In the early part of my spiritual journey as a servant of Our Lord, I was told that my life would present living lessons where God would show and teach me present and future events. What I have been sharing with you are real life experiences: I was instructed that the time would come when I would share these experiences as teachings combined with messages from Our Lady.
Some of our brethren have indicated that I am too much of a story teller and that I do not go directly to the messages. I respect and appreciate their concerns; however, my stories are my way of explaining our faith through simple, ordinary, sometimes extraordinary events that have happened to me or others. I want our faith to be real, breathing and alive for you. Please bear with me as I tell my simple stories.
In the early 1980’s, I was invited to participate in many religious/spiritual events. We as baptized Catholics are all called to evangelize as per Decree on the Apostolate for the Laity by the Vatican II documents. I was very proud to have been born a Roman Catholic, but the world is not all Catholic. As a result of my involvement in interfaith dialogue, I had the opportunity to share my Faith with many non-Catholics. One of the organizations that I joined was the Full Gospel Business Men Fellowship, an ecumenical Christian ministry for men of all walks of life. We would gather at different restaurants once a month, on Saturday mornings. for breakfast. Men that attended were from all affiliations and walks of life---from janitors to millionaires.
One Saturday morning, I sat next to a gentleman whose name is Jim. As I always carry my St Jerome’s Catholic Bible, Jim looked at my Bible, asked me if I was Catholic, and quickly indicated he was Baptist but that he prayed the Rosary. I was happily stunned. I had always heard that Protestants did not want to draw attention to Our Blessed Mother.
He shared with me that he hated the Rosary, and in particular, did not like Catholics who prayed to the Virgin Mary. He believed the rosary was not scriptural, and he perceived the rosary to be an antiquated pagan ritual of praying and worshipping the Virgin Mary.
One evening, Jim went to the funeral of a very good mutual friend, Henry Guerra, who was well-known and admired in San Antonio. Henry had been the anchor man and newscaster for a local radio and television station, and was also a good man and a committed Catholic who always shared his faith. At the Angelus funeral home, Jim told me that there was a "crazy little lady" giving out rosaries for the service. He reluctantly took one, and looked around so no one could see him throw the rosary under the pews. He did not want to be contaminated by what he considered pagan ritualistic practices.
After the service, Jim got into his car and drove out. While he was driving, he noticed that the rosary that he had thrown away was on the passenger’s seat next to him. Immediately, he told himself that the "crazy lady" giving out rosaries had sneaked into his car and placed "the thing" on the seat. He opened the window as he was driving, grabbed the abomination and threw it out the window. Frustrated and angry, he prayed that God would deliver the Catholic Church of this pagan ritual of repeating prayers over and over and over. Then, as he entered his bedroom that evening, he was taken aback. The Rosary that he had thrown under the pews, the Rosary that he threw out the window of his car was now in the center of his bed! He was startled and stunned. He could not move. For seven days and nights, he could not enter his bedroom, sleeping on the floor outside the door of his bedroom, praying fervently, unceasingly for Jesus to intervene.
After seven days of prayer and fasting, he finally felt peace around him. Then, God gave him the courage to pick up this rosary. Since he did not know what to do with it, he began to do research on the rosary---- what it was, how to pray it, and why the non-Catholic churches opposed it. He asked some Catholic friends, and they also did not know (he was surprised by this because he assumed all Catholics prayed the rosary). Finally, he sneaked into a Catholic bookstore and bought a booklet on "How to Pray the Rosary".
Jim read the booklet and it was all about Jesus: His birth, His teachings, His Passion, His Resurrection----all Scripture. He told me that, as he started to pray the Rosary, the presence of the Holy Spirit was all around him. With tears in his eyes, he described how, when he prayed the Rosary, he was bi-located and was present in body and spirit when the angel Gabriel announced to Our Blessed Mother that she was being asked to be the Mother of God, He was spiritually there at the birth of Jesus, and was next to Our Lady as Jesus was being crucified. From then on, Jim was overjoyed and praising God for this wonderful revelation that was given to him through the Rosary and now evangelizes to his non-Catholic brethren about the meaning and beauty of the Rosary. In simple terms, he told me that the Rosary is the key to God’s heart, and that we are being asked to help Our Lady bring God’s children to her son Jesus Christ.
As I have mentioned in past articles, Father Ralph Di Orio was my mentor in the healing ministry. I worked with him for several years and we became very good friends. When he was asked by the Holy Father, St. John Paul II, to go to the Eastern European countries and minister to our Catholic brethren, we sadly said our good-byes. We had become very good friends, and upon his departure, he gave me one of his most prized possessions. At his ordination to the priesthood, he was given a personal rosary by his mentor, Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Archbishop Sheen’s rosary was his departing gift to me.
