Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Our Lady of Coromoto

Our Lady of Coromoto

The Spaniards arrived at the region of Guanare, around 1591. The native Indians not wanting to have anything to do with the new settlers decided to move the tribe deeper into the forest and settled along the Tucupido River. The new settlers brought the Catholic religion to them but they refused to be converted. Fifty years passed and both groups lived in peace, the Coromoto Indians refusing to accept the Gospel that the Spaniards preached.

In 1651, the chief of the Coromotos and his wife see an extraordinary vision: in the ravine of the Tucupido River, upon the waters, a beautiful lady is looking at them with a loving expression on her face; the small child she carries also smiles amiably. The mysterious lady summons the Indian chief and orders him: "leave the forest with your people and go to the white men in order to receive the water on the head so as to be able to enter heaven".

The chief impressed by what he has seen and heard decides to obey the beautiful lady and leaves with his tribe to be schooled in the Christian religion by the Spaniards. The Indians being used to freedom find it very difficult to adjust to this new way of life. They leave after a short time and return to their village. The lady appears again, this time at the chief’s humble hut. Although the Virgin presents herself surrounded by a luminous aura whose rays fill the hut with fire, she does not succeed in moving the chief, who, annoyed, tries to throw her out and even takes his weapons in hand with the intention of threatening the inopportune lady. Smiling all the way, the Virgin approaches the chief gently and when he stretches out his hand angrily to catch her, she disappears before his eyes. A small holy card, where the image of the Lady was printed, was left in the Coromoto Indian's closed fist.

The Indians finally did what the lady asked of them being baptized and accepting the Catholic faith. This is how the Catholic faith was spread throughout Venezuela and today Venezuela is 95 % Catholic, the people having very devout devotions to Our Lady, especially to Our Lady of Coromoto.

The Virgin of Coromoto is a tiny relic that measures 27 millimeters high and 22 millimeters wide. The Virgin is painted seated, and on her lap sits the Child Jesus. It seems to have been drawn with a fine pen, sketched as a portrait done in Indian ink with dots and dashes. The Virgin and Child are looking straight ahead; their heads erect with royal crowns upon them. The back of the throne which supports them has two columns joined together by an arch. The Virgin's shoulders are covered by a crimson cloak with dark purple reflections, and a white veil falls symmetrically over her hair. She wears a straw colored tunic and the Child a white one. The image is kept inside a richly adorned monstrance where it is presented for the veneration of the faithful.

At the request of the nation's bishops, on October 7, 1944 Pius XII declared her "Patroness of the Republic of Venezuela" and her canonical coronation was celebrated on the third centenary of her apparition, on September 11, 1952. His Eminence Cardinal Manuel Arteaga Betancourt, Archbishop of Havana, representing Pope Pius XII, crowned the sacred image of Our Lady of Coromoto. The Venezuelans celebrate their patroness each year on three different occasions: February 2 and September 8 and 11. The National Sanctuary of the Virgin of Coromoto, a meeting place of great pilgrimages, was declared a Basilica by Pope Pius XII on May 24, 1949.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Prophecies of St. Malachy

In the year 1130 upon the death of Pope Honorius II, Gregorio Papereschi was elected as Pope, and chose the name Innocent II.

Unfortunately for Pope Innocent II, not all the Cardinals agreed with his succession and so a defacto anti-pope was also elected who took the name Anacletus II.

These were troubling times for the reigning Pontiff as he led the Church through these difficult years. Pope Innocent II also decided to call a Tenth Ecumenical Council in 1139, to ratify his position and declare null and void the position which the usurper Anacletus II had taken.

It was during this time that Archbishop Malachy of Armagh met with Pope Innocent II, and it was also during this visit to Rome that Malachy would be the recipient of revelations of the future reigning Pontiffs.

Upon seeing this vision, Malachy wrote down what he had seen and then gave them to Pope Innocent II. This manuscript of Archbishop Malachy would then be relegated to the Vatican archives where they would lay undisturbed for centuries.

And even years later when St. Bernard wrote about the life of St. Malachy no mention was made of the prophetic manuscript which Malachy had given to Pope Innocent II. This has led to confusion over the authenticity of the particular manuscript accredited to St. Malachy.

Although the prophecies are not encrypted, they do bear a signature code in that the future Popes are not named, but in symbolic language the manuscript hints at the titles and names of the future Popes.

