From the Franciscan Minims
Mexico • Vergel ------- Sept. • Oct. 2003 ------- No. 9–10
The Intercession of Mary
Mother of Divine Grace
Picture: Our Lady of the Rockies, as it was being completed, on Dec. 20, 1985.
Iron workers pull in the taglines for the head section.
Our Cover: Mother of Divine Grace
THE Eternal Father made Jesus Christ the King of justice, and consequently universal Judge of the world: and therefore the royal prophet sings: "Give to the King thy judgment, O God, and to the King's son thy justice." (Ps. 71).
Here a learned interpreter takes up the sentence and says: "O Lord, Thou hast given justice to thy son, because Thou hast given mercy to the King's Mother. And, on this subject, St. Bonaventure, paraphrasing the words of David, thus interprets them: 'Give to the King Thy judgment, O God, and Thy mercy to the Queen His Mother.' Ernest, Archbishop of Prague, also remarks, 'that the eternal Father gave the office of judge and avenger to the Son, and that of showing mercy and relieving the necessitous to the Mother.' This was foretold by the prophet David himself; for he says that God (so to speak) consecrated Mary Queen of mercy, anointing her with the oil of gladness ("God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness"), in order that we miserable children of Adam might rejoice, remembering that in heaven we have this great Queen, overflowing with the unction of mercy and compassion towards us; and thus we can say with St. Bonaventure, 'O Mary, thou art full of the unction of mercy and of the oil of compassion; therefore God has anointed thee with the oil of gladness. And how beautifully does not B. Albert the Great apply to this subject the history of Queen Esther, who was herself a great type of our Queen Mary. We read, in the 4th chapter of the Book of Esther, that in the reign of Assuerus, a decree was issued, by which all Jews were condemned to death. Mardochai, who was one of the condemned, addressed himself to Esther, in order that she might interpose with Assuerus, and obtain the revocation of the decree, and thus be the salvation of all. At first Esther declined the office, fearing that such a request might irritate the king still more, but Mardochai reproved her. --- (continued on p. 15).
His Love Forever
"I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore have I drawn thee." (Jer. 31, 3).
--"God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son,
that those who believe in Him may not perish,
but may have life everlasting." (John 3, 16)
IN the rules of the Franciscan Minims, it reads: "The principal devotions of this Order will be: Most Holy Mary of Perpetual Help, the Sacred Heart of Jesus and our Father St. Francis. Let their images always be placed on the altars of their chapels. The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus will be with respect to the intimacies of that Divine Heart, with a reparatory and consoling spirit. Its purpose will be to unite oneself with Him, filling oneself with His love, and sharing His mystical sorrows."
On Sept. 29, 1969, Our Lord said: "Tell the entire world: Your salvation lies in uniting yourselves to the Work of Atonement, the most beloved Work of My Heart. By imitating and living according to the shield which I have given to it. By consecrating themselves: to my Heart, promising me to be meek and humble. ...Be faithful imitators of Me and of the models which the coat of arms of My Work of Atonement offers you. This is the only way in which you will be able to offer a worthy service to My Church, which is a kingdom of peace and holy justice. Preach this doctrine, all of you, and teach it by your example, and I will be with you from now until eternity. Thus will you possess the kingdom of heaven and obtain the conversion of the obstinate. ... Perform works which will obtain for all of you the miracle of shortening these times." --- (Messages, Vol. 1, p. 66).
This issue is dedicated in a special way to the Sacred Heart, and we are printing the Twelve Promises that our Lord made, with some parallel promises found in the Bible, and also some selections from the Revelations of Saint Gertrude, who was so devoted to the Sacred Heart and who enjoyed such a special friendship with Christ.
In her writings she records some of the remarkable favours that she received: "Thou hast also granted me Thy secret friendship, by opening the sacred ark of Thy Divinity, I mean Thy Deified Heart, to me in so many manners, as to be the source of all my happiness, sometimes imparting it freely, sometimes as a special mark of our mutual friendship, exchanging it for mine. Thou hast also revealed to me hidden mysteries concerning Thy judgments and Thy beatitudes. Thou hast so often melted my soul by Thy loving caresses, that if I did not know the abyss of Thy overflowing condescensions, I should be amazed were I told that even Thy Blessed Mother, who reigns with Thee in heaven, had been chosen to receive such extraordinary marks of tenderness and affection." (Rev., Bk. 1, ch. 23).
Our Lord told her: "I desire your writings to be an indisputable evidence of My Divine goodness in these latter times, in which I purpose to do good to many." For that reason we are printing some of her revelations, as a reminder of how much Christ loves us, and how he is expecting a return of love.
We also request all our subscribers to make, if possible, a holy hour every month or even every week. You do not need to do it in a church: you can do it in the privacy of your own home. The Holy Hour is usually done at night time, and it is suitable to have a picture of the Sacred Heart in your room and to pray traditional Catholic prayers. Some persons like to make the Holy Hour in the night from Thursday to Friday, in honour of Our Lord's hour of prayer in the Garden of Olives, but the holy hour can be made on any day of the week. Our Lord wants us to make Holy Hours, in order to console him for the many sins that are now being committed, and also so that these grave times may be shortened. In the message quoted above he asked us to perform works that would obtain the miracle of shortening these times, and making a Holy Hour is one of the best works we can do. Making a Holy Hour will console His Heart, and will also obtain precious benefits for our neighbours, who are now living in spiritual darkness. If enough of our subscribers can do this, perhaps we could even obtain the conversion of sinners. That is what Our Lord desires, but he needs our co-operation in order to do so.
When enough persons pay attention to His requests, and do what he is expecting them to do, we can hope to see the triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart, and the fulfilment of many scriptural promises: "God is wonderful in his saints: The God of Israel is he who will give power and strength to his people. Blessed be God." (Psalm 67).
