“My Divine Heart is so inflamed with love for men, and for thee in particular that, being unable any longer to contain within Itself the flames of Its burning charity, It needs to spread them abroad by thy means, and manifest itself to them (mankind) in order to enrich them with the precious treasures which I discover to thee, and with contain graces of sanctification and salvation necessary to withdraw them from the abyss of perdition. I have chosen thee as an abyss of unworthiness and ignorance for the accomplishment of this great design, in order that every thing may be done by Me.”
It is the 17th of June 1689 and a cloistered nun of the order of the Visitation is kneeling in choir before the Blessed Sacrament in her convent in the town of Paray-le-Monial in the Diocese of Autun, in Western France. It is the newly established feast of the Sacred Heart on the octave day of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. The good sister is known to us now as Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom the revelations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were made known by our Lord in three visits from 1673 to 1675. Suddenly she falls into ecstasy and our Lord comes to her with a new message:
“Make Known To The Eldest Son Of My Heart [King Louis XIV, the “Sun King”] that as His Temporal Birth Was Obtained Through Devotion to The Merits of my holy childhood, in the same manner he will obtain his birth of grace and eternal glory by the consecration that he will make of himself to my Adorable Heart, which wishes to triumph over his heart, and by his mediation over those of the great ones of the world. It Wishes To Reign In His Palace, To Be Painted On His Standards And Engraven On His Arms, In Order To Render Him Victorious Over All His Enemies.'”
Saint Margaret did not have long to live for she would die in the following year, but she spent the remainder of her life focused on this request of our Lord to the King of France. In fact later that same year she wrote her final words on this very subject:
“The Eternal Father, wishing to repair the bitterness and agony that the Adorable Heart of His Divine Son endured in the palaces of earthly princes, amidst the humiliations and outrages of His Passion, wishes to establish His empire in the heart of our great monarch, of whom He desires to make use in the execution of His design, which is to have an edifice erected in which shall be a picture of His divine Heart, to receive the consecration and homage of the king and all the court.
Moreover, this divine Heart wishes to make itself the defender of the sacred person of the king, his protector against all his enemies. Therefore has it chosen him as its faithful friend, to have the Mass authorized by the Holy Apostolic See, and to obtain all the other privileges that ought to accompany devotion to this divine Heart.
It is by this divine Heart that God wishes to dispense the treasures of His graces of sanctification and salvation, by bestowing His benediction on the king’s undertakings, according a happy success to his arms, and making him triumph over the malice of his enemies.”
She concludes by speaking of the personal chaplain of the King and his role to play:
“If the goodness of God inspires this great servant of the Divine Majesty to employ the power He has given him, he may rest assured that he has never done an action more useful to God’s glory, more salutary to his own soul, nor for which he will be better recompensed. It will be very difficult, on account of the great obstacles Satan purposes putting in the way, as well as of all the other difficulties God will permit in order to make His power seen. He can effect all that He pleases, though He does not always do so, not wishing to do violence to man’s will. For this we must pray much and get prayers.”
Tragically the request of our Lord fell on the deaf ears of the prideful King, and the great grace that was offered to France, to Europe, and ultimately to the whole world was rejected. Here was an opportunity to reverse the ravages of the Protestant Revolt in the previous century, and to bolster the work of those faithful implementers of the great Ecumenical Council of Trent. But it was not to be.
As a direct result, exactly 100 years later in 1789 the bloody, terrible, and utterly demonic French Revolution began. At it’s height there was a period known simply as “the Terror”, which is one of the most despicable series of events in human history. The slaughter began with the pious Catholic Monarchs and so on for years. After a short time the guillotine became the weapon of execution of choice. They were set up in the public squares and the daily executions never failed to draw a massive crowed. So many were killed each day the streets would literally run with the blood of the victims. This went on until July 17th 1794 when sixteen Carmelite nuns offered their lives to end the slaughter. They were put to death simply for wearing their habits and professing the Catholic faith. Within two weeks the terror ended.
This was the fate of one country that did not heed a call from heaven. And it did not end there, for the revolution had finally destroyed the underlying Catholic culture of France which had been withering away under the influences of Protestantism and the Enlightenment. And this meant that blasphemy and sacrilege had become commonplace, and so even though the revolution was eventually ended the heavy toll had been taken.
