By Fr. Melvin Castro
People have been fond of secrets—to know them and to decipher the mysteries behind them. Paradoxically enough, we have heard and read much about Our Lady. But what if there are more “secrets” behind the usual that we already know? What if there are deeper truths underlying what we already know about Mary?
Below, we summarize the “secrets” of the past, great Marian apparitions.
In Guadalupe in the year 1531, Our Lady appeared to St. Juan Diego to whom she gave the comforting words, “Am I not here who am your Mother?”
It was in the same occasion that Our Lady appeared as a Pregnant Mother, manifested by the black ribbon-belt above the level of the stomach indicating her pregnant condition. It was also a signal to the local natives who, during the time of the Aztec civilization, were known to have sacrificed children in order to end the drought, believing that the tears of the children would bring in the rain. Hence, Our Lady appearing as a Pregnant Mother signified the sanctity of life borne in the womb of every mother.
In 1830, a full 24 years before the formal definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, Our Lady appeared to St. Catherine Labouré asking her to strike and promote the medal known then as the Medal of the Immaculate Conception because of the inscription shown by Our Lady herself: O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee. Because of the many miracles attributed to the devout and pious use of the medal, it has come to be known as the Miraculous Medal.
In the Constitution Ineffabilis Deus of 8 December 1854, Pius IX solemnly defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Four years later (1858), as if to affirm the Church wisdom in defining the dogma, Our Lady appeared yet again in France, this time in Lourdes, and revealed herself to St. Bernadette Soubirous as the Immaculate Conception.
At the height of the First World War, Benedict XV implored God for peace and asked Our Lady’s intercession for peace. With his Letter dated 05 May 1917, the Holy Father added a new title of Our Lady, invoking her as Regina Pacis–Queen of Peace–in the Litany of the Loreto. Eight days later, Our Lady appeared at Fatima identifying herself eventually as Our Lady of the Rosary and giving the world the Peace Plan from Heaven. This particular apparition of Our Lady shows how Heaven is moved through the Church’s prayer. Just imagine: barely a week and a day after the Holy Father begged God for peace, God sent Our Lady as a sign that indeed God hears our prayers, and even giving us the path we should trod to obtain peace.
In January 1925, a Belgian cardinal, Joseph Mercier by name, who was so devoted to Our Lady under the title Mediatrix of Grace, composed a prayer “to obtain from Heaven the dogmatic definition of the universal Mediation of Mary together with the canonization of her great Apostle, Blessed Louis-Marie Grignon di Montfort.” The Flemish version of the prayer stresses precisely that through the canonization of the Blessed the new dogma might be realized.
Cardinal Mercier did not live to see neither the canonization of St. Louis nor the definition of the new dogma.
Interestingly again, in 1947, St. Louis was canonized and months later, Our Lady appeared in Lipa Carmel revealing herself under the title, Mary, Mediatrix of All-Grace. May we not consider this as the answer to the prayer of Cardinal Mercier?
We are told that the reason the dogma Mediatrix of All-Graces was never defined is precisely because of the theological difficulty that there is but one Mediator and hence, all graces are through Christ alone. In Carmel Lipa, Our Lady–as it were–took pains to explain that her title is in the singular form, that is, Mediatrix of All-Grace and not All-Graces. She explained, according to Teresing Castillo, that what the title meant is that Our Lady “mediates”–better yet, intercedes for us–to Christ who is the source of all graces, Christ who is ultimately the One who is All-Grace.
In Lipa Carmel, Our Lady explicitly asked the Carmelite Community to be consecrated to Mary as her slaves following the devotional way of St. Louis Grignon di Montfort.
And of this, St. Louis Grignon di Montfort has these wonderful words:
Jesus, our Savior, true God and true man must be the ultimate end of all our other devotions; otherwise they would be false and misleading…If then we are establishing sound devotion to our Blessed Lady, it is only in order to establish devotion to Our Lord more perfectly, by providing smooth but certain way of reaching Jesus Christ.
Probably for us Filipinos, this description of true devotion to Mary by St. Louis is all the more challenging. Our being Pueblo Amante de Maria is unquestionable yet at the same time, such devotion to Mary should lead us closer and into deeper intimacy with Christ, her Son. That is the ultimate goal of authentic Marian devotion: to be with Christ.
The Second Coming of Christ will take place in your lifetime.
According to this book which contains a series of incredible messages and prophecies to an Irish seer, our present generation will witness the Second Coming of Christ.
Click here to read a book review that summarises the key messages of the book.
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