Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost




 

 “For days will come upon thee when thy enemies will throw up a rampart about thee, and surround thee and shut thee in on every side, and will dash thee to the ground and thy children within thee, and will not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou has not known the time of thy visitation.” Lk. 19: 44-5

 

            Fr. Gabriel of St. Magdalen in   his book of meditations, Divine Intimacy, tells us: “Today the liturgy invites us to consider the grave problem of our correspondence with grace. It does this by showing us the sad picture of  the sufferings of Israel, the chosen people, upon whom God had showered His benefits, whom He had surrounded with graces, protected with jealous care, and who, in spite of all this were lost through their own infidelity. In the Epistle (I Cor. 10:6-13), St. Paul, after mentioning certain points about Israel’s unfaithfulness, concludes: ‘Now all these things happened to them as a type and they were written for our correction, ...Wherefore, he that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall.’ I Cor. 10:11-12. ....The Gospel (Lk. 19:41-47) continues the same subject of the Epistle and shows us Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. The Creator, the Lord, the Redeemer weeps over the ruin of His creatures, the people whom He has loved with predilection, even choosing them as the companions of His earthly life, and whom He had desired to save at any price. ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem.. how often would I have gathered together thy children as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldst not..’” Mt. 23:37  Fr. Gabriel, p. 753-4 

 

The time of thy visitation” Lk.19:45

            In today’s Epistle, St. Paul is concerned with two questions on idolatry. He questions whether a Christian can participate in heathen sacrificial banquets, and whether a Christian may eat foods that have been offered to idols.  For the latter, St. Paul tells the Corinthians that it is possible to do so within  certain limitations, but for the former, He argues strongly against participating in idolatrous sacrifices.  He cites four events in Hebrew history which show how the people were punished for their idolatry. First is the incident of the Golden calf “the people sat down to eat and drink and got up to play.” Ex. 32: 6, 19   The second incident is the sin of fornication of the Israelites with women of Moab, (cf. Num. 25:1ff) 

and the sin of idolatry with worship of Baal-Peor and heathen banquets: “Neither let us commit fornication, even as some of them committed fornication  and there fell in one day twenty-three thousand.” I Cor. 10:8 The third incident concerns the tempting of the Israelites in the desert when they murmured about the Manna; for this they were punished by a plague of snakes (cf. Num. 21:5-6).  The fourth incident concerned the Jews when the destroying angel killed 14,700 of the Israelites after they murmured against Moses and Aaron (cf. Num. 16:41ff). St. Paul uses these incidents to teach the Corinthians not to yield to temptations that offend God as “God is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength, but with temptation will also give you a way out that you may be able to bear it.”      I Cor. 10:13

 

Hardness of Heart

            In today’s  Gospel, Jesus reveals His tender  concern for the Jews who refuse to acknowledge Him as Son of God even after all His miracles, His sinless life, and His divine teaching. (“No one has ever spoken as this man.” Jn. 7:46) Jesus prophesises about the coming destruction of Jerusalem. St. Paul spoke of the impending punishment on his people for their lack of faith: “I have great sadness and continual sorrow have I in my heart; for I wished myself to be an anathema from Christ for my brethren who are my kinsmen according to the flesh;” Rom. 9:2-2  Dom Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year, Vol. 11 comments on today’s Gospel:  “The passage just read to us from the holy Gospel takes us back to the day of our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. This triumph, which God the Father willed should be offered to His Son before the commencement of His Passion, was not, as we well know, anything of a recognition of the Messiah made by the Synagogue. Neither the meek, gentle manners of  this King, who came to the daughter of Sion seated on an ass (cf. Zach. 9:9) nor His merciful severity upon the profaners of the temple, nor His farewell teachings in His Father’s house could open the eyes of men who were determined to keep them shut against the light of salvation and peace.  Not even the tears of the Son of Man, then could stay God’s vengeance: there is a time for justice, and the Jews were resolved it should come to themselves.” Gueranger p. 230

 

Prophecies of Jerusalem’s Destruction

            In addition to Jesus’ own prophetic words that “not a stone shall be left upon a stone,” (Mt. 24:2) there were many Old Testament prophets who warned the Jewish people of their impending destruction for their lack of belief: “’Woe to the provoking and redeemed city! She hath not hearkened to the voice of her God. Her princes are in the midst of her as roaring lions; her judges are ravening wolves; her prophets are senseless  men without faith; her priests have defiled the sanctuary; they have acted unjustly against the law (they have violated it)  Crush the city as in a mortar.’ Zeph. 3:1-4, 9, 11. ‘Go through the city, and strike!  Utterly destroy old and young, maidens, children, and women—yea, destroy all that are not marked upon their foreheads with Thau! (cross)   And begin ye at my sanctuary; slay my priests, and the ancients; defile the house (my temple), and fill its courts with the bodies of the slain.’” Ezech. 9:4-7 Gueranger, p. 230-31

 

Desolation upon Desolation

The Fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD to the Romans under Titus was the single most destructive catastrophe the world had seen up until that time. Over 1,100,000 men perished. Thousands more  of women and children died of starvation.  The prophecies were fulfilled completely.  The mighty city of Jerusalem was destroyed with “not be left  here one  stone upon another”  (Mt. 24:2) because they had known of the Lord’s visitation.  Their curse at the time Jesus’  condemnation, was fulfilled: “His blood be upon us and our children.” (Mt.27:25) Hitherto, the world had never witnessed such destruction, and the world has never seen its like again. 

 

New Evangelization III

 

EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS

(No Salvation Outside the Church) .

 

The New Testament makes clear the need to attach oneself to the truths taught by the Catholic Faith. Christ gave to the Apostles the entire deposit of faith ("The Holy Ghost will teach you all things" John 14:26), told them to pass it on to the world ("Going therefore, teach ye all nations" Matt. 28:19), and threatened damnation for those who did not believe them ("He who believes not will be condemned" Mark 16:16).

 

He would not have condemned to hell the disbelievers if it were not imperative to believe all that the Apostles taught.  Nor would He have done so if He were not certain that the Apostles were teaching the truth ("He that heareth you heareth Me" Luke 10:16). The Apostles themselves knew that anyone whose beliefs diverged from their infallible teaching would perish – "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema" (Gal. 1:8).

 

Solemn Definitions

The Catholic Church has solemnly defined three times by infallible declarations that outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. The most explicit and forceful of the three came from Pope Eugene IV, in the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441, who proclaimed ex cathedra: "The Most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, also Jews, heretics, and schismatics can ever be partakers of eternal life, but that they are to go into the eternal fire 'which was prepared for the devil and his angels' (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her... No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church. Pope Innocent III declared ex cathedra in the Fourth Lateran Council, 1215 “There is one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which no one at all can be saved.” In another solemn definition, Pope Boniface VIII, (Unam Sanctam, 1302) stated We declare, say,  define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” Pope Boniface VIII, (Unam Sanctam, 1302).

