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WEDNESDAY

March 4, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 45



...provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity...

     The words of the Blessed Mother at Garabandal provide for our common defense and promote the general welfare of her faithful ones if we but heed what she is pleading with us to do. If we follow her advice, which comes directly from her Divine Son Jesus, then we can be assured of "securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." She has alerted us at Garabandal and since of the Warning - the "illumination of our souls" to be followed by the great Miracle in the pines which manifests God's Mercy and Love for all as we plan for the promised Reign of the Sacred Heart - the New Advent that our posterity will experience after the Millennium. For the fifty-eighth installment entitled - "For whom do the bells toll?" - part three, click on THE AGE OF MARIAN APPARITIONS
Installment Fifty-Eight

GARABANDAL: For whom the Bells Toll!

Part Three

     It is important to note that the apparitions at Garabandal lasted anywhere from five minutes to hours and hours. Yet the visionaries were unaware of the time span so engrossed in the euphoria of the apparitions. Also, they were impervious to the various trances they underwent to the amazement of all onlookers. They would levitate, parallel with the ground, be lifted up off their toes, their heads thrown all the way back looking straight up. They would even fall without being injured, landing in varied positions but always dignified, never embarrassing. They were often seen "walking" on their knees during the visions never bumping into anything yet their eyes were fixed straight up. Often they moved up and down the hill at amazing speed, almost as if they had "wings on their feet." There are many other documented accounts of this phenomena that parallel the apparitions in Kibeho in the now-tormented region of Rwanda, Africa.

      At the end of July, on the 29th, Our Lady told the visionaries to forsake the cuardo and to come to the Pines half way up the verdant sloping mountain. From that point on Our Lady established the pine-grove as the main area for her apparitions to the Garabandal visionaries, although she continued to appear to them in their homes, on the streets, in the cemetery area, in front of the village church, even sometimes inside the church and at locales away from the village when the visionaries were traveling; again, very similar to the Medjugorje apparitions.

      It’s most interesting to consider how Our Lady responded to how her prayer - the Hail Mary - was recited by one of the girls. It reveals Mary’s respect for Her Divine Son’s Church and the established liturgy. As one of the visionaries was saying the prayer she added after "Mother of God’ the words "and our Mother..." Our Lady thanked them for their enthusiasm and spontaneous prayer, but asked them not to use that formula again unless approved by the Church. In the same vein, on September 5, 1961, the visionaries went to Fr. Marichalar’s little village church while in the state of ecstasy. Because the Bishop of the Diocese of Santander had forbidden any apparitions in a church, Fr. Marichalar had to obey his leader’s mandate and so he announced to the girls, "On orders from His Excellency the Bishop, you are to leave." Instantly the four young girls came out of their euphoria and marched out into the open air. They had been obedient as Our Lady always requests, even though it was only natural to be near the Blessed Sacrament for Our Lady had told them to go to the church, perhaps to test theirs and Fr. Marichalar’s obedience. They all passed with flying colors.

      The same possibly may not be said of the Bishop of Santander Monsignor Eugenio Beitia Aldazabal, for like the former Bishop of Mostar Monsignor Paveo Zanic, he was not favorable to the reported apparitions and sought to have them suppressed even censoring and transferring Fr. Marichalar, accusing him of perpetrating the "hoax" in Garabandal. Despite volumes of documented accounts, first-hand witnesses and inexplicable happenings that defy all finite logic, Bishop Aldazabal maintained that no apparitions had occurred and that all phenomena were explained by natural causes.

      Sadly, this deduction is too often the catch-phrase many bishops hide behind to evade the possibility that Our Lady could truly be appearing and imparting heavenly messages from God for the Almighty is all-powerful and all-knowing. Many believe the controversy which arose over this played a role in Pope Paul VI abolishing Canons 1399 and 2318. In recent years, with a new Bishop in Santander - Monsignor Juan Antonio del Val Gallo - the investigation of Garabandal has been reopened and the accounts, miracles and fruits are ample evidence that soon this site will be fully approved by the Holy See.

      When the Warning does occur, as well as the subsequent Miracle there will be no doubt as to the authenticity of Our Lady’s visits and her vital messages there. Until then, all should continue to treat Garabandal the same as Medjugorje, always recognizing that the final authority regarding apparitions, locutions and prophecies rests with the Holy See of Rome to whose judgment all should humbly submit. As Our Lady has said often, "Obedience bears the greatest fruit."

