From the Franciscan Minims
Mexico • Vergel ---- Sept. • Oct. 2002 ---- No. 9–10
Our Cover: Psalm 97
Cantate Domino:All are invited to praise the Lord, for the victories of Christ
SING to the Lord a new song, because he has done wonderful things. His right hand and his holy arm, have brought him victory. The Lord has made known his salvation, in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. He has been mindful of his goodness and faithfulness towards the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Acclaim the Lord, all the earth, be glad, rejoice and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody, with trumpets and the sound of the horn: shout joyfully before the king, the Lord.
Let the sea roar and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing in chorus, before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to rule the earth. He will rule the world with justice, and the peoples with equity.
Subject. Like Psalm 95, Psalm 97 is a "New Song." It is, therefore, Messianic, inasmuch as the theme is the acceptance of the teaching of the Lord by all the nations of the world. By his power God has brought the nations to acknowledge him as universal King. This conversion is regarded as a manifestation of divine favor towards the House of Israel. The recognition of the Kingdom of God is celebrated with music and song. Nature is called upon to participate in the rejoicing—the sea, the earth, the rivers and hills, all acclaim the Advent of the universal King and Judge.
The World Ends Every Day• "And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him; and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats.... and these shall go into everlasting punishment; but the just, into life everlasting."
WE have all heard the parables many times: "The kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea and gathering together of all kind of fishes, which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out and shall separate the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire."
Some may think that since Christ spoke in this parable about the end of the world (which has not yet happened) that the parable will not be fulfilled until that solemn event takes place.
They are mistaken. The world ends for each individual at the moment of his or her death. The parable of the net cast into the sea and the other parables are being fulfilled constantly. Each time a human being dies, Christ comes in glory to judge his or her soul: it receives the sentence it has merited. Many passages are fulfilled at that solemn moment. His coming is always in glory, even for those souls who die in mortal sin and are condemned.
Our Lord said to the Portavoz: "On the final day of the periods of time, My justice shall be exalted and glorified as much with the just man who will be saved, as with the reprobated one who will be condemned forever into everlasting fire with the fallen angels." (Apr. 5, 1970).
In the 25th chapter of Matthew, Christ describes briefly the last judgment, in which he will place the elect at his right hand and the reprobate at his left. There are only two groups and only two sentences: "Come, ye blessed: Depart, ye accursed." At the end of time, his judgment will take place in a public manner. Everyone will be aware of it, even those who hate God, who deny him, and do not want to be with him.
Every time a person dies, the verses of Matthew 25 are being fulfilled, and Christ pronounces one of the two sentences. Now his judgment takes place in a hidden manner (but it is altogether real for those who experience it). At the end of time it will take place publicly, and no one will be able to hide from it.
It is encouraging for us to know that even now these passages are being put into effect. God is acting and judging now, and his decrees are being realized. In order to see the fulfillment of the Scriptures, we do not have to wait to see horses with the heads of lions and fire coming out of their mouths. Even now the verses of the Apocalypse are being enacted. The Apocalypse is a book of symbols, and you cannot interpret it correctly unless you have the key to the symbolism. The commentary we now print in this issue has the advantage that it explains the symbolism in an expert manner.
Trusting in His Infinite Goodness
In the revelations given to Juliana of Norwich we find the following pass-age: "This shewing was made to learn our soul wisely to cleave to the good-ness of God. And in that time the custom of our praying was brought to mind: how we use for lack of understanding and knowing of Love, to make many means (to offer up many petitions). Then saw I truly that it is more worship to God, and more very delight, that we faithfully pray to himself of his Goodness and cleave thereto by his grace, with true understanding, and stead-fast by love, than if we made all the means that heart can think. For if we make all these means, it is too little, and not full worship to God: but in his goodness is all the whole.
"It came to my mind in the same time: We pray to God for (i.e., for the sake of) his holy flesh and for his precious blood, his holy Passion, his dearworthy death and wounds: and all the blessed kindness, the endless life that we have of all this, is of his goodness. And we pray him for his sweet Mother's love that him bare; and all the help we have of her is of his goodness. And we pray by his holy Cross that he died on, and all the virtue and the help that we have of the Cross, it is of his Goodness. And on the same wise, all the help that we have of special saints and all the blessed Company of Heaven, the dearworthy love, and endless friendship that we have of them, it is of his goodness. For God of his goodness has ordained means to help us, wholly fair and many: of which the chief and principal is the blessed nature that he took of the Maid, with all the means that go before and come after, which belong to our redemption and to endless salvation. Wherefore it pleaseth him that we seek him and worship by means (prayers), understanding and knowing that he is the goodness of all.
"For the goodness of God is the highest prayer, and it cometh down to the lowest part of our need. It is nearest in nature, and readiest in grace, for it is the same grace that the soul seeketh, and ever shall seek, till we know truly that he hath us all in himself beclosed. ..... for our kindly will is to have God, and the Good Will of God is to have us; and we may never cease from willing nor from longing, till we have him in fullness of joy; and then may we no more will." (Ch. 6).
Difficult Times Ahead
From the prophecies and revelations we know that everyone in the world will soon be facing difficult times. (To be in difficult circumstances makes life adventurous and exciting.) The best solution to our problems is to put all our trust in him, because only his infinite goodness can save us.
"The salvation of the just is from the Lord: and he is their protector in the time of trouble. And the Lord will help them and deliver them; and he will rescue them from the wicked, and save them, because they have hoped in him." — Psalm 36
May it be for the glory of God
The Vergel of the Immaculate Virgin of Guadalupe
Aug. 15, 2002* Assumption of the Mother of God
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A Magazine for the Latter Times
Thank you again for your wonderful publication "Reflections," which I received yesterday. I read The Coming of the Antipope and Apostasy in the Church--Prophecies Fulfilled. First, I am almost through reading every article; it is all very good and informative. Articles we need to know these days, as we do not know exactly what and when the evil to be fully known. It all sneaks up on us, the changes in the Church little by little, now the priest scandal. We have to trust in our Savior and seers such as the Portavoz, to get us ready and help us cope. .... I wait anxiously for every issue. Thank you. You are all in my daily prayers. --- Mrs. R.L., Wisconsin, USA
The Reflections is such a wonderful spiritual magazine, which I always look forward receiving and also share with others. --- Mrs. T.W. Ontario, Canada
I was happy with the article you printed about Juliana of Norwich. I've had her book for years and enjoy reading it. --- Mrs. D.G., Colorado, USA
The Trial on Mount Carmel
TROUBLED years lay before the broken pieces of the kingdom. In that futile, debased, and suffering time, while one petty king followed another on two inconspicuous thrones, the people fell far away from their old faith and lived like hungry serfs, working, eating and sleeping with bad dreams.
The beautiful Temple of Jerusalem was in the kingdom of the south with the tribes of Benjamin and Judah, and the ten northern tribes were barred from its courts and sanctuaries, its gildings and its Holy of Holies, where still the neglected ark reposed, sole reliquary of the old bond between these creatures and the one true God. Something had to be done about that, for the Temple still ruled the imagination of all the people, north and south.
