Having tested the Voice I proceed as directed. Again, I understand that our Blessed Mother wants these lessons/meditations printed so that all of her little ones might be strengthened in the time of great darkness—the apostasy, schism, heresy and blasphemy which already cover the face of the earth.
But not all, for I see that a small side gate leading into the enclosure of the flower garden opens. It is Jesus who proceeds slowly, calmly into the place of peace and beauty. He has on a white tunic and the faint moonlight highlights the sorrow upon His holy face which appears to me to grow deeper, so as to be etched upon His face. His eyes, however, are clear, calm. A veritable ocean of heavenly peace.
Scarcely has he passed into the garden then another figure appears and follows our Lord’s own footsteps. It is Lazarus. He is of medium build, and not as tall as Jesus. He has placed about his shoulders a lightweight mantle of dark color, as if he desired to be seen by no one other than Jesus.
They meet, the Master and His faithful servant. Lazarus’ face is filled with loving respect for Jesus.
"The household rests," Lazarus informs Jesus. "All are asleep except..."
"Do not say the name, Lazarus. I know he is not here." Jesus’ sigh would melt the most hardened heart and Lazarus also bows his head, so as not to speak. I understand it is Judas Iscariot of whom they speak, though they utter few worlds.
"I have asked you to come now, my beloved disciple, that I might speak to you more freely."
"Whatever I can do, Master. You now that."
"I know, Lazarus. Your heart is pure and gives me solace."
"Then remain here."
"I cannot. You know I must fulfill the Father’s will."
"I - O! Master, I feel so helpless."
"No, Lazarus, you have a very important mission at this appointed time. I desire you to make your home a safe haven, a refuge for my apostles, even my disciples who, in the first hours and days of the sufferings I must endure will scatter like frightened birds pursued as wild prey."
"Master, they may come here, always. All I possess is Yours."
"Truly, you have well understood My words concerning poverty and have always acted justly in the use of God’s providence. Ah, Lazarus, in future generations you shall be the example for all upon whom the Father grants earthly riches. Your life shall be for them a beacon to lead them in the way of abandonment and detachment. Now as never before your very riches will serve as a shield against My enemies, and by your just life not even the High Priest and his cohorts shall touch you. Therefore, yours is a place of safe refuge, holy and chaste. Here I ask you to keep watch in the fateful hour and, through your faithful servants and your holy sisters, to gather those whom fear puts to flight.
"To you Jerusalem is open and the doors of many are not barred to you. To your chaste ears good hearts will whisper where by flock has scattered, and you, my beloved servant, will gather them here until they can once more find unity through faith and prayer."
"I will do it, Master. You know that. But,--"
"Speak freely, Lazarus. Your heart is open to Me."
"May I not also be with You at that dreadful hour? May I not stand and give witness in your favor?"
"Lazarus, at that hour only the voices of hell shall have speech. The whole of Heaven shall remain mute, and the just shall cry out from their hearts, not with their voices. My Father shall hear, and gather such faith unto Himself, that in all ages to come the voices of the demons shall be drowned out by the pure voice of faithful love."
Lazarus accepts his role in perfect obedience and presses Jesus’ hands against his own.
"My Lord, I do not know all that will follow. But I a not afraid. I died once and You, in Your merciful love, brought me back to life. If, now, by my obedience, I can help to preserve the light among the people you have called, then I am willing to die again and again to assist You, Who are my Lord and God."
"Your loving faith deserved the miracle, Lazarus. And because those of the Temple witnessed My power over death, and can not dispute it, they shall kill Me in a futile attempt to remove Me from their lives and their hideous, evil power. Speak to my disciples often of the miracle granted you, that all may believe that by My death, life itself triumphs. All who believe in Me, who follow after My footsteps shall also rise as you did—but in Heaven in eternal glory."
"And Your Mother? I should wish Her to remain here also."
"My Mother, along with certain of the holy women, will be with Me, that in all future generations mankind will recognize and respond to that role designed for woman from all eternity. For women, strength lies in their open, loving hearts. They are models of pure, chaste love. And this the world will learn as I die in agony upon the cross and the women, with My Mother, are present. No, I need you to be here. Here is where you serve Me. I am always with you, Lazarus. You are my treasure. I bless you. Let us go now to our rest. The apostles, along with the women, will leave with Me for Jerusalem tomorrow."
Lazarus kneels and Jesus blesses him and then, together, they leave the garden and return to the house, where the silence of the night covers all.
Juan has since dedicated his life to translating many works and messages in five different languages into English. And that brought him to El Escorial and the massive project he undertook out of zeal and love on the apparitions in El Escorial, Spain which we have detailed in these pages over the last two months. He has over 2000 pages on the messages to Amparo and is praying for a publisher in God's time. If any one knows of a publisher who is willing to take on this inspiring work, please contact us at the DAILY CATHOLIC and we will put you in touch with Juan. He is a very private person and, in respect for that, we do not give out his address and phone number except on a need-to-know basis. He retired in the summer of 1995 from his teaching position at Texas Southern University to spend more time with his loving wife Juanita and enjoy being a grandfather for his four children Juan Jr., 34, Rosa, 32; Carlos, 29; and Jose, 22. He also has been using this time to work on an extensive project regarding the Divine Will. Juan, you will remember, translated many of noted French Mariologist Father Rene Laurentin's books about Medjugorje and one on San Nicolas.
