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Our Blessed Mother Mary, the Queen of Heaven, is always looking out for us to give us much needed graces through prayers such as the Rosary and various devotions as well. She by no means just sits on some lofty celestial throne oblivious to the needs and sufferings of her subjects, (that’s us).
Mary has appeared throughout the centuries in numerous church-approved apparitions to the clergy and laity alike, stressing the need for loving obedience to God.
You may well have heard of a very special event, attributed to our Blessed Mother as our Lady of Fatima, one that has been approved by the church as worthy of belief.
It is better known as the Miracle of the Sun when the sun literally twirled around before hurling towards earth in front of some 70,000 astonished people in Fatima, Portugal, and then returning to its normal place in the sky, on October 13th, 1917.
Yet it was on another October 13th, in 1973 in the outskirts of the city of Akita, Japan, that Mary, as Our Lady of Akita (pictured above) spoke to Sister Agnes Sasagawa, a deaf convert from Buddhism, with an important message. Sister Agnes had joined the convent of the Institute of the Handmaids of the Holy Eucharist in Akita in May, 1973.
When Sister approached a three foot tall carved statue of Our Lady located in the convent’s chapel, on July 6th 1973 she said, "I suddenly felt that the wooden statue came to life and was about to speak to me. She was bathed in a brilliant light. . . and at the same moment a voice of indescribable beauty struck my totally deaf ears."
Our Lady told her: "Your deafness will be healed” Note that Sister Agnes could hear her in this first message, as well as in the two subsequent ones, in spite of her deafness!
In this first message, Our Lady asked Sister Agnes to pray this prayer composed by John Ito, the Bishop of Niigata, Japan, for the Handmaids of the Eucharist, the name of her order.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, truly present in the Holy Eucharist, I consecrate my body and soul to be entirely one with Your Heart, being sacrificed at every instant on all the altars of the world and giving praise to the Father, pleading for the coming of His Kingdom. Please receive this humble offering of myself. Use me as You will for the glory of the Father and the salvation of souls. Most Holy Mother of God, never let me be separated from Your Divine Son. Please defend and protect me as Your special child. Amen.
She made it a point to revise the original prayer with a crucial one word addition, the word truly to describe our Lord’s presence in the Holy Eucharist. We need to know this now more than ever! Tragically only about a third of U.S. Catholics believe that our Lord Jesus Christ is really and truly present in the Eucharist
It should come as no surprise that Mary should have entreated Sister Agnes, and by extension all of us to stay close to our Lord (with help from herself as well!). Contrary to much popular belief, both in and out of the church, Jesus is indeed the way, the truth and the life, as He Himself said (John 14:6). He is the true vine and we, fallen humanity, as His branches can do nothing without Him (John 15:5).
And as Our Lady reminded Sister Agnes, He is indeed truly present in the Eucharist, body, blood, soul and divinity and is not a symbol! As such He wishes for us to partake of much needed graces to do His will and be strengthened to resist sinful inclinations when we recieve Him in Holy Communion.
In Our Lady of Akita’s third message on October 13th to Sister Agnes Sasagawa, mentioned earlier, Mary had an ominous admonition for sinful mankind.
Bishop Ito stated once his belief that the third message of Akita has a deep connection with the messages from Our Lady of Fatima. In both cases, our Blessed Mother gave dire warnings of our need for repentance to avoid calamitous chastisements.
Indeed Mary’s message at Akita was quite somber and, you might say, considering the state of things today in the church, quite possibly chillingly prophetic! It now follows:
As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves,[God] the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by my Son. Each day, recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and the priests. The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, and bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their Confreres. The Church and altars will be vandalized. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will rage especially against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will no longer be pardon for them."
Does this sound like she could be talking about these times of great scandal and division in Catholicism as two millennia of Sacred tradition is being challenged by forces both inside and outside of the church? When apostasy is running rampant with people leaving the church either from disgust at the scandals or just indifference from having been poorly instructed in the faith, if instructed at all?
When only about a third of Catholics believe in Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist and the number of fallen away Catholics is way too high, clearly we have a problem, Houston, a big one! And it’s one that is not helped by many of the clergy themselves downplaying sin, or not preaching about its nature for fear of somehow offending parishioners!
