Archive for September, 2018

The Divine Maternity

September 28th, 2018 by Vigilo

By Bishop Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI

Feast of the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin
October 11, 1995

Dearly Beloved in Christ,

The feast of the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was instituted by Pope Pius XI to commemorate the 1500th anniversary of the Council of Ephesus, the third Ecumenical Council of the Church. How appropriate it was for this feast to be instituted on such an anniversary, for it was at the Council of Ephesus that the doctrine of the Divine Motherhood of Mary was defended against the heresy of Nestorius and his followers, who denied that there was one Divine Person in Christ with two natures, and in consequence of this denial, refused to recognize Mary by the title — Theotokos — Mother of God. For Nestorius and his followers falsely believed that in Christ there were two Persons — one divine and the other human, so that Mary was only the mother of the human person.

In our times, we may not find very many Nestorians, but there are many who call themselves Christians, but who deny to the Blessed Virgin Mary this title, Mother of God. Let us consider in this pastoral letter the Divine Maternity of Mary, in order to be able to better defend the Mother of Jesus Christ and to increase our esteem, love and devotion to her.

When we consider the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin, we must begin by a study of the Person of Jesus Christ. In the Nicene Creed which we recite every Sunday at Holy Mass, we profess our firm belief in the Divinity of Jesus Christ:

“…And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God. Born of the Father before all ages. God of God; Light of Light; true God of true God. Begotten not made; consubstantial with the Father….”

And this belief in Christ’s Divinity is firmly rooted in divine revelation. In Sacred Scripture, we find a multitude of passages which manifest the Divinity of Jesus. St. John the Evangelist tells us in the first Chapter of his Gospel:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God… And the Word was made flesh….” (John 1:1-14).

On this passage from St. John’s Gospel, St. Cyril of Alexandria, who staunchly defended the Faith at the Council of Ephesus, maintained in wonderful agreement with the Catholic Church:

“In no wise, therefore, is it lawful to divine the one Lord Jesus Christ into two Sons… For the Scripture does not say that the Word associated the person of a man with Himself, but that He was made flesh; that means nothing else but that He partook of flesh and blood, even as we do; wherefore, He made our body His own, and came forth man, born of a woman, at the same time without laying aside His Godhead, or His birth from the Father; for in assuming flesh He still remained what He was” (Mansi, 1.c.4. 891).

Furthermore, our Divine Lord Himself clearly claimed to be the Son of God, equal to the Father:

“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).

“Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I am” (John 8:58).

To the questions put to Him by the High Priest, Caiphas:

“I adjure thee by the living God that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God” (Matt. 26:63-64).

Jesus answered simply and emphatically,

“Thou hast said it.”

And St. Paul reiterates the same belief in his Epistle to the Philippians:

“Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, Who though He was by nature God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be clung to, but emptied Himself, taking the nature of a slave and being made like unto men and appearing in the form of man” (Phil. 2:5-8).

Thus, Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical Lux Veritatis of December 25, 1931, which commemorated the 1500th anniversary of the Council of Ephesus, reiterated the Catholic Faith in this doctrine:

“For we are taught, by Holy Scripture and by Divine Tradition, that the Word of God the Father did not join Himself to a certain man already subsisting in himself, but that Christ the Word of God is one and the same, enjoying eternity in the bosom of the Father, and made man in time. For, indeed, that the Godhead and Manhood in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, are bound together by that wondrous union which is justly and deservedly called hypostatic, is luminously evident from the fact that in the Sacred Scriptures the same one Christ is not only called God and man, but it is also clearly declared that He works as God and also as man, and again that He dies as man and as God He arises from the dead. That is to say, He Who is conceived in the Virgin’s womb by the operation of the Holy Ghost, Who is born, Who lies in a manger, Who calls Himself the son of man, Who suffers and dies, fastened to the cross, is the very same Who, in a solemn and marvelous manner, is called by the Eternal Father ‘My beloved Son’ (Matt. 3:17; 17:5; 2 Peter 1:17), Who pardons sin by His divine authority (Matt. 9:2-6; Luke 5:20-24; 7:48; and elsewhere), and likewise by His own power recalls the sick to health (Matt. 8:3; Mark 1:41; Luke 5:13; John 9; and elsewhere). As all these things show clearly that in Christ there are two natures by which both divine and human works are performed, so do they bear witness no less clearly that the one Christ is at once both God and man because of that unity of person from which He is called ‘Theanthropos’ (God-Man).”

Having considered that Jesus Christ is one Divine Person with two natures, let us continue in the Nicene Creed. We profess that Jesus Christ “was incarnate by the Holy Ghost from the Virgin Mary.” This also is clearly found in Sacred Scriptures.

In the Old Testament, the Prophet Isaias predicted:

“Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel (God with us)” (Isaias 7:14).

In the Gospel of St. Luke, we find that the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary:

“Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and bear a Son, and thou shalt call His Name Jesus” (Luke 1:31).

“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

And further on in the same Gospel, St. Elizabeth, “filled with the Holy Ghost,” cried out to the Blessed Virgin:

“And how have I deserved that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:44).

Not only do we find the reference for the Divine Maternity in Sacred Scripture, but also in Sacred Tradition. In the early Christian Church, there was no misunderstanding in the matter, for the early Fathers of the Church were very clear and firm on the Divine Motherhood of Mary.

In his Epistle to the Ephesians, St. Ignatius of Antioch (circa 110 A.D.) wrote:

“Our God Jesus Christ was born by Mary in her maternal womb.”

At another time, St. Ignatius wrote:

“There is only one Healer, composed at the same time of flesh and spirit, begotten and not-begotten… of God and of Mary, Jesus Christ, our Lord.”

St. Irenaeus (202 A.D.) taught:

“This Christ, Who as the Word of the Father was with the Father… was born of a virgin.”

Tertuillian (220 A.D.) said:

“God is born in the womb of a mother.”

St. Athanasius (373 A.D.) taught:

“We confess that the Son of God became Man by the assumption of flesh from the virgin Mother of God.”

St. Gregory Nazianzen (circa 382 A.D.) declares:

“Let him who will not accept Mary as the Mother of God be excluded from God.”

These references from the early Fathers reflect the doctrine which was always held in the Catholic Church. And it was for this reason that when Nestorius had presented his false innovations, they were immediately rejected by the Catholic faithful of Constantinople. This rejection of the Nestorian heresy by the faithful manifests to us that even before Pope St. Celestine I and the Council of Ephesus formally deposed Nestorius from his See of Constantinople and condemned his errors, the faithful had already professed the true doctrine of the Divine Maternity of Mary.

All that has been quoted above from Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition on the Person of Jesus Christ and the Divine Maternity of Mary, was neatly summarized by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical, Lux Veritatis:

“And, indeed, if the Son of the Blessed Virgin Mary is God, assuredly she who bore Him is rightly and deservedly to be called the Mother of God. If there is only one Person in Christ, and this is Divine, without any doubt Mary ought to be called, by all, not the mother of Christ the man only, but Theotokos, or God-bearer. Let us all, therefore, venerate the tender Mother of God, whom her cousin Elizabeth saluted as ‘Mother of my Lord’ (Luke 1:43), who, in the words of Ignatius Martyr, brought forth God (Ad Ephes. 7:18-20); and from whom, as Tertullian professes, God was born; whom the Eternal Godhead has gifted with the fullness of grace and endowed with such great dignity.”

Let us never cease to honor the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, especially when we repeat that most ancient, simple and profound prayer of the Catholic Church to her — “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee… Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

In Christo Jesu et Maria Immaculata,
Most Rev. Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI

As the last quarter of 2018 begins, what is a realistic price to expect for Bitcoin going into 2019, and why? The current price of Bitcoin is $6,652 …… but just how far away is $100,000? What about $300,000?!

