This past Saturday we celebrated the feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus, also known as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Candlemas, and, the historical feast of Our Lady of Good Success.
At the end of the 16th century, Our Lady appeared to a Conceptionist sister from Quito, Equador, then a colony of the Spanish Crown, under the title of Our Lady of Good Success and commanded that a statue be made. She desired this to do a great good not only for the convent and the Ecuadorian nation, but for the entire West, and even the whole world. She desired this because the convent would stand in special need of her protection in those early days of the Colony, but also because She wanted to intervene during a great crisis in the Church and society that would occur in the 20th century.
The queenly image of Our Lady of Good Success, with its stately majesty and su-pernatural air, is no ordinary statue. It was miraculously completed by the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael in the year 1611. Readers who followined the story in the Catholic Family News know the beautiful story, and others can find it in my book entitled Our Lady of Good Success, Prophecies for Our Times at Tradition In Action.
This little book also tells the amazing story of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres (1563-1635) who offered her sufferings and life for the crisis in the Church she was given to see that would occur in the 20th century. Mother Mariana was a Conceptionist sister who traveled from Spain to the New World at age 13 to help to found the Royal Convent of the Immaculate Conception (a Franciscan branch) in Quito. Favored with many singular gifts from Heaven, this chosen soul was given to know many future events, especially the situation of the Church in our days. This is not the place to tell about her extraordinary life and the many trials and sufferings she underwent. Rather, what I would like to do here is tell some of the prophecies revealed to her that concern our own times and show how they harmonize perfectly with the better-known prophecies that Our Lady made at Fatima in 1917.
Our Lady told Mother Mariana that in our lamentable times, heresies would abound, the corruption of manners and customs would be almost complete and the light of the Faith would be nearly extinguished. To atone for the many blasphemies and abuses and to hasten the day of the triumphant restoration, this 17th-century religious was asked to become an expiatory victim for our times. Thus, in a special way, the vocation of Mother Mariana links her to the crisis in the Church and society that few would deny that we are witnessing today.
Over ten years ago I made a pilgrimage to see the miraculous statue of Our Lady of Good Success, and came upon a 500-page biography of Mother Mariana written 100 years after her death by the Franciscan Provincial Fr. Manuel Souza Pereira, who himself died in the odor of sanctity. He based his work on the documents of the convent archives, the autobiography written by Mother Mariana herself that received the approbation of the 10th bishop of Quito, Most Rev. Pedro de Oviedo, and the biography of Franciscan provincial Fr. Louis Catena, who wrote her life shortly after her death in 1635.
I translated the work of Fr. Pereira to English. As I progressed with the work, I was amazed to find that Our Lady, in a three-centuries-old approved apparition, was addressing the problems of our own days. There is absolutely no way that a Spanish religious in the 1600s could have had any idea of what would be occurring in our century. But there it all was: Our Lady warned Mother Mariana that the Sacraments would be abused and set aside, that vocations would perish because of poor formation and education in Catholic schools and monasteries, that impurity would inundate the streets like filthy ocean waters so that "there would be almost no virgin souls."
But there is an even more profound link to the Fatima message. Our Lady told Mother Mariana that her name would only become known at the end of the 20th century. The message of Our Lady of Quito warns repeatedly of a crisis in the Church and the clergy - both secular and regular. Could this be an interpretation for the third part of the message of 1917: the apostasy in the clergy, the general extinguishing of the light of Faith, a conspiracy against the Church, the dominion of Satan? In my view, Fatima and Quito form, as Atila Sinke Guimarăes notes in his foreword to my book, "two sides of the same gothic arch. It is the message of the Queen of the Universe for Catholics in our present day conjuncture."
A prophet is a person with a message for the future, an intercessor with Heaven who begs man's cooperation with grace. When God sent Prophets in the Old Testament it was to remind men to come back to the truth. In the 20th century Our Lord has sent His Mother, the Queen of Prophets: "Go to earth and destroy heresies." The Fathers of the Church have written Our Lady is the hammer of heresies.
I believe that if you study the message of Our Lady of Fatima, you will find the call for conversion and prayer - especially the Rosary - but also many warnings against the heresies and errors of our times. Our Lady at Quito confirms these warnings of Fatima almost 300 years before in a very descriptive and open way to the humble Conceptionist sister in Quito, Ecuador. In this first part I plan to highlight certain similarities that struck me in the stories of Quito and Fatima that will end with a few of the prophecies relating to the crisis in the Church.
A three-point parallel with Fatima
1. Need for expiatory victims: Love of the Cross
We are approaching the end of the 20th century, the century of man, who has embraced every pleasure and adopted the maxim of the Revolution of the 60s: "It is only forbidden to forbid." It is appropriate that the messages of Fatima and Quito speak to man of the need for expiatory victims and the love of the Cross.