Let us now examine the prophecies of St. Malachy, which were found in the Vatican archives.

St. Malachy in the last portion says, "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The end."

But the prophecies begin with...

Pope No: 167 Celestine II (1143-1144) 1 Ex castro Tyberis(from a castle on the Tiber)Hist.: Celestin II was born in Citta di Castello, Toscany, on the shores of the Tiber

168 Lucius II (1144-1145) 2 Inimicus expulsus

169 Eugene III (1145-1153) 3 Ex magnitudine montis(Of the greatness of the mount)Hist.: Born in the castle of Grammont (latin: mons magnus), his family name was Montemagno

170 Anastasius IV (1153-1154) 4 Abbas Suburranus

171 Adrian IV (1154-1159) 5 De rure albo(field of Albe)Hist.: Born in the town of Saint-Alban

171 Adrian IV (1154-1159) 5 De rure albo(field of Albe)Hist.: Born in the town of Saint-Alban

Antipope Victor IV (1159-1164) 6 Ex tetro carcere Antipope Paschal III (1164-1168) 7 Via trans-Tyberina Antipope Calistus III (1168-1178) 8 De Pannonia Tusciæ

172 Alexander III (1159-1181) 9 Ex ansere custode

173 Lucius III (1181-1185) 10 Lux in ostio

174 Urban III (1185-1187) 11 Sus in cribo

175 Gregory VIII (1187) 12 Ensis Laurentii

176 Clement III (1187-1191) 13 De schola exiet

177 Celestine III (1191-1198) 14 De rure bovensi

178 Innocent III (1198-1216) 15 Comes signatus(signed Count)Hist.: descendant of the noble Signy, later called Segni family

179 Honorius III (1216-1227) 16 Canonicus de latere

180 Gregory IX (1227-1241) 17 Avis Ostiensis(Bird of Ostia)Hist.: before his election he was Cardinal of Ostia

The list continues to more recent times;

262 Pius XII (1939-1958) 106 Pastor angelicus(Angelic Shepherd)Hist.: This Pope was very mystical, and is believed to have received visions. People would kneel when they received telephone calls from him. His encyclicals add enormously to the understanding of Catholic beliefs (even if they are now overlooked because of focus on the Second Vatican Council, which occurred so soon after his reign).

263 John XXIII (1958-1963) 107 Pastor et Nauta(pastor and marine)Hist.: prior to his election he was patriarch of Venice, a marine city, home of the gondolas

264 Paul VI (1963-1978) 108 Flos florum(flower of flowers)Hist.: his arms displayed three lilies.

265 John Paul I (1978) 109 De medietate Lunæ(of the half of the moon)Hist.: Albino Luciani, born in Canale d'Agardo, diocese of Belluno, (beautiful moon) Elected pope on August 26, his reign lasted about a month, from half a moon to the next half...

266 John Paul II (1978-2005) 110 De labore Solis(of the eclipse of the sun, or from the labour of the sun)Hist.: Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920 during a solar eclipse. He also comes from behind the former Iron Curtain (the East, where the Sun rises). He might also be seen to be the fruit of the intercession of the Woman Clothed with the Sun labouring in Revelation 12 (because of his devotion to the Virgin Mary). His Funeral occurred on 8 April, 2005 when there was a solar eclipse visible in the Americas.

267 Benedict XVI (2005-) 111 Gloria olivæThe Benedictine order traditionally said this Pope would come from their order, since a branch of the Benedictine order is called the Olivetans. St Benedict is said to have prophesied that before the end of the world, a member of his order would be Pope and would triumphantly lead the Church in its fight against evil. While the Holy Father chose the name "Benedict", this does not seem enough to fulfil the prophecy. Nor is it clear how Benedict XVI (a Bavarian) is "Glory of the Olives". Since he is said to have remarked in the Conclave after saying he would take the name Benedict that it was partly to honour Benedict XV, a pope of peace and reconciliation, perhaps Benedict XVI will be a peacemaker in the Church or in the World, and thus carry the olive branch.

And then as stated above we come to the last Pope listed, which will herald in a great time of persecution for the Church before the Judge will judge his people.

There is much controversy surrounding this particular Prophecy as no names have been mentioned and therefore this has led to more speculation over the meaning of the prophecies written down by St. Malachy.

And many are also debating whether the prophecies were actually written by this Saint, or by another person who came many years later.

