1/10/03 – Vol. 4
Jesus told me: “My beloved, the most pleasing and most consoling words for My Mother are: ‘Dominus Tecum’ [‘The Lord is with Thee’]. In fact, as soon as they were pronounced by the Archangel, She felt the whole of the Divine Being being communicated to Her, and therefore She felt invested with Divine Power, in such a way that, in the face of the Divine Power, Her own dissolved; and so My Mother remained with the Divine Power in Her hands.”
Having solemnized on June 24th the joyous birth of St. John the Baptist, the Church today honors his glorious birth in Heaven. Excepting the Blessed Virgin, he is the only Saint whose temporal birthday is observed.
John the Precursor, who had passed thirty years in the desert where he had flourished like the palm-tree and grown like the cedar of Lebanon, had the courage to openly reproach Herod which the scandal of his illegitimate union with Herodias, his sister-in-law, whose husband Philip, was still alive. “It is against the law,” he said to the king, “for you to take the wife of your brother.” Herodias forced Herod to imprison him, and used an unexpected opportunity to obtain through her daughter Salome the beheading of the Saint who thwarted her criminal passion.
On this day St. John completes his mission, adding the testimony of his martyrdom to the testimony he gave to Christ at His Baptism. St. John was put to death towards the Passover, one year before the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, but the anniversary is solemnized on the day when St. John’s venerable head was found at Emesa, in Syria, in 453 AD.
6/5/05 – Vol. 6
This morning, on coming, blessed Jesus told me: “My daughter, crosses, mortifications, are as many baptismal founts, and any kind of cross which is dipped in the thought of my Passion loses half of its bitterness and its weight decreases by half.” And He disappeared like a flash.
St. Augustine was born in 354 at Tagasta near Algiers. His mother, St. Monica, taught him early to pray. Although he had received with delight her holy teaching, he went headlong into the gravest disorders. Carthage not offering him a theatre worthy of his genius, he went to Rome and obtained the post of master of rhetoric at Milan. “My iniquities,” he confesses, “were like a snowball growing in size as it rolls.” His desolate mother prayed to God incessantly with tears, still following the steps of her son. St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, received him kindly and enlightened him in Divine knowledge. One day, inspired by Heaven, he opened the Espistles of St. Paul and read; “Wallow not in debauchery and impurity; but chothe yourselves in Our Lord Jesus Christ.” His irresolution immediately ceased and at 33 years of age, on Easter Eve, 387, he was baptized.
Seven months after this great happiness, St. Monica died asking her son to “remember her at the Altar of God”. Augustine, becoming a Priest, offered the Holy Sacrifice for her. “Lord,” he often said, “have mercy on my mother; she was good, she pardoned easily, pardon her also her sins.”
Made Bishop of Hippo, at the age of 41, he began from that moment to live Canonically, that is to say, in common with his Clerks. This Community gave Bishops and Priests to many Churches, and thus the Institute of St. Augustine spread little by little in Africa and more specially in Gaul. The Rule of St. Augustine, which makes him one of the four Great Founders of Religious Orders, is drawn from the 211th epistle which he wrote for nuns, and which later on was adapted for men.
Owing to the sublimity of his knowledge and the ardor of his vow, this Saint is also one of the great Doctors of the West.
He died in 430 A.D, after an Episcopate of 36 years, reciting the Penitential Psalms.
4/4/02 – Vol. 4
Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta: At the end I said to Him (Our Lord Jesus Christ): ‘Lord, I repent of the offenses given by me and by all creatures of the earth, and I repent and I am sorry for the sole reason that we have offended You, Highest Good, who deserve love, while we have dared to give You offenses.’
St Joseph Calasanctius
The Church, having just celebrated the Feast of the Assumption (August 15th), venerates on this day a Saint who had a special devotion to Our Lady. St. Joseph Calasanctius was born in Aragon, of a noble family, and from his youth showed his charity towards children. While studying theology at Valencia, he had to defend himself against the enticements of a powerful noble lady and made a vow to enter into Holy Orders. Having become a Priest, he was apprised by Divine Revelation that he was destined to teach and to train children, especially those of the poor. He founded, in consequence, the Order of the Poor Clerks Regular of the Pious Schools of the Mother of God. Like Jesus, he let little children come to him and taught them to fear God (fear as in not wanting to offend someone you love).
As per the consoling words of Our Lord Jesus Christ: “Whosoever shall receive one of these little ones in My Name, receiveth Me.” Matthew 18:5
St. Joseph Calasanctius died in 1648 at the age of 92.
|THE BLACK MADONNA OF POLAND
OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOWA AND JASNA GORA
|Bryan J Walsh
The Black Madonna is a painting of the Madonna and Christ Child which legend states was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist. St. Luke is believed to have used a tabletop from a table built by the carpenter Jesus. It was while Luke was painting Mary that she told him about the events in the life of Jesus that he eventually used in his gospel.
This same legend states that that when St. Helen went to Jerusalem to search for the true cross in 326 AD, she happened upon this portrait of Our Lady. She gave it to her son, Constantine, who had a shrine built to house it. In a critical battle with the Saracens, the portrait was displayed from the walls of Constantinople and the Saracens were subsequently routed. The portrait was credited with saving the city. The painting was eventually owned by Charlemagne who subsequently presented the painting to Prince Leo of Ruthenia (northwest Hungary). It remained at the royal palace in Ruthenia until an invasion occurred in the eleventh century. The king prayed to Our Lady to aid his small army and as a result of this prayer a darkness overcame the enemy troops who, in their confusion, began attacking one another. Ruthenia was saved as a result of this intervention by Our Lady. In the fourteenth century, it was transferred to the Mount of Light (Jasna Gora) in Poland in response to a request made in a dream of Prince Ladislaus of Opola.
The legendary history becomes better documented with the painting’s ownership by Prince Ladislaus. In 1382 invading Tartars attacked the Prince’s fortress at Belz. In this attack one of the Tartar arrows hit the painting and lodged in the throat of the Madonna. The Prince, fearing that he and the famous painting might fall to the Tartars, fled in the night finally stopping in the town of Czestochowa, where the painting was installed in a small church. The Prince subsequently had a Pauline monastery and church built to ensure the painting’s safety. In 1430, the Hussites overran the monastery and attempted to take the portrait. One of the looters twice struck the painting with his sword but before he could strike another blow he fell to the floor writhing in agony and died. Both the sword cuts and the arrow wound are still visible in the painting.
Later, in 1655, Poland was almost entirely overrun by the forces of Sweden’s King Charles X. Only the area around the monastery remained unconquered. Somehow, the monks of the monastery successfully defended the portrait against a forty day siege and eventually all of Poland was able to drive out the invaders.
After this remarkable turn of events, the Lady of Czestochowa became the symbol of Polish national unity and was crowned Queen of Poland. The King of Poland placed the country under the protection of the Blessed Mother. A more recent legend surrounding the painting involves the Russian invasion of Poland in 1920. Legend holds that the Russian army was massing on the banks of the Vistula river, threatening Warsaw, when an image of the Virgin was seen in the clouds over the city. The troops withdrew on seeing the image.
There have been reports for centuries of miraculous events such as spontaneous healings occurring to those who made a pilgrimage to the portrait. It gets its name “Black Madonna” from the soot residue that discolors the painting. The soot is the result of centuries of votive lights and candles burning in front of the painting. With the fall of communism in Poland, pilgrimages to the Black Madonna have increased dramatically.