Today starts Lent - a time of drawing closer to God and repenting of sin, in preparation for Easter.
We have been keeping our eyes and ears on the news of the coronovirus that sprung out of China. It does look like it will be a pandemic. With the widespread sin we have been witnessing EVERYWHERE for so so long - is it a wonder? Many are not even aware that we have locusts in the billions eating crops from Africa to the Middle East. (link below) Not making MSM news because this might likely get people to open up their bibles to review Bible History. Yes - when men turn away from God - chastisements do happen. Our Lady of Fatima warned that God allows wars to occur as a punishment for sin. I pray we will not see a Third World War but these chastisements are actually more merciful - why? We have time to repent and to ask for forgiveness - and to pray. If we had nuclear bombs falling - not much time to repent and many souls LOST FOREVER! This would be devastating!
There are two sites (Rorate Caeli and Lifesite News) which have noted a time in history when Pope Gregory I called for prayer and processions to end a plague in Italy. (link below) This article will recall a time in Portugal in 1432 when they were stricken with a plague and called on the Holy Name of Jesus. May we read both of these incidents and have hope that God will provide and may we trust Him and draw others to trust Him while we go through this calamity during this Lent and into the future.
The following is taken from "The Wonders of the Holy Name" by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, 1947. pgs. 6-7":
"A devastating plague broke out in Lisbon in 1432. All who could do so fled in terror from the city and thus carried the plague to every corner of the entire country of Portugal.
Thousands of men, women and children, young and old were swept away by the cruel sickness. So virulent was the epidemic that men died everywhere, at table, in the streets, in their houses, in the shops, in the market places, in the churches. To use the words of historians, it flashed like lightning from man to man, or from a coat, a hat or any garment that had seen used by the plague stricken. Priests, doctors and nurses were carried off in such numbers that the bodies of many lay unburied in the streets so that the dogs licked up the blood and ate the flesh of the dead, becoming as a result infested with the dread disease and spreading it still more widely among the unfortunate people.
Among those who assisted the dying with unflagging zeal was a venerable Bishop, Monsignor Andre Dias who lived in the Convent of St. Dominic. This holy man seeing that the epidemic, far from diminishing, grew every day in intensity and, despairing of human help, urged the unhappy people to call on the Holy Name of Jesus. He was seen wherever the disease was fiercest, urging, imploring the sick and the dying as well as those who had not as yet been stricken down, to repeat Jesus, Jesus. "Write it on cards, he said, and keep those cards on your persons, place them at night under your pillows, place them on your doors, but above all constantly invoke with your lips and in your hearts this most powerful Name".
He went about as an Angel of peace filling the sick and the dying with courage and confidence. The poor sufferers felt within them a new life and calling on Jesus, wore the cards on their breasts or carried them in their pockets.
Then summoning them to the great Church of St. Dominic he once more spoke to them of the power of the Name of Jesus, blessed water in the same Holy Name, ordering all the people to sprinkle themselves with it and sprinkle it on the faces of the sick and dying. Wonder of wonders! the sick got well, the dying arose from their agonies, the plague ceased and the city was delivered in a few days from the most awful scourge that had ever visited it.
The news spread to the whole country and all began to call, with one accord, on the Name of Jesus. In an incredibly short time all of Portugal was freed from the dread sickness.
The grateful people, mindful of the marvels they had witnessed, continued their love and confidence in the Name of our Savior, so that in all their troubles, in all dangers, when evils of any kind threatened them they invoked the Holy Name of Jesus. Confraternities were formed in the churches, processions of the Holy Name were made monthly, altars were raised in honor of this Blessed Name, so that the greatest curse that had ever fallen on the country was transformed into the greatest blessing."
May we learn from this and look with confidence to Heaven during these trying times and call out to Jesus and Mary and through their Holy Names beg for God's grace and mercy upon this sinful world.
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Bernadette Porter is a Traditional Catholic, a wife of 42 years with 6 adult home-schooled children and 6 grandchildren. A sincere devotion to Mary, the Mother of God leads me to want to share "The Church's best kept secret" - Mary!