May it be for the glory of God
The Vergel of the Immaculate Virgin of Guadalupe
August 22, 2003 --- Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
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The Strange Career of Elisha
MANY other astonishing things were told of Elisha. He fed a hundred hungry men with not enough food for a fifth of that number, and had bread left over: once more a prefiguring of miracles to come with the dawn of a new era, when Jesus of Nazareth would feed four thousand with seven loaves and a few little fishes. But the story of Elisha's mighty wonders that has most stirred the imagination of people is the tale of his encounter with a military officer, Naaman, captain of the host of the Syrian army. Naaman was a forthright, honest soldier, a realistic and somewhat impatient man, decent in all his dealings but cursed with the horrible disease of leprosy. All the famed physicians of that day had tried to cure him of the loathsome affliction—sores and a slow eating away of the body—and all had failed.
As it happened, there lived in the house of the leprous officer a captive little Israelite girl who served as maid to Naaman's wife. One day this young slave spoke to her mistress about a prophet in Israel who could cure sick people, no matter what the disease. His name, she said, was Elisha.
When word of this claim was brought to the king of Syria, he immediately wrote a letter and sent it with gifts of gold and silver and raiment to the king of Israel, beseeching him that his favourite soldier, Captain Naaman, be cured.
But on reading the communication, the king of Israel rent his clothes.
"Am I God to kill and make alive?" the baffled and frightened king cried in despair. He was suspicious that this proposal might be a trick to provoke or incite a war. But somehow Elisha heard of the message and sent word to the troubled king:
"Let the man come to me, and he shall know there is a prophet in Israel."
Not long afterward Naaman stood at the door of Elisha's upstairs room.
"Go and wash in the Jordan seven times," was all the prophet would say to him.
Go and wash in the Jordan! The captain of the Syrian host swore disdainfully. What silly hoax was this? In high dudgeon he stamped down-stairs and started off for home. But his servants reasoned with him along the road, about the simple ways of prophets, and finally persuaded him at least to try the directions, no matter how meaningless he thought them. So they turned off their course and went to the banks of the Jordan and Naaman bathed, as he had been told.
In that same hour his flesh became as clear and healthy as that of a little child. The leprosy disappeared completely.
Naturally, then, the contrite captain wanted to thank the prophet, but Elisha waved him away. He did not welcome gratitude. His delight was in the law of the Lord and in that law he meditated, day and night. No man with healing power from God wants pay for his use of it.
"Go in peace," said Elisha.
But the servants of God's servants are not always as scrupulous as their masters, though living intimately with sanctity. Gehazi for example; Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, ran after the grateful Syrian, already started on his way home, and, lying in his own teeth, declared that his master had been suddenly visited by two needy young men. Therefore he would appreciate the gift of a talent of silver and two changes of raiment, not for himself, of course, but for those needy guests. Unsuspecting, Naaman was delighted to bestow not one but two talents of silver, and well as the garments.
"But he went in, and stood before his master, and Elisha said unto him, Whence come you, Gehazi?
"And he said, Your servant went no whither.
"And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with you when the man turned again from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive yards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?
"Is it time to receive money and gifts?" repeated Elisha.
The prophet was infuriated at his servant's lying and thievery. He had witnessed all the skulduggery with farseeing eyes.
"The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave to you, and unto your seed for ever," he said solemnly.
And blighted Gehazi turned as white as snow.
In the Louvre Museum at Paris there is on exhibition a startling original piece of evidence which testifies to these times in Israel's history. The exhibit is called the Moabite stone, and casts of it are shown in the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and in the British Museum. The actual stone has been preserved in spite of a hard and foolish bargain driven by the Arabs who found it.
The avaricious Bedouins put a fire under the stone and, pouring cold water on it, broke it in pieces, which were distributed through the tribe, so that it could be sold piecemeal at rising prices. Most of the fragments were recovered and put together by the help of imperfect squeezes taken before the monument was broken.
The language in which the stone is written is of particular interest, showing what were the forms of the Phoenician letters used on the eastern side of the Jordan in the time of King Ahab. The forms employed in Israel and Judah on the western side could not have differed much; and thus we come face to face in these venerable characters with the precise mode of writing employed by the earlier prophets of the Old Testament, a contemporary record chiselled in stone. There on the Moabite stone is set forth an amazing tale, also to be found as Holy Writ in the Second Book of Kings; the history of another and most famous miracle of Elisha. That wonder was performed when the prophet provided water for the Israelite army, perishing of thirst; on stone and in the Bible one reads of the puzzling ditches that the prophet advised to be dug; and the hallucination of "bloody water" in the deceived sight of the enemy.
It happened not long after the she-bears had attacked the children who plagued Elisha. Under the thumb of the queen Mother Jezebel, Jehoram reigned in the northern kingdom of Israel. Trouble started immediately. For years the subject people of Moab had been paying tribute money to Israel, but now that a new king, his strength untried, had been crowned, the Moabites decided it was time to rebel. As soon as spies brought this word to the inexperienced Jehoram, he decided to look for outside help in the coming war. Like his father Ahab before him, Jehoram enlisted the aid—given most reluctantly and only because he was a friend —of Jehoshaphat, king of the southern kingdom of Judah. The ruler of Edom also joined in the alliance; the three kings merged their troops and marched.
But after seven days the soldiers found themselves trapped in a waterless plain, in danger of imminent battle, and with no springs, no gourds of water even, left to slake the thirst of fighting men. Then it was that Jehoshaphat --a weak but convinced worshiper of the one true God—could no longer hide his feelings. In a voice that trembled he cried:
"Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may inquire of the Lord by him?"
Now Jehoram, like his mother Jezebel, cared nothing for the Lord and believed in Him not at all. But it was a dire plight they were in, and Jehoram welcomed the whispered suggestion of one of his aides—there was Elisha. How about him?
And so a stern-faced, unflattered Elisha came to stand before the king. He knew Jehoram; true, he had publicly put away the images of Baal, but in the privacy of his palace there was no perversion, no abomination of that false god that was not practised in drunken, gleeful antics.
