Thursday, December 31, 2009

Celebrate A Catholic New Year

  1. Be honest. Know yourself. What is your strongest virtue? What is your worst vice? Therefore, tailor your resolution so it strengthens your good side and fights your bad one. A one-size fits all resolution is useless.
  2. Be specific. Don’t use generalities. They don’t work. For example, if you need to be more humble, just saying “I am going to be more humble,” is useless. You need to zero in on one situation where you need to practice humility and resolve to improve in that one situation.
  3. Be simple. Don’t make it complicated. Focus on something you can see and measure easily and that does not overwhelm you each time you try to obtain it. Otherwise, you will become distracted and your energy will be dispersed and misdirected.
  4. Be reasonable. Don’t try to do too much at once. You won’t become a saint in one day. Remember: every soul has one MAJOR point upon which is hinged his or her entire fidelity to God and His Holy Laws. Find out and work on improving that key point. You’ll see how everything else will improve if you improve on that one major point.
  5. Be consistent. It’s far better to do something small everyday to improve on that one key point in your soul than to make a big resolution that you cannot keep for more than a week or two. Slow and steady wins the race!
  6. Be humble. Recognize that you cannot do any good action which has value in the supernatural order without God’s grace and the intercessory help of the Blessed Mother. Beg God’s grace through Our Lady’s intercession constantly in all your thoughts, desires and actions
  7. Be disinterested. Remember that God wants us to defend His rights and interests, and to share His thoughts and ways. And therefore, to focus on things, happening and events that are very close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary that are not necessarily linked to our own personal interests.
  8. Write it down. It’s important to write down your resolution so you can refer back to it often during the year. Also, by writing it down, you will be able to review it when the year is over, and to evaluate your progress since the time the resolution was made.
  9. Public expressions of faith. Don’t hide your faith. That’s just what the devil wants. He knows when you express your faith publicly, others see you and are encouraged to follow your good example. Say grace openly and proudly before meals in a restaurant so people can see. You’ll be surprised with the good reactions you will get.
  10. Devotion to Our Lady. Have more devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Devotion to the Mother of God is a panacea. Saint Louis de Montfort said that devotion to Holy Mary is the easiest, safest, fastest, most secure, and surest path to Jesus and to our own salvation. If you can nothing else, resolve to say the Rosary everyday. Saint Louis de Montfort wrote:

“If you say the Rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins 'you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory.' Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practice black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if-- and mark well what I say-- if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins."

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nancy Pelosi: Free Will Trumps Catholic Church's Pro-Life Teachings on Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor

Washington, DC ( -- The rift between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Catholic Church will likely grow thanks to new comments the abortion advocate made. Pelosi said in a new interview that the "free will" of women wanting abortions outweighs pro-life Catholic teachings. Click here for more.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Taking Fatima Seriously by Meeting the Witnesses

America Needs Fatima has republished John Haffert’s 1960 book, Meet the Witnesses, which contains the most complete collection of eyewitness testimonies to the Miracle of the Sun in Fatima. In an era of rationalism and doubt, this is the book’s unique contribution to the many volumes written on Fatima. However, since the unfortunate death of Sister Lucy in 2005, Meet the Witnesses has become even timelier.

For decades, Sister Lucia’s very presence within the cloistered walls of her convent had reminded millions of Fatima and Our Lady’s requests made to the faithful: daily recitation of the rosary, sacrifice for the conversion of sinners, abandonment of sin, the Five First Saturdays devotion and reparation for the offenses committed against her Immaculate Heart. Sister Lucy’s presence also reminded Catholics worldwide of the chastisement that Our Lady predicted would ensue if her requests were not heeded.

Despite this reminder, people did not reform their lives. A consideration of the general decline of morals since 1917 begs the question: “Will the world have to be chastised before people will change?”

If so, it is good to think back to October 13, 1917. Three months earlier Our Lady had promised Lucy a miracle “so that all might see and believe.” The news had spread throughout Portugal and over 70,000 people traveled to the Cova da Iria to see what would happen. Atheists and probably even some Catholics ridiculed the “credulous” and “gullible” pilgrims.

In spite of these chides, Our Lady did work a miracle. Though some may have expected wonderful cures like those she worked at Lourdes, Our Lady astonished the crowd with a miracle so terrifying that many thought the end of the world had come.

Get this book by clicking here

The sun unexpectedly spun all over the sky and even plummeted towards the earth. Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, founder of the first TFP, wondered if the Miracle of the Sun might not indicate the magnitude of the chastisement unrepentant mankind is bringing on itself. Might other things “spiral” out of control and threaten the world with total destruction?

To encourage reflection on this miracle and hence on the Fatima message, we are offering Meet the Witnesses. The personal accounts it contains bring the Miracle of the Sun to life. They vividly project the image of the sun spinning in the sky and nearly crashing to earth. They cause readers today to echo the cry of the witnesses. In the depths of their souls, they too exclaim, “We believe!” Today, the book has become even more valuable, since God has called to Himself most of the witnesses Mr. Haffert interviewed.

