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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 ANF 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

 

Our 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,

“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

 

 

 

DAILY QUOTE for April 30, 2017

Such is the will of God that we should have everything throu...

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April 30

 

Such is the will of God
that we should have everything
through Mary.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


Affirm your Faith! Click HERE to Protest Against Blasphemy

SAINT OF THE DAY

Pope St. Pius V

“The Christian fleet is victorious!” he exclaimed, as hi...

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Pope St. Pius V

Antonio Ghislieri was born in 1504 in Bosco, in the Tortona diocese. He received the Dominican habit at age fourteen, and after his ordination in Genoa, taught theology and philosophy for some years. He was Prior and Novice Master of several priories during a time of great moral laxity.

In 1556, he was consecrated Bishop of Nepi and Sutri and, the following year, was made Inquisitor General and raised to the rank of Cardinal.

Pope Pius IV transferred him to the bishopric of Mondovi in Piedmont, a diocese that had suffered much from the ravages of war. Under the care and guidance of the new bishop, the region was soon restored to peace and prosperity.

Recalled to Rome at the death of Pius IV, he was chosen as his successor, due in great part to the efforts of St. Charles Borromeo who saw in him the reformer the Church needed.

Taking the name of his predecessor, Pius V immediately introduced a new austerity and sobriety in the Papal States, re-directing sums customarily used for celebrations and festivities to aiding hospitals, poor convents and the truly indigent. He also initiated the tradition of the pope wearing white, as he continued to wear his white Dominican habit after being raised to the papal throne.

With zeal and apostolic energy, he launched numerous reforms, from ridding the Papal States of brigands to passing legislation against prostitution. In countering the widespread practice of granting favors and nominations to family members, or nepotism, he kept relatives at a distance.

Pope Pius V also had the best edition of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica published and, in 1567, he declared him Doctor of the Church. He promulgated the Catechism of the Council of Trent and had it translated into foreign languages. He also imposed on all parish priests the duty of using the Catechism to instruct the young in the tenets of the Faith.

Politically, materially and prayerfully, he supported Don Juan of Austria and Marc Antonio Colonna in the war against the Turkish fleet at Lepanto, the maritime battle that broke the Ottoman power in the Mediterranean. From the very onset of the conflict, the Pope had prayed almost continuously, often with arms raised like Moses on the mountain. At the decisive hour of victory, as a Rosary procession wound its way through Rome, the Pope interrupted his work, walked over to a window, and with radiant face, exclaimed, “The Christian fleet is victorious!”

To commemorate the great deliverance on October 7, 1571, he instituted the title of “Our Lady Help of Christians” and the feast of the Holy Rosary.

In the following year the pope was struck with a painful disorder from which he had long suffered, but which his austerities aggravated. He died on May 1, 1572, at the age of sixty-eight.

WEEKLY STORY

The Robber Who Stole Heaven

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a...

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The Robber Who Stole Heaven

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. His occupation being what it was, he would only increase his property by decreasing that of his victims.

One day, he was admonished by a local religious to change his course of life and thereby insure his eternal salvation. The only answer the robber gave was that for him there was no remedy.

"Do not say so," said the religious, "do what I tell you. Fast on each Saturday in honor of the Virgin Mary, and on that day of the week do no harm to anyone. She will obtain for you the grace of not dying in God’s displeasure.”

The robber thought to himself, “This is a small price to pay to insure my salvation; I will do as this holy man has prescribed.” He then obediently followed the religious’ advice, and made a vow to continue to do so. That he might not break it, from that time on he traveled unarmed on Saturdays.

Many years later, our robber was apprehended on a given Saturday by the officers of justice, and that he might not break his oath, he allowed himself to be taken without resistance. The judge, seeing that he was now a gray-haired old man, wished to pardon him.

Then the truly miraculous occurred. Rather than jump for joy thanking the judge for his leniency, the old robber, said that he wished to die in punishment of his sins. He then made a public confession of all the sins of his life in that same judgment hall, weeping so bitterly that all present wept with him.

He was beheaded, a death reserved for the nobility, rather than hanged. Then his body was buried with little ceremony, in a grave dug nearby.
Very soon afterwards, the mother of God came down from Heaven with four holy virgins by her side. They took the robber’s dead body from that place, wrapped it in a rich cloth embroidered with gold, and bore it themselves to the gate of the city.

There the Blessed Virgin said to the guards: "Tell the bishop from me, to give an honorable burial, in such a church to this dead person, for he was my faithful servant." And thus it was done.

All the people in the village thronged to the spot where they found the corpse with the rich pall, and the bier on which it was placed. And from that moment on, says Caesarius of Heisterbach, all persons in that region began to fast on Saturdays in honor of she who was so kind to even a notorious robber.

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

In the mountainous region of Trent in Germany, there lived a notorious robber who made his living by bringing misfortune on others. 

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