"What have I to do with you?" Elisha demanded. "Get you to the prophets of Ahab and Jezebel, your father and mother."
And then Elisha suddenly heard the Voice—perhaps for the first time he heard it—calling upon him to hearken. In an altered mood Elisha called for music. Minstrels and players were instantly summoned and sounds of padded hammers on taut strings seemed to stir the strange man's sense of prophecy. In a trance, an ecstasy, Elisha gave the three kings assurance of victory over Moab. Then, when they thought the vision was over, he went on to advise them how to obtain water. They must dig ditches in certain places, and when they had obeyed him the ditches were suddenly over-flowing with water, coming from nowhere and spreading in all the valley.
And next a strange turnover in events.
From a great distance the Moabites were watching, observing the curious activities behind the Israelite lines. And now these vigilant watchers were deceived by an optical illusion.
The slant of the afternoon sunlight on the newly spreading water gave the pools and streams the red look of blood. Foolishly concluding that the allied kings had fallen out and fought one another and that the Israelites were now without leaders, the Moabites rushed forward pell-mell to gather spoil. Instead they found the Israelites ready for battle. So ghastly was their defeat that King Mesha of Moab, full of insane fear and frustration, sacrificed his own son and heir on the wall as a burnt offering to the God of Israel—all to no avail.
That miserable Mesha, king of Moab, broken in his defeat, carved his unhappy history on what is called today the Moabite stone, beginning:
"I, Mesha, son of Chemosh-melech, king of Moab, the Dibonite. My father reigned over Moab thirty years, and I reigned after my father. I made this monument to Chemosh at Korkah."
He was an obscure king and that was a tiny, obscure war that left no other traces in the story of mankind. But the finding of that stone, in 1868, at Dibon, confirms expressly this minor episode of the Old Testament. Year by year new attestation comes that the Bible is an authentic record.
It was not long after the defeat of Moab that Ben-Hadad, king of Syria, plotted war against Israel. This time Elisha seemed to read thoughts from far, and gave warning to his own king of what was afoot. Told of this apparent mind reading, Ben-Hadad raged and threatened and gave orders to have the prophet seized and brought before him. But the abductors, arriving near Elisha's lodging, suddenly found themselves groping in darkness, instantaneously struck blind. It as Elisha who took them by the hand and sent them homeward. -- (To be continued)
The Twelve Promises
God is Love. He is infinite and eternal Love, creating, redeeming, sanctifying men, and finally glorifying them.
All creation is the story of God's love for man. It is also the story of Divine Love rejected by man --the story of Paradise Lost. In God's loving designs, in His eternal plan to save the human beings He has created, He wills that every man and woman, every boy and girl in the entire world, should respond to His appeal: "My child, give Me thy heart!" (compare Proverbs 23:26). He desires that the story of mankind may be rewritten as the story of Paradise Regained. Devotion to the Sacred Heart was revealed by Jesus Himself to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque "as a last effort of His Divine Love" to draw the hearts of men to Himself. This devotion was revealed as Love seeking to win a world in which charity has grown cold. It was revealed as Love seeking to kindle fire in the hearts of men, in order that the Holy Spirit, who perfects the works of God and who is Himself the personified and mutual Love of the Father and the Son, might pour out the abundance of Divine Love and other heavenly gifts into the souls of men.
Jesus revealed the Love of God for men under the symbol of His Sacred Heart, as an infinite Love aiming more at loving than at being loved. He revealed it as a Love which seeks to transform tepid souls, to win back sinful souls, to perfect fervent souls. He made it known as a Love which seeks victims, that will consume themselves in making reparation for souls who do not love.
During a period of two years, Jesus appeared in the Visitation convent at Paray-le-Monial, France, to a humble nun, now known as Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque more than 70 times, in order to make known in great detail His desire and His plan for widespread devotion to His Sacred Heart. This devotion had already been practised by other saints, such as St. John, the beloved disciple, St. Gertrude, St. Mechtilde, St. Bonaventure, St. Peter Canisius, and others. Through St. Margaret Mary, however, the Sacred Heart sought to build up everywhere in the world of souls the structure of love, confidence and reparation which was to be a strong fortress in the ages of coldness, rationalism, materialism, disbelief and savagery, which is our modern world.
On the feast of St. John the Apostle, December 27, 1673, Our Lord appeared to Sister Margaret Mary as she was praying before the chapel grille of her convent. He showed her His loving Heart, and said to her: "My divine Heart is so full of love for men, and for you in particular, that It can no longer contain within Itself the flames of Its burning love. It must by your efforts spread these flames abroad. It must manifest Itself to men and pour out the floods of Its love, to enrich them with Its precious graces of sanctity and salvation, in order to draw them back from the abyss of perdition. I have chosen you as an abyss of unworthiness and ignorance, for the accomplishment of this design, so that it will be evident to everyone that the plan is entirely mine!"
Our Lord then demanded that Margaret Mary give Him her heart, and she begged Him to take it from her. He placed it in His own Heart, where it appeared to her as a tiny atom in a flaming furnace, and then, enkindled with divine fire, returned it to her.
From that day the Sacred Heart was often revealed to her, and especially on the first Fridays of the month. It appeared at times "more radiant than the sun and as transparent as crystal," with the adorable Wound visible, or again, as a furnace ablaze with flames. During these manifestations, Jesus asked her for the practices of devotion now familiar to many Catholics: the First Friday Communion of Reparation, the Holy Hour, special honour shown to the image of the Sacred Heart, and special acts of consecration, of individuals, families, and nations: the Morning offering. But above all, Jesus pleaded for reparative love offered especially to Him in the Blessed Sacrament.
During these many apparitions, Jesus made the famous Twelve Promises. Let us consider them one by one, and note some parallel promises found in the Bible.
1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.
