Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Our Lady of Zeitun

Marian Apparitions

It was an ordinary evening in a small town called Zeitun in Egypt, some of the towns people were outside their doors chatting as they waited for their husbands to come home. The day had started as any other day, women cooked the breakfasts for their husbands and children, completed the housework and other chores. Men went to work just like any other ordinary day, some feeling tired while others enjoyed their job. Children did their chores and played games, nothing was different, or was it?

In the year 1968 something very different took place in this nondescript little province of Egypt, for it was the evening of April 2nd that two men noticed a woman who seemed to be floating upon the roof of a Church, the men at first thought they were witnessing a woman in distress and so cried out to save her. Some of the women in neighbouring houses came out to see what the fuss was about and they too saw the woman floating above the Church which was named St Mary's which was of the Orthodox denomination.

Upon hearing of the woman the resident Priest came out to see for himself who was upon the roof of his Church! Even though the Priest mixed among the crowds he himself saw nothing, but one person after another with loud exclamations all saw this floating woman, till finally one of the women cried out, "It is our Holy Mother"!

The crowds stood stunned at such a sight, some were overcome with joy while others fretted that perhaps this was the beginning of the end! None though denied what they were seeing, for indeed it was a woman who seemed to glow as she looked at them from above the Church as she swayed and glided around the roof of the Church. Many people were amazed to see such a thing and right before their very eyes with many thousands of witnesses, some were deeply touched that Our Lady would deign to visit them, simple ordinary folk.

Our Lady rarely shows herself to the elite in society but prefers to reveal herself to little ones who are in need of her special Graces given to her from God. With her appearance at Zeitun our Lady allowed all to see her even political leaders of the country and also the wealthy some of whom were self proclaimed atheists!

Thousands of people poured into this little town to see for themselves this awe inspiring spectacle of the appearance of Mary, but just like Knock our Lady was silent. Many speculated as to the reasons why? Some suggested that this was the very place that the Holy Family had made their home when they had to flee Israel. Others suggested that perhaps Our Lady was warning of future calamities, the answer is no-one knows.

What we do know is that in 1968 Our Lady at times surrounded by lights of angelic beings allowed herself to be seen by thousands of people of all persuasions whether they be atheist, Orthodox, Catholic or Muslim all know and testified to what they had seen with their own eyes and through some of their camera lens as many took photo's of our Lady.

Why did our Lady not speak? Perhaps her silence speaks louder than any words for in the Bible Our Lady spoke very little yet pondered much....maybe it is her example we should follow, to speak little and ponder much on the Mysteries of God as did this most Blessed Mother.

In this age of terror perhaps we need to absorb Our Lady's silent appearance and to contemplate the Will of God in our lives.

I would encourage all to read more about Our Lady of Zeitun.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Visions and Miracles of Saint Padre Pio

Much has been written about that great man of the Church known as Padre Pio, let us examine some of the more extraordinary experiences that touched the life of Padre Pio, those who were close to him and for the world.

Francesco Forgione was born in the year 1887 to poor parents, Grazio and Maria who were farmers in the region of Pietrelcina, though a poor family the Forgione family were rich in love of God and the Church. From early youth the young Francisco had a horror and aversion towards sin to the extent that he would often refuse to play with his contemporaries as they often swore and behaved badly. So the young boy lived a life of deep prayer even in one so young, he felt the call to live as holy as possible in order to please God and God alone! He would often practice penances even to having a rock as his pillow and going without meals, in order to make reparation for his sins and the sins of others. Francisco at the young age of 16 entered the Order of the Capuchin Friars and in January 1903 he took the habit and the name Brother Pio. In 1907 Brother Pio took his final Vows, and was known as Padre Pio.

Though God would touch Padre Pio's life in extraordinary ways, within himself Padre Pio was known for his uncompromising nature, his compassion to all he met and his determination to remain faithful to the Teachings of the Church and his Order, and all in a spirit of humility. Even though he embraced and lived in a spirit of humility and meekness this did not mean that the devil left him alone in fact the opposite was the case, for the devil truly fears a humble and meek spirit that is devoted to God.