 

These assertions imply that all non-Catholic religions are false and that only the Catholic Church contains the entire deposit of faith given to the Apostles by Christ.  Although these statements are denied and scorned by today's world, it is fully in accord with common sense and the constant teaching of the Church there is “No salvation outside the Catholic Church.”   (Objectively:  “No Salvation outside the Church.” Subjectively:  God alone can judge a soul as to his dispositions; we cannot judge the eternal salvation  of souls.)  To be continued

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The History

From ancient times Carmel felt––one could say––the need of being the mountain of

the Virgin Mary, becoming a symbol of Her. And this for three obvious reasons: because

of its beauty, because of the glory of God claimed on its summit and because of the

beginnings of the coenobitic life, of which it was witness.

That which firstly attracted the gaze of antiquity upon Carmel was none other than

its beauty. This mountain, or rather this small chain of mountains of Palestine, the principal

peak of which rises in the form of a promontory in front of the Mediterranean Sea, as if in

the shape of a watchful sentinel, presents three characteristics which, merging into one,

constitute the true beauty of nature, and these are namely: majesty, grace and melancholy.

Its summit is crowned with pines and with majestic trees, the slopes are embellished

with splendid and thriving vegetation and strewn with pleasant villages; its base, instead, is

bathed in the waters of the Phoenician Sea. A singular mountain, it immediately captured

the admiration of the Jewish people who, by means of the mouth of its great ones, sung of

its beauties. When the bridegroom of the Canticle of Canticles wished to express the

beauty of his bride, he did not believe he could express it better than by saying that her

head is like Carmel:  “Caput tuum ut Carmelus” (7:5). And when Isaiah wanted to

represent to us the splendour and the majesty of the future Messiah, he depicted Him

surrounded by the glory of Lebanon and re-clothed with all the beauty of Carmel: “Gloria

Libani data est ei, decor Carmeli et Saron” (35:2).

The sacred interpreters apply these similitudes to the Virgin Mary. And this is

correct, because indeed the beauty of Carmel, in its threefold character, represents

magnificently the beauty of Mary Most Holy. In Her we find the majesty of greatness,

namely the Divine Maternity, which is the supreme greatness to which a creature was ever

to be elevated; virginity replete with every grace and with every blessing, which is the

fruitful virginity of Mary before giving birth, during birth and after birth; and the sadness

of the greatest sorrow––well symbolised in that type of melancholy and of recollection that

arouses the contemplation of the mountain and of the sea––, which is the participation of

Mary in the human Redemption as Coredemptrix of the human race.

Nevertheless, that which rendered this mountain even more celebrated was the

victory which Elijah wrought over the prophets of Baal, claiming the glory and, with it, the

supreme rights of God.

But what relationship is there between this claim of the glory of God and the Virgin

Mary? Between this havoc of preachers of false divinity and She Who is the Mother of

divine grace and of mercy?... Three years before this great scene, Elijah had cast the

interdict over the countryside of Samaria, in punishment for the impiety of its king, Ahab,

saying: “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, during these years there shall

be no dew or rain except at my word” (I Kings 17:1). Then, a frightening drought and

famine desolated Samaria: the torrents and springs dried up, and the earth became arid and

Once their pride had in this manner been exhausted, Elijah had to lead the people to

acknowledge and to confess the true God; and this he achieved through the bloody

slaughter of which the people themselves were witnesses and formed part. The fire of

Heaven had revealed the true God, the false prophets were punished terribly. And then

“Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, crouched down to the earth, and put his head

between his knees. ‘Climb up and look out to sea,’ he directed his servant, who went up

and looked, but reported, ‘There is nothing.’ Seven times he said, ‘Go, look again!’ And

the seventh time the youth reported, ‘There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising from

the sea.’ Elijah said, ‘Go and say to Ahab, Harness up and leave the mountain before the

rain stops you.’ In a trice, the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and a heavy rain

fell”(ivi 18:42-45).

Now, what happened, or rather, what did the Prophet see whilst remaining crouched

on the ground?...The secret of future things which this vision contained apart from the

historical fact, and the great mystery that God pre-announced by it to Elijah, the Prophet

deigned not to manifest publicly to all, but in a hidden manner to his disciples. From them

we know by means of tradition that God, by a symbolic vision, revealed to Elijah four

great mysteries: first, that a little girl would be born, who would leave the maternal womb

free from every sin; second, the time when this would happen; third, that this little girl

would embrace perpetual virginity after the example of Elijah; fourth, that God, taking

upon Himself human nature, would be born of that virgin. And indeed, the small cloud that

the servant of Elijah saw rising from the sea was a figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary,

Who, little by means of Her humility, would be born from this sea, that is, from sinful

human nature, but in a different manner, because at Her birth She would not be oppressed

by the bitterness of crimes, but, like that small cloud, would be light because of Her

immunity from sin and sweet due to being filled with charisms. She, in fact, in Her birth,

was that cloud which had been written of symbolically by Moses: “Then the cloud covered

the meeting tent, and the glory of the Lord filled the Dwelling” (Ex 40:34).

The start of the Carmelite Order

On the slopes of Carmel the monastic life of the Carmelite Order had its beginning.

According to a pious tradition, the disciples of Elijah and Elisha dwelt in the limy caves of

the slopes of the mountain and there lived the hermitical life.

But what was the reason for this choice of place which was so precise, that they

were named the “Hermits of Mount Carmel”? Surely in that Palestine, which Elijah had

passed through in all senses, many other places, all impregnated with remembrances and

with graces of the great Prophet, could attract and detain those who aspired to the

succession of his spirit. The Cherith, on the banks of which Elijah had taken refuge by

order of God, offered them its living waters, considered, due to its having quenched for so

long the thirst of the Prophet, as a symbol of contemplation, for which they were avid.

Zarephath always spoke of the multiplication of the flour and oil and of the resurrection of

the son of the poor woman who gave shelter to the Prophet. And they could not even be

drawn to that region of the desert, a day’s journey from Beersheba, where Elijah, who had

become man again like us, had fallen asleep with a dejected spirit under the shade of a

juniper tree and, awakened twice by the Angel, had been by him refreshed with miraculous

bread that had allowed him to walk forty days in the desert until he reached Horeb, the

mountain of God par excellence? And ought this mountain not to attract them irresistibly,

in as much as it is a witness of the most exalted manifestations between God and Moses

and upon which, in a theophany of great style, the prophet Elijah himself had perceived, at

the testimony of St. John of the Cross, the divine essence itself in the breath of a gentle

Finally, it would have been an excellent choice for these hermits to have established

themselves on the banks of the Jordan, in those places where Elisha had picked up the

mantle of the Prophet, as a guarantee on the part of the firstborn son, and which was due to

him as the spiritual inheritance of his father who had vanished on a chariot of fire.

Surely the hermits were not insensitive to remembrances so rich in grace for them;

nevertheless it is on Mount Carmel that they established themselves.

In order to discover all the value and the meaning of this choice, one may reflect

that, between Horeb, pedestal of the dazzling and most sublime manifestations of God to

Moses and Elijah, and Carmel, where, in the shade of a symbolic vision, it was permitted

that a glimpse of the Virgin bearing the Messiah be seen, these austere and great

contemplatives did not hesitate. They that, at the testimony of St. Teresa, had such

complete contempt for the world, and who had proceeded to a place of such profound

solitude in order to find the precious pearl of contemplation, had settled on Carmel, near

the fountain of Elijah, in order to drink at the same fountainhead of light as their father.