The entire Gospel, and all Holy Scripture, stands behind this promise, for Christ came into the world and died to merit grace for us. Pius XII reminds us of the abundance of grace when several times in his encyclical he repeats the Isaian text: "You shall draw waters with joy out of the fountains of the Saviour." (Is. 12, 3). Again, God promised: "I will make an everlasting covenant with them and will not cease to do them good." (Jer. 32, 40). St. Paul assures us: "Indeed, the grace of God has abounded beyond measure in the faith and love that is in Christ Jesus." (1 Tim. 1, 14). "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's bestowal." (Eph. 4, 7). "And of His fullness we have all received, grace for grace." (John 1, 16).
2. I will establish peace in their homes.
Paralleling this promise, we find such as these in Holy Writ: "The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace." (Ps. 28, 11). "The old error is passed away; Thou wilt keep peace; peace, because we have hoped in Thee." (Is. 26, 3). "Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men of good will." (Luke 2, 14). "But the fruit of the Spirit is charity, joy, peace.. " (Gal. 5, 22).
3. I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honoured.
Even in the Old Testament, where the making of images was ordinarily prohibited lest the people fall into idolatry, we find that when they were bitten by fiery serpents for murmuring against God in the desert, He promised relief if they looked upon an image which was a figure of the Cross: "And the Lord said to him: Make a brazen serpent and set it up for a sign; whosoever being struck shall look on it, shall live." (Num. 21:8).
4. I will comfort them in all their afflictions.
Holy Scripture abounds in similar assurances. "Many are the afflictions of the just man, but the Lord delivers him from all of them." (Pas. 33, 20). "For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee." (Is. 54, 7). "Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11, 28).
5. I will be their secure refuge during life, and above all in death.
The image of the Lord as man' refuge is repeated again and again in the Bible. "O Lord, my Rock, my Stronghold, my Deliverer." (Ps. 17, 2). "For Thou hast become my fortress and my refuge in the day of trouble. (Ps. 58, 17). "O Lord, my might, and my strength, and my refuge in the day of tribulation." (Jer. 16, 19).
6. I will shed abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
Blessings are promised and bestowed time after time in Holy Writ. "He will bless those that fear the Lord, both small and great." (Ps. 113, 13).
"The blessing of the Lord is upon the head of the just." (Prov. 10, 6). His blessing hath overflowed like a river." (Ecclus. 39, 27).
7. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy.
Inspired writers always show God's mercy to sinners as superabundant. "If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made white as snow; and if they be red as crimson, they shall be made white as wool." (Is. 1, 18). "For I have come to call sinners..." (Matt. 9, 13). "Her sins, many as they are, shall be forgiven her, because she has loved much." (Luke 7, 47). "Him who comes to Me, I will not cast out." (John 6, 37).
8. Tepid souls will become fervent.
"And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh. And I will put My spirit in the midst of you, and I will cause you to walk in My commandments, and to keep My judgments and do them." (Ezech. 36, 26-7). "I have come to cast fire upon the earth, and what will I but that it be kindled?" (Luke 12, 49). "The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (Rom. 5, 5).
9. Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection.
"I walk in the way of justice.. that I may enrich them that love me." (Prov. 8, 18). "In everything you have been enriched in Him, in all utterance and in all knowledge; even as the witness to Christ has been made so firm in you that you lack no grace." (1 Cor. 1, 5-7). "I am convinced of this, that He who has begun a good work in you will bring it to perfection until the day of Christ Jesus." (Phil. 1, 6). "Now we know that for those who love God, all things work together unto good, for those who, according to His purpose, are saints through His call." (Rom. 8, 28).
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts.
"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of ministries, but the same Lord, and there are varieties of workings, but the same God, who works all things in all." (1 Cor. 12, 4).
"On behalf of Christ, therefore, we are acting as ambassadors, God, as it were, appealing through us. We exhort you, for Christ's sake, be reconciled to God... Yes, working together with Him, we entreat you not to receive the grace of God in vain." (2 Cor. 5, 20-21. 6, 1). "The unceasing prayer of a just man is of great avail." (James 5, 16).
11. The names of those who promote this devotion will be written in My Heart, never to be blotted out.
Some instances of similar promises in Holy Scripture are: "Rejoice in this, that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10, 20). "He who overcomes shall be arrayed thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels." (Apoc. 3, 5).
12. I promise you, out of the prodigal pity of my heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to those who receive Holy Communion on nine consecutive first Fridays of the month the grace of final perseverance, so that they shall not die in My disfavour without the sacraments. My Divine Heart will be their sure refuge at the last.
Holy Scripture shows us that "The Lord is faithful in all His words, and holy in all His works." (Ps. 144, 13). "God is not a man that He should lie, nor as the son of man that He should be changed. Hath He said then, will he not do? Hath He spoken, and will He not fulfil?" (Num. 23, 19). "Whoever perseveres to the end, he shall be saved." (Matt. 24, 13). "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has given the promise is faithful." (Heb. 10, 23).
"He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood has life everlasting." (John 6, 55). "He who eats this Bread shall live forever." (John 6, 59).
Following His Footsteps
by Anselmo del Álamo
Chapter 7. Mortification, Suffering
42. I imagine that you are suffering so much, said a priest to Don Bosco. But you know better than anyone else, how much suffering sanctifies. And he answered with a smile: No, it is not suffering that sanctifies, but patience in suffering. St. John Bosco
43. The Son of God redeemed us by means of sufferings, and he wanted to teach us by this, that there is nothing more apt to glorify God and to sanctify your soul, than sufferings. Ah, yes, to suffer for the love of our God is the pathway of truth! St. Teresa of Jesus
44. The most secure sign of belonging to the number of the elect, is that, while we live a Christian life, we are tried at the same time with desolation, suffering and sorrows. St. Aloysius Gonzaga
45. An ounce of suffering is worth more than one hundred pounds of good works, but of those that proceed from our own will.