Meet the Witnesses invites everyone to prepare diligently for serious trials in a world that deserves divine punishment. It challenges each one to strengthen his faith, increase his love and proclaim his unshakable certainty in Mary’s promise: “Finally, My Immaculate Heart will triumph!”

You can obtain a copy of this impressive book by clicking here

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A God So Small, Yet Infinite; Infinite, Yet So Small!

Written by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as it were of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

Thus does Saint John's Gospel (1:14) announce the ineffably grand moment when the Son of God "dwelt among us" in order to manifest His glory.

Yet, how discreet, how humble, how hidden was this first step taken by the King of the universe along His path of suffering, struggle, and triumph!

Let us meditate on the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ with the Gospel of Saint Luke (2:1-7).

And it came to pass that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria.

And all went to be enrolled, everyone into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his espoused wife, who was with child.

And it came to pass that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

Let us picture a poor wedded couple, dressed with simplicity and bound for Bethlehem, crossing the arid countryside of the Holy Land, an aridity alleviated only by a few streams and olive groves. Mary travels seated on a young donkey, while Joseph proceeds on foot pondering the words of the angel who revealed to him the miraculous character of his virgin spouse's pregnancy.

As they reach Bethlehem, the winter night falls. But no one receives them, "because there was no room for them in the inn."

Is it for them that there is no room, since they have no prestige? Prestige commonly comes, especially in decadent times, from money and concessions to the vices of the times and the spirit of the "world" (this spirit being understood in the sense the Gospels give it). But this holy couple is poor and gifted with a highly religious spirit -- virtues the "worldly" find particularly detestable.

Nevertheless, Saint Joseph and Our Lady descend from the highest lineage of Bethlehem of Judea. Saint Joseph is a prince of the House of David, and Our Lady likewise descends from the kings of Judea.

However, so decadent are the Chosen People that in their eyes Saint Joseph is nothing but a poor carpenter, while Our Lady, his relatively well-off cousin, has chosen to share his poverty.

What are they doing in Bethlehem?

They are obeying the decree of the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, who, certainly for vanity's sake, had ordered a census to ascertain how many were subject to his power.

The Prince of the House of David, in travelling to the city of his birth, manifests the glory of the foreign emperor. Saint Joseph is conquered, Caesar Augustus is the conqueror, and Bethlehem fails to recognize her illustrious children.

"He came unto his own, and his own received him not" (John 1:11). Mary and Joseph, bearing the very Son of God, are rejected by their own people and are thus obliged to seek shelter in a cave inhabited by animals. So it is in the intimacy and isolation of that dwelling place for beasts that history's most important event up till that time unfolds: the Word of God made flesh in the most pure womb of Mary comes into the world.

* * *

Thus does one understand the kind of joy proper to the Nativity. A great solitude and deprivation, but at the same time,a great elevation. For over such misery descended riches without name, riches unlike any others on the face of the earth. The Child-God was wrapped in swathes of cloth and lying in a manger where animals feed.

None, save that couple, witness or know how to appreciate this scene of indescribable grandeur.

The highest glory is there present in a tender child who, crying, hungry and cold, extends his little arms towards his mother, requesting a little milk or a blanket to be covered. And Our Lady knows that it is the Creator who opens his arms unto her! The Sovereign of the universe cries, beseeching a bit of milk and warm clothing!

We can imagine the contrast between the supernatural ambience and the poverty of the grotto. There the Child Jesus is adored by all the angels in a magnificent choir, the celestial court celebrating the greatest feast up to then. Angels and Archangels, Cherubim and Seraphim, all with extraordinary brilliance give glory to God through the Nativity. That glory permeates the grotto discreetly, for it is necessary that those outside not take note, that only souls of faith perceive what is happening and only in intimacy. Our Lady is there reclining and praying as the most perfect soul in the history of mankind, save only for the divine Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

For Our Lady alone is worth more than all the souls before her, during her time and thereafter; more than all who existed, exist, and will exist until the end of the world. She alone is worth more than all the angels.

A short distance away, praying to the Child-God and to Our Lady, is the humble cabinetmaker, the deposed prince, obscured by history and by the misfortunes that befell his ancestors. That man received an honor proper to no one else: He was chosen to be the spouse of the mother of the Word Incarnate, the adoptive father of the very Son of God!

* * *

This takes place at midnight, when little moved in the ancient world. We can imagine the silence, the abandonment. The inhabitants of the nearby city of Bethlehem comfortably rest in their beds. Outside, even the livestock sleep while the Divine Infant is born. Everything is empty and darkness reigns. Only within that grotto does a small light flicker. Only that couple is there, they and the Child Jesus, the King of ages, the God-Man Himself.

This divine event takes place before few. The greatest of honors is born and resides entirely in a frail infant. The most important historical event up to that time comes to pass in secret. In such a way that the sole witnesses to that august scene desire to meditate, to remain silent, with more desire to feel the Nativity within themselves than to proclaim it in a loud and clear voice. It is the affectionate reverence of those who feel inadequate to render gratitude for the extraordinary honor of touching, in such an intimate way, so high a mystery coupled with pity and compassion for a God who consented to make Himself so small. How to express respect so great that it approaches fear, and tenderness so profound that it seems almost to liquefy the soul? Lofty veneration, then lofty adoration, finally, lofty tenderness.