So Jeroboam, of the northern half, after rearing two fortress strong-holds for his soldiers, built two new sanctuaries, meager structures, neither beautiful nor consoling, one at Bethel, another at Dan. With almost defiant stupidity he substituted for the ark a golden calf for each, to glitter in the places of honor. They were to represent the good God of Israel--crude images of the four-footed young of the cow, for his people to bow down before and invoke the sacred presence.
The young man knew the Ten Commandments; he knew that graven images were forbidden. But he also wanted to be popular; and he remembered that idols had been for centuries a weakness of Israel. Now Jeroboam catered to that weakness, pandered to it, and furthermore, in his apostasy, he ordained priests from the lowest of his people for his new sanctuaries, men not of the tribe of Levites. That brash action went against the injunction of the Lord, as once spoken to Moses. But he had also a deeper political reason—he did not want his people to yearn for Solomon's Temple; they might want to rejoin the southern kingdom some day. So he issued an edict: "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt!"
Behold your gods—two golden calves!
Bad as things were in the north, they were even worse in the south. In the very midst of the Temple and its sacred ark, idolatry was also practiced.
The people were demoralized, and hence without power or will to resist their foes. The Egyptians, under the Pharaoh Shishak, demanded the hundred golden shields of Solomon, with threats of extirpation, and got them, but it was a bargain made in secret. King Rehoboam did not dare confess this blackmail price; he had the shields duplicated in brass to hoodwink the people. War followed war, in a long monstrous series of aggressions and bloodlettings. The Hebrew could not fight the Arameans, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, whose troops came swooping down upon them in robbing forays.
The dolorous years rolled on. Now and then a good king would take charge, but none ever strong enough to stem the tide of degradation or bring peace in the sporadic wars between the upper and lower halves of Israel. There were treachery and assassination and usurpation. Nadab was slain by Baasha. Zimri, surrounded and trapped, burned down the palace of the north over his own head, perishing in the flames. Many and various, these reigns above and below the dividing line: Jehoshaphat and Elash and Omri, the captain of the guards.
But the struggle of good against evil in these little and yet immensely significant factions did not become strong and vital again, until old King Omri, imitating King Solomon's matrimonial alliances, betrothed his son Ahab to a flamboyantly attractive young Zidonian princess, a hellcat whose name was Jezebel.
It was when Ahab and Jezebel became king and queen of the north, that the old belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob seemed to be ready for final obliteration from the hearts of the Israelites.
For Ahab and Jezebel were aggressively, optimistically, fanatically anti-Jehovah. It was not that Ahab was a man of deep convictions, but the Syrian infidel who was his wife was a fanatic about her own faith. She worshiped the idol Baal, and took a sensual joy in the orgies that went with his worship.
Almost the very first act of the new king, Ahab, was to order a present for his wife, which was a building to be called "The House of Baal," in which he set up an idol to his favorite sub-deity, the evil Melkart, favorite of the Zidonian people from which she came. It mattered nothing to Jezebel that for a thousand years the Israelites had known the one true God. She thrust aside the protests of the old people with contemptuous, perfumed fingers. She was bent on making Melkart, of the House of Baal, the god of everyone under her sway. From her country she imported four hundred and fifty prophets of Melkart, together with four hundred others serving "the Asherah," a minor deity.
Protesting believers in the one true God were slain out of hand. A hundred of them sought refuge in a cave where Obadiah, the steward of Ahab, who was faithful to the Lord God, saved them from starvation with bread and water. Meanwhile, at Jezebel's command, the old altars were thrown down.
Through all his wife's doings, Ahab showed such an indifference that many suspected he had himself become a convert to Melkart, but there was no direct proof, and no one dared ask him. It looked as if Jezebel and Melkart were to be triumphant in Israel, but in the very boil of the queen's persecution a strange and arresting figure suddenly appeared one humid, showery afternoon.
Spies had brought word to Ahab that a singular old man was marching down the soggy roads—a wild fellow in the rain, white hair wet and streaming down to the small of his sunburned back; the wind shaking the snowy cascade of beard that flowed to his creaking knees. Yet through the mire the traveler marched with bare feet. His enormous gnarled hands, which were like Abraham's, were clasped as if he prayed even while he ran, but his enormous eyes were open and glistering with joy as if he fully understood what he saw and heard as he watched the sky, never looking at the ground, although he had run many miles, all the way.
"Who are you?" the sentries demanded to know.
He was Elias the Tishbite, and he had run a hundred miles and more, all the way from Samaria, and he wanted audience with the king.
The sentries made him wait, while they consulted the minister of His Majesty. Meanwhile the hangers-on in the courtyard circled round the hairy old stranger, wondering what sort of fellow he was. They could not know that they were in the presence of one of the great seers of history, this Elijah, who is also known to the Christian world as Elias. No one, then or now, could know much about him. His whole youth was lost in obscurity. From somewhere east of the river Jordan he suddenly appears, here in the palace gateway, soon to stand before King Ahab with a daring and accusing prophecy.
Here was a man with a mission, a zealot with one increasing purpose, which was to destroy the worship of pagan gods, and to renew in the people a sense of adoration, of justice and freedom. That day in the palace courtyard Elijah was on fire with a frightening enthusiasm. No man ever had more to contend with and, as we shall see, no one ever more completely succeeded in spite of all obstacles.
The sentries returned and marched him into the throne room, where Ahab on his gilded chair took one look and then leered at Jezebel. Here should be sport for a warm afternoon. But this tattered prophet from Gilead gave the king no time; without politeness or palaver he announced in a clear, rotund voice:
"As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word."
Crackpots were always appearing in Israel with their predictions of woe, and Ahab looked a little disappointed. He had hoped for something more original. But one of the ministers, cocking his left ear, raised a warning finger. The drumming sound on the rooftop had suddenly stopped: the minister ran to the door and pulled back the green and yellow draperies. The sun was shining, and it rained no more. But who would take that clearing up as a serious omen?
Elijah was shoved out into the muddy road and told to go, and never to show himself in these royal parts again. The king thought no more about him that night, but when day followed day, weeks, months, and still no rainfall, when drought and famine made haggard the land and every face above it, the fields like ashes, then Ahab remembered Elijah. That ragged visitant had said that he could bring rain or withhold it, as would be pleasing to the one true God of Israel.
Urgent messengers were sent to look everywhere for that hairy, despised old man called Elijah; a long futile search. Elijah the Tishbite, holy man from Gilead, could not be found, because he had done what holy men seem often bound to do, and unholy men never—that is, go off to them-selves and, in silence and solitude, remember and reflect and pray and listen.
Elijah had chosen the place of his retreat under the guidance of that powerful and compassionate Voice, which after a hundred years of bloodshed and failure, was speaking again in Israel. To a bank of the brook Cherith, a torrent valley, or wadi as Near Easterners say today, the hairy man came, finding an unvisited region where nothing grew, off the route of travelers. Here he would commune, as seers and prophets had done before, and wait for divine guidance. Already Elijah was convinced that there was stirring work to be done and that he, for what reason he never knew, had been chosen to do it.
Thus Elijah was to found a long line of major prophets—seers of the Jews, who proclaimed that the spirit of worship was more important than its forms. Because they were regarded as men of God, speaking under inspiration, they dared to say things that would have gotten an ordinary man into trouble. But now a whole people were in deep trouble: an idol was winning out over the one true God; it was a time when no man could call another friend, in a land where lechery and nympholepsy and thievery and murder had been exalted as virtues.
