Lesson from the book of Ecclesiasticus
I bud forth delights like the vine, my blossoms become fruit fair and rich. I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come to me, all you that yearn for me, and be filled with my fruits; for my spirit is sweeter than honey, and my inheritance better to have than honey and the honeycomb. My memory is to everlasting generations. They who eat of me will hunger still, and they who drink of me will thirst for more. He who obeys me will not be put to shame, they who serve me will never fail. They who explain me shall have life everlasting.
R. Thanks be to God.
Continuation ✠ of the Holy Gospel according to John
At that time, there were standing by the Cross of Jesus, His Mother, and His Mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen. When Jesus, therefore, saw His Mother and the disciple standing by, whom He loved, He said to His Mother, Woman, behold your son. Then He said to the disciple, Behold, your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
Homily by Fr. Carlos Zepeda
At the very edge of Europe, as a promontory that faces the Atlantic Ocean, you find the country of Portugal.
Even though this is such a small country, it was very very important through the last couple of centuries, because of its strategic position. The country holds many of the ports which provide an entrance to Europe, through Spain. It’s Europe’s main gateway to the Atlantic.
This, of course, had been for a long time a Catholic country. However, in the 18th century, it was taken over my masonry, who began to rule through the influence of the Marquese de Pombal.
This caused religious chaos in the country. The Government passed all kinds of persecuting laws, seminaries were emptied, religious orders were kicked out of the country, and all the governments, even to the level of towns and villages were taken over by masons. Revolutions succeeded one another.
It was in such country that our Lady chose to appear. In a place called Fatima.
And she came with a special mission from God.
You see, throughout history, even though man continues to sin and offend God, God’s providence makes everything fit into a wise plan for salvation. As times change, God provides more and more means of grace and salvation.
Imagine if you will, a ship in the Ocean. And crazy men, out of their minds, jump out of the ship, to certain death. But the captain, continues, here and there, to send for them ways to save themselves.
That’s how God continues to provide for us different means to return to Him.
At one point, these means were perhaps religious orders or great preachers. A Saint Francis of Assisi, a St. Dominic, a St. Ignatius of Loyola.
Later on, closer to our days, it was the Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
And finally, in our days and century, it was the Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
But why are not all men saved by these means?
Because all these tools, these aids for salvation that God gives us, are not mandatory. We are not forced to take them. We remain free, to accept them and to reject them.
And so, we see entire groups of men, rejecting God’s means for salvation.
We saw Heretics, rejecting the Church during the times of St. Francis and St. Dominic. We saw Luther and Calvin rejecting the Sacraments, the Mass, the Eucharist.
Even in our days, we see men rejecting all means of Salvation. Jumping out of the ship, foolishly swimming away to their death, rejecting all attempts to save them.
My dear friends, when the Virgin Mary came down from heaven and appeared in Fatima, she came with one mission from God:
To deliver to us, the last means of salvation. Her Immaculate Heart.
The girl who saw our Blessed Mother in Fatima was called Lucia. She was accompanied by two of her relatives, Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Both of them passed away soon after but Lucia, or Lucy, remained on this earth to continue to be the spokesman of our Blessed Mother.
Among the many words which she pronounced to Sr. Lucy; one thing became clear to her, as she stated afterward, and it is: That we would witness the decisive battle between the Devil and the Virgin Mary, and that Her Immaculate Heart would be the last resource God would give to humanity.
If you wish to see just how important this devotion is to us, and what a difference does it make, I will show you two clear examples from History. First the good one.
After the apparitions in Portugal, people reacted to the Message of Our Blessed Mother. Women practiced modesty and purity. The Rosary was prayed publicly. Sinners went to confession and people frequented the sacraments and Holy Mass.
In that very same year, the country saw a National Recovery. A good catholic officer named Sidonio Pais broke with the Masonic government, and led the country to return to Catholicism and to restore the Church to all her freedoms.
Although he was murdered the year after, a true Catholic Hero, He succeeded to return the country to its roots, and the movement he started continued for a long time.
