The horrific hurricane that struck Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba last week and has just ravaged the Gulf Coast is aptly named "Georges" patterned after another warrior saint who died in 303 A.D. - Saint George who is best known for slaying the dragons. That legend was in the early fourth century, the legend of Hurricane Georges is late in the twentieth century but both slayed dragons. In the case of the former, a humble but brave Christian Knight was called on to rescue the people who were offering the dragon a daily sacrifice of one person a day to appease the beast. In the case of the latter, concerned faithful have called upon God to enlighten the populace that Hurricane Georges is a wake-up call to stop our senseless sacrifice of human sacrifice through abortion and euthanasia. You might think that is stretching it but when you consider the passages in Matthew and the Apocalypse/Revelations and then study the words of the Blessed Mother to visionaries and messengers over the past five hundred years we can see Hurricane Georges is definitely a warning sign. Our Lady specifically foretold of these times in her apparitions at La Salette in the Alps Mountains in Southern France in 1846 when she said: "Nature is asking for vengeance because of man, and she trembles with dread at what must happen to the earth stained with crime." She also prophesied, "The seasons will be altered, the earth will produce nothing but bad fruit, the stars will lose their regular motion, the moon will only reflect a faint reddish glow. Water and fire will give the earth's globe convulsions and terrible earthquakes which will swallow up mountains and cities." El Nino and now La Nina are evidence of this and over this past decade the weather patterns have grown increasingly worse, specifically the last two years in which almost every account of storms, blizzards, and the like are of epic or biblical proportions. Are these not signs? The Blessed Mother went on to tell Melanie Mathieu, the primary visionary at La Salette, that "All the universe will be struck with terror and many will let themselves be led astray because they have not worshipped the true Christ Who lives among them. It is time; the sun is darkening; only faith will survive. Now is the time; the abyss is opening. Here is the king of kings of darkness, here is the beast with his subjects, calling himself the Savior of the world. He will rise proudly into the air to go to Heaven. He will be smothered by the breath of the Archangel Saint Michael. He will fall, and the earth, which will have been in a continuous series of evolutions for three days, will open up its fiery bowels; and he will have plunged for eternity with all his followers into the everlasting chasms of hell. And then water and fire will purge the earth and consume all the works of men's pride and all will be renewed. God will be served and glorified."
That is the key: God will be served and glorified. We are talking about all His children serving Him and glorifying Him and the only way to accomplish this is living in the Divine Will. That means abandoning our sinful ways, giving up the ways of the world, the flesh and the devil - things that pull us down and penetrate our shield of protective grace. Without grace we are more than vulnerable to the weapons of satan and he has been pelting us plenty these days. How, then, do we fight the dragons of dismay and destruction? Through the simple weapon known as "Prayer." The trouble is we overcomplicate things when Our Lady lays it out so simply - "Pray! Pray! Pray!" Return to her Divine Son, sacrifice and do penance for the atonement of sins. We can do this only through the grace of the Sacraments which mandate total adherence to God's Laws. Anything that goes against that is anathema to the Triune Divinity. Only by doing what Jesus asks through His Word in Scripture, through His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and through His Own Blessed Mother's messages can we hope to slay these dragons that drag us down.
That brings us back to the devastation being visited on the Gulf Coast where we have many close friends who we pray dearly for and ask God to spare from any serious damage. We call on His Mercy to save those and at the same time to wake up the multitudes to why He allows this to happen: To alert us that the only calm seas, the only safe harbor is with Him. Hurricane Georges is His calling card to warn us that this is only an inkling of the Divine Justice. It is a warning. For the most part God has spared lives during this devastating whirlwind of destruction in which floods and winds have wiped out fortunes but few heartbeats. This has been the pattern for almost every natural disaster this decade, at least in the United States: plenty of damage but few loss of lives. But, as we know, the Age of Mercy is running out and His Justice is about ready to take over. We had better wake up now and right the wrongs or countless citizens will wind up on a wrong-way road that leads straight to hell. Think about the current atmosphere in Washington, the stubbornness and selfishness of pro-abortionists, the greed and lust of big business and Hollywood, the disobedience within our own Church and we can see it is truly evident the words Our Lady has spoken often, "I can no longer hold the Father's hand back. The cup was filling up. Now it is overflowing!"