      This obedience can often cause great consternation such as was the situation with Fr. Marichalar who had to be obedient to his Bishop’s directives, obliged at times to speak sternly of the apparitions to his parishioners who, in the face of all the miraculous events and conversions taking place in this little village, felt he was being unfair. At the same time Fr. Marichalar confided to more than one that he truly believed. This is a "Catch 22" that many priests find themselves in today. If they proclaim what they believe in their hearts they’ll not only be ridiculed and persecuted by their cohorts but also find themselves in the local ordinary’s "dog house" or worse yet either drummed out of their diocese or stripped of their faculties. On the other hand if they go along with the ecclesiastical "party line" they may suffer tremendous guilt within, knowing they are being hypocrites and may, by their silence or aversion, be responsible for confusing many souls who truly believe. Over the years we have come across many of the latter, but we have also been blessed in our apostolate to encounter several dedicated priests, religious and committed lay persons who willingly take up their cross daily and follow Christ by proclaiming their belief and reverent devotion regardless of the corporal reprimands castigated on them by higher clerics. These steadfast souls who face the accusations of perfidy have one thing in common: They are faithful and obedient to the highest cleric - The Vicar of Christ. No wonder Our Blessed Mother constantly asks all of us to pray for her priest-sons and her faithful remnant which is dwindling as the times get tougher and the persecutions increase. The Second Message of Garabandal stresses this.

      One reason for the depletion in the ranks is that many are looking for the spectacular. Many are expecting exact messages which will outline precisely what they are supposed to do. They’re looking for a blue-print in which they’ll then have control of their future. Our Lady doesn’t work that way. Jesus, the Son of God was not born in a magnificent castle, but in a crude, out-of-the-way stable. He didn’t gather armies to follow Him, but a motley crew of twelve apostles who had nothing in common but faith and who, if they had to take one of those psychological apitude tests so prevalently administered today, would fall miserably by the world’s standards. No, God works in wondrous and mysterious ways that the finite mind cannot fathom and when we try to get inside God’s intellect rather than His Heart - that’s when we really get in trouble! This craving for the spectacular has caused many to become discouraged with Our Lady’s messages for they are simple and child-like, established in Scripture. Should we be surprised? Didn’t Jesus say "Unless you become as a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven" (Matthew 18:3)? Doesn’t Our Lady constantly address all God’s messengers and those who would respond to the messages as her "children"?

      This obsession with sensationalism in the messages could easily have doomed Garabandal for thousands gathered on October 18, 1961 to hear the message that Conchita had promised would be revealed on this date per the Virgin Mary’s behest. Many weathered an all night rain without sleep to grab the best viewpoint and listening garrison to hear the message and perhaps see a miracle, or even Our Lady. There were audible groans after one of the visionaries read the message, signed in witness by all four girls. The majority grumbled. "This is the end of Garabandal." To paraphrase a well-known Peggy Lee song of that era - "is that all there is?" As Fr. Pascual writes in his narrative of the event, "There was nothing very extraordinary about it, nothing spectacular. No miracle was forthcoming. The works of God are always simple, and sometimes even elementary." In truth all of us want to see something, to experience a phenomena, to be convinced that what we believe is really worthy of belief.

NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part Four - Garabandal: For whom the Bells Toll!


...do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

     Nearly eighteen hundred years before the Constitution was established, another "constitution" was established by Christ which ensured we would be afforded all the protection and rights as His heirs. This is contained in the Word and the Traditions, and the Sacraments with the liturgy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to assure His constitution with us here in the United States of America. Powerful rulers of the past have upheld these rights and duties of Catholics, such as Saint Casimir, Patron Saint of Poland, whose optional feast we celebrate today. For the readings, liturgy, meditation and vignettes today and tomorrow, click on LITURGY OF THE DAY

WEDNESDAY, March 4, 1998

Saint Casimir

     The patron saint of Poland was a saintly young prince named Saint Casimir. He was known for his virginal chastity and for truly living what he preached for the 26 years he lived on this earth. Born in 1458 into nobility, his mother Elizabeth of Austria raised him in the True Faith. At 13 he was elected King of Hungary in hopes of toppling the rival king Matthias Corvino. However, through Casimir's prayers, peace and compromise were reached and the Hungarians were reconciled with Corvino. This enabled Casimir to abdicate the throne and devote his life to prayer as he preferred over the life of royalty. Yet while his father was in Lithuania, Casimir was again promoted - this time to the office of regent in Poland. Though he preferred a more contemplative lifestyle, he accepted this office with dignity and despite his youth, showed wisdom beyond his years in administering with great prudence and virtue. Casimir nurtured a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, dedicating his life to her and turning down an offer of marriage to the daughter of the German Emperor Henry III. In 1843 Casimir was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Lithuania and shortly after that contracted the fatal disease of tuberculosis, passing on to his Heavenly reward on March 4, 1484 at the young age of 26 in the court of Grodno. Amid great grief and pomp the Polish people honored him, burying him under the altar in the Chapel of Our Lady in the castle of Vilna. He was canonized 37 years later in 1521 by Pope Leo X, but it wasn't until 1602 that the Poles and Lithuanians realized Casimir had been made a saint since the original bull never reached Poland since Leo's successor Pope Hadrian VI had assumed Leo X had sent it and therefore did not follow-up. As it were, Leo died before he could dispatch the original bull and it was lost in the shuffle. Once it was discovered, Pope Clement VIII took care of officially notifying the Polish people by reissuing the papal bull. Almost immediately the Polish King Sigismund III began erecting a chapel honoring Casimir in Vilna and it was completed by his successor King Wladislaus IV.