Anyone who cared about Elijah might well have asked: "What will the poor old man eat in such a barren retreat? Nothing grows on the banks of Cherith, and there are no fish in its waters. How can Elijah feed himself?"
For answer, the skies over the desolate landscape were, twice a day, darkened by a swarm of broad-winged black birds. Morning and evening the ravens came, with tidbits of meat and morsels of vegetables to drop into the old mystic's enormous hands. 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." ---- (To be continued)
Following His Footsteps
by Anselmo del Álamo
Chapter 7. Mortification, Suffering
9. Who will consider himself so pure, that there is no longer anything to be purged? When you think the pruning has been finished, new branches already start to grow. Therefore you will always find something that needs to be cleansed and purified in yourself. No matter how great is your progress, you are deceived if you think that all your vices are dead. St. Bernard
10. Therefore suffer manfully until death, and this will be for me a proof that you love me, and you should not turn back for any creature whatsoever, nor for any tribulation that you suffer; rather you should rejoice in them. St. Catherine of Siena
11. Be assured that all restlessness and inquietude comes from the enemy; cast him out with acts of confidence. St. Paul of the Cross
12. Cast out all pleasure and satisfaction of the senses; avoid all curiosity of hearing and of the eyes, and do what is repugnant for you, for my love will make it sweet and agreeable. Constantly deny your body all superfluous pleasure. Do not seek pleasure nor rest except in me. Suffer with meekness and humility the defects of others; love to be despised; combat all appetites, crush under foot and destroy your desires, for these are the lessons that are taught in the school of Wisdom, and they are read in the open book of my crucified body. Blessed Henry Suso
13. God wants penance to be used only as an instrument. I have seen many penitents that were neither patient nor obedient, because they tried to mortify the body but not the will; and this because of their indiscretion and doing penance according to their own will and not according to the guidance of another; indiscreetly they want to measure all bodies with the same measure. If someone tries to prevent them, they resist obstinately. And with this perverse will, when the time of trial arrives, of a temptation or an injury, they show that they are weaker than straw. For in their mortification they do not learn to bridle their passions. St. Catherine of Siena
14. In order to prove my love, I do not have any other way except throwing flowers, that is to say, not neglecting any small sacrifice, any look, any word, to take advantage of the smallest actions and to do them from love. I want to suffer for love, and even rejoice for love: thus I will scatter flowers. Saint Therese of Lisieux
15. Illnesses are the signs by which God indicates chosen souls. St. Paul of the Cross
A Magazine for the Latter Times
Thank you for the most recent Reflections. I liked especially your relating the wonderful story of Mary of Agreda; how she participated in the conversion to Christ of the people of the southwest. I recall that in some messages of Jesus to the Portavoz, He praised the person Mary of Agreda. I feel privileged to have read her sublime work about the Blessed Virgin, the City of God. ---- Sincerely, R.B., Illinois, USA
Note: We are re-printing the message of Our Lord to the Portavoz about Mary of Agreda on p. 31.
False Miraculous Medals
An Inquiry made by Mr. Victor Lefevre, Vice-President of the Domain of the Immaculate Conception, Puylaurens, France
First Part: Published in Weekly Letter
(Lettre Hebdomadaire), No. 53, Jan. 20, 1981
Mr. Philippe Babeau is a good friend of our work (Domain of the Immaculate Conception). He organizes trips by bus for people traveling to San Damiano and also to our great national Rosaries. On Nov. 9, 1978, he wrote a letter addressed to us, which left us perplexed. Here it is.
"On the occasion of our recent pilgrimage to San Damiano, I heard from a lady pilgrim traveling on our bus that Father Mattieu from Besançon was warning people to be on their guard against the minting of a Miraculous Medal, put into circulation by Freemasonry. That medal shows two bars (dashes) under the letter M. Since it was made under the direction of the devil, it loses all its value and remains unoperative. This fraud and deceit were revealed by the devil himself to Fr. Matthieu during an exorcism session.
"During the same pilgrimage, and during the recitation of the Rosary, a lady pilgrim, unknown to me, or at least whom I did not recognize, came to me saying: "Mr. Babeau, are you aware of the Miraculous Medal with two bars under the letter M?" "Yes, Madam." "Well, here is the copy which I bought at the Domain of the Immaculate Conception of Mr. Victor Lefevre. It's quite pretty." And she was gone. It was a big medal with fancy engravings on the front side which struck me. Check for yourself, and you are warned. Best regards. (signed) Philippe Babeau."
This letter was taken very seriously, since Mr. Babeau took part in 1976 in my intervention concerning the strange events which happened in a project in the miraculous chapel at Rue du Bac in Paris. After reading it I went right away to our supply of Miraculous Medals which all proceed from Rue du Bac.
What did I see? Very few medals were without the above-mentioned bars. Nine out of ten Miraculous Medals in our supply had the two dashes or bars under the letter M. I called Mr. Babeau on the telephone. He gave me a confirmation of his letter and gave me more details about what the lady pilgrim had revealed to him. Immediately I went to Fr. Peyrat, the chaplain of our Work of the Domain. I read to him the letter received from Mr. Babeau. Father himself investigated his own supply of Miraculous Medals, since he is, like ourselves, a great propagandist of them.
First of all he opened a little package that he had in his pocket. We looked at the medals. They all had the two bars. I asked him where he had acquired those medals. He could not remember. But all of a sudden he told me: "On the occasion of our Rosary at Chaourse, we passed through Paris; do you remember? I made my way to Rue du Bac, where I bought a thousand Miraculous Medals, in packets of one hundred each." Father went to his desk, and took out all the packets, all of them proceeding directly from the convent at Rue du Bac. The address was still on the little transparent plastic bag. All the Miraculous Medals had the two bars under the letter M.
We were perplexed, and we asked if a joke had been played on us. If it had, the case would be truly an extravagant assault of the devil, and I decided to play a trick on him after my own fashion. Father came to my office with me. I telephoned the institution at Rue du Bac. Fr. Peyrat listened on an extension telephone. I asked to speak to the sister in charge of the store. Everybody is acquainted with the fact that the convent at Rue du Bac spreads millions of Miraculous Medals throughout the world. I got the sister who is in charge of the store, and told her what came to my mind, without any preparation.
"Sister, good afternoon! I am Father Fournier from the diocese of Meaux." (I do not know whether there exists such a Father Fournier in that diocese, but I had to make use of a stratagem.) "I am a great propagandist of Miraculous Medals." (This was true!) "Now, imagine, some of my parishioners came to see me this morning. They were very perturbed, and they asked me the reason why certain medals have two bars under the letter M for Mary, and others do not have them?"
"Ah! We are informed of that," replied the sister. "It is a question of a mistake on the part of the engraver. We deal with two engravers, and one of them made a mistake and added two bars on the M. But do not worry. Of course people rebuke us for having those two bars under the M. We intervened with the engraver twice, but he refuses to have his mold remade. Nevertheless Father Medard, the superior for the production of Miraculous Medals says that this is nothing, and that anyway the medal retains its full power. Do not be concerned about it, Father. We send out such medals all the time. This is of no importance whatsoever." --- (I add:) "But Sister, I was told that such a medal is Satanic." (Sister.) "We are even told, Father, that this medal is Masonic."
