“Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Mat. 12:48-50). The litmus test for becoming the brother, sister and mother of Jesus Christ is doing the will of his Father in heaven. The Blessed Virgin passed this test with total submission to the will of the Heavenly Father; “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). No wonder, Mary was selected by the Father to gift His son to us.
In the gospels there are very few references to Mary, like the presentation of baby Jesus at the temple, missing Jesus at the age of twelve, miracle at Cana and an instance where she went to meet her son while he was busy preaching the gospel. John the Evangelist records that she was standing near the cross of Jesus at Golgotha. It was here that Jesus entrusted his disciples to the maternal care of his mother in the days to come. After the ascension of Jesus Christ, we see Mary in the Upper Room leading a small group of disciples. ‘All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers’ (Acts 1:14). Finished! Jesus didn’t want to make Mary more known nor did Mary herself wanted to be known. God intentionally kept Mary away from fame while she was in this world because He had reserved a much greater role for her in future. Mary was instrumental in presenting the Saviour to this world. Similarly, in the second coming also Jesus Christ will come through Mary, though in a different way. In the second coming, Mary’s role is to form and train her children as the apostles of the end times.
When we read about Marian apparitions happening at different locations, please understand that they are indicative of the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ in glory. Mary is aptly called the ‘Morning Star’ appearing just before the rise of the sun of righteousness. We are expecting her son Jesus Christ who is the true sun of righteousness and who is coming on the clouds of heaven to reward the righteous. Before the dawn of his eternal kingdom appears, its advent is heralded by the appearance of the ‘Morning Star’ in the horizon. While discussing about Marian apparitions, it is our sincere hope that our beloved readers will approach this topic with the basic understanding that every Marian apparition notifies us about the great event of the second coming of Jesus Christ. Unless we are convinced about this fact it will be a futile exercise to spend our valuable time on this subject, which has by now become a ritual or another form of Marian devotion, giving scant attention to what our Mother wants to convey to us in these end times.
There are people around us who doubt the veracity of Marian apparitions. When we say something about Marian apparition or Marian devotion, the general response is one of scepticism. They might accuse us of giving more importance to Mary than Jesus! But we, at V-catholic are fully convinced that we are living in the end times and that the final battle will be between the dragon and the rest of Mary’s children. For the information of sceptics let us read a verse from the book of Revelation. ‘Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus'( Rev.12:17). Here the woman under reference is unmistakably Mary, because she is the one who ‘gave birth to a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron’ ( Rev.12:5). We do not know any person other than Jesus Christ who fits perfectly with this narration. And we have no doubt that he is the son of Mary.
We also know this, that our Mother has been in a hurry these days to form an army of her own to prepare for the glorious second coming of her son. In the devastating deluge of sin that is swallowing the nations, our Mother is the only refuge. She keeps us in her immaculate heart which will triumph in the end, as prophesied in Fatima.
Like St Louis de Montfort, we too believe that the reason why Jesus is not known as he should have been in these end times is that Mary is not known as she should have been. It is our humble wish that those who read this article will be attracted more and more to the Blessed Virgin so that she will enrol them into her army in the fight against that old dragon. Let the Blessed Virgin intercede on our behalf for getting the gift of wisdom to understand Marian messages in their true perspective. With this prayer we are posting a series of articles starting tomorrow, covering some of the well known Marian apparitions .
(1) Wailing from La Salette
The first major Marian apparition in modern times happened in La Salette in France. It was in the year 1846. It was evening on 19th September. Melanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud were minding their cows in the mountains of La Salette. They had the strange vision of a beautiful Lady sitting with her elbows supported by Her knees. She was weeping. They identified the Lady as the Blessed Virgin. Our Lady gave the children certain messages. These include the necessity to honor the Sabbath and giving due respect to the name of the Lord. She also prophesied about an impending famine, specifically hinting at the scarcity of potatoes. This prophecy about famine did happen soon in France. Exactly five years after the apparition, the local bishop approved the apparition as genuine.
Apart for honoring Sabbath and giving respect to the name of the Lord, Blessed Virgin’s messages contained a call to the whole humanity to convert to Christ. It is clear that the spirit of La Salette messages is nothing but prayer, reconciliation and conversion. They are the only options left to this generation for ensuring peace.
Initially Melanie and Maximin did not disclose the whole message revealed to them by the Blessed Virgin. It was only in 1879 that a small booklet containing Melanie’s version of the apparition and the full text of related messages and secrets was published with an imprimatur from the local bishop. Much of what we know about La Salette apparitions today are contained in this booklet. Looking back after such a long period we realise that the messages of La Salette are more relevant today. Let us go through some of the major prophecies/messages attributed to La Salette.
-Rome will lose faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.
