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Header-First Friday Devotions Confirmed at Death

by Andrea F. Phillips

Heaven and earth shall pass away, 
but My words shall not pass away. Luke 21:33

 

My sister, Teresa, worked for many years for America Needs Fatima in Customer Service. In that position, she heard many a story of woe and wonder, pain and joy, sin and grace.

One such story was that of a lady who called America Needs Fatima to order a devotional prayer card. In the course of the conversation, she mentioned she had left the Church.

“You are obviously back, though,” asked Teresa.

“Yes,” confirmed the lady, “because of the First Fridays devotion my mother instilled in my brother and I, and because of his tragic death…”

My sister was now sympathizing and curious.

So the lady went on to relate that when she and her brother were children, their mother had taught them the devotion of the Nine First Fridays, which Our Lord Himself revealed to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque in the seventeenth century.

 

Sacred Heart Devotional Set

 

St Margaret Mary & Our LordOur Lord told the saint: "In the excess of the mercy of My Heart, I promise you that My all powerful love will grant to all those who will receive Communion* on the First Fridays, for nine consecutive months, the grace of final repentance: they will not die in my displeasure, nor will they die without receiving the sacraments; and My Heart will be their secure refuge in that last hour."

In the company of their pious mother, brother and sister indeed received Holy Communion for nine consecutive First Fridays in honor of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

As they grew, matured, and began to lead their own lives, they were both confused by the innovations in their Church. They watched as the tabernacle was de-centralized, beautiful statues removed, churches built that resembled more assembly halls than places of prayer. For a while, devotions such as that of the Nine First Fridays were also de-emphasized. 

Eventually, not recognizing the Church of their youth, they left altogether, and their faith suffered.

Years later, the lady’s brother was driving down a highway when he collided with a freight truck. The truck was ditched, but those who rushed to the scene, were unaware that there was a car lodged somewhere under the massive frame…Inside, was the brother agonizing.

It so “happened” that on that stretch of road, there was a single house. In that house was a man who watched the whole scene. Running out to the spot of the accident, he convinced the rescue personnel that there was someone else, most likely fatally injured, under the wreckage.

On his directions, the rescuers managed to find the lady’s brother. He was badly wounded although still conscious.

And now the man who had assured them of the existence of another vehicle told the rescuers,

Our Lord helping a sick person“I’m a Catholic Priest and I’d like to offer the dying man the Church’s assistance.”

And so the lady’s brother, on acknowledging that he was indeed a Catholic, received the last rites. His soul was cleansed, and he was rejoined to Holy Mother Church.

There, on that lonely highway, Our Lord, Who three centuries before, had pledge His word to Saint Margaret Mary, fulfilled His promise to a dying man, who, when a little boy, had received Holy Communion in honor of His Sacred Heart for nine consecutive first Fridays.

What were the “chances” of that?

His sister, on hearing the story, decided there was no “chance” at all. She was so moved by Our Lord’s fidelity to His own promise that, once more confirmed in the faith she had abandoned, also returned Home.

 


 *Provided we are aware of no mortal sin still unconfessed.

 

 Also Read:  The Sacred Heart, Bridge and Refuge

 

Sacred Heart Devotional Set

 

 

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for July 9, 2020

If you persevere until death in true devotion to Mary, your...

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July 9

 

If you persevere until death
in true devotion to Mary,
your salvation is certain.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

“Let’s go, we are going to heaven today!” exclaimed Fr...

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St. Augustine Zhao Rong and Companions

Augustine Zhao Rong, is one of a group of 120 Catholics, among many more who were martyred between the years 1648 and 1930 in China.

Having come to China through Syria in the seventh century, down through the centuries Christianity has in turn thrived or gone into hiding, contingent upon the relations of China with the outside world.

Of the 120 martyrs mentioned above, eighty-seven were Chinese, ranging in age from nine to seventy-two, and four of them were priests. Thirty-three were foreign-born, mostly priests or women religious. Though the missionaries and religious tried to distance themselves from foreign policies, the Chinese government did not differentiate and saw them all as westerners.

The martyrdoms of China are most moving, each person having died heroically though many of them suffered torture and cruel deaths. Fr. Francis Li, grandson of a Chinese martyr, describes his grandfather going to his death joyfully saying to his brother and son, “Let’s go, we are going to heaven today!”

Zhao Rong was a bailiff of a county jail. During the persecution of 1772, he was moved by the words of Fr. Martinus Moye to his fellow Catholic prisoners, and, ultimately converted. He later became a priest, and when in 1815 another persecution broke out, he was arrested and tortured, and being aged, died of the ill treatment.

The group of 120 martyrs celebrate today headed by St. Augustine Zhao Rong was canonized by Pope John Paul II on October 1, 2000.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. N...

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A Young Man and His Lady Love

In twelfth century England, a group of young men had gathered and were bragging of their various feats, as young men have done since the beginning of time.

The lively conversation went from archery to sword fighting to horsemanship, each trying to outdo the accomplishments of the others.

Finally, the young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

Thomas of Canterbury meant the most holy Virgin as the object of his affection, but afterwards, he felt some remorse at having made this boast. He did not want to offend his beloved Lady in any way.

Seeing all from her throne in heaven, Mary appeared to him in his trouble, and with a gracious sweetness said to him: "Thomas, what do you fear? You had reason to say that you loved me, and that you are beloved by me. Assure your companions of this, and as a pledge of the love I bear you, show them this gift that I make you."

The gift was a small box, containing a chasuble, blood-red in color. Mary, for the love she bore him, had obtained for him the grace to be a priest and a martyr, which indeed happened, for he was first made priest and afterwards Bishop of Canterbury, in England.

Many years later, he would indeed be persecuted by the king, and Thomas fled to the Cistercian monastery at Pontignac, in France.

Far from kith and kin, but never far from his Lady Love, he was attempting to mend his hair-cloth shirt that he usually wore and had ripped. Not being able to do it well, his beloved queen appeared to him, and, with special kindness, took the haircloth from his hand, and repaired it as it should be done.

After this, at the age of 50, he returned to Canterbury and died a martyr, having been put to death on account of his zeal for the Church.

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

The young men began to boast of some foolish love affairs. Not to be outdone by his peers, a noble youth named Thomas declared that he, too, loved a great lady, and was beloved by her.

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