How did God make Mary’s soul? How did God make Mary’s body? Both happened at the moment of her Immaculate Conception.
Everyone knows that Catholics love the Blessed Virgin Mary and everyone knows that Protestants love the Apostle Paul. But did you know that a 17th century woman saint was shown in a vision the life of Mary? Venerable Mary of Agreda (ok, almost a saint) was a Spanish Franciscan nun. She was given the private revelation of the entire life of Mary (from her Immaculate Conception to past her Assumption and Coronation) all of which she recorded in a book called The Mystical City of God (not to be confused with a similar title of St. Augustine, written 1200 years earlier.) This Franciscan nun’s private revelation of the life of Mary is over 2000 pages! Jansenists did not like her book. However, Pope Innocent XI, decreed on 9 November 1681, that the Mystical City of God could be freely spread among the clergy and laity.
Jesus’ mother Mary never sinned and yet Saul was responsible for killing Christians. Did they ever meet? Yes, according to the visions of the Venerable from Agreda. In this revelation, God revealed to the Spanish nun an intimate relationship between Saul-become-Paul and the Mother of God. The italics below show how Mary loves and prays for sinners, even sinners guilty of killing her only Son, Jesus, as well as a new love of her spiritual-children. We should take great hope that Mary still intercedes for the conversion of those who kill Christians, that Mary cares for those who have had abortions, that Mary pursues those farthest from God, so that each one of us might approach the life giving waters of baptism. Mary is not afraid of our filth, even though she is the Pan-hagia, the All-Holy as the Greek Fathers call the Theotokos, the mother of the Redeemer.
In our factionalized Christianity, we need to realize that there was a unity in the early Church: Pentecostal gifts and Marian contemplation were not separated. Neither were joy and hierarchical authority, poverty and Apostolic power of miracles. Personified, this is most importantly seen in the nearly-unknown relationship between St. Paul and St. Mary.
Could this be the key to uniting Protestants and Catholics?
If the early Church did not divide her love of Mary and Paul, of contemplation and speaking-in-tongues, then we should not divide between hierarchy and discipleship, traditional liturgy and Pentecostal gifts. I very much want Protestants to see that the Apostle Paul loved Mary and owed a lot to her. Even to the Catholic, private revelation does not hold as privileged of a place as public revelation (the Sacred Scriptures) but the former greatly aids in the reading of the latter. In fact, below you will see how Mystical City of God flows completely in union with Acts chapter 9.
Below, I will comment in green, bold font. Pay special attention to the relationship between Paul and Jesus’ mother. We enter the nun from Agreda’s 2000 page vision in Book 7, chapter 6.
Saint Paul was distinguished in Judaism for two reasons. The one was his own character, and the other was the diligence of the demon in availing himself of his naturally good qualities. Saint Paul was of a disposition generous, magnanimous, most noble, kind, active, courageous and constant. He had acquired many of the moral virtues. He glorified in being a staunch professor of the law of Moses, and in being studious and learned in it; although in truth he was ignorant of its essence, as he himself confesses to Timothy, because all his learning was human and terrestrial; like many Jews, he knew the law merely from the outside, without its spirit and without the divine insight, which was necessary to understand it rightly and to penetrate its mysteries.
Like many hypocrites through history, Saul still had his natural virtues that God would one day transform into supernatural virtues. Saul knew the Bible, but “without its spirit and the divine insight.” It’s a good thing that’s not a problem for any Catholics today.