This also seems to explain the nocturnal aspect of the Nativity. We cannot conceive of it taking place except at night. For darkness is necessary for radiating so discreet a light. Therein we find the joy characteristic of Christmas that hesitates to expand itself for fear of losing its delicacy and intimacy.

* * *

Thus does one understand why such Christmas carols such as "Stille Nacht" ("Silent Night") are customarily sung in a low voice, almost as if to oneself. They are sung as if not to awaken the Child Jesus. This is one aspect of the genius of "Stille Nacht," composed by a simple German schoolmaster in the last century, yet now the preeminent Christmas carol of all ages. Hearing it we have the impression that the choir is in a corner of the cave of Bethlehem. The choir sings with such emotion, for it almost cannot help it, yet in a very low voice, so as not to disturb the Divine Infant nor the ineffable and almost internal song with which Our Lady is lulling her Son.

In this way one understands the thousand delicacies that emanate from "Silent Night" and the tenderness of the Nativity. It is a song expressive of a kind of compassion for Him who is being celebrated: How little this infinite God; how infinite this little God!

Centuries of Christian civilization were necessary that the most celebrated of Christmas songs might blossom like a flower in the Catholic Church.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Onward, Christian Elephants?

It seems these elephants are part of the Church Miltant! I normally would not post something like this but it comes from the official archdiocesan web site in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

In July 2008, a severe persecution of Christians broke out in the Indian state of Orissa. A 22 year old nun was burnt to death when angry mobs burnt down an orphanage in Khuntpali village in Barhgarh district, mobs attacked churches, torched vehicles, houses of Christians destroyed, and Fr. Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral center that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire. The end result saw more than 500 Christians murdered, and thousands of others injured and homeless after their houses were reduced to ashes. Recently a strange and dramatic event took place in Orissa, which has many people talking and wondering.

In recent months, herds of wild elephants have begun to storm villages that are home to some of the worst persecutors of Christians during the troubles. In one village, where in August a year ago the Christians had to run for their lives while their homes were being destroyed by rioters, a herd of elephants emerged from the surrounding jungle exactly one year later, in July 2009, at the same time of the day of the attack.

These elephants first attacked a rock crusher machine owned by a key leader of the persecution movement. They then went on to destroy his house and farms.

Hundreds of villagers have been forced to take shelter in camps in the Indian state of Orissa after repeated attacks by a herd of elephants.

Seven people have been killed and several others injured in attacks by a herd of 12-13 elephants over the past few weeks in Kandhamal district.

Over 2,500 people living in 45 villages have been affected by the attacks, district chief Krishen Kumar said.

It is, however, unclear why this herd of elephants migrated from the Lakheri sanctuary in a neighbouring district. He said the herd had travelled some 300km into Kandhamal, and even entered a town in the district. Wildlife officials were camping at the site of the attacks and trying to find out why the elephants had come out of their sanctuary. The villagers say elephants attack their areas in herds, causing heavy destruction.

Gaining momentum, they rampaged through other non-Christian homes, demolishing gardens and singling out the home of persecutors, leaving Christian homes untouched.

These strange attacks have spread, and according to a report, the elephants have already destroyed more than 700 houses in 30 villages, and killed five people. Nobody in this area has seen or even imagined the unique appearance of a herd of wild elephants such as this. The elephants are not ordinary elephants; they appear to be on a mission.

Typically, smaller elephants enter a village first, appearing to survey the community. They then rejoin the larger herd, and larger elephant soon follow and get the job done.

The ministry partner in India stated “We think that it might have something to do with the avenging the blood of martyrs. In fact the fear of God has fallen on the local people, who have labeled these elephants “Christian elephants.”

With little help coming from the administration, the villagers have taken to road blockades. "The elephants have destroyed crops and selected houses. But officials too express helplessness. "There is no permanent habitat of elephants in Sundargarh. They come from Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand where their habitats have shrunk. But is not clear how and why these elephants reached Orissa.

Here is the link to the Colombo archdiocese:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Same-Sex "Marriage" in the Land of Fatima?

LISBON, Portugal, December 18, 2009 ( - Portugal's Socialist government will seek to legalize same-sex "marriage," they announced yesterday.

At a news conference, Cabinet Minister Pedro Silva Pereira said the government will be putting forward a new bill that would strike current references to marriage as being between a man and a woman from Portuguese law. The proposal, he said, will likely be presented for debate in the Assembly of the Republic, the country's sole legislative chamber, in January.

While same-sex "marriage" is opposed by the opposition Social Democratic Party and other right-leaning parties, the Associated Press reports that the bill is "almost certain" to pass because the government is backed by all left-leaning parties, which form a majority in Parliament.

If passed, the bill must then be approved by President Anibal Cavaco Silva, who has the power of veto. While it has been reported that Silva opposes same-sex "marriage," he also supposedly opposes abortion, even though he approved the liberalization of Portugal's abortion law in 2007. Should he veto, Parliament could potentially override his decision.

