“Never. It is such a comfort to me. I am always finding some new beauty in it. The thought came to me today that the rosary is very like our lives.”
“It is divided into three parts: Joyful, Sorrowful and Glorious mysteries. Do they not correspond to youth, maturity and old age? In youth all things are bright and full of promise: here we have the Annunciation, the Visitation and the Nativity. The first foreboding of sorrow may be found in the Presentation—the prophecy of Simeon—and in losing the Holy Child on the return from Jerusalem; yet when He is found in the temple, the joy far outweighs the pain of loss. So it is in youth; trouble is short lived and is quickly forgotten when the cloud has passed away.”
“The Sorrowful mysteries correspond to the years of maturity, when the cares of life press heavily upon us. Who has not knelt in Gethsemane and cried, with our dear Lord: ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me!’ And how few of us have the grace to add: ‘Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.’ And how often are we scourged. First by our passions, which are so hard to conquer; by ill-health, by disagreeable companions or uncongenial surroundings. We have all to wear the thorny crown of adversity, when our best, our most prayerful efforts fail to stem the tide which has set in against us. Do we not all have a daily cross, whether some great sorrow or an accumulation of petty trifles it matters not. We struggle on more or less bravely and many times fall beneath its weight. Ah! If we but fasten our sins to the cross and offer our hearts to our crucified Saviour, we will not have lived through the Sorrowful mysteries in vain.”
“The last of the three are the Glorious mysteries. They correspond to old age. The soul that has lived down its passions, thrown off its sinful garment and risen above its human frailties, experiences the sublime grandeur of the Resurrection. Once free and untrammeled, the soul can ascend high enough to receive worthily the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Then may our souls, like the body of our Blessed Mother, be ‘assumed into heaven’ and then —“our crown.”
Extract from The Living Rosary
The Rosary Magazine, Volume 26
“O Amor Mei Nomen Matris Dei”
“Oh name of the Mother of God, thou art my love.”-St. Anselm
We always see the more a man is for God, the more he appreciates and loves the Hail Mary. I do not know how it is, nor why, but nevertheless I well know that it is true; nor have I any better secret of knowing whether a person is for God than to examine if he loves to say the Hail Mary and the Rosary. I say, “if he loves”, for it can happen that a person for some reason may be unable to say the Rosary, but this does not prevent him from loving it and inspiring others to say it.
O predestinate souls! Slaves of Jesus in Mary! Learn that the Hail Mary is the most beautiful of all prayers after the Our Father. , It is the most perfect compliment which you can make to Mary, because it is the compliment which the Most High sent her by an archangel, in order to gain her heart; and it was so powerful over her heart by the secret charms of which it is so full, that in spite of her profound humility, she gave her consent to the Incarnation of the Word. It is by this compliment also that you will infallibly gain her heart, if you say it as you ought.
The Hail Mary well said, that is, with attention, devotion, and modesty, is, according to the Saints, the enemy of the devil, which puts him to flight, and the hammer which crushes him. It is the sanctification of the soul, the joy of Angels, the melody of the predestinate, the canticle of the New Testament, the pleasure of Mary, and the glory of the Most Holy Trinity. The Hail Mary is a heavenly dew which fertilizes the soul. It is the chaste and loving kiss which we give to Mary. It is a vermilion rose which we present to her; a precious pearl we offer her; a chalice of divine ambrosial nectar which we hold to her. All these are comparisons of the Saints.
I pray you urgently, by the love I bear you in Jesus and Mary, not to content yourselves with saying the Little Corona of the Blessed Virgin, but a whole Chaplet; or even, if you have time, the whole Rosary every day. At the moment of your death, you will bless the day and hour in which you have followed my advice. Having thus sown in the benedictions of Jesus and Mary, you will reap eternal benedictions in heaven: qui seminat in benedictionibus, de benedictionibus et metet.
THE TRUE DEVOTION THE BLESSED VIRGIN.
BY THE VENERABLE SERVANT OF GOD,
ST. LOUIS-MARIE DE MONTFORT
In danger, in difficulty, or in doubt, think on Mary, call on Mary. Let her not be away from thy mouth or from thine heart, and that thou mayest not lack the succor of her prayers, turn not aside from the example of her conversation.
If thou follow her, thou wilt never go astray. If thou pray to her, thou wilt never have need to despair. If thou keep her in mind, thou wilt never wander. If she hold thee, thou wilt never fall. If she lead thee, thou wilt never be weary. If she help thee, thou wilt reach home safe at the last—and so thou wilt prove in thyself how meetly it is said: “And the virgin’s name was Mary.” (St Bernard)
Excerpt from The Roman Breviary for the Feast of the Holy Name of The Blessed Virgin Mary
It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins
(2 Mac 12:46)
Devout Christian, do you wish for favors from God? Be very compassionate to the souls in purgatory. That charity which you have shown to them, God will show much more to you.