The disposition of Saul was most noble and generous, and therefore it appeared to him beneath his dignity and honor to stoop to such crimes and act the part of an assassin, when he could, as it seemed to him, destroy the law of Christ by the power of reasoning and open justice. He felt a still greater horror at the thought of killing the most blessed Mother, on account of the regard due to Her as a woman; and because he had seen Her so composed and constant in the labors and in the Passion of Christ. On this account She seemed to him a magnanimous Woman and worthy of veneration. She had indeed won his respect, together with some compassion for her sorrows and afflictions, the magnitude of which had become publicly known. Hence he gave no admittance to the inhuman suggestions of the demon against the life of the most blessed Mary. This compassion for Her hastened not a little the conversion of Saul. Neither did he further entertain the treacherous designs against the apostles, although Lucifer sought to make their assassination appear as a deed worthy of his courageous spirit. Rejecting all these wicked thoughts, he resolved to incite all the Jews to persecute the Church, until it should be destroyed together with the name of Christ.
First, it is astonishing that this private revelation reveals that Saul was actually at the murder of Jesus on Mount Calvary! Like the soldier along the way of the cross in the movie The Passion of the Christ, Saul too was captured into a deep “respect” of Mary. Yes, he strangely respected her, even though he hated her son. Isn’t this similar to how Muslims today kill Christians but have a strange love of the Blessed Virgin? It shows that there is hope for all, at least anyone who still has breath in his lungs. The Church Fathers point out how Jesus is the sun and Mary is the moon (who has no light of her own, but perfectly reflects the sun/Son.) For eyes darkened by night, is it not easier to look at the moon than the sun? Perhaps this is why some sinners come to trust Mary before Jesus. But don’t worry, Protestants, she always directs us to her Son and says “Do whatever He tells you.”—John 2:5.
But his by far most numerous escort were the many legions of demons, who in order to assist him in this enterprise, came forth from hoping that with all this show of force and through Saul, they might be able to make an end of the Church and entirely devastate it with fire and blood.
Nothing of all this was unknown to the Queen of heaven; for in addition to her knowledge and vision penetrating to the inmost thoughts of men and demons, the Apostles were solicitous in keeping Her informed of all that befell the followers of her Son. Long before this time She had known that Saul was to be an Apostle of Christ, a preacher to the gentiles, and a man distinguished and wonderful in the Church; for all of these things her Son informed Her, as I said in the second part of this history. But as She saw the persecution becoming more violent and the glorious fruits and results of the conversion of Saul delayed, and as She moreover saw how the disciples of Christ, who knew nothing of the secret intentions of the Most High, were afflicted and somewhat discouraged at the fury and persistence of his persecution, the kindest Mother was filled with great sorrow. Considering, in her heavenly prudence, how important was this affair, She roused Herself to new courage and confidence in her prayers for the welfare of the Church and the conversion of Saul.
He permitted his blessed Mother to suffer some sensible pain and, as it were, to fall into a kind of swoon, yet her Son, who according to our way of understanding, could not longer resist the love which wounded his heart, consoled and restored Her by yielding to her prayers He said: “My Mother, chosen among all creatures, let thy will be done without delay. I will do with Saul as Thou askest, and will so change him, that from this moment he will be a defender of the Church which he persecutes, and a preacher of my name and glory. I shall now proceed to receive him immediately into my friendship and grace.”
I find two things amazing here:
- Mary knew that Saul would become Paul. Mary knew that Paul would become her Son’s greatest missionary. In fact, Paul was chosen for this from all of eternity, and God revealed this fact to Mary. However, Paul’s conversion was not slated until later. Mary expedited this date by her prayers! In other words, Mary sped up even the set-date of Paul’s conversion so he could get more rapidly to the conversion of many nations. This, according to Ven. Mary of Agreda, was due to the Blessed Virgin’s love of the great commission.
- Although Mary was co-Redemptrix in the horrible suffering on Good Friday, she had to have to experience what the author tells us was “some sensible pain” for later conversions, even after the sword first pierced her heart on Calvary (Luke 2:35.) St. Paul would have topped this list. Jesus died for Paul, but Mary filled up what was “wanting in the sufferings of Christ” as Paul Himself would later write (Col 1:24.) As he wrote to the Colossians, was Paul thinking of his own spiritual mother who suffered in order to bring him into the flock? Paul would have known that Mary effected or at least expedited his conversion.