The true definition of marriage was upheld in July by Portugal's Constitutional Court, which ruled 3-2 against two homosexual women seeking to challenge the law. They made their challenge on the grounds that Portugal's constitution forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation. The court responded, however, that the constitution does not state that same-sex "marriage" must be allowed.

The government's move follows a January announcement from Prime Minister Jose Socrates that he would seek to legalize same-sex "marriage." His comments provoked a strong reaction from the largely Catholic country, even from members within his own party.

"This is the moment for the PS, in its national congress, to affirm its desire to propose to Portuguese society the right to civil marriage for people of the same sex," he said.

Mario Soares, a founder of the Socialist Party and former Portuguese President, came out publicly against Socrates, saying that "homosexual marriages are complicated questions of conscience ... but there are certain radicals who want to move forward [with it] to show that they are leftist."

The Catholic bishops of Portugal responded to Socrates' comments by declaring their commitment to fight the attempted redefinition of marriage. Same-sex "marriage," said spokesman Fr. Manuel Morujao, "is an offense against marriage that is, by its nature, heterosexual." The movement to create "homosexual marriage," he continued, is a "threat" to Portuguese society and is moving along "an erroneous path."

"What are we going to say to the generations coming after us?" he asked. "That they can be whatever they want? That they can choose whatever they want to be from a menu of identities?"

The article above comes from

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's Not Too Late!

It's Not Too Late to Give This Book to Your Loved Ones or Yourself For Christmas!
If you haven't already read or ordered this book, I urge you to do so today, and you still make receive your copy before Christmas.
Living in a time, as we do where a 'hero' is defined by their popularity, meeting a true American hero, in fact an "American Knight" is the perfect tonic to lift one's hopes for our country and inspire them to imitate the real virtues of Colonel Ripley.
An ardently devoted Catholic, he lived his Faith through his vocation as husband, father and soldier. While the lives of today's heroes appear to be a steeped in contradictions, in values and in Faith, Colonel Ripley's life was one of rock solid consistency no matter what role he assumed.
At the conclusion of the book, after you have had the opportunity to get to know him, you will find his testimony on homosexuals in the military and women on the battlefield. I encourage you to read it and unquestionably see how he applied the tenets of his Faith and his love of the Blessed Mother to every aspect of his life.
I hope you order and read this book, then join me in praying for the future of our country, echoing Colonel Ripley's prayer; "Jesus, Mary, get us there!"

Is Communism Really Dead?

We ask how it is possible for these protesters to fly the Soviet flag in Copenhagen.

They know that communism had dragged the nations under Moscow's yoke into such misery. Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, everyone had the opportunity to see the miserable situation in Russia and the captive nations. Why do they belong to a political party whose only achievement was to throw their own nations into this extreme poverty, slavery and disgrace.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

When Were the First Apparitions of Our Lady?

by Valdis Grinsteins
The Virgin of Covadonga is among the earlier appartions of Our Lady, in which She appeared to the monarch, Don Pelayo and inspired the reconquest of Spain from the Moors.

Recently, several books enumerating the apparitions of Our Lady were published in Italy. When I had the opportunity to take a look at them on a recent trip to Rome, I was surprised. While in one epoch, there were numerous apparitions, in another they were very rare; in one epoch the Holy Virgin appeared to one class of people, in another she appeared to an entirely different class. During the nineteenth century, there were very important and approved apparitions, for example Lourdes, but also an inflation of false ones, perhaps indicating that the devil had been given permission to confound souls as a chastisement for sin.

What I found most interesting was how these apparitions always served the most pressing needs of the Church. Thus, during the conquest and conversion of the Americas, Our Lady appeared many times to the Indians, helping the missionaries to catechize, baptize and civilize them. However, I have never heard of an apparition to support the “neomissionaries” of today, who are determined that the Indians remain in an unbaptized state of barbarity.

In the nineteenth century, there were various apparitions of the Blessed Virgin to the saint founders of religious congregations. These greatly aided the world-wide expansion of Catholicism. This era also saw apparitions linked to the diffusion of Marian devotions, like the miraculous medal.

As I read, I became eager to analyze one point with more detail: what was the purpose of the first apparitions of the Mother of God?

Our Lady appeared to St. James the Greater to instruct him to build a chapel in her honor.

Saints and the Privileged
The conversion of Spain was unimaginably difficult. Saint James, the Apostle, expended tremendous effort and suffered to convert the area’s long-enduring pagans. To encourage him, Our Lady, who was still living at the time, appeared to him on a pillar in the city of Cesaraugusta (currently Saragossa). She told him that in the future the faith of the Spanish people would be profound and serious. Very consoled, the Apostle continued his arduous work. The results of his labors are evident today. A considerable part of the Catholic Church prays in Spanish and Our Lady of the Pillar is the Patroness of Spain.

Technically speaking, this was not an apparition in the theological sense of the word, but rather a bilocation (being in two places at the same time), since Our Lady was still present on earth. Therefore, the following story can be considered the first true apparition of history.

