TUESDAY

December 9, 1997   vol 8, no.48
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Everything's coming up roses

      Whether that refers to Ethel Merman belting out the hit Broadway tune or Blessed Juan Diego exclaiming to himself the miraculous wonders of God, it still adds up to the same thing - a beautiful sign! Today we celebrate Blessed Juan's feast day which can be found in today's Liturgy section. Click onLITURGY OF THE DAY

TUESDAY, December 9, 1997

Second Tuesday of Advent and
Optional Memorial of Blessed Juan Diego, hermit and visionary of Guadalupe


Blessed Juan Diego

     Ten years after Hernando Cortez conquered Mexico for the world, Our Lady began her conquest of Mexico and all of the Americas for her Divine Son's world when she chose a simple peasant to convey one of the greatest miracles in the history of apparitions. On a frosty December morning in 1531 Blessed Juan Diego, a 51-year-old Aztec peasant. Juan and his wife, whose name is not recorded, were recent converts to Catholicism due to the influence of the Spanish evangelization which Cortez brought with him from Spain. Juan, a recent convert to Catholicism from the pagan Aztec traditions and practice that had taken its toll in the human sacrifice of hundreds and hundreds of thousands reaching into the millions. This was one of the main reasons Our Blessed Mother came in 1531, to stop the human sacrifice; both with the pagan Aztec traditions and the senseless slaughter of the Conquistadors who had cut a swath of blood across Mexico on Cortez' march to Mexico City from the Gulf. By exemplifying a gentler, Christ-like nature, not only would the native peoples understand what the missionaries were conveying, but also remind the Spanish soldiers of their roots and prompt them to repent of their warring ways. Into this atmosphere Our Lady chose Juan Diego to impart her message and give to him the on-going miracle of the miraculous tilma worn by Juan on the day of the apparition. In the nature of replacing the ridiculous with the sublime, Blessed Mary asked Juan to have a chapel or church built on the site where there had been an Aztec shrine. This site was the hill of Tepeyac. She asked him to go to the local bishop with this request. One can imagine the bishop's first reaction when he encountered this poor Indian approaching him...and then telling him why he was there. No one should be surprised at the Bishop's response. Bishop Zumarraga demanded a sign that this message Juan brought was truly Heaven-sent. Needless to say, Juan was intimidated and disheartened. He didn't even want to go back to the hill, but through the grace of the Holy Spirit there he was again the next day - December 12th, trembling on Tepeyac Hill both from the winter chill and in trepidation of what he would tell the Blessed Virgin and what, in turn, she would ask him to do. In the custom of the people of his day, Juan was dressed in simple pants and a shirt, sandals, a straw short-visored sombrero and a tilma, which was a scapular-like garment made from a versatile and strong-fibred cactus plant indigenous to this region. Shivering as he waited, he almost did not notice the light and the gentle whisp of wind as Our Lady hovered near the top of the hill. He moved closer and Our Lady sought to allay his fears, bidding him come closer and tell her the Bishop's reaction though she already knew. Juan related his encounter and the need for an outward sign. Our Lady responded with the request that he pick the roses growing out of the rough, semi-frozen tundra of Tepeyac. Juan was aghast to find rich red roses in full bloom and he quickly stooped to pick as many of these rich beauties as he could, gathering them in the full of his front tilma, then pulling it up against his chest to protect them in a pouch-like fashion; then scurrying off to present this "sign" to the Monsignor Zumarraga. Panting and nearly out of breath, he reached the Episcopo alerting the guards outside. His insistance to see the Bishop brought rebuffs from those in the outer circle who thought it odd that an Aztec peasant should be so bold, yet through the grace of God Juan was admitted to the Bishop's chambers and there excitedly exclaimed, "I have the sign, your Excellency!" Impatient, doubting and yet curious, Zumarraga beckoned Juan to approach him. Blessed Diego came near the foot of the Bishop and knelt in reverence as he unrolled his tilma. Juan's eyes were fixed on the fresh petals that tumbled to the floor and did not see the shock and amazement on the Bishop's face as his vision was transfixed on the image he beheld emblazoned on Juan's poor, fragmented tilma. To this day one can see at the Shrine an mega-sized enlargement of Our Lady's eye on the tilma. In the eye, one can see the reflection of the Bishop and his entourage as they stared in disbelief. While transfixed in this incredibility, Juan straightened up and, at once, realized the true miracle Our Lady had endowed. There on his tilma was an image of how she had appeared to him just hours before, in full color. She had appeared to Juan not as Our Lady of Grace, or as a European-kind of visage, but as an Aztec woman standing on the moon, dressed in a finely detailed full-flowing dress or garment that symbolized many of the Aztec traditions. It was an image that would be accepted by the native Indians of this land moreso than the European icons of the Virgin the Spanish had brought with them. As always the Mother of God has a method to her message and the message conveyed stirred the Bishop to a reconversion and a rededication to evangelizing and serving the Indians while preaching the reason for Our Lady's visit. The results, guided by God, spread faster than the December wind blowing across the Mexican terrain. Within a short time, countless native Indians had been brought into Holy Mother Church's fold. To top that, almost instantly the people realized the error of their ways in the ancient Aztec ways of human sacrifice and abandoned the practice. The population flourished and as the Church dwindled in the Old World due to the erosion of the Protestant Reformation, the pendulum of plentitude swung to the New World in graces and conversions. It was the beginning of a reverence and veneration that would be carried through every generation up through today. Many expect Blessed Juan to be canonized, possibly as early as next year at the close of the Synod of the Americas in Mexico City.


