The Well of Salvation
Let us once again return to the beginning of the appearances of the "Rosa Mystica" at Montichiari, in which she showed herself with three dreadful swords in her breast.
The question arises: How was it possible for things to get into this serious state? The lapsed priests and religious, those who live in mortal sin, and those who not only lose the faith but become enemies of the Church, come for the most part from the best Catholic families. They were once full of idealism and made, for and in their profession, great sacrifices. For years they worked happily in it.
A former priest answered this question in the following very moving manner: "Two things above all destroyed my priestly vocation. I prayed too little and later not at all. At first I went very seldom to Confession; later I gave it up entirely. I began by being spiritually starved. Then the Devil prevented me from escaping from grave sins. Through my first serious sin, and through celebrating Mass sacrilegiously, the Devil forged upon me a frightful chain of sin, and this one chain turned into many, for he knows only too well that many chains are harder to break than one."
Penitential devotions do not constitute a sacrament of Penance. One of the greatest dangers in destroying vocations and affecting fatally the flock of Christ is represented by the so-called penitential devotions. This is not because they are bad in themselves. On the contrary, every good act of contrition is something charged with blessing. If it is accompanied by real remorse, a vigilant conscience and a firm purpose of amendment, it can be very valuable. Even when it is conscientiously made, it remains only an act of devotion. A highly respected monk of our times says with justice, "An act of contrition is of value if followed by a good Confession, either one of devotion, or one essential for the forgiveness of grave sins."
The Church always had penitential devotions. They are not an innovation of the Council. One of the most beautiful and fruitful of these devotions is the Way of the Cross, a meditation on the Passion of Christ. Another is offered by the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. The modern penitential devotions are very good, if they constitute a first step followed by another-----a sacramental Confession. Even for venial sins, the confession of devotion is very beneficial, but sacramental Confession, provided the means to make it are available, is absoluttly necessary for mortal sins.
Decidedly this is not a cursed duty. It is a very great grace in a holy Sacrament to be permitted "to wash our clothes in the Blood of the Lamb." A good Confession is a writ of emancipation from the worst form of slavery, that of Satan. The servile shackles forged by venial sins are not so dangerous. They are bonds which man's great enemy strives to multiply and strengthen in order to make them into an unbreakable chain.
In a good sacramental Confession, we can break and cast off through God's mercy all the cords that bind us whether they be light or heavy. When we make a good Confession, we receive many healing and sanctifying graces. We not only experience Golgotha with the Lamb of God Who takes away our sins, but we experience the Resurrection of Christ and His Easter greeting, "Peace be with you!" Also we experience Pentecost and the Descent of the Holy Spirit. As He was instituting this Sacrament, the Lord said to His Apostles, "Receive the Holy Spirit!" By the power of this Spirit we are absolved. We ourselves become purified temples of the Holy Spirit. In this holy Sacrament, other Sacraments also acquire a new life, conferring their special graces:
Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination, Marriage, Holy Vows.
With clear foresight, Pope Pius XII wrote in his encyclical letter, "Mystici Corporis" of June 29, 1943, "It is accordingly clear that by that false doctrine, the spiritual development of the faithful is not promoted; on the contrary, it serves most regrettably to ruin it. This results from the false opinions of those who affirm that the frequent confession of venial sins should not be esteemed important. The general confession, they say, which the Bride of Christ makes daily with her children in the Lord through her priests at the foot of the altar, should be preferred to it. Such venial sins can, of course, be atoned for in many very praiseworthy ways. To make zealous progress on the path of virtue, we should be sure that the pious custom of frequent Confession is being recommended; it was not introduced into the Church without the impulse of the Holy Spirit. By it, self-knowledge is promoted, Christian humility deepened, moral weakness rooted out, spiritual carelessness and lukewarmness resisted, the conscience is cleared, the will strengthened, a wholesome spiritual guidance is made possible, and grace is increased by the power of the Sacrament.
"So we hope that all those among the younger clergy who seek to minimize the importance of frequent Confession will take note that they are pursuing a course which is foreign to the Spirit of Christ and harmful to the Mystical Body of Our Saviour."
One can only be amazed at this pope's prophetic foresight in grasping one of the very great dangers which today
threaten the Church; one which imperils so many priests and religious or has already destroyed them.
What Does Our lady Desire?
She wants Montichiari to become for all her children a source of grace-----for those who are physically sick, but still more for those in spiritual distress. The most important source of grace is a good Confession, and then the Lord Himself in the Most Blessed Sacrament. Mary is the Mediatrix of superabundant graces.
Is it to be believed that so many priests, and religious of both sexes-----more than 100,000-----would have lost their vocations if they had gone regularly to Confession? Quite certainly, no! It is an old experience that in doubts about the faith, temptations, vocation difficulties, etc., there is no better medicine than a good Confession. It brings clarity, security, strength, joy and peace. The priests and religious are today the chief targets of Satan's attacks. The whole world is today full of devilish infections and poisoning, viruses and bacilli, which affect the soul.
Against these most dangerous infections, there is no better, no more effective immunization than the Precious Blood of Christ which comes to us, above all, in the holy Sacraments.
Anyone who wishes to remain strong and faithful in the faith; anyone in seminaries or religious houses who aspires to a priestly or religious life; any priest or religious who wants to be happy, content and fruitful in his vocation must esteem and make use of sacramental Confession more than ever. Similarly, anyone who is lukewarm, dissatisfied, laicized, weakened, afraid of sacrifice, hypercritical, etc.-----he will also find no better remedy. Above all, however, no one should give up hope and become despondent, even if his sins are as scarlet and as many as the sands of the seashore. A good Confession is always a source of grace. The Mother of Mercy wishes to lead us to it.
In the famous "Devil's Sermon," in the presence of the saintly Niklaus Wolf of Rippertschwand in Switzerland and seventeen eye-witnesses and and ear-witnesses, the Devil was forced to admit, "Confession is our most dreadful experience, for we have just got the soul in our claws when it is there snatched from us. Confession does more damage to us than anything else. . . ."
In his encyclical, "Mystici Corporis," Pope Pius XII wrote, "Lest we be deceived by the Angel of darkness, who clothes himself as an Angel of light, the highest law of our love should be to love the Bride of Christ (His holy Church) as Christ desired her and bought her with His Blood.
"The Sacraments, therefore, should be dear to us for with them our Mother, the Church, strengthens us . . . but dear, too, the sacramentals and those many different pious exercises by which the Church warms and uplifts the hearts of the faithful with the Spirit of Christ."
The Redemption through Christ occurred historically once and for all. It continues in the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Mary was not only in the life and death of Christ on Golgotha, "Co-Redemptrix," she is and remains so in the Church. She was and remains the Mother of Christ and the Mother of the Church.
"The Father of Compassion did not hang His grace in the sky like His stars, did not hide it in the ocean like His pearls. He placed it in the gentle hands of His Mother, and these are every ready to distribute it."
Most excerpts and prayers taken from MARY THE MYSTICAL ROSE, by A.M. Weigl
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