I encourage all to read these prophecies, with due care and discernment, and to place their confidence in the Word of God and the Teachings of the Catholic Church.

Peace of Christ to ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Prophecies of St. Malachy

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The origins of the Carmelite Order vary, some say that a group of men who emulated the life of the prophets Elias and Eliseus, formed a small community to live lives of austere penances and prayer. Others say the Carmelite Order began its formation when some disillusioned crusaders banded together and made their home in the mountainous ranges known as Carmel in Palestine, during the 12th century.

This group also had a particular devotion to the Virgin Mary and considered her their true Mother they were soon referred to as 'the hermits of Mary of Mount Carmel' under the guidance of Berthold. But it wasn’t until St Albert; Patriarch of Jerusalem formulated a Rule that the Order was legitimised in Rome by Pope Innocent IV after some amendments were made.

But it is Simon Stock who was the recipient of the brown Scapular that we will examine. Simon Stock from a very early age showed an aptitude and love of prayer much beyond his years, he also displayed a singular love and devotion for our Lady.

Simon was born in the year 1164 to a very devout family who lived in the Kent area of England and though his parents loved their rather serious son, it wasn’t shared by all his siblings. As Simon became the object of bullying by one of his elder brothers, this led Simon to live in the forests in the hollow of a large oak tree, where he would pray, practice many forms of penance and lived on wild berries, apples and other nuts and fruit that was in season.

It was while he lived in the forest that Simon received a vision telling him that an Order of men from Palestine would visit England and that Simon should embrace these religious men of great Faith. These holy men from Palestine upon their arrival in England in the year 1212 were settled in the Kent and Northumberland regions with the help of Lord Vescy and Lord Gray. Simon was immediately impressed with their deep love and devotion to Mary the Mother of God and their way of praying with deep contemplation. He joined this Order in the same year and went on to further his studies in theology at Oxford in which he excelled, while many noted his obvious sanctity which pervaded his whole interior and shone in his exterior.

So it was that in 1215 Simon Stock was appointed Vicar General of the Order, where he had control over the western provinces. But it was in 1226 that Simon set sail for Rome to obtain confirmation and validation of the Rule first set down by St. Albert, which he did obtain from Pope Honorius III, which was ratified by Pope Gregory IX in 1229.

But it was in 1251 that Simon who was undergoing difficulties to keep the Order to its original format knelt in prayer and it was here that our Lady appeared to the troubled Simon. Our Lady appeared to be wearing a brown garment and upon her arms lay a brown piece of material, which would be known as the Brown Scapular. Upon Simon receiving this Scapular, our Lady assured him that anyone who wore this Scapular would not suffer the pains of hell so long as the soul adhered it's promise and led lives worthy of the Brown Scapular. As our Lady said to Simon, "Receive, My beloved son, this habit of thy order: this shall be to thee and to all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire .... It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace."

Simon was deeply moved to receive such a blessing from our Lady and was overcome with awe and gratitude that this blessing from our Lady was a sign of God's Grace for the Order of Carmel which he loved dearly.

Simon Stock died in the year 1265 but the promise our Lady made to him and all those who wear the Brown Scapular still hold to this very day.

Many miracles and conversions have been attributed to the Brown Scapular including a soldier who had led a very dissolute life. During a battle the soldier was grievously wounded by he prayed that the Virgin Mary would not let him die till he had confessed his sins to a Priest. The soldier died upon receiving Absolution of his sins, the doctor who later probed the wound found that the brown Scapular had become embedded in the soldier’s heart.

Our Lady also appeared to Pope John XXII and said to him in this particular vision, to those who would wear the Brown Scapular, "I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting."

It is also to be remembered that both Bernadette of Lourdes and the children of Fatima witnessed to seeing our Lady dressed as our Lady of Mt. Carmel, in the apparitions of Lourdes and Fatima.

But we need to understand that the Brown Scapular is not a 'lucky charm' and only those who promise to live the spirit of Carmel may wear this particular Scapular. For upon receiving the Scapular one must promise to live its spirituality and observe a life of prayer, simplicity and humility.

In accordance to Church Tradition there are three conditions imposed upon those who wear the Brown Scapular, in order to share in the spiritual benefits and the promises made by our Lady. Those who wear the Brown Scapular must live lives of chastity according to your state in life, pray the Rosary with deep contemplation and the enrollment in the Brown Scapular which then makes one a member of the family of Carmel.