At the very first apparition of Our Lady at Fatima in May of 1917, Our Lady asks the children, "Do you want to offer yourselves to God to endure all the sufferings He may choose to send you, as an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and as a supplication for the conversion of sinners?"
She asks for man's cooperation in the divine plan, and the children agreed. Lucia said, "Yes, we do." She replied: "Then you are going to suffer a great deal, but the grace of God will be your comfort."
Likewise, at Quito, Our Lady asked the cooperation of Mother Mariana in her great mission that connects us to our days. In 1582, when Mother Mariana was praying before the Blessed Sacrament, for the first time she was given to see the heresy, blasphemy and impurity that would inundate the world as punishment in the 20th century. Our Lady asked her: "My daughter, will you sac-rifice yourself for the people of this time?" Mother Mariana replied, "I am willing." From the violence of the shock of previewing the horrors of our day, Mother Mariana fell dead.
Documented medical evidence record that this holy religious truly died in 1582 and then, two days later, returned to life. Before the divine tribunal, she was given the choice to remain in heaven or return to suffer in the world. Following the example of Our Lady, who left the glories of heaven to protect her children during those difficult first years of the fledgling Church, Mother Mariana chose to return to life to expiate for the great sins of our times.
It seems there is also a special message for us in the way the children of Fatima and Mother Mariana accepted and embraced the cross. The mystery of cross is such a very special grace that Eternal Wisdom only bestows it on His best friends. "It is a greater happiness for St. Peter" writes St. John Chrysostom, "to be imprisoned for Jesus Christ than to be with Him in His glory on Mt. Thabor; it is a greater glory for him to wear his prisoner's chains than to bear in his hands the keys to Paradise."
Eternal Wisdom tells us that the number of fools is infinite. That is, St. Louis de Montfort says, because the number of those who do not know the value of the Cross is infinite, and they carry it despite themselves. You should thrill with joy, he says, because the cross you carry is a gift so precious, it would arouse the envy for the Blessed if they were capable of envy (Love of Eternal Wisdom, p. 97).
The Existence of Hell
The First Secret of Fatima breaks the myth, the lie of 20th century, that hell does not exist. On July 13, 1917, Our Lady told three children, ages 10, 8, and 7, to "pray, pray very much because many souls go to Hell. Then she opened Her hands and showed the three children a hole in the ground, a place. That hole, said Lucy, was like a sea of fire in which we saw the souls of human forms, men and women, burning, shouting, and crying in despair." Mary said to the children: "You have seen Hell where sinners go when they do not repent." A Roman Catholic dogma: The existence of Hell.
During her life, Mother Mariana begged Our Lord to save the soul of an insubordinate sister in the convent. He agreed that this rebellious sister would be saved, although she would be required to remain in Purgatory until the end of the world. In recompense, Mother Mariana had to suffer five years on earth the pains of hell. For five years, she suffered all the tortures of the senses reserved for souls in that terrible place and the most intense suffering of the sense of the loss of God.
It seems very clear that Our Lady wanted 20th century man to realize, in face of the "theories" of universal salvation of von Balthasar - who has had enormous influence on the post conciliar Popes and our present John Paul II - that Hell exists: it is a place and it is not empty.
3. The almost complete breakdown of morals and customs:
During Jacinta's stay at the orphanage of Our Lady of Miracles in Lisbon in 1920, Our Lady told her, "The sins that lead more souls to hell are the sins of the flesh." There were other prophecies She revealed to the little girl: "Styles will come that will offend Our Lord very much. Persons who serve God should not follow the styles. The Church does not have styles. Our Lord is always the same." She said that the sins of impurity would be so great there would be almost no virgin souls. She said that many marriages are not good, that they do not please Our Lord and are not of God. Finally, Jacinta repeated continually to Lucia and Mother Godinho: "Pray much for priests and religious. Priests should be pure, very pure!"
Three centuries before, in Quito, Ecuador, on Jan. 20, 1610, Our Lady appeared carrying a crozier in Her right hand and her Divine Son in her left arm so that "all will know that I am merciful and understanding. Let them come to me, for I will lead them to Him." She told Mother Mariana that in the twentieth century "the passions will erupt and there will be a total corruption of customs, for Satan will reign almost com-pletely by means of the Masonic sects. They will focus particularly on the children in order to achieve this general corruption. Woe to the children of these times." Obviously she is speaking of the secular humanist revolution about which so much has been written that has completely invaded the secular as well as religious institutions of our times.
Our Lady continued, describing the abuses that would attack each of the Sacraments: "Woe to the children of these times because it will be difficult to receive the Sacrament of Baptism and also that of Confirmation." She warned that the devil would assiduously try to destroy the sacrament of Confession and Holy Communion. She lamented the many sacrileges and abuses of the Blessed Sacrament that would occur. The Sacrament of Extreme Unction would be little esteemed and many people would die without receiving it, thus denied assistance they would need for that "great leap from time to Eternity."
