Articles

Celebrating St. Joseph: Patron and Model of Perfect Devotion to Our Lady

 

Josephby Jayson M. Brunelle, M.Ed, CAGS

On this marvelous Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Patron of the Universal Church, it is critical that we turn our attention to St. Joseph at this pivotal moment in our nation’s history.  St. Joseph is, for each of us, the perfect example of one who is entirely, whole-heartedly devoted to Christ Jesus, and this through his perfect devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.

Indeed, we can ask ourselves, what is the essence of total consecration?  Certainly, the great Marian Saints Louis Marie de Montfort and Maximilian Mary Kolbe made every effort to underscore the totality and unreserved nature of this “gift” of one’s self to the Blessed Virgin via the use of such expressions as “slave,” “possession and property.”  While these beautiful phrases presented by the Marian “giants” certainly convey the radical extent to which they, themselves, went in offering themselves – body and soul; intellect and will; all their goods, both interior and exterior; and even the value of all of their good deeds and merits: past, present and future; all for the greater glory of God, in time and in eternity – it is the conviction of this author that St. Joseph, who is, in fact, the Patron of the Universal Church, attained this lofty privilege precisely through the radical breadth and depth of his sanctity, which was a direct consequence of his virginal espousal of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: or, in other words, the single most perfect consecration to Jesus through Mary.

Christ, our Lord, has called each of us into a most radical intimacy of life with Himself, as He states in John 15:15, “No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.”  Moreover, while Christ is the sole “Mediator” between the Heavenly Father and humanity (1 Tim 2:5), Mary is the sole “Mediatrix” between us and Christ: ” … it is right to say, that nothing at all of that very great treasury of all grace which the Lord brought us–for ‘grace and truth came through Jesus Christ’ [Jn 1.17]–nothing is imparted to us except through Mary, since God so wills, so that just as no one can come to the Father except through the Son, so in general, no one can come to Christ except through His Mother” (Leo XIII, Octobri mense adventante).

Furthermore, in a little-known, oft overlooked, yet profoundly rich passage from the Book of Sirach, we find Created Wisdom (whom the Church identifies as the Blessed Virgin Mary, as Christ Jesus, Who is the “Wisdom” of God, is clearly distinct from “Created Wisdom,” as Christ is God, and, as the Creator, “through Whom and for Whom all things were created” He cannot, Himself, be “created”) singing her own praises, which resonate and prophetically depict the “Espousal” model of Marian Consecration, so beautifully illustrated in the lives of Mary and Joseph:  “And she will meet him as an honourable mother, and will receive him as a wife married of a virgin. [3] With the bread of life… she shall feed him, and give him the water of wholesome wisdom to drink: and she shall be made strong in him, and he shall not be moved” (Sirach 15:1-3).

Lastly, as Christians, we are called to imitate Christ in all the Divine Mysteries of His life, His Holy Infancy notwithstanding.  Thus, just as Christ became a child and entrusted Himself unreservedly to the care of Mary and Joseph, so too ought we to entrust ourselves to these most noble of all Guardians.  Thus, we are called to look to Mary as our Spiritual Mother (a role that she carries out as Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate), as a “wife married of a virgin,” who shall feed us with the Bread of Life, her Eucharistic Son, and our sister in the Mystical Body of Christ!

Let us, then, pray to St. Joseph on this, his Solemnity, that he might enlighten our minds and inflame our hearts with an ever-deepening understanding and comprehension of the tremendous role of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in the economy of salvation and the

 

Reflections on the Rosary: The Joyful Mysteries

“Madonna dell Granduca” – A painting by Raphael (1483-1520).