WEDNESDAY, December 10, 1997

Wednesday, December 10:
Second Wednesday of Advent

     It may not be too much longer that we call Juan Diego Blessed. How does Saint Juan Diego sound? That is a distinct possibility that many of the Bishops of the American Synod believe strongly will happen next year when the Pope John Paul II comes to the Americas to conclude the Synod of American Bishops. For more on this, we share with you their assumptions in "Synod asks for Papal Closing Mass at Guadalupe?" in our daily coverage of the American Synod in its final week in Rome. Click on DAILY SYNOD SYNOPSIS

AS FINAL PHASE BEGINS, SYNOD ASKS FOR PAPAL CLOSING MASS: AT GUADALUPE?

[The following report-- one in a series of daily reports on the activities of the special Synod of the Americas-- comes through the courtesy of the international news agency ZENIT, based in Rome.]

      Participants in the Synod of Bishops for America are voting on where they would like the Pope to celebrate the closing Mass of the historic month-long synod.

      The 297 bishops, experts, and auditors received ballots today to gather opinions on how many cities John Paul II should visit during his trip to America. The General Secretary proposed the options of a one-, three- or five-city tour.

      The Synod closes Friday, December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Pope wants to publish the post-synodal exhortation in an American city, just as he gave similar addresses in Lebanon and Africa following the synods for bishops in those regions.

      Sources say that the delegates will likely reject the five-city plan, in order to spare the Holy Father a strenuous trip. Some are favoring a three-city tour, with the cities chosen in the various parts of the massive American Continent.

      Others favor a one-city trip to underline the unity of the Continent. Mexico City would be the likely choice, as proposed in the first phase of the Synod by Archbishop Norberto Rivera Carrera. This would give the Holy Father the opportunity to crown Our Lady of Guadalupe as Empress of America, and, if the Congregation for the Causes of Saints agrees, to canonize Juan Diego, the 16th-century Indian whose garment bears the miraculous image.

      Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte, General Secretary of the Synod, passed out the ballots for the vote. The Holy See will announce the Pope's itinerary in the coming days.

      Meanwhile, the Synod entered its final phase late last week, one day after the twelve language groups presented their recommendations on topics ranging from inter-religious dialogue to macroeconomic problems.

      Cardinal Schotte cautioned the delegates to avoid certain temptations in the drafting of their final proposals to the Pope. He recommended that the delegates:

      The Belgian cardinal also asked the bishops to take a personal and active role in the work. The delegates will send their final proposals to the Holy See next week. The post-synodal document will then be drafted for the Pope's review.