Be compassionate to them, not in heart only, but by works, and by every sort of suffrage; by prayers, alms according to your power, by mortifications and pious exercises; above all, by the application of holy indulgences, and by hearing Mass, or getting it celebrated in relief of these poor and much afflicted souls.
Endeavour, O Christian, to suffragate them with generosity of heart; and then in your own necessities, spiritual and temporal too, you will obtain of God, your kind Father, whatever you wish. If you do so, beloved brother, be sure that you will be amply rewarded’ in this life, and much more in the life to come. St. Catherine of Bologna, when she wished for any favors, had recourse to the souls in purgatory, and forthwith she found her prayer heard.
Do you, then, succor these holy souls, and God will hear your prayers, and will be your help. Do, then, enter into this pious association, the whole business of which is to show compassion to these blessed souls, not in heart only, but also by good works, and every kind of suffrages. God, who loves them dearly, will abundantly reward your charity, and will bless you in life, and at the hour of death. The grace of the Lord be with you evermore!
Any one that has a mind to join this pious association has only to determine so to do with himself, and before God, without any form or external compact: it will be enough to form the intention of uniting in spirit in the works and prayers of all the other faithful who have joined it for the same object, if you fulfill the following obligations:
1. Let every associate endeavor, as much as in him lies, to find some one else who will enroll himself in his spiritual society; and this can be done either by word of mouth, or by getting copies of this sheet, in order to obtain a continually increasing number of people, who endeavor by good works and fervent prayers to give suffrages to the holy souls in purgatory. The associates may belong to either sex.
2. Every associate will recite every day, as a suffrage for these holy souls, a prayer of his own selection which has some indulgence annexed to it, or will hear a Mass, or do some other good work, as, for instance, an act of abnegation of his own will, or mortification of his appetite, or eyes, or by fleeing from some dangerous occasion, or by the practice of any other virtue.
3. Every month, too, each associate will go to confession and communion, praying for the dead who belonged to the society. The charity due to all the dead is much more due to those of the confraternity, who have passed into another life.
Purgatory Opened To The Piety of the Faithful: or The Month of November Consecrated to the Relief of the Souls in Purgatory
As a reminder of our duty to pray for the suffering faithful in Purgatory, the Church has dedicated the entire month of November to the Holy Souls. Every Catholic should make some extraordinary effort to join with the spirit of the Church this month to do what he can for the alleviation of the torments of purgatory.
Our intercession for the suffering now will enlist their intercession in our behalf from their place in heaven hereafter. Truly may we say that in a manner the souls in purgatory are our captives, for their release in a great measure devolves on us. We may liken them to Lazarus begging crumbs from the rich man’s table; they are imploring our aid, so let us in our generosity and from the charity of our hearts lend them every possible assistance.
Of the various forms of prayer, kinds of mortification, and acts of piety that may be performed for the atonement of the sins of the suffering, no prayer or deed can be more salutary, at once more simple or more effective, than the beautiful prayer adaptable to all necessities, the prayer of the Rosary.
Another exercise of charity would be to remember all of your family and loved ones that have died by enrolling them in The Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society. By doing this for them, you ensure that they will have 42 holy priests and numerous laymen saying Traditional Latin Masses, and countless prayers for the repose of their souls. No stipend is required for this act of charity, but you can always pay it forward by supporting any good Christian cause.
IMAGO SACRA MILLE GRATIARUM VALET (A holy picture is worth a thousand graces)
Sacramentals are religious objects that the Church gives us to increase our devotion. The two most common sacramentals are the Sign of the Cross and holy water, but the rosary, scapulars, holy cards, and statues are sacramentals, too. Through them, we keep our thoughts on God, thus obtaining grace. Baltimore Catechism No. 2 -Lesson Twenty-Seventh
“Turn not thy face away from me, O my God, but look upon me with pity and compassion,”
We feel assured that if our Heavenly Father but turns His face towards us, His hands will be stretched forth to save us. If His face bends above us, it is because His Heart is inclined to receive us.
A truly noble and most touching devotion is that of the Holy Face of Our Lord. We cannot meditate on the mysteries of our rosary without contemplating our Lord’s beautiful humanity, and prostrating ourselves before it, as we behold it everywhere manifesting His ineffable divinity.
In the first joyous mystery, as in the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Face is hidden from the eyes of man, yet from the bosom of the Virgin Mother, as from the tabernacle, went forth the radiance of its glance to illumine the world, and to show it where to find peace and joy. Mary, Queen of Charity, wends her way over the hills of Judea for the Visitation of Saint Elizabeth, and carries with her the Holy Hidden Face. Vain and worthless the deed of charity or the word of kindness that has not the face of Jesus hidden within it.