by Jayson M. Brunelle

With Labor Day upon us, the “unofficial” end of summer and the beginning of the truly beautiful season of autumn, Holy Mother Church, in her liturgical calender, presents us with two consecutive months dedicated to Our Lady: September – the Month of Our Lady of Sorrows, and October – the Month of the Most Holy Rosary.  Moreover, within these two months are numerous magnificent feasts of our Lord, our Lady, and many very popular, patron saints to keep in mind.  For instance, in September we celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 8th, the Most Holy Name of Mary on the 12th, the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the 14th, Our Lady of Sorrows on the 15th,  St. Robert Bellarmine (Doctor of the Church) on the 17th, St. Joseph of Cupertino on the 18th, St. Matthew on the 21st, Padre Pio on the 23rd, St. Vincent de Paul on the 27th, and the Holy Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael on the 29th.  Additionally, in October, we begin the month with a number of significant feasts and commemorations: The Little Flower – St. Therese of Lisieux on the 1st, the Holy Guardian Angels on the 2nd, the great St. Francis of Assisi on the 4th, and the great St. Faustina Kowalska (Secretary of Divine Mercy) on the 5th.

This brings us to the great feast to which this series of articles is devoted; namely, the feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary, formerly, Our Lady of Victory, celebrated on October 7th.  Wikipedia, the very reputable online encyclopedia,  quite possibly among the largest of information databases in the world, provides a very succinct history of the evolution of this particular feast: “In 1571 Pope Pius V instituted “Our Lady of Victory” as an annual feast to commemorate the victory in the Battle of Lepanto.[1][2][3] The victory was attributed to the Blessed Virgin Mary, as a rosary procession had been offered on that day in St. Peter’s Square in Rome for the success of the mission of the Holy League to hold back Muslim forces from overrunning Western Europe. In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title of this feast-day to “Feast of the Holy Rosary”. This feast was extended by Pope Clement XI to the whole of the Latin Rite, inserting it into the Roman Catholic calendar of saints in 1716, and assigning it to the first Sunday in October. Pope Pius X changed the date to 7 October in 1913, as part of his effort to restore celebration of the liturgy of the Sundays” (cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_the_Rosary). (more…)

Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Purpose of Fatima: The Shield, The Weapon, and The Standard

by Jayson M. Brunelle, M.Ed., CAGS

On July 13, 1917, during the third apparition of Our Lady to the three shepherd children of Fatima, Portugal, the Blessed Mother spoke the following words:

“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end; but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. (more…)

The “Lost” Creed of Pope Paul VI, an Exquisite Summary of the Catholic Faith

Apostolic Letter

Of the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI

Creed of the People of God

June 30, 1968

1. With this solemn liturgy we end the celebration of the nineteenth centenary of the martyrdom of the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and thus close the Year of Faith. We dedicated it to the commemoration of the holy apostles in order that we might give witness to our steadfast will to be faithful to the deposit of the faith(1) which they transmitted to us, and that we might strengthen our desire to live by it in the historical circumstances in which the Church finds herself in her pilgrimage in the midst of the world. (more…)

Pope Benedict XVI: “Mary Suffers With Those Who Are in Affliction”

Our Lady’s Two Popes Embracing

On February 11, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI offered the following reflection on the profound interconnectedness of Mary, the Immaculate Conception, the Holy Eucharist and salvific suffering.  Continuing in the tradition of his predecessor, Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI underscores the totality of Mary’s “fiat,” or “yes,” to the divine will of the Father concerning her unique participation in the redemption of humanity with her Son, beginning at the annunciation and brought to completion at the foot of the cross.  It is precisely for this reason that Holy Mother Church ascribes to Mary the exalted title of “Co-Redemptrix,” standing, as it were, at the foot of each sick child’s cross.

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. On 11 February, the memorial of the Blessed Mary Virgin of Lourdes, the World Day of the Sick will be celebrated, a propitious occasion to reflect on the meaning of pain and the Christian duty to take responsibility for it in whatever situation it arises. This year this significant day is connected to two important events for the life of the Church, as one already understands from the theme chosen ‘The Eucharist, Lourdes and Pastoral Care for the Sick’: the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the apparitions of the Immaculate Mary at Lourdes, and the celebration of the International Eucharistic Congress at Quebec in Canada. In this way, a remarkable opportunity to consider the close connection that exists between the Mystery of the Eucharist, the role of Mary in the project of salvation, and the reality of human pain and suffering, is offered to us. (more…)

The Apparitions and Messages of Kibeho, Rwanda

By Roy Abraham Varghese. Roy Varghese is a prolific author in the areas of religion, science and Mariology.

