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Header-The Intervention of Our Lady in History

Just as in our daily lives we should always be cognizant of the presence of God, so in our analysis of historical events we should always keep in mind the power and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary over the sweep of history. In this series of studies titled Revolution and Counter-Revolution in History, we have recounted the decline in Western Civilization from the point where all human relations, institutions and even governments were permeated by the doctrines of the Church to our present situation that suffers under the influence of immorality, gross errors and atheism. Before we switch from the Western Hemisphere back to the European theater of operations, we should take the opportunity to illustrate Our Lady’s influence on historical events that is often sadly neglected.

 

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Postscript to Cortes

Cortes had performed a prodigious military feat in subduing millions of Indians with only a few hundred soldiers and bringing Western Civilization to the American shores, but that alone would not have converted the Indians. After the intrepid commander had demolished the blood-soaked temples, he led an expedition to Honduras. Upon his return to Mexico City, he found political difficulties that required him to sail to Spain in 1528 and seek an audience with King Charles of Spain.

Numerous missionaries arrived in Mexico to open churches, schools and hospitals, but few Indians converted as paganism had struck deep roots in their soul. Moreover, the harsh treatment handed out by the earlier Spanish officials had turned them into a hostile, suspicious group. In order to heal the wounds of oppression, King Charles sent Bishop Zumarraga, a Franciscan prior, to protect the Indians from the insensitive officials who were subsequently recalled. But the damage was done and Zumarraga realized that a general uprising was imminent that would wipe out the Spanish presence in Central America. To avert the violent uprising, the kindly bishop prayed earnestly to Our Lady and asked her to send some Castilian roses as a sign that his prayers had been heard.

Miraculous Image of Our Lady of GuadalupeIn one of the most momentous events in all history, the Mother of God came down from Heaven and appeared to a humble Aztec peasant, Juan Diego, on a barren hill a few miles outside Mexico City. She identified herself by a word in Nahuatl, the Aztec language, as “She who crushes the serpent,” indicating that as the Immaculate Conception she will triumph over both the devil (Gen. 3:15) and one of the most terrible of all the Indian gods. Further corroboration is assured when one considers that the first apparition occurred on December 9, then the feast day of the Immaculate Conception.

She asked Juan Diego to go to Bishop Zumarraga and request that a church be built at the location of the first three visitations. Although he responded courteously, he showed some skepticism. His failure at the bishop’s palace and the imminent death of his beloved uncle threw Juan Diego into a state of confusion. When Our Lady appeared on December 12 to the Aztec peasant, this time at the bottom of the hill, she gave him the same message that she has been giving to her grieving children since that day: that she is the Mother of Mercy, of Life and of Hope to all who follow the teachings of her Son and have confidence in her powerful intercession.

To give credence to this loving power, the Blessed Virgin performed one of the most illustrious miracles in her wondrous repertoire that resonates across the world to this day. Following Our Lady’s instruction, Juan Diego climbed the hill known as Tepeyac to the location of the original apparitions where he found a field of brilliant, fragrant flowers including Castilian roses growing in frozen, rocky soil. He carefully gathered a bundle of the flowers in his cloak, which he used as an apron by holding the bottom to his chest, and went off to the bishop.

After he had been brought into the presence of the bishop, Juan Diego showed him the magnificent flowers. The prelate immediately fell to his knees and looked upon him with astounding amazement, for he saw imprinted on Juan Diego’s cloak an image of Our Lady as she had appeared that day. Bishop Zumarraga built a chapel to house the image with an adjoining room for Juan Diego at the miraculous site that, significantly, had been previously occupied by a pagan temple destroyed by Cortes. The miraculous circumstances and the inexplicable, powerful attraction of Our Lady’s image drew thousands of Aztecs to the shrine. Already converted in their hearts when they left, the pilgrims sought out missionaries for baptism, which brought about an avalanche of conversions across Central America, estimated to be about nine million after a few years.

 

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Our Lady offered so many miraculous proofs of her loving guidance through the trials of this life that we only have space to recount a few. The cloak was woven from the hard fibers of the maguey cactus plant that normally has a life span of about twenty years before it decays. Over the years the fabric and image have been exposed to an exceptionally damp climate, incense and smoke from burning wax candles. Yet the fragile material and the delicate but rich coloration have withstood all the corrosive effects and millions of hands that have touched it. Also the lifelike expression of loving tenderness has remained undiminished.

Over the last few decades numerous scientists have examined the cloak or tilma and they have found that the image was produced by no known earthly substance, no paint, no printing materials, nothing. Its cause and existence is purely supernatural. One scientist using a powerful magnifying glass noticed that the face and shoulders of Juan Diego appeared in the pupil of the right eye. Further examination by two eye doctors with their ophthalmoscopes revealed the reflection of two other figures that were present in the bishop’s residence at the time of the miracle.

The ongoing combat between Our Lady and those who possess an unquenchable hatred for her and her influence reached a climax in 1921. A powerful time bomb placed by revolutionaries exploded just beneath the Sacred Image on the main altar of the Basilica of Guadalupe that ripped out huge chunks of marble and masonry. The heavy bronze altar cross was severely bent, yet the image of Our Blessed Mother was completely untouched. Moreover, the protective thin glass plate was not even scratched.

We are certainly implying a connection between Our Lady’s mediation in the conversion of the Aztecs from depraved human sacrificers and the necessity of her help in destroying today’s human sacrifice in abortion and immoral perversions and excesses.

Some may object to the historical paradigm, not that it is inappropriate, but that it happened a long time ago. Yet, the Blessed Virgin made another historical visit to earth just ninety years ago, bringing roughly the same message to a larger distressed population. As Our Lady of the Rosary, she appeared six times at Fatima in Portugal to three related children, two of whom have been recently beatified. Our publications have probably given more space to this story than any other. Here we would like to stress the historical applications.

In essence, she warned that God was terribly offended by the sins of mankind and unless that sinfulness subsided the world as a consequence would face horrible chastisements. Immediately following, we had a bloody conclusion to World War I, then six years of the most depraved slaughter of World War II and continual wars, atrocities and mutilations ever since instigated by two of the enemies of Western Civilization: Communism (as Our Lady predicted) and Islam. Sinfulness has not abated, but only increased, especially in the areas of family life, immoral fashions and lewd entertainment.

Our Lady will intervene once again in history, either to help her suffering children who have recourse to her or to bring down the wrath of God on those who refuse to pray, make sacrifices and stop offending Him.  During the third apparition she announced the ultimate result:

"Finally my Immaculate Heart will triumph!”


 

Related Article:  Our Lady of Guadalupe: She Who Smashes the Serpent

 

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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


DEFEND Our Lady's HONOR !

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.

Photo by: Adelchi

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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