Even from a young age the devil would assault this most noble boy with horrible and terrifying dreams, but the young boy held fast to his Faith and trusted in God's Mercy and relied on Him for strength. Upon becoming a Priest the devil increased his attacks upon this holy soul, but now the devil became direct and took to physically attacking this holy Priest with his diabolical assaults upon his person. Padre Pio bore all the pain in a spirit of humbleness and intense prayer as he drew closer to his source of strength, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Through the intensity of his prayer life Padre Pio felt the comforting presence of the Blessed Mother and his Guardian Angel, which strengthened him as his spirit was illumined as to the intensity of the spiritual battle he would face with the enemy of God, Satan himself!

Padre Pio was shown a vision from his youth what this spiritual battle would entail, as he recounted later, "he saw himself in the middle of a large hall between two groups of people, one group had beautiful faces, the other hideous ones. Just then a huge monster came from the end of the hall toward him, but Jesus appeared, in order to give Francesco strength. Before the monster could reach Francesco it was struck by lightening and disappeared. The Lord said to him, "That is the fiend against whom you will have to fight." This vision would prove to be fortuitous, as many pilgrims sought this holy Priest in the Sacrament of Penance, and led Padre Pio into a deeper prayer life, for this holy Priest did not fear Satan but he did fear offending God, a fear shared by many Mystics within the Catholic Church.

Throughout his life Padre Pio had always practiced severe mortifications and austerities in order to overcome the temptation of the body and live for Christ alone. As Padre Pio exclaimed, " I am happier than ever when I am suffering, and if I would listen to the promptings of my heart, I would ask Jesus to give me all the sufferings of men." Though Padre Pio trusted God with absoluteness, he distrusted himself and at times doubts would impose themselves upon him as he confided to a friend, "How difficult, Father, is the way of Christian perfection for a soul so ill-disposed as mine. My badness makes me fearful at every step I take." As in the case of Padre Pio and many other Mystics at times our Lord will allow a soul to undergo extreme aridity of soul in order to strengthen that which is weakest in their nature, but God never abandons a soul even if that soul has lost all 'feelings' of God.

God knows man's frailty and so illuminates the soul with the Spirit and comforts the afflicted soul with His own Presence and also the comforting presence of our Lady, which strengthens the soul to continue to fight the good fight. Padre Pio was also Graced with the Gift of bi-location, and also carried within him the odor of sanctity, where people could smell the scent of roses wherever Padre Pio happened to be. Another Gift given to Padre Pio was the Stigmata where a soul is marked with the sufferings of the Crucified Christ, upon their person, when this first occurred Padre Pio described these wounds as such to his Superior, "red patches, about the size of a cent, and accompanied by acute pain....the pain was much more acute in the left hand and it still persists. I also feel some pain in he soles of my feet." This Gift of the Stigmata would bring both joy and suffering to this holy Priest as he became the focus of much unwanted attention, this truly mortified this humble Priest, as he and his Superiors coped with the ever growing crowds of people who came to be near Padre Pio. Around this time Padre Pio also described another extraordinary occurrence to his Superior, "While I was hearing the confessions of our boys on the evening of 5th, I was suddenly filled with extreme terror at the sight of a celestial being whom I saw with my mind's eye. He held a kind of weapon in his hand, similar to a steel sword with a sharp, flaming point. At the very instant I saw all this, I saw the person hurl the weapon into my soul with all his might. It was all done in a split second. I was hardly able to cry out and felt as if I were dying. I cannot ell you how much I suffered during this period of anguish. Even my insides were torn and ruptured by that weapon, everything lashed by fire and steel. From that day on, I was wounded to death. In the depths of my soul, I feel an open wound with causes me to suffer continual agony." Only few Saints have been honoured to share the wounds of Christ, one of whom was St. Francis of Assisi.

