From the Franciscan Minims
Mexico • Vergel ------- May • June 2004 ------- No. 5–6
The Holy Infant of Cebu
Cebu, Philippines, -- 1521
LOCATED between the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, the Republic of the Philippines is found off the southeast coast of Asia and consists of thousands of islands. One of these is the island of Cebu, which was the first Philippine island to be Christianized and the first to be blessed with a Catholic Church. It is also at Cebu that the miraculous statue of the Infant Jesus is enshrined.
The history of the Holy Infant dates back to the discovery of the islands by Ferdinand Magellan, a native of Portugal who sailed for the interests of Spain. This explorer discovered the Philippines on March 16, 1521. After the chieftain, Rajah Humabon, permitted the seamen to land, Magellan immediately began to propagate the Catholic Faith. His efforts were met with immediate success, as indicated by the hundreds of natives who received the Sacrament of Baptism exactly one week after Magellan’s arrival. Among these converts were Rajah Humabon and his wife. To this first Christian queen of Cebu, Magellan gave a gift: a carved wooden image of the Child Jesus.
Unfortunately, the good will of the converts began to deteriorate when Magellan tried to force a recognition of Rajah Humabon as the Christian leader of all the chiefs of Cebu, and perhaps of all the chiefs of the Philippines Islands. During a battle between the followers of Rajah Humabon and the natives of Mactan, Magellan was met with hostile refusal, which led to his tragic death on the Island of Mactan on April 27, 1521, six weeks after his arrival in the Philippines.
Some days later, Rajah Humabon had an elaborate meal pre-pared for the seamen who were scheduled to depart for Spain. The plan was a sinister one, since the unsuspecting diners were poison-ed. Those who survived fled for refuge to the Moluccas and then sailed for Spain. (continued on p. 23).
Source of All Consolation
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation, have mercy on us.
---Litany of the Sacred Heart
"In the cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness."
Kempis: Imitation of Christ, Bk. 2, Ch. 12
THE rules of the Franciscan Minims state that we are obliged to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart, and the image of the Sacred Heart appears on the shield of the Work of Atonement. We are aware of this desire of our Lord, and that is one reason we have been publishing selections from the revelations of Saint Gertrude. The three saints most closely connected with the Sacred Heart are: St. Margaret Mary, St. Gertrude, and St. John the Evangelist. St. Margaret Mary received a solemn revelation about the Sacred Heart on December 27, feast of St. John.
Unstable and Changeable
Here is a passage from the life of Edel Quinn, who was chosen by the Legion of Mary in Dublin to found the Legion of Mary in many foreign countries:
"The hour of departure had struck. Edel had laid solid foundations for the Legion of Mary in Mauritius. The results would soon appear; they would set God's signature to her work. Barely nine months after her arrival, there were thirty Praesidia in 19 parishes.
Less than ten years later, the island could count 60 parish Praesidia, 750 active members and 5,000 Auxiliaries.
The last ten days on Mauritius were spent in farewell visits to the many friends whom she was leaving for ever. "I got more flowers here than in all my life before," she writes. She admits that the separation did not take place without tears. To His Excellency Archbishop Leen she said laughingly: "The Mauritians have petted me so much that I am literally spoiled." The Archbishop himself told this story:
It was the eve of her departure. She had said good-bye to the Harel family, and Miss Harel was escorting her to the homes of other friends, when she utterly broke down in a crisis of tears: ‘My life is always thus,’ she said. ‘As soon as my work becomes really interesting, and as soon as I have made real friends, I must break away and face again the unknown.’ She stopped at a nearby church, spent a little while before the tabernacle, and came out with her usual happy smile. Her ‘fiat’ was generous and complete. The following day she faced the long and hazardous journey. At that time the Indian Ocean was (as Byron puts it) as full of danger as of depth. Yet she did not manifest the slightest concern."
Friendship, Happiness and Love
Nearly everyone is looking for happiness, for friendship, love and consolation. But since many are ignorant of the source of real happiness, they seek it in the wrong places, in things and persons that cannot give them any genuine consolation or happiness at all. Edel Quinn’s desire to have friends was an innocent and legitimate wish, but she experienced, as nearly all of us do, that in this life, friendships and relationships are unstable and inconstant. The only real permanent friendship, the only friendship that will last forever, is to be a friend of Christ. We are all called to this friendship, by the mere fact of being baptized. Edel Quinn’s desires were innocent, but perhaps God was telling her, as he sometimes tells us (during a failure, misfortune, etc.) that only in the Sacred Heart can we find permanent and everlasting friendship.
His Most Adorable Face
In Ch. 22 of her revelations, St. Gertrude wrote: "When Thou didst display Thy most adorable Face,-- the source of all blessed-ness, as I have said, embracing me, unworthy,-- a light of inestimable sweetness passed through Thy Deified eyes into mine, passing through my inmost being." Most of the faithful do not receive extraordinary mystical graces, as did some of the saints, but all the faithful have a vocation to intimacy with Christ. All the baptized have the vocation to be close to Christ, by prayer and the reception of the sacraments. Simply to be baptized and to receive Holy Communion are inestimable favors. All the just of the Old Law longed to receive such favors, but they were unable to attain them. Only those who are born after Christ and who are baptized can receive such extraordinary favors, as are contained in the sacraments, miracles of grace.
The Time to Reveal Secrets
Once Saint Gertrude had a vision of St. John and she asked him, if he felt the pulsations of the Sacred Heart, when he rested on the bosom of Christ at the Last Supper. The Apostle replied that he did feel the pulsations of that divine Heart.
