Today is the Feastday of Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich as determined by Pope John Paul II in 2003. This article includes her prophecies. Please join in 40 Days Novena for the true Church and the true Pope.
Bl. Catherine Emmerich was given to know much about the future of the Catholic Church, nearly 200 years ago. She was given to see the time of two popes, and how one would lead the Church into apostasy, the other would be isolated and paralyzed by inaction.
As a remedy, Our Lady revealed to her that Catholics should join together to pray a special prayer at Midnight, Rome Time. It is presently midnight here at Rome, so please read these prophecies of Bl. Emmerich, approved by the Church, and say the prayers Our Lady asked for. (Sources: here and here)
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May 13, 1820: “I saw the relationship between the two Popes. I saw how baleful would be the consequences of this false church. I saw it increase in size; heretics of every kind came into the city (of Rome). The local clergy…
Families are under attack today in so many ways – spiritually, morally and temporally. The law mandates now that there are all sorts of families eg. co-parented families, same sex parent families, three parent families, broken families, families created through surrogates, families of co-habiting, unmarried couples and families of couples with ‘open’ marriages. Large families are discriminated against. Abortion and euthanasia laws are slaughtering millions of true family members; divorce laws are tearing families apart; transgender laws are destroying our children’s true identities and laws make it easy to live together without permanent commitment thereby eroding the base and security of the family. The family and the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony are no longer revered. And since chastity is also no longer revered either, is it any wonder that The Holy Family Itself is not given the reverence and wonder which is its due?
Today, in the Traditional Rite (Latin Mass) – we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. The Holy Family had to struggle from the very beginning.
Joseph and Mary had to undertake quite a journey – they had no choice – it was the law – they had to register for a census. Mary, with her Babe almost due, rode a donkey – imagine the bumpy ride and the discomfort – and Joseph’s concern.The journey was long and arduous and over rough terrain.
They finally reached Bethlehem, but so had thousands of other people. It was crowded and the inns were full. No-one seemed to have any compassion. Finally they found a stable – a cold, dark, damp and probably smelly (due to the animals) place. But there was nowhere else to stay. I imagine Joseph tried his best to make it comfortable, spreading dry straw around and perhaps using his cloak as a blanket on the straw.
Some poor and lowly shepherds were the first to visit their new-born King. Finally, the Three Kings arrived to pay him homage. But they couldn’t relax.
An angel told Joseph he had to leave – immediately – during the night – because Jesus’ life was in danger. They had to go to Egypt. Imagine trying to face this journey – with not much notice – gathering a few meagre supplies for this long journey through the desert.
When they got there, they were in a strange land. Joseph had to somehow work and provide for his family. But he trusted in God and finally was told – 7 years later, that it was safe to return.
The Book of Truth describes some of these difficulties:
“When my time approached, every obstacle, planted by the spirit of evil, was placed before us, every step we took. Doors were slammed in our faces; people we knew shunned us and we were cast out into the wilderness. And so we ended up without a roof over our heads and in a shelter fit only for animals, while the Holy Messiah came into the world as a pauper. There were no ceremonies, no coronation, no acknowledgements. There were only a few people left to comfort me in my loneliness. But then, when my Son was born, all feelings of anxiety left me.All I felt was a love of the most Divine Presence. Peace finally reigned in my Heart. …
When it was made known that Jesus Christ, the Messiah promised to humanity, was born, the opposition began to mount. The vicious attack by Herod and all his servants, demonstrated how much the Presence of God puts fear into the hearts of evil men.
From that day forward, I became the protector of my Son and my beloved spouse, Joseph, organized our safety on many occasions after that. We spent many years fleeing from one place to another. So much opposition we faced – so much fear, so much hatred.That was our lot…
And now that His Second Coming is imminent, every obstacle will be placed before His Arrival. Every Word out of the mouth of His prophet will be torn asunder and mocked. Only a handful of people will be privy to the Truth surrounding this Mission and many doors will be slammed in the faces of those who follow His instructions. This Mission is a lonely one for you, my child, and you are instructed to remain obedient in all things made known to you by God. …”
So for us, too, in the face of all difficulties, the presence of Jesus brings us peace.
Families today also suffer persecution – also from their own (eg the Catholic Church today and from many of the bishops and priests).
We are all part of God’s family – the Christian family.They still want to kill Jesus (Head of our family) – to get rid of God in the world. They have introduced paganism, changed and questioned church teachings, blasphemed against Jesus and our Holy Mother Mary. Some do not want to recognise the True Father of Jesus or to recognise Him as His Son.
Let’s not forget the power of the Holy Rosary. It is our weapon. It will bind the evil one. We need to do this now, more than ever. We need it for protection. Remember the miracles of Lepanto, Vienna, Hiroshima, Brazil …? There are many other amazing miracles. It is the prayer that Our lady asked us to pray in many of her apparitions.
To pray this together in our families today, and everyday, is a must!
We have to safeguard our own immediate families and keep them true to God and to their Faith, and in so doing, we can help to keep the True Faith, and God, present in the world today, in order to defeat evil.
After Mass today, our priest led the congregation in the following prayer:
Consecration to the Holy Family
“O Jesus, our most loving Redeemer, who having come to enlighten the world with Thy teaching and example, didst will to pass the greater part of Thy life in humility and subjection to Mary and Joseph in the poor home of Nazareth, thus sanctifying the Family that was to be an example for all Christian families, graciously receive our family as it dedicates and consecrates itself to Thee this day. Do Thou defend us, guard us and establish amongst us The holy fear, true peace, and concord in Christian love: in order that, by conforming ourselves to the divine pattern of Thy family, we may be able, all of us without exception, to attain to eternal happiness.
Mary, dear Mother of Jesus and Mother of us, by thy kindly intercession make this our humble offering acceptable in the sight of Jesus, and obtain for us His graces and blessings.
O Saint Joseph, most holy guardian of Jesus and Mary, assist us by thy prayers in all our spiritual and temporal necessities, that so we may be enabled to praise our divine Saviour Jesus, together with Mary and thee, for all eternity. Amen.”
St. Luke places an extremely high value on the Eucharist, and it is a major point of emphasis woven into the fabric of his Gospel from beginning to end. He artfully inserts a curious detail into his birth account to begin to state his case: Mary “gave birth to her firstborn son … and laid him in a manger” (Lk 2:7). The manger is mentioned twice more in verses 12 and 16.
A manger is a feeding trough for animals. It is made of wood or stone, located on the ground or slightly above the ground, and contains hay or grain for cattle, horses, donkeys and other animals. It is not very sanitary, and it often is cold and damp. What mother would place her baby in a manger? She would hold her newborn child in her arms or lay it in a crib.
This detail would have jumped off the page for Luke’s first readers, and it should stand out as peculiar to us. Luke is hoping that we will be wondering, “Why is baby Jesus in a manger?”
Animals approached the manger anytime, day or night, for food. The farmer was concerned about his animals and was careful to be sure that there would be feed in the trough at all times so the animals would be well-fed, healthy and strong.
The shepherds represent people everywhere, and as the animals approached the manger for food, the shepherds approached the manger to feast their eyes upon Jesus, and the infant in the manger would be the one to feed their souls,both with his word and the Eucharist, the great banquet feast of his Body and Blood.
The manger on Christmas anticipates the table at the Last Supper,and as the owner of the animals made sure that his animals would be well-fed to provide for their physical health, the infant Jesus would feed his sheep to provide for their spiritual health.
The manger begins a feeding or banquet theme that surfaces multiple times throughout Luke’s Gospel.Only Luke mentions that Jesus’ disciples “eat and drink” (Lk 5:33), that Jesus was accused of being “a glutton and a drunkard” (Lk 7:34), and that Jesus dined three times at the home of a Pharisee (Lk 7:36; 11:37; 14:1). Luke alone has two banquet parables, the parables of the Guests at the Banquet (Lk 14:7-14) and the Great Feast (Lk14:15-24), both of which look ahead to the banquet of the Last Supper and further ahead to the eternal banquet in heaven (Lk 22:30).
Luke also reports how Levi gave a banquet for Jesus (Lk 5:29), and how Jesus miraculously fed a crowd of 5,000 (Lk 9:10-17). Beginning with the manger, it all points to the Last Supper.
The infant in the manger would be the one who would take bread and say, “This is my body” (Lk 22:19), and a cup of wine and say, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (Lk 22:20). And wanting to provide ongoing spiritual sustenance, he told his disciples to “Do this in memory of me” (Lk 22:19b). Then Jesus showed them how to re-enact the Eucharist when he broke bread with two of his disciples on Easter Sunday night at Emmaus (Lk 24:30).
The early Christian community took Jesus’ instruction to heart, and from the outset they devoted themselves “to the breaking of the bread” (Acts 2:42).
Most religious artists portray the infant Jesus in the manger on a bed of hay or straw, but those who grasp the Eucharist connection show him on a bed of wheat.(For example, note the wheat depicted in the stained glass window on page 1.)Luke would have us approach the manger and feast our eyes upon Jesus because the newborn child is food for our souls.