And I had not even uttered that word. Then I hung up. Father Peyrat, our chaplain and myself, were looking at each other; the same thought flashed into our minds. We could not figure out how an engraver could take upon himself such initiative. It should not be forgotten that the Miraculous medal was engraved according to the description given, down to the smallest details, by the Blessed Virgin herself, to the seer, Sister Catherine Labouré.
The matter being thus, Fr. Peyrat and myself decided to have recourse to a safe source, that is, to write to Father Matthieu, who is the number one exorcist in France, with a worldwide reputation. At present Father Matthieu Girard is the superior of the Capuchin monastery at Besançon, the diocese which was headed by Msgr. Lallier. Obviously, writing to Father Matthieu required a certain degree of prudence. I had exchanged correspondence several times with Fr. Matthieu. He receives all our publications. He is a member of the little flock, but without anyone knowing of it, at least until now. The same is true of a considerable number of priests. But now this can be revealed, in view of the events that were to follow.
On the occasion of our great national Rosary, held at Besançon on March 12, 1977, the success of which is known to all our readers, Fr. Matthieu sent me a personal letter which contained the following sentence: "My dear friend: I am praying for the success of that Rosary in our city." In my own naive way, I had obviously published that letter. And soon after, the episcopate tried to obtain a denial on behalf of Fr. Matthieu, which he refused. Then they had him publish the following text in the local newspapers (at least the announcement appeared under his name): "Fr. Matthieu makes it known that he never agreed to the Rosary which is going to take place under the huge tent," etc., etc. In fact he did not have to give his consent, since we had not asked for it, and we did not have to do it. But he had prayed for the success of that Rosary, and his prayer was heard and granted.
As you well know, in a very providential manner I already intervened once concerning the affair of Rue du Bac, and my intervention, together with that of other people, resulted in the government's prohibiting the modernization of the chapel of the Miraculous Medal. In consequence, the attempted project to remove the relics and to modernize the chapel, could not be realized. Later on we shall see what happened to a new attempt of "restoration" which just came to an end.
In reference to what was mentioned above, and knowing nothing about what was the precise attitude of Fr. Matthieu in my regard, it was decided that Father Peyrat would be the one who would write, but in the name of our work and on our letterhead.
Puylaurens, Nov. 15, 1978
Reverend Father Matthieu-Girard,
One of the organizers of the buses attached to our Work just made known to us the existence of a Miraculous Medal minted with two bars under the letter M. As a matter of fact, we have found such a medal in our supplies, the alteration of which had escaped our attention. Somebody wrote to us that in the course of an exorcism you received the revelation that this counterfeit was made under diabolical inspiration. I myself have in my possession ten plastic packets of 100 medals each, which were recently acquired from Rue du Bac; the same goes for all the medals distributed by the Work of the Domain of the Immaculate Conception.
This very day Victor Lefevre called the sisters' store on the telephone in order to have an explanation. Here is the answer. This is an error on behalf of one of the two manufacturers. Because of the high price the operation would cost him, he refuses to have the mold re-cast. He was encouraged in his course of action by Father Medard, who deems that "such a detail has no importance." On the other hand, the sisters confirmed that they were made aware from different sources about hearsay being spread about diabolical origin, which, on their part, they rather consider as Masonic.
Since the rumor is spread around and deals with one of your own exorcisms, would you please confirm whether the sayings of the devil about the miraculous Medal presenting the two bars under the M are authentic and true? -- I permit myself to expect a prompt reply from you, since we distribute a great many Miraculous Medals, and since our entire supply, as well as that of Rue du Bac, is essentially composed of medals about which a doubt has been raised, a doubt which is of a nature to trouble a large number of souls and to neutralize or even deteriorate the wonderful work of Rue du Bac. -- I pray you to believe me; Reverend Father, in my union of prayer in the united Hearts of Jesus and Mary Immaculate, Father Leopold Peyrat
Weekly Letter No. 54: Jan. 27, 1981
It is obvious that nothing is impossible to God. But in these troubled times, it likewise seems that nothing is impossible to the Devil. I always go back to repeating what I have so often explained: With our human brains we have no knowledge of the precise relationship that exists between God and the "grappin" (Devil), about what permission is really granted him.
Father Matthieu replied on Nov. 20. Father Matthieu is considered, and the fact is known by the public, by the French episcopate, and one might add, by the whole world, as the exorcist most adapted to our modern times. This is not a question of flattering compliments, for which Fr. Matthieu would have no use, and which would mean absolutely nothing, but rather of a simple statement which is self-evident. Here is a facsimile of Fr. Matthieu's letter.
Ave María. Nov. 20, 1978. 10 de la Cassotte St., 25000 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. --- (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."
Tlaxcala - Land of Grace
IN the history of the Church in Mexico, the province of Tlaxcala is highly regarded as a territory of great significance. In May of 1990, at Mexico City's shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, beatified three children of Tlaxcala, who had suffered martyrdom - Cristobalito, Antonio and Juan.
From a chronological vantage, these child martyrs (12 to 13 years old) were the first souls in the entire New World to be so sacrificed and sanctified. They were witnesses to and participants in the Spanish evangelization of all of the Americas. All three gave their lives for the Faith between 1527 and 1529, when they refused to recant their commitment to Christ. Cristobalito's pagan father, a tribal chief, had his son beaten with clubs and finally set on fire for his faith. Antonio and Juan were clubbed to death two years later.
Only 10 years after the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in Mexico City to Juan Diego (1531), she appeared in Tlaxcala to another Mexican named Juan Diego Bernardino. On this occasion, Mary brought the "second Juan Diego" to an unknown spring by a ravine of oak trees. As revealed by the Blessed Virgin Mary, this fount of grace, still flowing abundantly, has extraordinary healing powers. Our Lady promised perfect health to those, who drank even the smallest drop of this miraculous water.
On the following day, the Blessed Virgin Mary burnt an image of her perfections into the trunk of an oak tree. This marvel left Juan Diego, the Franciscan friars, and the villagers in awe. Ever since, the Most Pure has been honored as Our Lady of Ocotlán, Our Lady of the Oak that Burned.
An exceptionally arresting Basilica honoring Our Lady of Ocotlán, and enshrining her beautiful "heaven-carved" image, towers over a hilltop above Tlaxcala City. Nearly 450 years of pilgrimages to Our Lady have witnessed countless wonders of God's grace through Mary's intercession!
In the same city, in the Cathedral of San José, there is a priceless statue of the Infant Jesus, carved years ago by a Tlaxcalan sculptor. Some time after being made, the image was brought to a little girl on her deathbed, whereupon, the statue "came to life," Jesus spoke to the little girl through His image, and restored the ailing child to good health. During this remarkable event, the statue's expression also changed to one more life-like than that sculpted. It has remained so to this day.
Very few works on the seer of San Miguel del Milagro have been translated into English, yet we do know from an original Spanish narration, that in 1613, in the little town of San Barnabé, in the province of Tlaxcala, Mexico, a little known but very important event occurred. Diego Lázaro de San Francisco was born.
Tlaxcala, as already mentioned, was an area highly favored by God. The smallest of Mexico's provinces, it is considered by many to also be the most beautiful; known for its green valleys and gentle-rising mountains, all lush with farms and flora, and also known for its gentle people.