All the Apostles were gathered in the Greek city of Ephesus, on the modern coast of Turkey. While beseeching the aid of the Most Holy Virgin regarding the various difficulties of the nascent Church, the Mother of God appeared, full of light, and promised never to abandon them. Since all the Apostles together represented the Church Hierarchy, this apparition can be seen as a promise that Our Lady would always aid the Church’s leadership. This help would be continually demonstrated throughout history.

The next apparition we will discuss seems to be intentionally geared to teach God’s ways to those who think that Church progress can only occur in spectacular, brilliant and immediate ways. On the contrary, the dissemination of this apparition could scarcely have happened in a slower and humbler way.

Around the year 70, a converted woman, living in Le Puy, in modern-day France, was gravely ill. After seeing Our Lady, she was cured and built a small chapel on the site of the apparition. Throughout history, other miracles were performed there, which gained a certain popularity for the shrine.

Pilgrimages to the shrine slowly grew until the nineteenth century, when a Church was built on the spot. After 1700 years, the shrine had slowly become a center for pilgrimages. The local bishops accepted the devotion, which represents perseverance throughout centuries rather than spectacular miracles or resounding revelations.

This is often how things happen in the Church. A little work is accomplished each day. Although this work seemingly bears no fruit, it conquers through perseverance and in the end gains success and a great good.

Apparitions and Doctrinal Disputes

After the era of persecution and martyrdom had ended, the devil, having been unable to destroy the Church through violence, sought to destroy Her by sullying Her doctrine with heresy.

Today, the logical, solid, consistent and admirable collection of Church teaching seems to be the most normal thing in the world. However, much effort, polemics and persistent study, all inspired by the Holy Ghost was necessary to arrive at this point.

For example, it took ten centuries to doctrinally express the sacraments with a clear and precise definition. One can hardly measure how much prayer, work and study was employed to achieve the admirable cathedral of church doctrines, many of which are only implicit in the Gospels and Tradition. It is not surprising that the devil wanted to introduce cracks in this doctrinal foundation. Thus, the heresies strove to topple the magnificent doctrinal building of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

To defend the Church, Our Lady appeared many times to the bishops, successors of the Apostles, in fulfillment of Her promise never to abandon them. Thus, She appeared twice to Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Mira: the first time, when he was named bishop, the second shortly after the Council of Nicea. Saint Nicholas, whose admirable charity we celebrate at Christmastime, was a great defender of Catholic doctrine concerning the divine nature of Our Lord.

Forty years later, the Virgin appeared to Saint Basil of Caesarea, the great defender of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. Around the year 370, She appeared several times to Saint Martin, bishop of Tours, pledging Her assistance in the formation of future holy bishops, who would profoundly change France.

Today, many people have difficulty measuring the doctrinal importance linked to such apparitions. To them, philosophy and theology seem to be “vague” sciences, concerned with theoretical problems that are inconsequential to daily life. Nothing could be further from the truth.

For example, as the Church strove to present the true doctrine of the Gospels on the nature of Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, with clarity and precision, the devil attempted to show Him only as man or only as God. But if Our Lord were only man, the Catholic Church would not have a divine origin and if He were only God, it would empty the Redemption of meaning and render it inimitable by man.

One thing for sure is that from the days of the early Church to today (as seen in the apparitions at Fatima), Our Lady has always placed Herself at the center of the fight between good and evil.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Our Lady of Guadalupe: She Who Smashes the Serpent

Written by Cesar Franco

Pope Pius XII gave Our Lady of Guadalupe the title of “Empress of the Americas” in 1945. Since December 12 is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, this is a propitious moment to recall how she reigns over our nation from Heaven, protecting and guiding us with motherly solicitude and tenderness. The constant miracle memorialized on Saint Juan Diego’s tilma and the context of the apparitions remind us that Our Lady is victorious over the serpent, intervenes in history and is eager to intercede for those who seek her intercession in this vale of tears.

How Our Lady Intervened in History
The oldest reliable source of the apparitions of the Mother of God to Saint Juan Diego was written in Náhuatl by Antonio Valeriano. He was a contemporary of Saint Juan Diego and Bishop Frey Juan de Zumárraga. Mr. Valeriano’s account was published in 1649 and is known as the Nican Mopohua.

“My Holy One, my Lady, my Damsel, I am on my way to your house at Mexico-Tlatilulco; I go in pursuit of the holy things that our priests teach us.”

On December 9, 1531, Juan Diego was on his way to attend Mass in what is today Mexico City. It was dawn as he approached Tepeyac Hill, a few miles from his destination. Juan Diego was no ordinary Indian, but the grandson of King Netzahualcoyotl, 1 and the son of King Netzahualpilic and Queen Tlacayehuatzin, who was a descendant of Moctezuma I.

As Juan Diego neared the hill’s summit, something extraordinary happened. Unseen birds began to sing in a supernatural way. The birds would pause while others responded, forming a heavenly duet. He thought he was perhaps dreaming and pondered how unworthy he was to witness something so extraordinary.

The heavenly symphony stopped and a sweet voice called him from the summit, “Juanito. Juan Diegito.” Hearing this, he happily ascended the hill. What he found upon reaching the source of the voice changed his life forever. There, on a rock, stood a beautiful lady. Everything around her was transformed. Her clothing was as radiant as the sun. The rock she stood upon seemed to emit rays of light. She was surrounded with the splendors of the rainbow. Cacti and other plants nearby looked like emeralds. Their spines sparkled like gold and their leaves were like fine turquoise.

Juan Diego bowed before her in ceremonious respect. A tender dialogue between Our Lady and Juan Diego followed, “Listen, xocoyote mio,2 Juan, where are you going?”

Rejoicing, he happily responded, “My Holy One, my Lady, my Damsel, I am on my way to your house at Mexico-Tlatilulco; I go in pursuit of the holy things that our priests teach us.”

The celestial lady revealed to him that she was indeed the Mother of God, telling him of her desire to have a church built, where she might bestow all her love, mercy, help and protection. She showed overflowing love to Juan Diego, “and to all the other people dear to me who call upon me, who search for me, who confide in me; here I will hear their sorrow, their words, so that I may make perfect and cure their illnesses, their labors and their calamities.”

Then Our Beloved Lady, respecting the authority established by God, sends the noble Juan Diego with this message to the bishop-elect of Mexico. She tells him to accomplish the mission diligently, promising to reward his services. He bows, telling her that he will go straightaway to fulfill her wishes, and departs.

Frey Juan de Zumárraga was one of the first twelve Franciscan missionaries to go to Mexico and the first bishop of that new land. When Juan Diego reached the bishop’s palace, he promptly announced he wished to deliver a message for the bishop. The servants made Juan Diego wait before allowing the audience. Obediently, and with great enthusiasm, he told the bishop what he had seen and heard. Bishop Zumarraga listened attentively, but told Juan Diego to return when they could discuss the matter at greater length. After all, how did he know the story was true?

Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac Hill. As he approached the hill, Our Lady was waiting for him. He drew near and knelt. With sadness, he told Our Lady that he failed in his mission. The marvelous dialogue continues, “My Holy One, most noble of persons, my Lady, my xocoyota, my Damsel . . . .”

Juan Diego explained why he failed, how unworthy he was for such a mission and how the bishop was suspicious. Our Lady listened tenderly and patiently as he suggested she send one of the well-known and respected lords of the land. Then, he thought, her message would be believed.

Our Lady was not persuaded. She wanted him to accomplish the mission, and said, “I pray you, my xocoyote, and advise you with much care, that you go again tomorrow to see the bishop and represent me; give him an understanding of my desire, my will, that he build the church that I ask . . . .”

Juan Diego did not fear the difficulties of the mission, he was only afraid the mission would not be accomplished. However, he told Our Lady he would fulfill her command and return the following evening with the bishop’s reply.

“And now I leave you, my xocoyota, my Damsel, my Lady; meanwhile, you rest.” Juan Diego suggested that Our Lady rest! It is impressive that she not only allowed him to treat her this way, but also loved his candidness.

The next day, he traveled to Mass. Afterward, he went directly to the bishop’s palace, fell on his knees and repeated all that Our Lady had told him. The bishop, in turn, asked questions about the lady. Not entirely convinced, however, the bishop told Juan Diego that he could not affirm that the apparition was Our Lady and asked for a sign of reassurance from Our Lady to build a church.

Juan Diego confidently stated he would ask Our Lady for a sign. The bishop agreed, and sent a few servants to follow Juan Diego and report on everything he did. But they lost him and could not find him. They returned annoyed, speaking poorly of him to the bishop. They even resolved to seize and punish Juan Diego when he appeared again.

Juan Diego should have returned with the sign on Monday, but when he returned home, his uncle Juan Bernadino was seriously ill. His health worsened throughout Monday night, and on early Tuesday morning asked Juan Diego to call a priest. The nephew obediently went, making sure his route did not pass near Tepeyac Hill as he feared Our Lady would see him and persuade him to continue the mission she entrusted to him. So he took a shortcut he thought concealed him from Our Lady.

Stealthily advancing along, he was discovered by Our Lady, who descended the slope and asked, “Xocoyote mio, where are you going? What road is this you are taking?”

Caught red-handed, Juan Diego replied diplomatically, “My daughter, my xocoyota, God keep you, Lady. How did you waken? And is your most pure body well, perchance?” Then he explained his predicament, “My Virgin, my Lady, forgive me, be patient with me until I do my duty, and then tomorrow I will come back to you.” One cannot help but smile while imagining Juan Diego, in his simplicity, asking Our Lady to wait until he returned the next day after helping his dying uncle.

The Mother of God responded affectionately, “Do not be frightened or grieve, or let your heart be dismayed; however great the illness may be that you speak of, am I not here, I who am your mother, and is not my help a refuge?”

She told him his uncle was already cured. Juan Diego rejoiced, and asked her to give him the sign that the bishop wanted. She told him to go to the hilltop and cut the flowers he would find. Then, he was to bring them back to her. It was December, and only cacti and a few other sparse plants grew on the hill. However, Juan Diego found Castilian roses in abundance there and delighted in their fragrance. He carefully cut several, wrapping them in his tilma or cloak made of cactus fiber. He returned to Our Lady and she tenderly arranged them inside his tilma with her own hands, and commanded him to go to the bishop and show him the sign he was waiting for. She also told him not to open his tilma for anyone but the bishop.

Bishop Juan de Zumárraga
He made haste to Bishop Zumárraga, confident now that he would accomplish Our Lady’s designs. Along the way, the wonderful fragrance of the roses pleased him. At the bishop’s palace, he was left waiting for a long time. The servants saw him as a nuisance and made him wait until it was very late, and even demanded to see what was in his tilma. Because he refused to show them, they pushed and knocked him about. When he perceived he would not see the bishop unless he showed them something, he let them peek in the tilma.
Seeing and smelling the celestial roses, the servants made three attempts to take some. At each attempt, the roses miraculously became part of the tilma as if they were painted. With this, they ushered Our Lady’s ambassador in to see the bishop. Juan Diego knelt down and began to explain all he saw and heard from Our Lady. The bishop listened intently. To prove what he said was true, he untied his tilma and let the roses fall to the ground. Those watching fell to their knees in silent amazement. Miraculously imprinted on the tilma was Our Lady’s perfect image. Recalling their disbelief and mistreatment of the Blessed Mother’s ambassador, the servants were shamed.

Bishop Zumarraga tearfully took the tilma from Juan Diego, placed it in his private chapel, and entreated Juan Diego to stay with him for the night in the palace. The next day, with a crowd following behind them, the two went to the site where Our Lady wanted her church built. Juan Diego gave a detailed account of the apparitions. Then they went to see Juan Bernadino and check on the state of his health.

She Who Smashes the Serpent
Juan Bernadino was surprised to see his nephew accompanied by the bishop and a crowd of admirers. Naturally, he asked what was happening. The miracle was told again and Juan Bernadino acknowledged that he was cured. Our Lady appeared to him and cured him. She told him of her desire to be called Santa María de Guadalupe. Guadalupe in Spanish corresponds phonetically to Coatlaxopeuh in Náhuatl, which means “I smashed the serpent with the foot.”

The bishop then displayed the tilma in the Cathedral of Mexico for public veneration, and called on all to help in the construction of the new church, which was completed on December 26, 1531. On that day, a great procession was made from the cathedral to the new church. Spaniards and Indians, ecclesiastical and imperial officials alike, accompanied Our Lady of Guadalupe to her new shrine. The Indians performed war dances in her honor, and covered the whole path to Tepeyac Hill with flowers.

Amid the festive rejoicing, an overzealous Indian fired an arrow, mortally piercing the throat of another Indian. There were cries and sobs over the dead Indian. Then, inspired by grace, all began to ask that his lifeless body be placed in front of the tilma. As everyone began to invoke Our Lady of Guadalupe’s help, the dead Indian came back to life, his throat instantly healed. Everyone cheered as he rose to his feet. Strengthened by the miracle, the procession resumed and the image was placed in the new shrine.

Miracles That Defy Science

Since the tilma is made of cactus fiber, it should have disintegrated after 20 years. However, it has survived from 1531 until the present day without cracking or fading. Scientists cannot explain how this is possible. In the 18th century, Dr. José Ignácio Bartolache had two copies of the image made and placed where the original was. After several years, the two copies deteriorated.

Over time, the faithful have tried to “embellish” the tilma. A crown was painted on Our Lady’s head and angels in the clouds. However, unlike the tilma, these additions have worn away and are no longer visible. The rays of the sun, for example, were coated with gold and the moon plated with silver. These embellishments also faded away. In fact, the silver-plated moon turned black.

Scientists are baffled how the image was imprinted on the tilma. There are no brush strokes or sketch marks on it. Richard Kuhn, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry, ascertained that Our Lady of Guadalupe’s image does not contain natural, animal or mineral pigments. The tilma defies natural explanation.

At the Guadalupe shrine in Mexico City, a stone sail ship monument is visible near the chapel on the hill. The landmark commemorates a miracle that took place in 1565 when General Miguel López de Legazpi was returning from the Philippines and his ship was engulfed by a tempest. On the verge of sinking, the crew in desperation made a vow to Our Lady of Guadalupe; if she saved them, they would carry their last remaining sail to her on pilgrimage. The storm abated and they fulfilled their promise.

The greatest miracle was that eight million Indians converted in only seven years following the apparitions. The early Franciscan and Dominican missionaries were busy night and day baptizing and administering the Sacraments. On average, over three thousand Indians a day were baptized throughout the seven years.

Symbolism of the Tilma

The miraculous tilma is like a catechism class for the Mexican Indians. Our Lady, as she appears, eclipses the sun, showing her superiority over the Aztec sun god. She stands on the moon, trampling the Aztec moon god under foot. She is surrounded by clouds and attended by an angel, showing that she is not of this earth. Yet her hands are folded in supplication and her head is tilted in a position of humility, thus showing that while she tramples the pagan gods, she is not God. Around her neck, she wears a brooch with a cross, leading mankind to the Supreme Being, the God of the Christians.

