Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Visions of Saint Veronica Giuliani

Ursula Giuliani was born in Italy in the year 1660. Even from an early age this little girl was touched by God to fulfil His purpose in the world. Little Ursula would often insist on being taken to a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus, where she would say, "I am Yours, and You are all mine, dear Jesus!" Upon uttering this she would hear the response from the child Jesus, "I am yours, and you are mine!"

From an early age little Ursula was infused with a knowledge beyond her years and a heart that was full of love for all, but most especially the poor both physically and spiritually. When a poor man asked for some shoes Ursula gave him a pair of her own shoes, it was many year later that Jesus appeared to her and told her of her kindness to that beggar in these words, "These are the shoes you gave to Me when you were a little child. I was that beggar!" This was just one of many instances in which Ursula showed her love for the poor and impoverished. She also had a great love and devotion to spreading the Love of Jesus through His Passion which He suffered for love of sinners.

When Ursula, after much longing, was finally of an age to receive our Lord in the Eucharist, her heart near exploded with the joy of finally receiving Him, whom she loved dearly into her soul. She told many later that she had felt her 'heart burning' with a real fire, she took this to be a sign that the Lord was calling her to a special purpose as she said in her diary, "In First Communion, I think the Lord was teaching me that I had to be His bride. I experienced something special. I don't know quite know what; I was beside myself, but I couldn't understand a thing. I thought it was always like this at Communion."

Upon returning home Ursula prayed to the Blessed Mother to help her to love Jesus and to suffer for him, the child Jesus said to her, "I have suffered so much." Ursula with real zealousness responded, "I want to do everything You did". The baby Jesus then told Ursula, "The Cross awaits you."

And so it was that in the year 1677 Ursula entered the Capuchin Order and became known as Sister Veronica. As a nun Sister Veronica was to be the recipient of many more Divine images and messages which did not always go well with her other Sisters and Superiors. But Veronica was not there to please people, but to remind them of the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ in His Passion, which He suffered for love of all men.

During this time Sister Veronica began to feel a pain in her heart where in Communion her heart had burned for love of Christ. She explained this in her diary, "One occasion, when I was dry and desolate and longing for the Lord but unable to find Him, I would come out of myself and run from one place to another. I called for Him out loud, using all kinds of magnificent names, repeating them several times. At times, I seemed to hear Him, but in a way I cannot explain....I felt as though I were on fire, especially around the heart."

This was a real pain and not a figment of Veronica's imagination as she tried various ways to alleviate her suffering where an excruciating pain could be felt in her heart. The heat that emanated from her heart was so intense that upon placing cold cloths on her heart they would immediately become dry! And during this most painful time, Veronica also suffered what many Mystics have termed 'the dark night', for like Jesus, Veronica too could be heard moaning from her cell, "My God! My God why have You forsaken me?"

The sufferings of this very holy sister was also witnessed by others as one explained, "one day, I saw her suspended in mid air, shedding tears of blood which stained her veil. Later, she told me that God was greatly offended by sinners and that she, in a trance, had seen the wickedness of sin, and of sinners ingratitude." One can only imagine what Sister Veronica was experiencing for love of God and her fellow man, as the baby Jesus told her, she certainly would join Him in His sufferings!

During another vision Jesus showed Sister Veronica hell, where the souls of unrepentant sinners chose to go to spend their eternity in its fiery depths, Sister Veronica wrote down in her dairy what she saw. "At that moment I was once again shown hell opened, and it seems that many souls descended there, and they were so ugly and black that they struck terror in me." This holy sister upon seeing such a sight begged our Lord for mercy and prayed before the Divine Justice, with outstretched arms, "as long as I stand in the doorway, no one shall enter: O souls go back! My God, I ask nothing of You, but the salvation of sinners, Send me more torments, more crosses!" Our Lady appeared before Veronica and said to her, " Many do not believe that hell exists, and I tell you that you yourself, who have been there, have understood nothing of what hell is."