Below, Saul converts during his glorious vision of the Risen Christ. Christ asks Him why He persecutes Him. To read about how the Franciscan nun saw Saul’s conversion, just click the three dots here 1
The Spanish Franciscan shares more of what she saw in her vision of Paul and Mary. The following conversation comes after the Apostle Paul’s conversion:
St. Paul was filled with admiration and incomparable love and veneration of most holy Mary. Somewhat recovering himself he said to Her: “Mother of all piety and clemency, pardon this vile and sinful man for having persecuted my Lord thy divine Son and his holy Church.” The Virgin Mother responded and said: “Paul, servant of the Most High, if He who created and redeemed thee deigned to call thee to his friendship and made thee a vessel of election (Acts 9:15), how could I, his slave, refuse to pardon thee? My soul magnifies and exalts Him because He desired to manifest Himself so powerful, generous and holy in thee.” St. Paul thanked the heavenly Mother for the benefit of his conversion and for the other favors conferred upon him by Her in saving him from so many dangers. St. Barnabas did likewise, and both again asked for her protection and help, which the most holy Mother promised.
Here, we see that Paul and Mary had definitely met! Notice that Paul calls Mary “Mother”! Mary recognizes that this man who used to kill Christians is now in God’s own “friendship.” She even begins to say the Magnificat for him! St. Paul then thanks her “for the benefit of his conversion.” This is so powerful that I believe that Mary is actually Paul’s entire inspiration for his letter to the Galatians, which will hopefully be my next blog post.
Thereupon Jesus Christ our Lord disappeared from the presence of his most blessed Mother leaving Her still engaged in prayer and furnished with a clear insight into what was to happen. Shortly afterward the Lord appeared to Saul on the road near Damascus, whither, in his ever increasing fury against Jesus, his accelerated journey had already brought him. The Lord showed himself to Saul in a resplendent cloud amid immense glory, and at the same time Saul was flooded with light without and within, and his heart and senses were overwhelmed beyond power of resistance (Acts 9, 4). He fell suddenly from his horse to the ground and at the same time he heard a voice from on high saying: “Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute Me?” Full of fear and consternation he answered: “Who art Thou, Lord?” The voice replied: “I am Jesus whom thou persecutes; it is hard for thee to kick against the goad of my omnipotence.” Again Saul answered with greater fear and trembling: “Lord, what dost Thou command and desire to do with me?” The companions of Saul heard these questions and answers, though they did not see the Savior. They saw the splendor surrounding him and all were filled with dread and astonishment at this sudden and unthought of event, and they were for some time dumbfounded.
This new wonder, surpassing all that had been seen in the world before, was greater and more far–reaching than what could be taken in by the senses. For Saul was not only prostrated in body, blinded and bereft of his strength so that, if the divine power had not sustained him, he would have immediately expired; but also as to his interior he suffered more of a change than when he passed from nothingness into existence at his conception, farther removed from what he was before than from darkness, or the highest heaven from the lowest earth; for he was changed from an image of the demon to that of one of the highest and most ardent seraphim. This triumph over Lucifer and his demons had been especially reserved by God for his divine Wisdom and Omnipotence; so that, in virtue of the Passion and Death of Christ this dragon and his malice might be vanquished by the human nature of one man, in whom the effects of grace and Redemption were set in opposition to the sin of Lucifer and all its effects. Thus it happened that in the same short time, in which Lucifer through pride was changed from an angel to a devil, the power of Christ changed Saul from a demon into an angel in grace. In the angelic nature the highest beauty turned into the deepest ugliness; and in the human nature the greatest perversity into the highest moral perfection. Lucifer descended as the enemy of God from heaven to the deepest abyss of the earth, and a man ascended as a friend of God from the earth to the highest heaven.