(This is especially ironic considering we live in a society where people are so easily offended nowadays, especially in institutions of supposedly higher learning or in the media but don’t seem very much concerned about offending God.)
We live in an age when secular humanism seems to be overshadowing the light of Christ with people and nations deciding that we can create our heaven on earth without Divine guidance or grace, thank you very much! Also, as Our Lady of Akita foretold, Churches are being vandalized all around the world.
A dismaying level of corruption is rampant both in the church and in society at large. In our hyper-sexualized society moral relativism has run so amok that for many the only sins are those resisting Politically Correct orthodoxies such as those about supposed gender fluidity or climate change issues. Concerns about saving the planet overshadow those for saving souls.
It is any wonder that as we drift away from God, certain that we ourselves can work out our own happiness and create a just world without Him, or paying Him lip service at best, we find ourselves beset by apostasy, unrest, and great division and malaise, especially among the young?
Yet, the state of things in our times is such that, as Michael Matt pointed out in a video for the Remnant Newspaper this past summer, the convent where the statue of our Lady of Akita still stands provides very little information about the significant events that took place there over 40 years ago.
Indeed, Cardinal Peter Seiichi Shirayanagi, President of the Japanese Committee of the World Conference of Religions of Peace (Former Archbishop of Tokyo) has said “The events of Akita are no longer to be taken seriously. We think they do not now have a great significance for the Church or Japanese society.”
Considering the sobering resonance some of our Lady’s dire predictions have these days, I would respectfully beg to disagree!
While every tear will one day be wiped away with the new heaven and the new earth (Rev. 21:1,4 ), the Queen of Heaven weeps, as we all do in different times and ways, for fallen humanity!
She did so at Akita and where she shed tears on some 101 occasions from her statue from 1975 until 1981. (One of these is pictured above.) These were witnessed on all but 5 times by anywhere from 10 to 65 people, including once by Bishop Ito himself!
(It is worth noting various instances in 1973 in which blood emanated from the statue, Sister Agnes received the stigmata, and a brilliant light shone from the tabernacle all on its own! The blood and tears were later independently verified as being human in origin).
(Clearly, there was an abundance of supernatural activity going on in this Japanese convent! This was acknowledged by Bishop Ito himself when he pronounced the events at Akita as being worthy of belief in 1984 after a full investigation of the matter.)
Mary has felt her share of grief otherwise as well. In the time of our Lord's earthly ministry, she herself felt a sword of sorrow pierce her heart, as first predicted by the devout Simeon when she first presented the Baby Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:35). We can't even begin to imagine her misery during her Beloved Son's Passion!
And in the almost 2000 years since her wonderful reunion with Jesus in her Assumption into Heaven, she has no doubt nontheless felt the anguish of so many souls lost, not achieving Salvation!
The visionaries Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud in La Sallette, France saw her weeping as our Lady of La Salette over our disobedience when she appeared to them on September 19, 1846.
Now more than ever, we need to comfort her and help dry whatever tears she sheds weeping over fallen humanity and the endless insults our Lord endures in the name of respecting our free will.
How can we do that? Through loving obedience to Him. And by availing ourselves of the graces we badly need through Prayer (especially the Rosary) the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance, regular Mass attendance, and reading scripture and other nourishing spiritual reading (such as books on and by the saints), all as a means of letting Christ work with and through each of us in our daily lives!
While it is true that in the end God will triumph over all this evil and it will be extinguished both in the life of the world to come as it is in heaven, the skies look particularly threatening both for the church and the world at large right now.
One can sense a kind of coercive artificial globalist utopianism being foisted upon humanity, bit by bit. (Supposedly for our own good, of course!)
Yet the best way not to be caught up in is by holding fast to the truths of our faith in sacred tradition. Avoid any kind of GMO Catholicism thought to be needed for our times, one that rewards relativism and sanctifies situational ethics!
In an era when Mother Earth is given more reverence than Holy Mother Church, help our Lord help you and others with the graces needed to resist Satan’s seductive siren songs. In the end, Christ does indeed win this battle we find ourselves engaged in, after all. I pray that each one of us can do our part for His ultimate victory!