Saturday, May 13, 2006

May - The Month of the Blessed Vrigin Mary

THIRD WEEK AFTER EASTER. Feast day of Our Lady of Fatima
Spiritual Bouquet: I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep. St. John 10:11

Much has been written concerning the six famous apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a little town in Portugal between May 13 and October 13, 1917. Later it would be said, and rightly so, that everything She predicted there to the three little shepherds has been fulfilled point by point. The story is too long to tell in detail in a few words, and indeed it is not over yet.

Our Lady of Fatima was sent to warn the 20th century that humanity had not followed the path that had been indicated to it by her Son; humanity had not developed as God intended, and the time of the last and worst enemy was fast approaching. She said that if Her requests for prayer and penance were not heard, Communism would spread its errors all over the earth. She appealed to the Apostles of the Latter Times to come forth, those who lived in humility, poverty and contempt for the world, repeating what She had already said at La Salette, France, in greater detail in 1846.

During the final apparition on October 13th, She appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, accompanied by Saint Joseph and the divine Child. Through Lucy of Fatima, Mary had promised a miracle to convince doubters of the reality of Her presence and the Will of God She had conveyed by Her words, and She fulfilled that promise. On October 13, 1917, the great Miracle of the Sun occurred, witnessed by all who were present at Fatima, an international crowd of 70,000 spectators. The sun whirled about and seemed to be plunging down as it sent off multicolored rays; many cried out that it was the end of the world.

A large shrine was built at Fatima, and in the 1940’s more than a thousand miracles had already been duly confirmed there. The famous “Secret of Fatima,” part of which was disclosed by the Vatican to certain heads of State in 1963, still remains largely a secret for most of the people who have been waiting for it since 1960, the year that the Virgin said it was to be made public.

For further information: Magnificat magazine — special edition on Fatima.


Doctor of the Church, Cardinal

Saint Robert Bellarmine was born at Montepulciano, Italy in 1542, the third of ten children. After being educated by the Jesuits, he joined the Society of Jesus in 1560, and as a young man taught Greek, Hebrew and theology. While at Louvain University he became famous as a controversialist, and never afterwards did he cease to defend Catholic doctrine against its adversaries. He has enriched the Church with a large number of learned and valuable writings, among which are his Course of Controversy, his famous Commentary on the Psalms, and a treatise on The Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ.

In 1598 Saint Robert was made a Cardinal and in 1602 was raised to the archbishopric of Capua. In 1605 he was recalled to Rome and appointed head of the Vatican Library. He served as theologian and counselor to five Popes: Sixtus V, Innocent IX, Clement VIII, Paul V, and Gregory XV. He died in October of 1621, greatly mourned by the people of Rome as well as by the hierarchy, and was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1930. The following year the same Vicar of Christ declared him a Doctor of the Church. His tomb is in the Jesuit Church, the Gesù, in Rome.

Reflection. A love of Christian silence is proof that a soul makes it a delight to be occupied on God, and finds no consolation comparable to that of conversing with Him. This is the paradise of all devout souls.

Sources: Heavenly Friends: a Saint for each Day, by Rosalie Marie Levy (Saint Paul Editions: Boston, 1958); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 11.