“Lucifer, with a very great number of demons will be unchained from Hell.” -Our Lady of La Salette
On October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII had a remarkable vision. When the aged Pontiff had finished celebrating Mass in his private Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the prayer to St. Michael. When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices – two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation:
The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasted to Our
Lord: “I can destroy your Church.”
The gentle voice of Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
Our Lord: “How much time? How much power?
Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”
Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.
Now the prayer to Saint Michael that most people today are familiar with is actually a shortened version which was commanded to be said at the end of every Low Mass, but here is the original prayer penned by Pope Leo after this vision:
O Glorious Prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the terrible warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come to the aid of man, whom Almighty God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of Satan.
Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.
These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be.
Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly find mercy in the sight of the Lord; and vanquishing the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered the root of David.
V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Let us pray.
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as supplicants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious St. Michael the Archangel, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.
(Roman Raccolta, July 23, 1898, supplement approved July 31, 1902, London: Burnes, Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1935, 12th edition.)
We then have two different prophesies concerning the “unchaining” or the increase of power of the devil in this past century. But we can add yet a third that corroborates both. This comes from Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) and is contained in the 59th Chapter of The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is based upon her visions concerning the passion of our Lord, and this particular chapter dealt with what happened when our Lord “descended into Hell” (as we say in the Creed) after he died on the Cross:
In the centre of Hell I saw a dark and horrible-looking abyss, and into this Lucifer was cast, after being first strongly secured with chains; thick clouds of sulfurous black smoke arose from its fearful depths, and enveloped his frightful form in the dismal folds, thus effectually concealing him from every beholder. God himself had decreed this; and I was likewise told, if I remember right, that he will be unchained for a time fifty or sixty years before the year of Christ 2000.
This is a most disturbing point, and one to which I will return later.
France and the Church were indeed chastised in 1870-1 by the Franco-Prussian War which interrupted (and caused never to be finished) the First Vatican Council. And it also resulted in the loss of the Papal States and for a time Blessed Pope Pius IX was a prisoner in the Vatican. In a desperate attempt to save their country the leaders of France promised that if they were delivered from the Prussians they would build a Church in honor of the Sacred Heart. True to their word the grand Basilica of Sacre Cœur (Sacred Heart) now stands on the hill of Montmartre (Mount of Martyrs) at the edge of Paris, and is the highest building in the city (even spanning above the Eiffel Tower). Perpetual adoration is kept in the Church in reparation for the sins of France.
Still the fate of France and indeed the whole world, and in particular the Church, during this period was unfavorable, except that we had a wonderful leader in Pope Leo XIII, and his successor was even to surpass him, for the Church was then blessed with the great Pope Saint Pius X.
It was only in the fourth year of his pontificate in the year 1907 that on the 8th of September he published his famous encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis concerning the Heresy of Modernism. This passage, in particular the final line, is a bone chilling pronouncement:
It may, perhaps, seem to some, Venerable Brethren, that We have dealt at too great length on this exposition of the doctrines of the Modernists. But it was necessary that We should do so, both in order to meet their customary charge that We do not understand their ideas, and to show that their system does not consist in scattered and unconnected theories, but, as it were, in a closely connected whole, so that it is not possible to admit one without admitting all. For this reason, too, We have had to give to this exposition a somewhat didactic form, and not to shrink from employing certain unwonted terms which the Modernists have brought into use. And now with Our eyes fixed upon the whole system, no one will be surprised that We should define it to be the synthesis of all heresies.
And he concludes this encyclical thusly:
This, Venerable Brethren, is what We have thought it Our duty to write to you for the salvation of all who believe. The adversaries of the Church will doubtless abuse what We have said to refurbish the old calumny by which We are traduced as the enemy of science and of the progress of humanity. As a fresh answer to such accusations, which the history of the Christian religion refutes by never-failing evidence, it is Our intention to establish by every means in our power a special Institute in which, through the co-operation of those Catholics who are most eminent for their learning, the advance of science and every other department of knowledge may be promoted under the guidance and teaching of Catholic truth. God grant that We may happily realize Our design with the assistance of all those who bear a sincere love for the Church of Christ. But of this We propose to speak on another occasion.
Meanwhile, Venerable Brethren, fully confident in your zeal and energy, We beseech for you with Our whole heart the abundance of heavenly light, so that in the midst of this great danger to souls from the insidious invasions of error upon every hand, you may see clearly what ought to be done, and labor to do it with all your strength and courage. May Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, be with you in His power; and may the Immaculate Virgin, the destroyer of all heresies, be with you by her prayers and aid. And We, as a pledge of Our affection and of the Divine solace in adversity, most lovingly grant to you, your clergy and people, the Apostolic Benediction.
Amen! And would that we would make this prayer our own for our Pastors the priests, bishops, and especially our Holy Father today.