The Sacred Sacrament of Holy Orders would be ridiculed, oppressed and despised. The demon would labor unceasingly to corrupt the clergy and would succeed with many of them. And these "depraved priests, who will scandalize the Christian people, will incite the hatred of the bad Christians and the enemies of the Roman, Catholic and Apostolic Church to fall upon all priests. This apparent triumph of Satan will bring enormous sufferings upon the good pastors of the Church."
About the Sacrament of Matrimony, which symbolizes the union of Christ with His Church, she said this: "Masonry, which will then be in power, will enact iniquitous laws with the objec-tive of doing away with this Sacrament, making it easy for everyone to live in sin. … The Christian spirit will rapidly decay, extinguishing the precious light of Faith until it reaches the point that there will be an almost total and general corruption of customs.
"In these unhappy times, there will be unbri-dled luxury that would conquer innumerable frivolous souls who will be lost. Innocence will almost no longer be found in children, nor mod-esty in women. In this supreme moment of need of the Church, those who should speak will fall silent."
This forewarning resounds loudly in the ears of those who have followed the Fatima apparitions: "In this supreme moment of need of the Church, those who should speak will fall silent." It is impossible not to ask: Why have so many prelates in places of authority remained silent in face of the crisis in the Holy Church? Where is the healthy reaction to so many violations against tradition, the Magisterium and even basic common good sense?
Crisis in Church
One of the most important apparitions of Our Lady of Good Success to Mother Mariana took place in 1634, a year before her death. As Mother Marian prayed before the Blessed Sacrament on February 2 (the Feast of the Purification and the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple), she saw the sanctuary light extinguish itself, leaving the altar place completely dark.
Our Lady then explained the five meanings of the Tabernacle light that had been extinguished before her eyes.
The first meaning: "At the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century, various heresies will be propagated in this land. … As these heresies spread and dominate, the precious light of Faith will be extinguished in souls by the almost total corruption of customs. During this period, there will be great physical and moral calamities, both public and private."
However, there would be souls, She promised, who would remain faithful and would preserve the treasure of the Faith and virtues. But these would suffer a cruel, unspeakable and prolonged martyrdom.
"In order to free men from bondage to these heresies, those chosen by Most Holy Son to effect the restoration will need great strength of will, constancy, valor and confidence in God. To test this faith and confidence of the just, there will be occasions where all will seem to be lost and paralyzed. This, then, will be the happy beginning of the complete restoration."
These chosen souls, who will restore the health of the Church, seem to be very similar to the apostles of the latter times predicted by St. Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort.
The second meaning: The extinguished light also stood for the severe crisis in the clergy, both secular and regular. How many vocations would be lost, Our Lady lamented. Injustice and iniquity would enter the convents and monasteries under the guise of "false charity, wreaking havoc in souls." "The secular clergy," She said, "will leave much to be desired because priests will become careless in their sacred duties. Lacking the divine compass, they will stray from the road traced by God for the priestly ministry, and they will become attached to wealth and riches, which they will unduly strive to obtain.
"How the Church will suffer during this dark night! … 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."
The third meaning: Impurity will permeate the atmosphere and there will almost no virgin souls in the world. It the same warning that Our Lady of Fatima made to Jacinta.
The fourth meaning: "Masonic sects, having infiltrated all the social classes, would subtly introduce its teaching into domestic ambiences in order to corrupt the children," She warned. It is the invasion of the secular humanism of Freemasonry and the errors of Communism. But Our Lady promised that there would be "religious communities and individuals who would labor with valor and disinterested zeal for the salvation of souls. Against them, the impious would rage cruel wars."
The fifth meaning: Our Lady said,
"The fifth reason that the lamp was extinguished is due to the laxity and the negligence of those who possess great wealth who will indifferently stand by and witness the Church being oppressed, virtue being persecuted, and the triumph of the demon, without piously employing their riches for the destruction of this evil and the restoration of the Faith." The Queen of Heven also noted that this quenching of the Tabernacle light was also due to the indifference of the people in allowing the Name of God to be gradually extinguished and in adhering to the spirit of evil as they freely delivered themselves to the vices and passions.
The Certainty That Our Lady will overcome her enemies
It seems an opportune moment for this story of Our Lady of Good Success and Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres to become better known to the English-speaking public. For there, just as She did at Fatima, she asked for prayer and sacrifice to make amends for the many outrages and abuses of this unhappy century. But also, at Quito, just as She did at Fatima, she assures us of her fortunate intervention and triumph.
