My dear friends,
After hearing the recent news about the abuse scandals within the Catholic church my heart sunk deep within my chest. My sunken heart broke open to hear of this tragedy and I wept. I cry for these men found guilty who abused their vows, turned away from Christ’s teachings, and rejected His love. I am especially hurting for the innocent victims and their families. From this broken heart I plead that you will hear my words. The words of one who desires to love as God does. I desire that my heart may be united to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary causing it to be inflamed and set ablaze with the fire of Love. I am moved to cry out as a poor banished child of Eve. To Mary do I send up my sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears. Despite my lowliness, I desire to take these sufferings within the Body of Christ as my own and unite myself to God on the cross who defeated sin and death once and for all. I pray for the grace to die for the Truth, for Love, for my God!
Over and over again I continue to hear variations of this question, “How can we mend the wounded Body of Christ?” No longer can we stand idle as we watch Christ’s bride be neglected, violated, betrayed, beat, and bruised. As I attempt to impart the wisdom I have learned in order to answer this question I pray that our Blessed Mother, Mother of our Church, will lead my words along with her spouse the Holy Spirit.
I tried my hardest to get this post finished in a timely manner after hearing the news of what is happening within my beloved church. This is a rather hefty and touchy topic however, but one that needs to be brought into the light. I tried to tread this topic carefully and with love holding the hand of Mary as she holds her Son Jesus.
Call Upon Mary
We are nearing the end of August as we have just been reminded that Mary is the august Queen of Heaven. The Feast of the Queenship of Mary took place on August 22nd, almost one week ago. Saint Therese also reminds us that, “She [Mary] is more Mother than Queen.” I believe the whole month of August is dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for this reason. This emphasizes the importance of her most loving motherly heart. Her love is the greatest of any mother. Mary desires what her Son desires. Her Immaculate Heart and her Son’s Sacred Heart are closely bound.
A great example of a mother who prayed for her son with a mother’s heart is St. Monica who prayed for her son St. Augustine. We celebrated her feast day yesterday (August 27th) and her son’s feast day today (August 28th). When Saint Augustine was young he became immersed into a life of grave sin. His mother, St. Monica, was heartbroken that her son had chosen this life of sin. She prayed constantly for him. Eventually Saint Augustine had a conversion and he is now one of the greatest saints and doctors of the Catholic church.
St. Augustine said, “Give me praying mothers and I will rescue the world.” St. Monica’s love for her son, although great, does not even compare to the immense love that our Blessed Mother has for Jesus and her children. She will never leave us unaided if we call upon her. She loves her children too much to ever tire from tending to our needs. She gave us the Rosary so that we may ask for her help and she can work miracles. Call upon Mary!
On this Feast day of St. Augustine may we ask for our Heavenly Mother’s intercession for our church. May Mary teach us to fervently pray for our church as St. Monica prayed for her son. May Mary also pray for us that we may, like St. Augustine, purify ourselves of sin to advance in becoming a great saint for the church.
Prayer and Penance
“… Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” Luke 13:3.
No longer can we cover our ears to not hear, our eyes to not see, mouths to remain silent, and our bodies unmoved as Our Blessed Mother desires something of us. In many approved apparitions of Mary we see over and over again the promotion and importance of the Holy Rosary. When Our Lady appeared to St. Bernadette in Lourdes, France the first apparition began with Mary praying the Holy Rosary with little Bernadette.
“Without thinking of what I was doing I took my Rosary in my hands and went on my knees. The Lady made with Her head a sign of approval and Herself took into Her hands a Rosary which hung on Her right arm. When I attempted to begin the Rosary and tried to lift my hand to my forehead, my arm remained paralyzed, and it was only after the Lady had signed Herself that I could do the same. The Lady left me to pray all alone; She passed the beads of Her Rosary between Her fingers but She said nothing; only at the end of each decade did She say the ‘Gloria’ with me” St. Bernadette recounts her experience with Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception.
There were 18 apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes and each one would begin as St. Bernadette would pray the Holy Rosary. Our Lady would appear and pray the Holy Rosary with her and then Bernadette would go into ecstasy. At Lourdes Mary’s overarching message to St. Bernadette was penance, pray the Rosary, and pray for sinners!
“Father [Augustin Fuentes], the most Holy Virgin is very sad because no one has paid any attention to Her Message, neither the good nor the bad” Sister Lucia, one of the three seers who saw and conversed with Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima.
Again at Fatima the Holy Virgin appeared and said, “Pray the Rosary every day, in order to obtain peace for the world.” She also said, “When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: ‘O Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who have most need of your mercy’” (July 13, 1917). Our Lady of Fatima also encouraged Devotion to the Immaculate Heart, penance, and prayers for sinners.
Pray the Holy Rosary daily.
