In these end times, as we near the end of these pivotal two millenniums, we are being led to be fully Eucharistic, returning all reverence to Jesus Christ. Our Lady at Betania and elsewhere urges her children to examine their consciences and determine to to attain union with God's Divine Will by means of the Sacrament of Penance as we spoke of in the last installment. The Blessed Virgin Mary has revealed at Betania that if we are reconciled and believe God will bring about this reconciliation among all men in His time, as He has planned from all time, then her Heart will triumph sooner. As we emphasized in the last installment, to be "ambassadors of reconciliation" we must first seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
But we need priests, good holy priests to preserve the Sacraments, especially the precious Sacrement of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist. Therein lies the rub. Since Vatican II over 100,000 priests have left the Church. That's startling in itself, but when you realize that for every priest that leaves he takes 20,000 souls with him - that a staggering 20 million in satan's corner! That's more than alarming! No wonder Our Lady and Our Lord weep so in these days. What we need are good, committed, holy priests to continue the call to their flocks to be "ambassadors of reconciliation." We do have some excellent priests but they are few and far between, and many are of retirement age but still plugging away as faithful shepherds when they should be allowed to relax and enjoy their autumn years. But there is no time to rest. Much needs to be done before it's too late. Minor seminaries, once teeming with prospects have been shut down. They are a thing of the past. Many are dubious about major seminaries because of the modernist theology emanating from many new priests and deacons coming out. How can we foster vocations when we ourselves are not convinced our sons will get the traditional values in accordance with what Pope John Paul II demands? We know of many young men and women who indeed have vocations but are desperately searching for the right path, the right education, the right seminary to bring their vocation to fruition.
For anyone without a college degree, there are three suggestions: If still in primary or secondary stages of education, we strongly recommend Catholic home schooling. That way you are assured your child will receive a solid Roman Catholic education with no worldly influence or sex education classes forced on them. Even the Catholic parochial schools are a ghost of their former self today. The dedicated nuns of yesteryear are gone; the curriculums in many Catholic high schools and elementary class rooms have been compromised to curry government grants; and the ecumenism has gone too far with administrators curtailing Catholic devotion and doctrine for fear of offending the growing number of non-Catholics enrolled. For public school youngsters there are very few comprehensive CCD courses that truly convey the essential catechesis necessary to stand up for their faith. That leaves one alternative: Home Schooling! The two top programs which are very affordable and all inclusive are Seton Home Study School and Our Lady of the Rosary School which both provide credentialed curriculums from first grade through 12th grade. It is vital that today's children learn the faith so they can become "ambassadors of reconciliation."
That is why Our Lady has been appearing so frequently and so many places in these last decades of the second millennium. That is why Betania is so important in her tableau of apparitions over the centuries. We should also be thankful to Almighty God for sending His Mother to Betania, for having chosen Maria Esperanza de Bianchini as His servant and messenger, for giving Maria the grace to say "Yes" to Him through His Mother, and for spreading the messages of Reconciliation to the world. Let us also thank the Trinity for the wisdom of both Bishop Bernal and Bishop Pio Bello who, following the norms set down by Holy Mother Church, were given the grace of proper discernment and in faith approved the apparitions which have allowed so many faithful from around the world to come to this blessed Land of Grace. May all who have traveled to this land extend reconciliation to all whom they meet, and may all who have not been called to go to Betania know that God'' Own mother reaches out to all, and extends the same graces to all who cannot go there, through those who have gone.
God cannot be outdone in generosity. Let us all respond with a "Fiat" that is the echo of Mary's own Fiat to the Archangel at the Annunciation (a significant feast in the events of Betania) and become the little child held in her arms, as she held in her arms the Divine Infant. Reconciliation is ours if we desire it and are willing to surrender our own will to the Divine Will. Only then will the Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart come sooner and issue in the Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Age of the Divine Will, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Advent, the Second Pentecost.
To be true "ambassadors of reconciliation" we must all truly say from the heart that part of the Lord's Prayer which says, "…Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven…and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
For those who are interested in learning more about Betania, we recommend three sources which have been invaluable to us in preparing this article and of which we are grateful: One is the definitive book "Apparitions in Betania, Venezuela" by Sister Margaret Catherine Sims, CSJ which can be obtained for $8.95 plus $3.00 shipping from Medjugorje Messengers, 85 Bethany Road, Framingham, MA 01701. Another is the excellent video tape "Betania - Land of Grace" narrated by Ricardo Montalban, which is available for $24.95 plus $3.00 sipping from Marian Communications, P.O. Box 8, Lima, PA 19037. The last is a small booklet by Father Jose Luis de Urrutia, S.J. entitled "Finca Betania, Latest Apparitions approved by the ecclesiastic authorities, besides Fatima" which is available in both English and Spanish in Venezuela when you are there, either free or at a nominal price.
Our Lady is calling all of us to be "ambassadors of reconciliation" and if we don't respond, then her Triumph is delayed and satan gains. We must pray for our priests. Following is a special prayer for priests from Our Lady's Center for Peace in Louisville, Kentucky:
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
Through prayer and perseverance we can all not only become "ambassadors of reconciliation" but through our example and life of grace, can effect more "ambassadors of reconciliation" among God's children. Come then in faith and be united with Our Lady's invitation at Betania. It is meant for everyone…without exception. We are all God's children, and Mary is Mother of all!
