The Gathering Storm
St. Paul says the days are evil, and they are indeed. In fact, we are living in hell, because earth, without God, is hell. And earth is today without God. It has rejected Christ the King and ignored His Commandments, as the persecution of true Christians increases. Because of the traitorous and scandalous behavior of the false clergy of the false church, the Catholic Church is hated, and Catholic priests, whether good or bad, will be hunted down and executed. Soon there will be no place for Jesus Christ and His Church.
To say that the earth is hell is hardly an exaggeration. The fallen earth is the domain of the devil, whom Christ several times called “the prince of this world”. The world is good in itself, but it was handed over to the devil when sin entered the world. But Jesus Christ will soon come to claim His rightful inheritance, and will make “all things new” (Apoc.21:5).
The only way to escape “hell on earth” is to avoid its snares and to live an intense Christian life. God has provided us with the means. Our Lord Himself comes to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Holy Communion. We also have the other Sacraments, together with a wealth of sacramentals and pious devotions. But what do we do if and when we are no longer able to receive the Sacraments and attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? We need not fear. Our Lord will not abandon us, because He gave us His own Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to guide us in these evil times, when He spoke from the Cross: “Behold, your Mother” (Jn.19:27).
The 13th of the month of October marks the 99th anniversary of the Great Miracle of the sun at the Cova da Iria in Fatima, Portugal. Why the 13th of the month? The answer is that the intercessory role of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the events at Fatima were foreshadowed in the Bible by the story of Queen Esther, who entered unbidden into the presence of King Ahasuerus, risking her life to save her people from destruction at the hands of the wicked Haman. Haman had obtained a decree from the king on the 13th of the month Nisan, that the Jews in exile in Persia were to be executed on the 13th of the month, Adar. The Fathers of the Church saw in Esther a figure of the Blessed Virgin, and in her uncle, Mardochai, a figure of St. Joseph, with the king representing God, and Haman the devil. Esther’s bold intercession saved her people.
To highlight her intercessory role in the light of the story of Esther, Mary chose to appear at Fatima on the 13th of the month from May to October. Mary was seen by the children at Fatima wearing a star at the hem of her brilliant white garment. Why the star? The name Esther means ‘Star’.
Mary is the only human person allowed to enter, body and soul, into the presence of the King of Heaven, where she intercedes for us with her Son, Jesus Christ, Who sits at the right hand of the Father. Mary is our Morning Star, our Queen Esther, pleading our cause with God, that we might be delivered from destruction at the hands of the devil.
The Great Miracle of Fatima took place before the eyes of 70,000 people who waited soaked by the rain in the mud of the Cova da Iria under a sky heavy with dark clouds. Suddenly at noon the clouds parted and the sun appeared. To their astonishment, the people could look directly at it without hurting their eyes. For some time the sun seemed to revolve on its axis, dancing and sending off waves of multicolored light. Then it began a terrifying descent towards the earth, so that the people fell on their knees screaming for mercy, thinking that it must be the end of the world. The sun then receded and assumed its normal position. The spectacle had lasted about a quarter of an hour. The newspapers in Lisbon, which until then had been entirely skeptical of the Fatima apparitions, and expected to give a report of the non-occurrence of the promised miracle, gave a detailed account of it the following day.
Mary’s reason for appearing at Fatima was to give the Church a simple solution for the terrible persecutions it would experience from its enemies in these times. Just as Queen Esther commanded the Jews to fast and pray as she prepared to enter into the presence of the King, Mary asked for penance and prayers, especially the Rosary, to prevent Russia from spreading her errors throughout the world. She asked for the special observance of the First Saturdays, and that Russia be consecrated to her Immaculate Heart by the pope in union with all the bishops of the world.
These requests were taken very seriously by Pope Pius XII, who in consideration of the dangers the Church would face in the coming years, considered the Fatima devotions next in importance to the Mass itself. He had written prophetically:
“I am worried by the Blessed Virgin's messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in Her liturgy ... A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God ... In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them, like Mary Magdalene weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, 'Where have they taken Him?’ ... I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments and make her feel remorse for her historical past” (Msgr. Georges Roche, Pie XII Devant L'Histoire, p. 52-53).
Say your Rosary every day. Eventually it may be all we have left. The Rosary is a vehicle for pondering and understanding the mysteries of the life of Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Keeping company with Mary as you recite the daily Rosary, you will be able to discern the evil seductions that creep into our lives, and you will be able to free yourself from them. And you will save your soul.