St. Francis de Sales
46. If we knew the precious treasure that is hidden inside our sicknesses, we would receive them with the same joy that we receive great benefits, and we would endure them without making any complaints. St. Vincent de Paul
47. The true terrestrial paradise consists in suffering something for Jesus Christ. Ask this of all the saints, and they will tell you that they never enjoyed such a delicious banquet as when they suffered the greatest torments. St. Louis Mary Grignion de Montfort
Meaning of 101
In 1973 the Virgin Mary began to appear to Sister Agnes Sasagawa in Akita, Japan, and the wooden statue of Mary in the chapel wept tears 101 times, over a period of several years.
On Sept. 28, 1981, an angel explained to Sister Agnes the meaning of the number 101. She was in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. She did not see the angel in person, but a Bible appeared open before her eyes and she was invited to read a passage (Genesis 3:15). The voice of the angel explained that the passage had a relationship with the tears of Mary:
"There is a meaning in the figure one hundred and one. This signifies that sin came into the world by a woman, and it is also by a woman that salvation came to the world The zero between the two signifies the Eternal God, who is from all eternity until eternity. The first one represents Eve, the last the Virgin Mary."
Information about the apparitions at Akita, and other Marian apparitions, is available from: 101 Foundation, P.O. Box 151, Asbury, New Jersey 08802-0151 USA. ----- http://www.101foundation.com
New Edition of Penitential Rosary
We inform our subscribers that we have just printed a new, larger, easy-to-read edition of the Penitential Rosary. The price is the same as before: $1.00. If you order 10 or more, there is a discount: 0.75 each. For 20 or more, 0.50.
Mother of Divine Grace(continued)
But Mardochai reproved her, sending her word that she was not to think only of saving herself, for God had placed her on the throne to obtain the salvation of all the Jews. "Think not that thou mayst save thy life only, because thou art in the king's house, more than all the Jews." Thus did Mardochai address Queen Esther. And so can we poor sinners address our Queen Mary, should she show any repugnance to obtain of God our delivery from the chastisement we have justly deserved: 'Think not, O Lady, that God has raised thee to the dignity of Queen of the world, only to provide for thy good; but in order that, being so great, thou mighest be better able to compassionate and assist us miserable creatures.'
The Revelations of Saint Gertrude
Written by Herself
"You have licked the dust with My enemies
and you have sucked honey amidst thorns.
But return now to Me.
I will receive you,
and inebriate you
with the torrent of My celestial delights."
-- Words of Christ to Saint Gertrude
The Saint's thanksgiving to God for the first grace vouchsafed to her, by which her mind was withdrawn from earthly things and united to Him.
Let the Abyss of Uncreated Wisdom invoke the Abyss of Omnipotent Power to praise and extol the amazing charity which, by an excess of Thine infinite mercy, O most sweet God of my life and only Love of my soul, hast led Thee through a desert, pathless and dry land, that is, through the many obstacles I have placed to Thy mercy, to descend into the valley of my miseries.
I was in the twenty-sixth year of my age when, on the Monday before the Feast of the Purification of Thy most chaste Mother, in a happy hour, after Compline, at the close of day, Thou the true Light, who art clearer than any light and yet deeper than any recess, having resolved to dissipate the obscurity of my darkness, didst sweetly and gently commence my conversion by appeasing the trouble which Thou hadst excited in my soul for more than a month, which Thou didst deign to use, as I believe, to destroy the fortress of vain-glory and curiosity which my pride had raised up within me, although I bore the name and habit of a religious to no purpose. But Thou didst will to use this means, that Thou mightest thereby show me Thy salvation.
Being, then, in the middle of our dormitory, at the hour I have named and having inclined to an elderly religious, according to our rule, on raising my head I beheld Thee, my most loving Love and my Redeemer, surpassing in beauty the children of men, under the form of a youth of sixteen years, beautiful and amiable and attracting my heart and my eyes by the infinite light of Thy glory, which Thou hadst the goodness to pro-portion to the weakness of my nature. Standing before me, Thou didst utter these words, full of tenderness and sweetness: "Thy salvation is at hand. Why art thou consumed with grief? Hast thou no counsellor, that thou art so changed by sadness?" When Thou hadst spoken thus, al-though I knew that I stood corporally in the place I have mentioned, it seemed to me, nevertheless, that I was in our choir, in the corner where I had been accustomed to offer up my tepid prayers and that there I heard these words: "I will save thee. I will deliver thee, fear not." After I had heard them, I saw Thee place Thy right hand in mine, as if to ratify Thy promise.
Then I heard Thee speak thus: "You have licked the dust with My enemies, and you have sucked honey amidst thorns. But return now to Me. I will receive you, and inebriate you with the torrent of My celestial delights." When Thou hadst said these words, my soul melted within me. As I desired to approach Thee, I beheld between Thee and me, I mean, from Thy right hand to my left hand a hedge of such prodigious length, that I could see no end to it, either before or behind. The top of it appeared so set with thorns that I could find no way to return to Thee, Thou only consolation of my soul. Then I paused to weep over my faults and crimes, which were doubtless figured by this hedge which divided us. In the ardour of the desires with which I desired Thee, and in my weakness, O charitable Father of the poor, "whose mercies are over all Thy works," Thou didst take me by the hand, and placed me near Thee instantly, without difficulty, so that, casting my eyes upon the precious Hand which Thou hadst extended to me as a pledge of Thy promises, I recognised, O sweet Jesus, Thy radiant wounds, which have made of no effect the handwriting that was against us.