Countless holy men and women have encouraged the prayer of the Holy Rosary. Our Blessed Mother so desperately desires to help her children! So out of obedience, humility, and love we must heed this request of our Blessed Mother who loves us tenderly with a love beyond all telling.
“One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, she [Mary] will save the world” St. Dominic.
“The Rosary is a powerful weapon to put the demons to flight and to keep oneself from sin… If you desire peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in your country, assemble each evening to recite the Rosary. Let not even one day pass without saying it, no matter how burdened you may be with many cares and labors” Pope Pius XI.
“No one can live continually in sin and continue to say the Rosary: either they will give up sin or they will give up the Rosary” Bishop Hugh Doyle.
”One day a colleague of mine heard the devil say during an exorcism: Every Hail Mary is like a blow on my head. If Christians knew how powerful the Rosary was, it would be my end” Father Gabriel Amorth, chief exorcist for the Vatican.
Drive out Evil and Sin From our Lands
A report from the Catholic News Agency recounts the story of a Nigerian bishop who, after having a vision of Christ, says the Rosary will bring down Boko Haram (an Islamist terrorist organization who burned down countless Catholic churches and tried to defeat Christianity). Here is an excerpt from the story:
“‘Towards the end of last year I was in my chapel before the Blessed Sacrament… praying the rosary, and then suddenly the Lord appeared.’” Bishop Dashe told CNA April 18. In the vision, the prelate said, Jesus didn’t say anything at first, but extended a sword toward him, and he in turn reached out for it. ‘As soon as I received the sword, it turned into a rosary,’ the bishop said, adding that Jesus then told him three times: ‘Boko Haram is gone.’ ‘I didn’t need any prophet to give me the explanation,’ he said. ‘It was clear that with the rosary we would be able to expel Boko Haram.’ … He later told CNA that ‘prayer, particularly the prayer of the rosary is (what) will deliver us from the claws of this demon, the demon of terrorism. And of course, it is working.’”
Read the full story here.
If we want to fight against evil and sin, then we cannot go to battle empty handed. If we want to drive evil and sin out of our church and country, then we must pick up our sword (the Rosary) and put on our shield (the Scapular). We must go to battle against the devil who cowers in fear to Jesus and Mary. “And he [Jesus] said to them, ‘This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer [and fasting]’” Mark 9:29. If we desire to rid our church of these evils that have been occurring then we must pray and fast. Do we honestly realize the power of prayer? Our Blessed Mother at Fatima promised us that “in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph!” May we be part of Mary’s army heeding her every command so that we may triumph along with her and her Son Jesus! Do not abandon Jesus, Mary, and Christ’s bride, the Church now just as so many did when Jesus went through His Passion.
“Then he [Jesus] said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home” John 19:27.
My house shall be called a house of prayer
“And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons; and he would not allow any one to carry anything through the temple. And he taught, and said to them, ‘Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.’ And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and sought a way to destroy him; for they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city” Mark 11:15-19.
We see here Christ’s reaction to sin within the temple. Since the temple was a means for prayer and worship of God in the Old Testament, Christ is moved with righteous anger as He sees this ugly sin occurring within His temple. He immediately drives these sins out. If Jesus did this during His time on earth, then He can certainly drive sin and evil out of His Holy Church today. Though this time it seems that Mary will be helping Jesus to purify our Holy Church as well. May Mary as a good mother clean every nook and cranny! May we as her children help her in doing so as well!
As Jesus drove out this sin from His temple He also foretells His death. His death on the cross which will ultimately redeem us from our sins. Jesus drives out the animals as He replaces animal sacrifice with the sacrifice of Himself, the Lamb who was slain. He also drives out the moneychangers as He reminds us that we were purchased with a great price. His sacrifice of death on the cross is of infinite value, saving us all from sin and death. No amount of money can purchase our Savior. Judas thought this was such, but he quickly discovered otherwise. No amount of money could purchase you and your soul either. May we rely on Christ now to drive sin out of our Church starting with ourselves. May He purify us from sin, we who are temples of the Holy Spirit.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations” Mark 11:17.
As we spend time with God in prayer we learn more about Him. We develop a relationship with Him and immerse ourselves more deeply into His Heart. His Heart burns with love for us and is filled with infinite and unconditional love. We also learn how deeply our sins hurt Him. Thus, our desire to rid our lives of sin grows immensely. May we commit ourselves once again to prayer.
“Prayer is the best weapon we possess. It is the key that opens the heart of God” St. Padre Pio.
“Without prayer we have neither light nor strength to advance in the way which leads to God” St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.
“Prayer is being on terms of friendship with God, frequently conversing in secret with Him who, we know, loves us” St. Teresa of Avila.
“Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven” St. Ephraem of Syria.
“Love to pray. Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God’s gift of Himself” St. Mother Teresa.
“If you are not a man of prayer, I don’t believe in the sincerity of your intentions when you say that you work for Christ” St. Josemaria Escriva.
To be continued…