Friday, December 3, 2010

First Saturday of Advent

Promise of Peace

ur Lady of Fatima, appearing to three little shepherd children, Jacinta, aged seven, Francisco, aged nine, and Lucia, aged ten, on a plateau outside the village of Cova da Iria (in Fatima, a Portuguese town about sixty miles north of Lisbon), made some promises regarding the peace of the world that are particularly pertinent at this time.

With a smile of maternal tenderness, yet somewhat sad, she beckoned gently to the children to approach, saying:  "Have no fear; I will do you no harm.  I come from heaven.  I want you children to come here on the thirteenth of each month, until October.  Then I will tell you who I am."

On July13th, 1917, after the children had seen the apparition of our Lady again, as promised, they were permitted to behold the fires of hell, after which the following prophecy was delivered:

"You have seen the inferno where the souls of sinners end.  To save souls Our Lord desires that devotion to my Immaculate Heart be established in the world.

"If what I tell you is done, many wouls will be saved and there will be peace.  the war will end; but if they do not cease to offend the Lord, not much time will elapse, and precisely during the next Pontificate, another and more terrible war will commence.  When a night illumination by an unknown light is seen, know that is the signal that God gives you that the castigation of the world for its many transgressions is at hand, through war, famine, and persecution of the Church and the Holy Father.  To prevent this I ask the consecration of the world to my Immaculate Heart, and Communion in reparation on the first Saturday of each month."
August 13th found more than 15,000 people at the Cova da Iria.  More than 30, 000 people gathered there on September 13; and again on October 13, despite incessant rain, an enormous crowd of more than 70,000 assenbled from all corners of Portugal and far distant places in Europe.

On this latter occasion the beautiful Lady appeared to the children for the last time, more radiant than ever before.  "Her face was brighter than the sun,"  said Francisico, who was dazzled, but yet unable to withdraw his gaze.  To the question, "Who are you and what do you wish?"  placed by Lucia, the answer came:

"I am the Lady of the Rosary and I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask pardon for their sins.  They must not continue to offend Our Lord, already so deeply offended.  They must say the Rosary."
Our Blessed Mother also declared that she wished a Church built at the Cova da Iria in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary, and that if the people amended their lives the war would soon end.

The apparitions of Our Lady have received the seal of approval of the Church as worthy of our belief, and the devotion was authorized under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Millions of pilgrims have visited Fatima; and in a five-year period 215 miraculous cures were claimed.  Fatima is fast becoming a world center of Mary's wonders and intercession.

Pope Pius XII asks all to pray to Ou Lady of Fatima.  He has dedicated the world to her Immaculate Heart.  During Advent, and, indeed, every first Saturday of the month, pray for peace.


Queen of the Most Holy rosary, Refuge of the human race, Victress in all God's battles, we humbly prostrate ourselves before your throne, confident that we shall receive mercy, grace, and bountiful assistance and protection in the present calamity, not through our own inadequate merits, but solely through the great goodness of your maternal heart.  Amen.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary
~ C.B. Chambers

Msgr. Coogan's words ring as true today as they must have in the early 1950s, in the wake of WWII and in the midst of the Korean War.  Though it's true the calamities du jour may be different than the ones when the book Spiritual Steps to Christmas was published, our world has sunk to new lows in many respects and threats crowd around us from every direction.  The rosary, therefore, is more importnt now than ever, and the devotion of the Five First Saturdays is an antidote most desperately needed in our troubled times.  Though this seems a somber subject to discuss during Advent, it's a necessary one if we truly wish to honor the Babe of the Manger.  His Mother wishes to save us; she only asks that we do our part.  ~ Lisa

The First Friday of Advent

Going Home

he poet, John Howard Payne has memorialized for all times the ballad, "Home, Sweet home,"  of which the opening lines, so familiar to most of us are:

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.
Sometime ago there was shown in the newsreel theaters, under the sponsorship of "This Is America"  a film dealing with marriage and the home entitled, "Courtship and the Courthouse," in which there was dramatically portrayed the great danger that faces America today when almost one out of every four marriages ends in divorce.

From the watchtower of the eternal city, Pope Pius XII, surveying with a master's eye the subversive forces of anti-Christ and atheism, has sounded a warning to the world on the dangers that strike at the very foundations of human society.  He cautions us to beware of those who would destroy the sanctity of the home.

In the liturgy of the Church we read of the obedience of Christ to his Blessed Mother and to St. Joseph.  St. Paul tells us of the virtues that go to make up a good home when he says:  "Be ye all, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the soul of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience.  Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also...  Wives, be subject to your husbands as it behooveth in the Lord.  Husbands, love our wives and be not bitter towards them.  Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is pleasing to the Lord...  Whatsoever you do, do it from the heart, as to the Lord, and not to men.  Knowing that you shall receive of the Lord the reward of inheritance.  Serve ye the Lord Christ" (Co. 3:12-24).

The universe is God's home, and if men would only look up to God they would be at home even in their adversities.  The United Nations is trying to build a home for the universality of mankind, but there can be no universality and there can be no home without god.  thus the Psalmist explains, "O Lord our God, how admirable is thy name in the whole earth! ... What is man that thou art mindful of him?  or the son of man that thou visitest him?  Thou has made him a little less than the angels, thou has crowned him with glory and honour, and has set him over the works of thy hands...  O Lord our Lord, how admirable is thy name in all the earth" (8:1-10).

The world is God's home and God is at home in the world.  There is nothing that man can do to expel God from the universe.  Foolishly -- for it is only the fool who would so act -- do men try to expel God from the world He has made

God is at home in the soul of man as often as man sets his will in accord with the will of God.  God is present in the houses of both rich and poor as often as a man and wife live in accordance with the moral laws of the
Creator.  Man can make houses, but only God can make a home.

Advent tells us of our going home to God.  Christmas means God with us.

Christmas reminds us of the great beneficence of God.  Of Him it was said, "Unto His own He came and his own received him not."  Into our hearts he would this Christmas come, if we would but open them to receive Him. Into our homes he will come, if we will but make them truly Christian,  for Christmas is the feast day of the home.  If we will make our hearts a tabernacle, He will come to dwell in them through His grace.  If we will but make our homes truly Christian, He will come to sanctify our homes and our nation.


O Lady of Heaven, Mary, you were homeless at Bethlehem and had to travel a long journey to escape the wrath of a wicked King.  Joseph, your faithful spouse, never faltered, but worked humbly and incessantly to make a home for you and Jesus.

Heaven is our home and we are always truant children unless we direct our every step toward heaven and you.

Mother Mary, intercede with God for grace in our behalf that we may never wander from the path that leads to our heavenly home.

The heart of a God beat in the breast of a Child at Bethlehem.  That same heart was pierced on
Calvary -- the very heart of God.

Is it any wonder that the Sacred heart of God bleeds for us anew every time a sin is committed?  St. Paul tells us that sin crucifies Christ all over again.

To Margaret Mary Alacoque Christ confided that the world should make reparation.  He asks good souls, as it were, to repair the damage of sin.

If a mother can give the substance of her body to feed her child -- if a father can, under God, generate new life and sustain it by his toil, sweat, and very blood, why cannot the members of the Church which is Christ's Mystical Body give of prayers and sacrifices to make amends to the Heart of Christ for their fellow men who sin?

Soldiers on battlefields give their blood that we may live in freedom.  the least a good solder of Christ might do is bleed a little in a spiritual way by penance as an offering of reparation to the Sacred heart of Christ.

Home is where the heart is and our hearts ought to be at home only with God.  This is the meaning of First Friday reparation.

The Church canonized Margaret Mary, who is known to us by the Twelve Promises made by our Lord to her.  The Church encourages the faithful to make a Communion of Reparation on each First Friday because of the revelations and to make the Nine First Fridays because of the wonderful Twelfth Promise:  "I promise thee in the excessive mercy of my Heart that my all-powerful love will grant to all those who communicate on the First Friday in nine consecutive months the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in my disgrace nor without receiving the Sacraments.  My divine heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment."

Sacred Heart of Jesus, be our salvation!