By these and other illuminations Thou didst enlighten and soften my mind, detaching me powerfully, by an interior unction, from an inordinate love of literature and from all my vanities, so that I only despised those things which had formerly pleased me. All that was not thee, O God of my heart, appeared vile to me. Thou alone wert pleasing to my soul. I praise, bless, adore, and thank from my inmost soul, as far as I am able, but not as far as I ought, Thy wise mercy and Thy merciful wisdom, that Thou, my Creator and Redeemer, didst endeavour in so loving a manner to submit my unconquerable self-opiniatedness to the sweetness of Thy yoke, composing a beverage suitable to my temperament, which has infused new light into my soul, so that I began to run after the odour of Thy ointments. Thy yoke became sweet and Thy burden light, though a little while before they had appeared hard and almost unbearable.
How the grace of God illuminated her interiorly.
Hail, Salvation and Light of my soul! May all that is in heaven, in earth, and in the abyss, return thanks to Thee for the extraordinary grace which has led my soul to know and consider what passes within my heart, of which I had no more care formerly than, if I may so speak, of what passes within my hands or feet. But after the infusion of Thy most sweet light, I saw many things in my heart which offended Thy purity. I even perceived that all within me was in such disorder and confusion that Thou couldst not abide therein.
Nevertheless, my most loving Jesus, neither all these defects, nor all my unworthiness, prevented Thee from honouring me with Thy visible presence nearly every day that I received the life-giving nourishment of Thy Body and Thy Blood, although I only beheld Thee indistinctly, as one who sees at dawn. Thou didst endeavour by this sweet compliance to attract my soul, so that it might be entirely untied to Thee, and that I might know Thee better and enjoy thee more fully. As I disposed myself to labour for the obtaining of these favours on the Feast of the Annunciation of Thy Mother, when Thou didst ally Thyself with our nature in her virginal womb --Thou who saidest, "Here I am before I called thee" --Thou didst anticipate this day by pouring forth on me, unworthy though I am, on the Vigil of the feast, the sweetness of Thy benediction, at Chapter, which was held after Matins, on account of the Sunday following.
Since it is not possible for me to describe in what manner thou didst visit me, O Orient from on high, in the bowels of Thy mercy and sweetness, permit me, O Giver of gifts, to immolate a sacrifice of Thanksgiving to Thee on the altar of my heart, in order to obtain for myself and for all Thine elect the blessedness of experiencing frequently this union of sweetness and this sweetness of union, which before this time was utterly unknown to me. When I reflect on the kind of life which I led formerly, and which I have led since, I protest in truth that it is a pure effect of Thy grace, which Thou hast given me without any merit of mine.
Thou didst give me from henceforward a more clear knowledge of Thyself, which was such that the sweetness of Thy love led me to correct my faults far more, than the fear of the punishments with which Thy just anger threatened me. I do not remember ever to have enjoyed so great happiness at any other time, as during these days of which I speak, in which Thou didst invite me to the delights of Thy royal table. I know not for certain whether it is Thy wise Providence which has deprived me of them, or whether it is my negligence which has drawn on me this chastisement.
Of the pleasure which God took in making His abode in the soul of Gertrude.
While Thou didst act so lovingly toward me, and didst not cease to draw my soul from vanity and to Thyself, it happened upon a certain day, between the Festival of the Resurrection and the Ascension, that I went into the court before Prime, and seated myself near the fountain. I began to consider the beauty of the place, which charmed me on account of the clear and flowing stream, the verdure of the trees which surrounded it, and the flight of the birds and particularly of the doves, above all, the sweet calm, apart from all and considering within myself what would make this place most useful to me, I thought that it would be the friendship of a wise and intimate companion, who would sweeten my solitude or render it useful to others, when Thou, my Lord and my God, who art a torrent of inestimable pleasure, after having inspired me with the first impulse of this desire, Thou didst will to be also the end of it, inspiring me with the thought that if by continual gratitude I return Thy graces to Thee, as a stream returns to its source, if, increasing in the love of virtue, I put forth, like the trees, the flowers of good works, furthermore, if despising the things of earth, I fly upwards, freely, like the birds, and thus free my senses from the distraction of exterior things, my soul would then be empty, and my heart would be an agreeable abode for Thee.
As I was occupied with the recollection of these things during the same day, having knelt after Vespers for my evening prayer before retiring to rest, this passage of the Gospel came suddenly to my mind: "If any man love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make Our abode with him. " (John xiv, 23). At these words my worthless heart perceived Thee, O my most sweet God and my delight, present therein. Oh, that all the waters of the sea were changed into blood, that I might pass them over my head, and thus wash away my exceeding vileness, which Thou hast chosen for Thine abode! Or that my heart might be torn this moment from my body and cast into a furnace, that it might be purified from its dross, and made at least less unworthy of Thy presence! Thou my God, since that hour, hast treated me sometimes with sweetness and sometimes with severity, as I have amended or been negligent, although, to speak the truth, when the most perfect amendment which I could attain, even for a moment, should have lasted my whole life, it could not merit to obtain for me the most trifling or the least condescending of the graces which I have ever received from Thee, so great are my crimes and sins.
The excess of Thy goodness obliges me to believe that the sight of my faults rather moves Thee to fear Thou wilt see me perish than to excite Thine anger, making me know that Thy patience in supporting my defects until now, with so much goodness, is greater than the sweetness with which Thou didst bear with the perfidious Judas during Thy mortal life. Although my mind takes pleasure in wandering after and in distracting itself with perishable things, yet, after some hours, after some days, and, alas! I must add, after whole weeks, when I return into my heart, I find Thee there. I cannot complain that Thou hast left me even for a moment, from that time until this year, which is the ninth since I received this grace, except once, when I perceived that Thou didst leave me for the space of eleven days, before the Feast of St. John Baptist, and it appeared to me that this happened on account of a worldly conversation the Thursday preceding. Thy absence lasted until the Vigil of St. John, when the Mass Ne timeas, Zacharia, is said. Then Thy sweetest humanity and Thy stupendous charity moved Thee to seek me, when I had reached such a pitch of madness, that I thought no more of the greatness of the treasure I had lost, and for the loss of which I do not remember to have felt any grief at that time, nor even to have had the desire of recovering it.