Another miraculous event would touch the heart and life of this remarkable Mystic when in Easter 1694, Jesus appeared to Sister Veronica as the Prince of Peace where He was seated on a throne and just before Him sat His Mother on a throne of alabaster, where Victoria could see our Holy Mother praying to Jesus to prepare the way for Veronica to become His Mystical bride. As Sister Veronica explains in her diary, she tells of the rays of light that came from Jesus' wounds and became small flames of fire, four in the form of great pointed nails, the fifth a spear-head of gleaming gold. She writes, "I felt a fearful agony of pain, but with the pain I clearly saw and was conscious that I was wholly transformed into God. When I had been thus wounded, in my heart, in my hands and feet, the rays of light gleaming with a new radiance shot back to the Crucifix, and illuminated the gashed side, the hands and feet of Him who was hanging there. Thus My Lord and My God espoused me, and gave me in charge to His Most Holy Mother for ever and ever, and bade my Guardian Angel watch over me, for He was jealous of His honour, and then thus He spoke to me: 'I am Thine, I give Myself wholly unto thee. Ask whatsoever thou wilt, it shall be granted thee.' I made reply: 'Beloved, only one thing I ask, never to be separated from Thee.' And then in a twinkling all vanished away."

This is when Sister Veronica received the Stigmata granted to a few chosen holy souls, this would bring great anguish to this remarkable woman. But it also brought investigations from the Bishop, and upon testing this holy Nun where many witnessed her levitating and smelt a aromatic odour of roses which emanated from her wounds. The Bishop upon completing his investigation proclaimed that what Sister Veronica had seen and felt was genuine.

But Sister Veronica was also a very practical woman and remained as novice mistress for over 30 years because of her deep sense of practicalities, her obedience and her humility. She was a shining example for all to follow as to what constitutes a good and holy nun.

Here are some other insights that God revealed to this most holy woman:

On the Sacrament of Penance, "a Tribunal of Mercy... the confessor takes the place of God: he speaks in the very Person of God...When I go to this Tribunal, I am terrified from head to foot. I do not seem to have a tongue to confess my failings...I wish that the confessor would be able to penetrate every thought I have, not only as it is in me but also as it in the Eyes of God. I feel such sorrow, I do not know how I can utter a word...In the act of receiving absolution from the confessor I seem to feel myself renewed and so light-hearted that really it seems that I have had a mountain of lead lifted off my shoulders. I experience the loving embrace God gives my soul. I sense that Divine Love makes it clear to me what He has and is doing, so that I may say everything to him who stands in His place. Thus with entire frankness, I reveal everything just as if I were at the feet of God, and while I am speaking I feel myself changing into someone else, so much so that I remain astonished. He has made me to understand that the obedience of revealing things is my cooperation as is the Penance of writing about them."

On receiving the Eucharist, " in some way, the Three Divine Persons, present in the most Holy Sacrament revealed themselves to my soul, and my soul received a deep and penetrating understanding of this Divine Mystery...there is no way I can find to explain how this was seen. I can only say it was presented to me as a precious joy. Every time we receive Communion, our soul and heart become a temple of the Most Holy Trinity and, with God coming to us, all Paradise comes. In this joy, I saw how God exists, enclosed in the most Holy Host , and this Grace was for me superior to all other Graces, I have ever received in my life."

On God's Grace, "Revelation teaches that God dwells in us through Grace that the soul becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit and in addition, a dwelling place of the entire Trinity."

There is much for us to learn from this great Saint and stigmatic, who revealed her visions and insights in her diary. Upon her death when her body was examined her heart miraculously showed signs of a cross and a crown of thorns which looked to have been imprinted within her heart itself. Sister Veronica's right shoulder also had curvature as if she had been carrying a very heavy load all her life.

Many had witnessed the miraculous happenings surrounding this remarkable Saint and said so at her cause for beatification.

I would encourage all to read more on the life of this most holy Saint.

Peace of Christ to all

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Our Lady of the Rosary

Even before his birth Dominic de Guzman was blessed, in that his mother experienced a 'dream' in which she saw the form of a dog with a burning torch in its mouth which signified the fire of God's Truth, this 'dog' then came from her womb. Later Joan conceived a son and named him Dominic upon his birth his devout mother noticed a sign of the moon or a star on his little forehead.