Two great miracles occurred in Portugal that show us our Lady’s special protection. The first, when all of Spain was flooded into a most bloody war, overrun by communism; Portugal, a much weaker country, which shares have of its borders with Spain, was spared from this plague.
The Second, while all the world burned during world war two, Portugal, even though its strategic position, was not involved in the conflict. All other countries around it were burned and destroyed. Only Portugal was left out of all countries and war.
That shows us, how powerful the devotion to the immaculate heart is.
But now let us look at the other side of the picture.
What happens if we reject this means of salvation? What happens if we don’t hear the requests of our Blessed Mother?
Let me read to you her own words, and then we will see if they are true or not. She said:
” If what I am about to say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war will end… But if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the reign of Pius XI. When you see a night, illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that He is about to punish the world for its Crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father”
“To prevent that, I will come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart and the Communions of Reparation on the First Saturdays.”
“If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace.”
“If not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, provoking wars and against the Church, persecutions. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer. Various nations will be annihilated.”
Look around and see what happened during world war two. See what has happened in Communist Countries, in China alone, it is said over 100 million people were murdered. And we are witnesses of the pestilence of communism spreading even into America and Europe.
Is it Important then, to have Devotion to the Immaculate Heart? Who do we want to be? Portugal? or Russia or China?
If, then, we wish to be devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, let us learn how to do it.
First of all, what is this Devotion? on what does it consist?
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means to Love Mary herself. It means devotion to the person. But putting a special emphasis, on her love. Her Love to God, to Jesus Christ, and to us, as a Mother.
When we have devotion to her Immaculate Heart, when we pray to it, when we have recourse to it, we are simply addressing Mary, on behalf of her Love for us.
We are saying “Help us because you Love us. Help us, because you Love Christ.”
When we make reparation to her Immaculate Heart we are saying: “Forgive us, forgive us for wounding your love towards your Son. Forgive us for betraying your love for us. Forgive us for abandoning, forsaking, for trampling upon your motherly love for us.”
We say to her: ” Oh Mary! We wish to console your wounded love, your love so injured by ungrateful sons, by our own love. We love you, and we wish to love you, for all those who don’t.”
And what does she say to us? What is in this heart?
I cannot go into such Abyss, as the time forbids me. But let me just say one thing: Mercy! Beautiful, Motherly Love and Mercy.
Do you know where the word Mercy comes from? It comes from the Latin misericordia. And this word itself, which means mercy is composed of three words:
Miseri Cor Dare.
“Father, I don’t know Latin”.
That means: Give one’s heart to the suffering.
The Mercy in Mary is a fulfillment of the word. She gives her heart to those who are wretched, who are fallen, who are weak and poor and struggling. Miseri Cor Dare! Mary Gives her heart to the wretched and miserable. To us, poor sinners.
My dear children, my dear friends: Are you convinced? Should we embrace this last devotion Given to us?
Then I will finish my sermon by explaining what we must do to be truly devoted to Mary.
1st. Keep the Commandments. No one is truly devoted to Mary, who does not do everything in his power to please her Son. How could you love the Mother, if you injure the Son? therefore, we must keep the commandments. First.
2nd. Remember her, pray to her devoutly. Do good act in her honor. give her gifts. Do something for her. Love is shown in the works. You are not devoted to Mary if your works don’t show it. And of these, one Fundamental is to say the Most Holy Rosary every day. And the First Saturdays of the Month. This is, truly, a great means of salvation. Nothing contains in itself better promises than those attached to the First Saturdays.
3rd. Persevere. Don’t let go of this Love. Keep going back to your practices of Devotion. Even if it gets rough. Pray your rosary on vacation. Pray it if it is late. Pray it with your children. Honor Mary, and if you have forgotten, start again. Never cease to Love Her.
My dear Friends, in this Mass, let us ask our Blessed Mother for the grace of growing in her Devotion. Remember the famous motto:
“The Servant of Mary shall never Perish”.