It was in this setting that Diego Lázaro was raised, close to nature and God, for Tlaxcala was not merely beautiful to the senses, but also the first place anywhere to hear the word of God proclaimed in the New World. The first converts to Catholicism came from this province, as did the Americas' first martyrs and saints. From an early direct account, Diego Lázaro was one of Mexico's first converts; catechized principally by Franciscan missionaries. Apparently, he learned the Faith from his pastor.
In accordance with the customs of the native Indians and his tribe, Diego Lázaro was married when he was only a young boy of seventeen. This was very common back then and the norm expected of all those his age. As best we know, he lived a poor, humble, and simple existence outside the city, on one of Tlaxcala's many rolling hillsides, much like his agrarian ancestors of today.
The First Apparition
The year after his marriage, while participating in a procession on the Feast of Saint Mark (April 25, 1631), Diego Lázaro saw Saint Michael the Archangel in an interior vision, reserved exclusively for his eyes. Unseen by those around the young Mexican, the Prince of the heavenly hosts spoke:
"Know my son, that I am Saint Michael, the Archangel. I come to tell you that it is God's Will and mine, that you tell the neighbors of this village and of its surroundings, that in a ravine, which is made of two hills and is in front of this place, can be found a spring of miraculous water for all infirmities. It is under a big boulder. Do not doubt what I tell you, nor put aside what I command you."
Perhaps because this extraordinary event was completely interior, i.e. veiled in sight and sound from everyone else, it left Diego Lázaro more perplexed and confused than if it were an external manifestation from Heaven. This appears to be the case, for he quickly convinced himself to keep the matter quiet, tell no one, and ignore Saint Michael's message, counsel, and command. Diego Lázaro's humility was such, that he was certain no one would believe a poor, uneducated, country-dwelling Tlaxcalan.
As recorded elsewhere with others hesitant to accept God's dictates (e.g. Saint Zachary being struck mute for his doubt, Lk. 1:11-25), it was only a matter of days before Diego Lázaro became seriously ill, from what outwardly appeared to be a life-threatening heat stroke.
In this grave condition, he agonized on his deathbed, while listening to his supportive family and friends pray for the happy deliverance of his soul. Diego Lázaro had no inkling that this seemingly natural malady might be the result of his disobedience to Saint Michael. Regardless, his suffering was inconsolable, and he lingered between life and death.
The Second Apparition
On May 8th of that year, just 13 days following Saint Michael's first appearance and message, an electrifying event occurred. (This is considered the greatest apparition.) While Diego Lázaro lay dying in his small hut, and his loved ones prayed over him, in one sudden, violent, and terrifying instant, it looked to all as if a bolt of lightning had crashed through the windows. This dramatic happening took place so fast and caused such a fright, all the bystanders raced out of the hut and down the hill for their lives. This included Diego Lázaro's own family.
What was going on? While left alone in grief and shock, Diego Lázaro had the singular privilege to encounter the mighty Archangel-Prince once again. Saint Michael's entrance was intended to drive away the supporters, for by divine command, the message of God's angel was for Diego Lázaro's ears alone, whether he wanted to receive it or not.
After a while, those who had abandoned the hut returned, expecting to find it consumed and its only inhabitant, Diego Lázaro, dead. (The hut was constructed of highly- flammable dry straw, and Diego lay unprotected under its roof.) Contrary to the laws of nature, this didn't happen.
Instead, everyone was shocked and overcome with wonder and amazement. Not only did they find the hut intact, but they also discovered Diego Lázaro still alive, and laying upon his bed as before. To their surprise, with his now clear eyes wide open, he told them, "Don't be afraid for me, for Saint Michael has appeared to me and given me back my health. He took me, I don't know how, to a ravine near here. He went before me, taking huge steps. At the ravine he told me, 'Here, where I touch with my staff, is the fountain that I spoke of while you were in the procession. You must make it known, or you will be gravely punished.'
Saint Michael touched the earth with a golden staff pointed towards heaven, and a great and startlingly brilliant beam of light came forth from the sky like a sun-beam to mark and illuminate the place of the spring.
'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.'
Saint Michael the Archangel-Prince had spiritually transported Diego Lázaro to the place he had previously mentioned in his first admonition, and revealed the actual site of the foretold miraculous spring.
When Diego Lázaro finished relaying what had happened, he sprightly jumped up out of bed in perfect health, where only moments before he laid dying. At this, the onlookers and listeners became believers, that the vision was not a mere dream or flight of fancy, or even the over-active imagination of someone with heat stroke.
It is an understatement to say the events of that night left everyone speechless, most of all Diego Lázaro, who seemingly had learned to listen, believe, and obey the commands of an angel of God. His chastisement affirms God's design, that all listen and mind their guardian angels.
Making It Known
In the hope of presenting the message of Saint Michael to the governor of the Indians, Diego Lázaro journeyed some 20 kilometers east to the city of Tlaxcala, the province's capital. As he had initially feared, nobody believed the "wild imaginings" of an impoverished and uncultured citizen. In fact, besides being regarded contemptuously, he was severely reprimanded and threatened with physical punishment if he persisted in telling his story.
These detractors didn't deter him, however, and Diego Lázaro held his ground with them. Neither did they succeed in discouraging him with their cruel reception. Instead, their taunts somehow helped make him stronger than he ever thought or believed he could be. Something unexplainable moving inside him prevented any wavering or surrendering to his opponents' disbelief.
And still, upon returning home to his wife and parents, he required their encouragement and insistence before becoming convinced to do more than just not cower under threats and pressure. With their collective prodding, he agreed they should all try to find the place revealed by Saint Michael and sanctified by the virtue of God.
Digging For Grace
The site of the miraculous spring was a hill divided by a great ravine called "the Place of the Turkey Vultures" (Tzopilotitlan) and "the Place of the Back Water" (Tzopiloatl). Half way up this earthen divide was the site Saint Michael had designated with his golden staff, however, the holy well directly beneath where he touched was not exposed in any way. Instead, it was covered and hidden from discovery by a large and heavy stone; the boulder spoken of during the second apparition.
Upon arriving at the sacred ground, Diego Lázaro told his parents and wife exactly where they must dig. His knowledge of where to dig, although accurate, was insufficient. Even when all four well-seekers pushed together, they were unsuccessful in attempting to dislodge and remove the huge slab. It was too heavy for human strength alone.
While they struggled in vain to uncover the holy well, a handsome young man, a stranger never seen before or afterwards, appeared from out of nowhere and offered to help. He merely touched the slab, above where Saint Michael had placed the tip of his staff, and it began to move freely and easily. Thereupon, all four commenced digging till they beheld the crystalline spring. The sacred well contained water clearer than mountain air.
At first, all were jubilant with their treasure, but this euphoria did not endure. Once more Diego Lázaro became lax in fulfilling Saint Michael's command. Regrettably, the discovery of the well did not sustain his missionary zeal. No, although Diego Lázaro was twice visited and powerfully cured by Saint Michael, he would still require additional motivation to remain constant to his vocation.