May the goodness and tenderness Our Lady showed to Saint Juan Diego encourage our readers to have more devotion to her. Like every good mother, she is also the implacable foe of those who inflict harm on her children. Therefore, she is our special aid in the struggle against evil today. Let our battle cry be “¡Viva la Virgen de Guadalupe!” (“Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe!”)


1. Netzhualcoyotl is famous in Mexican history as a warrior, philosopher and poet. Analyzing the order of nature, he deduced the existence of only one, invisible God, the Creator of all things, Whom he adored by burning incense and in Whose honor he composed sixty psalms of praise similar to those by King David. He disliked human sacrifice and the worship of pagan gods. (Cf. Juan Antonio Montalvo, “Plática sobre la Virgen de Guadalupe,” in Historica, órgano del Centro de Estudios Guadalupanos, AC, Colección II, México, Editorial Hombre S. de R.L., 1983, 7, 8.) [back]
2. This Náhuatl word means “smallest of my sons.” Xocoyota is the feminine for daughter. [back]

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Over Two-Thirds of All Abortion Clinics Have Closed Since 1991

WICHITA, KS, December 8, 2009 ( - Operation Rescue has just released the results of an extensive research project into the abortion industry showing that the number of abortion facilities continues to dwindle as Americans become more pro-life.

"We now have an accurate listing of every open abortion clinic in the country," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "In 1991, it was estimated that there were nearly 2,200 abortion clinics in the country, today there are just 713. The pro-life movement has made significant strides exposing and closing abortion clinics and shifting public opinion toward the pro-life position. This has resulted in lower abortion rates."

Operation Rescue has listed all abortion facilities along with a map showing their locations. The information shows a general relationship between access to abortion clinics and the abortion rate in each state. With few exceptions, the states with greater access to abortion clinics have higher abortion rates.

The release of the list launches "Project Daniel 5:25," Operation Rescue's latest campaign to expose abortion industry abuses and bring the perpetrators to justice. Project Daniel 5:25 is named after the Biblical story of Daniel, who was able to read the handwriting on the wall and predict the fall of a wicked kingdom.

"The days of legal abortion in this nation are numbered. Pro-life sentiment continues to gain ground as abortion support slips. Abortion clinics continue to close as demand decreases and as abortionists are increasingly exposed and reported to the authorities by pro-life groups," said Newman.

"Project Daniel 5:25 encourages those with pro-life views to establish a presence at their local abortion clinic to pray and offer help to abortion-bound women - but also to monitor the clinic for criminal violations and other suspicious acts. We have never found an abortion clinic that follows the law. It is up to pro-life activists to serve as the watchdogs of the abortion industry and be the eyes and ears of law enforcement.

"We can do more than simply protest abortion clinics. We can document their illegal and dangerous behavior and work within the law to close them down.

"With a pro-life watchdog group at every clinic reporting what they see to the authorities, we will certainly see more abortionists criminally charged and abortion clinics closed. We know first-hand from having our offices in a closed former abortion clinic, that when clinics close, lives are saved."

Those who wish to participate in Project Daniel 5:25 are encouraged to call Operation Rescue at 1-800-705-1175.
Read the report, and view the map and list here.

The article above comes from

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Desecrating the Holy Eurcharist is Hate Speech!

Send your instant e-petition today!

The online video sharing site YouTube is host to some very sick, blasphemous and disturbing videos, which contain brutal attacks on the Holy Eucharist. Perhaps the most disturbing video of all is the one titled: Desecrating the Eucharist by smoking Jesus body.

It is followed by this caption: “Eucharist desecration. You Catholics are truly going to love this one. More is on its way.”

It was posted on YouTube by user name antieucharist. And it shows people in a mock Catholic ritual of sorts burning and stepping on the Holy Eucharist. (Access with extreme caution: You can find it under his user)

Beneath the offensive video are a series of viewer comments about the video Desecrating the Eucharist by smoking Jesus body. One tried to minimize the gravity of the video with this comment:

“I know you are just kids having fun, but you do not understand what you are doing. I made fun of the same thing when I was a teen. There is much more to it than you realize.”

Although we have no way of knowing for sure if this is a Consecrated Host, the answer of user antieucharist indicates his intent in desecrating the Eucharist:

“…you are incorrect. We are not kids just having fun. We are fully aware of what we are desecrating."

And in an answer to another viewer, he wrote:

“We are well aware of the Eucharist’s status, and that’s why we chose it.”

That’s why America Needs Fatima is urging Catholic across the globe to send a:

Stop Host Desecration e-petition to YouTube.

To make this petition effective, America Needs Fatima is asking its membership to pray and to help mobilize one million Catholics worldwide on the Internet without delay.

If thousands of Catholics pray and speak up, there’s a chance YouTube will enforce its policy and remove these sacrilegious attacks on the Holy Eucharist. YouTube policy says:

We encourage free speech and defend everyone's right to express unpopular points of view. But we don't permit hate speech …

Desecrating the Holy Eucharist is “hate speech” in our book.

Please pray and send YouTube your STOP HOST DESECRATION e-petition today.

To help America Needs Fatima mobilize one million Catholics worldwide on the Internet without delay, please click here to make a donation. Thank you!