Multitudes of meritorious deeds are done with unmeriting zeal; the Holy Face is not stamped upon them; the effigy of the world is there instead, and the Supreme Judge renders to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; when He finds the supernatural motive He beholds upon the coin of human acts the face of His Son, and then does he render to God the things that are God’s, and to the child of God, eternal merit.
The shepherds of Judea and the wise men from afar enter the stable at Bethlehem, and behold! they find between them and the majesty of the Divinity only an infant’s face. What a subject for meditation is that soft, dimpled cheek, that small, but nobly arching-brow, that quivering baby mouth, those infantine but farseeing eyes! The face of a babe screening the beatific vision of a God! Not less deep are the thoughts awakened, as we contemplate Holy Simeon gazing upon that same dear little face, on the occasion of the Presentation, or as we, with Mary and Joseph, discover the divine Boy disputing with the Doctors in the Temple, while they, astounded at the wisdom of His answers, gaze with awe upon His face, failing to see the Supreme Giver of the Law in this its youthful interpreter.
Thus the beads have slipped through our fingers, and the Hail Mary has dropped from our lips, while our eyes have been fixed on the Holy Face in its beauty. In the next five mysteries we behold it in its disfigurement; bathed in a bloody sweat; beaten and spit upon; mantled with a blush of shame, in the scourging; haggard with pain, in the crowning with thorns; bent toward earth in the weary way to Calvary; turned heavenward, in the crucifixion, and again earthward, when the cross stands erect. What food for devout thought and tender meditation. No trace here of Bethlehem’s innocent loveliness, or of Nazareth’s boyish beauty; no promise, but faith in His wood, of the glory of the Resurrection. Divinity veiled by a face of flesh was wonderful indeed, but Divinity, veiled by a wounded, disfigured, bloodstained face—even more by a livid, dead face—this is almost inconceivable, yet before the crucifix we bow and express our faith, while our soul is filled with fear at the thought of what we creatures dare to do before the Face of our God. How shall we dare to behold that Holy Face that brought salvation to us, and we turned away and fell in love with death, and kissed deformity and sins? Sore need we have to say our rosary, and to prostrate ourselves, in each of its mysteries, at the feet of Him whom we entreat to turn towards us His Holy Face.
A Dominican Sister (1892)
It was in the year 1571. St. Pius V. sat in the chair of St. Peter, and with a gentle firmness ruled the Christian world. The aim of his life as Pope had been to promote peace and harmony among Christian princes and to spread the kingdom of God on earth. He well knew the dangers to which the Church was exposed, and hence, like a faithful shepherd, he kept constant watch lest the wolf should enter the fold. And he had good reason to be on the alert. As he stood in the watch tower of the Vatican, his vigilant eye scanning the horizon, he beheld in alarm and almost dismay a dense cloud appearing. As it drew nearer and nearer it grew in density till it well nigh obscured the light of the sun, and threatened to burst and deluge the earth with another flood.
Selim the Second, the conqueror of the unruly Turks, was in the noon-day splendor of a victorious reign. His onward march had suffered no serious check, and the dead lay strewn in his wake like the wheat that the scythe of the reaper has laid low. And now he turned his haughty eye towards Christendom, and he swore a terrible oath. He swore to subjugate the Christian world —dethrone its Christ and place Mohammed in His stead: “The cross shall fall, and in its place the crescent shall proclaim that Christ is dead and Allah is our God.” Onward he rushed with his Moslem host like a cloud that portends a deadly and destructive storm. The Mediterranean Sea was covered with his fleet. Greece and Hungary had capitulated, and he descended upon the Island of Malta. But his first attempt was defeated by the heroism of the Grand Master of the Knights, La Valette. Enraged at this defeat and mad with the desire of revenge, the Turks attacked the Island of Cypress and sated their fiendish rage in torrents of human blood. A Christian legate was sent to treat with their commander. He was spurned and spat upon and taunted with the words: “Where is now your Christ, and why does He not free you from our hands?” They treated him with a cruelty too barbarous to describe, until death came to his relief. The last words on his dying lips were: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lu. xxiii, 24).
And now Pius V. sounded the note of alarm. He called upon the princes of the Christian world to rally round the standard of the cross and fight to save their altars and their homes. But, sad to say, there were but few who volunteered to stem the tide of Moslem invasion and save the Christian world. Only the Venetians and the Spaniards came and joined their forces with the little army of the Pope. Don Juan of Austria was placed in chief command. Prayer and fasting were prescribed throughout the world, and the Sovereign Pontiff himself, like another Moses on the mount, stretched out his arms in fervent supplication that God might lend His aid to those who were battling in a righteous cause.