But we have an ally not just in Jesus and His Blessed Mother, but also in the saints, specifically St. Michael who Pope Leo XIII gave special prominence to his key role in these times by penning the powerful Prayer to Saint Michael which can be found in our PRAYERS & DEVOTION SECTION in today's issue. Let us take those words to heart - "Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle." We are truly in a fierce battle, being assaulted on all fronts from natural disasters to unnatural disasters like abortion and immoralities that are abnormal. We cannot lay down our arms but must take up our weapons and fight for we are Soldiers of Christ, Crusaders for the cause, front-liners in the Church Militant. We ask St. Michael to "Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil." Unless we follow-up that plea by doing our part we are prey to the evil one. Even though Vatican II eliminated this powerful prayer from the end of the Masses, it is important to continue praying it not only after every Mass, but often throughout the day. The power of this prayer is potent in keeping lucifer at bay and fulfilling the prophecy contained at the end of this prayer - "...by the power of God, cast into hell satan and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls." We know they are prowling and we know their time is growing shorter and shorter. As the Archmandrate Father Stephen Barham, who likens himself as the Catholics' Rush Limbaugh but has a sense of humor and resembles Jonathan Winters, always says: "How can we lose? We cheated and read the ending of the book. Guess what? We win!!!" But we can't be overconfident for nothing in this world or the next is gained easily without hard work and suffering. One look at our crucified Lord should affirm that. So until we are all happily united forever in the peaceful harmony of Heaven, we have no choice but to fight on and to slay all the dragons we can. Don't ever forget the words of Saint Peter in 1 Peter 5: 8-9, "Be sober, be watchful! For your adversary the devil as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same suffering befalls your brethren all over the world." God's children are a close-knit family that should be concerned for each and every one of his children, especially those who are suffering at this time from the natural disasters of Hurricane Georges. Maybe you cannot help physically because of logistics or funds, but you can help immensely through prayer. We feel very strongly that many disasters have been mitigated and lessened because of prayer. On this day the feast of the archangels, with all the flooding in the southern United States, let's hope an ark doesn't have to be built. Then again, Noah could teach us all a thing or two about faith.
The Supreme Pontiff we cover today Pope Saint Celestine V was a holy man who had no disposition for the political games and refused the papacy but was coerced into accepting it by the cardinals and the Angevin king of Sicily Charles II. His election came about through the conclave's belief that the prophecies of God punishing them for waiting so long to elect a Pope and the fact that an "Angel Pope" who would usher in the age of the Holy Spirit was imminent. Believing the simple, holy monk Pietro di Murrone to be that man who was also a mystic and locutionist, they unanimously elected him and then traveled into the mountains to seek him out. Never one for the limelight, he sought the counsel of a cardinal who gave him bad advice because of his own political stance. Ironically, that same cardinal would become the next pope and therein is the one mark against Pope Boniface VIII during the turbulent medieval ages which were still in the dark ages. Those dark ages would once again rear their ugly head as politics won out over piety and Celestine V abdicated in favor of returning to a life of prayer and solitude. Sadly he was prevented from doing that - again for political reasons as we see below.
One of Celestine's first acts was to appoint twelve new cardinals which, because of Charles' influence was heavily in the king's favor and this alienated some of the Roman families. Celestine also asserted, because of the long delay in electing the past two pontiffs, that Gregory X's strict conclave rules would be reinstated and placed guardianship under the king who some say was using Celestine as a puppet pope for his own gains. However Celestine was not a political pope and realized he was being used as a mere instrument in the hands of Charles and other lords during these troubled medieval times. Thus, while bestowing privileges on his own order and taking steps to incorporate the Benedictine abbey, he chose the season of Advent to declare a radical move. Longing for the quietude and spirituality of Mount Morrone, he released a papal bull that assured Gregory X's conclave rules would be in effect if a current pontiff resigns. Celestine intended to hand over the governing of the Church to a quorum of three cardinals while he spent time fasting and praying, but the full body of cardinals objected. Celestine sought out the guidance and advice from Cardinal Benedetto Caetani who cautioned him, then gave him a loophole affirming it was okay and even penning an abdication statement for him. Thus, on December 13, 1294 in the same year he had been elected, he announced his abdication and had the papal insignia removed from any references to him, longing to once again become "Brother Pietro" and the simple, holy life of solitude and prayer.
On December 24, 1294 it was Caetani who was elected as Celestine's successor but, because of political reasons, he overturned most of Celestine's decrees and sent out troops to capture Pietro, who was able to evade them for a while but was captured at the base of Mount Gargano and taken in chains back to Caetani who imprisoned him within the tower of Castel Fumone near Naples. Though he was not treated harshly, he was not treated with the honor of a holy Pope and died alone suffering from an infection that spread to staph in the cold, dank tower. He died there on May 19, 1296 after two years of neglect. Caetani's reasoning for preventing Pietro from returning was not based on cruelty or denial but rather because of the political clout of the Franciscan Spirituals who promoted strict adherence to the rule of Saint Francis of Assisi and were more closely associated with the Celestines. Both had been extended special privileges by Pope Celestine V and Caetani as Pope Boniface VIII was afraid the people would rally behind Pietro if he were allowed to return to his abbey. This angered many and left a black mark on Boniface's papacy as we shall see in the next installment. Celestine was canonized by Pope Clement V on May 5, 1313 under tremendous pressure by King Philip IV of France in retaliation for Boniface's actions. Though Philip wanted him canonized as a martyr, Clement resisted that title since there was no proof Celestine was murdered. Instead Clement made him a saint and confessor. Celestine V's remains were transferred from Ferentino to the church where he was consecrated.
O! How My Adorable and Sacred Heart bursts with Infinite Love and Mercy, yet no one comes to receive these Infinite Blessings, because they prefer the moment, they chose the world of men over Me.
My little sheep have become far too concerned with men, living as if social concerns were pleasing before the face of God. How can any action be pleasing to Me when I remain unknown, when I have no part in the action? My children, nothing you undertake can bear good fruit unless it is you and I together Who do it. Where you are limited, I am Limitless. Where you are finite, I am Infinite. Where men will often deceive you, I cannot be deceived nor deceive. Even now there are many of My little sheep even many of My shepherds who push Me out of the way, declaring Me a myth.
O! Woe to these for at the moment of My coming I will know them not, for they have chosen the world and have turned pride inward in order to wear the appearance of justice and equality.
I am Justice. I am Equality. And the sins of men reach to Heaven and demand My Swift Justice. It is coming. I have warned. I give Signs. I have sent my Mother that you might yet convert your heart and seek Me alone.
Dear children, I am a possessive God. I created you for Myself. Let Me then be your first and only Love, and in Love will I then give you all good things. Cast aside your misery by fixing your eyes only on Me, and bow before Me in humility.
Look to My Mother, model of all virtue, and learn to imitate Her. Put aside your angry, dissident voices, your quest to have all voices heard, all wrongs righted. You are so trapped in satan's lies that you do not believe that only I can right wrongs. Only in My eyes does equality exist. And only when I come as Judge, separating the wheat from the chaff, shall men know My Kingdom.
I will purify My fold and it shall be a terrible justice upon all who seek evil ways. Turn back to Me in love, bend your knee before Me and be My little ones. Those who seek Me with contrite Heart shall be filled with Merciful Love.
I bestow upon you My Peace. I give you My Blessing. I wait and long for You. Hear Me, your God!
My dear little ones, how I invite you to awaken from your death-like slumber which causes all of God's graces to be cast aside, to gather dust. I, your Heavenly Mother, do not want my little ones to remain deaf and dumb, seduced by satan's false lies. They are the lies which produce in you a worldly feeling of security.
Even now as I speak these words to you through my little hidden one, the forces of satan are amassed throughout your world; even now like dominoes all the evil forces are at work to collapse the world as you, my children, know it; even now the darkness grows more intense and you are lulled by the false light of worldly sensuality.
Heed my words, dear children, for now even greater signs shall unfold. I invite your hearts to open at these signs which open the way for the reign of the antichrist. Do you understand why God has sent me, His mother, to be among you for so long? That I might prepare you and stand guard with you before the onslaught of the evil one. Therefore, I solemnly tell you that you must actively seek to awaken your will. You must direct your will back to God that in all things His Will is done. Unless you turn your will back to God you shall not see nor understand the signs which shall come upon all mankind. I solemnly tell you that the fulfillment of Scripture unfolds each day. Read your papers with the eyes of your soul and do not allow satan's lies to deceive you. See the world with your soul and let Truth come in. Then, my children, know that I truly plead with all of you to Pray! Pray! Pray! for the hour of great chastisement is upon you. Ask God to allow my Heart to Triumph soon so that satan may be forever chained and in glory shall my Divine Son return.
O! Pray! I beseech you, convert your heart now. I love and bless you. Thank you for responding to my Call!