From the Franciscan Minims
Mexico • Vergel ----- Nov. • Dec. 2002 ----- No. 11–12
"Desires often inflame thee and violently hurry thee on, but consider whether it is for my honor or thy own interest, that thou art most moved."
Imitation, Book 3, Ch. 11
Our Cover: Imitation, Bk. 3, Ch. 11
Chapter 11: The Desires of Our Hearts Are to be Examined and Moderated
SON, thou hast many things still to learn, which thou hast not yet well learned. Disciple: What are these things, O Lord? That thou conform in all things thy desires to My good pleasure, and that thou be not a lover of thyself, but earnestly zealous that My will be done.
Desires often inflame thee and violently hurry thee on, but consider whether it is for My honor or thy own interest, that thou art most moved. If thou hast no other view but Me, thou wilt be well contended with whatever I shall ordain, but if there lurk in thee anything of self seeking, behold, this it is that hinders thee and troubles thee.
Take care then not to rely too much upon any desire which thou hast conceived before thou hast consulted Me, lest afterwards thou repent or be displeased with that which before pleased thee and which thou zealously didst desire as the best. For every inclination which appears good is not presently to be followed, nor every contrary affection at first sight to be rejected.
Even in good desires and inclinations it is expedient sometimes to use some restraint, lest by too much eagerness thou incur distraction of mind; lest thou cause scandal to others, by not keeping within discipline, or even lest by the opposition which thou mayest meet with from others, thou be suddenly disturbed and fall.
In some cases thou must use violence and manfully resist the sensual appetite, and not regard what the flesh has a mind for, or what it would fly from, but rather labor that, whether it will or not, it may become subject to the spirit.
No Vision is Necessary
• "For patience is necessary for you; that, doing the will of God, you may receive the promise. For yet a little and a very little while, and he that is to come will come and will not delay. But my just man liveth by faith. ... Now, faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not."
-- Hebrews 10, 36. 11, 1
IN the life of Saint Cuthbert we read the following passage: "In the kingdom of Northumbria, under the pious King Oswald, the holy Bishop saint Aidan founded two monasteries, that of Melrose, on the river Tweed, and another on the island of Lindisfarne (now called Holy Island). He usually resided in the latter. Saint Cuthbert was born not very far from Melrose, and in his youth was much edified by the devout deportment of the holy inhabitants of Melrose, whose fervor in the service of God, and the discharge of the duties of a monastic life, he fervently endeavored to imitate on the mountains where he kept his father's sheep. It happened, one night, that while he was watching in prayer, near his flock, according to his custom, that he saw the soul of Saint Aidan carried up to heaven by angels, at the very instant that holy man departed this life in the island of Lindisfarne. Serious reflections on the happiness of such a death, determined the pious young man to travel, without delay, to the monastery of Melrose, where he put on the monastic habit."
When we read in the life of Saint Cuthbert and of other saints and mystics of the visions and revelations they had, sometimes we may feel envious about such experiences. Since they saw things so directly, it seems they are closer to God than ourselves, who can only see these truths in an indirect manner.
October 15 of this year was the 23rd anniversary of the Portavoz' death (Oct. 15, 1979). On that day a Requiem Mass was offered in memory of her.
When the Portavoz died, no one saw her soul being carried up to heaven. But notwithstanding that, we can know for certain what happened to her after she died.
At that moment she came out of the great tribulation, she washed her robe, and made it white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore she is before the throne of God, serving him day and night in his temple, and the Lamb wipes away all tears from her eyes. — (Apocalypse 7)
She wept so often and had so many crosses to bear, and now all that is ended, and all those verses quoted above are fulfilled, and everlasting joy is on her head.
We do not have to be privileged souls to understand all this: all you have to do is read a few passages in Scripture and meditate some, and you can understand just as well as St. Cuthbert, what happens to the souls of the just after they die.
In the Scriptures is it written: "The just man lives by faith." By means of faith, meditation and prayer, we can have access to the same favors that St. Cuthbert and the other saints had: The more we love God, the more he will reveal his secrets to us, and the more secrets we know, the happier we will be, although some of the secrets are very sad, so sad that they will make you weep. The Portavoz knew many of these intimacies of God, and that is why she had to suffer so much on earth, and why she is so happy in heaven now.
The prophet Isaias made a prophecy about the exiles who were going to return from the Babylonian captivity:
"And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and shall come into Sion with praise: and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness: and sorrow and mourning shall flee away." (Is. 35, 10).
This life is like a captivity and an exile, and we will not be in our true home, until we are in the heavenly Sion. The Portavoz has now seen the happy fulfillment of this marvelous prophecy: her exile has ended: ever-lasting joy is upon her head, and her sorrow and mourning have fled away.
May it be for the glory of God
The Vergel of the Immaculate Virgin of Guadalupe
Oct. 24, 2002-- Feast of Saint Raphael, Archangel
* * * * * *
A Magazine for the Latter Times
I truly appreciate your information about the false Miraculous Medals. Is there any way you could send me the entire article about the "False Miraculous Medals"? You published the first part on page 12 of Reflections, Sept.--Oct. 2002, No. 9-10. I am still trying to find some true medals, and I'm tracking down false medals I've given away and disposing of them. What a disappointment to find the medals I gave with love and devotion to the Holy Mother of God were false. (Continued on p. 27).