In Europe political tensions were growing and seven years later we saw the outbreak of the most terrible war the world had ever seen in the “Great War”, which was to be the war that ended all wars. It was in this dark hour that the Holy Spirit began to be poured out in abundance.
In the Sistine Chapel, on May 13th 1917, Pope Benedict XV was laying his hands on the young priest Eugenio Marìa Pacelli consecrating him a Bishop and immediately elevating him to the Archbishopric of Sardis and making him the Papal Nuncio to Prussia. Father Pacelli was the future Venerable Pope Pius XII.
At the very same hour three small shepherd children knelt before a small Holm Oak tree in a piece of land owned by the Father of the eldest child called the Cova de Iria, which was just outside the village of Fatima, Portugal. Standing above the tree was the Mother of God.
The children knew that our Lady was going to be coming, because the Guardian Angel of Portugal had already visited them on several occasions giving them special prayers to say and even bringing them Holy Communion on several occasions. The prayers he gave them were:
Most Holy Trinity, I adore Thee! My God, My God,
I love Thee in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
My God, I believe, I adore, I trust, and I love Thee!
I ask pardon for those who do not believe,
do not adore, do not trust and do not love Thee.
The eldest seer was Lucia Santos (10) and with her were her two younger cousins Jacinta (7) and Francisco (8) Marto. Lucia described the appearance of our Lady as follows:
It was a lady dressed all in white, more brilliant than the sun, shedding rays of light, clear and stronger than crystal glass filled with the most sparkling water, pierced by the burning rays of the sun.
Our Lady told the children that she had come to ask them to visit the same spot on the same day and hour for six consecutive months. She asked them if they were willing to sacrifice themselves in reparation for the many sins that outraged her Son so very much. And finally she asked them:
Say the Rosary every day to earn peace for the world and an end of the war.
Here again we have another attestation to the power of the Rosary, and once more a powerful inducement for our Lady herself to make this wonderful prayer a part of our daily lives. Indeed, in this apparition she identified herself as our Lady of the Rosary just as she had identified herself at Lourdes to Saint Bernadette as the “Immaculate Conception”.
Now a whole book (and many have been) could be written on the events of Fatima, but that is not my focus here. Over the course of the next 5 apparitions our Lady told the children many things including three secrets that were to be revealed at a later date. She also told them that to give evidence of who she was and the authenticity of her apparitions to them for the sake of the people she would perform a great miracle on the date of the final apparition. Before looking at the events of that day let us first take a brief look at the first two secrets as they are recorded by Lucia herself in her memoirs:
The secret is made up of three distinct parts, two of which I am now going to reveal.
The first part is the vision of hell.
Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror.
We then looked up at Our Lady, who said to us so kindly and so sadly:
“You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate 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 this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion 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, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world”.
We will return to this shortly, but first let us move forward to the events of October 13th 1917. It was pouring rain and the children were nervous because nearly 80,000 people had gathered to see the promised miracle, and should it not come they might be torn to pieces by the crowd. The crowd was mixed with pious and the secular alike. We shall look at one eyewitness account from Dr. José Maria de Almeida Garrett, who was a professor at the Faculty of Sciences of Coimbra, Portugal:
It must have been 1:30 p.m when there arose, at the exact spot where the children were, a column of smoke, thin, fine and bluish, which extended up to perhaps two meters above their heads, and evaporated at that height. This phenomenon, perfectly visible to the naked eye, lasted for a few seconds. Not having noted how long it had lasted, I cannot say whether it was more or less than a minute. The smoke dissipated abruptly, and after some time, it came back to occur a second time, then a third time
The sky, which had been overcast all day, suddenly cleared; the rain stopped and it looked as if the sun were about to fill with light the countryside that the wintery morning had made so gloomy. I was looking at the spot of the apparitions in a serene, if cold, expectation of something happening and with diminishing curiosity because a long time had passed without anything to excite my attention. The sun, a few moments before, had broken through the thick layer of clouds which hid it and now shone clearly and intensely.
Suddenly I heard the uproar of thousands of voices, and I saw the whole multitude spread out in that vast space at my feet…turn their backs to that spot where, until then, all their expectations had been focused, and look at the sun on the other side. I turned around, too, toward the point commanding their gaze and I could see the sun, like a very clear disc, with its sharp edge, which gleamed without hurting the sight. It could not be confused with the sun seen through a fog (there was no fog at that moment), for it was neither veiled nor dim. At Fatima, it kept its light and heat, and stood out clearly in the sky, with a sharp edge, like a large gaming table. The most astonishing thing was to be able to stare at the solar disc for a long time, brilliant with light and heat, without hurting the eyes or damaging the retina. [During this time], the sun’s disc did not remain immobile, it had a giddy motion, [but] not like the twinkling of a star in all its brilliance for it spun round upon itself in a mad whirl.
