Perhaps no other Order in the Roman Catholic Church has defended not only the honor, but also the prerogatives of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Franciscan School, as it is called, through its doctors of the past and her theologians of the present has sought to gain increasing insight into the great mystery of God's love for mankind.
Setting aside the consideration of unbalanced and exaggerated sentimentality which can never be the solid foundation for any true devotion, let us consider the positive and solidly grounded facts upon which the Church's declarations concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary are based.
Before doing this, we will recall for the benefit of all concerned the fundamental doctrine of the Church regarding Her teaching authority and in whom this authority is conferred and restricted.
This return to basics is necessary. It is necessary because there have arisen numerous incompetent individuals who with rash audacity and bolder presumption have taken upon themselves the teaching authority of the Church. It matters little what their pious pretext may be; it is always an indication of pride and prompting not of the Holy Ghost but of the spirit of error, that is, of the devil.
Those who brashly proclaim to whomever will listen to them that the binding doctrines of the Church are only those that have been solemnly declared "ex cathedra " under serious error.
Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) already saw the need to call to the mind of all loyal Roman Catholics through the bishops in regard to the Immaculate Conception the sublime and sacred teaching authority of the Church: "These truths (i.e., concerning the Blessed Virgin Mary's Immaculate Conception) so generally accepted and put into practice by the faithful, indicate how zealously the Roman Church, mother and teacher of all churches, has continued to teach this doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin."
This is not an empty boast on the part of the Holy Father, as if to indicate a haughtiness and pretentious pride, but a requirement of his paternal concern for all souls _ even those of the erring.
Pope Pius IX then continues in the next paragraph of the Apostolic Constitution "Ineffabilis Deus" to emphasize the particular role of the Church's teaching authority:
"These truths, so generally accepted and put into practice by the faithful, indicate how zealously the Roman Church, mother and teacher of all churches, has continued to teach this doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin. Yet the more important actions of the Church deserve to be mentioned in detail.
For such dignity and authority belong to the Church that she alone is the center of truth and of Catholic unity. It is the Church in which alone religion has been inviolably preserved and from which all other churches must receive the tradition of the Faith"a.
Note well these words: " .she alone is the center of truth and of Catholic unity."
And even though the words of Pope Pius IX concern dissent over the Immaculate Conception, they are equally applicable to any other teaching of the Church through Her ordinary magisterium. His Holiness, Pope Pius IX wrote: "And furthermore, against all and everyone of those who shall continue to construe the said Constitutions and Decrees in a manner apt to frustrate the favor which is thereby given to the said doctrine, and to the feast and relative cult, or who shall dare to call into question the said sentence, feast and worship, or in any way whatever, directly or indirectly, shall declare themselves opposed to it under any pretext whatsoever, were it but only to the extent of examining the possibilities of effecting the definition, or who shall comment upon and interpret the Sacred Scriptures, or the Fathers or Doctors in connection therewith, or finally, for any reason, or on any occasion shall dare, either in writing or verbally, to speak, preach, treat, dispute or determine upon, or assert whatsoever against the foregoing matters, or who shall adduce any arguments against them, while leaving them unresolved, or who shall disagree therewith in any other conceivable manner, we hereby declare that in addition to the penalties and censures contained in the constitutions issue by Sixtus IV to which We want them to be subjected and to which We subject them by the present constitutions, We hereby decree that they be deprived of the authority of preaching, reading in public, that is to say teaching and interpreting; and that they be also deprived ipso facto of the power of voting, either actively or passively, in all elections, without the need for any further declaration; and that also, ipso facto, without any further declaration, they shall incur the penalty of perpetual disability from preaching, reading in public, teaching and interpreting, and that it shall not be possible to absolve them from such penalty, or remove it, save through Ourselves, or the Roman Pontiffs who shall succeed Us." (Apost Const. Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854).
Genuine Catholic tradition claims the universal mediation of Mary. In the Encyclical Letter Octobri mense (September 22, 1891), Pope Leo XIII says of Mary:
"The eternal Son of God, about to take upon Himself our nature for the saving and ennobling of man, and about to consummate thus a mystical union between Himself and all mankind, did not accomplish His design without obtaining the free consent of her who was to become His Mother.
She was the representative of all mankind, according to the illustrious and learned opinion of St. Thomas who says that `in the Annunciation was awaited the consent of the Virgin standing in the place of humanity.'
With equal truth it may be said that of the great treasure of all graces given to us by Our Lord _ `for grace and truth came by Jesus Christ' _ nothing comes to us except through the mediation of Mary, for such is the will of God."