Short Lives of the Saints
Cunegund was the wife of the Holy Roman Emperor St. Henry II. A year after her husband's death she became a nun in the convent she had founded at Kaufungen, near Cassel. d. 1033 or 1039. cd 1200. She had no children, and is commemorated liturgically as a virgin. March 3
CUTHBERT, ST., Bishop
While a monk at Melrose and Lindisfarne, he made missionary journeys far and wide in Northumbria, and was then a solitary for ten years until 685, when he was consecrated bishop of Lindisfarne. He ruled his see for only two years, dying on Farne island in 687. He is one of the most famous of English saints: without intermission he preached, taught, distributed alms, and wrought so many miracles of healing that he was known during his lifetime as the "Wonder-worker of Britain." He traveled into the remoter parts of the north, visiting from cottage to cottage, from Berwick to Solway Firth with the good news of Christ, and everywhere he was a welcome and honored guest. His shrine at Durham was one of the most frequented in the middle ages. His feast is kept today in several northern English dioceses, and in Meath and Saint Andrews. March 20
CUNIBERT, ST., Bishop
He was bishop of Cologne and a chief minister during the minority of Sigebert of Austrasia; but he did not live long to fulfill this office, dying with a great reputation of holiness. c. 663. Nov. 12
CUNGAR, ST., Abbot
Cungar (Cyngar, Congar) founded several churches in Wales and a monastery at Congresbury in Somerset, for which reason his feast is observed in the diocese of Clifton. Sixth century. Nov. 27
The Trial on Mount Carmel
UNTIL the book Cherith ran dry in the continuing drought—and that took months—Elijah ate all his meals from the gleaming beaks of his friends the ravens—all eight kinds of them as found in Palestine. But when at last there was no more water flowing between the banks, and the bed of rock and mud lay dry and open to the eye like a cadaver in a surgery, the ravens croaked harsh farewell and flew away for good and all. And again Elijah heard the voice, with its precise instructions: "Go to Zarephath, which is in Zidon, where Queen Jezebel comes from. There you will meet another kind of woman, and you are to dwell in her house, Elijah, and the lady will keep you alive."
The hairy old hermit coming out of his wilderness to blink unhappily at a crowded world, tramped all the miles to his goal. Staff in hand, weary from his long journey, he arrived at the gates of the city of Zarephath and along the outside wall he found a woman gathering stray sticks for a fire. The eyes of the prophet picked her out, this widow whose name now no one remembers, and he asked her for food and water, as was the right of any wayfarer. Her reply, pious before the invisible but ever-present God, filled the old man with satisfaction, even though it sounded like a refusal:
"As the Lord your God lives, I have not a cake but a handful of meal in a barrel and little oil in a cruse; and behold, I am gathering two sticks that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it and die."
And she smiled, as if the immediate prospect of death can be a welcome and relieving fact. But Elijah shook his tired old head and spoke with gentle authority, undisturbed by her statement that she did not have enough to keep herself and her son alive. He reassured her with a miraculous promise. Elijah ordered her first to make for him a cake. Afterward she must cook a meal for her son and herself. "For thus says the Lord God of Israel," he assured her, "the barrel of meal shall not waste neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth." And all this happened, just as the visitor predicted.
But later, when her son fell sick and died, the widow whirled on Elijah, cursing him as a wizard who had used necromantic power to bring death to her only child.
"Give me your son," said Elijah, and, grunting, lifted the body of the boy in his withered arms. As if divinely strengthened, he carried the corpse to the loft where he had been living in the widow's house. Alone with the dead, the prophet Elijah cried unto the Lord to restore the life taken so young. There was no hesitation or doubt in the old man's voice, no question in his large, farseeing eyes. Closer and closer he hugged the young dead boy, as if he would warm the lifeless chest against his own...
When the widow heard the old man calling to her, hours later, she scrambled up the stairs and in the doorway beheld her living son. Elijah had called him back from the grave, the first of the few who have been called back from the dead.
"Now by this I know you are a man of God," she sobbed.
For three years the meal in the barrel sufficed, and the oil in the cruse. Then, in the third year of drought, the Voice spoke to Elijah:
"Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth."
Not a day had passed in those three years that Ahab's men had not been seeking, far and wide, for the man who had told the king there would be rain or not, as he asked. Now suddenly the hairy old man reappears; with famine's hands at Samaria's throat, there rises against the horizon a wild and shaggy silhouette, the shadow of the missing prophet. First to see him was that haggard and hungry steward of the king, Obadiah, who was looking haplessly around the countryside for grass to feed his horses and mules, and there was no grass. Without a word Obadiah turned and fled back to the palace, and told Ahab the lost was found, the man whose warning had turned the countryside to a pile of cinders. The king did not wait for Elijah; he followed his minister down the dusty roads, purple robes flapping at his heels. At last the frightened but still haughty young ruler stood face to face with the walking prophet, dripping with the sweat of his travels.
"Are you he who troubles Israel?" asked the king.
"Not I, but you," answered Elijah.
The king looked astonished. He, who loved his people, to be blamed for the famine? Come, old man, what do you mean?
"You have forsaken the Lord and followed Baal," said Elijah.
The king blinked incredulously. This little business of worshipping — surely it was not important! For political reasons he made it a policy not to interfere with the followers of Jehovah on one hand, or Baal-Melkart on the other. Was not the prophet, with power to bring rain or drought, making far too much of a small matter? After all, the king put it persuasively, is not one religion as good as another?
Elijah's answer to that persisting error was wholly practical — realistic, indeed, and pragmatic. There could be but one true God — why not find out which was which, and be rid of the substitute, cheap and bogus as it must be?
And Elijah proposed to the king that the Baal Prophets, all eight hundred and fifty of them, including the four hundred installed that were around Queen Jezebel's quarters and ate at her table, meet him on Mount Carmel in a public contest, a duel of prayer, to prove which was the true God, theirs or his — Baal or the God of Abraham, Isaac, of Jacob and Moses and Joshua, of David and Solomon. A fair challenge, Ahab agreed. His word was law, so the Baal prophets and the children of Israel were soon gathered on the green-wooded headland above the Mediterranean. Elijah stood facing the throng and put his case:
"How long limp you between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him, but if Baal, then follow him."
No answer came from the people.
Then Elijah outlined the test.
"I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord, but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces and lay it on wood and put no fire under; and I will dress the other bullock and lay it on wood and put no fire under. And call you on the name of your gods and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God that answers by fire, let him be God."
To these terms the excited people screamed their agreement.
The priests of Baal did not relish this extraordinary contest, but they knew there was no escape. In the parched and waterless time the king would try anything that might lead to rain, even the mad duel which Elijah was proposing. For surely, who could make fire, could make rain.
The two bullocks lay dead on the piles of firewood, and Elijah smilingly insisted that Baal's priests make the first try. Their leader began with a long speech, bragging about what they were going to do, and so delaying matters as long as possible.