The Third Apparition
Some six months later, on November 13th, Diego Lázaro participated in another festival; this one honoring San Diego de Alcalá. During Mass, he was mystically overcome and painfully attacked physically. He felt something invisible assault his limbs with such force, that he thought all his bones had been dislocated. Everything hurt. Unable to bear this excruciating and mysterious pain, he struggled back to his little straw hut in agony, confused, and in a quandary.
Here he retreated, tortured by forces perceived only in his pain, similar to the time he was bedridden near death. In no condition to move, with his mind and senses under siege, Saint Michael appeared a third time to a very humbled Diego Lázaro. On this occasion his admonition was most severe. He spoke in a powerful and commanding voice:
"Why are you a coward and negligent in fulfilling what I entrusted to you? Do you wish that I punish you by another means for your disobedience? Get up and make known what I have commanded you."
Truly Making It Known
After this last of Saint Michael's strict orders, Diego Lázaro's unexplainable ailment disappeared. Instilled with the Saint Michael's words, he experienced a newfound courage and faith. No longer a reluctant messenger of God's grace, he immediately and docilely returned to the place of the miraculous spring and filled several containers with a substantial amount of the holy water.
Renewed in spirit, Diego Lázaro set out to share his blessed fortune, but not with civil authorities. This time he journeyed to Puebla de los Angeles (the town of the angels), where the Bishop of the province resided, and obtained an audience with him. To Diego Lázaro's delight, upon finishing his story and presenting the virtuous water announced and given by Saint Michael to the Bishop, no retaliatory threats came; only an attentive and paternal response, along with his Excellency's promise to have the apparitions investigated.
For the sake of prudence and as a test of the veracity of the tale, the Bishop mandated that the water Diego Lázaro shared be distributed both among the sick within his household as well as throughout the infirmary of the Royal Hospital.
All who drank the water regained perfect health.
This was the beginning of many wondrous events and manifestations of God's beneficence to those, who believe, adore, trust, and love Him. Today the Basilica directly adjacent to the miraculous well records centuries of supernatural assistance to God's faithful, poor, and needy children. Myriad are the miracles that have been performed here!
The First Believers
From the very beginning, the Franciscan friars of Tlaxcala fully supported Diego Lázaro's story. Long before the Church gave her official approbation to the apparitions, they frequently referred to them in their homilies. Their organized processions of school children were among the first to the miraculous fountain, and they frequently offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass there.
From very early on, devotees of Saint Michael and the spring took relics of sod and clay, and subsequently sent them throughout the entire Spanish empire. These packets of earth from around the miraculous spring even found their way to Seville, Spain. Here, as little cakes and pills, they were combined with large amounts of water and given to the sick. This holy medicine restored many to good health.
In addition to being employed as a remedy for the sick, the miraculous water was also used for all maladies and to dispel the devil. It has strong exorcistic powers. Is it any wonder having been revealed by Saint Michael, Conqueror of Lucifer, and blessed with the virtue of God?
The water from the spring is very delicate, sensitive, delicious, and sweet. Tradition advises against its being used irreverently, as it may bring adverse effects. The sufferings of the doubting and reluctant Diego Lázaro certainly lend credence and substantiation to both this caution and truth.
It is interesting to reflect on the nature of the apparitions, which as noted, were internal in nature except for the second apparition.
Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, Our Lady of Ocotlán (Our Lady of the Oak Tree that burned) in Tlaxcala, and Saint Michael in Tlaxcala all appeared to seemingly insignificant messengers. At all three sites, Heaven's desires were revealed to seers with the name of Diego.
The Church set out almost at once to test the authenticity of the apparitions. The first of three formal investigations commenced in 1632, only a few months after Saint Michael's last visit. It was ordered by Bishop Guttierre Bernardo Quiroz. He placed on notice, i.e. ordered, Doctor Alonso Herrera "canon confessor and grand man of letters," to represent all the facts and very serious information, and to approve or disapprove this devotion. Serving this post, the canon was completely convinced of the authenticity of the apparition, gladly gave his approval, and furthermore, sang the "Te Deum" at a Mass there on October 29, 1632.
The second investigation was ordered by don Juan de Palafox with the following decree: "Since visiting the place, and informed of the opinion that we have fundamentally a wonderful thing that God has worked through the mediation of the Archangel, give commission to Attorney Gabriel Pérez de Alvarado, priest of Nativitas, to investigate this foundation. Given in Puebla the first of December, 1643."
Ten witnesses were chosen, seven Spaniards and three Mexicans. Counted among the latter was Diego Lázaro's first cousin, Andrés Pérez, and his maternal grandmother, Isabel Castillan Xuchitl, 80 years old. This interrogation was completed in 1644. --- (To be continued)
Mary of Agreda
Writes the Mystical City of God
The Life of the Mother of God
IN 1627 Sister Mary of Jesus was chosen Abbess of the convent in Agreda. She was not yet 25 years old, therefore her superiors had to seek dispensation from Rome. She held the office of Abbess for the space of 35 years until her death, with the exception of one term of three years from 1632 to 1635.
She dreaded the responsibility of this office, and appealed to the Queen of Heaven and earth to have compassion on her and assist her. The Virgin Mary appeared to her and consoled her with these words:
"My most amiable daughter, be of good cheer. I myself, will be the Mother and Superior of your convent, whom you and your subjects will obey. In all your temptations and tribulations, call upon me; ask my advice, and it shall be granted to you immediately."
Madre Sor María placed a statue of the Blessed Mother in the stall of the Abbess in the choir and at her feet the rule and seal of the monastery. The community prospered under the protection of this queen, and the direction of her favorite daughter. In her deep humility Agreda reserved for herself the lowest and most menial duties of the convent. Her charity shone pre-eminent at the bedside of the sick. At times she insisted, against the judgment of the physician, that the patient be prepared for death, which really happened. The fame of her holiness spread far and wide, and many were attracted to the cloister, even from the nobility of Spain and as far away as the Indies.
When the old Coronel castle became too small for the many new candidates, Madre María undertook the task of building a new monastery. So great was her confidence in the Mystical Superior of the community, that with the small sum of four and a half dollars she began the construction. It was built to accommodate 30 sisters with a very beautiful church attached. This feat is all the more remarkable because before she was elected Abbess, the income of the community scarcely supported 12 nuns.
Madre María is Commanded by God
to Write the Life of the Mother of God
"Whoever explains me, shall have life everlasting." --Ecclus. 24, 31
In the same year that Sister María de Jesus was elected Abbess, God commanded her to write the life of his most holy Mother. Unable to overcome her sense of unworthiness to undertake so sublime a task, Madre María resisted this command for the space of ten years, even though the Blessed Virgin herself repeated this command many times. She explains her resistance in the introduction to the Mystical City. Learned men of renowned sanctity believe this Introduction to be the key to the City and the convincing argument of the authenticity, veracity, humility, and absolute sincerity of Madre María.
She states therein: "She (Mary) added the command that I write this history of her life, according as her majesty herself should dictate and inspire me."
During these ten years, God prepared Madre María for this stupendous task by purifying her in the fires of tribulation, followed by revelations of the highest mysteries of the Trinity, of God made man, and of His Virgin Mother. He permitted Satan to torment her in every way. Afterward He told her that over fifty times Lucifer gathered all his legions in council to devise new stratagems for her defeat, and that if she had been aware of her danger, she would have died. As it was, she became so seriously ill that she lost all her strength. Then, in spirit, she was taken to hell, where she remained for three days. She saw the torments and the horrors, and heard the blasphemies of the damned.