-Church will be eclipsed and the world will be in consternation
-Italy will be punished for her ambition to shake off the Lord’s Yoke
-Evil books will be readily available everywhere
-Evil spirits will have great power over nature and seasons will be altered
-Churches (places of worship) will be built to serve evil spirits
-Evil forces will transport men from one place to another
-A ‘gospel’ opposite the true gospel of the Lord will be proclaimed by evil forces. They will deny the existence of heaven.
-Princes of the Church will be engaged in piling riches
-Attempts will be made on the life of the Pope. Neither he nor his successor can witness the triumph of the church.
-Civil governments will unite with a single goal. They will act against religion.
-Desecration of holy places will happen
-Sinners will be introduced to religious orders intentionally
-Disorder and love of carnal pleasure will rise across the world
-Blood will flow in the streets as a result of wars
-For a time, God will cease to remember France and Italy, because the gospel of Jesus Christ has been forgotten
-Paris will burn and Marseilles will be engulfed
-Several cities will be destroyed by earthquake
-Murder and blasphemy will be commonplace
-There will be a short period of peace after the prophesied destruction
-During this period of false peace people will think of entertainment and amusements only
-A forerunner of Antichrist will appear. He will shed much blood and will act against the Church.
-All kinds of sins will increase.
-Holy places will be corrupted.
-Antichrist will be born of a Hebrew woman who will falsely claim to be a virgin.
Even a cursory look at the prophecies of La Salette will convince us that we are now living in those predicted days. Most of the prophecies have already come to fruition. Any person analysing current events in the Church as well as in the world with an open mind, will be able – without the need of any explanation – to understand the relevance of La Salette messages in our days.
But for a few lines about the Antichrist, Our Lady refrained from telling us that her messages are directly related to the the end times. Perhaps it might be due to the long period granted to mankind in the infinite mercy of the Father, to repent and convert before the Great Day of the Lord comes. Yet, we cannot miss the striking similarities between the events prophesied at La Salette and the incidents prophesied to take place during the end times as recorded in the Bible. If we approach La Salette messages with an open heart, we cannot but come to the conclusion that we are in the final days before the glorious second coming of Jesus Christ.
History records that saints like John Vianney and Don Bosco believed in the La Salette apparitions and messages delivered there. Those messages are more relevant in today’s world which is plunging fast into the all-enveloping darkness of sin. In this turbulent times, we can sail through with hope, and hope only. St Pope John Paul II remarked during the 150th anniversary of La Salette apparitions that ‘La Salette is a message of hope; for our hope is nourished by the intercession of her, who is the mother of mankind’.
It is time to heed to the voice of the mother of mankind. She said at La Salette that if mankind does not submit themselves to God, she will be forced to let go off the hand of her son implying that if the world continues in abominable sins, God will permit a chastisement for purifying it. When strange and horrible things happen in Italy and France, the two counties named by the Blessed Virgin, or elsewhere, it is wise to remember what our Mother warned 174 years ago. When apostasy has overtaken true religion, remember La Salette. Rewind to the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II and bring to mind the prophecy about an attempt on the life of a pope. If the pope mentioned in the message was indeed Pope John Paul II, then meditate on the prophecy that neither he nor his successor can witness the triumph of the Church.
Standing on this earth where the blood of a billion innocent babies were shed, remember the prophecies. They were victims of the most gruesome type of murder – abortion. When everybody talks about an everlasting peace, understand that it will be short lived. When civil governments bring anti-christian and immoral legislations, recollect the words of our Mother. When we begin to hear the most embarassing of news from Rome, remember her words. When the Church ceases to be radiant, remember that for a time, God permitted an eclipse of the Church. When we see obscenity everywhere, be it in books, films, games, dresses or entertainments, remember that they are prophesied long ago.
When the princes of the Church make money their first priority, false gospels are preached at many places, unworthy men and women are purposely inducted into religious orders, holy places are desecrated and temples are built to worship the devil across the globe remember that Our Lady had warned us about everything way back in 1846.
The gates of prophecies will be opened to those who do not doubt them. Heed to the calls of our Mother and she will help us not only to relate current events with what she foretold at La Salette but also to face the future with hope.
(2) From Lourde, With Love
After La Salette, another Marian apparition happened in the year 1958, this time too in France. During the period from 11th February to 16th July that year, Our Lady appeared to a peasant girl, Bernadette Soubirous on eighteen occasions at the grotto at Massabielle on the outskirts of Lourdes. Initially everybody doubted the apparitions and termed it her hallucination. Even the Church authorities were sceptical. During the thirteenth apparition the Blessed Virgin told Bernadette; “Go, tell the priests to come here in procession and tell them to build a chapel here”. When Bernedette conveyed the message to the priest, he didn’t believe it and admonished her. When she insisted, the priest told her to go and ask the Lady’s name!
