DAILY CATHOLIC WEDNESDAY July 8, 1998 vol. 9, no. 132
THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS
To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE & SECTION TWO
The merciful miracle of Guadalupe: Divine Mercy!
As we detailed in the last installment of this series, the phenomena of our Blessed Mother's first appearance in the America's and the manner in which she left a lasting remembrance at Guadalupe just north of Mexico City, has had a lasting effect on every generation. While Our Lady's original message, imparted through Blessed Juan Diego to end human sacrifice and bring countless souls to her Divine Son Jesus, was targeted toward the nation of Aztecs, the legacy and devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe became paramount in the faith of Latin America throughout the next four and a half centuries. However, it wasn't until the 1990's that Our Lady not only emphasized that she had come for all of the Western Hemisphere, requesting she be referred to as Our Lady of the Americas depicted by the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, but also that sadly, her initial message on human sacrifice needed again to be addressed because of the horrendous sin of abortion.
The Blessed Mother requested, through a Washington locutionist near Seattle Kenneth Staloch, that she desired her original Image of the miraculous tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe be brought to every state and province in the United States and Canada as a Missionary Image. Through this Our Lady promised "Together, my dear children, we will end the horrible evil of abortion. I will help you stop all abortions...Throught the miracle of my Image I want to come among you and convert millions of your hearts to my Divine Son." Ken contacted Father Walter Winrich, a Maryknoll priest who was in Mexico and through the dedication of attorney Dan Lynch from Vermont efforts were begun. Mexican authorities and their ecclesiastical counterparts denied access to the original tilma expressing concern for the safety of this treasured icon and fear of a surge of resentment by the peoples who would look unkindly toward the Image being removed from the Basilica near Mexico City where she resides under glass high above the altar and where millions of pilgrims trek annually to pray to the Virgin. However the authorities graciously offered Fr. Winrich whatever other reproduction he wished.
As we chronicled in the print edition of A CALL TO PEACE in December 1994, the Mother of God never demands something to be done, only that we try to accomplish what she asks. So also in this case Our Lady blessed the effort and assured Fr. Walter that this would effect many, many conversions. True to her word the Missionary Image has, with countless accounts of miraculous happenings and transformations of heart, documented in Dan Lynch's book. Dan has, for the last five years or so overseen the project of the traveling image, taking it throughout the United States and Canada and around the world on the celebrated 101 pilgrimage to Russia and China.
Our Lady also asked that her Image be permanently placed in every parish church and in as many homes as possible. Thus began, through Life Foundation, the efforts to provide a life-size Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in every Catholic church in the world. If your parish church wishes to obtain this life size Image please place your request in writing to Life Foundation, Southwest Distribution Center, P.O. Box 5333, Scottsdale, AZ 85261 - (602) 941-5385. This large Image is an exact replica of the original tilma for your parish. Also available is a family size replica of the Tilma for you to honor Our Lady in your home. Any donation you can generously make to help fund the enormous and increasing costs of reproducing replicas would be greatly appreciated.
EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE MERCIFUL MIRACLE
Our Lady also asked for one other thing to be done. That was an unusual request imparted to Fr. Winrich in private revelation on June 16th, 1991. That was to have a Son-a-gram taken of the original Tilma. It seemed like an unusual request until he meditated on her words and realized what greater proof of this on-going miracle and confirmation of the Blessed Mother's promise to end abortion as well as the fact that Mary was indeed pregnant with the Baby Jesus when she appeared to Juan Diego on December 12, 465 years ago to bring a halt to the human sacrifice being perpetuated by the ancient Aztecs. He revealed Our Lady's request at the International Rosary Congress in Washington, D.C. in 1991.
