God set a precedent for presenting this special woman conceived without sin as His extraordinary messenger before He ever assumed her into Heaven. This is documented by Our Lady's very first appearance in Zaragoza, Spain after her Son's Ascension into Heaven. She was carried there on a pillar by angels to appear to Saint James the Apostlewho had gone to Spain under Our Lord's directive to "Go, make disciples of all nations." Mary's request was for James to return to Jerusalem and there, die a martyr for Jesus Christ. The feast of Our Lady of Pilar of Zaragoza is observed October 12 and highly celebrated in Spanish countries.
There are other reports of apparitions after Mary's Assumption into Heaven from the fourth century on but not until the thirteenth century did Our Lady, Comforter of the afflicted, begin her messages to her children. This motherly advice, admonition and aid were first given to Saint Dominic in 1208 when she presented him the Rosary and bade him go forth and preach. Amidst the Albigensian heresy, which denied the Holy Trinity and attacked the Catholic Church, Our Lady came over 30 times to the Church's rescue through Dominic who established the Order of Preachers - the Dominicans - to fend off this heresy diametrically opposed to Divine Revelation.
In 1251 Our Lady revealed more of her plan to Saint Simon Stock in England when she appeared to him twenty or so times as Our Lady of Mount Carmel and bestowed on him the Scapular to be handed down through the centuries as a protection for her faithful children. About the time of the all-out revolt brought about by those who instilled their will over God's will - better known as the Protestant reformation - Our Lady appeared to Blessed Juan Diego at Guadalupe, Mexico in 1531 and, through the miracle of roses presented to his bishop, left her children the miraculous tilma with the image of her as the woman depicted in Genesis 3: 15 but in the style of the culture of the Aztecs. Her specific intention was to stop human sacrifice in the western hemisphere. Ironically, while at the same time in Europe the Protestant revolt was taking tens of thousands of Catholics away from the One, True Church, Our Lady was instrumental in adding millions of new converts in the new world. God does indeed have a way of balancing the evil one's efforts!
This Friday we celebrate her feast of Guadalupe and it is a special time in history. First of all, word has just come down this week that the Holy Father has all but assured that Juan Diego will be canonized next year in Mexico City when he officially closes the Synod of the Americas there. Secondly, the notion that she belongs only to Mexicans as Our Lady of Guadalupe is fast diminishing as the emphasis both by her and Church officials has focused on her being Our Lady of the Americas incorporating the entire western hemisphere. Thirdly, the point has been re-emphasized and confirmed that her original purpose to stop human sacrifice remains stronger than ever in stopping the human sacrifice of unborn babies through the abominable sin of abortion. To reaffirm the tie-in, a Son-a-gram was taken two years ago three times of Our Lady's womb in the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe (permission could not be obtained to perform the ultrasound on the original tilma at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe) by Father Walter Winrich, M.M. who has been the foremost promoter of Our Lady's call at Guadalupe. The results were astonishing, for when the Son-a-gram was performed of the image in which Our Lady is pregnant, what they discovered was not an infant child within her womb but the image of Jesus of Mercy for these, indeed, are the times of Mercy before the great Justice!
NEXT WEEK: The Queen of Prophets presents a lasting blueprint for true conversion
Our Lady's apparitions, deigned by the Holy Trinity, are in accordance with all that has been prophesied in Divine Revelation as Wilmott G. Brown chronicles in his work on the comparisons of her apparitions at Lourdes, Fatima, and Medjugorje and devotions established by Holy Mother Church; specifically the Prayer to Saint Michael which he treats in today's installment. Click on SIGNIFICANCE OF LOURDES, FATIMA AND MEDJUGORJE AS EXPLAINED IN SCRIPTURE
This period of 75 years seems to coincide with the grip of Communism in Russia. That is from the start of the Communist revolution in 1917 or slightly earlier (the planning phase) to the fall of the Communist Party in Russia in 1991. This is a period of almost 75 years. Thank Mary for her apparitions at Fatima and Medjugorje. Remember that at Fatima at the July 13, 1917 apparition, Our Lady asked for the Consecration of Russia.
Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort said: "Mary has authority over the angels and the Blessed in Heaven... Thus the most fearful enemy that God has set up against the devil is Mary, his holy Mother". It simply means that satan, being so proud, suffers infinitely more in being vanquished and punished by a lowly and humble spirit of God" Lastly, Mary must become as terrible as an army in battle array to the devil and his followers, especially in these latter times. For satan, knowing that he has little time - even less now than ever - to destroy souls, intensifies his efforts and his onslaughts every day", as reported in True Devotion to The Blessed Virgin Mary, verses 28, 50, 52, by St. Louis Grignion de Montfort. Saint Bonaventure said: "Michael, the leader and prince of the heavenly army, with all the administering spirits, obeys thy commands, O Virgin, and defends and receives the souls of the faithful who have particularly recommended themselves to thee, O Lady, day and night", which was written by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori in The Glories of Mary, Chapter II, part III, page 102. Revelation 12:7-8 says: "And there was a great battle in Heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon and the dragon fought and his angels; and they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in Heaven."
Consequently, the devil suffers a most crushing and humiliating defeat at Maryís heel (Genesis 3:15), by an army lead by Michael the Archangel. Mary is the Queen of Peace. Since the apparitions at Medjugorje occurred in a Communist country, it is apparent that Medjugorje is a continuation of Fatima and that God choose Medjugorje as a battleground for this victory. Remember, at Medjugorje, Maryís title is Queen of Peace, for she is victorious over the forces of evil.
Furthermore, in Russia, the Ukrainian word for wormwood is Chernobyl, as the Rev. Albert J. M. Shamon writes in The Power of the Rosary, page 34, where the atomic power plant exploded (nuclear fire) on April 28, 1986. In Revelation 8:10-11, the description says: "When the angel blew his trumpet, a huge star burning like a torch crashed down from the sky. It fell on a third of the rivers and springs. The starís name was Wormwood because a third part of all the water turned to wormwood. Many people died from this polluted water." The radioactive fallout from this disaster polluted a large area. Moreover, it was reported that a year later, that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared in the Ukraine. All of these recent apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary are related and we must study them all. An interesting apparition happened in 1947 in Rome (Via Laurentina); Mary appeared to a Protestant, holding a bible, and said "I am the Virgin of Revelation". Now at the sight of this apparition, is the shrine of Our Lady of Tre Fontane with the statue of Our Lady of Revelation. In addition, this apparition occurred in 1947, the same year that Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort was canonized. Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort believed that the woman in Revelation 12:1, is the Blessed Virgin Mary, as he writes in his book, True Devotion to The Blessed Virgin Mary, verse 234.
Holy Scripture is being fulfilled, the tribulation is coming, and soon Jesus Christ will return in power and glory. Mary is preparing the faithful of God, the remnant, for all these events. Furthermore, one event often overlooked between the apparitions of Fatima and Medjugorje, is the restoration of the nation of Israel, which should surely precede the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Be prepared for these events, especially the return of Jesus Christ in glory. The best way is to strive to become a saint, especially the type that Saint Louis Grignion de Montfort describes. Be bold, and spread the messages that Mary has revealed in her apparitions. Love God with all your strength and heart. Pray as much as possible.
NEXT WEEK: Chapter Seven: An Angel's View
I beg to differ. Bear with me as I explain why. We, all mankind, have believed this well-educated number of people; weíve inhaled the repeated, mind-numbing stories of our human complexities and our societal complexities ad nauseam. The end result? We are a de-sensitized race of people to our life and our purpose; after all, lifeís too complex to have to try and figure this out, right?
Our real life, our real purpose is really quite simple: GOD! Is GOD complex? He is Infinite. But He does not wish us to spend countless hours trying to dissect Him like a laboratory experiment. He Is. He Is our Father. We are here to love Him above all else and to love (not human love) our neighbor as ourselves. Boy, how we love our complex selves!!
We do not do this, for that prattle about complexities keeps our minds in hyper drive and our hearts in constant pain. Slow down! In everything you do and say, slow down! This decade is seeing the influx of advanced technology - more technology in the last ten to fifteen years than the world saw in a century. Whether this technology is good or bad is not the issue.
Itís how we use it that either makes or breaks us as individuals or as a society in general. Do you think God is impressed by advances in any scientific field? Do you think God is impressed by the ceaseless debates about Him? Or, is He impressed, i.e., moved by our simplicity of heart which rises above the "complexities" of life and seeks Him alone?
I put forth, for reflection, that life is rife with problems (translation=complexities) not because God is complex, nor because we, His children are. I put forth that we prefer complexity because it is a sure-fire means of brain-washing us to the point of forgetting God because, gosh darn, life is just so complex and weíre so busy trying to figure things out. Not to mention, surely, that by choosing this brain-washing, mind-numbing, heart-pounding nonsense we let satan play with us and cause even more complexities.
Life is not complex. Granted, life is not easy. But it need not be complex. We, by our weaknesses and our cooperation with satan, fill life with pains, sorrows and horrors that make us blind, deaf and dumb to God.
O! But donít forget, weíre just so advanced! Reality, put quite simply, is thus:
What happens from birth to mortal death is that portion allotted us to live out and show our love for God. To love God is simple, yet it must be deep. It requires a depth of untouchable faith in our heart and soul. This depth must be profound, for it is here where lifeís complexities are sorted, sifted, examined and finally resolved by Godís grace and in His Light.
O! To love Him! To Trust Him! To Serve Him! What more do we really need? Nothing! Itís the wants that get in the way. Itís the wants that blossom out of the "complexities" of our time which bring us to that point where discussion of God, argument, debate and the like become the norm, while Love dies a slow death under the suffocating heap of modern complexities.
Stop marveling at the speed of technology. Godís always been instant. Stop rushing around heedlessly. God doesnít move. We do. Stop the barrage of sights and sounds that distract, divide and evoke "complexities." Godís language isnít to be found in any technology. It is in our heart and soul.
Complex? From a human, worldly point of view, yes, we are complex and so is our society. Think about this: For such a technologically advanced society, what have we achieved in our love of God that our "primitive, simple" forefathers didnít have? Have we not, in fact, taken a huge step backward? We have lost not only depth, we have lost simplicity.
Itís not too late to be simple. It would be simpler if we all worked at it together.