Dominic was blessed to have been born into a holy and devout family who lived to serve God and live their daily lives based on fulfilling God's Will. The family were blessed to have Priests, Religious and very holy familial connections to their beloved Church, many of whom would become Saints!

Dominic upon receiving good and solid catholic instructions then answered the call to become a Priest in 1195. And as Father Dominic attended to his flock he also spent many hours in prayer and practiced penances on behalf of sinners.

But it was a cold night in July 1206 in the town of Prouille that Dominic would be the recipient of a vision that would inspire the world and bring many Graces from God. It was here that Dominic saw what seemed to be a globe of light which came from the sky above, this happened for the next two consecutive nights. Dominic was amazed and awestruck at such a sight and also humbled when he recognised our Lady who upon hearing his prayer came to help him, for Dominic was in dismay at the heresies he had heard preached. But our Lady soothed Dominic with these words, 'Wonder not that you have obtained so little fruit by your labors, you have spent them on barren soil, not yet watered with the dew of Divine grace. When God willed to renew the face of the earth, He began by sending down on it the fertilizing rain of the Angelic Salutation. Therefore preach my Psalter composed of 150 Angelic Salutations and 15 Our Fathers, and you will obtain an abundant harvest.' Our Lady then gave to Dominic the Holy Rosary to be prayed for the salvation of sinners and the edification of the faithful as she told him, "One day through the Rosary and the Scapular I will save the world".

Dominic stared at our Lady in wonderment of her beauty and the peace which enveloped her and suffused within him a spirit of tranquility. The words of our Lady strengthened Dominic's resolve and he returned to confront the pervading heresies, which were running rampant at that time. Dominic preached about the Mysteries of God including the Incarnation, Redemption and Eternal life, Dominic spoke with such holy conviction that many listened to him as he taught a new way to pray. For Dominic had been instructed by our Lady to make clear to the faithful what is pleasing to God, and what brings the sinner closer to God is only achieved through prayer. Dominic continued instructing the people by dividing the mysteries into different formats and included praying ten Hail Mary's after each Mystery. This different way of prayer would become known as praying the Holy Rosary, this form of prayer was to bring all peoples back to God as the heresies were thrown away and burnt when people began embracing and praying the Rosary.

Upon the people accepting this new form of prayer, Dominic went on to found a new Order 'The Confraternity of the Rosary' which began approximately around the year 1216 or 1218. For Dominic remembered our Lady's words, "I have obtained from my Son that all the members of the Confraternity have in life and in death all the Blessed as their associates."

But Dominic was to be the recipient of other Divine visions when seeing Saint Peter and Saint Paul who upon giving him a Staff and a book said to him, "Go and preach, because you have been chosen by God for this work".

Dominic through his great love of the Church and of his obvious piety and holiness proved worthy of these visions as the Rosary is still prayed with great Reverence to this very day.

But let us be mindful of our Lady's words when praying the Rosary, that we also do not waste our time on barren soil but to pray the Rosary with our hearts and not merely 'say it'.

I would encourage all to read more on the Holy Rosary.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Prophecies of Anne Catherine Emmerich

Anne Catherine Emmerich was born in humble conditions to a very devout couple so she learnt from an early age to love her Faith. But Anne's life was not like that of other children her age in that she was the recipient of visions and messengers of God from her youth.

God blessed Anne with many gifts including that of reading hearts, the hidden stigmata, and she survived only on the Eucharist for many years. This remarkable young girl would also converse with her guardian Angel and also come under attack by the demonic forces, none of which affected her Faith except for it to grow even more depthful than it already was.

Venerable Anne would also be visited by our Lord Jesus and our Lady where upon she received messages for the world, warning all people to once again embrace and live their Faith.

