Category: Catholic Articles

End Time Prophecies Of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich.

End Time Prophecies Of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich.

End Times Prophesies of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich.

+ I saw again the strange big church that was being built there in Rome. There was nothing holy in it. I saw this just as I saw a movement led by Ecclesiastics to which contributed angels, saints, and other Christians. But there in the strange big church all the work was being done mechanically according to set rules and formulae. Everything was being done according to human reason …I saw all sorts of people, things, doctrines, and opinions. There was something proud, presumptuous, and violent about it, and they seemed very successful. I did not see a single Angel nor a single saint helping in the work. But far away in the background, I saw the seat of the cruel people armed with spears, and I saw a laughing figure which said: “Do build it as solid as you can; we will pull it to the ground”. I saw again the new and odd-looking church which they were trying to build. There was nothing holy about it … People were kneading bread in the crypt below … but it would not rise, nor did they receive the body of our Lord, but only bread. Those who were in error, through no fault of their own, and who piously and ardently longed for the Body of Jesus were spiritually consoled, but not by their communion. Then my Guide (Jesus) said: “This is Babel“.

I saw deplorable things: they were gambling, drinking, and talking in church; they were also courting women. All sorts of abominations were perpetrated there. Priests allowed everything and said Mass with much irreverence. I saw that few of them were still Godly… All these things caused me much distress.

+ Then I saw the connection between the two Popes and the two temples. I am sorry that I have forgotten the numbers, but I was shown how weak the one had been in adherents and human support, but how strong in courage to overturn so many gods (I knew the number) and to unite so many different forms of worship into one; and, on the contrary, how strong in numbers and yet how irresolute in action was the other since, in authorizing the erection of false temples, he had allowed the only true God, the only true religion to be lost among so many false gods and false religions. 

It was also shown me that those pagans humbly adored gods other than themselves, and that they would have been willing to admit in all simplicity the only God, the Most Holy Trinity. Their worship was preferable to that of those who adore themselves in a thousand idols to the total exclusion of Our Lord. The picture was favorable to the early ages, for in them idolatry was on the decrease, while in our days it is just the contrary. I saw the fatal consequences of this counterfeit church; I saw it increase; I saw heretics of all kinds flocking to the city. I saw the ever-increasing tepidity of the clergy, the circle of darkness ever widening. 

And now the vision became more extended. I saw in all places, Catholics oppressed, annoyed, restricted, and deprived of liberty, churches were closed, and great misery prevailed everywhere with war and bloodshed. I saw rude, ignorant people offering violent resistance, but this state of things lasted not long.

Again I saw in a vision St. Peter’s undermined according to a plan devised by the secret sect while, at the same time, it was damaged by storms; but it was delivered at the moment of greatest distress. Again I saw the Blessed Virgin extending her mantle over it.

+ I had another vision of the great tribulation. It seems to me that a concession was demanded from the clergy which could not be granted. I saw many older priests, especially one, who wept bitterly. A few younger ones were also weeping. But others, and the lukewarm among them, readily did what was demanded. It was as if people were splitting into two camps.

+ I saw that many pastors allowed themselves to be taken up with ideas that were dangerous to the Church. They were building a great, strange, and extravagant Church. Everyone was to be admitted in it in order to be united and have equal rights: Evangelicals, Catholics, sects of every description. Such was to be the new Church … But God had other designs.

+ Then I saw an apparition of the Mother of God, and she said that the tribulation would be very great. She added that people must pray fervently with outstretched arms, be it only long enough to say three Our Fathers. This was the way her Son prayed for them on the Cross. They must rise at twelve at night, and pray in this manner; and they must keep coming to the Church. They must pray above all for the Church of Darkness to leave Rome… These were all good and devout people, and they did not know where help and guidance should be sought. There were no traitors and enemies among them, yet they were afraid of one another…

I saw more martyrs, not now but in the future … I saw the secret sect relentlessly undermining the great Church. Near them I saw a horrible beast coming up from the sea. All over the world, good and devout people, especially the clergy, were harassed, oppressed, and put into prison

+ Whole Catholic communities were being oppressed, harassed, confined, and deprived of their freedom. I saw many churches closed down, great miseries everywhere, wars and bloodshed. A wild and ignorant mob took violent action. But it did not last long…

+ Last night, from eleven to three, I had a most wonderful vision of two churches and two Popes and a variety of things, ancient and modern…. I saw the fatal consequences of this counterfeit church; I saw it increase; I saw heretics of all kinds flocking to the city. I saw the ever-increasing tepidity of the clergy, the circle of darkness ever widening. 

