Wednesday, August 16, 2017

There will be consequences

One must live the way one thinks
or end up thinking
the way one has lived.

Paul Bourget

St. Stephen of Hungary

The first King of Hungary was born a pagan in 975, the son of the Hungarian chieftain Géza. Together with his father, he was baptized in 985 by St. Adalbert, the Archbishop of Prague, on which occasion he changed his heathen name Vaik (Vojk) to Stephen.

In 995, he married Gisela, a sister of Henry, the Duke of Bavaria, the future Emperor St. Henry II, and in 997 he succeeded his father as chief of the Hungarian Magyars.

In order to make Hungary a Christian nation and to establish himself more firmly as ruler, Stephen sent the Abbot Astricus to Rome to petition Pope Sylvester II for the royal dignity and the power to establish episcopal sees. The pope acceded to his wishes and, in addition, presented Stephen with a royal crown in recognition of his sovereignty.

The new King of the Hungarians endeavored above all to establish his nation on a sound moral foundation and to that end he suppressed blasphemy, murder, adultery and other public crimes, and established a feudal system throughout Hungary. To this day, King Stephen is universally recognized as the architect of the independent realm of Hungary.

He founded a monastery in Jerusalem and hospices for pilgrims at Rome, Ravenna, and Constantinople. A close friend of St. Bruno, he also corresponded with St. Odilo of Cluny. The last years of his life were embittered by illness and family troubles. When late in 1031 his only son, Emeric, lost his life on a bear hunt, his cherished hope of transferring the reins of government into the hands of a pious Christian prince were shattered.

During his lifetime a quarrel arose among his various nephews concerning the right of succession, and some of them even took part in a conspiracy against his life. He was buried beside his son at Stuhlweissenburg, and both were canonized together in 1083.
First Photo by: Andrzej Otrebski                                                                     Second Photo by: Granada Turnier

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God."
"Thus St. John Damascene, an outstanding herald of this traditional truth, spoke out with powerful eloquence when he compared the bodily Assumption of the loving Mother of God with her other prerogatives and privileges.

"Gathering together the testimonies of the Christians of earlier days, St. Robert Bellarmine exclaimed: 'And who, I ask, could believe that the ark of holiness, the dwelling place of the Word of God, the temple of the Holy Spirit, could be reduced to ruin? My soul is filled with horror at the thought that this virginal flesh which had begotten God, had brought him into the world, had nourished and carried him, could have been turned into ashes ... '"

Quotes above are taken from Pope Pius XII’s Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus defining the Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

It was fitting...

"It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep
her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who
had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles.
It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live
in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross
and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had
escaped in the act of giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father.
It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that
she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God."

Pope Pius XII—Definition of the Dogma of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Monday, August 14, 2017

Mary is the most perfect and most holy work of God

Mary is the most perfect and most holy work of God, for
as St. Bonaventure said,
God can create a greater and more perfect world,
but He cannot exalt a creature to higher dignity
than that to which He exalted Mary.

St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe

About the Feast of the Assumption




The Feast of the Assumption
The Feast of the Assumption

The Assumption was a beautiful favor God granted to His mother. It began when Our Lady, very suavely died. Her passing is customarily called Our Lady’s dormition because the grace with which she passed from this life and the short elapse before her resurrection, made her death seem more like a dream.After death, Our Lady resurrected, in imitation of Our Lord Jesus Christ. God then assumed her, body and soul, into Heaven, in the presence of the Apostles and many of the faithful.
The Assumption was a true glorification of Our Lady before the eyes of men and will remain so until the end of the world. Nevertheless, it was a mere foreshadowing of the glory she received in Heaven.
To benefit fully from this mystery, we will make a “composition of place,” according to the method of Saint Ignatius. Thus, we will imagine how the Assumption took place. In this, we are free to reconstruct the event as best conforms to our piety, because there are no detailed descriptions of it.

So we begin, imagining the Apostles, assembled before Our Lady’s body, on their knees in prayer. The presence of all the princes of the Church made the atmosphere ineffable, noble, sublime and recollected. Their countenances mimicked those found in the paintings of Fra Angelico.
The Feast of the Assumption
Fra Angelico’s artwork.


Meanwhile, the Angels in Heaven were slowly gathering and filling the celestial court. Their faces were also like those portrayed by Fra Angelico. Empyrean Heaven was filled with the most diverse, yet nuanced, colors that radiated in such a way, as to create a truly incomparable scene.
Certainly, things could have happened this way, for if Our Lady was able to fill the sky with such diverse colors during the miracle of the sun at Fatima, why could she not have filled Heaven with colors on the day of her Assumption?
Her soul descended to earth and reunited with her body, revivifying it. She then stood up, body and soul, as the respect and recollection of all those around increased. The physical similarity between her and Our Lord, as mother and Son, was more apparent than usual. Also present, the Savior stood, transfigured, before her and increasingly communicated Himself to her.
As a result, her majesty and queenliness increased together with her motherly kindness. Everything about her that was most intimate was supremely manifested at that moment.
Some Angels – perhaps the most splendid of Heaven – approached and began to lift her upwards. As she slowly rose, the skies were marvelously transformed, until little by little, they returned to their normal state and the witnesses dispersed with a sensation similar to what they had experienced when Our Lord ascended.

They were filled with reverence and awe. The event had shown them that Our Lady was greater than anything they had dared imagine. However, their admiration was already transfixed by deep longings for their motherly queen, who would no longer be with them.
The Feast of the Assumption
The Assumption was a true glorification of Our Lady before the eyes of men and will remain so until the end of the world. Nevertheless, it was a mere foreshadowing of the glory she received in Heaven.