At sunrise, on the 7th of October, 1571, the Turkish fleet was drawn up in battle array in the form of a crescent, the emblem of Mohammed. They numbered in all 254 galleys and 84 ships of every class. At the sight of this terrible array the commander of the Christian forces raised his standard aloft and displayed a picture of the Redeemer of the world. “Christian soldiers,” he cried out, “you are come to fight the battle of the cross, to conquer or to die. But be the issue victory or death, do your duty well and win a glorious immortality.” Then, falling on their knees, they begged the God of armies to assist them and crown their efforts with success. They closed in on the Turks, and the terrible battle began. For six long hours it raged with fury and with dreadful loss. For a time it looked as though the Turks would win. The left wing of the Christians began to yield; eight galleys of Venetians were sunk, and the right wing was in imminent danger. But suddenly the tide of victory turned. In the very heat of the conflict the two flagships were engaged in a fierce encounter. Twice the Christians were driven back, but in a third attempt, the Turkish commander fell. Ali Pasha was slain and his head raised aloft on a Christian galley. The defeat of the Turks was complete and the power of Mohammed broken. Two hundred and ten Turkish galleys were either captured or sunk. Twenty-five thousand infidels were slain and twelve thousand Christian slaves were freed from the Turkish galleys. The Christians had lost fifteen galleys and eight thousand men.
On the very day of the famous battle Pope Pius was holding a council with his advisers in Rome. Suddenly he rose up, went to the window and gazed intently toward the sky. Then closing the window he turned towards the Cardinals and said: “This is no time to talk of business; let us go and give thanks to God in His temple; our arms have just been blest with victory.” And the Holy Pontiff, shedding tears of joy, fell on his knees in his oratory and poured forth the gratitude of his heart to his good and bountiful Lord. A few days later it was learned that at the very same hour the Christians had defeated the Turks and the cross of Christ had triumphed over the crescent of Mohammed in the Gulf of Lepanto. In gratitude for this signal victory Pope Pius decreed that throughout the Christian world the Feast of the Holy Rosary should be solemnized on the first Sunday of October, and to the litany of the Blessed Virgin he added the invocation: “Help of Christians, pray for us.”
Christian reader, this remarkable incident speaks for itself. It were superfluous to point out the lessons it should teach. But while wreathing the garland of roses for the fair brow of the Mother of God, for this we do when we “tell our beads,” remember that “the arm of God is not shortened”; it is as strong to-day as in the days of long ago, and
When clouds of adversity gather,
And hope to all seeming has fled,
Pray God with more earnest pleading,
He will help you, for so He has said.
THE LOYAL CATHOLIC -SOME TOPICS OF INTEREST
TO THE DEVOTED SONS AND DAUGHTERS
OF HOLY MOTHER CHURCH
By the Rev. Cornelius J. Warren, C SS. R.(1912)
¶ Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you.
For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. (Mt:7:7-8)
The suppliant who prays fervently is wont to repeat over and over again words which come from the depth of the heart. Our Lord did this on Mount Olivet ; David in (Ps:136), exclaims no less than twenty-seven times ” His mercy endureth forever,” and St. Francis of Assisi spent whole nights repeating : “My God and my all.” The devout servants of Mary used to address her frequently in the words of the archangel, adding one Ave Maria to another, as one places roses in a wreath.
The hermits of the first centuries, who could not read the psalter, used to recite one Our Father and one Hail Mary in the place of every psalm; and in order to note the number they had said, they made use of small stones, or of seeds strung on a cord. St. Dominic was the first who made the custom general of substituting one hundred and fifty Hail Marys for the one hundred and fifty psalms; hence the rosary used to be called the Psalter of Mary. When, about the year 1200, the heresies of the Albigenses wrought great mischief in the south of France and the north of Italy, St. Dominic was commissioned by the Pope to preach in refutation of their erroneous tenets. His efforts availed little, and he besought the aid of the Mother of God. She appeared to him, and bade him make use of the rosary as a weapon against her enemies. He accordingly introduced it everywhere, and before long it had effected the conversion of more than a hundred thousand heretics.
The use of the Rosary soon spread throughout Christendom, and it became a most popular devotion. It is a method of prayer at once simple and sublime; the prayers are so easy that a child can repeat them, and the mysteries. are so profound that they supply a subject for meditation to the most learned theologians. It is a prayer of contemplation as well as a prayer of supplication, for it places before the mind the principal truths of the faith. The Rosary is a compendium of the Gospels; a complete and practical manual of instruction wherein the chief points of Christian doctrine are presented under the guise of prayer. By meditation on the events of Our Lord’s life faith and charity are increased; from the example of our divine Redeemer we learn to be humble, gentle, obedient; we are incited to imitate the virtues which the mysteries teach, to strive after what they promise us.
Moreover the union of vocal and mental prayer makes the Rosary easy, pleasant, and profitable. As a method of prayer it is unrivaled; the longer and more devoutly it is practiced, the more one appreciates its excellence and becomes convinced of its supernatural origin. The Rosary is well pleasing to God, because of its humility, and because it is an imitation of the unceasing song of praise sung by the angels.
