Monday, October 27, 2008

In the West, a Pale Light Lingers

Remember, o most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my Mother! To thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but hear and answer me. Amen.

~The Memorare of St. Bernard

As a Catholic and as a busy homeschooling wife and mom, I know we are all concerned about our families, friends and neighbors and our collective spiritual and temporal futures. For those reasons, I wish to again mention our ongoing Collegial Consecration Campaign. In addition to the intentions of the 9-Day Rosary Novena, the collegial consecration is an ever greater intention we must not forget. So as we pray for this nation, we should - above all else - pray and sacrifice for the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, every day, all year long. That is the thrust of Keeping It Catholic's Collegial Consecration Campaign, which was initiated in May of this year.

It's very easy to begin: Simply start by praying the Rosary every day (5 decades a day is called a Rosary; 15 decades a day is Our Lady's Psalter) , with the primary intention being the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When you are ready, there are two more things you can do: If you are not already doing so, wear the Brown Scapular (please be sure it is blessed by a priest or, better yet, ask a priest to enroll you in the Brown Scapular) and offer your daily duty as a sacrifice for sinners.

Our Lady said at Fatima: "If people do what I tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace." Years later, Sr. Lucia summed up what Heaven asks of all the people:

Dear Queen and Mother, Who promised at Fatima to convert Russia and bring peace to all mankind, in reparation to Your Immaculate Heart for my sins and the sins of the world, I solemnly promise: 1) to offer up every day the sacrifices demanded by my daily duty; 2) to pray the Rosary (5 decades) daily while meditating on the Mysteries; 3) to wear the Scapular of Mount Carmel as a profession of this promise and as an act of consecration to You. I shall renew this promise often, especially in moments of temptation.

When we pray the daily Rosary we can and should, of course, add other intentions as well: including personal intentions, intentions for all those in their last agony, intentions for the poor souls in Purgatory, intentions in which we ask for the grace of final perseverance. We do not fear that we are asking for too many things when we pray at Mass, do we? Neither should we fear asking for many graces when we pray the Rosary. The Rosary is also a most powerful prayer, the second highest indulgenced prayer of the Church after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Since penance is a necessity for the sins we have committed and confessed, and since we should also sacrifice for the conversion of others, it's well to know that daily duty is the main sacrifice Our Lord asks of us. Heaven made clear to Sr. Lucia that the sacrifice Our Lord asks of us is the faithful accomplishment of daily duty - which means 1) our duties first as Catholics and 2) our duties in our states in life. The Angel of Fatima said, "Above all, accept and bear with submission the sufferings that the Lord may send you."

Every morning, in order to remember this daily intention, we should say a prayer in which we offer to God our every thought, word and action of the day. This one practice will cultivate the habit of prayer as well as our recollection of God's Presence. It makes us immediately aware of our venial sins and immediately make an act of reparation for them. It helps us guard our thoughts, the words that come out of our mouths, and how we behave. The following prayer is a most appropriate Morning Offering:

O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary (here kiss your Brown Scapular), I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, present in all the Tabernacles throughout the world, joining with It the offering of my every thought, word, and action of this day.

O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can, and I offer them, together with myself,to Mary Immaculate, that she may best apply them to the interests of Thy Most Sacred Heart.

Precious Blood of Jesus, save us!
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Amen.

This week, the response to this specific request [praying the Rosary for the Collegial Consecration, as well as the other intentions of the nationwide 9 Day Rosary Novena] has been so heartening! If you haven't yet joined us in the Collegial Consecration Campaign, may I ask:

-Are you too busy to let us know that you are joining us in this endeavor?

-Is it that you don't know 'what' to think about the requests Our Lady made at Fatima?

-Is it that you have given up on ever seeing the era of peace?

-Are you afraid of making a commitment to daily praying the Rosary because you might forget a day or two?

-Or is it that you somehow cannot see the shadow of Mordor extending over this nation and all the world?

But if you can see that pervading shadow - do you still hesitate to pray and work for the collegial consecration out of some fear of disloyalty to the popes - past and present?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Even Inside the Vatican magazine recognizes that now. The historical facts prove the specific collegial consecration of Russia has never taken place - so it is to save the Church, the Holy Father, and the world that we are asking for this grace. The Virgin asked for it, and that should be enough for us.

In the meantime, my fellow Catholics, Mordor is assembling for battle once more. I think most of us feel it, even if we can't see it.

Remember the lines from LOTR (Lord of the Rings): "But in the west, a pale light lingered"? That pale light is Our Lady...She wishes to save not only Gondor [Western civilization] but all of Middle Earth [the whole world]. The Age of Mary must precede the Social Reign of Christ the King. The overwhelming sins of this era make the world most unworthy. In humility, we must heed our Queen and Mother; when we listen to our Mother, God will grant the world this stupendous grace.

Just like the Fellowship, we may be separated in distance and face various dangers but our goal is the same. Like the Fellowship, too, every thing we do [even though we may not know it at the time] means we are somehow helping each other. 'Small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.' That means you and me, dear people ---Catholics who strive to remainin the state of grace, praying and working and sacrificing all over the world -separated in place as we are and yet universal!

Please...won't you join us in the daily Rosary and our special intention for the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary? Pray much for the Holy Father! Heaven said that the collegial consecration will eventually be done - but it will be late.

We're already there.

Email me and tell me you're joining us - won't you? Or, if you prefer, you are welcome to say you're joining the Collegial Consecration Campaign by leaving a comment on the blog. Finally, would you forward this message to others by using the appropriate 'mail' link at the bottom of this post? It will take just a moment of time, but think of the great blessings we might be given if many people learn of this Campaign and join us!

Btw, I ask you to alert me that you're joining us for one reason and one reason only - to know how many of the faithful we've reached with Our Lady's requests at Fatima, so we can encourage each other in praying and working together for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart.

In the love of Christ and His Virgin Mother,

Marianna Bartold
We're Keeping It Catholic on the Net!

" is necessary for each one of us to begin to reform himself spiritually. Each person must not only save his own soul but also help to save all the souls that God has placed on our path."
~Sr. Lucia of Fatima

The One Man Who Can Save Us

As we pray our daily Rosaries and fast to participate in this nationwide Novena [not only for the presidential election but, even more importantly, for the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary], I received a private post which contains a few important things about which we must think. It reminds us that the intentions for which we are praying and sacrificing are conversion and repentance and true world peace for all the people and all nations, a peace not as the world gives but as God gives.

The sun is setting upon the world and there is only one Man who can save us, and He is God-made-Man; that is what His Virgin Mother has been reminding us in all of the authentic Marian apparitions. That is why we must pray the Rosary and sacrifice for sinners - every day. We must 'pray and work' not only during this 9 Day Rosary Novena, but always, because it is our holy duty as children of God and soldiers of Christ Our King. Remember that the "era of peace" which Our Lady promised at Fatima is not meant for one nation - no, it will one day be granted to the world.

The Social Reign of Christ the King means that all peoples, all states, all governments and all social institutions recognize and act upon their duty to base all laws and programs on the teaching of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and His Church - for the Lord gave the Deposit of Faith only to His one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

Incidentally, the post which brought all these things to mind was sent from a KIC contact and is republished below with the sender's permission.

From an email message:

My mother had a German friend who lived in Germany during Hitler's rise to power. When the economy was still good, she said people laughed at him in the beer gardens. But when foreclosures became rampant and people started losing their homes and businesses people began to listen to him. He blamed the Jewish bankers because they were the ones foreclosing on Christian homes and even Catholic Churches.

His Youth Group appeared very good to German parents once he took power. It promoted nationalism and even rewarded Arian mothers who gave birth to four or more children with medals and ceremonies. Girls' groups trained girls to become good mothers and wives. They were trained in all the domestic arts. Once the war was in progress however, the same girls were manning machine guns aimed at Allied planes.

How is it we have been fomented into hating the Iraqi peoples so much that we have turned a blind eye to the bunker-busting weapons made from depleted uranium that contaminates the soil, causes spontaneous abortions and deformities, and dooms the children and peoples of Iraq to generations of cancers?

We have already been complicit in holocausts and we did not hear a call for Rosary Novenas. If anyone truly heeded the message of Fatima they would be saying their Rosary daily, making the First Saturday devotions and insisting on the full dialogue of the Third Secret and the [collegial] Consecration [of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary], rather than swallowing the lie that it was done and [that] we have the text completely revealed. Abortion of American children would not be the single issue of death we would repent of...We are in the chastisement.


Pray the Rosary every day and sacrifice for the conversion of sinners!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Presidential Election: Only ONE Way to Obtain Victory

Only a few days ago, I expressed to my husband my wonder that our bishops have not called for a nationwide Rosary campaign for this year’s presidential campaign - just as I mused many other Catholics must be thinking the same.

The next day, I received two important email requests, one from Catholic Family News and another one from a Catholic homeschooling supporter, Mrs. Sara Dunsford, who is a contact for Our Lady of Victory Home Study School (Post Falls, ID). I will share both posts because they ask Catholics across the United States to join in a Nine Day Rosary Novena - and to forward their requests to everyone we know.

Also, Mr. John Vennari [ ], editor of Catholic Family News, asks that we be kind enough to email him to alert him that we are joining in this last-minute spiritual Rosary Crusade. (It is vital to pray the Rosary Novena and email CFN to alert them that we are joining them; you have no idea what it is like to make a nationwide call to spiritually band together under Our Lady's banner and get a very small response!) Please, do read about both Nine Day Rosary Campaigns and join other Catholics across the nation as we place our confidence and future into the hands of the Virgin Mother of God.

Incidentally, the dates of this two Novenas overlap:

--The one initiated by Mrs. Dunsford, the friend of Our Lady of Victory Home Study School, begins this Sunday, October 26 - the Feast of Christ the King and ends November 3, the day before the election. (It also asks that we all consider FASTING at some point during the Novena - which is the perfect spiritual practice when asking for copious graces!)

--The Catholic Family News Nine Day Rosary Novena begins the next day, October 27 and ends on November 4, the day of the election.

Why not join both? An extra day of praying the Rosary and fasting is more than worth the effort!

Our nation is in a terrible moral and economic crisis, and we need the maternal help of Our Lady, who is the Mediatrix before the throne of Her Divine Son. At Fatima, She let it be known that, during these days, it is only She who can help us - but enough people must pray the Rosary and do penance. How to offer sacrifice? By the prayers of the daily Rosary and by faithfully accomplishing our daily duties as Catholics and in our states of life...and by fasting.

Remember the Story of Esther - the humble Jewish maiden who became queen of pagan Persia? When the remnant of the elect, surrounded by enemies in cities and in government, were scheduled for annihilation, they - at Queen Esther's command - prayed and fasted, taking no food or water for 3 days. The queen herself [along with her handmaidens] joined them in those sacrifices. It was only after days of prayer and fasting that the Queen approached the King to ask for clemency. She softened the king's heart and saved the people from annihilation…hence, the Queen Esther is a great figure type of the Virgin Queen Mary!

Our Lady in Heaven has many graces to give us - but we must ask for them in order to teach us holy confidence. She is always interceding for us before the throne of God and still, we must do our part.

At Fatima, the Virgin wore the Star of Esther to remind us of many important and deep truths in regard to Her office before the Holy Trinity. She asked us to pray the Rosary every day, to sacrifice for the conversion of sinners, and finally, She so sadly uttered, "Do not offend the Lord our God any longer. He is already deeply offended."

For the love of God, for the children's sake and for the sake of all souls in this nation - join all of us in the Nine Day Rosary Novena that GOD's WILL be accomplished in the upcoming presidential election. In this period of time, as Sr. Lucia revealed, the Rosary has been given extra efficacy because Our Lord wants the whole world to acknowledge and honor the Immaculate Heart of Mary next to His Sacred Heart.

Pray the Rosary every day! It is such a small thing to do, but the supernatural graces are boundless! Now for the two messages...


From Mrs. Sara Dunsford
...We have only one recourse, only one way to obtain victory, and that is the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and her angels...Human means are worthless. By all means, vote. But don't stop there!

I beg you to get this out to as many people as possible. We will pray a Novena, beginning October 26th, this Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, in the traditional calendar. It ends November 3rd, the day before the election.

The Novena is simple. We will pray the Rosary each of those days, as it is the prayer recommended by Our Lady, and as it is the means through which the Muslim forces, which greatly outnumbered the Christians, were defeated at Lepanto.

In addition to this, we will add a short, indulgenced prayer [Prayer to the Queen of Heaven] the end of each decade, after we pray “O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those with the greatest need of Thy Mercy.”

Lastly, we will accompany this Novena with a fast, to be determined by each participant. It could be no meat for nine days, or the traditional fast of the Church, two collations without meat, and one full meal per day, or something more suitable to an individual’s needs, as long as something comforting and refreshing is taken from the diet.

I hope everyone...will forward this...Put it on Catholic forums! We need numbers. We need faith in Mary Most Holy. We must go to Mary.

Prayer to the Queen of Heaven
(to be prayed after the "O my Jesus" prayer at the end of each Rosary decade)

August Queen of heaven, Sovereign Mistress of the Angels, who didst receive from the beginning the mission and the power to crush the serpent’s head, we beseech Thee to send thy holy Angels, that under Thy command and by Thy power they may pursue the evil spirits, encounter them on every side, resist their bold attacks, and drive them hence into the abyss of woe.

Most holy Mother, send Thy Angels to defend us and to drive the cruel enemy from us. All ye holy Angels and Archangels, help and defend us. Amen.

O good and tender Mother! Thou shalt ever be our Love and our Hope. Holy Angels and Archangels, keep and defend us. Amen.

-----And from Catholic Family News:

"That kind is only driven out by prayer and fasting" (Mark 9:29)

Catholic Family News
urges you to join us
in a Nine-Day Rosary Novena
Prior to the US Election
From October 27 to November 4

Please forward this email to as many as possible...

Whether you plan to vote for John McCain, Chuck Baldwin, Ron Paul or no one at all.
Join us in the Rosary Novena and in the daily recitation of a special approved prayer against "revolutionary men."


---Obama is the most pro-abortion candidate in history.
Catholic Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, NJ, Obama, in a recent column on his diocesan website, effectively compared Obama to Herod.

Obama has promised to pass the Freedom of Choice Act. Should Obama keep this promise, said Bishop Serratelli, "not only will many of our freedoms as Americans be taken from us, but the innocent and vulnerable will spill their blood." The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), introduced in the United States Congress in 2004, would remove all restrictions on abortion in the United States, both on the state and federal level. "FOCA goes far beyond guaranteeing the right to an abortion throughout the nine months of pregnancy. It arrogantly prohibits any law or policy interfering with that right," says Bishop Serratelli. "This is the 'dark reality' kept secret by propagandists for 'choice'."

---Obama vows to fight for the legalization of homosexual marriages and for hate crimes legislation.
In June, Obama sent a letter to the Alice B. Toklas; Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club saying he supports repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" US military policy. In 2004, Obama sent a letter to a "gay" newspaper in Chicago in which he called the Defense of Marriage Act "abhorrent" and said, "We must vigorously expand hate-crime legislation and be vigilant about how these laws are enacted." Such pro-homosexual hate crimes legislation is being used around the world to persecute Christians. Last year, a Columbia bishop was jailed for refusing to allow a homosexual into his seminary. "Hate crimes" could also be used against churches that refuse to perform homosexual marriages; and used against schools that teach homosexuality is a sin.

---Even the Wall Street Journal is concerned about an Obama win.
An WSJ [Wall Street Journal] article entitled "The Coming Liberal Supermajority" warns of "one of the most profound political ideological shifts in US History. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965 or 1933" and warned that an Obama victory would unleash "a period of unchecked left-wing ascendency." WSJ also noted that an Obama presidency would result in regulatory overkill in the business world; substantial tax hikes; a "green" tax to repel so-called "climate change"; and the "Fairness Doctrine" that would effectively silence conservative talk radio and political opposition.

Catholics throughout the nation, such as Father John Corapi, are organizing Rosary novenas on the nine-days prior to election day. Let us unite all of our payers to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The battle of Lepanto was won not so much by superior firepower, but by Catholics praying the Rosary to defeat the enemies of God.


Prayer given by Our Lord to Sister Marie de Sainte Pierre (1816-1848; Apostle of the Holy Face of Jesus), to divide and conquer "Revolutionary men."

"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and all the instruments of His Holy Passion that Thou mayest put division in the camp of Thine enemies, for as Thy beloved Son hath said, "a kingdom divided against itself shall fail."

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Tridentine) will be offered for - and in union with - all those who take part in the Novena on October 27 and November 4. Please email to tell us you will take part in the Rosary Novena:

Thank you.

In the Holy Family,

John Vennari
Editor, Catholic Family News

[The CFN message, along with the links containing documentation,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Rosary: Holy Weapon and Safeguard of the Church and the Family

“One day, through the Rosary and the Scapular, I shall save the world.”
~Our Lady to Blessed Alan de la Roche

We may judge of the excellence of the Rosary by the attention given to this devotion by the Vicar of Christ. The great Pope Leo XIII issued thirteen encyclicals on the Rosary and recommended this devotion as a family prayer for every Catholic home. The month of October has been specially selected as the “month of the Rosary” and the feast of the Holy Rosary is now celebrated on the 7th of this month.

This feast of the most Holy Rosary took its origin from the great victory of the Catholic forces over the Mohammedans at the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. The defeat of the enemies of the Church and of civilization was due to the special assistance of the Mother of God. [Before his ascension to the papal throne, the pope at that time, Pope St. Pius V, been a Dominican monk with a reputation of piety. Documents of the Vatican archives relate that, at dawn on October 7, 1571, Pope St. Pius V, accompanied by a procession of faithful, entered the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore – that is, St. Mary Major’s. There the pope and the people prayed the Rosary, asking Our Lady for her intercession as the Catholic monarchs battled in defense of Christian Europe. The pope had no idea that, on that southern coast of Greece, the gruesome “Battle of Lepanto” would take place that very day. Hours later, the Pope was supernaturally informed that God had given victory to the Catholic forces. – MCB] The Rosary was recited throughout the countries of Europe for the success of the Christian forces, and the victory was attributed to Our Lady, called the “Help of Christians.” The Rosary has been the great weapon against heresy and infidelity, but it is also the chief safeguard for family peace and holiness.

Our Holy Father [Pope Leo XIII] wished to raise up the Rosary as a bulwark against the encroachments of the wicked and against the wiles of the devil aimed at the destruction of domestic sanctity. Society depends upon the family, and if we have good families, not all the powers of earth and Hell can make headway against the Church in her mission for the salvation of souls. We see some countries where the Faith has been preserved in spite of all the fury of Hell and in the face of all the powers of the world.

How can we account for such steadfastness in the face of such trials? We must go deep down to the basis of social virtue to get the explanation of such heroism, and when we go deep enough, we will find family holiness in these countries. If we examine a little more, we will find that the chief means of preserving this sanctity in family life was the practice of the Rosary as a family prayer.

The great St. Dominic performed a wonderful work in the destruction of the Albigensian heresy. He had spent a long time in arguments with the heretics, and, as is usual, he made no converts by his arguments. Never has there been a single conversion made by arguments or dispute alone, because heretics, as a rule, do not wish to know the Truth. The devil knows all the truths of the Church even better than many Catholics, and yet he has no wish to serve God.

While Our Lord was dying on the Cross, He prayed for His executioners, and He excused them on the grounds that they knew not what they did. Our Lord’s prayer was heard and thousands were converted through this act of forgiveness who would never have received such grace had not the suffering and merciful Heart of Jesus prayed for them. Jesus here excuses them on account of their ignorance, but in the case of many of these people, their ignorance was culpable. They could have known the truth if they had wished, but they resembled the coward Pilate who asked, “What is truth?” but did not wait for an answer. Arguing over religious matters with those outside the Church only gives the enemies of God an opportunity to blaspheme and to mock at holy things. Reason unaided by grace is not able to grasp the great religious truths contained in the Catholic Church. (Consider, too, that Our Lady of Fatima did not ask us to dialog with the unconverted. No, She asked that we pray the Rosary every day and make sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.- MCB)

It may be asked then what are we to do with a view to instructing those outside the Faith? We must, like St. Dominic, teach the simple Christian doctrine and we may answer the objections of, and give information to, those who are sincerely anxious to know the Truth. The Church spread throughout the great pagan Roman Empire by the preaching of the Gospel, aided by the blood of the martyrs and the prayers of the faithful. When a nation or an individual loses the Faith, it is never for intellectual reasons nor because they cannot harmonize the beliefs of the Church with their philosophy of life. The Faith is lost through the loss of grace, owing to absence of prayer and through the commission of sin. The Faith in a country is preserved by the teaching of Christian doctrine and by the self-sacrificing lives of the faithful. Sanctity is only self-denial for the love of God. Some perform self-sacrificing actions, but for some worldly motive, and so that is not sanctity. The marks of true sanctity are prayer, self-denial and zeal for God’s glory.

When St. Dominic found that his arguments were of no value, he had recourse to the Mother of God, who has always been the consoler of the afflicted and the help of all those who carry on works for the salvation of souls. This sweet Mother told the saint to lay aside the arguments and begin the teaching of the simple Christian doctrine [by teaching her Psalter, with its three Mysteries: Joyous, Sorrowful, and Glorious]. The message of the angel to Mary was the beginning of the work of Redemption, and St. Dominic taught the people to repeat this Angelic Salutation, which at once reminded them of the great mystery of the Incarnation.

St. Dominic at once gave up his arguments with the heretics and began to teach the people to pray to Mary by repeating the Hail Mary. While he repeated the Our Fathers and the Hail Marys, he taught the people a simple language some mystery of Our Lord’s Life. In a short time, the people gave up their heresy and returned once more to the practice of religion. We see here the importance of prayer in the work of salvation. Prayer removes the obstacles to the reception of grace, and simple instruction will do the rest. Prayer obtains everything from God, simply because one who prays prepares his soul for the seeds of grace and sanctification, and if only heretics and all those outside the Church could be induced to pray [the Rosary, as they should, since it is a Meditation of Christ’s Life and Death], they would very soon receive the gift of Faith. The absence of prayers means the absence of grace, and so the evils of sin and heresy are all due in the final result to the want of prayer.

We must not leave out another factor in the destruction of the Albigensian heresy, and that was the power of Mary. St. Dominic prayed to Our Lady, and he taught the people to do so. Mary is the link that binds the soul to Jesus. She is also the link that binds whole nations to Jesus, and so we have another explanation of the marvelous success of St. Dominic. Those who invoke the aid of this Holy Mother are assured of success because her prayers are so powerful that they can defeat all the powers of Hell and all the stratagems of wicked men.

It is worthy of notice also that the Order of St. Dominic remained so faithful to the Church during the time of the Reformation [the Protestant Revolt]. This is accounted for by their devotion to the Rosary and by their fidelity to the teaching of the ordinary Christian doctrine to the faithful. St. Thomas [Aquinas], who was perhaps after St. Dominic the greatest gem of the Dominican order, so simplified the philosophy and the theology of the Church that when the time of trial came, the sons of St. Dominic were ready to give a simple explanation of all the truths of the Church, and in this way were able to confound all the tricks of the heretics.

The Rosary has been the great safeguard of whole nations during times of storm and stress when the wolves of heresy threatened to devour the faithful children of Jesus and Mary. When priests were put to death, it was practically impossible to preserve the Faith for the want of assistance of the Sacraments and on account of the absence of religious instruction. The devotion to the Rosary kept the Faith in whole countries, and we have no reason to be surprised at this.

The simple meditations of the Rosary on the lives of Jesus and Mary and the consideration of some mystery of faith kept the knowledge of the supernatural truths before the minds of the faithful…[t]he prayers or the reputation of the Our Father and Hail Mary reminded the people of the Angelic Salutation and the Providence of God, while it at the same time prepared the soul for, and obtained grace, by the power of impetration, or by its efficacy as a prayer. This devotion of the Rosary has been the great secret of family holiness and has therefore been the source of vocations and of much of the sanctity of the Church. Vocations can only spring from good families, and saints always come from homes in which Jesus and Mary have a prominent place and in which the family is sanctified each evening by the recitation of the Rosary, which draws down the blessings and the protection of this sweet Mother.

What we mean by goodness in families [is] supernatural goodness. Many families may be respectable and may enjoy the goodwill of their neighbors, but their goodness may be purely or largely natural, and may take no account of eternity. Some are here confused and they may tend to copy the natural goodness of others because they cannot distinguish between the natural and the supernatural. Some ask why do worldlings prosper, while the good have to suffer. This is again confusing the natural and the supernatural.

Worldlings, or those who act as if this world were the only world, may prosper and be respected in this world, and God gives them this reward for their natural good works. But there is no word here of the supernatural rewards of eternity, which surpass any of the passing joys of this world. Our Lord never promised worldly rewards to His followers. The friends of Jesus may receive the gifts of this world, but these are only accidental. Our Lord advised His friends to lay up “treasures in Heaven,” where they cannot be destroyed and where thieves cannot steal. The hundredfold promised even in this life may not necessarily consist of wealth or honors. It may and generally does consist of blessings, which bring true peace of soul and prevent many misfortunes. But the supernatural reward promised to those who seek first the Kingdom of God will begin on the shores of eternity and will be never-ending.

The family Rosary will prevent such unhappy occurrences in the home which cause such sadness for both parents and children and which often end in the destruction of the matrimonial bond. [This does not mean lack of sufferings, trials or sorrows; it does mean, however, the family will not be overcome by them. – MCB]

The family Rosary is one of the best prayers of the Church. Prayer is intended to raise the mind to God and to take our thoughts away from the passing affairs of this world. The Rosary is long enough to engage our attention for a sufficient time to enable us to leave aside our worldly cares, and this is good for both body and soul. It can be said on a journey or even while engaged in our occupations which do not demand all our attention. The indulgences of the Rosary are so great the faithful ought to make use of this devotion for the relief of the poor souls in Purgatory. The Rosary is the devotion which belongs especially to Our Lady. No one who wishes for the assistance of Mary will neglect Her Rosary.

To the above essay of Fr. H. O'Laverty's, I will only add words uttered by Our Lady herself. At Fatima, Our Lady said: “Continue to pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary…”“Pray, pray very much and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them.” And finally, "Pray the Rosary every day in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, in order to obtain peace for the world...because only She can help you."

(Essay from Fr. H. O’Laverty’s book, The Mother of God’s Glorious Feasts, 1908. Republished under the title The Mother of God and Her Glorious Feasts. Remarks or clarifications found in brackets are mine. - MCB)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Inside the Vatican Declares: Collegial Consecration NOT Done

What an incredible surprise to discover that a recent issue of Inside the Vatican magazine features an article which clearly lays it on the line that the collegial consecration of Russia has not yet been done! Cathy Pearson, author of the said article (entitled “Now is the Time”) also declares that, should there be any doubt on this question, there remains nothing to lose by consecrating Russia by name to the Immaculate Heartwhile there is still time. Who could disagree with such objective reasoning?

For those who would like to read the entire article, please know one can make an online order for a back-copy of the said issue (August-September 2008). First, however, allow me to alert the reader to a confusing snag when searching for this particular Inside the Vatican back issue.

The Seeming Problem: The actual Inside the Vatican issue in question is most definitely the August-September 2008 issue and Cathy Pearson's article is actually entitled “Now is the Time.” However, when looking for back issues' contents at the Inside the Vatican website, the only August-September 2008 article listed by Cathy Pearson (which is published in the “Culture” section) is simply described as follows:

Our Lady of Fatima and the Catholic Orthodox dialog

Believe it or not, that is the correct article and the issue to which I refer – despite the fact that the Table of Contents neither lists the article's true title nor does the brief description reveal to what extent the author openly touched on the imperative necessity for the collegial consecration of Russia. Also astonishing is the fact that "the Editor of Inside the Vatican, Robert Moynihan, prefaces the piece with a reference to Cardinal Bertone’s assertion (when he was Archbishop Bertone, introducing the purported entirety of the Third Secret on June 26, 2000) that 'any further discussion or request' concerning the Consecration of Russia 'is without basis.' In reply, Moynihan declares: 'Of course, despite this assertion, Catholics are free to discuss the matter.' " [Christopher Ferrara, "A Breakthrough for Fatima Inside the Vatican"]

Incidentally, below are a few excerpts from Cathy Pearson’s article:

"In mid-2007, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexi II predicted a positive effect on relations between the Catholic and Orthodox churches from the issuance of Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio on the old liturgy, Summorum Pontificum:

'We strongly adhere to tradition. The recovery and honoring of an ancient liturgical tradition is a development that we can welcome.' "

[Note: What follows next is Pearson’s commentary on Alexi's reaction, with all emphasis mine]

"So much for fears that liberalizing access to the Traditional Latin Mass might impede reconciliations with other Churches."

"It is time to call the bluff of those who similarly maintain that a key request of Our Lady of Fatima -- a consecration of Russia by name to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope together with all the bishops of the Church -- cannot be fulfilled literally because doing so might offend the Russian Orthodox. "

"Of all the reasons put forward over the past 60 years to explain why a succession of Popes shouldn't, couldn't, or didn't perform the consecration of Russia as such, this is surely the least persuasive."

"On the contrary, Fatima offers perhaps the best key in our time for breaking the impasse in Catholic-Orthodox reconciliation."

"Despite strenuous Vatican efforts to declare the Fatima story a closed book, persistent and legitimate questions remain, one of which is whether Our Lady's request for the consecration of Russia has been fulfilled by a series of papal consecrations of the world and ,if not, whether a Russia-specific consecration should now be attempted..."

As Christopher Ferrara comments, "Pearson drops one bombshell after another — far too many to quote verbatim here. By way of summary, she reviews the attempted consecrations by Pius XII and John Paul II, suggests that none of them complied with Our Lady’s requests, and concludes that both Popes 'sensed that more was needed; they wished to comply, but felt they could not. They tried to do as much as they possibly could without mentioning Russia by name — the invisible line they dared not cross..."

" 'But it is time to abandon such 'prudence,' Pearson argues. 'The worldwide moral crisis has worsened exponentially,' she writes."

"As for the endless debate over what the 'conversion' of Russia means — as if we didn’t know — Pearson rather deftly sidesteps the debate by arguing that it makes no difference what sort of conversion occurs in Russia once the Consecration is done in the proper manner, since whatever conversion occurs is, obviously, the one that God intends. And if the conversion of Russia to Roman Catholicism is what God intends, then let it happen. Not even [Cardinal] Bertone could argue with that point."

"Pearson concludes with nothing short of an indictment of the cowardice of Vatican officialdom, noting Our Lady’s mandate to consecrate Russia is like a 'ticking time-bomb, crying out to be defused, while Vatican officials warily eye it from a distance, gingerly pushing it out of sight, saying in effect, 'I would have dealt with it but I was afraid.' "

To the growing list of "Fatimists" (a term intended to be derogatory but which is truly a badge of honor), it seems we may gladly welcome not only the intrepid Antonio Socci but also Cathy Pearson and Inside the Vatican Editor, Robert Moynihan. As Christopher Ferrara concluded, "May God bless them for their service to the cause of Our Lady of Fatima." (Amen.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Story of a Family: The Little Flower and Her Blessed Parents

Venerable Louis and Zelie Martin,
Parents of "the Little Flower"

Today is the Feast of the Little Flower, St. Therese of Lisieux. Her parents, the Venerables Louis and Zelie Martin, will be beatified this October 19, 2008 at Lisieux. Cardinal Saraiva Martins announced the upcoming beautification this past July 12, on the 150th anniversary of their wedding. Beatification is the last step before formal canonization, in which the Church officially declares the beati to be a saint (meaning that God, for His Glory and for the good of the Church Militant, has revealed to the Church the final end of the individual soul[s]).

To better know the soon-to-be Blessed Zelie and Louis, please read the The Story of a Family (written by Abbe Trochu and republished by Tan Books and Publishers), which includes actual letter excerpts from Zelie. It is truly a treasure-trove of (and for) a Catholic family. The Martins lived a very quiet but active interior life, one considered 'unique' and, by the less charitable, 'rigid.' Yet the passage of time has proven that the Martin parents practiced the virtues to a heroic degree, which is always the mark of sanctity. You can also find more information about the Venerables and their family at

As we remember the parents of the Little Flower on their daughter's feast day, I must mention (and share below) a most moving picture of the 'little saint,' taken after her death. But first, allow me to also say that I discovered it at Elena Marie Vidal's ever-lovely, alluring and informative Catholic blog, "Tea at Trianon." Please don't miss Elena's edifying post, "The Passion of St. Therese" of October 1, 2008 .

St. Therese of Lisieux

"The Little Flower"

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Queen of the Holy Rosary: Our Hope, Confidence and Refuge

It is such a simple thing to state that October is the month of Our Lady of the Rosary - She who is our hope, our confidence, and our refuge - but, like many simple things, it holds such great meaning! Following September, the month in which we remember the Virgin under Her title Our Lady of Sorrows, this month reminds us that the Lady of the Rosary who receives our loving greetings will always turn our attention to God so as to magnify His Glory.

Remember the Mystery of the Visitation, wherein the Virgin first greeted St. Elizabeth? Our Lady's very presence brought down the Holy Ghost, Her Divine Spouse, so that the voice of His humble Maiden immediately sanctified St. John in the womb of his mother. Filled with the Holy Ghost, St. Elizabeth cried out in a loud voice: "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed are thou that thou has believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord." (Luke 1: 40-45)

Our Lady, always filled with the Holy Ghost, offered her canticle of praise, which we call The Magnificat, "My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaid; for behold, from henceforth, all generations shall call me blessed. Because He that is mighty has done great things to me; and holy is His Name.And His mercy is from generation unto generation, to them that fear His name." (Luke 1: 46-50)

It is this same Lady who said at Fatima: "My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the path that leads you to God." This humble and Immaculate Maiden, Mother of God, who lived a most holy life of poverty and suffering, is the Mediatrix and Co-Redemptrix of mankind. The Virgin's office, in this life and the next, might be simply phrased in the terms of a singular purpose: To lead souls to God through His Church. (And here is another great mystery, for the Church is a living figure type for the Virgin Herself). It follows that leading souls to God is the purpose of the Most Holy Rosary. All the great saints of the Middle Ages held a great devotion to the Rosary, because they understood that it is a meditation on the Life, Passion and Death of Our Lord.

Can we make the very simple effort of praying one Rosary each day, in order to do at least one thing which Our Lady of Fatima asked of us? In the language of Portugal, a Rosary means 1/3 of the Psalter - that is, the introductory Rosary prayers followed by 5 decades. In 'proper' terms, the entire "Rosary" of 15 decades is called Our Lady's Psalter or the Angelic Psalter.

The faithful and humble praying of the daily Rosary or the entire Psalter is, after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the most highly indulgenced prayer of the Church which cultivates our interior lives. For example, did you know that a plenary indulgence (the complete remission of confessed sins) is granted when the Rosary is prayed within the family or in front of the Blessed Sacrament?

At various times throughout the day, we might also pray one Hail Mary to salute Our Lady and to remind ourselves to always keep the Holy Family foremost in our minds, or we may offer three Hail Mary's (to ask for an increase of the virtues of faith, hope and charity). And then there are the the brief and ardent salutations, like the prayer given to mankind on the Miraculous Medal: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!

Too, there are these two prayers: Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! And what of the favorite short prayer of the Blessed Jacinta of Fatima: Sweet Heart of Mary, be our salvation!

Finally, we have many prayers composed by St. Alphonsus de Liguori, who wrote The Glories of Mary. The following three address Our Lady as Our Hope, Our Confidence and Our Refuge - so eloquently stating what is in the mind and hearts of faithful Catholics who have recourse to the Mother of God - our Divine Savior, Jesus Christ:

Prayer of Hope by St. Alphonsus de Liguori
Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, to thee who art the Mother of my Lord, the Queen of the universe, the advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I who am the most miserable of all sinners, have recourse this day. I venerate thee, great Queen, and I thank thee for the many graces thou hast bestowed upon me even unto this day; in particular for having delivered me from the Hell which I have so often deserved by my sins.

I love thee, most dear Lady; and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee willingly for ever and to do what I can to make thee loved by others also. I place in thee all my hopes for salvation; accept me as thy servant and shelter me under thy mantle, thou who art the Mother of mercy. And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to overcome them until death.

From thee I implore a true love for Jesus Christ. Through thee I hope to die a holy death. My dear Mother, by the love thou bearest to Almighty God, I pray thee to assist me always, but most of all at the last moment of my life. Forsake me not then, until thou shalt see me safe in heaven, there to bless thee and sing of thy mercies through all eternity. Such is my hope. Amen.

Prayer of Confidence by St. Alphonsus de Liguori
O most pure Virgin Mary, I venerate thy most Holy Heart, which was the delight and resting place of God, thy heart overflowing with humility, purity, and Divine love. I, an unhappy sinner, approach thee with a heart all loathsome and wounded. O compassionate Mother, disdain me not on this account; let such a sight rather move thee to greater tenderness, and excite thee to help me. Do not stay to seek virtues or merit in me before assisting me. I am lost, and the only thing I merit is hell. See only my confidence in thee and the purpose I have to amend.

Consider all that Jesus has done and suffered for me, and then abandon me if thou canst. I offer thee all the pains of His life; the cold that He endured in the stable; His journey into Egypt; the blood which He shed; the poverty, sweats, sorrows, and death that He endured for me; and this in thy presence. For the love of Jesus, take charge of my salvation. Ah, my Mother, I will not and cannot fear that thou wilt reject me, now that I have recourse to thee and ask thy help. Did I fear this, I should be offering an outrage to thy mercy, which goes in quest of the wretched, in order to help them.

O Lady, deny not thy compassion to one to whom Jesus has not denied His Blood. But the merits of this Blood will not be applied to me unless thou recommendest me to God. Through thee do I hope for salvation. I ask not for riches, honors, or earthly goods. I seek only the grace of God, love towards thy Son, the accomplishment of His will, and His heavenly Kingdom, that I may love Him eternally.

Is it possible that thou wilt not hear me? No; for already thou hast granted my prayer, as I hope; already thou prayest for me; already thou obtainest me the graces that I ask; already thou takest me under thy protection.

My Mother, abandon me not. Never, never cease to pray for me, until thou seest me safe in Heaven at thy feet, blessing and thanking thee forever. Amen.

Prayer of Refuge by St. Alphonsus Liguori
Behold, O Mother of my God, my only hope, Mary, behold at thy feet a miserable sinner, who asks thee for mercy. Thou art proclaimed and called by the whole Church, and by all the faithful, the refuge of sinners. Thou art consequently my refuge; thou hast to save me. I will say with William of Paris: Thou knowest, most sweet Mother of God, how much thy blessed Son desires our salvation. Thou knowest all that Jesus Christ endured for this end.

I present thee, O my Mother, the sufferings of Jesus: the cold that He endured in the stable, His journey into Egypt, His toils, His sweat, the Blood that He shed; the anguish which caused His death on the Cross, and of which thou wast thyself a witness. Oh, show that thou lovest thy beloved Son, and by this love I implore thee to assist me. Extend thy hand to a poor creature who has fallen and asks thy help.

Were I a Saint I would not need seek thy mercy; but because I am a sinner I fly to thee, who art the Mother of mercies. I know that thy Compassionate Heart finds it a consolation in assisting the miserable, when thou canst do so, and dost not find them obstinate. Console, then, thy Compassionate Heart, and console me this day; for now thou hast the opportunity of saving a poor creature condemned to Hell; and thou canst do so, for I will not be obstinate.

I abandon myself into thy hands, only tell me what thou wouldst have me do, and obtain for me strength to execute it, for I am resolved to do all that depends on me to recover the Divine grace. I take refuge under thy mantle.

Jesus wills that I should have recourse to thee, in order not only that His Blood may save me, but also that thy prayers may assist me in this great work; for thy glory and for His Own, since thou art His Mother. He sends me to thee, that thou mayest help me.

O Mary, see, I have recourse to thee; in thee do I confide. Thou prayest for so many others, pray also for me; say only a word. Tell Our Lord that thou willest my salvation, and God will certainly save me. Say that I am thine, and then I have obtained all that I ask, all that I desire. Amen.