Some of these messages given to Anne were, 'that every parish and diocese, each city and country has its own particular and powerful guardian angel.' Anne Catherine was to see and be told many things including these messages from Heaven, She revealed that to gain an indulgence we must approach the Sacraments with true repentance and a firm purpose of amendment–or we do not gain it. She deposes that it is more holy to pray for the Poor Souls in Purgatory than for sinners who are still alive, for Anne had a particular love and devotion for the poor souls in Purgatory. She was also told that 'more Protestant souls stayed in Purgatory the longest not because they were worse than anyone else, but because so few people prayed for the repose of their souls or offered up Masses for their soul.'

Anne went on to describe what she has seen and 'describes the nature, extent and power of victim souls, and their role in the life of the Church. She describes the condition of St. Lydwine of Schiedam, a victim soul during the time of "three popes," and how her body came apart into three pieces, joined only by the slenderest of sinews. She saw only 6 victim souls in her time working like herself on behalf of the Universal Church, and about 100,000 Catholic people worldwide who were great in their faith.'

This great Saint went on to experience mystical visions and receive even more prophecies for our troubled world including these, 'She saw the strong link–even long after their deaths–between holy souls in Heaven and their descendants here on earth, lasting even centuries. And that Enoch and Elias are in Paradise where they await their return to the world to preach at the End of Time. Also this too, she revealed that Our Lord suffered from the wound in His shoulder more than from any other.'

And a warning for the world for those would listen to the signs of the times, she said that, "a false church, and wicked men scheming against the Catholic Church and doing much harm–both in her own time and in the future. And actually saw in a vision this, the enemies of the Church tearing it down and trying to build a new one on strictly human plans–but none of the saints would lend a hand. Later, this church of men is destroyed and the saints of God join in to rebuild the true Church of God, which becomes more glorious than ever before".

But once again our Lord leaves us with hope through this most pious of souls as Anne was told, that the there would be a revival in the Priesthood and the Religious order after a period of great decadence.

Anne also describes seeing this in her words, "All over the world I saw numberless infusions of the Spirit; sometimes, like a lightning-stroke, falling on a congregation in church, and I could tell who among them had received the grace; or again, I beheld individuals praying in their homes, suddenly endowed with light and strength. The sight awoke in me great joy and confidence that the Church, amid her ever-increasing tribulations, will not succumb; for in all parts of the world I saw defenders raised up to her by the Holy Ghost. Yes, I felt that the oppression of the powers of this world serves but to increase her strength."

Anne also went on to say what had been revealed to her, "what is most painful for me to repeat, that if only one priest offered the Unbloody Sacrifice as worthily and with the same sentiments as the Apostles, he could ward off all calamities from the Church." "Owing to the spirit of the world and tepidity, if the Savior returned to earth today to announce His doctrine in person, He would find as many opponents as He did among the Jews."

And though Anne Catherine suffered much not only physically but also from the disdain of her fellow Religious Sisters, still she lived a life of quiet humility and holiness.

I would encourage all to read more about this great Saint of the Church, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich.

Peace of Christ to ALL

Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Our Lady of Ransom

In the thirteenth century, Spain was conquered by a Muslim group of fundamentalists known as the Almohads. This allowed the Berbers to extend their power base from North Africa to the portals of Spain, which would bring untold misery to many.

But things would take a turn for the worse, for the Islamic invaders when many Christian nations united to defeat this formidable foe. It was the decisive battle at Las Navas de Tolosa, which led to the defeat of Islamic rule in Europe.

But though the Spanish nation suffered much under the harsh rule of the Berber's still they prayed to God to save them from their enemies.

And it was in 1218, that our Lady appeared before Peter Nolasco, and his confessor Raymund of Pennafort and requested that a Religious Order be instituted for the release of Christians being held captive by the Berber invaders.

Our Lady requested that this Order would venerate her mercy towards all those who were in captivity. This would touch both Peter and Raymund deeply and they both undertook the duty of spreading this devotion to all the peoples.

These two holy men were also very willing to take the place of those who had been kidnapped in order for the release of the poor prisoners, who had been taken hostage by the Moor's.

It would be Pope Gregory IX who would approve this Order which would become known as Our Lady of Mercy, and it was then that Peter Nolasco, took his Vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Raymund also spoke with great love and devotion to all who would listen to him of our Lady's appearance to him, and of our Lady offering two bags of coins to pay the ransom for the imprisoned people. He spoke so eloquently and with such conviction that it moved the crowds to tears and also touched the hearts of Kings.