Once people heard about this miraculous occurrence and the other Gifts given to Padre Pio they flocked to him in thousands, whereupon Padre Pio would often be in the Confessional for up to and over 18 hours a day. This remarkable Priest also had the Gift of reading souls, so those people who came to him through the Sacrament of Penance would often be reminded by him of their forgotten sins. These are the testimonies of several people who experienced Padre Pio's extraordinary Gifts. In one case a man felt he had sinned by gluttony and so he went to see Padre Pio as he explains in his own words, "Once I ate too many figs and I felt guilty about it. I thought I had committed a sin of gluttony. Since I would have confession with Padre Pio the next day I thought I would confess it then. The following day as I was walking slowly on the road to the convent, I made an examination of conscience. The sin of gluttony did not come to mind. Padre Pio heard my confession but before concluding and before the absolution I said to him, "I think I am guilty of yet another sin but I can’t remember it." "Don’t worry," he answered me smiling: "for two figs." This is another testimony by a man who went to Padre Pio in the Confessional, "I had decided to give up smoking and to offer this small sacrifice to Padre Pio. Since then, every evening, with the intact packet of cigarettes in my hand, I stayed in front of his image telling him, ‘Father...it is one...’ The second day, ‘Padre, it is two…’ Three months later, I went to San Giovanni Rotondo to see Padre Pio after doing the same thing every evening. ‘Padre,’ I told him as soon as I saw him, ‘I haven't been smoking for 81 days, 81 packets...’ Padre Pio said, ‘I know everything you know, you made me count the packets every evening." Though Padre Pio was a compassionate and kind Priest still he had no time for hypocrites as is seen by these two cases who also went to him for Confession, "A man of some distinction within his own community had the reputation of being a good Catholic, admired and esteemed by all who knew him. Actually he was living in sin. He had neglected his wife, and was now compensating for his loneliness by a relationship with another woman. On one occasion he went to confession to Padre Pio. In order to justify himself, he started talking about a "spiritual crisis." But he had not counted on facing an "extraordinary" confessor. Padre Pio stood up at once and shouted, "What spiritual crisis? You are a litterbug! And God is angry with you. Go away!" As is seen here Padre Pio had no time for those who were trying to use and abuse the Sacrament of Penance for their own purposes. Once again we have another case of a woman caught in serious sin when she went to Padre Pio, "A woman had come from England to see Padre Pio and for him to hear her confession. She went to his confessional but Padre Pio closed the window saying: "I am not available to you." The woman stayed for a few weeks and during this time, daily returned to his confessional and daily was turned away. Finally, Padre Pio consented to hear her confession. She asked the Padre why he made her wait so long to be heard. Padre Pio answered: "And You?" "How long have you made Our Lord wait?" You should wonder how Jesus could welcome you after you committed so many sacrileges. You have delayed your judgment for years, besides sinning against your husband and your mother you have received Holy Communion in mortal sin. The woman was stunned and reformed. She cried when she received absolution. She returned to England a few days later, very happy." It is here that we learn a valuable lesson in the seriousness of sin and to not take the Sacrament of Penance without complete remorse and sorrow for one's sins!

There were also many miraculous events which happened near or around Padre Pio, once during the years of the war food had got so low that many of his fellow Priests were in terrible need of bread. As the townsfolk were also suffering the Priests gave much of their food rations away till one day they were left with hardly no supplies for themselves, so they prayed that the Lord would provide them with some sustenance whereupon the Priests were amazed to see Padre Pio's arms full of bread. When his fellow Priests questioned as to how Padre Pio came upon such a treasure he replied that a pilgrim had knocked on the door and given the bread to him. Another miraculous event occurred when a mother and father who were at Mass came home to find that their young daughter had been accidentally burned in a hot tub of water. The parents immediately sent for a doctor who told them to take their daughter immediately to hospital as she could die at any moment. The parents were terrified and in deep anguish over their beloved child, when suddenly they heard their daughter cry out to them as she said, "Mommy, I don’t have a wound anymore!" "Who has taken your wound?" I asked her out of curiosity. She answered: "Father Pio has come. He took my wounds by putting his whole hand on my burn."

