones to help the sons of darkness infiltrate the Vatican more and more. On the outside, the facade remained, but the inside was destroyed more and more. Pope John XXIII distanced himself from this brood of vipers, but it was too late. He wanted to save what could be saved through the Vatican Council. He had to go. Now there was an open playing field. The Council was no longer led by the pope but by the powers of darkness.
"Take note that the time has come for you to expect the worst. The powers of darkness have gathered. They want to demonstrate their power and unity in Ottobeuren (Germany). Do not be blinded by their splendor and their pomp, by their tempting speeches and words by which means they want to catch you. Yes, the time has arrived when Satan is triumphant. The Lord will intervene to put an end to these dark times. The time then will have expired that was given to Satan to roam the earth. God’s infinite patience is coming to an end. You are going to face what I always spoke of to you: the chaos, the collapse. The revolutions have already begun. Rebellion follows rebellion. All is getting ready for the final battle.
"Your brother and sister should listen and understand. Each one of you has his own task. The time has come to close ranks without a grudge and resentment. Help each other; do not be diverted by trivial matters and unimportant things. Forget the past, and begin to live like true Christians. Carry each other’s burden. Only in this way, my children, are you able to survive the bad days. I am your father who produced you, and who wants nothing else than to warn you of the traps of darkness. He who stands upright, beware that he does not fall. Unite in humility and love. Be true, my children, to your parents who fought the good battle for you; who fed you, and raised you in the fear of God. Put on the armor of the Spirit, fight for the Truth, and be strong in faith and hope. God bless you, my children. Your Father."
Sept. 16, 1977
"I am Anneliese Michel. I , too, am allowed to speak with you today, as a consolation for all who suffered and fought on my behalf due to my death. – (To be continued)
Into the Hands of Men
And when they abode together in Galilee, Jesus said to them: The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men, and they shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. And they were troubled exceedingly. (Matthew 17, 22-23)
The Son of man will be delivered over to the hands of men. These hands are meant for work, for prayer, for blessing, for use in help and healing. Yet all too often men’s hands are used to strangle and to strike, to grasp greedily and hold fast; hands are made into fists, raised to commit perjury. What it means to be given over to the hands of men we know in an age of concentration camps. of torture and interrogations, of the abuse of the human person and terrible executions.
Nonetheless one might think that men’s hands would leave off cruelty when the Son of Man was delivered up to them. For he is surely an exception. He is perfect man, his hands have been used only for good. He has touched the eyes of the blind that they might see, he has touched the sores of the sick and healed them. He has made deaf ears to hear, taught the dumb to speak, he has laid his hands upon the children to bless them. With his hands he raised up the young man at Naim, and the daughter of Jairus from her bier to a new life. If he is to be entrusted to these hands, one might expect that they would bear him up. But here, and here particularly, we see what it means to be delivered up to the hands of men. They torture him slowly to death, and nail him on to the cross. Pilate may wash his aristocratic hands as long as he likes, but Christ’s blood still stains them; and since that time, men’s hands have been unclean.
And yet, in this sad comment of Christ’s upon all that has to do with human hands, there is nonetheless a word of comfort: on the third day he shall rise again. If the hands of men put him to death, God’s hand will awaken him. If the Bible speaks so frequently of the hand of God, that is naturally only a vivid expression for his loving and caring power. Scripture says that his hands have made heaven and earth; that they bear up the universe; that in them lies the fate of every man and every nation. This is its way of saying that every man is delivered up to God, yet now no longer in a sense of fear and terror, but rather self-delivered with trust and confidence. Once again it is Jesus who gives the tone to the phrase when at the moment his soul is about to leave the body which men have so tortured, he says, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ He gives himself into God’s hands. Thus he knows that he has been saved, and brought from death to life.
To be wholly and completely delivered into men’s hands is to bury all our hopes, but to give oneself full of faith and trust into God’s hands is to gain supernatural help when the human situation has become hopeless. But God’s hands, too, can be dangerous. The Bible also tells us it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 11, 22). Terrible, however, only for the man who is without repentance, whose attitude is one of rejection and the sin which arises from rejection. Men’s hands seize what is guiltless, God’s only what is guilty.
Twice in this short second prophecy of Christ’s suffering we find the word ‘man.’ The Son of Man will be delivered up to men’s hands. It is, therefore, not surprising when it says of the disciples who are listening: ‘And they were overcome with sorrow.’ But it is God who speaks these words and who, therefore, concludes them by referring to the resurrection, that is, towards the helping power of God. Thus sorrow is overcome by faith.
If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. – Matt. 16, 24
Many take upon themselves indiscreet penances and many other imprudent exercise of their own will, thus placing their entire confidence in them and believing that these will sanctify them. If only they would use half of that zeal to mortify their inclinations and passions, they would through this means, gain more profit in a month than in many years with all their other practices. –St. John of the Cross
When St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was novice Mistress, she sought, above all else, to accustom her novices to mortify their passions and desires. If she saw one too inclined to prayer, she would send her to do some work. On another, who was inclined to external activities, she would impose prayer or other interior exercises. To those who wanted to do a great many mortifications, she would advise just an Our Father and a Hail Mary. Among other things, the Saint ordered one of her novices to burn a manuscript of spiritual exercises which she had written and in which she took a certain pride. Thus she helped them to overcome their inclinations as well as their judgment and will.
Every time one feels moved by an ardent desire to perform some deed, even though holy and important, he should put it off, until he is certain that he has reached a stage of tranquility and holy indifference in its regard, so that his self-love will not unconsciously taint his pure intention. – St. Vincent de Paul
Never relax, for you will not attain to the possession of true spiritual delights if first you do not learn to deny your every desire. --- St. John of the Cross
Two Verses about Saint Patrick
If we could choose two verses to summarize the life of St. Patrick, they would be Jn. 15, 8 and 15, 16. "In this is my Father glorified, that you bring forth very much fruit.......and your fruit should remain." St. Patrick glorified the heavenly Father: he brought forth much fruit, and his fruit has remained with us till this day.
A Magazine for the Latter Times
Please renew my subscription to Reflections. We truly need to reflect periodically amid all our cares of the day, and this magazine offers much to gather our thoughts together and get our true perspective of life’s journey. The Vergel of the Immaculate Virgin of Guadalupe gives me a sense of the closeness of the Virgin Mary, every time I read it. -- Sincerely, T.W., Michigan, USA
Our Cover: Crucifix(continued)
Not only did it receive the homage of the people in the city, but countless others also came from outlying areas to offer their veneration and love.
The holy Crucifix still receives the attention of countless pilgrims who visit it, after acknowledging their love and devotion to the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The miraculous image of Our Lord of the Poison is found in a beautiful side chapel in the Catedral Metropolitana de Mexico, in Mexico City.
"Know you not that the friendship of this world
is the enemy of God?" –James 4, 4
Let us try to learn more definitely what the world is, the world in the scripture sense. A definition is too short, a description is too vague. God never created it: how then does it come here? There is no land, outside the creation of God, which could have harbored this monster, who now usurps so much of this beautiful planet, on which Jesus was born and died, and from which He and His sinless Mother rose to heaven? It seems to be a sort of spirit which has risen up from a disobedient creation.
But it has not always the same power. If the expression may be forgiven, there have been times when the world was less worldly than usual. As Satan is sometimes bound, so it pleases God to bind the world sometimes. Or He thunders, and the atmosphere is cleared for a while, and the times are healthy, and the Church lifts her head and walks quicker. If the characteristics of modern times go on developing with the extreme velocity and herculean strength which they promise now, we may expect (just what prophecy would lead us to anticipate) that the end of the world and the reign of anti-Christ would be times of the most tyrannical worldliness..... (from The Creator and the Creature, by Fr. William Faber, p. 315)
"In the cross is salvation: in the cross is life; in the cross is protection from enemies. In the cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness, in the cross is strength of mind. In the cross is joy of spirit. In the cross is height of virtue. In the cross is perfection of sanctity."---- Imitation of Christ, Bk. 2, Ch. 12
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