Thus on the 19th of September in 1846 our Lady appeared to two young cowhearders high up in the mountains in the parish of La Salette France. It was on that day that they were keeping the Feast of our Lady of the Seven Sorrows, and indeed our Lady appeared to them very sad and indeed was weeping. She said to the children (Maxim and Melanie):
“If my people will not submit, I shall be forced to let fall the arm of my Son. It is so strong, so heavy, that I can no longer withhold it. For how long a time do I suffer for you! If I would not have my Son abandon you, I am compelled to pray to him without ceasing; and as to you, you take not heed of it. However much you pray, however much you do, you will never recompense the pains I have taken for you.
‘Six days I have given you to labor, the seventh I have kept for myself; and they will not give it to me.’ It is this which makes the arm of my Son so heavy. Those who drive the carts cannot swear without introducing the name of my Son. These are the two things which make the arm of my Son so heavy.
If the harvest is spoilt, it is all on your account. I gave you warning last year with the potatoes (‘pommes de terre’) but you did not heed it. On the contrary, when you found the potatoes spoilt, you swore, you took the name of my Son in vain. They will continue to decay, so that by Christmas there will be none left.
If you have wheat, it is no good to sow it; all you sow the insects will eat, and what comes up will fall into dust when you thresh it. There will come a great famine. Before the famine comes, the children under seven years of age will be seized with trembling and will die in the hands of those who hold them; the others will do penance by the famine. The walnuts will become bad, and the grapes will rot.
But if they are converted, the stones and rocks will change into mounds of wheat, and the potatoes will be self-sown in the land.”
She also made many terrifying and disturbing prophesies concerning France, it’s impending chastisement, and the coming of the end times. Our Lady then gave a part of the secret specifically to Melanie and forbid her to reveal it until after 1858 (interestingly enough that was the year she would appear to the little shepherdess: Saint Bernadette Soubirous at Lourdes and her message there was: “Penance! Penance! Penance!”) and this part of the message is most terrifying:
There will be a kind of false peace before the advent of Antichrist. Man’s only thought will be upon diversions and amusements. The wicked will indulge in all sorts of sin, but the children of the Holy Church, the children of the faith, my Sincere followers, will wax strong in the love of God and in the virtues that are dear to Me. Happy the humble souls that are guided by the Holy Ghost.
I will fight with them until they shall have reached the completion of age.
Italy will be severely punished for her efforts to shake off the yoke of the Most High Lord. She will become the play-ball of war. On every side blood will flow. The temples will either be closed or desecrated. Priests and members of Religious orders will be put to flight. They will be beaten to death and otherwise die cruel deaths.
The Vicar of My Son will be compelled to suffer much because for a time the Church will be delivered to great persecutions—–That will be the hour of darkness, and the Church will experience a frightful crisis. The powerful officials of the state and the Church will be suppressed and done away with, and all law and order as well as justice.
There will be murder, hate, envy and deceit, with no love or regard for one’s country or family.
God is going to punish in a manner without example. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! God is going to exhaust his wrath, and nobody shall be able to evade so many combined evils. At the first stroke of His fulminating sword the mountains and the whole of nature shall shake with terror, use the disorders and crimes of men pierce the very Vaults of the Heavens. The earth shall be stricken with every kind of plagues.
Priests and Religious shall be hunted; they shall be butchered in a cruel manner. Many shall abandon the Faith, and great shall be the number of Priests and Religious who shall separate themselves from the True Religion; among these there will be found likewise several bishops.
Lucifer, with a very great number of demons will be unchained from Hell. By degrees they shall abolish the Faith, even among persons consecrated to God. They shall blind them in such a manner that, without very special graces, these persons shall imbibe the spirit of those wicked angels. Many religious houses will entirely lose the Faith, and shall be the cause of the loss of many persons. The Superiors of Religious Communities should be alert regarding the ones they take into the community, for the devil will use all malice, to bring persons into the Orders who are addicted to sin.
Bad people will abound upon the earth; and the spirit, of darkness shall spread over the earth a universal relaxation about everything relating to the Service of God. Satan shall have very great power over nature; temples will be erected for the worship of these demons. Some persons shall be transported from one place to another by these wicked spirits, even some priests, because these will not be animated by the Holy Spirit of the Gospel, which is a spirit of humility, charity, and zeal for the Glory of God.
My sons Vicar shall have much to suffer, because for a time the Church shall be exposed to very great persecutions. It shall be the time of darkness. The Church shall have to pass through an awful crisis. France, Italy, Spain, and England shall have Civil War. Blood shall flow through the streets. French shall fight French. Italians against Italians. After this there will be a frightful general war. For a time God shall not remember France, nor Italy because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is no more understood. The Holy Father will suffer much. I will be with him to the end to receive his sacrifice. The wicked shall many times attempt his life.
Nature demands vengeance against men, and she trembles with fright in expectation to what will befall the earth sullied with crimes. Tremble, O earth! And tremble you also who make profession of serving Jesus Christ, but inwardly worship yourselves because God has delivered you to his enemies, because corruption is in holy places.
The just will have much to suffer; their prayers, works of penance and tears will ascend to Heaven. All of God’s people will cry forgiveness and grace and beg My help and intercession Then Jesus Christ will command His Angels, by a special act of His Justice and Mercy, to deliver all His enemies to death Then suddenly all persecutors of the Church of Jesus Christ and all evil doers will perish, and rest and peace between God and man will appear. Jesus Christ will be served, adored and glorified. Love of neighbor will begin to flourish all over. The new kings will be on the right hand of the Church which will grow strong, and which will be humble, pious, poor, zealous and followers of the virtues. All over, the Gospel will have be preached, people will make great progress in faith; there will be united amongst the laborers of Jesus Christ, and people will live in the fear of God.
These lines take my breath away and bring tears to my eyes, for how clearly does our Lady prophesy about the remainder of the 19th century and the horrors of 20th century. And most disturbing is to consider that much of what she says speaks very much to our own time.
How common it is today for our entire society, and even most Catholics to violate the Sunday rest by performing unnecessary servile work. How many Catholics go shopping on Sunday and are guilty of causing others to have to work on Sunday, and indeed it is forbidden to go shopping on Sundays. Essential items may be purchases out of necessity, but shopping is a grave sin because of it’s consequences.
Blasphemy too is rife throughout our culture and Catholics simply don’t seem to care and even join in with the blasphemy and even sacrilegious activities of the culture.
And in recent days in the United States there has been much talk about “religious freedom” in regard to “Obamacare” and the HHS mandate. Many Catholics, even many Priests and Bishops have again and again come out and proclaimed the “equal” right of all religions to have freedom. So too there have been appeals by many Catholics to “Free Speech” for all in every circumstance. And again many Catholics condemn the implementation of blasphemy laws in Islamic countries.
Yet these positions are ultimately contrary to the Catholic Faith. There is never any distinction made that the Catholic Faith is the only true faith, true Church, and which offers the only true worship of the one true God.
It is quite unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant unconditional freedom of thought, of speech, or writing, or of worship, as if these were so many rights given by nature to man. For, if nature had really granted them, it would be lawful to refuse obedience to God, and there would be no restraint on human liberty. It likewise follows that freedom in these things may be tolerated wherever there is just cause, but only with such moderation as will prevent its degenerating into license and excess. And, where such liberties are in use, men should employ them in doing good, and should estimate them as the Church does; for liberty is to be regarded as legitimate in so far only as it affords greater facility for doing good, but no farther.
Whenever there exists, or there is reason to fear, an unjust oppression of the people on the one hand, or a deprivation of the liberty of the Church on the other, it is lawful to seek for such a change of government as will bring about due liberty of action. In such case, an excessive and vicious liberty is not sought, but only some relief, for the common welfare, in order that, while license for evil is allowed by the State, the power of doing good may not be hindered.
Again, it is not of itself wrong to prefer a democratic form of government, if only the Catholic doctrine be maintained as to the origin and exercise of power. Of the various forms of government, the Church does not reject any that are fitted to procure the welfare of the subject; she wishes only — and this nature itself requires — that they should be constituted without involving wrong to any one, and especially without violating the rights of the Church. (Libertas, #42-44)
And can we honestly say that these concessions are being made today without the detriment of the liberty of the Church and the hindering of the preaching of truth? Do we live in a country founded on Catholic doctrine or a Catholic Culture? No.