Even the Holy Souls in Purgatory would seek out the help of this holy Priest. One such case was when a soul from Purgatory appeared before Padre Pio, he then told Padre Pio that he had died in a fire and that God had granted him permission that he was able to visit Padre Pio and to request a Mass be offered for the repose of his soul. The next morning Padre Pio offered up the Mass and the soul was able to enter Paradise to spend eternity in Heaven. Another case was when a woman who had just lost her mother appealed to Padre Pio, whereupon after offering a Mass for the repose of her mothers soul, she too entered Eternal Glory into the Kingdom of Heaven.

These are only a few of the miraculous events which happened around Saint Padre Pio a most holy Son of the Church.

I would encourage all to read more about this most illustrious Saint, Padre Pio of Pietrelcina.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Akita-A Warning To The World

Signs Of The Times

There are many Priests and theologians who believe that the messages given at Akita to Sister Agnes Sasagawa is connected to the messages given to the three young seer's at Fatima Portugal. One of the reasons being that in 1969 while Agnes was recovering from an illness in hospital a Priest heard Agnes say the Fatima prayer at the end of each Decade. This confused the Priest for though he recognised the origins of the prayer it had not yet been released to the people in Japan, Agnes told him that her Guardian Angel had instructed her to pray that particular prayer.

As this particular apparition has been written previously in our archives, let us take a closer look at the actual messages given through Sister Agnes to spread throughout the world.

Here Sister Agnes describes what she saw as she prayed in the chapel on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. "Suddenly, I saw a blinding light shining from the tabernacle. I immediately prostrated myself in adoration and when I lifted my eyes, I saw a soft light which enveloped the altar like a mist or a dense smoke in which appeared a cohort of angels turned towards the Blessed Sacrament whose pure and clear voices proclaimed "Holy, Holy, Holy". On my right I could hear a voice praying alongside my own: " Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, present in the Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Your Heart, being sacrificed at every instant on all the altars of the world and giving praise to the Father, pleading for the coming of His Kingdom. Please receive this humble offering of myself. Use me as you will for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls. Most Holy Mother of God, never let me be separated from Your Divine Son. Please defend and protect me as Your special child. Amen."

Sister Agnes belonged to the Servants of the Holy Eucharist and her life was mainly spent in contemplative prayer, she was no different from any other of her fellow Sisters but God would touch Sister Agnes in profound ways and also to warn the world of coming chastisements if people did not amend their ways. This devout Sister would also receive the Stigmata which are the wounds of Christ given to chosen souls, the Stigmata has only been given to the most holy Saints in the Church.

As Sister Agnes was having her bandage changed on her hand which had begun bleeding with no due cause she heard the voice of an Angel say to her: " Do not fear. Pray with fervor not only because of your sins, but in reparation for those of all men. The world today wounds the most Sacred Heart of Our Lord by its ingratitude's and injuries. The wounds of Mary are much deeper and more sorrowful than yours. Let us go to pray together in the chapel." When Agnes turned to look at her Angel who she had not seen before she was stunned to see that it looked like her sister who had died before she was able to be baptized. The Angel though smiled and replied gently to Agnes that it was not her sister saying simply, "I am the one who is with you and watches over you."

Though a little disappointed Sister Agnes accompanied her Angel to the Chapel when suddenly as she knelt in prayer the statue of the Virgin Mary seem to come to life and was bathed in a brilliant light, Sister Agnes then fell to the ground in adoration as our Lady spoke to her, "My daughter, my novice, you have obeyed me well in abandoning all to follow me. Is the infirmity of your ears painful? The wound will be healed, be sure. Be patient. It is the last trial. Does the wound cause you to suffer? Pray in reparation for the sins of men. Each person in tis community is my irreplaceable daughter. Do you say well the prayer of the Handsmaid of the Eucharist? Then, let us pray it together." As Agnes prayed she said "Jesus present in the Eucharist" when our Lady interrupted her and said very gently "Truly Present" and once again Our Lady instructed that this form should be said, "From now on, you will add TRULY." After Sister Agnes had completed her prayers as our Lady requested she heard a voice from Heaven say, "Pray very much for the Pope, bishops and priests. Since your Baptism you have always prayed faithfully for them. Pray very much....very much. Tell your superior all that passed today and obey him in everything that he will tell you."

After hearing Sister Agnes pained increased as she lay prostrate on the floor, she then heard the voice of an Angel say to her, " Your sufferings will end today. Carefully engrave in the depth of your heart the thought of the blood of Mary. The blood she shed by Mary has profound meaning. This precious blood is shed to ask your conversion, to ask for peace, in reparation for the ingratitude and the outrages towards the Lord. As with devotion to the Sacred Heart, apply yourself to devotion to the most Precious Blood. Pray in reparation for all men." Sister Agnes knew that the blood the Angel was referring to was from the statue of Mary which miraculously had blood seeping from it. Sister Agnes had also been suffering from severe deafness as well as the holy Stigmata, but in all humbleness she accepted all pain in quiet and with no resentment.

Our Lady also had warnings for the world which would be given to us through Sister Agnes, as the statue of Mary kept weeping blood from both the eyes and hands. Our Lady said to Sister Agnes these words, "Many men in the world, afflict the Lord. I desire souls to console Him, to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father. I wish, with my Son, for souls who will repair by their suffering and their poverty for the sinners and ungrateful ones." These words are important to reflect on as modernism and other old heresies enter through the back door of our Glorious Church. Our Lady continued on the same theme, "In order that the world might know His anger, the Heavenly father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind. With my son, I have intervened so many times to appease the wrath of the Father. I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering the sufferings of the Son on the Cross. His Precious Blood, and beloved souls who console Him forming a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance, and courageous sacrifices can soften the Father's anger...Let each one endeavor, according to capacity to offer oneself entirely to the Lord."

On the anniversary of the completion of the apparitions at Fatima Our Lady once again spoke to Agnes with these prophetic words, "As I told you , if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible chastisement on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one has never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary, with the rosary, Pray for the Pope, the bishops and the priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate Me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres... churches and altars sacked: the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will no longer be pardon for them..."

When reading the above and contemplating its sincere and grave warning to the world one is also reminded of Scripture, "As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately and said, "Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?" Jesus said to them in reply, "See that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Messiah,' and they will deceive many. You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be famines and earthquakes from place to place. All these are the beginning of the labor pains. Then they will hand you over to persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of my name. And then many will be led into sin; they will betray and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who perseveres to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come. "When you see the desolating abomination spoken of through Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, a person on the housetop must not go down to get things out of his house, a person in the field must not return to get his cloak. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days....for at that time there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect they will be shortened. If anyone says to you then, 'Look, here is the Messiah!' or, 'There he is' do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will arise, and they will perform signs and wonders so great as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told it to you beforehand..."Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with power and great glory...Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. "But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone."

As we watch in horror the terrible catastrophes which are inflicted upon the world let us not forget the true evil that is abortion which happens every second of every day somewhere in the world as more and more countries legalize this brutal evil upon the innocents, our unborn babies. When not even Mothers will protect their child, and may try and ignore its existence, God does NOT!

Let us also remain aware of the movement to legalize same sex marriages which is again legalizing SIN as if it were proper and normal behaviour this is NOT what the Church teaches us nor what Scripture instructs us!

Where men and women work hard to earn a decent living for their families in the most poverty stricken countries as the more wealthy corporations pay meager wages to what is becoming a slave trade. Where children as young as 5 are made to work at sewing machines so the more wealthy in society may wear designer labels at what cost to the worker?

Also within our Church which is being attacked outside and also within by the error of modernism and our world becomes more and more secularized, even to banning the reading of the Bible in some countries!

Like Sister Agnes let us also join in prayers of reparation for the sins of men who have little or no conscience for if the Christian refuses to pray and make reparation who will?

I encourage all to read and learn more about the meaning of Akita.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.
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