Aspiring to something else, apart from the most sublime perception of God in His

essence at Horeb, they wanted to find the twofold living reality, announced by the

symbolic vision of Carmel.

It is, therefore, in order to discover the Virgin Mary, and at the same time Christ,

that the sons of Elijah came together on Mount Carmel; and it is in order to merit this grace

and to welcome Her that their contemplative gaze opened unceasingly onto the

supernatural horizons.

Nevertheless, this cult and this way of life, lived in the practice of poverty and of

penance, under the auspices of the Virgin Mary, foreseen in the figure of the small cloud,

could not remain without reward. And it was precisely on the sacred day of Pentecost that

these hermits of Mount Carmel, seeing how in those times that which, as a privilege, God

had revealed to their predecessors by means of the vision of Elijah, would be

accomplished, that is, the birth of a little girl, who would leave the maternal womb free

from every stain of sin and who, imitating them, would choose  voluntary virginity and

from whom would be born the Messiah, decided to be baptised by the Apostles.

Considering, then, how the human race would receive from the Son of God, through

the Virgin Mary, the longed for benefit of the rain, that is, of grace, they took care to serve

this Virgin with constant devotion. They undertook, therefore, to venerate Her in such a

way that, before everything else, they dedicated to Mary Most Holy whilst She was still

living, a Chapel, and they erected it at that very spot where Elijah had contemplated the

small rising cloud, an illustrious figure of the Virgin. There, from that time forth, they

gathered together, honouring with pious rites, with prayers and praises, the Most Blessed

Virgin as their singular Patron. There, moreover, they remained in humble conversation

upon the Word of God, the faults to avoid and the salvation of souls to procure. On account

of which, even those foreign to their religion, from that time forth, began always to call

them “Brothers of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel.”

Admirable disposition of divine Providence: the first Chapel dedicated to the divine

Mother was precisely that of Mount Carmel. The Virgin Herself, in a certain manner, thus

took possession of the title of Carmel, of that mountain which already in ancient times,

under various aspects, had prefigured and symbolized Her.

Such, then, was the first origin of the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount

The connection between the historical facts and actual

Devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Having known the connection between Carmel and the divine Mother, a question

spontaneously arises: what connection is there between the historical facts and actual

devotion to the Virgin of Carmel? And what connection is there with the little habit of

Carmel, which is worn out of devotion to Her?

The coenobites of Carmel had perpetuated themselves, according to tradition, living

as anchorites and venerating in a special manner the Blessed Virgin.

History replaced the pious tradition in about the XII and XIII Century. In the XII

century, in fact, during the Latin reign of Jerusalem, many pilgrims coming from Europe

united themselves to the solitaries of Carmel. In about 1150 a priest from Calabria, named

Berthold, climbed that sacred mountain and restored one of the monasteries already

From that time forth, that family of anchorites developed greatly; Berthold obtained

as first, from the Patriarch of Antioch and Apostolic Legate, Almerico Malafaida, the title

of Prior General, and all the monks dwelling in those caves of the biblical mountain were

placed under his authority. St. Brocard succeeded him in the government, who in 1210

gave to the great Carmelite Family a rule fixed by Bl. Albert of Parma. Towards the year

1238 they spread to Cyprus and Sicily, and through the benevolence of the princes of the

crusade, also to other parts of Europe.

These hermits were respected by the Muslims due to their devotion towards Elijah,

this Prophet being venerated also by them. But then such tolerance came to an end and

their presence on Carmel became dangerous; because of this Alan, Prior General, in the

year 1245 decided upon the immigration to Europe. In the same year in the first chapter

held––at Aylesford––in England, Simon Stock was elected Superior General.

He had laboured much in order to obtain from the Holy See the formal approval of

the Order, which was granted on January 30

From this time forth the real progress and true life of the Carmelite Order had its

beginnings: from being hermits, the Carmelites became coenobites, and their coenobiums

multiplied rapidly.

th

 1226, by Pope Honorius III.

St. Simon Stock and the Brown Scapular

Together with these, both in the East and in Europe, devotion to the Virgin of

Carmel started to spread, and in 1251, the same Virgin, to Whom St. Simon Stock was

very devoted, deigned to make him see a sign of love and protection, which She would

ever grant to the holy Order that he directed. In fact, on the night between July 15

, the Saint was at Cambridge, in his cell, when a heavenly light wholly inundated him.

Simon threw himself on his knees and raised his hands beseechingly towards Heaven. And

behold, in the midst of that light, appeared the Blessed Virgin Mary Who, presenting him a

scapular that She held in Her hand, said to him these words, which later he wrote and sent

to all the religious of the Order: “Most beloved son, receive the scapular of your Order, the

sign of my Confraternity, a privilege for you and for all the Carmelites. Whomsoever shall

die clothed with it shall be freed from eternal fire. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in

danger, a pledge of peace and of eternal alliance.”

The Christians immediately had great devotion towards the scapular of Carmel, a

devotion which continued to increase, when in 1316, during the long widowhood of the

Church on account of the death of Clement V, the Queen of Carmel appeared to James

d’Euse and, in announcing to him his proximate elevation to the Supreme Pontificate,

recommended him to spread devotion towards and confidence in Her scapular, because

She had granted it for the salvation of the faithful, adding that they who would die with

the little habit would be quickly freed by Her from the pains of Purgatory and conducted

into Paradise on the Saturday following their death. John XXII, moreover, promoted this

privilege, so called the  Sabatine privilege, with a bull, in which the Most Holy Virgin

promised these three things: Her descent into Purgatory:  “I, the Mother of Grace, will

come down on the Saturday after their death”; the pardon of the punishment and of the sin

at the moment of their death: “Thus the professed brothers of the said Order are absolved

from punishment and from sin, and this on the day on which they depart from this world”;

and the freedom from the pains of Purgatory on the first Saturday after their death: “I, the

Mother of Grace, will come down on the Saturday after their death and will free those

whom I will find in Purgatory and will conduct them to the holy mountain of eternal life.”

The descent of the Virgin to Purgatory ought not to be understood as Her personal

presence, as if every Saturday, leaving the glorious throne in the empyrean Heaven, She

would come down personally into Purgatory; but with Her virtual presence, so to say;

Her intercession or help, with which She aids the suffering souls. But even if Mary Most

Holy does not descend personally to Purgatory, nonetheless it must be the presence of Her

power and of Her most efficacious intercession, which the souls experience in that place of

The pardon of the punishment and of sin, at the moment of death, ought not to be

understood in the sense that it would free from some mortal or venial faults, because this

indulgence, as any other, is valid only for the remission of the punishment. Nevertheless it

is said to be conceded in remission of the sin and of the punishment in order to signify that

whoever obtains it must be free from the bonds of sin and of punishment: of the sin with

absolution or with contrition; of the punishment directly through the indulgence.