The Marian apparitions of Kibeho in Rwanda, perhaps the poorest country in Africa (one known also as the “Switzerland of Africa” for its many mountains), were witnessed by seven principal visionaries. The apparitions share many common features with the great apocalyptic visions of the past. As in the nineteenth-century French apparitions and at Fatima and Akita, the Virgin announced impending bloodshed on a horrific scale. Moreover, as in Medjugorje, the apparitions themselves took place in the very region that would shortly become synonymous around the world with genocide and systematic butchery. The warnings issued at Rwanda were not only prophetic but unmistakably accurate and, because they were not heeded, the fate of the nation seemed sealed; the Virgin finally even urged the visionaries to flee their homeland before the onset of the wars ahead.

The apparitions began on November 28, 1981, when Alphonsine Mumureke, a sixteen-year-old student in a Catholic convent, heard a voice calling out “my daughter” to her as she was helping in the dining room. She left the room and saw a beautiful lady in white in the corridor. When Alphonsine asked her who she was, the lady replied, “I am the Mother of the Word,” speaking in Kinyarwanda, the language of the Rwandans. The Virgin asked her which of the religions she liked, to which Alphonsine replied, “I love God and His Mother who have given us Their Son who has saved us.” The Virgin commended her and said that she wished that some of her friends would have more faith since some did not believe enough. She then asked Alphonsine to join a lay evangelization group called the Legion of Mary and said that she wanted to be loved and trusted as a Mother so that she could lead people to her Son Jesus (the Legion of Mary is one of the largest lay Christian organizations in the world; one of the pioneers of the Legion from Ireland, Edel Quinn, had devoted her life to the work of the Legion in the neighboring country of Kenya). The Virgin then gracefully arose until she was out of sight. As she departed, Alphonsine dropped to the ground and was unconscious for about fifteen minutes.
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Our Lady’s Apparitions in Beauraing

By Michael K. Jones

By 1932, the Fatima prophecy was well underway. Communists were in power in Russia. Mussolini was leader of Italy. Hitler was rising in Germany. The world was in depression. Unemployment, bread lines, hunger and riots were wide spread.

In a French speaking part of Belgium, lay a village called Beauraing. Sixty miles southeast of Brussels, Beauraing was mostly a farming community of about 2000 people.

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The Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Akita, Japan, to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa

Source: http://www.ewtn.com

The extraordinary events began on June 12, 1973, when Sr. Agnes saw brilliant mysterious rays emanate suddenly from the tabernacle. The same thing happened on each of the two days that followed.

On June 28, 1973, a cross-shaped wound appeared on the inside left hand of Sr. Agnes. It bled profusely and caused her much pain. On July 6, Sr. Agnes heard a voice coming from the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the chapel where she was praying. The statue was carved from a single block of wood from a Katsura tree and is three feet tall. On the same day, a few of the sisters noticed drops of blood flowing from the statue’s right hand. On four occasions, this act of blood flow repeated itself. The wound in the statue’s hand remained until September 29, when it disappeared. On September 29, the day the wound on the statue disappeared, the sisters noticed the statue had now begun to “sweat”, especially on the forehead and neck. On August 3, Sr. Agnes received a second message. On October 13, she received a final third message.

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Translation of the Third Secret of Fatima as Released by the Holy See

“The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.

I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.

Tuy-3-1-1944″

Link Between Third Secret of Fatima and Akita, Japan, Prophesy

by Michael H. Brown

Years ago, when Howard Q. Dee, ambassador from the Philippines to the Vatican, was chatting with a high Church official named Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Dee brought up the third secret of Fatima, which at the time was still just that: a secret. He also mentioned a recent revelation from Japan, wherein a great catastrophe was foreseen. This was Akita, where a deaf nun, Sister Agnes Sasagawa, said she “heard” the voice of Mary speak from a statue that wept both tears and blood. Cardinal Ratzinger (now, of course, Benedict XVI) had allowed the local bishop, John Ito, of Niigata, to issue a pastoral letter approving the Akita phenomena, at least in part.

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