And since this triumph would not have been sufficiently glorious, if the Lord had not given more than Lucifer had lost, the Omnipotent wished to add in saint Paul an additional triumph to his victory over the demon. For Lucifer, although he fell from that exceedingly high grace which he had received, had never possessed beatific vision, nor had he made himself worthy of it, and hence could not lose what he did not possess. But Paul, immediately on disposing himself for justification and on gaining grace, began to partake of glory and clearly saw the Divinity, though this vision was gradual. O invincible virtue of the divine power! O infinite efficacy of the merits of the life and death of Christ! It was certainly reasonable and just, that if the malice of sin in one instant changed the angel into a demon, that the grace of the Redeemer should be more powerful and abound more than sin (Rom. 5, 20), raising up from it a man, not only to place him into original grace, but into glory. Greater is this wonder than the creation of heaven and earth with all the creatures; greater than to give sight to the blind, health to the sick, life to the dead. Let us congratulate the sinners on the hope inspired by this wonderful justification, since we have for our Restorer, for our Father, and for our Brother the same Lord, who justified Paul; and He is not less powerful nor less holy for us, than for saint Paul. ↩
October is the month of the Holy Rosary. I took this picture outside of the Shrine of the Virgin of the Rosary of Pompei in Italy during Easter week of 2016. The Church was built about 140 years ago by a former-satanist, Bl. Bartolomo Longo, a man who changed his life through the Rosary. He is now up for canonization.
Kibeho, Rwanda, where Mary appeared in 1981 in a Vatican-approved apparition, preaching (among many things) the renewal of the ancient 7-sorrows Rosary.
Sorry for the repost, but I’m about to start traveling.
I’m on the traditional calendar with an older “Divine Office.” But today, Pope Francis and every synod bishop in Rome should have read Malachi chapter one in their new Divine Office. It’s the Scripture readings that every priest has promised to pray on the day of his ordination. In Malachi 1, God Himself tells what He thinks about the priesthood, the worthiness of a sacrifice, divorce, and false-mercy becoming a mockery of God. If everyone at the synod has their mind made up (for better or for worse) then perhaps this is a last offer of unity…or even a last offer of mercy for those who would tamper with Scripture, timed impeccably by God, as always:
The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi: And if I am a master, where is my fear? says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests, who despise my name. But you say, ‘How have we despised your name? ’ By offering polluted food upon my altar. But you say, ‘How have we polluted you? ’ By saying that the Lord’s table may be despised. When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that not evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that not evil? Present that to your governor; will he accept you or show you favor? says the Lord of hosts. And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the Lord of hosts. Oh that there were one among you who would shut the doors, that you might not kindle fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will not accept an offering from your hand. For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised. But you say, ‘What a weariness this is,’ and you snort at it, says the Lord of hosts. You bring what has been taken by violence or is lame or sick, and this you bring as your offering! Shall I accept that from your hand? says the Lord. Cursed be the cheat who has a male in his flock, and vows it, and yet sacrifices to the Lord what is blemished. For I am a great King, says the Lord of hosts, and my name will be feared among the nations…And this second thing you do: You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”
—Malachi 1:1-14, 2:13-16
God said “My name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts. But you profane it when you say that the Lord’s table is polluted, and its fruit, that is, its food may be despised,” and “For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence.” Combine these two and you have a clear injunction against sacrileging the altar of sacrifice with divorce-and-remarriage. And yet Pope Francis’ men are promoting open communion with the sole restriction being a false understanding of conscience. 1
But I mention Malachi 1 because I imagine God is still merciful to Pope Francis and the synod Fathers “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” But if they don’t listen, what would justice look like? Of course, God only wills the good of His children, but if we, His beloved children reject His hand, we also reject His protection. Justice entails losing God’s protection. Primarily, this would mean the loss of souls to Satan, especially if the Pope’s moral theology statements remain purposefully vague.