Then began a weird rite imploring a god that in their hearts they did not believe in, to do something they were certain was impossible. Forward they crept, chanting heathen litanies, while their acolytes whirled fragrant torches overhead and older attendants clashed brazen cymbals. A whole morning the devotees of Baal prayed and chanted. But all in vain.
Angrily they stamped on the improvised altar.
"Cry aloud!" mocked Elijah. "For your god may be on a journey, or peradventure he sleeps and must be awakened."
The priests milled around, cutting their own arms and legs with knives in their frenzy. They were persistent, those infidels. Hour followed hour, but they did not pause in their clapping of hands and the incantation of magical words, uttered in solemn but ever faster rhythms. Evening came, and still no answer from Baal.
Then, in the gloaming, Elijah took twelve stones and built a special altar for his bullock with a trench under it. He put the wood under it, and then staggered them all by commanding a new and audacious detail; twelve barrels of water must be thrown upon it all, and that was done until the trench was overflowing. One disdainful glance Elijah bestowed on the regiment of heathen priests. Pagans! Unbelievers! His eyes seemed to say; his glance was volcanic, heaping the air with reproaches. Then Elijah lifted up his eyes and hands and prayed:
"Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their heart back again."
The result was instantaneous and terrifying. — (To be continued)
Following His Footsteps
by Anselmo del Álamo
Chapter 7.Mortification, Suffering
16. In the crucible of sufferings is where there occurs the separation of the chaff from the wheat. He who lowers himself under the weight of the cross and resigns himself lovingly to the will of God, is good wheat for Heaven; and he who murmurs, becomes irritated and withdraws, therefore, from the good God, is chaff destined for the fire. St. Augustine
17. To enjoy excellent health and to possess sanctity, are not usually good companions. St. Paul of the Cross
18. It costs God, when he makes us drink in the fountain of tears, but he knows that it is the only means of preparing us to know him as he knows himself, and to become divinized like him. St. Therese of Lisieux
19. He who is not apt in tolerating the loss of his honor and self-esteem, for the sake of Christ, such a one will not do anything of profit in the life of the spirit. St. Philip Neri
20. I would like to persuade those who are spiritual, how this path of God consists only in one necessary thing: which is to know how to deny oneself truly in the exterior and interior, surrendering one-self to suffering for Christ. His Majesty taught this truth to those two disciples, who asked a place at his right side and left side: he did not grant their request for such glory, but rather offered them the chalice that he was going to drink, as the most precious and secure thing upon this earth, than to rejoice. St. John of the Cross
21. Sorrow is the law of the spiritual world: the chosen souls avoid it much less than the others, they pay the ransom of others, sometimes at a very great price. Only later on will we know the work realized by our sorrows and sacrifices; they all go toward the Heart of God, and there are joined to the redemptive torrent, and are then shed upon souls in the form of graces. We can convert, sanctify, console, without going out of our house, or out of ourselves: united unceasingly to him who works in us, we offer and obtain without intermission, and he spreads our humble offerings: when we present to him the most interior tortures "the blood of our hearts" that make spiritual martyrs, we are very powerful with him. Isabel Leseur
False Miraculous Medals
An Inquiry made by Mr. Victor Lefevre, Vice-President of the Domain of the Immaculate Conception, Puylaurens, France
Continued from previous issue
Ave María. Nov. 20, 1978. Besançon
Father, I have indeed received your letter. Look here: the Blessed Virgin was very careful to describe, down to the last detail, both sides of Her medal, to which she also attached some promises, also described in detail. If the details were not important, why should she have mentioned them? First, one thing is certain: Satan has a good laugh at counterfeits, even in small details.
A short time ago I received a souvenir from Lourdes, piously brought back by a family on return from a pilgrimage. An amazing thing happened: All of a sudden the whole family experienced pains simultaneously, and in the same spot of their bodies, which left all of us perplexed. Every means was used to find out the cause of it. Finally, knowing for certain of Satan's astuteness, we found out that the afore-mentioned souvenir was infested by Satan. After it has been blessed, exorcised, and finally burned (it was a wooden plaque, with a picture of Mary in relief), instantly all the members of the family felt their pain disappear.
I consider that Satan, being unable to attack our Mother directly, is either pestering such souvenirs, at the stage of the manufacturing or at the sale, or else renders the Miraculous Medal inoperative by overloading it, or by having details neglected, and this either in the manufacture itself or at the sale. Yours truly, --- Pere Matthieu
According to the terms of this letter, I must therefore consider all Miraculous Medals carrying one or several bars under the M as more or less inoperative, and at times, in certain cases, as infested, that is, diabolical, and therefore fatal. But Heaven did not delay in granting credit to the thesis of Father Matthieu.
It has happened to me, and still does at times, to entrust special missions to my devoted private secretary, Amicie de Fontaines, who, it is now publicly known, is going to take the veil and religious habit on Sat., March 21, under the name of Sister Amicie of the most holy Rosary. As a matter of fact, she accomplished these missions since 1972, and she is not astonished at anything any more. This time it was a matter of going to Paris where she actually went on the very same day on which Father Matthieu's reply was received from Besançon. Therefore she knew of it before leaving. On her return, the first words she said to me were the following: "Now I know why, in addition to the mission I had to accomplish, the Blessed Virgin had me go to Paris. I am bringing back formal proof that the Miraculous Medal with the bars is, without any possible doubt, a perverse deed of Satan!"
And Amicie explained: "Imagine, this very day I spoke about the medal with my brother-in-law; he is the one who, together with his three companions, was saved by the miraculous medal in Algeria on August 15, 1957. The jeep in which they were traveling had just run over a mine which exploded. The four of them found they had been left safe and sound, thanks to the Miraculous Medal which each one of them was wearing!"