Lastly, the promise of freedom of the souls on the first Saturday after their death

concerns the benefit of the liberation and the time in which it happens.

All these favours promised us by the blessed Virgin under the title of Carmel, are

recalled precisely with the present Feast, which was extended to the entire Church by the

Dominican Pope Benedict XIII.

What are the conditions necessary in order to enjoy the two favours which the Most

Blessed Virgin, in Her immense mercy towards the Carmelites, has promised them?

The first privilege, as has been said, is the grace of final perseverance, expressed in

various ways: the freedom from the torments of Hell, a good death, the assurance of

Paradise. In order to enjoy this privilege it is necessary: to belong to the pious Association

or the Confraternity of Carmel; to lead a Christian and devout life; to always wear devoutly

the holy scapular, and to be clothed with it at the point of death, in the act of breathing

The second privilege, also called the  Sabatine Privilege, is that of the solicitous

liberation from the pains of Purgatory after death. In order to enjoy this second favour,

apart from the conditions already required for the preceding one, it is necessary: to observe

chastity according to one’s state in life; to recite every day the little Office of the Blessed

Virgin Mary and to observe the fasts established by the Church. They, then, who cannot

read any more––being unable to recite the little Office of the Blessed Virgin––should

abstain from meat on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays of every week. It is to be noted,

however, that the abstinence from meat may not be freely chosen, in such a way that each

one may either recite the Office or not eat meat on the three aforementioned days; that is

only established for those who are not able to read. They, however, who are able to do so,

must recite the little Office. In the event, however, that they would not be able––for other

reasons––to recite the Office, and being unable to observe the said abstinences, should ask

a priest who has the faculty or the confessor, the changing of this obligation into another

good work. Generally such duty is usually changed to the recitation of seven Pater and Ave

in honour of the seven joys of the Virgin Mary in Heaven. 

The first privilege, moreover, embraces various favours that are at the same time the

justification of the privilege itself as well as a splendid defense against the attacks of

incredulity and of ignorance; favours that have been manifested by the very words of Mary

Most Holy, Who said thus to Her servant: Receive this scapular as a distinguishing mark,

it is the special sign of my favour…” From these words it can already be understood that

we are not to place any intrinsic power in the scapular in itself; it is nothing but a

distinguishing mark, a sign, composed of two pieces of cloth of brown wool, united by

means of two strings.

Certain persons, however, say: “Why choose, as a distinguishing mark, an object so

ordinary, or rather an object which is so simple?”

If God would have consulted these learned ones on the plan that He had to become

incarnate, they would have rejected such a design as being great foolishness. What would

have happened if He had said to them: “This flesh taken from the womb of a woman, I will

conserve it eternally, I will exalt it with Me in glory, I will give it for you to adore on the

altars and to eat on an altar?”... Now, since Jesus has constituted the material and the

sensible signs as means of grace, what impropriety can we find in a material object chosen

by the Blessed Virgin and constituted as a distinguishing mark of an association that She,

in a singular manner, protects?

That the scapular is an ordinary and simple object is true; but we also know that one

of the virtues that is most wanting in the world is precisely humility. Well, even if we

consider this scapular to be so ordinary, it preaches to us the necessity of humility and of

simplicity and it tells us eloquently that it is a distinguishing mark of the protection of

Mary Most Holy, or rather, that an indispensable means to please Her is precisely humility,

united to simplicity.

However, if the scapular is a lowly thing and nothing in itself, it is something great

as a sign, because it is a symbol of one’s devotion towards the Virgin Mary; it is a sign and

symbol that She is pleased with and She protects in a singular manner whoever practices

Moreover, in this humble little habit we see once again and feel the love that the

heavenly Mother shows to them that wear it.

In the Sacred Scriptures, the gift of the garment, of the habit, has always been

considered as a sign of a most singular love. Jacob loved with a singular love his son

Joseph and to show him this love he had made for him a tunic woven in various colours.

Jonathan bound himself with great love to David, and he gave him not only the bow and

the sword, but also the tunic and the other necessary garments. The Virgin Herself, Who

with Her hands made the seamless tunic of Her divine Son Jesus, gave likewise, to St.

Simon Stock, the little habit of Carmel, this garment so simple, as a distinguishing mark

and special sign of love.

Now it is spontaneous for us to ask: do we appreciate this gift of Mary Most Holy,

the gift which She offers us as a special sign of Her love? But if we do appreciate it, we

ought also to understand that it is not enough just to accept it: it is necessary to receive it

with the sentiments with which the Holy Virgin offers it, that is, with the sentiment of

great veneration and of great love towards Her; and, that is why the little habit must be for

us a continuous appeal to the love of Mary Most Holy, to the covenant of love struck with

Let us clothe ourselves, therefore, with this scapular, let us wear it with the correct

dispositions, let us fulfill willingly the required conditions which are not burdensome, and

we will see how the Virgin of Carmel shall be our defense and the Paradise of our

homeland! And if it shall not be possible for us to avoid Purgatory completely, Mary Most

Holy shall also be our merciful liberator! She will speedily open for us its gates. She has

promised it; She will keep Her word if we merit it!

PRAYER TO OUR BLESSED LADY OF MT. CARMEL

O Most Blessed and Immaculate Virgin, honour and splendour of Carmel, Thou Who

dost  look with particular kindness  upon all those who wear Thy blessed habit, gaze

benevolently also upon us and cover us with the mantle of Thy maternal protection. Fortify

our weakness with Thy power; enlighten the darkness of our mind with Thy wisdom;

increase in us faith, hope and charity. Reclothe our souls with such graces and virtues

that they may always be dear to Thy divine son and to Thee. Assist us in life, console us at

death with Thy most amiable presence, and present us to the most august Trinity as Thy

children and devoted servants, so that we may praise Thee and bless Thee eternally in

Paradise. So be it. 

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost



“...if you live according to the flesh, you will die;

but if  by the spirit you put to death the deeds of

the of flesh, you will live.”  Rom. 8:12

Today’s Epistle (Romans 8:12-17) again, as

in the previous two Sundays, emphasizes the

struggle within all of us between the flesh and the

spirit.  Fr. Gabriel of St. Magdalen, O.C.D. in his

book of meditations,  Divine Intimacy, comments

on today’s readings:  “...the life of the old man, a

slave to sin and the passions, from which come

the fruits of death and that of the new man, the

servant, or better, the child of God, producing

fruits of life: ‘...if you live according to the flesh,

you will die; but if,  by the spirit, you mortify the

deeds of the of flesh, you will live.’ Rom. 8:12  

Baptism has begotten us to the life of the spirit,

but it has not suppressed the life of the flesh in

us; the new man must always struggle against

the old man, the spiritual must fight against the

corporeal. Baptismal grace does not excuse us

from this battle, but it gives us the power to

sustain it.”  p.  732   Today’s Gospel (Luke 16:1-9)

teaches us in the Parable of the Unjust Steward, in

an indirect way, as Fr. Gabriel tells us, “how to be

wise in administering the great riches of our life

of grace.” p. 733   In the parable, the unjust

steward who is to be dismissed from his position

uses the master’s goods to advantage by favouring

the master’s debtors so that they will favour him

after he is dismissed.  Jesus does not praise the

conduct of the unjust steward, who is actually

stealing from his master by giving away his goods,

but he does praise his worldly prudence:   “The

children of this world are wiser in their

generation than the children of light. And I say to

you: ‘Make unto you friends of the mammon of

iniquity; that when you shall fail, they may

receive you into the everlasting dwellings.” 