Father Enda, my Spiritual Director, and I were invited in 1984 to attend a conference in Rome. We were two of 800 people invited throughout the world to attend the World Charismatic conference in Rome. In 1980, at a similar conference, there were two priests from a small village who were very troubled at what was taking place in their parish. Sister Bridge McKenna gave a prophecy to these two troubled but holy priest. She prophesied over them and told them the following: "Do not worry, for the Blessed Mother is going to intervene in your parish". The priests were from the small Croatian village of Medjugorje.
Back to 1984, at the Rome conference, two priests were handing out the first blessed medals that Our Lady had blessed in their parish. Fr. Petar Ljubicic from Medjugorje.gave me four small medals blessed by the Mother of God in his parish. He told me that whoever is touched by these medals from Our Lady would receive graces and healing from God.
I have experienced many amazing instances of the power, graces and blessing of the rosary. For example, one late evening, I receive a tearful call from my sister Yolanda. She was crying and talking at the same time. My sister, a retired LVN, indicated that she had been diagnosed with double breast cancer and was scheduled to go into surgery the next morning; I told her that I would be there shortly. When I arrived, she hugged me with tears in her eyes, and asked me to pray for her because she was afraid. I shared with her about Our Lady and Our Lord. I told her about my Rosary from Archbishop Sheen and the Blessed Medal from Our Lady in Medjugorje. I had placed one of the medals with the rosary of Archbishop Sheen, and prayed for the intercession of Our Lady and healing for her breast cancer. After I finished praying, she grabbed my rosary and told me that she was going to keep it. I said okay.
The following morning, she was prepped for surgery. It is normal, during surgery, that no items will be taken into the surgery room, however, my sister held on to the rosary with a tight fist and told the doctors that under no circumstances was she letting go of the rosary. Reluctantly, the doctors agreed. As the surgeons and nurses were about to start the operation, they were stunned as to what they saw on the x-rays.. The cancer lumps on both breasts were disappearing---- until they were all gone! The unbelievers started to believe in the power of God and in what they were witnessing. Needless to say, they did not operate and the cancer was gone. My sister was healed, and kept my rosary for over one year.
I strongly beseech each of you to begin NOW to spiritually prepare for the horrendous storm that is approaching us and our world very soon.
Let us all cry out to God for mercy and in sincere repentance---do not wait! We have been warned by Our Lady for centuries to convert and turn to God. If we wait to let go of habits, patterns, lifestyles and wrong choices, there is a danger, due to our tendency to continue in our patterns, that wrong choices will be made during times of great stress and coming trials. The danger is that one will prefer/choose the world and its darkness over God and light. Some people think that they can repent quickly at the time of death, but chances are, by this time, you may (or will) not repent, or may not have the opportunity to do so. Let us fervently pray, and let us not delay real, deep inner change of our immortal souls.
Salvation is only given to us by Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; however, it is Our Lady and the Holy Spirit that bring us to Jesus.
Let us then now turn to the Rosary and our beloved Mother for assistance, for direction, and for comfort in these very trying times.
Excerpts from Apparitions and Messages:
"My Immaculate Heart Will Be Your Refuge"
"I will be with you always, and my Immaculate Heart will be your comfort and the way which will lead you to God"….
In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. If you love me you will keep my commandments. I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth whom the world can never accept since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you. I shall not leave you orphans; I shall come to you. In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see that I live and you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you. Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him.' John 14: 12-21
"The apparitions of Our Lady in modern times have awakened the interest of laymen as well as theologians in the direct intervention of heaven in the affairs of men. Revelations are striking and extraordinary manifestations of the divine will. Although they sometimes shock or frighten the faithful, they are a form of God's pastoral activity, a way in which He continues to guide mankind." (From Fr. Joseph Dwight's blog entry 9)
Medjugorje from Our Blessed Mother: "All the world is filled with questions of what will take place. There is a fascination with the future, to know what will come. But, what good is it to know the future when mankind is not willing to repent? Yes, the future is dark and I could reveal the future events. I have already revealed these secrets to the visionaries of Medjugorje. I have also given messages to the world for over thirty years"…. "I have revealed ten secrets of future events to these visionaries, the children whom I have chosen. I have also said that many of these future events could be eliminated if people just prayed and repented." ….Much of the future can be changed if people repent, pray and do penance.
Mark Mallett: Your Questions on the Era
In the early stages of the apparitions in Medjugorje, alleged seer, Mirjana, relates that Satan appeared to her, tempting her to renounce the Madonna and follow him with the promise of happiness in love and life. Alternatively, following Mary, he said, would "lead to suffering." The seer rejected the devil, and the Virgin immediately appeared to her saying:
Excuse me for this, but you must realize that satan exists. One day he appeared before the throne of God and asked permission to submit the Church to a period of trial. God gave him permission to try the Church for one century. This century is under the power of the devil, but when the secrets confided to you come to pass, his power will be destroyed… —Words from Heaven, 12th Edition, p. 145 And again,
…a great struggle is about to unfold. A struggle between my Son and satan. Human souls are at stake. —August 2nd, 1981, Ibid. p. 49.
Prayers and Catechism on Our Blessed Mother
Prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Heavenly beauty and splendor of the Father, You are the most valued Heavenly treasure.
New Eve, immaculate in soul, spirit and body, Created of the godly seed by the Spirit of God, You are the spiritual Mother of mankind.
Pure Virgin, full of grace then and now, Your whole being was raised Heavenly in full glory, To be elevated above all the hosts within the Kingdom of God. O Heavenly Mother, Queen of Heaven and earth, I recognize the glory of your highest title, The Immaculate Heart of Mary!
Loving Mother, dispenser of endless blessings, You who continuously intercedes on our behalf, Please present my need before your loving Son Jesus.
(In your own words, make your special request here. Do not just mention a word. Speak to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as you would speak to another person, begging your Heavenly Mother to plea to Jesus on your behalf, that you be granted this special request.)
O Immaculate Heart of Mary, I know that you are now presenting my need before Jesus, For you have never turned away those in dire need.
Mother dearest, I await your favorable answer, Submitting myself to the Divine will of the Lord, For all glories are His forever and ever.
Blessed Mother Spouse of the Holy Spirit:
Our Blessed Mother Mary is the Immaculate Mediatrix who is the Chosen Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Our Lady is so intimately linked to the Holy Spirit the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity through her profound love and obedience that we can attest without a trace of exaggeration that she is the Spouse of the Paraclete.
Surrendering with alacrity to the abundant and alluring grace of the Holy Spirit, Mary has pledged herself to Him in the spirit of fidelity, thereby becoming His Chaste Spouse. She has rejected everything that is contrary to the Holy Spirit. She has only one Eternal Spouse: the Beloved Counselor.
And this spousal relationship between the Holy Spirit and Holy Mary is so firm and abiding that it is irrevocable; it cannot be broken or even lessened. The sincere consent given by both parties may not be retracted, so forceful, informed and conscious it was. Mary is united to the Holy Spirit in an unspeakable closeness. Our Blessed Mother freely yielded her will to His. As a result, although she retained her God-given freedom, in a real sense her will has been caught up into the Will of the Holy Spirit. Mary’s conformity to the Consoler is so complete that His desires, sentiments and plan of action have become hers.
As always, we look to Mary for much needed inspiration. She, in imitation of her Divine Son Jesus Christ, so entirely submitted herself to the Holy Spirit that we have in her the veritable model and pattern for our lives. Monsignor Charles M. Mangan www.Catholic.org/
Catechism of the Catholic Church
Article 2: I believe in Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.
Article 3: "He was conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary".
I. Conceived by the Power of the Holy Spirit 484 The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates "the fullness of time",119 the time of the fulfillment of God's promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the "whole fullness of deity" would dwell "bodily".120 The divine response to her question, "How can this be, since I know not man?", was given by the power of the Spirit: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you."121
485 The mission of the Holy Spirit is always conjoined and ordered to that of the Son.122 The Holy Spirit, "the Lord, the giver of Life", is sent to sanctify the womb of the Virgin Mary and divinely fecundate it, causing her to conceive the eternal Son of the Father in a humanity drawn from her own.
486 The Father's only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is "Christ", that is to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence, though the manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples.123 Thus the whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power."124
II. Born of the Virgin Mary 487 What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.
Mary's predestination 488 "God sent forth his Son", but to prepare a body for him, 125 he wanted the free co-operation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, "a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary":126
Do you ever feel like you could use some help approaching God in your prayers? The Memorare is a prayer that reminds us that we have a wonderful advocate and protector in the mother of our Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, pictured at right.
In our prayers to her we honor and worship her Son, who is more than happy to listen to His mother’s pleas on our behalf.
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.