Once Juan heard of El Escorial, he was hooked and made several journeys to learn more about the visions and the messages and their meaning in today's world. It prompted him to begin taking notes and have the opportunity to discover who Amparo was and her life. Amparo is now a 68 year-old housewife and loving mother who has been receiving messages from Our Lord and His Blessed Mother since 1981. What started as a curiosity became a crusade to get the word out that Our Lady is asking all for self-sacrifice through prayer, penance and sacrifice. Our Lady calls herself Nuestra Senora de los Dolores - Our Lady of Sorrows and has appeared to Amparo as more beautiful than words can describe. In the mid-eighties she described to the best of her ability how Mary looked and master Madrid artist Professor dona Elvira Soriano transfered that to canvas, depicting how the Blessed Virgin appeared while his Holiness Pope John Paul II was in Spain for his pastoral trip. Our Lady, dressed in papal robes, held a fifteen-decade Rosary in her right hand and displayed a large pix of the Blessed Sacrament around her neck cupped in her right hand. It was a unique portrait of the Mother of God which has never been seen but represented so much for she is the Mother of the Church and her words in the message to Amparo said volumes when she said, "My child, ask everyone to pray very much for my beloved son Pope John Paul II." She emphasized the need to come to her Divine Son Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in her words, "I ask you to approach the Sacrament of Convession and of the Holy Eucharist. It is very important to receive the Body of Christ to give you strength to fight against the enemy."
Like Lourdes, Medjugorje and Betania, the elderly, handicapped and infirm flock to the site in Prado Nuevo, a section northwest of Madrid, Spain and partake of the healing water where countless souls have been healed spiritually. Pilgrims from all over the world gather for the First Saturday visions at the Ash Tree where the Mother of God often appeared to Amparo and to pray at the Shrine to Our Lady of Sorrows. The messages over the past eighteen years have been permeated with the theme of our need to do penance, pray and sacrifice. It is the same message she has been bringing to visionary Maria Esperanza de Bianchini in Betania where Our Lady first appeared before her coming to El Escorial, and to the visionaries of Medjugorje where she appeared shortly after her first appearance to Amparo. So you see, El Escorial is sandwiched, so to speak, between Betania and Medjugorje and all three are still on-going. Our Lady has said at all three places and to countless other chosen messengers that her messages will end soon. Why has she been so insistent on repeating the message of prayer, penance and sacrifice? Because our world today has forgotten what sacrifice means; forgotten how to pray and why; forgotten the necessity of penance. We are, in a word, spoiled. Our Lady, like a loving, caring mother, comes to straighten us out and like any human matriarch, repeats over and over her words until hopefully it will sink in and we "get with the program." If we don't, well then we can consider ourselves in big trouble with the Big Guy upstairs - more affectionately known to all of us as God the Father - Abba or Daddy. He can be stern, but He is also loving and Merciful. He sent His Only-begotten Son to redeem us and He sends His pure daughter to remind us. That is why the messages of El Escorial are so important; that is why we have devoted nine installments to this lesser-known but equally important apparition; that is why we appropriately end this in Lent for her messages embody the meaning of Lent - the meaning of life!
Cardinal Colasuonno is active in the Curia serving as a member of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches as well as the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Because of his age, it is highly unlikely he would be considered a papal possibility in the event of an election, but his background and knowledge of varied cultures and problems makes him eligible for consideration, especially if an Italian were to be considered as a compromise candidate.
Death of Pope Pelagius I, 60th successor of Peter. Born in Rome, he was elected on April 16, 556. His elevation to the papacy was influenced by the Eastern emperor Justinian since Rome was then a province of the Byzantine Empire. Pope Pelagius remained faithful to the principles of Catholic orthodoxy and had the Church of the Twelve Apostles built.
Death of Saint Anselm of Nonantola, Benedictine abbot who came from royalty for his wife was the brother of the Lombard King Aistulph. But Anselm disdained the trappings of the world to embrace monasticism and found the abbey of Fanano outside Modena, Italy where he also built a hospital and sleeping quarters for pilgrims. When Aistulph was deposed by King Desiderius the latter punished his relatives, exiling Anselm to Monte Cassino but seven years later the great Charlemagne came into power and brought Anselm back to Nonantola where he lived out the rest of his life before dying on this date.
Election of Cardinal Gabriele Condulmer as Pope Eugene IV, 207th successor of Peter. For more on this 207th successor of Peter we refer you to last week's installment of The History of the Mass and Holy Mother Church.