When she was returned, God restored her mind to its former state of tranquility. Then he endowed her intellect with knowledge of rational creation in the triple order of nature, grace and glory. He instructed her in scripture, and gave her so perfect a knowledge of Latin and Spanish, that she could translate the most difficult terms of theology. Then He made her His especial spouse by celebrating the mystical nuptials with her.
After thus being prepared by intimate communication with her Lord and Spouse; by instructions from the Queen of heaven; by frequent raptures; by the help of the angels; by familiar conversations with the two holy virgins, Sts. Agnes and Ursula (whom God appointed to be her companions), and finally, by her zeal for the conversion of America, she was again commanded to write the life of Mary. This time she was unable to resist any longer.
Knowing the meaning of this command, Madre María immediately informed her confessor, Fra Francis Andrea dalla Torre, who had been her wise and prudent director for ten years. Aware of what divine grace had operated in her soul, he commanded her, in virtue of holy obedience, to begin the work at once.
The Blessed Virgin appeared to her and encouraged her with these words: "Remember that the truths which are to be revealed in this history do not proceed from the instrument used to relate them, but from the Author of truth, from whom all truth proceeds. Even though an angel were to write my biography, there would be men who would find some way to calumniate him. Nor need you be wise and learned, otherwise these same men would say that it was the result of human wisdom. God chose a woman, just as He chose me for his greatest work (ad extra) to be His medium for His greater glory. I am especially glad that that woman is you."
In the year 1637 Madre María began writing the Mystical City of God. The first fruit of this writing of the Tree of Life, as theologians call Mary, was wrought in the soul of Agreda. Because of the vast knowledge of the interior and exterior life of the Virgin, she was able to copy in her own life the virtues of the Perfect Imitator of Christ.
King Philip IV, Guardian of María's Manuscript
When Philip IV, King of Spain, heard that Mother Mary of Jesus had written a life of the Virgin Mary, he requested a copy from her. At first she was unwilling, but finally yielded to his entreaty. He was astonished at the depth of doctrine it contained, and submitted it to eminent theologians for examination. One of them said that "he would wager upon a whole room full of theologians, that this woman possessed the divine science."
Another examiner was Fra John de Palma, Commissary General of Spain, who wrote:
"I firmly believe that this book is a supernatural production, for its excellence is such that I doubt if there is a theologian, however eminent he may be, who could translate it into our language. It is indeed wonderful that a creature, who by birth and education is comparatively ignorant, could explain the divine mysteries in terms so clear and precise. Theology has scarcely found sufficient terms in the entire Latin language to explain the things which she knew how to explain in our common language, the things which of their nature are superior to human reasoning, and with such precision that they can be easily comprehended. And many articles of faith, which do not permit reasoning, are explained by her in such a manner that there can be no doubt of their truth."
Two apostolic legates of the Holy See for the Court of Spain, Julius Rospigliose (later Pope Clement IX) and Cardinal Caesar Monti, Archbishop of Milan, examined and wholeheartedly endorsed the Mystical City of God.
Philip IV asked Madre María to advise him in both matters of his soul and of state. For 22 years they corresponded almost daily.
Madre María is Ordered to Burn the Life of Mary ---(to be continued)
AND the four angels were loosed, who were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to kill the third part of men. And the number of the army of horsemen was twenty thousand times ten thousand. And I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision. And they that sat on them had breastplates of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone. And the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and from their mouths proceeded fire and smoke and brimstone. And by these three plagues was slain the third part of men, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails. For their tails are like to serpents and have heads; and with them they hurt. And the rest of the men, who were not slain by these plagues, did not do penance from the works of their hands, that they should not adore devils and idols of gold and silver and brass and stone and wood, which neither can see nor hear nor walk; neither did they penance from their murders, nor from their sorceries, nor from their fornication, nor from their thefts. -- Apocalypse 9: 15-21.
Commentary, by Rev. Bernard F. Leonard
Verse 16. St. John abruptly gives the number of killers appearing in the vision, which is 200,000,000 horsemen. The revelation seems to startle the Seer so much, that he forgets to connect this verse with the foregoing and leaves out all conjunctive particles or phrases. The number exceeds the population of the whole Roman Empire of his time. St. John makes it especially emphatic by adding: "I heard the number of them," as if he would suspect skepticism by the reader of so large a number of cavalry in the world. It is, however, a symbolic and approximate number. It is limited and not like that of chapter 20, 7, where the number of enemies is "as the sand of the sea." The number indicates either a long session of wars, in which vast armies are engaged, or a universal revolution and overthrow of governments with incessant guerrilla fighting, when every person carries weapons for self-defense, and rapine and murder become universal.
Verse 17. The Seer describes both the horsemen and the horses upon which they ride. The riders are mailed wearing breastplates that have the color of fire, of flaming smoke and of sulfur, showing them to be armed for defense and attack and to be invulnerable and formidable. It is useless for anyone to combat these victorious hordes. The colors seem to forebode the approach of the empire of Antichrist, in which this woe reaches its consummation, for in 14, 10-11, the followers and adorers of the Beast will be tormented by the same agencies. The colors reveal the character of the riders. Fire is the symbol of hatred, flame-colored smoke of blasphemy and sulfur of rebellion against God and His law. Sulfur denotes immorality and sensuality. Sulfur is the material that is burned in the hatred of God and produces the smoke of blasphemy. The three substances are united in this wise: hatred of God begets disobedience of his law and leads to immorality, and expresses itself against Him in blasphemies. Thus the damned in hell are tortured. They hate God, cling to all evil and give voice to their hatred in blasphemies (14, 10-11). The activities of the saints in Heaven are the opposite. Their happiness is in possessing God in love, worshipping and praising Him, and harmonizing their will with His.
These horsemen are not the locusts of the first woe. The riders are distinct from the horses they ride. The men have on their armor only the color of the substances emitted from the mouths of the horses. The unearthly power of the horses is from the four evil spirits who inspire or activate them. How long the materials that make up these monsters were on earth before the unbinding of the four spirits can only be conjectured. The horses and riders execute the judgment of God. The horses would then represent the institutions or organizations that are filled with satanic hatred against God and Christ. The riders direct the institutions or forces and through them rule and direct world events. The horses have the heads of lions, which are emblems of royalty. Whether they have the voices of lions is not stated but may be assumed. They have great power of propaganda. This feature alludes to the Beast who has the mouth of a lion. These monsters will preach the overthrow of governments, so that they have the chance to subjugate and tyrannize the peoples. They are then related to the Beast (13, 2) in their power of propaganda, and in being the rulers of the world. They are also related to the locusts who had the teeth of lions but could inflict only spiritual injury. Both derive their power of evil-doing from the abyss.
From the mouths of the horses issue fire, smoke and sulfur. In chapter six, War rides a red horse and he receives a great sword with which to kill a small nation, while these horses kill a third of mankind with other weapons. It uncannily points to modern weapons of war, to missiles hurled by explosives, fire, poison gasses, liquid fire, igniting gasses and atomic bombs. Sulfur, too, is used to compound gunpowder. These destructive secrets might have been revealed to St. John as future inventions. But all through the revelations he deals with spiritual agencies that shape the destiny of the world. So he evidently has those in mind as the real causes of destruction, for sin has always been the ultimate cause of all misery.