And now the vision became more extended. I saw in all places Catholics oppressed, annoyed, restricted, and deprived of liberty, churches were closed, and great misery prevailed everywhere with war and bloodshed. I saw rude, ignorant people offering violent resistance, but this state of things lasted not long.

Again I saw in a vision St. Peter’s undermined according to a plan devised by the secret sect while, at the same time, it was damaged by storms; but it was delivered at the moment of greatest distress. Again I saw the Blessed Virgin extending her mantle over it.

+ I saw the Holy Father very prayerful and God-fearing, his figure perfect, though worn out by old age and manifold sufferings, his head sunk on his breast as if in sleep. He often fainted away and seemed to be dying. I often saw him supported by apparitions during his prayer, and then his head was upright.

When it sank upon his breast, then were the minds of many turned quickly here and there; that is, viewing things in a worldly light…. These visions were so frightful that I came near crying out. I see in the future religion falling so low that it will be practiced only here and there in farmhouses and in families protected by God during the horrors of war.

+ I see the Holy Father in great distress. He lives in another palace and receives only a few to his presence. If the wicked party knew their own great strength, they would even now have made an attack. I fear the Holy Father will suffer many tribulations before his death, for I see the black counterfeit church gaining ground, I see its fatal influence on the public. The distress of the Holy Father and of the Church is really so great that one ought to pray to God day and night. I have been told to pray much for the Church and the Pope…. Last night I was taken to Rome where the Holy Father, plunged in affliction, is still concealed in order to elude dangerous exigencies. He is very feeble, quite worn out by distress, anxiety, and prayer. His chief reason for lying concealed is because he can now trust so few.

+ I know not now, how I went to Rome last night, but I found myself near the church of St. Mary-Major. Around it I saw crowds of poor, pious souls, in great distress and anxiety on account of the Pope’s disappearance and the agitation and alarming reports throughout the city. Led by one common impulse, they had come to invoke the Mother of God. They did not expect to find the church open, they intended only to pray outside. But I was inside, I opened the door and they entered, astounded at the door’s opening of itself. I was standing aloof where they could not see me. There was no service, only the chancel-lamps were burning, and the people knelt in quiet prayer. Then the Mother of God appeared. She said that great tribulations were at hand; that the people must pray earnestly with extended arms, if only for the length of three Our Fathers, for it was thus that her Son had prayed for them upon the Cross; that they should rise at midnight to pray thus; that they should continue to come to her church which they would always find open; and that they should, above all, pray for the extirpation of the dark church.

+ I saw heartrending misery, playing, drinking, gossiping, even courting going on in the church. All sorts of abominations were committed in it; they had even set up a ninepin alley in the middle of it. The priests let things go their way and said Mass very irreverently; only a few of them were still a little intelligent and pious. I saw Jews standing around the doorways. All this grieved me deeply. Then my Heavenly Spouse bound me as He Himself had been bound to the pillar, and He said: ‘So will the Church yet be bound. She will be tightly bound before she shall again arise.’

+ Very evil times are coming,’ [my guide] said. ‘The non-Catholics will mislead many. They will use every possible means to entice them from the Church, and great disturbances will follow.’ I had then another vision in which I saw the King’s daughter armed for the struggle.

Multitudes contributed to this with prayers, good works, all sorts of labors and self-victories which passed from hand to hand up to Heaven where each was wrought, according to its kind, into a piece of armor for the virgin warrior. The perfect adjustment of the various pieces was most remarkable, as also their wonderful signification. She was armed from head to foot. I knew many of those who contributed the armor, and I saw with surprise that whole institutions and great and learned people furnished nothing. The contribution was made chiefly by the poor and lowly. And now I saw the battle. The enemies’ ranks were by far the more numerous; but the little body of the faithful cut down whole rows of them. The armed virgin stood off on a hill. I ran to her, pleading for my country and those other places for which I had to pray. She was armed singularly, but significantly, with helmet, shield, and coat of mail, and the soldiers were like those of our own day. The battle was terrible; only a handful of victorious champions survived!

