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Header-Mary Frees a Woman From the Devil’s Power

 

In the marvelous book, City of God, in which Maria of Agreda, a nun and mystic, writes the life of the Blessed Mother, as shown her in visions, she relates wonderful details.

 

When the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to conceive a Son by the power of the Holy Ghost, he also spoke of her barren cousin’s miraculous pregnancy.

Without revealing to St. Joseph her own state, the Blessed Lady told her holy spouse what she had learned of Elizabeth, and of God’s will that they visit her and her husband Zachariah.

The AnnunciationPromptly harnessing their donkey, Saint Joseph helped his bride on, and taking the reins, set out on the ninety-mile trip. Unbeknownst to the holy man, Mary was already the temple of God-made-man, then only a four-day-old resplendent little fetus in her virginal womb, now the living Ark of the Covenant.

When Mary met her cousin in the latter’s home, Elizabeth understood the full reality of the Virgin’s divine pregnancy and broke out into her famous song, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:42)

At the same time, the little God-made-man stood up within Mary’s cloister, and sanctified Elizabeth’s six-month-unborn son, the future John the Baptist, by cleansing him of Original Sin, at which His baby cousin leapt for joy.

We also know that the Holy Virgin Mary went on to spend three months at her cousins’ home.

 

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The Blessed Lady and the Bad-Tempered Woman

The Visitation A beautiful detail Venerable Maria of Agreda tells us of this visit is that wherever Mary went, her burning charity made her ever so attentive to the needs of those around her.

Zachariah and Elizabeth being wealthy and noble, had a large household and several servants. One such, was a woman whose many sins had allowed the devil sway over her, so that her attitude was spiteful restless and angry, and was much given to swearing and cursing. Still she knew how to make herself agreeable to her employers. For fourteen years many devils surrounded her, making sure of their prey, and rendering her life miserable.

But when this woman came into the presence of Holy Mary, the devils took flight not able to bear the virtue emanating from the Immaculate Virgin and the “Presence” she carried within her.

Freed from the constant, nefarious influence of her demons, the poor woman felt lighter and brighter around the holy maiden, and began to feel a great attraction to her company, offering to serve her with affection and respect, for, despite her many vices, she enjoyed helping those in need.

Mary Most Holy was aware of the state of the woman’s soul, and the danger it ran in the grip of demons. So the sweet queen turned an eye of mercy on her, interceded with the God she carried in her womb, and obtained for her pardon, remedy and salvation.

In virtue of the authority granted her, Most Holy Mary commanded the demons to leave the creature alone and never to disturb her again. Though the fiends did not understand whence her power, they could not resist her and fled in confusion.

Thus, the happy woman was snatched from Satan’s claws. Gently admonishing the poor soul and teaching her the way of salvation, the Blessed Lady changed her into a person of meek and amiable disposition, in which the woman persevered to the end of her life, always grateful and aware to whom she owed so great a favor.

 


 By Andrea F. Phillips

 

 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for November 19, 2019

It is better to say one Pater Noster (Our Father) fervently...

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November 19

 

It is better to say one Pater Noster (Our Father) fervently and devoutly
than a thousand with no devotion and full of distraction.

St. Edmund the Martyr


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Nerses I of Armenia

King Arshak mixed poison with the Lord's Holy and Divine Bod...

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St. Nerses I of Armenia

Born of royal descent, Nerses was the son of At'anagenes and his mother was the sister of King Tigranes VII and a daughter of King Khosrov III. His paternal grandfather was St. Husik I whose paternal grandfather was St. Gregory the Illuminator, who converted the Armenian king to Christianity and became the first Patriarch of Armenia.

Nerses spent his youth in Caesarea and married a Mamikonian princess named Sanducht, who bore him a son, St. Isaac the Great. After his wife's death, he was appointed chamberlain to King Arshak of Armenia, but entered the ecclesiastical state a few years later. In 363, despite his protest of unworthiness, Nerses was consecrated Bishop of Armenia.

He was greatly influenced by St. Basil and, in effort to bring better discipline and efficiency to his diocese convened the first national synod in 365. He encouraged the growth of monasticism and established hospitals. His good deeds and promotion of religion angered the King, who was later condemned by Nerses for murdering his wife Olympia. It is said that Arshak mixed poison with the Lord's holy and divine Body, the Bread of Communion, and administered it to her, killing the queen in church.

Arshak died in battle against the Persians shortly thereafter. Nerses discovered that Pap, the king’s successor, was more ungodly than his predecessor. On account of his sinfulness, the holy man forbade Pap from entering the church until he repented of his ways. Angered, Pap feigned repentance and invited Nerses to dine at the royal table where he poisoned and killed him in 337.

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Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared stan...

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The Conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne

Born in 1814, Alphonse Ratisbonne was from a family of wealthy, well-known Jewish bankers in Strasbourg, France. In 1827, Alphonse’s older brother, Thèodore, converted to Catholicism and entered the priesthood, thus breaking with his anti-Catholic family whose hopes now lay in the young Alphonse. At 27, Alphonse was intelligent and well mannered. He had already finished his law degree, and decided to travel to Italy before marrying and assuming his responsibilities in the family business. However, God had other plans for him.

While in Rome, Alphonse visited works of art, and strictly out of cultural curiosity, a few Catholic churches. These visits hardened his anti-Catholic stance, and nourished his profound hatred for the Church. He also called on an old schoolmate and close friend, Gustave de Bussières.

Gustave was a Protestant and several times had tried, in vain, to win Alphonse over to his religious convictions. Alphonse was introduced to Gustave’s brother, Baron de Bussières, who had recently converted to Catholicism and become a close friend of Father Thèodore Ratisbonne. Because of the Baron’s Catholicism and closeness with his turncoat brother, Alphonse greatly disliked him.

On the eve of his departure, Alphonse reluctantly fulfilled his social obligation to leave his calling card at the Baron’s house as a farewell gesture.

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Hoping to avoid a meeting, Alphonse intended to leave his card discreetly and depart straight away, but was instead shown into the house. The Baron greeted the young Jew warmly, and before long, had persuaded him to remain a few more days in Rome. Inspired by grace, the Baron insisted Alphonse accept a Miraculous Medal and copy down a beautiful prayer: the Memorare. Alphonse could hardly contain his anger at his host’s boldness of proposing these things to him, but decided to take everything good-heartedly, planning to later describe the Baron as an eccentric.

During Alphonse’s stay, the Baron’s close friend, Count de La Ferronays, former French ambassador to the Holy See and a man of great virtue and piety, died quite suddenly. On the eve of his death, the Baron had asked the Count to pray the Memorare one hundred times for Alphonse’s conversion. It is possible that he offered his life to God for the conversion of the young Jewish banker.

A few days later, the Baron went to the church of Sant’Andrea delle Fratte to arrange for his friend’s funeral. Alphonse reluctantly went with him, all the while making violent criticisms of the Church and mocking Catholic practices. When they arrived, the Baron entered the sacristy to arrange the funeral while Alphonse remained in the church.

When the Baron returned just a few minutes later, the young man was gone. He searched the church, and soon discovered his young friend kneeling close to an altar, weeping.  Alphonse himself tells us what happened in those few minutes he waited for the Baron: “I had only been in the church a short while when, all of a sudden, I felt totally uneasy for no apparent reason. I raised my eyes and saw that the whole building had disappeared. Only one side chapel had, so to say, gathered all the light. In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar. She was grandiose, brilliant, full of majesty and sweetness, just as she is in the Miraculous Medal. An irresistible force attracted me to her. The Virgin made a gesture with her hand indicating I was to kneel.”

When de Bussières talked to Alphonse, he no longer found a Jew, but a convert who ardently desired baptism. The news of such an unexpected conversion immediately spread and caused a great commotion throughout Europe, and Pope Gregory XVI received the young convert, paternally. He ordered a detailed investigation with the rigor required by canon law, and concluded that the occurrence was a truly authentic miracle. 

Alphonse took the name Maria Alphonse at baptism, and, wishing to become a priest, was ordained a Jesuit in 1847. After some time, and at the suggestion of Pope Pius IX, he left the Jesuits and joined his brother Thèodore in founding the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, dedicated to the conversion of the Jews. Father Theodore spread his congregation throughout France and England, while Father Maria Alphonse went to the Holy Land. In Jerusalem, he established a house of the congregation on the plot of land where the praetorium of Pilate had formerly stood.

The two brothers died in 1884, both famed and well-loved for their exceptional virtues.  

By Armando Santos  

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In the midst of this splendor, the Virgin Mary appeared standing on the altar"

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