And Amicie continued: "I told my brother-in-law: 'Are you aware that a satanic Miraculous medal exists?' He answered: 'What is the story?' Then I told him the whole story. When I had ended my narrative, my brother-in-law remembered all of a sudden that he had placed the famous medal he was wearing around his neck in 1957 in the coffin of an unbelieving relative in order to commend his soul to the Blessed Virgin. He had bought a new Miraculous Medal which he was then wearing around his neck. He took it out and looked at it: two bars were located under the M. Perplexed, he wondered whether what I told him was true or false. He decided to ask his mother, and called her on the telephone. His mother is the author of wonderful poems which are recited by Jean-Stephane during some of our Rosaries.
On the telephone my brother-in-law told his mother: "Did you know that a false Miraculous Medal exists?" -- "No, why is that?" It was now his turn to report what I have just narrated to him. But his mother did not allow him to get to the end.
"But this is formidable! Do you know what just took place? Right now I have next to me one of my good friends. She had a dream last night. She was inside the miraculous chapel on Rue du Bac, in front of the altar of the Virgin holding the globe, which is located above the glass case in which the body of Catherine Labouré rests. Yet instead of the globe which the Virgin is holding in her hands, there was a dossier, not a review or a book, but a dossier, a dossier filled with written pages. She was turning the pages. She stopped a moment and pointed out to my friend something that my friend could not decipher. No doubt the Blessed Virgin had something important to mention to my friend. At this very moment both of us still asked ourselves what could be the matter. And you just offered us the expected explanation."
Dear friends, you can judge our emotion on hearing Amicie's narrative. Could it be possible, therefore, that for years and years in a row, a medal desired by the most Blessed Virgin had been counterfeited and infested by Satan?
Just a few days later my eldest son, Emmanuel, passing through Paris, made his way to the chapel on Rue du Bac. Alas! It was at a time when the store was closed. Seeing a nun, he asked her: "Tell me, Sister, is the store already closed?" "Yes, it closes earlier at this season. What for?" "I would like to get a Miraculous Medal." "That is no problem. Come, follow me." And the nun led him into the sacristy and put her hand into a huge coffer containing thousands of medals. Holding out her hand she said: "Here they are." And she gave him several medals, all of which had a double bar under the M.
The report on "Tears of Blood" had just been dispatched, when we received a letter from Father Mars which constitutes a decisive testimony.
Dear Sir, Jan. 31, 1979
I cannot keep to myself what has just taken place here. But I must be kept completely anonymous (not for you!). in order not to call down upon myself difficulties in this diocese, where I am a persona non grata. Besides my ministry as pastor, I endeavor to bring spiritual comfort to afflicted people, and there are numbers of them. Some of them are bewitched in their bodies, and they bring me the tangible proofs of their bewitchment (flowers made of feathers). Then I perform the private exorcisms which any priest has a right (and sometimes a duty) to pronounce.
This morning I was waiting for a young lady-lawyer who came purposely from 200 kilometers away in order to be freed from an evil charm which was weighing heavily upon her. While waiting I was reading "Tears of Blood" which I interrupted when she rang the doorbell. I introduced her into the parlor. This room is comfortable, and completely closed. The light is supplied by an electric bulb inside a very heavy crystal globe. When she walked under the globe, it started swinging strongly. Now there was no draft in my apartment, and quite a strong draft would have been necessary to cause the globe to swing.
The young lady told me the story of her bewitchment and the unpleasant consequences thereof. She had met an exorcist-medium who had con-firmed that an evil witch-charm was still weighing heavily upon her. In vain he had tried to free her from it. While she was telling me her story, I asked myself about the strange swinging of the globe. All of a sudden I had an inspiration. "Do you wear any medals?" "Yes, I have on my person the Miraculous Medal." -- "Let me see it." She took out the little chain from which was hanging a little golden medal, and the letter M was underlined. I ran to my office to get your brochure, and showed it to her. All her misfortunes — she now realized — had begun from the very moment when she had been given that medal.
Such are the facts. Make use of them according to your own good judgment. But keep them anonymous.
N.B.: That letter was dated Jan 1979. Today in Jan. 1981 Farther Mars has given permission to mention his name. (To be continued)
San Miguel del Milagro
"This light which you have seen descend from heaven is the virtue which God is giving to this spring for the health and healing of all infirmities and necessities. Make it known to all."
Continued from previous issue
The third investigation was promoted by Doctor José Salazar Varona, canon of the Cathedral of Puebla. (He is depicted in the first of three panels of an oil on cloth painting in the Sanctuary of San Miguel del Milagro. This painting, measuring about 16 by 15 feet, was completed in 1670 and restored by Gaspar Muñoz in 1726. Shown in other panels are all those involved in the Church's investigation of the apparitions.)
Doctor Varona began his judgment, investigation, and deliberation in July of 1675, while the Episcopal seat of Puebla was vacant, and finalized his inquiry the following year. During the last of these essential and thorough trials, after subjecting ten contemporaries of Diego Lázaro to the same twelve questions, it was clear beyond any doubt to Holy Mother the Church, that all three visions were from God.
Every testimony coincided perfectly, and affirmed that Diego Lázaro had good habits, and knew the place to show his neighbors, who informed him of the many, many miracles that happened.
A Living Witness
Like Juan Diego of Tepeyac, Diego Lázaro devoted his last three years on earth in unwavering servitude to Saint Michael the Archangel at the miraculous well. He lived eremitically, yet nursed endless sick and infirm pilgrims to San Miguel del Milagro with Christ-like tenderness. Penitential and austere, he gave witness to the truth of the apparitions of the Prince of the Heavenly Hosts.
According to tradition, on the day Diego Lázaro died, the country people of his village saw glorious suns. When his body was exhumed years ago, it was found to be incorrupt.
For generations the Basilica and town in honor of the glorious Archangel have been called San Miguel del Milagro, Saint Michael of the Miracle. The cures and conversions that have taken place here are countless. The current pastor says he has entire rooms filled with records of miracles. Every year thousands of people travel from parishes and towns all over México, along the winding roads to this picturesque mountain village.
On September 29, Saint Michael's feast day, weeks of celebration begin. At this time of year, it is impossible to drive to the Basilica and shrine, since the only road up the mountain is strewn with pilgrims and merchants from dawn to dusk. Beyond the temporal festivities, at least one or two joyous wonders are regularly recorded with every pilgrimage.