Verse 18. The fire, the smoke and the sulfur issuing from the mouths of the lion-headed horses will bring death to one third of mankind. Hatred of God and of fellow-men is the efficient cause. It will voice its sentiments in blasphemous propaganda against God, calculated to scare men away from belief in Him, and to rob them of all revealed religion. The result will be rebellion against His law, refusal to keep his commandments, and a surrender to voluptuousness and immorality. St. John calls the fire, the smoke and the sulfur three distinct plagues, and thereby alludes to the plagues of Egypt. He repeats them in this verse to make the narrative more vivid, and to emphasize the causes of the carnage. Only the color of these agencies is on the armor of the riders, revealing how deeply imbued they are with these satanic qualities of mind and heart.
Verse 19. The power of the horses is in their mouths, propagating their will and tyrannizing over peoples by promulgating laws against God's ordinances, by emitting hatred and blasphemies against Him, and by inciting to rebellion against all authority He has established.
In verse 10, the locusts have the tails of scorpions, while these horses have tails with serpents' heads, showing both monsters to be allegorical figures or spiritual forces. They kill with the fire, smoke and sulfur streaming from their mouths, while with their tails they only injure their victims. The tail is the symbol of error, deceit, hypocrisy and false doctrines (Isaias 11, 15). In Scripture the serpent is considered the embodiment of deceit, cunning, secret and unexpected treachery. The venom of these tail-serpents does not kill, is therefore of a spiritual nature. They instill doubt, agnosticism, unbelief, rebellion against authority and possibly atheism, as the serpent in Paradise advised unbelief and rebellion against God. The heads of the serpent-tails can devise means and ways of deceiving and misleading people who give ear to the new doctrines of death.
Verse 20.The two-thirds of the human race remaining after the plague of the 200,000,000 horsemen has swept over the earth will continue in sin and unbelief. Verse 20 points specifically to the pagan world, which comprises almost two-thirds of the earth's population today. Devil-worship and idolatry in one form or another prevails in the vast and teeming populations of Asia and Indonesia. In a large part of Europe and the Americas, many so-called civilized peoples do not indeed worship idols but the works of their hands. Man is extolled as the lord of the world, the god who performs technical miracles that grow more stupendous day by day. Some men worship their creations of art, others their literary output, others their adventures, their engineering feats, their inventions, their wealth or their physical prowess. Some scoff at the sovereignty of God and deify the State. Verse 20 gives a synopsis of the sins against God, from which necessarily follows spiritual death. The death of any percentage of mankind is only a consequence of rejecting God. After the slaughter of one third of mankind, the rest will live just as they do today.
Verse 21. As men shall still sin against the sovereignty of God, so they shall sin against the moral order. Verse 21 points to the Christian world. After the slaughter of a third of mankind is ended, the Christian world shall still be given to murders, adulteries, divorce, birth-control, false beliefs, impurities and dishonesty. Large numbers shall be secretly addicted to superstitious practices, such as spiritism, fortune-telling and false doc-trines. Deceit and hypocrisy shall be unchecked. Dishonesty and graft in business shall be almost universal. The laborer shall be cheated out of the fruits of his labor through the economic conditions created by the godless manipulators of the financial systems of the world. And the whole moral order of God in the Christian world shall be upset worse than ever, in spite of all former promises of the lords of the world to make it a decent place in which to live. Men shall still be given to self-indulgence and overselfishness, and even Catholics shall begrudge God the little time He demands for worshipping Him. And this state of sin and corruption will go on, until the Church is fully prepared to carry through with God's special direction and help, the overthrow of the reign of evil, and the conquest of the world for Christ.
The prophets of old have left us the reasons for God's judgments. Isaias foretells judgments upon the whole world, because even God's people sought their happiness in excessive desire for wealth and luxury, adored the works of their hands, and felt secure in their armaments and armies (Is. 2, 7-9). They did not heed the preaching and warnings of the prophets (Is. 6, 9-10). God wills full freedom for men to do good or evil, that if they scorn the good, evil may grow in them to maturity, and that when God's punishments come, they may be truly merited. (Is. 6, 9-10; Apoc. 22, 11). The Jews practiced spiritism (Is. 8, 19); they made treaties of defense with pagan nations; they trusted in the strength of Egypt, which led them into idolatry; and they scoffed at and rejected God's protection (Is. 9, 11; 30, 2, 12). They practiced "diplomacy," duplicity, hypocrisy and deceit, and respected this diplomacy as an accomplishment. They derided uprightness and sincerity, and they punished it (Is. 32, 5-7). No one was secure against the slanderer and murderer. (Is. 59, 10). The final reason for God's irrevocable judgment was idolatry. (Is. 65, 7).
Jeremias writes that false teachers bring God's visitations (Jer. 14, 15). Those teachers will admit no guilt in themselves (Jer. 16, 10); they will persecute the true and faithful pastor (Jer. 20, 10).
Our Lady of the Rockies
By Pat Kearney
Continued from previous issue
"ALL I need to complete the project is to find someone with about a million dollars," explained Reed. "So what type of project are you looking at? Something in that ballparks range?"
"Well, I don't know if it would cost that or not," said O'Bill. "What I want to do is build a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the East Ridge near Saddle Rock."
Reed just sat there for a couple of seconds, trying to realize what O'Bill had just said to him. Reed was the type of person you call "a doer" who had big dreams and worked like mad to get them done. He admired people with the same kind of ambition, and would always try to help those types of people.
"Well, Bob, that sounds a lot like my Sheepshead Project," said Reed slowly. "How in the world are you going to do it? Where in the world are you going to get the money?"
O'Bill looked down at his hands. "Well, I don't know how I am going to finance it, but I've made up my mind I am going to do it. You see Dean, my wife was sick not long ago, and I kind of made a promise that if she got better, I would build a statue of Our Lady on the East Ridge."
"Well, that's a heck of a promise to keep, but I have found out in my years working here at the Forest Service if you push hard enough, you can get anything done," said Reed. "Now, where did you say you were going to put it?"
O'Bill was excited that Reed showed some interest in his project. "Well Dean, I believe the best place for the statue would be up at Saddle Rock."
"Bob, the Forest Service does not own a lot of property up in that area," explained Reed. "Most of that region is controlled by private mining claims. You are going to have to find out who owns those claims and either buy them or better yet, get permission to use the surface rights on one of those claims."
"How difficult will it be to figure out who owns those claims?" asked O'Bill.
"It will be rather tough," said Reed as he got up from his chair and walked over to a draft table full of maps. "Here, let me show you."
For more information about Our Lady of the Rockies, see book Our Lady Builds a Statue, by Leroy Lee, in "Announcements" section, page 31.
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: -- http://www.ewtn.com/library/SPIRIT/GRANADA.HTM
TAN Books, P.O. Box 424, Rockford, IL 61105. ---- Tel. 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.
American Chesterton Society,4117 Pebblebrook Circle, Minneapolis, MN 55437. Chesterton University: $4.00 plus $3 shipping. Write for free list of books. Subscription to "Gilbert!" magazine (1 yr): $29.95. http://www.chesterton.org
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
Message of June 9, 1972