In 2016, I published an article Bitcoin and Gold in 2017 | $10,000 Bitcoin is Coming. At the time, Bitcoin was only trading for $959, so the call for $10,000 seemed outlandish to many….just like $300,000 may seem outlandish today. Back then, it took 3 years for bitcoin to meet the territory of its previous all time high from 2013, and then another 11 months for bitcoin to go from $959 to $10,000.

$100,000 Bitcoin

Looking at the history of the price swings in Bitcoin, $100,000 is not that far away. Though in truth, neither is $3,000! Bitcoin is still regarded as ‘speculative’ by many, and there are a great number of people who have still never heard of it! Despite the advances and developments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, mass adoption has NOT yet been realized.

Again, avoiding the discussion of decentralized money, and all the risks and rewards of cryptocurrencies, this article is to serve as a price forecast, so we will begin with the same market capitalization breakdown as in the 2016 article. Let’s illustrate why $100,000 Bitcoin is coming.

$100,000 Bitcoin and Market Capitalization

Market capitalization is the total value of something. In the case of Bitcoin, the market cap is currently about $115.37 billion dollars.

This is calculated by taking the current total number of Bitcoins in existence 17,281,987 and multiplying it by the current price of $6,676. (note: Bitcoins will cease to be mined at 21 million, here you can track the market capitalization of all crypto currencies)

As Bitcoin is traded globally, (even though the current market cap dwarfs the $15.4 billion from 2016) $115.37 billion dollars is still not much at all. Consider that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) alone has a market cap of $1,051 billion dollars…and consider that there is nearly $90 trillion in global equities in general!

*note: Since 2016 article.. Bitcoin market cap has increased from $15.4 billion to $115.37 billion. 
Apple from $625 billion to to $1,051 billion. Global equities from around 70 trillion to 90 trillion.

 

$100,000 Bitcoin would equal a market cap of $1,728 billion dollars. That is still less than the combined size of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT). Those two companies combine for a market cap of $1,810 billion. We must also consider that those are companies, and Bitcoin has a potential as a global currency.

For another perspective, if Bitcoin market cap were to reach the level of capitalization as Apple is currently, one Bitcoin would be valued at $60,800.

Bitcoin’s all time high was $19,891 at the end of 2017. That price was achieved in spite of it still being an unproven commodity. We are still talking about a 10 year old currency, which challenges the modern day central banking system, in a world with a $135 trillion GDP!

Now you can see, it’s nothing at all to get Bitcoin to $100,000. It’s all a matter of sentiment and mass adoption, and there are developers and advocates working around the clock to ensure that very eventual mass adoption.

Another perspective, the United States Monetary base peaked in 2015 at $4,167 billion. For one bitcoin to be valued at $300,000, its market cap would be near $5,184 billion. Therefore, $300,000 is a reasonable eventual price if bitcoin were to gain equal footing with the US dollar and other global currencies. Then, you can really start to blow your mind if you contemplate it’s price if it were to gain dominance over the other global currencies. But first thing is first.

This section was to help you conceptualize the potential of value of Bitcoin. The eventual price of $100,000…$300,000…$1,000,000 for one bitcoin is not outlandish, but a very real possibility…and for many, it is an expectation.

And now….the real reason why you are here…. WHEN?

 

Bitcoin! When Moon, When Lambo?

There are those who unfortunately only buy into bitcoin manias to ride the rocket to the moon, to get rich quick, to buy lamborghinis….They make the price bubbles possible, and oftentimes are parted with their money. There are others who day trade cryptocurrencies as a stocktrader trades stocks. There are others who are true believers and “hodl” at any price, in hopes of an unimaginable wealth in the future. All of these groups of people must utilize the story told in the chart. And that is the story we will predict here.

I’m not ignorant of the fact that many have travelled down the ‘price prediction’ trap. It’s a dangerous territory putting one’s trustworthiness, credibility, and authority at risk. Also, consider these dates and prices as entertainment purposes. Don’t remortgage your house because you read on a blog that bitcoin would be worth $300,000 … you know? With that, here we go…

 

The first point to make is that bitcoin is a creature of habit. As you can see from the charts above, the bubble from 2017-2018 has an identical structure as does the bubble from 2013-2015. One major note is that bitcoin is moving almost twice as fast this time when compared to last time. The above chart is a weekly chart, and the current chart is a 4 day chart. IF we see a higher high in the very near future, I count the next bull run as being activated. If the higher high is delayed, this entire prediction will be off.

A few other things to look for… We should see price break through the 50 day moving average line, and we should see volume really pick up on a bullish move.

 

 

Another fact worth considering, is that the ‘bubble crash’ followed by a ‘cup and handle’ formation is not unique to bitcoin. This happens to many stocks as well. While some companies never recover from such a crash, others, like Amazon, soar exponentially. For example, after the dot com bubble in 1999, Amazon lost over 90% of its value, and bottomed at nearly $10 a share. Today, that $10 share is now valued at nearly $2,000!!

Again, current bitcoin price is moving even faster than Amazon. The Amazon chart is a 2 week chart, and the current bitcoin chart is a 4 day chart.

Now for the price predictions! Please take these as approximates. Bitcoin is so volatile, that I don’t pretend to KNOW what exactly is going to happen. This is merely my best guess based on previous bitcoin price movement…. here is what we get…

 

This current $6,000 – $7,000 price level is a great spot to accumulate in my opinion. Could there be a capitulation and a dump in price? Sure. But I would expect such a dip to be followed by a violent rip upwards in price. This is a great spot for long term positions considering the potential long-term prices.

The key potential prices and timelines:

  • End of 2018 – $10,000
  • New all-time high over $20,000 by July 2019
  • $100,000 level reached in December 2019
  • Bubble top up to $330,000 in December 2019
  • Crash down to near $100,000 accumulation in 2020
  • Wild card: next bubble top before 2022 near $5 million!

As before, when Bitcoin popularity grows, euphoria takes hold, prices skyrocket, then FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) is interjected, people will panic, the price will fall, there will be an accumulation period, then people eventually start using it again, then it’s popularity grows, euphoria takes over, and on goes the cycle….albeit with a new floor and support.

Regardless of how accurate these price predictions are, it is not a bad move to add Bitcoin to your cash and tangible assets. The potential of bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, and blockchain is real. $100,000 Bitcoin is not that far away.

Lastly, here is an interview I gave in March 2018. This is the part of the interview in which we spoke of the future price of bitcoin…

How do I buy some? How can I trade it?

The easiest way for a beginner to buy bitcoin is through Coinbase. The link is my referral link. Upon buying or selling $100 worth of bitcoin, we both get $10 worth of bitcoin added to our accounts. Coinbase is FDIC insured for it’s cash deposits, and you set up your account much like you would a bank account. However, there is no branch you need to go to, you submit everything digitally. It’s fairly easy and a decent option for beginners.

To trade bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies), you first should be a competent trader with a trading plan! There are some exchanges which allow highly leveraged positions, with forced liquidations, and its just an all around bad recipe for beginners. That said, I personally use Kraken, Binance, Coinbase, and Bittrex.

If you need any help, feel free to reach out to me. I will help you free of charge as much as is reasonable. And if you need help setting up accounts or anything requiring more time, I’ll just ask for a nominal fee.

Also, I recommend Real Life Trading’s Crypto Course if you would like to start from scratch with a 5 video intro series to bitcoin, blockchain, and trading.

Conclusion

Heading into 2019, the Trump Rally may be nearing it’s end, and many emerging markets are already showing signs of a correction. As money flows out of equities, it very well may end up in cryptocurrencies.