But there is something at the physical level, too. I am reminded that the number one goal of ISIS is not the destruction of the USA but the physical destruction of Rome. This is not some ultra-conservative doomsday prophesy. In fact, the best article I read on ISIS comes from the left-leaning Atlantic Magazine. Graeme Wood’s What Isis Really Wants has over half-million FB likes. Do a quick search for the word “Rome” in this article, and you will see that Rome appears 10 times. ISIS wants to destroy Rome. We need God’s protection. Now is no time to mock His doctrine or discipline on marriage. 2
No Pope or bishop can ever change God’s Word. Their job is to aid in the interpretation of Scripture in concert with Sacred Tradition. So when bishops conceal heresy with mercy, or give the theological wink-and-nod to kill consciences, Divine Justice is being tested. How are these men more merciful than Jesus who died for sinners like me? They’re not. They have overlooked the fact that there is no mercy without repentance. In a Vatican-approved apparition called Our Lady of La Salette, Mary said in 1846 to the French children: “Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.” Pope Pius IX approved and promoted this apparition.
I’m not saying we’re there yet. But I do know that Mary’s call to the faithful transcends this silly synod…just as timeless and infallible Catholic teaching transcends this synod, too. There will always be good bishops and bad bishops. We worship neither. That’s why it’s still awesome to be Catholic, regardless of certain bishops trying in vain to change Church teaching. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not worth reading any more news on the synod. Why get flustered? God will protect us from evil or from this evil He will bring good (and open schism would indeed be better than the current silent-smiley-schism.) Either way, Our Lady of La Salette showed us the way to Her Son:
Finally, I call on the Apostles of the Last Days, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, who have lived in scorn for the world and for themselves, in poverty and in humility, in scorn and in silence, in prayer and in mortification, in chastity and in union with God, in suffering and unknown to the world. It is time they came out and filled the world with light. Go and reveal yourselves to be my cherished children. I am at your side and within you, provided that your faith is the light which shines upon you in these unhappy days. May your zeal make you famished for the glory and the honor of Jesus Christ. Fight, children of the light, you, the few who can see.
The Archbishop of Chicago is theologically correct in his statement that conscience is “inviolable.” But if conscience itself can self-absolve from the grave sins he discussed in that link, then there is no longer a need for a Magisterium nor the sacrament of confession. Archbishop Cupich is not a party-crasher. He said: “I came here at the request of the Holy Father. In fact, I was not elected. I was appointed by the Pope to come here.” Although open communion will probably not be promoted explicitly next year by Pope Francis, the notion of “inviolable conscience” seems well on its way to replace (at least at the level of discipline if not doctrine) both the Scriptures and the Magisterium. It’s important to note that a post-synod statement is not to be considered ex-cathedra infallible nor considered to be articulated faith and morals of the ordinary Magisterium. Thus, although Pope Francis’ continued errors would not overturn the indefectibility promised by Christ to Peter in Matthew 16 regarding the Catholic Church, this would lead to an unprecedented loss of souls. We must pray for nothing short of conversion or intervention. Error has indeed been spoken. In May of 2013, Pope Francis preached at the Domus Santae Martae. While speaking of atheists at Mass, Pope Francis said: “We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.” By “there,” Pope Francis meant heaven. Hebrews 11:6 is very clear on belief and salvation. ↩
A faithful bishop from Poland attending the synod said: “Practically all are repeating that there will be no doctrinal change, but this is understood in different ways. For if you add to this first group that disciplinary changes are possible, this means, in practice, that doctrinal stability is being nullified. In my opinion one cannot speak of the separation of the practice of the Church from her doctrine, from her teachings. The two are inseparable. I have the impression that many supporters of this modernity, are in fact thinking about changing doctrine, yet calling it a change in Church discipline. It is a disturbing point in these discussions, for it is strongly emphasized: “we accept the entire doctrine”, but there immediately follows a suggestion that doctrine has nothing to do with it. This is greatly worrying me, for one and the other are saying that they want no change in doctrine. From where then, are arising these practices opposed to doctrine?”—Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, translation from Toronto Catholic Witness. ↩