This concludes this year's installments on THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS. Since the next two Wednesday issues incorporate the CHRISTMAS ISSUE and the NEW YEAR'S ISSUE, we will not resume installments of this on-going megaseries on Our Lady's apparitions until January 6, 1999 in issue volume 10, no. 3.
On seeing him, the Minister said: "This friar is dying!" And he said to him: "Brother, I command you under obedience to come out of your rapture."
He immediately came back to himself and asked for some food. And after he had eaten, the Minister said to him: "I order you under obedience to tell me the cause of your weeping, as we have never seen this happen to you before - indeed it seems to be contrary to the nature of a rapture."
When the friar found that he could not avoid revealing it, he said: "I saw the Lord Jesus Christ on a high and lofty throne, surrounded by the heavenly militia, and preparing to pass judgement. And I saw not only lay persons but clerics and religious of many different Orders being damned. Then I saw someone led in wearing the habit of the Friars Minor, very elegently dressed in a very expensive habit. When he was asked about his state, he declared he was a Friar Minor. Then the Judge said: 'Brother Francis, do you hear what he says? What do you say?'
"He answered: 'Away with him, Lord! For my Friars wear common materials and not such expensive ones.'
"And that unhappy man was immediately cast into hell by the devils.
"And now another came in, an important personage accompanied and honored by many great lay people. And when asked, he said he was a Friar Minor. Again the Judge spoke to St. Francis as before.
"He answered: 'Lord, my Friars seek prayer and spiritual progress, and they flee from honors and business of wordly men.'
"The same thing happened to him as to the first man.
"And now came another burdened with heavy packages of costly and useless books. And the same was done with him as with the first and second.
"And here was another who was completely preoccupied and worried about planning and building large and costly buildings. Like the others, St. Francis denied that he belonged to his Order.
"Fiinally there came one who was very lowly in habit and appearance. And when he was asked who he was, he confessed that he was a great sinner, unworthy of anything good, and he begged for mercy.
"St. Francis embraced him and led him into the glory of Paradise with him, saying: "Lord, he really is a Friar Minor.'
"And that was the cause of my weeping," the friar said to the Minister.
It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger.
Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me.
No colored paper was available in the city. Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia, were used for the baby's blanket. A doll like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States. The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help.
All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger.
Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Mary laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift.
So I asked Jesus, "If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?" And Jesus told me, "If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me." "So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him for always." As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him FOR ALWAYS. I've learned that it's not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.
Let Christmas come into our world and bring us warmth and cheer, Bring us Faith in place of doubt, and strength in place of fear, Bring us hope and bring us love to guide our hearts forever... Let Christmas come into our world
I wait now, on this day, to hear the faithful cries of Hosanna! from My little ones. I look into every heart and where I find humility and obedience to My Truth -- O! what joy comes to Me! What effusions of Love do I not return!
But I see so many hearts. Too, too many hearts that are cold. They do not seek Me, their God. They go through the motions. They offer homage by their lips, not from their hearts. O! How I suffer when I behold these stone cold hearts which My Divine Light and Love cannot penetrate. These are the cruelest of all My tortures, because the heart is lax, lukewarm, lazy.
Come to Me, your God and relieve My sufferings by offering your own. Then shall the Triumph of My Mother's Immaculate Heart come quickly. I grow weary. I am oppressed at my children's faithlessness as when I sweated blood in Gethsemane. I can no longer restrain the Father's Justice.
Come to Me now and remain with Me that you might persevere.
I am Jesus Christ, Lord, God and Savior. I am King of Kings and I come to claim anew My Kingdom. Prepare well. The time is at hand!
I solemnly say to all my children: Come to the Cross and be with me. Come, give all glory, honor and praise to the Triune Majesty. Let your hearts be anointed by the Holy Spirit. For this Holy Week must be for each of you a deep commitment to all My Divine Son taught. He is God, One and Triune, Who gave His life for you. Are you ready to give your life, which is a gift, to Him?
Prepare and seek the Holy Spirit to enlighten you. I solemnly tell you now has truly begun the persecution of all my little ones. All who stand firm in their faith shall know persecutions. Many of my chosen ones will be maltreated by scandalous gossip. Many will be driven into hiding that they might fulfill their missions.
The demons have penetrated many hearts. These are my children, now in darkness, blinded by satan.
O! pray for all of my children and beseech God to allow my Heart to triumph now. The lies, slander, gossip and persecutions will increase. The apostasy will break upon the True Church and the smoke of hell shall fill the sanctuary.
O! Be of strong faith. Be humble, little and obedient. I am with you. My Divine Son desires me, His Holy Mother to exhort once again all of my children to true conversion.
Now are my words fulfilled which have been given to you for so long a time. My Sorrowful Heart is pierced anew because so many are lost to the Truth. Therefore, pray as never before.
I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!
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