Bernadette’s family was very poor at the time apparitions happened. Though she was 14 at that time, she was studying basic catechism with those who were 7- 8 years old. After the first apparition on 11th February 1858 her mother told her not to go again to the place. But Bernadette somehow managed to obtain her mother’s permission again. Next apparition was on a Sunday. Bernadette sprinkled holy water on the Lady when she appeared. It was an attempt to confirm that the apparition was not of an evil one and Bernadette was glad when the Lady smiled at her. On the third apparition some other reliable people from the village accompanied her and on the fourth occasion, her mother and aunt along with another ten persons went with her.
News of the apparition spread like wild fire in Lourdes and surrounding areas and the number of people gathering there increased every day. By the time of the fifteenth apparition the numbers had swelled into 8000. On 21st February, police officers came there at the orders of the Commissioner and interrogated Bernadette. Seeing all these, her father was afraid. He promised the police officers that his daughter will never go to the grotto again.
But Bernadette did go. On 23rd February, around 150 people had gathered there. And some government officials came again and interrogated her. It was on this day that a personal secret was revealed to her by the Lady.
By the time of the next apparition, the crowd grew into a few hundreds. Our Lady told Bernadette to say the prayers for penitence. She was asked to pray to God for sinners. She was asked to kiss the earth and also to eat the grass growing below the grotto as a sign of penitence.
The ninth apparition happened on 25th February. In the presence of around three hundred onlookers, Bernadetta got the message from Our Lady to go and drink water at the grotto and wash herself from there. She obeyed and went to the grotto. But to her surprise, there was no water at all in or near the grotto. A perplexed Bernadette looked at the Blessed Virgin and she told Bernadette to dig at a place below the grotto. Without raising any questions, she started digging the soil with her hands and at times ate the grass and herbs that grew there. Finally she uncovered a puddle of muddy water. By next day the muddy pool began to flow as a spring, a perennial source of clean water. To this day the spring flows and the quantity of water flowing out of it was once estimated at an unbelievable 27000 gallons per day!
Interrogation by police and government officials was a regular feature as they were uncomfortable with a Marian apparition drawing hundreds of people to Lourdes. On the date of the eleventh apparition she was questioned again, this time by a judge and she was prohibited from going to the grotto in future. But she managed to go there again. On the 12th apparition, the first miracle happened at Lourdes. It was the miraculous healing of the paralysed arm of a child who was brought there.
Meanwhile, at the instance of the priest, Bernadette asked the Lady her name. She didn’t give any answer, but smiled. On the fifteenth apparition also she repeated the question, but received only a smile in reply. However on the sixteenth day she got the answer. Our Lady declared: “I am the Immaculate Conception’.
However, there were still many people who thought Bernadette’s story was simply illusions of a peasant girl. They wanted to verify it. On the seventeenth day the town physician,who was sceptical about the veracity of the apparitions visited the apparition site. He knew that Bernadette was not insane. But he thought illusions or hallucinations can happen to sane people also! His intellect didn’t permit him to believe in the supernatural. But a miracle happened on that day and it opened the eyes of the doctor and those assembled there. During the apparition it was Bernadette’s practice to hold the rosary in the left hand and a lighted candle in the right hand. Midway through the rosary, Bernadetta joined both hands with the lighted candle touching her arms for minutes together. When the rosary was over, to the astonishment of those around her, there was no burn marks on her hand nor did she experience any pain.
But the town physician’s doubts didn’t subside. He wanted to repeat the experiment again. He lighted the same candle and touched her hands. Bernadette felt the burning pain and drew her hand away immediately. This happened in the presence of hundreds of eyewitnesses. All of them including the doctor had to admit that there was something supernatural in what this peasant girl has been saying.
Today Lourdes is one of the most frequented Marian apparition sites in the world. Thousands and thousands of miraculous healings are reported from there. Ask anybody who had been to Lourdes and he/she will say about the numerous healings happening there. But what is the real message that Our Lady wanted to tell us at Lourdes? It is nothing but penitence and prayer for sinners. Lourdes is an invitation to return to the path of gospel which was gradually going into oblivion in those days, in spite of the spacious cathedrals and imposing institutions that have by then become the face of the Church to the world.
A century and half has passed since Our Lady appealed to the mankind to return to her son. Where do we stand now? Closer to Jesus or farther away from him?
Let us take a firm decision to live a life of prayer and penitence. Where sin has increased, grace has to increase manifold. How can the world experience God’s grace unless we, the chosen people, live a life of grace? Prayer for sinners and penitence for the sins committed against God are the need of the hour. Everybody is called to it, especially those who call themselves the apostles of the end times.
May Our Lady of Lourdes intercede for us so that we are back in the track of a life according to gospel, of which prayer and penitence are essential parts.