Consider taking advantage of, or at least studying, the current opportunities in Bitcoin, other cryptos, and even the much maligned silver and gold. Oh, and instead of Lambos, may you be good stewards of your future crypto wealth. If you found this article helpful, or even entertaining, please consider throwing me a few satoshis. I don’t have nearly as many as I should, but that’s a topic for another article.

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Here are some useful tools:
Bitcoin Wallet – Coinbase
Bitcoin Charts
Real Life Trading Crypto Course

Crytpo Currency Market Capitalizations
Bitcoin real time flow

-Travis

JMJ – UIOGD

Why Wear the Brown Scapular?

September 23rd, 2018 by Vigilo

What is the Brown Scapular?

Why Should We Wear the Brown Scapular?

To Wear the Brown Scapular, and obtain its special protection, one must be enrolled into the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Enrollment means that one receives a blessed scapular to wear, and is made a member of the confraternity. The confraternity is for lay people to share in the prayers and good works of the Carmelite religious order. They also obtain the special protection of our Blessed Mother by wearing the scapular as a sign of consecration to her.

Ordinarily, enrollment is done when a child receives First Communion, and if not done then, it is done anytime after. As it stands, many people are discovering the invalidity of the Second Vatican Council, and coming back to the Catholic Church, so they are getting reacquainted with Catholic prayers, customs, and teachings. So many of these Catholic norms have been discarded or ignored within the Novus Ordo Church. To Wear the Brown Scapular is one of these Catholic customs. Also, since the Novus Ordo priests were ordained with the invalid rite of ordination after 1968, they are not valid priests, and one would need to receive a proper enrollment from a valid priest.

In hopes of facilitating the reintroduction of this special Catholic protection, here is some information on the subject, and why we should Wear the Brown Scapular.

The MIQCenter has scapulars if you need to order. Here is a sturdy one they have available…

Why Wear the Brown Scapular?

by Fr. Gabriel Lavery, CMRI  (appearing in The Reign of Mary publication)

On July 16, 1251, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, the General of the Carmelite Order. Surrounded by angels, and holding the scapular of the Order she made the following promise: “This shall be a sign to you and to all Carmelites: whosever dies wearing this shall not suffer eternal fire.” Do we understand what the scapular means and why we wear it?

When we were enrolled in the scapular, the priest said:

O Lord Jesus Christ…sanctify this scapular which Thy servant will devotedly wear for the love of Thee and of Thy Mother…so that by her intercession, he may be protected from the wickedness of the enemy and persevere in Thy grace until death…” “Receive this blessed scapular and ask the most holy Virgin that, by her merits, it may be worn with no stain of sin and may protect you from all harm and bring you into everlasting life.” “I admit you to a share in all the spiritual works performed, with the merciful help of Jesus Christ, by the Religious of Mount Carmel…” “…[God] has been pleased to receive [you] into the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel.” “We beg her [Mary] to crush the head of the ancient serpent in the hour of your death, and, in the end, to obtain for you the palm and the crown of your everlasting inheritance. Through Christ our Lord.”

Thus by being enrolled in the scapular and wearing it constantly we become members of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and sharers in all the prayers, sacrifices and good works of all the other members! It is a visible pledge of our devotion to Mary and of her protection. Bl. Colombière says: “They tell me, those great saints, that I have nothing to fear if Mary interests herself in my behalf, but this is not enough to relieve my anxiety. I wish to know if she will indeed interest herself in me. She has given me a tangible sign thereof. I have but to glance at my scapular and recall the promise, “He who dies wearing this shall not suffer eternal fire” (Sermon, p. 19)

Again, Bl. Colombière says: “I do not hesitate to declare that nothing is a more certain pledge of salvation than a faithful wearing of the little brown badge. There is none therefore to which we should attach ourselves with more zeal and constancy than this. Divine Mother! What countless miracles you have caused to be wrought to confirm this blessed belief! Then, Christians! To engage this incomparable Mother to watch and guard you, and to interest herself in defending you, array yourself in the garment she holds forth for your acceptance. Wear the scapular; wear it until the hour of your death.

Ven. Francis Yepès, the brother of St. John of the Cross, was so zealous in promoting the brown scapular that he provoked the fury of the devils. One night while he was praying for the conversion of sinners, devils came to assail him saying: “What have we done to you that you torment us so cruelly? Why do you persuade so many persons to wear and to venerate the scapular of Carmel? Wait until you fall into our power! You shall pay dearly for it!” Again they shouted in a fury: “Take it off! Take off that Habit which snatches so many souls from us! All those clothed in it die piously and escape us!” Three things, they said, especially torment them: the name of Jesus, the name of Mary, and the scapular of Carmel.

The learned theologian, Billuart, tells us that the scapular is a contract between us and Our Lady. We pledge to serve her; she promises to help us. He also compares it to a sacrament: “The scapular is a sign, a mark of the special love of Mary, much like the sacraments are infallible signs of grace…the Virgin Mary has applied to the scapular the fervent prayers, the high contemplations, the tears, the sweat, the blood—in a word, all the merits of the illustrious Order of Carmelites. She has determined, at the sight of the scapular, to share her mother’s love and special protection with those who are clothed in it….As long as you place no obstacle, Mary will assist you in all the circumstances of your life by obtaining for you in abundance the graces necessary to save your soul, by vivid lights, strong inspirations and powerful impulses. Above all, she will take special care to arrange the last moment of your life to make you die in the state of grace. In this way, the scapular, which you have worn during life as a precious ornament making you agreeable to God and as a shield to repulse the blows of the enemies of your salvation, shall be, at the hour of death, a victorious banner which will drive away the demons and call to your aid the angels and saints, Mary and Jesus, who will put you absolutely and without delay in the possession of glory, or, if you have yet some debts to pay to the divine justice, will give you refreshment against the ardor of the flames of purgatory” (Billuart, pp. 104-106).

Mary fulfills her promise in various ways. Sometimes she obtains the grace of dying young for one who would fall into sin if he lived longer. A young man in a boarding school had given his scapular to one of the brothers to mend. Bedtime came, but his scapular had not come back. He could not sleep without it. At last the superior brought it to him and he went to sleep saying the names of Jesus and Mary. The next morning he was found in his bed; he had died during the night wearing his scapular. Our Lady preserved this innocent young soul from future dangers in return for his devotion shown in wearing her scapular.

On the other hand, sometimes Mary fulfills her promise by obtaining for sinners more time to repent. Other times she obtains for us powerful graces to fight temptation and protect us from moral harm. Once a young lady came to St. John Vianney to make a general confession before entering the convent. As she was kneeling before him, he surprised her by asking:

“You remember, my child, a certain ball which you attended a short time ago?”

“Yes, Father.”

You met a young man there, a stranger, elegant in appearance and of distinguished bearing, who at once became the life of the party? And you wished he would invite you to dance? You were vexed and jealous when he preferred others to you?”

“You are certainly right, Father.”

“Do you recollect that when he left the assembly you thought you saw, as he walked, two small bluish flames beneath his feet, but you persuaded yourself that it was an optical illusion?”

“I remember it perfectly.”

“Well, my child, that youth was a devil. Those with whom he danced were in a state of serious sin! And do you know why he failed to ask you?