If any are interested in becoming enrolled in the Brown Scapular it would be best to approach your Parish Priest or the Order of Carmel which is nearest your region.

Peace of Christ to ALL
Copyright © 2005 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Gold Lapel Decade Rosary, Our Lady of Mt Carmel

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Prophecies of St. John Bosco

Italy during the nineteenth century was rife with thoughts of revolution, followed by insurrections. Even the Papal States did not go untouched and many times the Reigning Pontiffs would have to seek the help of either France or Austria.

Because of the heavy handed Austrian occupation of different parts of Italy this would lead many into secret societies in order for the people of Italy to rid themselves of the Austrian military.

These revolutions would often place the Pontiff in a precarious position, as it tried to maintain order and also justice. Unfortunately this was also the Era of free thinkers and those who refused to follow any authority, as they sought to overthrow differing Governing Bodies and also defied The Church!

Into this landscape was born one John Bosco in the year 1815 to a poor family who though devout struggled to educate their family. Unfortunately John's Father died when he was very young, which left his mother, Margaret to raise her children on her own.

John Bosco, was blessed with a curious mind and an exuberant personality which won him many friends. And it would be this that held him in good stead when he became a Priest and worked towards providing a good education for the poor boys in his area.

But John Bosco also had another distinction for God had blessed him with visions of future events and warnings for his country, the youth's he looked after and the world.

The visions John received started at the tender age of only nine years old and would be with him till the end. And upon instruction from Pope Pius IX, John complied with the Popes request to write his visions down for prosperity and the edification of the Faithful.

These visions of John Bosco would inform him of boys that were in his care who were about to die, this enabled Fr. John to make sure the boys soul was not in a state of sin.

But John Bosco also received these visions, as if in a dream, which he relayed in his writings. One of these was in the year 1870, where he explains what he saw and heard, "War will come from the south, peace from the north. The laws of France no longer recognize the Creator. The Creator will reveal Himself by visiting her three times with the scourge of His wrath. The first time He will destroy her pride by defeat, pillage, and destruction of crops, cattle, and men. On His second visit the great whore of Babylon, which the faithful grievingly call Europe's brothel, shall lose her leader and fall prey to chaos."Paris! Paris! Instead of fortifying yourself with the Lord's name, you surround yourself with houses of ill repute. You yourself shall destroy them; your idol, the Pantheon, will be razed to the ground, so that it may truthfully be said that 'iniquity has lied to itself. Your enemies will plunge you into anguish, famine, terror, and the contempt for My law, says the Lord."

As John continued to speak of what he was told,"On My third visit, you shall fall under the foreign yoke. From afar your enemies will see your palaces in flames, your home in ruins, soaked in the blood of your heroes who are no more."But behold, a great warrior from the north appears, a banner in his right hand, his arm bearing this inscription: 'Irresistible is the hand of the Lord. 'At that moment the Venerable Old Man of Rome went forward to meet him, wielding a flaming torch. The banner then grew larger and its blackness became white as snow; in its center stood out the name of the Almighty in golden letters."

The vision continued with this ominous warning, "Now the voice of Heaven is addressed to the Shepherd of Shepherds. You are in solemn conference with your co-workers but the enemy of good never stands idle. He cunningly plots and sets all his wiles against you. He will sow discord among your helpers and will rear enemies among My sons. The powers of the world shall vomit fire. They would love to smother My words in the throats of the guardians of My law, but they shall not succeed. They shall do much harm, but only to themselves. Hurry! If knots cannot be untied, sever them. Do not halt in the face of difficulties, but go forth until the hydra of error has been beheaded At this blow earth and hell shall tremble, but he world will be saved and the faithful shall exult. Gather around you only two co-workers, yet wherever you go,carry on the task entrusted to you and bring it to completion. Days go by swiftly and your years are reaching their appointed number, but the great Queen shall always assist you, and, as in the past, She shall always be magnum et singulare in Ecclesia praesidium.