The Rosary is the prayer of the humble, for in it well-known truths. are simply stated and constantly repeated. The proud despise it, but God, Who looks down on the low things (Ps:113:6), approves it. It is an imitation of the angel’s song: we read in Holy Scripture that the angelic choirs cry to one another: ” Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts; all the earth is full of His glory” (Is:6:3). And when we recite the Rosary, we praise the Mother of God in a similar manner. It is beyond a doubt that this form of prayer is most acceptable to the Mother of God, for when she appeared at Lourdes she had a rosary in her hand. Pope Pius IX unhesitatingly asserts that it is her gift to men, and she loves no other prayer as well.
The Rosary is a most useful devotion, for by it we obtain great graces and sure help in time of trouble; many indulgences are besides attached to it.
The Rosary is a very treasury of graces. Many sinners owe their conversion to it. It possesses marvelous power to banish sin and restore the transgressor to a state of grace. By it the just grow in virtue. All the saints who have lived subsequently to the institution of the Rosary have been assiduous in its use, and this may have contributed largely to their sanctification. Several holy bishops and servants of God are known to have pledged themselves by vow to recite it daily; St. Charles Borromeo, despite the numerous and pressing duties of his position, recited it every day with the seminarists and the members of his household. Blessed Clement Hofbauer was accustomed to say the Rosary while passing through the streets of Vienna, and rarely did he recite it in vain for the conversion of a sinner. It is recorded of several distinguished officers and victorious commanders that they never engaged in battle without first saying the Rosary, and to this they attributed their military successes.
The Rosary has been called “the thermometer of Christianity,” for the reason that where it is diligently recited faith is ardent, and good works are manifest; and where it is neglected religion is at a low ebb. In seasons of general calamity, miraculous aid has been granted to Christendom by means of the Rosary; this was especially the case in wars with the Turks, the victory of Lepanto (October 7, 1571), the deliverance of Vienna (September 11-12, 1683), the Siege of Belgrade (July 4 – 22, 1456) were all owing to the power of the Rosary. It was said that the beads of the chaplet did more execution than the bullets of the soldiers. It was in thanksgiving for these victories that the Holy See instituted the Feast of the Holy Rosary on the first Sunday in October. Pope Sixtus IV declared that many dangers which threatened the world are averted, and the wrath of God is appeased by the prayers of the Rosary.
Our Holy Father Leo XIII. says that, as in St. Dominic’s time the Rosary proved a sure remedy for the evils of the age, so it may now effect much towards the amelioration of the ills that afflict society. Every one who recites the Rosary must feel its supernatural power; there is no prayer which affords more consolation in affliction, more tranquility to the troubled breast. It soothes in sorrow, it imparts the peace spoken of in the Gospel.
Another proof of its excellence is the hatred and contempt wherewith unbelievers regard it. The devil incites them to decry what is a fruitful source of grace to the Christian, and by which souls are wrested from his grasp.
The Rosary has been richly indulgenced by the Holy See, and the recital of it strongly urged upon the faithful. An indulgence of a hundred days may be gained for every Pater and Ave, if five consecutive decades be said, on a properly indulgenced rosary. Our Holy Father Leo XIII. has decreed that every day during the month of October, the Rosary, together with the litany of Loretto, be said in church either during the parish Mass, or in the afternoon, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed. For every time of assisting at this devotion seven years and seven quarantines are granted. Pope Pius IX. bequeathed, as a legacy to the faithful, this admonition:
“Let the Rosary, this simple, beautiful method of prayer, enriched with many indulgences, be habitually recited of an evening in every household. These are my last words to you; the memorial I leave behind me.” Again he said: “In the whole of the Vatican there is no greater treasure than the Rosary.”
The Catechism Explained -An Exhaustive Exposition of The Christian Religion
Rev. FRANCIS SPIRAGO (1899)
THE Church teaches that twelve years after the Crucifixion, Mary gave up her sorrowful soul to God. We believe that He of whom it has been said that He would not ” let this Holy One see corruption,” did not allow Our Lady’s body to remain in the grave, but admitted her at once into Heaven, where ever since she has pleaded powerfully on our behalf.
Non-Catholic Christians honestly believe that the worship they owe to Christ would be minimized by veneration of His Blessed Mother. In their desire to honor His Godhead, they forget His Manhood. They forget that no human being among the countless millions, who throughout the ages have inhabited this earth, has ever stood in a more intimate relation to their Creator than Mary, the Mother of Our Saviour.
From all eternity the Almighty had singled her out for the greatest honor ever conferred upon a created being. Through her it was that our Blessed Lord was given to us, to her care He was entrusted in childhood, she never ceased in her pure and selfless worship of Him, she kept all His sayings in her heart.