Then she asked him: "Why have you neither said nor written any-thing of this for our edification?" He answered: "Because I was charged with instructing the newly formed Church concerning the mysteries of the uncreated Word, so that those truths might be transmitted to future ages. I deferred speaking of these Divine pulsations until later ages, that the world might be aroused from its torpor, and animated, when it had grown cold, by hearing of these things."
In the introduction to the Mystical City of God, Christ told Mary of Agreda that the world now needs the intercession of his Mother so much, and for that reason he wants to reveal secrets about her life to many souls. Our Lord told the Portavoz: "Now the time has come for you to reveal everything that I have told you."
As we slowly approach closer to the end of time, misfortunes, injustice, misery and trials are multiplied. In these distressing circumstances, Christ wants many secrets about himself and his Mother revealed, because humanity needs to know them, in order to attain its salvation and to have access to the only authentic happiness, a happiness that can be found only in God and in the observance of his commandments. If people try to find happiness in any other way, they are only following an illusion, and will find disillusionment and misery. The only real happiness consists in obeying God, and in such obedience is the only genuine freedom.
God’s Final Triumph
At Fatima Mary told us that her Immaculate Heart would triumph in the end. At present it seems as if Satan is triumphing, but his victory will only last for a few brief moments. The Scriptures speak of the final triumph of God: "They cried to the Lord in their tribulation: and he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them into the right way. Let the mercies of the Lord give glory to Him: and his wonderful works to the children of men. ... The just shall see, and shall rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop its mouth." --- (Psalm 106).
May it be for the glory of God
The Vergel of the Immaculate Virgin of Guadalupe
April 25, 2004 • Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist
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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
"For I have come to call sinners..." (Matt. 9, 13).
The Singular Travels of Jonah
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. By ship and land he journeyed to the spectacular capital of Assyria, and there to street corner crowds he hastily proclaimed the city’s utter destruction. So convincing was the foreign prophet that the people believed him, and many put on sackcloth and ashes, and fasted. Jonah felt like a man who had done his work too well. The Assyrians repented of their wicked ways; they eschewed all future plans of aggression and violence and in the king’s chamber his counselors decided with him to forsake conquest and be satisfied thereafter with what they had.
This repentance was actually a deep disappointment to Jonah. He had been promised the demolition by Almighty God of the proudest city then on the earth. But the Voice, revisiting him in the night’s silence, told him that because of the very genuine repentance of the Assyrians, they should have mercy. The capital was not to be destroyed.
Jonah was in a tantrum at these face-losing tidings. He saw nothing of the irony of the situation—with the God of Abraham, Moses, and David forgiving a heathen crowd the moment they were sorry, while Israel, where the old laws were recited by rote every day and listened to by no one, was bowing down still to the calves of gold and all that those brazen idols stood for.
In this sardonic fact Jonah, although a prophet or a great missioner, seemed to see no meaning. Ingrained racial prejudice was in his heart, as well as jealousy that the Lord would show love for these "outsiders." In his misery over God’s own mercy, Jonah actually prayed to die. Beyond the city limits he squatted in grim ill-humor at the side of a booth he had erected for himself. And that was an appropriate time for Jonah to receive a sign from on high.
It chanced that a gourd grew high enough to cast a grateful shadow over his bare head, shielding it from the sun; the shade also soothed his fevered body. But during the night the Lord caused a worm to eat away the plant and sent a piercing east wind to blight it. By sunrise the plant had no more shade to give, while hot light and fierce wind joined in making Jonah feel faint. Railing because of the withered gourd, Jonah cried out again that, like it, he wished to die. And God heard him scolding at the heavenly injustice of the plant.
"Do you do well to be angry for the gourd?" inquired the Voice.
"I do well to be angry, even unto death," groaned Jonah, supremely sullen even in conversation with the Most High. But God, as always, was patient, as He pronounced Jonah’s lesson:
"You have pity on the gourd, for which you have not labored, nether made it grow; which came up in a night and perished in a night; and should I not spare Nineveh the great city?"
Then Jonah realized that the Lord was not merely God of the Hebrews but the one true God of all mankind, including the worst heathen. To him, this was a revolutionary, epoch-making thought that was one day to affect the world.
Does it not seem strange that God should have chosen Jonah for such extraordinarily important errands—this stiff-necked, grumpy, uncooperative Jonah, who brooded and thought dark thoughts and, in spite of his littleness, received the largest of visions, which is the one true God, the Father of all? It was said of Jonah that in spite of his failings he was a remarkable Messianic forerunner; the day would come when the Messiah Himself would mention Jonah.
"I Despise Your Feast Days"
But other inspired voices were also echoing the great Voice, at home as well as abroad.
There was now no Elisha to counsel the frightened ruler of the people, but a new admonisher was heard, clamoring in the streets, denouncing the wickedness of all the tribes, and promising infinitely greater disasters to come in punishment for their falling away from faith. God’s justice would soon overwhelm them, stormed the clarion tongue of this inspired man, the prophet called Amos, from among the shepherds of the hills of Tekoa, not far from Jerusalem.
Amos, the "peasant prophet," was not only a herdsman but a dresser of sycamores, a tree doctor, but God spoke through him during the declining years of the kingdom.
Bluntly and precisely he warned the people what was going to happen. They would be led captive out of their own land. And for these terrifying predictions he was chased away by the high priest, not an unusual phenomenon in history.