I cannot now be sufficiently amazed at the mania which possessed my soul, unless, indeed, it was, that Thou didst desire me to know by my own experience what St. Bernard said: "When we fly from Thee, Thou pursuest us, when we turn our backs, Thou dost present Thyself before us; when we despise Thee, Thou dost entreat us; and there is neither insult nor contempt which hinders Thee from labouring unweariedly to bring us to the attainment of that which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and which the heart of man cannot comprehend."
As Thou didst bestow on me Thy first graces without any merit on my part, so now that I have had a second relapse, which is worse than the first, and renders me yet more unworthy to receive Thee, Thou hast deigned to give me the joy of Thy presence without interruption, until this very hour, for which be praise and thanksgiving to Thee as the Source of all good. That it may please Thee to preserve this precious grace in me, I offer Thee that excellent prayer which Thou didst utter with such amazing fervour when sweating blood in agony, and which the burning love of Thy Divinity, and Thy pure devotion rendered so efficacious; beseeching Thee, by virtue of this most perfect prayer, to draw and unite me entirely to Thyself, that I may remain inseparably attached to Thee, even when I am obliged to attend to exterior duties for the good of my neighbour, and that afterwards I may return again to seek Thee within me, when I have accomplished them for Thy glory in the most perfect manner possible, even as the winds, when agitated by a tempest, return again to their former calm when it has ceased, that Thou mayest find me as zealous in labouring for Thee as Thou hast been assiduous in helping me, and that by this means, Thou mayest elevate me to the highest degree of perfection to which Thy justice can permit Thy mercy to raise so carnal and rebellious a creature, so that Thou mayest receive my soul into Thy hands when I breathe my last sigh, and conduct it with a kiss of peace where Thou dwellest, who reignest indivisibly and eternally with the Father and the Holy Spirit for endless ages. Amen.
Of the stigmatas imprinted in the heart of Gertrude
and her exercises in honour of the Five Wounds
--To be continued
The Holy Hour
Origin. The pious practice of the Holy Hour, in honour of the agonising Heart of Jesus in the Garden of Olives, owes its origin to our Divine Lord Himself. He appeared a number of times to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, complained to her of the indifference with which men receive the advances of His love, and asked her to make atonement for their base ingratitude.
"Every night between Thursday and Friday," said Our Lord, "I will make thee share in that mortal sadness I was pleased to feel in the Garden of Olives. This participation in My sadness which I will give thee, shall reduce thee to an agony more bitter to endure than death. Thou shalt bear Me company in the humble prayer I offered at that time to My Father in My anguish. For this purpose thou shalt rise between eleven o'clock and midnight, and remain prostrate with Me during an hour with thy face to the ground, to appease the divine anger of My Eternal Father, and to beg mercy for sinners. Thou wilt thus share with Me, and in some manner sweeten the bitter grief I felt at that time, at being abandoned by My Apostles, and which obliged Me to reproach them for not having been able to watch one hour with Me."
Object. In the above words of our Divine Saviour we find clearly set forth the object and intention of the Holy Hour. Christ wishes His faithful friends: 1. To keep Him company and become partakers of the sorrow unto death which He suffered in the Garden of Olives. 2. To join with Him in the humble prayer which He then poured forth to His Eternal Father. 3. To share with Him and soothe the bitter grief he suffered when His disciples abandoned him.
What nobler or more sublime office than to keep our Divine Lord company in His bitter agony, or take the place of His unfaithful disciples, and to console and comfort His afflicted Heart! All true lovers of the Sacred Heart should take as addressed to themselves those words of Christ to His apostles when He found them sleeping: Couldst thou not watch one hour with Me?
In addition to the three ends named above, there are two others that are stated in a more formal manner by Our Lord in his revelation, and that were the two great objects of His own prayer in the Garden of Olives:
"Thou wilt remain with Me prostate during an hour... to appease the divine anger of My Eternal Father, and to beg of Him mercy for sinners."
To Appease God's Anger
What is it that provokes God's anger? It is sin, and sin alone. Sin is God's great enemy.
What must we do to appease the wrath of God? To appease God's wrath we must avoid and detest sin in ourselves; prevent it as far as we can in others; and make reparation for it as far as it exists in ourselves and in others. We can do this by exciting our-selves to fervent acts of contrition, and making earnest resolutions for the future; by praying for souls and helping others to love God and, through exhortation and good example, influencing them for good, and lastly, by making acts of reparation.
To Beg Mercy for Sinners
During a retreat that St. Margaret Mary made in the year 1673, Our Lord revealed to her the manner in which He wished her to ask pardon for sinners:
"Thou shalt lift up thy heart and thy hands to heaven," He said, "with the offering of prayer and good works, presenting Me continually to My Father as a Victim of love, in sacrifice and oblation for the sin of the whole world, and placing Me as a secure bulwark between His justice and sinners, to obtain mercy, with which thou wilt feel encompassed when I shall be pleased to grant My favours to any of these sinners. Thou must, then, offer Me to My Father in thanksgiving for the mercy I have shown."
Here, then, we learn from the lips of Christ how we may best obtain pardon for sinners. It is by offering our Divine Lord Himself, His adorable Body and Blood, His soul and Divinity, in Holy Mass and in the Blessed Eucharist: offering, too, to His Eternal Father His life and labours; His bitter Passion and Death, and every thought, action and suffering of His mortal life on earth; His five most precious Wounds, the merits He amassed, and the infinite satisfaction that He made to His Eternal Father. In all this we have an infinite treasure from which we can draw at will, to make atonement for our own sins, and for those of all mankind.
