December 8, 2015:
A Declaration of War Against Satan to Save the Christian Family!
Have you ever wondered the peculiar “coincidence” that the beginning and end of World War II began and ended on the two great Marian feasts that bookend Mary’s role in Salvation History? On the eve of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, 7 December 1941, the United States endured the “surprise” attack from the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. The next day, December 8, President Roosevelt proclaimed that day to be “a day that will live in infamy” and Congress gave its approval to go to war against Japan (and only days later that declaration included Germany and Italy). Fast forward to the eve of the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary (the consequence of Mary’s Immaculate Conception), 14 August 1945, and you have the announcement to US commanders of the surrender of the Japanese with V-J Day celebrated in the United States on August 15, when that surrender was announced to the world.
Add to this Marian and Immaculate Conception milieu the United States involvement in World War II, the unique and significant history that the Catholic Church in the U.S. has with the dogma and devotion to Mary as the Immaculate Conception. Many do not know that in 1847 the United States Catholic bishops, led by Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore, received approval from Blessed Pius IX to consecrate the United States to Mary under her title The Immaculate Conception. This was seven years before Pope Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1854.
There is clearly an intended connection that Jesus wants the United States to have His Mother that speaks to the very essence of who she is and what that means for us. If there is truly an “American exceptionalism,” it is only in terms of its call to live this truth of Mary and proclaim it as the icon for the true freedom that it not only represents, but that it brings about in those who model their lives after it.
So, what is the truth of the Immaculate that has so much significance for the United States — and the world — today? It is essentially two-fold. The first is much easier to explain as it refers to the truth that Mary was conceived without sin and that God put her (and her seed) at enmity with Satan. So, we see way back in Genesis 3:15 where this was first announced, that Mary is at the center of the spiritual confrontation between God and Satan and, ultimately, “she will crush [the serpent’s] head”. Hmmm…now we are beginning to see why Mary would be entangled in World War II, especially in the greater part of it which is unseen [as St. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6:12]. After God, NOBODY possesses power to defeat evil like Our Lady. That’s why Satan hates her so much and those specially consecrated to her — like France and the United States (both with historical connections with the revelation of Mary as the Immaculate Conception). And when Mary appears on the world stage, either by the Church’s attention being directed to her by the Holy Spirit, or by her many apparitions, she means business when it comes to combatting evil, converting hearts and protecting her own.
But this part of the truth of Mary as the Immaculate Conception points more to what Mary is free from. The other and more important part to the truth of Mary’s Immaculate Conception is what she is free for and why. This is where the theological fun begins as we set out into the deep (duc in altum) to discover the secrets of Mary as the Holy Spirit permits.
Just four years after Blessed Pius IX proclaims the dogma of Mary being conceived without original sin, Mary appears in Lourdes (1858) and says (translating the story in modern language), “Well, there’s actually something more to that dogma which little Bernadette’s persistence is soliciting from me that the Holy Spirit is prompting me to reveal — I am not just immaculately conceived without sin, but “I AM THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION”. Little Bernadette essentially just said thank you while the rest of the world said, “She called herself what!?!” Thanks be to God for St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, whose holiness and brilliance of mind was obsessed by this profession of Mary and shared his theological reflections with the Church, of which I summarized in a previous post (http://heroicfamilies.com/2015/06/04/in-the-end-my-immaculate-heart-will-triumph/).
To summarize that summary, Mary’s declaration at Lourdes is all about how intimately she is united to the Holy Spirit as His Spouse. It is a reality so true and profound that Mary takes the name of her “husband”, the Holy Spirit, Who is the uncreated, eternal Immaculate Conception. Since marital union is the greatest of all the unions that we can comprehend, it is fitting that this truth of Mary be expressed in terms of the name of her inseparable Spouse, the Holy Spirit. In marriage, two persons become one flesh in an unbreakable moral and covenantal bond. The same applies to Mary who is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, but in a more perfect and fruitful way than any earthly marriage as the fruit of their mystical union is the eternal Son and Word of God! So, Mary as the Immaculate Conception is ordered to her greatest of privileges, her Divine Maternity. And, this feast is, therefore, about the call of the individual soul to immaculateness (commonly called the greatest possible holiness!) within the context of the family.
The Immaculate Conception, then, reveals that true freedom is one in which our hearts, minds and souls are pure and united with the Holy Spirit. This is freedom! Not doing whatever one wants, but what one ought . . . and that ought is ordered to union with the Holy Spirit which is only possible with purity of heart. And any country who claims to be the “land of the free” is free ONLY to the extent it believes and lives this truth.
Yes, something to ponder . . . for the rest of your life!
That’s why Satan attacks purity first because then we can’t see God (“Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God”). Lack of purity (moral impurity) results in loss of holiness and that lack of holiness leads to division in relationships, which results in lack of communion of life, which results in not transmitting life and love. That’s the oversimplified, but nonetheless true, breakdown how impurity leads from a culture of life and love to a culture of death and self-centered immorality.
And the world — and many in the Church — have rejected the call to purity, embraced immorality and abandoned God, calling this insanity “freedom”. The result? The most wounded world history has ever seen. Two generations are now deeply wounded by the “sexual revolution” — which was nothing more than a rejection of purity for “free love” and “free sex”. This woundedness was anticipated by God Who called the Church and the world back to His Divine Mercy, which is the remedy for any and all wounds — NO MATTER HOW GREAT THE SIN! Jesus proclaimed through St. Faustina:
Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.
I conclude (yes, finally!) . . . we contemplate this mystery today: The Immaculate Conception is our end, purity is the way to it and Divine Mercy is our starting point, our medicine and our hope all along the way. Therefore, the renaissance, transformation and galvanization of the Christian family begins with the healing, forgiveness and restoration given to those who seek Jesus’ Divine Mercy. Jesus’ mercy cleanses us from our sins, heals our wounds, strengthens our character and restores our purity that we may become immaculate and enjoy an unfathomable union with the Holy Spirit. It is indeed a counter-revolution — a “revolution of tenderness”, as Pope Francis calls it — to the false and merciless “gospel”of the world.
Families who are courageous enough to embrace the changes in lifestyle that will enable them to experience these fruits will be the ones who will be the lighthouses amidst the storm and lead the world through its present dark night as it waits for the promised triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the dawn of the new springtime. In short, these will be the heroic families without which America and the rest of the world has no future.
If you want this message passionately brought to your parish, conference or event, reach out to me at HeroicFamilies.com. Let’s be these courageous families and start awakening, inspiring and leading today’s heroic families who will ignite the world with the cleansing fire of God’s merciful love poured out to us through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Spouse of the Holy Spirit and the Ark of our Salvation!
Mary, Mother and Mediatrix of Mercy, pray for us!
Art: La Inmaculada Concepción (The Immaculate Conception), Francisco de Zurbarán, 1661, PD-Worldwide; La Virgen del Apocalipsis (The Virgin of the Apocalypse), Miguel Cabrera, 1760, PD-US published in the United States before January 1, 1923; Immaculée Conception (Immaculate Conception) [Secondary Altar, St. Marguerite Church, Alsace, Bas-Rhin, Geispolsheim], François Antoine Ketterer, between 1771 and 1772, PD-US author’s term of life plus 70 years or less; all Wikimedia Commons.