For Pope Lucius III - few roses, mostly thorns!

     Everything was coming up problems no matter where Pope Lucius III went in the late 12th century as we continue our chronicle of the supreme pontiffs and the Holy See in our on-going series giving the causes and effects of history in the Church over the centuries. Click on History of the Mass and Holy Mother Church

THE HISTORY OF THE MASS AND HOLY MOTHER CHURCH

Installment Fifty

Pope Lucius III: The peaceful pope in exile tries to reinforce the defense against heresy

Installment Fifty

     Before Pope Alexander III had been buried, the College of Cardinals gathered to nominate the oldest and most worthy of their peers - a monk who had been inducted into the Cistercians by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and who had served six pontiffs: Cardinal Ubaldus Allucingolus, who was 71 when he was elected on September 1, 1181. Because of his age he declined, but when pressed he accepted the privilege of being the one hundred and seventy first in the line of Peter. He chose the name Pope Lucius III out of respect for the papal ruler who was on the throne at the time of his being elevated to bishop. He was a popular choice not only of the conclave, but also the German King Frederick I of Barbarossa. Even a greater endorsement had come from the martyred Saint Thomas Becket who listed only one other cardinal along with Allucingolus as "untouchable" in regards to giving in to greed and graft. Despite Frederick’s thumbs-up for Lucius III, the latter would not budge, as we shall see, in being a puppet pope and sparks would fly between the two rulers. Likewise, the terrible conflict with the Roman families that had greatly troubled his predecessor still haunted the Holy See. Lucius did all he could to bring peace with the Roman families, but would not give in to their unrealistic demands. They were not willing to compromise and set out to lay siege on the city of Tusculum outside Rome. Fearing reprisal, Lucius chose to be crowned the supreme pontiff in the city of Velletri on September 6, 1181. In fact, other than a brief stay in Rome from November 1181 to March 1182, he chose to remain at Velletri and later Verona. Seeking to aid the Tusculumians, he enlisted the military might of the former Rhineland prince and now Archbishop Christian of Mainz who was better known as the "fighting archbishop." Christian replied affirmatively but the fever of that time took a huge, fatal toll on his troops and, as he lay dying, Lucius personally heard the confession of this rogue prelate before succumbing to the deadly fever. Tusculum was lost and the Romans gained more strength as Lucius retreated to Velletri. Though he was a man of great peace, he would not compromise and that lengthened his exile outside of Rome.

     Frederick, hoping to settle once and for all the matters dividing the Church and the empire, sought a conference with Lucius which was held in Verona in 1184. First on the docket was the matter of heretics and plans for a new crusade to the Holy Land. Lucius decreed that the bishops were to watch for and report all heretics and suppress heresy by force of arms, if necessary. Frederick agreed to give the bishops the power to enforce their power to shut them down. Many call this the "charter of the Inquisition" which would be put into full force a few centuries down the road. The Saracen leader in the east had been ravaging the land and both knew the importance of rallying European troops to join the crusade. Frederick thought he had the perfect answer by using his son to solidify two powerful nations who could provide the military might to defeat the Saladin, but the Holy Father was skeptical, especially since he had not sent any kind of military aid to the Pope in his fight against the Romans. Frederick, always the schemer and power-monger intended to strengthen his empire by marrying off his son Henry to Constance, daughter of Roger II of Sicily. Though he did not want to stand in the way of young love, Lucius and his curia could see the handwriting on the wall, that the Papal States would be caught in the squeeze, and so strongly objected to the marriage. This did not sit well with Frederick who openly refused any military support against the Romans whatsoever. Frederick left Verona at odds with the Pope, but Lucius would never leave - for here he remained to conduct papal affairs from this outpost and died on November 25, 1185 at the age of 75.


A Bouquet of Roses from God's Heavenly Messenger Mary

      Our Lady's sign to Juan Diego in 1531 is the same as it is today. She guides us in today's issue on "Living the Fifth Beatitude with a clean heart" in the Lessons/Meditations imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart in our special A Call To Peace Revelations section. Click on THE HIDDEN WAY for the 63rd Lesson.