For the message of Our Lady of Good Success is, like that of Our Lady at Fatima, a message of great hope. She promised a band of stalwart souls filled with confidence who would help to effect the happy Restoration. She promised Her intercession at the very moment when the evil will appear triumphant and when the authority abuses her power. This would mark, as She said,
"the arrival of my hour, when, in a marvelous way, I will dethrone the proud and accursed Satan, trampling him under my feet and fettering him in the infernal abyss." These words harmonize perfectly with the message of hope Our Lady delivered to the three children at Fatima in 1917: "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph."
The Secret of Success
This is the secret for success of the Counter-revolution: to be convinced of the victory Our Lady promised. It is not sufficient to merely maintain a firm resolution to suffer. It is necessary to have something that is both more onerous while more suave. It is to maintain the conviction that in the end things will end in a success for the Holy Church.
To become worthy of the success, the victory that Our Lady predicted, we need a supernatural confidence. We need to be entirely convinced of that victory - the promise of Our Lady at Fatima in 1917: "In the End My immaculate Heart will Triumph." We need to be completely convinced of the happy restoration. This restoration was promised by Our Lady at Quito already in 1634:
"To test this faith and confidence of the just, there will be occasions where all will seem to be lost and paralyzed. This, then, will be the happy beginning of the complete restoration."
A final consideration (pictures of Our Lady at Fatima and Our Lady of Good Success)
Gazing on the countenance of Our Lady of Fatima, we see Our Lady of the Chastisement. Her maternal gaze looks down with a great mercy, but also a profound sadness, on a suffering humanity, an agonizing mankind. Lucia recounts that by the 3rd apparition, Our Lady had begun to reveal the sadness in her soul. In the last apparition, Lucia recounted, with an even sadder expression, She said, "Let them offend Our Lord no more, for He is already much offended." In this face, we see the prophet of the chastisement.
Our Lady of Good Success appears maternal but triumphant. She is par excellence the mother - and the queen. Her gaze assures us of the final victory and triumph of the Immaculate heart of Jesus and Mary, the "happy restoration" when they will rule again as King and Queen in the spiritual and temporal spheres. She is clearly the Queen of the Reign of Mary. Her serene smile gives us assurance she will not abandon us in the moment of our great trial and the chastisement. She enheartens us that although it be difficult, our way is the correct way. She enlivens us to pray and to fight for that confidence, that peace, that victory still to come in our days. She invites us to fulfill the prophetic role, however small it might be, that She has for us in the achievement of this victory.
Our Lady herself prophesied that these centuries-old prophecies and the life of Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres would only become known at the end of the 20th century. The reader will also be interested to know that Our Lady of Good Success promised "consolation and preservation to those faithful souls" who foster this devotion to her during the 20th century, for it is Her desire and that of Her Divine Son that She be known now under this invocation so filled with promise: Our Lady of Good Success. May all who have recourse to her under this title feel her maternal goodness and receive "good success" in all their good endeavors and needs. May knowledge of this devotion hasten the day when she will be known and honored everywhere as Queen of Heaven and Earth as She has prophesied - at Quito and at Fatima.
I. According to the Anglo-Saxon tradition, the official founding of Freemasonry per se is usual accepted. That is, that Masonry only existed after its "official" appearance in 1710. (However, the Masons themselves admit connections to and influence of Rosicrucians, which represents a confluence of 4 streams flowing in the 16th century: the Platonic spiritual Christians, Renaissance alchemists and Hermetic scholars, the Radical reformation and the Apocalyptic tradition. The Rosicrucian movement traces its history to Christian Rosenkreuz, born in 13788, the year of the great Schism. A crusader monk, he traveled to Arabia, became aware of secrete societies seeking the inner man and new age. He died at age 106. His tomb- the secret compendium of the universe, which he passed on to his brethren. Explains the major skein of Jewish tradition filtered through Islam. Also English Freemasonry likes to trace its origins to
10th century Saxon King Athestar)
II. According to the Latin and German tradition, there is a much broader conception of the same problem that could be summarized in a few points
a) If Masonry is a secret force, it 3easily could have an occult life before its official appearance.
b) Masonry's own literature says that it came from time of antiquity, and many of its symbols come from this time: the pyramids and eye of Egypt, others from the temple of Solomon, and others symbols and principles from Greek mythology and philosophy.
c) When you consider history you can see the presence of secret forces even in the most remote antiquity. For example before the deluge, in Ezekiel's visions of the Temple, he saw priests making secret meetings inside the Temple in many of its rooms. As the vision progressed, he saw more important persons gathering in more important rooms making conspiracies against God.
(For example there is a whole literature and tradition of Hiram of Tyre, who built Solomon's temple. There were also the Comaine (Lake Como) Masons of the Roman Empire, a college of architects initiated into Masonic secrets and magus.)
D. These are the main reasons German and Latin cultures understand masonry as a very old conspiracy.
III. Therefore, I think that this Latin/Germanic view of masonry is more complete. I personally adopt this vision.
IV. Probably Our Lady in her revelation to Mother Mariana took the same position.