“St. Nicholas is the first of the saints you can consider a philanthropist,”explained Father Joseph Marquis, pastor of Sacred Heart Byzantine Catholic Church in Livonia, Michigan, and founder of the St. Nicholas Institute (StNicholasInstitute.org). …
“St. Nicholas is a person who focused on the needs of others without drawing attention to himself,”observed Father Marquis. With his “self-effacing love,” St. Nicholas is “very much an icon of Jesus Christ,” added Father Marquis. St. Nicholas “lived the theological virtues to a very heroic degree in life. He embodied the Gospel. Like St. Francis, he took the Scriptures to heart, and he became a living image of Jesus Christ.”
Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas’ life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.
One story tells of a poor man with three daughters. In those days a young woman’s father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry. The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband. Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man’s daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery.Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries.The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas. Sometimes the story is told with gold balls instead of bags of gold. That is why three gold balls, sometimes represented as oranges, are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. And so St. Nicholas is a gift-giver.
Other stories tell of Nicholas saving his people fromfamine, sparing the lives of those innocently accused, and much more. He did many kind and generous deeds in secret, expecting nothing in return. Within a century of his death he was celebrated as a saint. Today he is venerated in the East as wonder, or miracle worker and in the West as patron of a great variety of persons-children, mariners, bankers, pawn-brokers, scholars, orphans, laborers, travelers, merchants, judges, paupers, marriageable maidens, students, children, sailors, victims of judicial mistakes, captives, perfumers, even thieves and murderers! He is known as the friend and protector of all in trouble or need
Widely celebrated in Europe, St. Nicholas’ feast day, December 6th, kept alive the stories of his goodness and generosity. In Germany and Poland, boys dressed as bishops begged alms for the poor—and sometimes for themselves! In the Netherlands and Belgium, St. Nicholas arrived on a steamship from Spain to ride a white horse on his gift-giving rounds. December 6th is still the main day for gift giving and merrymaking in much of Europe.For example, in the Netherlands St. Nicholas is celebrated on the 5th, the eve of the day, by sharing candies (thrown in the door), chocolate initial letters, small gifts, and riddles. Dutch children leave carrots and hay in their shoes for the saint’s horse, hoping St. Nicholas will exchange them for small gifts. Simple gift-giving in early Advent helps preserve a Christmas Day focus on the Christ Child.
“Christmas is a great reminder of St. Joseph and what he was doing before the birth of Christ,” said Rick Sarkisian, author of Not Your Average Joe and producer of Joseph: The Man Closest to Christ (Ignatius, DVD). “He was essentially knocking on doors trying to find a place for the Christ Child. That’s something he’s still doing today — knocking on the doors of our hearts. He’s seeking out a place for his son to dwell within us.”
St. Joseph’s role at Christmas and throughout his life with the Holy Family is certainly one of protection. “He was the protector of Mary, who was about to give birth to the Savior, and he continued to protect them, as a husband and father. He’s a real reminder of our role as a protector of those we know and live with, and those we don’t know very well, protecting [them] not just from physical harm, but the impurities that cascade down on us like heavy rain” from the culture, Sarkisian said.
One way to honor St. Joseph is to help someone in need. Since St. Joseph is also a patron saint of housing,Sarkisian suggests offering a nine-day novena to St. Joseph for those in need of shelter, entrusting them to him.
The first nativity scene is also associated with an apparition of the Baby Jesus to those gathered with St. Francis on that day. This must have been Jesus’ way of giving his praise and blessing to the nativity scene,which was a novelty in its time and had never been done before.
Again, St. Bonaventure continues the story,
“A certain valiant and veracious soldier, Master John of Grecio, who, for the love of Christ, had left the warfare of this world, and become a dear friend of this holy man, affirmed that he beheld an Infant marvellously beautiful, sleeping in the manger, Whom the blessed Father Francis embraced with both his arms, as if he would awake Him from sleep.
This vision of the devout soldier is credible, not only by reason of the sanctity of him that saw it, but by reason of the miracles which afterwards confirmed its truth.
For example of Francis, if it be considered by the world, is doubtless sufficient to excite all hearts which are negligent in the faith of Christ; and the hay of that manger, being preserved by the people, miraculously cured all diseases of cattle, and many other pestilences; God thus in all things glorifying his servant, and witnessing to the great efficacy of his holy prayers by manifest prodigies and miracles.”
THE SPREAD OF THE DEVOTION
St. Francis’ recreation of that first Christmas night was so popular that soon every church in Italy had its own nativity scene. The devotion also spread to private homes, and in modern times even to secular institutions, so much so that it’s now impossible to imagine Christmas without a nativity scene to behold.
Hopefully this story of the first nativity scene will inspire you to see your nativity set as much more than just as a pretty Christmas decoration. It is a historic Catholic tradition and a tool for meditation on the humility, simplicity, and poverty of Christ that he took on, from the moment of his Incarnation, out of his boundless love for his lost sheep.