THE HIDDEN WAY

Lessons/Meditations from Our Lord and Our Lady to


the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart

Lesson/Meditation #64:

LIVING THE FIFTH BEATITUDE WITH A CLEAN HEART

(Imparted on January 29, 1995 to the Hidden Flower by Our Lady)

     Beloved Hidden Flower of my Immaculate Heart, be at great peace, and offer all to my Divine Son Who alone looks upon His children with Merciful Love, if only the heart is contrite. I do solemnly tell you these end times are, for so many of my children, a true crucible in which by their free will given to God, they shall be purified, their hearts shall be made CLEAN!

      O! Little ones of my Immaculate Heart, you do not comprehend how you offend my Divine Son when you do not keep custody of your senses, emotions and your human intellect. The soul, alive in sanctifying grace, is the guardian over your humanity. But if you reverse this holy order and your humanity is out of control and suffocates your soul, then it is far too easy for you to sin.

      In my life there were grave sins against the flesh. There were evil people who murdered, robbed, abused others through slavery, usury. The people were well-acquainted with blasphemous language. Like today, the people of my own time often spoke those horrid, fetid words from habit rather than pure willfulness. But they still offended the Triune Divinity Who made man to speak only in a holy way, letting each word give praise to God.

      My little children, when my Divine Son walked the earth and taught, He made clear that man must make a choice between God and the world ruled by satan. There is no other choice. You cannot say you belong to God and commit evil deeds with your eyes filled with lust and envy. You cannot say you belong to God if you permit your ears to hear all evil speech and the bombardment of noise which separates you from union with god. You cannot say you belong to God if you use your body in an unholy way, and by your permissiveness lead others to sin also.

      To be ‘clean of heart’ is to do all my Divine Son ceaselessly tells you to do through the One True Church. Those who are seeking to be ‘clean of heart’ to not argue "freedom of choice" in the matter of the life carried in a Mother’s womb. Those who strive for this purity of heart understand fully God’s Ultimate Authority over all life. Your mortal body is the tabernacle of your soul - made in the image and likeness of God. ‘Clean of heart’ is modesty in dress, speech, thought and act. ‘Clean of heart’ bows humbly before God and acknowledges the Divine Truth. ‘Clean of heart’ is chaste love for self and one’s neighbor. ‘Clean of heart’ does not rationalize and condone any human behavior that is contrary to God’s Law.

      To be ‘clean of heart’ is to rise above temptations; it is awareness of God at all times, and an acknowledgment that nothing is hidden from God!

      Therefore, little children, seek through all I have told you to be ‘CLEAN OF HEART.’ To he and she who are ‘clean of heart’ prayer from and of the heart flows like a river of light to illumine the darkness of the world. My Divine Son cherishes in a special way all who are ‘clean of heart,’ all who daily strive for this purity. Upon them He bestows His Peace, Comfort, Forgiveness, Strength and Love.

      Thus he or she who is ‘clean of heart’ is brought to the fullness of mystical union with God in this life so that in the eternal life to come the soul sees God face to face, and rejoices exceedingly beyond all human comprehension for Eternity.

      I do solemnly tell you all who shall persevere in these end times shall, by their obedience, faithfulness and suffering be made ‘clean of heart.’

      Hear my words, O! Children of my Immaculate Heart. Live my Messages, dear children, for they bring to your soul all that Sacred Scripture contains.

      I love and bless you and I intercede for you in these critical times. Receive my Divine Son’s Peace and do not become lukewarm. The lukewarm are not ‘clean of heart,’ and they cause my Immaculate Heart such sorrow!

      Prepare well while there is yet time. Become ‘clean of heart,’ and you shall see God! Thank you for responding to my Call!

NEXT WEEK: Lesson/Meditation #64:

THE ESSENCE OF THE SEVENTH BEATITUDE: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God."


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December 9, 1997 volume 8, no. 48         DAILY CATHOLIC


December 1997