We are far too caught up in American culture and society which is decidedly anti-Catholic and has been so from day one. In fact 11 out of the original 13 colonies had laws against Catholics. Some like Massachusetts even had a law against a Catholic priest stepping foot inside it’s bounds. And the Church has never made any headway in the country beyond gaining a begrudging acceptance for a time in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.
We must be extremely careful that we have not and do not fall into the heresy of Americanism which was pointed out to the American Bishops by the same Pope Leo XIII in his Encyclical Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, and which sadly is an error that we might have spread to the rest of the Church, though it resembles the “synthesis of all heresies”: Modernism to no small degree…
The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. The Vatican Council says concerning this point: “For the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention to be perfected by human ingenuity, but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our Holy Mother, the Church, has once declared, nor is that meaning ever to be departed from under the pretense or pretext of a deeper comprehension of them.” (Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Ch. IV)
We cannot consider as altogether blameless the silence which purposely leads to the omission or neglect of some of the principles of Christian doctrine, for all the principles come from the same Author and Master, “the Only Begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father.” (John 1:18) They are adapted to all times and all nations, as is clearly seen from the words of our Lord to His apostles: “Going, therefore, teach all nations; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all days, even to the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:19) Concerning this point the Vatican Council says: “All those things are to be believed with divine and catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by her ordinary and universal magisterium, proposes for belief as having been divinely revealed.”(Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Ch. III)
Let it be far from anyone’s mind to suppress for any reason any doctrine that has been handed down. Such a policy would tend rather to separate Catholics from the Church than to bring in those who differ. There is nothing closer to our heart than to have those who are separated from the fold of Christ return to it, but in no other way than the way pointed out by Christ.
The rule of life laid down for Catholics is not of such a nature that it cannot accommodate itself to the exigencies of various times and places. (VOL. XXIV-13.) The Church has, guided by her Divine Master, a kind and merciful spirit, for which reason from the very beginning she has been what St. Paul said of himself: “I became all things to all men that I might save all.”
And a little further on he continues…
These dangers, viz., the confounding of license with liberty, the passion for discussing and pouring contempt upon any possible subject, the assumed right to hold whatever opinions one pleases upon any subject and to set them forth in print to the world, have so wrapped minds in darkness that there is now a greater need of the Church’s teaching office than ever before, lest people become unmindful both of conscience and of duty.
We, indeed, have no thought of rejecting everything that modern industry and study has produced; so far from it that we welcome to the patrimony of truth and to an ever-widening scope of public well-being whatsoever helps toward the progress of learning and virtue. Yet all this, to be of any solid benefit, nay, to have a real existence and growth, can only be on the condition of recognizing the wisdom and authority of the Church.
This is very important, for we ought to consider this directly addressed to each one of us living in the United States today.
And why do we condemn Blasphemy Laws? For laws against blasphemy have always been a part of truly Catholic countries. On this topic so little understood today by Catholics we will do well to consider a short treatise on the subject by the Moral Doctor of the Universal Church: Saint Alphonsus Maria de Ligouri…
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori
Fourth Discourse – The Four Principal Gates of Hell
Part 2: Blasphemy
Let us pass on to the second gate of Hell, which is blasphemy. Some, when things go wrong with them, do not attack man, but endeavor to wreak their vengeance upon God Himself by blasphemy. Know, my brethren, what manner of sin blasphemy is. A certain author says: “Every sin, compared with blasphemy, is light;” and first of all, St. John Chrysostom says, there is nothing worse than blasphemy. Other sins, says St. Bernard, are committed through frailty, but this only through malice. With reason, then, does St. Bernardine of Sienna call blasphemy a diabolical sin, because the blasphemer, like a demon, attacks God Himself. He is worse than those who crucified Jesus Christ, because they did not know Him to be God; but he who blasphemes knows Him to be God, and insults Him face to face. He is worse than the dogs, because dogs do not bite their masters, who feed them, but the blasphemer outrages God, Who is at that very moment bestowing favors on him. What punishment, says St. Augustine, will suffice to chastise so horrid a crime? We should not wonder, says Julius III, that the scourges of God do not cease while such a crime exists among us.
Lorino cites the following fact: We read in the preface to the Pragmatic Sanction in France, that King Robert, when praying for the peace of the kingdom, was answered by the crucifix that the kingdom never should have had peace if he had not eradicated blasphemy. The Lord threatens to destroy the kingdom in which this accursed vice reigns. They have blasphemed the Holy One of Israel; . . . your land is desolate . . . it shall be desolate.
Oh, if there were always found some one to do what St. John Chrysostom advises: “Strike his mouth, and sanctify thereby thy hand.” The mouth of the accursed blasphemer should be struck, and he should then be stoned, as the old law commanded: And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, dying let him die: all the multitude shall stone him. But it would be better if that were done which St. Louis, King of France, put in force: he commanded by edict that every blasphemer should be branded on the mouth with an iron. A certain nobleman having blasphemed, many persons besought the king not to inflict that punishment upon him; but St. Louis insisted upon its infliction in every instance; and some taxing him with excessive cruelty on that account, he replied that he would suffer his own mouth to be burned sooner than allow such an outrage to be put upon God in his kingdom.
Tell me, blasphemer, of what country are you? Allow me to tell you, you belong to Hell. St. Peter was known in the house of Caiphas for a Galilean by his speech. Surely thou also art one of them, it was said to him, for even thy speech doth discover thee. What is the language of the damned?—–blasphemy. And they blasphemed the God of Heaven because of their pains and wounds. What do you gain, my brethren, by these your blasphemies? you gain no honor by them. Blasphemers are abhorred even by their blasphemous companions. Do you gain any temporal advantage?
Do you not see that this accursed vice keeps us forever in beggary? Sin maketh nations miserable. Do you derive pleasure from it? What pleasure do you derive from blaspheming God? The pleasure of the damned; and that moment of madness past, what pain and bitterness does it not leave in your heart? Resolve to rid yourself of this vice in any event. Take care, if you do not abandon it now, that you will not carry it with you to death, as has happened to so many who have died with blasphemy in their mouths. But, Father, what can I do when the madness comes upon me? Good God! and are there no other means of working it off than by blasphemy? Say, cursed be my sins. Mother of God, assist me, give me patience; your passion, your anger, will pass off quickly, and you will find yourself in the grace of God after the trial. If you do not act thus, you will find yourself more afflicted and more lost than before.
And so we see how evil blasphemy is and how we ought to treat it, and also how a saintly King treated it in his own Catholic country. Would that his successors had been so vigilant to extirpate sin from their realm. And if we do not act accordingly there will be a price to pay….
Let us tremble, my brethren, when we see others punished, knowing as we do, that we ourselves have deserved the same punishments. When the tower of Siloe fell upon eighteen persons and killed them, the Lord said to many who were present: Think you that they also were debtors above all the men that dwelt in Jerusalem. (Luke 13:4) Do you think that these wretches alone were in debt to God’s justice on account of their sins? You are yet debtors to it; and if you do not penance, you shall be punished as well as they: Except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish. O, how many unfortunate men damn themselves by false hope in the Divine mercy? Yes, God is merciful, and therefore assists and protects them who hope in His mercy: He is the protector of all that trust in Him. (Ps. 17:31) But He assists and protects those only who hope in Him, with the intention of changing their lives, not those whose hope is accompanied by a perverse intention of continuing to offend Him. The hope of the latter is not acceptable to God, He abominates and punishes it: Their hope the abomination of the soul. (Job 11:20) Poor sinners, their greatest misery is, that they are lost, and do not know their state. They jest, and they laugh, and they despise the threats of God, as if God had assured them that He should not punish them. “Whence,” exclaims St. Bernard, “this accursed security?” Whence, O blind that you are, whence this accursed security? Accursed, because it is this security which brings you to Hell. I will come to them that are at rest, and dwell securely. (Ezech. 28:11) The Lord is patient, but when the hour of chastisement arrives, then will He justly condemn to Hell those wretches who continue in sin, and live in peace, as if there were no Hell for them. (Saint Alphonsus Ligouri, Ibid)