Purgatory Intercessor: Blessed Eugenie Smet’s Charity For The Holy Souls.

Purgatory Intercessor: Blessed Eugenie Smet’s Charity For The Holy Souls.

Charity for the souls in Purgatory is one of the most touching characteristics of our Catholic Church. From the earliest ages of Christianity, prayers and good works have been offered for the dead bonding the Church Militant with the Church Suffering.

However, it was not until the late 19th Century that a special Order was created for the relief and deliverance of the faithful departed through spiritual and temporal works of mercy. The Order of the Holy Souls Helpers, is one of the most beautiful stones that marked the movement of the Holy Spirit.

Founded with the special purpose of assisting the souls in Purgatory by the various means which God has revealed, this religious Order of women rose at a providential epoch.

In a century very much like our own, where material interests, indifference alternated with unbelief, the ancient practices of prayers and Masses for the dead had been for the most part swept away.

When God intends to manifest that He is, so to speak, the original Author of any special work,” says Father Garside:

“often he writes His cipher on some lowly heart which the world ignores; He comes suddenly and foreshadows to it some indication of His will, the full meaning of which will not be clearly unfolded, until the divinely chosen hour shall have arrived for its executions.”

So it was with the origin of the Helpers of the Holy Souls. This order existed only as a pious idea in the heart of a young girl destined to be its foundress, Eugenie-Marie-Joseph Smet. (Blessed Sister Mary of Providence).

As a little girl she would puzzle her playmates by a remark, “the souls are in prison, a fire, but the Good God asks us only for a prayer to let them out and we don’t say it.” As a young woman, she once said to an Archbishop: “Day and night I am pursued by the same thought: one does not pray enough for the dead. Hundreds of thousands of people die every day. Where is there a community devoted exclusively to the relief and deliverance of these dear souls?”

Considering that there was not in the Church, any religious institute for which the principal end was the relief of the Holy Souls, she set herself to work with great zeal. The Cure d’ Ars encouraged her by telling her that it was the will of God and “a realization of the love of the Heart of Jesus.” Like a burning brand the words from Ars were lodged within her spirit. The pledge of future fire. With five companions she pronounced her vows and launched her work in Paris on December 27, 1856.

She offered herself as a victim of expiation for these souls. All her prayers, all her mortifications, all her heroic acts were offered for them.

Blessed Mary had incredible nuggets of great wisdom and insight:

“If we enter on the royal road of the Cross, each trial or sorrow will be a station before which we shall kneel to adore the hand of Providence, and the last station on that road will be the gate of Heaven.

Who but Jesus can satisfy these hungry hearts of ours, starving as they are for happiness! If we thirst after God, we must thirst for everything that draws us closer to Him.

Let us make no other projects than to do God’s will. If the souls in purgatory could exchange places with us, how gladly they would suffer, and how slight our sufferings seem to them! Those who cannot suffer cannot love.

Fear nothing but not to do perfectly God’s will. You feel as if you did nothing, knew nothing, and felt nothing. Never mind; the good God will contrive to weave a crown for you out of all the nothings you have offered up for His love.

Personal sanctification is the first step towards apostleship. Before we can follow the martyrs to distant lands, we must vigorously accept daily martyrdom of minute sacrifices. If we only knew what benefit it procured for the souls in Purgatory.

Whenever anything happens, I say to myself, It has happened; and so it is God who allowed it to happen. I will not puzzle myself anymore with those two words, “why” and “how.”

Oh, let us put on Jesus Christ’s livery with joy and love and thus, clothed, descend continually into purgatory, to give the poor souls, by our acts, our sufferings, and our prayers, all the hope and consolation expressed by the Name of Jesus.

The souls in purgatory suffer without a moment’s interruption. Their helpers must never cease a moment to assist them. How could we think of rest on earth? Let us then be docile instruments in God’s hands. It is a marvelous mystery of love that He should make use of nothing and accomplish something.

Holy suffering souls, who can obtain so many graces for us, remember us in the midst of your sufferings. I will work unceasingly to obtain for you the joys of heaven and I know you will plead for me.”

She always exercised charity towards her neighbor and at the same time and by the same acts, for the relief of the souls in Purgatory and of the poor of the earth. Offering to God for the holy souls the spiritual and corporal works of mercy done for the living.