Yet in spite of ecclesiastical rebuke, Amos remains in a secure niche of mortal remembrance. Throughout the ups and downs of the Hebrews they had been warned, by one of God’s favorites after another, against the tyranny of rulers and the backsliding of the people, but Amos was first of the whole line after Moses to write down and preserve what he had to say. We have his words, recorded in the book which bears his name in the Old Testament, a book fulminating against soulless rites and bleak rituals, when faith and love of God are left out. For more than 20 years he wrote and spoke, not only in his native southland but also in hostile cities of the northern kingdom, foretelling doom but not utter hopelessness—a brighter day beyond was also in his vision. Standing in the temple at Bethel, Amos raised his voice in denunciation of a whole string of wicked cities. Naturally his listeners liked this kind of talk and they applauded. What excellent sense this visiting prophet had! But their clapping hands were stilled, their voices silent, when the old man’s tongue turned next to their own abysmal shame:
The God of hosts, the Lord saith: I hate, I despise your feast days... Though ye offer Me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them. Neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take away from me the noise of songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
"Behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, says the Lord, the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of the wilderness...
"And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword."
Much more the prophet Amos predicted. His castigation was directed at the rich and affluent, his sympathy and pity reserved for the oppressed poor. Justice, justice, justice—this lost treasure of the people was his main theme; he was the first prophet of social justice, and without it, as far as Amos was concerned, all sacrifices were vain.
The Bethel temple audience, many of them drunk and maudlin, gave Amos jeers and hoots. They were more amused than aroused, until he uttered a sentence against the king, Jeroboam II. Amaziah, priest of Bethel, sent a report to the king that a wild-eyed Judean had loosed treason in the midst of the sanctuary. And to the herdsman-prophet himself the priest said:
"O you seer! Go back to Judah whence you came! There eat your bread and do your talking. No more prophecy here, for this is the king’s holy place, a royal house!"
And Amos answered: "I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was a herdsman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit: and the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. –Now, therefore hear you the word of the Lord: (to be continued)
Following His Footsteps
by Anselmo del Álamo
Chapter 8. Crosses
5. Life is a prolonged death.
6. Merit and perfection consist in carrying the cross that God wants, and not the one that we want.
St. Paul of the Cross
7. To suffer and to keep silent: this is the short path, to be holy and perfect. St. Paul of the Cross
8. Illness is a magnificent school of mercy for those who attend the sick, and of loving resignation for those who endure it: for while some are at the foot of the Cross like the Virgin and St. John, the others are on the cross, like our Divine Master, whose passion they reproduce, in so far they can copy it in themselves St. Francis de Sales
9. Pains, sorrows and indisposition make us more beloved of God than all the other voluntary penances, because in them there is nothing of ourselves. St. Paul of the Cross
10. Upon this earth, God pays his servants with the same coin with which he paid the Saint of saints: Jesus Christ. St. Paul of the Cross
11. The more you progress in the service of God, the more you increase in suffering. Thus was the life of Jesus Christ, and thus is the life of his authentic servants. Embrace, therefore, the holy Cross with all your heart. St. Paul of the Cross
12. Many are the souls who receive me well when I visit them with consolation. Many receive me with pleasure in Communion. But there are few souls who receive me well when I visit them with my Cross. The soul that is stretched out upon the cross, and abandons herself upon it, this soul glorifies me: this soul consoles me. It is the soul that is nearest to me. Our Lord to Sister Josefa Menendez
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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
"Come with me, thou elect one of my Lord, and let us repose together on the sweetest bosom of the Lord, in which all the treasures of beatitude lie hidden. Behold, this is the Saint of saints, who draws to himself all that is good in heaven and on earth!" --Words of St. John to St. Gertrude: Revelations, Pt. 4, Ch. 4.
For the Feast of St. John the Evangelist
His virtues, and the manner of imitating His purity
The Apostle and Evangelist St. John appeared to this virgin as she prayed one day during Advent. He was clothed in a gold-colored habit, covered with golden eagles; which signified that, though this Saint was elevated to the highest contemplation, even while in the body, he always sought to humble himself by the consideration of his own unworthiness. As Gertrude began to consider these ornaments, she perceived a red light shining from under the golden eagles; from which she learned that St. John always commenced his contemplation by the remembrance of the Passion of the Lord, which he had beheld with his own eyes, and which he had never ceased to mourn in his inmost heart; and thus by degrees he flew to the sublimity of the Divine Majesty, which he contemplated without pain by the eyes of his soul, a far as it is possible for man to do. He had also two golden lilies on his two shoulders --on the right was written, in marvelous characters, the words of the Gospel Discipulus quem diligebat Jesus; and on the left, Iste custos Virginis; ("The disciple whom Jesus loved." -- "This is the guardian of the Virgin.") to mark the singular advantage which he enjoyed of being called, and of being the disciple whom Jesus loved above the rest of His Apostles, and of having been found worthy by Christ Himself to receive from Him the charge of his Mother before He expired, on account of his surpassing purity.
The Apostle had a magnificent rational* on his breast, to indicate his prerogative of having reposed on the bosom of Jesus during the Last Supper. The words, In principio erat verbum, (In the beginning was the word), were written on it in letters of living gold, to show the marvelous virtue of the words contained in his Gospel. Then St. Gertrude said to our Lord: "O most loving Lord, why is Thy beloved one manifested to a creature so unworthy as I am?" Our Lord answered: "I have done this, that he may be united to you by a special friendship; and as you have no apostle, I have appointed him to be ever your faithful advocate with Me in heaven." "Teach me, then, my sweetest Lord," she replied, "how I can show my gratitude to him." Our Lord answered: "If any person says a Pater noster daily in honor of this Apostle, reminding him of the sweet fidelity with which his heart was filled when I taught this prayer, he will not fail to obtain for whoever prays thus, the grace of persevering faithfully in virtue, even to the end of his life."
* The rational was the high-priest's breast-plate (Exodus 35, 7). Calmet speaks thus of it: "This appellation was given to an embroidery about ten inches square, which the high-priest wore on his breast. On it were placed four rows of precious stones, on each of which the name of one of the tribes of Israel was engraved. The rational was doubled, and contained within it the mystic Urim and Thummim. The name 'rational' or 'rational of judgment' was given to it either because the judgment and will of God were made known thereby, or because the high-priest wore it when he pronounced judgment on grave affairs."