The battle of “the children of light”

This life is a struggle and only those who

are willing to do violence to themselves will be

victorious.  Jesus said,  “...the kingdom of heaven

has been enduring  violent assault, and the violent

have been seizing by force.” Mt. 11:12  This

struggle should not frighten us for St. Paul tells us

of the graces given to the “children of light” who

are made children of God by baptism: “Now you

have not received a spirit of bondage so as to be

again in fear, but you have received a spirit of

adoption as sons, by virtue of which we cry, Abba!

Father!” Rom 8:15 Fr. Gabriel comments:  “Jesus

exhorts the  ‘children of light’ not to be less

shrewd in providing for their eternal interests

than the ‘children of darkness’ are in assuring

for themselves the goods of the earth.”  p. 733 

We too have received many gifts of supernatural

grace from our heavenly Father: “The Spirit

himself gives testimony to our spirit that we are

sons of God.” Rom. 8:14-6   The Holy Spirit within

us testifies that we are led by the Spirit of God and

that He prays within us to the Father.  The Holy

Spirit arouses confidence within us of our great

destiny:  “But if you are sons, we are heirs also;

heirs indeed of God and joint heirs with Christ,

provided, however, we suffer with him that we

may also be glorified with him.” Rom. 8: 17 

“This is our great treasure: to be children of

God, co-heirs with Christ, temples of the Holy

Spirit.” Fr. Gabriel, p. 733

“Charity covers a multitude of sins.” I Pt. 4:8

“The Parable of the Unjust Steward”

reminds us that we need to be even more clever

than the “children of darkness” in using what has

been given to us in the order of grace.  Just as the

unjust steward used the goods of his master to aid

his cause, so too we should use the goods that God

has given us in the order of grace to win for

ourselves our eternal salvation. Fr. Gabriel reminds

us of our spiritual treasures:  “We also, like the

steward in the parable, have received from God

a  patrimony to administer, that is, our natural

gifts, and more particularly, our supernatural

gifts, and all the graces, holy inspirations, and

promptings to good which God has bestowed on

us. The hour of rendering an account will come

for us too, and we shall have to admit that we

have often been unfaithful in trafficking with

the gifts of God, in making the treasures of

grace fructify in our soul. How can we atone for

infidelities.  This is the moment to put into

practice the teaching of the parable by which, as

St. Augustine says, ‘God admonishes all of us to

use our earthly goods to make friends for

ourselves among the poor. They, in turn,

becoming the friends of their benefactors, will

be the cause of their admission into heaven.’  In

other words, we must pay our debts to God by

charity toward our neighbour, for Sacred

Scripture tells us, ‘Charity covers a multitude of

sins.’  I Pt. 4:8  This does not mean material

charity alone, but also spiritual charity and not

in great things only, but in little ones too—yes,

even in the very least things, such as a glass of

water given for the love of God. These little acts

of charity, which are always within our power,

are the riches by which we pay our debts and

put in order ‘our stewardship.’” Fr. Gabriel, p.

“Make an account of thy stewardship, for thou

canst be steward no longer.” Lk. 16:2.

Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The

Liturgical Year Vol. II comments on the meaning

of “The Parable of Unjust Steward” as an allegory

of all of sinners.   “The rich man, then, of our

Gospel is Jesus, who in His sacred Humanity,

united to the Word, is heir of all things (cf. Heb.

1:2 & 3:8), and, as such, all things of the most

High God, created and uncreated, finite and

infinite, belong to Him...” Gueranger, p.209.  We

are the unjust stewards who have squandered the

goods and talents which our master, Jesus Christ,

has given us.  He owns all that we have and all the

resources of the world.  We are only stewards of

them. Now that we have misused the goods of this

world for our selfish ends with our sins, we need to

make up to  God for our sins.  Like the  Unjust

Steward   who went to his master’s creditors, we

need to go to all who need our charity and give

them of  our goods (which really belong to God in

the first place) and help them so that they will be

our witnesses before God when we come to be

judged.  This is what is behind the meaning of the

scriptural text,  “Charity covers a multitude of

sins.”  I Pt. 4:8  Dom Gueranger comments on the

need to give alms:  “Alms, whether corporal or

spiritual, secure us powerful friends for that

awful day of our death and judgment.”

Gueranger, p. 212   We too need creditors for when

we have to render an account of our lives:  “Make

an account of thy stewardship, for thou canst be

steward no longer.” Lk. 16:2.  These are the words

that Jesus will ask us at the end of our lives when

we have to give an account of what we have done

with His riches that He has given us. What have we

done with all the riches, talents and time which

God has given us?

“….and he that is unjust in that which is little, is

unjust in that which is greater.” Lk. 16:10

to this parable which is not included in today’s

Gospel.  Jesus had begun this series of parables,

“The Lost Sheep,”  “The Prodigal Son,” and

“The Unjust Steward,”  after the Pharisees and

There is another important meaning

Scribes had murmured about Him:  “This man

welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Lk. 15:2 

In addition to the meaning of the parables that He

had come to call sinners, He wanted the Scribes

and Pharisees, like the unjust Steward, to realize

that they were unfaithful in their roles as leaders of

the people.  Dom Gueranger comments on the

intention of the Church:  “...if we would

understand the whole intention of the Church in

her choice of the present Gospel—we must listen

to St. Jerome....Let us first listen to the words of

the Scripture which the saint quotes (they

immediately follow those of the Gospel):   ‘He

that is faithful in that which is least;  is faithful in

that which is greater; and he that is unjust in that

which is little, is unjust in that which is greater. 

If, then, ye have not been faithful in the unjust

mammon, who will trust you with that which is

true.” Lk. 16:10-4  These words, says St. Jerome,

were said in the presence of the scribes and

Pharisees; they felt that the parable was

intended for them; and they derided the divine

preacher.  The one that was ‘unjust in that

which is little’ is the jealous Jew, who, in the

limited possession of the present life, refuses to

his fellow-men the use of those goods which were

created for all. If, then, you avaricious scribes

are convicted of mal-administration in the

management of temporal riches, how can you

expect to have confided to you the true, the

eternal,  riches of the divine word, and the

teaching of the Gentiles....” Gueranger, p. 213 

We may add here that there are many of the

powerful elites, who are cheating and stealing the

goods of this world and which they think belong to

them, that they too will have to render an account

of their stewardship some day to God,  the just

judge.   “Make an account of thy stewardship, for

thou canst be steward no longer.” Lk. 16:2.

Thank God for all of His Blessings

Fr. Gabriel, quoting St. Augustine, reminds

us how we are to live our spiritual life with love

and gratitude to God for all His gifts to us:  “Oh!