Purgatory had found the way into the depths of her being: 

“Today I feel as thought my hands were on fire. I am burning…My God may I burn with love for You! Like St. Catherine of Genoa, she had entered into myserious participation in the pains of Purgatory, feeling its fire in her members, and the uanppeased hunger and thirst for God: “I feel within me, an inconceivable hunger and thrist for God. We must help souls to reach the object of their creation, never lose its urgency.”

Charity, charity, charity, for the suffering souls is our call. The first Mother of the Helpers of the Holy Souls will live; the flame of Blessed Mary of Providence can never die.

Let us pray that we carry that flame of love for our holy heroes to the ends of the earth and may we never be classed with those whom St. Bernard describes as producing “much weeping but no fruit, and who are more to be pitied themselves than the dead whose loss they mourn!”

~Excerpted from an article written by Susan Tassone.

5 Truths You Probably Don’t Know About Purgatory

5 Truths You Probably Don’t Know About Purgatory

1. Purgatory isn’t merely a punishment.

It’s a merciful gift and a testimony to God’s love.

“Sometimes, people hear about the sufferings of the souls in purgatory and they think suffering is the desire of a vindictive God, a God who wants his pound of flesh,” said Robert Corzine, vice president for Programs and Development at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology.

“But that’s not the case at all,” he continued. “God forgives us instantly when we request. The role of suffering is to remove the damage we’ve done. It’s God the Healer applying the solutions to make us perfect images of Christ.”

And perfect images of Christ is actually what God calls each of us to become.

According to the Catholic doctrine of salvation, God doesn’t simply wish to save us from hell — from a state of eternal separation from him. Most importantly, he wishes to save us from sin, from being anything less than the men and women he created us to be.

“God is like a great heart surgeon, trying to give us the new hearts we need,” Corzine said. “But we keep flopping around on the table, moving away from the knife. Death then is like the anesthetic. In purgatory, we’re no longer able to avoid the healing we need, and he can finish the work he started during our lifetime.”

2. The suffering endured by souls in purgatory isn’t physical pain.

Through the centuries, artists striving to convey the sufferings of purgatory have depicted men and women tormented by a burning fire. But those explanations aren’t a literal representation of the goings-on in the purgative state. They can’t be. In purgatory, the soul remains separated from its body, so it can only suffer spiritually, not physically.

That’s not to say, moreover, that the flames of purgatory aren’t real. They are.

“The fire by which we’re sanctified is an interior burning for the love of God,” expressed Susan Tassone, author of seven books on purgatory, including “Prayers, Promises, and Devotions for Holy Souls in Purgatory”. “Immediately after their death, the souls in purgatory saw God in all his glory. They saw his love, his goodness, and the plans he had for us. And they desire that. They burn for it, with a yearning that exceeds the heat of any earthly fire.”

In other words, the main pain endured by those in purgatory is the loss of the sight of God. They suffer from what Tassone called, “a spiritual fever.”

As that fever rages, it separates the soul from sin, a process almost equally painful.

3. Our prayers for the dead matter eternally.

The souls in purgatory may be bound for glory, but the process of purgation still can be long and painful. Save for humbly submitting to the sanctifying fire of Christ’s love, there’s nothing those souls can do to speed up the process or mitigate the pain.

“We need to be greedy for graces for the souls in purgatory,” said Tassone. “When the soul leaves the body, the time for merit is up. The soul is helpless. That’s why they need our prayers — the Rosary, adoration, the Way of the Cross and, most of all, the Mass. The Masses we have offered for the souls in purgatory are the best thing we can do for our beloved dead. That’s because the Mass is the highest form of worship, the highest form of prayer.”

“It really is one of the most consoling doctrines of the Church,” added Martin. “None of us stands alone. We stand on the shoulders of giants, the foremost giant being Christ. Our sufferings and sacrifices can be parlayed into sincere help for the holy souls because of his suffering and sacrifice.”

In many ways, he continued, our relationship to those in purgatory is simply an extension of “the logic of love,” where “You extend yourself so that another might have an easier time of it. And that principle isn’t bound by death.”

It’s equally not bound by time. The Church admonishes that purgatory operates outside of space and time as we on earth experience it. Which means we should never stop praying for those we’ve lost.