This Apostle also appeared to the Saint as she assisted at Matins, on his Feast, when she applied with special fervor to her usual exercises. Gertrude then recommended some of the religious of whom she had charge very fervently to him; he received her prayer very lovingly, and said: "I am like my Master in this --that I love those who love me." The Saint inquired: "What grace, then, and what benefit, can I hope for, who am so unworthy, on your dear Feast?" "Come," he replied; "come with me, thou elect one of my Lord, and let us repose together on the sweetest bosom of the Lord, in which all the treasures of beatitude lie hidden." Then, taking her up in spirit, he presented her to our loving Saviour; and having placed her on His right, he placed himself on the left, and reposed there. Then he exclaimed, pointing reverently to the bosom of Jesus: "Behold, this is the Saint of saints, who draws to himself all that is good in heaven and on earth!"
She then inquired of St. John why he placed himself on the left hand, and had given the right to her. He replied: "It is because I have become one spirit with God, and am able to penetrate where flesh cannot enter; but you are not yet able to penetrate into such high things, because you are still in the flesh. I have therefore placed you at the opening of the Divine Heart, from whence you may drink in all the sweet consolations which flow from it with such impetuous abundance, that it is capable of satisfying all who desire to taste thereof." Then, as she felt the constant pulsations of the Divine Heart, and rejoiced exceedingly thereat, she said to St. John: "Beloved of God, didst not thou feel those pulsations, when thou wert lying on the Lord's breast at the Last Supper?"
"Yes," he replied; "and this with such plenitude, that liquid does not enter more rapidly into bread, than the sweetness of those pleasures penetrated my soul, so that my spirit became more ardent than water under the action of a glowing fire."
"And why," she inquired, "have you neither said nor written anything of this for our edification?" He replied: "Because I was charged with instructing the newly formed Church concerning the mysteries of the uncreated Word, that those truths might be transmitted to future ages, as far as they would be capable of comprehending them, for no one can comprehend them entirely; and I deferred speaking of these Divine pulsations until later ages, that the world might be aroused from its torpor, and animated, when it had grown cold, by hearing of these things." Then, as she contemplated St. John reposing upon the bosom of the Lord, he said to her: "I now appear to you in the same form as when I lay on the bosom of my beloved Lord and only Friend at the Last Supper; but if you wish it, I will obtain for you the favor of beholding me in the form in which I now enjoy the delights of heaven." And as she desired this favor very ardently, she beheld an immense ocean within the Heart of Jesus, in which St. John appeared to float with ineffable joy and perfect freedom; and she learned that the Saint became so filled and inebriated with the torrent of pleasure which he tasted in God, that a vein came from his heart, whereby he poured forth the sweet waters of the Divinity-- that is to say, his instructions, and above all, his Gospel -- over the face of the earth.
On another occasion during the same feast, as the Saint took great satisfaction in the frequent praises which were given to the Apostle for his perfect virginity, she asked this special friend of God to obtain by his prayers that we might preserve our chastity with such care as to merit a share in his praises.
St. John replied: "He who would participate in the beatitude which my victories have won, must run as I ran when on earth." Then he added: "I frequently reflected on the sweet familiarity and friendship with which I was favored by Jesus, my most loving Lord and Master, in reward for my chastity, and for having watched so carefully over my words and actions, that I never tarnished this virtue in the slightest degree. The Apostles separated themselves from such company as they considered doubtful, but mixed freely with what was not (as it is remarked in the Acts, that they were with the women, and Mary the Mother of Jesus); I never avoided women when there was an opportunity of rendering them any service, either of body or soul; but I still watched over myself with extreme vigilance, and always implored the assistance of God, when charity obliged me to assist them in any way. Therefore these words are chanted of me: In tribulatione invocasti me, et exaudivi te (Ps. 80). (You invoked me in tribulation, and I heard you.) For God never permitted my affection to render any one less pure; wherefore I received this recompense from my beloved Master, that my chastity is more praised than that of any other saint; and I have obtained a more eminent rank in heaven, where, by a special privilege, I receive with extreme pleasure the rays of this love, which is as a mirror without spot and the brightness of eternal light (Wis. 7). So that, being placed before this Divine love, whose brightness I receive each time that my chastity is commemorated in the Church, my loving Master salutes me in a most sweet and affable manner, filling my inmost soul with such joy, that it penetrates into all its powers and sentiments like a delicious beverage. And thus the words, Ponam te sicut signaculum in conspectu meo,* are sung of me; that is, I am placed as a receptacle for the effusions of the sweetest and most ardent charity."
* "In that day I will uphold My servant, and I will place thee as a seal before Me."
Then St. Gertrude, being raised to a higher degree of knowledge, understood by these words of our Lord in the Gospel, "In My Father's house there are many mansions," (John 14), that there are three mansions in the heavenly kingdom, which correspond with three classes of persons who have preserved their virginity.
The first mansion is for those who, like the Apostle, fly from what is doubtful, but associate freely with others; who vigorously resist all temptation, and if they fall, perform worthy fruits of penance.
The second mansion is for those who avoid alike the doubtful and that which appears safe; carefully shunning what might prove an occasion even of temptation; and chastise their flesh, subduing it, so that it can no longer rebel against the spirit; to this rank be-long St. John the Baptist and other spiritual persons, who also are placed in the second mansion after they have been prevented gratuitously by the mercy of God, and have cooperated faithfully with His graces, so as to avoid evil and to exercise themselves in the practice of good.