For thirty three years she was His daily companion; she, unlike the disciples, never betrayed Him, but remained with Him until the end at the foot of the Cross. Can we for one moment imagine that she can have been anything but most pure, most chaste, most patient, most lovable, most admirable?
We often judge the moral worth of men and women by their devotion to their mothers. If human children are capable of the most intense love and devotion to their mothers, what must not the love and devotion of Jesus have been for His? Can we believe Him to have been less loving, less obedient, less devoted, than the most perfect son on earth?
We take it for granted that nothing could have exceeded Our Lord’s love and respect for His mother. Almost His last thought on the Cross was to provide for her, in leaving her in the care of His beloved disciple, St. John. In the person of “the disciple whom Jesus loved” He gave her to us all as a mother. Hear Mary herself: “All generations shall call me blessed.” Hear the Archangel from heaven, God’s own messenger, ” Thou art highly favored, thou hast found favor with God.” Hear St. Elizabeth: “Blessed art thou among women!”
From the earliest times the Church has always given to Mary the most wholehearted devotion, the most profound respect, the most filial love. We believe her to be very powerful with God, and therefore have recourse to her in our troubles. She is our intercessor with God, our “Mother of good Counsel,” the” Comforter of the afflicted, and “the” Refuge of sinners.”
We should therefore strive to acquire a very special devotion for Our Lady, for the Church bids us to go to her, and if we do so, she will in time become most dear to us, and in very truth a Mother.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners that we may learn to love and venerate thee as we should, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
THE CONVERT’S ROSARY
ALICE M. GARDINER
Fatima, Portugal –October 13, 1917
The three shepherd children reported visions of a luminous lady, believed to be the Virgin Mary, in the Cova da Iria fields outside the hamlet of Aljustrel, near Fatima, Portugal between May and October of 1917. The lady appeared to the children on the 13th day of each month at approximately noon, for six straight months. The only exception was August, when the children were kidnapped by the local administrator-the children then saw her on August 19th in nearby Valinhos.
Lúcia described seeing the lady as “brighter than the sun, shedding rays of light clearer and stronger than a crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water and pierced by the burning rays of the sun.” According to Lucia’s account, the lady entrusted three secrets to the children. She also told the children to do penance and make sacrifices to save sinners. They did things such as, where tight cords to cause pain, go without water on hot days, and other works of penance. Most importantly the lady told Lucia to pray the Rosary everyday because it is the key to personal and world peace.
In July the Blessed Virgin promised a miracle to the children on October 13th , her final apparition, so all would believe. This miracle became known as “The Miracle of the Sun.” A crowd believed to be approximately 70,000 in number, including newspaper reporters and photographers, gathered at the Cova da Iria. When the steady rain had finally ceased and a thin layer of clouds cloaked the sun so that it could be looked upon without hurting one’s eyes. Lucia was pointing towards the sun and called out to the crowd. And seeing various religious figures in the sky, the sun appeared to change colors and rotate, like a fire wheel. For some, the sun appeared to fall from the sky before retreating, for others, it zig-zagged. The phenomenon was witnessed by most in the crowd as well as people many miles away.
Here are briefly the facts; starting from the day after the events, by a reporter who cannot possibly be accused of partiality in this matter and for a good reason! We refer to Avelino de Almeida, the chief editor of “O Seculo,” the large “liberal” anticlerical and Masonic daily of Lisbon. He writes,
“From the road, where the carriages were crowded together and where hundreds of persons had stayed for want of sufficient courage to advance across the muddy ground, we saw the huge crowd turn towards the sun which appeared at its zenith, clear of the clouds. It resembled a flat plate of silver, and it was possible to stare at it without the least discomfort. It did not burn the eyes. It did not blind. We would say that it produced an eclipse. Then a tremendous cry rang out, and the crowd nearest us were heard to shout: ‘Miracle! Miracle! Marvel! Marvel! Before the dazzled eyes of the people, whose attitude transported us to biblical times, and who, dumb-founded, heads uncovered, contemplated the blue of the sky, the sun trembled, it made strange and abrupt movements, outside of all cosmic laws, ‘the sun danced’, according to the typical expression of the peasants …
Attacked violently by all the anticlerical press, Avelino de Almeida renewed his testimony, 15 days later, in his review, l’”Ilustraçao Portuguesa”. This time he illustrated his account with a dozen photographs of the huge ecstatic crowd, and repeated as a refrain throughout his article: I saw… I saw… I saw. And he concluded fortuitously: Miracle, as the people shouted? Natural phenomenon, as the experts say? For the moment, that does not concern me, I am only saying what I saw … The rest is a matter for Science and the Church.
…Saturday, October 13, begins for the pilgrims, as a walk of penance because it had rained the whole preceding night. Now, this almost sudden change of weather, with the dusty roads transformed into muddy quagmires by a pelting rain, causing to replace abruptly, for a day, the sweetness of autumn with the biting rigors of winter, did not succeed in moving them, to make them give up or despair.