How much I owe You, my Lord God, who

redeemed me at so great a price!  Oh! How

much I ought to love, bless, praise, honour, and

glorify You who have loved me so much! I shall

give praise to Your Name, O God, who made me

capable of receiving  the great glory of being

Your son. I owe to You all I have, all that is of

use for my life, all that I know and love. Who

possesses anything that is not Yours?  Bestow

your gifts on me, O Lord our God, so that made

rich by You, I may serve and please You, and

every day return thanks to You for all that Your

mercy has  done for me. I cannot serve You or

please You without making use of your gifts to

me.” (cf. St. Augustine). Fr. Gabriel, p. 734-5

Sister, Please tell the people that tea and coffee are

available in St. Joseph’s Hall after Mass

Sunday’s Offerings

There is no collection during Mass.  Please

put your offerings for the needs of the monastery

in the box at the main aisle  of the chapel.  Thank

you for your kindness! Remember, today’s gospel

message: ‘Charity covers a multitude of sins.’ I Pt.

The New Evangelization in the Church

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall

enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does

the will of my Father in heaven shall enter the

kingdom of  heaven.” Mt. 8:21  

“For this is the will of the Father who sent me

that whoever beholds the  Son, and believes in him

shall have everlasting life, and I will raise him up

on the last day.”  Jn. 6:40

Jesus Christ wishes all men to follow Him

and believe in Him with absolute faith. “Faith is

the theological virtue by which we believe in God

and believe all that He has said and revealed

to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our

belief, because He is truth itself.”  Catechism of

the Catholic Church  #1814    Jesus established

His Church on Peter:  “And I say to thee, thou are

Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church,

and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 

And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of

heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth

shall be bound in heaven and whatever thou shalt

loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  Mt.

16: 18-19  Jesus commissioned His Apostles to go

into the whole world and preach the gospel: .   “Go

into the whole world and preach the gospel to

every creature. He who believes and is baptized

will be saved, but he who does not believe shall be

condemned.”   Mark 16:15-6

Heb. 6:11

Necessity of being in the Church

It is an absolute necessity for all souls to

believe in Jesus Christ and His Church founded

on St. Peter.  We need faith in Jesus’ words. 

“Without faith it is impossible please God.” Heb.

6:11

EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS

(No Salvation Outside the Church)

In Catholic Dogma, the Church teaches in 

a “de fide”  statement that all must belong to the

Catholic Church to gain eternal life: “We declare,

say,  define, and pronounce that it is absolutely

necessary for the salvation of every human

creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

Pope Boniface VIII, (Unam Sanctam, 1302).

This assertion implies that all nonCatholic religions are false and that only the

Catholic Church contains the entire deposit of faith

given to the Apostles by Christ.  Although this

statement is denied and scorned by today's world,

it is fully in accord with common sense and the

constant teaching of the Church.  (Objectively:   “No

Salvation outside the Church”: Subjectively: 

God alone can judge a soul as to his dispositions; we

cannot judge the eternal salvation  of souls.)

Only One True Church

Only the Catholic Church was founded by

Jesus Christ.  All other Churches were founded by

men. 

Only the Catholic Church has the fullness

of truth.  Other faiths deny the Blessed Trinity and

the divinity of Jesus Christ.  Other religions do not

have the fullness of God’s moral truth and allow

practices condemned by the Ten Commandments

and the Sacred Scriptures (divorce, contraception,

polygamy etc.)

Only the Catholic Church has the means

of holiness in the sacraments instituted by Jesus

Christ to give grace:  Baptism to cleanse the souls

of original sin, the Holy Eucharist enabling the soul

to receive the Body and Blood of Christ (“Amen,

amen, I say to you, unless you eat of the flesh of

the Son of Man and drink his blood you shall not

have life in you.” John 6:51 and 54)  Penance to rid

the soul of sin (Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins

you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and

whose sins  you shall retain, they are retained.”

John 20:22), and Matrimony to give the husband and

wife the grace to fulfill their marital vows (“What

therefore God has joined together, let no man put

asunder.” Mk. 10:9).

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost


Seventh   Sunday after Pentecost

7 July 2013

 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life everlasting in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 6:23

 

Fr. Gabriel of St. Magdalene in his book of meditations, Divine Intimacy,  comments on today’s readings: “Both the Epistle (Rom. 6:19-23) and the Gospel (Mt. 7:15-21) for today speak of the true fruits of the Christian life and invite us to ask ourselves what fruit we have produced so far. ‘When you  were servants of sin,’ says St. Paul, ‘you brought forth fruits of death, but now, being made from sin and become servants of God, you have brought your fruit of sanctification.’” (cf. Rom. 6:22) Fr. Gabriel, p. 711-12. In today’s Gospel, Jesus also speaks of bearing fruit as a sign of a good soul: “By their fruits you will know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.” Mt. 7:16-18   What accounts for the bad fruit?  Jesus has redeemed us all with His Precious Blood in our Baptism, but not everyone has understood the  liberty of the children of God.  Some have believed in false prophets whose fruits are bad: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Mt. 7:15. Those who misuse their  freedom become servants of  sin and death by following false prophets  of a worldly doctrine of pleasure and greed.

 

Jesus delivers us from sin

Dom Prosper Gueranger in his book, The Liturgical Year, Vol. 11, comments on today’s Epistle. He assures us we have been delivered from original  sin and the devil:  “Sold under sin, by our first parents even before we had seen the day, and branded with the infamous stigma, our whole life belonged to the cruel tyrant. He is a master who is never satisfied  with our service; he is a merciless exactor; there is scarce an hour that he does not make us feel his power over the members of our body; he does not allow us to forget that our body is his slave.  But, if the life of a slave is under his master’s control, death comes at last and sets the soul free; and as to the body, the oppressor can claim nothing, once it is buried. Now, it was on the cross of the Man-God, who, as the apostle so strongly expresses it, was made sin (cf. Rom. 6:11) because of our sins, that  guilty human nature was considered by God’s merciful justice to have become what its divine and innocent Head was. The old man that was the issue of Adam the sinner has been crucified; he has died in Christ; the slave by birth, affranchised by this happy death, has had buried under the waters of Baptism the body of sin, which carried in its flesh the mark of its slavery....the sacred stream has not only washed away the defilement of this degraded body, but it has also set it free from the those members of sin, which are the evil passions. These passions were the powers of iniquity—that is, power which deformed, and turned into uncleanness, those faculties and organs wherewith God had endowed us, that we might fulfil all justice unto sanctification. At the moment of our Baptism the strong-armed tyrant  forfeited his possession of us; that Baptism was a death which set his slave free.” Gueranger, p. 175-6. This new freedom is to what St. Paul is referring:  But now set free from sin and become slaves to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and as your end life everlasting.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life everlasting in Christ Jesus.” Rom. 6:22-23

 