For some unexplained reason the well, which had become dry for years, began reproducing water about seven years ago. The Pastor of San Miguel del Milagro, Father Gilberto, states, "When the people do penance, the well returns. When they fail to do penance, it dries up."
The water continued to flow freely till last year. Many others believe it runs dry because of the sins of the people, but especially those in the secular government.
On Saturday, July 28, 1990, the well began to flow once again.
Helping Saint Michael
Saint Michael's desire to "make known that which I have commanded you" is no less important today than it was in 1631. His exhortation is for all ages, and all the faithful would be wise to heed it.
A multi-colored tile dome encloses the well and ground sanctified by Saint Michael and the Most Holy Trinity. Here many faithful come daily for their ration of the miraculous water.
In times of drought, the townspeople carried their blessed statue of Saint Michael in procession, and begged his help. Accordingly, they rarely ever reached the front door of the church before their prayers were answered. May we also be generous in responding to his requests.
Points of Interest
Bishop Palafox was so excited about Saint Michael's benediction, that immediately after the Church's approval, he journeyed throughout the entire country seeking workmen, artisans, and donations to construct the present-day Sanctuary. Under his watchful eye, the Church was built in only one year by craftsmen and laborers from every province of Mexico.
The walls of a thanksgiving chamber, adjacent the Pardon Chapel, are covered with beautiful testimonies from 360 years of wonders obtained through Saint Michael.
A Retreat and Conference Center at the Sanctuary was completed in November of 1990.
San Miguel del Milagro is located about two hours northeast of Mexico City, just north of Puebla, between San Martin and Tlaxcala City. Nearby is the Aztec ruin of Cacaxtla. These major cities offer excellent accommodations.
Mary of Agreda
Writes the Mystical City of God
The Life of the Mother of God
Madre María is Ordered to Burn the Life of Mary
"My thoughts are not your thoughts." --Sacred Scripture
ALL the saints from the Saint of saints down to the least, have experienced opposition, and very often from men of prestige and (humanly speaking) apparently good judgment. God seems to allow false judgments to be made against his chosen ones. In the absence of Father Francis Andrea, her regular confessor, who was called away to Toledo to attend a general chapter, a substitute confessor of imprudent judgment ordered Madre Maria to burn the history of the Life of the Virgin Mary. He declared that women should not presume to write on matters so sublime.
When Father Andrea returned and learned of it, he reprimanded Agreda severely, and commanded her to rewrite it. He knew that Phillip IV had a copy, but judged it prudent to keep this fact a secret.
However, Sor María became seriously ill. Shortly afterwards Father Andrea, who had been her spiritual director for 20 years, died, and the same father who had ordered the burning of her manuscript, the Mystical City, was appointed to be her regular confessor. When he learned that she had other writings, he ordered them burned also, including the daily diary of her visits to America. Three years later he died.
In the year 1650 God provided her with a prudent and learned confessor, Father Andrew de Fuenmayor, who directed Agreda until her glorious death. He not only renewed the precept to rewrite the life of Mary, but commanded sister María to write the history of her own life also. However, in the latter undertaking, very embarrassing and painful to her, she did not get beyond the years of her youth.
In preparation for the second writing of the life of the Queen of heaven, the Virgin Mary taught Sor Maria the three stages or triangle of perfection, as she herself states in the Mystical City, Vol. 3, p. 24.
"By first being my disciple thou shouldst prepare thyself for becoming the disciple of my Son, and both these states should lead thee to the perfect union with the Immutable Being of God. These three stages are favors of peerless value, which place thee in a position to become more perfect than the exalted seraphim."
After permitting her to go through the state which theologians term "mystical death," God revealed to her that as a reward for the first writing of the life of His Most holy Mother, He would raise her to a more sublime state of perfection, by making her an imitator of his Mother. This is the first stage or "novitiate" in the triangle of perfection. Sor María entered upon this period of probation in the year 1652, on the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and made a vow to obey Mary in all her instructions. She made this vow in the hands of the Most Holy Virgin, while absorbed in one of those sublime visions —thus excluding rashness or imprudence because it was prompted by the Divine Will. From this vow and from the reading of the Virgin Mary's instructions to her after each chapter of her life, we can judge to what heights of holiness Agreda reached. These instructions contain the highest perfection — the words of wisdom from the Personification of Wisdom -- after Her Divine Son.
From this stage her Divine Spouse raised her to the imitation of Christ. The law of the Gospels was written in her heart, and Christ Himself offered to be her Teacher.
In the same year, 1652, on the Feast of the Assumption, María de Agreda was introduced to the final stage or apex of the triangle — union with God, in which God dwells in the soul and becomes its life. The exercise of this state consists in an almost continual application to the essence, knowledge, love, worship, and adoration of God, and the intimate communication with Him. Our Lady told her that the teachings of all three stages must be practiced at one and the same time, even after the last has been reached.
In the year 1654 she was taken up before the throne of the Trinity where, in the presence of the Queen of heaven, she solemnly promised to imitate the virtues of her celestial Sovereign. This vision she relates in her autobiography.
Sor María Writes the Life of Mary a Second Time
"But the plenitude of light has been given to thee, and this has been done, because of the necessities and unhappy state of the world."
-- Our Lady to Agreda in The Mystical City of God
On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the year of Our Lord 1655, Sor María de Jesus de Agreda began to rewrite the Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Satan invoked all hell against her, for according to her own confession, she could not write a single sentence without experiencing the fury of his attacks. She finished its writing on the sixth of May, 1660, as stated in her biography.
The Lord God Himself praised this work in the following words: "Happy they who find it, and blessed they who shall appreciate its value, rich they who shall come upon this treasure, and blessed and very wise those who shall search into and shall understand its marvels and hidden mysteries."
Pope Benedict XIV considered the re-writing of the Mystical City of God as miraculous:
"We read in history of the life of Sister Mary of Jesus that after she had written the work of The Mystical City of God, a certain confessor commanded her to burn the work. She did so immediately, as she was ordered. Then another confessor who was more experienced in spiritual matters commanded her to re-write the work anew. It happened, not without a miracle, that the same work was re-written by the servant of God, without any discrepancy from the one which was burned previously, except for certain unimportant additions."