And the vision continued, "But you, O Italy, land of blessings, who has plunged you into desolation? Not your enemies, but your own friends. Do you not hear your children begging for the bread of faith, unable to find one to break it for them? What shall I do? I shall strike the shepherds and scatter the sheep so that those who sit upon the chair of Moses may seek better pastures and their flock may gently listen and be fed. "But My hand shall be heavy upon both flock and shepherds. Famine, plague, and war shall cause mothers to mourn the blood of their sons and husbands shed on foreign soil. "What shall befall you, ungrateful, effeminate, proud Rome? You have reached a point when you seek and admire nought in your sovereign but luxury, forgetting that both your glory and his lies on Golgotha. Now he is old, frail, defenceless, and dispossessed. Nevertheless, though captive, his words cause the whole world to tremble.

"O Rome! Four times shall I come to you! The first time I shall smite your regions and its people. The second time I shall bring slaughter and destruction to your very gates. Should not that make you open your eyes? A third time shall I come, and I will demolish your defences and defenders. At My Father's command, terror, dismay and desolation will reign."

And this particular vision goes on to exhort the Faithful to remain strong and hold onto the Truth's of the Church, and warns against those who prefer more 'worldly' pleasures at the risk of their eternal soul.

But our Lord also consoles the faithful with these words given to John from the same vision, "Things follow too slowly upon each other, but the great Queen of Heaven is at hand; the Lord's power is Hers. Like mist She shall scatter Her enemies. She shall vest the Venerable Old Man with all his former garments."There shall yet come a violent hurricane. Iniquity is at an end, sin shall cease, and before two full moons shall have shone in the month of flowers, the rainbow of peace shall appear on the earth. "The great Minister shall see the Bride of his King clothed in glory. Throughout the world a sun so bright shall shine as was never seen since the flames of the Cenacle until today, nor shall it be seen again until the end of time."

Even though St. John Bosco would see these incredible and terrifying sights and as our Lord revealed to him the future of the world if man did not repent and return to God. Still John Bosco in himself never lost his peace of mind or soul, but instead relied on prayer to placate the mighty hand of Justice.

But the most famous of St. John Bosco's vision is this one and still holds as a warning for us all today. As John saw and heard, and recounted, "In the midst of this endless sea, two solid columns, a short distance apart, soar high into the sky. One is surmounted by a statue of the Immaculate Virgin, at whose feet a large inscriptions reads:" 'Auxilium Christianorum' ('Help of Christians') . The other, far loftier and sturdier, supports a Host of proportionate size, and bears beneath it the inscription: 'Salus credentium' ('Salvation of believers'). "The flagship commander - the Roman Pontiff- standing at the helm, strains every muscle to steer his ship between the two columns, from whose summits hang many anchors and strong hooks linked to chains. The entire enemy fleet closes in to intercept and sink the flagship at all costs. They bombard it with everything they have: books and pamphlets, incendiary bombs, firearms, cannons. The battle rages ever more furious. Beaked prows ram the flagship again and again, but to no avail, as, unscathed and undaunted, it keeps on it course. At times, a formidable ram splinters a gaping hole in its hull, but immediately, a breeze from the two columns instantly seals the gash.

And the same vision continues with this warning, "Meanwhile, enemy cannons blow up; firearms and beaks fall to pieces; ships crack up and sink to the bottom. In blind fury, the enemy takes to hand-to-hand combat, cursing and blaspheming. Suddenly the Pope falls, seriously wounded. He is instantly helped up, but struck a second time, dies. A shout of victory rises from the enemy, and wild rejoicing seeps their ships. But no sooner is the Pope dead than another takes his place. The captains of the auxiliary ships elected him so quickly that the news of the Pope's death coincides with that of his successor's election. The enemy's self-assurance wanes. "Breaking through all resistance, the new Pope steers his ship safely between the two columns; first, to the one surmounted by the Host, and then the other, topped by the statue of the Virgin. At this point, something unexpected happens. The enemy ships panic and disperse, colliding with and scuttling each other.

"Some auxiliary ships, which had gallantly fought alongside their flagship, are the first to tie up at the two columns. Many others, which had fearfully kept far away from the fight, stand still, cautiously waiting until the wrecked enemy ships vanish under the waves. Then they too head for the two columns, tie up at the swinging hooks and ride safe and tranquil beside their flagship. A great calm now covers the sea. "

These visions of St. John Bosco though told over a century ago still hold true in today’s world as 'secularisation and modernism' infiltrate the Church and consumerism consumes the masses. But even though The Church will go through purgation still we hold true to Jesus Promise that even the gates of hell will not prevail against The Church.

I would encourage all to read about the Visions of St. John Bosco.

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