Meanwhile in Heaven, Our Lady’s triumph was just beginning. The entire Church Triumphant received her, especially Saint Joseph. Our Lord welcomed her and the Holy Trinity crowned her as Queen of Heaven and Earth.
These two aspects show the glorification of Our Lady before the Church Triumphant and Militant. And what about the Church Suffering?
Certainly, the souls in Purgatory were also inundated with graces. It is not too audacious to suppose that the Queen of Heaven took most of them to Heaven that day. Thus, there was exuberance throughout the entire Church.
I believe something similar to this will be repeated at the onset of the Reign of Mary,1 prophesied by Saint Louis de Montfort, when we will see the world transformed and Our Lady’s glory shining on earth.

Her reign will begin with marvelous days of graces, the likes of which have seldom, if ever, been seen before. Our Lady’s magnificence must be thus projected before the eyes of men. To understand why, we need only think of the tremendous celebrations men have prepared for victorious war leaders throughout history.
For example: the enormous ticker tape parade given for General MacArthur in 1951 and the tremendous feasts the Romans prepared for victorious generals show that men understand that the glory of a conqueror must be made manifest.
Since Our Lord is infinitely more generous than men and Our Lady’s victory will be greater than that of any conqueror, He will certainly usher in her triumph in an immeasurably greater way than these celebrations. Her glory will shine before men like it did during the Assumption.
The Feast of the Assumption
The entire Church Triumphant received her, especially Saint Joseph. Our Lord welcomed her and the Holy Trinity crowned her as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

We should meditate on this as we approach the Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption. We should also consider which virtue we should ask of her on this holy day. Certainly, everyone should ask for the virtue he most lacks. However, this does not prevent us from asking Our Lady for a sense of her glory and the understanding that everything in Creation represents her splendor.

Since she is the highest created expression of God, we should struggle to defend and strive to establish the highest possible expression of her spirit on earth. This will make us true knights and crusaders of Our Lady, struggling for her glory on earth. I believe this is the most proper virtue for which to ask on the feast of Our Lady’s Assumption.

The preceding text was taken from an informal lecture Professor Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira gave on August 14, 1965. It has been translated and adapted for publication without his revision. – Ed.

Footnotes

The great Marian saint spoke numerous times of a coming, worldwide rebirth of the Church and Christian civilization, which he called the “Reign of Mary.” Such a prediction fits perfectly with the promise Our Lady made at Fatima, when she said: “Finally, my Immaculate Heart will Triumph!”

St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe

The second son of pious parents, St. Maximilian Kolbe was born on January 8, 1894 at Zdunska Wola in Poland, which at that time was under Russian occupation. In Baptism he received the name of Raymond.

Seriousness and recollection marked his nature even as a child. One day, while correcting him, his mother chided him saying, “Son, I don’t know what is going to become of you!” This comment so impressed itself upon him that Raymond turned to Our Lady in prayer asking her the same question. The Virgin Mary appeared to him and presented him with two crowns, one of white roses, the other of red ones. She asked him if he were willing to accept either of them, explaining that the white one symbolized a life of perfect chastity and the red that he would die a martyr. The boy joyfully replied that he would accept both. For the rest of his life, Raymond preserved a strong and tender devotion for the Blessed Virgin who, time and time again, was to prove his unfailing intercessor and constant protector. His confidence in Our Lady was total.

Raymond Kolbe enrolled in the Franciscan minor seminary at Lwów in 1907 where he received the religious name of Maximilian. He professed his final vows in 1914 in Rome, at which time he adopted the additional name of Maria in honor of his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, whom he invoked under the title of “the Immaculata.” Ordained in 1918, he returned to Poland the following year with doctorates in theology and philosophy, but seriously ill with tuberculosis. His lectures and conversations during his year and a half in the sanatorium of Zakopane, where he was sent for his own recovery from the brink of death, became the catalyst of a number of conversions.

Friar Maximilian was an avid defender of Holy Mother Church and of the Holy Father. While still a seminarian in Rome, he organized the Militia of the Immaculata – a spiritual army explicitly founded to combat Communism and Freemasonry, which were taking hold in Russia and Europe, to work for the conversion of sinners and the enemies of the Catholic Church through the intercession of the Virgin Mary. He boldly launched into publishing as a means of apostolate and was soon running one of the largest publishing houses in the entire world that produced a daily newspaper, a monthly magazine, a calendar, and books on various topics, all printed in several languages. Radio was likewise utilized as a means of evangelization and to speak out against the growing atrocities of the Nazi regime.

In 1927 Maximilian Kolbe founded Niepokalanów, the “City of the Immaculata” where he fulfilled the office of superior until 1930. The next six years he spent as a missionary in Japan where he taught philosophy in the major seminary. There he also founded a second “City of the Immaculata” which became one of the great missionary centers in Japan. From 1936 until his death, he again served as superior in Niepokalanów, Poland. By 1939 the religious community there consisted of 762 friars and presented a considerable moral force in Poland on the very eve of the Second World War.

Maximilian Kolbe was arrested by the German Gestapo on February 17, 1941. He was transferred to the Auschwitz concentration camp three months later. At the end of July, when three prisoners disappeared, ten men were picked to be starved to death in punishment and as a warning to anyone else who attempted to escape. Kolbe volunteered to take the place of one of the men who was a young husband and father.

While awaiting death, Maximilian helped prepare the souls of the condemned men and encouraged them by constant reminders that they would soon be in heaven. After two weeks of starvation and dehydration, he was the only one left alive and on August 14 the guards gave him a lethal injection of carbolic acid. His emaciated body was cremated on the feast of the Assumption of Mary.