THURSDAY, March 5, 1998


PRAYERS & DEVOTION

Today's prayer is the Opening Prayer commemorating Saint Casimir.

      All-powerful God, to serve You is to reign: by the prayers of St. Casimir, help us to serve You in holiness and justice.
For more devotions of Lent, click on WAY OF THE CROSS

Medjugorje Monthly Message for February 25th

      Dear children! Also today I am with you and I, again, call all of you to come closer to me through your prayers. In a special way, I call you to renunciation in this time of grace. Little children, meditate on and live, through your little sacrifices, the Passion and Death of Jesus for each of you. Only if you come closer to Jesus will you comprehend the immeasurable love He has for each of you. Through prayer and your renunciation you will become more open to the gift of faith and love towards the Church and the people who are around you. I love and bless you. Thank you for having responded to my call! For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE

667 and counting, hoping and praying..


WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

HEADLINES:

POPE TO MEET US SECRETARY OF STATE

     VATICAN (CWN) -- US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will meet with Pope John Paul II on Saturday, March 7. Their discussions are expected to include the latest developments in Iraq, Cuba, and the Middle East, as well as the continuing question of international debt.

      The Holy Father's meeting with the American diplomat will come at the end of a week during which all papal audiences have been stopped, so that the Pope and his staff can undertake their annual retreat.

      The Holy See has been at odds with the United States regarding the prospects for military action against Iraq, and the international embargoes on both Iraq and Cuba. In each instance the Vatican has argued for lifting the economic sanctions, while the United States has favored continuing the embargo. The recent release of political prisoners from Cuba may help to ease the way for a change of policy in that case.


POPE THANKFUL FOR PEACE IN IRAQ

     VATICAN (CWN) -- In his weekly Angelus audience on Sunday, March 1, Pope John Paul II expressed his satisfaction with the agreement that staved off a military conflict in the Persian Gulf, and offered his thanks to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for his role in negotiating the accord.

      The Holy Father said that he hoped the agreement would prove enduring, and form a "definitive" basis for peaceful negotiations. The negotiations, he said, had been "a victory for the international community."

      The Pope recognized that the crisis in Iraq has not been resolved, and the situation "remains delicate and complex." But "hope is strong," he quickly added. The Pope offered his prayer "that God will continue to enlighten all those who have at heart the future of the Iraqi people and of peace in the Middle East."

      After praying the Angelus, the Pope once again called upon the wealthy nations to examine the possibility of lightening the burden of debts being carried by many Third World countries. He said that the advent of the Jubilee Year 2000 offers "an opportune time" for reduction or forgiveness of international debt. He offered his support for all international bodies which search for "equitable solutions."


POPE CAUTIONS COUPLES ON USING NFP

     VATICAN (CWN) -- Pope John Paul II repeated the traditional Catholic teaching that artificial contraception is "intrinsically illicit," but he also cautioned against using natural methods of family planning for selfish reasons.

      In an address to an international society for the promotion of natural family planning, the Holy Father commended the group for its research on human fertility, and stressed that "responsible parenthood" might compel some married couples to use the natural periods of a woman's fertility as a means of regulating births. However, he cautioned that couples should use this method, too, in a way that is "truthful to their love." The use of natural family planning can also be subject to abuse, he said, if couples avoid having children simply in order to make their own lives easier or more affluent.

      The Holy Father recommended that pastors should show "understanding" toward the many couples who have difficulty fulfilling the natural plan of marriage. But he emphasized that such "understanding" should not mean ignoring the laws of nature and the teachings of the Church.

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H2>PROVERB OF THE DAY

"Lust not in your heart after her beauty, let her not captivate you with her glance."

Proverbs 6: 25


For all other standard features, articles and columns, click on Archives

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March 4, 1998 volume 9, no. 45         DAILY CATHOLIC