Our Lady of Fatima and the “Angel of Portugal”

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Four shepherdesses finished their noon-time meal among the rocks at the high ridge called the Cabeço. [1] It was about one kilometer from the hamlet of Aljustrel, Portugal. Lucia, Teresa, Maria Rosa and Maria Justino loved that ridge as it provided beautiful views from far above the innumerable gray green olive trees, the darker green evergreens and the many stocky holm oaks in the valley below. As they stood at the crest of the ridge near the old windmill, they could see for miles in all directions. It was a peaceful view for these young Catholic girls in a very troubled time for Catholics in that country. Seven years before, their Catholic King, Carlos I, was assassinated. Five years before, in 1910, a Masonic republican revolution expelled the papal nuncio — the Pope’s ambassador, as Catholic seminaries and the residences of the Catholic bishops were confiscated throughout the country. Members of religious orders were dispersed and the government forbade religious processions and the wearing of clerical garb. Church services were regulated by government-appointed lay committees. Bishops and priests were tried, imprisoned and exiled. In this brutal way, the Church and state were forcibly separated. The Masons were pleased. But there at the Cabeço that afternoon the air was clean, fragrant and peaceful. Lucia and her friends began to say a Rosary.

The view was clear and cloudless. It was a quiet day in a place of rural beauty. No one expected anything remarkable to happen this noon for this place was created for the ordinary. Nevertheless, as the girls prayed, they saw something extraordinary. In the otherwise clear heavens, a small solitary mist formed in the sky far above the pious girls. The mist grew into a small cloud. It was remarkably bright as it developed before their uplifted eyes. The girls watched it grow in wonder. Then the cloud revealed within it a glowing image that looked like a human form. They stared at it mesmerized. The form appeared like an unfinished statue of crystal ice that sunlight made transparent. The brilliant human image, without detailed features, was suspended in that shroud of misty air only momentarily above the praying girls and the motionless trees. And then it was gone. The girls stopped and asked each other what they had seen in the sky. They were at a complete loss to identify it. After a pause they finished their Rosary. Then the girls went home with the sheep and tried to describe to their parents what they saw drifting above them. Lucia’s mother’s response was probably typical: “children’s nonsense” she called the account.

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Submitted by Nancy W.

Good Friday

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Good Friday: The World’s First Exorcism

St. Michael’s exorcism of heaven is witnessed in the 12th chapter of the Book of Revelation where he forcefully casts out the ravenous dragon from God’s realm, and his minions with him. The devil wanted to devour a new-born baby and deprive a woman of her motherhood – kind of like the abortion industry does today – but God would have nothing of it. Yet, Revelation also warns us of the consequences of that exorcism: “But woe to you, earth and sea, for the devil has come down upon you!” Woe, indeed.

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The devil must also be cast from the earth to the one place where he belongs, in the hell that God created for him and his angels, and this definitive exorcism of the earth was accomplished on Good Friday. Jesus exorcised the devil from our lives by the one and only force that has the power to separate man from the devil and cast him out: His own Precious Blood. One week before His death the Lord Himself solemnly proclaimed that He would apply His authority in this way:

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Now has judgment come upon this world; now will this world’s prince be driven out, and I – once I am lifted up from the earth – will draw all men to myself (Jn 12:31-32).

These are powerful words for sure but not to be taken as just the pious hopes of a man with a death sentence. Jesus was telling us that He would do for us what no other death or human act could accomplish. He would place an absolute barrier between us and the devil with a wall of Blood called the Crucifixion. It all fits together for anyone who has eyes to see: He is the Paschal Lamb that was slain for the sins of His people; He is the new Passover sacrifice celebrated as His people departed the land of slavery; His is the Blood on the doorposts and lintels of His people’s hearts guarding them from the angel of death. No wonder the Church “lifts up” the Cross of Christ for all men to see!

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On Good Friday we must re-learn the value of this Blood for our sad world! By this Sacrifice the devil has indeed been cast out and has no power over those who have entered into the new covenant won by Christ at the cost of His Blood. The devil will continue to carry out his warfare against God’s people, but his work now has no lasting consequences for those who choose Christ. Those who are freed by the Blood of Christ are free indeed. For this reason the Church exhorts us to remain in communion of mind and heart with the Church, the one place where this Sacrifice is celebrated daily. It is the only assurance we have of total protection from evil.

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The Blood of Christ is also our greatest weapon against the evil that afflicts those we love. Do you have a loved one that is pierced by an addiction? Call Christ’s Blood down upon him daily. Pray that the shed Blood will penetrate all the demonic bonds on his soul and break their grip. Do you have a family member or friend mired in an immoral lifestyle? Immerse her in Christ’s Blood and symbolically bring her in prayer to Calvary to stand with Mary at the only place in the world the devil will not go. In time you will see the immense fruitfulness of that Sacrifice. It has the power to exorcise the world and free all its inhabitants from evil.

Today, Good Friday, the Day of our salvation, we proclaim in our Church’s liturgy the immense hope we have for healing from the devil’s malice:

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Behold, behold, the wood of the Cross on which was hung our salvation! Come, let us worship!

Sincerely,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International