“It was owing to the scapular which you did well not to lay aside and which your devotion to Mary impelled you to wear as your safeguard.” (Annales du Carmel, 1881, pg. 199. Haffert, p. 126)

Some may say: “I understand that Our Lady has a great power of intercession; I know she will keep her promise, but why is it attached to the wearing of a little piece of cloth?” The answer is simple. Throughout the Old and New Testaments we see how God uses simple things as symbols of great mysteries. The devil used a created thing, a simple fruit, to tempt Eve and bring about our fall; God uses simple things to bring us back to life. The simple pouring of water and saying a few words in Baptism washes away sin and confers sanctifying grace. Naaman, a Syrian General mentioned in the Old Testament, was a noble and proud man. When he became afflicted with leprosy, he went to the prophet Eliseus to be cured. The prophet told him to wash seven times in the Jordan. Naaman thought this was a ridiculous idea. He wanted something spectacular, and besides, he argued, there were better rivers elsewhere. His servants pointed out to him that if Eliseus had asked him to do something very difficult, he would have done so, so why not do something so simple? He changed his mind, washed in the Jordan seven times and was cured. Another example is the blood of the lamb spread on the doorposts by the Israelites in Egypt. The angel of death spared only those who used this simple sign which was a reminder of the Blood of Christ by which we are spared from eternal death.

Why the cloth? In the Old and New Testament, the garment has always been a symbol of love and protection. God made garments for Adam and Eve. Jacob made a coat of many colors for his favored son, Joseph. Jonathan took his own coat and gave it to David as a sign of their special friendship. Rahab and her family were spared death because of a purple cord hung from a window as a sign. Eliseus used the mantle of Elias to part the waters of the river Jordan. When the prodigal son returned, his father ordered his servants to “bring the first robe and put it on him.” A woman sought to be cured if she could only touch the hem of Our Lord’s garment. The handkerchief of St. Paul was used to cure the sick. Our Lady wrapped the infant Jesus in swaddling cloths, and made for Him the seamless garment which He wore to Calvary. Likewise, the scapular is a garment which our heavenly Mother has given us as a pledge of protection in body and soul. When in danger or temptation it reminds us: I am not alone in this battle; Mary is protecting me now!

The scapular must be made of simple woven wool. Pius XII said: “May they all see in this keepsake of the Virgin herself a mirror of humility and purity; may they read in the very simplicity of the garment a concise lesson in modesty and simplicity” (Lynch, p. viii). How many souls, tempted to vanity or immodesty in dress, would blush if they remembered the contrast with their brown scapular!

There are those who take the scapular off, either out of vanity or convenience. Others keep it in their pocket or by the bedside. These do not obtain the special protection Mary has promised nor the indulgences for wearing the scapular. The Prior General of the Carmelite order said in 1640: “They ought to continue day and night to wear the scapular” not in a pouch, in a pocket, or on the waist, but “hanging over the neck, for a scapular, by its nature, demands that it be worn over the neck just as a hat must be worn on the head and cannot be worn on any other part of the body” (Stratius, p. 97). We have an inspiring example in a courageous soul in the missions in Tonkin in 1892. Michel Don, a new convert to the faith, was arrested and brought before the Mandarin:

“What is that cloth which you wear over your chest?” demanded the Mandarin.

“It is my scapular.”

“Throw it away and I will immediately give you your freedom.”

“You can cut off my head, but I will always press this scapular to my heart!”

During all this time, Don was stretched on the ground with his hands and feet tied tightly to two poles. The Mandarin, angered at this reply, turned to a soldier and shouted: “This man is insolent. Go! Strike him!”

The soldier took up a rod and began with all his strength to strike the faithful servant of Mary who would not renounce Jesus Christ by taking off his scapular. At first, Don writhed in pain, twisting and turning as the soldier beat him with no mercy. Suddenly, strengthened by grace, the Christian made the resolve to receive the blows without the least movement; the soldier continued to strike, but Don remained motionless. His blood flowed, his flesh was torn. Finally, he appeared to have no sign of life.

“Stop!” the Mandarin called out, “Is he already dead?” The soldier bent down to look, but Don raised his head and said: “I am yet living; you may continue.”

The soldier picked up the rod and continued his cruel work. Pieces of bloody flesh began to fly under the force of the blows. A soldier, half out of anger, half out of pity, urged him to give in, but the valiant confessor replied: “To fall from the heights of heaven in order to continue to live on earth? Never!”

The torture continued. After he had suffered one hundred thirty blows, he was left to suffer in prison for a month. (Les Promesses, pp. 28-30)

Let us wear our scapular always, even at the cost of some inconvenience. What a consolation to those who do so. What a comfort to parents whose children do so. May we appreciate its meaning and wear it faithfully until death.

Bibliography

Beringer, Franz, S.J., Consulteur de la S. Congr. des Indulg. Les Indulgences leur Nature et leur Usage. Tome II. Trad. par Mazoyer. 3e édition. Approuvée par la S. Cong. des Indulg. Paris: Lethielleux. 1903.

Billuart, Charles R., O.P. Sermons du R.P. C.-R. Billuart, Tome II, p. 99. Bruxelles: Vanderborght. 1846.

Colombière, Bl. Claude de la. Le Saint Scapulaire de Notre-Dame du Mont-Carmel: Sermon. Paris. 1853.

Haffert, John Mathias. Mary in Her Scapular Promise. 2nd ed. 1941. Reprint: Refuge of Sinners Publishing, Pekin, IN. 2010.

Lynch, Most Rev. E. K., O. Carm. Your Brown Scapular. Westminster: Newman Press. 1950.

Magennis, P.E., O. Carm. The Scapular Devotion. Dublin: Gill & Son. 1923.

Promesses de la Très Sainte Vierge à Saint Simon Stock et au Pape Jean XXII, Les. Paris: Vic et Amat. 1899.

Stratius, Theodorus, Prior Generalis O. Carm. Instructio pro Fratribus Carmelitis. Romae: Manelphii. 1640.

 

 

For distribution, this article may be purchased here: MIQCenter

 

For more information, here a couple more articles:

The Wonders of the Brown Scapular – by Fr. James McGilloway, CMRI

The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel – by Sr. Mary Agatha, CMRI

Actual Grace

September 21st, 2018 by Vigilo

from CMRI

From the Lectures of Father Messias D. Coelho
on the Message of Fatima (August, 1967)

Editor’s note: Fr. Messias D. Coelho, an outstanding authority on the message of Our Lady, was the editor of the Portuguese religious newspaper, The Message of Fatima, as well as professor in the seminary at Fundao, Portugal. Although his English is not the most fluid, his words are an important historical commentary on the Fatima Message. This article is the fifteenth in this series of lectures, transcribed by Howard Earp from audio recordings. We believe that this is their first appearance in a periodical.

 


To do supernatural actions, to do apostolic work, to do works that are ordered to God’s glory, these things must be offered for God’ s glory. I am sure that this may seem difficult and strange to you, but this is what theology teaches us. Let me tell you how actual grace is necessary for us and for those who have no grace.

Let us consider two different things. Let us consider, first of all, the necessity of this grace for those who are not living in the grace of God — poor sinners. This grace is necessary for those who have no faith, who do not have the grace of God, in order to prepare the soul to receive sanctifying grace. For the beginning of faith, the beginning of hope, the beginning of the love of God, we need this grace. This is a dogma of faith. This has been defined in a Council many, many years ago.

Secondly, this grace is necessary at the very moment that a man comes to a priest and says, “ Let me go to confession.” It is one grace when he decides to go to confession, when he thinks, “I should go to confession; I will go to confession; I am willing to go to confession.” When he says, “Let me go now to confession,” that is another grace. Without these two graces no man can be converted. This is of faith; it has been defined as a point of faith. This is a most difficult point in theology.

Let me tell you a story of something that happened to me to help you understand this. Once I was at Strasbourg in a summer course in languages in French and German. Those of us attending were free on Saturdays and Sundays. On those days we had tours with our teachers and professors to see the things that were interesting in Strasbourg and around the town.