During the solar phenomenon, which I have just described, there were also changes of color in the atmosphere. Looking at the sun, I noticed that everything was becoming darkened. I looked first at the nearest objects and then extended my glance further afield as far as the horizon. I saw everything had assumed an amethyst color. Objects around me, the sky and the atmosphere, were of the same color. Everything both near and far had changed, taking on the color of old yellow damask. People looked as if they were suffering from jaundice and I recall a sensation of amusement at seeing them look so ugly and unattractive. My own hand was the same color.
Then, suddenly, one heard a clamor, a cry of anguish breaking from all the people. The sun, whirling wildly, seemed all at once to loosen itself from the firmament and, blood red, advance threateningly upon the earth as if to crush us with its huge and fiery weight. The sensation during those moments was truly terrible.
All the phenomena which I have described were observed by me in a calm and serene state of mind without any emotional disturbance. It is for others to interpret and explain them. Finally, I must declare that never, before or after October 13 , have I observed similar atmospheric or solar phenomena. (Novos Documentos de Fatima [Loyala editions, San Paulo, 1984])
This remains the greatest extra-biblical miracle ever recorded, and is easily the best attested to inextricable event maybe ever. Just before the “dancing of the sun” the children saw a series of apparitions: first Saint Joseph holding the child Jesus, then our Lord blessing the earth as the Divine Redeemer, then our Lady of Sorrows, and finally our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Three days later in a small room in Rome seven young Franciscan Seminarians lead by Fra Maximilian founded the Militia of the Immaculata. This was a group of spiritual knights who were to use prayer and not arms to fight evil in the world. It promoted a form of Marian Consecration and above all the Holy Rosary. It was founded in response to the terrible rioting of the Freemasons in Saint Peters Square, which included burning the Pope in effigy before his eyes and a banner that read: “Satan will rule the Vatican, and Pope will be his slave”, during the 200th Anniversary “celebrations” of the founding of the Grand Lodge. Here are the words of Fra Maximilian:
“In the face of such attacks of the enemies of the Church of God, are we to remain inactive? Is that all we can do—complain and cry? No! Every one of us has a holy obligation to personally hurl back the assaults of the foe.”
“These men without God find themselves in a tragic situation. Such implacable hatred for the Church and the ambassadors of Christ on earth is not in the power of individual persons, but of a systematic activity stemming in the final analysis from Freemasonry. In particular, it aims to destroy the Catholic religion. Their deceits have been spread throughout the world, in different disguises. But with the same goal – religious indifference and weakening of moral forces, according to their basic principle—‘We will conquer the Catholic Church not by argumentation, but rather with moral corruption.’”
“Modern times are dominated by Satan and will be more so in the future. The conflicts with hell cannot be engaged by men, even the most clever. The Immaculata alone has from God the promise of victory over Satan.”
We know this Franciscan today as Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, who was easily one of the greatest sons of Saint Francis ever to grace the Church.
How can we ignore these events? How can we ignore the words of these Holy Saints and Popes? How can we ignore the ever Blessed Virgin Mary coming dome from Heaven with a special message for us? Yet that is just what we have been doing.
Are we fighting in the spiritual battle that is now afoot? Are we taking up our Rosary, or “our weapon in these times” as Saint Padre Pio called it, on a regular or better a daily basis as our Lady asked at Fatima?
Are we working to make regular and even daily acts of reparation to our Lady and our Lord as they asked of us on so many occasions over the last five centuries? Are we practicing our Nine First Fridays and Five First Saturdays?
Can we honestly profess the Oath Against Modernism of Pope Saint Pius X? And are we working to root out this terrible and insidious heresy from ever aspect of our lives? And we, as Americans, must be extra vigilant in regard to this danger because of our additional handicap of suffering from our own home grown form of it: the heresy of Americanism.
We are the members of the Catholic Church, the very Mystical Body of Christ, and if we are not willing to be used as part of God’s plan then we are working in the camp of Satan.
He that is not with me, is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth. (Luke 11:23)
We must not abandon the promises we made at baptism, and we must heed the words of our Lord and our Lady and of Holy Mother Church. And to know who our real enemy is and who it is that we struggle against, those members of the kingdom of the Prince of this World, we must see and understand the big picture.
Recall then that earlier in February of 1917 Russia had undergone the terrible Communist revolution. This revolution would far surpass that of the French Revolution in it’s expression of pure evil. Not since the ancient persecutions during the time of the early Church would so many Catholics we slaughtered in such a short amount of time for simply professing and practicing their faith. And we must understand the close connection and the united aims of Communism and Freemasonry.
What Saint Maximilian was fighting against was the very thing that our Lady had warned the children about in the second secret about the “errors of Russia” being spread throughout the world. And both of these groups in their aims and ideology were most clearly explained by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi as they both fall under the umbrella of the “synthesis of all heresies”, Modernism. And it is this most despicable of all philosophies, vomited from the deepest darkest bowels of Hell, that has shaped our world today.