But it was Fr. Peter Nolasco who would be chosen as the Commander General of this Divine Mission to save those who were imprisoned by the cruel Moors, and who were suffering under terrible conditions.

And as the Muslim invaders were pushed further and further back, this meant more young men joining this Order from which they would be known as 'Mercedarians'. And it was these brave Priests who would engage the Moor's to pay ransoms for the freedom of their brothers held in captivity.

Unfortunately the founder of this Order Fr. Peter died in 1256, but his Mission lived on through the Grace of God and the guidance of our Lady.

The Mercedarians would reach countries such as, France, Germany, America, Mexico and many other nations.

Our Lady of Ransom teaches us all to be merciful to those kept in captivity and exhorts all to help and aid those who are wrongfully imprisoned.

I would encourage all to read more about Our Lady of Ransom, also known as Our Lady of Mercy.

Peace of Christ to you ALL
Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.

Our Lady In Scripture And Tradition

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Prophecies of Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser

Bartholomew Holzhauser was born in the year 1613 in the region of Bavaria Germany. He belonged to a poor but devout family, his father, Leonard was a shoe maker and his mother, Catherine was a home maker in charge of raising her large brood of 11 children.

So from the beginning there was nothing auspicious about Bartholomew that would bring him to the notice of anyone. But even at an early age he desired to enter the Priesthood, something his parents encouraged. He went to school for a time till ill health intervened and upon recovering the Jesuits allowed Bartholomew to continue his studies with them.

Even though there was nothing grand about Bartholomew, he took the notice of many by his truly humble and meek manner, his courtesy to everyone he met and obvious piety as he continued his studies. So it was that in 1636 Bartholomew earned his degree in Philosophy and theology this was followed by acceptance to the Priesthood and he was ordained in 1639.

And as Fr Bartholomew continued his Priestly duties few were aware of this heroic soul being the recipient of Divine revelations, for Father Bartholomew never drew attention to himself but rather continued to serve others for the love of God.

During these visions Father Bartholomew was told, "The fifth period of the Church, which began circa 1520, will end with the arrival of the holy Pope and of the powerful Monarch who is called 'Help From God' because he will restore everything. The fifth period is one of affliction, desolation, humiliation, and poverty for the Church. Jesus Christ will purify His people through cruel wars, famines, plagues, epidemics, and other horrible calamities. He will also afflict and weaken the Latin Church with many heresies. It is a period of defections, calamities and exterminations. Those Christians who survive the sword, plague and famines, will be few on earth."

These visions troubled the young Priest as he continued to receive them as it continues, "During this period, many men will abuse of the freedom of conscience conceded to them. It is of such men that Jude the Apostle spoke when he said: 'These men blaspheme whatever they do not understand; and they corrupt whatever they know naturally as irrational animals do... They will ridicule Christian simplicity; they will call it folly and nonsense, but they will have the highest regard for advanced knowledge, and for the skill by which the axioms of law, the precepts of morality, the Holy Canons and religious dogmas are clouded by senseless questions and elaborate arguments."

This message to the world finally ended with this warning if man did not amend his ways, "These are the evil times, a century full of dangers and calamities. Heresy is everywhere, and the followers of heresy are in power almost everywhere...But God will permit a great evil against His Church: Heretics and tyrants will come suddenly and unexpectedly; they will break into the Church...They will enter Italy and lay Rome waste; they will burn down churches and destroy everything."

Though Father Bartholomew was upset at what had been revealed to him, this did not affect his Faith, if anything it strengthened his great love for God and Church. This devout son of the Church went on to found an Order known then as the 'Bartholomistes', and though he founded it Bartholomew did not live to see it gain recognition by Pope Innocent XI.

Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser died in 1658.

But in all things let us look to the Traditions of our Church and its Teachings and the study of Scripture.

I encourage all to read further on the life and prophecies of Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser.

Peace of Christ to ALL
Copyright © 2006 Marie Smith. All rights reserved.
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