By their fruits you will know them.” Mt. 7:16

There seems little doubt that today’s Gospel should be applied to those who did not believe in Jesus.  This is why Jesus compares people to good and bad fruit.  Those who listen to His word are the good fruit; those who  oppose Him and teach others to do so are the bad fruit. By their fruits you will know them.” Mt. 7:16  The bad fruit are the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who lead people away with the false teachings. This is why Jesus says: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Mt. 8:15. Jesus is directing these words to the teachers of the law during His time who by their office appeared “in sheep’s clothing” and looked good on the outside, but within they were filled with treachery to destroy souls with their false teachings. Dom Gueranger comments on them: “False prophets and false Christs are numerous in Israel since the true Messiah, whom the prophets  foretold, has been ignored, and treated by His own people as the prophets themselves had been.” Gueranger, p. 182  “By their fruits you will know them.” Mt. 7:16  “Under sheep’s clothing, which they wear that they may deceive simple souls, the apostles of  falsehood ever betray their real nature. The artful language they use, and the flatteries they utter  for gain’s sake, cannot hide the hollowness of their words. They separate themselves from the flock of Christ,...” Gueranger, 187.  They are the bad fruit that come from a bad tree.  We know the tree by its fruit.  Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor  can a bad tree bear good fruit.”  Mt. 8: 16-18

 

Obey the  Commandments

In case anyone did not understand what good and bad fruit had to do with His teaching, Jesus clearly states that one needs to do His will which means to keep His Commandments:  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father in heaven shall enter the kingdom of  heaven.” Mt. 8:21  As in Jesus’ time, so today, there are many who pretend to work for God but are really “false prophets.”  They teach in Jesus’ Name and  they may even prophesy in His Name, but they do not keep His Commandments. The prophet Jeremiah spoke of this bad fruit: “Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully.” Jer. 48:10 No wonder St. John would also be strong in his condemnation of “bad fruit”: “He who says he loves God and does not keep the commandments is a liar and there is no truth in him.” I Jn. 2:4  These false prophets” have returned to their father, the devil, a murderer and a liar from the beginning (cf. Jn. 8:44), and they have  become slaves of  sin and death.  Those who keep God’s Commandments  are the good fruit who will  inherit the kingdom because they have kept God’s Word and have produced fruit unto life everlasting.

 

The New Evangelization in the Church

 

“Without faith it is impossible to please God.”  Heb. 6:11

God wants us to believe in Him and His Son Jesus Christ redeemed by His death on the Cross and established His Church on Peter and the other Apostles  as a means of salvation. As there are so many Catholics who have lost their faith and there are so many people who are not Catholics,  the Church has called for a “New Evangelization” for our time. You might wonder how this “New Evangelization” should be conducted in these times. It should be done as it was in early days of the Church   As in days long ago, when the pagan world was evangelized, the Apostles  and their successors preached the necessity of believing in Jesus Christ and joining His Church by being baptized.   “Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned.”   Mark 16:15-6

 

“…thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church…”  Mt. 16:18

 

Jesus Christ founded His Church on St. Peter:  “And I say to thee, thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Mt. 16: 18-19  Only the Catholic Church can trace its origin back to St. Peter and Jesus Christ. All other churches were founded by men!   The Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis I, is the successor of St. Peter and the Vicar of Christ on earth.   Jesus promised that the gates of hell (untruth) shall not prevail against His Church.  Only the Catholic Church has the fullness of truth.  Jesus promised that whatever the Church teaches on earth will be approved by Him (in heaven). 

 

Solemn Teachings of Jesus Christ

 

Jesus wanted all to be baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.  How many religions do not believe in the Blessed Trinity of three Divine Persons (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) in one God?  Many do not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  They also do not believe in Sacraments which were instituted by Jesus to give grace.  Jesus said,  “I am the living bread that has come down from heaven. If anyone eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world….Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you shall not have life in you.” John 6:51 and 54  On Easter Sunday night, Jesus also promised his Apostles that they would be able to forgive sins:  “Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins  you shall retain, they are retained.” John 20:22   St. Anthony Mary Claret said: “It is not that everyone has to be a Catholic per se, but where else are they to get their sins forgiven.”  The great English author and convert to Catholicism, Gilbert Keith Chesterton, said, “I wanted a Church in which my sins could be forgiven.”

 

People in the world need to hear these truths which were uttered by Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  They need to realize that only the Catholic Church was founded by Him and that He wants all to believe in His words and listen to His Church which teaches in His name. We all need to proclaim these truths for where else can souls gain eternal salvation except in the Catholic Church.  (to be continued next week) 

 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

FATIMA - The most important message of our times...


but are we listening?
On the Feast of the Visitation, readers are reminded that this coming Saturday is the first Saturday of the month...

The message of Fatima has been given to us by the Mother of God Herself. In 1917 She spoke to three simple shepherd children and through them told us to stop offending God, because He is already too much offended by the sins of mankind. Perhaps we know the message well, but are we doing all we can to actually live it and spread it to others? Enormous perils face our troubled and sinful world of today. Our Blessed Mother brought to us a remedy and told us that if we listen to Her and do what She says, Russia will be converted and a period of peace granted to the world:  Here is a summary of what we should do in order to respond to Our Lady’s Motherly plea to Her children:


v  Offer up our daily duties as a sacrifice for the conversion of sinners and in reparation for our sins and those of others. Jesus said: “The penance that I request and require now is the sacrifice demanded of everybody by the accomplishment of his own duty and the observance of my Law.”


v  Say the Rosary every day – at least 5 decades  - whilst meditating upon the various mysteries, ending each mystery with the prayer: “Oh my Jesus forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to Heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”  The Rosary is the scourge of the evil one and a prayer which is so pleasing to God.


v  Wear the Brown Scapular as a sign of our personal consecration to Our Lady and make acts of reparation to Her Immaculate Heart.  Lucia said: “The Rosary and the Scapular are inseparable and Our Lady Herself said: One day with the Rosary and the Scapular I will save the world.


v  Attend Holy Mass even daily, if possible, and spend more time in adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament. This will prove to be the most valuable time of our life.


v  Pray and offer sacrifices for the conversion of poor sinners saying the prayer which Our Lady gave to the three little shepherds “Oh Jesus it is for love of You, for the conversion of poor sinners and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Our Lady said that many souls go to hell because there is no one to pray or make a sacrifice for them.


v  Practice the 5 First Saturdays of the month – see page 9 for explanation.


v  Consecrate ourselves and our families to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Our Lady told the children that: “God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart.    see consecration prayer on page  13.


Pope Pius XII said: “The time for doubting Fatima is past; it is now time for action.  In the Old Testament God repeatedly sent the Prophets to remind His people of their eternal destiny and to warn and even punish them when they strayed from the path of salvation.  Today He sends the Queen of Prophets Herself, entrusted with the same message: “Pray, do penance for your sins, amend your lives, or God will be compelled to let fall the arm of His justice.

Fatima is a loud warning bell for us all to amend our lives; a loving invitation for sincere contrition on our part.