From dawn, our reporter relates, visibly impressed by that calm courage, groups looming up again, intrepid individuals who pass through, without stopping for a moment, the small town, whose silence is broken by the chant of hymns intoned by feminine voices in harmony which contrasts with the roughness of the men… The sun rises, but the aspect of the sky is threatening. Some black clouds accumulate, precisely from the Fatima side. Nothing however holds back the pilgrims who, from all roads and by all means of locomotion, flock in that direction… Some small bells on a chain tinkle; we see here and there a cart decorated with palms. However, the festive atmosphere is discreet; the general manner is grave, the order perfect … Towards ten o’clock, the sky is covered completely and a heavy rain begins to fall. The downpour, whipped by a bitter wind, beating against the face, inundates the gravel roads, and pierces to the bone those who did not take the precaution of carrying an umbrella or some other means of protection from the bad weather. But no one becomes impatient nor gives up following the road…
How many were assembled at the Cova da Iria?
The maximum estimate was from Dr. Almeida Garrett, and was proposed some months after the event. It estimates the spectators at more than one hundred thousand. In “O Seculo” of October 15, Avelino de Almeida wrote: The crowd, by the unprejudiced calculations of cultivated persons very new to mystical influences, was estimated at thirty or forty thousand people. In his article of October 29, he corrected his first estimate: On October 13, according to the calculations established by people free from every prejudice, some fifty thousand people were gathered on the moor of Fatima. A neutral newspaper, the “Primeiro de Janeiro”, also estimated the crowd at fifty thousand individuals. We can therefore say, with a quasi-certainty, that this figure is a minimum; that is why the majority of historians propose as probable the presence of a crowd of seventy thousand witnesses.
In comparing the numerous accounts of witnesses, we can distinguish the diverse aspects and the result of the astounding phenomena established by all. For each one of them, it would be possible to line up some ten pages of witnesses which would constitute in themselves an impressive book.
Here is the first marvelous fact described by Dr. Almeida Garrett: It must have been 1:30 p.m. when there arose at the exact spot where the children were, a column of smoke, thin, fine and bluish, which extended up to perhaps two meters above their heads, and evaporated at that height. This phenomenon, perfectly visible to the naked eye, lasted for a few seconds. Not having noted how long it had lasted, I cannot say whether it was more or less than a minute. The smoke dissipated abruptly, and after some time, it came back to occur a second time, then a third time…
The Sudden Stoppage of the Rain
Whereas the low and heavy sky had a very dark color, laden with moisture, released an abundant and long lasting rain, during the time of the apparition, the rain stopped totally. Abruptly the sky cleared: The sun triumphantly pierced the thick bed of clouds hiding it until then, and shone intensely. (Dr. Almeida Garrett).
This abrupt change of weather took all the eyewitnesses by surprise: It was a day of heavy and continuous rain. But a few minutes before the miracle, it stopped raining. (Alfredo da Silva Santos)
The Vision of the Sun Without Burning the Retina
Suddenly I heard the uproar of thousands of voices, and I saw the whole multitude spread out in that vast space at my feet … turn their backs to that spot where, until then, all their expectations focused, and look at the sun on the other side … I turned around, too, toward the point commanding their gazes, and I could see the sun, like a very clear disc, with its sharp edge, which gleamed without hurting the sight … It could not be confused with the sun seen through a fog (there was no fog at that moment), for it was neither veiled, nor dim. At Fatima, it kept its light and heat, and stood out clearly in the sky, with a sharp edge, like a large gaming table. The most astonishing thing was to be able to stare at the solar disc for a long time, brilliant with light and heat, without hurting the eyes, or damaging the retina. (Dr. Almeida Garrett).
And then we witnessed a unique spectacle, the reporter of “O Seculo” remarked in similar vein, an incredible spectacle, unbelievable if you did not witness it. From above the road … We see the immense crowd turn towards the sun, which appeared at its zenith, clear of the clouds. It looked like a plate of dull silver, and it was possible to stare at it without the least discomfort. It did not burn the eyes. It did not blind. One might say that an eclipse had occurred. (Article of October 15, 1917) The people could look at the sun as we look at the moon. (Maria do Carmo)
Suddenly, the heavenly body began to tremble, to shake with abrupt movements, and finally to turn on itself at a dizzying speed while throwing out rays of light, all colors of the rainbow: The sun turned like a fire wheel, taking on all the colors of the rainbow. (Maria do Carmo) It appeared like a globe of snow turning on itself. (Father Lourenço) The pearl-like disc had a giddy motion. This was not the twinkling of a star in all its brilliance. It turned on itself with impetuous speed. (Dr. Almeida Garrett) At a certain moment, the sun stopped and then began again to dance, to spin; it stopped again, and began again to dance. (Ti Marto) It is indeed therefore a triple “dance of the sun” which thousands of witnesses affirm, having contemplated it for several minutes.
