As we mention in today's feature, the Swiss Guard was patterned after the garrisons commanded by Captain Nicholas Von Flue who would leave the military and, through locutions and interior visions, become a hermit, fasting only on the Holy Eucharist for twenty years. He was ordained in 1947 by Pope Pius XII. It was Pope Julius II who recognized the brave valor of these Swiss mercenaries and sought permission to establish them as Vatican Palace Guards. He could not offer much in the way of monetary benefits, but he offered the opportunity to serve the Vicar of Christ up close and personal, so to speak. To no one's surprise, enough signed up that Julius put it into motion by consigning Michelangelo to dabble in fashion design. What the Renaissance sculptor and painter came up with was a masterpiece in threads. He designed tunics of blue, red and yellow that puffed out at the sleeve and below the knee, elizabethan collars for formal wear with silver Conquistador-style helmets and "turtleneck white" wraparounds with headware a slanted beret for everyday wear. For even more routine work, they don blue uniforms, keeping the puffy sleeves, pants and, of course, berets. But for formal wear, repleat with their long-handled medieval, fleur-de-lis-like halberds it looks more like something right out of Shakespeare. Just as the bard's work has continued right up to today, so also Michelangelo's touch on these uniforms is still maintained today for sentry duty and ceremonial occasions. Those chosen to protect the Pope by being at his side at all times when outside Vatican City or when he is in St. Peter's Square, turn in their sixteenth century duds for the conventional suit and tie in the same manner the United States Secret Service dresses. In fact during the Holy Father's visits you cannot often tell the difference between the secret service corps of the country the Pope is visiting from the Swiss Guard plainclothesman who accompany the Pontiff.
In fact, it was in plainclothes that slain Swiss chief Alois Estermann rushed to John Paul II's side when he was first shot by Mehmet Ali Agca in the Square on May 13, 1981. For his valor and for his loyalty to the Pope for the past eighteen years he was rewarded by being personally chosen by John Paul II to head up this elite corp, now numbering 100 Swiss nationals. To be a member of this select Palace Guard you must be of Swiss descent, be a practicing Roman Catholic who has served the required military duty, be under thirty-years old and be over five foot eight inches tall. They must also be willing to learn the Italian language. For this they go through a grueling training and are not paid as handsomely as other mercenaries. But their rewards are very beneficial. They make up the majority of only a handful of laity who are allowed to reside inside the Vatican walls. They can best be assimilated with the palace guard at Buckingham Palace where the sentries don't blink, looking straightforward. You'll hardly ever get one to wink or smile. They take their work very, very seriously, so seriously that these loyal Swiss Guards take an oath of fidelity to the Pope that they will defend him with their life. Such was the case when Alois rushed to shield the Pope in the Popemobile in 1981. Thankfully, God didn't see fit at that time for either to be taken home and so the young Estermann served his holiness for another eighteen years. But his time came on Monday evening in his own home at the hands of one of his friends with his dearest friend, his wife of sixteen years, at his side. She was also taken at the same time. Today in our news we bring you the events in preparation for the funeral and the Holy Father's comments. He used his regular Wednesday public audience to console the rest of the loyal Swiss Guard. It was the same day that originally more recruits were to be sworn in as permanent Swiss Guards in honor of the 471st anniversary of the commemoration of the death of 147 guards who died in battle defending Pope Clement VII against Charles V's Lutheran army who sought to sack Rome. As it were, the protestant soldiers did capture Clement but he lived. In fact, up until the Papal States were dissolved and only Vatican City remained, the Swiss Guard were a force to be reckoned with. They were a potent pontifical military that the popes themselves commanded in an effort to protect their temporal power against the ravages of foreign emperors, powerful Italian and Sicilian families, the Saracens and other armies.
Today the military prowess of the Swiss Guard is mostly ceremonial when standing sentry at all four of the main entrances to the Vatican and outside the Papal Palace and apartments, though they are all issued modern weapons as well. After all they can't carry their halberds with them wherever they go. Maybe the Estermanns would have had a better chance. But regardless of that it was their time in God's master plan. And so missing will be this loyal commander from the ranks, but the Swiss Guard will go on.
Back to the radio commentator who finally backed off the Catholics and started a vendetta on another topic, women's fashions today and the various fashion designers who don't have a clue to what is feminine. To that we echo an "amen" and it brings home the point that fashion designers today are out of touch with reality, out of touch with what God intended for the fairer sex. But then again, they're out of sync with what the Almighty intended for the masculine wearers as well. The gay influence has badly harmed society whether we want to admit it or not and whether it's politically correct or not, it's true. The fashions of Versace, Calvin Klein, and that ilk have been anything but a contribution to society. Contrast that to Michelangelo's contributions. In fact, even though the brash commentators continue to mock the Church and make fun of the "silly uniforms" of the Swiss Guard, they must realize that fashions today are only fleeting, just as today's moral values are fleeting. What society needs today is stabilization, the kind of stability provided by the Swiss Guard, an institution that has survived the test of time.