The third mansion is for those who, prevented by the sweetness of the benedictions and grace of God, have a natural horror of all evil; but who, nevertheless, in the different accidents of life, find themselves sometimes with the good and sometimes with the wicked, but always detest evil and adhere to good, endeavoring to render both their own conduct and that of others perfectly irreproachable. Such persons draw marvelous fruit from the human affections, which they have in common with others; since they fear because of their affections, and humble themselves, watching over their hearts with greater diligence; as St. Gregory says: "It shows a good conscience to fear a fault where there is none." In this class St. John obtained the first rank.
Hence these words are chanted on his Feast: Qui vicerit, faciam illum columnam in templo meo;* for whoever conquers nature --that is, his affections --becomes as a pillar whereon God can repose, while pouring forth the abundance of His sweetness. Et scribam super eum nomen meum; that is, to imprint upon him the visible marks of His Divine friendship. Et nomen civitatis novae Jeru-salem; that is, he shall receive, both exteriorly and interiorly, a particular recompense for each person whose spiritual welfare he has procured on earth.
* Responsory after the 5th lesson, 2nd Nocturn: "He that shall overcome, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem." (Rev. 3, 12).
St. Gertrude was favored also with another vision, referring to the same subject; for as she began to consider why the Church extolled the virginity of St. John the Evangelist more than that of St. John the Baptist, God, who knows the thoughts of men, caused her to see the two Saints in a vision. St. John the Baptist was seated on an elevated throne, in the middle of the sea, separated from all the world; St. John the Evangelist stood in the midst of a furnace, surrounded on all sides by flames. As the Saint beheld this, and marveled thereat, our Lord said to her, for her instruction: "Which do you consider most wonderful, --to see the Evangelist not burning, or the Baptist not consumed?" From this she learned that there will be a great difference between the reward of those whose virtue has been assaulted, and of those who have preserved it in peace.
One night, also, when the Saint was engaged in prayer with great devotion, she beheld St. John approaching our Lord, resting himself upon Him, and embracing Him very lovingly and ardently. Then, as she cast herself humbly at the feet of our Lord, to implore pardon for her sins, St. John said to her, with great condescension: "Do not let my presence trouble you; behold one whose love will suffice for thousands; behold a mouth in which each will find a special sweetness; behold an ear which will guard inviolably all the secrets confided to it."
As they chanted the words, Mulier, ecce filius tuus, (Woman, behold thy son), Gertrude beheld a marvelous light, which came forth from the Heart of God, and shone upon St. John, obtaining for him the respect and veneration of all the saints. She also saw the Blessed Virgin manifesting a special joy towards him when she was called his mother; and the beloved disciple saluted her also with the deepest respect and affection. Also, when the words were chanted which referred to the particular privileges of friendship which the saint had received from the Divine Master, such as these: Iste est Ioannes, qui supra pectus Domini in cena recubuit; and, Iste est discipulus quem diligebat Jesus,* he appeared surrounded with a new light of glory, which distinguished him from the other saints; and for this they praised God with their whole souls, which caused the blessed John to rejoice greatly.
* "This is John, who leaned on the Lord's breast at supper;" --- "This is the disciple whom Jesus loved." --Response after the 3rd lesson, first Nocturn, and Antiphon at Benedictus.
At the words Apparuit caro suo, she understood that by the form under which our Lord visited St. John, He renewed in him all the sweetness of that mutual friendship which he had enjoyed during his mortal life. Therefore the Apostle, changed as it were into a new man, tasted in some degree the joys of eternity; and this principally in three things, for which he thanked God when he was dying. For he said, first: "I have seen Thy face, and I am renewed thereby." Secondly: "The sweetness of Thy perfumes, Lord Jesus, has kindled eternal desires within me." and thirdly: "Thy voice is full of sweetness." For the virtue of His presence had imparted the vigor of immortality; the strength of His Divine vocation had replenished him with the sweetest hope; and His gentle words had filled his soul with surpassing gladness. Again, as they read that he rose up to follow Jesus (Jn. 21 20), he appeared to dispose himself to follow Him in heaven; and she knew that St. John had such a full and entire confidence in the goodness of his beloved Lord and Master, that he hoped he would die without feeling the pains of death; and he merited to obtain this favor, because it was the greatness of his love, and not the fear of death, which had caused him to desire it.
Then the Saint began to marvel how it could be, when it was inferred from Scripture, St. John had not tasted the pains of death, because he had suffered so deeply in spirit at the foot of the cross, that it should be said now, this privilege had been granted to him for his confidence. But our Lord replied: "I have rewarded My elect in heaven with a special glory for his virginity, and for the compassion which he had at My death; but I have also recompensed his lively hope, which made him believe that I would refuse him nothing, by withdrawing him from the world without permitting him to experience the pains of death, and by having preserved his body from corruption."
How Saint Gertrude was admitted to the vision of God
– Of the kiss of peace, and other similar favours.
I should be unjust, in recalling the gratuitous gifts which I have received from Thy charitable clemency, if I ungratefully passed over what was granted to my unworthiness, by Thy most loving clemency, during a certain Lent. For on the second Sunday, as they sang at Mass before the procession, the response which commences Vidi Dominum facie ad faciem,* a marvelous and inestimable coruscation illuminated my soul with the light of Divine revelation, and it appeared to me that my face was pressed to another face, as St. Bernard says: "Not a form, but forming; not attracting the bodily eye, but rejoicing the heart; giving freely gifts of love, not merely in appearance but in reality."
In this most enchanting vision, Thine eyes, bright as the solar rays, appeared opposite to mine, and Thou alone knowest how Thou, my dearest Lord, affected not only my soul, but even my body and all my strength. Grant, therefore, that as long as I live I may prove myself Thy humble and devoted servant.
But even as the rose is more beautiful and gives forth a sweeter fragrance in the spring, when it flourishes, than in the winter, when it is dried up, and, like the remembrance of joy that is past, rekindles in us some pleasure to think of it, so I desire, by some comparison, to declare what I felt in this most joyful vision, to extol Thy love, so that if those who read this receive similar or even greater favours, they may thereby be excited to acts of thanks-giving; and I myself, by recalling them frequently, will inflame the negligence of my gratitude beneath the rays of this burning-glass. When Thou didst display Thy most adorable Face,-- the source of all blessedness, as I have said, embracing me, unworthy,-- a light of inestimable sweetness passed though Thy Deified eyes into mine, passing through my inmost being, operating in all my members with admirable power and sweetness: first, it appeared as if the marrow were taken from my bones; then, my flesh and bones appeared annihilated; so much so, that it seemed as if my substance no longer had any consciousness save of that Divine splendour, which shone in so inexplicable and delightful a manner, that it was the source of the most inestimable pleasure and joy to my soul.
Oh, what shall I say further of this most sweet vision, if I may so term it? For all the eloquence of the world, if employed daily to persuade me, could never convince me that I should behold Thee more clearly even in glory, O my God, the only salvation of my soul, if Thou hadst not taught me by experience. I will dare to say that if anything, human or Divine, can exceed the blessedness of Thy embrace in this vision, as I consider, I may truly say that, unless thy Divine virtue possessed that person, the soul would never remain in the body, after a momentary taste of this blessedness.
I render thanks to Thee, through the union of mutual love which reigns in the adorable Trinity, for what I have so often experienced, and that Thou hast deigned to favour me with Thy caresses; so that while I sat meditating, or reading the Canonical Hours, or saying the Office of the Dead, Thou hast often, during a single Psalm, embraced my soul many times with a kiss, which far surpasses the most fragrant perfumes or the sweetest honey; and I have often observed Thou didst look on me favourably, in the condescending caresses Thou didst give to my soul. But though all these things were filled with an extreme sweetness, I declare, nevertheless, that nothing touched me so much as this majestic look of which I have spoken. For this, and for all the other favours, whose value Thou alone knowest, mayest Thou rejoice for ever in that ineffable sweetness surpassing all comprehension, which the Divine Persons communicate mutually to each other in the bosom of the Divinity!
May a like thanksgiving—or, if possible one even greater—be rendered to Thee, for an extraordinary favour Thou hast granted me, of which Thou alone knowest, and which is so great, that I can neither fully express it by my feeble words, nor altogether pass it over in silence; and, lest I should lose the remembrance of it through my frailty, I write this to recall it to my memory, and to excite my gratitude. But, my God, do not allow the meanest of Thy servants to be guilty of such an excess of madness as voluntarily to forget, even for a single instant, the gratitude which she is bound to have for the visit with which Thou hast honoured her of Thy pure and gratuitous liberality, and which she has received for so many years without meriting them. For, although I am the most unworthy of all creatures, I declare, nevertheless, that these visits with which Thou hast favoured me far surpass anything that could be merited during this life. I, therefore, implore Thy sweetest mercy to preserve this gift to me for Thy glory, with the same goodness with which Thou hast so liberally bestowed it, without any merit on my part, so that all creatures may glorify Thee eternally for it; since the more my unworthiness is made known, the more resplendently Thy mercy will shine forth.
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 practised 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.
The Souls in Purgatory—
The Life of the Anne Catharine Emmerich
By Very Reverend Carl E. Schmoger, C.Ss.R. ---
WE have already spoken of Sister Emmerich’s compassion for the souls in purgatory, her unremitting prayers and sacrifices for them. We shall here give those visions which refer to them particularly, as also the various good works undertaken by her for their relief. The first Feast of All-Souls that the Pilgrim (Clemens Brentano) spent in Dulmen, the invalid noticed in him that general indifference toward the dead, that comforting assurance with which the living look upon their deceased relations and friends as no longer in need of special assistance; consequently, she often repeated with a sigh: "It is truly sad to think how few help the poor souls in purgatory. Their misery is so great! They cannot help themselves, though they may be so easily relieved by prayers, alms, and suffering offered for them! O how joyful they then are!—as happy as a thirsty man to whom a cool drink is given."
When she saw that her words produced a deep impression, she went on to say how powerful are meritorious works offered for the poor souls; for example, acts of self-abnegation and mortification of self-will, victories gained over evil inclinations, acts of patience, meekness, humility, forgiveness of injuries, etc. – "Ah! How many poor souls are left to suffer in consequence of lukewarmness, want of zeal for God’s glory and the salvation of the neighbor! What can help them, except satisfactory works, acts of those virtues which they themselves neglected most on earth? The saints in heaven can no longer do penance, they cannot satisfy for them. –Help can come only from the children of the Church Militant. And how the souls long for it! They know that no good thought, no earnest desire to help them is lost; and yet, how few trouble themselves about them! A priest who says his breviary devoutly with the intention of supplying for the failings the poor souls have still to expiate, can procure for them incredible consolation; yes, the power of the sacerdotal benediction penetrates even into purgatory and, like a celestial dew, refreshes the souls to whom it is sent in the spirit of faith. One who could see all this as I see it, would certainly try to relieve them, as far as he is able."
Above all, did Sister Emmerich pity the poor souls whose friends send them to heaven at once in reward for natural good qualities, or those to whom relatives bear so soft and foolish an affection as not to be able to endure the idea of their needing the purifying flames of purgatory before their admittance to the enjoyment of God. Such souls she always saw among the most suffering and abandoned.
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. 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. Our Lord had His plan for my quick death. I did not die from hunger; it was a death which completed my victimhood, i.e. the cup of my sacrificial suffering was full. The fruit was ripe to be picked and to enter the Kingdom of the blessed multitudes. God, the Holy Trinity, accepted my sacrifice. Do not believe that I entered eternity as a result of the exorcism carried out by Father Arnold Renz. The exorcism was intended to prove to the world that there is an eternity, a Heaven, a Hell, and a Purgatory.
"Our Lord permitted that the demonic spirits took possession of my and in me, but not because of my sinfulness, but as evidence that there is a hell and a devil. Who dares deny that there are demons and good, blessed spirits who call everyone to do battle. Each person has a conscience that tells him what is good and what is bad.
"Even when one has reached a situation today that one throws away almost everything that, up to now, has been the authentic teaching of the holy Catholic Church and returns to atheism, paganism, and godlessness, the day will come when the existence of God will not only be proved but reveal itself. Our Lord Himself will come and prove to mankind that there is a Heaven, a Hell, a death, and a Judgment not made by man but by the eternal Truth Himself.
"Yes, the time has come when unbelief and immorality let our German nation sink into a situation that is far worse than that at the time of Noah. Do not be surprised, therefore, when violence keeps growing. The punishment is already in progress. The use of weapons, and terrorism, will flood the German nation and, above all, the leaders of the state and of the Church. What else can one expect when the commandments of God are no longer adhered to, and secular laws are no longer passed in accordance with Divine Laws but according to human and satanic points of view. Oh Germany, where did you end up! The spirit of Hitler is still alive in you. Our Lord allowed this allegedly great leader to speak through me. Where does this spirit lead? Into hell (Hitler stated during the exorcism: ‘Most people believe that, after death, everything ends; but this is not true. Life continues either above or below.’)
September 21, 1977
"Hitler’s insanity, pride and arrogance wanted to establish an empire lasting a thousand years. Where did his insanity lead? Into destruction! Millions lost their possessions. Millions died through force and terror. Finally he ended his own life himself. This was the success of a leader from whom you are expecting your salvation. How many are still calling for him today! What he wanted to destroy was given new life: Communism, Bolshevism. Oh you German people! Do understand that your only salvation and blessings can only come from your return to God and His commandments.
"I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day. Honor thy father and thy mother. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods, house, fields, servants, oxen, donkeys; nothing that belongs to him. How can force and terrorism gain the upper hand when all these Commandments are followed? Only through a return to the Divine Commandments and adherence to them can peace and safety enter once more state and family.
"Man is destined to die only once. Where does his death lead? Before God’s throne of Judgment. Here is pronounced the only true and just judgment. Here it is demanded: give account of your administration, i.e., give account of your life, what you have done with it; the life given to you by God and which is now, after your death, given back again into the hands of your Creator.
"I, too, Anneliese Michel, was a German girl, who was exposed to the influences of her environment. I was a high-school girl and a university student. Our Lord did not only bless me with secular science but also with divine science. I recognized the direction of the path which the German people, who were turning away from God, had been walking. Therefore, I gave myself to the Triune God as a victim for my people, in the same way Edith Stein became a victim for her Jewish people when she saw that Hitler wanted to destroy them." (Edith Stein was a Catholic nun who converted from Judaism to the Catholic Church. She became a victim of Hitler’s persecution of the Jews.) "The Jewish people were destroyed partly by human brutality and terror. The German people, however, now destroy themselves by their sins, by ignoring the commandments. They still have time to follow the appeal of God, addressed to all of you by Him, through me. But woe to those, who in their obduracy, decline the Commandments of God and continue to walk the path of sin and injustice. I gave my life for the salvation of my German fatherland. I prayed for my people, made reparation, suffered, and offered my young life as a sacrifice to God in the battle against the evil spirits. I say to you once more: my death was a sacrifice for the salvation and conversion of Germany." –(to be continued)
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Our Cover: The Holy Infant of Cebu-- (continued)
It has been surmised that after Magellan’s defeat, the image of the Infant Jesus that had been given to the chieftain’s wife at her Baptism was relegated to the role of a pagan idol or an image of little value. It is perhaps for this reason that legend tells of the image being given to children to play with as a toy.
The legend continues that the value of the image was heightened when miracles involving the statue began to occur. One of these wonders involved an oil lamp. In those days the houses were illuminated with oil or the sap of trees that were burned in little lamps. The opened hand of the statue, which was extended with the palm turned upward, was used one night to hold a lamp. Much to the surprise of everyone in the house, the lamp burned continuously without being refilled. This miracle was immediately made known to everyone in the village.
The people also discovered that when the statue was placed in the center of their fields where the rice and corn were growing or where the fish were being dried, birds and animals did not forage as was their custom.
Legend also tells that during threatening typhoons, thunder-storms, floods, plagues or other types of disasters, the people of Cebu had merely to kneel and pray before the statue for the calamity to be averted. When rain was needed for the crops, the people took the Infant in procession to the beach. After dipping the feet of the statue in the water, an abundant rainfall would bless the island.
The miracles attributed to the statue were so numerous, the people called the statue their Bathala, meaning Supreme Being.
After Magellan’s failed voyage. four Spanish expeditions arrived between 1521 and 1542, but all met with the same disastrous results. Then Philip II of Spain, for whom the islands were eventually named, appointed an Augustinian friar, Fr. Andres de Urdaneta, a noted cosmographer, to lead another expedition. Appointed military governor of the islands was Don Miguel Lopez Legaspi. The Legaspi-Urdaneta expedition, sailing under the patronage of the Holy Name of Jesus, landed at Cebu on April 27, 1565. Under a flag of truce, Fr. Urdaneta went ashore to negotiate for amicable relations, but the parley failed. In the ensuing battle, the Cebuans fled to the hills, leaving the city in flames.
When the fire died down the next day, one of Legaspi’s soldiers, Juan Camus, explored the area and came upon a large native hut spared by the flames. Inside he found a box that contained a carefully wrapped wooden image of the Child Jesus. The left hand held a sphere; two fingers of the right hand were held in blessing. The discovery of the image in one of the few remaining huts of the village was regarded as a miracle and produced a great excitement. Legaspi entrusted the image to the care of the Augustinian missionaries, who placed it on an altar erected in the same house where it was discovered.
The first church of nipa and bamboo was erected by the Augustinians in 1571. The transfer of the statue from the hut of its discovery to this church marks the first Christian procession held in the Philippines. Unfortunately, the church burned to the ground. This was followed by two other structures made of similar materials. Finally, the erection of the present church of hewn stone was begun in 1730. The Santo Nino of Cebu was enthroned there on January 16, 1740 among great festivities that continue to be observed every year.
According to Fr. Casimero Diaz in his History of the Philippines, the wonders attributed to the Holy Infant of Cebu are too numerous to mention. Among these miracles was that which took place during World War II when heavy damage was inflicted by American bombers. Although the church where the statue was enshrined was not directly hit, the nearby explosions caused the image to topple over. Instead of shattering on the floor, the holy image somehow became entangled in the embellishments around its votive stand and was miraculously spared injury, except for a small scratch on the face. An Augustinian priest rescued the image and carried it proudly past burning houses to the relative safety of the Redemptorist church in Cebu City. It remained there until the final liberation of the city by American troops on March 27, 1945.
In his unedited Relation, Fr. Urdaneta wrote that the image is similar to those made in Flanders. He shares the opinion of many historians that the image was indeed brought to the islands and left there by Magellan. The archives of the Augustinian Monastery of the Holy Infant of Cebu City likewise concurs with this opinion of the statue’s origin based on historic documents.
The wooden image is still regarded as a product of 16th century Flemish sculpture. Standing on its bronze platform, which is embellished with pearls and bronze flowers, the statue stands a foot high. Wearing golden boots and with its hands gloved in gold, the Infant raises His right hand in blessing. Dangling from the same hand is a scepter of gold. The left hand holds an orb which is topped with a golden cross that signifies the Infant’s worldwide king-ship. Golden chains falling from the orb support three large diamonds that were donated by the Infant’s devotees. A golden crown was given in 1965 to the Santo Nino by the former first lady of the Philippines, Mrs. Leonila Garcia, during the fourth centenary celebration of the Infant’s discovery by the soldier of the Legaspi-Urdaneta expedition. Another golden crown, studded with jewels, is said to have been the gift of Crown Prince Juan Carlos, who is now the reigning king of Spain.
The wardrobe of the Infant is extensive and is kept in the church’s museum. Many of the jeweled vestments and capes hang in glass cases. Others are displayed behind glass in frames that encircle the walls. Other cases hold the many costly ornaments that were given to the Santo Nino by many of His devotees.
On festive occasions the Infant wears a belt on which large Spanish gold coins are arranged. Among other ornaments the Infant also wears the famous Toissone de Oro, the Golden Fleece, which was given to the Infant by King Charles III in recognition of its miraculous reputation. This Toissone is a necklace of gold that has square-cut emeralds, garnets, rubies and diamonds.
The clothing of the Santo Nino is changed twice a year by members of the Confraternity of the Holy Child Jesus of Cebu. Known as Camareras, they perform their privileged function by first clothing the figure in from 18 to 20 white garments (resembling the priest’s alb) which are made of sheer, costly fabrics or precious laces. These are donated, and when removed, they are distributed to various provinces as relics. A selection among the Infant’s many vests is then made and placed on the figure, concealing the many white garments. One of its jewel-decorated capes is then placed on its shoulders. This clothing of the figure is made on the eve of the feast-day fiesta, before the Holy Infant is brought in procession around the city. One week after the fiesta, the robes are taken off in a ritual called the Hubo (meaning "to take off"). Another set of vestments is then placed on the Infant which remains until the time of the next feast-day.
This yearly celebration has been marked by special observances from the time of the discovery in the hut until the present day. A few days before the feast, faithful devotees from all over the Philippines converge on Cebu to fulfill promises they made to observe an annual pilgrimage to the Infant. Many of the faithful bring their little replicas of the Santo Nino, which are arranged around the altar. After the solemn Mass on the day of the feast, the basilica is turned over to those who perform a dance known as the Sinulog. This dance is performed before the miraculous image, but those in the square in front of the church also participate. This is a pre-Spanish ritual performance which was preserved as a dance during which both petitions and thanksgivings are presented to the Santo Nino. After a sufficient amount of time is given to the dancers, the statue of the Santo Nino, in a glass enclosure, is carried in procession throughout the city, accompanied by dancers in colorful costumes. Also participating is the Archbishop of Cebu, who is joined by various organizations, many of the clergy and thousands of celebrants.
It is due to the Augustinian Order that the Infant of Cebu is so well known and loved. It was the Augustinians who organized the perpetual Novena to the Santo Nino of Cebu which is held every Friday on the year. It is also the Augustinians who supervise all the festivities and the procession of the Holy Image, and it is in the Augustinian church that the Holy Infant is enshrined in a side chapel.
Devotion to the Santo Nino has spread throughout the islands, with many churches and homes enshrining replicas of the miraculous image. The miracles of the Infant take many forms. Epidemics have been checked, protection has been given in battle, ships have been delivered from storms, and cities have been saved from fire. Also, Cebu was once rendered invisible to invaders.
It is said that no problem remains unsolved, no sickness uncured, no pain unrelieved when the devout pray before the holy image or one of its replicas. In the United States, devotion to the Holy Infant of Cebu is propagated by the Rosarian Dominican Sisters of 19292 El Tora Road, Silverado, California 92676, USA, who have replicas of the Holy Infant of Cebu available for purchase.
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