Suffering of the Heart of Jesus on Mount Olivet
More intense than all His physical sufferings was the anguish endured by our Saviour on Mount Olivet, as He revealed to St. Margaret Mary: "It is here that I suffered interiorly, more than in all the rest of My Passion, seeing Myself abandoned by heaven and earth, and charged with the sins of all mankind. I appeared in the presence of the sanctity of God, who, without regard to My innocence, punished Me in His wrath, making me drink the chalice filled with the gall and bitterness of His just indignation, and as though He had forgotten the name of Father, to sacrifice Me to His just anger. No creature can comprehend the greatness of the torments that I suffered at that time."
St. Gertrude once asked our Blessed Redeemer how she could worthily venerate His sacred Passion. Jesus replied: "By more frequently meditating on that anxiety by which I, your Creator and Lord, when in My agony, prayed the more intensely, and, through the excessive vehemence of My solicitude, desire and love, moistened the ground with My bloody sweat."
O my loving Jesus, abandoned by all, yet suffering for all. O dearest Jesus, my Blessed Saviour, steeped in sorrow and anguish! I, too, refused to watch with Thee; my sins helped to force the bloody sweat from Thy Sacred body.
Besides the sight of His Father's Divine wrath, our Saviour beheld His own bitter Passion and painful Death. He saw, likewise, as revealed to the servant of God, Anna Catherine Emmerick, the inexpressible sufferings He would have to endure in the Most Blessed Sacrament to the end of time. He saw the sins of each individual, even our own sins. He saw that despite His bitter Passion and Death, so many souls would be doomed to eternal perdition. Many other tortures Our Lord had to endure, and they forced from Him that cry of anguish: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death. Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me."
Persons weighed down with sorrow, or visited with anguish of soul, should venerate in a special manner the mental sufferings of Jesus. This devotion will be for them a source of comfort and grace.
How to Keep the Holy Hour
Time. Many do not keep the Holy Hour because they consider it too difficult. It may be remarked that this pious devotion, which is not obligatory, may be held at any time; it is pleasing to our Divine Saviour at any hour. (An apostolic letter leaves it to the devotion of the faithful to make the hour on any day of the week and at any hour. Otherwise many persons would be hindered from making use of and reaping the fruits of so holy an exercise.) The time, designated by Our Lord --from eleven o'clock to midnight on Thursday --is the most appropriate hour, but since many would be unable to make it at that time, any convenient hour may be selected, from two o'clock on Thursday afternoon until the hour of early Mass on Friday.
Place. No special place or position of the body is essential; consequently, it may be kept in church, at home, or even during the performance of one's ordinary duties, if they are not of too distracting a nature.
Prayer. No particular form of prayer or meditation is required, but the words of Our Lord to St. Margaret Mary seem to imply the fitness of meditation on His bitter agony, on His great humiliation, on His love repaid with so much ingratitude, and on the outrages offered to His divine Majesty.
When the hour arrives, go in spirit to Mount Olivet, contemplate the terrible anguish of the Heart of Jesus, His agony and sorrow, and assure our Saviour that you desire to watch and pray with Him for an hour. Various devotions are permitted during the Holy Hour. For example, you may spend 15 minutes in reading about the sufferings of the Heart of Jesus, then meditate on what you have read; make the Way of the Cross, pray the sorrowful mysteries of the Rosary, etc. One should especially console the Heart of Jesus by praying for the conversion of sinners, who often commit the most grievous sins during the night, and bewail their offences committed against God.
St. Margaret Mary faithfully kept this hour of atoning love, and the Heart of Jesus, who never permits Himself to be surpassed in generosity, rewarded her for it with the greatest favours.
The Holy Hour Kept in Company with Others
To religious communities that adopt the practice of the Holy Hour, an abundant outpouring of Divine grace is promised, together with a marked increase in the religious spirit.
Persons living in the world will find the Holy Hour a source of strength and consolation. It will do much to make their lives more spiritual, and to draw them closer to God. They may during this hour recommend to God all their spiritual and temporal concerns, and invoke the blessing of the Sacred Heart upon their families and friends.
Our Compassion Consoles the Suffering Heart of Jesus
Our Lord desires that those who venerate His Sacred Heart, should continually meditate on His bitter Passion and Death. For this reason He appointed Friday for the majority of practices of devotion to His adorable Heart. The lives of the saints furnish numerous revelations which have for their object His bitter Passion and Death. Our Lord said to Blessed Angela of Foligno: "Be you blessed by My Father, you who have compassion with My tribulations and walk in My way, for thereby you have merited to have your garments washed in My Blood. Be you blessed, you who compassionate My inexpressible sorrows, and the Death I endured to rescue you from eternal torments..."
Counsels and Thoughts of Padre Pio
Prayer is the best weapon we possess, the key that opens the heart of God.
Always be faithful to God in keeping the promises made to Him, and do not bother about the ridicule of the foolish. Know that the saints were always sneered at by the world and worldlings; and they have trampled them under foot and triumphed over the world and its maxims.
Continue to pray that God may console you when you feel that the weight of the Cross is becoming too burdensome. Acting thus you are not doing anything against the will of God, but are with the Son of God who, in the garden, asked His Father for some relief. --But, if it does not please Him to do this, be ready to say with Jesus, "Fiat!"
He who attaches himself to the earth remains attached to it. It is by violence that we must leave it. It is better to detach oneself a little at a time, rather than all at once. Let us always think of Heaven.
A Magazine for the Latter Times
Please renew my yearly subscription for your wonderful "Reflections." I look forward to it very much; it is always so important to read everything, and the magazine is just the right size. --We continue our weekly Adoration/Holy Hours and hope to do so as long as our holy priests do not retire until next year: then we don't know. We hope we will get holy priests to replace our priests we now have. As Padre Pio says: "Pray, hope and don't worry." So we try to do that. You are in my prayers always. May God bless all of you there. -- Sincerely, Mrs. R.L. Wisconsin, USA
Thank you for your precious "Reflections." I treasure it greatly and look forward to getting it. I am enclosing an offering along with my renewal. I will remember you at my daily Latin Mass. Please also pray for me and my family and my deceased husband. AMDG. F.R., Minnesota, USA
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