Enter Saint Nicholas Von Flue, a Swiss native, who ,with his wife Dorothea Wissling, had ten children. It was to this family man Jesus revealed through private revelation that this disobedience would wreak havoc in the Church and have far-reaching effects. In a book by Pere Clement, it is recorded that Our Lord conveyed to Nicholas, "O My children, do not let yourselves be misled by any innovations! Stay together and hold fast. Stay on the same way, the same paths as your pious ancestors. That is how you will resist the attacks, tempests and storms that are going to rise up with violence." Christ was, of course, referring to the pending Protestant revolt that would forever split millions from the One, True Church. It was less than a century away. A century away was the Council of Trent which would restrengthen Holy Mother Church and set a course of growth and stability that has lasted to this day. But it was to a layman, not a cardinal or even a pope who God chose to use to impart the wrongs done in the action of men of the cloth who removed one of His Vicars. Jesus allowed Nicholas to see a vision of the schism and apostasy in these times and Nicholas later wrote, "The Church will be punished because the majority of its members, great and small, will become very perverted." We can see that happening today in the aftermath of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae which was universally rejected as Catholics throughout the world sought their own agendas and decided on their own if they wanted to use birth control methods. From this disobedience abortion has raised its ugly head to such enormous proportions that it now registers as the greatest holocaust the world has ever known. St. Nicholas also wrote, "The Church will sink deeper and deeper until it finally seems to have been destroyed and the succession of Peter and the Apostles will seem to have ended." Society in the nineties has become so depraved and immoral that even many Church leaders today turn their heads at transgressions, having become immune to the offenses against God and His laws.
The Blessed Mother said at LaSalette nearly four centuries later "Rome will lose the faith and be the seat of the antichrist." so all that Nicholas received bears out. The events in these times and the troubles looming within Christ's Holy Church portend to the crisis in the very near future. Nicholas, for his part, at the age of fifty and with approval of his loving wife and children, received special permission to become a hermit, subsisting solely on the Holy Eucharist as his means of nourishment - all in reparation for what was being done to Christ's Church and what would be done. He became known far and wide for his holiness and was sought out by Popes and prelates for his counsel, especially in regard the private revelations he received. It's interesting to note that Nicholas, who was a captain in the Swiss army, set the mold for what would become the elite Swiss Guard which Pope Julius II would establish less than forty years later. It has served the Vicars of Christ well, defending to the death their holy pontiffs including 147 members of the Swiss Guard who were felled in battle protecting Pope Clement VIII on the Vatican grounds against the Lutheran army of Charles Vin 1527 in a fulfillment of what had been revealed to Nicholas who had died forty years earlier. Ironically, it was a commemoration of this event and the installation of a new Commander this week in the person of Swiss national Alois Estermann that led to more trouble for the Church when one of the members of the Guard, a dissident corporal upset over not being commended, killed Estermann and his wife before emptying the last bullet in his own skull. Indeed, violence has risen up.
In the next installment we will fastforward three centuries from Nicholas' time to the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century when the Emperor Napoleon wreaked havoc on the Church. We shall bring you an account of another layperson God rose up to smite the mighty "little general" and preserve Holy Mother Church.
I desire you to tell all My children that I am God; I am Merciful Love and I want all My children to be reconciled to Me and to one another. You have not yet fully understood what Love is, for you are too swept up in the human emotion called love, but which in most cases is sensual desire, even lust.
I AM LOVE! Read Sacred Scripture and allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten you. My Life is the Perfect Example of Love. It is possible for man to imitate Me, for it is in man's will that the fire of perfection begins. That is where I look, for the will of man is the echo of his heart. When I see good will it is I Myself Who come and make perfect that which is imperfect.
Mankind is in serious sin. There is so much division among all men. I came that men might have life; man takes life and then considers himself justified before Me. O! Poor wretches who are misguided! Woe to those who knowingly and willingly contribute to disunity among men. God shall seek Justice, which is His right! So it has been written from all ages; so it shall now be fulfilled.
I have sent to you My Holy Mother. Many have honored Her and their lives have been converted to Me. Many, too many, mock My Mother by disgracing Her Virginity, Her Chastity and Purity. They dishonor Me when they do this. Yet, in My Mercy and because My Mother pleads for her children, I permit Her to remain among you - yes, even to increase Her messages and visitations.
She tells you My Truth. She, as your Mother, offers to you over and over the way out of every difficulty. And now I repeat this lesson again. It is PRAYER!
Prayer, from your heart, goes at once to My Heart. Because you cannot fathom My Heart, you do not realize that I desire to help you at every instance if only you seek Me.
Satan is very real. He is powerful. He attacks constantly and never slumbers. You do not realize that when he attacks you must rally all your strength and pray and I will deliver you from the evil one! It is not necessary to say many words in these times. Rather, it is necessary that your heart cry out for Me in FAITH! That alone is a shield against satan.
Whenever trouble of any kind arises, recollect yourself at once. Call Me. Call and do not stop. Seek the intercession of My Mother, of St. Joseph and St. Michael, of all the Heavenly Court. Believe! We are there and satan cannot harm you unless you will for him to do so. Be always recollected and conscious of Me. How do you do this? Ask this grace of the Holy Spirit and of My Mother. Desire it with your whole being, and trust. I will accomplish the rest.
No matter how cleverly disguised satan makes himself he can bear only bad fruit. When there is a conversion of heart, a deepening of faith and a genuine commitment to God, with a sincere effort to grow in holiness, know it is from Me, Jesus Christ, that the persons or person speaking or writing receive their gifts, and I choose to send My Mother to announce the Second Advent, the Second Pentecost.
Birth of Pope Innocent X, born Giambattista Pamfili in Rome. He would go on to become a cardinal and succeed Pope Urban VIII.