The sun took on all the colors of the rainbow. Everything assumed those same colors: our faces, our clothes, the earth itself. (Maria do Carmo) A light, whose colors changed from one moment to the next, was reflected on the people and on things, notes Dr. Pereira Gens.
We suddenly heard a clamor, relates Almeida Garrett, like a cry of anguish of that entire crowd. The sun, in fact, keeping its rapid movement of rotation, seemed to free itself from the firmament and blood-red, to plunge towards the earth, threatening to crush us with its fiery mass. Those were some terrifying seconds. I saw the sun turn and it seemed to descend. It was like a bicycle wheel. (John Carreira) The sun began to dance and, at a certain moment, it appeared to detach itself from the firmament and to rush forward on us, like a fire wheel. (Alfredo da Silva Santos) I saw it perfectly descending as if it came to crash on the earth. It seemed to detach itself from the sky and rush toward us. It maintained itself at a short distance above our heads; but that sort of attack was of very short duration … It seemed very near the people and it continued to turn in the opposite direction. (Maria do Carmo) From those thousands of mouths, relates the engineer Mario Godinho, I heard shouts of joy and love to the Most Holy Virgin. And then I believed. I had the certainty of not having been the victim of a suggestion. I had seen the sun as I would never see it again.
Everyone Had Dry Clothes
A last astonishing fact: all those people, who were for the most part soaked to the bone, verified with joy and amazement that they were dry. The fact is attested to in the canonical process.
The Vision of the Solar Prodigy at a Distance
A marvelous thing, the phenomenon could be admired from beyond Fatima. And even, some perfectly credible witnesses, who were very far away from the Cova da Iria, related having seen the unprecedented spectacle of the dance of the sun, exactly like the thousands of pilgrims gathered around the holm-oak.
In the small village of Alburitel, situated eighteen or nineteen kilometers from Fatima, the whole town was able to enjoy the vision of the solar prodigy. The testimony frequently quoted is that of Father Inacio Lourenço, because it is the most detailed. But what he relates having seen, all the good villagers, questioned by the investigators, confirmed seeing it in exactly the same way.
In October, I will perform a miracle, Our Lady had sovereignty declared on July 13. And on October 13, it was at Her efficacious gesture that the marvelous “dance of the sun” began: Then, opening Her hands, She made them reflect on the sun, and as She rose, the reflection of Her own light continued to be projected on the sun itself.
Thus, the magnificent miracle, it is She Who promised it, Who announced it three months in advance, and at Her gesture the miracle was fulfilled. That is the reply of the Queen of Heaven to the instant supplication of Her shepherd: I would like to ask You to tell us Who You are, and to perform a miracle so that all may believe that You are appearing to us. A response surpassing all expectations and one of such magnitude, of such splendor, that no one would dare to dream it possible.
The witnesses of the event were indeed innumerable, their testimonies agree and we are flooded with the documents they have left us.
In the first place, the numerous accounts conveyed appeared at once in the Portuguese press. It is noteworthy that the first to provide testimony were the anticlerical reporters. The three articles of Avelino de Almeida, the one of October 13, immediately before the event, the other of October 15, edited at Vila Nova de Ourem on the evening of the 13th, and a third article of October 29, merit a special mention. In spite of the jeering tone and Voltarian irony which inspire in part the first article, in spite of the expected anticlerical tones which still appear in the article of the 15th. These texts from a reporter of talent, one who besides, is honest and conscientious, are historical documents of prime importance. But he was not the only one to relate the facts, for other reporters were present at the Cova da Iria.
Next there were the official investigations. In November, 1917, at the request of Bishop de Lima Vidal, who was then directing the diocese of Lisbon, the Parish Priest of Fatima led his investigation and questioned several witnesses of the parish. Unfortunately, he transcribed only… four depositions!
The investigations of the historians fortunately compensated for those negligences of the official investigators. Since Father Formigao, who obtained from Dr. José Maria de Almeida Garrett, professor at the Faculty of Sciences of Coimbra, a very thorough account, the most scientific report in our possession, all the top historians went to question the witnesses. Father da Fonseca, in order to verify the points disputed by Father Dhanis; Father De Marchi, Canon Barthas, Father Dias Coelho and Father Richard.
In 1977, to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the last apparition, it was still possible to assemble in Fatima more than thirty persons who had been present at the solar prodigy and who could reveal their memories.
Thanks to those numerous testimonies, it is possible to reconstruct a precise running commentary, allowing us to relive, hour by hour and minute by minute, this decisive day, assuredly one of the most important in the history of the world.
More Original Fatima Photographs: