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 by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

 

A commentary on the miraculous International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima 

 

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I do not know a countenance equal to this one. Moved by an inveterate habit of observing everything, I contemplate it so that I may later understand it. As I fix my eyes upon that countenance, I suddenly perceive that I am entering it.

Yes, its unique expression emanates from the face and especially the eyes. Enveloped in the ambience it creates, I feel invited to enter deep into her gaze.

What a gaze! None other is so calm, frank, pure, or welcoming. In none other can one penetrate with such ease. None other holds such unfathomable depth or grand horizons. The more one penetrates this gaze, the more one is attracted toward an indescribable interior and sublime summit.

What summit? A state of soul I would be tempted to describe as full of paradoxes if the word “paradox,” were not so misused today and thus appear disrespectful.

The Scholastics say every perfection results from the balance of harmonious opposites. Thus I am not speaking about a precarious balance between flagrant contradictions whereby our contemporary world seeks to maintain a poor stained and vacillating peace at the cost of so many shameful concessions. No, this is a supreme harmony of all forms of good.

In the depth of this gaze, I see arise precisely a peak where all perfections meet. It is a peak incomparably higher than the columns that support the firmament. It is a peak where a crystalline, categorical and irresistible rule excludes every form of evil, however slight or small.

One could spend a whole lifetime within that gaze, without ever reaching the summit of that peak. It is not however a useless effort. Within that gaze one does not walk, but flies. One is not a tourist but a pilgrim.

Although the pilgrim can never reach the height of that sacred mountain, the sum of all created perfection, he sees it with ever increasing clarity the more he flies toward her. 

 

On Pilgrimage Within a Gaze of Our Lady of Fatima

While on this pilgrimage of the soul, the pilgrim flies toward a gaze that does not merely envelope but penetrates him. Closing his eyes, he perceives a light in the depths of his being.

The gaze is the soul of the countenance. It is an impressive countenance! The fool might consider it inexpressive. To a skilled observer, it is greater than History because it touches eternity; greater than the universe because it reflects the infinite.

The forehead appears to contain thoughts that, beginning with a crib and ending with a Cross, take in all of human events.

The lines of the entire face and nose possess a charm “more beautiful than beauty.” As a poet once wrote, these are silent lips that nevertheless say everything at every moment. They appear to praise God in the uniqueness of every creature, beseeching God to have pity on every pain and misery as if she had suffered from each one of them. These lips have an eloquence which reduces the orations of Demosthenes or Cicero to utter babble. What can be said of the skin other that it is snowy-white? This description says both everything and nothing. To describe it, one would need to imagine a snowiness that profoundly reflects with infinite discretion, all the shades of the rainbow, which would in turn inspire the soul that contemplated it with all the wonders of purity.

Yes, I went on pilgrimage within this gaze so filled with surprises. Yet, I unexpectedly feel that her gaze also went on pilgrimage inside me. Hers was a poor and merciful pilgrimage, not from splendor to splendor, but from need to need, from misery to misery. If only I open myself to her, she will offer me a remedy for my shortcomings, help against every obstacle and hope for every affliction.

This statue is a wooden statue without any special artistic value like so many others. And yet, one only has to fix one’s eyes on this statue to see that, without moving or the least physical transformation, it becomes brilliant with all these splendors. I do not know how this happens. However, if the reader wishes, let him look and see…

I insist. If you believe in the description that I have made, I invite you in turn to make this magnificent pilgrimage within the gazes of the Virgin. If you do not believe, look and see. I could not offer a better invitation…

I pray to her for thee. I pray for the Holy Church troubled and tormented as never before.

 


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 27, 2021

Pray with great confidence, with confidence based upon the g...

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January 27

 

Pray with great confidence, with confidence
based upon the goodness and infinite generosity of God
and upon the promises of Jesus Christ.
God is a spring of living water
which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray.

St. Louis de Montfort


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Angela Merici

Angela was much distressed when her sister suddenly died wit...

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St. Angela Merici

Angela de Merici was born in Desenzano, on the southwestern shore of beautiful Lake Garda, in northern Italy. Left an orphan at the age of ten with an older sister and a brother, they were taken in by an uncle living in the neighboring town of Salò.

Angela was much distressed when her sister suddenly died without the assistance of the last sacraments. At this time she had a vision, the first of many in her life, which set her mind at rest as to her sister’s salvation. In gratitude, she made a special consecration of herself to God, joined the Third Order of St. Francis and began to lead a life of great austerity.

After her uncle died when she was twenty, Angela moved back to Desenzano. Convinced of the need to instruct young girls in the Faith, she converted her home into a school. In a vision, she was shown that she would found a congregation for the instruction of young girls. Angela talked with fellow Franciscan tertiaries and friends who began to help her. Though petite in stature, Angela had looks, charm and leadership. Her school thrived and she was approached about starting a similar school in the larger city of Brescia where she came in contact with leading families whom she influenced with her great ideals.

In 1525 on a pilgrimage to Rome, Pope Clement VII, who had heard of her holiness, suggested she found a congregation of nursing sisters in Rome. But Angela who felt called elsewhere and shunned publicity, declined and returned to Brescia.

On November 25, 1535, with twelve other virgins, Angela Merici laid the foundations for her order for the teaching of young women, the first congregation of its kind in the Church. She placed her order under the protection of St. Ursula the patroness of medieval universities and popularly venerated as a leader of women. To this day her followers are known as the Ursulines.

Angela died only five years after establishing the Ursulines, and was canonized in 1807 by Pope Pius VII.

Photo by: Benoit Lhoest

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a con...

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Our Lady and the Three Dresses

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

One day, their priest-confessor advised them that, as a preparation for the feast of the purification of Mary, they should recite the whole Rosary every day for forty days. The three nuns obediently complied.

On the night before that holy feast day, the Heavenly Mother appeared to the three nuns as they gathered in the choir. To the first of these three sisters she handed a rich garment, embroidered with gold. Holy Mary thanked her and blessed her.

She then handed to the second nun a much simpler garment, and also thanked her. Noticing the difference in the two garments, the second sister asked, "Oh Lady, why have you brought my sister a richer garment?" Mary Most Holy lovingly replied, "Because she has clothed me more richly with her prayers than you have done."

Mary then approached the third nun with a canvas garment. Being an observant young lady, this sister at once asked pardon for the half-hearted way in which she had prayed her rosaries.

A full year had passed when all three fervently prepared for the same feast, each saying her Rosary with great devotion. On the evening preceding the festival, Mary appeared to them in glory, and said to them: "Be prepared, for tomorrow you shall come to paradise."

The following morning dawned, full of promise. Each nun wondered if this would be her last day in this vale of tears. When evening came, would they retire to their modest cells once more, or did Holy Mary have something else in store for them?

The sisters related to their confessor what had occurred, and received communion in the morning. At the hour of compline (evening prayers) they saw again the most holy Virgin, who came to take them with her. Amid the songs of angels, one after the other sweetly expired.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

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