Here we find the highest authority in the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Leo XIII, expressing the teaching of the Church with regards to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Furthermore, as if to make certain that there is no misunderstanding, Pope Leo XIII states:
"Thus, as no man goes to the Father but by the Son, so no one goes to Christ except through His Mother".
Here is a clear teaching of the Church spoken by a true Vicar of Jesus Christ, Pope Leo XIII.
This same Vicar of Jesus Christ assures every true and loyal believer the proper thinking and attitude that every Catholic must have regarding Mary's role as Mediatrix of All Graces:
"The plan of this most loving mercy, realized by God in Mary and confirmed by the testament of Christ, was understood with the utmost joy by the holy Apostles and the earliest believers. It was the belief and teaching of the venerable Fathers of the Church.
"Christians of every generation received it with one mind; and even when literature and tradition are silent, there is a voice that breaks from every Christian heart and speaks with eloquence."
One might ask for greater proof. But, what greater proof can there be than Pope Leo XIII's assertion:
"Nothing is needed other than divine faith which, by a most powerful and yet sweet impulse, moves us toward Mary."
We see here the very essence of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary: that without which there can be no true devotion to Mary of any kind: supernatural faith. Without this supernatural faith which is the beginning of all genuine supernatural life, there can be no devotion because true devotion is not a superficial, sentimental figment of the imagination.
True devotion must be based on reality _ a reality that we human beings cannot `invent' but can only humbly accept as coming from God, the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier. For, human reason alone cannot ascend that high degree of divine knowledge without first descending into the depths of its own humble state since the first act of disobedience.
"Nothing comes to us except through the mediation of Mary, for such is the will of God!"
The great saint of devotion to the Blessed Virgin in our modern times is St. Louis de Montfort. Yet, it would be wrong to think that this devotion to Mary began with him as if it were something novel. St. Louis himself gives evidence to the error of such a view by basing this devotion upon the solid foundations of Holy Scripture and the most noted Doctors of the Church.
This is the way of every saint: Even though the special grace which comes from the Holy Ghost serves to inspire the intellect and enflame the will, nevertheless, the saint seeks confirmation of this not from himself, but from the Church. Here, the `Church' is the teaching authority as it is found in the Scriptures, the Doctors and Popes. Since there is nothing new under the sun, as the Scriptures tell us, any working of God's grace will already have existed. It only remains to go back into the past to find it.
For this reason, St. Louis often quotes Doctors of the Church who themselves have been raised upon the altars of the Church as saints. He quotes Doctors whose names ought to be as familiar to us as our own, but are, alas!, hidden and relegated to the obscurity of dusty volumes seldom opened.
We have heard much of Doctors like St. Thomas Aquinas, but we have little or no knowledge of him, whom St.Thomas admired and dearly befriended: St. Bonaventure. He quotes from St. John Damascene (virtually unknown among the Greek Fathers of the Church); he quotes St.Augustine, St. Bernard, St. Bernardine of Siena, St. Thomas Aquinas _ not to mention many other outstanding churchmen.
It is only too true when St. Louis writes: "What Lucifer lost through pride, Mary has gained through humility. What Eve has damned and lost through disobedience, Mary has saved through obedience. Eve, in obeying the serpent, has destroyed all her children together with herself, and has delivered them to him; Mary, in being perfectly faithful to God, has saved all her children and servants together with herself, and has consecrated them to His Majesty."
How important is true devotion to Mary in our days? It is extremely important because there will never be any peace even for a brief time without turning to the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mediatrix of All Graces.
It is not enough that a handful of relatively pious souls practice this devotion. It is necessary that the greater part of mankind should return to God. And, we should have no illusions about this tragedy brought on by people themselves: That the greater part of mankind will perish for all eternity.
Devotion to Mary is one of the signs of the predestined. This being the case, what can we think of all those who fall in the category of heretic and schismatic?
Just as there can be no fruitful devotion to the Son while denying and rejecting any part of His teachings, so there can be no true devotion on the part of those who may externally finger their rosaries, but are separated from the Church because of their acceptance of heresy.
What good, for example, is the open recitation of the rosary in front of those temples of human sacrifice ("abortion clinics") if these prayers cannot be acceptable either to Mary or to Jesus?
According to St.Louis, true devotion to Mary is necessary for the formation of genuine apostles of these latter days. But, let us keep in mind that an apostle must spread the true faith. Added to this must also be the necessary mission. This means that an apostle is sent _ no one can take this upon himself.
Just as the Blessed Virgin Mary did not appoint herself as the Mother of God, so, too, no `apostle' can appoint himself. Unfortunately, if there is one outstanding characteristic of those who call themselves `Catholic' is that they ignore the order established by God and appoint themselves as `apostles.'
They give themselves all kinds of pious titles and are significantly profuse in their use of pious ejaculations. They appoint themselves; they quote the Scriptures; they quote Popes _ but always out of context much like Satan and Protestants. These are false devotees of Mary.
It is time that those who wish to count themselves as children of Mary throw off the neutralizing efforts of the devil's race. The Masonic slogans of "equality, fraternity, liberty" are the slogans taught them by Lucifer, their god. Their "equality" means the enslaving of all but themselves; their "fraternity" means fratricide for their enrichment; their "liberty" means the enslavement of mankind to Satan.
Those who hate all that is good; those who hate Mary and Jesus Christ, these are the people of whom St. Louis speaks when he writes:
"God has not only set an enmity, but enmities, not simply between Mary and the devil, but between the race of the holy Virgin and the race of the devil; that is to say, God has set enmities, antipathies and secret hatreds, between the true children and servants of Mary and the children and slaves of the devil. They have no love for each other. They have no sympathy for each other. The children of Belial, the slaves of Satan, the friends of the world (for it is the same thing), have always up to this time persecuted those who belong to our Blessed Lady and will in the future persecute them more than ever; just as Cain, of old, persecuted his brother Abel, and Esau his brother Jacob, who are the figures of the reprobate and the predestinate.
But the humble Mary will always have the victory over that proud spirit, and so great a victory that she will go so far as to crush his head, where his pride dwells. She will always discover the malice of the serpent. She will always lay bare his infernal plots and dissipate his diabolical councils, and even to the end of time will guard her faithful servants from his cruel claw."
And what of the last days? Or are we to assume or presume that these `last days' might somehow not involve us who are among the living in this year of Our Lord 2000?
Without falling into the error of those who boldly and rashly `predict' the time of Christ's Second Coming, the prudent child of Mary prepares to withstand and confute the more and more openly expressed antagonism of the children of Satan.
But, let us listen attentively to what St.Louis has to say of the `last days':
"But the power of Mary over all the devils will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lay his snares against her heel: that is to say, her humble slaves and her poor children, whom she will raise up to make war against him.
They shall be little and poor in the world's esteem, and abased before all, like the heel, trodden underfoot and persecuted as the heel is by the other members of the body.
But in return for this, they shall be rich in the grace of God, which Mary shall distribute to them abundantly. They shall be great and exalted before God in sanctity, superior to all other creatures by their lively zeal, and so well sustained with God's assistance that, with the humility of their heel, in union with Mary, they shall crush the head of the devil and cause Jesus Christ to triumph."
In this time of universal apostasy from the true faith on both sides of the pendulum _ the leftist Modernists and the rightist Traditionalists_ the true apostles of Mary will be so very different from those hypocrites of both extremes in whom one detects the same demon of disobedience.
St. Louis, who lived in the eighteenth century _ he died in 1716 after only sixteen years of priesthood. He was forty-three. He was not alive when the treacherous Jew, Adolf Weishaupt, feigning conversion infiltrated the Church only to use this knowledge in preparation for the better-coordinated attacks upon the Mystical Body of Christ. Yet it was in 1776 that Weishaupt finished his plan for the destruction of the Roman Catholic Church through the Talmudic front-organization commonly known as `Freemasons.'
And just exactly who are those `latter day' apostles of Mary? Among other descriptions, St. Louis writes:
They shall be the true apostles of the latter times, to whom the Lord of Hosts shall give the word and the might to work marvels, and to carry off with glory the spoils of His enemies. They shall sleep without gold or silver, and, what is more, without care, in the midst of the other priests, ecclesiastics, and clerics; and yet they shall the silvered wings of the dove, to go, with the pure intention of the glory of God and the salvation of souls, wheresoever the Holy Ghost shall call them. Nor shall they leave behind them, in the places where they have preached, anything but the gold of charity, which is the fulfillment of the whole law".
It has always been the way of divine Providence to give to the world in times of great crisis saints that would turn the people away from Satan and restore them to God. Every age has seen such saints. But, what of our times? Where are the great saints? How will we recognize them?
To begin with, they will have a virile and visible devotion to the Blessed Mother as the Mediatrix of All Graces. Then, as St. Louis writes:
"I have said that this would come to pass, particularly at the end of the world and indeed presently, because the Most High with His holy Mother has to form for Himself great saints who shall surpass most of the other saints in sanctity, as much as the cedars of Lebanon outgrow the little shrubs; as has been revealed to a holy soul whose life has been written by M. de Renty.
These great souls, full of grace and zeal, shall be chosen to match themselves against the enemies of God, who shall rage on all sides; and they shall be singularly devout to our Blessed Lady, illuminated by her light, strengthened, led by her spirit, with her nourishment, supported by her arm and sheltered under her protection, so that they shall fight with one hand and build with the other.
With the one hand they shall fight, overthrow and crush the heretics with their heresies, the schismatics with their schisms, the idolaters with their idolatries and the sinners with their impieties."
Noteworthy in these words is the forcefulness with which St.Louis perceives the latter days when heresy will surround the little flock, when schism will no longer be a matter of history, but will be a daily occurrence because today the greatest schismatics are the renegade clergy and the people whom they deceive.
It is these renegade priests and their unwitting supporters against whom the true apostles of Jesus and Mary must fight. Notice: It is a fight; it is a war!
What heretics have been `overthrown with their heresies? What schismatics have been `crushed' together with their schisms? The impious occupants of the Vatican have only given praise and power to heretics and to schismatics by their flattery of the haughty heretics and the scheming schismatics. No where do we see the humbling of the heretic and the surrender of the schismatic to the grace of God.
Nowhere do we see the Mohammedan (Muslims) converted to Jesus; nowhere do we see the Talmudists (Jews) repent of their demonically inspired opposition to Jesus Christ. Where, then, are the `apostles of the latter days'? Apparently, they have not yet been formed by the Mother of God. For we know nothing of them. All we see are heretics on the left and schismatics on the right. And behind and before us, we have that peculiar phenomenon of renegade clergy and Religious who flaunt their obedience to the visible authority in the Church.
Is there no sign of these `apostles of the latter days' simply because the time has not yet come for them to appear in that visible supernatural strength of which St.Louis speaks?
For the sake of many souls, let us sincerely hope so.
Meanwhile, those who wish to be among the children and slaves of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces, must renew their fervor and work so that the words of St.Louis, inspired by the Holy Ghost may be realized:
"Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, in might and in grace in these latter times: in mercy, to bring back and lovingly receive the poor strayed sinners who shall be converted and shall return to the Catholic Church: in might, against the enemies of God, idolaters, schismatics, Mahometans (Muslims), Jews (Talmudists) and souls hardened in impiety, who shall rise in terrible revolt against God to seduce all those who shall oppose them, and to make them fall by promises and threats; and finally, she must shine forth in grace, in order to animate and sustain the valiant soldiers and faithful servants of Jesus Christ, who shall battle for His interests."
Cruel persecutions have already begun in various ways: some with outright bloodshed, others with serpentine calumnies against the Church and Her loyal ministers.
The devil and his servants and slaves are among the seemingly most prosperous in the world; his slaves use every cunning strategy to infiltrate the highest positions in governments, in the various sects and, finally, in the Holy City itself, the Vatican. From these lofty locations, Satan guides his slaves to execute his unholy will upon the unsuspecting populaces the world over.
It is no wonder that the ancient sect of the Talmudic Pharisees hated St. John more than any other of the Apostles. For, unlike the others, it was St.John who received the grace of discernment. He discerned the true mind and heart of those who waged war against Jesus Christ. They tried to destroy him, but every effort failed. Finally, so that he would not be able to influence others, he was exiled to the island of Patmos.
The same is true today: The Pharisees of the 20th century have already made it public: those certain Catholic clergy who have discerned their evil hearts must be isolated so they may not reach others.
The time is now here for every true and loyal Roman Catholic to turn to Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces. Now is the hour to prove our genuine faith. We are all aware of the recognized apparitions of Mary. Her last apparition at Fatima instructed us on the course the entire Church must take to bring peace to the world. We are aware of the dire consequences of disobedience to the Mother of God. Even then, in her mercy, the Mother of God promises that her Immaculate Heart will triumph. It is our duty to work towards this end. We must work selflessly; we must labor in union with Christ's successor of the Apostles.
For this reason, dear readers, let us dedicate this last year of the 20th century as the Year of Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces.
a. St. Irenaeus, Adv.Haereses, book III, c.III, No.2
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