Years earlier, when I was a twelve-year-old boy — I remember it so well — I was in the seminary, where I had read a book that I found most interesting. It was a book on the wonders of the world. There was a wonder that impressed me deeply: the astronomical clock of Strasbourg, which is a marvel. Have you seen it? It is a clock that strikes the hours, minutes and seconds as does every other clock, and also the days of the week, the months of the year, the days of the year. It never fails even on the 28th and 29th of February in leap years. It indicates eclipses, phases of the moon, the dates of Easter and Pentecost, and so on. Everything is indicated in time, and also the distance between the earth and the sun — everything. It is wonderful.

The clock compares human life to a single hour. A child strikes the first quarter of the hour when he comes to play. A young man, an archer, strikes the second quarter of the hour, striking twice with an arrow. The third quarter is struck by an adult, a man with a sword, indicating that life is a battle. The last quarter of the hour is struck by an old man with a cane who is bent with age, who lifts up his cane and strikes the time. Finally comes the form of a skeleton, who strikes the hour with a bone. During the night the boy, the young man, the man, and the old man do not appear; only the skeleton appears, striking every hour.

At noon there appears Christ sitting on His throne in the upper part of the clock. One by one the Apostles come before Him and He blesses them. When He blesses the last Apostle, a cock, which is in the upper right corner of the clock, stretches his beak and crows three times — this is exactly at twelve o’ clock. It is wonderful.

When I first read about the Strasbourg clock I was twelve years old, and I was so much impressed that I wished I could go to Strasbourg to see it. Then I found where Strasbourg was on the map — oh, it was so far away! Yet I was always interested in this clock.

Years later I went to Strasbourg. I was living in a house called the House of the Catholic Spirit, which was just in back of the cathedral. Every day I went to the cathedral to offer Mass. The Strasbourg clock is in the cathedral in a side chapel — yet I did not think of the clock!
On the last day I was in Strasbourg, as I took leave of my friends I said, “I am going; I have my ticket ready.” One of them said, “Have you seen everything in Strasbourg?” “ Yes, I am fed up with Strasbourg; I want to go home. I am homesick.” “Have you seen the Palace of Nations?…” They asked me about many of the sights in the city. Then one asked, “Have you seen the astronomical clock?” “What?” “Have you seen the astronomical clock of Strasbourg?”

It was 10 o’ clock. I was to leave Strasbourg at one, and I had just realized that the clock was there in the cathedral! I went as fast as I could to the side chapel where the clock was located. The portal, the inside door, was closed, so I went around the cathedral to get there the outside way. It was a Sunday, and was very crowded with cars and with people getting tickets to see the clock. I realized it was impossible to get a ticket because there were so many people, and the chapel is so small. I was disappointed.

A sacristan was taking tickets at the door and I waved to him. He was a very pleasant man, and he understood and called to me, “Hurry up, hurry up!” I passed through the crowd without a ticket to see the clock.

The point is this: why had I missed the clock? I knew that it was in Strasbourg. But what happened? I did not receive the actual grace during that time. Do you understand? This actual grace was a natural grace, of course. But this happens to many, many people who know all about heaven and hell. They want to go to heaven, and they do not want to go to hell. But they are so busy with other things that they do not realize that they can lose heaven. The time comes when they have to go, as with the train leaving for Paris or for Portugal, and, yes, everything is lost.

This is of faith; we are obliged to believe this: that without actual grace, no one can receive sanctifying grace. But, you may say, “This is not for us. We all live in the state of grace.” So let us consider how this grace is necessary for those of us who live in the state of grace.

For those who live in grace, actual grace is necessary for each act of virtue that leads to salvation. That is why Christ said to the Apostles, “If you do not live in Me, and if I do not live in you, you shall not be saved.” St. Paul explained this very well when he said that without this grace we cannot have even one good thought or one good act. It is impossible. St. Augustine gives us a clear example: “If you have sound eyes, very good eyes, without them it is darkness inside. You cannot see anything at all in darkness without light, with exterior light.” Without this light, even if we have our soul in grace, our soul in life, we cannot do anything, we cannot see anything without this grace of God. Do you understand? St. Augustine was called the Doctor of Grace because he was the one who explained this most clearly. This grace is necessary for each act contributing to one’s salvation.

Second, we need these graces to persevere in sanctifying grace, to live for a long time in grace. Without this grace no one can remain for long in sanctifying grace. This is also a doctrine of faith which was defined in the Council of Orange. That is why Christ says, “Pray, watch, or you shall fall into temptation.” That is why Our Lady says here, “Pray very much, pray always,” and the Angel said,“ Pray at every moment, offer sacrifice at every moment.” We have seen how this is easy and how this is important. And why? Because of original sin, and the inclinations of our fallen nature towards evil. We have a force within us that is always inclining us to evil. If we have not this other force to counteract this tendency, we cannot stand, we cannot live in grace.

Third, we need a special grace, a special actual grace to persevere until the hour of death. This has also been defined as a doctrine of faith by the Council of Trent. You know the importance of the Five First Saturdays, and the grace that Our Lady promises to those who make this devotion. She promises to either keep them in the state of grace or to obtain that grace for them at the moment of death. Finally, fourth, we need this grace to avoid venial sins. This was defined as a point of faith in the Council of Carthage. That is why at Fatima Our Lady always asked here for prayers: “Pray, pray very much!” What she wants is sanctifying grace, but no one can live in sanctifying grace or increase in it without actual grace. God, Who gives sanctifying grace without asking anything from us — He gives it to a child, He gives it to a sinner — does not give actual grace free of charge.

Prayer is the most effective means of obtaining actual grace. Christ said in the Gospel, “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find….” But our prayer must be humble, because this is a grace from God. We can never merit it, and God resists the proud.

Sometimes prayer is not enough. The Gospel tells us this. We need sacrifice, penance. There are devils that cannot be expelled except by prayers, fasting and penance. The greatest penance is to accept what God sends us with submission, as I told you. Something wonderful happens when we do this. When we offer prayer and penance in reparation to Our Lady, she can do marvelous things in us and in others.

Let me tell you what happened with Douglas Hyde. Douglas Hyde was a Communist. He was here in Portugal during a Congress that was held in Fatima. This man, who was against Our Lady, against Fatima, against everything religious, had a cousin who was a Carmelite who prayed very much for him. She also asked her Sisters in the convent to pray for Douglas, who was always writing against religion, against God, against everything holy.

One day he received a book from Fatima and was asked to criticize it, which he did. But after this he felt something inside himself so that he could not be at peace. When coming home one day he passed by a church. It was a very old church, and he went inside and sat down to rest. In his book, I believe, he tells this story, the story of his conversion. He said, “It was the place where I felt more comfortable, in that church. Everything was so silent, so quiet, and this is what I needed. Then after half an hour or a few minutes I went out and went home.”

One day he was much troubled with all his problems. All this time his cousin was praying for him and sacrificing herself for him. One afternoon he was going home from the office of the Daily Worker, the Communist paper, and he again entered the same church. Soon there came in a poor young servant girl carrying a bouquet of flowers. Douglas saw by the face of this young girl that she was much distressed with some heavy problem. She took the bouquet of flowers to the altar of Our Lady and placed the flowers at Our Lady’s feet. Then she lit a candle and took a prayer book in her hands and began praying. She probably did not realize she was being watched. A stained-glass window was next to the girl and Douglas saw how her face was changing during prayer. This lasted only for ten minutes and then the girl went out. As she was leaving she faced Douglas who was sitting in the last bench of the church, and he saw how different her face had become. At this he wondered to himself, “This girl must be very ignorant, and I am a learned man. I give lectures, I write books, I direct plays. Why can’t I find the peace that this young girl found here?” He looked around, and seeing that there was no one in the church, he went to Our Lady’ s statue, lit a candle, and put a coin into the box. Then he said, “Well, I must say something!” But he did not remember any prayers; he did not know even the Hail Mary. He tried to remember any poem, because sometimes there are poems like prayers, but he could not even remember any poems. Finally he found himself singing a song he used to dance to in his twenties. It was a song from an operetta; in this play a servant who was going to be expelled from a house knelt before her mistress and sang, “Oh lady, be good to me.” He began singing this song that he had danced to when he was twenty. He became ashamed when he realized that it was irreverent, but it was the nicest thing he could think of to do.

Do you know what happened when he left the church? He was converted. He went home and said to his wife, “I am going to leave Communism.” She said to him, “I have also been thinking of leaving Communism for a week but I was afraid to tell you.”

What made this man make this resolution? Was it the prayer he said? No, it was the prayers in the convent of his cousin and the other Sisters praying.

The same happened to Louis Budenz, the American. For almost twenty years his wife and his children had knelt down and said the Rosary for him every day. Yet he became worse and worse. One day he entered a cafeteria. Monsignor Fulton Sheen happened to be in this cafeteria at the time. This would have been impossible in Portugal because bishops never enter cafes in Portugal.

As soon as he saw Monsignor Fulton Sheen, whom he did not know was a Bishop, Budenz said, “Father, I think that we should work together for a better world. This is a very old world and it has so many injustices all around. Do not you agree?” “Yes, I agree.” Then they sat down at a table to discuss it. Monsignor Fulton Sheen said to him, “To have a better world you should point out a human model, someone who has no defect at all, someone we should imitate. Try to find this model.” “That is what I ask of you, Father; give us a model to have a better world.” “Yes, I have this model; it is Mary of Nazareth.” Monsignor Sheen began to explain how Our Lady cooked, how she washed, how she lived. He explained that when the Angel came to tell her that she was to be the Mother of God, she did not go to the hairdresser to have her hair done; she just went on with her life and the things around her. Budenz said, “When I was listening to that man and thinking about Our Lady, it was as if I was hearing the greeting of the Archangel Gabriel, ‘Hail, full of grace!’ , the prayer I learned in my childhood.” As they left, Budenz was repeating in the deepest part of his soul this prayer, the Hail Mary. Immediately he went to the Church of the Sepulchre in that area to join the instruction course to be baptized. And now you know better than I that he is a wonderful man.

Why did this happen? It was because of the prayers of his wife, who was getting discouraged because she had been praying so much for so many years.

This is actual grace. It is the most wonderful thing that we have. And the means to attract are prayer and penance. We have been here for five days studying the message of Fatima. This message is supernatural. We are not simply interested in history. We are interested only in knowing what Our Lady wants from us, what she came here to say to us. This is supernatural.

Actual grace is the only help, the only light that enlightens our minds to supernatural things; you could not understand one word if you did not receive this grace. If you understand many things, you received many graces. If you wish to change your life in some way, to improve your prayer, your Rosary, to make your consecration, you need a shower of graces.

But if these graces are conditioned to prayer and penance, and if God sends them only when someone is asking them, let me ask you, who was asking for graces for you?

Now is the time to reveal a secret to you. Do you know who was praying for you during all these days, and even today? A group of sixty priests from Oporto who made the last conference at Fatima made a promise of being in prayer and penance for you during this conference. Oporto, as you know, is the second largest city in Portugal. I have here a bundle of letters sent by them that came today; I can show them to you. One of these priests wrote that he said a Mass for you, and that he said a Rosary on August 22 for you. “And during all this week,” he wrote, “from August 21st to the 27th, which is a very busy week for me, I will live in the best way, the most perfect way possible, accepting and offering for this course all the sufferings, all the difficulties, of my life.” This letter is from a parish priest; there are fifty-nine more.

So you may trust very much in this grace to understand these things properly and to live your own consecration, and to help you in your apostolate later on. Lucia, now Sister Mary of the Immaculate Heart, and all the Carmelite nuns at Coimbra were also praying all this week for all the results of this study. You may be very confident in this grace and trust God. This is the only thing that matters when you want to do something important, because without this grace, when we work and speak, we are only making noise, nothing more.

Our Lady of Good Success and the Fatima Message

September 18th, 2018 by Vigilo

By Sister Mary Agatha, CMRI

This article was first published in The Reign of Mary, Issue No. 121, in 2005.

There can be no doubt that traditional Catholics find immeasurable strength and consolation in the apparitions of the Queen of Heaven over the past two centuries. In her messages at Fatima, Lourdes, Rue du Bac, and La Salette especially, we find loving and urgent pleas with strong, even apocalyptical, overtones. Many, however, may be surprised to learn that Our Lady’s active solicitude for the souls living in these perilous times stretches back far before any of these apparitions. About 400 years ago, as early as 1610, the Blessed Virgin appeared to a humble nun in Quito, Equador, foretelling to her that in these times the light of the Faith would be all but destroyed and that society would be almost totally corrupt. Yet, as at Fatima, Our Lady’s message at Quito was also one of hope and confidence.

It was to Venerable Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres (1563-1635), a Conceptionist nun of the Royal Convent of the Immaculate Conception, that the Mother of God appeared under the title of Our Lady of Good Success, predicting also that these revelations would not be made known to the world until the end of the 20th century. And so it came to pass. The story of this apparition was virtually unknown outside of Equador until 1999, when a small book was published entitled Our Lady of Good Success — Prophecies for Our Times.1 Since then, the devotion has been spreading steadily.

The revelations of Our Lady of Good Success were first approved by the Catholic Church in the early 17th century shortly after the statue bearing this title was sculpted at the command of the Blessed Virgin herself. The Bishop of Quito at the time, Salvador de Ribera, went so far as to issue official documents attesting that the statue was miraculously completed and transformed by St. Francis of Assisi and the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. This took place during the early morning hours of January 16, 1611, and was witnessed by Mother Mariana, who then saw the Blessed Virgin enter into the statue “like the rays of the sun penetrate beautiful crystals.”2 A few weeks later, on February 2, Bishop de Ribera solemnly anointed and consecrated the image. Since then, the devotion has continued to enjoy the approval and support of the Church.

Many of the prophecies of Our Lady of Good Success have already come true. She foretold that Equador would become a republic, and that a truly Catholic president of this country would be elected in the 19th century who would consecrate it to the Sacred Heart. She also predicted that the dogmas of Papal Infallibility and the Immaculate Conception would be proclaimed in that century. The object of this article, however, is not so much to give a detailed account of these revelations as to show their importance in our times and how they parallel the Fatima message. It is clear that our Blessed Mother had a reason for revealing these matters to Mother Mariana in the 1600’s and only allowing them to come to light recently. In fact, she predicted that the spread of the devotion to Our Lady of Good Success would bring about a miraculous restoration of the Church at a time when the situation would seem nearly hopeless. Our Lady promised to give her special assistance — her good success — to those who would invoke her under this title during these days of darkness.

In 1610, over the course of several apparitions, Our Lady ordered Mother Mariana to have a life-size statue made in the exact form that she appeared: with a crozier and the keys to the cloister in her right hand, and the Infant Jesus on her left arm. She explained that this was “so that men will understand how powerful I am in placating the Divine Justice and in obtaining mercy and pardon for every sinner who comes to me with a contrite heart, for I am the Mother of Mercy and in me there is only goodness and love. Let them come to me, for I will lead them to Him.”3

These ideas are replicated in the words of Sister Lucia in an interview with Father Fuentes in 1957, in which she speaks of the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

“…[D]evotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, our Most Holy Mother, consists in considering Her as the seat of mercy, of goodness and of pardon, and as the sure door by which we are to enter Heaven.”4 One fact that stands out clearly both at Quito and at Fatima, as well as in many of the other recent Marian apparitions, is the necessity of a very special devotion to the Blessed Virgin in these times, for only her grace and mercy will be able to sustain the faithful amidst such great trials and temptations.

