June 8, 2012

+ "My heart is bleeding."

The work of the devil will infiltrate even the Church
in such a way that one will see 
cardinals opposing cardinals,
bishops against bishops.
The priests who venerate me will be scorned 
and opposed by their confreres;
churches and altars will be sacked; 
the Church will be full of those who accept compromise 
and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls
to leave the service of the Lord.
The demon will be especially implacable 
against souls consecrated to God. 
Our Lady of Akita
Mary's Bleeding Heart

In a small Florida town, a ceramic statue of the Virgin Mary appears to have miraculously bled. However, "Mary's Bleeding Heart" (story told HERE and HERE) is not a singular phenomenon. Around the world, a surprising number of Marian images also seem to be either weeping or bleeding. (Pictures HERE.)


Could she be communicating her sadness because Jesus Christ's Church on earth has been battered recently by a widespread sex abuse scandal, or because of a public clash with American nuns, or the Irish rejection of their country's deeply Catholic roots, or the West's indifference to Church teaching, or the Chinese (communist and atheist) government's demand that it name its own Catholic bishops? The list could go on.

The Church has always overcome and will continue to do so. However, it is one thing to sail turbulent waters, but quite another to do it when the crew is attempting a mutiny.

I saw that the Church of Peter was undermined 
by a plan evolved by the secret sect, 
while storms were damaging it.
Blessed Anna Katarina Emmerich

Is that what is happening in the current 'Vatileaks' uproar?'

Clearly, long-simmering divisions at the Vatican are beginning to boil over. A covert civil war is building in which the generals apparently are cardinals, the bullets are stolen correspondence, and the combatants are journalists.

However, informed sources say the leaks are not directed at Pope Benedict XVI. They say the 'whistleblowing' is "all aimed at (Cardinal Tarcisio) Bertone," the Vatican's Secretary of State, essentially it's Prime Minister. That assurance, however, does not seem to comfort the shepherd or the sheep.

Could it be that Bertone has been as incompetent, dictatorial and unwilling to root out corruption as some charge? Perhaps.

Or, might it be that others are attempting to undermine Church officials so that their faction will be better positioned for the next papal conclave? Perhaps.

Both sides may claim that they are doing God's work, but their actions seem to lack the humility and service that Spirit-led Christians exhibit.

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully 
as when they do it from religious conviction.  
Blaise Pascal

The stakes are high: the next papacy. Pope Benedict, at 85, has reportedly considered resigning, an option that is extremely rare but possible. More recent reports, though, indicate that he wants to complete his work.

Sadly, this public feud could mar his effectiveness in the last years of his reign and undermine the leadership potential of the next pontiff. These are turbulent times for the Church.

No wonder Blessed Mother is bleeding. No wonder she is crying.

So, with all the disturbing news, I was particularly interested when I recently reviewed an alleged Marian message in which Blessed Mother explains the reason why some of her images around the world are bleeding. The message seems particularly appropriate for the statue we call "Mary's Bleeding Heart" and even more appropriate for the times in which we live.

The alleged interior locution (a supernatural message from an inner voice) was one of many Marian messages that were received and conveyed by Father Stefano Gobbi, an Italian priest who founded the Marian Movement of Priests. I post this excerpted message as we approach the first anniversary of the holy priest's death (June 29).

September 6, 1986: "I am your most sorrowful mother....  My heart is bleeding. My heart is transfixed with deep wounds. My heart is immersed in a sea of sorrow.

"You live unconscious of the fate which is awaiting you. You are spending your days in a state of unawareness, of indifference and of complete incredulity. How is this possible when I, in so many ways and with extraordinary signs, have warned you of the danger into which you are running and have foretold you of the bloody ordeal which is just about to take place? Because this humanity has not accepted my repeated call to conversion, to repentance, and to a return to God, there is about to fall upon it the greatest chastisement which the history of mankind has ever known. It is a chastisement much greater than that of the flood. Fire will fall from Heaven and a great part of humanity will be destroyed. 

"The Church of Jesus is wounded with the pernicious plague of infidelity and apostasy. In appearance, everything remains calm and it seems that all is going well. In reality, she is being pervaded with an ever widening lack of faith which is spreading the great apostasy everywhere. Many bishops, priests, religious and faithful no longer believe and have already lost the true faith in Jesus and in His Gospel. For this reason, the Church must be purified, with persecution and with blood....

"Sin is being committed more and more, it is no longer acknowledged as an evil, it is sought out, it is consciously willed and it is no longer confessed. Impurity and lewdness cover the homes built by your rebellion. This is the reason my heart is bleeding: because of the obstinate disbelief and the hardness of your hearts."

This tabloid chapter in Church history may not be as dramatic as some have argued. (See video HERE.) The leaked letters do not seem to reveal serious malfeasance. However, the charges are extremely rare and severe. The actions of the perpetrators have defied long-established standards that are necessary for any government to operate effectively. This kind of blackmail cannot be easily dismissed.

Even if the leakers are exposed, we won't know who truly acted with God's interests at heart. However, by their fruits they will be judged and, from this distance, the fruit does not look very edible.

The Catholic Catechism (825) states: "The Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real though imperfect. In her members, perfect holiness is something yet to be acquired..." So, the Catholic faithful can accept that our Church leaders are not perfectly holy. We need to pray, however, that they will seek to righteously rule with love and humility, rejecting the proud, ambitious path that too many in secular society travel. All Catholics should heed Blessed Mother's humble call to conversion, repentance, and return to God. We should not point fingers of blame at Church leaders when we, too, refuse to live with love and humility.

We must soften our hearts and pray, pray, pray. Only then will Blessed Mother be comforted.

6/11/12 UPDATE: Thanks to the extraordinary work of Michael Brown at SpiritDaily.com, we have this recent roundup of news reports of weeping or bleeding Madonnas around the world.
Monks are convinced Ukraine's weeping Madonna is sending a warning.
Statue in Chile appears to weep blood.
Also, Blessed Mother cries in San Antonio.
Rosa Mystica bleeds in Venezuela.