The eulogies and declarations of many Popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns, and laymen regarding The Mystical City would fill many volumes. The heart of them all lies in this dual statement made by Rev. Andrew Mendo, S.J., Professor of the University of Salamanca: "Whoever shall read this work with good will shall become learned; and whosoever shall 'pray' and meditate on it, will desire sanctity."
The Last Illness of Sor María
(to be continued)
AND I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud; and a rainbow was on his head, and his face was as the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. And he had in his hand a little book, open; and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth. And he cried with a loud voice as when a lion roareth. And when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying to me: Seal up the things which the seven thunders have spoken; and write them not. And the angel, whom I saw standing upon the sea and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven; and he swore by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven and the things which are therein, and the earth and the things which are in it, and the sea and the things which are therein: that time shall be no longer. — Apocalypse 10: 1–6
Commentary, by Rev. Bernard F. Leonardtaken from The Book of Destiny
The Open Booklet
The second natural division of the Apocalypse portrays in symbolic visions together with literal narratives the culmination of the growth of evil upon earth, and the most sanguine attack upon the Church, jeopardizing her very existence and the salvation of the world. The various evil institutions appearing at the trumpet blasts have grown to maturity by the time the prophecies of the open booklet shall go into fulfillment. Out of these institutions shall grow the enormities predicted in this and the following chapters. That prediction is contained in the first part of this open booklet. In the second part (XIV--XX), is contained the overthrow of the reign of evil and the end of wickedness, and in the third part the unending reign of justice, during which the whole world will serve the King of kings.
The Mighty Angel with the Open Booklet.
Seven Thunders. Oath.
Verse 1. This vision presents a powerful angel stepping into the wicked world to make a momentous revelation. He is not a saint of the Church indicated by the nimbus surrounding him, which is the vehicle of celestial spirits, but he resembles Christ (1, 13-17) and bears a message similar to that of Christ. His face shines like the face of Christ and reflects a rainbow from the cloud. The word, he iris, "rainbow" is preceded by a definite article, probably referring to IV, 3 and signifying a message of mercy, although it forebodes the direst of all God's judgments upon the world. His face shining as the sun beams with divine authority and knowledge, to enlighten the Church and the world. And his feet like pillars of fire foreshadow a guidance of the Church in truth and justice and the extermination of the evils in it. It alludes to the pillar of fire that led the children of Israel out of Egypt. The angel is probably St. Michael.
The vision of chapter X, 1-11 is connected with, is the introduction to and the announcement of what chapter XI, 1-14 relates, and the latter narrative is the culmination of evil begun in IX, 15-21. The first woe ended in IX. 12. Thereafter the sixth trumpet announced the second woe; this began with IX, 13 and continues through chapter X and up to XI, 14.
Verse 2. The angel holds a very small scroll in his left hand. In Greek the diminutive of a diminutive is used perhaps to signify the short duration of the events recorded therein, although their being written on a special scroll denotes their importance. The size of the scroll may also signify that it contains a very small fragment of the revelations recorded in the Book of Seven Seals, The contents may be readily understood and explained because the scroll is open. St. John retains the standpoint of 1, 9, IV, 1, and VII, 1, before the open door of the Church. The action of the angels setting his right foot upon the sea and his left upon the land, manifests his plenipotential authority over all God's creation. The judgments contained in the scroll will be executed upon all things terrestrial. The sea is as solid a footing for him as the land. This fact and the gigantic stature of the angel would convince the Seer of his irresistible power and authority, and his certainty of victory over all enemies.
Verse 3. The angel speaks with a great voice like the deep roar of a lion. The Greek verb employed suggests distant thunder that sends threatening reverberations through the ground. It is a fearless challenge flung at the enemies of God, inspiring awe and terror. It is so like Michael's attitude towards the rebellious angels. It is the antithesis of what St. Peter attributes to the devil (1 Pet. 5, 8).
The angel did not utter an articulate word, but when the roar of his voice rolled away into the distance, there was an immediate answer. 'The Seven Thunders' utter their own voices. The definite article designates them as well-known voices. They are the supreme voices of authority in the Church, not the single voice of the Supreme Pontiff alone but "seven" voices, the totality of sacred authority, the voices of an ecumenical council. The time has arrived for decisions of far-reaching importance. The arrival of the angel uttering that ominous cry shall set the day and the hour. The thunders may mean dogmatic declarations of the Church against infidels expressed in an ecumenical council. In the revelations of St. Bridget (Book VI, chap. 10), when the question is asked what the seven thunders signified, the answer is said to have been, that by divine revelation she learned the seven thunders were threats decreed from heaven on the persecutors of the Church (Cornelius a Lapide, p. 216).
The Seven Thunders might mean the voices of several popes declaring infallible doctrines of the Church, such as that of the Immaculate Conception or of the Infallibility of the Pope by Pius IX. Or they may be wonderful encyclicals, such as the one on the correct relationship of labor and capital by Leo XIII, the condemnation of Modernism by Pius X, and the epoch-making encyclical on the advantage of a native over a foreign clergy by Benedict XV. These doctrines and encyclicals thundered around the world. But these do not seem to fit into the context of the following chapters.
Chapters XI, 1-2, and XII, 7, argue for many and great evils in the Church. And those verses together with XII, 5, suggest a great conflict between the Church and the world-powers and the necessity of drastic measures of reform for the Church to free herself from the danger of contamination by the evils in the world and purify her from the prevalent internal evils. The Seven Thunders may then be declarations of an ecumenical council clearing up all that was left unfinished by the magisterial office of the Church, before God will permit Satan to exert his supreme efforts to destroy her from without. The Seven Thunders will strengthen the faithful and loyal clergy in their belief and practices, expel all who are addicted to corrupt lives and superstitions and manifest the unwavering stand of the Church on the then prevailing maxims of the world.
Verse 4. According to this verse, St. John had been taking notes all the way through the visions and narratives. He is about to dip his pen into the ink and write what the Thunders had spoken. He therefore understood their message clearly and knew its import. But a voice came forth from the Church ordering him to seal up what the thunders had revealed by not writing it. Through the Seven Thunders, God gave him a special revelation of great importance, indicating what would immediately precede the coming of Antichrist, but it was to remain a secret to the Church. It was as with the revelation made to Daniel concerning the most savage persecutor of the Jews, Antiochus. The length of time he would oppress God's people was to be revealed through Daniel, 2300 days, but the time of his arrival was not to be revealed, was to be "sealed up" (Dan. VIII, 26, XII, 4). St. Paul likewise heard secret revelations which he was not allowed to communicate to the Church. The thunders do reveal this: there will be special decisions made by the Church, and these will complete the work of her magisterial office before the culmination of evil is due to arrive. The decisions may be the "reed" by which the wicked are separated from the good and expelled from the Church. This scene of the Seven Thunders is a scene within a scene, leaving the Church at sea as to the time of the Antichrist, but foreshadowing her preparedness for the attack. No creature will know his time, until the Church has enacted what the Seven Thunders have spoken.
Verses 5 and 6. The angel lifts up his right hand to Heaven, which is the gesture of an oath. He still holds the little scroll in his left hand. His oath will be the immediate answer to the Seven Thunders. He swears by the "Living God" who has given existence to all creatures, and therefore all creatures must bear witness to the truth of his words. The earth, the sea and heaven, is a standard division of all creation. All creatures received life from the Source of life, and they are to witness the universal judgment, because men would not adore the true and living God, nor serve Him, though He is the Origin of their life, but adored the works of their hands (IX, 20), and subverted the whole moral order of God in the world (IX, 21).
All creatures are furthermore evidence of God's irresistible power. The 200,000,000 warriors have wiped out a third of mankind, and men have lost control of human affairs. The world-wars were only a prelude to the great war or revolution in which one third of mankind shall perish. By the time the 200,000,000 killers have done their work, all thinking men will envision nothing but chaos. All ideals will vanish. And therefore the angel calls attention to the power of God, who will be able to direct all life to the end for which He has created it. No power in Heaven, earth or sea can withstand His decrees. If men are no longer able to manage their affairs for their own felicity, the almighty Creator will step in to guide them. When that direct intervention of God is finished, men will acknowledge their inability to get along without him, and will submit to Him willingly.
Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don't You just keep the ones You have?
Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother.
If You watch me in church on Sunday, I'll show You my new shoes.
I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family, and I can never do it.
In school they told us what You do. Who does it when You are on vacation?
Are You really invisible, or is it just a trick?
Is it true my father won't get in Heaven if he uses his bowling words in the house?
Did You mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident?
Who draws the lines around the countries?
I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that okay?
Did You really mean "do unto others as they do unto you"? Because if You did, then I'm going to fix my brother.
Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.
It rained for our whole vacation and is my father mad! He said some things about You that people are not supposed to say, but I hope You will not hurt him anyway.
Your friend, (But I am not going to tell You who I am)
Please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before. You can look it up.
My brother is a rat. You should give him a tail. Ha! Ha!
I want to be just like my Daddy when I get big but not with so much hair all over.
You don't have to worry about me. I always look both ways.
I think the stapler is one of your greatest inventions.
I think about You sometimes, even when I'm not praying.
Of all the people who work for You I like Noah and David the best.
My brother told me about being born, but it doesn't sound right. He's just kidding, isn't he?
Dear GOD,I would like to live 900 years like the guy in the Bible.
We read Thomas Edison made light. But in Sunday school they said You did it. So I bet he stole your idea.
The bad people laughed at Noah - "You made an ark on dry land you fool." But he was smart, he stuck with You. That's what I would do.
I do not think anybody could be a better GOD. Well, I just want you to know but I am not just saying that because You are GOD already.
I didn't think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset You made on Tuesday. That was cool.
The Sinner's Guide
By Venerable Louis of Granada
This is probably the most famous book of the favorite writer of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Vincent de Paul, etc. St. Teresa of Avila credited this book with having converted over a million people in her time. This is the most persuasive book we know to encourage people to abandon sin and embrace repentance and virtue. The logic is relentless and effective. For mastery of subject, command of Scripture and total impact on the reader, no book surpasses The Sinner's Guide. Available at:
TAN Books, P.O. Box 424, Rockford, IL 61105. 1-800-437-5876
As of January, the banks in Mexico no longer accept pounds sterling, nor will they receive money orders. When sending donations or orders for books, please send only US or Canadian dollars in cash (wrapped in carbon paper for safety), or ordinary checks in US dollars. If you live in Europe, please send checks or cash only in Euros.
For the time being, we cannot accept Mass intentions.
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THERE ARE Catholic prisoners who need pen-pals to help them spiritually. For information, write to: Dr. Joseph Strada, 5120 Pheasant Ridge Road, Fairfax, VA 22030
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The book "Faith is Greater than Obedience," by Rev. A. Drexel, is now available in FRENCH. For more information, please contact: Johan Distler, 100 Summit Cr., Montréal, Québec, Canada H3Y 1L9 "La Foi est plus importante que L’Obéissance."
"Heaven's Last Call to Humanity," Vol. I and ii. $10.00 + 1.50 postage. The "United Hearts" of Jesus and Mary are calling us to enter this refuge of these last days. Send order (postage paid) to: J.K. Ogden, 82 E. Crafton Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15205-2902. Or phone: 1 (412) 921-6773.
TRAD CATHOLIC QUARTERLY is a new family oriented newsletter. Columns include: Singles, Dogma, "Guess the Saint," Literature, St. Cecilia's Music Review, St. Martha's Cooking Corner, and more. Please send $1.00 U.S. funds and long SASE for "free" sample issue or subscribe for $15 for one year. Please make U.S. funds out to: Miss Julie ARREGUIN, 309 E. Starr, Apt. F, Nacogdoches, TX 75961
MARIAN UNION OF BEAURAING: Daily spiritual obligations: pray 3 Hail Marys with the invocation: "Our Lady of Beauraing, convert sinners. You have promised us." Members are united to the prayers said daily at the shrine of Beauraing. For enrollment, please contact: Miss Doris Poisson, 22 Second Av., Lowell, MA 01854–2808
Traditional Catholic Address Labels for sale to use on your envelopes. Various saints, pictures of Our Lady, Jesus, and also secular pictures (such as flowers, Christmas, etc.) are available. Some labels available in "medium" size only and not small. Please send $2.00 for small color catalog of some available labels. If you are looking for something, please ask. Please make U.S. funds to: Miss Julie Arreguin, 309 E. Starr Ave., Apt. F, Nacogdoches, TX 75961. Note: Reasonable prices too! Discount for first orders if you order catalog. Free listing of saints available with no pictures!
Help Save the Souls of Priests. Write for free leaflet, "A Rosary for Priests." Center of Mary, 715 Upper St., Turner, ME 04282
OUR LADY BUILDS A STATUE. Story of Our Lady of the Rockies. $10.00 + 2.00 p & h. Leroy Lee, 2845 Nettie, Butte, MT 59701
Messages to the Portavoz
Nov. 14, 1973: "With respect to the life of perfection, it is just as you have grasped it this morning. Let people be guided by the book written by My very beloved son, Thomas a Kempis. He entitled his writings The Imitation of Christ, by an order that I gave him; because he wrote these marvelous pages by the light of My Spirit."
Jan. 10, 1974:"It is necessary to withdraw from the vice that has infected everyone at the present time: radio and television. They must have a moderate schedule for this diversion and not occupy themselves with immoral programs, as most of them are, and err by permitting children to lose their innocence through this wicked diversion."
Jan. 10, 1974:"Another sinful thing at present is the decor of the rooms of seculars, where now no place of preference is given to My Sacred Heart nor to the images of My Immaculate Mother, my saints and my angels.... The homes of believing seculars are a shame. Let them show with works the faith and love that some of them till claim to have for me."
Nov. 5, 1973:"Read this text (Legion of Victim Souls) with a simple and proper spirit, and I promise to give you the graces necessary to participate in the Work of Atonement. I, Christ, your Redeemer and Master, promise it to you. This is the last revelation My Victim Heart makes to men. My peace be with all those who believe in my messages, given through your mediation. I am honored and served by those who believe me."
Nov. 12, 1969:"My Mother lived in a constant state of adoration. She could have sinned and did not sin. My father, Joseph, the same; and both were found worthy of receiving the Divine Word under their protection and love. This is the best portrait and model that can be presented as an example for Christian families. Proclaim it, My spouse, this Christmas. Tell them that it is a message of Mine, so that they also may meditate on it, imitate it, and make it a reality. There is a need for Christian life in the family!"
"My spouse, tell the young people the meaning of true love. Tell them to approach Me, and let them, in silence, with faith in My Eucharistic presence, ask Me to reveal to them the secret of happiness of the human heart, in this life and in eternity. Reveal to them, My spouse, how happy My love has made you, and that there is no love that will make them happy, if it is not grafted onto my love!"
Sept. 29, 1969:"Fear those who snatch eternal salvation from you! Be good, as your heavenly Father is. Wait in prayer and penance for my coming, and I will reward you exceedingly, as I have promised all of you. Perform works that will obtain for all of you the miracle of shortening these times. Heed my messages. Pat attention to them, and do not be incredulous, but faithful. Once more, to all I repeat: Stop sinning. Do penance, pray, and atone to Divine Justice."
"Be guileless as doves." --Matt. 10:16
1. Simplicity must be held in great esteem by those who profess to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Among the wise of this world, this virtue is considered most contemptible. Yet, it is an amiable virtue, because it is the one which leads us directly to the kingdom of God and, at the same time, gains for us the affection of man. One who is considered upright, sincere, an enemy of deceit and fraud, is loved by all, even by those who, from morning to night, do nothing but lie and deceive. St. Vincent de Paul
St. Francis de Sales dearly loved and highly esteemed simplicity, as he once declared: "I do not know what the poor virtue of prudence did to me, but I find it very difficult to love it. It is true that the Gospel recommends both the simplicity of the dove and the prudence of the serpent, but I would give a hundred serpents for one dove."
2. Simplicity is nothing but an act of love, pure and simple, with only one aim: to acquire the love of God. Our soul is truly simple, when we have no other goal than this in mind, in everything we do. St. Francis de Sales
St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi once said: "If I believed I could become a Seraph by uttering a word—even an indifferent word—for any other end than the love of God, I certainly would not say it."
3. The function of simplicity is to lead us directly to God without heeding human respect or our own interests. It makes us speak frankly and from the heart; it makes us act with sincerity, without hypocrisy and pretense; and finally, it keeps us far from every sort of double dealing. St. Vincent de Paul
This same saint always kept God before him in his every action. Nor could he bear to have his religious depart even slightly from this practice. Once when one of them publicly accused himself of having done something for human respect, he corrected him severely, saying that it was better to be tied hand and foot and thrown into the fire, than to do things to please men.
4. God loves simple souls and willingly deals with them. He imparts the understanding of His truths to them, because he can do with them as he pleases. Not so does He act with sophisticated, shrewd souls. St. Francis de Sales
St. Vincent de Paul was of the same opinion, and he used to say that experience daily confirmed the truth of it, for unfortunately the spirit of religion is not found ordinarily among the wise and prudent of this world, but rather among the poor and simple, who are blessed by God with a lively, practical faith because of which they believe and delight in the words of eternal life. As a result, these good souls ordinarily suffer their illnesses, miseries, and troubles with more patience and resignation than the others.
A Magazine for the Latter Times
(continued from p. 4). I also want to thank you for warning all of us that in fact "the hour of test and trial, is approaching." Page 21 of July-Aug. 2002 Reflections. All the Catholic publications here are so busy fighting with each other about who is right and who is wrong, or towing the modernist line, that all I can do is pray harder for God to flood them all with the graces they need. Sadly, we never are enlightened about these trials approaching us by our priests or bishops--at least if we are, I am not aware of it. Praise the Lord! -- Mrs. D.G., Colorado, USA