“No prayer is ever wasted,” Tassone said. “The prayers we pray for our loved ones throughout the entirety of our lives play a part in assisting them to go into heaven.

4. The Holy Souls Intercede For Us.

The souls in purgatory can’t do anything for themselves, but the Church has long believed that they can do something for us: They can intercede for us, assisting in obtaining for us the graces we need to follow Christ more perfectly.

“We have such great intercessors in the holy souls,” said Tassone. “They’re interested in our salvation. They want to help ensure that we comprehend the malice of sin and the relevance of conforming our lives to God’s will so that we can go straight to heaven when we die.”

The same is doubly true, she continued, of the souls now in heaven, whom our prayers assisted.

“Those souls become like our second guardian angels, taking us under their wing,” she explained. “That’s because the gift we helped give them was the Beatific Vision, which is the greatest gift of all.”

5. The Church’s teachings on purgatory are rooted in Scripture.

If you’re seeking for scriptural evidence for purgatory, start in the Second Book of Maccabees (12:45), where Judas Maccabee orders prayers and sacrifices for fallen soldiers who committed idolatry shortly before their death.

“Their beseeching shows there is hope even beyond the grave for those who defiled themselves,” Martin said.

In the New Testament, St. Paul likewise hints at the cleansing fires of purgatory when he expresses, “If any man’s work is burned up he will suffer loss though he himself will be saved” (1 Cor 3:12-15). He also seemingly prays for the soul of Onesiphorus in 2 Timothy 1:18.

Moreover, according to Corzine, the existence of purgatory is the only way to make sense of scriptural assertions such as, “No unclean thing will enter [heaven]” (Rv 21:27), as well as commands like “Be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48).

“Logic demands purgatory,” Corzine said. “Without some process of cleansing after death, the census of heaven would be infinitesimally small, comprised of only the few who allow God to perfect them in this life.”

4 Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Eucharist

4 Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Eucharist

Probably, there’s so much you know about the Eucharist — the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion.

Here are the four things you need to understand about the Eucharist:

1. Feast day

The solemnity of Corpus Christi — the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ — is a holy day of duty. While it’s prescribed as such in the general law of the Church, it’s not seen as one in the United States. It, along with the Epiphany, is transferred to a Sunday. (Also not observed as holy days of duty in America are the solemnities of St. Joseph, March 19, and Sts. Peter and Paul, June 29).

2. Consecration customs

It was during that period that the priest started elevating the host and chalice at Mass after the purification. Back then, people received Holy Communion inconsistently but at least they could see the host and cup. And, yes, that seems to be when the custom of ringing a bell at the elevation came into practice. At some churches, it was the tower bell that was rung. The use of a handbell actually started in England.

One more item from the 13th century. That was when churches started placing the host in a monstrance to be exposed on the altar. And they started carrying it in a procession in the church or out through the streets as part of the Corpus Christi celebrations.

3. Names

The Eucharist has a lot of other names, too. The breaking of the bread, Eucharistic assembly, memorial of the Lord’s passion and resurrection, Holy Sacrifice, Holy and Divine Liturgy, Holy Mass, Sacred Mysteries, Most Blessed Sacrament and Holy Communion.

And, probably recently in our own parish, we refer to as “the Saturday evening” or “the 9 o’clock.” As in, “This weekend I’m going to … ”

There’s no mention of those in the Catechism.

Nor is there a paragraph about coffee and donuts following in the parish hall.

4. Parts of the prayer

The Mass’ Eucharistic prayer is divided into different parts:

A prayer of thanks, including the preface. The proclamation (the Sanctus; Holy, Holy, Holy). The epiclesis, an invocation of the Holy Spirit. (Here the priest puts his hand over the bread and wine.) The institution narrative and consecration.

The memorial proclamation. (For example, one begins “When we eat this bread …”) The anamnesis, focusing on Christ’s passion, resurrection, and ascension.

The oblation, an offering from us: “Therefore as we celebrate the memorial of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Lord, the bread of life and the chalice of salvation, expressing gratitude that you have held us worthy to be in your presence and minister to you” (Eucharistic Prayer II). Intercessions, when the priest, in our name, prays for and with all the Church.

And the ending doxology (“through him, with him, and in him) to which the audiences reply “Amen.”

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