Although many of the revelations Our Lady made to Mother Mariana referred specifically to Equador, it is quite evident that the “almost total corruption” she predicted would be worldwide. When she first appeared to the nun, our Blessed Mother showed herself as the Sorrowful Virgin, weeping as Christ suffered His death agony on the cross. She made known that this anguish was “for the criminal world”5 — specifically for the heresy, blasphemy and impurity of the 20th century. The Holy Virgin asked Mother Mariana if she was willing to sacrifice herself for the people who would live during this time, and the holy nun agreed.

We see here an echo of Our Lady of Fatima’s words to the three children, “Do you wish to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the suffering that He may please to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended, and to ask for the conversion of sinners?” “Yes, we do,” Lucia answered in the name of all three. It is also significant, as Sister Lucia explained in an interview with Father Fuentes, that this eagerness for sacrifice was motivated by the children’s compassion for Our Lady’s great sadness:

“Tell them also, Father, that my cousins Francisco and Jacinta sacrificed themselves because in all the apparitions of the Most Holy Virgin, they always saw her very sad. She never smiled at us. This sadness, this anguish which we noted in her, penetrated our souls. This sadness is caused by the offenses against God and the punishments which menace sinners. And so we children did not know what to think except to invent various means of praying and making sacrifices.”6

A recurrent theme in the revelations of Our Lady of Good Success is the terrible trial which would afflict the Church in the 20th century, a crisis which would affect the sacraments, the clergy, and society in general:

“…at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century, various heresies will be propagated… As these heresies spread, the precious light of Faith will be extinguished in souls by the almost total corruption of morals… The small number of souls, who hidden, will preserve the treasure of the Faith and suffer a cruel, unspeakable and prolonged martyrdom….”7

The Fatima message contains the same warnings, but not as explicitly, although it is nearly certain that the Third Secret of Fatima predicts today’s global crisis in faith. At Quito Our Lady warned that in these times the sacraments would be attacked, abused and neglected. Laws would be passed undermining marriage so that many people will live in sin. “In these unhappy times, there will be unbridled luxury that will conquer innumerable frivolous souls who will be lost. Innocence will be almost no longer found in children, nor modesty in women. In this supreme moment of need in the Church, those who should speak will fall silent.”8 The spirit of impurity “will permeate the atmosphere during these times. Like a filthy ocean, it will run through the streets, squares and public places with an astonishing liberty,” to the point that “[t]here will be almost no virgin souls in the world.”9

These ideas are suggested in the words of the youngest Fatima seer, Jacinta Marto, during her stay in Lisbon, where Our Lady appeared to her and made known to her many things both present and future. For example, she told Jacinta that more souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason, that fashions will be introduced that will offend God very much, that many marriages are displeasing to Our Lord and are not of God.

At Quito, Our Lady also foretold widespread corruption of the clergy; secular priests, especially, will become lax and worldly. “How the Church will suffer during this dark night!,” she continued. “Lacking a prelate and father to guide them with paternal love, gentleness, strength, wisdom and prudence, many priests will lose their spirit, placing their souls in great danger.”10 Horrendous scandals will take place, so that the actions of depraved priests will incite “the hatred of the bad Christians and the enemies of the Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church to fall upon all priests.”11 This seems to be a prediction of today’s widespread outrage over the numerous and unspeakable cases of clergy abuse. Fatima, too, may have held forebodings of this shameful scandal. Again, it is Jacinta’s words that draw our attention: “Pray much for priests and religious. Priests must be pure, very pure!”

The Blessed Virgin assured Mother Mariana that despite widespread betrayal and ingratitude among consecrated souls, there will always be some good religious who by their lives of holy virginity will avert the divine wrath, and holy priests who will carry on the work of the Church. In Mother Mariana’s convent, there will always be at least one faithful soul to appease divine justice. “…[W]ithout virginity,” Our Lady told her, “it would be necessary for fire from heaven to rain down upon these lands in order to purify them.”12 Our Lord also appeared to Mother Mariana, affirming the great responsibility of religious for souls as well as the power of their supplications: “Know that the prayers of religious souls penetrate the Heart of God, and they obtain what the world is powerless to attain.”13 For this reason, the forces of hell launch ceaseless attacks to tempt them to fall or to slacken their efforts. Thus Our Lord revealed that He is greatly pleased by those who pray and sacrifice for priests and religious, and promises them special glory in Heaven.

Sister Lucia also spoke to Fr. Fuentes of the attacks of the devil on consecrated souls: “Father, the devil is engaged in a decisive battle against the Blessed Virgin. He knows what it is that offends God the most, and which in a short space of time will gain for him the greatest number of souls. Thus the devil does everything to overcome souls consecrated to God, because in this way he will succeed in leaving the souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders, thereby the more easily will he seize them… He employs all tricks, even going so far as to suggest the delay of entrance into religious life.”14

To Mother Mariana, Our Lady revealed that one of these diabolical tactics would be the introduction of injustice and iniquity into religious houses in the form of “false charity, wreaking havoc in souls.”15 What comes to mind here is the severe, even Jansenistic, spirit of some religious in the years before Vatican II. Emphasizing the letter of the law to the detriment of its spirit, these religious spoke often enough of charity and the love of God, but their practical application of it was harsh, intolerant, and devoid of genuine understanding and compassion. Thus they unwittingly sowed bitterness, rebellion, and distaste for the Faith among those with whom they came into contact. It is easy to see how this unChristlike attitude “wreaks havoc,” for young, impressionable, or weak souls would unconsciously conclude that if consecrated souls are so unjust, cold and merciless, then God Himself must also be. Sadly, too, this concept of charity exists to some extent among traditional Catholics today.

This absence of virtue was also mentioned by our Divine Lord to Mother Mariana: “The times will come when doctrine will be commonly known among the learned and the ignorant. …Many religious books will be written, but the practice of the virtues and of these doctrines will be found in only a few souls; for this reason, saints will become rare.”16 Because of the crisis in the Church today, lay people as well as priests have plunged into the study of difficult theological matters that in normal times would only be examined by theologians, spawning numerous books, articles and web sites. While traditional Catholics all agree that there are serious problems afflicting the Church, there are varying opinions of what to do about it. With no definite means to resolve these differences, the resulting division and lack of charity among the various camps of traditional Catholics is destructive to souls and must deeply wound the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

To address this matter, the author of the two books on Our Lady of Good Success, Marian T. Horvat, devotes the entire last chapter of her second book on the account of the scandal caused by a bitter conflict between two prominent families in Quito in which Mother Mariana mediated.17 The story contains several valuable lessons for traditional Catholics today, for it clearly illustrates how demons incite and perpetuate conflicts and divisions among good people in order to distract them from battling evil. It also demonstrates the efficacy of sacrifice and prayer and the power of the Blessed Virgin, who will crush the head of the proud serpent at the very moment “when the evil will appear triumphant.”18 The confidence of the just will be sorely tried, but our Mother and Queen assures us of her victory. This is but another affirmation of what Our Lady told us at Fatima: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”

The message of Our Lady of Good Success, is, then, one of great hope. Let us then, ask her for the courage and confidence to remain faithful in all the trials that may come in the days ahead. Above all, let us pray for the hastening of the day when she will triumph over the forces of evil and bring about the “happy restoration” of the Church and society.