From that time on Fr. Walter had gone through all the necessary channels to receive permission for such a procedure for consulting with the Abbot of Guadalupe, Monsignor Guillermo Schulenburg Prado who advised Fr. Winrich that in order to remove the protective glass and secure a son-a-gram on the image, permission could only be granted by the Holy Father. Thus, on November 12, 1994 Fr. Winrich formally petitioned the Holy Father for permission to have an ultra-sound performed on the original tilma. However, because of numerous red-tape in protocol and the sensitivity of the Tilma, which is still vividly intact today, officials feared such a maneuver could be damaging to the tilma. They reasoned that the portrait could be damaged. Because the image is made of a cactus fiber, under normal time lines it should have, by all rights, deteriorated in less than 50 years after Juan revealed the miraculous image and the cascading roses to the Bishop as proof of her appearance. Even though the Blessed Mother assured Fr. Winrich that no harm would come to the tilma, Fr. Walter was obedient. Again, as we asserted earlier in this article, all Our Lady asks is that we try. This Fr. Winrich did. As a reward for this, when one door closes another is opened. Our Lady accepted this decision. She had asked originally that this procedure be performed three times at three hour intervals on December 24th, with a fourth on December 25th. In 1995 this was performed in Denver, Colorado at these requested times. Our Lady had promised this unusual "Son-a-gram" would produce a special "Message from the SON". The message was given through the original image that Fr. Walter first carried from Mexico to British Honduras to see if Our Lady would be received by the Bishop and the people as a missionary to evangelize the world. The reception was overwhelming! This was Fr. Walter's verification. He then returned to Mexico City to secure a life-size immmage now known as The Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe that he took to the First International Rosary Conference at Washington, D.C. in June 1991. The original image has always been with Fr. Walter and is now in a place of honor with Life Foundation at Kettle River. It was also this same original image which produced the successful and miraculous Son-a-gram taken in Denver at Christmas of 1996.
DIVINE MERCY IN THE SOUL AND IN THE WOMB
Everyone was expecting a picture of the child Jesus in the womb of Our Blessed Mother. But man's perception of what God intends is not always clear. The Almighty made it very clear, however, with the gift of a merciful miracle that has great significance today. As Life Foundation officially put it in a special communique to MIR-A-CALL Center, "When the instrument passed over Our Lady's womb in the image, Our Lord showed what He knows we need in this present time in history, a great message He wishes for all. That message is the out-pouring of Love from His Heart, with rays of Divine Mercy. Yes, we received an image of Jesus, the Divine Mercy, on the son-a-gram."
It was God's way of emphasizing even more emphatically the vital importance of devotion to Divine Mercy which Jesus first asked of Blessed Sister Faustina Kowalska in the decade of the thirties of this century. Since that time this devotion has grown where today both Our Lord and Our Lady have called for a true devotion to Divine Mercy for the sake of the whole world. It is another manifestation of the times and how God links one apparition to another, one private revelation with another in His master quilt of salvation. It should, then, come as no surprise that this Son-a-gram truly did produce a special "Message from the SON" - another merciful miracle from Our Lady of Guadalupe - the Virgin of the Americas - Patron of the Unborn. After all, Our Lady promised. This merciful miracle proves once again the Power and Wisdom of the Almighty in sending His Own Mother to warn us and convert us to her Divine Son. It should also confirm that Our Lady is truly communicating with today's modern prophets and we are in the times spoken of first in Joel and reiterated by Peter in Acts 2: 17-19, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, says the Lord, that I will pour forth My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And moreover upon my servants and upon my handmaids in those days will I pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the Heavens above and signs on the earth beneath..." We have seen many wonders and signs and this is the latest - this merciful miracle of Guadalupe that confirms these words of Sacred Scripture, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the need for Divine Mercy in this sinful world.
The horrors of abortion, mounting through the years and piercing the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts anew, continue and grow more horrendous, evidenced by Bill Clinton's senseless vetos of a bill that would have curtailed abortions. His actions have been properly condemned by the United States Bishops. What is there left? The impact of Guadalupe had more effect on the Aztecs than it has on this amoral society. Let us hope and pray this most recent merciful miracle of Guadalupe will not only wake those who have been stupored in sin, but those who are in a slothful slumber of indifference and lukewarmness. It is only through prayer and our intensified efforts to spread the messages of the Gospel and Our Lady, as well as devotions such as Divine Mercy, that we can hope to end abortion forever. No legislative lobbying will do it, only supernatural intervention through the power of prayer. Our Lady has said as much and has given us much. The message she imparted over four and a half centuries ago is no different than today in these end times. How much longer will God continue to grant His Infinite Mercy? We don't know, but we do know when the Mercy ends, the Divine Justice will begin. It's getting later than we think. God has spoken and repeated everything over and over through His primary emissary to His Children, the Blessed Mother. They've done all they can to wake us up and bring us back into the Refuge of the Two Hearts. As the old axiom goes, "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." Because of free will, the same holds true for man. Jesus and Mary can lead us all to the fountain of Divine Mercy, but they can't force us to drink and be nourished from that merciful font. That's up to us. Wouldn't it be sad, however, to come this far and not be refreshed in His everlasting graces?
In the next issue, we will resume the time-line of the Age of Marian Apparitions as we pick up after Guadalupe and the ensuing apparitions of the sixteenth century, the "Century of Saints."
NEXT WEEK: century of mystics.
THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS