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Anni Ink Slingers Mary Prayer Revelation: Public vs. Private Rosary

Contemplating Eternity: The Encouragement of Our Lady of Fatima

We are living in dark, perilous times – no darker and no more perilous than the times preceding today’s society. However, as our society seems to descend into moral relativism, eschewing the notion in natural truth and law, many of us holding on to the belief in our Faith, and in God, are left holding the draw strings of a bag whose bottom is slowly coming unraveled.

The Chicken Little sky falling mantra does not seem to be shouted from the rooftops as pervasively as it has in times past. Instead, we seem complacent to let each other live our own truths, without thought to a much larger truth.

This month is the One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Final Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima.

Over the course of six months, Our Lady appeared to three small shepherd children, giving messages…

…and warnings.

Society was warned to repent and turn from sin…

…to recognize God in all His goodness and glory…

…to accept the Truth only God can offer us.

There is no timeline for when the warning will expire, since Jesus was pretty clear – only the Father knows the day, the time, and the hour.

Upon baptism and confirmation, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit sparked within our beings. As humans, longing for relationship, we constantly strive to seek the elusive relationship – the one that only God can provide… only He can provide a relationship with comfort, security, and true agape love. For, as Our Lady of Fatima explained during one of her apparitions,

Heaven is real.

Hell…

…is also real.

And, Our Lady of Fatima provides us with warning…

…and encouragement.

There are testimonies throughout history which indicate just how transformative the Rosary can be – for individuals, and for societies. In addition to this month being the hundredth anniversary of the final apparition of Fatima, this month is also the 446th anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto, whose outcome secured the victory of Christendom in the West over Islam. The success at Lepanto has historically been attributed to the power of the Rosary. Our Lady of Fatima reiterated praying the Rosary as an avenue to convert hearts, minds, bodies, and souls.

Our Lady of Fatima encouraged us to be on guard against sins of impurity, and to offer sacrifices throughout our days – offering up our small sacrifices for love of Jesus, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for sins.

One hundred years ago, Our Lady reminded us of a framework to succeed in getting to heaven.

But, as we are also warned in Matthew 7:13-14,

As Lieutenant General (Retired) Hal Moore once said during an interview with EWTN, “I’m in the business of eternity, and I hope I am successful in that business.” While difficult and wildly unpopular it is to do so at times, it is not impossible for us to keep an eye on the end goal of our eternal life. Even if it makes us stand out, and makes this life difficult at times, it is not outside the realm of possibility for us to keep eternal life at the forefront of our thoughts and actions.

Keeping our eternity in mind requires vigilance, prayer, sacrifice, and love.

It should also lead us to ask ourselves if we are doing all we can to ensure we are choosing the gate and the road that leads to eternal life?

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Guest Posts Offering your suffering Revelation: Public vs. Private Sacramentals

Spiritual Advice for Chicken Little

Dear Chicken Little (AKA Henny Penny, AKA All Christians today),

I know you are screaming, “The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!”  and you have good reasons to feel this way.  In today’s world all you have to do to become sad, scared and feel hopeless, is open a newspaper, even a Catholic one.  Then when you go online and see or read of other things going on, it intensifies the feeling that there’s no way to combat those feelings because the forces of evil are so potent and so intricately woven into our culture. I bet you feel like St. Peter- you take notice of the storm and the violent waves around you and you think you are sinking.

But take heart!  If you have taken any time to listen to Pope Francis’s words, you will soon learn that he is paying attention to this horrid world we live in.  His message, that of the Gospel, is that everything will be okay. If anyone is surrounded by wolves and Judases, it’s the Holy Father! He knows this–and yet look at his sweet face radiating Joy and Love as he reaches out to your heart, mine, the unevangelized, Catholics and everyone! It’s important to keep up with what’s going on, however, balance is important, too. I’m sure you pray–but our prayers ought not be ones of desperation, but praise in spite of our affliction.

So here is a little list of spiritual advice for our “Chicken Little Moments” and what I do to help me remember this and balance all the bad news:

1.  READ ABOUT THE SAINTS:  

Find good biographies of Saints (bah for dry pieces that do not inspire but read like encyclopedia write ups; or romanticized pieces that make sainthood seem like it’s for only “the chosen ones” like Luke Skywalker instead of EVERYone). The saints were every bit as broken and human as you and I.  They suffered addictions, abuse, tendencies to lust, gluttony, messed up family, etc. None of them *liked* suffering. They all had their Agony in the Garden, Dark Night of the Soul, and Passion.

2.  WATCH MOVIES THAT INSPIRE:

  • For Greater Glory & There Be Dragons–excellent movies about true events during violent revolutions where Catholics were persecuted. We’ve been here before! It will be okay! And which is harder? The long, tedious sacrifice of the white martyrdom that takes decades to kill bodies? Or the quicker, compressed pain and violence of bloody martyrdom? Either way, martyrdom is our call and the gift of courage from the Holy Spirit is needed. And faith–faith is a gift of the Holy Spirit that we MUST pray for! It will be okay!

  • The Passion of Bernadette<–one of my favorites

  • The War of the Vendee — done by homeschooled children, lovely movie and pretty great acting for kids!

3.  READ GOOD BOOKS:

  •  “The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM” the amazing and 100% true story about a Seminarian being forced into the Nazi army.  I recommend it to anyone who is troubled about what’s going down here in the US (because we look an awful lot like Nazi Germany in many ways here–politically speaking with our foreign policy that promotes say, Eugenics). He is spiritually attacked. He is put into the SS because of his outstanding ability, in spite of his openly resisting the Nazi philosophy. He ends up as a POW. This isn’t a flowery book of bragging, but rather a direct autobiography with some hard realities. And it’s incredible. Read it and have hope! God is in charge–even in the midst of the enemy.

  • With God in Russia” is an autobiography of a priest who survives being a POW in Russia during WWII (the Communists were guilty of more devastation than the Nazis: 60M murdered as opposed to 10M).

  • The Miracle of Father Kapaun: Priest, Soldier, and Korean War Hero” Fr. Kapaun is given the medal of honor–by THIS president? That’s a miracle in itself. He was a POW as well.

  • The Island of the World” is one of the most heart wrenching and devastating books of Hope and Faith that I’ve ever read. He’s long winded, but he’s one of THE best Catholic authors out there IMO.

4.  LISTEN TO INSPIRING HOMILIES:

  • Audio Sancto offers anonymous homilies from good orthodox priests.

  • Sensus Traditionis offers more great homilies as well as texts of talks by subject. A webpage dedicated to the defense of the orthodox Catholic faith as well as a promotion of serious academic thought in the areas of Catholic theology and philosophy.

5.  GO ON A MINI-RETREAT:

For me when I need a mini-retreat from the world,  I read a Michael O’Brien book. He’s one of my all time favorite authors. His fiction books show me how to carry my cross–in detail–with the most impossible situations for his protagonists. One of my favorites is “Island of the World.” Talk about the world coming crashing down around the main character who, as a child was in a beautiful Catholic community untouched by the influences of the West–and in a Catholic home, loses everything–violently, in just moments! This is based on true events of Fascists and Communists ravaging the former Yugoslavia (before it was even that) and what happened to the people there. The story line is fictional, but the history is true. He interviewed many people before writing this book. I wept through a good part of the book, because it was just so hard. It’s a testimony of the stoicism of people of faith who have stuck out the worst of conditions with their lives hanging in the balance.

6. LOOK TO HISTORY:  Remember history repeats itself:

  • It happened in Spain.

  • It happened in France (once the Church’s “Eldest Daughter”).

  • It happened in Mexico.

  • It happened in Cuba.

  • It happened in Russia.

  • It happened in the Balkans.

It will continue to happen. Remember the scene on LOTR where the Balrog is falling into the pit? He knows he’s lost and so he goes down thrashing and gnashing–and at the last moment whips his tail up to Gandalf to pull him down as he falls. This is Satan. He knows he’s lost and is on borrowed time. So he’s going to lie and cheat–even murder as he knows he can’t make us go to Hell, but he wants to make us think he can.  He can’t. They can kill my body, but cannot touch my soul. And if they do kill my body, for the sake of Christ–my soul is all the more glorified in His bloody Passion! For my Salvation and the Salvation of others! Deo Gratias!

7.  PRAY:  Going to Adoration and praying is really important in these hard times.  But you can also pray anywhere…and there are several important daily prayers that some Catholics have forgotten about, here’s a handy dandy list:

Lastly, take heart and trust in God because this the day and age and we have yet to have our crisis of faith here in terms of violent revolution. Good and bad. Bad that there’s fear. But good that we have so much history to take comfort from. And it’s okay to feel like St. Peter and feel yourself sinking but remember to stop looking down and look up because Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior, is close by ready to calm the waters.

 

GUEST POST:  Written by Monica, mother to five beautiful children out in Texas!

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Ink Slingers Mary Michelle Motherhood Prayer Revelation: Public vs. Private Spiritual Growth

When Mary Comes to Visit

I am prefacing this post to remind all our readers of the Catholic Church’s teaching regarding Marian apparitions.  The Church teaches that no Catholic is bound to believe in any of the Marian apparitions, including those deemed by the Church as “worthy of belief”.  In addition the Church teaches that these private revelations do not belong to the Deposit of Faith nor is their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation.  (CCC 66-67)  If you would like further information on Marian Apparitions as well as both public and private revelations I urge you to read here

The years have quietly slipped away from me but the miraculous events of my pregnancy with Isabella remains deeply ingrained in my heart and mind.  I was 8 weeks pregnant when I took my 4 children and went on a trip to Iowa.  I was going to visit a friend at her house and then travel down to Kansas City, Missouri to visit my in-laws.  It was a long trip traveling from Georgia to Iowa but I felt up to the task.  I loaded our children, kissed my husband, and we headed off on first leg of our journey. Traveling alone with four children and being pregnant with the 5th was no easy task.  But, as we pulled into Billie Jo’s driveway I knew it was worth the effort.  We unloaded and settled in.

I can’t remember how long we had been there, perhaps only a day or two, but one evening I began to bleed.  I woke up Billie and told her I needed to go to the hospital.  She drove me there and after an exam the doctor handed me a plastic container and coldly said, “I can see tissue and I see blood, you are miscarrying.  Try to get us as much of the tissue as you can and bring it back to us.”  He also told me to stay off my feet for a couple days.  He left the room.  I cried.  Billie held my hand and cried with me.  She will never know how much her presence and love helped me.  She drove me back to her house and she tucked me into bed.

That night, crying alone, I got out my rosary and I began to pray.  I asked God to save my baby.  I pleaded that if He would let her live (and I only became convinced the baby was a girl as I was praying) that I would dedicate her to Him.  She was His and I would raise her for His glory.  In my desperation I asked God to send me a sign that she would be alright.  I asked that He send me one single rose.  I told no one of my prayer.

Several days had passed and I felt up to continuing on to Mike’s parents’ house in Kansas City.  Billie was worried and asked me to stay a little longer.  I assured her I would be ok.  We packed up and headed south to my in-laws.  I told them that I was supposed to stay off my feet because of the bleeding and probability of miscarrying the baby.  They were very helpful in making sure I could rest.  During my stay there I was scheduled to spend some time with my very best friend from high school.  She lived about 120 miles away and said she would drive to see me.  We had scheduled a day to go out to lunch.  She called and I told her what was going on.  She said she would come anyway and we could at least see each other.  My in-laws insisted that we still go out to lunch to have some quiet time to talk.

When Elizabeth rang the doorbell I got up to let her in.  As I opened the door I gasped.  I fought to keep the tears from trickling down my cheeks.  There my best friend stood with a single rose.  She said to me, “I know it seems weird for a girl to give a girl a rose but when I just kept hearing someone say, ‘Get her flowers’.  The ones I wanted were all gone but they had single roses.  I almost didn’t get one but something told me to get it.”  My heart skipped a beat and I told her thank you.  As we got in her car I told her that I had something to tell her.  Over lunch I relayed my entire story to her and told her that I had asked for a sign from God… a single rose.   I think she was as surprised as I was.  After lunch we went to her mother and told her what had happened too.  I knew from that moment my baby was going to live.

My pregnancy was rough; the hardest one up to that point.  I was put on bed rest at 27 weeks.  On top of the problems with the pregnancy I was trying to homeschool 4 other children and take care of my husband and our home.  It was a trial for sure.  There were times I didn’t think I would make it through.  Many times I cried in desperation and pleaded with God to please show me He hadn’t abandoned me.  I prayed once again that God give me a sign that all would be ok.  Perhaps I should have just remembered that first rose but I felt like I was losing the battle and I needed to be reminded of God’s faithfulness and love.

That night, after praying, I was lying in my bed.  I had a small light on and I hadn’t gone to sleep but lay there crying.  A very soft light began emanating from the end of my bed.  As I watched I slowly saw Mary standing there, her arms outstretched towards me.  She quietly spoke and said that my baby was going to live and that I was doing what God had asked of me.  I felt a peace wash over me.  She disappeared just as she came.  I would lie there wondering if she had truly been there or had it just been my imagination.

The next day I got a call from Elizabeth.  She said that something strange had happened to her mother the night before and her mother had asked her to call me.   She said that as her mother was driving past Our Lady of Lourdes church (where I used to go to church) the night before that only one of the stained glass windows was lit up.  The rest of the church was dark but Mary stood burning bright in the darkness, her hands outstretched.  Elizabeth’s mother said she felt the overwhelming need to let me know as she felt that she had seen this for my sake.  I was shaking as Elizabeth told me this.  I told her of my experiences the night before as well.  We determined that these events took place at almost the same time.  I knew at that moment that what I had seen was not a hallucination but that Mary had come to me as the sign that God had not abandoned me or our unborn child.

Mary would come to me once more during my pregnancy, this time at my own parish here.  As I was in Mass I was having contractions.  I looked up to see Mary standing on our altar watching me.  I could feel her love.  She smiled and disappeared.  I found that I could make it through the Mass and was reassured that I would make it through the rest of the pregnancy.

As we were looking for names to name our baby girl I wanted a name that meant “consecrated to God”.  I found the name Isabella.  It had the right meaning but when I found out that it was a derivative of Elizabeth, well, I knew what our daughter’s name would be.  With Rose as her middle name to remember that first sign of God’s promise to me, I knew we had the perfect name for her- Isabella Rose.

Isabella would end up being my biggest baby and hardest birth (outside of our last birth with Jacob which you can read about here).  She was lacking oxygen when she born and we would soon see problems with her heart as well.  Still, we knew she was perfect and God-given.  She has been the one child to keep us on our toes and many of our best stories begin with “This one time when Bella…” She has endeared herself to many people and often I hear them say, “There’s just something about Bella.”  She brings a smile to everyone’s face and they truly are charmed by her presence.  We know that God has a definite plan to use her for something big.

During May, when we honor our Mother, I am even more thankful because God used Mary to assure me that my child, the child I promised to Him, was going to be ok.  He used Mary, the mother of His Son, to comfort me during some of the hardest times I had ever been through at that point.  He allowed her to come to me, to speak to me, and to bring me peace that only another mother could.  What a tremendous gift He gave me.  I am eternally grateful for the experience He gave to both me and to my beautiful daughter.