 


Footnotes

1Our Lady of Good Success, Prophecies for Our Times, Marian T. Horvat, Los Angeles: TIA, Inc., 1999.
2Stories and Miracles of Our Lady of Good Success, Marian T. Horvat, Los Angeles: TIA, Inc., 2002, p. 56.
3Horvat, 2002, p. 13.
4“Silencing of the Messengers, Father Fuentes (1959-1965),” Interview with Sister Lucia, http://www.fatima.org/essentials/opposed/frfuentes.asp
5Horvat, 1999, p. 27.
6“Silencing of the Messengers, Father Fuentes (1959-1965),” Interview with Sister Lucia, http://www.fatima.org/essentials/opposed/frfuentes.asp
7Horvat, 1999, p. 55.
8“Our Lady of Good Success and Our Lady of Fatima: Prophecies for Our Times,” Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D., http://www.traditioninaction.org/OLGS/A001olgs%20fat.htm
9Horvat, 1999, p. 56.
10Horvat, 1999, p. 57.
11Horvat, 1999, p. 56.
12“Our Lady of Good Success and Our Lady of Fatima: Prophecies for Our Times,” Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D., http://www.traditioninaction.org/OLGS/A001olgs%20fat.htm
13Horvat, 2002, p. 52
14“Silencing of the Messengers, Father Fuentes (1959-1965),” Interview with Sister Lucia, http://www.fatima.org/essentials/opposed/frfuentes.asp
15“Our Lady of Good Success and Our Lady of Fatima: Prophecies for Our Times,” Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D., http://www.traditioninaction.org/OLGS/A001olgs%20fat.htm
16Horvat, 1999, p. 63.
17Horvat, 2002, p. 79-95.
18Horvat, 1999, p. 18.

from Novus Ordo Watch

The Francis Show in Palermo…

The Blessing that Wasn’t: Francis omits “Papal” Benediction because it could offend Non-Catholics

 

On Saturday, Sep. 15, the Francis Show made a stop in Sicily, with the “Pope” visiting the dioceses of Piazza Armerina and Palermo. As always, Francis had a lot to say, cranking out such incredible nuggets of wisdom as, “Those belonging to the mafia are not living as Christians”, and, “…those who give themselves find the meaning of life and win” (source). The Vatican web site has posted the entire program of the trip to Sicily here.

One of the highlights of this “apostolic journey” was a meeting with young people at Politeama Square in Palermo. Vatican News has released the video of the event (with English translation):

A curious thing happened at the end of the gathering. Instead of giving everyone his (putative) papal blessing, Francis decided that, since there were also Protestants and other unbelievers in the audience, he would omit it and instead say a prayer for them all.

Beginning in the above video at the 50:51 min mark, here is what Francis said:

Adesso vorrei darvi la benedizione. Io so che tra voi ci sono giovani cattolici, cristiani, di altre tradizioni religiose, e anche alcuni agnostici. Per questo darò la benedizione a tutti, e chiederò a Dio che benedica quel seme di inquietudine che è nel vostro cuore.

Signore, Signore Dio, guarda questi giovani. Tu conosci ognuno di loro, Tu sai cosa pensano, Tu sai che hanno voglia di andare avanti, di fare un mondo migliore. Signore, rendili ricercatori del bene e di felicità; rendili operosi nel cammino e nell’incontro con gli altri; rendili audaci nel servire; rendili umili nel cercare le radici e portarle avanti per dare frutti, avere identità, avere appartenenza. Il Signore, il Signore Dio accompagni tutti questi giovani nel cammino e benedica tutti. Amen.

[English translation by Novus Ordo Watch:]

Now I would like to give you the blessing. I know that among you there are young Catholics, Christians, those of other religious traditions, and even some agnostics. Therefore I will give the blessing to everyone, and I will ask God to bless that seed of restlessness that is in your heart.

Lord, Lord God, look at these young people. You know each one of them, You know what they think, You know that they want to move forward, to make a better world. Lord, make them seekers of good and of happiness; make them active in their journey and in their encounter with others; make them bold in serving; make them humble in seeking the roots and carrying them forward to bear fruit, to have identity, to have belonging. May the Lord, the Lord God, accompany all these young people on the journey and bless everyone. Amen.

(Source)

What was supposed to be a conferral of the papal benediction invoking the Most Holy Trinity thus became nothing more than a prayer for God to bless the youngsters present, a prayer that anyone else could have offered just as well. On top of that, it was a prayer entirely Naturalistic, a lowest-common-denominator petition to an interreligious “Lord God”, filled with a generous helping of Bergoglio’s favorite psycho-existentialist buzzwords: “journey”, “encounter”, “roots”, “moving forward”, “identity”, and “accompany”.

In other words: It is hard to see what the Dalai Lama would have said differently.

We notice also the striking absence of the Sign of the Cross, which is par for the course for this pseudo-pope. In fact, it has been evident for a long time that Francis has an aversion to making the Sign of the Cross over others. Instead of giving a proper blessing, most of the time Francis will simply impose his hand on someone’s head, shoulder, or arm, or even give a kiss. This can be seen in the following three sample videos:

Kisses, touches, caresses, and a big show — but no blessing. Yet the press, both Novus Ordo and secular, typically reports this obsessive-compulsive touching of others as Bergoglio “blessing” people, when in fact that is the one thing he does not do. It is a shameful trick Francis plays on souls, even on the disabled, who are already suffering so much from their handicap.

We must clarify one thing: Being only a layman (his ordinations to the priesthood and episcopacy having been invalid), Francis would not have been able to confer a true blessing in today’s meeting with the youth anyway, much less a papal one. However, that’s not even the main point. The much bigger problem is that the entire world, which believes him to be the Pope and thus the Vicar of Christ and head of the Catholic Church, perceives Bergoglio’s unwillingness to use the papal benediction as the Pope refusing to confer his blessing so as not to offend those who are not Catholic. In the eyes of almost everyone, it is another sellout of the Catholic Church to the errors of the world and its lord. Francis is once again humiliating and insulting Jesus Christ before the world.

Even if one wants to say that it is important for the world to see a supposed Pope asking God to bless those who are not Catholic, he could have done that in addition to giving the papal blessing; and he could have mentioned his usual jazz about roots, accompaniment, and encounter after praying for their conversion to the true Faith and the salvation of their souls. This did not happen, of course; and so what the world sees instead is, ostensibly, the Pope subjugating the Bride of Christ to Satan and his false religions (cf. 2 Cor 6:14-16).

Let us not forget, however, that Francis is a repeat offender in this regard. On Mar. 16, 2013, a mere three days after his election, the “Pope” omitted the usual benediction at the end of a meeting with journalists and decided to bless “in silence” and “from my heart” because many of the people in attendance were professing non-Catholics:

Pope Francis on Saturday offered a silent blessing to an audience of journalists and other news media workers, acknowledging that not all of them were Catholic or believers — a rare gesture for a pontiff and a sign of openness toward other faiths and engagement with the secular world.

“Given that many of you do not belong to the Catholic Church, and others are not believers, I give this blessing from my heart, in silence, to each one of you, respecting the conscience of each one of you, but knowing that each one of you is a child of God,” he said. “May God bless you.”

(Rachel Donadio, “With Blessing, Pope Shows an Openness to Other Faiths”The New York Times, Mar. 16, 2013)

In Palermo, then, it was for at least the second time that Francis refused to pretend to give the papal blessing in order not to offend non-Catholics.

It is time he renounced his claim to the Papacy in order not to offend Catholics.