The Holy Rosary – the scourge of the devil


This is a very great gift to us from Heaven.  It is like a sword which Our Lady uses to destroy heresy and the forces of evil, which are so rampant in our world today. It is the greatest Marian prayer and that which is most pleasing to God.  It is the compendium of the Gospel and after the Liturgy, the prayer which Holy Mother Church recommends most highly to Her children. This devotion was given by Our Lady to St. Dominic and once, when he was performing an exorcism, the demons themselves said: “Now that we are forced to speak, we must tell you this. Nobody who perseveres in saying the Rosary will be damned, because She (Mary) obtains for Her servants the grace of true contrition for their sins and by means of this they obtain God’s forgiveness and mercy. It is the Holy Rosary that Our Lady constantly asks Her children to pray whenever She appears upon this earth and She has promised great graces and Her special protection to all those who will do this – see page 7.  Sr. Lucia (one of the little shepherds of Fatima) said that there is no problem, spiritual or material, which cannot be resolved by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. The family Rosary is very highly recommended, because the family that prays together stays together.  We realise how important this is in these days when family life is threatened with destruction on all sides. 


The 15 Promises of the Holy Rosary given by Our Lady


Whoever shall faithfully serve Me by the recitation of the rosary shall receive signal graces.

I promise My special protection and the greatest graces to all those who shall recite the Rosary.

The Rosary shall be a powerful armour against hell. It will destroy vice, decrease sin and defeat heresies.

It will cause virtue and good works to flourish; it will obtain for souls the abundant mercy of God; it will withdraw the hearts of men from the love of the world and its vanities and will lift them to the desire of eternal things. Oh that souls would sanctify themselves by this means.

The soul which recommends itself to Me by the recitation of the Rosary shall not perish.

Whoever shall recite the Rosary devoutly, applying himself to the consideration of its sacred mysteries, shall never be conquered by misfortune. God will not chastise him in His justice; he shall not perish by an un-provided death; if he be just, he shall remain in the grace of God and become worthy of eternal life.

Whoever shall have a true devotion to the Rosary shall not die without the Sacraments of the Church.

Those who are faithful to recite the Rosary shall have during their life and at their death the light of God and the plenitude of His graces; at the moment of their death they shall participate in the merits of the Saints in Paradise.

I shall deliver from Purgatory those who have been devoted to the Rosary.
The faithful children of the Rosary shall merit a high degree of glory in Heaven.

You shall obtain all you ask of Me by the recitation of the Rosary.

All those who propagate the Holy Rosary shall be aided by Me in all their necessities.

I have obtained from My Divine Son that all the advocates of the Rosary shall have for their intercessors the entire Celestial Court during their life and at the hour of death.

All who recite the Rosary are My sons and brothers of My only Son, Jesus Christ.

Devotion to My Rosary is a great sign of predestination.




The Devotion of

the Five First Saturdays of the month


Perhaps the most important thing we need to grasp about the message of Fatima is the vital need to make reparation for the countless sacrileges and blasphemies committed against our Immaculate Mother, especially against Her Immaculate Conception and Her virginal purity. Once St. Maximlian Mary Kolbe was walking along the street and he heard a man blaspheming Our Lady.  In tears he exclaimed: “How can you blaspheme your own Mother?”   The best way of making reparation is to put into practice the devotion of the five first Saturdays of the month. Its importance is confirmed by Jesus Himself who said: “Whether the world has war or peace depends on the practice of this devotion, together with consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”  But later on, He also complained to Lucia that many souls begin the 5 First Saturdays, but few finish them, and those who do, complete them so as to receive the graces that are promised thereby. He said: “ It would please Me more if they did five with fervour and with the intention of making reparation to the Heart of their Mother, than if they did 15 in a tepid and indifferent manner.”  Thus Jesus confirms how pleased He is when we strive to make reparation for the sins and blasphemies committed against Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart.  We will never regret having done this and will rejoice very much the Heart of Jesus.



Our Lady’s Great Promise of

the Five First Saturdays

         

            On December 10th 1925, in Tuy, Spain, the most Holy Virgin appeared to Lucia, and by Her side, elevated on a luminous cloud, was a child. The most holy Virgin rested Her hand on Lucia’s shoulder and as She did so, She showed her a heart encircled with thorns, which She was holding in Her other hand.  At the same time the Child said: “Have compassion on the Heart of your most holy Mother, covered with thorns, with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to make an act of reparation to remove them.” Then the most holy Virgin said: “Look my daughter at My Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce Me at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You, at least, try to console Me and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep Me company for fifteen minutes, while meditating on the fifteen (now twenty including the Luminous mysteries) mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to Me.”

NB The meditation may be upon one or more of the mysteries.



Why does Our Lady ask for five Saturdays?


            She asks specifically for five in order to make reparation for the following:

Blasphemies against Her Immaculate  Conception.

Blasphemies against Her Perpetual Virginity.

Blasphemies against Her Divine Maternity and the refusal to accept Her as Mother of all.

In reparation for those who seek to instil into the hearts of children indifference, scorn and even hatred for their Immaculate Mother.

In reparation for those who those who directly insult Her in Her holy images.



Consecration to the Immaculate

Heart of Mary


Our Lady wants people to consecrate themselves to Her Immaculate Heart, so that they can then become instruments of salvation in Her hands for the countless souls in danger of being lost for all eternity.  By doing this, they pay special homage to their heavenly Mother, placing themselves under Her protection, whilst striving to imitate Her virtues.  It would be good to renew the consecration often – daily and especially on the feast days of Our Lady.


Prayer of Consecration

 to Our Lady of Fatima


O Virgin of Fatima, Mother of mercy, Queen of Heaven and earth, refuge of sinners, we consecrate ourselves to your Immaculate Heart. To you we consecrate our hearts and souls, our families and all that we have. And in order that this consecration may be truly effective and lasting, we renew today the promises of our Baptism and Confirmation: and we undertake to live as good Christians, faithful to God, the Church and the Holy Father. We desire to pray the Rosary, partake in the holy Eucharist, attach special importance to the first Saturday of the month and work for the conversion of sinners. Furthermore we promise, o most holy Virgin, that we will zealously spread devotion to you, so that through our consecration to Your Immaculate Heart and through Your own intercession, the coming of the Kingdom of Christ in the world may be hastened. Amen. 




Is the Message of Fatima Relevant Today?


            The message of Fatima is more relevant today than when it was given to us by our Blessed Mother in 1917.  Above all it confirms and emphasises certain truths of our Faith which some people of our days are trying to eliminate:


The great importance of the Holy Eucharist (which many try to strip of all meaning) which is Jesus Christ Himself present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the consecrated host.

The existence of Angels and demons.

The reality of hell which was confirmed by Our Lady Herself.

The value of prayer (especially the Holy Rosary) and penance in our lives.


            It is true that Revelation ended with Christ and His Apostles, but that does not mean that God cannot speak any longer to His children and abandon them. Not at all; God speaks again in our times and He does so by means of our Immaculate Mother.




“In the end My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph!”


Today Fatima stands as a magnificent symbol of hope for our sinful world dominated by the spectre of mass apostasy from God. Our only hope for world peace is found in the Message of Fatima – the message from Heaven for OUR TIMES! Are we listening?


This article was written in order to offer a small act of reparation for the sins and blasphemies which are continuously committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our most beloved Mother.